What Is Racing Simulator?
Racing simulators are becoming increasingly popular because of their use of real-life situations. Sim racing brings you the closest to virtual-reality based driving. With the advancement of technology, it is no wonder that we could achieve a simulation sequence that imitates factors like real-life fuel usage, grip, tire wear, damage, and suspension setting. Simply put, all the effects of physics are imitated. It is not enough to have state of the art equipment for sim racing; you also need to understand and be ready to learn race car driving so that the knowledge acquired will be applicable in real life.
Sim racing emerged in the 1980s with games like Pole Position, it started as arcade video games that give realistic driving experience, at that time, and third-person viewpoint with vanishing summit for landscapes was not common. Sim racing really started taking off when some games started making difficult turns more realistic by forcing players to maneuver properly. In the early 2000s, game graphics had greatly improved, making some games look simply incredible, and sim racing has fully come to stay. Although it is similar to arcade racing, they are different in many ways. Arcade games focus on the player having a good time by focusing on making the game more playable; one of the most popular arcade racing games is the need for speed. Even though the interface looks very realistic with easily manipulated settings, it is easier to play using a controller than sim racing.
Sometimes, there is a thin line between arcade racer games and sim racing, and there is also a genre in between these two types called SimCade racing. There are some easy ways to differentiate between these types of racing. Sometimes, just the game’s visual interface will give you an idea of how it is played. Arcade racing games tend to lean on fictional features; you get to race through cities set in the future with your car surviving some unrealistic circumstances. Of course, this will be more fun than sim racing, especially if you add shooting shells with your car; games like this are arcade car racing games. If you want to eventually become a professional racer, you may want to go for something more realistic. Arcade racers are usually designed to be used with a controller and may have a story mode to make the game more fun.
As the name implies, Simcade racing is the merging of simulator and arcade racing, and it can be regarded as the best of both worlds. The aim of Simcade is to find the balance between the fun unrealistic arcade races and the over serious racing simulators, with Simcades being a lot easier to manipulate than racing simulators but still follow some laws like racing simulators. This type of game has a very large audience because not everyone is looking for real life racing experience; it offers various vehicles and track type. Some of the settings will be easy to customize; things like fuel consumption and tire wear, which might have been restraining in a racing simulator, can be adjusted in a Simcard. Simcades can also be played using a controller or a racing rig.
As earlier said, racing simulators focus on realistic racing. Because of this, they are not as popular as arcade racers. In the car racing world, game names like Forza Horizon, Dirt Rally, Mario kart, need for speed, assetto Corsa, and so on are usually in the simcade or arcade racer category. The detail level that goes into creating a racing simulator is immense; this goes beyond just getting the graphics of the tracks right. The feel of tires on the tracks and the track’s surface is imitated by scanning actual tracks for this information. This is why it is difficult for beginner racers to start their racing journey with racing simulators. It is also not appropriate to use a controller for a sim racing game, and a high-class racing rig is preferred to get the best experience.
It is not all about fun and games when it comes to racing simulators. Real racers use it as a mode of practice before the real deal. The simulation you get may vary according to the type of racing rig in use; quality racing rigs will give the best immersion and imitate what drivers go through when racing. Driving teams invest in this kind of game so that everyone can practice as much as possible without the dangers of real racing involved. There are a lot of advantages of racing simulators. Finding the right game that will suit you, the sim racing setup, and the level of reality involved in your sim might be the only problem involved. When that is settled, your sim racing journey can begin.
WHAT RACING GAMES ARE RACING SIMS USED FOR?
Racing sims are becoming popular. All racing sims have their video game counterparts, while not all racing video games are sims. Some arcade racing games may seem archaic, but they were the pioneers that made sim racing possible; games like the need for speed where you are being pursued and have to enter the race after race really set the stage for Sim Racing. My summer car helps in learning the mechanics of cars, letting you understand the minute details involved in building a car and driver San Francisco, which gives an interesting feel despite not being a recent game.
Racing games that racing sims are used for include: IRacer, Arsetto Crosa, grand Prix, dirty rally, grand Turismo sport, project cars, rfactor, F1 2019, Forza Motorsport, and race room. Some of these games have specific setups that will all be suitable to start sim racing. Anyone can start playing these games when their setup is ready. The simulator used for the racing games will give you the virtual simulation with the right equipment; they the further emphasize some of these games later in the article.
