Project CARS Parks Itself On Steam

The crowd-supported car game, Project CARS, has appeared on the Steams, but for members only. Sadly the purchasing of “tool packs“, which granted access to the ongoing builds, has now closed, so this news is really only of import to existing players. There is, however, a fancy new trailer about (below) which shows the rest of what we’ll be missing out on until the game is released in 2014.

Phwoar, eh petrolheads?


  1. Redkid says:

    Phwoar indeed.

  2. Moni says:

    Ooh, Vimeo, that’s how you know it’s classy.

  3. lowprices says:

    So this didn’t get shut down as a ponzi scheme then?

    Not that I thought it was, mind. I just know there were questions being asked about the crowdfunding model.

    • Calaros says:

      No it wasn’t shut down by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) but they did want to clarify things. Sadly, that clarifying meant that the developers had to change policy so that any member could ask for a refund at any time, no questions asked, regardless of how long they had been involved. This is kinda BS because people who have been playing the game for about 2 years can just get their money back directly out of the dev’s pockets, for no reason other than getting bored of the game. The other side-effect of the investigation meant that it is also closed to further membership for the duration of its development, further screwing the devs.

      I’m not entirely sure what the FSA’s thinking is, honestly… they definitely weren’t acting in the interests of a small, independent development studio though.

      • MasterDex says:

        It sounds like the FSA were treating it as the sale/preorder of a product rather than an investment, hence the receipt. If they were, I’m not sure I agree with that assertion.

        Crowd-funding should be seen as an investment. If you invest in the development of a game, you shouldn’t have the option to wake up one morning and pull that investment, barring catastrophic failure, or any deceit, on the parts of the developer

        • trjp says:

          We’ve been ‘discussing’ this in the forums here recently – I say ‘discussing’ but I asked the question and our resident PC community member defended the game blindly and not much was learned

          The position isn’t really that clear but there are some notable facts.

          If the FSA deemed this to be an ‘investment opportunity’ it would be shutdown instantly because the developers are not licensed to do that.

          The developer DID make this look awfully like an investment.

          The FSA’s investigation has NOT ended – that’s not to say that it’s not over, these things often just fizzle out.

          The developers have indicated (to their supporters but not publically) that they feel the investigation has concluded and they are looking forward – that was 3 months ago tho and nothing has happened since.

          The ‘refunds’ things is the developer’s only option – it removed the ‘risk’ aspect of this as investments are ‘risky’ and refunds remove that risk.

          My 10 – I reckon we’re unlikely to see the portal reopen, I suspect they’ve sought-out funding from other sources (hence all this talk of their going to next-gen consoles) – I also suspect they’re praying everyone doesn’t cash-out at once – I think we might see them on Kickstarter yet…

          I’d also like to remind people this is Slighty Mad Studios – the Shift games – and it’s also Ian ‘Elite’ Bell and his history with driving game development is a crater-studded warzone at the best of times…

          • lowprices says:

            Yeesh. While I’m sure it’s not a scam, it does seem like Slightly Mad’s crowdfunding model is based on high hopes and enthusiasm rather than, say, actual financial knowledge. Hope it succeeds, but still.

          • pez2k says:

            Just FYI, it’s not the same Ian Bell who made Elite, this one started as a modder for F1 2002, co-founded Simbin, and went commercial by producing GTR. He and his team later split off into Blimey Games who developed GT Legends and GTR2, then became Slightly Mad Studios.

            SMS also have an FSA-approved tweak to their funding model in the works, but I can’t say any more. They’ve not even hinted at looking anywhere else for future funding though, nor has there been any suggestion that the FSA investigation is ongoing – quite the opposite in fact.

            As for refunds, there has only been a tiny percentage of users who have asked for a refund (<1%), the vast majority of which had only spent 10 Euros, and quite a few are simply people objecting to the use of Steam.

            I'll have to find the forum thread in question and see if I can help answer any questions – bear in mind there is an NDA covering some of the exact details though.

