Sunday, August 18, 2013

rFactor Series

John Marine | 9:28 PM | |
rFactor succeeded Sports Car GT back in 2005. This game from Image Space Incorporated not only continued where SCGT left off, but went crazy in offering many more kinds of cars and many more environments and races to compete in. This simulation racing game offers no shortage of racing cars or racing types for racing gamers alike. Anyone with a PC powerful enough to play rFactor would have no reason
to pass this one up. My blog post here is a look at rFactor.


BEFORE I BEGIN...

This post originated from my "John's Blog Space" blog. The version you are reading here is a revised version made exclusively for this blog. Here is the history of the blog post you are about to read. In a blog post dated back in December 2009 on JBS, this post was updated substantially on April 12, 2011. It was updated again for this blog on August 18, 2013. All of my input regarding rFactor is based on the 1.150 version of rFactor.


About the Label: rFactor

rFactor is one of the best PC racing games today with a multitude of races and race cars. Posts under this label concern the rFactor series. It may also contain a look at various mods for rFactor as part of the label's featuring.






--- rFactor at a Glance ---

Get to know rFactor with this section. Here's a picture:

rFactor
^ from: www.amazon.com - rFactor: Customize. Control. Connect.

When Sports Car GT was released back in 1998 or so, it was praised for its great racing, but also for its mod-friendly nature. One was able to create mods for the Sports Car GT engine. These mods came in the form of tracks and cars. But amid the fun of making mods for this game, the experience was completely limited. You can only choose day/dry, night/dry, day/wet, and night/wet. They are all determined on if the tracks will allow certain mods. Downloaded cars and car packages didn't have their own in-car views. Certain engines sounds were made available. As good as Sports Car GT was, there was always room for improvement, and even the best can be made better. So back around 2005, Image Space Incorporated, the makers of Sports Car GT (as well as other great racing game titles), made a game that is no doubt a TRUE and complete successor to Sports Car GT. This would be a game that may not have rain or wet effects for its tracks, but it did include dynamic time changes among other features. Detailed interiors of cars and impressive 3D graphics brought SCGT's finest features and enhanced upon them. That eventual game got a memorable name. Introducing... rFactor!

Considered by many to be the finest simulation-type racing game on the market today, rFactor is really a testament to both racing and the modding community. This is a racing game created with modding in mind. Later versions of rFactor only build upon what the original started off with. You get a fairly expansive number of cars and tracks for which to race in rFactor with. What other racing game offers all of the following right out of the box:

• sportscar racing
• open-wheel racing
• stock car racing
• a short oval
• a speedway-type oval
• a superspeedway-type oval
• a street course
• an off-road rally course

This game gives you a whole lot out of the box. You pay good money for an experience like this, and Image Space delivers again as they've done for at least a decade. rFactor was made with the sim racer in mind. It can be as forgiving or as unforgiving as the racer would like. You can race with your keyboard or any other gaming device compatible with rFactor. The hardcore set will lovingly play rFactor with a proper steering wheel assembly. rFactor is even used in a number of different driving and other simulations. It makes rFactor one of the most significant racing games of the past decade.

As much as the game offers so much out of the box, the REAL key to rFactor's success is with the modding community. People will lovingly create mods to make an already great game even more so with their own modifications. People will create their own championships and series using mods. Many cars introduce racing game fans to a variety of different cars and racing series. Many track mods help expand the already deep track lineup and offer new opportunities to enjoy racing full speed. Different utilities and add-ons only make this game even more accessible and feature-rich. If people are making all kinds of mods for a game like this and if many people are praising it, then rFactor HAS to be totally worth it, right?


SimBin Controversy.

I have mentioned the rFactor modding community. One of the other such modding sources come from mods made from SimBin games. One of the most popular- yet most controversial mods for rFactor was the FIA GT Championship mod for rFactor. What contributed to its controversy was that the mod entirely consisted of every car from "GTR FIA GT Racing Game" and GTR2." It also consisted of various tracks from both games converted for rFactor. Funny enough... the GTR series uses the rFactor game engine, known as isiMotor.

Mods created by SimBin and converted for rFactor require the user to have the proper SimBin game prior to playing the given mod(s) for rFactor.

IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED... Here is an article on VirtualR showcasing SimBin's letter to rFactor modders converting SimBin material: "SimBin Issues Modding Statement" (VirtualR - Sim Racing News).



--- Why rFactor? ---

rFactor is a racing game that allows you to enjoy great simulation-type racing across various styles of racing. Everything from sportscar racing, open-wheel racing, stock car racing, rally racing, and more can be found in this game. You get a complete racing experience that's completely customizable. The addictive nature of making and installing mods makes this game like crack for the sim racer.

