VROC: Virtual Racers' Online Connection

Notes on core.ini

The following was posted recently by Alison in response to some questions (in blue) on a GPL-related mailing list.

Should the core.ini still have:

[ Task ]
synch_method = 1     ; Client synch method

Synch method 1 is the default for GPL 1.1 and 1.2, so strictly speaking, this line can be omitted. Make sure you also uncheck the Use Old Synch Method box in WinVROC or JavaVROC.

Also, won't the following only work with cable modem?

[ Communications ]
disable_modem = 1   ; 0 = Modem enabled *  1 = Modem disabled

This disables GPL's probing of the modem at startup. The modem is only used by GPL for direct modem connections; ie if you want to have GPL dial into another computer directly. It's not needed for Internet-based racing, so disabling the modem makes GPL start up a little faster.

alternate_ip_addr_lookup = 1  
         ; 0 = No alternate lookup *  1 = Use alternate way

This is only needed if GPL can't find your IP address without it. Usually people with analog connections don't need it, although some people on AOL do need it. Cable modem users often need it.

In general, if you're racing through VROC, you don't need to worry too much about core.ini settings, except for force feedback or other special items. JavaVROC and WinVROC set your core.ini settings for you. Even the bandwidth on all clients is set to the value that is optimal for most racing (84/3) unless the host chooses to allow your core.ini settings to take over.

The core.ini file was essential with VROC 1/GSB 1/GPL 1.0 because it was the only way to set bandwidth to values that allowed racing on the Internet, and it was useful with GPL 1.1 because many people used it to override the faulty Synch Method 1 in GPL 1.1.

Because of this history, I have the feeling that core.ini came to be seen as a "magic bullet". This perception was strengthened in the early days of GPL 1.1 because a core.ini was needed to address the problems with SM 1 in GPL 1.1 by switching to SM 0. Later, the Use Old Synch Method checkboxes were put into GSB and VROC, and it was no longer necessary to use core.ini for this.

In GPL 1.2, with WinVROC and JavaVROC 2, these concerns are no longer an issue. By default, JavaVROC and WinVROC automatically set the bandwidth for all clients and servers, and for most people, SM 1 works far better than SM 0. The few people who still seem to do better with SM 0 can still select SM 0 in WinVROC and JavaVROC.

Bart Westra's core.ini files are excellent for perusing if you want to understand the various things you can do with the parameters in core.ini, but you don't need to slap in some core.ini file willy-nilly just to race online.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that if you are racing outside of VROC, you'll want to set your bandwidth to a value that will keep the data stream to a manageable size. We've found that 84/3 works best for racing if analog modems are involved.

It works best if the server and all clients use the same bandwidth settings. That's why, by default, WinVROC and JavaVROC automatically set all clients to the server's bandwidth. You can tell what bandwidth settings the host has specified in the Server pane in WinVROC.

So essentially, except for specialty items like FF, alternate IP address lookup, or replay memory override, if you're racing on VROC, a core.ini isn't really critical or even necessary.