Sunday, August 4, 2013


During warm weather months (above freezing anyway), it is track season in North Texas. With six road courses within a six hour drive, we have a lot to choose from. So during most of the track season (which stretches from late February to early November) I spend time getting my track car ready for each event. But not this year. I sold my 2006 Porsche Cayman S and bought a 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo. But a very highly track modified 944 Turbo. Problem it - IT IS A 1986 944 TURBO, meaning it needs a lot of stuff. So I did that stuff – belts, rollers, water pump, replace rod bearing, put in oil baffle and other stuff that the car needs. But, I usually have to do stuff twice as it seems I always mess it up the first time. Yeah pretty much… I ended up putting several (well three out of four) rod bearing caps in backwards (who knew?) and I locked up the motor. Pretty good as it turns out, it would not turn over at all. I ended up needed professional help. Ended up costing a lot. How much? Ask my wife. She is upset with me for some reason I cannot fathom. Something to do with our summer vacation or something like that.

Anyway I digress. So what have I been doing with my time? Since I am not getting my car ready for track events? Well I have been playing a game to replace that feeling of being on the track. No not Gran Turismo, I don’t own a Play Station. No, it is something much more simple or far more sinister, depends on your prospective. It lives on my iPad and for some strange reason, it sucks up A LOT of my free time, especially late into the night.

I love it and I hate it. All at the same time. Before my rant starts, maybe just a little bit of a back story. Not sure how many of you played Real Racing 2 (RR2). But I must admit that I loved it. I went way deep, unlocking the secret race car, the McLaren F1. Starting dead last it was fun to lead races by the second corner (or if you were not on your game, by the third). I drained many a battery charge on my phone playing RR2. But Real Racing 3 (RR3)? Sometimes I would like to throttle the developers. Hmmm, maybe more often than not.

So the pluses? The choice of cars is excellent, the tracks are great (except for maybe Brands Hatch) and the physics are fantastic. The cars seems to handle really like they are meant to. There seem to be major differences in how you approach the same corner with the different cars. It makes you work to get the most out of each car. So the game play gets a thumbs up.

But it pretty much stops there. So the RR3 developers out there…I hope a couple of you come across this blog…cause here it goes! Wait! Time out, better put in this caveat – I know that Electronics Arts (EA) is in the business to make money. But in the iPhone / iPad / Android universe, the cost of game is low to zero. $1.99 for a game? That seems about right. So if a game is $5.00 or more, I expect a lot. Fact is I probably overspent on this game. I think it was $5.99, now it’s free. My bad. So as a paying customer, I expected more, a lot more.

1.       The constant servicing of the cars. Run one to two races, you have to put the car in for service. This can take as long as several hours to complete. This means that you can race for a grand total of 15 minutes before you have to hit the service button. Boy these guys really know how to build extended game play into RR3. In real life you would not put your race car into a service cycle after 5-6 laps, but RR3 does. This is a game for crying out loud, gamers expect to be able to play and play and play.

2.       The cost of upgrades? $118,000 for brake pads for a Pagani Zonda F? I can build a car that is faster than the Zonda for $118,000. Brake pads….yeah. Made of what, unobtanium? And the time for the upgrades to be installed, it can something take like five to six hours! Why? The developers and EA want you to spend your money to unlock the service or upgrades so you can get them sooner. Ahhh, instant gratification, but with a price.

3.       Staying with a car for a race series only to have it run out on you. Yes, you spend your hard earned race winning on a car and you upgrade and upgrade and upgrade and…well you get the point. Then you run deep into the series you are racing in only to find out that your baby, the car you spent untold amounts of R$ (what they call money) cannot complete the series. RR3 uses a rating called PR (Performance Rating) and when deep into a particular series the developers put PR requirements on a particular race. Imagine you have raced hard, spent your R$ and expect to continue racing, but you cannot. They put an artificial PR rating to make your car ineligible. Let me give you a perfect example – Racing a McLaren MP4-12C a series called Vanguard Challenge, the MP4 has a max PR rating of 59.3. But midway through the series, the challenges start at a PR rating of 60. Yeah it sucks, .7 PR points separates me from continuing on to the next race. Why? It will no doubt come as a complete shock, but the developers what you to buy another car to replace your lowly piece of junk (I mean McLaren MP4-12C). And guess what, you have to upgrade your new bad boy too if you want to continue. What a racket!

4.       Payout, or rather lack thereof. Now when you are racing a R$1.2M car you expect decent payouts. After all you spent a lot of time accumulating the funds to pay for this bad boy. So you can imagine my surprise when I win a race and win R$3200. That barely pays for service. Yeah the developers what you to spend your real US$ (or whatever your local currency is) to buy stuff like upgrades or new cars. But this is iPhone, iPad, Android land and we do not spend extra $$$ on games. At least I don’t.

5.       Buying extra R$? How about US$99.00 for R$1M!?!? Really? I wonder how many takers they have had at those prices. I bet they would have more takers at $9.99. I suspect EA told the developers they had to have a certain ROI to get the blessing from corporate. Point is…wait for it…this is a mobile game! Not a console or PC game and as such you would expect that it would be a little less costly to play.

OK, I have ranted enough. What I really need to do is get my track car fixed and get back out on the track. And I will, just as soon as I can find a nice drivers side front fender that does not cost an arm and leg. I would rather spend my real $$$ on real car parts. Not excessive R$ for fake car parts. So to the developers of RR3, get with the program and make the racing more realistic for iPhone, iPad and Android users. Real racers get the point of having to pay big bucks to keep on the track. But in the mobile world? Get real!!!

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time.