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Sim Racing: What's Hot and What's Not in 2017 - Part 2

Discussion in 'Other Racing Games' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    Part 2.jpg
    In the second part of a look back at 2016 (and forward to 2017) we take in some of the highs and lows for a number of games new on our shelves (or not) these past twelve months.

    It has been an interesting exercise to take stock and have a look at what we have at our fingertips this January that was just pure speculation twelve short months previously. I think 2016 has been a pretty good year for game releases, but its also been prolific in announcements that have sometimes materialized into something tangible, and sometimes just plain old disappeared off the face of the earth.

    If for some reason you missed part one released yesterday, feel free to pop over and check it out HERE.

    Ok so lets have a look at part two of our summary feature and see what's new, what's different and what's just the same as its always been....

    Codemasters build something good, finally.
    f1 2016.jpg

    Frankly no one expected Formula One 2016 to be a particularly worthwhile entry into the vast Codemasters Formula One franchise. After year on year of big promises and community hype ending up in abject disappointment following what is usually yet another quick rehash of a previous game, F1 titles are famous for omitting even the most very basic of details that should really be picked up by a game represented as the official entry into the gaming marketplace for the pinnacle open wheel racing series in the world.

    F1 2016 changed all that, and then some.

    The new Formula One title from Codemasters has surpassed all expectations from the racing community, proving a fully fleshed out racing game with an interesting and evolving career mode, more refined handling characteristics and a subtle leaning towards several more simulation orientated areas of the sport. Of course no one will mistake F1 2016 as a "hard-core" simulation experience, however the new title does add (or bring back in some cases) several new and returning features that lift the game above anything that has come before it in the long running franchise. New for this year comes the ability to make manual starts and pit stops, advanced tyre wear characteristics, formation laps, fully operational safety car and virtual safety car features plus an expansion to the previous online experience, now able to accommodate up to 22 players in a single session.

    F1 2016 is the game that should have been released by Codemasters back in 2010, finally. A return to form for the great British developers and a game worthy of the official F1 franchise. Bravo.

    Can we manage it? Yes we can...
    Motorsport Manager.jpg

    Playsport Games will no doubt be delighted by their hugely successful transition from the world of mobile gaming to the PC big leagues with Motorsport Manager, a game that has received plenty of praise since becoming available to purchase back in November. Although many expressed initial concerns regarding the lack of any real team and driver likenesses (due to Playsport having not secured the official rights to the Formula One licence or other such series), the game has gone on to become a very popular title and achieved admirable sales during the short amount of time it has been available.

    Playsport have been pleasantly proactive within the sim racing community and have listened to feedback suggested by a large portion of players, already deploying updates that have addressed a couple of outstanding issues within the title, as well as adding a new 2D drop down race graphics to allow those with lower spec machines to run the game effectively.

    With a nice selection of third party mods available to inject some more familiar brands and drivers into the core game experience, Motorsport Manager has proven itself to be one of the stand out success stories of 2016.

    Big Riggin' American Style
    ATS.jpg

    2016 was a truly massive year SCS Software, seeing the very successful launch of their American Truck Simulator title, winning two Steam Awards and completely rescaling the American map in ATS after initial feedback suggested the default locations were not a representative scale to best reflect the American countryside. On top of all this the studio have expanded their development team considerably, have brought a raft of new features to both ATS and European Truck Sim 2 and have implemented early beta stage VR implementation in both titles, alongside a totally reworked new French map for ETS2 and several new pieces of content for the American game.

    Despite having a hectic year of releases, updates and enhancements the studio have maintained their commendable commitment of listening to community feedback and filtering in the players experiences when deciding on the development direction for both titles. Nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than the recent rescale project for ATS. When feedback suggested the map scale should be bigger in ATS, the studio went away and painstakingly developed a larger scale map, with additional road sections and towns and then released it to existing owners of the game for no additional charge!

    2016 has been a standout year for SCS Software, and 2017 promises to be even brighter as the studio can now concentrate on developing their existing titles and fleshing out the content in American Truck Simulator.

