With the introduction of the Noonan GPL Track Converter, the number of circuits available for GPL approaches 50. Given seven different chassis and three classes, the number of setups required to cover all possibilities is over a thousand! There is no way that I or anyone else can conceivably publish setup collections that are anywhere near complete or comprehensive and also consistent, at least at any time in the near future.
Aware of this prospect, my brother Nate Hine has developed a new program called GPL Race Engineer. This program is designed to assist you in developing new setups and adapting existing setups to new tracks and/or new chassis or classes. With an extensive array of features, GRE makes developing setups faster, easier, and more fun than ever before.
While Nate was developing GRE, I was writing a very comprehensive document called GRE Help. This weighty electronic tome contains an introduction to race car dynamics, a primer on setting up cars for GPL, and extensive reference material.
Together, GRE and GRE Help place a large body of knowledge and experience at your fingertips. They present you with a unique new opportunity to enhance your own understanding of race car behavior in both GPL's virtual world and the real world.
We believe your days of poking around on the Internet for setups and begging people to send you their setups are over.
Go here to read more about GRE, or download it now!
Jay Freel has published a program called "GPL Settings" for viewing and printing setups from outside of GPL. This was the first GPL setup utility I know of.
Ian Withycombe's "GPL Setup" Tool was published in late 1999. It contained a number improvements over Jay's program.
I feel both of these utilities have been rendered obsolete by GPL Race Engineer.
A replay utility makes it possible to compare two laps, which is useful for both driver development and for setup development. For driver development, you can compare your lap with a lap by a superstar driver (see the hot laps links on my links page). For setup development, you can compare two laps with two different setups.
The best replay analysis tool I know of is the superb GPL Replay Analyser, by Jonas Matton and Martin Granberg. GPL RA can extract laps from one or more replays (including replays of online races) and do plots and graphs on up to five selected laps. It has a number of terrific features, including:
- Racing line plot
- Track map with plot of the racing line used by each driver
- Real-time, moving plot of these racing lines
- Speed, gear, and revs at each point
- Zooming, printing
- Graphs of speed, revs, and other "telemetry" parameters
- Time difference graph between two laps
- Map with highlight to quickly locate track section being graphed
- Reports (all are printable)
- Practice lap times
- Race lap times
- Lap charts (practice and race)
- Complete race reports
- File Management
- Drag and drop replay files onto GPL RA
- Double-click on replay files in Windows Explorer
- Search all replay files for a given track
- Extact and save single laps from larger replays
GPL RA is a powerful and extremely useful tool. I use it after many online races to help me understand where I'm losing time to faster drivers, and to evaluate my performance over the course of the race. It's also useful for keeping track of fastest laps for add-on tracks.
Recent versions have added even more useful features. Don't be without this utility!
Two other replay tools are also available, but have been obsoleted by GPL Replay Analyser. Juha Kallioinen's GPLDump shows graphs of two laps, with an option time difference which helps to indicate where one lap loses time against the other.
GPL Spy Girl, available from the GPL Utilities area at The Pits, combines a lap from each of two replays into a single replay file, which can then be viewed in GPL. If you use GPL Spy Girl and GPL Replay Analyser, see the sidebar about a compatibility issue.
GPL Carset Manager makes the installation of the GPLEA cars and options (like 2D wheels and helmets) quick and easy.
Get GPLCSM from the GPL Workshop. Make sure you also download and read the Complete Idiot's Guide to GPLCSM; this makes it much easier to figure out how to get GPLCSM working to your best advantage.
Kari Ikonen has written a utility known as AI Tweaker which provides a slick Windows-based interface to the various initialization file parameters which control the speed of GPL's AI cars. With this utiliity, you can control the speed of GPL's AI cars so you can race with them while you learn, even if you do not have the talent of a Jim Clark or a Dan Gurney. AI Tweaker can be downloaded from The Pits.
Note: if you can't get to the US server for The Pits, try here. This is the Norway server for The Pits.
Eric Kundl has written a utility called PBFVue which allows you to quickly view the PBF files produced by GPL when you take a screen shot (by pressing the Print Screen key). PBFVue can also crop the image and save it in any of several common formats, such as JPEG, pcx, bmp, or Tiff. Download PBFVue here (501 kb). The old version is here (416 kb).