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Assetto Corsa Overview
Assetto Corsa (Italian for "racing setup") is a sim racing video game developed by the Italian video game developer Kunos Simulazioni. It is designed with an emphasis on a realistic racing experience with support for extensive customisation and moddability. The simulation game was first released through the Steam Early Access programme on 8 November 2013, and officially left Early Access as final release version on 19 December 2014.
Publisher 505 Games in partnership with Kunos Simulazioni announced on 3 June 2015 that they would bring the simulation to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016 and on 20 January 2016 revealed a release date of 22 April 2016. On 24 February 2016 it was announced that the console release was delayed to 3 June 2016. 505 Games and Kunos Simulazioni announced another delay and a new release date for the console versions on 6 May 2016, the release is now set for 26 and 30 August 2016 in Europe and North America respectively.
An "extensive update" for the official Assetto Corsa website, bringing "more information about all the new content, updates, the Assetto Corsa PRO and Formula SAE programmes, and much more", was teased by Kunos Simulazioni for 2016 in a 2015 End of Year update.
Kunos Simulazioni built Assetto Corsa on the experience acquired with the development of netKar Pro and Ferrari Virtual Academy. The studio acquired practical knowledge working closely to real motorsport as their R&D office is located on Vallelunga Circuit, Italy. The game includes renditions of international circuits (surveyed using both traditional and laser scanning technology) as well as many cars from global car brands, ranging from everyday road cars to racing prototypes and historic vehicles.
Assetto Corsa started development in 2010 with a driving school project for Automobile Club d'Italia. In 2011, Kunos moved to developing the game in Unity engine, however, due to constraints of external integrability i.e. not being modding friendly, and due to long loading times, they decided to leave it be and at the end of 2011 built a new engine completely in-house from the ground up instead.
The game is coded in multiple programming languages. C++ is used for the simulation part and Go for the multiplayer server. The user interface and launcher core is coded in C#, but the interface frontend in HTML to allow users to create interface modifications. Python can be used for developing plugins for retrieving simulation data in real time. APIs used are DirectX 11 for graphics, FMOD for sound and ODE for collision detection and rigid body physics.
The Assetto Corsa Technology Preview was a playable benchmark that was released on 22 February 2013. It offered one car, Lotus Elise SC, and one track, Autodromo dell'Umbria in Magione, Italy, as well as two playing modes, free practice and time attack. The preview's main purpose was to allow users to get their first taste of the engine, test it, and report feedback. The preview required the player to own a netKar Pro license.
The game was released through Steam's Early Access programme on 8 November 2013. This service allows developers to release a functional but yet-incomplete product, such as beta versions, to allow users to buy the title and help provide funding, testing and feedback towards the final production. Through the Early Access programme the game received updates roughly every two weeks, adding new and improving existing content and features.
The Release Candidate, a feature complete version of the game, was released on 15 October 2014. The final version, following general bugfixing and performance optimizations, was released on 19 December 2014. The game continues to receive free updates, new features and paid DLC with additional content such as new cars and tracks.
In May 2015, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of the game was announced. It is published by 505 Games and set to be released on 26 and 30 August 2016 in Europe and North America respectively. Marco Massarutto, co-founder and executive manager of Kunos Simulazioni, states that the physics model of the console version is identical to the PC version and the rendering and physics engines had to be rebuilt to better utilise multi-threading - the performance targets for the PlayStation 4 are 1080p, 60FPS, with the Xbox One "matching the PS4 as closely as possible". The console version of the game is set to receive an entirely new UI optimised for use with a gamepad.
Preliminary VR support for the Oculus Rift Development Kit 1 was first added in 2013 and support was updated throughout the game's Early Access period. Work on Oculus support ceased after support for Development Kit 2, with Kunos Simulazioni citing increased difficulty in keeping the latest Oculus SDK's supported while production priorities are focused on updates for the PC version and preparation for the console release, promising "to support VR – and not necessarily only the Oculus Rift – when we will be able to take the time and resources required." In an official community poll on the official support forums (registration required), open from 2 to 9 April 2016, "VR support" reached first place with 25% of a total of 4801 votes. With the 1.6 update released on 18 May 2016 the development studio implemented pre-Alpha support for the Oculus Rift SDK 1.3, enabling support for the consumer version of the Oculus VR HMD. Thanks to a workaround using the software ReVive this version of the simulator also works with the HTC Vive. Official support for the HTC Vive is confirmed to release at a later date.
