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About ExistentialSolid

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  1. Assetto Corsa and the Final Stretch - Update #6 This is it. Three hotlaps are all that stand between me and the platinum trophy. In this quick update, I'm going to walk you all through my experience with the first of these hotlaps while discussing some of the difficulties associated with Nordschleife, the "Green Hell" that these three laps take place on. Learning Nordschleife... Up to this point, the average length of a hotlap in Assetto Corsa hovered around the minute and 40 second mark with the longest lasting no more than 3 minutes. Nordschleife, however, throws convention out of the window with laps that take over 8 minutes to complete. To call the 20+ kilometer track "massive" would be an understatement. Now wait a sec. What does the length of the track have to do with anything? Surely an 8 minute track isn't that fundamentally different from a 2 minute track. The problem in learning a lengthy track like Nordschleife is that your memory is going to have a much more difficult time keeping up. Once every 8 minutes, you'll drive off the road in exactly the same place because you've forgotten the mistakes of your last lap. Once every 8 minutes, you'll make an improvement only for the muscle memory to crumble by the next pass. Delayed repetition makes each and every turn in Nordschleife incredibly unforgiving. Flurries of mental notes have to build for hours before they ever cascade into an avalanche of tangible improvements. It can quickly feel discouraging. It will be especially tempting to restart as soon as you make a mistake, but doing so will only hurt you in the long run. Before you know it, you'll have mastered the first few minutes of the track only to botch the last few minutes because you haven't practiced the latter half enough. Taking your mistakes in stride and finishing each lap is the most important part of the battle. I spent my first two days learning Nordschleife (1-2 hours each day) angrily mashing restart before I learned this lesson. Will video references help? For some, absolutely. Analyzing either your own replays or the replays of others is a fantastic way to ingrain sections of the track into your memory faster than the 8 minute-per-pass limit the track imposes on you. For me, the passive, studious approach just didn't gel with my playstyle. I wanted to get out there and drive even if my progress suffered for it. So I turned off the reference video, settled into my chair like a slug burrowed under a few particularly cozy pebbles, and started driving. I drove and I drove and I drove. Before I knew it, I had spent 10 hours in a single day (with breaks, don't worry! πŸ˜…) looping the track like someone that had completely lost touch with reality. This lap is the result... Alfa 4C Versus Green Hell After watching the lap back, I'm so proud of how far I've come. Is the lap perfect? No, it's nowhere close to perfection. But you know what? A month ago, I didn't even know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. I would watch reference runs over and over trying desperately to understand what I could be doing better. Now, I feel confident enough in my driving to tackle any hotlap without a video to guide my every move and can tame a manual like someone with actual driving experience. I've learned so much and I'm excited to finally finish this! [The next update will feature my final two hotlaps and conclude my time with Assetto Corsa! Thank you for reading! πŸ™‚]
  2. Thanks, I really appreciate the support! πŸ™‚ It's never too late to give the genre another spin! You've got 20 years of real-life experience to draw from in understanding how to drive a manual more effectively compared to an amateur like me, so if you ever find a racing sim that's calling your name, I hope you're not afraid to jump in and start learning. For me, learning how to drive manual has been one of the most satisfying journeys in gaming I've had in a long time and I bet you'd enjoy the journey too! I mean, I have very little sim racing experience, even less IRL driving experience, and I'm probably the least knowledgeable driver in this entire thread, πŸ˜… but I didn't let that stop me from trying Assetto Corsa anyway. Limits are often just imaginary barriers we place in front of ourselves to justify our complacency and have little to no bearing on our actual potential. I genuinely believe that just about anyone reading this thread could earn the Assetto Corsa platinum if they were determined enough. I honestly don't think you have much to worry about. You've already finished one of the hardest hotlaps in the game and, based on the long list of racers you've finished, you clearly have the dedication needed to get this done! The amount of research you're willing to do to find the right setup for each hotlap is going to be the most important factor in trying to assess how long AC will take you to complete. In some cases, you could spend a dozen hours trying to clear a hotlap with a poor setup whereas you might breeze through it in 20 minutes with a great setup. Like @Don_carlito94 mentioned, playing through every event without traction control is probably going to make your job a lot more difficult than it needs to be. I know you've dedicated far more time to sim racing than I have, so maybe it's just a preference that's grown on you, but some cars are going to be nightmares to drive without it. If I could recommend anything, it would be to reconsider that preference before diving into the rest of the hotlaps to save yourself some headache, but I'm sure you'll manage no matter what you choose to do. Thanks, that really means a lot! I'm excited to see what sorts of improvements I see in my driving going from Assetto Corsa to whichever racing sim I tackle next (whenever that may be). There's still so much to learn and I'm looking forward to finding my next fix. Thank you! All of your tips, advice, and setup links are the reason I've made it this far at all, so I really can't credit you enough for any success I've had in Assetto Corsa. I'll do my best to finish strong! πŸ˜„ I wish I could say I've done my homework, but, outside of the reference videos I used to get these laps done, my teacher was the lap delta timer. πŸ˜… It was like a constant source of feedback that would tell me, "nope, that turn was terrible, you've lost 0.2 seconds" or "excellent turn, you've gained 0.3 seconds." Learning what was saving time and what was losing time was something I gradually internalized through this vicious feedback system until my driving was sufficient enough to earn gold medals. The TCS switching technique was something I learned from VirtualNight's videos (imo, their playlist is the single best resource for hotlap references), and my silly explanation for why it seemed to work was kinda just guesswork. When it comes to racing, I feel a little like a toddler trying to lecture to a classroom full of professors. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that almost everyone that has commented in recent weeks has a more developed understanding of racing than I do, so I just have to do my best to stay in my lane as the amateur that I am and try not to say anything too silly. πŸ˜‚ Some of the turns on Norschleife can be brutal and most of my laps have been invalidated because I go off track, but it really is an exciting course to drive around! I'm looking forward to getting destroyed one last time before the credits roll. I'm excited to hear that I've made several of you more interested in trying Assetto Corsa after my experience with it. 😁 The hotlaps have been such a joy to play through and I'm sure most players looking for a challenging racing experience would enjoy pushing themselves to get these done. Speaking of GT, Assetto Corsa has made me more interested in the genre as a whole, so I might have to pick up GT7 in the near future to get my next dose! Thank you, I really appreciate it! 