Why I think PC2 is the best sim for single player prototype/endurance racing

andrea1978

25RPM
Oct 16, 2010
31
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I'm a simracing player since '90. I played mainly F1-sims up to the last decade, than I switched to sims with prototype cars (from 917 to R18). I don't play online, thus, since 2010 I played mostly GTR2, thanks to the huge amount of mod and the availability of critical featurese such as dynamic wheather/time and in-game saving. It was a very good platform, with a very active community till now.

But time goes on, and GTR2 showed his weakness, mainly due to the old graphic engine and physics (eg. tire model). Obviously, since release of AC and rF2, I tried these sims but I was not convinced, mainly due to the impossibility to reproduce time-accelerated endurance race (AC, up to most recent mod), small grid (AC), poor graphics (rF2) and generally unbalanced cars (AC/rF2, in terms of performance and quality). I also tried PC1. A disaster, the feeling with the cars was almost zero. However, the aim of this post is not to critics other sims and I know that they have strong points.

Since mid-2018 (after Le Mans DLC) I become a full-time PC2 player. But it was fortuity, because the web was full of comments like:
1) the AI was bad and inconstant (and I am a single player...);
2) about 50% of races are under rain condition, with a very slow AI;
3) no custom grid/livery;
4) very bad FFB;
5) lots of web discussions reported that car feeling of PC2 was almost the same of PC1. It was the worst scenario.
Good reasons to avoid the game, beside well-know strong points (graphic, list of cars/tracks, dynamic wheather/time...).

However I tried the game, but my response was different, at least after the latest patches, because:
1) the AI was no more inconstant after some patches and it was not bad. I play 110% and 50% aggressivenes and: a) laptimes are consistent between qualy and race and during races; b) AI is quiet consistent among different tracks; c) it is very good in offensive manouvers, with few ramming (do you remember rF2/GTR2?)... and ramming generally did not interfere with you becouse rarely damage your car/laptime; d) it is very good in overtaking lapped cars (very important in multiclass races); e) not so great in defending manouver... but not bad, generally AI try to close the door in the middle of the curve with no defensive manouvers in the straight. Concluding a quite good AI, not worse of AC, maybe not perfect for sprint races where close battle are essential, but ok for endurance.
2) There is an app to reduce the chance of raining: AI was speed was improved but is still a bit low, but it depends on tracks/cars.
3) There are mods for that, to create totally custom grid: new livery are not so easy to include, but it is just a matter of understanding which text file to edit.
4) I think is a matter of taste, wheel and cars. Raw setting with an entry level wheel (g29) was quite good but I agree that custom setting are better. I use a common t300rs with Jacks setting and I found it ok in terms of car weight and road feeling. I tried AC, ACC and rF2: every FFB is different, so what is the better? The one you like.
5) The most debated part, even considering the launch of AMS2. I should agree with someone that wrote that "the physic engine is ok, but the car data are wrong". I try to explain: if you spend some time with PC2 you can find a very complex tire management, where few changes in pressure have an impact in temperature (in terms of increase and maintainance) with feedback in grip and speed. But also brake radiator influence tire temperature! And so on... Technically, the car setup is very complex and every change you made have an impact that you can find in laptime. So, what is the problem? In my opinion the problem is a) the stock setup and b) some cars. As I said, I just play prototype, old as new, and I found this type of car very well designed. In fact, most of negative comments are relative to other type of cars (e.g. monoseat, road cars), so maybe they are really badly done. But for prototype the story is different. If I play a Ligier JS P2 in PC2 and rF2 they are different, but not so much and I was not able to say which was most realistic! They are just a bit different. Then the setup: many standard setup are totally wrong and you will feel most of the problems that are reported in the web. E.g. anti roll bar stock setting are generally wrong, and you will feel the oscillations frequently reported by user: but it is not an engine problem. With some cars you have to work hard on setup (not so strange, if you are a sim racer), than you will feel the car properly.

Finally, I think that one of the main problem of PC2 was PC1, SMS reputation was gone among many simracers. Than, the first release of PC2 need some patches, so reputation+bug+wrong stock car setup=mediocre game.

I think that the best way to evaluate PC2 is to take a good PC for VR, choose a Group C car, prepare a good setup and race a 24h-accelerate time at Le Mans or Daytona. In my opinion, I doubt someone can say that is not a great experience.
 
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avenger82

Krzysztof Maj
Nov 5, 2011
378
228
1) the AI was no more inconstant after some patches and it was not bad. I play 110% and 50% aggressivenes and: a) laptimes are consistent between qualy and race and during races; b) AI is quiet consistent among different tracks
You lost me on this already. Maybe we played different sims? I played on PC and in career mode AI was the most inconsistent of every sim, even with LMP2. Generally AI is bad. This made career mode almost useless for me despite other aspects are good.

