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Club races by geographical location and the curse of the west coast

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Sk3ptik0n, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Sk3ptik0n

    Premium Member

    As a simracer I belong to the class of geographical pariah known as "west coast simracers". Why pariah? Because most of the action in simracing happens either very early in the morning or just before I get off work.

    By the time I am well and ready to race, most leagues and club races are either already done for the day or they have very limited participation (see the Race 07 club).

    I think part of the reason for the limited participation, beside a smaller user base, is that many west coasters like me have given up. I think I see the proof is some established events they have over at R2P that start at my 6:00pm but are so busy as to have people on the waiting list. These are mods like the Megane trophy or the Audi sportwagon that apparently attract folks from allover the world.

    I was thinking that there must be a solution for this and that maybe the reason these events are sparsely attended is because the races themselves are not attractive.

    Also, it is not that easy to calculate time in GMT. I know I always get confused and one has to know to check the race 07 or rfactor clubs in order to see there are races in our time zone.

    Possible solutions I have toughs about are:

    Create a "Pacific" or "west coast" (or "USA") club. I know that US events are marked with a little flag, but rFactor club has none at all. It's all EU races.

    Use popular mods: For instance, why can't the league mods such as V8 supercars or the DTM can't be used for a club?

    We all know that many folks want to race F1 cars, but then they drop out like flys when they realize how hard they are to drive. However, there are many F1 like mods that are very popular. F2 and F3 cars or Formula Armaroli are more accessible and I think would get good participation.

    Anyway, I know that west coasters do not warrant a great deal of effort for the RD admins. I don;t blame them. They want to expend energies where they count, not where 5 people show up for races. But I really would like to do something about it. Maybe a "west coast club" of sort with it's own domain but associated with RD and using all the different games like GSC, rFactor and race 07 and alternate days?

    I don;t know. I would like to hear what you guys think.
  2. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    Hi Corrado I know how you feel, i race at 2am on Sat/Sun solely because of my work schedule. And fifty percent of the time i'm too tired to do race 2. Where abouts in the US do you live? I myself live in Vancouver B.C Canada which makes me 7/8hrs behind GMT time depending on their Daylight savings. If you are on the west coast which makes it PDT, you should be in the same time zone as me. East coasters EDT are 4/5hrs behind depending on Daylight Savings. Currently we are 7hrs behind PDT and 5hrs behind EDT. I'm actually enjoying the mod pack RD is using for current Club Racing but would very much like to see the FVR V8 mod used here again soon. lets say things were different would a 9pm/10pm race start be good for us West Coasters? that is a ideal time for me.As for Open Wheel racing, i'll pass i can't drive those things well enough for Club Racing so I stay away lol!. Yves takes care of US events maybe PM him see what his opinion is on what you think.
  3. Sk3ptik0n

    Premium Member

    Hi Hiroshi, I am in California, so we share the same time zone. I have raced with Yves plenty of times and indeed I was planning to talk to him about it. But first I wanted to ask around RD (and elsewhere) to see how many people we could actually interest in a west coast time zone club.

    In our case I think the geographical location is more important than the Game or mod we use.

    I figure that in order for a club such as the one I have in mind to work, we would need at least 100 people. 50 at the very minimum to assure a good starting grid to one race per day.

    I don't mean 100 people ready to race everyday, but a core group of hard core guys racing almost every day, then some that race once a week and some twice a month and so on.

    Regardless, I think one thing that would increase attendance at what races we have, would be to have the daily club schedule (and maybe a few days ahead as well) on the front page of RD.
    Some time ago I had inquired about a calendar of races and they told me (not in so many words) that they were working on it. maybe they still are, but I think that a daily schedule on the home page would do wonders and show new drivers that indeed there are races going on at the club and league level.

    Another thing I find important would be some way to translate the race starting time to the time zone of the reader. They could do that at the server level, but if they found a way to 'tag" race times with some sort of html ID or class, we could use a browser level script to translate it for us. Either way, I think we are losing attendance because it's too much of a bother or simply too involved to find the race, check the starting time, download the mod and track and so forth. Whatever we can do to make the process easy would make things better.

    Going back to the club, I was actually thinking of buying a domain name along the lines of "westcoastsimracers.com or similar and start taking names. I can put up a community style website in an afternoon so that wouldn't be a problem.
    I found places that rent simracing servers for about $35 a month. So I could easily start something up myself, but I think being able to do it with RD would be best.

    I refuse to believe that there aren't enough simracers in this time zone to fill a grid every day.

    Out of curiosity: you mentioned that you would like to race around 9/10pm PST, is that right? That time would be ideal for me as well, but I can adapt to a 5/6pm start, which also allows the east coast guys to race at their 10pm. ut ideally, if enough people joined, it should not be impossible to fill an early and a late race. after all between california, Oregon, Washington and BC there are several million people on the WC. Add the mountain time and the midwest and it's a lot of people.
  4. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    Unfortunately i work Monday to Friday 10am to @5:30/6:00 so a earlier time is not feasable for me. My girlfriend works at same place as I but her shifts get switched from days to evenings every week and her hours are never set in stone so i have to keep evenings open for us until @ 9/10pm. Lots of people on the west coast and i'm sure there are quite a few simracers. I wonder if any of them have checked out this site and said to themselves "Damn time is not good for me and don't bother signing up"? I myself too want this to go through Race Department as well for i personally think all in all this is the place to come race. I really like the personality here. I tried to go my own way and help moderate another site but time and my lack of knowledge and their race time was not good for me so i stepped down from that position and here i'am. I'm back spending my time on RD. Well lets see how things go.
  5. Sk3ptik0n

    Premium Member

    That's exactly why I think the frontpage of RD should display some sort of calendar with starting times displayed prominently.