THE COMPETITIVE WORLD OF SIM RACING
Sim racing is what the world turned to when the coronavirus’s recent outbreak caused real races to be canceled. With these new developments, many professional racers are getting in on sim racing’s online fun; this means that the competition of race simulators just got fiercer. Each game has its online community and top racers loyal to the game; one game that got a lot of attention recently is the IRacer’s NASCAR race. Pick a game that you love, and get started on becoming a pro at that game, some games focus more on realism, so you have to study the impacts of certain actions for each game before you can be a pro at it.
If you want to enter the competitive world of sim racing, you should consider hiring a coach to tutor you on the basics. Some of the players on sim racing games have had one or two real-life experience with racing. You will be competing against the best. To make it to the top of sim racing, you have to get as much preparation as you can. This also has to do with the tools used for racing. Although most racing equipment is expensive, professional players spend five figures to get the perfect racing setup, which will affect their performance in the games. You can get started with a basic racing rig set up then upgrade when you get better at the game.
Most race simulator games will let you join a team. By doing this, you will be more motivated to perform better because you may represent your team in some local competitions. Joining a team will help to drastically improve your skills. You will not only meet racers that will give you one or two pointers, but you will also have a more fun experience than you would have when driving alone. A good way to search for a team is through social media. Some big teams will have a Facebook group where they can communicate outside the game and strategize.
The last step of becoming a professional sim racer is to join online tournaments. Most of these tournaments are open to anyone who enters, with the winner getting some serious cash out of it. The cash prizes are usually in thousands of dollars. If you make it to the top tier, you will be invited to race tournaments and live events. There are some famous racers with YouTube pages that you can learn from. It is best not to immediately force yourself to start making money from sim racing; the building up process is fun, and it provides invaluable experience.
When you make a name for yourself in sim racing, you will be open to opportunities like sponsorship, donations for you to try out and advertise new products, streaming life plays on YouTube where you make money as a vlogger, and winning racing cash prizes.
SIM RACING AT HOME, WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED
There are a lot of items you can purchase to make the racing simulation feel more real; one thing you should keep in mind is that whatever high tech gear you purchase3, sim racing is not real, so do not start the endless chase for the gears that will give you the most realistic experience because a lot of companies will promise exactly that. Different people have different opinions on the gears that are important and the ones you can do without. This part of this article will shed some light on what we think you should start with. Want to know how you can join in on the sim racing community without spending a fortune? Sip some coffee because you are about to discover the beginner’s kit to racing.
- A computer system (PC)/ console
This is the first thing that will help you get started racing. You should not just buy any type of system for gaming; it may not be able to keep up with the game’s demands. You should get a system specifically built for gaming. Yes, it will be very expensive, especially if you need some personal customization that some games have needed before it can function optimally. PC is a good choice for potential long term gamers because it has a multifunctional purpose. A gaming PC’s upgrades will also enable you to use other high-end software easily. If you don’t want to invest too much for your first try at gaming, go for a console, this is trickier because you may have to decide on the racing game you want to play since some are exclusive to particular consoles. There has been a long time rivalry between Xbox and Play station to determine which is better for gaming; the choice is completely up to you. If you have previous experience with any one of them, you should go for that particular one.
Games like IRacer only works with PC, and some wheels can only perform certain tasks with PC setting only. You will also need to buy a TV with a large screen and good graphics definition to enjoy racing if you do not already have one. It all comes down to whether you want to take racing simulators seriously or not.
- Your preferred racing game
There are a lot of popular racing games that will be mentioned later in the article. Some of these games have the specific gaming console they work with, while others work with all types of gaming methods. There are tons of racing simulator games that work with either PC or console; some of the popular games will be mentioned further in the article so you can pick the one to start with. Some of the settings which make the game customized to suit one’s taste are only available on PC. If you are very specific about what you want, this is another advantage a PC has over a console.
