A Battle For The Ages: Project CARS Vs Real Life

I’m not sure if Project CARS is the car-est car game of all time like Need For Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad is claiming, but it is ludicrously attractive. These days I tend to keep my eyeballs inside my skull unless a technicolor dream art style saunters by, but I guess my heart-on for shiny things wot look like real world cameragrams hasn’t entirely atrophied. Case in point: the latest CARS (not to be confused with Pixar’s inside voice/terrible take on the word) trailer matches the game against real life in a 1:1 vroom-vroom competition. Mr President, I know you’re reading this, so let’s just get it out of the way now: I think we’re gonna need a bigger graphics.


Hint: it’s not actually very hard. That’s not to discount the impressiveness of this video, though. Oh, and for those wondering, both the game and the real life snippet feature the BMW M3 GTS GT4 on California’s Laguna Seca track. I understand some of those words – for instance… no wait I’m entirely illiterate.

Project CARS will be out in November. I wonder what the acronym stands for


Top comments

  1. Darth Gangrel says:

    "I’m not sure if Project CARS is the car-est car game of all time" As long as you feel the need to car-ess the vehicles, I'd say it's pretty close.
  1. cHeal says:

    CARS: Community Assisted Racing Simulator.

    This track is still very early in its development so a lot of stuff still isn’t right. The track is too dark and too shiny, tree placement is off and it’s not using the more advanced tree tech currently in place on other tracks. Still a few passes to be done for this track. I think what makes it more convincing than any of the other tracks though, is they seem to have got the colour palette absolutely spot on for the sand. A lot of the tracks look too green and saturated and gamey but Leguna Seca does seem to be dead on the money.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    Just goes to show what a huge difference frame-rate makes to a simulation. Pretty graphics are all well and good, but I’d be turning the shiny options off in a heartbeat if it would make it any closer to the smoothness of that real-world footage.

    Admittedly I wouldn’t be surprised if the comparison makes it appear much worse than it feels in practice, but it just looked unresponsive (speaking very much comparatively).

  3. Ranek says:

    Most of what I’ve heard about pCARS so far physics wise is that it still feels very “floaty” when compared to real life and other racing sims such as Assetto Corsa. I know a lot of people like their arcade/simcade handling in racing games, but as Slighty Mad are claiming this to be a true sim (or at least they once were), I can only hope that they can fix any issues like that for the release later this year.

    • cHeal says:

      The “floaty” feel being addressed or has been already. It is definitely something SMS are aware of. This has a lot more to do with FFB than the actual physics simulation I think. There was a thread on the forums about this issue. Personally I haven’t found it to be floaty but I don’t know my arse from my elbow when it comes to such things. The aspiration is still very much to be a true sim.

      Physics are still very much WIP and improving with every build now.

      • Ranek says:

        That’s good to hear. Seems like it’s a good time to be a sim racing fan.

  4. RobinOttens says:

    That road texture on the real one looks a bit flat and empty. Needs more grit.

  5. ghor says:

    That’s nice and all, but now all I want is the Goat Simulator guys to do a similar video.

  6. Darth Gangrel says:

    “I’m not sure if Project CARS is the car-est car game of all time” As long as you feel the need to car-ess the vehicles, I’d say it’s pretty close.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yay, my pun got me to top comment-dom :D. My life is now complete and I can die happy, but I’d rather wait another 55 years or so before I die happily.

  7. Cinek says:


    Real life is inferior.

  8. BobbyDylan says:


  9. buzzmong says:

    The trees appear to be 2d sprites. Such a shame.

    • Dozer says:

      *what a shame.

    • cHeal says:

      Track is still WIP. Trees will get an upgrade later on.

      • buzzmong says:

        Thought as much.

        Rest of it looks lovely though. Just hope it handles properly. Far too many racing games look the part but handle badly.

        • rpsKman says:

          Asking for good handling from SMS might be a bit silly at this point.

  10. Cytrom says:

    I like how the virtual track is actually more detailed than the real life one lol

  11. derbefrier says:

    Looking good

  12. DrollRemark says:

    pCARS: 50% more shrubbery than real life.

    They can have that as a marketing slogan, if they want.

  13. Jason Moyer says:

    And unlike the Project CARS video, the similarities aren’t just graphical, but also in the surface of the track.

    Oh, and aside from the great tracks AC has, there is of course the other sim with millimeter-accurate scanning:

    (I will say that original-Simbin/Blimey/SMS have always had the most accurate non-laserscanned tracks I’ve seen in games, going back to the original retail version of GTR, with only Grand Prix 4 really coming close).

    • Cinek says:

      Yea, pCARS got little bit overdone tarmac texture, and trees in wrong locations, ppl pointed that out numerous times, never the less – overall realism seems to be much better in pCARS than in competition. Especially when it comes to the way car responds to track (in comparison iRacing reminds me some of the old good games from ’90s when cars were painted 2D images on top of the 3D layer – there’s no response from a car on a track surface what so ever).

