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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the last 10 years we have seen rather large advances in the levels of detail, performance and quality, I just wondered what people will think will happen over the next 10 years.

Would the advances be less noticeable compared to the last 10 years?

With manufacturers continuing to strive for ever greater detail, performance etc will the cars more or less peek?

Just curious to hear people's views, and does anybody else wonder about stuff like this?


*gets coat*

Jamie
 

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Good question Jamie. I reckon we are stil gonna see a big change in our life time, or rather I`m hoping. Seems to me the hobby is thriving and if this continues then who knows what else we may see released. I would have thought it`s the components such as motors that could change the most,the standard of gears etc could still be improved big time.
 

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1) Quality
I believe that the development has gone two ways. Forward and backward. To give an example - how is it possible that I can run a 35 year old slotcar without any problems but the car I bought last year has already had to be repaired a couple of times? Another thing is that while quality often has risen - reliability has not in my experience. What I mean is that RTR cars I had in the seventies did just that - run. Now I may not have had many cars but I find it odd to buy cars today that even if they look good sometimes do not work reliably. No matter what one things about manufacturers and there products one does expect that a new slotcar of today is possible to run on a track without any mechanical issues... This is I believe a major point where the hobby will have to develop further, a RTR car has to be possible to run straight from the box. Expectations are such that it is detrimental to the hobby if the most basic issues are not sorted out in a near future. No matter if they are called toys or models. Even toys are expected to work as described...

2) Digital Technology
As far as I can see all the current systems are quite interesting - but (to be polite) they are hardly pushing the digital technology development. All of them have - if we assume that they will work as advertised - really significant limitations. It is quite possible that they will survive - but there will have to come something very different in the future. Remember that the manufacturers did not understand their markets very well in the eighties, and this surely had a large impact on their downfall. But today most manufacturers cars will work on most other manufacturers track - what about the digital technology then? Sure you could put in chips from Scalextric in any other manufacturers car and use them - but only on Scalextric track. You will surely agree with that Scalextric is not the only track in town. Just think about video players - as I see it the current tendency is not even equivalent to VHS vs Betamax - no it is much more infantile technology we are seeing examples of. Even if it might be fun and interesting it is still just the beginning. Hopefully these matters will change otherwise the manufacturers risk to 'paint themselves into a corner'. This would be rather unfortunate I think. One other possibility is ofcourse that third party technology will surface - e.g. once we have switches and other stuff we could reprogram them with alternative controllers etc... Basically I believe that there is much room (and need) for improvement when it comes to digital technology and slotcars. I am also sure that there will be more of analogue technology inside slotcars - I can see a need for a microchip controlled condensator already.


//peter
 

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Rather echoing the above, I see no major changes in the next ten years.
I don't even see a need for change, EXCEPT in the area of improving already existing design and assembly techniques. What we already have is excellent, except for the recurrence of problems with wheels, gears and guides and the ever present complaints of not manufacturing to a consistent scale. All of these are curable and that is ALL that is needed.
 

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'No major changes' is not a philosophy that the big manufacturers are going to stick with- they're all competing with each other for the next big breakthrough, I imagine.
Only two ways forward suggest themselves to me;
1. Making the cars faster. A dangerous direction, since more magnets and hotter motors will eventually make for less fun, I think. But it's certainly one way in which the manufacturers will continue to compete with each other.
2. Increased detail and accuracy. This would suit me. The thing that bothers me about this is that they will be running out of worthwhile prototypes pretty soon at the current rate. Hence trucks, bikes, karts, etc.

What I really like about things at the moment is the proliferation of small firms producing tune-up and scratchbuilding parts. But that's just me. And it all does sound horribly familiar.....
 

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QUOTE (peter @ 9 Feb 2004, 02:01 AM)I am also sure that there will be more of analogue technology inside slotcars - I can see a need for a microchip controlled condensator already.
imho, McCain Micro Chips are probably the best of the analogue devices currently available for this purpose. In fact, many of my cars already contain these but then I am a rather sloppy eater
 

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I'm waiting for cold fusion powerplants in the cars and hopefully some form of gravitic compensator for when I really need to have the car stuck to the track (Mach1 challenge etc.)


