Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
12/5/16 6:35 a.m.

Long story short, I've got two boys, ages 9 and 12. Both are very active in sports, but if they had their way they'd want to be race car drivers. My oldest is already planning on how he can make his debut in LeMons as soon as he's old enough.

My 9 year old has some behavior issues at school and we're working on incentives for him. One thing I thought of was iRacing. I tried iRacing, but it was many years ago and I only did it for a very short time. I'm sure it's much different now. I was looking at their website briefly and it said you can play the game using an Xbox 360 controller, which we have. Yes, the long term incentive would be for him and his older brother to earn the proper steering wheel/pedals, seat, etc...but can we really start off with just a $50 iRacing one year membership, my current laptop computer and the Xbox controller? Is there racing that a 9 year old can do and not get eaten alive? For a 9 year old, he's darn good at all the Xbox racing games, and on those rare occasions we take him to do indoor gokarting, he's very fast, but he is just 9 years old.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/5/16 6:44 a.m.

My experience with iRacing is limited to an hour session at a friend's house, but there is an "arcade" mode so you can just drive on the tracks (he only had the Nurburgring running). He has a full wheel/pedal set-up with a seat and it plays on a large flat-screen. It is definitely different in feel to Xbox (on which I've also driven the 'Ring).

I've also heard horror stories of how newbies get destroyed when they try to actually race. I wonder if they have beginner & training races?

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
12/5/16 6:51 a.m.

Would you want to borrow a Logitech G27 wheel setup? I bought it new a few years back and used it to train for Barber and haven't even touched it since. If you want to wait for them to earn it I understand! But mine is sitting in the box in the basement.

You might try a demo on your laptop first though; make sure your hardware is up for it. Also to use the Xbox controller I think you need an adapter of some sort. The charge cable isn't enough.

failboat
failboat UberDork
12/5/16 7:10 a.m.

Sounds like you already have an xbox, is online racing with Forza out of the question? If its a 360, Forza 4 might be kind of dead.

More realistic simulators like iRacing are not that great to play with a controller in my experience (disclaimer, I have not done so with iRacing, but have tried with LFS and rFactor). The biggest thing is you'll lack the force feedback that a wheel provides, which is a huge part of figuring out what the car is doing.

Other suggestions: -PS3/GT6 GRM league racing? Many guys use a controller. Although participation is dwindling, the game is a few years old and many have moved onto other games (myself included to be honest)

-Buy a second hand Logitech G25/G27, pick up a simulator that does not need a subscription to try out. LFS and rFactor you can run with AI cars, and are old enough to run on most computers.

-Keep in mind with any PC simulator, you may spend a few hours getting the force feedback settings dialed in.

iRacing is certainly a game that is still very popular, very active online racing community, lots of mods available. LFS is limited with mods, especially tracks, and the game is pretty old. rFactor is also pretty old but has lots of mods. Assetto Corsa for PC seems to be the next big thing if you like user mods like cars and tracks, but you'll need a powerful PC

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
12/5/16 7:15 a.m.

I figured there had to be something that would be required to make the Xbox controller work, I just didn't get time to look into it yet. I'll check the system requirements for it and compare it to my laptop to make sure it'll work, but I "think" it should be OK.

I'll look into some of those other options, but keep in mind this is for a 9 year old and potentially 12 year old, so we won't be getting into the really fine details like exact feedback and exact car set up. I want to just give him something different than what Forza or whatever it is he has for his Xbox can offer.

duculberson,

The Logitech G27 is the set up I had when I tried iRacing a while back, it was really cool. I'd love to borrow it, but I'm afraid you'd never get it back, so I'd just have to buy it from you. How did you set it up? Did you have the whole seat set up, or put it on a desk?

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
12/5/16 8:27 a.m.

Maybe I'm sneakily making you buy it from me. Actually reading your post made me think it would be nice for someone to get use out of it.

I just had a rolling table I clamped it to and put it in front of a chair. I meant to put together some sort of more permanent seat and wheel mount setup but then the race came and went and we bought the big house and had a baby and with another on the way it will probably be five-ten more years before I'm sim racing again. hehe.

I can ship this thing to you, but don't feel obligated to borrow it.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
12/5/16 8:40 a.m.

