The Race2Play web servers are paid up through January 2017, so the site itself will stand for that at least.
The Personal Scouting Report for events compares the performance and history of the cars and drivers at the track in play. It includes your own matchups vs the cars and drivers. This is a benefit of supporting membership found under the "Scouting" tab on any upcoming event page.
Previously you had to be entered in the event for the report to be generated, but that made it less fun. I've changed that.
So we went off and hired a Story Reporter to cover all the races here. He's been on the job already. If you look carefully in some of the screenshots you can catch glimpses of him in the background: a shoulder sticking out in the pit road crowd, the top of a head poking up from the press box ... you need keen eyes, but he's there.
Look to recent event pages to see his dispatches. You may have noticed some already. They'll start to spread around the rest of the site in coming days.
For general thoughts, stick around here.
For about three hours some nine years ago I was the one and only driver at Race2Play.
After many months in concert with Tim McArthur, on Aug. 30, 2006, I reinstalled Race2Play's production database for the final time, created my own user account, and emailed Tim to follow the link. Three hours later he did. Within days the first of about 150 beta members by-invitation started collecting, and nine years later it's been tens of thousands.
Some 10 years ago online leagues were fragile, limited affairs scattered far and wide, a hobby admin running a series or two off a free bulletin board. And when the guy lost interest, Poof! Gone. I was a diehard sim racer. The cycle of Find-And-Start-Over, to Poof! Gone. Sucked. I eventually landed in Tim's league, and pegged him as being The Right Stuff. I bounced an idea off him in late 2005. He had similar ideas back.
Race2Play took shape over emails, phone calls and one face-to-face (we lived three states apart). We initially explored licensing and modding a sim to control the thing nuts to bolts. That morphed when we realized we wanted to race all the different sims, and when new ones came out we'd want to race them too. And we didn't want to have to start over at a new site every time to do it. And we didn't think it should go, Poof! Gone.
So Race2Play was born. It was our notion of the ideal online racing organization.
In the years since, Race2Play has supported thousands of events across 17 different racing sims. My first win was in the original GTR in 2006, driving the Saleen in the wet at Oschersleben. Man, I love that I know that, that I can go back and read the postrace and see the screenshots. I love that it exists.
It survived infancy because of the members in the community then, because of the number who said to that, "Yeah, me too." Race2Play would either draw breath and walk because of them, or it wouldn't.
That original support model remains going into our 10th year. There are no outside investors backing losses here. Race2Play draws breath and walks by the people who say, "Yeah, me too."
Yep, yep, that's right, you read this far to see a pitch. I know, that's just how it works. The people partying on the boat have a somewhat vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the hull. Yes, we have a free Guest level. It may be the right fit for a certain segment of racers, and I'm glad we've managed it. But, well, the dangest thing, finding the right balance in such a specialized niche as sim racing turns out to be really, really hard.
If you like that there is a Race2Play for you — for past you, present you, future you — consider being among the ones who say to that, "Yeah, me too," and add your support.
There. That was the pitch. I won't bring it up again, except to leave a couple links at the end.
So, like I was saying, Tim and I started with examining our own "sim" as the center of an overall total experience. We worked on a half-dozen documents each dedicated to a different facet, and somewhere in there was a section discussing the minimum number of cars to launch. And right on the heels of realizing we maybe even could get there ... Well, you know how when you flip a coin to decide something and then are secretly disappointed with the outcome? That.
We wanted to race all the different sims available, and when new ones came out we'd want to race them too.
So Jan. 17, 2006, I created a new document called PLAN_B. Yes, that's right. Race2Play literally is PLAN_B. It combined aspects of that "overall total experience" as could support any and all modern racing sims. During my years of active racing I ran six sims myself. Who doesn't like having a computer full of hot cars?
And it continues with rFactor 2, Assetto Corsa and the like. I think this is awesome, and it's due to those of you who say, "Yeah, me too."
Your screenshots are broadcast to the homepages of the drivers tagged in 'em, and maybe wherever else we can think up. You snapped the pics, many of you put some pretty nifty Hollywood on them, upload them here for everyone ... you're just a few checkboxes shy of golden, man. Be sure to share it with the guys you raced, tag the screenshots.