😁 I'm not really sure if I've ever driven on the Nurburgring before. There's a good chance I've driven on sections of the track in older racing games over the years, but it would have been too far back to remember. It is a gorgeous track though and it contrasts really well against all of the flat, organized terrain that you typically see in the other courses. If GT7 has great license exams when it releases, I'll definitely have to check it out. I wasn't very patient with racing games when I was younger, so I've been hesitant to play anything other than arcade racers in recent years, but Assetto Corsa has done a great job demonstrating that sim racers can be enjoyable, and highly rewarding, experiences. I'll be keeping an eye out for more in the future. I don't mind at all! In fact, I appreciate all the feedback I can get. πŸ˜‚ I'm pretty sure I know exactly what you're talking about and I've struggled trying to find a solution to curb rounding. For turns that are especially sharp or drawn out, I have trouble figuring out how wide the entry (and exit) needs to be to maximize my speed through the corner. Often times, when I try to guess, my lap delta starts to plummet and I get discouraged from trying anything other than riding the curb since it doesn't seem to lose too much time. It's also a bit trickier for me to gauge entry speed when taking a turn wide, but I'd imagine more practice should iron issues like that out over time. Being aware of the problem is the first step! Thanks, I'll try my best! 😀
  3. Assetto Corsa and the Devouring - Update #5 Hey everyone! In my last two updates, I showed you all my first few moments with a manual transmission and told the story of how I earned my first Hotlap gold medal. Four long weeks have passed since that day and it's finally time we shifted our attention to the present. Today, we're going to be taking it easy and running through some of my hotlap highlights over the past four weeks. I hope you're ready because I've kinda been killing it! Clear Ahead! Let's start off with some nonsense that is sure to make some of you sick to your stomach! I'm happy to announce that I've discovered a skip in the track "Spa" that saves roughly 2-3 seconds and works for the following four hotlaps: Clear Ahead!, Let it Scream!, Fxx K at Spa, and P1 at Spa. For anyone that cheesed the Alien Races with the Pit Stop Exploit like I have, this skip has been staring you in the face since you started. As soon as you touch the starting line, just use the Pit Stop Exploit and you'll skip the entirety of turn 1. This trick does not invalidate the lap and dramatically reduces the difficulty of two of the hardest hotlaps in the game. Check it out! Your Time Will Come Okay, now that I've got your stomachs churning, let's ease up on the exploits and show off some good 'ol fashioned driving! There are no tricks or shortcuts to muddy the waters in this one. All I've got is a strong setup and the will to succeed. While the gold medal time is pretty lenient here and I absolutely butcher the last two turns out of nervousness, I think this is one of the strongest laps I've ever driven and I'd love for you all to see it! A Whole New Toy I hope you didn't think I'd actually manage to clear another lap with skill alone, because I've got another trick to introduce you all to today: Traction Control Switching. Let me first briefly explain what "traction control" is. When traction control is enabled, you typically have better control over your car. Your stability goes up, but your rate of acceleration goes down. Likewise, if you disable traction control, you have a much higher rate of acceleration, but suffer from decreased stability. Now here's the thing, you can turn traction control on or off whenever you want to with the tap of L1. So, why not take advantage of that? By switching traction control off during the straights to quickly accelerate to high speeds and switching it back on whenever you are about to brake or turn, you can effectively have the best of both worlds. In this hotlap, which is actually the most recent I've finished and is often considered one of the hardest in the game, I've mastered the art of traction control switching to crush the gold medal time. You can plainly see that my lines are mediocre at best, but, with this trick, it doesn't really matter. Down the Hatch (Revenge Edition) With all of these hard laps falling like dominoes, I wasn't going to just leave this little morale destroying asshole standing now was I? Shortly after learning how to abuse traction control, and with over 20 gold medals under my belt, I absolutely wiped the floor with this hotlap. I destroyed my best time I had set weeks prior on my second lap and beat the gold medal time on my 9th lap. If you couldn't tell already, I started to get insufferably cocky around this point. πŸ˜‚ GRA Challenge We're going to be taking a look at one last lap today. This is the lap I've spent the most time on, clocking in at around 8 hours, and is what I tentatively consider to be the most challenging hotlap in the game. I take full advantage of traction control switching (although I hadn't mastered it at this stage) and use a shortcut near the end to barely beat the gold medal time. There's a special place in racing hell reserved for me, I'm sure. Hotlap Gold Medal Timeline Just for fun, and to fill in the gaps the highlights have left behind, I've put together a quick timeline of when I've earned each of the gold hotlap medals up to this point: Sept. 12th (2:13 AM) - Green Flash Sept. 12th (12:28 PM) - Chapman Revolution Sept. 12th (12:34 PM) - Mister Downforce Sept. 12th (5:46 PM) - Meet the AC Team Sept. 12th (7:35 PM) - The New Black Sept. 14th (N/A) - "Please Destroy Me" Thread Revival Sept. 16th (4:07 PM) - Fxx K at Spa Sept. 16th (4:28 PM) - Fxx K at Barcelona Sept. 16th (7:19 PM) - P1 at Spa Sept. 17th (7:53 PM) - Italy, 1987 Sept. 19th (11:32 PM) - Classic Run Sept. 20th (12:37 AM) - Quick One Sept. 21st (12:58 AM) - Shining Red Sept. 21st (1:36 AM) - Chasing Victory Sept. 21st (1:17 PM) - A Fighting Bull Sept. 22nd (3:11 AM) - Memories Sept. 25th (1:53 AM) - Alesi Says, Step on It Sept. 25th (5:25 PM) - Thunder Sept. 25th (9:59 PM) - Heat and Run Sept. 26th (5:53 PM) - This Should be Fun! Sept. 26th (10:56 PM) - Teenage Dream Sept. 27th (12:10 PM) - Look at Me! Sept. 27th (10:37 PM) - GRA Challenge Sept. 29th (1:02 AM) - Let it Scream! Sept. 29th (6:53 PM) - Down the Hatch Sept. 30th (1:45 AM) - Demon on Wheels Oct. 1st (11:52 PM) - Free the Beast! Oct. 2nd (2:03 PM) - Your Time Will Come Oct. 4th (9:26 AM) - Flight Simulator Oct. 4th (9:09 PM) - Clear Ahead! Oct. 6th (11:15 AM) - British Racing Green Oct. 6th (11:12 PM) - German Fury Oct. 7th (6:24 PM) - A Whole New Toy 32/35 hotlaps have been finished! If you wanted to hear what I think of the game's difficulty up to this point, I believe that, although these hotlaps were among the most difficult racing related challenges I've ever completed in a game, the gold medal times are generally lenient enough that inexperienced sim drivers like myself still stand a good chance at victory with enough practice and the right setups. I mean, let's face it, if a deranged nutcase that's never even driven manual in his life can get these hotlaps finished, then what's stopping you? What's Next? There's now three hotlaps standing between me and the platinum trophy: A Hell 4 You, Alfa 4C vs Green Hell, and Forbidden Record. All three of these hotlaps take place on the longest (and, arguably, most grueling) track in the game, Nordschleife. I've saved these laps as a final gauntlet of sorts to really test my mettle and to see if this game can give me one last punch in the gut before I parade my goofy digital certificate of completion around to complete strangers on the internet. Now, before I go, remember that I've only highlighted 5 of the 32 hotlaps I've finished in this update. If you have questions or want info on any of the others, please feel free to ask! In the meantime, I'm going to be uploading 2-3 videos of the hotlaps listed above each day until I've exhausted my supply. Thank you for reading! πŸ˜„ [The next mini-update will be posted as soon as I finish one of these three final hotlaps!]
