What rFactor 2 Online Has To Get Right

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rFactor 2's Online beta candidate has revived a sim that many had given up on. With healthy player numbers and a consistent weekly release of content, rF2 needs to capitalize on this momentum for the full release - and there are important elements to get right.

With the virtual Le Mans drama in early 2023 in addition to aging content, rFactor 2 was dead and buried for a lot of sim racers. However, Studio 397 did not give up that easily.

With the release of rFactor 2's impressive new online beta candidate came a wealth of new and returning players to the sim.

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So what does Studio 397 need to have nailed down when their new online mode hits the main game? What does rFactor 2 Online have to get right?

Online Server Stability​

rFactor 2 Online struggled with server stability throughout the first four weeks of being live. Apparently, enough players tried to race to reach the AWS server limit. Could this same problem rear its ugly head again when the online mode is fully released into the game?

Consistency, transparency and honesty are vital for such a major change to a game's fabric. To ensure rFactor 2 Online's momentum continues for years to come, server preparation and an accurate estimate of player numbers need to be executed correctly.


Studio 397 appears to be on top of this problem, however. In recent weeks, complaints relating to servers have significantly decreased, showing that rFactor 2 Online is heading in the right direction in this regard.

Track and Vehicle Combination Variety
rFactor 2 has a healthy pool of good-quality content to choose from. Whether you prefer open-wheel racing or banging doors on the ovals, Studio 397 and the modding community have you covered. So why have we not seen a large majority of what this diverse simulator has to offer?

Of course, this is also an issue of quality control. Mods would need to be checked for compatibility and their overall completeness. While modding opens the door for spectacular community-created content, tracks and vehicles that are sub-par are also part of the equation. Quality control can be quite time-consuming, however, so we probably should not expect too much third-party content to appear on the schedule.

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Moving forward into the full release, Studio 397 should aim to implement a broader range of events. The beginner, intermediate and advanced setup works with the current player base, however, when the majority of the players have access to the new mode, it will get repetitive very quickly for casual and hardcore players alike.

Utilizing Content​

Individuality is hard to come by in sim racing with a lot of simulators having the same tracks and cars available. However, rFactor 2 has some of the most unique available in the sim racing space. Studio 397 needs to use that to its advantage when transitioning into the full-release state.

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GT3 cars at Spa and Touring Cars at Donington Park have a shelf life dependent on the userbase interest. Creating car and track combinations players cannot find on other sims will likely be key to rFactor 2 online thriving in its full-release version. The lack of oval and karting content, when both exist in a plethora, cannot be excused in the main release.

Creative Use Of Special Events​

The special events tab in rFactor 2 Online has only been used for generic weekly events so far. The most notable was the swansong to the GTE class of endurance cars. However, the special events section of rFactor 2 Online has a lot of untapped potential. With the content on offer, if the mode is not utilized efficiently at full release, it could slam on the brakes for rFactor 2's momentum.

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Even though TOCA has cancelled the BTCC license, an unofficial touring car calendar to run alongside the BTCC could also generate interest at release.

The IMSA license may safely lay in the hands of iRacing, but the unofficial recreation of events such as the Daytona 24 could certainly be undertaken with the diverse selection of endurance cars in Factor 2's store. GTE and LMP2 cars, even though they are at the end of their life cycle in real racing, are both available, as well as several GT3 cars.

rFactor 2 Online's Licensing and Security​

Licensing issues have plagued not only rFactor 2 but Motorsport Games' future releases over the last quarter of 2023. Cutting 40% of its workforce included the Motorsport Games Australia, which handled KartKraft the IndyCar project. Official licenses are disappearing from Motorsport Games' arsenal left, right and centre.

After the IndyCar project was scrapped, the championship separated from Motorsport Games. Consequently activating a clause in the contract that could potentially sink MSG as a company. However, it's not just Indycar that will be chasing Motorsport Games for not fulfilling a legal agreement.


TOCA, the organisers of the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) are reportedly owed in the region of $800,000. With all these licenses going so horribly wrong, is there a future of rFactor 2 Online amidst all this havoc - just as it is on an upswing again? We certainly hope so.

What aspects do you think rFactor 2 Online needs to nail at release? Let us know over on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments below
About author
Connor Minniss
Website Content Editor & Motorsport Photographer aiming to bring you the best of the best within the world of sim racing.

