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  1. #1
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    Driving/Racing sims - Assetto Corsa? Dirt 3?

    After reading Graham's excellent City Car Driving article I went and bought myself a wheel and pedals - now I need some games!

    I'm making a list of prospective titles to try out but wanted to know what people here thought - looking for realism but a bit of fun too:

    Assetto Corsa - looks pretty nice and realistic, although early access so not sure how much content
    iRacing - price puts me off frankly!
    City Car Driving - already bought just waiting for my wheel to come in the post to try it :)
    Dirt 3 - looks nice although I understand it's not very realistic (according to some Amazon reviews)
    Shift 2 Unleashed - probably the most arcade of the lot?

    What do people think of the above?

    Both Dirt and Shift are pretty old (2011) and not sure what came on the market since then. Any others I should take a look at?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Race 07 is cheap and excellent.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by heretic View Post
    After reading Graham's excellent City Car Driving article I went and bought myself a wheel and pedals - now I need some games!

    I'm making a list of prospective titles to try out but wanted to know what people here thought - looking for realism but a bit of fun too:

    Assetto Corsa - looks pretty nice and realistic, although early access so not sure how much content
    iRacing - price puts me off frankly!
    City Car Driving - already bought just waiting for my wheel to come in the post to try it :)
    Dirt 3 - looks nice although I understand it's not very realistic (according to some Amazon reviews)
    Shift 2 Unleashed - probably the most arcade of the lot?

    What do people think of the above?

    Both Dirt and Shift are pretty old (2011) and not sure what came on the market since then. Any others I should take a look at?
    The best racing sims ive plyed are Race07 and GT Legends. They are strictly sim. Very customizable and with tons of extra tracks available. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TO_4AhbteUA < Good Race07 video.

    A good mix of sim and arcade are Shift 1 and 2. They are not that arcade actually. I prefer 1, 2 had some funky controls for me. ( i used a gamepad). The sense of speed and the cockpit view are among the best in the genre.

    Dirt 3 is great fun, looks gorgeous too. Get it, even if its not full sim. Best damage modelling around (same with the others on the same engine, dirt1 and 2, grid 1 and 2). Car just feel vulnerable and the feel of impact is great, some games feel too rigid in comparison.

  4. #4
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    Also Dirt/Grid's time rewind system is just the best thing if you're not a perfect pilot (like me). Much much better than having to restart the whole race over and over.

  5. #5
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    As a warning, I lean towards sim rather than arcade. I prefer my arcade racing with a pad and sim racing with a wheel, so the hybrid games don't go so well for me.

    iRacing - never tried due to a sub and my lack of commitment
    Assetto Corsa - waiting for not so early access to work out if it's going to end up any good.
    Dirt 3 / Shift 2 - too arcade to enjoy as a sim, too sim for arcade racing
    City Car Driving -you.. drive in a city? I've never seen this before.

    My main problem with Shift (1 and 2) was that you could simply slam the brakes on and stop at nearly any distance, which made the races very forgiving and removed a lot of the learning process. Dirt may be better but I suspect I have been ruined by Richard Burns Rally and can't take a rally sim that dares to not break your front axle for looking at a rock the wrong way.

    Some other suggestions:
    Race 07 (and its many, many addons/versions) - It's on sale on Steam regularly for peanuts, it's pretty ugly and it's still a great game. It also has a huge array of cars and tracks available. I own most of the packs and I don't think I've even loaded some of the tracks; it's overwhelming if you get it all. The aids can be tweaked extensively to make it less hardcore.

    Raceroom Racing Experience - this one is also very early, similar to Assetto Corsa. The only upside is that the base pack is free. The roar of the free hillclimb car is one of the best car sounds in a game, particularly in an out of car camera. I haven't spent any real money on it yet due to the lack of AI so far but I tried a few of the paid bits early in the beta that were a lot of fun to drive.

    Richard Burns Rally - It's old, you can mod it to not be completely hideous and it will destroy you with great pleasure. Still my favourite rally game. Definitely not one for arcade racing.

    I've also played a fair bit of the recent F1 games, which are fun enough but nothing outstanding. Only worthwhile if you're interested in F1 to begin with.

    If you're really adventurous, you could try GP Legends. It is not forgiving in the slightest and, at times, it's still one of the best racers going. You'll need to be reasonably committed and willing to mod to make it worthwhile now.

    The current batch of future-racers - Raceroom, Project Cars, Assetto Corsa - look very interesting, but they also look very far off. I'm hopeful at least one of them will turn out to be a great game, because Race 07 is still my go-to game for making cars go fast.
    Last edited by Goateh; 15-04-2014 at 06:56 PM.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelron View Post
    Race 07 is cheap and excellent.

