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Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008





The game
Dirt Rally is a very realistic driving game that just so happens to be about a motor sport that’s very fun. There’s a varied selection of cars and tracks to race on, and since so much of the online play is asynchronous you can have an active competition without having to suffer the people who play games online.

Where this thread comes in
Even though it’s a fun action game, I feel the one big thing keeping people from playing it is that it’s difficult from the get-go, and they’re right. There’s very little in the way of tutorials, you just start out in a relatively easy, slow-moving car and get told to go out and race. There’s a lot of difficult concepts it could be teaching you, and the car progression would be the perfect grounds to do so, but there's little to nothing in the way of conveying these concepts to the player outside of loading screen hints. The console release and its accompanying PC update will apparently include videos that are supposed to help, but I'm not sure if that’s going to be adequate.

Format
Each update will take on a certain car and a few aspects of it that I feel are relevant to it. There will be a video explaining some generalised terms, as well as a detailed write-up on one or two subjects mentioned in the video.

Viewer participation league
Dirt Rally lets you form a “league” where whoever owns it puts together a list of tracks. Whoever joins the league can then race through those tracks to set a total time. Each player’s total times are then compared and put on a leader board of sorts. I've made one as a sort of accompaniment to this series. Each update will have an accompanying season for the league, that should somehow fit with the mechanics I've laid out in the update. I’ll also be setting my own times and I’d love to see people beat them. Oh, and there’s no prize except bragging rights. You can join by clicking this link

...I’m not laying out any schedule on this because I can't imagine a schedule I could abide by. Let’s just say the updates will come often enough and the delay between updates will be at least a week.

The Dirt Telemetry tool - Cortextual's version
Originally developed by Zeb, this fork of their telemetry tool shows information for what forces are enacted on the car, whether it's from the engine or the environment. You can find it here



From left-to-right:
G-ball
Shows which direction the car is accelerating and how hard.

Average speed, gear
Self-explanatory. Gear number changes colour depending on whether it's shifting up or down.

Pedals
Clutch, brake, accelerator.

Wheel
You can configure how far this thing goes. Since I'm using an analog stick to steer I picked the narrowest range, that being 200°. It's clearer that way.

Revs
Shows how many times the crank spins per minute.

Weight distribution
Measures how hard each wheel is pushing up against the shock absorbers, goes red when the springs bottom out.

Parts list:
Part 1: Best Practices and FF (video)
Part 2: The Lancia STratos (video)
Part 3: Rallycross 1600s (video)
Part 4: The '80s (video)
Part 5: Tuning (video)
Part 6: Hillclimbing (video)
Part 7: Group A (video)
Part 8: F2 Kit Cars (video)
Part 9: R4 (video)
Part 10: 2000s (video)
Part 11: 2010s (video)
Part 12: Mop-up (video)

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 22:50 on Oct 27, 2016

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Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Part 1: Best Practices and FF


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpXvxYFgm9c
It’s good to start slow, and in the case of the Mini Cooper, it can be fun to go back to being slow once in a while. Today's text is on a subject that might seem confusing but is pretty important when starting out:

Pacenotes
Before every race, rally drivers and co-drivers go on several reconnaissance drives through stages, or “recces”. During these recces, the crew take note of each feature of each stage and write them down, then see how well driving according to these notes goes. The basic formula is to find a good general speed for turns, finding the distance between turns and also noting any special obstacles or features that might change how the driver should act around the turn. If you take a look to the right in most of the cars while in first-person, you’ll see your co-driver reading those pacenotes on a notepad. Let’s take a look at Dirt Rally’s more common pacenotes:

Turn numbers
For example: “Left 4”, “right 6”, “left 2”. The general principle is that the lower the number the tighter the angle. In the Mini Cooper and Lancia Fulvia you generally don’t have to worry about turns until they’re numbered 4 or lower, but in other cars it’s important to note the differences.

