Are Racing Games Dying?

Is Racing Gaming On Its Last Lap? on Next Generation assembles a panel of developers representing several racing franchises (MotorStorm, the Project Gotham series, Sega Racing, and Dirt/Race Driver: Grid) discussing the viability of the genre. While they don't actually believe racing games are dying, as the title of the article suggests, they discuss some of the elements that make it tricky, not the least of which is the polarization between fans of hardcore simulations and those looking for a more arcade experience.
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37.
 
Sim vs Game
Feb 28, 2008, 22:34
37.
Sim vs Game Feb 28, 2008, 22:34
Feb 28, 2008, 22:34
 
The news item involved developers of games not simulators. Racing simulation has reached a new level and a new audience. Check out http://www.iRacing.com where Dave Kaemmer, the main ingredient of Papyrus, and John Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Socks are getting ready to launch a professional internet racing organization. Or http://www.Race2Play.com where we already have an amateur internet racing organization sanctioned by the National Auto Sport Association which is a real racing organization. SimBin has lucrative contracts with http://www.FIA.com which is the Federation Internationale De L'Automobile and is the main sanctioning body of Formula Racing and other racing events.

Sim Racing has never looked so good. Image Space Incorporated has a very stable racing engine (upon which SimBin and other companies are developing their racing simulators) and has built rFactor up to new levels with modders like CDTP and iDT turning out quality products which include realistic Formula One and Champ Car racing. There's sim drivers who have invested thousands of dollars on equipment so that they have an actual cockpit to climb into with surround video, sound, and even physical stimulation.

And, the game genre is not dying either. Just yesterday I got a job offer from a company developing an off-road racing game. Heck...Rage...the new title by IDsoftware is an off-road racing game! It looks like this article was just so we can look at the losers in this genre...developers that just couldn't cut it.
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36.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 28, 2008, 16:32
36.
Re: No subject Feb 28, 2008, 16:32
Feb 28, 2008, 16:32
 
I think this is a symptom of many online communities, not just racing sims.

Not so much TF2.

The best thing you can do is join a community [simply always play on the same server], get to know the regulars, be nice to everyone who deserves it, and sooner or later you'll never be without helpful, communicating, fun teammates.

I used to do this in CS but it was a lot harder to accomplish, took a lot longer, and CS isn't much of a "helping" game. Now TF2 gives me what I want: A place where everybody knows your name...

Pubbers for life!


edit: eh, this barely had to do with the topic or the comment I responded to, but I just want to gush about the TF2 community. Fun times.


This comment was edited on Feb 28, 16:33.
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35.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 28, 2008, 05:04
35.
Re: No subject Feb 28, 2008, 05:04
Feb 28, 2008, 05:04
 
They have nothing but disdain for anyone who would dare play on anything less than ultra-realism. It usually makes for a less-than-welcoming community to say the least. I know that sort of thing drove me away from some of the more hardcore sims.

I think this is a symptom of many online communities, not just racing sims.

That said, sims generally contain an attention to detail not seen in arcade games. I suppose this attracts people with expectations. Not your average "awesome woot" crowd. Don't mean to sound elitist, just an observation.
This comment was edited on Feb 28, 05:08.
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34.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 22:11
34.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 22:11
Feb 27, 2008, 22:11
 
Yeah, I was referring to the comments in the article by Gareth Wilson and Nigel Kershaw in which they say:

GW:
"But we all simulate - underlying Gotham is a proper physics engine. We spent all our time trying to unmake it for the game."

NK:

Exactly the same with MotorStorm - we've got a pretty realistic handling model, but we detune it to get it to do what we want it to do.

This comment was edited on Feb 27, 22:12.
33.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 20:39
33.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 20:39
Feb 27, 2008, 20:39
 
What I don't understand is why simmers are apparently getting shafted because the developers can't be bothered to include a "non-simplified" version of their game for those of us that want it.

Creating features for hardcore gamers costs time and money. Much easier to just forsake them completely and cater to the gamers with lower standards.

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32.
 
No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 19:56
32.
No subject Feb 27, 2008, 19:56
Feb 27, 2008, 19:56
 
I've been into driving games since the early 90's and made the transition to racing simulations around 2000, when I bought my first wheel with some Christmas money. Since then I haven't looked back and simply can't imagine not owning a wheel and spending at least a few hours a week in one sim or another. It's true, you DO need a lot of practice to learn to drive well in a simulator because you need to learn the same kinds of skills a real driver would need to know. You also need to coordinate your eyes, arms, fingers and feet in response to the visual, auditory and force-feedback generated cues that tell you what the virtual car is doing.