Comments

The servers have become very stable, for me the thing that's not going well is the free content which is too old and doesn't give a good image of rF2, only the BMW M2 is good, the Tatuus and the Radical aren't great to drive with bad sounds and old graphics, they need to change that or not put them forward just like some of the circuits, Mores, botniaring, Atlanta MP have to be redone!...
 
Yes content is the big issue and the variety thereof, even for the nonfree stuff. The problem is variety of tracks rather than cars IMO.

Other issue that they didnt do right is that the laat split still has anywhere from 5 to <full split> drivers, they dont distribute equally over the splits. What this means is that if you are in this split you might as well not bother for longer races, because there is sizeable chance you race against <10 players and you only know this after server starts. You would think after 2 years of alpha/beta CP system this would have been programmed.

The other oppottunity for special events is multiclass (gte, gt3, lmp2), that was cool with LFM.

The server stability is still bit of issue. Again you wonder after 2 years that spinning up server does not work reliably... But its much better than a year ago.

Other than that its very nice. And its free for now. I hope they sort out the last split issue sooner rather than later and the whole thing does not go under with MSG...
 
As far as im concerned they're getting it all right atm, the latest update to the RC build has improved it even more, its now so easy to see where you've progressed and how, exactly where you are gaining and loosing, and tones of details easily accessible about the race, and you can go back and check them any time!

Also the quality of the racing, its just brilliant! And with RF2's physics and netcode it might aswell be sponsored by Dulux as you can race low powered tin tops so close you can paint swap every lap! Like this race, and this is begineer class! I absoloutely love it!
 
Premium
Yes content is the big issue and the variety thereof, even for the nonfree stuff. The problem is variety of tracks rather than cars IMO.

Other issue that they didnt do right is that the laat split still has anywhere from 5 to <full split> drivers, they dont distribute equally over the splits. What this means is that if you are in this split you might as well not bother for longer races, because there is sizeable chance you race against <10 players and you only know this after server starts. You would think after 2 years of alpha/beta CP system this would have been programmed.

The other oppottunity for special events is multiclass (gte, gt3, lmp2), that was cool with LFM.

The server stability is still bit of issue. Again you wonder after 2 years that spinning up server does not work reliably... But its much better than a year ago.

Other than that its very nice. And its free for now. I hope they sort out the last split issue sooner rather than later and the whole thing does not go under with MSG...
I think the splits thing is sorted in the latest build.
I really like it but have struggled to find time for the silver races, every two hours and a longer race. But I loved the rookie races.
 
I never raced online before, but with this new online system in rF2 I took the plunge. Being used to AI drivers only, it was a completely new experience for me, but I like it! Some races were a disaster (get hit by reckless driving), but most races went quite well and there was good racing.

I also discovered some great new car/track comb’s, but after a few weeks would like some more variety in cars. I own all DLC content and would like to use these as well. I have a silver safety rating now, so can also race the intermediate races now, but they are only every 2 hours and I only have limited time available. So hourly intermediate races would also be very welcome.
 
I can second the concern with the content and its variety.

I believe, in long-term the competition system will be sustainable only if the influx of new content is secured, which unfortunately i don't foresee now.

Also, the lack of mods is a huge limiting factor compare to the leagues or LFM.
 
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The servers have become very stable, for me the thing that's not going well is the free content which is too old and doesn't give a good image of rF2, only the BMW M2 is good, the Tatuus and the Radical aren't great to drive with bad sounds and old graphics, they need to change that or not put them forward just like some of the circuits, Mores, botniaring, Atlanta MP have to be redone!...
I got to agree with this to some extend. I don't think that the amount of content and it's variety is an issue though. They have tons of nice tracks as starter content with many different configurations. What's holding it back a bit is the varying quality of the content. If they updated Sepang, Interlagos, NOLA, AMP, Palm Beach, Toban, Mills, Lester, Estoril and finaly released the replacement for Silverstone they would have some very decent starter content in terms of variety.

Same goes for the cars. I quite like the Tatuus cars and the Radical in terms of handling, but they are in dire need of a visual update and sound overhaul. There is actually tons of free starter content in the sim, but it needs to brought up to a similar level. The Clio Cup car, the 370z would be fun entry level cars. They could even host historic content but let's rather not start talking about the visual and sound quality of that stuff. The old USF2000 is excellent and there is a big backlog of cars that would be great to race if their quality was decent. Boxmaster races would be cool aswell.
 
rFactor 2 was dead and buried for a lot of sim racers. However, Studio 397 did not give up that easily.

