Will Assetto Corsa cause the demise of rFactor 2 ?

ImageBoth 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.

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Posted on January 14, 2013, in Assetto Corsa, rFactor. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think its like comparing apples and oranges in my opinion. The community demands so much from developers without knowledge of how limited developers can be from the industry itself. I don’t think AC will overshadow rF2 because you will always find the people who prefer one game over the other. GTR2 is a classic example of this having still a large number of followers who prefer it over the original rFactor.

    A lot of people talk about graphics but graphics is just eye candy, it makes a game look good but it doesn’t really change our desire to play it if other aspects are not to our liking. A game with worse graphics but better physics and sounds can remain more popular then a game with better graphics and worse physics and sounds.

    It all depends on the overall package. As a package, rF2 is still quite young and not refined yet as it could turn out to be over time. AC on the other hand looks very good from the get go and very refined, but Kunos is known to not have great support for the modding community and this could be what backfires for AC. ISI clearly has the modding aspect further ahead then anyone else in the industry and lets face it, a game that is not moddable doesn’t last as long as one that is, regardless of the content and graphics nature.

    Even pCARS is having trouble keeping its (paid) members happy with various updates. I think its more a case that people will go to the one they like best while trying them all to see how each differs from the other. Ultimately, I don’t see AC bringing down other games.

  2. Agree AmonRa..!!

    If they all started at the same time, then we would have a decent indication of where they are all at, but the reality is, they are at different stages of development and only time will truly tell who the ‘winner’ will be..

    I ‘feel’ that rFactor2 has bigger problems that they’d care to admit. I base this on the fact that it was originally a 6 month beta and nearly 12 months later, they still look to be crawling along in lots of areas such as dated graphics and sounds. In terms of simulator – with my CSW base, it has amazing feel and is a pleasure to drive.

    pCars has the worst UI ever, but is pure eye candy. The physics is only what I could describe as ‘loose’.

    Which do I race with the most? rFactor2…

    Hopefully (for everyones sake) both titles pick up in the areas they are lacking..

  3. ISI/rFactor2 are doing a good enough job on there own demise, they have taken to long, and are showling little respect to the community that for a long time has held them in the highest regard with its “no longer a beta its evolving” statement

  4. rF2 unfortunately is taking a lot longer that we thought it would. But I think if AC was not in the picture, it would be easier for people to settle into it and allow it to develop, although hopefully at a quicker pace. But AC is looming large and it’s development is slow too, as it was for NetKarPro. Sure, we will get a Tech Preview soon, then who know’s when the demo will be, let alone the final release. But I think because of it’s expected physics and mod-friendly approach, it does cast somewhat of a shadow over rFactor 2.
    How much it will affect modders who might turn to AC or players doing the same is an unknown.
    I would like to think both will co-exist and prosper well. I also expect cars, mods and tracks to be ported between on and the other.
    rFactor 1 has been many a sim-racers rock for many years now, so hopefully it will move along at a pace we can deal with and stay loyal to it. I won’t be abandoning rFactor 2 for Assetto Corsa, but I do plan to play the hell out of both of them.

  5. I love to read other opinions (and to share mine) so first, thanks for the article, however a few important points I might add: Stefano was a lone coder for a long time, but is now backed by a few more bodies and help, whereas ISI is a substantial company with deep pockets. These two are very different prospects and should be enjoyed for different reasons. Also I’m interested in which is the best game. not sim. game. I like sim handling, sim feeling but I want a GAME in there too. I want something to aim for ,something to complete and I want progress and a ‘hook’ to keep me there. there’s a reason why ‘xp’ and ‘levelling up’ is so prevalent these days from games and now even forums, lots of things are getting gamified.

    Personally, I look forward to Stefano’s work more than anything.but i’m probably going to give them all a go, including turismo 6 on next gen PS. I think I’m just a game whore really.

    • Yes i remember the says of Stefano on his own.

      If a sim should give you something to aim for, which I am not sure should be it’s purpose, but if it was, I would like to see some sort of career aspect where you work your way up. That though can be frustrating if you’re already a great sim-racer and just want to get to the fastest cars or teams.
      But to me, sim-racing is about doing the driving. I don’t think there should be a place for ‘xp’ points or leveling up in a pure sim. i couldn’t imagine rfactor or AC having it.
      Iracing though does have a licence structure where you work your way up through to gain higher licence classes. That seems to work pretty well and it incorporates nicely in that sim.

  6. For me rF2 has taken far too long I am one of the original punters who bought the lifetime license, beta on release some 18 months ago and the game is still not released 😦 I stopped playing about 5 months ago as I got fed up of the whole system I have relogged in to see how its devolping yes its a nice sim as I played rF1 for 4 years before hand I hope AC doesnt follow suit of ISI and expect people to pay out money and wait 2 years to get the full game, as for the modding in rF2 hmm some good and some bad points the biggest nono for me was tieing up mods to tracks and then to add more tracks to a mod you have to create a new file which of course everyone has to download to be able to join why oh why havent racing sims followed the likes of Call of duty and let you load the game join a server and if you dont have the missing parts as in track s or cars then you wait in line and download them simple in my book. Thats my moan over lol looking forward to trying AC as I did also buy an expensive license for pCars and hated the game shall never re load that back on my system just wasted money….

Torque to me..

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