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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Digital opens a whole new element in track design. Typical slot tracks strive for similar lane lengths so lap times are similar. This is nearly impossible with non-symmetrical and 4+ lane tracks. Lane rotation is the norm for racing on analog tracks.

With digital, everyone has equal access to all parts of the track so the design considerations are not the same!

For one, lane rotation is a thing of the past (yeah!). This just means more time racing and less shuffling. All good so far. But how does digital effect how we set up our tracks?

Will it be the same when the target is 4+ cars on two lanes? What about multi lane digital designs?

I think in the beginning it will be all "bash and crash" but as drivers get better and more competitive, track design will be very important.

I believe that if 4+ cars are to run on a two lane track, that the track will need to have long sections that take about the same time to drive, so that if one driver is closer to the limit, he will be able to pull ahead of the other driver. So this would be like: Two drivers enter the esses neck and neck, the faster driver will make it to the next crossover first. . .

The next crossover may lead into a section of the track where the inner lane is faster so both cars will need to take the same line. Then there may be another crossover leading into an "equal" section where a driver has a chance of passing again.

There will need to be enough crossovers and a long enough track so that slower traffic does not interfere (terribly) with Duels between fast drivers.

OTH, there should not be so many crossovers so that the lead driver can indefinetely cut off his competiotion. There needs to be "opportunity spots" for drivers to pass.

I dont have the answers, but obviously digital opens up a whole new element in track design. Where the crossovers are placed will have a huge impact on the racing experience.
 

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My concern is that I just plain dislike crossovers to star with. The chicane tracks are pretty smooth, but crossovers are just not smooth and really slow down the action. I think with digital track, changing lanes via crossovers will take a long time. Too many lane changes will equate to super slow laps IMO. I saw pictures of the Scalextric digital set on eBay for sale by someone in Spain. I was excited, but I still have my reservations about the crossovers. I just don't see it being very fast. I have personally raced side by side lap after lap on a few different well laid out tracks with fellow racers. I'm not sure knocking each other off the track in a crossover will improve the action for me. I'll definitely give it a try though.

I can say that digital technology has improved model railroading in unmeasurable ways. It is simply awesome. I think a more innovative smoother way to change lanes will make digital slot racing great too. I just don't like the standard 1 straight 350 mm length crossovers or the turn crossovers currently available at all. I have 2 of each collecting dust.
 

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If you can take the Hornby ones flat out then I will consider buying them. The idea of slowing down to overtake doesn't seem right, and if you can only make up a tenth each lap, slowing down will mean you won't be able to pass...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Carrera Pro-X crossovers are the length of 2 straights and can be driven full speed. (As advertized on Carrera website)

The Davic crossovers are long and can be driven full speed.

The SCX crossovers are short and reguire braking before changing. Bad.

The scalectric crossovers are in the turns and they probably require driving a bit more carefully. Not so bad as SCX, perhaps not ideal.

With crossovers, there may be electronic solutions to keep cars from colliding, unlike the traditional short crossovers that force collisions. Besides, with digital you have a choice whether to change lanes or not.

Im still excited about digital and believe the superior implementation will rise to the top.
 

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QUOTE (AnthonyS @ 21 Feb 2004, 08:12 PM)My concern is that I just plain dislike crossovers to star with. The chicane tracks are pretty smooth, but crossovers are just not smooth and really slow down the action. I think with digital track, changing lanes via crossovers will take a long time. Too many lane changes will equate to super slow laps IMO.
Not as slow as you make out. And besides, who cares about ever decreasing laptimes? I don't because this is racing not time-trialing, and whether your driving a MG Mini Metro or a Lola MG the fun is in the competing not the monotinus "lets see if I can shave 100 hundreth off my best laptime because I'm playing by myself" brigade.

As already mentioned, SCX are producing a extended straight crossover for faster changes, and if the the other shorter change sections are positioned before of after a curve then the slowdown will be minimal. Scalextric's curve changeovers will obviously be less of a problem as you are slowing down for the bend anyway.

In addition, when you have 4 or more cars on a single track wizzing round then anything to slow them up a little is going to help keep things civilised.
 

