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Discussion I suck at racing games. Anyone have advice?

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,553
81
91
I installed Grid 2 last night and it immediately throws you into a race in downtown Chicago. Very cool. But I'm horrible.

And I've always been horrible.

I've tried Dirt 2. I've tried Burnout Paradise. A few others.

I WANT to be good at racing games. I WANT to enjoy these games. But I'm so horrible, I just end up getting frustrated and uninstalling them quickly.

Anyone good out there care to offer some advice and/or videos that you found helpful?

I'm playing with an xbox 360 controller, which should make it easier. And I have no desire to play/be competitive with online racing games. I just want to be good enough to enjoy and finish single-player campaigns.

I can't brake in time.
I can't drift.
I can't accelerate at the right time.
I don't follow the right lines.
I don't know what the hell I'm doing.
I frickin' suck at these games.

Thanks!
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,531
206
106
You'll do much better with a wheel. A FF wheel if at all possible. Its possible to play with a gamepad, but the more realistic sims tend to require too much finesse. Number 1 issue people have is they want to go into a corner at 150mph like they are playing an arcade racer. You need to slow down for corners. A lot. Try going slow and working your speed up to pace rather than just trying to fly in. Most of the games have a virtual racing line that will help you out, but mostly with when to brake. Once you can make it around the track without wrecking you can work on pushing it.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,737
669
126
GRID should play fine with a gamepad, but like any racing game you'll need to get used to the handling mechanics.

If you really want to get better, use the previous advice and apply it to something like Forza, Gran Turismo or Project Cars. I typically only use ABS, and slight traction control (when not drifting) but you can also enable racing line and braking assistance if you wish. I prefer full manual transmission to max out the power band but Auto is fine to learn.

Grab a really low power car and a really basic track--doesn't have to be an oval but something that's not too technical. I'd suggest something like front wheel drive just to see how the understeering feels and then work your way up from there. Just drive. If the game has cone markers, like GT, you can use them to start finding the right lines through the course. Also, don't mash the gas out of corners and only use the handbrake for really tight low speed turns an drifting. Getting a car sideways kills speed and it's hard to regain control if you're always at max throttle.

Racing games have long been my favorite, so I've certainly been around a track or two. It's really rewarding to drive fast and clean and start setting fast times.
 

nakedfrog

Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
49,837
2,594
126
IIRC Burnout Paradise was pretty arcadey. I would say load it back up, pick the car with the highest score in handling, and start out by practicing just driving around the city at high speeds before actually starting any races. I don't think I liked GRiD 2 as much.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a pretty solid retro racer IMO, I'd probably be more inclined to recommend it when on sale though.
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,553
81
91
I don't think I'm serious enough for wheel. Maybe someday, but I doubt it. I would call myself a casual gamer who just wants to be good enough to enjoy racing games and finish single player campaigns. I have no interest in being competitive in online racing or the realism/sim that comes with that.

I think Grid 2 is considered to be arcade-y. Burnout Paradise and Dirt are too. So I'm not looking to master Project Cars or Forza. Maybe I need to just stick to Need For Speed titles, which are supposed to be easy and arcade-y (from what I've reading - haven't played them).

What frustrated the hell out of me last night was fish-tailing. My gamepad must be super-sensitive and Grid 2 doesn't have the option to set sensitivity (that I could find).
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,728
3,509
136
A very old Amiga game called Formula 1 Grand Prix (by Microprose) had difficulty options even down to auto-steer and auto-brake, but one of the options enabled a racing line (where on the road you should be driving). Might be worth cranking up an Amiga emulator?
 

DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
2,163
114
106
I don't think I'm serious enough for wheel. Maybe someday, but I doubt it. I would call myself a casual gamer who just wants to be good enough to enjoy racing games and finish single player campaigns. I have no interest in being competitive in online racing or the realism/sim that comes with that.

I think Grid 2 is considered to be arcade-y. Burnout Paradise and Dirt are too. So I'm not looking to master Project Cars or Forza. Maybe I need to just stick to Need For Speed titles, which are supposed to be easy and arcade-y (from what I've reading - haven't played them).