All that indicates is when the going gets tough your average simmer throws in the towel.
rF2 supporters never gave up !
I still think you miss the point, best years of rF2 have past in that it has always driven as good as it does now. You just spent your time driving forklifts and shopping trolleys.
:p
 
Novices should only be open to novices and use novice lap records.
Increase X real road so you can start with lighter rubber to actually feel some difference over a few laps ( 15 minute race)
Use 1 x Heavy rubber you not notice any change no matter how long the race.
Longer races should be x 0.2 - 0.5 real road.
Change tyre and fuel usage randomly in Ama / Pro rooms.
 
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Massive is subjective, I look at Belgium, Italy and the Historic Open Wheel and Howston none have been updated. Have you tried WooChoos mod on 1000km Italy ? lol Spectacular imo.

Let me guess first remark would be that the cars have no brakes lol ;)
Yes they didn't stop back then.
AMS2 and AC Historic in comparison unrealistically can stop on a dime but they get no "problem" for that. :coffee:
 
These issues are minor in comparison to what I've dealt with in other sims in the past year...

You can tell there's been a lot of eye candy fan driven content on here lately...

Massive is subjective, I look at Belgium, Italy and the Historic Open Wheel and Howston none have been updated. Have you tried WooChoos mod on 1000km Italy ? lol Spectacular imo.

Let me guess first remark would be that the cars have no brakes lol ;)
Yes they didn't stop back then.
AMS2 and AC Historic in comparison unrealistically can stop on a dime but they get no "problem" for that. :coffee:

Yeah AC and AMS2 have a fair drop off when you are comparing physics... AC has it's believable mods where it's been fudged the right way... But when you want a believable ride for any historical context it's rF2 all the way...

S397 took a few years to figure out the tyres but they got there...
 
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It would be ideal if there was popular content that was free. Include ONE GTE car in the base game or something and set up a main series with all GTE. GT3/GTE are popular so give new people at least a taste. I am not a huge fan of modern GT but you can't deny it IS the draw so leverage that.

The M2 sucks imo and the shift protection in the GT3 is just flat out broken. They need to fix that. The free Radical is pretty awesome as is the USF 2000. I would suggest the BMW DTM but that unfortunately drives like a cartoon and sounds like a leaf blower.
The historic F1 cars in RF2 are so amazing but sadly so few want to race them. but it would be cool if they hosted a season.

It would also be nice if Reiza ever filled their promise to update their content, but they are already a year or two late on that promise so I won't count on it.
 
In my opinion, at first they need to update the outdated content, especially on track, because the combos of the rookie series it repetitives. Malasia, Interlagos, Estoril would be a great addition to de online system. I dont know if there is any issue with the license, but if there is not, they should. In terms of cars, I like the force feedback of the radical, but the graphics are horrible to be honest.
 
It would be ideal if there was popular content that was free. Include ONE GTE car in the base game or something and set up a main series with all GTE. GT3/GTE are popular so give new people at least a taste. I am not a huge fan of modern GT but you can't deny it IS the draw so leverage that.
That might be, but since you can buy rf2 for literally a few euros a few times per year, they’d like to make some money on his free service. Going people a free car from a popular service is no guarantee that they’ll buy the full set.

Compared to some other popular online sims it’s pretty cheap even if you buy 4 or 5 dlc cars. Otherwise, base content should be sufficient for those. I prefer this over more free cars but monthly service subscription.
 
Premium
The online stuff is still only available in the release candidate, so we'll need to see what happens when it's available to all.
Realistically we should consider that this is also a beta test for LMU.

The beginner races MUST use ONLY cars and tracks that are available for free.
Expected newbies to by rF2 and then find that to go online racing they need to spend more on additional DLC is not going to sit well. We have people that already think rF2 DLC is expensive ( but that's a different topic ).
The flip side of this is that the free content may well not be up-to-date BUT we can't expect S397 to update that content when it's generating no additonal income.
The "solution" is to do exactly what they have done... given away free up-to-date DLC when people signed up to the RC - the BMW in this case.
However, they can't just give-away stuff for free... so we'll have to see what happens
 
However, they can't just give-away stuff for free... so we'll have to see what happens
I was happy to see the they give such a fun car for free! But there's a bigger problem nobody talks about. I don't think they can run online servers and cover additional costs of devs, server and race admins without charging money for it. RF2 player base is not as big as iRacing. How many cars they can sell? Realistically speaking all online services require subscription. If they can at least provide a free tier of for example 2 races in a month I will be happy.
 
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