Even tighter turns
In order they’re Square, Hairpin and Acute. Squares and hairpins generally require you to be in second or first gear, acutes generally should only be taken in first gear.

Turn notes
Don’t cut: Cutting is short for “taking a shortcut” and it can help you take a second or two off your time if you can do it without slowing down. “Don’t cut” is a very specific warning against this behaviour and every time the co-driver says this, it’s not for no reason.

Bad camber: the edge of the turn is not conducive to taking this turn fast and you’ll probably lose a lot of grip after the turn. Slow down or risk driving into a wall.

Tightens/Opens: The width of the road and/or the angle of the turn changes as it goes on, and this can either help or harm your run.

Angle changes
Any change in angle to the road you drive on can affect your grip dramatically, and it can help to take note of that and react accordingly. These are jumps, bumps, crests and dips. “Jump maybe” means that you’re at risk of jumping. Maybe.

Straights
If there’s a 40-meter straight or longer, there’s a note for that fact. Keep note of it as you might be tempted to accelerate and will have to slow down if there’s a sharp turn at the end of the straight.

JawaKnight
Jul 9, 2014


I'm really looking forward to seeing this play out. I had a friend try to get me to play Dirty Rally with his full driving set-up (pedals, wheel and gearshift), and he just threw me into some icy track in Germany. I wrecked... a lot.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Oh right, I guess I should post my rig:



It's got live reactive force feedback. By which I mean it shakes some when the game tells it to. Some of the top players use this or something like it.

edit: The reason they work is because Rally doesn't require fine control over the wheel, all the fine motions you need to do is on the pedals, and the triggers are good enough for that.

edit2: I also wrecked a lot when I started this game. One thing that does help is that you're not really expected to finish first or even above tenth place when you start out. The game reinforces this by having whatever car you buy start out at less than max power. This helps you get accustomed to the car and also serves as a little "hey, it's okay to take it easy" for the player.

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 01:11 on Mar 26, 2016

JawaKnight
Jul 9, 2014


Sweet Rig! Maybe I'll get one of them for myself and then try Dirt Rally again!

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


I hope to see a lot of Lancia Stratos.

Sacrificial Toast
Nov 5, 2009



Shine posted:

I hope to see a lot of Lancia Stratos.

I bought this during Early Access, crashed a bunch in the Mini Cooper, then finally started getting the hang of things....and then I bought a Lancia Stratos.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Oh right, I almost forgot. The first season of the league starts tomorrow, Sunday the 27th of March and ends a week after, 11:59 PM on Sunday the 3rd of April. You'll have plenty of opportunities to restart if you feel like you could do better, and if you're starting out I suggest you use them. Also, watch out for seasoned goons Cart Captor Karen and Triple A. They're liable to get top positions. That is, if they don't obey best practices and end up crashing somewhere.


edit: I do have some pointers on how to handle the Stratos. It's a steep cliff to climb after getting acquainted with the Mini and I think that's kind of a mean decision considering how easy the Group A cars are to handle in comparison.

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 23:54 on Mar 26, 2016

Edmond Dantes
Sep 12, 2007

Reactor: Online
Sensors: Online
Weapons: Online

ALL SYSTEMS NOMINAL


Sacrificial Toast posted:

I bought this during Early Access, crashed a bunch in the Mini Cooper, then finally started getting the hang of things....and then I bought a Lancia Stratos.

I did the same thing with an Escort.

Then I got an 80's M3 and just skipped everything to R4. Haven't played in a while though so I may start following along the thread and go back to the basics.

/edit: Hey Joe, are you using manual or auto? And one more question, from the input hud, which one is the handbrake?

Edmond Dantes fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Mar 26, 2016

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



I'm using Semi-Auto. That means I can override the automatic transmission's decisions on gears whenever I want and I can release the clutch when I want. That last one is only available if you activate Clutch Override. When to deploy the clutch is material for a later episode.

