Monday, 25 May 2015

GTR2 review and Corvette C5.r fifteen lap race at Donington Park

There's much to like about GTR2. Of course a title released in 2006 cannot compete with modern titles when it comes to graphics, but what it does do, and does well, is do old school simulation.

What struck me when reading the flimsy manual was how much there is in this title, compared to how little there is in that little booklet. Back when games were released with manuals that would now be sold seperately, if sold at all, GTR2 would have justified a couple of volumes, with a detailed tome on setup alone.

And GTR2 is definitely old school as soon as you max realism out to "simulation", which should be the very first thing that you do, because that's when the magic really comes to the fore with this title. In short, you need to think, and you need to be alive to what's going on around you.

No virtual mirror, no chatty spotter to keep you updated, no relative position box to keep you informed on gap, and whether the driver ahead is a lap down or if you're competing for position. You're going to have to look in the car's mirrors, and you're going to have to take note of the pit board that's put out at the end of every lap, which will tell you your position and the gap to the car ahead of you, and the car behind.

You're not even given lap time information. There is no tab for that listing every lap from the session, and your spotter will not call them out. You need to look at your car's LCD to discover your last time.

Time and weather features round out the experience. I have yet to experience lower light conditions, but there must be a very good reason headlights are modelled, and time can be set to advance in real time or faster. Driving in the rain is a real challenge, and even with wet tyres still something I have to properly explore. Even pit stops are modelled.

For the moment I'm preparing for a full eleven weekend championship series in the Corvette C5.r, with hour long races and pit stops, along with variable weather. The graphics might be dated, but it is going to be a fascinating and, I hope, enthralling experience.

Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy - Loamshires setup and first two hours of turns

Another Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy scenario. This is a fictional battle between two fictional units.

It's on a larger scale than I'm used to, moving up from the usual company level battles to battalion level, so there are many more units to control, and the scenario covers a longer time period, a little over an hour in total.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

First look at GTR2 with the Chevrolet Corvette at Donington

An old title perhaps, and in places showing its age, but full of features, and full of enjoyment, GTR2 is well worth a look - especially as it's now in the bargain basement bin on Steam.

The first thing that strikes you as you're rolling out of the garage, whatever the car you're in, is that GTR2 is old school. There's no grind here, at least in the sense of unlocking cars, tracks or upgrades. Whatever grind there is can simply be described as learning to drive the cars, and learning the tracks.

Here you get to choose your tyre compound, as well as making all manner of adjustments to the car. And those wet weather tyres have a purpose - it does rain in GTR2.

The comparison with iRacing is inevitable. Here is a ten year old title that has the aforementioned features. It might not look as good as iRacing, but that's not exactly state of the art, either. And rolling out of the garage feels so much better than spawning in pit lane.

The AI is daunting. The minimum setting is 100% difficulty, you can only go higher than that. And it is a fearsome prospect to hear the AI closing the distance behind you. It will catch you and seize upon any opportunity to pass.

Race setup is flexible, with many options available with regard to session types as well as weather.

At the moment I'm having more fun with this than iRacing. Perhaps that's at least partly because I'm in my own sandpit. There is no external pressure. But so far it's been a great experience, and one I'm sure to take a great deal from when it's time to return to the more competitive arena of iRacing.

Last turns Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy Sticking it Out

The last turns from the scenario:

Monday, 11 May 2015

More Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy Sticking it Out scenario turns

We're not quite at the end, but we're down to the last few turns after these. After events at the crossroads the defence of the eastern part of Buron continues.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy Sticking it Out first turns

I start with a confession in this video - the initial setup had one rather fatal flaw. Instead of plowing on regardless and enduring a hapless scenario I decided to switch a couple of things around, learning from the experience.

Monday, 4 May 2015

First look this week at Montreal in the iRacing Skip Barber

First day at a new track and a 1.56.4 in testing.

The irony is I'm still struggling with T1. It's ironic because it's probably the easiest corner on the track.

I put in quite a few laps no higher than third gear. That's the first time I've done that. Lap after lap, patiently looking at each corner, before really starting to push. The hairpin is such a crucial corner for times, and I feel like the penny is beginning to drop with it. The chicanes can still trip you up if you lose focus, but even with those I'm starting to really gain in confidence.

The next step will be to look at being more aggressive with the "sausage" kerbs - the raised white kerbing in the chicanes. The black scuff marks indicate areas you may attack, as long as you can handle unsettling the car in exchange for a time gain.