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      SimHQ Motorsports Forums   07/31/2017

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Everything posted by nhill40

  1. This is something I really grapple with what is the justification to have a "fun" car as a daily driver? Previously, I owned a very trusty, but boring Honda Civic sedan as a daily driver plus a '95 Miata for weekend fun. In hindsight, I would have probably just kept the status quo but my wife really did not like the Miata - which she felt was "small and dangerous" and didn't like the fact that it pushed my Civic outdoors for storage. I don't think my wife would have ever pushed/forced me to get rid of the Miata. However, when, in a moment of weakness, I showed some willingness to work out an arrangement to get me down to 1 car, she very enthusiastically jumped on board. So, the Civic and Miata get traded in on a new-ish Mazda 3 sedan with the reasoning being that a Mazda 3 is essentially a more interesting version of my Civic (which was getting somewhat long in the tooth). The plan was to drive the 3 for a long time, squirrel away the pennies, and then, when the time was right, really go for something great as an "extra" car. I really like the "3" - 6-speed so I can practice my heel/toe on the way to work, it's very zippy for this class of car, and it handles very nicely (especially after I got it outfitted with a nice set of Continentals). But, for all that, it's no Miata and, as so often happens with us humans, a sense of restlessness has set in. Much to my surprise, my wife has seemed very amenable to talk of replacing the 3 under the stipulation that the new car would be a replacement car and not an "extra" car. The prime limitation that imposes is 4 seats, but there are at least 2 options that interest me that fulfills the 4 seat criteria: the Toyota 86 and the Mini Cooper S. In my opinion, both of these cars would be a solid notch above my 3 in terms of excitement level, but it also brings me to my quandary: why bother? I've had a lifelong interest in cars and racing. But, thanks to sim racing, compared to the general public I think I have an above-average understanding of really how little resemblance performance driving has with daily driving. Granted, I think you'd have to be pretty dense to not understand racing has very little in common with driving to the store to pick up some groceries, but I'm not sure it every really sunk in for me how radically different the two experiences are until getting into sim racing. This leads me to get quite down on the idea of having a "fun" car as a daily driver. Yeah, it might have above-average pep to draw upon when the traffic light turns green, but - unless you have a death wish or are participating in a track day - you're very infrequently going to find yourself even close (on purpose, at least) to full cornering potential. Seems like a waste, from that perspective. On the other hand, I have a hard time being content picturing how great that classic 240z is going to look in my garage "someday" when I am old/smart/pessimistic enough to know, frankly, that "someday" may never come (for a multitude of reasons). What say you, SimHQ? Help me with my first-world problems! All opinions welcome!
  2. I love R3E and feel the physics quality have been wrongly maligned for some time now...except for one car: the Formula Jr! Anyone else really not care for this one? There's just no feel to it...FFB feels "canned" to me (especially when you drive it back to back with the Formula Trainer in AMS, which feels wonderfully alive and dynamic). Very strange when you consider I own a good half of the cars in R3E and would rate the rest of them between "good" and "great" - the FJr sticks out like a sore thumb. Maybe it's just me though...?
  3. Anyone else despise the Formula Jr?

    I hate to say it, but I'm afraid Master is right - this is not Sector3's best work. I still believe it's been much improved, but I've taken a good number of laps in it across a multitude of tracks over the past week and it's found its way back onto my "not good" list. Not as bad as before, but it still feels very "canned" - you really can't feel the limit approaching until you are in a severe understeer situation (and setup changes to counter this seem to do nothing more than to make the back end squirrelly). Oh well...I guess I will just keep an eye on the changelogs for an indication they might have overhauled the physics on this one, but I'll be sticking to the F4 when I want an entry-level open wheel experience in R3E.
  4. Anyone else despise the Formula Jr?

