I heard about it at the "High Gear" forums.. Do you remember those?
I was one of the few people who bought GPL on its day of release (By the sounds of it there was only a few of us). That was an eye opener for serious concentration whilst racing... all without FFB too from memory. Had the old GPL Replay analyser.. Great tool that one. So, yeah, I'm with you in terms of excitement factor.. But then my cynicism kicked in not long after. Good days though... I guess we are both showing our age
No, I didn't knew those forums. I was mostly in racesimcentral and speedgeezers forums and more in particular in the racesimcentral diy hardware mods section. People had diy hall sensor throttles, load cell brake pedals and 900degrees steering wheels way earlier than any comertial steering wheel had them. IIRC Leo Bodnar started there to sell his hardware there because he saw that very few people had the means and will to build a game controller by themselves. I have really fond memories from back then, all the simracing world was present in that forum. When the forum had the problem that put them offline for weeks because of a loss of data without backup it was kind of like when Alexandria library was put on fire, so much diy info was lost and the forum disbanded forever in matter of weeks. I miss those days.
GPL was incredible back then, but we were a very closed community, the game never sold good. I can understand why, GPL was way too hardcore for the average player and even most seasoned hardcore simracers. Just remember how you could spin in 3rd or 4th gear going in a straight line, not everybody can deal with it. But I liked the challenge, no other sim before nor after has given me such a rush of adrenaline every time I take a corner, because you never was sure if you would crash or have an amazing corner exit. I remember the VROC "hold on to your butts!", then the Gem+ with iGOR, the first track mods (my first were Sebring, and Solitude, and my favourite was clermont ferrand 65 from GPLEA), the GPLEA 67 cars and sounds. I made a lot of friends on the chat, one of them knew Paul Skingley and I got to try the 69 mod, the lotus cortina mod and targa florio betas months before they where released, and later but only for a insignificantly brief amount of time I got to be beta tester in the thundercars mod.
Man, nothing has ever been harder than thundercars mod with the rain mod tracks, nothing gets even close. I also miss the GPLRANK, and how you could download the world record from any track/car combo (as it was mandatory to upload the replay in order to be verified to claim the record), you could then open it in replay analyser and compare your lines, speeds, and all the telemetry was there because in GPL replay files all the driver inputs and car position were recorded in it.
Who knows if we raced online back then, those where good times, people even were polite waiting for others in a crash, excusing themselves taking all the blame for incidents, and anouncing PO (pit out) to avoid collisions. I have trouble to remember any asshole back then.
Later I played for some time nascar racing 2003 and the GTP mod in NR2003, the same old faces where there as it was a continuation of the GPL physics engine and game by dave kaemer, after that sierra folded and dave funded Iracing. I loved the concept since the very first time, but I hate the software as a service concept, so I parted ways with a lot of people.