Honestly just coming back since a looooong hiatus, remember the good old days of CTRA and [CD] where you could just join in and have as many pick up races as you wanted in different classes, now all the racing is GTi or maybe sometimes FBM, maybe FOX, Where's the TBO racing? LRF? GTRs? hell even MRTs would be nice with some layouts...
What would really help is to setup a pickup racing server with varying track/class combos each 4-5 races, I remember there was a server network that was exactly like that some years ago, upon joining, races were (for example) TBO class in an Fern bay track, after some 5 races it would announce a track/class change and it would load Aston/LRF.
Maybe a server setup like that and posting it over here may raise it's activity, and that could attract some more old timers and new racers to join in.
Gotta start somewhere to bring LFS's online activity back to life, current content has been proven to be fun IF it is actually ever used xD, I think it's a matter of spreading the voice, generating interest in racing again, Updates surely will, but we shouldn't keep on waiting without doing anything, the comunity itself can do that too! although not at the same rate obviously but surely it can be done... right?
Lastly wanted to share this again over here, something I'm sure you've watched already many times but hey can't deny it is inspirational:
When LFS was young, many of my racing buddies and I used to have a server running where we just freely lapped and raced around, experimenting and sharing setups, using the whole map and not just the black bit, sometimes driving the other direction without penalty. This used to be possible in normal race mode, but now a server has to be in 'cruise' mode to be used as a free-for-all session. The word 'cruise' has earned a negative reputation so that I won't host a free session anymore for fear of it being ignored by casual racers. The 'sandbox' sessions we used to enjoy come from an era of LFS where you would make friends and enjoy LFS without running a serious event-style session.
Those days seem to be gone forever now.
No,there's another command for that - /autokick=no - that neutralizes forced spectating when driving in wrong direction (still showint the warning on screen). But there's now even better option - open config! Since there is no predefined path,there's no wrong way and you can explore every single square meter of whole environment. Then again - it's the mode cruise servers use these days too.
Most users decided that after over ten years on the same content it was time to move on. Either from gaming in general or just this old sim. You won't get them back, even a content update would not result in that. The simracing market grew and competition is fierce, a over ten year old sim on a ~15 year old graphics base won't attract new blood either, if not those that lack machines to run the contemporary titles.
I dunno, I think that's more to do with people limiting themselves. There is enough versatility in open configs and autocross objects for a million new tracks that haven't even been built yet, let alone driven to death.
Still, that's a poor excuse. The editor, being a great tool in the right hands, it's still limited on the tracks currently available. IMO, what's the most needed, if implementing cars takes this much time, is mod tools to create custom tracks, or even recreate real ones (I believe it's possible if it the maker doesn't profit from it).
inb4 anti-modders "mUh QuaLitY", "muH nOt PrEciSe"
You also shouldn't forget that people get older get a job, get married, and lose their precious free time and spend it on perhaps the more important things in life.
The few 'mature' die hard racers that are still here are highly in the minority compared to the kids, who just want to drift and cruise and probably don't even have the patience to learn how to have a proper race.
Every time i play on a GTi Blackwood server, which are the only active races as far as i can find, i see the same names dominating the grid, and some new players who give it a shot, and leave shortly after.
Also i wouldn't say that the content gets stale, we are still getting a graphics update, a physics update, and perhaps even some new cars or updated cars in the long run which is everything a sim racer could want anyway. But there is nothing about LFS that reels new players in, especially not since the sim racing market is so saturated, Project Cars, rFactor, Asetto Corsa, GTSport, iRacing and even F1 are getting way more exposure.
The only reason i stick to LFS myself and play it from time to time also has nothing to do with the graphics or content anyway, but just the physics. Which is a really niche feature which not many people really care about, and the people who do care are the people who already play the game, and are active on this forum, or so i imagine.
It's not an excuse for missing more venues, it's a criticism of thinking that more venues are the only way to get new content. The grass is only greener until you get there.
We haven't hit that limit yet, there is plenty of headroom for those who care to look for it.
Modding tools are the plan, but way down the line (when Scawen considers LFS finished).
This is exactly what I'm talking about though. I could draw a quick layout idea on a piece of paper, and some people would seemingly only be able to enjoy it if it was made as a full mod. The exact same shape of racing surface marked out with armco in a carpark is somehow not good enough, as if the racing lines and tactics they produce would be different, as if the racing on it would be any different.
I'd love modding tools, but people setting that as the low bar to being happy with content just boggles my mind.
I dunno.... Looking at the big picture, I don't see any massive amounts of new purchasers for LFS - especially in the Americas. Racing across the board is in decline. All you have to do is watch a race on TV and look at the stands. Well this extends not just to race spectating but the whole sport/concept in general. And while popularity is going down, the ratio of titles to potential customers has gone up.
For example 10 years ago you had - i dunno several hundred thousands of gaming enthusiasts for racing games with only a few titles to choose from. Most of those being crappy arcade style games.
Now you have only several thousand players - maybe - with a whole bunch of titles. They're not all gonna jump on one game.
