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View Full Version : Why I fell in love with PCARS and why the “Grind” is losing me slowly, but surely…



MyBailey07
18-08-2015, 06:23
In stead of whining about what truly are “First World Problems” in the big scheme of things, I thought I’d try and provide some constructive feedback. Maybe it helps the developers make customers happier somewhere along the line and result in more profits for them, which is a win-win. If not, well, it is what it is…☺

I am a HPDE track junkie (did around 35-40 track days in the last year) and started using a simracing setup with PCARS (and others) as a way to feed my “habit” after running into a very serious health condition that are now limiting my on-track time severely. I never pretend to be the fastest guy out there as I am not (although in my dreams I am sometimes Michael Schumacher…), but I also am not exactly slow and no dummy and have a pretty good idea of what a car does close to the limit.

I immediately fell in love with the awesome graphics and immersion. Played for hours on end. It was, and still is, so hard to play any of the other similar games (AC, iRacing etc.) once you have experienced PCARS’s graphic realism, great sound, immersion etc. I want his game to be all it can be so bad…

But then the “GRIND” started wearing on me:

“GRIND” = Car Set Up + Cold Tires/Pit Start in Practice + FBB set up

(1) Car Set Up: Suddenly I had to start to develop engineering level knowledge about car set up in order to get a large number of the cars to drive acceptably and even be remotely competitive. I get that setting up a car can give folks a competitive advantage; however, I have both a track dedicated e92 ZCP M3 and C7 Z06 and both of those were as simple as throwing a set of track pads/fluid and tires on and doing basic track alignment for more camber. Not only do they drive well as-is, I can also be pretty competitive.

Suggestion: Provide a solid, generic, default baseline setup for every car in the game. I don’t see it as my job to get to that solid default starting point. Some cars are okay, but a lot of them just plainly sucks. From that point on, yes, I should be responsible for learning to get that “final edge” in fine tuning.

(2) Starting from the pits on cold tires every time in practice mode: Combined with the above it drives me nuts. I already have to spend hours on learning a gazillion setup options by making small changes, learning what does what. Then, every time I tweak a little something, I need to go back out from the pits and start out for a full lap on cold tires before I can see the result of the change. Having to do this over-and-over-and over gets infuriating.

Suggestion :

Allow the option for starting flying laps on hot tires during practice and also allow the option to change set up during other game modes such as time trialing. This should not be hard to implement.

(3) FBB Tweaking: WTH? What are these gazillion settings for FBB that have descriptions that makes no sense? Is the expectation that I figure it all out by trial and error? Okay, I can just plug in Jack Spade’s files and make it better, but why the heck does the game need an external party to create these type of files to make something fundamental to the game work, unless I want to spend weeks figuring out settings with no meaning to me? In both AC and now Dirt Rally I got to what I feel is great FBB within minutes. And then, every patch something changes or breaks or you start over. Wow, this one has me a bit confused. Again, using time to research, stay on top of forum postings and endless tweaks I can eventually get there, but why? I should be able to tweak 3 or 4 settings with clear descriptions to get good FFB within ten minutes.

So, the combination of these three have become what I call the “GRIND”. I have to spend around 50% of my time “grinding” in order to play the other 50% of the time. And this is wearing on me to the point of me wanting to start the game to play and then more and more often just thinking: “Nah, I just don’t feel like bothering, just gonna fire me up some other racing game…and it makes me sad”

Other bugs:

As someone that managed a group of IT folks/developers (200+) I know that bugs are part and parcel of software development. So, most of the other bugs I can tolerate and have more patience for as I feel they are unintentional and eventually gets fixed in order of priority.

However, as a manager of software developers I can not stand design decisions that makes customers life’s harder, or cause them to “grind”. Those are active decisions made in software design and I have learned the hard way that you WILL lose customers. Some will just quietly go away and switch to competitors’ products, some will throw a tantrum on the way out and some will engage constructively and give you some time to fix the issues.

I truly hope that over time the “grind” will be lessened and that PCARS and the studio become a huge success with them all becoming gazzilionaires with many happy customers.

Lastly, in the words of one of my heroes, Dennis Milles :”That is just my opinion, and I might be wrong…”

nhitrac
18-08-2015, 07:26
Great post.

There are a fair bit of 'features' in pCars that currently makes me go "really? Surely there's a better way of doing this!".