    GT Legends announced, news eagerly awaited
    GT Legends 2.jpg

    Most of us sim racers who have been around the scene for a while should be familiar with the original GT Legends title from Simbin Studios. More than likely with very positive memories of a sim that was released during a purple patch period for the Swedish development studio, hitting the target again and again with both GTR, GTR2, GT Legends and the classic Race series of games. Fast forward to early 2016 and Simbin are no more (ok they've announced a comeback, but lets be realistic about it being the same team), the GT Legends name has been consigned to the annals of time and fans are left shouting excitedly at every piece of classic content released for modern day simulations - proclaiming it the natural successor to the fabled title from 2005.

    Step in Simon Lundell, former Simbin Studios employee and now the proud new owner of the rights to the franchise and head of the new studio tasked with bringing back the game, Tiny Feet Studios. Simon is very early into his journey to bring "GT Legends 2" to the gaming public, however his intention is clear. Create a worthy successor to the GT Legends game that retains the spirit of the original title, on a modern simulation platform.

    We sat down with Simon right after the initial announcement back in February for a brief interview about the new venture, unfortunately due to the very early nature of the announcement and a need to maintain a block on much of the information he is able to divulge due to contractual negotiations, the proposed interview was never substantial enough to publish here at RD. With a good twelve months having passed since the initial announcement we will endeavour to sit back down with Simon again and have a look at where this project is heading. Stay tuned for the interview and any news on this project as and when it is available.

    KartKraft Announced then promptly disappears
    KartKraft.jpg

    Well where to start with this one? Having been around in one form or another since 2007, KartKraft has had a troubled development phase to say the least. Scheduled to have entered, completed and exited early access closed and public beta by the end of 2016, timeframes have slipped once again for this game leaving players wondering what might become of the title. With Black Delta being new to the game development business and looking to create a quite involving simulation of a sport not traditionally covered elsewhere one can expect a certain level of delay with the process, however the sheer lack of any communication with fans is perhaps the most frustrating issues with KartKraft. The studio even went as far as to admitting communication hasn’t been good enough back in June and promising to up the quality of their communication strategy going forward. Since that post on their official Facebook page we've seen a batch of screenshots in 20 odd days later then, nothing...

    2016 was going to be the big year for KartKraft, sadly its turned out to be yet another let down. Hopefully 2017 will see a change of fortune for the developers and the gaming public will finally be able to see if KartKraft can live up to its early promise.



    Don't forget to check out the Club Racing scene here at RaceDepartment! We have a whole bunch of interesting events across most sim racing games. Take a look at our Club and League Racing Calendar for more info.

    Stay tuned for Part 3 next week!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  2. k_badam

    k_badam
    Yer Nan

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    damn what is KartKart? :p
     
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  3. Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

    Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

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    Erm, hang on a minute. F1 2016 has a huge amount of problems :D The tyre wear glitch takes away any purpose of trying in qualifying as it is so God damn OP. The online is a far shadow of what it was a launch. I'm pretty sure the online at the end of F1 2015 was more stable. The game is extremely unbalanced, favouring the wheel users far more than a pad user. The career mode was the right idea, but once you've maxed out development, there's no point in continuing as it'll return to the same old stale career modes of the past, rendering 10 seasons pointless. What's worse is that the last patch this game has gotten was for IOS...
     
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  4. ThatRacingGuy

    ThatRacingGuy
    I drove 88 MPH last night... weird stuff happened

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    All i wanted was KartKraft Santa :(
     
  5. JayJayRaceinho

    JayJayRaceinho

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    i've sunken about 70 hours into f12016 according my steam-account....it was my 2nd codemasters-game i guess, grid was the other one back in the old days. well, what i know for sure, this was my last CM game. The FFB was simply awful, i started my career, had my fun (mostly due to a 'oh, this is new'-aha effect), but as soon i drove any other racing-sim like r3e f.e. i really couldn't go back to this game due it's dull FFB.
    For a Formula1 game you simply need absolute precise feedback on the wheel to really drive consinstant fast laps, which wasn't really possible with the feedback this game handed over to the wheel, let alone the immersion itself with a wheel.

