Pray Continue Living For Speed

By Alec Meer on October 30th, 2009 at 9:59 pm.

I know as much about Live For Speed as I do about the breeding patterns of platypii (or indeed as I do about the correct plural form of ‘platypus’), but I do know that when I worked on a gaming magazine, there was a constant trickle of faintly aggressive email demands that we cover this ultra-serious racing sim. Alright! Please don’t hurt me, Mr Racing Man!

Still, it was immediately evident that this was an ambitious and accomplished project. I can only presume that a fair few RPSites have dabbled in it, hence it’s worth pointing out that a new version has just [driving-related verb] onto the [road-related noun].

Currently, it’s Live For Speed S2, version Z25. The major bullet points of which are these:


– Improved car shadows
– New wheel drawing system
– Improved road car dashboards
– ABS brakes on some road cars
– Improved and much faster List of Hosts
– Powerful and flexible multiple screen support

LFS has been around for a while in various impressive forms, continually developed and improved by a group of genuine enthusiasts. It’s beyond terrifying to me, because it says things like “you have to do the driving” with ‘you’ in capital letters. I’m glad LFS is out there, profoundly scratching the itches of people who crave science-perfect racing- it’s a truly impressive engine, doing car-based physics par excellence. But I’d be a massive, awful liar if I pretended to understand it and wrote a breathlessly excited preview based on what Google tells me. So, all I want to do is point those who are interested in it at it. Like so.

Here’s a fan video based around a slightly older version. Pop!

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38 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Fede says:

    I have played various demo versions of it, and found it good, even if I have only keyboard + mouse, so it took a fair amount of time to customize the commands to actually make them good enough. Well, good enough for FF cars, I have yet to find a way to make FR ones easy controllable.

  2. Po0py says:

    Well the vid looks kind of meh. I’m not sure what people who suffer from epilepsy will think of it, though.

    This is the kind of game that PC gaming lacks. We need a Forza 3 for the pc. Toca 3 is decent but dated. A proper next gen racing sim with all the trimmings is what us pc gamers need. All we get is the crash-bang arcadey racers like Grid and Dirt and Burnout Paradise. I want a proper next gen racing sim!

    • James Allen says:

      I’m a big fan of the RACE series of sims from SimBin, myself.

    • Po0py says:

      I’m sure it’s fun but it ain’t Forza.

    • Phinor says:

      I’m personally hoping for a Forza clone on PC but something that is also a sim as Forza isn’t that. Forza has great playability but the driving model really is not a pure simulator. Neither are the gamemodes, I want practice sessions, qualifying laps, option for rolling starts, flag rules, up to 24 hour races, at least 30 cars on track etc.

      I’m not bashing Forza. I love Forza. But I’d love it a lot more if it had more into it than 3 lap races against 8 opponents with a driving model that is easy to handle with a gamepad with all assists turned off.

      iRacing is where sim racing is currently at but that game.. err, simulator has some flaws too. The driving model is second to none, absolutely perfect by today’s standards. I could live with the monthly fees and buying tracks/cars but I really miss the option to practice tracks with AI drivers.

    • Warth0g says:

      @Phinor – Agree with you about iRacing. It’s absolutely the pinnacle of racing sims, although LFS is pretty good too. The SimBin games were great in their time, but the physics model and FFB has been left behind by iRacing. I do wish, like you, that they’d have AI too – it’s just too hardcore for that, which for me anyway is a bit of a shame… maybe one day the iracing engine will be licensed by someone with more of a sense of humour.. iRacing’s engine + Gran Turismo’s sense of fun = heaven, complete with angels, and not the chubby cherub ones either.

    • Schmung says:

      Yeah, the PC is missing something a bit Forza-y, but then I guess the cost of licensing all those cars is a huge barrier for any PC dev, which is a crying shame because the PC is the perfect platform for all the community stuff that Forza does. There’s nothing like taking your favourite car out on a track you’ve seen of the telly or carefully tweaking, tuning, building and painting it to become a total beast which is uniquely yours. Driving around a made up track in a made up car just doesn’t quite offer the same thrill for me, so the likes of LFS always leave me a bit cold.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I found Forza 3 pretty dry.

