AC

Reality check III

Like anonymous commented, Stefano is picking up the S03E03 again for this Sunday!

That’s very good news. First it means he will continue streaming – which is great on its own. Secondly it allows me to talk about one specific piece of his worrying statement now – before that I could have started a harmful rumor of the end of all days.

Until now, the community’s reactions were strange to me – everybody read “Stefano is just taking a break from community interaction”. That is not all what he said, and it is also dangerously belittled.

But all the passion and excitement for this thing called AC has been slowly taken away from me.
I guess it’s time to accept defeat and for me, to move on to something else.

I’m not sure how it is possible to misunderstand or ignore this statement. The constant negative pressure, drama and unjustified face slapping leads to the situation that Kunos members lose their fun on the project. We don’t know about the skin thickness here, but this is a plausible event in the future; nobody can tell how far away it is (and to prevent rumors: the new Sunday stream shows we’re not there yet, as does Porsche).

So now you could say “who cares, it’s their job” – and here we have the big point in the story: No, it is not.

Kunos is a team that originated from creating a simulator Netkart Namie as a hobby, in free time. Just a bunch of talented youngsters who spent a lot of spare time (they had “real” jobs then) to create something they found to be very cool. Founding Kunos Simulazioni was the step to have more time for their hobby and – maybe more important – unleash more capabilities to do better. I don’t think they ever made a job out of Netkart Pro and Assetto Corsa.

In a way, the Kunos members are still enthusiastic hobbyists, doing what they love to do. Expecting them to “do their jobs” isn’t appropriate. There are game studios that consists of real employees, with real jobs. Free weekends, suitable payment, limited responsibility. Well defined roles and tasks. Long term goals and roadmaps, managers, meetings, quality assurance and production processes. The latter is the most important. Most software companies are just producing software, just like any other manufacturer. That includes strategic goals like: Make money for the shareholders and … nothing else. Analyse what your target audience is, and how you can make as much money with the given effort, or achieve target revenues with minimum effort.

Do you really want AC go that way? Really? Guess what: AC wouldn’t be a niche simulator then. Why are there so many arcade racers? Because much a bigger target audience will spend money for less effort. For a software producer, realistically simulating things isn’t worth more than the entry on the marketing sheet, increasing pre-order sales numbers. Free updates even years after the release? Why? Free content updates? Lol why, where’s the shareholder value? Having direct community access? Where is the gain? “Why” is the default question to any enthusiastic proposal in a profit-orientated environment. And if it can’t be answered in favor of profits, it won’t happen. This way even bugs are not fixed on purpose. If it’s not “worth it”.

No, my dear friends. Nobody wants Kunos “to do their job”. It is possible that you don’t know this yet, but in the end you would see this is true.

I love Kunos for doing the right things for themselves, not for some job achievements. Whenever Aris finds something in his physics that is not correct and he can do something about it – he won’t ask anybody and don’t even think about it – he’ll work on the issue. The same goes for Stefano in code, Marco in licences, Luca in sounds, Simone, … well you get the picture. And that’s why Kunos is special: They have the best possible motivation, at least from the end-users point of view. Yes, they have too little time (probably for the same reason) and we usually can’t see their priorities and decisions, which leads to “how can this be like that for 2 years?” reactions.

But honestly. I’d rather have enthusiasts, hobbyists and artists crafting imperfect but special software, instead of a streamlined bunch of employees who don’t care about product itself. How could they produce something that is actually better for me?

Treating artists like employees is a good way to either loose whatever they do or convert them to employees. You can tell you are near when you notice that the excitement and dedication for the “product” is lacking – I don’t see why we as community would want that, or why we actively support this process.

Our options should be simple. We either enjoy and take part in their version of the perfect solution (under real world circumstances), or we disagree and move to the next better sim. You aren’t satisfied AND there is no better thing? Well, that’s why this is called “Reality Check”. Yes, we can also just destroy it like an angry child – things will become better then for sure.

—-

Kunos, thank you for taking care of Assetto Corsa like you do – and that our opinions are part of your version of the “perfect” sim. Most of the emotions you earn is exactly the same – people care for Assetto Corsa.

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