- Mode of hearing sounds
It will be just rude to play a racing game without a way to mask the sound it makes, and if you live alone with your neighbors staying miles away, by all means, you can play without headphones. If not, your best bet is to get a gaming headset. Some gaming headphones are made specifically for sim racing, allowing you to get the best sound experience as well as enable you to communicate with your teammates. Some of the best headphones pick the Philips Fidelio X2HR. If it is too expensive, you could always consider the Philips SHP9500. A good sound system is very important because its instructions may make or break team races. You get to hear calls from teammates that are watching your back; you can also apologize for your mistakes while playing in order to reduce conflicts, It is also a better way to discuss strategies and organize yourselves as opposed to texting, and it doesn’t hurt to crack jokes while playing with your teammates.
Alongside getting extra kits for better sound, you can also invest in your visuals of the game, this option is not available for all sim racing games yet, but some games offer a VR mode. With a good VR system, you can get the 360 degrees view of your game for PlayStation users; it has its compatible play station system. PC users have to make sure their PCs are strong enough to support the virtual reality mode.
- Mode of car control
One of the sim racing setup’s core components is the steering wheel that The racer will use for car control. This is the one part a car cannot function without, there are a lot of wheels that have been produced, and some are more luxurious and expensive with extra features while there are more affordable ones. They all perform the same function the wheel of a car would perform, with some wheels having higher force feedback than others. After the ultimate race simulator experience, you can try out the direct drive wheel, which is the most similar to race car wheels, but it is very expensive. Wheels that give force feedback are less expensive and are ideal to start with, and you will feel the turns of the tires, bumps, and grip using a belt-driven force feedback wheel.
Wheels usually come with a pedal set. The more expensive wheelset you buy, the more quality your extra pedal and shifter set will have. Pedals are usually made of plastic, plastic mixed with metal and metal entirely, respectively. Some wheelset will include an extra pedal that The racer can use with a manual shifter, sometimes you will have to buy this separately. You should start with a set that is not too expensive and then upgrade later on when you get the hang of the game.
Your simulator rig or cockpit is the last piece of the ensemble to get you started, and this is where you mount your wheels and pedals to complete the whole setup. If you want to be budget-friendly, you can only buy a wheel stand to mount your wheel and pedal. You will have to pull up a chair and get a desk for your TV or PC. This may not be ergonomically suitable and may leave your body stiff afterward. A rig is advised for the best experience, a good company to get your cockpit from is play seat, it has a sitting room set up for the wheel and pedal, it is also set up like a real racing car seat and may include a mounting position for your TV, there are different models of cockpits, and some are budget-friendly with the more expensive ones providing more comfort and realism during the gameplay.
GAMES THAT ARE POPULAR IN SIM RACING
Racing games have had a massive boost due to the recent lockdown protocols. Professional racecar drivers turned to popular racing simulators for practice and also to compete with other people. Racing games are sometimes specifically only available in pcs because it gives a more realistic experience; you can also choose to play online while racing, the computer will probably set you up with drivers with similar levels as it has perceived you to be in. keep in mind that you can’t just start racing the best of the best from the onset. After getting all your sim racing gear, the next step is to pick the racing game you want to stay with. These popular games have been tested and trusted by a lot of people; here are some racing simulator games to get you started.
• ARSETTO CORSA COMPETIZIONE
This is one of the most popular racing games available, as the name implies, an Italian developer made it. It can be played on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, and Xbox. Arsetto Corsa focuses on getting the realism of racing down to a T; you will also feel the sensation of bumps along the track that are common in real life. Alongside this feature, Arsetto Corsa is also easily customized. You get to set the variables you are comfortable racing with, like tire pressure, suspension setting, and gear ratios. In short, there is an extensive range of options that impacts how the racer will enjoy the game.
Arsetto Corsa is mostly played with PC because of the extra downloadable features created by fans. An interface has a Ferrari themed pack that the game’s developer personally created. Arsetto Corsa has this easily manipulated customization and allows other players to create custom application packs that can be used with the game puts makes it one of the best racing simulator games in existence.
When you have a good racing rig, Assetto Corsa brings the game to life by supporting your wheel’s 900° rotation. So yes, this rotation’s full effects will be visible in the game, making it very lifelike.