    In fact, with geolocation it would be possible to display a different calendar to different viewers. So if you are a west coast user, the first list of races you see are those closest to your own time zone. Then you could easily click other time zones to see what 's on schedule there. I believe that with such a system more people would join and race.

    Case in point, when I first joined somehow I totally missed races in my time zone. The first dozen or so I was able to find happened on European times. I was inactive for a full year before I decided to really look into it and I finally found races I could attend (just to clarify, is not like I came here every day to check).

    Starting up already has enough barriers as it is. A new simracer will be understandably nervous about joining online races with live people if all they have been doing is AI races. Then they have to figure out how ti install the mods. Easy for us, but daunting for those that can barely turn on their PC.

    If the races are scattered around in the various club pages without a common calendar and marked all in GMT it is yet another barrier they have to overcome. On the web each minor obstacle, an extra link to click or page to view, has a steep drop off rate. So the more a new user has to explore to find what they want the fewer of them will participate.

    I race at iRacing and Race2play as well as RD and one thing those two sites have over RD is an easy to browse calendar and starting times in the viewer time zone. I think RD should implement a better version of the calendar and transpose the starting times and we will see fuller grids that may lead to extra races at times not currently serviced. After all, I am now very familiar with RD but I still sometimes miss the occasional race I would have liked to join or double book the rFactor and Race 07 races happening at the same time.
    A common racing calendar would also help the club managers in avoiding overlapping races from different clubs.
  6. Chris Butcher

    Chris Butcher
    Red Bull Gridsters 2012 Champion

    The problem is, past experience tells us, even with popular mods, that people just don't attend these events at RD. Which is weird, because the US ranks 2nd in terms of our total traffic.

    We don't have any staff that are available to organise US events really in the rF club, although Yves does deal with Race 07.
  7. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    Well i'll have more spare time in the new year, maybe Corrado and myself can become RFactor Racing Staff for US?
  8. Chris Butcher

    Chris Butcher
    Red Bull Gridsters 2012 Champion

    Something to discuss with Bram really, although for now as there isn't too much demand (at RD anyway) it probably wouldn't happen. But don't let that deter you, when you have the time and the demand is there, put the suggestion forward :)
  9. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    I think there is enough demand for good US staff at RD. Problem is finding good committed ones that can help out.

    rFactor 2 definitely needs a US side of things so please do contact me :) @Corrado i already left you a message/hint in the GSC forums.

    Most of our staff is located in the EU zone and if they want to monitor their events as well its logical that there are more EU events running.

    However really good committed staff is always welcome to help out :D
  10. Hiroshi Awazu

    Hiroshi Awazu
    Off Topic Moderator

    Thanks Bram and Chris when the time comes i will be in touch. I fully understand about the commitment side of things and i will discuss details with my gf as well for really i need her approval as well, but with her showing interest in my hobby, i can't see her saying no.
  11. Sk3ptik0n

    Premium Member

    Thanks guys for the responses.

    I actually understand completely why RD doesn't have more US events. The few there are are poorly attended.

    Now, the question is, why are they poorly attended?

    My first impulse is to blame the lack of direct access to the schedule of events. But on the other hand, the EU events seem to be quite popular and they too get no play on the frontpage. It may be that Americans need to be spoon fed?

    I would like very much to be involved with the racing here, but I could only commit one or two days a week, in addition, I would need to wait a couple of months to be sure I legally can. I may be going under contract with a possible competitor (no, I wouldn't be organizing races there, I'd be managing and sprucing up their websites) and I wouldn't want to a) commit and then back off when the job materializes, b) jeopardize this job itself as it may be a lot of fun and quite remunerative.

    But, I think there are things RD can do to increase participation, starting with publishing race schedule on the home page. I don't see how that can do anything but help. Once there are more people racing, then it will make more sense having a US bureau to attend to them. I am pretty sure that if RD can find 8 to 10 people that can volunteer throughout the week, the quality of racing and word of mouth will bring people racing here and justify the effort.

    Honestly,when I first came to RD, I was utterly confused as to how things worked. I joined, got my license but it took me months to enter a race because either they were outside my free time or I simply didn't know they were available. I often missed races because I miscalculated the time zone,so that would need a fix too.

    There are rfactor races elsewhere at precisely the best time for US racers (6:00pm PST which lets both coasts participate at a convenient time) that often have waiting lists. Check out this race tonight at R2P: http://race2play.com/schedule/show/1107
    here are 10 US drivers and 27 drivers overall.

    To be sure, that's a fun mod but there are many other races at this time that are quite popular. Are those the only 10 simracers in the US? I doubt it.

    Bottom line, I will consider and I would be happy to help. I should know something about this job soon. Actually I would be proud to help at RD. Honestly. But in exchange I would like to see some help from RD to help me and the other volunteers make the events successful. if they stay buried in the forum it will be another failed attempt.

    One other thought: I think the best way to start something would be with the release of Rf2.

    thank you
  12. Chris Butcher

    Chris Butcher
    Red Bull Gridsters 2012 Champion

    And it's feedback like this we ask for :)

    When you know what you can do, get in touch :)