Archive for Oktober, 2006

stuck in the middle of nowhere

Dienstag, Oktober 31st, 2006

while transforming my old blog to this new one i found that i never finished one of my 24 hour races. i feel quite pity about this but going back to gtr doesn’t sound like a good idea. unfortunately, it is impossible to start serious races with gtr2 at the moment. the behavior of the opponents is more than strange. last week i did a 1 hour race at nordschleife and 27 cars did not finish. beside this, the ai is changing it’s style lap by lap. they drive fast, then they drive slow, they drive without mistakes and then they crash without any unusual happenings and so on. it seems that they drive to the pits but then they never pit, just parking there. i found a lot of similar discussions at several gtr boards and i decided to wait for the first patch which will hopefully fix this problem. in the meantime, i will spend some more time on tire tests, applying six sigma to my racing and working on my roadster cup.

new blog style

Dienstag, Oktober 31st, 2006

after a couple of months i found it quite laborious to put the content into a html page so i decided to start a real blog for my gtr stuff. let’s see if this will work better.

real -> virtual

Freitag, Oktober 27th, 2006

unfortunately, less work done than planned. but i was at least able to do some laps on the original elise tires. i found they have the same size like the m3gtr tires and so i was a little bit nervous to see if the result is comparable to the m3gtr tires. the handling feels quite similar and my lap time of 7:43 was close to the best i did on the michelin_gt set. after just 10 laps (not enough time to do more) a quick check in motec showed that they are similar to the m3gtr set. to test the wear i just started a 5 laps ai session and what the hell, the ai driver was 10 seconds faster than me. in gtr, the ai as well as the ai opponents were always slower if they were set to less than 115 percent strength. so i think i have to work on my driving, the car and the track conditions were the same, so there is no excuse anymore and it is proofen that my exige is able to do such laps on the elise tires. but back to the wear, after 5 laps the front tires were down to 7 and the rear to 14. this isn’t really nice, keeping in mind that the temperature of the tires is still below 80 degrees even under heavy pushing the car around the track. this wear will definitely kill the ‘change tire at every second stop’ strategy for 24 hour races. if i go for med or hard slicks, i will be back to the cold tire problem and so i can go back to the michelin_gt tires which are a little bit easier to drive.
but i found some minutes to start on my smart roadster gt project. the engine mapping is complete, the tire adaption about 50 percent, the gears are finnished and so i can go for the first performance tests to adjust the model to the real world, even if the roadster still looks like a elise 😉 the final goal will be to create a smart roadster cup with about 20 cars or so, depending on my spare time. my real world roadster is requesting its time until the winter, next week it will be equiped with a brand new tarox 6 calliper brake system on the front, so many work to do here as well.

real world / more gtr2 testing

Dienstag, Oktober 10th, 2006

very busy days again. i got a new clutch for my roadster (bonalume sport clutch with lighter flywheel and more grip) so i went out to test the new clutch. switching gears is improved by about 0.2 seconds (semi automatic sequentiell gearbox) which is quite impressive.
but i found some time to test GTR2 a little bit more. with my modified exige, i was able to drop the time from 7:44 to 7:40, which is an overall improvement of about 15 seconds, compared to GTR. i am still not sure if GTR2 is easier or just better to drive but i can say it is closer to my real world experience, even if i have never driven a gt car. the exige is compared to my roadster (equiped with a kw suspension, which is used in ngt/gt cars as well) kind of similar, the handling is more relaxed than in gtr and if i feel thru the steering wheel the car tends to slip there is still room to react on this. late braking, in bend braking, trailbraking is very close to my roadster, catching the rear under power oversteer is much easier than in gtr and finding the right compromise between braking and steering is more predictable, means, if i reduce steering, the car will brake better, if i reduce braking, the car will turn in more. in gtr i often faced the problem that neither braking nor steering was working and the car has just left the road.
i started to analyze the new tire sets coming with gtr2 and beside the new brand yokohama there are a second michelin gt tire set and tires for the porsches. since i am still not happy with the gt tires on my exige i decided to start a complete new tire test. thanks to the new channels, i can track the tire temperatur within motec and so it is much easier to compare the brand against temperatur, lateral force and speed. and the new gtr comes with non encrypted tire files, so i can easily compare the size of the tires (diameter, width) and the grip curves. lots of work ahead, stay tuned for the results.

