Game On


Towards the end of last year I picked up GTR – the official simulation game of the FIA GT Racing championship, on the recommendation of someone on a motor sports forum I frequent.

To say it has a steep learning curve would be a collosal understatement. The learning curve is vertical, and that’s coming from someone who’s no stranger to racing sims. I cut my sim teeth on Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix, back on my Amiga, and I’ve saught out simulation style games for each of the racing series’ I’ve had an interest in over the years, from Formula One to IndyCar Series. With all that history in my virtual racing resume, I think I can safely say that initially GTR is the most frustrating and least rewarding game I have ever experienced.

I’m playing GTR with a Logitech force feedback steering wheel and pedals – essential if you’re to stand a chance with this game. You need to feel every single bit of feedback from the car you’re driving, and each of them have their own quirks that must be interperated through each vibration and change of weight relayed through the wheel.

From the beginning I knew I’d have to get myself up to scratch to race in an online league run by the guy who’d introduced me to the game. With hindsight this probably made it more frustrating due to the pressure I was putting on myself to improve at first. On more than one occasion I thought about throwing in the towel, due to sheer exasperation with reeling off lap after lap of Barcelona, a circuit I know very well, but only managing one clean lap in ten. By the time the league was ready to roll in January I felt I was ready only to assume my place at the back of the grid and simply struggle along with it.

What transpired was that in one of our practice races the penny finally dropped. I’m not sure what it was but I suddenly developed a feel for what the car was doing underneath me. Don’t get me wrong – six months after first turning a wheel I still find the game can be infuriatingly harsh. It’s just that now I realise that’s the point. It’s a simulation in every sense of the word – if I was driving a real Mosler without all due care and attention around some of the toughest racetracks in the world then I’d be bound to make more than a few mistakes.

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A crowded house

This week we’ve had visitors in the form of Crazy Uncle John, who came down mid-week for a night out on the run, and Fliss’ dad Ted who arrived a few hours after CUJ left and is with us until next Thursday. In the old house, or even pre-Elisha in this one, it wouldn’t have been too much of an upheaval.

However, now that the spare room is both the computer room and Elisha’s room, we just don’t have the space to comfortably cope with guests. Due to that, Crazy Uncle John and father Ted have had to sleep on a mattress on the living room floor. THe pair of them have said it’s a very comfortable mattress, but it’s still not quite as convenient as having a room they can call their own for the duration of their stay.

*Next weekend Cousin Iain and his hot chick friend Nicola are coming up for a visit, too, so it’s going to be another challenge putting them up in relative comfort. I’m sure we’ll manage, but after just under a year in the house I’m starting to feel like it’s closing in around us at times.

*(offensive words removed) ex-girlfriend types who may or may not take the above information and use it to emotionally torment Cousin Iain should be warned that, well, maybe the contents of this site aren’t for you any longer.**

**Oh, I’m sorry. Somehow the above was misconstrued as “call Cousin Iain up and pack his bags for another guilt trip.” Let me make it perfectly clear – if the contents of this site are going to cause you to plumb the depths of emotion and prompt you to call members of my family and offload a guilt bomb onto them, then the contents of this site are not for you. Not. For. You.

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