    Amen!!!.f.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    Assetto Corsa is pretty great, but it doesn't have multiplayer yet and I think the physics are a little off, but it's not finished yet so whatever.

    iRacing's price puts me and a lot of others off too, so don't worry about that one.

    Dirt 3 isn't realistic and the stages are motorway wide, but it's alright. It has GFWL as well so it may become unplayable when they switch it off, if you can get it super cheap you might get some fun out of it for a month or however long it is until GFWL dies. It may even be patched out, who knows; there was a rumour going around that it would be patched, but nothing has happened as of yet. I have had some fun with Dirt 3, though, it's fun for those occasions you just want to feel really good about yourself for nailing a course you've never even seen before. Also the Pikes Peak cars are great fun.

    Shift 2 Unleashed is meh, it's ok but the physics are pretty bad. If you can be bothered the NTM tyre mod apparently fixes it up quite nicely.


    Some other recommendations:
    Race 07 - Cheap and great fun. A few of us in the RPS Steam group chat room get together and play casually fairly often. Lots of mods, lots of DLC (can get quite confusing as to what is what with the DLC, actually).

    rFactor - Decent, mod-dependent racing sim. The physics engine from rFactor is probably the most prevalent in the genre, and there is a metric billion of free content for it (browse rFactor Central for evidence of this), quality obviously varies. rFactor 2 is available now but I don't think it's worth the asking price. There's a demo for both.

    netKar Pro - Probably the best Formula whatever simulator there is, quite cheap, made by the same company as Assetto Corsa. As a little bonus it comes with an Assetto Corsa tech demo, I think.

    WRC 3/4 - A bit iffy in terms of production value, but the physics are decent. WRC 3 has group B and historic cars, WRC 4 has a much better career mode.

    Euro Truck Simulator 2 - If you're interested in CCD you'll probably want this.

    NFS: Shift - I prefer this to Shift 2, the physics are still very arcadey but it drives better than Shift 2.

    Next Car Game - Not a lot of content yet, but my god, this is the future of off-road racing games. It's the same people who made FlatOut, but with wheel support and an incredible physics and graphics engine. Like AC it's still in development.

    Project CARS - You can't buy this just yet, but this is also the future. Keep an eye out for it. Also like AC, it's not finished yet. Same devs as Shift 2 Unleashed but the physics are far, far more advanced.

    Richard Burns Rally (with RSRBR mod especially) - Super hardcore old rally sim, regarded by many as still the best rally sim available. It's cheap, I think, and worth having a look. The damage modelling is so extreme that when you're starting out it plays a bit like a cross between a rally sim and a roguelike.

    Colin McRae Dirt, Dirt 2 - I can't remember if Dirt has GFWL or not, but it's a decent rally game. Physics are arcadey but the're some really great content, like Pikes Peak (even if it is split up into stages), big rigs, raid trucks, etc. Dirt 2 is quite good but definitely does have GFWL, many people say it's better than Dirt 3 but I haven't played it enough to make up my own mind on that.

    GT Legends - Pretty good, featuring exclusively classic cars. Probably most worthwhile as a key to allow you to install the HistorX mod for rFactor, though. Same developer and tech as Race 07, but wheel support is a bit iffy in that only two of the six buttons on my G27's actual wheel work in the game. I can't remember if the ones on the shifter work or not.

    GTR 2 - Same story as GT Legends, except it's FIA GT racing.

    Live For Speed - Try the demo. The site says they're still developing it but it has been dead for ages now, also it's way too expensive for what it is.

    Rigs of Rods might also support wheels, I can't remember. BeamNG.drive might be another, I've been meaning to try it out.

    When you get bored of all of the above, try GP Legends. This one is really old - pre-1998, I think - but it has aged beautifully. You need mods, of course, and it is a bitch to get working on Windows 7, but it simulates old F1 cars and the circuits they raced on like nothing else I've played.


    Not recommended for use with a wheel:

    Test Drive Unlimited 2 - Wheel support sucks, physics aren't great, always online DRM. But if you can get it for extremely cheap it can be quite relaxing to cruise around, the maps are huge.

    Grid, Grid 2 - They're ok with a pad, but not great with a wheel.

    F1 2010, 2011 - Also not great with a wheel. I haven't tried F1 2012 or 2013, and from what I've heard there's absolutely no reason to play anything other than 2013 any more (I think the old ones have GFWL).

    FlatOut 1-3 & Ultimate Carnage - Wheels do work, but they're horrible. Enjoyable with a pad, but I think Ultimate Carnage is the only one you need.

    NFS: Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted (the recent ones) - Mods to add wheel feedback and enable a basic interior camera do exist, but they're not really worth it.