    Hmm, well they've fixed something - F Jr feels much, much better now. Physics/FFB now feel right in line with the other R3E content. I scanned the changelog and didn't really see anything specifically pertaining to this car, so maybe this is just the result of some general physics/FFB improvements to the game. Whatever they did, it worked - the car is much more fun to drive now (and, in a good way, harder to control). I still favor the F Novice models in AMS to R3E's F Jr, but the F Jr is still a lot of fun to drive now. It would seem to me with their wonderfully rounded content lineup, R3E has a real opportunity to create some kind of career mode module. You could go from F Jr -> F4 -> F3 -> F2 -> F1 with plenty of dynamic branching along the way ("hmm, didn't quite finish too strong in F2? F1 promotion might not be in the cards, but check out these F US and sportscar seat offes..."). I'm not sure how proud I am of what I'm about to say, but I think there are quite a few people who, like me, might have "more money than sense" as the saying goes and would be willing to fork out money for such a module on a DLC basis. Just sayin'...
  5. F1 2016?

    Anyone have a chance to take some laps in F1 2016? Please post your impressions!
  6. For me, at least! Kimi on pole for Monaco (I have a sinking feeling though Seb will be leading by the end of lap 1 though). Alonso looking quick at Indy. This will make for some must-see TV!
  7. 1964 Ferrari = 100 million USD?

    Not sure it (or anything) is worth $100M, but that is a beautiful car. I'm kind of hit & miss on the newer ones, but I'm a sucker for old Ferraris. An iconic car from an iconic period in cars/racing.
  8. Anyone have experience with one of these bad boys? https://www.ricmotech.com/Load_Cell_Kit_for_Thrustmaster_Pedals_p/rmt-lc500.htm This hobby is kind of nuts. A very short time ago, I would have chuckled at the idea of someone buying one of these - I would have considered it overkill...but then the idea got planted in my head and here I am considering one!
  9. Ricmotech load cell

