Saturday, September 5, 2015

Burning questions about racing games

I'm taking no prisoners here.  Everything gon' get criticized, ya heard?

This started out of a reply to one of the replies to a post on the Mindcrack subreddit, discussing the intro to Forza 6.  It expanded from my original reply to far beyond the scope of that thread, and was off-topic from the beginning, so enjoy.

Things that bother me about Forza Horizon (specifically, FH2, but likely also pertinent to the original):
  • For a racing festival that's as well-known and attended as the Horizon Festival is made out to be, the complete lack of organization befitting of an auto racing event astounds me.
  • Why do they send cars that aren't designed for off-road racing into off-road races?
  • Why do many of the events still have regular street traffic involved?
  • Why are the non-street circuit race courses not clearly defined?
  • Why don't they encourage safe driving outside of races?
  • Why is every last exhaustive detail of the car's setup left up to the driver?
  • Where do they get their liability insurance?
  • Where's the police during all of this?
Devolves into general rant about simcade/sim racing games/the occasional jab at arcade racers, rehashing points from above as necessary:
  • Why does everyone talk like they're desperately trying to sound like they're cool?  This whole "if I dress like them and act like that and get my hair cut, then maybe they'll like me!" thing never got anybody anywhere.
  • About the safe driving thing, if you really want to prevent the next generation of street racer douchebags from acting like regular traffic is their playground, provide in-game monetary bonuses and achievements and whatnot for staying in the proper lane, below the speed limit, following traffic laws, and not hitting anyone.  In fact, deduct in-game money from the player to pay for all the damages they cause.  The token "This game is a work of fiction.  Always obey traffic laws and wear your seat belt." notice when you first start up the game doesn't work because nobody sees it.
  • The thing about car setup being entirely up to the driver: Professional race car drivers have an entire team of engineers who crunch the numbers and arrive at a base setup for the car, every single race weekend.  The driver assists in tweaking parts of it like downforce and tire pressure from there, and handles other things from in-car controls.  The driver doesn't have to give two shits about 99% of what the player has to mull over in simcade/sim racers.  Now, obviously, this is street racing we're talking about, and no self-respecting racing engineer would want to be within any sort of arbitrary radius of a street racer, so how about an option in the game's garage to set up the car for a specific event?
  • Why is it that people who play iRacing go around to all videos of any other racing game ever and leave comments such as: "you should play iRacing", "he should play iRacing", "have you tried iRacing?", and "iRacing is better, play that!".  This is exactly the same as the "you should play tekkit/feed the beast/modded" comments on Minecraft videos, and the "now do that on real guitar" comments on Guitar Hero/Rock Band videos.  News Flash: if you're posting these types of comments, all you're doing is turning people off to whatever it is you're trying to promote.
  • Why is it that powerup-based arcade racers almost always have to have that one powerup that completely breaks the game or whatever?  You know what I'm talking about.  The fucking blue shells.  "Hey, you know what's a great idea?  How about we actively punish people for being good at racing and having figured out the game mechanics we've provided to them by having a powerup that makes it so that nobody actually wants to be in first place until the last moment of the last lap?  That's a great idea!  I'm sure players will love it!"
  • Why is it you can't play through a racing game co-op with a friend anymore?  If you're playing with a friend, you have to play against them now.
  • In a similar vein, why can't you use co-op/multiplayer gameplay in racing games to unlock unlockables?  Why do they have to be reserved for the singleplayer?
  • There's one game I know of that's an exception to the last three points, that you may recall me mentioning before on this blog: Rumble Racing.  It has no anti-leader powerup, you can play it co-op, and you can unlock all the cars and tracks in the co-op mode.
  • Why is it that some racing games can't create the feeling of speed?  This is a more deeply-rooted problem, I feel.  Some would say it's related to the game's framerate.  Personally, I have no clue.  I do know, however, that Gran Turismo 3 was terrible at it.  I was driving a car (I actually forget which one, but it was a street car) and saying something about "oh well I'll do this or that once I get up to speed" and my dad looks at the on-screen speedometer and says "you're going 80mph, you know".  Have you ever driven a street car at 80mph?  Shit's fucking intense, yo.  More recently, there's Ridge Racer 3D, which has its problem at the other end of the scale.  It makes speeds in excess of 300kph (my favorite, the Kamata RC410, maxes out around 340kph) feel slow.  What the fizzityuck?

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