Having said that, I can appreciate what they're trying to do but there is a fine line between simulating absolutely everything and making it a fun, user friendly game for the general public/average racer.

kackle85
18-08-2015, 12:20
I can agree with point #3. I appreciate that this game has so many options to customize the experience for each individual BUT......there should be decent FFB and or controller settings out of the box. As far as your other points I couldn't disagree more. There are many other racing games on the market that cater to the "average racer". Why should this game be like them? I have Gran Turismo 6 and the reason I play PC instead of GT6 is because it isn't like the rest.

Fong74
18-08-2015, 12:27
I feel that is the case. But not for all supported wheels as it seems...

danowat
18-08-2015, 12:35
What you call "grind", others call playing the game, that said........


Allow the option for starting flying laps on hot tires during practice and also allow the option to change set up during other game modes such as time trialing. This should not be hard to implement.

I can't see any reason why, for single player, anyone should be against having the OPTION of doing the above.

mcbrew
18-08-2015, 12:41
Especially the FFB and cold tires points i agree with. The ffb menu options make no sence to a avarage gamer who has no knowledge of car physics whatsoever.

Knightfall
18-08-2015, 12:53
I would like to start off by thanking the OP for listing his problems coherently, and then offering suggestions on top it. I do not yet have a wheel, so I can't speak the the FBB settings discussed here.

That being said, I would also like to STRONGLY disagree with the OPs other points. The customization, the tweaking, the pages and pages of options... This keeps me coming back! I too have found myself thinking "man this car just doesn't tune well" or "man I suck at driving this car" only to continue to modify some of the settings, hit the practice laps again and slowly but surely start shaving those lap times down.

I'm sorry, but I simply refuse to accept the "grinding" definition as stated here... Grinding is really wanting a particular car that requires 40+ hours of tedious playing just to UNLOCK it. You won't find that situation anywhere in Pcars.

If you don't want to do all the tuning because you only have 30 or 45 mins to play this sitting... I get it.. Use a car that you don't have to spend 30 mins setting it up. Once your setup is saved, you can modify it slightly in under 30 seconds..

MyBailey07
18-08-2015, 15:22
Some great counterpoints and thoughts! Thx. Maybe let me add a few more thought on the key points.

1 - Car Set Up: I recognize I don't like this particular area much as I am much more of a driving than car enthusiast. IOW, I like the performance driving part, but don't particularly like the "tinkering" part; however, I realize that this is very much a personal preference and that many folks get as much pleasure out of the process of endless tinkering. I have the same thing with my real life track buddies. I like to show up and just drive while I swear many of them get more pleasure from tinkering with that engine tune/spring rate/tire pressure, or that mystical "torque ratio" (Per the Mutual Liberty TV add LOL), than actually driving the car. And that is awesome! At the end of the day we both get to go home happy and smiling.

Same in the game. I don't have an issue with the many set up options as I know it caters to the guys that like the tinkering part; however, what I specifically don't like is that some of the cars' default settings (in my opinion) do not drive at all like they will if I go buy it off the dealer, or in somewhat standard setup form. For example, I actually have an e92 track M3 that is set up very similar to the default car in the game. In this case, I was actually pleasantly surprised how similar the car drives IRL vs in the game. Good job! I was pretty happy. Yes, someone that wants to go spend more time tuning the M3 can certainly go ahead and get an edge over me; however, I don't feel like I need to invest the time as the stock setup is pretty representative of what the car would do in real life as-is. Now, that said, I have, for example, also driven the Audi R8 on the track. The default car settings in the game results in such a horrible, understeering pig that it is almost un-driveable. IRL the car is designed to slightly understeer for safety, but it is nowhere near as bad as in-game. My point is basically just that I would expect a default setting in the game that is more representative of what the R8 would do in real life in pretty as-is standard form. Beyond that, I am okay with leaving all the options for those folks wanting to take the tuning to the "next level" to kick my butt ;-)

Now, if only they can add my c7 Z06 Corvette for me too I would be even happier :-) (Although, in order to make it accurate, they would have to model that once the outside temp exceeds 80 degrees, the car overheats after 10 min's :-(

2 - Option of Hot Lap on Hot Tires for Practice.

I don't see any controversy here. First, I suggested it as an OPTION. And hmmmm, isn't there currently a contradiction in the game in the fact that we start a time trial using a flying lap with hot tires? If we wanted to be pure in simulating real world, why do we not start the time trial from the pits also and then drive the first lap all around in order to start the real laps as we would do in real life? I just want the same option in practice as it saves you a heck of a lot of time when you tune (and you are having to learn how to do that like me and many others, I assume)

3. FFB. Not much to add here. The way this is designed and requires me to figure it out just makes me scratch my head. I can only imagine getting in one of my real cars, going to the menu and having to adjust a bunch of weirdly named settings in order to adjust what I feel through the steering wheel. The feedback through any of my real car's steering wheels are different, but it is sure as hell is not subjective. In other words, when me or my wife drive the M3 we will feel the exact same thing. I am having a hard time understanding why I can't simply go into the game, tell the game which supported wheel I have, and then the FBB is simply an outcome of the wheel/car combination, or as close to that as can be built with maybe 3-4 key sliders such as maybe overall steering strength (Which you can now adjust in some real cars.)