    My Ricmotech load cell brake mod showed up in the mail the other day. As promised, here is my mini-review. Installation - I found the install process to be relatively run of the mill "D.I.Y." type stuff. There was no soldering or anything along those lines required - the vast majority of the process was the undoing a variety of screws (both hex and phillips). I didn't find any of it to be overly tricky, though one of the screws Thrustmaster used on the brake brace (the metal piece that keeps the brake pedal from springing up too high) did snap on me as I tried to loosen it. It was very easy to find a replacement screw at the hardware store, so really not a problem. Again, no one step was overly difficult, but once you got deep into the process, my personal "hmm, I don't think they pictured anyone removing this part to be removed" alarm did go off a couple times. They call it a "mod" for a reason though, right? I didn't closely watch the clock, but I bet it probably took me maybe 60-90 minutes of install time end to end. Performance - Personally, I'm very happy with it. With 20/20 hindsight this seems impossible naive on my part, but I really don't think I realized how unnatural a potentiometer-based brake pedal really is (even a decent one like you'll find on the T3PA Pro). You should also know that the extra bit of rubber "mods" that the T3PA ships with are not even in the same ballpark as a load cell. Those rubber inserts are really just to play a trick on your mind to create the illusion of a pressure-based brake - the brake is still measuring movement, not pressure. The brake feel is completely different. It feels more like...well...a brake! It feels a bit different than the brake in a passenger car, as there is very little "play" in the pedal. That said, from what I gather, the brake pedal in purpose built race cars do tend to be very, very stiff. Among other things, this completely changes the heel/toe experience (for the better). As I've refined my sim racing technique over the last few years, one of the things I've arrived at is that I perform my best in socks. The main reason for this being that, by not wearing shoes, I'm able to depress the brake pedal far enough to get full threshold braking and not inadvertently also depress the accelerator at the same time. It only took me about a lap after installing the load cell mod to realize the days of racing in socks are over. For starters, there is simply no need to depress the brake pedal several inches to generate maximum braking force. With the load cell mod installed, this isn't even an option - the pedal only travels maybe an inch at most before you are up against the hard rubber stopper. The second factor that has ended my days of racing in socks is the amount of force required to attain full braking power - simply put, with the load cell mod, I am not able to comfortably apply enough pressure on the brake pedal to attain full braking force. So, I now race in very thin-soled shoes (like the type of "track flats" that you would wear in a distance race in the 1600/3000/5000/10000m range). The nice side benefit to all this is that employing an effective heel/toe technique is way, WAY easier when you aren't dealing with obscene amounts of brake pedal travel. As far as how this translates to performance in-game, I am still adjusting my technique, but it has already been a net benefit for me. In gMotor based sims, I was already a reasonably effective braker - generally speaking, even with potentiometer based brake pedals, I had developed a feel to be able to hone in on the threshold pretty effectively in rF, rF2, AMS, R3E, etc. The two main advantages I've noticed in gMotor sims is that (1) I have a much finer level of control with my trail braking and (2) my bad habit of "popping" off the brakes has been reduced dramatically. The "squeeze & ease" technique as advocated by Ross Bentley in his "Speed Secrets" book is much easier to implement. The sim that this has really been a game changer for me though is Assetto Corsa. For realsies, the load cell has totally changed the gameplay experience for me in that sim. I've played AC consistently since early access days, but over the last few months, I've really come around on the handling physics in that sim (mostly due to letting go of my personal hang-up of expecting it to behave/feel like a gMotor sim). The one gripe I still had in AC is that the braking feel felt very binary to me and, all too often, I was taken by surprise by the brakes locking up. As a result, I am brave enough to admit that it was very common for me to be faster with ABS on (which irked me). The load cell mod has completely changed that - sure, I still lock up on occasion (personally, I think if you aren't momentarily locking up from time to time, you probably aren't consistently braking at full potential), but I find now to be far more predictable (i.e. "ah, I know what happened there - gonna try something different next lap"). Now, with all that said, I want to say for the record that literally thousands of people have mastered the brake feel in AC without dropping $170 on a brake pedal mod. This is by no means the only way to master the brakes in AC, I'm just saying it has been a great help for me personally. How I would prioritize this purchase - This is very subjective but, knowing what I know now, I would personally put this pretty high on my wish list of sim racing goodies. If I were doing things all over again, I think this would be my personal priority order: 1) Decent gear-driven wheel + pedals 2a) Some sort of cockpit/ergonomic solution 2b) Load cell brake pedal 3) Triple monitors 4) H-shifter 5) Belt-driven wheel The reason I put 2a/2b as a grouping with the cockpit/ergonomics ahead of the load cell is that, if you get the load cell when you are still using a swivel desk chair as your cockpit, you are going to end up sending yourself flying across the room the first time you reach a corner requiring threshold braking. In conclusion, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I would have taken the plunge on this mod a long time ago. Where to find - To my knowledge, straight from Ricmotech is your only option. I got mine here for $169 USD (plus a modest shipping charge): https://www.ricmotech.com/Load_Cell_Kit_for_Thrustmaster_Pedals_p/rmt-lc500.htm
  10. Ricmotech load cell

    Ordered! A fool and his money are soon parted... I may post a mini-review once I get it installed and tried out.
  11. Do you bounce from sim to sim?

