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Is it worth jumping from console racing games to PC racing Sims with PS4 & Xbox 720 on their way?

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#51 Linus27

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 21:43

Hi, since you were extremely kind in helping me a few months ago. I just wanted to keep you updated as to how things have developed with me. I did go for a lower spec PC in the end which runs Rfactor 1 comfortably. However since then, I have barely switched the computer on (for several reasons...which I won’t bore you with). So I’ve haven’t had much of a chance to try rFactor 1. I mean I played the demo a couple of weeks ago (which was with I think a proton cup car at Nurburgring GP) maybe for ½ to 1 hour. Which I did quite enjoy. Even though it was just using a keyboard. As you had previously mentioned, the basic handling & physics seem pretty similar to that of GT5 (maybe rFactor 1 is a touch more realistic). Nevertheless considering rFactor 1 came out way earlier than GT5 that’s still pretty impressive. Also I could tell that racing even with just the AI would be almost as intense as back in the day with GP4. Which was a good thing. I say almost since when trying the 2003 mod later on with computer cars I didn’t feel the AI cars defended quite as realistically as they seem to do in GP4. Which is understandable I guess given most people play rFactor 1 online against people. However was impressed to find the ‘dirty air’ problem when close up behind another car (I don’t recall that being in GP4).

Having got a few F1 mods (1979, 1985, 1993 & 2003) last week. Again I’ve barely had the chance to play those mods yet. Perhaps I tried it for a total of 3 hours Max!!! So these really are just first impressions (again mostly with keyboard but also occasionally trying out a pad...when it worked). And bearing in mind I was always using the default setup, & hadn’t configure the pad when it did work.

The 1979 mod did seem really good, seemed quite easy to drift the car (i.e control the oversteer) which actually felt very natural to drive (i.e. exactly how one would image a 1979 F1 car to react). Perhaps because cars in those days were more reliant on mechanical grip rather than aero grip. so easy to read a slide. Even if the brakes felt awful!. The 1985 mod, equally as good, I mean I instantly felt things like the turbo lag, & a great struge of power, particularly around the mid to high range of torque (again as one would expected from 1985 F1 beasts).

Had issues getting a pad to work for the 1993 mod...which was very disappointing as was really looking forward to hearing that Ferrari V12 at full volume. Oh well next time. Finally the 2003 mod felt OK. However it didn’t seem to me, too dissimilar from the F1 cars in GT5 or F1 2006 CE on the PS3 I felt (maybe rFactor being more realistic in the way the car moves around under braking...because of the downshifts, or how kerbs seem to launch individual wheels into the air, thus momentary losing steering ability).

For the benefit of others who are in a similar position to how I was a couple of months ago i.e. trying to decide whether to jumping from console racing games to PC sims is for them? Particular given the next gen console are on their way. Also given PC racing sims although slightly more realistic than console racing games like GT5 or Forza, can they be bothered with all the hassle of getting a new computer, the correct GFX & setting it all up? In addition to the extra costs of a new PC rig etc.

At this stage I can only give limited advice since I have barely played rFactor (a pretty old PC sim nowadays). But from my experience, rFactor 1 seems only a small amout more realistic than GT5 on the PS3 (I haven’t played Forza). Say maybe 5% more. And honestly for most people, I reckon sticking with a console racing game is better value for money (if that is what they look at also...like me), and a better option all things considered. So it really depends how badly you want or need that extra realism that a PC racing sim might offer, because everyone is going to have different requirements.

In any case I would agree with Linus27 of comments highlighted in bold.

And defiantly I’d recommend trying before you buy, even if that means doing what I did (i.e. buying a relatively cheap / lower spec PC & trying living with a racing sim for a while...before committing to the latest PC rig capable of handling the lastest PC racing sim). rFactor 1 & I guess PC racing sims in general are only really suitable for those who are looking to have that last few percentage of realism & are prepare to put in the time or effort to get it.

I mean so far I have hated this whole experience more than I have enjoyed it (although hoping playing rFactor more will turn that around). However as things stand, I am truly dreading having to research & then install which Mods to get for rFactor (like the Realfeel tool, which I read on the rFactor Thread here is essential for hooking up a G25 wheel to it). Also dreading having to install / set it all up & configure the wheel / pad settings etc. It all just seems like too much hassle, so I am really missing that pick up & play aspect from GT5. Its only that I am massively passionate about 70’s, 80’s & 90’s F1 cars...so I need to drive these cars at least once (if only on a computer!) before I die. That I am putting up with all of the hassle of getting the right PC & mods for the game etc right now. However in 6 months time, should I not want to put up with that hassle any longer (if it is still there). And instead revert back to GT5 & the likes. Then I won’t feel too bad about things.

I’ll try and give you lot another update in a couple of months time, after I have played rFactor more. However in the meantime I am always open to any more suggestions of particularly good rFactor mods. Cheers.

I'm happy that my comments have made sense and have rung true to you. Having played racing games since Revs on the BBCb and to be honest, even earlier with Pole Position in the arcades and Indy on the Atari 2600 back in 1977 (scary thought), I have pretty much seen how most games have changed and panned out over the years. Consoles have made a huge step forward in what they can simulate and are simulating much greater things that the early sims ever could. At the end of the day, all it needs is the basics. Understeer, oversteer, grip, torque, steering input, braking to name a few and then modelling these good enough to convince the player that the car is doing what they are telling it to do. GT5 models the basics brilliantly (some cars better than others - some are brilliant and some are terrible) and is all you need to simulate driving a car. Any thing after that is either eye candy or immersion and has no relevance to simulating driving a car.

Now, where a PC sim takes things to the next level is in how much detail it can simulate the basics. What I mean by this is simulating bumps, marbles, different grip levels, kerbs. The car will still handle exactly the same way as it will in a console (understeer, oversteer, grip etc) but it will simulate it in much greater detail but the end result (understeer, oversteer etc) will still be the same. For example, you know, going through Eau Rouge in GT5, hitting the inside kerb will unsettle the car and you will have to fight either understeer or oversteer or both and your reactions will be based on what the car does. In a PC, the same will happen but in much greater detail and it will be less canned or simplistic. You will get more feedback and have more control and will have a more live experience rather than a generic one. Also, the PC sim will simulate other factors in greater detail, for example marbles, bumps in the road, tyre temperature, air pressure which will add more detail and a more live experience rather than generic. The end result however will be the same as the console as it will be back to the basics of understeer/oversteer etc but it will be less canned. Another example is GT5 simulates tyre wear. The longer the race, the more the tyres will wear down. Plus, if you go screaming into a corner too fast the tyres will go red and it will simulate a form of losing grip. Rfactor 2 has taken tyre wear to another level in terms of how much detail is simulated. You can control the heat and the wear and how the tyre wears and heats up. I was pretty blown away with the amount of detail and how I could control my tyres in Rfactor 2. GT5 has the same, but you have less control on what your tyres do and being able to manage them.

So, its all in the detail and if the basics are simulated and how well they are simulated. Something like GT5 simulates the basics very well which allows you to jump into a road car and have understeer/oversteer/powerslides/torque steer etc and react how you believe you should in a real car. This it does very well and why it works for so many people. However, go to a PC sim and you are getting more detail, more control and less of a generic experience. A bit of a mish mash post but the best way i can explain it is the difference is like instant coffee or fresh ground coffee. Both do the basics of being coffee, just one has more detail in the flavour than the other :)


#52 Spamilton

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 22:27

I would not buy a next gen console for sims only. If you only play sims, you might better stick with PC sims, unless you want to have the sim effect with kinect options etc.

Edited by Spamilton, 23 April 2013 - 22:27.