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simulated racing? online racing? how to get started?


Vroomgrrl

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Hello my friends! I keep hearing that the skills developed with simulated or online racing transfer well to the track. HELLO STRINGER I heard you talk about this on blogtalkradio.com Tailgating show

 

I got no kids to show me the way. I got no xbox, no wii. I got a TV and a computer.

 

So what's up with all this? How does it work? How would a person get started? What kind of stuff do I need? I'm guessing a fancy steering wheel/pedal controller kind of thing? What does all this stuff cost? What would you recommend for a total beginner as a starting point in terms of hardware & everything else required?

 

Have at it. Help a noob out!

 

Thanks in advance!

Kathy

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StraightSix

There are several PC race sims that are pretty good. Some of the big titles are rFactor, GTR Evolution, Race 07, and Live For Speed. The system requirements for each will be listed on the boxes, except for Live For Speed, which is a download. These can all be played online or offline.

 

Another one that is making some waves is iRacing. iRacing is a pay to play service, kind of like World of Warcraft. The client, rather the "game", can be downloaded from iRacing's web site. GRM had an article about iRacing a couple of months ago that covered the sim fairly well.

 

I play Live For Speed, and enjoy it a lot. I don't really have any first hand experience with rFactor, GTR, or Race '07. I like LFS's physics and it seems like it's the most true to life sim that I've played.

 

A wheel will help immeasurably in any driving game. Definitely get a force feedback wheel. I bought a Logitech Driving Force Pro right after Christmas and love it! Another popular choice is the Logitech G25, which is a fantastic mass produced wheel and largely considered the best widely available wheel.

 

Prices range anywhere from $30 up to $300 for a wheel. The G25 runs $200 - $300 depending on where you buy it. Tigerdirect.com had the best price right before Xmas @ $235. I bought my DFP for < $100.

 

The newer the computer the better your sim racing experience will be, generally. I play LFS on my four year old laptop without too many issues. Other sims might be more resource intensive. What kind of computer do you have, i.e. processor, video card, memory, etc?

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....The newer the computer the better your sim racing experience will be, generally. I play LFS on my four year old laptop without too many issues. Other sims might be more resource intensive. What kind of computer do you have, i.e. processor, video card, memory, etc?

 

OK first off, thanks for all the info! I realize my post is the real-time-racing newbie equivalent of "I WANT TO GET INTO RACING WHAT DO I NEED TO DO I DON'T HAVE A CAR OR A LICENSE BUT IT LOOKS LIKE FUN"

 

I have an HP Pavilion DV9640 notebook. The processor is Intel Core 2 Duo (1.5 GHz) ; RAM installed: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM, graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS with 256MB of video RAM. 17" screen. Anything in there jump out at you as problematic for getting started?

 

OK and with any of these, gotta have a wheel? I guess it would be pretty bizarre to get around the video track otherwise - >>>VVV<<< would not transfer too well to real-time driving either would it Is just a wheel needed? Is throttle & braking & gearing done all done with switches on the wheel too? Or are there pedals involved?

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StraightSix
....The newer the computer the better your sim racing experience will be, generally. I play LFS on my four year old laptop without too many issues. Other sims might be more resource intensive. What kind of computer do you have, i.e. processor, video card, memory, etc?

 

OK first off, thanks for all the info! I realize my post is the real-time-racing newbie equivalent of "I WANT TO GET INTO RACING WHAT DO I NEED TO DO I DON'T HAVE A CAR OR A LICENSE BUT IT LOOKS LIKE FUN"

 

I have an HP Pavilion DV9640 notebook. The processor is Intel Core 2 Duo (1.5 GHz) ; RAM installed: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM, graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS with 256MB of video RAM. 17" screen. Anything in there jump out at you as problematic for getting started?

 

OK and with any of these, gotta have a wheel? I guess it would be pretty bizarre to get around the video track otherwise - >>>VVV<<< would not transfer too well to real-time driving either would it Is just a wheel needed? Is throttle & braking & gearing done all done with switches on the wheel too? Or are there pedals involved?

 

On the computer, the NVidia 8xxx series have some issues, so I've heard. Something about the chips running hot and basically desoldering and soldering themselves on and off the motherboard until something fries. But, that's plenty of memory, both the motherboard and the graphics, to make most sims playable. You might have to tweak the video settings in game to make them run better, but I don't think that you would have to do much. Do some googling to find more specific info about that graphics chip-set, though, to confirm or deny what I've heard.

 

Yes, wheel sets do come with pedals. Most are just an accelerator and brake, but higher end set ups will have a clutch pedal, too. The G25 has a clutch pedal and h-pattern shifter, for example.

 

Oh, something I did leave out. While the G25 is pretty much the cream of the mass market crop as far as wheels go, there are set ups that are much, much more expensive. A company called ECCS makes a wheel/pedal set for sims that runs ~$1600.

 

So, you can go as mild or wild as you can with a real car when creating a sim racing rig.

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So, you can go as mild or wild as you can with a real car when creating a sim racing rig.

 

No joke! I may see about hitting up the pawn shops in the city or something....