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Brian Ferguson
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Track design has always been important in slot racing. It's almost an art unto itself. We've all seen the difference between "good" and "bad" tracks. The better tracks have a smooth flow that lets drivers develop a rythym, and they tend to facilitate racing regardless of which lane you are on. Admittedly, the latter is a very tough goal to achieve if more than 4 lanes are involved. But there are concepts that astute designers use to help ensure that a track is enjoyable to drive and also a pleasure to race on.

Obviously, digital MCPL will impact track design. It must, because the racing itself will be very different. A whole new set of track design concepts will need to be employed.

In some cases, existing issues will be simplified. Equal lap lengths on all lanes will not be a major issue - it just won't matter. Bridges will become aesthetic design elements, rather than a way to equalize lane lengths. Nor will the use of extremely tight curves have the same impact, since drivers may choose to avoid the worst of them by using a middle or outer lane. Good current design places the counter location in a spot where cars are unlikely to have deslotted and become "riders" on another lane - not an issue with MCPL digital racing.

But new design issues will need to be considered if a track designed for MCPL will truly prove to be a "good" one. Experience (and not current conjecture) will establish the best design principles. New elements will come into play, and they may be different elements depending on the specifics of the MCPL implementation - in particular, the LC mechanism. The positions and numbers of LCs will be key factors in "good" versus "bad" MCPL track design. Straight, curved, and "X" LCs will all affect track design differently. Since the LCs will be the key to enjoyable racing, their locations in a track design will be critical, not arbitrary. The number of LCs may well be the biggest consideration - in current "analog" racing there is none, while in real racing there are, theoretically, an infinite number of "LCs". The proper number of LCs on a given MCPL track will prevent frustration from not being able to change when desired, yet also limit the number of change locations to facilitate racing when drivers are on adjacent lanes and also make them more aware of when to expect an upcoming LC section and be able to plan for it.

Some existing track designs may well lend themselves to MCPL racing, but I suspect that the best MCPL tracks will be engineered from the ground up.... when we know what we are really dealing with...
 

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Beppe Giannini
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For me, it's really striking that digital/MCPL has been so accepted by the slot racing community that a thread such as this has quickly produced so many thoughtful comments

Compare that to the intitial threads on SCI less than a year ago - and with most of us not having actually experienced it yet !!!

My comment ? A maxi exercise in copy-and-paste :

"Obviously, digital MCPL will impact track design.
Bridges will become aesthetic design elements.
Since the LCs will be the key to enjoyable racing, their locations in a track design will be critical, not arbitrary.
There should not be so many crossovers so that the lead driver can indefinetely cut off his competiotion. There needs to be "opportunity spots" for drivers to pass.
The idea of slowing down to overtake doesn't seem right, and if you can only make up a tenth each lap, slowing down will mean you won't be able to pass...
With crossovers, there may be electronic solutions to keep cars from colliding, unlike the traditional short crossovers that force collisions."

In slightly more original terms :
- while experience will certainly provide the final word, educated conjectures can be made now
- at least up to 25 m track length, two "single" LCs (plus the one for the pit lane) are all that's needed
- the Scalex LC is the best concept so far


Beppe
 

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Russell Sheldon
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I guess that in terms of "realism", most of the cars would be driven on the same lane, which should follow the ideal racing line around the track.

In reality, on roadcourses, most overtaking takes place mainly when the other car is in the pits, or under braking at the end of a straight. This usually forces the car being passed to move off the racing line. The cars are so evenly matched these days, that you seldom see overtaking happening in the middle of a straight.

Should digital tracks not in fact be predominantly single lane tracks, except for the starting grid and at overtaking points at the end of the straights, where the second lane -- the lane which the car being overtaken would be forced to follow -- is off line? Of course, the Raikkonen's amongst us could use the long way around to pass on the outside...


We certainly don't want too much of this happening....



Kind regards,

Russell
 

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Russel - that thing with single lane sounds really interesting. It would also open up options for some great track layout. I find the idea - single lane most of the track with 'overtaking' points 'spread' out before and after curves or chicanes etc. Love the concept... also most of the track could then be much more scale wise and narrow. This would also mean more space for track layout and scale environment...


