The online racing simulator
My dad's now officially a superfan
(20 posts, started )
My dad's now officially a superfan
Bit of a long read, but I'm proud of the tricks that an old dog has learned.

My dad is 56, and in the last year has gone from someone that couldn't even watch my younger brothers play Gran Turismo on the TV without feeling sick, to playing LFS in a Rift for about an hour to an hour and a half, nearly every night, for the last 6 months.

I taught him the basics last year, starting off in Gran Turismo 6 on my Logitech G25. He could only do 10-15 minutes every other day as it made him feel ill, but he wanted to beat a lap time my younger brother had set.

About the same time as that, a friend of mine introduced us to AutoSolo events, and because AutoSolo events in the UK are pretty much marketing for MX-5's, he ended up buying one. His previous car preferences were big German automatic power barges. He was shifting it at about 3500rpm, and in the wet on his first track day, he was black flagged because he seemed to have no idea what to do when losing traction, and was fishtailing close to the barriers quite a bit. It didn't really knock his confidence, but it made him realise he needed to pretty much learn to drive again for this kind of environment. I would never let him drive my car by himself, because I knew that if it started to go wrong, it would be in a barrier.

He ended up buying himself a G27, and stuck with GT6 on PS3. I set it up as best I could with all assistance turned off, wheel set to simulation, track edge grip set to 'Real', no slicks etc.

I then gave him simple laptime targets to aim for, on short tracks. When he'd beat it, I'd up the target, and wait a week or so for him to get there. I'd also watch and see where he was going wrong, which at the start was everywhere, but rather than saturate him with all the things he's doing wrong, I picked just one thing per week or so to try, promising him it should net enough laptime to hit the target.

It started off as simply changing gear too late and being on the limiter. Then it was using all the track on exit. Then on being wide before entry. After each new tip, he'd find better laptime, and then hit a wall where he'd get no faster, and then I'd observe and pick another one of his original faults to get him to focus on. The next I think was trail braking, and not having dead pedals. Another second shaved off.

A bit later on I wanted to try him on a less forgiving racing simulator, to see how he'd fair. I managed to get hold of a pretty dated gaming PC, just about good enough to racing sims. He wanted to drive in an MX-5, so at the time all I had was iRacing. He struggled badly at first, but after a couple of weeks of not giving up, he was comfortable in it.
Then I got Assetto Corsa, and set him a challenge to learn the Nordschleife, the MX-5 community project car for AC sweetened the deal. He spent a few months then doing nothing but the Nordschleife in an MX-5. His first goal was under 10 minutes, because that seems to be the standard measure. He did that and more. He also now knows the track from memory.

Then came the Oculus Rift.

I first tried one of these at a LAN party my older brother invited me to. It was running LFS, an old friend for me. I was blown away by it. I went home early the same day just to go convince my dad to go halves on one and place an order as soon as possible.

He first go on it, and he felt disappointed, it made him feel sick, he nearly fell out of his chair and accidentally punched my younger brother out of fear who was standing at the side of him, when going into a barrier.

He couldn't touch it for a couple of days, still feeling sick.
Not wanting to feel like I'd used him and his money to get something he couldn't use himself, I told him it was normal to be like that, and you just need to do a couple of minutes each day to build up to it.

What motivates my dad is a target laptime that he's only just slightly away from. About the only racing sim his PC had the power to run comfortably was LFS. iRacing was stuttering, Assetto Corsa was badly implemented and unclear and smudgey. LFS was unusually perfect, sitting at a rock solid 75fps no matter what.


After a few weeks, my made up advice actually seemed to work! He could do increasingly longer stints and come off it feeling fine.
I picked South City Classic as his track—I pick small ones because if you make a mistake, you get to have another go in less than a minute again—and I put him in an LX-6, just because I think if you can drive that effectively, you can a little MX-5 in real life. I also wanted to really challenge him.

The last time he drove his MX-5 at a track day, he was a danger to himself if anything were to go wrong. He was also slow. On AutoSolo's he was understeering or spinning out.

He kept practicing on LFS in the Oculus, trying to learn how to catch the LX-6 when the back end started to break away, usually wrenching the wheel and being spat out the opposite way. Exactly what I wanted him to experience, and why I chose the LX-6.

Next AutoSolo event, which he'd entered as an AutoTest entry, he won the AutoTest and got a little trophy, and was quicker than my older brother, a "car guy".

All the while he'd been playing racing sims, I'd drummed into him that there is no innate talent, just time spent "bum in seat" and practicing. Another encouraging made up lie that I only really half believed. It seemed to have stuck though, as he's been practicing religiously.