    Not sure why they started any surveys on this forum, i never saw any patch improving any kind of stuff or fixing the important stuff. If they think, they'll get my $ for their next f1 game (or any other CM racing game), they are clearly wrong :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  6. Slyfrequency

    Slyfrequency

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    Can't wait for news on GT Legends 2, the first one was a blast!
     
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  7. JayJayRaceinho

    JayJayRaceinho

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    i'm slightly confused, GT-Legends is about cars from the past area .... the screenshot i once saw with the UT4-Engine was a BMW Z4GT3 ? I've read r3e will definately not be a UT4-Game, only the new one released by SimBin. Well, the brand SimBin alone doesn't make a good game, so let's see.
     
  8. David Wright

    David Wright

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    I recently replaced my 6 year old gaming PC with a new one. This has allowed me to run AC, pCARs and rF2 for the first time. While I have tried to be positive about the sprinkling of older content in these titles on the grounds that something is better than nothing, none of them is a replacement for GT Legends. GTL has the most playtime on my new PC. It's clear most sim racers prefer the wide but unfocused content of modern sims, but I still prefer the narrow but tightly focused content of the old sims such as GPL, GP4, NR2003, GTR2 and GTL. Not that GTL is that narrow with its 30 different cars.

    So while there is a long list of unknowns with GTL 2 including an unknown developer, an unknown platform, and an unknown racing championship (assuming it is based on a real championship), it is the only forthcoming title that really excites me.
     
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  9. Doug46

    Doug46
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    The biggest disappointment for me is Codemasters F1 2016 PC they had a reasonably good game until patch 7 was done then the stuttering/freezes happened and has stilllllllllllllllll not been addressed, i have contacted codemasters on so many occasions and they keep passing the buck to things on my pc, but like many out there the problem stops them from playing the game , shame really as it was looking quite promising at last. Wish Geoff Crammond would return.

    To me the biggest step forward in sim racing is Raceroom wow what they are doing is great for us sim racers, in my book the Ai has improved to make this one of the most enjoyable games to play offline, they are adding new things all the time, i feel they are trying the hardest at the moment to improve there game, Dtm and wtcc standout well with more soon to be released

    I would like to see improvement on online racing = being able (like project cars) to arrange easily a online race with a click of a button , invite friends and also add Ai into the mix, why cant it be this simple , but with most sims unless you dont painfully make your own server up (me not good with computers!) etc your stuck with the choice of races offered
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  10. Rapala

    Rapala
    Brent Mills Premium

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    You're not alone in wanting focused sims. 10 years ago, nobody would have dreamed of releasing a game with no progression, developers knew people for the most part liked the excitement of challenging themselves to do well so they could save up for that next awesome car or upgrade to get that feeling of achievement.

    I don't know why devs changed their design ideas to one of 'here's some cars, go drive them'. No challenge, nothing to keep you engaged. Perhaps those who prefer the open sandbox approach can chime in why you like it more. btw I'm not advocating the approach of cars being undriveable until you unlock them, more like the dirt rally idea, where you can mess around in quick rally with any car you want. I'm still loving dirt rally, for the driving experience , but more importantly for the career mode and feeling of progression. I would have stopped playing it long ago if it took the rf2 / ams sandbox approach.

    And as perhaps some sort of evidence on offer that people want this, which are the games that have sold the most? the ones with progression like forza, GT, project cars etc. I just wish we could have one that does this AND have the awesome handling of RF2 / AMS/ RRE / AC
     
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  11. Associat0r

    Associat0r
    Banned

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    Career modes should be banned from simracing.
     
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  12. Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

    Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

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    Why?
     
  13. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    I'm no career mode fan myself to be honest. I just want the cars to go race, do a championship against the AI and take online in a club or league race.

    What I do want, massively, is the more focussed approach as mentioned above by David. I want all the cars from a particular season of a series, real drivers, real liveries and all the brands. Not too bothered about a few mis match cars here and there as we are getting with most sims atm, but proper full on real life championship imitations are the thing.