Of course those numbers aren't anywhere near accurate. I haven't got the slightest idea of the exact numbers. There may actually be about the same amount of games to choose from and maybe more dedicated gamers to racing, but hopefully y'all get the point.
Tennis.... Tennis games are a good example. How many people play tennis? How many go out and buy and play tennis video games?
I'm thinking if you want more people on the servers, then some sort of marketing strategy aimed at more "experienced" sim-racer types would probably be a better idea than going head to head with the "pretty games" to get new people playing. This game has a pretty steep learning curve as it is. People that aren't into racing games don't really like it. It's "too hard to play".
And as much as I hate to see people taking video games too serious, I'm thinking that might be the best selling point: The realistic level of physics.
LOL definitely not the graphics. Even to this day, most titles out there can't come close to offering what LFS can with racing. They just look pretty.
But seeing that we're really playing someone's dream and not a video game, I'm guessing none of that really matters.
If y'all want more folks playing, then you're gonna have to do some leg work and learn the art of cold calling, selling something to someone that wasn't originally interested.
I doubt Scawen will spring for the ad space in YouTube videos.
there are plenty of people interested in the sim racing space.
the fia has an e-sports championship ffs.
online racing with high fidelity physics is not what drives sales, i guarantee it.
i just checked assetto corsa, and about 300 of the 1300 people playing are playing online.
assetto corsa has sold over half a million copies, btw.
from where i stand, physics is not what differentiates LFS. flexibility is what differentiates LFS.
insim, layout editor, controller setup, vr setup, vehicle setup, commands/scripts... most of this stuff was years ahead of its time, and is still better in LFS than everything else i've spent time with.
my opinion, in shooting game terms, is that the vehicle sim market doesn't need another counterstrike. it needs a garry's mod.
Good post! Thanks for providing some actual numbers of some sort too. I really haven't seriously dug into it.
"online racing with high fidelity physics is not what drives sales, i guarantee it.
i just checked assetto corsa, and about 300 of the 1300 people playing are playing online.
assetto corsa has sold over half a million copies, btw."
Assetto Corsa sold half a million copies. I bet it's safe to say that those customers also have other racing games and that most of these folks have most of the same titles. And I'm going to go on a limb here and say that the TOTAL amount of "sim racers" is roughly around a million people. Sounds like a lot huh? Not even close.
Out of the BILLIONS of internet users you got around Hundreds of Millions of gamers. So that number doesn't look so big now. In fact, it looks more like a niche market. So you got LFS trying to compete for a million potential customers, give or take a few thousand. How many other racing titles are out there? I can think of at least five. There's probably at least double that. Now divide that million by ten (guessing at ten titles) 100k sales would be optimal.
Now let's factor in that a big chunk of those racing game sales were done as gift purchases...how about 30%?
How many times did you get a gift you thought sucked? The point I'm making is out of all those sales, you're going to see many of those games just gathering dust while the kids are playing Fortnite or something.
Your stats on Assetto Corsa sorta proves that.... half a million people yet only 300 out of 1300 playing.
1300.... so where did the other 497,000 players go?
"from where i stand, physics is not what differentiates LFS. flexibility is what differentiates LFS.
insim, layout editor, controller setup, vr setup, vehicle setup, commands/scripts... most of this stuff was years ahead of its time, and is still better in LFS than everything else i've spent time with."
Now you're in my world. Advertising and product promotion.... You're absolutely right about all of that, but none of that matters when the competitors' PR belts out about their stuff loud enough to shadow anything LFS has to offer.
Scawen knows this. He doesn't want to spring for serious advertising. I imagine he mostly relies on word of mouth as I've never really seen an ad anywhere. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising, but when people can't hear you over the other guy's yelling, then you need to do more to get your stuff out there.
oh yeah..... "the fia has an e-sports championship ffs".
In the late 90's/early 2000's there were at least three high end racing sites geared to serious online racing like your FIA. And there were fewer titles and fewer people online back then.
But like I said, we're really not playing Scawen's game, We're playing his dream. So I guess none of this really matters.
And I still believe racing across the board is in decline.
Agree with the need for advertising LFS, The majority of people i race with in PCARS and A.C have not heard of LFS and after checking lfs out they like what they see.
As in terms of numbers of users i would say project cars is not doing so well while a.c is doing not to bad but neither seem to be doing as well as what LFS used to be like
LFS still has the potential to bring in more racers due to there being a demo/free option which then could bring in more licensed racers. The most damaging thing for LFS is the post that always surface of people moaning about new cars or tracks even though they have not given the current available content a chance and currently driven a few of the current available cars and tracks, they would continue to moan regardless of releases
dude has lived the dream for over 15 years. "all good things", right?
after doing some googling, i have to agree with you.
i imagine that the enthusiast press will cover LFS when the incompatible version is released.
it's quite a sensational story.
there was some coverage a couple years ago because of VR, so the ten year patch should be a pretty big deal.
of course there always be a vocal minority complaining. entitled novelty addicts and such.
i feel pretty optimistic about user-generated content, though.