    • Schmung says:

      Oh yeah, Forza 3 certainly lacks the whizzbang nature of GRID and the environments etc are all a bit static, but the 360 as much as anything else – you can’t run physics at 360 samples a sec and the game at 60fps and do all the graphical niceties you’d get with other games, but it’s a trade-off I like. As someone else said, it’s the sort of Pokemon/car geek aspect of it that I love and the racing aspect of it is great it probably doesn’t offer the same accessibility and pure rush to most people of something more visceral like GRID.

      The PC is a more natural platform for it in a way, but without the console baiting exclusivity and advertising that a Forza/GT game does it’s not really a financially doable thing.

  3. Stony says:

    That video truly captures the excitement of driving a Mini quite slowly and safely around a nondescript track.

    Though it’s not for me, this is definitely a kind of game at which the PC excels – hardcore niche titles driven by a no-doubt vocal community.

  4. Maximinus says:

    I play this game, and it is a very serious and fun simulation. It really is different from the competition (mainly rfactor) in that it is a closed environment. As a consequence, there is no user made circuit and cars. As the developers focus on the racing, they don’t have many real life models, for the cars or the circuits. But on the positive side, it is very easy to go racing online, finding a server is instantaneous, and there is no problem about version mismatch, no big user mods to install in order to play online. With these caveats, my impression is that racing online with this game really is a brilliant experience. You can choose to setup your car very precisely, or choose some lower class formula (the formula bmw pictured) for some close racing without complex setup. On most servers, the race restarts a few minutes after ending (no waiting). There is no equivalent on the console side. For the racing enthusiast, this game (along with rfactor) is very exciting. Of course, it can only be played seriously with a plastic wheel (but since the plastic guitar, it is no longer the most ridiculous plastic accessory).

  5. Maximinus says:

    I forgot the most important. The best circuits of the world are not present in the game (the developers chose not to go this way, probably because of the license fees). This is a big issue for any serious racing sim. But the game is great.

  6. Ludo says:

    I just want to point out that the license plate on that Mimi says ‘Satan!’

  7. Baris says:

    Platypuses or platypus are accepted plural forms for the word platypus, platypii is not.

  8. Will says:

    I believe the plural is “platyp0r”

  9. caesarbear says:

    What is it about Forza exactly that the PC is missing? Is it the car painting?

  10. Lh'owon says:

    I’m certain that the correct way to pluralise “Platypus” is to add an extra “s” for every additional platypus – so four individuals would be “Platypussss”. Note the original “s” counts for one. Any abbreviation is considered poor english, so most papers on the species involve a lot of talking around the subject.

  11. Shadowcat says:

    I suspect that most PC driving fans already know about LFS, but in case you don’t, DO try it out. While I’m not an expert, to me the feel of driving is exceptionally good, and really offsets the absence of (expensive) licensed tracks and cars.

  12. Jay says:

    LFS is great, but it’s been pretty much dead for years now. Sure there are lots of people playing, it is still loads of fun and the devs post a patch every few months, but the game hasn’t changed in a few years. Just check the website – they promised a new car year ago and still haven’t delivered. For me that means one thing – the game was a flop and they’re pretending it isn’t by working on it on their spare time. which is a shame, because the game physics engine and the whole uber close racing is something that even years after release, no one was able to defeat.

    I really wish someone was able to license the engine and started building a massive multiplayer online racer, like TDU. At least that’s my wet dream.

  13. D says:

    Platypodes.

  14. Clippit says:

    A few things I feel like I need to mention every time anyone mentions LFS:

    Calling it an “ultra serious” sim is a bit misleading. It gives the distinct impression to the uninitiated that ‘fun’ is not allowed in this game, and that all the players will be anal-retentive F1 geeks. It’s unfortunate that LFS keeps being misrepresented like this as it drives people away from what is in fact one of the most accessible and polished online racing experiences.

