Secrets of rFactor 2

Secrets of rFactor 2

Welcome to Secrets of rFactor 2 where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I get into rFactor 2.

Secrets of X is a series of blog posts I started with Secrets of iRacing and which has grown to include Secrets of GTR2, Secrets of Automobilista, and Secrets of rFactor 2. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tips and tricks I think new users will find very valuable and interesting.

Update 2017-10-12: Initial publication.

What is rFactor 2?

From the Wikipedia article,

rFactor 2 is a computer racing simulator developed by the American independent software firm Image Space Incorporated, released for Windows in 2013. Like its predecessor, rFactor, it is designed to be modified and is used by professional racing teams for driver training and race car development. Much of its source code is derived from rFactor Pro which is also used by professional racers and most of the Formula One teams and NASCAR manufacturers.

And here’s a visual taste of the game,

Getting Started

In Secrets of X, I try to focus on the non-obvious or unintuitive so I won’t be covering basics like getting the game, installing it, tweaking graphics or force feedback. You’re probably beyond that yourself so I’ll focus on the hidden and obscure things.

Continue reading “Secrets of rFactor 2”

Secrets of GTR2

Welcome to Secrets of GTR2 where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I get into GTR2.

Secrets of GTR2

Welcome to Secrets of GTR2 where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I get into GTR2.

Secrets of X is a series of blog posts I started with Secrets of iRacing and which has grown to include Secrets of GTR2, Secrets of Automobilista, and Secrets of rFactor 2. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tips and tricks I think new users will find very valuable and interesting.

Update 2018-05-21 – 2: I have now certified my FFB PLR for the FiaGT 2005 Mod. Check out Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for the PLR download. In my opinion, FiaGT 2005 is currently the best mod available. It doesn’t try to do too much, just provide the FIA GT 2005 season, and that’s how it keeps everything tight and polished and feeling high quality. Give it a try if you haven’t already, it’s well worth it!

Update 2018-05-21: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for FiaGT 2005 Mod. This is now my best feeling FFB + Mod set.

Update 2018-05-13: Added David Littman’s mod bounty to the GTR2 Mod Bounty Program.

Update 2018-03-25: Introducing the GTR2 Mod Bounty Program: A system to match pledgers with modders to improve the game we all love, GTR2. Take a look at the available bounties and consider pledging to see if we can gather some interest in keeping GTR2 alive and kicking!

Update 2018-03-24: Updated Force Feedback > The GTR2 Force Feedback Engineer with advice for FFB adjustments when your wheel goes numb, like it’s clipping, even though you’re not at max FFB strength.

Update 2018-03-23: Correction on Troubleshooting > Graphics driver crash and black screen freeze while driving: This problem seems to have been due to bad files in my GTR2 folder. I started again with a clean, brand new GTR2 installation, and tested with crash-prone cars and tracks and haven’t had a black screen freeze crash again, yet *fingerscrossed*.

Update 2018-03-05: Updated Mod Spotlight > DTM Classics Mod to (1) recommend NOT raising Max Vehicles on tracks to avoid some pit issues, and (2) provided a ‘plain’ championship that allows for custom race durations (in minutes) and avoids repeating tracks. Added Troubleshooting > Graphics driver crash and black screen freeze while driving.

Update 2018-02-16 – 3: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for WSGT Mod cars but unfortunately, due to consistency issues with the cars physics and handling in the mod, FFB could be tuned for one car but not for all. You’d have to tune each car separately which I’m not willing to put the effort into. There are also tire heating/cooling problems with the mod. Sadly, will have to avoid this mod for now.

Update 2018-02-16 – 2: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for EEC GT3 cars bringing it to a Candidate quality level.

Update 2018-02-16: Added Force Feedback > The GTR2 Force Feedback Engineer, inspired by the Project Cars 2 Race Engineer, which is an in-game question and answer car setup tweaking interface, to help narrow down how to tune force feedback in GTR2.

