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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Although I am an SSDC man I thought this was more general.

First I must declare my bias. I am a solo racer now, Ill heath prevents my earswhile opponents from raceing for various reasons and as yet my 3 year old grandson is not up to scratch.

So some interesting (I hope ) Thoughts.

When I started I considered the SSDC margin for maintaining the lap times of pacers was too wide at 5%. Now I am not sure that vice is not a virtue. The cars are supprisingly variable. The wide variation means that the "procession" of the two pace cars is not predictable race to race. If you had sector timeing you would need to be sure that you could still have some random or programmed psuedo random behavious. In effect on some races, to add complexity I have started one or other of the cars too slow or too fast, so that their speed changes in the first 25% of the race (usually about 30 laps) beyond the normal variation. It changes the overtaking opetunities.

I use the Mr F approach of using magnets in the pace cars and race magless. I realise this will not change with programmable laps, as even with sector timeing cars will not be detectable as drifting. Drifting is usually what causes the of the dissapointment of begginners when the auto timing causes crashes, as the cars get more power as they drift and lose time. Hence the need always for magnets.

Now the Holy Grail of sector timeing (but perhaps only for small tracks like mine) looks a lot less interesting than I initially thought. I want the wide(ish) variation in lap times. This will make programmable laps difficult to programme as they will need to cope with a variation in lap times, Possibly not an issue on very long non technical tracks but may offer less on small tracks.

What does offer much more interest is the ability for intelegent lane changeing. Again on a small track like mine random lane changeing is impractical. There does need to be some routine that senes where the cars are, say every 1/4 of a lap and decide when to change lanes with minimal risk and prevent irreversable tailgaiting. This would add greatly to the complexity of the raceing and potentially allow 3 pace cars and a real driver on a small track, That would be challengeing and immense fun. This by definition would be the pecurser to being able to get pace cars into the pits to do whatever, fuel or more if required and potentially a safety car. However on my track a safety car would be of little use. most of the time a car crashing blocks both lanes. So again one mans dream is perhaps another mans bottom of the list.

Looking at the complexity of the work neeing to be done it becomes increasingly obvious that we may have to pay for the pace car software and hardware. Even on my track I would guess at least 3 sensors wouldbe needed possibly 5 just to give the computor an indication of position of the cars so as to make it possible to decide when it was a reasonable bet that the cars could change lanes. Even then the relatievly low variation of contant power for the pace cars would be needed so make the estimate viable. Significant work would be required by the track owner to "teach" in some way the timeings between sensor positions for particular cars, track times. If nothing else the programmer has to work this out and make a plausible interface. Not a small job. Then the AI is required to set up the lane change.

I suppose Anti collision LC's might do some of this job but then getting a car to pit may be difficult and you still need to know what lane it is in and the pit lane track.

So in summary.

The ability to have pace cars vary their lap times within a well defined range is vital to interesting raceing.

Even with "fixed" throttle pace card the ability to make intelegent lane changes would add massively to the challenge. Adding pace car pit stops would further improve fixed throttle pace car raceing. This will need sensors.

Given the first above the gain for variable throttle pace cars looks to be limited to big tracks even with additional sensors and running magless pace cars seems not to be a practical option for a fast lap. I will commit Herasy and say variable throttle laps may not be the way to go for pace cars, at least not a top priority (ducks and runs for cover).

Safety cars would have limited use for solo racers on small tracks so again not a top priority.

Hopefull this will proivake some thoughts.
 

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ParrotGod
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To be honest I am not so sure where you want to go with this.

In you summary you first state: "The ability to have pace cars vary their lap times within a well defined range is vital to interesting raceing."

But then you conclude with: "I will commit Herasy and say variable throttle laps may not be the way to go for pace cars, at least not a top priority (ducks and runs for cover)."

Have you tested RCS64 and its variable pace cars?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have run SSDC pace cars. With a sub 5 second lap everything is so close that reall a variable pace car without perfect timeing does very little. The cars are not repeatable enoufg lap to lap to get much out of them. Hence its not in my opinion a priority.
 
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