    Careers are, in my humble opinion only, just a nice thing for games, but not really something for simulations (as the idea of a sim is to basically take it online and go racing). If the online racing is quality, then a race sim has endless life expectancy.
     
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  14. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    GT Legends was very much about historic cars (it was the FIA Historic Championship). The screenshot of the BMW in UE4 you saw was from some testing by Sector3 Studios with their RaceRoom Racing Experience title (a different game from GT Legends 1 & 2).

    Simbin started RaceRoom, then disappeared and most of the staff formed Sector3. GT Legends '1' was by Simbin. The "new" Simbon haven't announced anything yet (watch out for an interview soon btw ;) ).

    GT Legends '2' will be developed by a new studio, unrelated to the screenshot of the BMW, Sector3 or Simbin. The new studio (Tiny Feet) is headed up by a former Simbin employee.

    Hope that clears it up :D
     
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  15. Gui Cramer

    Gui Cramer

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    Career mode can be extremely engaging and a major time-consuming aspect if done well. Even better is being able to play the game without having to hope for multiplayer servers running what you want. But good career modes are not put together in a slapstick manner.

    Every racing game should come with a championship season (with support for custom season), single race, time trial, multiplayer, and free practice options. Non-negotiable. One mode that I find great is Scenario/ Challenge mode. I still recall F1 World Championship on the Nintendo 64. That was a blast. And unlocking new scenarios was great. A fun Career Mode on top of these would be fantastic.

    Multiplayer focus detracting from single-player experience started gaining massive momentum in 2008 with Call of Duty and then yearly releases. Battlefield went from offering a storyline to just trying to match Call of Duty. And somehow that design spread out to other genres. In racing, we went from multiple packaged options (all tracks and cars in a series) to pieced content, and reliance on online. iRacing has always been offered and sold as an online-driven service and has focused on delivering to it. The other games have not delivered.

    F-1_World_Grand_Prix_-_1998_-_Video_System_Co.,_Ltd..jpg

    Edit: More succinctly stated below. Single-player is still the main choice of players. Discrediting focus or attention to it on the general market also discredits the argument.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
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  16. David Wright

    David Wright

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    While I can appreciate that on-line racers don't see the point of a single player championship mode or a full career mode (basically a series of championships), most sim racers still race in single player mode. I would also point out that iRacing, the leading multi-player racing sim, effectively runs a "career mode" as you progress through the different levels.
     
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  17. JayJayRaceinho

    JayJayRaceinho

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    yep :)
     
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  18. JayJayRaceinho

    JayJayRaceinho

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    i really liked the career-mode in f1 2016, atleast the first few stages in career-mode i started before i uninstalled this game again :D

    i also liked those licensing tests from the gran turismo series. combined with a ongoing championship mode it could be something worth. not something to buy any new cars or like that, just for your avatar/profile to keep it simple. r3e has this portal with stats, but pretty useless. what's the point in seeing how many races i've won, or championships (in which difficulty? which class?) if there is no comparison at all in singleplayer.
     
  19. theravenousbeast

    theravenousbeast

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    I think Codies might surprise with their next GRID games. I really think they've realized the gap that the current sims have left for them; an expansive career mode with solid AI,a decent enough driving model (like DR) and most importantly a well polished and finished product might just get them a winner. Hopefully they can grab a couple of high profile licences to go with it.
     
  20. Enpassant

    Enpassant

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    Another good article Paul, once more thank you.

    In modern era (first ever) of sim racing, many developers forgot that simmers are armed with sort of driving peripherals. Many good tittles lost his advantage by negligence of that. Era of keyboard drivers has ended. Today, if sim have no decent optimisation for well known sort of driving wheels or VR displays, are simply doomed. And IMHO many sim makers have not bearing in mind that the sim, outside of good physic and simmulation level, must have some clue which sim driver can develop. Not many of us like mindless grinders... I think... :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
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