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - A bit of a shoddy console port of a rushed game based on old tech (NFS: Shift's engine). Worthwhile only because of the old, old Ferrari Grand Prix cars. Physics are crap (though the GP cars are fun, the F40 race car is terrible), there's GFWL and yeah. Maybe pick it up if you can get it really, really, really cheap.

    Driver: San Francisco, GTA IV - Don't even bother!


    I think that just about covers all the wheel-based simulators and games I know of. Oh except for Arma 2/3, you can map your wheel so you can drive in those too. It's not great (no auto-centering) but might be fun for a few minutes if you have Arma already. I can't remember if FUEL was any good with a wheel or not.


    Edit: Must type much faster in future.
    Last edited by neema_t; 15-04-2014 at 06:59 PM.

  8. #8
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    wow great recommendations and a nice view on upcoming titles, knew I could trust the Hivemind on this one :D

    will try race 07 to start with while I wait to see how the early access ones are shaping up!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by neema_t View Post
    Richard Burns Rally - The damage modelling is so extreme that when you're starting out it plays a bit like a cross between a rally sim and a roguelike.
    I love that description of RBR's damage. It took me many, many attempts to even finish a full rally and finishing one competitively is still a significant challenge. I'm pretty sure the Japanese rally is entirely designed to make you afraid of the accelerator.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    It's great to see Richard Burns Rally being mentioned. What a great game! I don't think any rally game has come even close since it came out, all those years ago.

    While we wait for Assetto Corsa to reach a more mature state, many of my old racing acquaintances are playing Game Stock Car 2013. I haven't tried it myself, as my interest in driving around has been quite low lately, but it supposedly has quite an impressive physics model. Rubens likes it...



    I used to be an avid advocate of Live for Speed, as its online mode is still the best I've seen in the racing genre, but I think it's time to give up the notion that it'll ever see significant further development. It's been almost 9 years (!) since the last big content update.
    Last edited by Tritagonist; 16-04-2014 at 01:34 AM.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Richard Burns Rally by Warthog (where I did my school work experience :D) is ugly as playstation 2 without mods, but it has this fierce determination that you are not doing well enough and it sells it with the moments of clarity you achieve over well practised segments. You need analogue steering control, as well as analogue acceleration controls and analogue braking controls which are independent (360 pad will need XPCD).

    It's a quiet little island in gaming bereft of cutscenes, narrative or interruptions, bring a podcast.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  12. #12
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    I consider myself something of a driving game nut - but I emphasise that I play driving >GAMES< - I'm not interested in things which are purely ways for people to race each other (commonly referred-to as sims) - I want a career mode and unlockables and stuff but I don't want "back it into every corner and win" physics, I want the option of a bit of reality and no nannying driving aids.

    I also play with a pad and not a wheel - that all said, here's my 10p on other suggestions and mine

    Assetto Corsa - it's Early Access from a developer with a track record of not delivering . Their last game, netKarPro, has probably THE most advanced handling model I've ever seen in a game tho - the demo is free to try - you will struggle to get 2 laps in without binning it - when you get it right, you'll grin like a cat ;0

    Shift/Shift2 - are caught in a no-mans-land between 'arcade' and 'sim' and thus not brililant (but not crap) at either. They are frequently VERY cheap tho - buy the first one just for the SLR/Veyron - stupid fast and loads of fun ;0

    Dirt2/3 - the greatest arcadey driving games ever made - they have no sim pretensions but they play-well with wheels. They are 'hooning simulators' - hurling cars into corners at silly angles and all with the 'rewind' to get you out-of-jail.
    Dirt2 is better than Dirt3 - start with that.

    Race07 (and it's 100 spin-offs and packs and GT Legends etc.) - all well past their sell-by-date IMO but then I always thought they were a bit tatty. The developers went on to do the F2P Raceroom tho - it's on Steam and worth a peek perhaps

    Test Drive: Ferrari Legends - loads of Ferraris, some are really well done/handle right and some don't. The progression/unlock system is a NIGHTMARE tho - and it's tied to GFWL which might prove a problem quite soon. All that said - when you unlock the 333SP, everything will feel good with the world ;0

    Leftfield one finally.

    SuperStar V8 Next Challenge - often given-away free at GreenManGaming, it's an oldish title now (ported from PC to XBOX, upgraded and then ported back) which straddles 'arcade' and 'sim' quite well. Cars are demanding, skittish and will spin if you abuse them - game has a proper progression system. Only downside is that whilst it was fine with my old AMD GPU, it seems crashy since I upgraded to nVidia (and the developer is long gone - so no fixes)

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    I wish there were demos of Project Cars and City Driving Simulator, want to play both :(

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    SuperStar V8 Next Challenge - (and the developer is long gone - so no fixes)
    Milestone are still around, they're the ones making the WRC games now and, most recently, MXGP. They don't support their games though, WRC 3 had one patch and I don't think WRC 4 has had any.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by neema_t View Post
    Milestone are still around, they're the ones making the WRC games now and, most recently, MXGP. They don't support their games though, WRC 3 had one patch and I don't think WRC 4 has had any.
    I think it's a bit more complex than that - Milestone had something to do with the 360 and "Next Challenge" bits of that but the original game was someone else I think?