Update 2018-02-15: Added All Cars (Baseline) FFB settings under Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for those people who just one one, simple FFB setup and don’t want to find the perfect one or who don’t want to change them in and out. Note, the All Cars (Baseline) FFB settings are simply the Certified HQ Cars FFB settings that I use as a baseline when starting to test any other car set. They just so happen to provide an acceptable FFB experience with most cars. I wouldn’t use it for everything but I can understand if some people prefer to just have one set of FFB settings.

Update 2018-02-11: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for Original Cars bringing it to a Candidate quality level. Also added some methodology info for how I got about tuning FFB.

Update 2018-02-10: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for Japan SGT300 Mod after some further work to get it to above average standard. Some of those Porsches feel really good, especially when you throw out the backend and feel it catch itself :)

Update 2018-02-10: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for Super GT500 2005-2013 Mod and Japan SGT300 Mod after getting these to acceptable standards, although they still need work. Also added grades here to indicate how good the FFB for these cars feel. For example, HQ Cars have Grade A, or very good, FFB feel, EEC3 GT3 have Grade B, or acceptable/still needs work, FFB feel, and DTM Classics Mod has Grade C, or not really acceptable/needs work, FFB feel. I’ve added grades for each car set.

Update 2018-02-09: Noted my latest Field of View parameter, now 40.

Updated 2018-02-07: Updated Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files for Super GT500 2005-2013 Mod. I really enjoy seeing the FFB come into its own as you narrow in on the tuning. Feeling these cars come to life is an amazing experience. Sight and sound these cars are great and reviving the FFB brings the whole package together in a great experience.

Update 2018-02-30 – 2: Updated Mod Spotlight > EEC GT3 with some WIP thoughts. Added Getting Started > Community link and encourage taking advantage of the websites involved in the GTR2 community.

Update 2018-02-03: Added Force Feedback > Shovas Custom FFB Files including a table of FFB settings organized by Car Sets. Removed Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Settings and Tweaking Notes as it was a little redundant after adding the Shovas Custom FFB Files section.

Update 2018-01-28: Added Mod Spotlight > Japan SGT300 Mod – Super GT GT300 Class Cars, Mod Spotlight > WSGT – World Super GT Mod (I’m impressed!).

Update 2018-01-27 -2: Added Troubleshooting > Crashes Loading Game, Mod Spotlight > Super GT500 2005-2013 Mod, Mod Spotlight > Subaru Impreza Mod, Mod Spotlight > FiaGT 2005 Mod, and minor edits to Mod Spotlight > DTM Classics Mod.

Update 2018-01-27: Added Peripherals > SimXperience AccuForce Direct Drive Wheel and TrackIR Head Tracking sections.

Update 2018-01-25: I’m a fan of Simracing Youtuber Jimmy Broadbent and he recently noticed my RaceDepartment post How much FFB can you feel in GTR2? 1/1000 of a percent (also a blog post of mine) and posted a video about his direct drive experience on GTR2 using the force feedback settings I recommended in that post: GTR 2 – How Does It Feel With A Direct Drive Wheel? Check it out, he seems to like it! I’m really happy to help some people get more enjoyment out of this oldie-but-goodie game.

Update 2018-01-25 – 2: Organized and cleaned up a lot of stuff in Getting Started, Mods and Force Feedback sections. There was a lot of clutter that I tried to weed out to make things more readable.

Update 2018-01-25 – 3: Posted my latest HQ Cars and Tracks “certified” UserData PLR and FFB tuning notes under Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes.

Update 2017-12-29: Added Known Issues > The Leader’s Advantage AI Bug.

Update 2017-12-08: CORRECTION: Time Acceleration is OKAY. Skipping qualifying sessions is a problem! Relevant notes about Time Acceleration updated.

Update 2017-12-03: Added Racing > How to Manage AI Difficulty in Championships. Added Known Issues > Time Acceleration Results in Unrealistically Fast AI Lap Times and Skipping Qualifying Results in Unrealistically Fast AI Lap Times.

Update 2017-12-02: Updated my latest personal UserData PLR file and my force feedback tuning notes under Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes. I’ve been experimenting going back to baseline ffb values and trying to reach a more iR/AMS/RF2 feel. I definitely prefer this in terms of drivability and reliability on the road.