Anyway, just some more musings or ramblings about a video game...and I have to keep reminding me about that...it's just a game :-)

And here's two pics of me simulating the game in real life - just 'cause its two cool cars and I'm not allowed to post pics of hot chicks...

http://s8.postimg.org/uolz2nnl1/TWS_2.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
image free hosting (http://postimage.org/)

http://s2.postimg.org/y4g1has7d/TWS_Z07_1.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
upload image free (http://postimage.org/)

Knightfall
18-08-2015, 15:40
I would LOVE to see that Vette in this game..

I see where you are coming from on the default car setup, and perhaps my personal view is skewed the other direction since I enjoy a ton of settings, and settings for settings, etc. =P

The Hot Lap option you bring up is an excellent idea. I also fancy slicks for max grip in a lot of cases, and after a few grueling practice laps and I tinker, I will often forget my tires are ice cold until I'm uncontrollably skidding off the track into a barrier.

Yes, you are right, this is only a game. But it is a damn good one. And as evidenced by the members of the dev team AND the community, it is very clear that they care about it and are continually striving to improve it. Discourse like yours can only benefit said community.

+1 for the way you shaped your post and +1 for the suggestions.

jsykes
18-08-2015, 17:06
I agree with the OP in many ways and he's right in that we can have it both ways. For those that do not get a kick out of all the tinkering, the stock setups should be decent and driveable and not require hours of tinkering.

For those that like that kind of stuff, then all the settings are still there and they can take all the time they want to make their cars better.

A stock setup doesnt have to be the fastest thing out there, just driveable and close to what the car would be like IRL. Then others can take over all the customizing to go faster.

I understand people want a true simulator and things to mess with, but there is no reason that other people cannot enjoy the graphics, sound and driving experience the game provides without having to spend a ton of time tuning the cars.

FS7
18-08-2015, 17:12
2 - Option of Hot Lap on Hot Tires for Practice.

I don't see any controversy here. First, I suggested it as an OPTION. And hmmmm, isn't there currently a contradiction in the game in the fact that we start a time trial using a flying lap with hot tires?
Agreed. In time trials & community events one starts a flying lap with tyres already warmed up, I don't see any reason for not having that option in offline practice. Also, you can practice with tyres already warmed up by setting up a race without AI opponents in solo mode.

leithnow
18-08-2015, 17:25
I hate wasting time tinkering. I'd prefer to learn to drive the car as is than spend time shaping it to my prefence. I'd rather keep the ai difficulty down than have to tinker to win at 100. So I keep it at 60 and so far that's been difficult enough that it take me a 30 minutes or so to get comparable to the ai in a new car on a new track and the races so far have seemed fair. That said, if I get to a car that needs to be tweaked to keep up with ai at 60, I may be a bit frustrated.

Gravit8
18-08-2015, 18:44
Agreed. Some parts can be a grind. Maybe even pointless? On that note.
I'm looking for people who want to play online without setups or pit stops.
This game does have some frustrating issues. Surprised it's not creating a lot of no tune/no pit, basic lobbies

Spec racing should be where it's at currently for this title.
Surprised there's not a movement or group who just avoid the grind and spec race instead.
Boy do I miss forzas hopper system and GranTurismos shuffle mode.

rosko
18-08-2015, 18:55
I agree with most of your points. I don't have anything against the options but I feel there should be better default settings & better descriptions of them. Imo the default for ffb should be close to how the car feels irl & i think this is the case in AC. I remember when i fist got his game & only had a game pad at the time, i had to trawl the net to get the right setup & it made a massive difference, from unplayable to playable. just seems like the developers didn't bother. I know its a sim & its for a wheel but its still an entry into the sim. Then you get a wheel & its the same issue with the settings again.

AngelBrow
18-08-2015, 19:10
I got married and a new job. More time at home with my wife, so less gaming hours. Before i could push 20-30h in a week of P.cars, now its more like 3-5h a week. That means everytime I touch it I love it. I was grinding it to much before.