Unfortunately the overlay I'm using now doesn't show handbrake information since it draws from the game's "UDP information", which doesn't include handbraking information for some reason. I can tell you I was employing the handbrake heavily on those last two hairpins, the very last one I let go and redeployed it several times as the back end was going back in line too soon. For details, here's a link.

I've also put info on what this thing shows in the OP.

edit: I've done some research on another method (which included learning some rudamentary CSS to edit this control overlay by a guy called "mrmcpowned") to display user input on-screen. It works with OBS and OBS Multiplatform, but neither of those are good at recording this game. Here's the best result I could get by recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Rn86EFLkTY

As you can see, the framerate is pretty bad and the recording quality is muddy, even for Wales. This overlay is great for streaming though. If you want to use it, the link's here

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 16:15 on Mar 26, 2016

Triple A
Jul 14, 2010

Your sword, sahib.

Sacrificial Toast posted:

I bought this during Early Access, crashed a bunch in the Mini Cooper, then finally started getting the hang of things....and then I bought a Lancia Stratos.

If the Stratos daunts you, the 037 is even nuttier. The rear always looks for an exit if you even look at the throttle.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



What's really weird is just how relaxed the 037 can be in some environments, which will throw you way off when it really starts acting up.

Update: I've added subtitles to the video, in case you don't want- or can't hear my voice.

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


Sacrificial Toast posted:

I bought this during Early Access, crashed a bunch in the Mini Cooper, then finally started getting the hang of things....and then I bought a Lancia Stratos.

Congrats on buying the most fun car in the game! Keeping its butt under control is so much fun; I get bored when I drive a 2010's 4WD with its "will drive in the direction you want" fanciness.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



The Lancia Stratos isn't lacking in the fun department, but it's placed way too early in the car progression. You can buy this incredibly difficult machine right after what's supposed to be a tutorial on how to go reasonably fast in an FF car and it's a wall for anyone who plays this as their first serious sim. In a reasonable design, the GUI and car pricing would be pointing you at the F2 kit cars, Group As or R4s.

Still, since it IS so early, I think the next update should be about it. But let me make this clear to anyone who hasn't already: Please don't buy the Lancia Stratos until you've mastered some 4WD cars.

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 21:39 on Mar 26, 2016

Triple A
Jul 14, 2010

Your sword, sahib.

Did the benchmark for the league.

Edmond Dantes
Sep 12, 2007

Reactor: Online
Sensors: Online
Weapons: Online

ALL SYSTEMS NOMINAL



I noticed


Being Finnish is cheating.

Joking aside, you can use any car but only get the upgrades you have during career mode on League events; that's kinda weird. I used my Mini since I had all upgrades for it and none for the Lancia since I had never used it.

Triple A
Jul 14, 2010

Your sword, sahib.

I'd say the Fulvia is outright worse than the Mini. It's slightly bigger with a worse power-band and with 200 extra kilos for an extra 15 horses, it's power to weight ratio is not very good either.

BTW Joe, do you plan on doing any Rally Trophy to see how different driving games do these things?

Triple A fucked around with this message at 19:18 on Mar 27, 2016

Edmond Dantes
Sep 12, 2007

Reactor: Online
Sensors: Online
Weapons: Online

ALL SYSTEMS NOMINAL


Triple A posted:

I'd say the Fulvia is outright worse than the Mini. It's slightly bigger with a worse power-band and with 200 extra kilos for an extra 15 horses, it's power to weight ratio is not very good either.

Ah, I wasn't using the car as an excuse, I just suck at this game.

Just thought it was kinda weird; if I ever sign up for a league I don't have a car for I could be going against people with fully upgraded cars. Not sure how much of an advantage that would be, especially considering if I don't have single car for a certain class that means I don't have practise in that class, but it feels like a bit of an oversight.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



The setup of car upgrades in leagues kinda makes sense if you remember that upgrades are essentially a way to ease you into the behaviour of that particular car. You start out with an engine that's slightly slower, turbos work on lower pressures, and a setup kit that's much simpler. These are all things that make the car easier to handle while you get to grips with it.

edit: So far this thread is only really about Dirt Rally, but I might do something with other car games in the future if they strike my fancy. If you wanna do your own thing with Rally Trophy or Richard Burns Rally, be my guest.

