Will Assetto Corsa cause the demise of rFactor 2 ?
Both Assetto Corsa (Kunoz Simulazioni) and rFactor 2 (Image Space Incorporated) both have a lot of similarities right now. Both come from a successful predecessor (where their success has been for different reasons), both will be moddable and most importantly at this stage, both are incomplete.
rFactor 2 however is already available to the public in beta form where it’s users get to buy the product and go along for the ride, quite literally, as the game develops to it’s eventual first non beta release. Note I do not specify the word ‘final’ because it is not the intention of ISI to stop working on rFactor 2 when version 1.0 goes out of the door. It is intended to be an ongoing progress consisting of further updates and add-ons.
Assetto Corsa is also in development but is not available to the public as of yet. Although a preview release is expected in the very near future containing what is expected to be 1 car and 1 track. Details are a little sketchy at this point as Kunos and co remain very tight lipped.
In terms of popularity, Assetto Corsa (AC) seems to be whipping up more of a storm than its rival despite rFactor 2 (rF2) users not having tried it. Could this be because AC brings with it high expectations ? If so, this can only be put down to the quality of its predecessor NetKar Pro. Note I avoided saying ‘popularity’. I think if it were a popularity contest, putting NetKar Pro against rFactor 1 would not be a fair fight. rFactor 1’s modding capability sees to that.
NetKar Pro, in the eyes of the sim-racing community excelled in its interpretation of car physics.
Many believe they were the best of it’s day and may remain so to this day. Although Netkar Pro was let down in other areas such as lack of content variety in terms of amount of cars and tracks.
Fans did however find ways to add content such as extra tracks to the sim.
Assetto Corsa, looks to change all of that by offering the very feature that rFactor drew strength from – moddability.
AC is expected to have top notch physics and force feedback (ffb) as it’s predecessor did, better graphics and sounds (another area where NetKar was woefully lacking) and good multiplayer as enjoyed by users of NetKar.
So to top all of that off with the ability to mod and you have a set of ingredients to make a sim-racer drool and something which has the potential to hurt the popularity of rFactor 2.
Why would rFactor 2 suffer though ? ISI have been working on this title for a long time, many would say too long, as a release was expected quite some time ago. Progress is slow and the current beta release has many people disappointed. Graphics were expected to have made a bigger leap, something which AC looks to have the edge on over rf2. Physics are generally considered to be very good along with the FFB (probably depending on which wheel you have). But are physics/ffb enough ? Features such as visual tyre-deformation, track surface evolution which affects grip as time goes on, dynamic weather etc. are all great features. Modding again will be the core aspect of rFactor 2 as it’s mere structure depends on it. But have ISI made the modding features a little too complex ? Will the modders get the most out of it and how steep exactly is the learning curve ? Feedback from anyone who has experience with rF2 modding would be greatly appreciated.
Assetto Corsa is Kunos. Kunos has respect in the community and the sim community expects, in fact almost demands, that he delivers what sim racers want. They demand it because they know if anyone can give them what they want, it is Kunos. DirectX11 graphics, hopefully sounds and great physics. Couple that with the new modding feature and you have a direct thread to rfactor 2. If the modding techniques are simpler how many modders will switch from rfactor 2 to AC leaving rF2 fans in the lurch. How many modders will create their mod for both platforms ? Lets not forget they work for free and on no set timetable.
Maybe modders will relish the thought to mod for a Kunos title. Should ISI be worried ? I would say so simply because work on rF2 started so long ago that they are stuck with what they have. An awkward UI, clumsy mod management, graphics that are not considered to have progressed enough for a 2013 title. And is their modding system too complex for comfort ?
It is normal for expectations to be high in the sim community and voices will not be quelled if those expectations are not met. Come up short and you’ll get to know about it. So, will AC come up short as many believe rF2 has in some areas ? If it doesn’t, and Kunos pulls off what sim racers are looking for, rFactor 2 may not enjoy anywhere near the modding and lifespan of it’s predecessor. Many will stay true to rF2 and many more will want to enjoy both sims. As it should be too, because limit yourself to and either/or situation ?
I guess we will know a lot more very soon after the initial AC beta/demo/preview release is out.