SimSunday Rant: Of ethics and money

“Sinners do not always sin!” It might be a strong opening to the defence plea in a criminal case claiming extenuating circumstances.

We are in no need to justify ourselves against any allegations… yet. But still, should such a day arrive, it might be equally convincing to state that ranters do not always rant.

To sustain that, this week’s rant heads of with praise. Praise for our very own Simrace 247-team coming home fifth of their loby in iRacing’s edition of the 2020 Le Mans 24 hours.

Fifth which should have been first. And that is without any bias as to this being our team. As of 3 AM, the Simrace 247 entered Ferrari was indeed in the lead of its lobby, which harboured a field of 55 all GTE-cars. With 90 minutes to go, a cruel destiny struck however.

Our car, still leading, made heavy contact with a lapped car that was rather unluckily reentering the track after having spun… Still the iRacing software handed a 20 minute pit sentence to our car.

Recapture: backmarker spins and then, on rejoining the track, causes heavy contact with the leading car. That leading car gets a 20 minute pit sentence…

It’s the kind of experience that could be infuriating under all circumstances, let alone after 22 hours and 30 minutes of intense concentration and effort. Still, our drivers did not display even the most minor of angers. They were understandably disappointed, yet refrained from negative comments directed at iRacing… Making them more of men than many others.

I can only add that with such fabulous mentality, it is only a matter of time before our boys will bring that first trophy home. And that their Le Mans-effort filled our hearts with pride.

On to some of the more shady events that occurred last week then. Cinderella had her stepmother and -sisters. Panem has its president Coriolanus Snow. And it would seem that the sim community now has Sim Dream Development.

Modders, and the mods they make, have been a fundamental part of the community from its earliest days on. Modders, in principle, have no commercial objectives and are solely driven by their enthusiasm. Their work hence allows reviving numerous series and seasons of racing that lack the popularity to attract the interest of commercial developers.

Papy’s Grand Prix Legends illustrates the point well. Although critically acclaimed as one of the turning points in PC-based simming, it never became a true commercial success. It was too niche, too hardcore and by 1998, the bedroom walls harboring pictures of 1967 F1-cars had become rather the oddity.

Even if, in recent years, publishers often include some cars from past era’s in their sims, they never provide for entire historic series. This is not intended as criticism for those developers. Copyright and intelectual property issues in general just make it unfeasible to produce a sim representing a past series.

Modders commonly have no commercial intentions though and therefore face a more flexible playing field. Our only hope to have entire past seasons with all cars and tracks will therefore often be modders. And the best part is that their work generally comes for free.

For a while now, it has been relatively well known within the sim community that Sim Dream Development has no scruples whatever to grab models strenuously made by modders to convert them to other platforms. Sim Dream Development does not care much that a lot of the original mod’s quality is squandered away in that process.

They stick some physics to the converted models that they manage to grab somewhere else but does seldom do honor to the model it’s stuck to.

The thus badly stitched together patchworks are then presented as quality mods… Be it no longer for free though. Sim Dream Development asks money for such stolen garbage. And rest assured that the original modders, those who did the hard work, do not see a penny from it.

As if that is not bad enough, Sim Dream Development decided to take it a step further. A modder who had posted a video on Youtube with footage from his original mod, saw his video blocked because of a deemed copyright claim. The claimant: Sim Dream Development who displayed the gall to claim the mod’s models as theirs!

It’s what we call a rip. And a rip that calls for some serious ranting at that. Shame on you Sim Dream Development. Maybe thou should consider changing thy name into Sim Nightmare Demolition. Not even “Sinners do not always sin,” should be able to rescue you.

As to us, the community, maybe we should consider just stop spending a penny on those jackasses. And instead use our hard-earned money to make a voluntary contribution to support real modders. Those who spent endless nights to provide us quality mods. Or support independent league organizers who struggle to fund their server-costs.

In the end, people like those behind Sim Dream Development only love one thing: money. Stop giving them that and they disappear all by themselves.

Or with the faithfull words of Coriolanus Snow: “Miss Everdeen. It’s the things we love most that destroy us.”