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June 25, 2018

Assetto Corsa Competizione Alpha: A Racing Driver’s Take

I was lucky enough to test the new game while at Circuit of Misano for the Blancpain Sprint Series and thought I’d give you all some initial feedback!

Being a massive Sim Racing fan I could not wait to try the game. I was a sim racer before I was a racing driver, so my expectations for this game are high.

First of all it needs to be said that their team is amazing, so receptive to feedback from all the pro-drivers and also genuinely enthusiastic about racing and the game itself. I could have spoken to them for hours about all aspects and they would have listened.

I got to speak with the sound guy and made a ton of suggestions on what we actually hear as drivers vs what you hear in onboard videos. I also learned how complex the rain system is and how it dynamically affects the grip on the track as it gets more wet or dry when chatting to the head of physics.

They had four demos for use on the weekend, I played two of them. The first was a hot lap session with a Ferrari 488 GT3 (same car I race) and the other was a wet race in a Mercedes AMG GT3 (a car I tested a few weeks back). Both demos were based at the Misano track.

Track Accuracy

The track accuracy was super impressive. I place high value on how close the track in the game looks to real life and I still believe that Gran Turismo is the undisputed king in this area. But what I saw in Assetto Corsa left me very impressed.

The curbs in the game look exactly like the curbs in real life and there were even track markings and reference points which existed in the demo that we use in real life.

Car and Handling Accuracy

The attention to detail that they’ve paid to the interior of the cars is also right up there with Gran Turismo. I loved that when I changed ABS settings, the hand of the driver moved to the central dash in the Ferrari 488. Just like we do in real life.

Engine sound and gear shift sounds were also spot on.

The car braked and handled as I have come to expect, behaving really well during cornering and responded similarly to over-eager throttle application. GT3 cars have a tendency to slide slowly then snap suddenly, especially during the final phase of corner exit and they somehow nailed this in the game.

Braking was good, the demo’s had a conservative front-bias setup and I could tell immediately. This is a good thing. The moment they gave me more rear bias I was able to manipulate the car in the same way I do in real life.

There is every reason to be excited for this game, it has the potential to be the best off-the-shelf sim racer on the market.

Areas of Improvement

The primary issue is in the Force Feedback. I asked if they could add a bit more feeling in areas such as braking and understeer. When you brake in a GT3 car the sound of the ABS and the brakes is quite aggressive but you cannot hear it from onboard videos. It’s a loud grinding sound that could definitely be added to the audio and force feedback.

In the wet conditions (which are really good by the way) I wanted a bit more feedback from the wheel when you get understeer or when the fronts start to lock (this can happen, even with ABS on), just so we get a better idea of where the car is.

To their credit they said they still have a lot data to use to refine the feedback and a big update will be made for the next demonstration.

Final Thoughts

I cannot overstate how receptive the development team were to our suggestions and driver feedback. I think this is a critical factor to bringing this game as close as possible to the real thing.

If I was to score the game now it would be a healthy 8.5 out of 10. Areas that need more refinement are in the Force Feedback, AI aggression (apparently an easy fix and not really worth mentioning in this Alpha review) and Audio Feedback for auxiliary actions such as ABS and tire noise.

There is every reason to be excited for this game, it has the potential to be the best off-the-shelf sim racer on the market.

23 Comments on “Assetto Corsa Competizione Alpha: A Racing Driver’s Take

Max Maliar
June 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm

It is really interesting to hear what real racedrivers think about simracing. What we simracers want is the most accurate representation what driving am actual racecar would feel like. I am happy to see Kunos working with professionals to achieve this goal.
In terms of Foce Feedback: I don’t want to be too negative but i think thrustmaster doesn’t provide the necesary technology to give the best result Assetto Corsa Competizione is capable to do. Testing FFB with Fanatec or even better a DD-Wheelbase may would have been a better option. But that’s just my opinion. Anyway i trust in Kunos and their dedication they put into their work. And i surely believe ACC will be at least as great as AC already was, which i absolutely love! Can’t wait to get my hands on ACC! 🙂

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 10:42 am

Hey Max, yes that’s accurate. The guys did mention that the Thrustmaster we were using in the demo’s was limiting. They also agreed that the Fanatec is on a whole different level.