Appropriate lighting (including brake lights) on the cars which doesn't sap power - I know we can get kits for this purpose, but it would be nice on a RTR car.

Or, maybe just to go green - cheap, solar panel, fully regulated (sorry Inte!) power supplies so that our hobby can be self-contained and not rely on the national grid. Hang on, this technology is available now isn't it?

It's not as if there's a shortage of hot air, especially from SlotForum! OOOH Bitch! Handbags!


(Wonder if I need planning permission for windmill genny in back garden to power layout in attic? As long as David Bellamy doesn't see it, should be ok.
I mean what's a greener power source than a wind farm and the bloody botanist objects to it? )

Mark.
 

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This is an interesting and cogent question.

I do agree with the post indicating that many modern RTR slot cars have quality problems but, especially in the 1/32 arena, the selection and appearance of the cars has improved vastly (notice that I didn't say the scale accuracy has improved vastly).

In the next ten years nothing will really change unless the slot car user community organizes to speak with a consensus voice as to the kinds and quality of cars desired. As the situation currently exists, the manufacturing community produces what their research or sales history indicates will sell. Unless the people who buy the products find some way of expressing their specific desires in a unified voice, that is not going to change.

To put it another way, the slot car industry suffers from a leadership vacuum and has no sense of purpose or direction. Excuse the metaphor, but slot racing is a ship without a rudder, with no planned port of call, though the good news is the boat still floats.

Over on SCI is a voluminous thread entitled "Scale and Accuracy-Do you care?" in the 1/32 forum. This future topic is part of the discussion, with a ridiculous number of posts by a seriously-deranged opinionated old fart - me!
 

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I wonder if is possible to buid a simple centripetal ( or centrifugal?) brake on the rear axle, of course adjustable. Now some motors have the power but not the brakes; if we could disjoin power from brakes, cars will be more easily driven in races.
If feasible, I think it will be far more useful than differential!!

Ciao
 

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Generally it would be great if shape accuracy increased - I hope we haven't already passed the peak of shape accuracy. But I think this is likely, with more and more people adopting CAD solutions in their patternmaking. The detail and nice-ness of cars is already superb, in my opinion. The only question is whether this will spread to a few manufacturers who are not leading in this fashion.

I think the biggest developements in both technology and driving style will be in digital.

Anyone can have fun bash and crashing digital, it is great. But, if you don't want so many de-slots, it takes discipline in ALL the drivers on the field, much the same as in real motor racing. So will we learn to be disciplined enough to have great and challenging digital races?

On the technological side, the ability to send cars signals, and cars already having on-board chips will make all sorts of stuff possible. Lights control, already on scx where you can turn ur lights on or off, maybe people will find less deslots if they can flash the car in front to tell them they are about to overtake; implimentation of break lights with no need for capacitors just requires some chip programing, and again may help for driving when u see the car in front start to brake.

Sprints idea of seperate brakes could again be implimented digitally, don't know if its worth doing tho.

A lot of fun and interesting stuff is already on its way in the form of Scalextric World thingy, and I dont particularly mean the internet racing, but the telemetry, racing against your own previous performance, and stuff like that. Have they already done everything possible with the forthcoming system, or will people think of even better things that can be done?

Apart from digital, model trains have real steam, when will gimmiky real exhaust smoke appear for slots?
 

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QUOTE (astro @ 9 Feb 2004, 09:21 PM)Apart from digital, model trains have real steam, when will gimmiky real exhaust smoke appear for slots?
We already get exhaust smoke when the occasional motor brews up!! however, it does tend to smell pretty evil.

Now if we could get a whiff of Castrol R mixed with high octane race fuel or avgas - none of this unleaded cat's piss that they tell you is petrol these days! Oh yes... maybe even get a whiff of hot brakes too!

