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Hello All,

Just thought I would share some initial experiences of the SCX Digital demonstrated at Slough swap meet last week. For the majortiy of the day, personally provided with the responsibility of manning the SCX Digital set, fending off the young kids intent on destruction! - blimey, couldn;t believe how popular it was with the younger audience, the adults didn't get much of a look in!


Between marshalling & retrieving cars from off the floor, I managed to squeeze in a few laps throughout the day. Even after many laps of the promotion set, I came to the conclusion that lane changing on SCX nor Digital tracks in general, isn't going to be as easy as one initially thought.

For example, one particular factor I noticed to my surprise, was the lane changing isn't instantaneous i.e. the user quickly press a button and the car immediately swaps lanes (similar to a joystick fire button). The user has to plan and hold the button momentarily, this practice tended catch people out including the older more experienced slot car generation.

You sometimes end up concentrating on changing lanes which can sometimes distract from the driving, proving that it's not quite as straight forward as one possibly anticipated, and will require practice. However the changing lane issue, in my opinion is greatly exaggerated on small circuits, where there is barely a chance for the participant to take stock and think moves through due to speed that the cars lap the set track.

Talking of speed, SCX have thoughtfully provided a two speed option with the Digital set a "Slow" mode (for less experienced) and a "Fast" (normal slotcar) speed mode. Racing in both modes is enjoyable and for small tracks the slow mode may be a better option, although I could swear that each time my back was turned, the kids kept swapping the speed to "Fast"


Funnily enough, even small points such as adding one extra button to the controller which requires regular use, takes a moment for the brain to register. Also something as diminutive as sussing how to hold the throttle requires thought.

The most common feedback was to build a circuit with long straights which in theory, provide racers a momentary chance of a break/breathing space to plan & successfully execute a lane changing move. Although the flipside will be the cars will be travelling at much higher speeds and the changeover section will require the user to lift off.

One noteworthy point I would like to mention is about the SCX cars. These cars were provided to serve a purpose and to be raced, crashed and tested to near destruction, although it was heart breaking to witness. However, we were amazed to see that the cars all still worked at the end of the day! Got to give credit to SCX for producing cars strong enough to endure the high level of exploitation suffered throughout the day and to keep working!

All three cars provided with the set were still driving at the end; I'm sure with some TLC and a well earned service they would all be running on song. Sadly the same can't be said for the elaborate DTM spoilers & mirrors, although they did put up a good fight, but sadly with too many spectacular off's, including launching off the display table numerous times eventually took its toll, I seriously doubt many cars currently available today, would cope any better. Talking of which, Hornby are planning on releasing an F1 Digital set, a brave move indeed!

Dismantling and rebuilding, took moments to perform, the inner workings as standard with SCX is nice and tidy, typical of SCX helped as there are no wires obstructing access. However, one particular car required an unscheduled overhaul every few minutes, no doubt due to too many tailgating incidents and off road excursions. A little point worth mentioning thankfully the screws didn't cross thread or snap; otherwise would have been stuffed!

Finally, setting up the SCX digital track was very straight forward, took about 10 minutes, without the need to refer to the instruction manual. The only time the instructions were required was to program the cars. I was impressed with both the borders and barriers provided particulary as SCX insured that there were enough barriers/borders in the set to fit all the bends and the crossovers too. Surprisingly the barriers are mock Indy car type concrete walls and like real life, are a lot more unforgiving than soft plastic Armco provided by rivals, these walls had the paint scars to prove it! There is no give to absorb impacts.

The throttles provided with the set were in my opinion, reasonably responsive with no real lag that I could determine, also no noticeable power drop with three cars running. However, it has been pointed out since, the word lag has been mentioned with regars to the controllers. Personally, I think they weren't that bad, okay those spoiled with the use of luxury controllers, they will be an inevitable down grade - but name a set that is any different?

Anyway, thank you Jexy for giving me the opportunity to have a go (I kept nagging) and with any new technology, its early days. If I were to buy a set, the first thing and I think this will apply to a lot of people, would be to upgrade the track length. I would be interested to learn how much and what track will be available at the time of release.

Best wishes,

James.
 

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Excellent write up Jamie and thank you very much for taking the time to do it.

It highlights some points that were being suggested as potentially problematic as much as a year go or more.

Although I have seen at least one UK retailer of SCX stating that they will carry the digital range, I have seen nothing to indicate when it will actually become available in UK.
Has anyone any news in that direction?
 

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Thanks for the great write up Jamie (also long time no race ! - will have to sort
that one out me thinks).

Am I to guess the lane change on the SCX is like Scalextric and happens on
a bend ?. If so why do you think no one is doing a lane change on a straight ?
I just always imagined changing lanes just before a bend or way out to be setup
for an overtake.

Chris
 

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Both SCX and Carrera Lane changers are actually only on the straights at present, while Scalextric's are only on curves, although there are rumours that possibly all three of them might be rethinking their current setups! I stress - RUMOURS!
 

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That is an interesting report Jamie. Thank you for your effort with that. There does appear to be high interest among young slot car fans whenever a digital demonstration set turns up.

