Featured Simracer = One Man Army

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by leon_90, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. leon_90

    leon_90
    Columnist for RaceDepartment Staff Premium

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    GT6 HUD.jpg

    Simracing HUDs, overkill or a requirement to be competitive?

    There is a very famous quote from Enzo Ferrari that goes more or less like this: «You don’t need mirrors in a racecar; what matters most lies ahead of you». Unfortunately for us simracers, mirrors matter, and a whole lot they do.

    Sometimes, or should I say many times, we also rely on further help like a spotter, proximity arrows, virtual mirrors and car radar to know exactly what is going on around us. Basically, our cockpit feels, looks and sounds more like a ballistic missile submarine control room than a racecar!

    After all, nowadays simracing has become mostly a matter of online competition, which means that the other drivers around are not robotic minds any more, but people just like you trying to have a clean, fair race. Taking necessary precautions is more than justifiable. Even if racing offline, but practising for online, it might be useful to get accustomed to such aids and features to avoid being overwhelmed by a terrific amount of information about what is happening around your car, which might end in committing some mistakes.

    At the same time, having all of that attention focused not only on the road and the opponents ahead of you, but also behind you, means that you might be spending quite some time looking and staring at the wrong side of the road.

    Another factor is the amount of HUD elements present in today's sims. You can have a gear indicator, lap and position counter, track map, tyres data, etc. These are all very useful indeed, but they also clutter your screen with enormous amounts of data that will require your attention, shifting your focus away from the road ahead. Having to keep under control while staying abreast of these many streams of info can be tiresome and fatiguing.

    AMS HUD.jpg

    So, we get to the point. Simracing is a technical challenge. I am not referring to physics, but to something else entirely. Differently from a real life professional driver, you will have to manage almost all aspects of racing by yourself while driving. You will not have a crew chief looking at the data coming from your car, and telling you the most important information only when useful. You will not be informed of what is happening to your opponents on the racetrack at all times. You will not have an engineer sorting things out when something does not work or your setup is simply not ideal.

    Let us not forget in fact that successful simracers also have to learn how to properly setup any kind of car for any kind of track under any condition, which is not something easy in the least. In real world motorsport, there are very few drivers capable of understanding how to efficiently setup a car, especially when it comes to the technology fed monsters that roam circuits now, and in the end it has always been so. There have been drivers capable of understanding how to improve a car and worked tirelessly to test and tune every possible modification and setting, however, they were always the exception, not the norm. Still, professional and experienced engineers helped them along the way. It is true that our current simulations still simplify reality to a certain degree, but they have also come to the point where cars replicate their real life counterparts in a believable way in a vast array of conditions and situations. Moreover, you will not get any sort of personal advice, as would come from your crew or the factory team, telling you how to tackle a specific situation to your advantage.

    iRacing Setup Guide.jpg

    In the end, simracing, at least to a professional degree or competitive level, is a delicate balance between having fun and becoming your own crew chief/engineer/tech staff, managing every possible aspect of racing, while in and out of the car. Many times, we see people in the forums, sometimes even developers, launching an offensive towards all those drivers that will have all corners of their screen filled with live information, while using a spotter app. At the same time, what is the alternative? If there will not be someone else doing it for you, checking and controlling all of the most important parameters during a race, to who else falls this task if not yourself? Yes, oftentimes, it happens to see drivers getting extreme with unnecessary gadgets in their HUDs, but those are in the end a small group of people, many times newcomers ignoring the difference between what is essential and what is not. If you are just taking a stroll in your favourite car, you will not need any HUD at all. However, when in a serious online race, yes you will.

    At the same time, this question opens up an interesting discussion: which scenario will be possible in the future for e-sports linked to Simracing? Will team not only have drivers, but also people dedicated to specific tasks like spotter, engineering, development, testing?

