Sim racing going full speed

STANDING START - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - October 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Nobody would disagree with the fact that racing simulation has consistently gained popularity over the years. In fact, it has grown rapidly over the last decade.

It has become more than just a game, with professional racing drivers using simulations as prep routines for the real thing. Racing in simulators has also become a legitimate platform in E sports and a ladder for aspiring racing drivers.

For those still haven’t heard of this, racing sim games are close to real racing games requiring a steering wheel, pedals, a car seat and a good-sized screen to simulate automotive racing as accurately as possible. The more realistic games include real-world variables such as car physics, suspension set-ups,fuel usage, damage simulation, tire wear, aerodynamics and more. In recent years, it has also started to become a ladderleading to real-life motorsports.  Formula drivers regularly use simulations for practice.

It has gained so much popularity mainly because of the inaccessibility of the real motorsports for most of the enthusiasts.Motorsports is probably the sport with the highest financial barrier of entry even with grassroots karting that can set you back around P250,000 a year as supposed to buying a game console and a Playseat. Sim racing against human opponents over the internet is the closest many will come to driving real race cars on official tracks. Thus, Esports for Sim racing was born, a stable platform for racing in the internet.

To become competitive in sim racing, a driver must master all aspects of car handling and racing strategy, something that it complicated and expensive to do in a real racecar. Understanding and mastering racing lines, braking points, the dynamics of understeering and oversteering, load changes, corner entry and exit speeds, and many other things are part of becoming a good sim racer. Those aspects are also the main differentiating factor between racing sims and arcade racing games in the malls.

According to Tobias Seck of Esportsobserver.vom, “The rise of sim racing esports was only possible because of the development of simulation software capable of hosting multiple drivers simultaneously on a highly stable platform that is fair for all and can be adequately officiated to the same standards as a real-life event, continued development of physics engine software, and improved hardware that is capable of providing tactile feedback”.

Let’s look back at the highlights of 40 years of Simulation Racing.

 In 1982, video game developer Namco paved the way for sim racing when it released the first-ever sim racing game “Pole Position”. 

A couple of years later in 1984, Acornsoft released a Formula Three simulation called Revs. The game was the first to feature changes in configuration of front and rear wing set-ups and introduced cars spinning rather than bursting into a ball of fire when crashing with other cars.

At the height of arcade gaming in 1989, Japanese game developer Sega released the arcade game Super Monaco GP, which placed the driver in a reimagined version of the Monaco Grand Prix. The arcades brought a new element to sim racing by featuring a steering wheel with paddles to change gear, taking the impression of reality to the next level.

Almost a decade later, in 1996, MicroProse released the realistic racing simulator Grand Prix 2, which was made under an official Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) license that featured the 1994 Formula One season.

In the following year, Polys Entertainment published Gran Turismo 1, which was designed by Kazunori Yamauchi and his team. The game took five years of development time and featured the first advanced artificially intelligent drivers players could compete against. The game was the most well-received racing simulator at the time, with 10.85M copies sold worldwide and is the highest-rated racing video game of all-time.

Over the past decade, sim racing games made another step forward.  Thanks to advances in computers and the availability of high-speed internet connections. Currently, iRacing, Assetto Corsa,rFactor2 and the Gran Turismo Series are commonly referred to as the top of the line racing sims. (Esportobeserver.com)

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