It’s more than slightly mad all round today following the release of the trailer for Automaniax, a free to play online Porsche Motorsport game. The Automaniax trailer immediately caught the attention of the Project CARS community as the footage clearly uses the Madness game engine and assets found in Project CARS. So what gives?
According to Ian Bell, Slightly Mad Studios:
We were in negotiations with Automaniax and the head of Porsche marketing some time back with a view to us creating a product for them. We delivered some work to them. The contracts were not signed, the agreed funds were not received and we stopped the work. We’re stunned here to see our work appear there.
That sounds like a reasonable drama in itself… but there is more.
Under the Project CARS model community members help fund the development of the game (1,288,020 € to date!). It’s an innovative way to develop a game but not without complexity – subjectively at least every community member becomes a stakeholder:
That video is annoying to see, as it features cars that won’t be in this game and has real life sponsors that wont be in this game and has very similar if not the same content as Pcars but its available for FREE.
If SMS have licensed the engine away then we have all been duped. This is pretty outrageous. We are funding a game that SMS appear to be selling without us receiving any return. It also stinks that the leaders of PCARS are not giving us more information. I hope it’s all a misunderstanding.
One of the main underlying questions from community members being:
aren’t we funding pCARS _the game_ (which utilizes the Madness engine), not the engine itself?
Which Ian Bell went on to clarify:
We could license our engine to anyone, WMD members don’t own it, we do. But we haven’t.
Quite a story so far, but just like a late night TV infomercial there is more! What about the trailer that kicked it all off – where did that footage originally come from? Turns out it’s not from Automaniax and some not even from Project CARS, but here.
Oh dear. The situation seems best summed up by a Project CARS community member:
Wow, this sounds seriously messed up.
Quotes taken from Automaniax thread on WMD Portal:
To be continued…
Footnote: Apparently a free to play SMS based Pagani game will be released at some point