  4. Something I'll always value from my time with Assetto Corsa is how it managed to be the racing game to finally push me out of my comfort zone. I'm obviously not a die-hard enthusiast, but I've been playing racing games all my life and the one thing I've never had the patience to do was learn how to drive with a manual transmission. I see the choice between Automatic and Manual and mindlessly select Automatic as though I were at a restaurant picking out my favorite food for the 700th time. But, as you've mentioned, there's a world of difference between the two especially in regards to how it feels to control the car; it's exciting to feel that difference and to see that I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go before I ever approach mastery. Short-shifting is something I've experimented with without knowing it had a designated term, but I've had mixed results in practice and eventually came to the conclusion (which I'm now certain is false based on your expertise) that the benefits of short-shifting are negated by the reduced rate of acceleration I'm able to get out of the corner when I'm stuck in a higher gear. I'm glad to hear that I'm wrong in this assumption, and I'll definitely need to look into how to short-shift optimally as I'm sure this might help me in future racing games. Speaking of driving techniques, I'd love to see an in-game driving school (sort of similar to the University of Trials in Trials Rising) that teaches me some of the basic/advanced techniques involved with manual driving. I vaguely remember seeing something similar in either Gran Turismo 3 or 4 (?) during the license exams, but that was a long time ago and I was too impatient to ever bother with it. πŸ˜‚ I was much younger, so I saw words like "weight transfer" and "apex" and noped out of there. Trail braking is something I remember seeing all over the Assetto Corsa forums when I was still sizing up the hotlaps, but I embarrassingly forgot all about it once I had the confidence to dive in and start grinding out gold medal times. You're absolutely right that I could, and should, be trail braking more. It just rarely enters my mind when I'm driving. The hotlaps, up to this point, have all been won by paying attention to my lap delta and seeing what saves/loses time around each corner. Any trail braking that I actually perform tends to be a coincidence as my muscle memory develops when turns go well and is rarely something I'm cognizant of. TCS is something that I'll actually be covering in my next update! While I don't have the confidence in most races to leave it off entirely, turning Traction Control off during the straights to gain a higher rate of acceleration and back on whenever I'm braking or turning to take advantage of the stability it provides has saved me ridiculous amounts of time in most hotlaps (it feels broken honestly and I know I've compromised my learning experience to an extent by abusing the feature). Thank you so much for the advice! πŸ˜„ I was actually hoping that at least 1 player would evaluate my driving patterns and give me pointers on what is going well and what needs improvement when I started Assetto Corsa, so I'm thrilled to read comments like these. Unfortunately, I've finished so many hotlaps in the last four weeks that you all are essentially going to be seeing a "before and after" shot of my driving when update #5 releases, but anything I learn from you all in these next few updates can be applied to future racing games so it would still hold a lot of value! It's funny that you mention Arkham Knight, because I've just recently (back in July) played through some of the DLC packs and really enjoyed the Batmobile races too! I only played until I reached the 21-33 AR challenge star requirements for the trophies, but trying to collect them all would be a fun challenge I'm sure. Some Batmobiles definitely felt clunkier or harder to control than others (the 1960s Batmobile comes to mind πŸ˜‚), but adapting to their differences made each win uniquely satisfying. Considering I started playing Assetto Corsa only a month later in August, there's a good chance that Arkham Knight set the stage for AC as I had been craving a challenging racing game in the weeks leading to me starting it up. Thanks, I'll try my best!
  5. Assetto Corsa and the Green Flash - Update #4 When I drearily rolled out of bed the morning after my failure at Brands Hatch, the pessimism from the night before had crusted over and was starting to chip away like an aged coat of paint. I took a deep breath, then another. Then, like an aggravated junkie caught in the grips of withdrawal, I started studying reference videos of "Down the Hatch," eager to get back on the road. It didn't matter how many times I would careen off the sides of the track or how impressive my tire's dirt collection would become, I was going to earn my gold medal one way or another. Determined or not, the more I studied, the more a painfully obvious truth barreled into the foreground: most of my time loss could be attributed to my inexperience with manual. In a track as windy as Brands Hatch, I was losing too much time trying to figure out which gear I needed to be in at each turn and often turned too wide or too slowly as a result. Memorizing every gear shift seemed like a promising substitute for the experience I lacked, but, given how widely a driver's speed might range around every corner, I wasn't sure how easy memorizing them all would be or if that would necessarily work at all. I crumpled in my chair as fresh layers of pessimism started to bubble to the surface. As much as it hurt to admit, Brands Hatch was not an ideal track to ease into manual. Setting aside "Down the Hatch" seemed like the most sensible option for now, so I left it all behind and set to work looking for an alternative. I wanted to find a hotlap that wasn't necessarily "easier," but that had fewer turns and, thereby, fewer opportunities to downshift. "Easy," to me, would not mean "easy" to anyone else well-versed in manual driving; it would only refer to events that place less of an emphasis on gear shifting. I could handle learning driving lines and braking points. What I struggled with was making sure my car was in the right gear at the right time. It was then that I came across a video for a hotlap event called "Green Flash." Taking place at a track called Monza, I knew from my experience in the career mode that the roads were much less windy which, I hoped, would help alleviate some of the overwhelming complication that downshifting was adding to the mix. A Fresh Start... With renewed vigor, I selected "Green Flash" and closed my eyes in a vain effort to compose myself. The loading screen music started to fade into nothingness as my breathing started to slow. When I opened my eyes, I was greeted with a bright green Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The car's rear wing had the word "PERTAMINA" in boisterous white lettering and I couldn't help but be reminded of a cheese grater when I saw the protruding vents on the car's roof. The weather was clear and sunny, though I suppose it was always sunny in Assetto Corsa. I quickly changed my driving settings to match those of the player in the reference video, stared once more at the lime green steed that would be accompanying me this afternoon, and set off in an attempt to earn the illusive gold medal. As soon as my tires started to blaze across the asphalt, I noticed how much more smoothly the GT3 felt to control than the Ford Escort. Where the Escort felt like steering a barge at sea, the GT3 felt smooth and agile, almost as though I were delicately guiding a paintbrush along the contours of the track. The ease of control boosted my confidence and I felt at ease knowing that switching events was the right call after all. My first few laps were not like the laps I had raced in Brands Hatch. While I was having difficulty figuring out which gear I needed to be in initially, a routine started to gradually take shape. I would drop to 1st gear just before turns 1 and 2. Turns 3 and 4 seemed best at either 2nd or 3rd gear. The chicane at turn 5 and the final turn were still being worked out. I went off-roading here and there, but it started becoming a consequence of experimentation rather than driver error (at least, that's what I liked to tell myself). My driving became more focused, more deliberate. I started to settle into a groove; a cleaner turn here, the right gear there, and my laps times started to fall faster and faster. Two critical changes were made that I feel are worth noting: 1. I started paying attention to the Lap Delta at all times. The lap delta is essentially a timer in the top-left of the screen that actively compares your best lap time to your current lap. If you see something like "-0.157," then you're currently ahead of your best time by 0.157 seconds. Watching the lap delta when you make turns is especially important because you'll gradually get a sense of what is saving or costing you time. Always make a mental note of your lap delta before and after turns. 2. I started memorizing gear shift changes in the reference videos that I watched. The key, for me anyway, is to note only the gear shifts that take place before turns. For example, if I watched a driver shift up to 6th gear and, before a turn, drop down to 1st gear, then I would make a simple mental note like: "6th gear entry, drop to 1st." Get in the habit of comparing your reference video of choice to your own route as you play. Even the smallest of changes can potentially shave seconds off the clock, so always be paying attention. A Junkie and His Fix... With these playstyle changes etched into my playbook and a laser-focus etched onto my face, I started blazing confidently around Monza like a man possessed. My times continued to fall until only half a second separated me from my golden prize. My heart started to race knowing that my best possible time had already fallen below the gold medal threshold. I just needed to string together enough clean turns to make it a reality. Any moment could be the moment. Any lap could be the lap. My lime green companion's war cry was aggressive and booming, as though it were every bit as determined as I was to see this through to the end. After a 3-4 hour battle with the track, the time had come. I needed to beat my best lap by 0.245 seconds to beat the gold medal time of 1:51.000. The first, and most important turn of the lap, went wonderfully. Going from 6th gear to 1st while skimming over the mound at the turn's apex is always a little jarring, but the turn was navigated smoothly overall and I was right on pace with my best lap. Turn 2 was a little slow (and, in retrospect, not sharp enough) putting me about 0.2 seconds off pace. Turns 3 and 4, however, were navigated beautifully in 3rd gear and in swift succession too. I was back on pace with my best lap and steadily gained even more time along the straight that followed. As I reached the chicane at turn 5, I was 0.15 seconds ahead of my best pace. My chest was pounding as I cut cleanly over the little mounds at the apex of each turn. I was 0.2 seconds ahead of pace as I entered the final turn. "This could be it." I thought. Depending on how cleanly I make this turn, the hotlap could be over right here, right now. I was flying in at 260+ km/h when I started braking for the turn. I went from 6th to 3rd before the turn as I had rehearsed many, many times up to this point. When I slowed into the turn, everything felt perfect. Flames flew out of the exhaust as though my lime green friend had known exactly what it had done. The turn was absolutely gorgeous. As I approached the finish line, I was 0.3 seconds ahead of pace and counting; my heartrate was frantically accelerating when... it happened. I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:50.907. A wave of euphoria washed over me. With my heart still racing, I let go of the throttle and coasted along the straight with glee and utter disbelief. I lightly held the brake as the straight's end neared and came to a slow and graceful stop. In the wake of my first successful hotlap, the failures of yesterday had been forgotten. The pessimism that had built up like a sludge had all but vanished. The struggle that had defined my experience had been burned away with sheer persistence. In the rubble of it all stood a dream ablaze with a fiery ambition. I savored my golden prize. Green Flash - Gold Medal + Setup What's Next? Thank you for checking out these goofy narrative-focused updates! πŸ˜„ Updates 3 and 4 were both written to embellish what I felt were my most important moments of struggle in Assetto Corsa. Nearly four weeks have passed since I got the gold medal in my first hotlap and I've been hopelessly addicted ever since. In the next update, we're going to catch up to the present and I'll reveal just how many hotlaps I've finished in the days since my first victory! I hope to see you all soon! [The next update will be posted on October 10th!]
