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Graphics vs. physics

Discussion in 'Racer' started by fsr, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. fsr


    After a long time away from Racer, I've finally had some time to look at some of my unfinished projects to see if it might be time to finish them. However, my main reason for loosing interest in the first place was the lack of focus on important handling issues like buggy diffs and weird arbs. From what I understand, years have gone by with no significant improvements in these areas. Racer 0.5.8 or so still has the best physics. In 0.6.5 you can't even do donuts with a rwd car with an lsd (Gran Turismo syndrome?)

    What I don't understand is why, as Racer had the potential for being the best sim out there. Early versions had great physics compared to other "sims" on the market. Now, I understand that making it look great is fun, but to be honest, I think 0.6.5 looks perfectly fine. We have enough games with stunning graphics. It's fun for an hour, then I get bored driving good looking cars with terrible physics...

    My point is that Racer could be a great moddable sim. I just wish Ruud would see that too, and perhaps focus on the areas that really need work, rather than eyecandy. I hope to see Racer take the iRacing path, rather than the Race Driver path. If that were to happen, I just might finish my projects :)
  2. I agree. Lately I've been playing rfactor for literally hours on end with the f1 2009 mod because it's just so much fun. The physics are great but the graphics really are lacking. I actually don't know how racer is with f1 cars (I assume good since apparently an f1 team uses the commercial version for their sim) so it'd be cool to make one.

    To answer your question though, yes, physics HAVE improved. I'd also like to see diffs improved as there's quite a lot of stuff possible with things like scripts and input parameters and stuff.
  3. There are problems in there, but as I discovered recently, you can introduce plenty with dodgy pacejka numbers.

    MF5.2 pacejka might fix that a bit more for us, but I'm not sure.

    Your curves can look right, but do really bad things sometimes.

    That isn't to say that Racer doesn't have bugs, it does, but plenty also can be down to pacejka or just bad settings you choose.

    What I would like to see is rFactor esque suspension setup, so defining points in space and joints. This would add so much more realism to wheel movements, and do all the camber curves, toe curves, roll centres etc in real time itself. The old system is still good, but when you can or do have appropriate data, the more detailed system is better!

    Or, at the least for the short term, implement the NYI kpi offset and kpi/caster inputs. It would add a great deal of realism to steering feel and wheel control, and ease of set up. Right now you have to decide what kpi/caster to use, then calculate the right input values for other values... and then ignore some others that you can't simulate etc.

    I think Racer is good, but it could be lots lots better too! Some long standing bugs REALLY ruin it for physics developers. Ie, the CofG offset bug is just crazy. I tuned a car really nicely, then moved the CofG offset to 0,0,0 as the model was centralised, and the behaviour of the car changed entirely. Brakes suddenly locking up at the back all the time for example, so despite it looking technically the same, it was miles off dynamically.

    But, we also need to up our game some more. The tyre model will be where we struggle the most though I think! Getting the right values is still a massive lottery and takes hours of testing to sometimes refine just one variable!

    I'm hoping for more in-sim tweaking tools, like the TOD editor, but for car.ini values and so on.

  4. fsr


    Good points as always, Dave.

    Bottom line in my opinion is to leave the graphics alone and focus on physics for now. Once the physics are sorted, they will be good for a long time. Graphics will be outdated next week anyway. I think Racer would be better off if Ruud chose to sit that one out once in a while and just do major physics updates once a year or so.

    Get the physics right. They are sooo close!
  5. Yep, physics will always be right, and we have the kinda power now to do the fundamentals at least, really well.

    Graphics do change every few years, and chasing them is kinda pointless. It's good to catch up now and again, but if the catch up doesn't have a target, you can just end up playing catch up forever... approaching the best quality and then noticing the next best method is out and then chase that haha.

    I'm sure that is Ruud's intention though, to get v0.9 out for us to develop content for, and then the physics will start to be put under scrutiny as people actually start driving/making cars and tracks, rather than just taking screenshots of them :D ;)

  6. Ruud

    RACER Developer

    Indeed, currently gfx takes up a whole chunk of development. Lighting has become an interesting study, very interesting, and it definitely has helped to at least get beyond iRacing/rFactor realism. I won't to fix lighting for v0.9 (still doing quite a bit of reading, currently on Uncharted 2 Lighting, which is somewhere on the web) and after v0.9 more focus will be back to physics. The CoG bug sounds serious enough to fix for v0.9, strange because it was changed quite a bit to get at least some things improved. I need to review what forces are bad then; the ^9 screen should already help.
    But we're now halfway having a great leap for lighting, and I want to more or less get that to a good level. After that, physics get another turn. Strangely enough the teams out there don't really seem to focus on the diff, more on tires & aero, so I'm not sure how bad the diffs are currently. Does a stiff LSD not reduce donuts? (I thought an open diff would be more helpful for donuts).
  7. Well, as so much work is poured into developing graphics, I'd say more work should be put into it to make the graphics engine solid enough for v0.9 final. So modders can start modding...
  8. Yep, as much as I want the physics right, the graphics have come so far since the whole shader stuff started, it'd be mad not to get them somewhere nice and put a line under them for at least a year, bar bug fixes or library shader additions.