You know, I guess I'm pretty weird as all this goes. I wasn't into sim racing at all when LFS came out.
I read an article on independent gamer makers (salon? slate?) and they wrote a little about LFS had a link. And everything went downhill from there. I got the demo and about two weeks later I got the license.
You're always going to have people whining for something. I've been playing this game pretty much since it came out and I haven't "raced" all the cars/track combos we have as it is. I personally don't care if there are more tracks added, but I won't complain if they do. I wish they'd do more for the drag racing and rally cross. If anything, I wish they'd wrap it up and let the modders worry about all the cars/tracks.
If I must realistically whine for a track, it'd be a simple dirt oval with the MRTs modified (converted to 1/4 scale race cars?).
But as far as promotions for LFS?
Besides how easy it is to hook up to VR and low resource demands, They still need to do something to put it further apart from the other titles to attract someone just finding out about LFS.
I think the drag strip would be cool as I don't think anyone does that. Can you drag race in Assetto Crosa?
But to be able to do drag racing right might be more trouble than it's worth.
And rally cross? I think that would be a big boost too. I think more people watch the rally cross in the X games than they do F1 racing. To me the only racing that sucks worse than NASCAR is F1.
I think the next "big thing" in real racing will be the Australian v8 super car racing. Maybe gear towards that? But then again everyone thought that D-1 would go somewhere too.
Yeah. It's easy to be an armchair quarterback. Not so much when trying to apply any of this in real life.
In my opinion new tracks and cars won't attract people, because LFS community have their own inner circle where it is discussed about the latest updates and if it cannot reach other communication channels besides LFS forum, then we won't experience new era of elite racing leagues and therefore my own conclusion about what is the strategy for the developers is that they are aiming for realistic simulator which is available for every person to experience the driving as itself and just to have fun. As it has been previously discussed without PR position in LFS creators team it will be nearly impossible to create demand for the product (LFS) and to attract potential high class league hosters which is one of the impactful reasons to create mature racing environment what could possibly attract new skilled drivers that could change the racing atmosphere to the state as it once was.
What's sad is I'm on the forum more than the server by a long ways. When there is activity, I'm usually doing something else.
I still play single player here and there. Trying to make a set-up with the GT turbo Rally car to attempt a WR on blackwood actually. Getting there.....slowly.
I'd like to see some of the OG's come back to LFS, even for just 1 evening a week for some pick up races, maybe some TBO class or anything really just to bring the fun and close racing of the old days back.
I'm going to try to get back into LFS this year, will buy up a cheap FF wheel and jump back in, hopefully in the next few weeks I've heard GTI Thursdays and Rony's Tuesdays provide some good racing.
obviously things arent the same. Some of the really good racers from LFS race now in different games where they actually can put their skill to good use. Here tho? Well, the game has simply gone downhill. Is it a bad thing? No. Things change. The game doesn't offer the same amount of excitement as it used to
It's advertised as a racing game, yet it can be used in whatever way the game mechanics allow. And I'm just gonna point this out. A higher amount of cruise or drift servers (or whatever else) are not responsible for the lack of racing servers. The one and only problem here is that not enough people who want to race are active in the game.
The thing is apart from IRACING which i have not played i can say that a.c and pcars do not yield much numbers in terms of players
Im still happy on lfs after 8+ years and if you check 9/10 racers stats they have/did not even give the current content a fair try, A few people get put off due to the fact that they get kinda lost in one of LFS great features and that is the setups and for some the main settings for the controller and as they cannot get insta good like NFS it stops entertaining them
Last I read, there are about 50,000 current accounts at iRacing. I don't know what the average activity level is per player. iRacing is expensive, and I never liked the combination of paying for in game content in addition to paying a monthly fee. It always seemed like marketing ploy to extract as much money from the player base as possible.
The most popular racing game in the last decade was Need For Speed World, which ran from July 2010 to July 2015, with millions of accounts, a free to play, but pay to win game. My impression is only a small fraction of the player base were truly interested in the multi-player racing.
I was never that big of a fan of LFS. I started with LFS S1 because of my interest in the Caterham, but the S1 physics was clearly an issue. S2 fixed much of this, but then exaggerated the effects of flat spotting and clutch overheating, and by then, I moved on to other racing games. Back around 2006, I estimated that S3 would take until 2009 based on the pace of development.
Like others here, I've lost interest in racing games in general. The last racing game I bought was Shift 2 Unleashed in 2011. The only games I've bought since then were the 3 most recent Tomb Raider games. As for the Need For Speed games I own that still have online servers, most of the online activity I see is players running career mode events while logged in, as opposed to doing multi-player events. From my own experience and what I read on forum sites, the number of multi-player races, arcade or sim-oriented has greatly diminished from it's peak around 2006 through 2008.
It is the most played simracing game nowadays for sure. I'm happy paying, at least we get updates, cars, laser scanned tracks, and most important, other players to race with.
Racing IRL is expensive compared to iracing so I really don't see a big problem.