  6. Thank you! Comparing anything I've written to actual published literature is way too generous, but your comment made my day either way. 😁 Since the first few hurdles in a game are often the most difficult (and most important) to overcome, I wanted to sort of embellish that first struggle in the form of a story with updates 3 and 4. I'll experiment with this approach a little more in the future if some of you enjoy these sorts of updates! This sort of narrative-driven/epistolary format makes it easier to focus in on a few key events in a game, though it can also feel a little self-indulgent to dramatize events that would otherwise be pretty humdrum and boring. πŸ˜‚ I have to admit, transitioning from automatic to stick... it felt like I was learning to drive all over again. πŸ˜… It actually ended up getting even more complicated later on when switching traction control on and off between turns started to become a regular part of the mix. Sometimes I feel like I'm piloting a plane rather than a car with how many systems need to be managed, but I'm getting ahead of myself. πŸ˜‚ The hotlaps really are a treat; the gold medal times push you so much further than most racing games dare to and I've been loving every minute. I know exactly what you mean; those last few tenths of a second can often double your playtime before you even realize what's happened. πŸ˜‚ Even if they can be incredibly time-consuming, these hotlaps have been some of the most satisfying events I've ever experienced in a racing game, so I'll keep pushing until I either destroy every last hotlap or get destroyed in the process! I'm glad to hear it! 😁 The hotlaps have been worth the price of admission alone and I think you'll have a lot of fun with it once you get around to playing considering your past experience with sim racing! Before Assetto Corsa, only a handful of arcade racers like Crash Team Racing and Trackmania Turbo have been able to give me anything close to the satisfying feeling you've mentioned. AC feels different from these two in that you often need to tame both your car and the track at the same time (typically, you tame your car early on in CTR and TMT, so I tend to just apply the same strategies to a new track). With the added control that manual provides, it's been an empowering experience all-around and I've become absolutely addicted.
  7. Assetto Corsa and the Lap that Broke Me - Update #3 When I rebooted this thread, I mentioned that Assetto Corsa might finally "be the game that breaks me." Two updates have come and gone with hardly a shred of evidence to support that claim. What was supposed to be a soul-rending experience is being meticulously dissected before your eyes. Instead of watching my resolve waver and my nerves fray, you've been lectured about "penalty systems" and "pit stop exploits." In the process of contextualization, I've inadvertently sterilized the experience; in the seams where emotion should interject to tell the reader a story, there is a cold, almost mechanical, recitation of procedures and protocol. "Where's the struggle?" you ask. Am I really being destroyed or is this thread just an excuse for me to belabor the mundane and ooze flowery drivel? Well, it's finally time for my struggle to take center stage. Today, I'm here to tell you a story. 3 Weeks Ago... I had just finished filming the last of the Alien races in Assetto Corsa and was gearing up to start the Hotlaps*. I was nervous, excited, and maybe a little scared. My plan had been to reboot this thread as soon I reached the hotlap section of the game, so I was already worrying about what I was going to say, what I wanted to cover, and whether this whole thing was worth doing at all. With my anxiety creeping in, I started procrastinating. I began poking around the Assetto Corsa forums, a place where some of the most maniacal sim racers this side of the Milky Way go to strut their stuff. Wandering somewhat aimlessly, I eventually stumbled onto a thread discussing some of the "easiest" special events the game had to offer. One user piqued my interest when they mentioned that the Ford Escort hotlap on Brands Hatch was one of these "easy" events (the event they were referring to was called "Down the Hatch" and appeared to be one of the only hotlaps mentioned in the thread). My curiosity started to get the better of me and I thought, "Maybe I should give it a try. After all, I shouldn't reboot my thread if I can't even beat one of the easiest hotlaps in the game... right?" After barely a moment's hesitation, I decided then and there that I absolutely had to finish one hotlap before I publicly commit to finishing them all. I wouldn't have been nearly as anxious about the whole ordeal if not for one unfortunate detail... I never learned how to drive manual. This fact probably isn't as startling or dramatic as I've made it sound, especially without any context, but the reason it's important is because your success in Assetto Corsa's hotlaps hinges on being able to push every vehicle you're given to its limits. Reaching those limits is only possible by learning to drive manual. Manual downshifting in particular can potentially save several tenths of a second every turn over an automatic gearshift and, without that extra time, earning gold medals just isn't going to be feasible for a racing sim novice like myself. So, with my mind made up, I got to work. I timidly turned off "Automatic gearshift" and "Automatic blip" (whatever the hell that is) and held my breath as I started "Down the Hatch." This was it. It was a trial by fire, sink or swim, do or die, and every other clichΓ© metaphor you can think of, kind of moment that will be sure to haunt me for as long as I play racing games. Needless to say, I was a wreck. As I raced along the track, I was a stuttering mess of poorly timed gear shifts and terribly wide turns. Bits of dirt and gravel would collect along the tires just to remind me of my inadequacy whenever I would go out for little off-roading excursions. Knowing when to shift up felt intuitive enough, but knowing when to downshift was complicated. Should I downshift before or after braking? How do I know if I've downshifted too much or too little? Trying to intuit the answers to these questions was overwhelming and the roar of the engine when I would forget to shift up was maddening. I played nonstop for about 4 hours (I've recorded my first hour below). By the end, I felt utterly defeated. I had barely been able to earn the bronze medal with a time of 1:48:8 and needed to shave off another 2.8 seconds to earn the gold. Those few seconds seemed like an eternity the longer I raced; progress felt imperceptibly slow, and I showed no signs of improvement. As my lap counter continued to climb, pessimistic and delusional thoughts started to win the war waging in my mind. In that moment, I felt like I could have spent another 200 hours and have been no closer to the gold medal. How were the other 34 hotlaps going to go if I couldn't even get close to a gold medal in one of the easiest ones? With my mental state in shambles, I took a turn too aggressively and veered off track. I immediately turned the game off, closed (and nearly deleted) the draft of my thread revival post, and went to bed dejected and furious with myself. In a mere 4 hours, I had been broken. [To be continued on October 5th... Thanks for reading!] *For anyone unfamiliar with the term, "Hotlaps" are events where you try to achieve blisteringly quick lap times by racing around a track over and over to your heart's content.