There is an app to reduce the chance of raining: AI was speed was improved but is still a bit low, but it depends on tracks/cars.
Which one?
I think is a matter of taste, wheel and cars. Raw setting with an entry level wheel (g29) was quite good but I agree that custom setting are better.
Agreed. Raw is usually was not that badwith my T300. I rarely play PC2, but I use latest Christiaan's FFB file with Jack Spade flavor. It's better, but still nowhere near rF2 , AMS or even iRacing etc.. Maybe it's a matter of getting used to. After playing rF2 I didn't like AC FFB at first too.




if you spend some time with PC2 you can find a very complex tire management,
Complex doesn't mean accurate. Even if here are many aspects that influence tire temp, pressure etc. it doesn't mean it behave at and over the limit, or in rain like real life tire do. rF2 has still arguably the most complex tire model, but if a mod doesn't have real, detailed data it's useless.


In my opinion the problem is a) the stock setup and b) some cars
But if with stock setup usually you get weird handling, then something is wrong. Perhaps it's car's physics not the setup. By somehow "fixing" it I need to use unrealistic parameter values for the car to handle more realistically. But I agree FFB and handling are very subjective anyway.
 

andrea1978

25RPM
Oct 16, 2010
31
14
The aim of my post is not to say "Hey, PC2 is the best sim in the world, other sims are rubbish, I'm the truth!" :)
It is a report of my thoughts as prototype-driver, to suggest to other players to test (or re-test) PC2. Obviuosly, lots of people don't like PC2, and will not be convinced by my post.
However, I'd like to give my answers to your considerations, not to not to be controversial but only to clarify some points.

PC2 can be player in many different ways, from TT to career. I never play career, maybe is a mess, maybe not, I don't know. As a prototype-endurance lover, I put in the game some skins to fill many grid, and I created about 20 custom grids. E.g. my WEC 2016 grid is quite realistic, thanks to 6 LMP1, 9 LMP2, 8 GTE and 5 GTE-skinned GT3 (to simulate GTEAm). But thank to community (and some selfmade skins) I have many quite realistic Le Mans grids, such as 1970 WSC, Gr.6 era, Gr.C and GTP, ELMS...

I play single events (2h20 long, 10x time progression, 4 weather slots to simulate 24h events; 1h10 long, 5x time progression, 2 weather slots to simulate 6h events). I just finished a Le Mans race (120 AI with R18), my best race time was 3.17 with AI +/- 0.01, I've got two LMP1 around me (+/-10'') for all the race, I have been overtaken two time in braking zone and I struggled to regain position. I never had problems with back markers, the same for others LMP1. I've seen a couple of contact among GT AIs but very realistics. All of this in a 2h20' races. Well, I'm happy when the AI show such behavior. Maybe is not perfect for sprint racers (simply, I don't know!), but it is what I ask for multiclass endurance racing. Have other sims better AI? Maybe, but for this kind of racing, PC2 is quite good.

About the weather: CustomRandomWeatherAutomator-v1.6.0-x64

About FFB: I strongly agree with you and the sentence "Maybe it's a matter of getting used to. After playing rF2 I didn't like AC FFB at first too". It is a matter of time: play hours with a sim and your brain will "understand" the FFB. I played GTR2, and the first time I tried AC I found FFB terrible, simply becouse it was very different from GTR. I played recently AC, and I found the same FFB good becouse not so different compare to other sims that I play now.

About complexity: I strongly agree with you, complex doesnt mean accurate. But it is a good starting point for a sim. Doug Arnao is the physic engineering of PC2, so it is another good starting point. In my opinion, a simulator should consider many variables (eg. car settings) and the setting of these variable should cause predictable change in car behavior. I spent many hours in PC2 car setup, and I find that every small modification you do, from easy to feel front splitter to dampers, cause a "realistic" effect. How can I say that it is realistic? Obviosly, I really dont know it, becouse I never drive a LMP1, but the behavior of the car is coherent with the modified setup. Furthermore, I found many car setting that influence each other coherently.

About setup: in this case, I don't agree with you. If the setup is wrong, the car has a weird handling even if the physics is great. Try to mess the setup in a rF2 car, than play a lap... Conversely if the game physic is poor, no setup can made a simulator. Most of prototype cars in PC2 has a good stock setup, but others no (eg. Porsche 936 has a caster angle that is ok for Le Mans, but totally wrong for other tracks). I really think that it was a great error by SMS, because not every simdriver want spend much time for setup.