 

OK now I can see me getting set up in here and never leaving my desk! My poor husband. Well, at least he is used to all the race-car noise from when I'm in here watching race videos, tho one I was watching from mcmmotorsports.com the other day brought him in here with a big WTF on his face thinking a car had driven into the front of the house

 

I posted my plea on my local SCCA forum also, and one of my Bham buddies has invited me over for a guided tour. He has several different setups and is apparently a super-racer-geek. That will help a lot, I think.

 

Thanks again!

Kathy

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mcmmotorsports

The more Horsepower the better in terms of computer specs. Get the most ram you can get, get the best video card you can afford. You can use the laptop, as I currently am, but a good desktop will run circles around it. Online racing is nice, but just being able to run the tracks is good enough for me. I have been doing this computer racing stuff since Papyrus released NASCAR Racing back in 1994. I currently own Nascar 2003 (the last one they made), Nascar Heat, GTR, and RFactor. Your newer stuff is going to be more realistic. You can also sign up for Iracing (haven't tried that yet) for a monthly fee. I am gonna stick with GTR and RFactor. I wish I would have had them before I went to RA for the first time. Takes a HUGE chunk out of the learning curve. You can guarandamtee I am gonna try out CMP, Barber, Lowes, and Miller before I go to the actual tracks. There are a lot of great websites for track downloads. Just make sure either you or someone you know is computer savvy to help with the install of the add-on tracks, it can get frustrating for a newb. In addition, DO NOT use the computer keyboard to control your sim racing, you will get discouraged quick! There is no replacement for a wheel. On that topic, a GOOD wheel is going to cost, like the above poster said BUT, there is nothing wrong with a wheel like this from WallyWorld or eBay for around $100:

 

1389.1.0.jpg

 

$86.88 @ Wally World:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=2579676

 

I will be buying one to replace my MadCatz Andretti wheel that doesn't work with Windows Vista. rant.gif

 

Oh, and don't forget:

viewforum.php?f=57

 

Get ready to start getting MORE addicted to your habit.

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Check out rFactor, that's what I'm using and am racing in a league with Trackpedia.com (skeen is kicking our butts!). I bought the Momo wheel and it seems fine. Lot's-o-fun, although I've missed a few races lately due to trying to get my real racer ready for this season.

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Oh, and don't forget:

viewforum.php?f=57

 

Get ready to start getting MORE addicted to your habit.

 

Ya know Michael, all the basics about hardware & software are set out in the NASA sim racing site on THIS PAGE. Thanks for the heads-up!

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There are tons of options for a wheel/pedal setup as mentioned. I've got the G25, which does everything I could really need. It is nice being able to use paddle shifters, bump shifter, or an h-pattern whenever you wish.

 

As for games, I'd stick with something that has decent online participation. Nothing will make you learn to go faster like competition. I'm loving iRacing (competition level is VERY high), but certainly could understand not wanting to pay for it. rFactor is another favorite, if nothing else because of the Trackpedia league (it's fun racing people you know). GTR2 is a good game if you like driving fast race cars (think ALMS). Live For Speed is good to, but for whatever reason I never really got that into it.

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All this info Kathy is very good.

 

A recommended set up for Horsepower on a Machine is 1 gig of ram and at least a 512 video card.

 

IF...and I mean IF you thinking about buying a new box to play games on. Here are a couple of things to look for and ask about.

 

Is the video card hard wired in and or can it be upgraded. Video games put a huge amount of stress on a video card and will make them get very hot.

 

How much ram does it have and how much can it handle? Remember...buy ram in pairs. A lot of machines dont like odd number of ram chips.

 

Hard drive space. Get at least 100 gig. As you fill it up...your machine will run slower.

 

Fans. How many fans does it have to move air and keep the heat down. Believe it or not. there are air conditioned gaming boxes out there.

 

As far at the momo wheel like MCM has...I had 2 of them and had the same problems. Wore out the wheel and most of the games I played had some issues with full range of the pedals. Get this one first and play for a little bit n the machine you have. If you like it...upgrade later to a G25.

 

As far as games go. rFactor and iRacing are my recommendations. I do enjoy both very much.

 

I have an average setup. HP dual processor, 4 gig ram, 512 vid card that is over clocked, 9 internal cooling fans, 19 flat monitor, G25 wheel. I use this computer ONLY for gaming. The only time it goes on the web it to get something for the game. But I have less the 1700 in the whole system new.

 

Shame it just sits there most of the time now. I will hit up I racing when I get close to a track weekend just to get my brain moving. Lot different then when I spent 4 hours at least a night and 6 or more on saturday or sunday.

 

My other suggestion. Find an online racing clan/group. There are tons out there and some are good and some are bad. Get some recommendations from some of these guys. It is like having a group of instructors working with you to help you along....especially if the group has a voice server to log into.

 

Just my added 2 cents.

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As for games, I'd stick with something that has decent online participation. Nothing will make you learn to go faster like competition.

