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PC The Overall Experience

Discussion in 'Project CARS' started by Kurt "Yoda" Kalbfleisch, May 12, 2015.

  1. Kurt "Yoda" Kalbfleisch

    Kurt "Yoda" Kalbfleisch
    Scuderia Sprezzatura Premium Member

    I've been a flight simmer for almost thirty years, so I'm no stranger to computer-based simulations. I understand (and have participated in) a number of debates about the various flight sims over the years, and so I have approached the arrival of PC with what I consider a healthy skepticism, which is to say that I plonked down my $50 after waiting until I looked a little deeper than the prevailing debate about hype v. authenticity.

    I consider myself to be an inexperienced racing gamer. I enjoyed some racing games fifteen or twenty years ago, but had gotten away from it until I saw Assetto Corsa a few weeks ago. I don't consider myself a "car guy", but I have owned a Maserati BiTurbo and two E92-bodied Bimmers. I have (a very small amount of) track time in a Ferrari 360 Modena and an F430. I say this to establish where I'm coming from -- I'm neither a newb nor an alien, and I have a real world frame of reference.

    As with flight simulators, I've been looking at the overall depth of experience in AC and now in PC. I'm rusty at the engineering side of things, and I'm having to relearn how to drive fast (not that I ever was very fast). I enjoy the study involved (and I will say that in flying, there is more study material available when learning how to get the most out of a particular machine), but I'm looking for the overall experience of driving a racing car without having to drop four hundred grand on a 458 Italia GT car. I want the systems to seem to work like the real thing. I want to apply real-world performance techniques and have the simulation behave the way I'd expect a real car to. I want to see familiar (i.e. real world) cars on the starting grid. I want to face the moment-to-moment dilemmas a real driver faces.

    Yesterday, with about eight hours total play time on Project CARS, I came pretty close. In the third race weekend of my first "career" season in GT5, during a 19-lap race under cloudy skies and fog at Silverstone with 19 other cars (AI), I got the call to box for a mandatory tire change. I'd won the pole by a second-and-a-half, and had a great start, so I was leading by about two seconds and stayed out to extend my lead. It seemed like a good decision -- I set fastest lap twice, and got to about seven seconds ahead of P2 when I decided to make my mandatory stop on lap 7.

    The first rain drops spattered on my windscreen right as I returned to the track. I was now in P5, but knew that the guys ahead of me had yet to box, so I decided not to go back in for wets right away -- maybe I'd luck out and the rain would not get any worse. Maybe I could get away with a 1-stop race even with the weather.

    Four laps later, I skated into the gravel at Copse, and again at Brooklands, so I felt there was no going on with slicks. The second stop took longer than expected. There was an electrical problem with the car, but the crew patched it up and sent me back out into the race. By now, I was in P15, but with the rain coming harder, it was clear I'd made the right decision.

    I fought hard during the remaining eight laps. The highlight of my drive was a three-way drag race down the straight to Brooklands that saw me brake first and take the outside line. That set me up to be on the inside when we went through Luffield three-abreast, and I squirted out ahead into Woodcote in P8. With one lap remaining, I did everything I could to catch the next guy, but I just couldn't get by him, so we crossed the line door-to-door, and I finished three hundredths of a second back.

    It was thoroughly and completely immersive.

    Now -- was it perfect? No. I don't recognize the names of the drivers. I don't recognize the cars on the starting grid. I felt like a real race engineer would have been watching the weather and let me know it was coming. Armed with that information, I'd have stayed out a lap or two longer before making my mandatory stop. But, of course, that's also hindsight. Which is TOTALLY part of the experience.

    At this point, I don't care whether PC is better than AC or any other game. I know now that rainy weather doesn't bring my aging graphics card to its knees, which was a concern expressed by many of PC's detractors. That makes me skeptical about all the rest of the criticism. It's not that I believe that everyone who points out an alleged flaw in any simulation is wrong, just that I'm aware of the need to examine things for myself before coming to a conclusion.

    The bottom line, in my opinion, is that every gamer's perception of a particular game is essentially second-hand; no simulation is based on reality, but on a developer's perception of reality. Therefore, a gamer's experience within the framework of a particular game will differ from what it is in any other particular game. Human bias is part of the equation.

    Speaking solely for myself, I love PC *and* AC, for different reasons. But I'd love PC more if it gave me a GT class Ferrari.
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  2. I love it when the weather changes! I had a qualy session where it started to tinkle on my outlap so I pushed extra hard to get one in the bank while it was still semi-dry. It was good enough for the pole so I rested on it, but then the rain stopped, the sun shone bright, the track dried and I didn't get a lap out on the new dry...

    I do find it weird when the sun shines and its raining. Wish they could get more cloud cover.
  3. Did you save the replay? I would love to see that one!
    Nice "mini-review"!

    About upcomming weather changes: Most time the race engineer tells you "in 30 min [Thunderstorm]" then you instantly know, that at some point thunderstorm is comming and that even in the first minutes it lookes and feels like Light Rain, that Thunderstorm is following.

    I hope they improve in that area or adjust the Race Engineer a bit.