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 21:36 on Mar 27, 2016

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



WHAT'S THIS, A RALLY MINI?
still not enough left foot

Rigged Death Trap fucked around with this message at 22:00 on Mar 27, 2016

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Yeah, I'm not doing left-foot braking until we hit the 4WDs, unless you can make a case for it vs. handbraking in the FFs or just putting your right foot down in the rear-wheel drives.

The Casualty
Sep 29, 2006
Security Clearance: Pop Secret


Whiny baby

Oooh, this looks like it will be fun. I played a lot of Colin McCrae Rally back in the day, how does Dirt Rally stack up?

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



For RWDs you do it to stop oversteer spin, or to even go into more predictable oversteer on hairpins.
For FF's it's a lot less drastic than Handbrake turns, causes you to not let your rear end hang our as much coming out of the turn which means you can spend more time gaining speed than making the front wheels do double duty.
It's for lower intensity use than the handbrake turn. It's not to be used in place of it, but to complement it throughout the entirety of a run.


Also a must for Turbo cars since GOTTA KEEP SPOOLIN THAT BOOST WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


The Casualty posted:

Oooh, this looks like it will be fun. I played a lot of Colin McCrae Rally back in the day, how does Dirt Rally stack up?

It's wonderful. They left behind all the XTREME stuff from the previous Dirt games and went full sim with this one (aside from the damage model, which is surprisingly forgiving). Hardcore rally sim people are hailing this as the first real rally "sim" since Richard Burns Rally from like 12 years ago.

It could use a few more courses, but there's great variety between what's there, with Finland being jump city, Greece having really rough and loose gravel, Sweden for snow goddamn everywhere, etc.

If you're into rally and in particular want a hardcore sim experience, then it's a no brainer purchase. If you prefer arcadey rally then Dirt 3 can be had for cheap.

Edmond Dantes
Sep 12, 2007

Reactor: Online
Sensors: Online
Weapons: Online

ALL SYSTEMS NOMINAL


Shine posted:

If you're into rally and in particular want a hardcore sim experience, then it's a no brainer purchase. If you prefer arcadey rally then Dirt 3 can be had for cheap.

And even if you're not, I'd recommend you at least give it a try; I'm not really a fun of racing games and the few I actually like are arcadey as gently caress (Burnout Paradise), but for some reason I gave this a try and it really clicked with me; even the first few times I got on a course and kept wrapping my car around trees because I was attempting to drive "NFS-style". It's just plain fun.

/edit: remember, at the start, just focus on not crashing.

Edmond Dantes fucked around with this message at 00:46 on Mar 28, 2016

njsykora
Jan 23, 2012

Robots confuse squirrels.

Great Joe posted:

Also, watch out for seasoned goons Card Captor Karen and Triple A. They're liable to get top positions. That is, if they don't obey best practices and end up crashing somewhere.

Yeah, about that...



I would like to begin my excuses by saying I haven't played this game in a long time and when I did a few weeks ago I was only doing rallycross and the sun was in my eyes and also my handbrake got stuck (actually happened, I spent about 30 seconds wondering why the car wasn't moving) so my 19:51 is actually totally respectable considering I blew a tire less than 30 seconds in because 90% of my FWD time in this game is with the F2 cars. I did record my run of Ffemm Wynt though, because the last sector of that stage rules and it's a solid illustration of how overdoing it can kill you in this game. I finished 57 seconds off the pace, but by my estimation the off tracks and penalties cost me around 45 seconds. You really can't emphasise enough how important it is just to run a clean stage.