  8. [**Post reserved for Alien Races 21-29 (keeps the mini-guide on one page). Update #3 involving my hotlap struggle will be posted October 1st!**]
  9. [**Post reserved for Alien Races 11-20 (keeps the mini-guide on one page). Update #3 involving my hotlap struggle will be posted October 1st!**]
  10. Assetto Corsa and the Alien Races (1-10) - Update #2 In the following updates, I'm going to briefly describe my approach to completing each of the 29 "Special Quick Race" events in Assetto Corsa on Alien difficulty. Due to a frustrating lack of reference material for these events, I've decided to film each of these races myself and make my own "mini-guide" of sorts. This first update will contain the first 10 events. Certain event descriptions are going to contain terminology that require additional explanation. I will go in-depth with these terms via "Intermission" sections that will be interspersed between event descriptions. Because certain strategies do not change from event to event, several paragraphs will be repeated verbatim throughout these updates. Let's get started! 🚨 [Note: This is an experimental update that may later be trimmed and/or combined with subsequent posts to fill a mini-guide on the forums. Feedback is welcome!] General Settings for Every Race Automatic gearbox: On Automatic Clutch: On Automatic blip: On Ideal Racing Line: On Traction Control: On ABS: On Stability Control 100% Mechanical damage: 0% Tyre wear: Off Tyre Blankets: Off Fuel Consumption: Off *Note: If you prefer to drive manual, change Automatic gearbox and Automatic blip to "Off." You will have an advantage with manual, but, as I demonstrate below, you should be able to win every Alien race on automatic. Tatuus Race (Monza) You will not need the pit stop exploit for this race. Shortcut: 0:24 (Note: If you collide with a racer, you may not receive a penalty for cutting the track here. If you do not collide with a racer, you may face penalties ranging from 5-20 seconds.) Restart the event if you are not in 1st place by the end of turn 1 with a penalty of 10 seconds or less. Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Intermission 1 ~ Shortcuts and the Penalty System In Assetto Corsa, you can be punished for cutting the track by receiving a penalty. Generally, the more extreme the shortcut, the more extreme the penalty. Penalties tend to range from 5-20 seconds and can be stacked on top of one another for repeated violations (the most I've seen stacked at once is 60 seconds). To remove a penalty, you will need to release the accelerator for the amount of time the penalty has been called for (5 second penalty = 5 seconds off the accelerator). If you do not get rid of the penalty before the end of the lap, you will face immediate disqualification. Because you are not required to accept the consequences of a penalty right away, it is best to take advantage of sharp turns when you need to burn penalty time. By coasting up to a sharp turn, braking only when necessary, and coasting out of the turn, you will waste significantly less time burning the penalty than had you stopped in the middle of a straight road and let the AI pass you. Here's a quick example of efficient penalty burning. (Note: The penalty flag is in the top left) In rare cases, there are ways to nullify penalties. Going the wrong way, hitting other racers, and colliding with obstacles at high speeds can potentially negate penalties entirely. Additionally, there are many instances of track cutting that do not result in penalties whatsoever. Most of the shortcuts that I'll be using throughout these updates do not result in penalties. BMW Race (Mugello) The pit stop exploit is recommended for this race. As soon as the race begins, press the "Options" button and select the "Pits" option from the menu (pause buffering up until the race begins can save several tenths of a second). Once you are in the pit, quickly select the "Drive" option, press X to shift to first gear, and go. You may need to restart several times to get to 1st place immediately out of the pits, but it is recommended to do so. Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Intermission #2 ~ The Pit Stop Exploit Understanding how to exploit the pit stop in Assetto Corsa is a must when you're up against Aliens. Let me explain how it works. At any time during an event, you can drive or teleport to the pits when you're in need of repairs or fuel. Since damage and fuel consumption should both be off when attempting these races, as per the settings above, there will be no need to visit the pits under normal circumstances. However, because we have the option of teleporting to the pits at any time, we can effectively change the starting line of any race by teleporting to the pits as soon as the race begins. Since the pits are often significantly ahead of the starting line, we stand to gain a massive head start over the AI by taking advantage of the pit's location when beginning a race. The exploit itself is very easy to perform. As soon as the race begins, you will want to press the "Options" button and select "Pits." I sometimes pause buffer up until the race begins because it will mean I get to the pits as soon as I possibly can (often saving several tenths of a second). After selecting "Pits" you will teleport to the pits where you will want to select the "Drive" option. Once you've selected "Drive," shift to first gear with X and you'll be on your way. Here's a quick example of the exploit in action: 500 Race (Magione) The pit stop exploit is recommended for this race. As soon as the race begins, press the "Options" button and select the "Pits" option from the menu (pause buffering up until the race begins can save several tenths of a second). Once you are in the pit, quickly select the "Drive" option, press X to shift to first gear, and go. Shortcuts: (0:52). If you are not in 1st place by turn 5, restart the race. Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Supercar Race (Silverstone GP) The pit stop exploit is recommended for this race. As soon as the race begins, press the "Options" button and select the "Pits" option from the menu (pause buffering up until the race begins can save several tenths of a second). Once you are in the pit, quickly select the "Drive" option, press X to shift to first gear, and go. Shortcuts: (0:29), (1:43) (Note: Do not burn the penalty right away like I do in the video. Take advantage of the upcoming turn to slow down.), (2:24). Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Lotus Cup (Imola) You will not need the pit stop exploit for this race. Shortcuts: (0:28), (0:48). Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. A Taste of the Ring (Nurburgring - GP (GT)) The pit stop exploit is recommended for this race. As soon as the race begins, press the "Options" button and select the "Pits" option from the menu (pause buffering up until the race begins can save several tenths of a second). Once you are in the pit, quickly select the "Drive" option, press X to shift to first gear, and go. Shortcut: (2:01 - Not recommended). Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Trackday Challenge (Vallelunga) You will not need the pit stop exploit for this race. Shortcuts: (0:30), (1:13), (1:23). *Note 1 - The first shortcut is difficult to pull off, but it will help you considerably. *Note 2 - Do not attempt to cut the grass at (1:32) as doing so will void the lap. Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Hypercar Battle (Nordschleife) You will not need the pit stop exploit for this race. Cut the track at (0:33) whereupon you should be in 1st place. From here, you can either block the AI racers as usual until you reach the finish or you can force the AI to disqualify from the race. Disqualification is the easier option. To disqualify your opponents, you need to gradually come to a stop while making sure the AI are directly behind you and cannot overtake you. When the AI have been unable to move for a set amount of time, they will be disqualified from the race. As you force the AI to slow down, come to a complete stop in a narrow part of the track to make disqualification a little easier. I've chosen the section at (0:55), but there are many areas that may be just as effective. You must disqualify at least 2 opponents during lap 1 and the final opponent during the AI's second lap. Once all opponents are disqualified, complete the race as normal and you will receive your gold medal. (Note: I will discuss the process of AI Disqualification in more detail in a future update). Touring Cars Battle (Silverstone GP) You will not need the pit stop exploit for this race. Shortcuts: (0:32), (1:40 - Note: Do not burn the penalty right away like I do in the video. Take advantage of the upcoming turn to slow down.), (2:21 - Not shown; simply cut across the dirt if desired). Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. Back and Forth (Silverstone GP) You will not need the pit stop exploit for this race. Shortcuts: (0:26), (1:30), (2:05 - Not shown; simply cut across the dirt if desired). Once you have taken the lead, you will need to stay in the lead for the remainder of the race by getting in the way of AI racers before they get a chance to overtake you. If you see a red arrow behind you (signifying an approaching driver), get in front of the arrow immediately and the driver will be forced to slow down. By blocking all AI that attempt to overtake you and remaining in first place for the remainder of the race, you will earn your gold medal. What's Next? Phew! I know this was a lot to scroll through and I appreciate you all dealing with my nonsense as I use this thread as a drafting space. πŸ˜… Since I started writing this update, I've ended up making a lot more progress on the hotlaps then I was expecting, so I've been considering introducing them early so that I don't bore you all to death with these races. Would anyone prefer that I introduce the hotlaps (along with my struggle to adapt to manual) in the next update or should I finish up the race mini-guide right away before moving on? In either case, I'm planning to post the next update in 4-5 days. Thank you all for sticking with me and I'll see you soon! πŸ™‚
