So we've had the latest survey out for a while now, and voting is now closed. Some interesting responses, some..odd? But overall informative! Thanks to everyone who made a submission, I really appreciate it!
A few things first about this current season (two races left to run). Personally, i've found the GT4's to be incredibly fun cars to drive. The Alpine has a unique driving style required to make it fast (which i don't always have!), the Maserati is an absolute beast - but when tamed is amazingly fast (as evidenced by Mesa!). The tight and twisty British tracks really helped showcase some of the performance possible out of this class of cars. It's been a season of great close racing!
To the survey results. Unlike the last survey, there was no hidden messages in the questions. Mostly.
Question: Assuming we stick with ACC, which tracks would you like to use? Top ~8 tracks will likely be chosen. Vote for as many as you like, not just your top 8.
Comment: There's a few clear favourites here! Everyone clearly misses Bathurst, after not using it this season. Spa and Suzuka are also big crowd pleasers. Imola, Laguna, Nurburgring and Oulton also showed a strong showing (surprised about Oulton!). Hungaroring and Kyalami polled well, with other tracks starting to fall behind after that.
Does this mean we're going to use ALL the top 8 next season? Not necessarily ALL of them, no... But they'll most likely feature sometime soon! Despite being one of the top polling tracks, next season we're going to miss Spa (Blame covid!), but it'll be on the list next season (promise!)
Question: Should we keep the 'off week' prac sessions? Should we do something else instead? Do nothing? Up to you!
Comment: This one was interesting - i didn't think the off-week prac would have been as popular an idea as this. As you can see from my comment in orange, i wasn't sure what format we'd use for it, and thought i'd see what others stated (i voted first to avoid any influence on my vote from other results).
For some background - The idea of the 'bonus point' (singular) was to try and provide some incentive for drivers to join the session and do some 'close racing' with others, to try and minimise in-race incidents. The first few off-week prac sessions were pretty bare, only 3 or 4 drivers attending at times, but later in the season some of the newer drivers joined pretty regularly. Anyone participating in these sessions racing closely with others, coaching other drivers to improve performance etc was awarded a singular bonus point that weekend.
Anyway, i think we'll continue with the off-week prac sessions, but remove the bonus point, and just have some short and sharp sprint races. Same idea - close racing, coaching, etc.
Question: Car? Single Class (everyone races any car they want within the class), or single make (Like our previous Ferrari 488 season where we all raced the same car)?
Comment: Most respondants wanted an open choice of car make when racing, but in reality the difference isn't that great compared to those who wanted single make. Obviously 66.7% + 40% = more than 100%, so some people didn't mind either way.
The question that many will be wanting to see the answers to!
Question: What Sim games would you be happy to run with for a whole season? Not just your 'only preferred option', but if you'd be happy to run a season in F1 2021, as well as ACC, as well as AMS2, mark them all down.
Comment: A resounding win from ACC, with AC not far behind. AMS2 wasn't far off either, just one point ahead of F1 2021. One vote for "We need to do open wheel again". I assume Kartkraft and Mario Kart are the same thing, but figure anyone interested in those are the same people who voted for iRacing.
This is another interesting question...
Question: What class of racing do you enjoy/would be happy to race a full season with?
Comment: Despite Formula 1 and other open wheel formulas voting stronger than any other class, only 8 people voted for F1 2021 in the previous question. This means that while people WANT to race open wheelers (strongly) only half of them could bare to use a codemasters game to do it with. Two results for 'anything' can basically be seen as the two true racing enthusiasts, who just don't care what they race, as long as they can race. Honda Lawnmower challenge anyone?
Modern GT cars voted pretty strongly as well, but not as many voted for that as those who voted for ACC as their preferred sim - so some want GT, but not in ACC? Fair enough! Personally, i think it's one of the best GT series sims out there! V8 Supercars also voted well, so not ruling that one out for a future comp either (the handling is very different to GT cars as well).
Question: Comments section - before anything else is decided for next season, here's your chance to tell us what you want. What did you like? What didn't you like? What do you want more or less of? There's no dumb questions or comments. Shout out.