    Then we can just start to update old content, and create new content, and just get a load of bang up to date content out there utilising all the fun features of Racer!

    Even if it takes till Spring 2011 to get V0.9, it'll be worth it imo... in the long run :D

  9. Yeah graphics need to be finished off before a move to physics.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the graphics, Racer looks amazing now. I just can't have the same fun as I do in rFactor racing for hours because everything's so complicated to change. I'll race for hours in rFactor but only for a couple of laps in racer.

    It'd be nice to have a tyre model that takes heat into consideration, but from what I've read there's very little REAL data to go with that whereas pacejka has measurable and measured data.
    It'd also be nice to revamp the entire menu system since these days I end up changing anything in the actual ini. The settings don't really give much options in the way of graphics, but we'd probably need a launcher for that (it's mainly just the first run of any new release though).

    In the end I always come back to racer though. It's so easy to mod, it looks great and you can drive your cars.
    You've done a fantastic job over the years Ruud - Congratulations!
  10. fsr


    Can't really blame you for having fun with the graphics. As a designer myself, I know how much more fun it is to work on stuff you can actually see. Glad to hear that more physics work is still to come.

    The diffs aren't too bad for racing, allthough they are hard to set right. I realise that Racer is not a drifting sim, but it's when a car gets out of shape you really see the diffs behave weird. Donuts are a great test. The more a diff lock, the easier it is to do donuts. In the current versions, it's like the diff suddenly opens up under load. It was better in earlier (0.5.x) versions of Racer.

    Having said that, I must second camsinny and give you lots of credit for the amazing work you put in :)
  11. I think diff type=4 is a completely locked differential in the current betas. It's ridiculously easy to start donuts with it anyway, cause the rear wheels start to slip if you turn too sharply.

    I know less about how the other diffs work though.
  12. I've had issues with diffs and finding good values. I don't think it's so much that they are really buggy, but we don't know what kind of values are real, so you can end up driving a car with unreal values that just don't do nice things.

    There is a bug in there though, on the LSD type diff, where it seems to 'pulse'

    Accelerate hard in say the Lambo Murcielago with certain settings and the rev needle of the car can be seen pulsing as it moves up the rev range, maybe at 1-2hz with 50-100rpm amplitude... weird.

    Not sure what it is, I think it's related to large pre-load values.

    Again, this may be real behaviour, just unreal values that we never see on road cars... hmmmm.

  13. Racer has always felt as though there were a great weight attached to the car approx. 1.5 meters off the rear bumper, that's probably why it takes forever for the tires to recover in a skid when using real Pacejka data.

    True 3D suspension would be fantastic, if we are going to have realistic tyres then they will need an equally accurate suspension to make the car handle as expected. Have you ever had a bad alignment?

    Being able to adjust ini values in Racer in realtime would be a real time saver. ;)

    Alex Forbin
  14. Hello.
    The focus on graphics isn't surprising when you realize that the purpose of racer is to get gratis graphics testers.

  15. I believe the focus should be on both areas if possible.There was a time racer was way ahead on graphics than anything called a "sim" out there and it had at least competable physics.The problem was the constant incompatibility of each version both graphically and as car physics go.
    If there was some way to make a "universal physic model" and have each car simply its specific car data added and leave the physic model do the rest than it would be a god sent improvement and a breath of life for racer.A good tire model (based on real date on treaded and slick tyres) with flatspots and accumating dirt when going outside of tarmac over grass and dirt combined with a fully modeled suspension( complete with camber/castor angles and tire sleep angles) would make racer a rock solid platform to develop for without fearing that each version would mess every single car modeled out there...

    And about graphics they are quite good BUT they need more polishing and animation added.For example have hands/suits animated fully with full gear/paddle shifting and handbraking.Add 3d animated spectators and crews possibility.Also add some weather effects like volumetric fog,rain with ability to use wipers and have the windows accumulated rain drops/dirt like in gtr evo/race on....
    Also add some vertex deformation and lastly :
    Also improve the lighting a bit with hdr and i think graphics wise it will be complete.