    It’s interesting that one of the main comments (criticisms?) about the game is that it doesn’t have (many) licensed cars or tracks. Is this what really matters in a racing sim? I don’t understand why everything in a sim must be officially sanctioned, approved and more importantly, branded. It seems to me that there’s a preoccupation with branding rather than accurate physics or good online functionality. The most superficial impressions are given more importance than the actual ‘substance’ of the game that determines how it plays.

    Why is one person’s creativity (seemingly) not as valid as another’s? Why aren’t cars modelled by Eric Bailey as good as ones modelled by BMW? Can’t things be ‘authentic’ in their own right, or must they get their authenticity through reference to something else? I think LFS takes an interesting approach to the whole ‘sim’ thing and hence raises some interesting questions.

    All the intellectualising aside however, I would like to echo what’s already been suggested – do try it out if you have even a passing interesting in racing games. There’s a good old fashioned (not time limited, etc) demo available from the website. With that you can can get online and run into people using any combination of the mouse, keyboard and/or steering wheel, and it’s entirely possible to race cleanly with just a keyboard and mouse.

    Here’s a couple more decent videos showing online racing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAvj0iY1Zig
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xen7bcSaF8M
    (warning: may contain rock music)

    There’s also a skilful-but-hilarious wiggy-wiggy-bling-bling hektik-as nism0 ‘dryft’ scene:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgHna5fpF8
    sik bro.

    • Maximinus says:

      @Clippit : I agree with you that official branding is not necessary for fun racing. As regards the cars, I have no problem playing the fantasy cars. However, there is no equivalent to some real life circuits. No video game designer will ever be able to match the layouts and history of suzuka, spa, laguna seca. Some fantasy circuits are nice, but a racing game without suzuka is missing something. Now, I understand their business model, which does not allow for licensing those circuits.

  15. Vinraith says:

    Am I right in thinking this is one of those games I’d pretty much need a wheel to play? I’m assuming a controller would be way too imprecise, and obviously racing with a mouse/keyboard is an exercise in futility.

    • wien says:

      I played with a gamepad for years. Entirely doable, but don’t expect the playstation experience. :) You’ll probably be faster with a mouse and keyboard though as you’ll be more accurate with steering input. A wheel is certainly not needed if the world record boards are anything to go by.

  16. Clippit says:

    @Jay: How can a game that is still played by “lots” of people be “dead”? Do need to be strapped into your high chair and spoon fed HD content every day, or you’ll cry?

    @Vinraith: Actually no, you don’t need a wheel to play. A wheel is best, of course, but you can play with just about anything – two joysticks, a keyboard and/or mouse (although just a keyboard won’t work so well for faster cars, or close racing), a gamepad, a piece of wood… I played for a long time with a keyboard and mouse, and recently made myself some ghetto pedals, as I was trying to be competitive. Racing with a keyboard and mouse is actually an exercise in ease and simplicity. The only real difficulty I have is when the cat comes and sits on the keyboard, causing me to crash :)

  17. Bassism says:

    I have played the majority of pc race sims (with the notable exception of iRacer, which I should rectify), and I find the feel of LFS to be the most pleasing by far. It’s a very satisfying and natural feeling physics model.
    I would suggest anybody interested try the demo, because, well, why not?

    It might take a bit to get used to a selection of fantasy cars and tracks coming from a GT5/Forza world, but the content in the game is very well designed and ultimately the lack of licensing ceases to be an issue.

    If I could get a PC game with these physics and the Pokemon aesthetic of the console racers, I’d be a happy man indeed.

  18. triple_a says:

    I get my racing kicks from NFS: Shift now. With modded .xml file for better control and FF withj a wheel it wheels great now. LFS is good too but is severely lacking in certain areas, worst being the sounds.