It's tricky, but when it all starts to come together it's incredibly satisfying. Not only are you applying the same types of driving techniques as proper racers, but if you're a fan of motorsports then you're able to appreciate it all that much more.

Finally, the "driving" skills you learn are only half of the challenge. Racing around a track without slamming into your opponents and being able to react to changing conditions is also really tough and can take awhile to learn.

However, obviously this isn't what everyone wants and I completely respect that - not everyone wishes their dad had been loaded and able to fund a budding racing career for them as a child ;P. What I don't understand is why simmers are apparently getting shafted because the developers can't be bothered to include a "non-simplified" version of their game for those of us that want it. If anything, including a simulation mode just expands the customer base that bit more.

And to those that wonder why we need realism: Well, why not? The idea of a game developer making something easier for us when we've already proven we can make do without is kind of insulting - it's like auto-aim in an FPS. We crave the challenge!

31.
 
racing.
Feb 27, 2008, 19:43
31.
racing. Feb 27, 2008, 19:43
Feb 27, 2008, 19:43
 
I don't know many sim-racing forums that would treat the people who use driving aids with disdain (well, except maybe the LFS forums, but that doesn't really have any driving aids). Driving ads are generally accepted as a good way to learn. If you're really looking to get the most out of it, learning to drive without aids is the best way to go (just as setting the difficulty to the highest level in other games is the most rewarding/challenging).

I can certainly understand that some people just want a more casual racing experience and nobody in the sim-racing community has a problem with that, nobody worth mentioning anyways. This is the internet, there are twits of course. The reasonable people would probably encourage people to try learning to play in the full-on simulator modes, but most everyone agrees that the ideal is, rather than only offering reduced difficulty as is with the console racers, to offer variable difficulty settings.

Blimey games (the core talent from SimBin who left to start their own company), who created GTL and GTR, GTR2 are working on racing sims that will be cross platform. Nothing is known with certainty, but the general belief is that they will offer variable difficulty modes- possibly not even in the form of driving aids, but an entirely different set of physics. Hopefully this will be successful.

The only thing that I really object to is games that don't quite know their niche. The games that fall in between simulator and arcade. Pro Street would be an example of this- a game that doesn't have any over-the-top arcade action, but doesn't really have interesting physics either.

FlatOut is an excellent example. It had physics that were believable enough, it felt as though you were driving a car, without being nearly as difficult as a full on simulator while still offering crazy action.

Tastes vary of course, but if I'm driving something that purports to be a simulator like Forza or Gran Tourismo, I want it to actually simulate driving as much as possible. I don't want it to only look like I'm driving. Though not nearly as "hardcore" as the pc sims, I think Forza and GT offer realistic enough physics to be interesting, but anything less would definitely be pushing it.

Anyways, yeah. I guess I didn't really have any particular point. I like sim racing, I like arcade racers, the simulators would ideally offer adjustable physics to suit the tastes of players (after all, why not?).


And yes, I know. That was way to long for what I actually said.


30.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 19:01
30.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 19:01
Feb 27, 2008, 19:01
 
Who cares about hardcore sim forums?

Me. I am the kind of guy who enjoys a sense of community with the games I play. I like to be able to go online and discuss the game, how to play better, receive tips, maybe set up a MP game, etc. That's kind of hard to do when you are an outcast for dialing down the realism to a more approachable level.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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29.
 
Are Racing Games Dying?
Feb 27, 2008, 18:34
Kxmode
 
29.
Are Racing Games Dying? Feb 27, 2008, 18:34
Feb 27, 2008, 18:34
 Kxmode
 
No. They're running on empty.

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28.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 18:11
28.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 18:11
Feb 27, 2008, 18:11
 

DiRT is one of the more successful attempts

What? maybe on console but it sucks monkey balls on PC wheel lag is unplayable with no fix, not to mention it comes with starforce fuck that shit.

27.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 18:10
27.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 18:10
Feb 27, 2008, 18:10
 
Carmageddeon Series

...you actually raced in Carmageddon? I remember the AI trying to race for a lap or so but they quickly gave up after being plowed off the road and into a wall.

Ah, fond memories.

Correction: fans want to feel like they are super tight racers, and the sim aspect made it too difficult to get that ego boost.

Good point except you can turn off the sim aspects by turning on the driving assists. I stand by my original theory, as that's the main reason why I found Pro Street less interesting than Most Wanted, Hot Pursuit, Porsche Unleashed, etc.

This comment was edited on Feb 27, 18:20.
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26.
 