          • Jason Moyer says:

            GTR 2002
            GT Legends
            GTR 2
            NFS Shift
            Shift 2 Unleashed
            TD Ferrari Racing Legends

            While Shift/Ferrari don’t hold up well (the latter, despite being a new game, uses ancient tech), Shift 2/GTR2/GTL are probably the best sportscar sims ever made. I dunno that I’d call Ian’s track record “cratered”.

          • leahcim says:

            Project cars Ian bell had nothing at all to do with writing Elite.

            It’s possible for 2 different people to have the same name

        • trjp says:

          and to pickup your other point – I agree that people need to understand the whole ‘investment vs pre-order’ thing


          You cannot offer investments without allsorts of licences and regulation. Failure to comply with tonnes of that is a crime in most countries (it’s sort-of becoming a bit more legal/easier in the US as I understand it??)

          It is slightly odd asking your likely customers to invest in a product tho – people invest in the hope of making money, wheras people pre-order in the hope of playing a game.

          Kickstarter/Indiegogo really is a pre-ordering system – whatever else it may claim – even Steam Greenlight talks of ‘Will you buy’ and not ‘Are you interested in’.

          • MasterDex says:

            Thanks for the reply and extra info. I have only a marginal understanding of business and economic regulations so take what I say with the grain of salt I throw out with it.

            I guess there’s a whole legal mire that’s going to have to be trod in with Crowdfunded development models. Is it a preorder or an investment? I’m not sure I could settle on one or the other, it’s a bit of both really – many tiers on Kickstarter projects don’t give access to the game/whatever at the end, for example.

            I don’t know. I don’t have enough knowledge in any of the necessary areas to be able make any sort of qualified statement but something tells me, Slightly Mad Studios won’t be the only developer having to deal with this sort of trouble.

        • phobic says:

          I got a refund on it, as i wasn’t impressed with the path they were taking. Felt to me like more of an arcade game than a true racing sim, and that’s not what i was hoping for. It started out well, but just became easier over time. Not that i put a huge amount of time into it, but that’s besides the point. I think people should be allowed to opt out of crowd funded games if they’re not satisfied.

          I don’t see how it’s different from getting a refund for any other product, other than this one is incomplete. And it’s not like Simply Mad are an indie company (they developed Shift 2). The guy who created it also created or was involved in creating SimBin. So i see no issue there. Known game developing companies shouldn’t need to be crowd funded for any other reason than giving the users what they want. That wasn’t happening in my case, so i opted out.

          • MasterDex says:

            Known game developing companies shouldn’t need to be crowd funded for any other reason than giving the users what they want.

            You should look into how the different business models affect developers. Giving you what you want is one of the least of the reasons for going with crowdfunding.

          • cHeal says:

            It is my understanding that the game has become easier because of feedback from Ben Collins, a real racing driver, so…

            I have never driven a real racing car, but it is a very common complaint from real racing driver, that racing “simulations” make driving more difficult than the reality.

            I find the game has cars that feel great and others that aren’t quite there yet, but it’s still pre-alpha so I’m not worried.

      • Cinek says:

        “This is kinda BS because people who have been playing the game for about 2 years can just get their money back directly out of the dev’s pockets, for no reason other than getting bored of the game.”
        – that’s a perfectly valid reason to get your money back. If devs can’t keep investors interested for a whole period – no wonder people might want to get their money back.

  4. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I don’t know much about this game, but the best screenshots in the forum’s thread come from pcars.

    • MasterDex says:

      Pcars being Project Cars – this game.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Yeah, thanks for fixing my confusing post.
        I’ve never seen it in motion, but the screenshots are just amazing.

        • MasterDex says:

          Aye. I’m hoping this turns out well. The last time I remember playing a good racing sim on PC was the GTR series and that’s too long ago now.

        • kataras says:

          My shots are with the settings I use to play on. I get around 50-60 FPS with them in SP, around 40 in MP depending on the number of players.

          The only problem for me is rain/thunderstorms, when FPS take a huge dive. In any case it’s not a problem, as I m unable to control any car on wet tracks…

        • leahcim says:

          An apt point. To see those graphics in motion you’ll need a hefty computer.