    Either way you'll not see a fix - and sadly, it tends to crash during saving (sometimes saves - sometimes doesn't) - but then I got it for free and I've had my fun :)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman29 View Post
    I wish there were demos of Project Cars and City Driving Simulator, want to play both :(
    Project Cars is coming (possibly - maybe - one day - perhaps) from the company who made Shift, Shift2 and TD:Ferrari - they ran a self-made crowdfunding system (called Weapons of Mass Development or something like that?) which caught the attention of the UK Financial Regulator (as they were clearly selling it as an 'investment' - which isn't allowed).

    That was some time ago and - well - who knows what the fuck they're upto but they've not launched a game in that time (it's been a few years since PC first emerged) but they have launched a mobile games company and announced a driving 'MMO' in the meanwhile (imaginatively called "World of Speed" - I'm amazed they didn't just go for World of Carcraft and be done with it!)

    Add that the fact that TDFC has the worst progression system in any game EVER and the fact that Shift/Shift2 were trying so hard to be 'arcade' and 'sim' that they managed neither particularly well and - erm - I'm not sure anyone should really care too much...

    We have a resident PC 'free PR and cookies' guy here tho - he'll be here in 2 mins to call me out on this and tell me it's amazing and wonderful and they did nothing wrong - but water has passed under the bridge and I'm not really that interested anymore...

    I'm also not sure I can stand the process of trying to wrestle and controller/wheel to ACTUALLY WORK with one of their driving games ever again - they don't make it easy...

  17. #17
    Lesser Hivemind Node Henke's Avatar
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    Another recommendation for RBR! Got a wheel for that one myself. Lots of fun.

    City Car Driving looks great. Saw a video of it and it reminds me of Midtown Madness the way you can elegantly weave in and out of traffic at high speeds.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    I have to point out: SMS not only made the Shift games, but also GTR, GT Legends and GTR2. I really like Shift 2, but as an NFS game (NFS Porsche Unleashed FTW), not as a racing sim.

    ---

    As for driving games, my own advice:

    Get either the "Simbin Complete Pack" or GT Legends, GTR2 or Race Injection (race 07 with moar content) if you are strapped for cash. You get the best games for FFB wheels and pedals in existence, peroid. And, the amount of content on display is rather insane. The amount of mod content on display is beyond the scope of my ursa´c comprehension.
    Last edited by Grizzly; 16-04-2014 at 10:43 AM.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    We have a resident PC 'free PR and cookies' guy here tho - he'll be here in 2 mins to call me out on this and tell me it's amazing and wonderful and they did nothing wrong - but water has passed under the bridge and I'm not really that interested anymore...

    I'm also not sure I can stand the process of trying to wrestle and controller/wheel to ACTUALLY WORK with one of their driving games ever again - they don't make it easy...
    I'm not the resident apologist (I can't remember who it was, either), but I do think you're jumping the gun a little. I've got alpha access to Project CARS and although I haven't tried the career mode yet (there is one, but I don't know if it's finished enough to be worth playing now), your points about Shift 2 being 'simcade' and getting a wheel to work are honestly not justified; the physics now are better than GT6 - which itself is miles better than GT5, and indeed anything below the 'hardcore' sims like iRacing, rFactor, netKar Pro and the like - though they're not aiming PCARS to be a hardcore sim in the first place. They've said all along that they want to be right between Forza/GT and iRacing, and they've achieved that. Well, with the cars that have release candidate physics, anyway. I personally think it might be a little better than Assetto Corsa, but only because I think AC has noticeably too much grip right now. Neither are finished, though, so it's an unfair comparison to make at this point.

    As for wheels and what have you, my G27 worked from the very beginning. Yeah, they've enabled, disabled, re-enabled, tweaked, broken and fixed wheel support for just about any consumer-grade wheel, but the very first time I ran the game (this was way, way back) with my G27 plugged in it worked perfectly.

    They're making significant progress with each update but they still have quite a way to go just yet. I'm really excited about it, I hope they don't fuck it all up and make me look stupid but I'm quite sure it'll be a big deal when it's finally released. It even has multiplayer right now which is more than can be said for Assetto Corsa or even RaceRoom: Racing Experience!

  20. #20
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    Live for Speed
    It's a blast online, even for beginners
    Realism and fun
    Play the demo!
    Last edited by bad guy; 16-04-2014 at 04:59 PM.

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