Sanzuo
May 7, 2007



I am glad this thread exists. This game seems cool but I am poo poo at it.

DMorbid
Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.




Edmond Dantes posted:

Being Finnish is cheating.
Hey, not all of us are that good! I only have two stage wins against the computer in this game: one with a Delta S4 in Germany and another with the Fulvia in Greece where I won by 48 seconds.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Shine posted:

If you prefer arcadey rally then Dirt 3 can be had for cheap.
Dirt 3 isn't all that good at arcadey rally either. Give Sega Rally Revo a go instead. It's great fun!
Fun fact: Some time after releasing Dirt 3, Codemasters acquired the team behind Sega Rally Revo and set them on making Grid 2. Not sure how many of them are still at Codemasters, but I do know that Grid 2 is good arcadey fun as well.

Also, this LP is all about self-improvement. When I set the league up I made sure to give you both the ability to restart each stage and -the event itself if you feel like you could do better. If only it'd let you restart after completing the whole series... Anyway, even if you're just a bit rusty and getting back into the hang of it, feel free to abuse the heck out of that.

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 14:34 on Mar 28, 2016

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Well I did a run-through and, oh-



Huh. Well, I guess I can go on to figure out how this Stratos thing works. So far I've mostly been doing this

http://webm.host/cfe2f/vid.webm

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 18:04 on Mar 28, 2016

Shine
Feb 26, 2007

No Muscles For The Majority


Great Joe posted:

Well I did a run-through and, oh-



Huh. Well, I guess I can go on to figure out how this Stratos thing works. So far I've mostly been doing this

http://webm.host/cfe2f/vid.webm

I got this advice in the Games thread when I started driving the Stratos:

quote:

Push a little, let off the gas, point in right direction, push more. It seems banal, but you've just gotta think of it in terms of basic physics, especially when it comes to the Stratos.

Basically, take it nice and easy, and don't push yourself faster until nice and easy is actually easy. If you're high-revving 5th gear your first time driving the Stratos, then you're probably gonna die. "Slow is fast" and all those other racing platitudes.

It's a punishing car, but once you learn its quirks it is so much fun to drive.

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



No worries. My test post for this thing was on the Stratos. What's really getting me is Sweden and just how harsh the Masters AI is on that particular stage (whatever you call Lysvik in reverse). Somehow the Masters AI tends to swing between being in the double digits or somewhere in the 1200s when you look at the global leaderboards. There was one stage in Greece, I forget which, where the top Masters driver would be placed ~65th in the world. Somehow I felt compelled to beat that. Anyway, it's weird.


edit: Might as well complete this humblebrag with a couple screenshots.

Great Joe fucked around with this message at 00:07 on Mar 29, 2016

Red_Fred
Oct 21, 2010



Fallen Rib

I'm liking this. I would be interested to know the correct way to start though. I usually just floor it but maybe that's not as fast?

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Oh, definitely floor it. Your tires and suspension are made to keep traction up when you spin out, and it keeps you in the higher revs where you get the most power.

tlarn
Mar 1, 2013

You see,
God doesn't help little frogs.

He helps people like me.



This Back-to-the-Future rear end car is making me want to pick the game up, realtalk

Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



Pick it up, then.

Triple A
Jul 14, 2010

Your sword, sahib.

tlarn posted:

This Back-to-the-Future rear end car is making me want to pick the game up, realtalk

Get ready to learn why roll cages matter the hard way then.

Edmond Dantes
Sep 12, 2007

Reactor: Online
Sensors: Online
Weapons: Online

ALL SYSTEMS NOMINAL


tlarn posted:

This Back-to-the-Future rear end car is making me want to pick the game up, realtalk

DMorbid
Jan 6, 2011

Hello! I see you.




Remember, when it comes to the Stratos, there is only one true color scheme you should use:



(it's a mod)

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Great Joe
Aug 13, 2008



C'mon guys, at least link the thing for those who wanna try it.

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