Answers: I won't go into detail for all comments in this section(some would prefer to stay confidential), but will provide some general responses that have been provided.
Some of the comments were:
- More participation from all drivers, and ways to improve retention - Me. (Any other ideas for this can be discussed in discord)
- Dynamic Weather
- Chig getting a pay rise.
- Fixed setups (multiple respondants suggested this)
- 8pm starting time
- Ditching teams
- Liked the reverse grid races
Comment: Some good comments and suggestions in here. I appreciate the kind words provided by some!
Reverse grid races have long been a feature of Atomic Sim Racing, and i'd like to keep them. Unfortunately, ACC doesn't officially support this format, because it's not a feature of the real SRO GT series - that means a fair bit of work needs to be done in server config to make it work. I've had to make up some spreadsheets that do all sorts of funky things to make it work, and while i'm okay with that, it has taken a bit of time to get 'right' (most of the time). Same goes for the "joker round" where everyone has to use the Maserati for one race, but i brought that one on myself!
Server management for ACC is a bit lacking still, despite the sim being around for a few years. It's not as mod-friendly or open as the original AC is either - that is both good and bad i guess. Luckily, the config files follow an industry standard JSON format, unlike some sims that either have their own format or just mix up formats and screw with everything (I'm looking at you Project Cars 2!). That atleast made learning the configs needed and modifying the files (and later generating configs from within the spreadsheets directly) much easier.
Dynamic weather is an interesting one - and a feature of our last two seasons has been differing but reliable weather conditions. We had fairly unique conditions for each race, some good, some bad (lets not mention Suzuka). But you always knew 2 weeks ahead of the race the EXACT weather conditions you were going to get for race night. I think it's been good, as it has allowed weather variance, but also let you have time to prepare for it - as long as you had time to practice in advance of the race weekend. Again, a limitation within ACC is that the weather config is for the whole race weekend - you can't set up specific conditions for each individual session, which answers one of the comments/suggestions made.
Fixed setups - That's also an interesting one. Most sims allow you to run fixed setups. AC does, Project Cars 2 does. Hell, iRacing does. But ACC does NOT allow for fixed setups at all. Yes, there's default safe/aggressive/wet setups available, however there's no way to enforce their use at all. Again, i'm guessing this is a restriction to do with SRO, but it could just be a philisophical design choice by Kunos.
Teams - That's another Atomic thing - but it really only works when you've got two drivers who can dedicate guaranteed time for the whole season. Not sure what we'll do with it for next season or going forward yet - opening this one up for debate on Discord please!
So, where to from here?
Well, the survey results showed two major things.
- Almost everyone is happy to use ACC for their sim.
- Almost everyone wanted to race open wheelers!
Obviously, these two don't align in any way with eachother, so there's really only one thing to do moving forward:
- Run a championship in ACC again
- Run a championship in a sim that supports open wheelers.
So as a result... I'm proposing that we run two short championships, the first of which will consist of 5 races (10 week total season including off-weeks). One championship will be run in ACC (think of is as a last hurrah (for now) for ACC), and the next championship will be run in AC - using open wheeler cars (actual car to be decided, but i'm evaluating options that should produce both good racing and are fun to drive).
Okay, i lied a little bit at the start. There was a hidden message in the survey. Sort of. There were two images:
I would expected that someone (*cough* *JBLZR* *cough*) would have worked this one out, but maybe not! Both cars are Porsche Cup cars. So, I propose:
The next season of ASR ACC (season four!) will be the Porsche Cup series (much to the surprise of those who have heard my opinions on the Porsche!).
The track list for this season, in absolutely no order at all will be:
- Laguna Seca
Spa isn't included this season, but should be next season!
The format on race night shall be:
- 6 Minute qualifying
- 15 Minute Sprint, which sets the grid for:
- 45 Minute Feature
All races shall receive equal points. No points allocated to off-race weekend practice.
Weather shall be dynamic - but hopefully not to any extremes.
That said, there will be a 4x time multiplier added to each session. ie, 15 minutes 'real' time equals 60 minute track time. This should allow for some weather transitions, but none should last too long (i hope - to be tested!)