There is no reason that kids can't - but it isn't cartoony and it's actually difficult to race well and stay clean, especially on starts. Even with good analog wheels and pedals. There are people who will practice all week for a race and be seriously pissed off if an 8yr old is hooning around doing what kids do with driving games - even if the 8yr old is deadly serious about winning he does not actually know how a car drives or how to manage space so a lot of practice is required. They want the illusion that they are racing pro level seriousness at all times. So, if you are going to allow them to race or run in a live practice make sure they drive like a real race car and never speak in squeaky child voices on the chat. Maybe turn off the chat all together because despite the tone of serious professionalism everyone seems to want - they do not communicate with each other in that way.

That said - my son raised my CR to A level for a while there when he was 13 because he had a lot of time on his hands to become good at it. I crashed it back down to C in no time ;)

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
12/5/16 9:44 a.m.
dculberson wrote: Maybe I'm sneakily making you buy it from me. Actually reading your post made me think it would be nice for someone to get use out of it. I just had a rolling table I clamped it to and put it in front of a chair. I meant to put together some sort of more permanent seat and wheel mount setup but then the race came and went and we bought the big house and had a baby and with another on the way it will probably be five-ten more years before I'm sim racing again. hehe. I can ship this thing to you, but don't feel obligated to borrow it.

OK, if you're going to twist my arm hard enough, I'll borrow it from you. Blame my kids if you never see it again. I'll touch base with you offline and we'll figure out shipping costs and I'll Paypal them to you. Thanks!!!!!

Yeah, that's one of my concerns with this, how "serious" some people take it. While in no way, shape or form would I encourage my kids to hoon on the game (unless they're doing a practice session by themselves), at the end of the day it's a video game. I don't want them to try to ruin anyone elses' day, but if they make a mistake and "bump" into someone, frankly they'll have to get over it. I definitely wouldn't do the chat feature. I'm hoping I could find something where they're racing against other rookies or people who really don't take it that seriously.

jde
jde HalfDork
12/6/16 10:14 a.m.
Klayfish wrote: I figured there had to be something that would be required to make the Xbox controller work, I just didn't get time to look into it yet. I'll check the system requirements for it and compare it to my laptop to make sure it'll work, but I "think" it should be OK.

Use the G27. Running in iRacing with a pad is like using a 10mm combination at the driving range: Yeah, I suppose it works, but far from ideal.

Treat iRacing like you would club racing. There are consequences for falling off track and running into people. And yes, people take it just a serious. Try the free content in RaceRoom, or pick up something like Live For Speed or rFactor cheap to start out.

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
1/9/17 9:56 a.m.

Want to bring this back up to ask another question. Have the Logitech G27 wheel (dculb, gotta send you the rest of the dough, will do shortly). My boys were quite excited. We loaded the basic version of RFactor onto our laptop and have figured out how to do the demo mode, where you are on a track by yourself turning laps. They love it. Don't have them doing a true manual yet, driving it as an automatic, but they're both two foot drivers. Learned that from the go karts. Within a handful of laps, they were turning respectable lap times.

Before I start digging in, anyone know if there are there any simulator games where they can race with other cars on that track that are not live people? i.e. race against computer controlled cars? Can RFactor, Live For Speed, or iRacing do that? I understand the concerns about not wanting to wreck someone else's experience, but I want them to be able to turn laps with other cars on the track. I know Forza, etc... can do that, but can any of the simulators?

failboat
failboat UberDork
1/9/17 11:11 a.m.

I know Rfactor and LFS you can definately add AI cars to your session. Rfactor you can do it in testing mode and you're essentially running hot laps with the AI.

Since you got setup with RFactor, there are a ton of user made mods available for cars and tracks. Anything you can think of.

If you havent already, give it a drive yourself and make sure your force feedback settings feel right. Google can be your friend for finding settings shared by other users to dial things in.

Maybe the Logitech wheels play nicer with the game, but it took me 2-3 hours of fiddling with settings to get my Fanatec wheel to feel right with Rfactor.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/9/17 11:18 a.m.

IIRC iRacing doesn't have AI cars. You can run with other cars during open practise if you get a session that's got a few cars in it.

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
1/10/17 5:58 a.m.

Sorry for the dumb question, but what's an AI car?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
1/10/17 6:05 a.m.
Klayfish wrote: Sorry for the dumb question, but what's an AI car?

Artificial Intelligence - competitors driven by the computer rather than other online players.

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