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Want to improve your race skills? Try sim racing

Old 05-20-09, 01:38 PM
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Exclamation Want to improve your race skills? Try sim racing

Many pro drivers sim race when theres a delay on the track, down time, or just want to practice play simulation race PC games.

Titles like Sim bins gt legends, gtr2, race07, race pro, GTR evo, and my favorite Rfactor.

Whatever type of racing your into theres a mod for each game to please your needs, all you need is a wheel and your good to go. Theres even wheels you can buy with a 6spd gearbox and clutch with forcefeedback which brings as much realism as possible right into your home.

You can tune everything on your vehicle. Springs, shock comp and rebound, caster, toe, chamber, roll bars, rev limit, diff settings, gear ratios, brake bias, packer's, ride height, final drive, engine braking, downforce, you name it.

How serious is sim racing to some of these big name sponsors? Iracing.com had a offer, top selected drivers that did the best for a season got flown out and raced for VW everything paid for.

It's a great alternative for those who can't afford to track theyre car or would like to improve there skills.

Any track you want to race on you can theres many laser scanned tracks like leguna seca, eastern creek, and the ring

I play touring car legends and its great fun, and would like to have more people join to race with and help improve my skills.

I know I met someone that owned a rx7 on rfactor thats a member here.
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Old 05-20-09, 03:56 PM
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While I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that sims can help drivers get more familiar with a track (esp. if they have never been there) as well as provide the capability to visualize their line and timing, I really question their efficacy past a certain point.

It's a tool that can be useful, but it is not a replacement for seat time. I would argue that when used alone it fails (after a point) to develop any real skills that can be effectively transferred to the track.

At a recent HPDE I was at, one of the instructors (who knew the track *very* well) did some time on a well setup training simulator. He kept going off in the sim and mentioned later that the one thing missing was that his body (in the sim) did not feel was the car was doing and it was causing his offs. This will always be a weakness of these kinds of systems.

BTW, I have worked with groups who do research at the university level in developing simulated training environments (although this is not my formal area of expertise) and I believe that my comments are consistent with their findings. If someone has better or more recent data, I would appreciate seeing it.

Enjoy them for what they are, but in the end realize that they are still games.

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Old 05-20-09, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wrankin View Post
It's a tool that can be useful, but it is not a replacement for seat time. I would argue that when used alone it fails (after a point) to develop any real skills that can be effectively transferred to the track.
I think you are right on the "to a point" theme, but I think that theme can be really far out there.

I remember a story (this is going to be spotty because I read it some time ago) where a man logged many hours on Microsoft's flight sim on a small plane he wanted to learn to fly. When it came down to the real seat time, the simulation had prepared him so well that he needed far less time than someone who had no previous experience of any kind. So little it was surprising. (this story would be a whole lot more effective If I could remember the specifics)

FWIW, iracing.com has earned a lot of praise in the motorsport world.
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Old 05-20-09, 07:08 PM
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Ive been meaning to try Iracing, i just cant afford a good wheel and pedel setup for my PC. Everything ive read about iracing sounds great.
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Old 05-20-09, 07:24 PM
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Personally I think Live For Speed is absolutely amazing in terms of physics and control. You can not go more realistic than that. I have not seen any game that surpasses this one. Even Rfactor which comes second in my opinion is significantly behind. I would recommend to everybody who enjoys track racing to check it out at www.liveforspeed.net
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Old 05-20-09, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by beqa16v View Post
Personally I think Live For Speed is absolutely amazing in terms of physics and control. You can not go more realistic than that. I have not seen any game that surpasses this one. Even Rfactor which comes second in my opinion is significantly behind. I would recommend to everybody who enjoys track racing to check it out at www.liveforspeed.net
You know, I've never really liked LFS. I'm sure it's changed since the last time I played it, but the tire model was horrible. If it was as easy in real life as it is in the game to drift a car, there would be no funny videos on YouTube of the Initial D wanna-be's hitting curbs at 1AM in the morning.

They did a decent job of street tire simulation, but the racing slick was terrible.

Originally Posted by wrankin View Post
At a recent HPDE I was at, one of the instructors (who knew the track *very* well) did some time on a well setup training simulator. He kept going off in the sim and mentioned later that the one thing missing was that his body (in the sim) did not feel was the car was doing and it was causing his offs. This will always be a weakness of these kinds of systems.
I wouldn't call it a weakness, but a difference. You won't have the all over body feeling of the car when using a simulation. However, you can get a feeling of the car through a steering wheel with force feedback. No, it's not the same, but it's pretty darn good for a "home simulator". However, just like real racing, it comes down to the equipment. If you get a $40 wheel/pedal setup from WalMart, you can't expect it to feel anything like a real car.