    P.s. Ferrari Licenses are damn expensive
  4. Kurt "Yoda" Kalbfleisch

    Kurt "Yoda" Kalbfleisch
    Scuderia Sprezzatura Premium Member

    Didn't save the replay, I'm afraid. Was pretty wound up and didn't think to.

    Yep, I know that the party line is that Ferrari licences are expensive. It's interesting, though -- I was involved with the development of a Beechcraft Super King Air B200 for MS Flight Simulator, and we didn't need licensing to do it. Over in the FS world, there are partnerships between developers and manufacturers (Boeing and PMDG, Cessna and Flight1, and so on), but I only know of one manufacturer that actively prohibits the inclusion of its aircraft designs in the flight sim world. Aside from them, it's either encouraged (by means of a partnership) or ignored.

    I understand intellectual property law can be pretty complex and nonsensical (the BNSF railroad requires its licensees to refrain from sales outside the US, for example), but really? Unaffordable?

    On the other hand, I know for a fact that companies sometimes price themselves out of a particular market on purpose, and since Italians can be (understandably) pretty nationalistic, it doesn't seem implausible to me that Ferrari priced their licenses in a way that keeps their partnership with Kunos Simulazioni exclusive...if they've even quoted a price.

    Whatever the reason there are no Ferraris in PC, I miss them, and it doesn't feel like the game is complete without them.
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  5. Great review and well stated about sims. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this one! lol nicely put!
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  6. Naild it ..
    I Feel the same ! lol
    (also spent 15 years or so with flight sims)
    .. what ever it is, PCars creates excitement ..
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  7. Yannick Van Broeck

    Yannick Van Broeck
    Premium Member

    Haha, I'm also having a blast with this one. Your point about the engineer is a good one to be honest. He really could inform you about upcoming weather changes.
  8. SnappyDEe

    Premium Member

    Best post in any thread that I've ever read. Thanks. Hope to see you out on track in MP some time.:)
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  9. Yep great post, made me think about to test the career mode soon :)
  10. it seems youve read my mind & somehow translated its contents into something engaging & readable :)

    i am in very much the same boat, there are all stripes in simracing, some really just want the racing, some want the cars, the tracks, some want to feel like a real life race car driver, some just care about the physics. most want a mix of course, but your own bias seems close to mine. i personally dont care about pCARS vs AC (in my head) thats something for someone who is only planning to buy one for a bit to figure out; i have both & enjoy both. but agree pC would be that much better with some ferraris :D
  11. Yah the strategy factor is fantastic, I love how there are decisions to make mid race rather than just 'pedal to the metal' until the end. I just had a 19 lap race where I was lapping 2 seconds slower with my medium tires than my quali softs, so although at the back of the pack knew I had an ace up my sleeve, and was just deciding when to pull in for a pitstop. Went for it at 10 laps and managed to fight my way to 5th, then 18th and 19th lap the tires were totally gone and it was a huge challenge keeping the pace high enough to avoid being passed.

    Totally dynamic, immersive situation that is almost impossible to setup in other games. Loving it!
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  12. Which series? I'm still in Clios so my races are sprints. As I progress I plan on upping the race distance. I also am adjusting the AI skill based on my performances: if I win, I up it 1 click. If I finish outside the top 6 I click it down. I might toughen that up though. There is a lot of variability in the AI drivers, which is good. Its annoying having the same perfect AI driver winning every race that you don't.

    The only thing missing is driver name and livery mod packages...
  13. Hopefully, you are not doing this when there is opportunity for improvement. There is a magical bonus that happens from getting faster because your level of immersion deepens with the increase on concentration required to continually improve with ever-shrinking margins of error...
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  14. SnappyDEe

    Premium Member

  15. Thank you, great review. Some of us sim racing veterans too easily forget what sim racing is like to someone taking a first or fresh look at it and get too caught up in defending out favourite sim or nitpicking the flaws of any game to death. Your post reminds all of us of what it felt like that first time we really were totally immersed in our sim racing moment, when we felt like we were one with the car:thumbsup::thumbsup:
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  16. Andrej Svajger

    Andrej Svajger
    Premium Member

    Yea, great reading for me too. And it kinda makes me wonder, how it's possible, that "some will never see the sun and some will see it even when it rains". I mean, one can always find errors if one's only aim is to find them (pCars is no exception). And then you have people like Yoda, that are enjoying it no matter if "not enough bumps are felt no straights" or "weather could be more predictable" or "you can put pedal to the metal and not spin". Thanks again for letting us feel the thrill. I'm gonna try your combo today, if time allows.
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  17. Anthony Hodges

    Anthony Hodges
    Hodgy Premium Member

    Nice read thanks for sharing. :)
  18. Welcome to sim racing! I really enjoyed reading how great your race experience was.
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  19. Great read, thanks for that.
  20. And this thread makes it so apparent how cool and friendly the sim racing community is. If this was posted in BF4 forums with a story relating to bf4, I guarantee some sarcastic douche would be posting 'Cool story bro'. The level hate of hate in some other gaming (and online poker) communities is horrendous.
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