Update 2017-11-10: Added Force Feedback > Guidelines for Tuning GTR2 Force Feedback. Updated Force Feedback > Rumble Strips Pushing/Pulling the Wrong Way to clarify wrong interpretation and now using default FFB parameter value.

Update 2017-11-09: Clarified Racing > Custom Daylight Acceleration works for regular race sessions but not 24 Hour races – they automatically time scale to race length setup when first starting the 24 Hour race.

Update 2017-11-08: Added Racing > Custom Daylight Acceleration. Added Resources > GTR Engineers Handbook and GTR2 Car-Owner’s Manual links. The GTR Engineers Handbook is particularly excellent for describe car setups better and more informatively than any in-game descriptions I’ve encountered before and the Q&A with real-life experts is also incredibly helpful.

Update 2017-10-31: Added Racing > How to Set AI Difficulty Level and Tips for Practicing and Qualifying for a Race sections. Also emphasized tip to avoid Time Acceleration as it causes a bug which results in overly quick AI lap times no matter what your AI difficulty level is set to.

Update 2017-10-29: Cleaned up and clarified Getting Started > Field of View. It’s now easy to understand and has an example. Fleshed out Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes with latest tuning adjustments.

Update 2017-10-12: Now using AI to AI Collision Rate=”40″ (max) as there’s no FPS loss for me so why not. Added Tips and Tricks > Avoid Time Acceleration to AVOID AI Bug Actually, skipping qualifying is the bug, Time Acceleration is fine.

Update 2017-09-22: Now using AI to AI Collision Rate=”32″ as I’m no longer experiencing FPS loss, maybe only stock tracks are affected and not HQ tracks. Try running HQ tracks if you have this problem. Added 5. Adding Friction and Damper under Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes. Added Force Feedback Settings under Getting Started > Modernizing as, while it may seem obvious, I wanted to highlight the need to do more than is available in-game to get closer to modern standards for FFB feeling. Added note about preferring HQ Cars and Tracks due to improved handling and grip adjustments in Getting Started > Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection.

Update 2017-09-21: Added 4. Improving Corner Feeling under Force Feedback > My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes.

Update 2017-09-17 – 2: HQ Cars & Tracks is working for me again after a fix. See comments under Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection. Added Troubleshooting > Enable Tracing.

Update 2017-09-17: Added Troubleshooting section. Noted HQ Cars & Tracks was crashing for me. This works now, see comments under Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection.

Update 2017-09-16: Added Tips & Tricks regarding turning up tire scrub and tire skid volumes and regarding refreshing old mod files if you’re experiencing instability.

Update 2017-09-15: Added Modernizing > 4GB Patch notes. Added GTR2 HQ CARS & TRACKS – 10th Anniversary and GTR2 HQ AI under Modernizing > Mod: GTR2 HQ Mods Collection. Added note that I’ve stopped using the Changing Weather Patch due to suspected instability.

Update 2017-09-14: Added Mod Spotlight > DTM Classics Mod with details for getting it running in 2017.

Update 2017-09-11: Detailed my FFB tuning in the section “My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes”. Important! After a few rounds of FFB tuning I finally feel like I have a simple FFB setup that achieves car stability, quick response, and road feel. Added “GTR2 Crashes – It might Be Other Accelerated Graphics Apps” to the Tips and Tricks section.

Update 2017-09-08: Added “Disable Auto-pit and ai control” under the “Tips and Tricks” section. Noted tweaks in the “Make GTR2 Use More Cores For Better Performance” section under Performance. Added “My Personal Force Feedback Tweaking Notes” under the Force Feedback section.

Update 2017-09-06: Noted I’ve started over again from Julien Regnard’s FFB guide tuning FFB from baseline values instead of PLR defaults values under the “Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking” heading. Highly recommended. Don’t skip it like I did.

Update 2017-09-01 – 2: Added main section Performance and sub-section Make GTR2 Use More Cores For Better Performance to describe GTR2’s single-core use and how to get it to use more than a single core for better performance.