What frustrated the hell out of me last night was fish-tailing. My gamepad must be super-sensitive and Grid 2 doesn't have the option to set sensitivity (that I could find).
It might sound counter-intuitive but try using the Keyboard instead of the controller, you may find it makes it easier to control. That's how I started in Grid 1, eventually a controller replaced that and then a wheel replaced that. Trying with a controller fresh out of the gate was a disaster for me, had to step back before moving forward.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,737
669
126
Oh man, I don't think I've used a KB/mouse in a racing game since NFS II SE in the late 90's lol

I remember when game pads only allowed for 0 or 100% throttle and you had to "feather" the gas in some of the more realistic games. And then came triggers which of course allowed for more precise throttle control. I was actually so used to having a momentary button for the gas that at first I had a hard time with rear tiggers, but that was relatively short lived.

Also, slightly unrelated... I still use inverted Y axis in shooters to this day. Ever since I picked up a controller to play Halo and couldn't figure out how to switch it.
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,553
81
91
learn to brake.
I played more last night and honestly I think this is a big part of my issue: I am braking, which results in losing control of my car.

What worked better (at least for control, not for actually being competitive) was to let off the gas and coast through curves. I ended up spinning out and/or losing control a LOT less.

And yeah, trigger discipline seems to be helping too - I'm not squeezing the throttle trigger to the max...in fact, I held it about 50% which was an odd feeling that will take getting used to.
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,553
81
91
It might sound counter-intuitive but try using the Keyboard instead of the controller, you may find it makes it easier to control. That's how I started in Grid 1, eventually a controller replaced that and then a wheel replaced that. Trying with a controller fresh out of the gate was a disaster for me, had to step back before moving forward.
Hmmm.....I would call my experience with racing games a disaster thus far. I will give this a try. Maybe, I need to take a step back before moving forward just like your experience.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,531
206
106
I don't think I'm serious enough for wheel. Maybe someday, but I doubt it. I would call myself a casual gamer who just wants to be good enough to enjoy racing games and finish single player campaigns. I have no interest in being competitive in online racing or the realism/sim that comes with that.

I think Grid 2 is considered to be arcade-y. Burnout Paradise and Dirt are too. So I'm not looking to master Project Cars or Forza. Maybe I need to just stick to Need For Speed titles, which are supposed to be easy and arcade-y (from what I've reading - haven't played them).

What frustrated the hell out of me last night was fish-tailing. My gamepad must be super-sensitive and Grid 2 doesn't have the option to set sensitivity (that I could find).
Most console titles are tuned for game pads. Grid is sim-lite. Kinda like forza/GT. Dirt 4 is arcade. Dirt Rally 1/2 is sim. Depends on which one you mean. The challenge with game pad is its just really hard to make fine adjustments, you're always over correcting. Wheels give you enough movement that this goes away. However in some sims you can set expo- how sensitive steering is in the center. They may call it steering sensitivity, etc, but essentially if makes the center zone requirement more movement to allow fine control while compressing large movements. Trouble is it can feel like nothing.... nothing.... full lock if turned way up.

Fishtailing though- too much throttle and over correction. Start with a low power FWD car.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,737
669
126
I was never great with hood cams... always preferred to see where the butt of my car is ending up. With full sims and RWD, if you catch the edge of the track you'll likely spin right out. Dirt Rally is especially hard for me in this regard with faster class B cars and whatnot; that is a more challenging experience anyway.

Asetto Corsa is another great sim that supports a lot of fine adjustments--however I don't think I'd start there. Playing that game with a full wheel and feedback takes quite a bit of effort on the player's part. It also doesn't play very well with a regular game pad.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,327
409
126
I played more last night and honestly I think this is a big part of my issue: I am braking, which results in losing control of my car.

What worked better (at least for control, not for actually being competitive) was to let off the gas and coast through curves. I ended up spinning out and/or losing control a LOT less.

And yeah, trigger discipline seems to be helping too - I'm not squeezing the throttle trigger to the max...in fact, I held it about 50% which was an odd feeling that will take getting used to.
Are you trying to brake while in the turn or before the turn? You really should be doing the latter. Also, it's worthwhile to consider how you take a turn in the first place. A U-turn (180-degree turn) is a good example to look at, because you effectively treat the turn line as a parabola. If you start on the outside and turn in toward the inside of the apex and exit on the outside of the lane, you create a significantly easier line in regard to centrifugal forces placed on the car. Going back to the parabola, a wider parabola will be easier to take -- especially if your car lacks upgrades that affect handling -- compared to a tighter parabola.

