VROC: Virtual Racers' Online Connection


I get an error when I try to install the patch

This is probably because you've modified your GPL executable. This occurs with some of the third party patches, such as the sound patch which allows seven engine sounds.

The patch will only install over the original GPL.EXE. You do not need to re-install GPL, however. Simply copy the original GPL.EXE in place over the modified GPL.EXE, and re-install the GPL patch.

Once you've done this, do not install any third party patches intended for GPL 1.0 and which modify GPL.EXE! Wait for the third parties to release patches intended for GPL 1.1.

What core.ini file do I use with the patch?

If you race on VROC 2.0, you don't need to use a core.ini file unless you want to do one of the following:

You can Download the core.ini file currently being used by Alison Hine.

Does replay memory setting in core.ini still work in 1.1?

"I've got a 64 meg machine and have had it set at 10000 (10 meg) for GPL 1.0. This option does not work for me in 1.1."

Eric Busch says: "You need to put it under a [ Replay ] header, like so:

[ Replay ]
replayMemoryOverride = 10000

I have a Force Feedback controller but it doesn't work with the GPL patch

Simply insert these lines in your core.ini:

[ Joy ]
allow_force_feedback = 1    ;

From the GPL 1.1 readme:

"Additionally, there are (of course) some things to fiddle around with. Three other lines can be added--these are the default values used if these lines are missing:

force_feedback_latency = 0.085  ; in seconds
force_feedback_damping = 40.0   ; magic number
max_steering_torque = 225.0     ; in Newton-inches (???!!@#)

"force_feedback_latency can be used to try to reduce the lag in force buildup. If you swerve back and forth at speed, you might notice that the force does not seem to match what the car is doing--it is a little out of phase. The default value seems to work best with the Microsoft wheel, other wheels may require some tweaking. Generally, the lowest number that works for you is probably best. Try 0.0, then move it up if the force seems out of phase. If you set it too high, you will begin to get unwanted spikes in the force levels.

"force_feedback_damping can be used to counteract the unwanted spikes. Guidelines for this number? Try anything from 0.0 to several hundred, maybe, but this also causes jumpiness if raised to excess.

"max_steering_torque is the level of torque actually computed in the game that will give the maximum force level on the device. Setting this to a higher number will reduce the force you feel. Setting this lower will increase the forces you feel, but will tend to clamp them, so you will not feel the car loading up on a hill, etc. Sorry about the bogus units (although they are at least a unit of torque)."

Also, Eric Cote, who is delighted with his Logitech FF wheel, recommends turning off "Enabling Centering Spring".

Can I use my old pedals with a FF wheel in GPL?

David Cook has a Force RS wheel which he is using with TSW pedals. He writes. "The Force RS is plugged into my USB port and the wheel runs fine without the pedals connected. My TSW2 wheel is under my desk - it and the pedals are connected to my game port. The Force RS needs to be Contoller #1 and the TSW will be #2. GPL sees them both."

I have a Voodoo 2 and my frame rate is poor. What can I do?

David Cook writes: "I'm running a P2400 w/64MB Ram and a 12MB Voodoo2, and am using an Act Labs USB FF wheel with TSW2 pedals.

"I run GPL with the following Graphics settings:

  • Resolution: 800x600
  • 3D Accelerator: 3DFX
  • Detail Bias: 50%
  • Mirror Detail: Cars and Track*
  • Trackside Objects: All
  • All features checked

"* IMPORTANT: Get George M. Smiley's Glide Wrapper. Put it in your main GPL directory along with Glide.INI.

In Glide.INI I have these settings:
GPL Override=0

"In my opinion the gain in fps in front of me is well worth the trade off for the decrease in screen frequency in my mirrors."

GPL used to run at 36 fps but with the patch it always runs at 25 fps

Stephen LaPalme writes: "I just discovered something interesting with the 1.1 patch and SLOW mode (25 fps). Some people have mentioned that establishing a connection with a dial-up modem cured the slow mode problem. I am on cable which is always connected to the Internet so I figured that could not be problem. For a last resort I dialed into my account, fired up GPL for an offline race and no more slow mode - the new GPL 1.1 ran at a sold 36 - 37 fps rate - ye ha!