  11. Hopefully you're enjoying MN9 more than I did. πŸ˜‚ Being able to dash nonstop with little cooldown was one of the only things I had fun with. Almost every other design choice turned me off of the game pretty quickly. Speaking of, I'll never understand the logic behind the 5/10 difficulty rating MN9 received on both PSNP and PST's trophy guides. I know difficulty is subjective, but I'd argue for a 7 minimum with an 8 being more realistic (the deathless clear alone requires tons of practice). I know some guide writers like to push for low numbers to encourage people to pick up the game (or maybe just to show off), but MN9 was hardly ever worth a player's time to begin with. Aggravating level design + instakill galore is just not a good time. Max Payne 3, on the other hand, is one for the regret list. It's one of the few games I own a physical copy of, but never once turned on. With online dead, I guess there's not much reason to anymore. Yeah, for the most part, the hotlaps definitely seem to require manual. πŸ˜… There are a handful that look easy enough to be cleared on automatic, but the most brutal ones might be impossible without and I have no plans of trying to prove otherwise (I'll settle for having done all of the Alien races on automatic thank you very much πŸ˜‚). Snaking is something I feel like I've done a million times in racing games over the years, though it was typically only to squeeze a few extra points out of the scoring system since most other games that have drift events do a good job of discouraging the tactic. That said, the tactic's name, "snaking," is one I wasn't familiar with. I had only heard of "snaking" prior as a cool trick/speedrun strategy in F-Zero GX (here). I've been wondering if Assetto Corsa will stand any chance of converting me from preferring automatic to preferring manual in most racing games going forward, but we'll have to wait and see how things turn out. I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying the updates so far! Thanks! It's been a fun ride so far and I'm looking forward to figuring out how to present the hotlaps going forward. There's actually a decent Achievement guide for the game over on TrueAchievements (guide link), but it makes some unusual claims, especially regarding the Alien race difficulty, and doesn't really go in-depth with any of the special events. It did teach me how the time trials worked along with how to exploit them though, so I'm still glad to have found it. Definitely! Adapting to manual has been a struggle, but I'll be talking more about my attempts to transition from automatic to manual once we get to the hotlap updates! I like the idea of "non-trophy challenges," but their inherent obscurity would make completing one feel kinda trivial for me personally. Most challenges I would have any interest in attempting would need some notoriety to get me invested. Full game speedruns would be something I might be interested in someday since most players would understand right away what the goal of the challenge is, but other, more creative, feats I'd rather set aside for now. I appreciate the thought though and I'll definitely consider it in the future!
  12. Thank you! I'll try my best not to worry, but that might be easier said than done. πŸ˜… I tend to be overly self-critical of everything I do and it's unfortunately pretty common for me to look at what I write (past and present) and be disgusted with how it turned out. My inner critic tears my work to pieces, even these fun little forum scribblings, and I often find it's easiest to just pretend these scribblings don't exist after they're written. That said, I know this is something I can work through over time and I shouldn't let my inner critic prevent me from expressing myself. I just need to find the guts to keep writing (and the guts to fail sometimes). I remember back in January when you mentioned you were going to make a push for the Tetris Effect platinum, so it's awesome to hear that you managed to get the most difficult part (those insane SS Ranks) out of the way. I knew you could do it! Major congrats! I'll give TBOI, SMBF, and Assetto Corsa everything I've got! Thanks! I'll never understand how I got lucky enough to have such a great group of people checking in on this thread, but I'll always be grateful to have them for as long as they stick around. One of the biggest reasons I decided to reboot the thread was because I have an idea on how I might be able to keep the thread going without putting as much pressure on myself (it would involve a total thread restructuring), but I'd like to finish up these last few games before I flesh out what I had in mind. Even if the idea ends up being a flop, I'm hopeful that I'll feel more comfortable with my writing the more I put myself out there. Hey, welcome to the thread! πŸ™‚ Yeah, trophy-related challenges are generally going to be the goal for any games that wind up in this checklist, but if you have other ideas for a challenge, I'd be happy to hear whatever you had in mind. Ninja Gaiden Sigma is a great pick! I've drooled over the game for years, but I've never gotten around to playing it. I've added it to the nomination list on the front page of the thread. Thank you for the nomination and for the luck; I'll give it my all!
  13. The Assetto Corsa Crash Course - Update #1 🚧 Hey everyone, this update is meant to serve as a "quick" and messy recap of my first 100 hours with Assetto Corsa including details surrounding the game's career mode, time attack special events, and drift special events. There is a lot to cover and, unfortunately, a lot more that I'll have to leave out for the sake of time. If you have any questions about content I haven't covered, or if you want clarification on anything I briefly touch on, please feel free to ask away. Without further ado, let's get started! What is Assetto Corsa? Assetto Corsa is an aging, but still legendary, racing sim developed by Kunos Simulazioni in 2014. Known for its impressively realistic physics engine, brutal difficulty, and for supporting a passionate modding community (well, on the PC version that is), Assetto Corsa is a game that stands proudly among titans like Gran Turismo and Forza as a must-play in the genre. ...okay, okay, I'll stop reading the back of the box now. πŸ˜… I'm not here to sell you the game, I'm here to get destroyed; so let's get to the gameplay! Step 1: Career Mode As much as I enjoy Assetto Corsa as a whole, the Career mode is, at best, a half-baked attempt at providing structure to the single-player component of the game. It's loosely made up of three event types (quick races, time attacks, and race weekends) scattered across 27 different "series." Each series acts as a self-contained set of events sporting wildly creative titles like, "Novice Series 1" and "Intermediate Series 3." As the titles may suggest, most of these series do little to distinguish themselves from one another and often feel more like padding than a thoughtfully considered inclusion. The GT and GT Extreme series are especially egregious examples of padding with 5 separate but nearly identical iterations of each, save for the car you're driving. Most of your time will be spent driving for hours along the same few tracks and, with 175 events standing between you and the end of the journey, you're in for one hell of a long road trip. I spent about 80 hours slogging through it all and I'd be lying if I said I ever wanted to do it again. Driver AI is something that deserves special mention because, even when set to Very Easy, they can provide for some stiff competition. I quickly found that, if I did not take the lead early on in a race, winning would be nearly impossible. The AI's lead would tend to grow, despite my best efforts to keep up, until I was a sputtering mess 20 seconds off pace. Admittedly, my poor performance may have something to do with my preference for driving on Automatic rather than Manual. I've never actually learned how to drive Manual, so I chose to stick with what I've known even if that preference would ultimately cost me. My struggle to win races early on was actually more of a blessing than a curse because it taught me how to race dirty. Besides abusing the poor AI racers, I picked up on some track-cutting shortcuts that skip insane amounts of time and... well, you'll see the extent of my malicious driving habits once we get to the Special Race events in the next update. Now, as much as I've been ragging on the career mode, there are several benefits to completing it before you do any of the more challenging stuff in the game. 1. You will learn most of the tracks by heart. 2. You'll understand how the AI operates and how you can exploit them. 3. You will understand the penalty system and know which "shortcuts" are worth taking. 4. You will learn how to cheese the time attack events. Step 2: Time Attack Special Events With the career mode out of the way, it was time to get started on the Special Events starting with the easiest of the bunch, the 9 Time Attack events. So, what is a time attack? Well, in each time attack event the track is split up into several sections (at least 2, but often 4 or more) that are each bookended by checkpoints. When you pass through one of these checkpoints, a timer starts counting down. You must reach the end of the section before the countdown timer reaches zero whereupon another countdown will begin as you race through the next section of track. The more checkpoints you pass through, the more points you'll score. The goal of each event is to score enough points to bag the gold medal. Intuitively, you would think that you should be racing as quickly as possible to reach each checkpoint with plenty of time to spare. However, this isn't actually the case... I mentioned earlier that there was a way to cheese the time attacks and I will briefly explain that method now. To game the time attack system, what you want to be doing is driving as slowly as possible so that you hit each checkpoint with anywhere between 1-3 seconds left on the timer. The reason we want to hit each checkpoint so late is because the duration of each countdown timer is based on how long it took you to reach that same checkpoint on the previous lap. Let me give you an example. Let's suppose we arrive at checkpoint 1 and we have 55 seconds to drive to checkpoint 