In the end, these "games" are only as good as how you use them. If you use them as a "game", then you won't be able to transfer anything to the track. If you treat them as a sim, then there are things you can learn and/or work on which can apply to the real thing. i.e. learning how to find the line at a track, learning how to find braking points which aren't necessarily braking markers, etc.. Games which use the ISI gMotor game engine also make use of the Motec data acquisition software for drivers to analyze their car's performance and make proper setup adjustments (the game engine outputs the Motec file format).

One of the main issues is that very few games actually implement transmission handling well. LFS does a little but for the most part the games allow you to treat every car like a F1 car.. button shift late into corners without using a clutch or fear of overreving the engine. Even iRacing doesn't have a properly modeled transmission which is a shame. If you aren't trying to "compete" with the sim games, it's not a problem. If you want to compete, then you'll be forced to do things you know aren't right just to keep up with the pack.

I sim race quite a bit (sprint, 4hr-12hr races). I hadn't done any lapping days for about 3 years (a while back). When I did hit the track, I was out there for the first time in years and with a car I had never driven on the track. However, it felt like I never left as the sim racing helped fill the gap. The same car handling tendencies I had in sim racing, I was having in my own car on the track.

I don't believe it's a complete substitute, but it helps fill in when I can't make it to the track for one reason or another.
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Old 05-20-09, 09:38 PM
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I have played live for speed and enjoyed it very much, playing rfactor with the cars that come with the game comes no where near lfs. The mods for Rfactor is what makes it so great! I would also like to try Iracing out, can pay 10$ and race for a month and give it a try.

These simulations are def a great alternative though, you can defiantly learn from them. They try to bring as much realism as possible to the game, and I love how you can tune every aspect of the vehicle and learn what each adjustment does.

The engines and clutches can even wear out and fail in these games to which is also neat.

If you get a wheel with force feedback i think youll be amazed as how they feel, you can feel when the rear tires loose grip, you can feel the car skate if it does and you can feel when the brakes lock up!

Mahjik... Rfactor does and can implement the need for a clutch and worry for over revving the motor, they can over heat and even just fail if you mis shift or really mess something up
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Old 05-20-09, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by skir2222 View Post
Mahjik... Rfactor does and can implement the need for a clutch and worry for over revving the motor, they can over heat and even just fail if you mis shift or really mess something up
I've played a lot of rFactor mods and have yet to see one force the use of a clutch. As far as I've seen (and I've been sim racing ISI games since SCGT and F1 2000), the gMotor engine cannot force the use of the clutch. They can force a delay in the shifting which requires some modulation of the gas while downshifting, but not force the use of the clutch.

What rFactor mod forces a clutch?
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Old 05-20-09, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik View Post
I've played a lot of rFactor mods and have yet to see one force the use of a clutch. As far as I've seen (and I've been sim racing ISI games since SCGT and F1 2000), the gMotor engine cannot force the use of the clutch. They can force a delay in the shifting which requires some modulation of the gas while downshifting, but not force the use of the clutch.

What rFactor mod forces a clutch?
Odd I was very sure of this because you can select if you want to have the clutch set to auto or not but let me turn it off and see what happens.
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Old 05-20-09, 10:09 PM
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Ok so when you switch auto clutch to off the car stalls when you stop and you have to put it into neutral to start the car, also now every time i shift the revs dont drop and my car gets thrown sideways into the wall, also if you spin out you will stall the car, so it does make you want to acquir a clutch or assign a button for the clutch
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Old 05-20-09, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by skir2222 View Post
Ok so when you switch auto clutch to off the car stalls when you stop and you have to put it into neutral to start the car, also now every time i shift the revs dont drop and my car gets thrown sideways into the wall.
Yes, the clutch only effects the car from a stop; it's not required once the car is moving. You can modulate the gas pedal when downshifting to avoid that. This is basically how the "aliens" as they are called drive as they drive with both feet (one on brake, one on gas) regardless of the car type. That's my main gripe is that you can drive a tip-top like you would a F1 car in most of the mods/games.
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Old 05-21-09, 09:15 AM
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My own experiences with simming make me think that they have a place, but are never a total replacement. Two examples:

In 2005 I did the BMW Club Nurburgring school. To prepare for it I spent half an hour to an hour a day with GT4, driving the ring. When I got there I had a good sense of where the track was going, and was able to get up to pace very quickly. My friend, who is a better drive than I am but did not prepare like I did, went off in Adenaur Forst the first time he tried it :p

One gripe I have about all racing games/sims I've played is they tend to let you get away with lifting in a place that would cause you to spin if you did it in a real car.


