Assetto Corsa – Q&As Reveal New Details
Kunos Simuöazioni’s Marco Massarutto has answered plenty of questions on their Assetto Corsa title on two different websites, revealing plenty of interesting new details.
Both articles touch on the base features of Assetto Corsa as Marco reveals that the title will not come with a career mode and thus will not have any unlockable content as all cars and tracks will be available for the players from the start.
As outlined in the mission statement, Kunos believes that the single player experience is still massively important which is one of the reasons AC will be Kunos’ first title to come with AI. Nevertheless, Kunos aims on improving the multiplayer experience compared to netKar Pro, multiplayer will stay free as Kunos dosen’t plant to use any kind of subscription system.
The studio has long-term plans for Assetto Corsa as the 1.0 version will just be the start of what’ in store. Aside from content DLCs both free and commercial, Kunos also plans on adding new features to the title that won’t make the cut for the first version. That does include wet weather, a feature that does not fit the time constraints for the first release.
Speaking of the release, Kunos is still gunning to release the first version in late 2012. The team is planing on releasing a technology preview later this year, featuring one car & one track. Not meant to be a traditional demo, the preview will be used to test the new DirectX 11 graphics engine on a variety of systems before releasing the first versions.
Make sure to check out both articles for much more details as well as the mission statement below:
Click Here For Marco Massarutto’s Full Statement
I would like talk a bit about development decisions regarding Assetto Corsa, before answering to some of your questions.
First of all, we really appreciate your comments and we thank you for all your interest in Assetto Corsa. This provides a strong motivation for our team to work at its best. We would also like to thank all the people that continue to support us, and the AC project, by purchasing our existing products. Please, continue to do so.
Reading comments on blogs, forums and your questions here, it seems that people think of us as a big software studio with unlimited resources. We feel proud because it seems that people think we are doing top quality work. Nevertheless we would like to underline that Kunos Simulazioni is a small, independent software house that is not funded by any external investment. We don’t work with, or on behalf of, any financial company and therefore our budget and resources are limited.
Because the community seems to be very kind on our regards, the least we can do is to be honest towards the community. Before discussing features, cars and tracks or how our title will be the “sim to end all sims” as maybe other marketing departments of other software studios do, we would like to explain the reasons behind some decisions, so here it goes.
It’s important to understand what limited resources means. We need to decide very carefully on which aspects of the software we have to focus our production: graphics, physics, licensing, features, the offline and/or online experience, weather effects, and so on. Obviously we can’t put the same attention in all of these aspects together. Gran Turismo 5 is a game that proves that 5 years work and budgets in the range of several tenths of millions of dollars, are not by themselves a guarantee that you can include every feature in existence into a racing game, and create the perfection.
We have a maxim in our office: “everyone wants to race a 24 hour race, driving at night, under heavy rain, with broken suspension and a puncture. But just one time for a try“.
What we have learned, over the years, is that feedback on forums and simracing blogs represents just a minor percentage of the total amount of users and it doesn’t always tell you the truth about what people want to see in a game. We pay great attention and listen to our customers, but when we see how people are using our software, we see various patterns -often vastly different- from what blogs and forums would suggest as normal usage. Here’s a couple of examples that are significative.
As you probably know, Kunos have released, for free, for all registered members – all the add-ons produced for netKar PRO: cars, tracks, features, etc. And a lot of people who didn’t purchase netkar PRO before, during these years decided to buy it to get these add-ons, when a certain car or track as piqued their interest. Well, you would probably be surprised, but the slowest add-on car has sold much-much more copies of the game than the version that introduced weather conditions with aquaplaning, even if that feature was highly demanded from communities and the implementation was not bad at all when it was released, in 2009.
If you are not involved in the simracing community and you read the biggest simracing forums, blogs, and so on, you could think that Grand Prix Legends, Richard Burns Rally and a few other games are the most successful racing games ever. And that -for instance- some modern famous F1 or rally titles are a total sales disaster because people hate them. Well, you already know the truth, don’t you?
Many people think that that the multiplayer and online experience is dramatically important to every racing game. We love online racing too and we participate in various leagues with netKar pro or even other sims occasionally! Still if you count the number of users that play online at any time of the day/week with all the available simulators on the market, and then you also count the sales numbers of all the simulators available, you will notice that the online active users are a tiny fraction of the whole sales, even on purely online dedicated sims. So we’re troubled… where are all these people? Why we can’t see more online active users, than 15-20% of the whole sales of all sims even by the most pessimistic sales projections? Obviously because only a small part of the customers have the time and energy to race online regularly.
For all above reasons, and much more that we haven’t expressed but one can easily imagine, an independent developer needs to determine a strategy, in order to stay alive and be able to produce a new product in a busy marketplace. Our strategy, at Kunos, is not to create what people would ideally like to see in Assetto Corsa, but what Assetto Corsa should include in order to be an enjoyable product that simracers and, why not, normal gamers, would love to use. Because if you think about it, fast driving and racing is fun, so why simulators are not used by more people?
The development of Assetto Corsa is the present and future of our software house and an offer to the simracing community that surely thrives if more simulations are available in the market. We need to give priority to the features that make the driving experience with Assetto Corsa, worth for a larger audience of customers, without compromising and producing an arcade or sim/arcade game. Therefore we need contents, official cars and tracks, hi-quality graphics, a cool entertainment experience and a moddable structure to the software design. All powered by the most realistic physics engine we are able to develop, because that is our trademark and most praised characteristic. We believe that those features will make everybody happy, while having whatever extra feature at the expense of stability or mediocre experience while playing would make probably some people happy and angry everybody else.
So for example, multiplayer? Sure, but it will be one of the features of Assetto Corsa. AC will not have only a multiplayer structure as its core function, like its predecessor. Our original wish list, when we defined the concept of AC more than 2 years ago, included a lot of interesting and cool features. Realistically, today we need to set priorities and give you a great, stable racing experience. We are investing so much, we decided to bet on the simracing community. When AC is released, you will decide whether to bet on us. What will happen after the first release of AC, will also depend on the community stance. If the community stops the religion wars of “my sim is better than yours” and embraces the small number of simulations that exist in the market, then the same market will grow and become healthier. If we are not up to the realistic expectations of the community or the community asks the impossible, then in the future we will see even more arcade driving games.
The community can support Assetto Corsa’s development in the long term, by buying our previous products now, and purchasing AC when it becomes available.
We really hope we’ve been able to transmit you the positive spirit that drives us to write these honest words and hopefully you will read our answers to your questions, from a different perspective than the usual “we want everything and we want it now”.