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The most realistic sim I have ever played came free with a pack of cereal...

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by VernWozza, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. VernWozza

    VernWozza
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    I'm not kidding. Not only did a full version of an F1 simulator come free with a packet of Frosties in 2003 but it is still the most realistic Sim I have ever played.

    I saw @Paul Jeffrey mention that this week's "have your say" topic was going to be around features that sims are missing and it instantly reminded me of this game.

    I'm going to tell you why this ambiguous title holds a special place in my heart and hopefully convinces some of you that some rather small changes could make for a better sim racing experience.

    Below: Frosties Gr-r-and Prix Racing game.
    [​IMG]


    The year was 2003. I was 18 years old and massively over investing my time in to Grand Prix 4 at the expense of my higher education, silly me. At this point in my life I had played almost every racing game going since Nigel Mansel's world championship on the Amiga and you could definitely say I had caught the sim racing bug. As a result I was always on the look out for something new. Enter Frosties Gr-r-and Prix Racing Game (FGPRG).

    It caught my eye because it was a racing game...free with a pack of cereal! The game play images on the back of the box looked decent (for the time) and I thought it was too good to be true. So I bought the cereal. Installed the game and gave it a shot.


    Below: FGPRG User interface
    [​IMG]


    After firing the game up for the first time I was presented with this rather questionable UI. Any racing game with Tony the Tiger in the UI is bound to be terrible right? Well my opinion started to change pretty quickly when I started digging through the options.


    Below: Game options - Failures

    [​IMG]


    Car failures were not a new feature at this point in time. The legendary Microprose Grand Prix series had included technical issues for years. What impressed me about this freebie title was the amount and variety of failures you could enable. Of course the obvious ones like, engine, gearbox, brakes etc were all included under the “Serious” failures tab, but the interesting thing about the serious failures was that they were all connected to how you drove your car E.G. over revving your engine or downshifting too soon etc… I think maybe you see where I am going with this now, and the realism thing.

    Then there were the secondary failures like Radio failure - Radio transmissions became scrambled or even full on cut out. Display Failure - Your in cockpit display starts to play up, displaying the wrong readouts and again cutting out. These failures were completely random and not that frequent making them feel quite realistic.


    Below: Game options - Rules

    [​IMG]

    Now, this screen was when I sat up and started to pay attention. The race rules. False start. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I had seen this in a racing game and I was intrigued to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised when it worked just as you would expect.

    Pit lane speed limit, 107% rule, all very nice but what’s that...Limited number of tyres? Wow! This free game had a realistic tyre usage system for race weekends. You could run new sets of tyres or worn tyres throughout the weekend meaning you had to use your tyres wisely and not burn them all out in FP1.

    Then comes the master stroke “1 replacement car per weekend”. Quite self explanatory but if you aren’t quite sure what that means I will help you out. You know how you load up your favourite sim, select a track, start a race weekend, start your practice session, hoon it out of the pits and slam it into a wall, press ESC and start again with a brand new car? Yeah, well, in Frosties Gr-r-and Prix Racing there are no such luxuries. Only 2 chassis per race weekend. You bin it, you pay the price.

    If you totalled your chassis it would ask you if you wanted to continue the session in your spare car or end the session and start the next in your spare car. It was brutal in the sense that if you wrote off both chassis then that’s it for that weekend. The next sessions were all greyed out and you just had to proceed to the next round.

    If you damaged you car but it was repairable there were time penalties to repair the car. Pretty sure this was the first time I had seen this.

    I loved this level of detail and the demands it puts on you as a driver to protect your equipment. I really enjoyed having to ease my way into getting on the pace and finding the limit over the course of the weekend. Awesome stuff.

    Below: Tyre management screen

    [​IMG]

    I mentioned tyre management in the last section, well one other thing to mention here is that you couldn’t just strap on (lol strap on) a new set of tyres every time you "ESC + returned to pits". Meaning that if you completed ½ a lap on set A and hit ESC and returned to pits set B would be applied to your car with set A maintaining the wear from that abandoned lap. You can use them again but they obviously won’t be brand new.

    It’s at this point I have to doff my hat to Reiza for finally after all these years finally looking to introduce the above features into a fully fledged racing sim. You guys are great.

    There were a couple of other details which I loved in this game. Damage was impressive, well it kind of had to be if you include features like two chassis per weekend. It was a challenge trying to protect your equipment, which in turn meant it was immensely satisfying to complete a race unscathed. I think this was the first racing game I had played where the tyres would pick up dirt if you went off track, ffs some sims don’t even do that now in 2017. Weather was decent albeit primitive physics. The spotter was ahead of it’s time too.