2. If we reach checkpoint 2 in 53 seconds, we will have roughly 53 seconds to reach that checkpoint again in the subsequent lap. However, if we had gone as quickly as possible and arrived at checkpoint 2 in 24 seconds, we may only have 24 seconds to reach that checkpoint again during the next lap (which will be considerably more difficult). Since we score more points for each checkpoint we pass through, it is in our best interest to go slowly enough so that we can consistently beat our previous times. This can all be a little confusing without a demonstration, so I've included a video of myself completing the "Arcadia" special event (arguably the hardest time trial event) for anyone that would like to see the method in action. With this method, all 9 time attack events can be beaten without much difficulty (the easier Career mode time attacks events can also be beaten with the same method). Arcadia Time Trial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI-GEmOg_GE Step 3: Drift Special Events Now we're starting to kick things up a notch. The 9 drift events present a steeper challenge than anything we've seen up to this point and, for most players, will require you to fiddle with your car setups to pass. I used Floriiss's setups for all 9 of these events and would encourage you to check them out if you plan on getting these done as well. Since I don't really understand car tuning, I will generally be relying on the setups pre-configured by experts instead of trying to invent my own. Once the tuning is done prior to the event, you should be set to start drifting your car like a lunatic. Thankfully, you don't need to be a drifting god to get these events done, but you will need to have a good understanding of a strategy called "snaking." Snaking is essentially when you initiate a drift and overcorrect to the extent that you start drifting again in the opposing direction. It is easiest to learn snaking on a straight road as each drift takes you from one side of the road to the other without you needing to compensate for bends in the road. Here's a quick demonstration of safe, low-speed snaking: **Note: Braking may not be necessary with better throttle control. I used braking often because I felt safer. Getting the hang of snaking will feel a little bit different depending on the car and the setup that you use, but, once you get behind the wheel for awhile, it will start to feel natural. Scoring in a drifting event is a convoluted mess, but it works something like this. You start on "Level 1" and are given 60 seconds or so to start racking up drift points. Earn enough points by drifting and you progress to the next level earning yourself a time extension to keep the event going. If the timer hits 0, it's not the end of the world because you will still be able to drift for as long you can keep your drift combo alive (in the gif above, my timer is at 0). Pass the point threshold for the gold medal and you can slam the door on all this drifting business and go home. Essentially, what you want to worry about is learning how to snake first and foremost. Once you have that down, you will be chewing through drift events like they're candy and be showered in more points than you'll know what to do with. There's a lot that I'm going to have to skip over here for the sake of time, but I'm going to leave two video links below for anyone that wants to dive a little deeper. The first is of me reaching drift level 50 via snaking and the second is of the drift event, "Ur-Quattro is Back!," which features a car that is incredibly difficult to snake with. I used a series of carefully placed, high-speed/high-scoring drifts to pass the gold medal score threshold instead. Drift Level 50 + 100,000 point Drift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOthQuAbFjI Ur-Quattro is Back!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u7_S3xl3m4 What's Next? During the next few updates (which will be focused around the Race special events), I'm going to be switching up the presentation style that I've been working with up to this point in favor of something more experimental. I'd like to try writing updates that are more instructional. When finished, these updates will sorta resemble something out of a mini-guide. The plan is for me to go event by event explaining what I've done to the best of my ability alongside a linked video of me completing the event. These updates might be less entertaining to read, but the goal is to produce a comprehensive video playlist filled with tips that might help out future players. This shift in presentation style should mean that updates will be less time-consuming to write and, ideally, will help me pump them out a little more quickly. My next update will hopefully be posted in the next 7 days and will include details on the first 10 Race special events. I'm sorry this update was so long-winded, but thank you for checking it out regardless! As always, thank you for sticking with me! πŸ˜„
  14. Thank you! Even with such a long break from my thread and with how hard I've tried to come across as fresh and reignited, I'm not sure if re-opening the thread was the best move to make right now since I'm still struggling to find my motivation for writing. My insecurities are in full swing and even these few sentences took more time than I care to admit to write up, but I know I can do this. My motivation is buried in there somewhere and I really want to push myself to clean up the mess I've made and finish at least one more game that I have a genuine interest in before I decide whether or not this thread is something I want to carry on for the long term. I'll take it one step at a time and I'll try my very best with Assetto Corsa! 😀 Thanks! Being able to inspire anyone to do anything is always going to sound like such a surreal concept to me, but I'm honored to make even the smallest difference. I watched you recently make your own jump to the checklists and it looks fantastic! A list focused entirely around one genre is so cool to see and you do such a great job of responding to everyone. You can bet I'll be checking in on your progress as I start getting more comfortable poking around in the forums again! I wish you the best of luck (not that you need it, you're already crushing it)! As for Assetto Corsa, I've been looking forward to the hotlaps for weeks and I'm eager to dive in and get utterly demolished. This may be the game that breaks me and I couldn't be more excited to see it happen! I'm happy to be back and I'll be sure to regale you with all the unhinged nonsense you can stomach (well, at least until I burn out again)! If this thread survives long enough to see the end of Assetto Corsa and TBOI/SMBF, I may not be the only one regaling you with my ramblings. 😯 Thank you for sticking around! We'll have to see if I can last long enough to get to the next poll first πŸ˜‚ I've got a mess of games to clean up, but I'm hoping to start the next poll on 12/19 if everything goes to plan! I've actually got an idea for our next game that may fit really well thematically if Catherine ends up getting picked next. It's great to hear from you too! You'll have to let me know what you think of SMBF when you finish! I've gotta know if I'm alone in thinking that the dark worlds are all similarly difficult or if that was just a delusional excuse I've come up with to justify not finishing it. πŸ˜… For me, they all seem to take around 10-15 hours of grinding (including the initial route paving process) and, thread issues aside, I've just been too lazy to finish #4 and #5 now that I know what the process entails. Even though dark worlds #2 and #3 were no more difficult than #1 and I have no reason to believe #4 and #5 will be any different, I still look ahead and groan knowing I have to sit through another 20-30 hours to clean them up (not to mention the NG+ pacifier grind). 😭 Thanks, I'm glad to be back! If this thread can motivate even a few people to step outside of their comfort zones, it'll be a success in my books. I'll try my best to keep this thread rolling (at least long enough to clean up the mess I've made)! Thank you! You've been one of the few that have stuck around with my ridiculous thread since the very beginning and your support always means a lot. Thanks for sticking around for such a long time. πŸ˜„ Thanks, I really appreciate it! πŸ™‚ My motivation is still kinda shakey, but I'm going to push myself to get this done. I hate leaving loose ends behind and want to clean the slate before I consider ditching my checklist again. Being destroyed certainly makes for a more exciting narrative, so I can't blame you for trying to spice up SMBF. πŸ˜‚ It was a clever appeal to my pride if nothing else; part of me wanted to reboot the thread just to say, "H-h-hold up, I haven't been destroyed yet! See, I can get this done... I uh, I just don't want to right now. Just you wait though, you'll see!" Since I won't have the platinum for a while, I'm going to have to settle for a classic case of being "all talk" until I get around to it. Depending on how stubbornly I pursue the Assetto Corsa platinum, it might be months before I get back to SMBF. πŸ˜… I'm always happy to talk games in the meantime though and I'll try not let myself get too overwhelmed over the content I put out. I'll give Assetto Corsa my best! This checklist would still be locked and buried away if you hadn't had the patience to explain how viable Assetto Corsa is on pad vs wheel. Thanks for reaching out and for having linked a ton of helpful reference material as I push onwards! It really meant a lot. I'll try to work through my insecurities as best I can and keep the pressure on myself to a minimum. As for my puffed up hour count, Career mode is the biggest culprit. πŸ˜… I checked exophase shortly after finishing the career mode and saw it hovering just above the 80 hour mark. So many hours were spent mindlessly coasting along while watching streams or YouTube videos, but hey, at least it was a relaxing experience if nothing else. --- Thank you all so much for the support! It really meant a lot to see so many of you show up even after I was gone for so long. I'll do my best to keep things rolling along for now and should hopefully have the next update up in the next 2-3 days!