I'll make a few more comments later but it does appear that tough old NASCAR racers appear to be the ideal car for digital racing. In fact anything without spoilers and bits sticking out. And also I will say that slower cars will probably offer a much better digital experiance than quicker cars as you will have time to think about strategy so one good thing is that digital should put a choke on the race to produce a warp speed car.

The SCX "slow" and "fast" switch is a good idea. Hornby have similar arrangements although it is multi-variable.

And finally digital does appear to be very much an ideal home racing toy as there is the maximum benefit to be derived from having just two lanes and a longish circuit.


Moped
 

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Hmmm, is that a tacit acknowledgement that most cars ain't up to the rough and tumble
of the digital ages?

Now that my vast experience of this digital sorcery has been expanded with the spectating at Slough of two young laddies at play I am still left wondering why all the fuss. The two boys in question were not in the least bit interested in lane-changing. The facility was wasted on them.

Where is the market for this I thought.
 

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Wait for it!

I agree with Moped - i think (at least for the first isse cars) SCX (and any manufacturer for that matter) would be better off shipping them with something simple AKA Nascar type.

Gareth

PS thanks Jamie for your help on the day - how you managed to keep sane with all those kids i don't know!
 

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Sean has had a set up at a couple of events, cars are ragged completely, more fun was taken with taking people off while crossing over which was hilarious to say the least no racing actually took place just a procession and crashing


Inte
 

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A demonstration will lend itself to the sort of shananigans that are being described.

It is a brand new idea and when people see it the first thing they want to do with the limited time they have available during their turn is to changeover lanes as often as possible without any regard for what is going on around them. Its human nature to want to do that as its a new thing.

So I would not expect any form of racing to be taking place at these demos but I would expect lots of argy bargy as lanes get changed with no thought for the other drivers and without any goal of winning a race.

Next time an SCX demo is set up whoever arranges it how about actually having a formal race event and permiting 2 or 3 minutes of solo practice per competitor before the event starts?

Make it a knock out event with the first 2 finishers out of the 3 starters going through. That should focus the mind of the racers somewhat.

The scenario may then pan out differently.

Once these sets start appearing at home and folk get the chance to practice in their own time rather than the limited time available at a demo then digital road manners will get better.


Moped
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello All,

Thank you for the comments and for persevering with the grammatical errors- typed the report rather late and it (ahem) showed!


Chris (hello mate), regarding the changeover - As Tropi answered, it is very similar to the changeover produced by Scalextric many years ago. Furthermore, especially for SCX, I imagine that the location of a changeover will require some thought, perhaps entrance/exit of a bend? Otherwise placing a crossover on a long straight, the user overtaking/switching lanes may be at a disadvantage as they will probably need to lift off possibly losing ground to an opponent.

The two speed mechanism is pretty neat; another idea would be to remove the magnets! Should make for some interesting racing! Dead easy with SCX cars unless you break the screws that hold fix the magnet! *d'oh*


Personally, I really don't think that there are many current cars regardless of brand would be able to cope without sustaining damage of some sort. The NASCAR's as suggested by Moped & Jexy would be a good idea, especially if this was marketed as an introductory set & priced accordingly. Alternatively, the manufacturer possibly offering the consumer 4 budget/hardwearing cars instead of 2/3 regular detailed slot cars.

I agree with Moped's point, regarding demonstration sets are subject to extremes and in this case; driving standards go out the window! Racing other similar minded slot car enthusiasts, lane changing and careful driving I am sure; would be exercised.


James
 

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I was a witness to the shenanigans on the SCX digital demo set at the recent Audi team challenge @ Pendle.
IMHO, the basic track set, as sold doesn't facilitate a proper race per se, because it is only an oval, and a small one at that (however, it's a large amount of track for home use - you know what I mean).

If the layout of the track was changed by virtue of extra pieces and a slightly more technical design (figure 8 et.al.) with longer straights, then some actual racing would begin to happen.


Mark.
 

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After Jamie beet me last night (at racing!) here is a pic of Jamie racing on the Digital track.



Gareth

PS here is on the right hand side of the photo!
 

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I see 3 cars and 2 drivers in the photo. Is one of the cars acting as a blocker?

And Jamie and friend do seem to have the big grins that has come to be associated with digital racing. When did you last see a club racer grin whilst racing his/her car?

Look at all the pictures I have taken recently and not one smiley face on any racer! (Difflock excepted - wonder why? Now you know what your doing wrong Difflock, your smiling while your racing!
) Its all serious stuff and concentration.

So clearly for light relief digital is the way to go.


Moped
 

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QUOTE When did you last see a club racer grin whilst racing his/her car?

Every club night. Otherwise, why else would they go?

Try going to a club night before saying things like this, it just makes newbies less inclined to try it!

Lotus
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nooooooo who showed Jexy how to post pictures?

See, look what you have started... now getting stick from that Matt 'Trinny & Susanna' bloke.

Regarding the stationary third car, notice that whenever Jexy got his camera out - the hall is mysteriously empty? Even managed to scare all the kids away, all of which up until this point, blissfully hogged the SCX stand.

Quite a feat!
 
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