Audio and Visual Enhancements
Note that I haven't tried all of the sounds and graphical enhancements listed on this page. Be careful; while it's usually safe to simply unzip files into appropriate folders, be sure back up your GPL player folders before you run custom installation programs. Use at your own risk!
Consider upgrading to a newer PCI sound card (specifically, the SoundBlaster Live! Value). This is an inexpensive upgrade that has a number of advantages, not the least of which is a significant recovery of available CPU power, which is of great benefit in GPL.
New! You can now download Alison's Favorite Sounds v 1.1. This is a 1.38 mb Zip archive containing the sounds I am currently using (as of 2/4/99) for GPL's engines, plus a few alternate engine sounds. This Zip also contains revised skid sounds and Tom Pabst's grass sound.
This new collection takes advantage of Nigel Pattinson's Carsound utility, which patches GPL to permit a different engine sound for each of GPL's seven different GP engines. The result is a spectacular chorus of diverse and wonderful engine sounds.
Without modifying GPL, you can enjoy five terrific GP engine sounds and a fantastic sound for the Advanced and Basic Trainers. To take full advantage of all seven GP engine sounds in the collection, you'll need to patch GPL with Nigel Pattinson's Carsound utility, available from The Pits.
See the readme file inside the Zip archive for installation instructions. You'll need WinZip or some other utility to unzip the archive.
Note: the original 972 kb Zip archive containing the sound files I originally posted on 10/28/99 are still available here. Simply unzip this into your SIERRA\gpl\sounds folder and enjoy. To de-install, delete all files except sound.dat.
In my opinion, one of GPL's weak points is the engine sounds. While some of them are good, and at least one (the Cosworth) is from a sample of a real engine, GPL just never quite reproduced for me the incredible raw, gut-wrenching, eardrum-shredding sensations that I've experienced at real race tracks.
David Mocnay turned me on to some fantastic engine sounds for GPL by Patrick. I am stunned at the difference these engine sounds make in the sensations of driving the cars in GPL and of watching the cars go around from the TV views. With all the glorious raspiness, whines, burbles and gutteral thunder of real engines, these sounds are magnificent from inside the car, and maybe even better when watching from outside.
Patrick has skillfully processed recordings of real engines and applied them appropriately to the cars in GPL. Sources include a Ferrari 512S V12, a Maserati 250F, a Jaguar D-Type, and a Ferrari 250 GTO V12. My personal favorite is a 1953 BRM V16, which howls like a banshee. I also love the sound Patrick uses for the Brabham and Honda, which has a lovely visceral grunt that evokes the memory of the real '67 Brabham-Repco which I was privileged to hear last summer. Hell, I love 'em all!
I strongly recommend Patrick's add-on, which is only 677kb and applies in a jiffy, without an installer. It's also quite simple to remove, since it is comprised of just the necessary wave files.
With Patrick's sounds, and the volume turned up, GPL creates the raw, brutal, visceral audio experience that I've previously encountered only at real-life racing circuits.
If you haven't yet connected your sound card to your home stereo, now is the time!
Next Generation Ferrari and Cosworth
Using the same techniques pioneered by Patrick, Thomas Brown has developed superb new sounds for the Cosworth (also used by the Eagle) and the Ferrari. The latter is from a 3-liter V12 312P Ferrari sports car of the same era as GPL's Ferrari 312 GP car, and it has that fabulous Ferrari sound. It's the most authentic-sounding and best sound for the Ferrari yet, IMHO. Patrick's Cosworth sound is also my new favorite for the Lotus and Eagle.
You can download Thomas Brown's superb sounds from the Fast Lane.
Eric Cote has developed a new Ferrari sound by increasing the pitch of the sound which came with GPL. He's also developed a Honda sound. You can download these here.
Meatwater has developed assorted revised sounds for GPL: louder crowd, quieter gearshift, different tire skid, Weslake and Repco engine sounds, silenced static, and revisions to some of the impact sounds.
Joe Lafrite (also known as KOTR) has created a sound patch with different engine sounds for each engine in GPL. This requires patching your GPL.EXE with a tool developed by Nigel Pattinson (available at Joe's site).
Engine sounds by Arne Martin are available at The APEX. Some of these were my favorites until I discovered Patrick's.
Cyril Montallier has processed GPL's Cosworth and Ferrari sounds, smoothing them out so they are less distorted when used with certain sound cards. These also seem to help cut the static which occurs when GPL is run on some sound cars under Windows 98.
The Grand Prix Legends Preservation Society (also known as the GPLEA) has great new graphics for the Lotus, Brabham and Ferrari, and promises more to come. These are stunning improvements on the original Papyrus renditions of these cars. The Lotus also features beatiful 3D wheels.
Working with files developed by the GPLEA, the Tyre Barn has published some superb new 3D wheels for all of the GPL cars. These 3D wheels replace the "stock" papyrus one-dimensional disk-type wheels. I especially like Mark Ide's beautifully realistic renditions of the original 1967 type wheels.
The Cockpit Shop has revised and enhanced cockpits for the cars in GPL, including much nicer-looking instrument panels, logos for the steering wheels, and other improvements.
Arne Martin has created new textures to enhance several of the original Papyrus tracks for GPL.
Joe Lafrite created a '67 carset with paint jobs (including Honda and Cooper) which look better and seem more authentic to me than the originals in GPL. Joe also had carsets with paint jobs from other seasons, some by other artists, and other graphics enhancements. I've been using an earlier '67 carset of Joe's and like it quite a lot.
Joe's carsets required the use of a utility called GPLSeasons, which was available at Joe's site.
Joe has joined the GPLEA. His old Web site has been superceded by the GPLEA site. I believe some of his earlier work is still available at The Pits and The Fast Lane. Hopefully even better versions of his previous carsets will soon be available from the GPLEA.
Assorted paint jobs for the GPL cars by Christian Roy, Bruce Kennewell, Bill Tillman, David Layton and many others are available at The Fast Lane, GPLEA, The Pits, Turn 1 and The APEX.
Bill Tillman also has beautiful maps and program covers for many of the tracks, including many of the new and converted tracks at his Turn 1 site.
Several of the above add-ons come wrapped in install utilities which unpack the appropriate .dat files in GPL, insert the new sound or graphics files, and pack up the .dat files again. However, I prefer add-ons which contain the sound or graphics files in native form (i.e. .wav, .mip, .pbf or whatever) so that I can swap in or out the files that I like and omit the ones I don't.
Note that when GPL launches, it searches first for each file in the folder where that file's dat file resides. If it finds the file, it uses it; if not, then it looks inside the dat file and uses the version it finds there.
For example, if I put a file called ferrari.wav in my gpl\sound folder, GPL will use that sound sample for the Ferrari instead of the sound in the sound.dat file. The same is true of graphics files; if I put a file called bra4.mip into gpl\cars\cars\cars67 then my Brabham will look like whatever is in my new bra4.mip.
Therefore there's no need to pack the new sound or graphics files into dat files, unless the supplier of the add-on forces you to do so by requiring an installation utility.
Be careful when installing new patches if you've already installed patches using an installer utility. It's conceivable that the existing and new patches might not be compatible. If in doubt, back out the earlier patches before you install the new ones. Don't panic; if you create a monster, you can always retrieve the original files from the GPL CD-ROM, or even do a full re-install.