  5. Lagwolf says:

    Yeah phwoar for sure… looks good.

  6. clumsyandshy says:

    So shiny fidelity

  7. Keyrock says:

    Definitely delivers on the shiny slo-mo cinematic front.

  8. Tei says:

    Based on this game screenshot, theres not diference to real racing cars. So if you want to buy this game, save you money and buy a real racing car or ask a friend for his racing cars. I have this game, but I have never played it.

    • zachforrest says:

      Totally agreed. More of this sort of comment please.

      I’m off to ask my friend for his racing cars.

    • lowprices says:

      … How much did you pay for this game?

    • Keyrock says:

      I’m off to see what kind of real race car I can get for about 20 bucks.

    • leahcim says:

      If you think there’s no difference between real race cars and this game you need your eyesight checking.

      The graphics are good, but computer games are not remotely close to being realistic yet.

  9. Shadowcat says:

    “They called it…. BRRRRRMM NEEEEEERRRRR RRRRRRRR!!!!!!!”

  10. stele says:


    My brother is a race car driver. I’ll just borrow his cars instead.

    • nevarran says:

      Everyone, stop making racing games, this guy’s brother is a car racer… ;)

  11. Jason Moyer says:

    They need to open this up to Early Access like, yesterday.

  12. celticfang says:

    Jason Moyer, they can’t until when (if?) the purchases reopen. They will reopen with the next gen development, however if anyone jumps on that bandwagon they gain access to the PC builds.

    The way it works is that it’s tied to (I think?) your forum login and tool pack level, so even if you download it (and you need a Steam beta key you can only get by having a tool pack) you can’t log in without it.

    Well, unless they limit it to junior level, but even then that’s not easy to do however.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Yeah, I’ve been waiting for signups to reopen since late last year. After being somewhat disappointed by Shift, I didn’t play Shift 2 until about 6 months ago and I found it so enjoyable that I immediately wanted to start driving their next game. Really annoying that they can’t offer beta access right now.

      • celticfang says:

        Well in fairness Jason Shift 1 (and 2) had a LOT of EA interfering. pCARS is what Shift would be like without EA’s input and money. Yeah it may not have the huge licenses, but the devs and community can do what they want without a publisher demanding features.

        I don’t know if you can still sign up as a free user or not, but once the signups are open, go to team member level. That really to my mind is the basic level. Junior’s a glorified demo

        • Jason Moyer says:

          I have a forum account (actually, I’ve had one since they announced pcars) I was just too late to upgrade to a paid account. As soon as they can offer toolpacks again, I’m all in.

          • celticfang says:

            Oh it’s worth it. I won’t give anything away but IF they kept one of the cars the sae as bfore, it’s a low nose 80s styled F3 or FF2000 car….or was at least, I don’t know if they changed the car to a high nose ugly looking thing.

  13. The Dark One says:

    A driving game with a four letter, all-caps name that isn’t being developed by Codemasters!?

  14. Apsley says:

    It’s the mention of Oculus that gets my interest.

  15. tripwired says:

    Awesome racing game and a really beautiful one at that. I can’t comment too much on the realism of it but it certainly ‘feels’ pretty accurate to me. Best played using a steering wheel and manual gears, with the HUD and player names removed for a more realistic experience. I stuck a video up on YouTube of a race done at sunset with some AI opponents (who, for the record aren’t particularly bright yet, but then I suppose nothing beats a real opponent in a racing game).

  16. ZortB says:

    After reading the comments, I wanted to add my own.

    Project Cars came about after SMS were getting criticism over shift 2 for not being a simulation. Ian Bell put a “What If ” post on the forums for us fans of GTR1/2 GT Legends etc. The ” What If ” blossomed into Project Cars.

    I “Invested” not to make any money but to get the driving game I want. If the FSA/FCA get involved and they have to change the model, fair enough.

    I drop in and out of it every couple of months to see how its progressing. Not playing 24/7 but hey its still pre alpha so I’m not expecting too much, but I am getting a lot more than I expected.

    “Don’t like our game? Help us make a better one”. Cant imagine EA, Activision or anybody else doing the same.