//peter
 

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Brian Ferguson
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QUOTE most of the track could then be much more scale wise and narrow

Not trying to argue the point about number of lanes, but scale track width is actually quite wide, and close to 3 lanes. Most real tracks now are using 32 to 40 feet as typical widths which translates to 12" to 15". A 3 lane circuit, with 4" lane spacing fits well into this plan, with a minimum of 12 inches and some extra on the outside of turns. A current 1/32, 4-lane plastic circuit is only marginally over-scale.

Our perception may be quite different though because we're dealing with unrealistically short tracks and cramming a lot into a given space. But the scale of track width is already pretty good.

Not nit-picking.... just happened to be working on this very issue at the time...
 

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Beppe Giannini
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More valid points (no, I'm not going to copy-and-paste again !) :

- Fergy's right in pointing out track width
- jonny substantiates why Scaley's LC is best - you do not lose ground by changing lane
- Russell's very right in advocating an ideal racing lane where most cars would normally be - the other lane is then free for unhindered overtaking - as well as for reslotting cars, unless you accept paying for a reslotting station after each turn

Now, would you like to see how all this applies to an actual track ? It's not mere speculation, after all I'm going to start my track next week and have it routed by the end of March

I suggest we start by taking the Indianapolis F1 track as a model - you can see the layout on www.f1roro.co.uk

The first LC goes in turn 2 (left hander, inside to outside)
We put the second LC at the end of the infield, on turn 11 (right hander, outside to inside)
Since the two LCs are parallel, the infield is balanced and provides a fair passing opportunity

But unless you can cross in front at turn 11, overtaking has to be aborted because you would then be on the outside lane for the "oval" portion of the track, i.e. hopeless - matter of fact, the outside lane on the oval is pretty much useless - not good

It therefore looks like we have to introduce a figure 8 between turns 11 and 12 - the two lanes are then balanced and you can continue your overtaking attempt on the oval - better, but still not ideal because the two lanes are too equal, there's no advantage in staying in one rather than the other - and this goes against Russell's principle

OK, I'd like to have your proposals now - and then I'll tell you what I'm contemplating

Beppe
 

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Beppe Giannini
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Well Russell,
one of the reasons I scrapped the second prototype is precisely that I belatedly realized the layout was wrong - the others being that the construction method was too time consuming, the track surface (laser cut perspex with microsphere loaded paint) too expensive, and the modules too large for their own good

The new track (also thanks to Gareth and Prof.Fate) will be CNC routed laminate, and the contact rails (wider than usual) tinned copper strip

And I will send a copy to you, but in kit form (to save on shipping charges
)
 

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It's interesting to take another look at Nico's two photographs of Davic.
The first looks as though the LC is at least two standard straight lengths and possible even three.
The second photo makes it look like just one standard length!
I would suggest that this is due to the foreshortening effect of a telephoto lens and that the first pic is much more accurate as to proportions. Worrth pointing out as the second pic probably gives a false impression (unless it actually IS a shorter version of an LC?)
 

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just a question regartding some points from xlot (maybe on other threads).

I understood Xlot to be saying that it is vital not to have too many LC pieces; if i understood you correctly, have you tried lots of LCs, or is this a theory?

Part of me imagines the best track would have every piece being an LC so you could change and block wherever you liked (and maybe have an F1 '1 blocking move allowed rule!). Xlot seemed to be implying 1 LC per 5 meters of track was more than enough, maybe too much!

What does everyone think about the optimum number/distance between LCs?
 

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Beppe Giannini
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Obviously (and very unfortunately) it's only theory - but it's not exactly rocket science, either !

I've tried to elaborate in the "Scalextric Sport Digital" thread - the idea is precisely to prevent the "change and block" tactic : the distance between successive LCs should allow making up for a) the initial lag between cars,
time lost (if any) in the LC and c) additional space so that you clearly have right of way at the following LC

Again, having anti-collision protection on LCs makes passing much easier - taken to the extreme (the blst concept) it allows as many LCs as you want
 

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Hi,

Just an extension to complet Xlot, there is 21 LCs on 14,5m lenghtwise of my Barcelona track. One every 0.7m. Davic's inventor think one every 10m is good.

The number of LCs is the first reason who have contrained me to make my LCs automatic.

But concepts are different, and, to my mind, all have their legitimacy.
 
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