Finally, the graphics. I did not commented previuosly this feature, but I think is very important. Premise: I play in VR, all max out. And I'm quite old to remeber the first '90s, when I also played flight sims. The mantra was: "but this game has terrible graphics!" "don't worry, it is a sim" "oh, ok". The '90s are gone, and this approach was ok due to the limited calculation skills of PC, which have to sacrifice graphics for physics. But now, there's no reason to see mid-2000s graphics in sims, it kills the immersion, thus the "realism". I really tried to enjoy rF2, thanks to very good physics, FBB, in-game saving (a must for endurance)... I was ready to accept the very limited prototype field... but the sense of immersion was - in my opinion, obviously - destroyed by ten-years old 3D model, lights and so on... The same for AC: quite good graphic in itself, but most of the mods requested for driving prototypes are not so well designed.

In my opinion a simulator (of racing, flight, naval...) should not be limited to simulate the activites of the driver/pilot/commander, but the whole experience of being inside the car/plane/boat. Obviously, no sim can excel in any aspect. So, a good sim (for me) is a sim that show at least good quality in graphic/physics/number of features such as cars/tracks. As prototype driver, PC2 give me a very good immersion feeling.
 
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avenger82

Krzysztof Maj
Nov 5, 2011
378
228
a simulator should consider many variables (eg. car settings) and the setting of these variable should cause predictable change in car behavior
The problem is when the variables have wrong values or cause wrong behavior. For instance tire friction causes too much heat so they become too hot etc. I noticed possible issues with ABS implementation in PC2. I.e. if you set it to high it locks up even at very high speed when you still have high down-force. There are other issues. My point is sims may simulate a lot of things, but handling may still be wrong due to substantial inaccuracies in some conditions
Conversely if the game physic is poor, no setup can made a simulator.
But if game or mod physics are poor you can set make unrealistic setup to get kinda OK physics.

Regarding rF2 graphics: for me currently they look quite realistic when set to high. It has other issues like unrealistic dashboards, I heard VR implementation is not as good as in PC2 etc.
Regarding FFB: I played other games but for me in rF2 it felt great for the start, while in other games it took some time to feel ok. In PC2 I instantly felt improvement over PC1 , but even with Christiaan's files it still doesn't feel good in some cars. But yeah maybe in time I could get used to it.
.
 
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Jun 4, 2018
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I'd like to talk about the Ligier JS p2, since it is my favorite car in PC2, what is the difference between the two games with this car in more detail. I don't have rF2 so I can't make the comparison.

I do my own WEC set. which is 6 LMP1, 12 LMP2 and 14 GTE for just pro. I want to do AM for a euro style stuff (ELMS). IMSA is going to be 10 LMP2, 9GTLM(GTE) and 13 GT3.

My issue with endurance races is they will pit way more than me, which just takes the fun out of it. So I've limited to 50 minutes for now. Pit once or in GT cars none at all.

I should try to mess with the weather more though.
 

andrea1978

25RPM
Oct 16, 2010
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If you set 1h10', you have to stop 1 time and the AI always stop 1 time (sometime a bit delayed, at 60-70% of time progression).

It works with almost every prototype classes: I play tens of races with LMP1 or LMP2, and it works great (just Gr.6 sometime doesn't stop due to the high capacity fuel tank). Double pits is just due to damages.

If you chose a longer race, I suggest to double it to 2h20'', with 3 pitstop for you (35 min stints). Sometime AI stop 4 times, but don't worry, because their pits and laptime are faster.
 
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XtC24

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Jan 1, 2019
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Hi,

I am also an endurance fan, especially LM and just to begin shortly (home office :) ):

I think PC2 has many positives (mainly good representation of cars, especially the Le Mans mod, which gives us the 2016 hybrid plus classic track/cars + graphics ofc).

Thanks for the weather mod info, I will try it.

BUT, for me there is big, big, i mean BIG problem - No save game (wtf? It is a 1 hour/ 1 day of work surely...).

For endurance racing it is DSQ - don't get it especially with so much essential content in the game.
I did once an 5 hour race with AI partly behind the wheel but in GTR2 (overall great game) I had many cool 24 hr races, which I did for 2 or more days or even weeks sometimes.
 

andrea1978

25RPM
Oct 16, 2010
31
14
For endurance racing it is DSQ - don't get it especially with so much essential content in the game.
I did once an 5 hour race with AI partly behind the wheel but in GTR2 (overall great game) I had many cool 24 hr races, which I did for 2 or more days or even weeks sometimes.
Yes, I played GTR2 till mid 2018 and the in-game saving was one of the reason why I did not switch to other games previously...