  15. Racing Away from my Problems 🏁 Hey everyone, it's been a little while, but I'm back from break and ready to get destroyed some more! What I'd like to do first is catch you all up on why I've been gone, what I've been doing, and what you all can expect from this thread going forward. If you're still hanging around even after I abandoned ship for the past few months, thank you so much for being patient with me. If you're new to the thread and are just poking around to see what's up, welcome! These next few weeks are going to be messy, but, if you've got time to burn, we're going to be spending the next few months diving into a new game and cleaning up some unfinished business. What's the story behind your break? πŸ–οΈ Back when I was playing the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth in April, I realized I had sunken into a creative rut. My updates were getting samey, my format was getting stale, and I was rarely satisfied with anything I put to paper. My frustration was building and I didn't feel much of a drive to write about anything at all, let alone discuss games that were destroying me. So, I had an idea. What if I switched games? Surely something new and exciting could rejuvenate the thread and reignite my passion for getting destroyed... right? Well, shortly after diving into Super Meat Boy Forever, the hot new challenging game on the block, I started to feel even worse about my updates. I would often stay up all night staring at an empty page, struggling to make the mundane sound exciting, but I couldn't produce anything I was satisfied with. As more people started checking in on the thread, I became more self-conscious and overwhelmed at the prospect of entertaining so many people with content that I wasn't happy with. After going back and forth for weeks, I decided shortly after writing my second SMBF update that I couldn't keep this up and that I needed time to think things over. So, after hastily shoving out my 3rd SMBF update, I locked the thread for nearly 4 months to get a clean break from it all. Did SMBF have anything to do with you stepping away for awhile? πŸ€” Sort of, but it may not be what some of you had in mind. One prevailing idea (*cough* thanks @Arcesius πŸ˜‚) is that I may have been "destroyed" by Super Meat Boy Forever, as per the goal of my thread. Now, as fun and dramatic as that sounds, I would have been more than happy to document myself getting destroyed if it were actually happening. The boring reality is that I wanted to save the rest of the game for when I had my creative energy back in tow and could confidently present the updates that the game, and those of you that take the time to read this thread, deserve. But that day never came. I played SMBF for about a week in late July to see if I could find something, anything, worth writing about and ended up finishing the deathless runs for the 3rd Dark World and 0XDEADBEEF (the closest we're going to get to Cotton Alley from the original SMB). Sadly, I didn't see anything that really inspired me to reopen the thread, so I decided to leave the updates for another day. I did find a cool skip in 0XDEADBEEF I guess? Though I'd imagine that speedrunners found this ages ago and I just happened to stumble across it by chance. My deathless runs are linked below for anyone still invested. Dark Tetanusville: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S60iYwgWjco 0XDEADBEEF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIdgtnxUky8 For those of you that really wanted to see the rest of this game played out, I would highly encourage you to check out @Joe Dubz since he's playing through it right now and he's been brimming with the enthusiasm that I lost touch with. I plan to return to the game later this year to clean up the last two dark worlds and provide a more fleshed out update for the two deathless runs above. What have you been doing while you were away? πŸ•΅οΈ Since my break, I've been generally absent from the forums, but I've enjoyed participating in the Ultra Rare Cleanup Event on the side while I figure out what to do next. Checking out games on the event's "Most Wanted" list has been a great way to pass the time and get destroyed in the process. I started Cloudberry Kingdom (yes, another tough-as-nails platformer) shortly after locking my thread in the hopes that I'd finally get the gut-punch I've been craving. I dug my dust-filled PS3 out of the closet and played it almost nonstop for three weeks. The difficulty of levels 319 and 320 in the game's story mode bordered on absurdity (level 319 took me 35 hours alone and level 320 took another 25 hours). I was a mess afterwards, but I didn't care; I was just thrilled to find something that could tear me apart. (Note: Gif quality is poor because this was from my successful level 319 run that was filmed on a phone.) I've been wanting to write an "all-in-one" update for the game, similar to my VVVVVV update awhile back, but, still in my creative slump, I couldn't find the motivation to sit down and actually write the thing. Months have passed since then, but, with the thread up and running again, I'm hoping to get the update out sometime soon. As I was looking for something new to sink my teeth into, I had a talk with @Don_carlito94, talented racing aficionado and all-around great person. It was through that very conversation that my sights were set on a game that may finally destroy me... Assetto Corsa. What's next for the thread? πŸ—ΊοΈ For the next few weeks, I'm going to be attempting to earn the platinum in Assetto Corsa, one of the most difficult racing sims on console. Specifically, I'd like to cover the game's special events, a series of nightmarish races, hotlaps, drifts, and time attacks. As someone that doesn't have a steering wheel or a license to drive in real life, I'm expecting to get absolutely annihilated. 😍 Full disclosure before we dive in: I've already put 120+ hours into the game. I'll explain why my decision to write about the game was made so late in my next update which should be posted in the next few days! In the meantime, I'm going to present my plan of action for the rest of 2021. Assetto Corsa Update Goals: [A.] Introduce Assetto Corsa and provide a Career Mode/Special Events recap. [B.] Recap the Race special events in detail (will be a multi-part update in conjunction with goal [C]). [C.] Create a video playlist of "easy" strategies for all 29 race events. [D.] Introduce the Hotlap events and begin documenting my descent into the hardest part of the game. Broader Checklist Goals: [1.] Earn the Assetto Corsa platinum or document my failings until I reach my breaking point. [2.] Write the Cloudberry Kingdom "All-in-one" update. [3.] Cleanup Super Meat Boy Forever (1-2 updates). [4.] Cleanup The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (1-2 updates). [5.] Special Announcement + Start of the next poll (12/19/2021) Important Note 🚨 I know it must be frustrating to watch me jump from game to game like this. With two unfinished games lurking in the background and the community-driven "challenge" nowhere in sight (we haven't had a poll since what, March?), this thread has become little more than a stage for some trophy-obsessed lunatic to rave about his masochistic tendencies. I'm going to be totally transparent with you all for a minute. Part of what makes this thread fun for me is the feeling of uncertainty. Wondering about whether or not I'm capable of finishing a game is what keeps me invested. Venturing into the unknown is what I love about challenging games. Now, this will sound either arrogant or completely baseless (as I do not have the platinum for either game), but the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and SMBF denied me this uncertainty. From the moment I found out that save-scumming could trivialize the challenge in Rebirth, I started losing interest. From the moment I discovered that SMBF's dark worlds do not get progressively more difficult (rather, they introduce new gimmicks while maintaining the same general level of difficulty), I couldn't be bothered to continue. As soon as victory becomes an inevitability, it starts to lose meaning. In an effort to chase this all-too-fleeting feeling of uncertainty, I knew I needed to play something that is completely outside of my area of expertise. Assetto Corsa fit the bill perfectly, and, after 120+ hours of play, I'm confident that this is going to be the most difficult challenge I've faced yet. I'm sorry this update has dragged on for so long. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and, as always, thank you all for sticking with me! πŸ˜„