    Furthermore, to all people discrediting Simracing as an useful discipline, isn’t this level of self-education required for every driver to get to a competitive level, one big card to prove his/her equality, or sometimes maybe even superiority, to most professional motorsport drivers? Is there really an unbridgeable gap between virtual and reality, or are there only different obstacles to overcome?

    fia-formula-e-esports.jpg

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    What do you think? Are drivers getting excessive with their HUDs? Is it a necessary evil? What is needed to be a top simracing driver? Which future scenarios might open for E-sports in the future?

    Let us know in the comments!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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  2. AnklaX

    AnklaX

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    Now that I read about it, I realize we deal with a lot of info on screen and we do it without any difficulty. I guess we're pretty impressive.Give yourself a tap on the shoulder if you're a simracer.
     
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  3. neuer31

    neuer31

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    Some of us even have 2nd or 3rd screen with even more info :p
     
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  4. ShredatorFIN

    ShredatorFIN

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    I prefer absolutely no HUD + using CrewChief. I'm more of immersion kinda guy, not obsessing over laptimes with more meters and readouts than a F-16 Falcon.

    Don't feel it's very immersive if you have barely a hole big enough in the HUD to see the road. Also, sim racers use lot of HUD information a real driver would never see real-time.

    But for multiplayer don't feel CC is quite enough, then I enable virtual mirror, helicorsa, sidekick. Helicorsa and virtual mirror are just precautions, with triple screen cars own mirrors work ok.
     
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  5. Patrik Marek

    Patrik Marek
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    if you want to be competitive, then perhaps you have to have a lot of it , but I personally am after imerison, especially when I can run VR, and there no HUD is really what I want, becasue it's bit distracting and unrealistic :)

    if I have my in game MOTEC showing me all kinds of info that's fine, but if I have HUD that shows me tire temps in all the layers, and what not, it takes me away from the experience
     
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  6. neuer31

    neuer31

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    Sadly (imo) virtual race engineer (like Crew Chief) are not yet good enough to be useful enough for competitive racing.

    Crew Chief is great for casual though :)
     
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  7. Peter Kerényi

    Peter Kerényi

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    I am also more after immersion and use minimal HUD. Of course I keep some stuff for convenience. That's why I like the multi-page DDUs/MFDs of R3E and PC2 (and ACC in the future), and that's partly why I can't make myself invest into the slowly rising rF2 where you don't even get information about how much fuel you have on the in-game display unless you enable the huge busy central HUD element.

    Crew Chief is great as well. Not perfect, but what it lacks in information is given back in immersion.
     
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  8. bsmooth

    bsmooth

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    Personally I think its all pretty distracting. I also use aircraft sims, where it seems to be much more useful. Granted I do prefer older classic cars and aircraft, so its not as necessary.
    I use to run GPL online and won a few races, and we did not use any HUD at all, but again its an older vehicle, more seat of the pants, or in those cases squeal of the tires might be more appropriate.
    Even in real driving, theres more and more distractions these days, and it might not be competitive, the results haven't been that great.
    I don't know how modern drivers keep up with all the info overload they get, not only from the car but the info being fed to him or her thru helmets and mics as well, sure a lot to take in all at once.
     
  9. Leonardo Chaves

    Leonardo Chaves

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    Depends, i can run all sorts of real time telemetry while i'm setting up the car, but when it's "business" time minimalistic is the way to go.
     
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  10. Martin Fiala

    Martin Fiala
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    I have a fair amount of stuff on my screen, but it's mostly so that I don't have to map a multitude of buttons and keys to turn specific HUD elements on and off. It's there if I want to look at it, but most of the time, I just zone it out. For example, I would run without track map (and I used to do exactly that), but it's quite handy when rejoining the race after going off track, so I just keep it on nowadays, fairly out of sight if possible. So I don't really consider it distracting - most of the time, I don't even know those HUD elements are there.

    And since I also tend to record and upload my races, some of the stuff on my screen is mostly for the viewer's convenience - I would for example turn off the virtual wheel in-game, but it looks better to keep it there in the video.

