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Initial thoughts on pCARS

Discussion in 'Project CARS' started by kalniel, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. As you all know, this game is in development - it's not even feature locked and in testing, instead they are soliciting feedback much earlier in the process and allowing the interested public to voice their opinions on things. More than that, they are allowing gamers to put their money where their mouths are, with the opportunity to buy packages that grant increasing levels of access and sway. In return, if the game meets certain sales figures some package owners can expect a return, however they are doing their best not to advertise it as an investment opportunity.

    This funding/development model has several interesting consequences. One is that the game is likely to develop in the direction that those involved want it to go in. That sounds like an obvious statement, but the detail of it is quite subtle yet profound. People are personally invested (be that money, or time) in the game and thus have an interest in making the game as much to their personal liking as possible. Again, human nature. But this also means there is an added incentive to try to shut down thoughts that might be contrary to their personal liking - even more than your typical forum exchange of ideas. Now the staff will obviously try to kerb that behaviour, but they can't be everywhere and it can be done in quite subtle ways, even by gamers given positions of authority on the forums.

    From my so far limited experience, this isn't rampant, but it seems that there is a fairly core community that has in their mind the kind of game they want to have, and because of the way the project works, they will have their way. So (and the point of this ramble!) by assessing what that core community is like, you might be able to get a fair assessment of whether you will eventually like the game. And my opinion on that community? It's a fairly similar one to RD, definitely leaning towards the more hard core/realism track simulator than other communities/games that were originally targeted as competition for pCARS.

    Another consequence is that because of the personal and financial contribution, almost all the current players have a reason to try and sell the game. This is absolutely not the primary reason for enabling such contribution, but it is as a consequence not dissimilar to getting the opinions on a game from a developer of the game. On the flipside from that cynicism, it also means there is much greater access to the game's development. It has also been countered by the invitation of free packs that Ian made here for example, and presumably elsewhere/to journalists etc. So my suggestion is not to write off comments, but to consider the position of the person making them and in some cases extract information from them in the same way you would from posts made by developers or publishers (and likewise make the most of their access as well).

    On to the game itself, I spent some initial time with it on the X360 gamepad, then my G27 arrived and I tried to get that going as well. It's obviously too early for much in the way of meaningful impressions, but the out of the box X360 pad experience was surprisingly good - much better than expected and in many ways better than some finished games out there. It's not there for all cars yet, especially the faster/more twitchy ones, but it's doing well. The G27 has been more problematic, but I'm beginning to discover it's not really a plug and play device on any game. I've had great difficulty setting up correct force levels on practically every game I've tried, and encountered occasional bugs where button presses send the wheel crazy - re-plugging the USB cable usually fixes this and I don't see the problem for a while. Removing the logitech software removes the bugs, and presents a more consistent experience between games, though lacking in effects for some. pCARS could probably do with some optimisation for this un-profiler setup, but they wouldn't be alone if they didn't. (An aside: Is there an RD forum where I can get help with the G27?!!). From the forums, it seems a lot of activity is going on with tweaking FFB for wheels, and I'd say that's on of the more obvious areas they are focusing on testing and getting feedback (ho ho) on.

    Physics.. kind of need my control setup to be sorted before I can accurately assess this. The types of cars feel very distinct with very different characteristics and driving styles. Braking is good and well communicated, turn in is mostly good. Lateral grip maybe needs a little tweaking, mainly in the communication of grip levels - downforce appears to be being simulated quite well. Accelerating traction needs a little work too. Obviously work in progress.

    Graphics/artwork... again obviously work in progress. The lighting model is impressive in my view. Hate motion blur but it can be turned off :p

    Performance (obv WIP)... No unexpected issues here for the point in development.

    Erm.. think that's about it. Main impression I got is while the devs are quite open in which directions to go down, the (vocal/paying?) community are seeming to go down the dedicated realistic track racer route - kind of redoing their favourite games again IMHO, and not wanting the game to go down the GT/Forza route of car buying/upgrades etc.
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  2. We don't take kindly to your type of balanced comments around here :mad:

    J.K., kalniel :p

    That was a good write up. I like your third paragraph - it's refreshing to see WMD members not being labeled "greedy arcade loving numptys out to destroy sim racing". As you say, the most active members are serious about sim racing. It's not as if we're a separate species that came into existence from a vacuum when WMD started; we're enthusiast sim racers from all over the land of sim racing, just like our fellow simmers who might happen to not be WMD members :thumbsup:

    Furthermore we're completely aware that pCARS is not fully there yet - not so strange with almost a year more to go. This is the hard part for many to understand: that this sim, even though it's driveable and has many assets already, is right in the middle of the development cycle. Therefore it's often judged as if it was an almost finished product, which is creating some waves now and then. In the mean time the community and the devs are busily working towards what I believe will be a really good and fun racing sim.
  3. The main thing with the G27 is to turn the 'volume' down, reduce the FFB and Tyre Forces strength sliders (I say start at 50 and work your way up).

    I think many players have these levels set too high and experience punishing FFB effects. Admittedly, SMS still has room to go in this area but they're starting to make some good strides lately.
  4. The game itself is not bad. I think it has lots of potential. I like the fact that it gets updated every Friday. It shows that they're actually trying new things all the time.They're also lots of little things that truly stand out (i.e...SMS animations. They do more realistic flame than any other sim developer). The cars have lots of minute detail. The framerate is getting better optimized. The replays look better etc...
    I want the final product to be great. There's no benefit to any of us simracers if it's not.
    Having said that, I do take exception with the "heavy-handed' approach and to some of the tactics and forum moderation.
    Pcars afterall, is supposed to be a "community" project with input from all end-users...not just the ones SMS see as favorable.
    Sure...they're people who will knock everything and not give any input worthy of use, but when I politely offer a suggestion only to get 'hammered' by a guy who's supposed to moderate a forum...followed by an infraction for questioning his behavior, it does get to be a bit irritating.
    When I get told to make my videos unlisted, less I give negative information to perspective buyers. Well you see my point.
    It's just a bit too much. I haven't gone back to SMS's website. There really is no need to.
    It's obvious to me anyway, that while they say they want universal input, they really don't. It sounds good calling it a community project. That unfortunately, does not seem to be the case.
    I still use the product. I think it'll continue to get better but at this point I have nothing more to add. I simply don't enjoy getting 'beaten' up for trying to help.
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  5. pcars destroyed the F1 2012 demo.
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  6. Welcome back David :)
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  7. I tried it more than half a year ago and from what I see it has grown a lot since then. Some of my colleagues and friends are every bit as hardcore as I am (some of them are known modders) and they say pCARS, even though it has not been given the new tire model, is already very good. These are not gamers at all - just pure, fanatic simracers :) who believe SMS will deliver a proper simulation.

    Anybody who reads what Tudor or AJ post can only believe that.
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  8. Seems like something significant just changed today with Build306. Ian Bell mentioned some groundwork was laid out for upcoming model. Some members noticing positive results in today's build. I'm gonna check it out.
  9. More grip, easier to drive and almost no FFB, but my wheel ( G27 ) explodes when I hit the brake.
  10. ^ The current grip is a know snag. It was accidentally introduced with build 306 as part of the internal STM (new tyres) testing. It will likely remain until the STM is in. WMD members can of course read all about it on the forum.

    I can't find any reports of weak FFB on WMD, perhaps you should report there if it's a persistent problem for you. What is reported (and confirmed by the devs) is that the FFB is a tad accentuated as a result of the pre-STM-grip-snag-thingy. You can always try a bit of damper for now, if the FFB rattles your wheel.
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