Tech, Toys, and Tidbits

Many moons ago there was a racing game.  Not just any racing game, but a game featuring cars from the golden age of automobiles.  The newest car in the game was a 1973 Firebird, and the oldest was a 1932 Ford.

The game had a number of tracks, ranging from cluttered city streets, to small town main streets, to gravel and dirt country roads.  Basically, there was something for everyone. 

It featured a fairly realistic physics model, and was an amazing amount of fun to play.  The best part of the game, however, was tuning your rides.  There were thousands of aftermarket parts, licensed and realistically modeled, that you could install on your car.  Everything from Holly carbs, to glasspack mufflers, to cams, headers, and crankshafts.  These all combined with a physics model of the engine to give you an unprecedented amount of control over every aspect of your ride.

Plus, all the parts were part of a massive dynamic economy that tied everything together with part and car auctions.  The price of that high-end turbocharger you want is based on supply and demand, not some arbitrary dollar figure.

I actually had 3 separate 1965 Mustangs.  Each of them tuned, balanced, and tested (for hours!) to be perfectly controlled on a specific track type.  My offroad ‘stang could barely stay on an asphalt road, but was a joy to drive on the “Hazard Hollow” dirt track.  Conversely, the ‘stang I’d tuned for the road wouldn’t have made it around the first corner of the dirt track.  

Because of the vast number of parts available, I learned more about how engines worked than I ever thought I’d need to know.  It doesn’t take very many mid-race blown engines before you figure out that adding a turbo and nitrous to a 12.0 compression ratio rig is a BAD plan.

Added on to all that was an amazing group of people, racing clubs, and tuners, all happy to give advice, or go for a race at the drop of a hat.

There were problems with the game, such as lag, and a limit of 4 people per race, but those things were minor compared with the hours of joy the game brought me.

Sadly, in it’s infinite greed, Electronic Arts decided that the game wasn’t making enough profit, and cancelled it.  It was making profit, but not as much as the sims, so they shut it down.  Once the servers were gone, so was the game, and the community.   I haven’t paid for an EA game since.  They are the evil empire of gaming.

I recently found a brave group of folks trying to remake the game.  Check it out at
http://www.motorworldonline.net/