And as a spectator, the driver tags are the first thing I look for after the caption. Telling the story of the picture adds so much to it, I think. Please? And thank you, I love the screenshots.
I've changed the way screenshots go to the main (Community) page of the Superview. Now, each screenshot "artist" gets one slot per event on the Superview, and when you click it open to the larger view you'll see all the shots by that artist for that event. This should keep a larger number of shots by a larger number of artists in view for a longer time.
The user Dashboard has been tossed around some to accommodate a bit o' recommendations fer ya racing pleasure. It considers the days and times and cars and all other whatnot you seem to like and makes some suggestions for more races. An algorithm rates all these things, and can be tweaked as we go.
The one on the Dashboard there looks one month into the future. There are five recommendations in the queue at present. Cycle through them.
That thing I did with the tracks list, where you can filter the list by sims and whatnot? Well, I went and did it to the cars, events, and series lists as well. See, 'cause when you get a Bedazzler, you can't just Bedazzle one thing. No. You got to Bedazzle everything. So, there it is.
Anyway, they make for some interesting browsing (or searching).
Race2Play has it's 8th birthday at the beginning of 2015. 8 Years gentlemen! 8 years and Race2Play is still going even though many thought otherwise. To the 31,000 members of Race2Play allow us to thank YOU for the 8 great years of sim-racing. With that said, there are a few changes happening in the coming year and we are really excited to bring them to your attention.
Some of you may have noticed some changes in our event schedule. Namely, the huge amount of CYO events, which was brought on by the following changes;
- The addon rules system allows CYO hosts to customize their event rules to their desire.
- CYO hosts now play a role in the decision of protests stemming from their event's.
- Finally, ProPlus members can create events completely free.
These along with other tweaks allow the membership to steer Race2Play to the future you want.
As of Jan 1, 2015 Race2Play will give even more control to the members!
First, we wish to allow more addon software into the system by further tweaking the requirements needed for an addon to be approved. Previously, conversions were highly scrutinized but starting immediately we will consider any and all conversions legal and able to be approved into the Race2Play system. The developer(s) of the original material may request removal if they disapprove, but until such a request is received, we will assume permission has been granted.
Second, we wish to further expand the availability of member CYO events. We are not blind. We see that the variety in events from the CYO hosts are packing in some nice crowds. That is a win-win for everyone, and we want more just as you do. Starting in 2015, Race2Play will operate only the high-profile [Pro] and [SemiPro] events, allowing more days and times available for you, the members to create your own events. Remember, if you are a ProPlus member, you still get to create those events for FREE! You can start creating your 2015 events today.
Speaking of [Pro] and [SemiPro] events, these feature-length events will be making a return in 2015 with cash awards to the champions of [Pro] series'* and membership rewards to those in the [SemiPro] series'.
These are just a few of the up and coming tweaks to the already successful formula that is Race2Play. There are more to come as well.
* To be eligible for [Pro] series prize awards participants must be supporting members of Race2Play and meet the following: Drivers must compete in more than half the races of a series, and Team Owners must field at least two cars in more than half the races of a series. Prize payouts will come 45 days following a series' final event to qualifying members in good standing.
A while back I was freshening up the main racing sims page and figured to give each a so-called "box cover" picture from the Race2Play collection of screenshots. I programmed it to fetch whichever screenshot had the most Likes for each sim. Seemed straightforward enough. I hit refresh to see the results, and ...
... received a few surprises. Three, to be exact.
If left to you guys, the box cover shot for ARCA Sim Racing would be this gem by Andy Graydon, with 19 Likes:
It's from a 150-lap race at Toledo.
"Jim Barisoff wanted proof of how I raced today - sat on a cardboard box because following the recent House move I didn't have a chair to race on.....well, here you go Jim:). Victory at Toledo sat on a box full of books and two pillows!"
The box cover shot for GTR 2 would be this tasty piece by Peter Szombati from the Zandvoort Open, with 63 Likes:
"Official R2P Barbecue Party =P"
And another by Peter Szombati, this one for RACE '07 with 43 Likes:
It's from the Brands Hatch Atom race.
"Ariel Atom test with Jeremy Clarkson =D"