Ferrari Virtual Academy 2010 – Mini Review

Ferrari has released their Virtual Academy 2010 simulator a few hours ago, giving sim racers access to a virtual version of their F10 Formula One challenger as well as a laser-scanned version of Fiorano for 14,90€.

Once you´ve bought the game on the Virtual Academy website, you´re offered a 145mb installation file download as well as a license key. Once the installation file is downloaded and installed, the title will ask for your email-address and the mentioned key – Starting the simulation is not possible without one, there is no demo version.

Before the first start, a configuration tool lets you specify general settings such as resolution and controller settings. The Virtual Academy works with pretty much all steering wheels, coming with pre-set profiles for all current models. Starting the game always requires an Internet connection as some data is loaded from the Ferrari servers, a measure to prevent cheating and keep their sensible physic data away from prying eyes.

After the game has started, players are greeted by a rather simplistic menu system that doesn’t offer to many options aside from either going straight to the track and watch a replay.

Before heading out on track, sim racers can choose to use driving aids for shifting, braking and stability control, all of these aids can only be used in practice mode as hotlap laps have to be set without any aids. When arriving in the garage, the first thing that can be noticed are the beautiful graphics. The preview material did not promise too much, Virtual Academy 2010 looks top-notch with a highly-detailed car model, great track modeling and proper lighting.

Experienced netKar Pro racers will instantly recognise their simulation under the hood as Virtual Academy even uses the same keyboard shortcuts as Kunos’ simulation title. Players are not given much room to fiddle with setups as the simulation provides four pre-set setups, the only adjustments can be made to the fuel load and brake bias setting. While the first setup is the most forgiving one and best for beginners, the other three make the car feel a lot sharper when driving.

Speaking of driving, that’s what Ferrari Virtual Academy is about – There are no AI cars and no competition other than the clock. Once you drive the car out of the garage, you`ll instantly feel that Ferrari isn’t playing nice with their title. The F10 is a real beast that will instantly spin out under you if you just look at the throttle wrong. The car has massive downforce and is rather easy to keep on track in a straight line, braking and cornering require some serious driving skills though.

The car will instantly spin out if you hit the curbs wrong, especially in the frighting flat-out corner the third sector has to offer. Finding the right braking points and pressure is a tricky affair and watching Felipe Massa’s replay will most likely leave you in awe – The Brazilian’s 0:57.579 laptime should be nearly impossible to beat for non-alien sim racers.

In terms of physics, the F10 feels just like I would expect an iRacing Formula One car to handle, the car handles very believable in any situation and, despite being a real monster, is rewarding to drive. Force Feedback is decent as well, feedback from the track surface is very much limited though as there don’t seem to be any noticeable bumps at all. Whether that’s because none have been implemented or that Fiorano is actually a very smooth race track is for other to decide, fans of iRacing’s bump modeling surely won’t be impressed with this though.

The package is rounded out by nice sounds and g-force camera effects that increase the realism level even more. Missing features include a damage model and weather as the virtual F10 is indestructable and Fiorano offers nothing but sunshine. Other available features include a replay mode to watch your best laps as well as a rather simple telemetry tool allowing you to compare your speeds, braking & throttling against Felipe Massa’s benchmark time.

It’s a pleasant surprise that Ferrari has resisted to make their simulator accessible to the masses by dumbing down the driving experience as Virtual Academy 2010 is a real simulator that will offer even experienced sim racers quite a challenge. Their no-frills approach is certainly not for everyone, sim racers that are looking to actually go racing will be disappointed as Virtual Academy offers nothing but hotlapping. There’s no shortage in motivation though as going against the time of real Formula One ace can be quite addictive – You´ll most likely never beat him but there’s always a chance to shave off another tenth or two with the next lap..

If you love driving Formula One cars, the 15 Euros on Ferrari Virtual Academy 2010 are very well spend as the title offers the most realistic virtual Formula One car to date.

Update: Added a great video by 6e66o showing the menu system and plenty of driving footage.

GTOmegaRacing.com

  • JACKASSHOLE

    true keep me occupied till rfactor 2.

  • jimmy

    Yeah, mod is free but still you had to buy rFactor license. :-D

  • JACKASSHOLE

    maybe not.

  • jimmy

    Officially yes.

  • JACKASSHOLE

    yeah well if you run rfactor and you dont pay for it you’re a bit of a dbag :-P

  • moschum

    0.219 off the leader. ive found the hack. 

  • Danny Roberts

    How do adjust the brake bias? Ive seen the custom settings in the controller but it’s pretty non intuitive.
    Thanks alot.

  • Krazee

    On the G25 wheel with the default controller settings try the middle 2 buttons on the H shifter.

  • RKipker

    All in all what I expected… but could a few of you post your thoughts on the sounds?

    I’ve noticed the deceleration to sound horrible.  Downshifting is almost non-existent not at all as good as the up shifting.  Has anyone else noticed this.

    Also, I think the FFB is weak as anything I’ve played.  I have used the G25 setup… am I missing something?

    Thanks
    RKip

  • Danny Roberts

    Thanks Krazee…I am using a G25 so Ill try that.
    I also adjusted the force feedback setting in the ini file from 0 to 1 but did not get any real difference.
    No biggie…I think the game is very good but is there a way to get more FF?

  • AeroMechanical

    Look under FVAcontentsystem there is a file called fva.ini and in that file is a line HARDMODE=0.  Change the 0 to a 1.  See if that helps things.

