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Featured Sim Racing: What's Hot and What's Not in 2017 - Part 3

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

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    Part 3.jpg
    This is the third part of our sim racing feature article and today we will have a look at some of the final highlight from the year just past, as we take in the changes undergone in Assetto Corsa, gauge the reaction to Monster Games first NASCAR title in 14 years and remind ourselves that Forza Motorsport 6: Apex was actually a thing, once...

    For those of you who may have missed our previous features, check out Part One HERE and Part Two HERE.

    Right lets get our final look back at the year just passed out of the way, so we can get on with the exciting stuff of guessing what 2017 has in store for us all...

    Assetto Corsa gets Porsche plus loads of other cool stuff
    AC Porsche.jpg
    So much has happened in the world of Kunos Simulazioni and Assetto Corsa these past 12 months it would be very hard to do the simulation justice with just these few short paragraphs in which to work.

    Kunos have been very hard at work last year releasing a steady stream of improvements to the title, developing their tyre technology to the current V10 model found in the latest build, significantly improving the sounds in game, optimizing the FPS and shadows in the vanilla build, securing the Porsche licence, adding a selection of Lamborghini’s, releasing on console, adding contemporary Ferrari Formula One cars, bringing a very solid first stab at VR support and lots, lots more!

    Sadly despite all the lovely stuff that Kunos have managed to achieve during the previous twelve months a number of features one would expect from a racing simulation still have yet to be addressed. Console players still unbelievably find themselves without the ability to create custom online lobbies, a proper working flag system has yet to be added to the game, tyre tech across all the cars remains something of a mixed bag and the lack of a consistent and engaging career mode are still sorely missed by some (personally I don’t want or need a career mode, but appreciate that some people do enjoy this side of racing games)

    Regardless of the remaining issues with the sim, or the sometimes rather outspoken cries of some in the community to reduce the number of DLC packs and concentrate on the core game features, Assetto Corsa has in my opinion taken a major leap forward last year and placed itself in strong contention to become one of the all-time greats in sim racing.

    Forza Motorsport comes to PC, no one cares
    Forza 6 Apex.jpg
    With a bestselling racing franchise behind them and a desire for Microsoft to entice more users to the latest Windows 10 operating system, Turn 10 Studios committed to a soft launch of the Forza franchise on Windows 10 PC with the release of Forza Motorsport 6: Apex – a free downloadable title exclusive to Windows 10 that gave players the opportunity to sample a rather watered down version of the exceptionally successful Forza Motorsport 6 game released for Xbox One.

    Sadly, and rather bizarrely, Turn 10 and Microsoft made a pretty epic bodge job of the new title and shipped Apex with a number of performance issues and strangest of all, little to no wheel support – something that PC gamers expect as a given in any racing title on PC, be it arcade or "hard core" simulation.

    Despite the free price tag, Apex soon feel from the public consciousness after the initial wave of intrigue died down, soon to be thrown away completely when Turn 10 made the ill-advised move of adding premium priced additional DLC content to what is little more than a tech demo. This rather disappointing move by the team further cementing the negative impression that Forza games are merely a platform from which to launch endless streams of paid DLC whilst paying very little attention to the core basics of the game. Leaving a bad taste in the mouth and showing little understanding of the PC gaming audience, Apex was not the best moment of the Forza series and in the end proved to be an utterly forgettable release. Hopefully lessons have been learnt in preparation for the potential Forza Motorsport 7 game expected sometime this year.

    Monster Games makes long awaited NASCAR return with a solid first effort
    NASCAR Heat.jpg
    NASCAR in America is a big thing. A very big thing indeed. To say that the sport has been poorly represented on the gaming front for a number of years now would be a considerable understatement of fact. Following years of basically shovelware releases, NASCAR fans had much reason to rejoice early in the year as a triumphant return of Monster Games was heralded as the beginning of a return to form for a franchise that has frankly struggled since Monster handed over reigns to the official licence following the release on NASCAR Dirt to Daytona back in 2002.

    Sadly the highly anticipated new NASCAR title left a little to be desired despite its obvious improvements over previous incarnations of the series. With several key features such as online caution flags conspicuous by their absence plus an array of minor niggles, NHE could have been better, but it was still a solid effort by the developers. Often repeated criticism of the new game can also be found in a less than impressive graphics engine and sound effects potentially lifted straight out of the 2002 Daytona title. Despite these flaws Heat Evolution did prove to be a very solid return to form for the franchise and with an aggressive post release DLC plan the game should remain relevant for a reasonable period of time before attention switches to next seasons inevitable release.

    Racecraft gets Early Access - you've come a long way baby

    Vae Victis Games released Racecraft on Steam Early Access during 2016 amidst some initial confusion as to what the game was supposed to be. Racecraft released with limited single player functionality but did feature an ace up its sleeve unknown to most regular sim racers - Procedural track generation technology. Over the following months the team at Vae Victis have worked diligently behind the scenes to bring Racecraft up to scratch, substantially enhancing the FFB and driving experience, improving the graphical presentation of the game, adding many trackside articles and most importantly of all - AI opponents to race against when not taking on one of the many time attack challenges presented by the team on a weekly basis.

    Racecraft has very quickly become a seriously good racing game with incredible potential to grow even further during the coming year. VR support is in the works, as is a potential online multiplayer mode for the game, coupled with some impressive and ever improving Procedural track generation technology (where the game will create endless tracks to race). Racecraft is something a little bit different than experienced sim racers will traditional be used to, while at the same time retaining many of the core 'essential' elements required by any serious sim racing title. For me this is certainly one to watch as the year progresses.