Bruusie
18-08-2015, 20:45
Top OP and issues that we all have empathy with one way or an other. There are surely moments when I think why? ... ie why can't I record my MP lap times, why is this rammer still allowed to be part of the game without deterrent, why am I facing backwards on the starting grid etc. Some are just down to unforeseen software bugs and some down to game design as the OP stated. The problem is, I believe, that as we had so many early issues across the various platforms and configurations it has become human nature to be defensive on these matters by those close to the game. This I understand, I really do, but in reality we all know just how good this game / sim can be...it's really good now but we know it can and will be great. I just hope we can accept where we are and all pull together. The author of this thread, myself and many others are passionate about PCars...lets keep it that way - strive to make those positive changes and make it a classic for years to come.

Umer Ahmad
18-08-2015, 22:37
I got married and a new job. More time at home with my wife, so less gaming hours. Before i could push 20-30h in a week of P.cars, now its more like 3-5h a week. That means everytime I touch it I love it. I was grinding it to much before.

Wait until you have kids, you'll be down to 3-5 hours/month #FML

MyBailey07
18-08-2015, 23:01
I got married and a new job. More time at home with my wife, so less gaming hours. Before i could push 20-30h in a week of P.cars, now its more like 3-5h a week. That means everytime I touch it I love it. I was grinding it to much before.

What are you referring to when you say "it" in "That means everytime I touch it I love it. I was grinding it to much before"? Your new wife, or the game? ;-) 'Cause if it's not the game it may very well result in little people running around taking even more of your gaming time away...just saying' :-o JK

TMoney
18-08-2015, 23:19
As for adjusting car setups in TT, I agree 100%. The strange part is most people probably don't even know you can run modified setups and it's almost a trick to do it. Obviously TT and events allow modified setups so why not allow it adjustable at the track? Really makes no sense to me the way it is now.

With default car setups I can definitely see what you're saying. Some cars just feel WAY too "safe" (I think is the right word). Everything is supposed to be modeled from real world data but due to the fact the game is also on consoles with gamepad users, they must remain driveable. It seems most cars are catered towards understeer to simply prevent them from spinning around every corner. With a wheel it's not as big of a deal but on a pad some cars would feel underiveable to some.

I wish there was a way to globally change default car setups either based on controller input or even a setting "Use REAL car setups". Gamepad users could keep that off and wheel users could enable it.

Gravit8
19-08-2015, 00:02
Thumbs up for warm tires out of pits. That would save so much practice time for a lot of people... especially if you have other responsibilities and only a limited time to devote to gaming.

Yes. Tire Warmers are a real life thing. For some teams.

Flihp
19-08-2015, 01:06
See car setup mentioned a fair bit.... To me at the moment car setup isn't a grind..... It's pointless as they cannot be saved. I go race online, the lobby changes track weather conditions, too bad I only have a dry setup and if I alter that mmmm there goes my dry setup. F1 gp2 in the mid 90's was able to save multiple setups, yet some almost 20 years later this feature does not exist to me is a dissapointing oversight. I know it has been mentioned that it will be added later so I'm hanging in there.. Other than that I love the game. I haven't encountered 1/10th of bugs reported on these forums. I also haven't tried v3.0 yet due to relocation., but I can't wait with all the positive feed back I have seen about it.

Phil

SeeNoWeevil
22-08-2015, 10:56
I don't mind spending time setting things up if I have a good understanding of what I'm doing. The FFB is clearly DIY for each wheel (the t300 clips badly out of the box and feels completely binary). Combine this with a huge amount of unexplained settings and no decent guide and it's pretty infuriating. The 'FFB is personal' argument doesn't wash at all. You could say that about everything to excuse poor out of the box performance. 'Handling is personal, go configure it yourself'.

Rogerslack
22-08-2015, 11:31
Couldn't agree more! Grind indeed. I wonder just how many of the set up freaks are actually fast racers? I like and understand set ups but not to the point of P cars extremes. It's very hard to tell whether the tweak has made any difference as it's hard to be so consistent round a track to note a tiny benefit. Also, I feel that the majority of racers want to race. A good default set up is needed. It's also very frustrating to have to leave a session, tweak set up, and then return to see any improvements. Too time consuming.
Although there is a place for outstanding graphics, lots of liveries, etc:- in the end it's about racing!! Simple as that.
The game is not user friendly.
On line racing is poor. Too many cars and tracks to master. There should be a default championship for each genre, not this one race at a time. Then at least one would become familiar with those tracks.
I don't think this game will stand the "test of time" unless drastic improvements are made.
Good racing all