    Does anyone else bounce from sim to sim? When I consider how little time I have for sim racing in my life and then look at how many different sims I actually end up playing on a regular basis, I'm truly astounded. I kind of wish I had it in my personality to just laser focus on one particular favorite sim, but I just can't seem to do it. Every so often, I delude myself into thinking that I'm going to commit to just one (or, hell, just work on narrowing it to 2 or 3)...but I always get sucked back in somehow. I thought it might be interesting (as a conversation starter, if nothing else), to sit down and try to analyze each sim from the standpoint of (1) what it is about this sim that pulls me back and (2) what it is about this sim that pushes me away. Here is what I came up with: rFactor2 + The physics - the best in the business, IMHO. You can feel things going on with your car that simply aren't there with other sims. - Lack of content - finding a good car/track combo in this sim has gotten better as of late, but not to the extent where it's caught up with some other sims on the market. Automobilista + "Toyota of Sims" - it's a perfect "7" across the board. There is no one area where Automobilista is going to blow you away...but there is also no one area where it's going to let you down in an experience-breaking fashion. - Lack of mainstream content - if you are in the right mood, this can be a benefit, but I invariably get called away by the chance to drive a (insert your favorite car here) at (insert your favorite European track here). Assetto Corsa + GT/Forza for the PC - pretty much speaks for itself: an amazing diversity of brands/locales paired with awesome visuals and physics good enough to not drive you nuts. - Doesn't feel like a racing sim - feels more like a hot lap simulator. I know that's become the "cool thing" to say about AC, but when I look at how I play this particular sim, I think it's absolutely true. Raceroom + Glut of content - tremendous range from a Formula car ladder to classic touring cars - tons of well-known tracks, as well. And, all of it very uniform in quality. - Physics missing something - while the cars are all very fun to drive, I have a hard time shaking the feeling that there is something missing in the driving experience. iRacing + On-demand competition - it doesn't matter if you're home from work early on a Wednesday afternoon or stricken with a bout of insomnia on a Sunday evening, you can jump on the service and find people to race. - Pricing model - content is the most expensive on the market...plus, having to pay a subscription fee to access the content I supposedly own really gets my goat. HistorX/P&G/GTL + Content - you could assemble all the classic content from every sim listed above and still not come even close to what these sims model. - Dated physics - they are all still very drivable, but there is no question the respective underlying physics engines are showing their age at this point. As is usually the case with me, I have no coherent point or conclusions! I would be interested to get others thoughts - do you find you jump around a lot from sim to sim yourself? If so, do you indulge yourself and jump around, or have you found ways to force yourself to focus in on a narrower subset? I think what's especially maddening for me is that, if you asked me to rank these from 1-6, I could definitely do it...but then ask me again in 2-4 weeks and I bet I would give you a complete different ordering from 1-6! I guess maybe the ultimate take away message is that I should consider myself lucky to have so many viable (yet, imperfect) options to choose from.
  12. Do you bounce from sim to sim?

    Good counter-points! I will take these one by one: On Roenie's rF2 content selection point, I will happily concede that rF2 has made strides in the right direction...for my personal tastes, I just don't believe it is up to the diversity/quality level that is present in some of the other sims on the list. In this particular category, I personally would still rate rF2 near (if not at) the bottom of this list of sims. I for one would really love to see this change (and I think there are some positive indicators that it may). Regarding Piotr's defense of Assetto Corsa's physics, this comment for me personally is extremely timely. I am in a bit of an "Assetto Corsa reawakening" at the moment that is in no small part being fueled by me challenging myself to approach AC's physics in a more open minded mental state specifically as it relates to dropping my assumption that AC should drive like a gMotor sim. See what I mean about "timely"?!? Give me a few more weeks and I wouldn't be surprised if I would be ready to re-write my AC assessment without any disparaging comments regarding the physics. Lastly, as it pertains to Piotr's comment regarding rF2 vs AMS physics - in my book they are, very, very close...but I still give the edge to rF2. The main differentiator to me is in the FFB: there is a buttery, constant smoothness to rF2's effects that makes AMS feel just a little bit "choppy" (for lack of a better term) by comparison. I'm not sure I'd be willing to part with any of the sims on the list. Ideally, I'd still like one to bubble to the top as a clear, long-term #1. Realistically, I think I'll keep "bouncing"!
  13. I found this podcast and really, really enjoy it - I'm binge-listening from the beginning and have yet to hear a weak episode: http://www.dinnerwithracers.com/ It's definitely very heavy on IMSA/IndyCar in terms of the guest line up, but much of the talk is general enough that I would give it a blanket recommendation to anyone with an interest in racing. One benefit of being heavy on the IMSA/IndyCar stuff is that it makes you realize how "elite" F1 has become (and not in a good way). I assume WEC might possibly suffer from this same phenomenon (though I don't really follow it, so I can't say for sure), but everyone and everything in F1 is either treated like it's closely guarded state secret, or so hyper-managed from a PR standpoint that it becomes neutered. The contrast becomes very apparent when listening to the guests on "Dinner with Racers" - everyone pretty much lets it rip and you get to hear some really awesome inside stories and insights that you'd never get to hear in F1 unless you were a true paddock insider or one of the "elites". And, take note F1...it works! I'm already a regular IndyCar viewer (I catch probably 80-90% of the races), but I can tell you my DVR has been set for every IMSA event available to me so far this year and that would not have been the case if it weren't for this podcast bringing the series alive for me and heightening my driver/team/etc recognition. A recent episode I listened to had an interview with Jeff Braun (http://www.rrdc.org/member/jeff-braun/) and they asked him if he could change one thing and one thing only about racing, what would it be? I muttered under my breath "get rid of downforce"...much to my surprise/pleasure, his answer was "reduce downforce by at least half, preferably by 70%" I thought, "this is my kind of guy!" He cited a lot of the same reasons I do, including driving engineering innovation in areas that ~gasp~ people might actually care about (instead of "ooh, look at this - Ferrari does one little winglet here, whereas McLaren does a cluster of three little winglets!" Snore! Wake me up when you guys have something that might actually have some semblance of road relevance).
  14. Did you know F1 is back??