When Rockingham released (where we actually do our autosolos, and he did his second slightly better track day) he wanted to learn the track properly, in something similar to his MX-5, in preparation for a track day this year. I put him in an LX-4 (faster than an MX-5, but I think it's best to practice in something faster), and gave him another laptime target. He beat my time. I set a new one. He beat that. I set a new one trying my best (not been sim racing for a couple of years now), and he beat me. I then really struggled to beat his lap record, but just pipped it by a few thousandths.

This is where I changed the game.

He was legitimately challenging me on fastest lap time, but I noticed that he'd literally spend 2 hours going around, trying for that one killer lap, with lots of sliding and mistakes along the way. In my trying to beat it, I'd be near it lap after lap.

I then set a challenge of best race time over 8 laps, with the fuel taken out. I didn't want him focusing on the ultimate lap, but on how fast he could do 8 laps in, and told him that the name of the game now is consistency and quality, rather than explosive luck and quantity.

He took off quite calmly, not trying to get the fastest possible lap, but trying to be neat. About 6 laps in, he sets a laptime 6 10ths faster than he'd ever done when trying. He didn't notice, and I didn't bring it to his attention. Lap 7 went by about the same, lap 8 a little slower, but he noticed it was the fastest he'd ever done and was cheering. Laps 9 and 10 were slow as he tried to push hard again thinking he could beat that lap too.

I then had my turn to set a time, 8 laps, and I beat his time by 6 or so seconds, even though my fastest lap was a couple of tenths slower. That seemed to teach him the importance of consistency, and how fluking into a fastest lap after hours of trying, and not having it even near repeatable, isn't much to brag about.

He's been keeping a notepad of his 8 lap times next to the computer, with photographic evidence on his phone of any times he's proud of. His race pace now is about 5 seconds quicker than my first attempt. I think it would take me a couple of hours of getting back into sim racing again to beat him now. I think after a year and a bit of solid practice in racing sims, my dad is currently faster than me... I'm almost scared to try and have a go at beating him again, but will try tonight, and if I can't beat him, then my second little encouraging white lie about practice being everything has turned out to be true too.
Any angle the LX-4 gets to, he's bringing it back. He goes on the grass, he relaxes the tension on the wheel and eases it back on the track. Gets in a spin, and he's locking all the wheels. He's doing EVERYTHING right. He's now only the second person I'd let drive my car without me in it, and not be worried.


The best thing about all of this, is the little MX-5 sitting in the garage, that he's changed the springs, shocks, and roll bars on (following advice of people that race them), he hasn't even had chance to drive it on a track day since becoming the driver he has, and since fitting all those parts.


While my engine was being rebuilt (original FD with 60,000 miles!), he let me use the MX-5 as a run about to get to work, and that thing is absolutely incredible. With its current settings, it is far more balanced, more agile, and more predictable than my FD. It does EVERYTHING you'd expect an LX in LFS to do. The same LX-4/6 my dad has fallen in love with over the last few months, to the point of talking to his friends at work about 'Westfields' and how good they are, not wanting to say he's been playing video games.


He's now building his own dedicated racing sim PC, in preparation for the next gen, higher resolution HMD's.

The last step of the training I wanted to put him through is to load up Rockingham with a load of dumb and slow AI drivers, to see how he copes in traffic. I'm not sure if his current PC will cope with it though. We'll find out tonight.

But yeah, I legitimately think that if me and my dad had a race on Rockingham in the LX-4 now, I'd struggle, and honestly most likely lose. I want to see if I can set that up this weekend, and if I do, I'll be a strange blend of humiliated and proud.

Can't wait for the next track day. He's going to see just how good his little MX-5 is.


The entire point of this thread though, is to thank the LFS developers. I caught my dad last night, after one of his nightly 8 lap runs, really slowly driving his LX-4 into the Rockingham garages, parking it up, turning off the engine, looking around, and then patting the wheel affectionately before getting out of the headset.


He's an LFS addict now, and it's thanks to your excellent and comfortable implementation of VR, the efficiency of your game being able to run on older hardware, the selection of road cars you offer, rather than just racing cars, and the excellently detailed and accurate Rockingham track, which is one he can relate to, down to every detail.
YOUR racing sim, more than any of the others—and I'm happy to buy and enjoy them ALL—has easily had the biggest impact on him.

If LFS development momentum is taking off again, I'd say it's about time for me to get back into it and try and keep up!

Thank you Scavier!
Quote from EeekiE :I'm proud of the tricks that an old dog has learned.

Who's a good boy? Who's a good booy? Tongue

In all seriousness, that sounds fantastic. I'm glad that both of you seem to have enjoyed the process, and it's good to see LFS still has its uses beyond cruising (joke). If Mr. EeekiE Sr. is reading this, jolly good show!
He's still a technophobe outside of LFS and YouTube, so not much chance of him coming here!