Did you know that the game Gran Turismo 2 for the Playstation 1 came with a scratch & sniff surface on one of its CDs which allegedly smelled like a pit garage? (It vaguely smelled like a garage, so they weren't too far from the mark)


Mark.
Needs Shares in Millers VSP additive for my Capri
 

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on the other hand - i dissagree with cheater!

I think slot car manufacturers have been outstandingly innovative and forward thinkin over the last 5 years -

- Fly making super detailed cars, never commercially produced before

- SCX, scalextric and Carrera developing digital systems, no previous sales to justify this, forwards thinking? big mistake? time will tell, but its not based on previous sales

- Vanquish differential

lots more stuff I am sure, in the parts and tuning arena

And overall, they seem to be doing the right thing, since the hobby is developing and growing.

As for a unified voice - none of us can agree here on anything
 

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I was chatting to Allan this weekend when he was at Nürnberg. He was saying that there were so many Subaru's and still more coming out. Every manufacturer felt that they had to do it. We're at a stage where the market is saturated by popular cars. Take you pick, they're all there.

Many people feel that we are at a peak in production at least in terms of quantity of choice. The next few years will perhaps see fewer cars as certain manufacturers struggle to get rid of their excess stocks of Subaru's.

Digital will be big, but which one. Scalextric will come out for Christmas 2004, it will take until the Summer of 2005 or even perhaps Christmas 2005 for us to see which of the current 3 systems will come out on top. Who will produce cars for these 3 systems too. Will companies like AutoArt produce cars for each of the 3 or only for it's new track system?

I think that eventually these cars will get more hi-tech with digital chips enabling extra functions to work. Scalextric will eventually merge their SD and SW platforms and perhaps we'll see standards appear in the market like we do with trains. Allowing us to by a car from one digital manufacturer and run it on a track from another. That has to happen.

Motor racing in 1:1 is doing quite well (the last time I looked) so I think that our hobby is fine for a while.
 

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How can it continue to last? Why make the same models? There are so many that can be made it has to be as Cheater states, market research etc. indicating what is a safer sell? I believe he has a point in that if enough people ask then we may get a wider spread. As for agreeing? Well I agree with you this time Astro..We can`t
 

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Astro, Jonny S:

Please take a look at the SCI thread I referred to earlier here, as your points about "agreement" are very much involved in what we have been discussing over there.

My main position is that there ought to be some way the users of slot car products can more effectively communicate their desires to the manufacturing base.

I don't want to rehash that thread (which is up to about 150 posts!) but a central part of the discussion involves the feasibility and usefulness of a "Slot Racing Standards Organization" in the manner of model railroading's NMRA (www.nmra.com), i.e. not any sort of mandatory regulation but rather the creation of voluntary standards.

Do take a look at that discussion if you have a sincere interest in the future of model car racing.

(Jonny S., thanks for the kind words. Astro, thanks for the honest opinion!)
 

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Tropi, I can see that you and I have similar views on this subject. Thanks for that link, as I had not seen the thread before.

The common perception seems to be that model car racing is somehow so unique that painful lessons learned in other arenas cannot possibly be used as patterns or references for the betterment of our hobby, a view that could not be further from the truth. Yet it is a feeling seemingly shared by the majority of model car racers.

One of the saddest situations in life is that children almost never avail themselves of the experience and knowledge that reside in the minds of their immediate ancestors, in spite of the parents attempts to inculcate them. Virtually all children insist on attending the "school of hard knocks" to suffer through the same learning curve as did their parents. Model car racing seems to be equally stubborn and unwise.

As I posted over in the other thread, we say "standards" but most people hear "standardization". These are not the same thing!
 

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cheater - i was only kidding bout the not agreeing bit.

I do agree that good communication between enthusiasts (us) and manufacturers/distributers is a good thing: we dont feel so annoyed and ignored when we are informed, and manufacturers know what certain sectors of their market want better

However, I do think manufacturers are generally being very forward thinking, and some at least are paying a lot of attention to boards like this one, as well as whatever other market research they do.

Will have a look at that SCI thread tomorrow
 
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