(DISCLAIMER: John Marine does not endorse or condone illegal drugs or using terminology like "crack for the sim racer" as a means of expressing something. In other words- it's just an expression. Pull yourself together!)

So what's changed between SCGT and rFactor? LOTS of things!


Got Time?

You are able to do proper endurance races. Would I be joking to you if I told you that could do a 24-hour day-to-night-to-day race in only 24 minutes? You can do a full 24-hours of gaming, but the only problem is that you have to give up about 24 hours of your life to play a game for hours and hours, even while your lover tweets you and texts you wanting you to go out on a date. You may have to tell your imaginary blow-up doll the hard truth- "I'm playing a racing game for hours on end, I need my time, baby. I'ma treat you so good when I'm done racing, alright, baby?" Once your lover (whether real or fake) understands that you're pursuing the racing experience of your life, you can note that the skies go from a sunny day to a starry night beautifully. You note lights turned on around the track and also note cars turning on their lights to prepare for nighttime battle. You can set races to be decided on time, with dynamic time changes, or just set a normal race that has time fly by. You could even set a race to be decided on laps or time


Crazy Customization!

rFactor is in no way an overnight success. This game has earned all of its awards for a reason- addictiveness of modding. You can customize elements such as various game dynamics, customizing certain cars with performance parts, class racing, type of race start (standing start, rolling start, etc.), kind of race weekend, length of the race (laps, time, laps and time), flag settings, what classes will race... I'd need a seperate blog to discuss all the different nuances of this game. Basically, you CAN create your dream race weekend.


How Do You Like Your Racing?

This game is a pure sim racer. There's nothing arcade in nature about this game. All cars handle realistically. The only restriction on how you want things like damage and tire wear depends on you and your skill level. Do you increase the aggression to make for a frenzied race? Do you turn damage all the way up to 100% to where your car is guaranteed to screw your car up for the rest of the race? It's all up to you. SCGT didn't come with various driving aids. This game allows you to tone down the experience to better suit your driving skill and your racing ability.


Once you settle down, you can find several packages and settings that suit you best as you play the game.



--- Starting Out with rFactor ---

Life with rFactor is grand, isn't it? You have one of the finest and most customizable racing games on the market. But like many things in life, you have to start small.

NOTE: I bought rFactor as version 1.150, so all of what you are about to read pertains to this edition of rFactor.


The Cars.

Even Image Space Incorporated does their part to bring new tracks and cars to their own game, making it all the better. This is one of those games in which it's made better with modding. Because I'm so much of a sportscar racing fan, I'd recommend you try out the ZR Cup as it's the first championship you take part in. You race in events to make money and gain experience. Now the experience relates to being able to purchase future cars. Not all cars are available right away to purchase. On completing the ZR races, you move on to series like the Hammer cars and go all the way up to the H6 Howston cars, the best race car of the SR Class.

Prefer open-wheel? There's the OWC, Open Wheel Challenge. You start out with cars that resemble the Skip Barber Racing Series, go on to rF3 (rFactor's Formula 3 series), and to Formula IS. You even have the BMW Sauber Formula 1 race car. It's easily the fastest car in the game among cars you could race right away. If you want to start making money right away in OWC, you'll need to race with the BMW Sauber F1 cars in competition. Perhaps because of my history with this mode, I've often struggled with F1 cars. But... it's the only way to get ahead. Do you want to get those 2 million Credit Formula IS cars or what? However, you can get the rFactor-livery Formula IS cars for free without needing lots of experience points. It's a tough road ahead.

Stock car racing fans can enjoy the NSCR (National Stock Car Racing) championship where you're locked in the intense stock car racing battles that define the character of racing in the United States. You can purchase equipment sets that prepare your car for various ovals and road racing setups.

The 1.150 package I bought features the Lienz events, a series of races based in the fictional Austrian course, Lienz. Tracks range from a simple romp through the village all the way to a super-long course ranging from the village and into the mountains (that even has a 24-hour course, if you can believe it!). This series features lots of rally-type cars. The cars are peppy and fun to race.

There are many more cars for you to explore and enjoy racing with, so I'll leave it up to you to explore all the richness rFactor has to provide! I recommend you go to rFactor Central for more cars for rFactor, including mods created by ISI. Other kinds of cars and other categories of racing can be found from mods from rFactor Central.




The Tracks.