This is the set up, from a couple of months ago, on a warm up lap I think:

https://vid.me/U6eH


He's got hooves for hands, and kept catching his fingers on the paddles, which is why he was holding the wheel higher up than usual. The wheel has since had the paddles bent back out of the way, as we don't tend to use them anyway.


Just found a picture of his time sheet from a while back that I sent to a friend, 'S' was my run, second on the list:

http://imgur.com/3ZFbVZI

It's an LX-4 at 12% fuel, with some changes I made a while ago to make the back end more slippery, as he wanted to learn how to keep it in check, and we've just kind of left it as it is since then as it's fun to try and keep on the track. It looks like he's only been adding the times if there's an improvement, or a notable fastest lap.
This is basically the same for me but the other way around Big grin but without the real life influences.
Wave for dad
Thanks for sharing, EeekiE. Now I got feels :/
That is genuinely the best LFS story i've read on this forums in all the years. Thanks for sharing and best of luck beating your dad in few months! Tongue
I keep telling my sons that us 56 year old's are just awesome!
#9 - smove
Truly great and overwhelming story! Heart

It's always great when father and son can share their interests and create something together, benefiting from each other. May LFS live on long and in prosper, and so may you and your dad! Thumbs up
That was exceptional, thumbs up for both of you! Smile
Good stuff - go Scavier! Thumbs up
Thanks for the nice story! Smile
Very touching. I'm glad to hear that LFS has affected you and your dad so much, may it do it for years to come! Smile
I did re-re-read and noticed this has a strong effective thing to read for the people who constantly thinks more deep than really need.

my first impression were honestly like "lol wut", but then I got a point by reading again.

Makes me feel weird, but also a bit amused and somewhat happy, maybe because it's somewhat never good to judge things without having experience of things.

________________________________________________________________________

I knew LFS would be a lot more than just a software. Well, not really a living thing either, but something, something which has takes an effect for you life, for people who have done playing/racing LFS.


I just say, very cool stuff indeed. Also pretty random as well Big grin but so if life as well!
Race on for tomorrow I think! In two 8-lap sessions today; I got to within a second of his best stint time. He's never done a race before, only lapping by himself, so I think the pressure might get to him with such a close margin. He'll be in the Oculus and I'll be on a TV, so I'll be able to see his head swinging around in panic I hope!

@UnknownMaster21: I agree it's a bit random, but I just thought it was a real testament to the game that someone that needed to hand write a memo on how to get into the game and set the TV to the right input at one point, is now building his own PC (with help) because of this game. He figured out how to watch replays back the other week. He wanted to save one, so he was using his phone to record it off the TV, with the Oculus perched on the top the chair so it looked ahead. To him this game is the best thing ever now.
Quote from EeekiE :Race on for tomorrow I think! In two 8-lap sessions today; I got to within a second of his best stint time. He's never done a race before, only lapping by himself, so I think the pressure might get to him with such a close margin. He'll be in the Oculus and I'll be on a TV, so I'll be able to see his head swinging around in panic I hope!

@UnknownMaster21: I agree it's a bit random, but I just thought it was a real testament to the game that someone that needed to hand write a memo on how to get into the game and set the TV to the right input at one point, is now building his own PC (with help) because of this game. He figured out how to watch replays back the other week. He wanted to save one, so he was using his phone to record it off the TV, with the Oculus perched on the top the chair so it looked ahead. To him this game is the best thing ever now.

Excellent!
Great story, and great to see LFS development back. Forgot how much I love this sim.
It turns out, whoever was in the Oculus with the G27 handily beat whoever was on the big TV with the G25. I'm sure I could get used to driving on a monitor and get on pace again, as that's how I used to do it anyway, but after a few months of using the Rift, it feels somewhat detached and remote playing on a 2D plane out in front of you. Maybe I just need to play about with the FOV to get the same sense of speed back or something. Maybe it's just psychological, but there was a clear advantage for both of us being on one setup vs the other, even with identical wheel settings etc.

His PC now just needs a PSU and a GPU, and later on in the year, whichever VR headset seems to be looking the better option. Then we can have a proper fight.
I finally decided to read the whole story, no regrets Smile Just amazing to see how much LFS and other sims can affect to your real life driving and it's never too late to learn new things.

I've been sometimes wondering how big step it would be to go from sim racing (LFS) to real life racing Big grin Probably not that big, after you get used to G-forces and other stuff.
Nice post, that's cool. I remember trying to teach my dad how to sim-race, but he didn't have the time to learn.

My dad's now officially a superfan
(20 posts, started )
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