gtr2 – second impression

Dienstag, Oktober 10th, 2006

the game:
the intro is nice, good music, nice line. the menu is the same like in the demo version, which is not a surprise but i still dislike it. the setup of the game works like a charm, lots of different settings for graphics, audio, controller and realism. nice to see that depending on the difficulty (arcade, semi, sim) some of the aids are disabled by default.
the tracks:
well, the game covers the fia gt tracks only, means, only tracks on which a fia gt race took place in 2004/2005 are included in the game. as an european, it is a pity that the vln long distance series is not included. this means no Nordschleife for example. the other tracks are not bad but i found a major disbalance for the frame rate for different tracks. this depends mostly on the scenery. if you are running a system which is a little bit ‘on the edge’ you have to change the graphic settings for each track and this is quite anoying. the details of the tracks are fine and especially with the new lighting system it is really impressive to watch races on certain tracks. for driving, it is very helpfull for finding brake points and turn in points, especially if it is not daytime.
the sound:
the sound is not very different to the first version of GTR. still no 5.1, still a little bit flat and liveless and i miss the incar feeling. compared to other sims like nascar, where you can feel the brutality of the engine, GTR2 is not really a reference. and i want to hear the engine where it is, means, for a mid engine or rear engine, the sound has to be placed in the back not in the front. and i also miss the sound of the tires, it is so great in richard burns rallye if you can hear which of the tires are scrubbing.
the cars:
the anouncement of 140 cars is a little bit strange, since there are less cars, just different skins. if you start a race with 60 cars (like spa) then you’ll get the warning that not enough cars available (red number close to the slider) even if i understand the concept of the different skins (driver, season, event) i don’t understand the promotion of 140 cars. the good think, or better, the very good point is, all cars are not encrypted. even if i dislike to mod or to change everything nor i want to drive a 1000 horsepower car, this is really a good decision to put the files non crypted on the disc. this will make things a lot easier (vln series, other privateer cars etc) and it gave me the possibility to add my modified exige to GTR2 as well. due the different seasons and cars, new tires are available, so i have to go for my tire test again ;). the quality of the cars is great, even at low detail and low textures, they look brilliant, especially in dusk or dawn.
the performance:
as i have said above, the performance depends on the track. the overall performance is much better than GTR. on my sony vaio 2 GHz, 2 GB, Ati 700, Soundblaster Audigy PCMCIA the game is running at about 30 fps without many hacks on graphics. if i go back to directx7 shaders (or no shaders i would say, it looks quite close to GTR then) i get 60 fps easily, even with 60 cars on the track and full scene antialiasing. rain is really demanding and also with full shadows at high quality i got frame drops to 10 on spa or other complex tracks. rain is good to handle without fsaa, which is not really necessary due the fog. the shadow problem (if you want to call it like this) can be fixed by decreasing quality and setting it to medium. but the shadow issue hardly depends on the track, a complex pit building cuts off about 30 fps easily while a flat track like china is no problem at all. motec eats up to 10 fps as well and like in GTR, outside the cockpit, the frame rate is much better and more consistent. overall, it is acceptable and still driveable on low spec systems if you can life with less details on cars and tracks.
the realism:
this is the most important part of a simulation, isn’t it? i’ve already tested the conversion of the Nordschleife from GTL and brakesmann has released a kind of official version for GTR2, so no editing and renaming necessary. now, with the final release of GTR2 i am able to use my former exige. so i can compare GTR and GTR2 side by side with the same car on the same track.
my first impression was – easy. my second impression was – more like a real car, and my third impression – great. GTR was often some kind of too predictable, means, i know befor a curve this will be a disaster because there was often no chance to catch a spinning car. from real life i know that there is a border on which everything is lost but in GTR this border is reached earlier than in real life due the handling of the cars. in GTR2 i think this border is set properly and, and this is a very good thing, the cars are able to slide more than in GTR. so if you throw a car into a bend and you know you are a way off the line for the current speed, you will be able to force the car into a more sideway motion and with some luck, this will rescue the situation. i do not talk about ‘need for speed underground’ drifting, i just talk about exceeding the tire grip a little bit without loosing the car completely. especially on tracks like Nordschleife, where you have a lot of places where you can not look ‘around’ the corner it is quite important to have at least a chance to avoid crahses initiated by spinning cars or whatsoever, especially for 24 hours races.
to test the physics a little bit in depth, i took my exige and went out for a couple of laps on Nordschleife. with a base setup (short gears, too much rear wing, wrong caster) i was able to drive a 7:55, which is not bad for this car. after getting my old settings from GTR i was able to get a 7:44. this is about 9 seconds faster than my best time in GTR. my first idea was, more grip on the track. so i went to motec and compared speeds and g-forces at certain sections of the track. surprisely, they are quite close together, so it is not only related to the grip of the track. so i started to dig a little bit deeper and i found that i was braking a little bit later and i was accelerating a little bit earlier than in GTR. i have no idea what is the major reason for this but i would say it is a better ‘feeling’. handling the car on the edge seems a little bit easier than in GTR and i’ve got the impression that the force feedback is different to GTR (i have modified the force feedback settings to get rid of this raddling feedback, maybe i have spoiled the feedback in GTR). i will spend some more time on this issue to get the reason for this improvement.
the analysis:
for me as a statistican, it is very important to analyse my driving. GTR2 requires the new Motec version I2. At a first look, this version looks very different to the well known Motec Interpreter. But at a second look, the new version is more flexible and provides better output. Handling multiple graphs, adding and removing channels, everything works like a charm, there are lots of detailed settings like filter, scale and color. handling different sessions is as easy as eating icecream, so jumping between different runs is very handy. a major improvement is the new selection of channels. the tire temperatures for example, this provides a great opportunity to adjust the caster settings in a more sophisticated manner than in GTR. what i miss is the brake temperature, especially for cars with non-motec displays or with the small motec display (there is no brake nor tire temp available while driving). to find the optimal brake cooling setting is more a shot in the dark.
GTR2 is definitely a great sequel to GTR. if you are into sim racing and if you like to get a complete package of gt racing, this is your choice. it is not without minor problems and bugs but it is a good game with lots of features like full seasons, driving school and time attack. hardcore sim freaks may not enjoy every option but i think this game offers a lot of different features to fullfil a wide spectrum of needs without the need to use every option. the non encrypted files offers great opportunity for modders or for people who wants to ‘adjust’ some parts. if you are a pure mod freak then maybe r-factor would be a better choice.

gtr2 has hit the stores

Dienstag, Oktober 10th, 2006

another big gap of updates. i was really busy with my real life roadster. got some new updates on my car, new air intake pipe, modified pop-off valve and i went out to gather some data befor the cold season makes this impossible…
GTR2 finally has hit the stores so i went out for my copy. surprisely, it costs just 40 euros at saturn, i had prepared myself for a full price of 60 euros. not bad. installation was flawless, no troubles with copy protection or so. graphic setup recognized my external screen resolution as well, no problems.
feel free to check the review section for my frist impression of the final release of gtr2.