 

You are the second person to say the exact same thing to me today! I was picking up my car from getting an oil change and yacking with Bill Mitchell (aka Yoda) at Eurasian Auto in Bham - he was telling some wild "stupid driver" racing stories and i said something like, "That's why I don't like other cars on the track, I like having it allll to myself!" to which he made that same comment about competition.

 

I'm looking forward to getting to test out some of these games & rigs at a friend's house sometime soon. I am tempted to just find a good price on a basic wheel setup & go for it. Perhaps I'll see you "out there" at some point. Thanks for the info!

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Does RFactor or GTR have Road Atlanta? I searched and found a couple of demos but couldnt see where to download the track. I see iracing has it coming later this year, anybody have it now?

 

Thanks -

BernyP

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Does RFactor or GTR have Road Atlanta? I searched and found a couple of demos but couldnt see where to download the track. I see iracing has it coming later this year, anybody have it now?

 

Thanks -

BernyP

 

Yes, I believe it's available for both. Trackpedia had a link to a download for Road Atlanta and Barber for rFactor. i was able to get Barber set up and running no problem, but Road Atlanta crashed rFactor out on me. I am not sure if that's because it didn't load up right, or something else. I am proof that a little knowlege is a dangerous thing - your mileage may vary!

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StraightSix

There's something wrong with the rFactor version of Road Atlanta. There's a component or something that doesn't get installed correctly when unzipping the track to the rFactor directory.

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mcmmotorsports
There's something wrong with the rFactor version of Road Atlanta. There's a component or something that doesn't get installed correctly when unzipping the track to the rFactor directory.

 

It still works for me though. I just hit enter when the error message pops up and it runs fine.

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StraightSix
There's something wrong with the rFactor version of Road Atlanta. There's a component or something that doesn't get installed correctly when unzipping the track to the rFactor directory.

 

It still works for me though. I just hit enter when the error message pops up and it runs fine.

 

It worked for me, too, and I did the same thing to the error message.

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Just a tip when adding anything to any game on a PC.

 

Make a copy of the "working" version before doing anything. If anything goes wrong...erase the crash version and copy the working version and take off the "copy of" in the name.

 

It has saved lots of headache for a lot of my guys. Some things just dont want to place or install all that easy. Even more so when your dealing with a drive other then the default drive C that most use as installers defaults.

 

I spent a few years making game installers for mods and skin add ons and it can be a pain to make sure everything is placed right. Just one thing misplaced can cause everything to not work.

 

The other pain is the ones that might give you a little more folders then you need. Sometimes you just have to look a little deeper.

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There's something wrong with the rFactor version of Road Atlanta. There's a component or something that doesn't get installed correctly when unzipping the track to the rFactor directory.

 

It still works for me though. I just hit enter when the error message pops up and it runs fine.

 

Glad it wasn't just me. I am gonna fire that puppy up, hit enter, and hope it works. I'm having fun with Barber, but I am eager to check out RA also.

 

Stringer, of course, I didn't do any of that fail-safe stuff when I uploaded the new tracks, and I did notice it somehow changed some of my program settings. GAH. Now all of a sudden I am being auto-driven from my garage to the start point on Barber, running down tents in the paddock along the way. What's up with that?

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There's something wrong with the rFactor version of Road Atlanta. There's a component or something that doesn't get installed correctly when unzipping the track to the rFactor directory.

 

It still works for me though. I just hit enter when the error message pops up and it runs fine.

 

It worked for me, too, and I did the same thing to the error message.

 

I had a box popup that said "error loading XFINISH.GMT" and when I clicked OK, rFactor just disappeared (what I am calling crashed out). SHRUG. Back to Barber

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trackaddict

In rFactor, download the beta Road Atlanta. You will probably get a weird sky. The solution is to download a replacement sky. If you go to trackpedia and find the Road Atlanta rfactor race thread, the file was posted there along with instructions.

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In rFactor, download the beta Road Atlanta. You will probably get a weird sky. The solution is to download a replacement sky. If you go to trackpedia and find the Road Atlanta rfactor race thread, the file was posted there along with instructions.

 

THat's how I got it in the first place. The Barber download I got installed & worked fine. I've deleted the RA installation (I hope I've got it all) and am going to download again and give it another try from scratch.

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In rFactor, download the beta Road Atlanta. You will probably get a weird sky. The solution is to download a replacement sky. If you go to trackpedia and find the Road Atlanta rfactor race thread, the file was posted there along with instructions.

 

You'd think I had nothing better to do. Big deadline tomorrow and here I sit tweaking rFactor. Well I guess I have to go work now because I got it wrangled. I found some good points for tweaking the directories on simracingcentral forums, along with a link to the file to fix the sky and where to put it (I do not miss the black & white candy-stripe sky). I was so shocked when it loaded up and ran - FUN! OK back to work, right after this last lap here....

 

HAHAHAHAHA

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Well I found the beta version of Road Atlanta (by Uzzi) and loaded it into the rfactor directory just fine, but it wont load in the game. When I click on the track I get the message "error loading mesh file xfinish.gmt to memory". If I hit enter nothing happens. If I click OK I get booted from the game. Any ideas?

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