I adapt that same technique in actual driving during inclement weather. By starting toward the outside and taking a longer turn, I can reduce the forces on my car that would affect my overall traction, which has already been reduced by the rain/snow/whatever.
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,553
81
91
Are you trying to brake while in the turn or before the turn? You really should be doing the latter. Also, it's worthwhile to consider how you take a turn in the first place. A U-turn (180-degree turn) is a good example to look at, because you effectively treat the turn line as a parabola. If you start on the outside and turn in toward the inside of the apex and exit on the outside of the lane, you create a significantly easier line in regard to centrifugal forces placed on the car. Going back to the parabola, a wider parabola will be easier to take -- especially if your car lacks upgrades that affect handling -- compared to a tighter parabola.

I adapt that same technique in actual driving during inclement weather. By starting toward the outside and taking a longer turn, I can reduce the forces on my car that would affect my overall traction, which has already been reduced by the rain/snow/whatever.
I'm breaking during the turn and losing control. I will try breaking before the turn....makes sense. It just seems like the brakes are really touchy in Grid 2 (but it's probably just me).
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,737
669
126
Yea, braking while turning will almost never work well. If you have ABS on, you can typically jam the brakes in a straight line before a turn without too much fuss.

Brake, turn, and then slowly accelerate out of the apex of the turn. If you mash the gas out of a corner in a FWD car, you'll typically understeer, while RWD cars will tend to want to spin out. That's where traction control will come into play.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,327
409
126
I'm breaking during the turn and losing control. I will try breaking before the turn....makes sense. It just seems like the brakes are really touchy in Grid 2 (but it's probably just me).
I don't know if GRID 2 has this feature, but some racing games can provide you with an "optimal race line" that shows the best position to be in. Another large benefit (at least in the games that I've seen) is that they also demonstrate when you should brake by turning the line a different color (usually red). These lines can help you get an idea for around when you should start braking and also when to start accelerating in the turn.
 

Midwayman

Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
5,531
206
106
One thing my HPDE instructors told me starting out is trying using just one control at a time as first. Brake/Throttle/Turn. Pick one. Prevents a lot of end swapping for people not used to driving near the limit.
 

rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
2,553
81
91
I don't know if GRID 2 has this feature, but some racing games can provide you with an "optimal race line" that shows the best position to be in. Another large benefit (at least in the games that I've seen) is that they also demonstrate when you should brake by turning the line a different color (usually red). These lines can help you get an idea for around when you should start braking and also when to start accelerating in the turn.
Grid 2 doesn't have those features. Or if it does, I haven't found a way to enable them. I'm playing on Very Easy lol.

I am getting a little better. One of the things I noticed is that I'm pushing the left stick on the xbox controller upwards when I play. That's likely a natural reaction from playing action games where the left stick is the movement and upwards would be to move forward. But in racing games the left stick steering and pushing it upwards is adversely impacting my steering. I'm finding if I use a lighter touch, I steer better.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
75,873
9,037
126
Practice.
Time off.
More practice.
I hated Test Drive Unlimited the first time I tried it. Went back later. Tried again. Eventually liked it.
When I got the Xbone I slowly acquired all the Forza games I could get my hands on. Eventually learned to like them, one at a time.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
11,009
836
126
i should probably say that the greatest racing game ever made was Wipeout 2
 

Stg-Flame

Platinum Member
Mar 10, 2007
2,759
205
106
If you get frustrated and uninstall, then it's no surprise you're not getting better at racing games. It's also odd that you pinpointed your issue, but you're still asking for assistance.

Practice. There's really nothing else to it except to keep practicing and you'll get better. Very few people wake up and master something immediately - everyone else (yes, all ~7 billion of us) have to practice to become good at things. If you don't keep trying, you'll never get better. So, your best bet would be to get off the internet and get back in the game and just keep trying until you succeed. Then do it again until you get better. Then do it some more.
 

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