IRacing is popular for its use by professional racers. Some people may be turned off because there is a subscription requirement for IRacing, but when you consider that you may get to play with actual racing stars, it shouldn’t be a problem because it is worth every penny for the experience you get. IRacing also has a massive e-sport fan base that makes the game one of the best; it has even been featured on FOX, giving us a virtual IRacing races experience. Along with the monthly subscription, you will have to purchase some cars and race tracks. Although it seems like an endless stream of purchases accompanies IRacing, imagine a race you are involved in being broadcasted life for a wide audience. Of course, this won’t happen without hard work, and your investment will only pay off when you strive to become among the best so that you can race with the best.
Due to the strict policy IRacing has for reckless drivers, and you will not only feel safe racing without any danger to your physical body; your virtual properties are kept safe too. Constant updates on IRacing have also ensured that it keeps up with the latest trends and demands from its popular online community. The most distinguishing feature of IRacing is that as a start, you can race by yourself to know your limits, as you get better, you can play with the AI to test your improvements. You can proceed to play online with other players which may or may not include professionals racers. I don’t know about you, but the idea of beating a professional at his own game makes the monthly subscription and purchases sound like a good deal.
IRacing’s main focus is on competitive racing. It has four seasons where racers will compete for the top position, it is a festival for IRacing veterans, so it follows real racing rules. You should expect to experience whatever one will experience in a racing competition; even the cars are similar models of the real deal. It goes a step further to include a day and night interface, which will make it more competitive because the low visibility of the night interface is also included for extra realism. The experience to be gained from IRacing is mind-blowing. It is also only available on Windows PC.
• GRAN TURISMO SPORT
GT sport is fully backed up by Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). This is very impressive because it follows the rules of FIA and features real FIA racing series. It also has a large array of cars and tracks but adds some fictional tracks into the mix, this may be off-putting for racers that want only the realistic interface, but it is a fun way to race from a different perspective.
Anyone can also play GT sport on PS4 with a VR setting that lets the user view the game from a 360° angle, and this means that when you turn your head, you can see the side landscapes. The interface is one of the best graphic models in racing games; it also provides realistic sounds for the cars and engines. The downside of this game is that it relies on a strong Internet connection to make the most use. Due to the high online activity, you may be able to get willing players to race against different day times.
• F1 2019
Yes, you guessed it right F1 is the official game of the formula 1 2019 World championship. If you’re a real formula 1 fan, this game is definitely for you. Most people will argue that this isn’t a real sim racing game because it imitates a past world championship, but its online fan base will strongly disagree. The game isn’t always about racing famous stars, using popular cars, and joining your favorite teams. You can also customize your vehicle features, create your tournaments and participate in weekly challenges.
Formula 1 is a classic sport that many race lovers admire. Although the game has come across a lot of critical acclaims, there is no doubt that it is unique and the only one of its type because the racing league approves it. Sure it doesn’t add the realism element fully but it so a very interesting game.
• PROJECT CARS 2
Project cars 2 is available for Xbox, PC, and PS4. Not all racing simulator games can be this versatile. It is relatively new compared to other racing games since the first project cars were released in 2015, the more upgraded version, project car 2 was released in 2017, so you can bet that it takes full advantage of modern technology. Project car 2 takes simulation to the next level, as GT3 cars, indie cars, and rally cars are available and most of the famous racing tracks in real life like the Monza and so many more. Another cool thing about the project cars two game is that its extra realistic interface even imitates the grip changes throughout the race. A driver may be forced to change strategies and adapt to difficult situations.
You can also alter the cars’ settings used in project cars 2; the cars are very similar to their real-life counterparts and are updated to the latest models frequently. You will also hear high-quality sounds that are the same as the type the cars will make in real life. It is a great blend of fun racing and virtual real racing.
• FORZA HORIZON
As with other racing games, Forza Horizon has a variety of cars and tracks, but one thing that sets it apart from the weather is the provision of different seasons like winter, autumn, spring, and summer. This will help the user adapt to changes caused by weather elements. This in itself is another challenge on its own. Forza Horizon also has its own racing championships and tournaments that make potential new racers improve in their skills. The best thing about Forza Horizon is the James bond car pack that will lead you straight to the classic Aston Martins.After the original Forza Horizon game in 2012, there has been several updates featuring newer models of cars, the latest being Forza Horizon 4, if you want newer models of cars, you should definitely start with the latest installment.