Learning video game race and rally car driving techniques?
August 3, 2009 3:13 AM   Subscribe

I've been bitten by a racing game bug. What resources would you recommend for learning basic-to-intermediate race and rally car driving knowledge, knowing that they will only ever be used in video games?

The precise focus is on (semi-)realistic driving games, because the physics modelling of more arcade-style games like Burnout Paradise may be so far off the real thing that applying real world techniques may end up harming the driving performance. The best way to learn is by driving, of course, but I feel a theoretical basis would be useful and make driving more enjoyable.

I want to be able to successfully play the games with maximum realism settings. Some examples of the games I'm interested in: anything done by Papyrus, Richard Burns Rally, iRacing (all of the more hardcore variety AFAIK); Rally Trophy, FlatOut 2 (somewhat more arcade-oriented but still challenging at maximum settings), GTR 2 etc.

I'll be buying a Logitech G25 wheel in the very near future, and want to get my hands on some study materials by then, so all suggestions are welcome.
posted by lifeless to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try out Colin Mcrae's Dirt. I loved this game and beat it to 100%, it became something of an obsession. On beginner anyone can pick up this game and enjoy it....on expert it's nearly impossible, especially if you're trying to do well.
posted by laptolain at 3:46 AM on August 3, 2009

Maybe some of the more realistic Ratbag games?
posted by holloway at 5:48 AM on August 3, 2009

If you haven't played and replayed (and replayed) the "Rally School" tutorials in Richard Burns Rally, do that.

It doesn't delve into the details of the physics involved, but it's a great practical guide on how to maneuver a virtual rally car. When and how to do the Scandinavian flick, handbrake turns through hairpins, at what speeds/gears, on what surfaces, etc.
posted by Glee at 6:15 AM on August 3, 2009

I recommend checking the message boards and FAQs at the website Gamefaqs. The FAQs for any game always have some good advice on playing the game. The boards can be a little juvenile (not too bad because there is moderation) but you can get some good advice there.
posted by zzazazz at 6:25 AM on August 3, 2009

Did you see this post from the sideblog in May? (or am I mis-interpreting your question?)
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:17 AM on August 3, 2009

Gran Tourismo (ebay link) taught me some stuff. It makes you get different licenses (you have to have certain driving skills to pass each part) and comes with a driver's manual.
posted by theichibun at 8:45 AM on August 3, 2009

Try downloading a real race track for a racing sim (say GTR2, or rFactor) and getting times from various races held on said circuit - F1, GP2, Touring Cars etc, and then choose a similar car in the game. Compare and contrast your own times. Even better, try and find some in car footage on YouTube and compare the lines drivers take with your own approach in the game.
posted by Sifter at 9:37 AM on August 3, 2009

Do research on racing physics, watch formula/stock/indycar racing. Understand the basic components of a racecar (chassis, engine, braking, cooling, downforce, mechanical grip, aerodynamics), learn the basic components of turns, exit speed, trailbreaking, apexes, tires. It really helps in realistic videogames.
posted by stratastar at 10:16 AM on August 3, 2009

Response by poster: Stratastar, that's what I'm thinking about. There are probably tons of racing-related books etc.
but I wouldn't know where to start. Naturally I will drive a lot, play the games, but there must be some types of racing "bibles" out there. Suggestions for good ones will probably be best-answered :-)
posted by lifeless at 1:30 PM on August 3, 2009

Best answer: Drive to Win and any of the other books by Carroll Smith are good (albeit slightly outdated/simplistic) starting points for this kind of thing.

It's difficult to get too much into more modern racing books (like Speed Secrets by Ross Bentley) without too much of the psychological and physical sides of being a driver, but it's all good stuff. Carroll Smith's book is probably all you'll need (as well as 'Engineer to win') to get you started.
posted by Brockles at 2:33 PM on August 3, 2009

Another thread you might be interested in.
posted by Sully at 4:45 PM on August 3, 2009

See also Rigs of Rods and the quote that reads,
Brian Beckman gave an interview on physics in games, in which, among other topics, he talks about Rigs of Rods. Dr. Beckman is a physicist that worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, then at Microsoft research labs, where, among other things, he contributed to the physics of the racing game Forza Motorsport.[2] He is the author of one of the most comprehensive racing car physics studies online, The Physics of Racing. Dr. Beckman describes Rigs of Rods as, "one of the best driving simulations I have ever seen."
I haven't played it myself and it's not really my thing anyway but I was reminded of this thread.
posted by holloway at 3:10 PM on August 18, 2009

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