How Video Game Capture The Racing Spirit

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As an auto racing enthusiast, I can not help but recognize the influx of racing video games. These games have been around for a very long time. The first game I can remember was Pole Position from 1982. I was young at the time and did not have any idea what the full scope of a video game was, I just remember loving the game. Little did I know what a massive financial success it had become and more over what a legacy it had started. Pole Position was a blockbuster success and this excerpt from Wikipedia says it all.

Pole PositionBy 1983, it had become the highest-grossing arcade game that year in North America,[4] where it had sold over 21,000 machines for $61 million[5][6] ($150 million in 2016), in addition to earning $450 ($1105 in 2016) weekly revenues per machine.[7] It was the most successful racing game of the classic era, spawning ports, sequels, and a Saturday morning cartoon,[4] although the cartoon had very little in common with the game. The game established the conventions of the racing game genre and its success inspired numerous imitators. Pole Position is regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time and “arguably the most important racing game ever made.”[8]  except via Wikipedia

As you can see it was the start of something beautiful. Since 1983 there have been many different types of racing games and now with the technological advantages there are options that literally put you on the track with the car of your choice and the game can simulate the full racing experience. For some this level of interactivity surpasses the childish and generic idea of it being just a game, and for others, it is the cutting edge of gaming experiences.

I personally love the idea for both gaming and simulation. Obviously, there is no comparison to being out on the track, and there is honestly no good reason to 100% replicate that experience, however, these new games like Project Cars and Gran Turismo put a lot of effort into creating realism in the gaming experience, but not to replicate reality rather to be more competitive in there own space. This is great because it can help a racer learn the track and understand the way suspension and chassis settings can affect the lap times. But more importantly, in my opinion, is it creates a new type of competition. the fact is there are people who have never even considered getting into a race car that could out drive the current Formula 1 champion on a gaming system. In fact BMWblog.com just featured a young man that is a racing game champion in his own right.

bmwblog.comJosh Martin has been playing Assetto Corsa for up to eight hours a day since he was a teenager, when he isn’t a psychology student. “I started playing with friends when I was 11 or 12 and I turned out to be really good at it. I thought I needed to start taking things more seriously.” He has the full F1-style racing wheel, pedal set and everything else that goes with it. They’re considering him an E-sports athlete, though that’s a very loose use of the term “athlete”. However, Josh is one of the highest-ranked players in the world and has won 15 championships in the game along with 500 races. He also holds 17 world records in the game. All of this is very impressive but does it qualify him to actually drive a car that is actually connected to the ground? read more at bmwblog.com

Sure he doesn’t have the spectators, sponsors or payouts as the big boys, but he is still deeply engrained with the competitive spirit that drives us all around the track. This is why I love the advancements of the video gaming industry as it relates to racing specifically. Recently I visited a trade show and numerous racing simulator manufacturers were there to show off the advancements they are contributing to the industry, and I can say the future is bright.

Companies like CXC, Eleetus, and Vesaro, as well as many others, had their booth decked out with simulators. Everyone was standing in line waiting for their turn to buckle in and go for an amazing ride. I happened to see a child that was a similar age to me when I first played Pole Position, and I caught myself thinking about what level of gaming experiences lie ahead for him. I can only image what it is like as a child in today’s world vs. 30 years ago.

With my nostalgia in check, I decide to take a ride on these simulators just to see what was possible and whether or not I should spend the money to purchase one. The line was long for some and much shorter for others. I happened to slip into the Eleetus racing sim booth when there was no one in the sim and the sales person Jamie was very informative and helpful with the entire experience. He explained the whats and whys of the sim and let me have quite an extended ride.

They had Project Cars loaded up and I chose a Porsche GTR3 to slide around the infamous Nurburgring. The experience was a far cry from the joystick Atari controller I used as a boy, I was holding onto a Ferrari steering wheel and using a hydraulic pedal system with a 6-speed gearbox as my controllers. I was shocked as the I was pinned to the seat as though I just dropped the clutch and darted off the line, the cornering allowed me to feel the motion as I drifted around the tight and dangerous corner of the German super track. I was thrilled as a smile crept up and landed on my face and I was taken back to my first memories of playing Pole Position as a child.

I will never be a competitor at the level that Josh Martin is, however, the very nature of the game is competition. I enjoy pushing myself to be more refined and engage with the track with delicate finesse to out do myself or the other cars on the track, no matter what I will always love this idea of simulated racing just as much as I love being on the real track with real people.

Auto Racing Strategies

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No matter how good you think you are in driving, victory in race driving requires particular skills. Good drivers need to have natural skills and to be humble and smart enough to understand that there are established strategies that they need to adapt if they are going to be proficient in race driving. A good car is simply not enough to guarantee one a win regardless of whether one possesses the natural talent of driving. It is possible to improve your driving skills. This article will highlight 5 best auto racing strategies you can use when driving:

Auto Racing

1. Proper seating position

One of the best auto racing strategies to ensure that the driver wins a race is proper seating position. Before you even start the car, it is critical to ensure you are comfortably seated as improper seating can cause premature fatigue and poorer car control. The driver needs to sit upright and near the steering wheel to enable the driver to use more of the back and shoulder muscles. The legs’ underside must be in touch with the bottom of the seat so as to provide you more surface contact between the seat and your body. The arms must be positioned in such a way that the wrists are placed at the upper side of the steering wheel when they are fully stretched as this allow the arms to slightly bend at the elbow once they are fully stretched for a turn.

2. Steering

Steering may seem simple but there are strategies that the driver needs to be aware of to ensure maximum smoothness and control. Most of the feedback about the track surface starting from the brakes, tires and suspensions can be received only from the steering wheel. The driver’s hands spend most of the racing time on the steering wheel and thus, it is crucial to know how they feel on your hand for both comfort and sensory input. The size of the driver’s hand may determine whether a thicker or thinner wheel is the ideal; however, the style and construction of the wheel depend on your choice. The driver should not tightly hold the steering wheel as this may his arms and hands to tire quickly and lead to poor control and sensory input. The grip should be relaxed.

3. Shifting

Shifting may seem a no-brainer function; however, in a race where 1/10th of a second difference can lead to victory, every detail counts. To achieve a quick and smooth shift it is important to get your hands on the steering wheel. Proper shifting is achieved with the palm open and cupped over the shift knob’s top. The driver should apply some gentle force on the lever to let the shift linkage to travel freely via its natural motions.

4. Pedals

The pedals must be operated using the foot’s ball rather than the toes. Moreover, the driver should be able to depress the pedals throughout using the foot’s ball whereas being able to bend the knee somehow. The driver’s leg should not be fully stretched to allow proper control and sensitivity while operating the pedals. The driver needs to use the pedals smoothly.

5. Heel-toe downshift

A driver needs to minimize the amount of time spent driving through a corner. The best racing strategy to achieve fast driving through a corner is the heel-toe downshift. This strategy requires the driver need to operate the steering, shifting, clutching, braking and accelerating all at the same time. This will maximize the smoothness and speed of driving through a corner.