  19. Kris says:

    My main experience with this has been a couple of goes via significant other’s brother and I can safely say its not for me. BUT if you look at the level of simulation and the effort of the 3man team it really pisses upon efforts of the big boys. As far as I can tell features like the detailed tyre modelling physics were here before Forza even tried it. My overiding impression it that it sits at the top of the car simulation games with a enthusiastic community to boot.

    The reason it not for me? I’m more a Sega Rally, Burnout kind of guy, but the Forza, GTR, Gran Turismo crowd should seriously consider it.

  20. buedi says:

    I love LFS and play it since… errm… since the 1st Demodays I think.
    If somebody wants to “see” physics, then maybe DoN´s Slowmo Vid #2 is a good choice. It´s a few years old and some things changed in LFS, but it´s still a very impressive Video which shows the Physics. And if somebody thinks the Tyre flex is exagerrated, maybe you should watch out for some real racing Videos or Pictures on the Net. I don´t have a link handy, but there was a Mt. Panorama Vid out there somewhere with a camera pointing to the Wheels and sometimes it looked like the tyre would jump off the rim…

  21. buedi says:

    Arrgh… it didn´t post my Link, so here it is:

  22. buedi says:

    Holy… now I´ll try without the XHTML Tags:
    http://don.vn.cz/s2/vids/slowmotion_tyres2.avi

  23. Jay says:

    @Clippit: It is dead because developers stopped working on it a few years ago. They do support it by providing patches, but that’s not how the business rolls – i.e. provide content every year or two and get paid for it (and I really wouldn’t mind paying for something I love).

    To make things clear – I own S2 license and LFS will always be the first racer that comes to my mind because of the fun factor, but it is really a shame that the game hasn’t grown properly to what it deserves.

    • Clippit says:

      I would be interested to see a source for the claim that “they stopped working on it a few years ago”. I don’t know if the recent Scirocco/physics re-write/Rockingham circuit updates have slipped under your radar, but I don’t see how you could reach that conclusion.

      Also, about the game not growing to “what it deserves” – what do you mean by that? The game has certainly come a long way from its early incarnations, and it’s not finished yet. What sort of ‘growth’ are you expecting? I think the game “deserves” to be recognised for what it is – a detailed and accessible online racing sim, and a great example of an ambitious but successful indie game. The only thing I think is a shame is when games like this and Richard Burns Rally get pigeon-holed as complex and intimidating and only of interest to a hard-core ‘niche’ audience, just because the cars handle a bit a like a real one.

  24. Facetious says:

    “Monotremes oviparous, ovum meroblastic” look it up. :)

  25. theSeekerr says:

    Heh. Funny you should mention both Forza 3 and TOCA3 – they’re the only relatively recent games to include the Australian V8 Supercars series. They screwed up the handling in TOCA3, though, so I’m still paying TOCA2 all these years later. The physics model is a little wonky, the V8’s will catch air at Bathurst, and I once flipped a Skyline nose over tail down the mountain, but these things just add character.

  26. Nidzio93 says:

    This video was recorded on actual patch Z22 on friday this week. :)
    Thanks for posting it here. :)
    Greetings!
    Nidzio93

  27. piphil says:

    I stopped playing LFS a year or so ago because of time constraints. I am a virtual petrol head, with the FFB wheel etc, and have various online-based racers such as RACE 07, and I personally think LFS is the best experience. I don’t think the driving model is completely nailed down yet, but the development team is sensible enough to keep this relatively fluid, and from the sounds of it an improvement is due for the tire physics.

    When I say LFS has the best experience, I’m talking not just about the racing, which seems to lack the number of griefers on other game servers, but also the race-finding interface, which is slick and seemed stable. It was reasonably easy to find a race, and because of both the number of people playing and the number of tracks/cars, if you got bored of one form of racing you could quickly switch to another server.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in S3, and will probably be buying it. :-)

  28. Arkymedes says:

    Why nobody mentioned rFactor??? For me just the best simulator existent.