After spending a lot of time developing RaceEssentials, I wanted to try a different approach to see how it will work out. This time, I give you Sidekick, a discreet but powerful app. I've learned a lot about AC app development in the past several months and wanted to see how far I can take it. The goal was to make an app with essential data that won't be in your way, but it's still very useful, powerful and adaptable.
If you like this app, consider buying me a drink:
Note: clicking the button above will take you to a PayPal page where you'll be able to choose your own "price", since regular donations are not supported in my country. It's pretty much the same thing, just a heads-up so you don't think something fishy is going on.
A quick overview of how the app works and what it's capable of:
Besides the always visible stuff (gear, speed and rpm light), the app is divided into five sections, contents of which can be switched either by mouse or by keyboard (Alt + A to switch between sections, Alt + S to toggle available data in the selected section).
First section is timings. Here, you can toggle current lap time, last lap time, best lap time and personal best lap time. Of course, keeping with tradition of RaceEssentials, lap validity is monitored and personal best laps are saved accross sessions.
Second section is deltas. You're provided with advanced delta calculation using normalized spline position and interpolation, and you can toggle between delta best and delta personal best. There's also a delta pacing indicator, showing you whether you're gaining or losing time at any particular moment.
Third section is lap number and current position, along with remaining session time for applicable sessions. Pretty simple and self-explanatory.
Fourth section is handling fuel info. You're provided with current fuel amount, and after you complete a lap, you'll be able to check consumption per lap and how many laps you'll be able to complete. If you're in a race with a set number of laps, you'll also have info how much fuel you need to finish the race, and if you're short, how much you need to top up.
Fifth section is all about tyres. You can toggle between tyre wear, tyre temperatures, tyre pressures and ideal values for the compound in use. The app knows ideal temperatures and pressures for all the cars currently available in Assetto Corsa and will color them accordingly.
Besides these five sections, there are also so-called "Dominant events", where all the sections will be hidden temporarily to get your maximum attention on the message. Currently, dominant events are: major FFB clipping (the app won't bother you unless it's really significant), setting a best time, setting a personal best time and "session is soon about to end" notification.
A quick FAQ (please read before posting in the support thread):
Q: How do I install this app?
A: Unpack the contents of the zip file in your AC install directory and enable it in Settings. Then, once on the track, turn it on from the vertical apps menu on the right.
Q: I've enabled the app in Settings and turned it on in the apps menu but it's not working.
A: Try one of the following:
- Disable all apps in Settings except Sidekick and see if it works (if that works, start re-enabling apps one by one to see which one was at fault)
- From Documents/Assetto Corsa/cfg folder delete python.ini file, and enable only Sidekick in settings (again, if that works, start re-enabling apps one by one to see which one was at fault)
- If none of the above worked: delete python.ini file (yes, again), delete the entire apps folder (backup it first just in case) from your AC install directory (often found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\assettocorsa) and run Steam integrity check. After that, reinstall Sidekick only and try if it works. If all is ok, only then start adding back one by one the apps you previously had.
- Ultimately if it's still broken, open console while in game by pressing Home key on your keyboard and paste any errors in the support thread.
Q: What can I customize?
A: If you open the Sidekick settings sub-app you'll find several customizable parameters including scaling, mph/kph toggle, opacity, tyre wear scale, rpm light thresholds... There's also a Sidekick car data sub-app with info about the car you're currently driving.
Q: How do the new optimal shift point rpm lights work?
A: The app pulls data from the file used to draw the power/torque graph in the launcher and uses it to automatically figure out the optimal shift point for each car. On many cars, you won't notice any difference since the engines' maximum power output is very high in the rpm range. But, some cars like SF15-T, Ferrari 458 GT2 and Ferrari 488 GT3 (and many more) reach maximum power on rpms way before the engine hits the limiter. On these cars, there's a learning algorithm that triggers the first time you drive them, where the app learns the gear ratios in order to deduce optimal shift points per gear. The app takes a sample of 5 gear changes (1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd... should be done in couple laps depending on the track) and saves the learned data so this only happens once. If you change the gear ratios in the setup or you feel something went wrong, you can always force the app to recalculate the gear ratios from the settings. Before all of this, the only way to know when to shift correctly on these cars was to look at their dash or steering wheel rpm lights, which can be very inconvenient due to camera choice, FOV, PP filter, steering wheel visibility settings and so on... Now, the app will detect optimal shift points and trigger the rpm lights automatically, per car, without the need to adjust anything. Also, the app detects if the optimal shift point is beyond the limiter and reverts to old behaviour in that case. If for some crazy reason you don't want any of this awesomeness, you can turn it off from the settings sub-app and also adjust the trigger tolerances (although I don't recommend this either).
Q: Mod cars don't have colored temperature, pressure and brake values?
A: I have no way of knowing the ideal values for non-Kunos cars. However, you can use the awesome Content Manager launcher by @x4fab, which can generate the necessary data for Sidekick automatically. You can also add this info yourself by making an *.ini file in compounds or brakes folder. An example (using Ferrari F2002) is provided. The *.ini file must have the same name as the car folder in content/cars and must follow the structure provided in the example.
Q: Delta is not shown?
A: You're either on an outlap, you've visited the pit in the current lap or you haven't done a valid lap yet to compare with.
Q: How does the ERS/KERS bar work?
A: Bar shows the remaining battery charge, it's green when the battery is being charged and blue when it isn't. White indicator over the bar shows the current ERS/KERS input while the red indicator shows how much more energy you're allowed to use in the current lap.
Q: Does this mean RaceEssentials is dead?
A: Yes, @Wally Masterson has kindly taken upon himself to maintain it in working order, but don't count on feature updates. Relevant thread on AC forums is here: http://www.assettocorsa.net/forum/index.php?threads/raceessentials-v1-4-6.41103/
Q: Can I transfer my PB folder to/from RaceEssentials?