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  • "In Memory to The Greatest-Devoted Husband,Father,and Stock Car Racer"
    Picture credits go to Nascar.com


    First Annual SimCyberworld.com
    Simulation of the Year Awards

    This is only the first annual award ceremony but every year during our birthday month we will place our prestigious Simulation of the Year award to a game which epitomizes great design, playability, expandability (or as we like to call it, editing), and most important Accurately Simulated Realism.  Of course, if some year produces nothing but drivel we will not offer awards but only scathing criticism for the industry.  Enough chat-On with the awards.

    Nascar 3, Legends of Nascar, Sports Car GT, EA Superbike World Championship, and Dirt Track Racing all made impressive debuts in the sim world.  In smaller circles games such as STCC made their debut.

    Simulation of the Year

    With all of the products releases this year there were several contenders for our approval as Simulation of the Year.  Through many hours of racing one title kept pulling us back more than any other.  DIRT TRACK RACING is the SIMCYBERWORLD.COM SIMULATION OF THE YEAR.

    This game caught all of us jaded and crusty simmers off guard.  Powerslide-C'mon are they serious? A real sim game of Saturday night dirt track racing for $20? All we could say after that was oops.  This game is affordable, easy to play no matter what skill level you are, has vast setup options, a dynamic career mode consisting of 3 car classes and sponsors, and has many unique designs of tracks (And some unlicensed favorites -Nocks Hill sound familiar?  Eldora is in there too.).  Figure 8's, tri ovals, berms, water trucks, infields, cushions (and the occasional corner hill drop-off) and dirt add up to tracks better than anything seen since Monaco in GPL.  They even included a unpacking tool and ominous hints as to what can be done editing the game.  I just can't find the right words except that this game gave us feelings unlike any we had since the first Indycar Racing 1.

    Motor Vehicle Game of the Year

    This is a special category occasionally awarded when a vehicle game (arcade or sim, racing or other driving types) demonstrates above-expected entertainment.

    Is anyone here old enough to remember the 70's?  Ok, how about those 70's and early 80's movies and TV shows that featured wild car chases through a city and its back alleys (like on the A-Team)?  Care to be the stunt driver for them?  Ok, just buy our SIMCYBERWORLD.COM MOTOR VEHICLE GAME OF THE YEAR: DRIVER from GTI.

    Over Christmas I was going to work on some editing for GPL.  I started playing Driver and now the GPL Mosport Rainpatch is a month late.  Now that says something for the quality of Driver.  True the storyline is shaky, the cutscenes are rendered for a 386 in 320x240 mode and there is NO in-car view but the driving is incredible.  These big 70's cars push like big 70's cars did.  Racing the clock/police through a crowded LA, New York, Miami or San Francisco is AWESOME!  Mix in one of the BEST soundtracks since some of the older adventure games and you have a retro racer.  I ignored the storyline after about 3 missions and just started pretending I was driving in one of those movies from the 70's. There are even explore the city and timed games you can play.  Many objects are destroyable, cars crunch, headlights break, and police are smart.  Mission creation/editing seems pretty easy too.  Missions are stored with vital information (variables such as car, time...) and plot trees in nothing more than txt files.  The cities look great and make effective use of few textures (but you'll never realize that there are only a few textures per city).  Special landmarks are also in the cities!  Missions are varied from steal a cop car and scare a taxi passenger to wreck a restaurant, transport explosives or stop that car.  Point A to B missions are also included, many timed with the stipulation of no cops following you.  This game is just so great in recreating those 70's shows (but not "That 70's Show" <G>).  You might not even realize it was meant to be an arcade racer.  I drove missions with a keyboard and steering wheel with Equal! success.

    What Happened to the Rest?

    EA Superbike WC: A great game, no problems here just we didn't get into it.

    Motorsims Superbike: Man was I crushed.  The game sounds like a splendid thing, tons of outside input from some of racing's greatest names then the game is released and hardly performs.  It is better after a 30MB (3Hr D/L for most of us) patch but still not at the level of EA's Superbike World Championship that could be had for half the price in a bargain bin when Motorsims title was released.

    Nascar Racing 3:  Let's pretend this didn't happen.  In a crossover year N3 made it from Dos to Windows.  Somehow the predicted GPLEngine was not installed and Papy put the tired workhorse from N2 back under the hood for a second time.  It really shows it's age badly, although we get Glide and D3D support in the game we also get many bugs and video card problems/blurry textures up close.  On my testbed system (P2-266, 64Mb Ram, Voodoo Rush card) I had slow performance in all graphics modes at the lowest resolution.  This version seems primarily as touchups to the N99 game.  All Busch & Cup stuff is here again with Trucks coming as an addon pack later this spring 2000.  Indianapolis is back though!!!  Animated Traffic lights/flaggers are in the game along with separate crew chief/spotter (who sounds like J/G.) voices.  Day and night cockpits are included and well done I must say. Still it isn't much more than N2 with better graphics.  Unfortunately (And I thought I'd never say this about Papy) bugs and an outdated engine make N3 more of an acceptable game than their spectacular titles of yore.

    Nascar Legends:  SC and the Pits make it big with the commercial release of the highly popular N@50 patch. (Disclaimer: SC and the Pits were not involved with the commercial game nor are they profiting from it.  However I am quite proud to say that we inspired a major commercial success)  Unfortunately there were no dirt tracks included and the poor N2 engine is starting to show it's rev limits.  Still it is a good title, many improvements over N2/99 and a 3do system allowing Superbirds on the track with non-winged cars.

    SCGT: Well, it was a great concept but once it hit store shelves the sim racers were barely considered.  Uniform in-car cockpit, no headlights!, short list of real tracks (after many including LVMS had been announced as being included), arcade-style locked track career system, and a decision to dump the game after it's release hurt its chances.  Still it is the second best sim of '99, the sourcecode was released for public editing, the game is an easy-edit (VRML style), racing is fun and allows long races with co-drivers, and it is the first non-Cart roadcourse sim in quite some time.  Editors are giving it the life it should've had with new hacks like damage editors, sim-performance, non-generic dashboards, and new cars-with tracks not far off.  My advice-buy it then do a lot of addon downloading.  Your time will be well spent.

    TAR 68-72: Looked great but licensing issues crushed it before it hit the shelves. Sad too, Todd Heckel and the rest were some of the nicest and most open developers that I've ever seen.

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