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Mitja Bonca
June 25, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Great review David. I am looking forward to ACC as well. Btw, you can come racing in AC, there is SRS system league, some great and clean racing. Juncadella is there as well (for more info you can PM me on facebook if you like).

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 10:41 am

Hi Mitja, I will be joining the online AC leagues at some point. At the moment I don’t have a PC for SIM racing and am relying on my PS4. But that will change when Competizione is released.

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Alex Townsend
June 26, 2018 at 2:23 am

Thanks for posting your thoughts on this pre-alpha. I’m incredibly excited about this already as a big fan of the first offering. It’s always great to hear feedback from real racing drivers as to the handling and sounds of the cars. A lot of us can only dream of what sitting in a real GT3 car could be like and racing titles like these are the closest we may ever get.
Also was encouraging to read that the Dev team listened to your feedback and hopefully will implement the changes you suggested to bring the immersion to an all new level.

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 10:40 am

Thanks Alex, I was equally excited by how receptive the team was. It’s really awesome to see.

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Jamie K
June 26, 2018 at 4:43 am

Every track included in ACC will or has been lazer scanned previously for AC, in terms of accuracy it’s as good as you can get with consumer level driving simulators. While tracks in Grand Turismo are mostly only measured, not lazer scanned, resulting in many inaccuracies.
“I still believe that Gran Turismo is the undisputed king in this area.” Well the general consensus of the SIM racing community is that GT is way behind interms of accuracy, with parts of a track being noticeablely and quantitatively more narrow/wide and elevation changes differing from that of reality. I would really like to know how you have come to your conclusion, genuinely curious.

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 10:39 am

Hey Jamie, no problem! First of all I know that what I say is unpopular because many people consider Gran Turismo to be an arcade game, so the assumption is that they lack in more areas besides just the physics.

The reason I am able to make a judgement call about the track accuracy is only because I’ve driven at some of the tracks in real life now.

Two examples of me using GT to learn tracks is Silverstone (GT6) and Nurburgring (GT Sport).

In both cases I spent hours on the game before I actually drove at the tracks and in both cases I was able to use the exact same reference points from the game. That blew my mind. When I arrived at Silverstone it felt like I had been there a million times before, grass, curb markings and corner radii were really on point.

Assetto Corsa is definitely the next best thing when it comes to track representation. Places like Mugello are amazingly accurate. But then besides AC what are we left with? Project Cars seems to think that Silverstone is a rally track and iRacing doesn’t even have a modern rendition of it or Spa.

Important items like markings in the grass, where a certain pole exists or the shape of curbs are equally important compared to laser scanning etc. Many games laser scan but then forget so many details surrounding the track.

Gran Turismo, in my opinion, seem to take great care in track accuracy and I think AC will do the same for Competizione.

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Javier C.A.
June 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm

It is very interesting to know the opinion of a real race driver about the tracks and how well they are simulated in the games.

Have you tried Silverstone on rFactor 2 and Raceroom? What is in your opinion the best virtual representation of Silvertone among all you have tried?

I mean both the layout (track width, elevation changes, …) and the details you mentioned.

Regards.

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Hi Javier, I haven’t played rFactor recently and have yet to try Raceroom. I can only comment on the games I’ve used though. When I get a new PC I will definitely try the sims you mention 🙂

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F13 media
June 26, 2018 at 8:32 am

Have you tried iRacing ? Their new updates with the track conditions and such are so realist!!

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 10:23 am

Hey! Thanks for the comment 🙂 Yea I used to play iRacing but it got a bit expensive and to be honest there were elements I didn’t like. For example the tracks are not as accurate or up to date as in real life. So I moved to rFactor etc. iRacing is a great sim but for me personally it is not my favourite.