    Seeing Toto slam his fist on the table in frustration was awesome. He'll probably be giving Jos another call, as I'm sure he thought Max should have turned on his hazards and pulled onto the shoulder to let The Great and Powerful One by! You can't read too much into just one race, but Bottas looks to be a perfect fit so far. He has an equally slim chance of wrecking the equipment as he does of challenging Lewis on pace. If he can bring the car home in all 20 races (or however many races are on the calendar this yr) one spot behind Lewis, that will be a very happy garage (lots of pts, low maintenance costs, and Lewis's sulking kept to a minimum).
  15. Proposal - Run SCES EnduRacers Series 2?

    Do the cars only vary by paint scheme? For example, within the the Corvettes, are they all spec'd alike? Or are there differences between like "09 ALMS" and "11 LMS", etc?
  16. Proposal - Run SCES EnduRacers Series 2?

    One specific question - do you guys do day/night cycle? I'm asking because I've got some graphics settings dialed in that work...for daytime. At night (at Malaysia, at least), it turns into a slide show!
  17. Proposal - Run SCES EnduRacers Series 2?

    Well, I gave the mod a second chance - not sure what I was smoking last time (or perhaps I was just rusty on rF2), but I really enjoyed the GTE cars. I think I am probably "in" - I've checked out all the dates and, at this point at least, I'd be good to go on all of them. I want to think about it just a couple more days to make sure I'm really committed the way I want/need to be to enjoy the experience.
  18. Proposal - Run SCES EnduRacers Series 2?

    I'm very, very tempted to jump in, but I'm not in love with the mod. Someone give me a pep talk - do I need to give it another chance?
  19. Another "informal poll" What is your preferred method to get the sweet sim sounds into your auditory canals? I've honestly not ever given it much thought - I have a halfway decent but old Altec Lansing setup (with a small subwoofer) that I splurged on (or, at least it felt like a "splurge" at that stage in my life) when I got my first job out of college. I don't really have much to compare it to, but it seem to have some nice sound quality and, if the kids aren't asleep, if I crank it up high enough the vibration from the sub adds a nice touch of immersion. At any rate, I wouldn't say I'm upset with my sound setup by any means, I'm just curious what others do - plain old PC speakers? Nice sound setup? Headphones???
  20. Been running for over an hour and still not done! Was hoping to unwind by getting a few laps in tonight, but my machine is virtually unusable. It's a bitter pill to swallow to use Macs/Linux machines all day only to come home and find Steve Ballmer has figuratively planted his big arse in between me and getting some AC wheel time!
  21. Holy smokes - want this!!! Looking for where I can most easily obtain this stateside...
  22. what do you do for audio?

    This is perhaps a dumb question, but dumb questions are sort of my thing, so here goes... Is it possible to get "directional" sound from headphones? Not sure why this took so long to occur to me, but it seems like it would be really cool/helpful to be able to discern which corner of the car a wheel scrub sound effect is coming from.
  23. Cool, thanks for the tip - I'll be checking this out!
  24. So you can drive the Nordschleife?

    "I'll take 'Things that wouldn't exist if there were no such thing as men' for $400, Alex"
  25. I just want to share my Col de Turini rally

    Wow, fantastic driving! I would have been upside down in a ditch 3 times before the video was half over...