In just a few short years, Swedish developer SimBin has graduated from startup to an established developer of PC auto racing simulations. With knowledgeable (and often finicky) fans and a mutable target platform, the PC simulation market is a tough one to crack. Titles such 2296 as GTR, GT Legends and GTR 2 are proof that SimBin are now the go-to developer for car racing simulations. Lending credence to SimBin's reputation, the FIA's World Touring Car Championship partnered with the developer on the 2006 release of RACE: Official WTCC Game. One year (and one expansion pack) later, the sequel - RACE 07 - is available at retail and through Valve's Steam distribution service.
From Startup to Established Developer - Another Hit?
Following the release of the original GTR, I happily lost a few weeks' worth of my life to what was then the most authentic and demanding racing simulation on the market. Despite the klunky interface, abysmal music and laggy multiplayer, GTR instilled in me a feeling of awe unlike any racing title since the first Gran Turismo. Patches eventually smoothed out the multiplayer, and a dedicated online community coalesced around the game. GT Legends, SimBin's follow-up to GTR, gave an historic twist to the game by adding classic touring cars to the mix. Then, in quick succession, came the release of GTR 2 and RACE.
Unfortunately, the original RACE went largely unnoticed by the mainstream gaming press, no doubt due to the proximity to the release of GTR 2. Both titles, however, garnered excellent reviews, and continued SimBim's tradition of melding superb content with an extremely capable technical foundation.
Five releases from a single developer in the span of under three years is a relative deluge in the world of video games. So how is SimBin able to crank out high-quality titles in such quick fashion? First, SimBin itself has produced a spin-off. Many of the individuals behind GTR and GT Legends left to form British-based Blimey! Games, which handled the bulk of development on GTR 2 under contract with SimBin (though SimBim is credited as the lone developer). Effectively, SimBin proper has been working on the RACE series for the better part of two years.
The second - and arguably most important - piece of the development equation is the licensing of engine technology. SimBin license their graphics engine from U.S. developer Image Space Incorporated, the brains behind the popular and highly moddable auto simulation rFactor.
Games: Race 07: Official WTCC Game
Reviews: rFactor Jan 22, 2008
News: Race 07 Demo Released Sep 07, 2007
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