    I’m not terribly impressed with the sound effects myself.

  • Krazee

    Nope, no idea on FFB. A few of the guys in in other articles were saying the same thing, they also said the if the track is super smooth then this would explain lack of expected FFB.

    Unless it was my imagination but I was feeling flat spots on the tyres, so FFB is working I guess?

  • IonAphis

    Can anyone tell me how can Massa take his brakes from 0% to 100% and NOT lock up terribly and spin out of control…. From what I reckon, brakes are meant to be treated lightly… however the BRAKE TV Overlay from F1 on TV is always digital… either on or off, never shows you how much breaking is really being used….

  • RKipker

    Thanks Aero!

  • Schmeval

    care to elaborate? ;)

  • Michael

    Eh? Link to a real life F1 video showing the same arm movement please.

  • moschum

    actually youre completely wrong, drivers stamp on the brake pedal with all the force they can muster from high speed, the downforce helps the car brake, and eases back off the brake as the speed goes below downforce critical levels. 

    they apply a lot of force to the brake pedal. the brakes aren’t treated lightly in the slighted, the total opposite in fact. 

    now 8th. only 1 tenth to find………..

  • Ace Racer

    If you run an invalid lap it won’t give you fresh rubber and fuel until after you set your next valid lap.

  • Stranger

    I’ve been messing with the game 7 hours yesterday (!) trying to launch it, I even re-installed my Windows 7 x64 but no success ! Can you please point out which programs you activated/deactivated, because I am going nuts … Thank you.

  • Full

    Can you tell what kind of hack you found?

  • Stranger

    I’ve been messing with the game 7 hours yesterday (!) trying to launch it, I even re-installed my Windows 7 x64 but no success ! Can please someone point out which programs I have to activate/deactivate in windows components, because I am going nuts … Thank you.

  • David

    Hello Moschum,
    I’m actually in 57.5xx and I have some questions about your really fast lap time;

      I have a G25, 350°

    I’m using the #1 set-up is it the best?   brake balance 57% front.

     This is my best split times :  17.0 / 22.8 / 17.3 (for the 57.5 I have slower splits.)

      The hairpin is the most tricky part of the track to achieve a fast lap, we need to get a little oversteer to rotatate the rear end.

     If you kinf enough to give me your split times, I will see where I need to improve.

     All the best!
     David.

  • IonAphis

    Funny when I stomp on the breaks the car goes into complete lock… Even when I ease off the break after the initial deceleration…. I guess its something a sim rig cant do to compare to real life…

    Also, itd be nice to know what setup you use, with break bias and everything, because Im just feeling like an idiot having to break at 50% because if not my wheels lock up..

  • AeroMechanical

    Previously in the thread someone mentioned finding and installing the latest Netkar Pro demo helping things.  This comes with all of the appropriate versions of the .Net runtime and so forth.

    You can get it here:

    http://www.netkar-pro.com/download.htm

  • Bruno

    michael ?

  • Ivan Polyacov

    What is your maximal speed? Comparing with Massa telemetry –  I’m losing much time on straights probably because of gear changes. Whether I’m switching earlier or later – it’s always slower that Massa :(  

  • Der_KHAN

    then i don’t know what you’re doing wrong. for me it’s always the same in the replays as it is when driving.

  • Ender

    Which setup are you using? I think setup 1 has the shortest gear rations thus giving the best acceleration – comparable with Massa’s lap. If you’re using a different setup that might explain the difference.

    Other reasons might be that you’re not accelarating out of the corners well enough… which I guess as far as I can tell doesn’t seem to be the case looking at the telemetry (I’m definitely no expert in reading it though, heh). It’s more like it takes longer for you to change gears – the speed line seems more jagged than Massa’s.

    Also, I’d check the controller configuration and the throttle mapping – if you’re actually getting 100% throttle when fully depressed.

  • unklepepper

    Yea go on dont be a tease!

  • unklepepper

    Yes I got the feeling I felt flatspots so I locked up the tires on purpose for a few laps and sure enough the vibrations were very evident. Set one clean lap and as I crossed the line the tires and fuel reset and the vibrations stopped!!! The tires lose grip with dirt on them also :)

  • MikeA

    Hi,

    For those having sound issues, check (install folder)fvacontentsystem
    Edit the fva.ini and change USEOPENAL=1 to USEOPENAL=0, much better for me now.

    Also to get more FPS, set this in the fva.ini:
    SKIDBUFFERLENGTH=600
    CARSHADOWMAPSIZE=256

    Shadow mapsize can be 128, 256, 512, 1024. Higher numver is better quality.

    And in ..DocumentsFerrari Virtual Academycfg edit video.ini and test which value works best for:
    TEXQUALITY=
    Default is 4 (max) you can use 1, 2, 3 ,4 Higher is better quality.

    All helps in getting better FPS.
    Do note, when running the config tool all is set to default again.

  • MikeA

    Does anyone hear wind? There is a wind.wav but I don’t hear any wind. Would be nice to hear more noises, like wind, muffled sound due to helmet etc. Shame hardly any sim simulates good sound noises when wearing a helmet.

  • Ivan Polyacov

    I’m using the 3-rd setup.

  • virat gajjar

    hey i just install fva and i am playing this with keyboard but i cant set arrow keys as controls any one can tell me how to change keyboard control please

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