"Next I tried disabling the modem in the system control panel for all hardware profiles under Windows 98 and now no more slow mode and no dial-up connection needed. Only problem if you want to use your modem or fax you must reboot since enabling and disabling hardware profiles requires a reboot.

Eric Busch advised: "While it likely will not help the off-line situation, going back to the GPL 1.0 defaults of "clock_adj_delay=12" and "sync_method=0" have fixed the on-line frame rate fluctuations for many.' [See below - ed.]

Stephen said, "Disabling the modem in the control panel and using Eric's suggestion has completely cured all of my offline and online (host or client) problems. My system now runs at a rock solid 36-37 fps. Also the connections seemed great, better then GPL 1.0. People on the race that I hosted said the connection was excellent. I am on a fast cable modem - WinVROC ping was 2 / 2 / 2.

"If you are having problems try the above two fixes - good luck and happy racing!"

When I join a race online, my frame rate varies wildy from 18 to 40 fps

I believe this is associated with a new client-server clock synchronization strategy incorporated in GPL 1.1. For some people, this new strategy works much better than the old one, eliminating clock smashes and associated problems.

However, for others, the new sync method can cause extreme frame rate variation when racing online, particularly when the server's CPU is at or near full occupancy or when the route between the client and the server is afflicted with highly variable latency.

If this happens to you, simply switch back to the sync method used by GPL 1.0. To do this, add these lines to your core.ini:

[ Task ]
synch_method = 0        ; Client synch method

If you don't have a core.ini, use Notepad to create one. Create it in your GPL folder, which is by default C:\SIERRA\games\gpl.

You may also wish to experiment with the clock adjust delay frequency. Insert these lines in your core.ini:

[ Communications ]
clock_adj_delay = 4    ; How often may client adjust clock?

The default value for GPL 1.1 is 4; the default for GPL 1.0 was 12. I believe 8 is also a good value to try. The GPL 1.1 readme says "Lower values would generally cause more frame stuttering and fewer clock smashes, and higher values would generally cause the opposite."

When I host a race online, my clients complain of variable frame rate

Your clients are probably experiencing the side effects of variable latency on your link to them or CPU overload on your machine. These effects can be exacerbated by GPL 1.1's new sync method.

A GPL host cannot impact the client's sync method; each client determines its own sync method depending on what's in (or not in) its core.ini. Your clients can easily switch to the sync method used by GPL 1.0. See above for details.

You as a GPL host can have a great deal of impact on whether or not your clients experience difficulties frame rate variations and/or clock smashes and frame stuttering. If your GPL server machine is running at or near maximum CPU utilization, or its connection to the Internet produces variable latency, clients are likely to experience these synchronization problems.

When you are hosting GPL, you should always run your machine so your are getting a solid 36 fps, and you should do your best to optimize your Internet connections. See the VROC Help pages for more information.

The cars are now much [ easier | harder ] to drive. Did Papyrus change the physics?

Previously, we stated that Papyrus did not make any changes to the physics in GPL 1.1. We were wrong.

We have learned that Papyrus did make two very subtle changes to the physics, in addition to the changes we previously discussed. Here is a list of all of the changes impacting car control and behavior of which we are aware. We are assured that this is a complete list:

Ride height. Papyrus changed the minimum ride height from 1.0 to 2.5 inches. Depending on your driving style and the setups you are using, running at 2.5 inches can make the cars seem either harder to drive or easier to drive.

Steering response. Papyrus made a small change to the steering to optimize behavior with Force Feedback. Some drivers experience this as a slightly softer steering response, while others notice no difference at all. Setup adjustments can be used to offset the impact of this change.

Tire calculation. Papyrus changed one calculation relating to the responsiveness of the tires. This is not a change in overall grip, and it is not intended to make the cars easier or more difficult to drive. Its sole intent is to make the tire behavior more closely approximate the behavior of tires in the real world.

GPL 1.0 very slightly exaggerated the reduction in available lateral grip which occurs when longitudinal forces are applied through braking or acceleration. GPL 1.1's calculation more closely matches real world behavior, although the difference between GPL 1.0 and 1.1 is very small.

Spring/damper interaction. Papyrus made a small change to the interaction between the springs and dampers. This change makes the GPL cars' suspension characteristics more closely approximate the behavior of real cars. The net effect is a very small reduction in damping.

At this time, it is expected that the last three changes will also be found in future Papyrus sims based on the GPL physics model.