The game was designed to support extensive modification and creation of additional cars and tracks by users themselves. A special WYSIWYG editor, bundled with the game, enables importing of 3D models (in FBX file format) and allows artists to assign properties and material shaders to objects, with an emphasis on ease of use. The editor exports a single game model file and does not allow opening of, or addition of objects to, an already exported file. The game also supports addition of third party widgets and plugins written in Python, C++ and C#, for uses such as telemetry or interface enhancements.
Thanks to these features and to the success of the game, a vast and ever-growing library of mods is available. Kunos Simulazioni has decided to recognize the quality work and dedication of the modders by including some of the mods as official content of the game, such as the Shelby Cobra, Lamborghini Miura, Audi Sport Quattro and Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R V-Spec.
Assetto Corsa received mostly positive reviews. It received "generally positive" reviews from critics. It received an aggregated score of 85/100 rating on Metacritic.
Eurogamer.net writes "Kunos' solution is simple, elegant and - if there's any common sense knocking around other developers - surely a standard for all driving games that follow in its wake." and concludes "Assetto Corsa's laser focus on the driving experience works wonders - and when it comes to replicating that simple, brilliant pleasure, there's no other game right now that does it better." in its January 2015 PC review and awarded the simulation a score of 9/10 and a silver 'Recommended' label. Eurogamer.net's Italian sister-website Eurogamer.it reviewed the simulation earlier on 16 October 2014 and awarded it the same score of 9/10.
Motorsport.com's Justin Sutton writes "Assetto Corsa is a beautiful game, the result of laser-scanning accuracy and precision, with good sound, AI that needs improving, and a multiplayer community that could really benefit from more clean racers. The mods available for the sim, however, take it to the next level.", concluding: "If you’re looking for a good sim to enter the sim-racing community with, Assetto Corsa is a fantastic choice that will provide an incredible amount of cars and tracks for a one-time payment".
On 15 May 2015 Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Tim Stone put Assetto Corsa on place five of its "The 25 Best Simulation Games Ever Made" list. The game has been regularly featured in the website's simulation and wargame-focused The Flare Path section.
In its 2015 review of the PC version British automobile magazine Evo highlights Assetto Corsa's physics, writing "Some aspects that other games barely touch on, such as tyre deformation and accurate friction models, are impressively accurate", and concludes: "What Assetto Corsa neatly demonstrates is the variety available in the racing simulation game market, and also developers’ different interpretations of the term ‘simulation’. While lacking in vehicle and circuits right now, Assetto Corsa is one of the best simulations we’ve tried".
Declaring 2015 "year of the racing game", British automobile magazine TopGear's Mike Channell writes "Released at the tail end of 2014, Assetto Corsa is a spectacularly tactile PC sim that offers up a garage full of cars that will tug at your very loins". In a preview of the upcoming console version in January 2016 TopGear writes "Assetto Corsa might not have the same storied history as Forza or Gran Turismo, but it’s established its brilliance on PC already and as with just about everything built by Italians it’s forged with all-consuming passion."
Previewing the game for the upcoming console release RedBull.com's Curtis Moldrich states "Although we didn't get a chance to play the game with a controller, with a steering wheel at least, Assetto Corsa is a revolution. By embracing reality and modelling it perfectly, Assetto Corsa actually makes for a more entertaining game. Throw in super-realistic sound, solid AI and smooth graphics, and Assetto Corsa could well be the benchmark that Gran Turismo Sport, Project CARS 2 and Forza 7 will have to beat."
As of May 2016 the simulation is ranked among the most played racing sims on the Steam platform. There are more than 900 active multiplayer servers for Assetto Corsa and the simulation is used by several leagues around the world. On racedepartment.com more than 4100 modifications have been published for the title until May 2016.
Kunos Simulazioni has stated since game release that due to engine limitations and due to the small size of the software developer, the game would not support features such as wet weather conditions, rain, night racing, or multi-class racing compatible AI. According to simulation engineer James Dover the game does deliver in terms of graphics, but he reckons its physics engine "lacks seriousness". As of May 2016, various updates to the game solved or improve upon many of the listed issues like AI, netcode, physics and single player AI pitstops, and the game continues being updated in all areas with regular cadence.
Assetto Corsa Gameplay Screenshots
Assetto Corsa System Requirements
Here are the minimum system requirements for Assetto Corsa game for PC.
|CPU:||AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.8 GHz, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz|
|OS:||Windows Vista Sp2 - 7 - 8 - 8.1 - 10|
|Video Card:||DirectX 10.1 (AMD Radeon HD 6450, Nvidia GeForce GTX 460)|
|Free Disk Space:||15 GB|