Update 2017-09-01: Added a Table of Contents for more convenient organization and to make it easier to find what you want.

Update 2017-08-30: Updated Force Feedback section to include more details on finding my optimal “FFB steer force average weight”, “FFB steer force exponent”, and “FFB rumble strip pull factor”. Also added “Force Feedback Tweaking Guide for Simbin Games by Julien Regnard” in Force Feedback section.

Update 2017-08-25: Added Changing Weather Patch mod under Modernizing section and added to Mod Spotlight. Updated my latest FFB settings in the Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking section.

Update 2017-08-20: Further FFB tweaking of “FFB steer force grip weight” which gives a feel of losing and gaining grip while cornering. Added Tips and Tricks section Use Auto-Clutch With Paddle Shifters. Added main section Mod Spotlight.

Update 2017-08-19 – 2: Added Getting Started sections: Mod: Track update for GTR2 Original Tracks, Mod: New GFX Mod, Field of View, Wheel Rotation and Wheel Lock, iRacing-like Brake Sensitivity for Potentiometer Pedals (eg. G27). Added Adding Game Cars, Tracks, Mods and More main section. Added Force Feedback main section with sub-section Helpful Guide for Advanced Force Feedback Tweaking.

Update 2017-08-19: Welcome to the initial posting of Secrets of GTR2! Check back from time to time as I add things and note the updates in this update box.

What is GTR2?

From the Wikipedia entry,

GTR 2 – FIA GT Racing Game is a sports car racing simulator developed by Blimey! Games and SimBin Studios (later Sector3 Studios) for the x86 PC and is a sequel to GTR. Since its release in September 2006, it has received widespread acclaim. The game simulates the 2003 and 2004 FIA GT Championship racing series.

And here’s the official game trailer,

Continue reading “Secrets of GTR2”

We Paid Ransom32

We paid Ransom32, the virus malware that encrypts all your files and demands payment within a number of days to recover them, and we got our files back. Ish. From frantic googling, to panicked backup recovery attempts, to resignation and payment, here’s how it went down…

Continue reading “We Paid Ransom32”

Windows Paint: This ain’t your father’s Windows Paint!

Do yourself a favour and give Windows Paint another try! Take a screenshot with the Print Screen key (usually next to Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys) and then crop, resize and edit your picture all in Windows Paint! You can even save in multiple popular formats like JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG and, of course, BMP. Who knew!

paint

Better Colour Schemes for PuTTY

Update 2014-09-20: Try the Consolas font instead of the default Courier New. It’s slightly smaller but still quite readable and permits a narrow 80×40 window which I can lay out side-by-side 3 times on my desktop (1920×1080) without overlapping. That’s something you can’t do with Courier New at 80×40. Give it a try under Putty Configuration > Window > Appearance > Font Settings.

Better Colour Schemes for PuTTY

Check out the igvita.com colour schemes for putty. They’re very good and a big improvement on the default colour scheme. If I have to use a terminal on windows, putty is it and these colour schemes really make a difference in the usability of the terminal.

Chrome is winning me over!

Kudos to Google for their work on the Chrome browser. More and more I leave work at work and so my home computers don’t need all the extensions and features of firefox for web development. And so Google Chrome really, really growing on me.

Kudos to Google for their work on the Chrome browser. More and more I leave work at work and so my home computers don’t need all the extensions and features of firefox for web development. And so Google Chrome really, really growing on me.

I think I’ve finally fully switched on my Linux workstation (at home) and my Windows laptop.

Chrome feels very snappy which is important to me when I just want to surf. It also appears very compatible rendering various web pages.

I can’t fault it. It’s a stripped down Firefox with performance as its key goal. You can’t argue with that.

Try it out!

Windows 7: Not bad

My father has been running Vista for a number of years. We told him it was a trainwreck. He never heard the end of it while he had that computer. And we all see how horrible Vista was now that he has upgraded to Windows 7.