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        That’s mostly a engine/graphical thing though, something which is mostly all about perception. iRacing might not “feel” right on that sense, but cars still work and lap realistically.

        pCARS does indeed look meaty and heavy, but that still doesn’t save it from the fact that’s it’s still quite on the arcadeish side of things. This wouldn’t be a problem per se, mind you, the issue is that it’s not how it’s being sold. The upcoming Grid successor is getting the same PR treatment and we all know how it’ll end.

        Also, check that Laguna Seca video again and pay attention to the sound, the virtual car is not being pushed to the limit, which helps hide the inaccurate physics. It’s also entirely possible that if the player in the video drove at full capacity, that great sync would be ruined by a good 10+ seconds. It’s nothing new for SMS to have cars lap way faster than they should.

        • cHeal says:

          I’ve never played iRacing so I’m no authority but a common complaint is that it is unrealistically hard. This is a complaint I’ve heard from real racing drivers not just the usual gang of fanboys.

          Regards pCars feeling “arcadeish”, that is a matter of opinion. Knowing what work is going into the physics I know for a fact that the physics in pCars is as advanced as any “sim” out there. There is fine tuning still ongoing for both the tyre models and FFB to address some of the issues outstanding with the actual handling but tyre wear/heating/flat spotting & graining are all being simulated as well as the usual array of mechanical bits and pieces.

          The difference in laptimes is because they are two different cars. pCars doesn’t have a stock M3 in the game so a GT4 spec M3 is being used. Though you’d know that if you were playing regularly and thus had any authority to speak on the matter of Project Cars handling.

          If anyone wanted proof that pCars is extremely accurate to real life, check out Rene Rasts Oschersleben lap in the Audi R8 where immitating his real life setup (for the real Audi R8 that he gets paid to race) he managed a lap time just 0.025 seconds slower than he managed in the real thing.

          • Llewyn says:

            “Know for a fact” is not a synonym for “believe”. Not even if your belief is justified and accurate.

          • cHeal says:

            Well it’s based on the back and forth between members and the physics programmers, not a sales pitch. I’m presuming honesty in these conversations as saying that something is being simulated, when in fact it isn’t is highly counter intuitive toward fixing problems..

            So based on that, pcars appears to simulates everything any other “sim” does and a whole lot more. That statement should not be confused with an opinion that it simulates everything better. Only time will tell in that respect and it most certainly will be a matter of opinion for a great many people.

            Certainly at the moment it appears from what I read (including comments from WMD members) that AC has better FFB at the moment. I’ve have no qualms with that opinion and it probably is true but it’s total BS to call pCars arcade. Just because it doesn’t look like a mod for GTR 2 does not make it “arcadeish”..

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            It’s not all about issues with the FFB though, this excuse is being used a little too much. Assetto corsa is NOT better because of it, even a gamepad is enough to feel why it is more authentic. Try it yourself if you’re so passionate with the genre, it’s cheap and you’ll do yourself a favor. It also looks great.

            What really matters is how weight transfering is modeled and how it affects stuff like trail braking, how the understeer and oversteer mechanics follow the logic of momentum, suspension setup/architecture, camber variation and so on and so forth. i don’t think pCARS is even bothering with the difference between multilink and double whishbones suspensions, as a random example, or even better realizing there’s a difference between sprung and unsprung mass.

            These are the CORE mechanics, the rest is icing on the cake, albeit a welcome one off course. Hell, most of the stuff you mentioned is also “simulated” in Forza and GT, just so you can think again about what you wrote.

            I have a pretty decent car and i’m often speeding on the hills near my town, i often drive at the limits and i know how stuff works or i’d be dead by now. Your pilots might be better than me on the real thing, but who can assure me that they’re ALL just as good with the game?

            A lot of pilots suffer greatly from the lack of actual physical feedback and G-forces, let alone adapting to simulative abstractions, spatial/speed perception and input limitations.

          • cHeal says:

            I can’t find much information on multi-link or double wishbone suspension but from what I understand, sprung and unsprung mass is being simulated. Are you a WMD member?

            It doesn’t really matter what I say, you’ve made up your mind already about pcars. You’re post above was patently false on the lap comparison and talk of iRacing as a superior “simulation” is little more than opinion. A great many players really dislike iRacings handling.

  14. trjp says:

    At least they’ve not resorted to Forza’s “ridiculously shiny” approach – I’ve no idea who on the Forza team mistook cars for gems or mirrors but it’s ridiculously overdone.

    Even on that video tho, the bonnet’s “overshininess” is the most obvious clue to it being a videogame, I think

    That and the fact there’s “too much contrast” in the world – that’s where even modern lighting models tend to fail, because reality is basically ‘blurrier’ than people generally aim to render it.

    Even after I’ve cleaned my specs ;0

  15. SuicideKing says:

    While i’m not sure washed out dash cam footage should be taken as an indicator of what the real world looks like through a healthy human visual system, credit where credit is due: real life looks brilliant.