The appeal rFactor brings can be found in its cars and tracks. Out the box, you feel like you're playing multiple games at once. Tell me what other game gives you this combination of tracks:

• multiple road courses
• three ovals of varying lengths
• a street course
• some real-life circuits (Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, for example)
• a dedicated rally course

There are many more you can download to enhance your racing experience. But the tracks are all there available to race however you want, whenever you want. Hell, you can set a race to be run at midnight if you want to. Your possibilities are endless. I recommend you go to rFactor Central for more tracks for rFactor, including tracks created by ISI.

This is a quick look at each of the default courses released by ISI:

• Barcelona - race on Circuit de Catalunya, home of the F1 Spanish Grand Prix.

• Brianza - the Italian Grand Prix course around Monza is available for you to race in one of six different configurations.

• Essington - a fictional British circuit with a mix of high speed and technical corners.

• Jiading - put your racing skills to the test when you challenge the Shanghai International Circuit in three different configurations, including the Chinese Grand Prix course.

• Jacksonville - a fictional superspeedway oval similar in character to Daytona International Speedway. Enjoy high-speed battle on the high banks and straights of this tri-oval.

• Joesville - get ready for short oval track racing around this fictional short oval in Montana!

• Lienz - this is a fictional course that features multiple race courses in and around the Austrian village of Lienz. There is also an off-road configuration to enjoy your off-road racing in rFactor. So there is something for everyone with this mod.

• Mills Metropark - a great amateur-type road course with two different layouts; one of which can be run in the reverse direction.

• Montreal - the F1 Grand Prix of Canada course at Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve offers high speed battle with some tricky corners.

• Northamptonshire - this is the Silverstone Circuit, with three different variations including the Grand Prix course. Considering rFactor was released in 2005, the configuration does NOT include the new Arena configuration of today's Silverstone Circuit.

• Nuerburg - the Nürburgring Grand Prix course is a tough one to master. This game features the Grand Prix course and its short configuration, but not the 12+ mile Nürburgring Nordschleife.

• Orchard Lake - consisting of a speedway oval and an infield road course, Orchard Lake is a great place to enjoy high-speed racing. I personally use Orchard Lake's oval as a test track.

• Sardian Heights - a fictional street course with two different configurations. Get ready for an intense street fight around the tricky confines of this street course!

• Toban - this is an amateur-style race course with challenging depths. It has a number of configurations available to test you on a number of levels.


There are many more tracks you can download to enhance and expand your racing experience. So if you want more, just download away! I'll point you towards places where you can download more content for rFactor later in this blog post.



--- rFactor in Review ---

rFactor is one of the most addictive racing games of all time. It is a fantastic racing title with little or no gripes or compromises. There isn't any dynamic weather, if you want some kind of nit-pick on this game. I think if you love racing games PERIOD, you go check this game out and enjoy it. You will not be disappointed, I promise you.



--- The Future of rFactor: rFactor 2 ---

rFactor 2 was just a mere concept when I did my original post on rFactor in "John's Blog Space." rFactor now has itself a series with the coming of rFactor 2. It was released in January 10, 2012 as an Open Beta. Work is still being done to it in helping it continue what rFactor started. Most of the work done for rFactor 2 is mostly based on past mods and tracks from the first rFactor. Some of the earliest tidbits on rFactor 2 included courses like the 1960s version of Spa-Francorchamps, a vintage-style Circuit de Monaco (where the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco is held), and the Sepang International Circuit among others. Beautiful day-to-night transitions and weather effects make up rF2's more appealing bits.

My current PC can't handle rF2, so I can't say I am part of the crowd playing rFactor 2. All I can say is that Image Space Incorporated has helped design perhaps the finest racing games on PC. They have the Midas touch when it comes to racing games. So I wouldn't be surprised to see rFactor 2 continue ISI's portfolio of great racing games.





If you want to get this game now, click on this below:


^ rFactor for PC.



--- rFactor Resources ---

Visit these links by clicking on the headers. They will point you in the direction towards more rFactor content.

rFactor (official site) « Visit rFactor's official website.

rFactor 2 (official site) « Visit rFactor 2's official website.

rFactor Central « rFactor Central is the largest and most complete resource for downloading mods for rFactor. Sign up to rFC to download an entire host of mods while also following work-in-progress mods.

Simraceway « if you fancy online racing, this is where you can enter and take part in a number of competitions for rFactor.

rFactor League « Enjoy F1 racing with this rFactor League. Download packs and find many more things for which to increase your racing pleasure with rFactor.


VirtualR - Sim Racing News (rFactor Link). « Get the latest sim racing news on rFactor through VirtualR.

VirtualR - Sim Racing News (rFactor 2 Link) « If you want the latest news and notes on the upcoming rFactor 2, VirtualR has you covered with this link.


I will include more resources in the future if I can find some more that may be of interest.





And that concludes this blog post. Thank you for reading this re-made blog post!

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