No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 17:52
26.
No subject Feb 27, 2008, 17:52
Feb 27, 2008, 17:52
 
Who cares about hardcore sim forums? I can sit one of my friends down in a chair to play GTR2 on novice mode with my Logitech Momo steering wheel, and they are having fun within a few laps. I usually have to kick them off because I'm a selfish bastard and want to play.

Anyway, we PC guys are not trying to start a brawl here, just trying to be ironic. With all the articles about how PC gaming and certain genres (on any platform) are dying, we like to point out that we're too busy to care because we're off playing some really fantastic games.

25.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 17:41
PHJF
 
25.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 17:41
Feb 27, 2008, 17:41
 PHJF
 
It really is hard to properly meld sim and arcade mannerisms, and it's far more complex than simply tweaking the AI a little. DiRT is one of the more successful attempts.
Steam + PSN: PHJF
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24.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 17:23
24.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 17:23
Feb 27, 2008, 17:23
 
Oh, I hear you. But have you ever been in one of the hardcore sim crowd forums? They have nothing but disdain for anyone who would dare play on anything less than ultra-realism. It usually makes for a less-than-welcoming community to say the least. I know that sort of thing drove me away from some of the more hardcore sims.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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23.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 17:07
23.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 17:07
Feb 27, 2008, 17:07
 
Prez, most of the sims have arcade modes included.

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22.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 17:02
22.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 17:02
Feb 27, 2008, 17:02
 
I think PC Racing Sims in particular are being "hardcore'd out" in the same manner that flight sims were, thereby relegating them to "practically dead" niche status. The flight sim developers continued to increase the complexity of their sims in response to the very vocal minority who demanded uber-realism at every possible level until such time that no one without actual pilot training or a genius-level IQ could hope to even get a bird off the ground. I don't want to play a sim that requires me to be an expert grease monkey with Mario Andretti- level skill to complete a frickin' lap.

What racing game developers need to realize is that the majority of racing fans want a game that make them FEEL like a driving expert, not one that requires them to be. Or, they can go to the simbin in the sky where all flight sims now reside.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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21.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 16:51
21.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 16:51
Feb 27, 2008, 16:51
 
Frankly, if it's supposed to be about racing, it doesn't NEED a soundtrack other than the roar of the engine, the screech of the tires, and the rumble of the road.

Race, GTR, GTL, rFactor, the old NASCAR and F1 sims...THAT was racing.
Unlocking?
Upgrading your car?
"Tricking" it out?
That's not racing, that's a console game with a car as the on-screen avatar.

20.
 
No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 16:50
20.
No subject Feb 27, 2008, 16:50
Feb 27, 2008, 16:50
 
The reason why Pro Street didn't do as well as the previous games was because they tried to be more of a sim. NFS has always been known for illegal street racing and that's what the fans want.

Correction: fans want to feel like they are super tight racers, and the sim aspect made it too difficult to get that ego boost.

19.
 
No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 16:49
19.
No subject Feb 27, 2008, 16:49
Feb 27, 2008, 16:49
 
There doesn't need to be such a divide between sim and arcade racers. Just give the players the option of playing with arcade or sim physics. All they need to do is tweak the AI a little.

Another problem is that half of the racers never get released in the U.S. or only get released a few years after they came out elsewhere and the buzz has died down.

The other problem is that many of the top racing titles simply aren't very good. Either that or they don't really add anything to the previous release in the series. I'm appalled at how poorly the AI and physics are handled in many of the current games. This goes for both the sims and the arcade racers.

Sim racers also face the problem that most sales these days are for consoles and developers are forced to dumb down the physics if they want to get their game licensed for the consoles. I've even heard of the console makers going so far as to list the specific stupidity they want added for titles to get the ok for license.

The reason that the Flatout games did so well is that they are among the few exceptions. They were first rate in nearly every way and I'm glad to see true quality and innovation be rewarded. However,I didn't much like their decision to switch to the rubber-band catch up mode the AI used in Flatout2).

Another problem with some of the racers is their apparent hatred of old muscle cars. Things are slowly changing though. Many just flatly refuse to put them in. Others only put a few token ones in. Others include some but make the performance so bad that they are almost guaranteed to lose. Either that or the upgrades or bonus cars for the muscles aren't nearly up to par with the other classes. Half of the racers in the American market more or less demand old muscle cars be included before they will buy a game.

This comment was edited on Feb 27, 17:48.
18.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 27, 2008, 16:37
18.
Re: No subject Feb 27, 2008, 16:37
Feb 27, 2008, 16:37
 
What about the success of Flatout 2 on the PC?

Flatout 2 was the bees knees and it had a pretty decent soundtrack to boot. How could you not like Underoath's 'reinventing your exit'.

I'm invincible!

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