    I know what a lot of you will be thinking “how does it drive?”...Badly! It was not a great experience in that respect. In fact it was pretty terrible. But being that my expectations were zero and I was surprised at the level of realism surrounding the rules so I put up with the driving aspect for a while before it became unbearable. However, this game changed sim racing for me forever. The moment I fired up GP4 again I was longing for that level of realism. I still haven’t found a title to that matches it to this day. F1 2017 does a pretty good job with some of this stuff actually but I would love to see it in a sim like AC or rF2. I hope Reiza do a good job with it when they implement some of these features into AMS.

    Anyway, there was a little trip down memory lane. What do you guys think? Would you like realism features like this in proper sims?

    I will end this piece with a few more pics of the game.

    Thanks,
    Vern

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  2. VernWozza

    VernWozza
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    @Will Mazeo I saw your post about realism. Please give this a read.
     
  3. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo

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    LOL this game 10/10 ahead of its time xD
    Sad thing when many of these features are seen as "arcade" by part of the community
     
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  4. thatmotorfreak

    thatmotorfreak

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    Hmmm...I think that game uses the same engine and assets (seemingly reskinned) that "F1 Racing Simulation" by Ubisoft back in '97.

    I remember playing that one a lot as kid during my "Schumi is god" phase.
     
  5. VernWozza

    VernWozza
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    That is indeed what it is. I never played that version, I was happy with the Kellogg's variant.
     
  6. 93Florent

    93Florent

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    Damn, I still have this one!

    Here in Italy it went by the name of "Racing Simulation 2" (Ubisoft) and yeah, I remember I had a lot of fun with it.
    Changing track conditions were simply amazing, and the atmosphere during rain was just great.
    Tyre wear was pretty good.

    If I'm not mistaken it was based on the F1 1997 season.
    I remember driver's names to be pretty cool, Schumacher = Schmidtke, Barrichello = Bonibrasco or Villeneuve = Voullette :D

    And there was also a retro mode where you could play with old school cars on the Greenhell circuit (supposedly Nordschleife).
     
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  7. lensdu

    lensdu

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    Great article! I would be happy if RF2, AMS or R3E would get a simple career system like seen in PCars or sort of like in Codemasters F1 series. The AI in all these games is solid and the driving itself is pretty good, why is the stuff besides racing itself missing? Why is a system like this in a "free" game and not in any full price racing sim with a bigger budget and probably more devs almost 15 years later? :thumbsdown:
     
  8. VernWozza

    VernWozza
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    My thoughts entirely!
     
  9. Eckhart von Glan

    Eckhart von Glan

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    i remember it, too, but only because of three points:
    a) it was the first racing game i ever bought because a windows98 pc was my first pc ever, having started out during college on atari and having kept that one way beyond its due date
    b) i could never run it because of some software conflict with the 3d rendering, my graphics card ran on another system and they were incompatible :( So I sold it on ...
    c) i remember, though, that it said in the booklet which came with it, you could turn on "realistic injuries" which would fit in with the article above: If you really totalled your car, you might have been forced to skip the next four or five races! Your opponents added points, you could even browse the race results (from your virtual sickbed) but there was no way you could join in again before the damage system deemed you fit again.
     
  10. VernWozza

    VernWozza
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    Hahaha no way. That's probably a level of realism I can do without. Interesting concept though.
     
  11. Duarteral

    Duarteral

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    I lived a similar situation, whem I had 7y old the "nestle" cereals start to bring 3 diferent FREE games and one of them was Total Immersion Game. For the time for me it was a hell of a game and I spent a lot of hours playing it.
    It was because of that game that I started to like Sim racing games and started to know circuits like monza, silverstone, sebring ... and cars like noble m12 panoz esperante mclaren F1 gtr bentley speed 8. All of that in a free game
     
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  12. Alex72

    Alex72

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    Yeah cool for sure, but with 1 type of car and im sure not very realistic behavior tied to the real world behavior of the failures it gets a bit easier to implement. When you get to sims with many different cars and where the devs at least try to get more realism in the behavior then they have to do that for each and every car which would be a mammoth job. Some of those for sure would be nice to have like the rules and some other failure options in communication etc. For sure advanced for a free cornflakes game. :D
     
  13. Eckhart von Glan

    Eckhart von Glan

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    well, they just put games in the box where the sell-circle has long since ended or you get a demo version. remember getting a hotwheels game that way once for my then 6-year-old son. that was played for hours and hours (on my PC, because he obviously didn't have one at that age, which i then couldn`t access, so I sort of had second thoughts about those cereals ...)
     
  14. mibrandt

    mibrandt

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    Give this game a DX11 / VR update and I am all in !
     
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