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Ioannis Moumoulidis
June 27, 2018 at 1:28 am

Depending on when you tried iRacing you should try it again perhaps. From what I’ve read it has improved dramatically over the years and the laserscans for a lot of tracks are back from 2008 so the newer tracks should be accurate now. What I really lack in most sims like raceroom and assetto corsa is a proper suspension simulation and iRacing and rFactor2 have that figured out very well.

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David Perel
June 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Hey Ioannis, thanks for the comment! Once I get a PC again I will give iRacing another go, but just recently I watched a race at Spa and the curbs and reference points look nothing like real life. Laser scanning is cool but when you cannot get the color of the curbs right I start to wonder what else is missing.

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Ioannis Moumoulidis
June 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Will look forward to it. By the way back in 2008 (when iRacing scanned it) the curbs in Spa were still red white. They should do some modernizing of their tracks but they are technically acurate ^^

Matyas Kone
June 26, 2018 at 10:33 am

Hi David,
Amazing article thank you. I have question for you, you mentioned that the force feedback needs some improvement, however I think the force feedback is one of the best in the original Assetto Corsa. Can you compare to that maybe and then we can get a feeling where they are right now.

Matyas

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 11:27 am

Hi Matyas! You’re right, the FF in Assetto Corsa is really good. The problem is that at this demo we only had Thrustmaster wheels and they don’t come close to the detail you feel in a Fanatec. The kind of FF I am speaking of are details that I’m yet to feel in any game, which is what I brought up with them. Stuff like the ABS vibrations and the feeling we get on wet tyres. Hopefully those can be incorporated into the game.

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Matyas Kone
June 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Thank you for your answer. I can’t wait to try it myself 🙂

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João Dias
June 26, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Thanks for your review man, this is the kind of stuff simracing needs, so nice to have people like you building this bridge sim-to-racing. Cheers from Brazil man, see you on track!

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David Perel
June 26, 2018 at 7:19 pm

See you there João 🙂

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Russ Petersen
June 27, 2018 at 4:24 pm

I could see how this might end up being the best sim racer in terms of accuracy. They are focusing just on GT3? If so then more attention paid to fewer cars definitely will help make them even more accurate so it’s not a bad approach even though I prefer to have more disciplines available (maybe via later expansions if we are lucky). Anyways it’s a must buy regardless as is anything from the pcars developers these days. Love it.

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Marc
July 1, 2018 at 2:28 pm

Hi David,

myself using AC and RR, and Fanatec equipment.

You said once you get a PC you want to try out other sims like rF2 and RR as well.

Just wanting to tell you one thing about RR. Currently, its car classes/series use three different physics models, while they slowly shift all cars to the latest version. Once you come to testing RR, contact the Sector3 home forum or ask in any other forum, to learn what car classes then will have the latest set, since the difference is enormous since they got a new physics guru. Currently, especially the modern GT3 class is full on the new set, all cars in it, so are the latest new single car releases. These are the ones you want to try out! 😉 Most cars there are are on the slightly older physics set one generatiuon before, they do fine,t hey are okay, but less agile and dynamic. One can play with them, but they lack the sophistication of the brandnew stuff, the Touring Classics as an exmaple. Then there are a few old cars that nobody uses since their physics are aweful and several years behind, the GTX cars as an example. These you better avoid at all cost.

Raceroom is the most underrated race sim on the market currently, and it is like years. Its physics to me do not appear top be as sophisticated anc “complex” as in AC, but nevertheless they provide a believable, enjoyable ride, and the sim has the best track pool on the market. However, there are colleghaues of yours, real life race droivers, who have rated RR in their youtube channels as being better in physics. A lot depends on how the FFB is set up in game, and that can be tricky, since the yhave many sliders but explain them lousy. I am quite certain that plenty of the criticism of RR comes from this direction: FFB not well set up.

As I said, I love both AC and RR, I do not chose between the two. Will board the ACC train the day in launches.

Don’t speed the pits :),
Marc

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David Perel
July 10, 2018 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for this comment Marc. I will definitely be trying RR when I finally get a gaming PC, it’s one of the sims I’ve been most curious about. More so than rFactor or iRacing. Dave

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