My father has been running Vista for a number of years. We told him it was a trainwreck. He never heard the end of it while he had that computer. And we all see how horrible Vista was now that he has upgraded to Windows 7.

Win7 looks very similar to Vista but comes with a major overhaul of both low and high level components. Compared to the Vista machine, this thing is a joy to work with.

The hard drive is quiet instead of thrashing all the time. The responsiveness and general speedy feel of everything in the GUI makes you feel so much better about the tools you’re working with.

And the boot time. Wow. This thing boots to login in less than one minute. Vista took five minutes (it was ridiculous waiting for it). My linux and XP machines can’t match this one for boot times.

So, good job Microsoft. You didn’t produce another trainwreck!

Now how about we work on getting rid of that ugly DRM and getting way more useful GUI options and features. See KDE 3.5’s advanced window options for hints.

If Windows were as productive as KDE, we’d have one less major reason to look to alternatives.

The right tool for the right job: Not so simple.

The right tool for the right job, like most things in life, is more complex, more difficult to understand, and takes effort to grasp the reason and benefits of its true meaning.

The argument “the right tool for the right job” is as old as they come. It’s similar in spirit to the old adage that you can’t put a “square peg in a round hole“.

The problem is no scenario is black and white.

You’re on Microsoft Windows so you should use .NET? You’re on Mac so you should use Objective-C and Cocoa? You’re on linux so you should use C and GTK?

The right tool for the right job is not just about price/performance ratios, the primary goal of a language, or what a language has tradionally been used for.

You use a programming language for a task because you’re an expert in that language and you can bend it to your will with greater ease than implementing in a new language.

Business understands this. It’s about efficiency not “perl is for data” and “python is for prototyping” and “C is for algorithms” and “java is for apps.”

It’s not black and white.

Microsoft Office might, in a very base sense, be the best tool for the job if you’re dealing with Microsoft Office format files. But the “right tool for the right job” includes conditions like price, licensing, security risk, training, etc.

Licensing is a big issue. The internet and the FOSS movement, from which we all benefit enormously today, was built on open standards, open protocols and open code.

Stallman understands that we’re where we are today because IT pioneers simply found it easier, better and more fulfilling to craft open source and have all modifications on open source returned back to the source.

We have a great computer ecosystem because the right-tool-right-job mentality did not include the idea that one should go with the status quo which is so often the case when people bring up this argument.

The right tool for the right job, like most things in life, is more complex, more difficult to understand, and takes effort to grasp the reason and benefits of its true meaning.

CentOS 5 + KDE 3.5 = A nice, productive desktop

In my travails to find a nice KDE 3.5 (as opposed to KDE 4) desktop, I’ve finally landed on CentOS 5 and, with a little tweaking, I think I can finally live with this distribution.

In my travails to find a nice KDE 3.5 (as opposed to KDE 4) desktop, I’ve finally landed on CentOS 5 and, with a little tweaking, I think I can finally live with this distribution.

I can’t deal with KDE 4. Not yet. I just hope KDE brings it up to the standards of KDE 3.5 and I hope the distros polish it quite a bit more.  Unfortunately, it has some regressions in the key areas that really affect me (konsole, kedit/kwrite/kate), etc.

One little nitpick against CentOS’s KDE which I never experienced in Gentoo’s KDE: Window focus issues. These issues come up seemingly randomly when switching between konsoles. Try quickly ALT-TAB’ing between konsoles. Quite quickly it gets “stuck”. This cascades into a mouse cursor and keyboard input problem. Clicking around the desktop or taskbar eventually gets you back but it happens frequently enough to be annoying.

But, I found an alleviation to this problem that fixes most of the issues: KDE’s Desktop Settings Wizard. Just run it and it will reset all your desktop settings (you’ve been warned). Select KDE behaviour when it asks. It does seem to have fixed window focus issues. At least they don’t happen as often as they used to.

So, if you’re a KDE 4 refugee looking for a KDE 3.5 desktop like I was, try CentOS 5. It’s probably the last long-term support distro to ship with KDE 3.5. Get it while you can!