    Then again, with my race pace of a startled snail, I guess it hardly matters what's on my screen ;)
     
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  11. Jason Mullin

    Jason Mullin
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    I run nothing but crew chief.
    All my FOVs are set to use in vehicle instruments.
    I don't know my tire or brake temps, wear, hell some cars I don't even know my position or remaining fuel until CC chimes in.
    I'll never be the fastest, but wouldn't have it any other way.
     
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  12. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    I use Race Essentials and Helicorsa for driving and turn on my chosen chat app when in multiplayer.

    For me it is a balance between having enough info (optimum/current pressure, tyre life, player interaction etc.) and not having too much stuff cluttering up the screen and detracting from the immersion.
     
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  13. Isaac Chavira

    Isaac Chavira
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    The only thing I need to know is the RPM, Shift Lights and race flags.
     
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  14. howitzer155mm

    howitzer155mm
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    I remember the days of playing Gran Turismo 5. The game that truly got me into sports car racing, the only real reason I bought it was because it had NASCAR, I remember using almost all of the onscreen elements. But looking back now. The HUDs in Gran Turismo clutter the screen like crazy. These days, thanks to VR, I don't need a HUD, all the data I need is on the car's LCD display. RPMs, gear, tire temp, position, lap, timer and fuel.

    I remember how Gran Turismo would kind of just throw you into a random race with a grid of random cars. The racing line would pretty much guide you through the course. And the only real challenge of the race was finding the fastest, best handling car with the lowest Performance Points. I had no idea how to setup cars. And for the most part, I still don't aside from gear ratios and downforce.

    Looking back, I find it ridiculous how there's no practice or qualifying in single player races. I would have to restart the game 10 times with my current preferred settings.

    I wish many sim racing games had some sort of race engineer that actually worked to help get the most performance out of the car. In reality, drivers have entire teams of mechanics and engineers who have degrees in their profession, yet tuning is still an art for them. And not even they can perfect it, so how can I?!
     
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  15. peppepino

    peppepino

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    more more and more. All those info are available to driver via radio. Why not to me in the game? God bless the HUD
     
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  16. John Addison

    John Addison

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    Same here
     
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  17. rubaru

    rubaru

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    I have always tried to keep my display as real-life as possible. The only aids I use are the position arrows to the other cars. This is only because my use of mirrors is rather cumbersome with my minimal setup. I will also occasionally use some of the timing information so I can keep track of changes each lap.
     
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  18. DucMan888

    DucMan888
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    Without VR I think CrewChief is essential, if nothing more, to address the blind spots the mirrors can't get to. Aside from the splits and delta on lap times, all the other HUD is distracting to me.
     
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  19. St3fan

    St3fan

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    The ability to turn on/off apps and move them about easily was one of the reasons I bought AC when I first saw it during Early Access. After I switch to VR most of the HUD elements become an annoyance and immersion breaker. I turn off as many as necessary and stick to CrewChief.

    I've met people who play for example rFactor with GID plugin, with pretty much everything enabled blocking like 50% of the screen, showing things like weather, wind, and a whole bunch of unnecessary information. I don't understand how they can drive like that, but hey when I first started sim racing I had a tiny screen with probably less vision.
     
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  20. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    I found I have less spacial awareness of other cars using VR than I did with a monitor (in Assetto Corsa.) The mirrors don't change when you move and there is no look behind button in VR. Also some of the cars have mirrors in awkward places where you cannot see someone coming up either side without turning your head to see the mirror. In some cars you can't see behind you at all. With a monitor I would see almost immediately if a buddy has crashed or slowed behind but in VR it can take me quite a while to notice and crane my head around whilst in a corner to be sure they aren't anywhere behind me so I can slow down and wait for them. You can see around tight corners much better in VR but I think a look behind/side to side button or virtual mirror gives you more spacial awareness of others than a HMD. Yes you can see to your side but that is often a last second warning and look left/right buttons work just the same, if you can easily see behind you then you see the whole story and have much more idea what is going on IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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