    Plus some other stuff
    From a personal point of view 2016 was a great year for us here at RaceDepartment. We had a real blast bringing you the news from around the world of real and sim motorsports, pulling together some nice exclusive interviews with a number of the key players in our little gaming niche and producing some interesting features from such diverse topics as Reiza's FIA embargo to debating the rights and wrongs of the many Hamilton vs Rosberg on track incidents throughout the year. We've really enjoyed reading some of your occasionally bizarre, often amusing and usually insightful comments right across the forum and have genuinely adored both watching and taking part in some seriously epic sim racing throughout the year.

    During 2016 we have run our RDTCC and Mini Challenge in Automobilista, RDGTC and the MX5-Cup in Assetto Corsa and the RD IndyCar World Series in rFactor 2 to great grids full of wonderfully diverse cars and drivers, with some truly stand out moments out on the track. Coupled with many hundreds of clubby events across the whole spectrum of simulations, 2016 was a brilliant year to be out on track with us. Honestly I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store....

    So that just about wraps up the main talking points (within reason anyway) from 2016, tomorrow we have a look at what we have in store for us in a year that could quite easily be the start of a golden age for sim racing...
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  2. Vincent.C

    Another WEC driver ! Premium

    Nice three "Sim Racing review". Thx a lot
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  3. Ole Andreasen

    Ole Andreasen
    Hey... wait up! Premium

    Great reading all three of them Paul. As always... I had all but forgotten about Forza Apex... seems I was not the only one.
    On the other hand I don´t get your "Racecraft v1.00 Launched. Perhaps a language barriere, but in my copy of Racecraft it says v0.5.2
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  4. yup, racecraft is far from 1.0
  5. "Assetto Corsa gets Porsche plus loads of other cool stuff" no one cares because its on console.
    "Forza Motorsport comes to PC, no one cares"
    because its on PC.
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  6. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    Sorry :) I was meaning to say its released out of Early Access in Steam.. Ooops! I'll amend it now.. :)

    Thank you Ole, appreciate it mate :thumbsup:
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  7. "Forza Motorsport comes to PC, no one cares"

    damn it spat my drink out all over my screen.
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  8. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium

    For the love of god, what's wrong with me today!!! Edit 2 - I mean to say joins Early Access!!! Argh I'm going crazy today! Not enough coffee and too many questions from the wife / simultaneous Skype conversations while I'm trying to work!!!!
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  9. We hope to be able to reach 1.0 within the end of summer. Next months are going to be crazy!

    Thanks for your mention, Paul! :)
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  10. Well I wouldn't say no one cares, I do care for Forza (Motorsport at least) being available on PC because more racing games and more competition on PC is a good thing. The problem with it is just, as you say, the way Turn 10/MSFT did it, how the whole thing turned out. Limited content, bound to Windows 10 store, UWP, DRM, peripheral support, performance issues, selling DLC for and a premium edition of a tech demo... similar thing with Horizon. That's why people don't really pick up on it. More casual players own it on consoles with less issues already, simracers rather spend their time racing in sims also with less issues. They'll undoubtedly release FM7 as multiplatform title but by then they need to have issues sorted out if they want it to do well.
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  11. Although it is far from a sim, Forza Horizon 3 is a blast to play and looks absolutely stunning when running at 60fps. (which for me is about 80% of the time)
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  12. it runs fine most of the time until you get to that city where it takes a nosedive.
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  13. It is interesting. After watching what happened this year with Forza and Assetto on the pc and console it really cemented the idea that there are two distinct crowds. Forza gamers that just want a fun game to play where wheel support and peripherals aren't needed and the SimRacing crowd that is hard core and wants the most accurate physics and peripherals that money can buy.

    I would say Automobilista should have been in the yearly round up. Lots of progress and probably the most underappreciated sim at the moment.
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  14. Rob

    XBO: OctoberDusk06 Premium

    Great stuff Paul. The console improved about 1000% in 2016 due to a SIM perspective coming to dominate games, and some real surprises, like dirt. Looking forward to wreckfest.
  15. The best rally sim/game since RBR? Nothing.Is this place tarmac only?
  16. Andrew Scott

    Andrew Scott
    Virtual Hoon! Premium

    Thanks Paul...
    I reckon you nailed 2016 pretty much on the head as far as sim racing goes, gratz mate, nice finish to your article too:thumbsup:
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  17. snyperal


    Great articles, thank you.
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  18. Do take in mind that the odds are still stacked againest forza for pc, win10 only when there is a large number of people on win7 or 8.1. The port was problematic for around 2 weeks(still is but to a way less extent) but people kept saying it was a broken mess as if it was the next batman, it was never in a state of being a quarter as bad as that game. The game was coming in full price with all its normal features of ultimate edition etc to a clientele that technically still wasnt sure what they were getting, eg when is the last time you bought a £50 game, this was my first time on pc doing that. It had that silly encryption system which used massive cpu resources for around a month before it was toned down, i understand why they put it but now that means no russains will buy it to rip everything out.

    But worst of all above everything is that its not on steam, regardless of if you like steam or not its a massive userbase and there are a lot of people that dont like using anything that leaves their drm, if not steam them gog. it was a blatant lets get profit margins sort of thing but it resulted in a lot less sales.

    AC had its issues on console but i think so many more fundamental errors were made with forza's trip to pc. I hope they learn from what they did wrong by the time Forza 7 comes out because thats the one we might have interest for, its gonna be very interesting to see what they come out with the extended power of the scorpio
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  19. Ole Andreasen

    Ole Andreasen
    Hey... wait up! Premium

    Automobilista is in part 1 of the "what´s hot and what´s not" :) - and at least in here at RD, the sim is highly appreciated - as it surely deserves. :)
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  20. Kurupt CDN

    Kurupt CDN
    Touring car fanatic Premium

    Another good read!

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