I've also done Air Combat USA a number of times. I had spent quite a lot of time with Falcon 4.0 but it was not exactly proper preparation since an F-16 is to a SF-260 as an F1 car is to a Miata. Still, the experience was less overwhelming than it could have been since at least I knew my way around in the air to some degree.

I bought Microsoft Flight Simulator and a 3rd party SF-260 model and put in a bit of practice, and I think it was tremendously helpful, since I could get a good idea of what the plane was capable of. In a subsequent visit to Air Combat USA I flew well enough and smoothly enough that my instructor let me land the plane. That was pretty sweet
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Old 05-21-09, 11:15 AM
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Ok, let's make sure we are talking about PC racing simulations and not console "racing games". Even with the console "assists" disabled, they still are not on par with PC racing simulations.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene View Post
My own experiences with simming make me think that they have a place, but are never a total replacement. Two examples:

In 2005 I did the BMW Club Nurburgring school. To prepare for it I spent half an hour to an hour a day with GT4, driving the ring. When I got there I had a good sense of where the track was going, and was able to get up to pace very quickly. My friend, who is a better drive than I am but did not prepare like I did, went off in Adenaur Forst the first time he tried it :p

One gripe I have about all racing games/sims I've played is they tend to let you get away with lifting in a place that would cause you to spin if you did it in a real car.


I've also done Air Combat USA a number of times. I had spent quite a lot of time with Falcon 4.0 but it was not exactly proper preparation since an F-16 is to a SF-260 as an F1 car is to a Miata. Still, the experience was less overwhelming than it could have been since at least I knew my way around in the air to some degree.

I bought Microsoft Flight Simulator and a 3rd party SF-260 model and put in a bit of practice, and I think it was tremendously helpful, since I could get a good idea of what the plane was capable of. In a subsequent visit to Air Combat USA I flew well enough and smoothly enough that my instructor let me land the plane. That was pretty sweet
Play the ring on TCL Rfactor and leguna seca, the vehicles have as close physics as a actual car and they do lift, bottom out, skate, and whatever other kind of mishap that can happen.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik View Post
Ok, let's make sure we are talking about PC racing simulations and not console "racing games". Even with the console "assists" disabled, they still are not on par with PC racing simulations.
Race pro just came out for the 360, should be on par with the GTR series games since its made by the same manufacture.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:49 AM
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One reason that I have not also really played a lot of the various simulations is I also tend to get nauseous while playing them (if the 3D models are good). Seems to be mainly tied to vertical rotations (pitch) rather than horizontal, so the car sims aren't too bad. First-person shooters can get a little rough. ;-)
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Old 05-21-09, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by skir2222 View Post
Race pro just came out for the 360, should be on par with the GTR series games since its made by the same manufacture.
It's geared towards gamepad users so it will have a lot of "arcade aids" already in it.
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Old 05-21-09, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik View Post
Ok, let's make sure we are talking about PC racing simulations and not console "racing games". Even with the console "assists" disabled, they still are not on par with PC racing simulations.
You are correct sir. There is simply NO comparison between them. PC's for the win. The consoles, all of them, even in "sim" mode are still arcade quality games.
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Old 05-21-09, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik View Post
It's geared towards gamepad users so it will have a lot of "arcade aids" already in it.
Race Pro was built with the Professional mode in mind, and it's the default when you fire up the game. But if you're not ready for that level of intensity just yet, head for Semi-Pro, which flips on braking and handling assists to make taking corners easier. Semi-Pro also overlays a colored racing line on the track (you can turn it off if you like) that acts as a handy guide to let you know when to brake and when to accelerate out of a turn. It's a workable system, but I would have preferred a robust tutorial that walks novices through the ins and out of controlling these hair-trigger machines. Grizzled old sim fans will have no trouble, but the vast majority of players will get frustrated and give up.
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Old 05-22-09, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by skir2222 View Post
Race Pro was built with the Professional mode in mind, and it's the default when you fire up the game. But if you're not ready for that level of intensity just yet, head for Semi-Pro, which flips on braking and handling assists to make taking corners easier. Semi-Pro also overlays a colored racing line on the track (you can turn it off if you like) that acts as a handy guide to let you know when to brake and when to accelerate out of a turn. It's a workable system, but I would have preferred a robust tutorial that walks novices through the ins and out of controlling these hair-trigger machines. Grizzled old sim fans will have no trouble, but the vast majority of players will get frustrated and give up.
lol, did you copy that from IGN?

