As Zadak once said…
I decided to write about the Grand Prix races that I have at home in the realm of Video Games, apologies as it is rather long and Iím not the best writer.
Racing Games are a wonderful thing, but have you ever tried to set up a professional series and have it run its own course to the point of developing a very interesting championship battle? This is a little write up about the various championships that I have run at home and all of them have been intriguing and some championships have been all the way down to the last race.
The main rule I give myself for these series is to have no race last less than one hour, the only two rules I have about the participants is that they are all different machines so that the constructorís championship matters, and if I am choosing the vehicles myself the performance gap between the front and the back is not to be too great (the cars can however be very different, on a massive oval the gap between two cars could be huge, but because of the types of cars the situation could be reversed on tight twisty track. Itís essentially all down to judgement, I should know if a car is WAY too fast.) The difficulty for races must be so that I am fighting for position where that participant would be fighting for position.
It all started out in Forza Motorsport 2 (Xbox 360), a few years ago, where I held some custom races against the AI. Long Races for fun, I did not however record any results so those races are lost to the mists of time.
The way to set up a custom AI race in Forza seems to be to go into multiplayer and set up your own custom multiplayer game, from there you can choose all manner of settings, you can also individually choose what cars the AI use in the race.
Forza 3 R1 Championship
I didnít start setting out a calendar and recording the results until Forza 3. The first series was all about the R1 class cars in the game. I looked at the races available and made a calendar based on their position on the world map. Even the fictional tracks had real world locations that they were based on. The results were only recorded on paper so I cannot recall everything; I cannot remember every race but I do know it was a four way battle for the title with Acura, Audi, Aston Martin and Peugeot. Those four were so strong that none of the other four cars won a race.
The Forza 3 R1 championship was races over 20 different rounds, the winner being Peugeot. I raced the Acura through the whole championship.
Forza 3 R2 Championship
The Forza 3 R2 championship was next and was contested over 22 rounds, my biggest championship to date. Koenigsegg was the fastest by miles with the CCGT, not only was it one of the fastest on the straights but it was also far from useless when it got twisty. An upgraded Honda GT car was found to be too fast and was disqualified after three races, and replaced by a Nissan. I piloted the amazing Mazda Furai in this series.
What is listed as the F9000 championship is my first fantasy series; it was also the first to take a driverís championship into account as well. This was played in Wipeout Fusion on the PS2 and is one of the best racing series I have done. There were fourteen rounds, two at each location. Each round had six races one on every layout. Of the two rounds at each location one would be done with weapons and one would be done without. This was done using the custom league feature that you can unlock at the end of the main game. Piranha was the run-away winner of the constructors, winning each time the weapons were turned off. Due to bonus point whenever you took someone else out of the race there were some unusual scores. When the weapons were off, the most a driver could score in a round was 68 but when the weapons were on the most someone scored was 90. Omarr Khumala won the driverís title for Tigron in the last round because of that performance.
In the F9000 championship I would hop drivers to whoever I thought either needed a boost to keep championship hopes alive or just raced at the back. I would never race for the championship leader.
2010 Formula 1 Championship
F1 2010 was the next game to be done. Done as you would expect, with the official game, to 100% race distance, with Grand Prix mode so I could choose what driver I wanted (I was keeping track of the championship in Excel). I never raced for the championship leader and I tried not to influence the championship at all. Jenson Button and McLaren were the championship winners.
The Galactic Pod Racing Championship
Another Fantasy series next, The Galactic Pod Racing championship using ďStar Wars Episode 1: RacerĒ on the PC. I wanted a challenge and I got one with this game. Not particularly the racing but the planning of the championship was insane. The longest race is 5 laps on any track, but that could mean 100 seconds or 20 minutes. It worked out to 17 rounds further split into 100 races in total. Finishing up at the Boonta Eve Classic on Tatooine, as seen in the film. I was surprised by how much information I could dig up on each of the podracers. There were only a few that I couldnít find constructor names for, but they were mostly uncompetitive.
Sebulba dominated the Driverís championship and in turn his constructor: Collor Pondrat won constructors. Collor pondrat was one of the few to field two drivers. I hopped drivers in this series quite a bit, trying my best to keep in unbiased while also trying to counteract the influence of the track favourite.
1975 Formula 1 Championship
The last series that was finished was F1 1975; a mod for rFactor. There was no track pack so I had to fish around for the different locations, (couldnít find The Swedish GP track so I used a Greek substitute, all the others were found) and two non-championship races were included so that made 16 races in total. This was probably the closest championship battle yet; Carlos Reutemann, Emerson Fittipaldi, and James Hunt were only separated by 4 points. Fittipaldi coming out on top. And Mclaren beat Brabham to constructors on finishing position count back, they were tied on points. Sadly Niki Lauda in the Ferrari was just too unlucky to fight for the title.
The Universal Constructorís Sheet
There is one more spread sheet, one that I only add to at the end of a championship. The all-time constructorsí sheet. A win is worth 1 point on the sheet so it is a list of race winners, but also there are points (3, 2, 1) for championship positions; drivers and constructors. There is no end to this list and count up so there is no winner but if you see it, you will see that it is obvious McLaren has been the most successful constructor in my games by miles.
Here is the full list of all the constructors on the sheet with their point score next to them. Some you may not have heard of, possibly due to the fact they starred in the fantasy series:
Aston Martin: 6
Bin Gassi: 7
Collor Pondrat: 12
Elsinore Cordova: 1
Farwan and Glott: 2
Keizar Volvec: 1
Manta RamAir: 1
Pizer Errol: 1
Red Bull: 5
Why keep track of all these stats? Because I love these sorts of stats.
The 1970 Sports Car Championship (rFactor) with two classes is on-going at the moment, as is the FX400 series (Wipeout Pulse on PS2).
This could be seen as a sad waste of time, but I would generally only do a race whenever I know Iím going to be bored for a day, and reading books just doesnít cut it.
So why write all this up? For the sake of sharing my experiences with other people who are also motorsport-mad. Are there any other people who do this sort of thing? and if there are, could you recommend any other good racing games or rFactor mods (Iím looking for a good pre-war game/mod)?
As you can see I donít just limit it to cars, I donít even limit it to wheels so any game is good, as long as there is some way of recoding the results of the race at the end and the selection of race tracks is big enough to have a decent length series.
The possibilities of this type of racing are endless, and I have found it to be a great way of getting through a slow day. I would recommend these series to anyone willing to give it a go.