Jun 24, 2021

Career Modes in Sim Racing Suck!

I love career modes in games! So why is it that all the career modes in racing sims suck and why I don't wanna play them. That is the question absolutely no one has asked. I'm gonna answer anyways!

Posted by: Ted Meat

Career Modes in Sim Racing Suck!

Time to rant!

I love career modes in games! So why is it that all the career modes in racing sims suck and why I don't wanna play them. That is the question absolutely no one has asked. I'm gonna answer anyways.

Back in the 90's when I started sim racing I always waited for someone to create a career mode for a racing sim! You'd start from a crappy team and then climb up the ladders to the big ones to become a champion and yada yada yada. THEN everything would be great and THEN my life would be perfect and fulfilled. Turns out that didn't do it.

That being said there were some 3rd party programs to create a career – at least in the early 2000s, you'd just manually type in your results and sign contracts based on your success and all that. I actually played one in 2001! It was called ”F1 Career v3.0” and I played it with GP3 with team dependent engine power and all that. It was fun for few races, I started my career with with Minardi and was fighting at the back of the grid as I should. But then I somehow got P5 in monsoon conditions in Monaco! Immediately there was Ron Dennis on the phone saying ”welcome to McLaren”! And my interest died immediately. Also my interest to sim racing died soon after that so I didn't really try out F1 challenge and those other games.

Of course nowadays you can just go and race online and there's your career. As for single player there are career modes but I just can't bother to play them. Because they all suck! Tried the one in Project Cars long time ago but it seemed kinda scripted and the AI was terrible to race against. The career in Dirt Rally is a joke. I've also tried the ones in Codemasters F1 games but I always lose interest before I can do two full seasons. The thing is the single player career modes always feel very static and scripted. You just climb the ladders. If you watch people doing careers in the F1 games on YouTube they're essentially all the same. Some manage to climb up the ladders faster and some slower but it feels that's the only difference.

Now why is that and what would be the ultimate single player career mode that no one is ever going to create no matter how much I complain.

I'm gonna throw in two examples. Both games I used to play on this channel for an audience of three people. Championship Soccer, coded by one man in Germany in 2005 and the legendary Falcon BMS. For Falcon I simply don't have time anymore but Championship Soccer I still play from time to time. Now why are the careers in those games so brilliant that you just keep coming back to them year after year?

Behold. This is the answer. Fully dynamic world! Both these games consist of two independent games! In Falcon BMS there's of course a flight sim and the player is obviously flying a plane. The computer plays a complicated fully dynamic strategy game in the background. You can choose to no to participate at all but just watch how the campaign goes! As it's fully dynamic everything affects everything and thus every campaign is always different! You feel how you're just a one entity in a big universe instead of just playing a game that's built for you and around you.

Same goes to Championship Soccer. A dynamic world where you're playing football as a single player and the computer is playing a complicated dynamic manager game in the background. For example if there's a major injury of a key player the AI manager of that team then tries to hire someone to replace him and that causes a chain of events that might affect the career of tens if not hundreds of players! Again. You feel how you're just a one entity in a big universe trying to make it instead of just playing a game that's built for you and around you.

And it's not just climbing ladders. I mean sometimes very improbable things happen that might throw your career in a completely different direction, you get into the club of your dreams but the manager loses it and sells the key players, or messes up the strategy. Then the team doesn't get results, loses confidence and morale and you just end up being stuck in a bad team allover again. Super frustrating but fantastic at the same time. No career is the same. When your player gets old and you retire the manager game that's played by the computer still goes on if you so choose and you can just watch or create a new player into the world.

I'm probably alone here but for me that's what gets me hooked. That's the kinda career mode I'd love to see in sim racing. Different classes with different drivers coming and going, even imaginary, I don't care. Computer playing a manager game in the background, teams making decisions based on resources, available engines, designers, drivers and theirs skills and you're just a one little part of the universe. Even if you do well you might be stuck in a bad team simply because there are no seats available or because of a binding contract that makes you crazy.

And then finally, after years of struggle, you finally make it! You get into a top team, ready fulfill all your dreams but then the team falls into the back of the grid because they swap into a bad engine. A perfect Fernando Alonso experience. A realistic career mode that's not just a ladder climbing game but you can also fall off the ladder even without your own fault and then you have to start climbing again.

Honestly there's probably no demand for stuff like this because a realistic career where even failure by not your own fault is an option can be very frustrating and just put people off. Also as I said before one would have to create two separate games, a racing sim, played by the player and a manager / strategy game with potentially thousands of variables that is been played by the computer in the background. Very easily causes a massive feature creep that actually happened to Falcon 4.0 back in the days. Also you can just have a career in iRacing against other people. That world is certainly dynamic enough. Doesn't really feed the imagination of a man child like myself though.

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