Here's someone's review of it:

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I bought it this morning, and I don't think it's all that great at all. In fact I'm considering taking it back.

I'm not too fussed about the "last gen" graphics. I also don't care that it's not an arcade racer. I bought it expecting a full on sim (I've had all of Simbins games for PC to date) So having played Simbins other games I really expected more from Race Pro. There's no "feel" to the car. It probably is very realistic, but it doesn't have any sort of feel to it (admittedly that may be because I'm currently using a joypad at the moment). On top of this is the fact that the AI cars are amongst the stupidest race drivers I've ever seen in a game. They seem to stop on a dime, they have a bad habit of braking in the acceleration zone out of a corner and they're quite erratic. And why does the AI driver lose control of your car when you cross the line?

Also there just doesn't seem to be enough depth to it. I would have also thought that since this is a "simulation" the career mode would have the option to set race length (I dont know any real race series that only does 3 laps), practise sessions and qualifying length. I know that you can set quali and race length in championship and single race modes, but the career mode is what I wanted it for and it seems very poor.

All in all I think Simbin should stick to games for the PC.
Race Pro may be on the console with "the Professional mode in mind", but it's still a "console game" and doesn't appear to measure up to the PC offerings.
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Old 05-25-09, 03:10 PM
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Are there lots of mods available for LFS?

I work on NFS right now, and it bugs me we've never made a really good sim, EA's last good sim was F1 challenge in 02 I think.

I'm doing a bit of work with Shift right now, and on PC its a lot of fun, they don't have a good wheel hook-up just yet so its still very 'console simulation' type game..
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Old 05-25-09, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post
Are there lots of mods available for LFS?
LFS isn't moddable like the ISI based games.

Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post
I work on NFS right now, and it bugs me we've never made a really good sim, EA's last good sim was F1 challenge in 02 I think.
The last I checked, EA hasn't (themselves) developed much outside of the NFS series for the PC. The F1 series was developed by ISI but published by EA.

Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post
I'm doing a bit of work with Shift right now, and on PC its a lot of fun, they don't have a good wheel hook-up just yet so its still very 'console simulation' type game..
Last I read, Slightly Mad Studios (old Blimey/ex-part Simbin) was developing Shift. What part is EA Canada playing in Shift?
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Old 05-25-09, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahjik View Post
LFS isn't moddable like the ISI based games.

Thanks.

The last I checked, EA hasn't (themselves) developed much outside of the NFS series for the PC. The F1 series was developed by ISI but published by EA.

I was under the impression that EA UK used ISI's engine and developed the game in the UK, I'll have to ask around as it was just before I was hired.

Last I read, Slightly Mad Studios (old Blimey/ex-part Simbin) was developing Shift. What part is EA Canada playing in Shift?
I can't say officially, but there is quite a bit of work on both ends going on, art work and engineering work, I'm an artist/art director by trade.

I can say I've really enjoyed playing Shift, even if it isn't an full on sim like rFactor is, its a hell of a lot of fun, and looks better than any other sim out there, and I'm a very visual person so it makes me happy.

I think I'm going to give iRacing a go, not sure if all the hype is based on promotion or marketing, or its just that good.
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Old 05-26-09, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post
I can't say officially, but there is quite a bit of work on both ends going on, art work and engineering work, I'm an artist/art director by trade.

I can say I've really enjoyed playing Shift, even if it isn't an full on sim like rFactor is, its a hell of a lot of fun, and looks better than any other sim out there, and I'm a very visual person so it makes me happy.

I think I'm going to give iRacing a go, not sure if all the hype is based on promotion or marketing, or its just that good.
You should let me know how you like iracing

Shift is actually suppose to be a full on sim if you would like it to be the reviews say but can also suite the arcade driver as well.

The proffesional mode requires you to have a wheel and is suppose to be just as real as any other sim, but you can choose the easy mode and get your arcade racing like fix to where that does not require a wheel to play.

Graphics and cars are extremely stunning in shift
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Old 05-27-09, 12:55 PM
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Thing with Shift as it currently stands is, I can play it quite well with a controller, which I don't think most sims you can, and I have all drivers aids off, its the only way to play. The wheel isn't supported yet, at least on PC, so I can't say how 'sim' it'll be. Also, you can't tune the suspensions just yet either.

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