Formula 1 Racing Simulation

Racing on Kali

After struggling with connection difficulties - and being distracted testing the spectacular new Grand Prix Legends - I've given up racing F1RS online. I was using the Kali95 client software and meeting up with other racers at the Kali "Where to Race" server. I believe some racers are continuing to race F1RS over Kali. If you'd like to try to join them, here's a collection of knowledge I gathered during my participation in this racing.

Note: at this time, with more than two players, F1RS is far from stable on Kali. If you plan to try to race on line, be sure you read my tips on staying connected!


Hardware. You'll want a 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics video card (not Voodoo Rush!), since most people on Kali seem to be racing the Voodoo version of F1RS and there seem to be compatibility problems between the D3D version and the Voodoo version in networked play. I got a Guillemot Maxi Gamer 3D at Electronics Boutique for $150 in late December 1997, and Diamond Monster 3D and Canopus Pure 3D cards are going for $180 as of this writing.

If you get the Maxi Gamer, you may need to use other drivers to get the Ubi Soft installer to realize that you have a Voodoo Graphics card. Try the default DirectX 5 drivers, or the Monster 3D drivers available for free from the Diamond web site.

Software. Read the tips page at Formula 1 Online Racing, and download and apply the latest F1RS patch from Ubi Soft. Also get some setups if you haven't developed your own; see links to F1RS sites on my main F1RS page.

Also see my tips page for more info on configuring F1RS. If you turn off the CD track music and apply the no-movie patch available at The Unofficial F1 Racing Sim Page, your online racing friends will thank you, because the game will start faster and load tracks faster. Doing a full install will also speed things up greatly, and installing the no-movie patch cuts the disk space consumed by over 20 mb.

Setting up Kali95 for F1RS

You'll need to join Kali and download their latest Kali95 client software from their site. For $20, the lifetime membership is a steal.

Once you're running Kali95 on your system, and linked to the Internet via your ISP, you'll need to create a launcher for F1RS. Right-click on the large black bar at the bottom of the Kali95 window, and select a tab for a launcher sheet that's not currently in use. Fill in the fields as follows:

 Menu Title:    
 Program:    Include the path to your F1RS installation
 Arguments:    Leave empty
 Directory:    The path to your F1RS installation
 Built in Icon:    
   Allow Kali to drop packets  Leave unchecked
   Drop packets that are out of order  Leave unchecked
 Icon:    Include the path to your F1RS installation

Make sure you uncheck the boxes which allow Kali to drop packets! At this time, F1RS seems very intolerant of dropped packets, unfortunately. Click OK to save these settings. You should see a button with the F1 logo appear in the dark bar at the bottom of the Kali95 window.

You'll also want to set up information about yourself, if you didn't when you installed Kali. Pull down the File menu, then click Settings, and fill in the appropriate fields.

Finding a Race Online

Now find the "Where to Race" server in the upper left-hand window and double-click on it. You can chat with other people in its chat room. Good times to find F1RS racers seem to be 9 PM EST in the US, and 8 PM CET (2 PM EST) in Europe. Pay close attention to the ping times of potential racing partners. Anything below 300 ms is great, while times above 600 ms are likely to cause severe warping. This means that their car will jump around maniacally on the track, one minute a hundred meters away and the next minute practically in your cockpit. Not a good thing!

Once you find one or two people ready to race F1RS, decide who is to be the host, and agree on the track and options such as race length, driver aids, and, if you're using AI cars, skill level. I recommend trying it first without AI cars since they add to the networking load and can increase warping, but try them if you like.

When choosing the person to host the game, choose someone who has a good ping time to all the other players. This will minimize warping.

Starting an Online Race

When everyone is ready, launch F1RS by clicking on your F1RS button. Note: you must launch F1RS this way. Otherwise Kali will not be able to wrap up its IPX packets and send them across the Internet, and you'll never see the other players.

Once inside F1RS click on Multiplayer. Choose Network, enter your name, and click OK.

Hosting. If you're the host for this race, create a game and wait for the other player(s) to appear in your Players window. When they're all in, click OK, set the Options for the race (level of difficulty, damage, number of AI cars, race length, etc.) and click OK to proceed to the Race menu to load your setup. Then click OK to start the race, and wait for everyone to join you.

When you're waiting on the grid, if you're the host, you can hit escape to bypass the long slow review of the grid positions. But if you're not the host, don't hit escape or you'll drop out of the game.

Joining a Game. If you're not the host, wait for the host's game to appear in the Games window, click on the game name, and then quickly click on the OK button. Now do nothing until you are returned to the Main Menu. Then you can change things in Options or Configure if you want, but keep a sharp eye out for a little stopwatch in the upper right-hand corner. Once it appears, you'll have 10 seconds to click OK and move to the next screen. Don't get impatient and click extra times, or you may wind up going straight to the race without getting a chance to load your setup!

When you get to the Race menu, you'll be able to load your setup (have one ready). Again wait for the stopwatch, and then click OK and go!


Dropped TCP/IP Packets. I've had some trouble with getting dropped from games, and it's not uncommon to get shunted straight to the grid without getting a chance to load your setup. Using the conservative packet settings I recommend above should minimize this, and following my tips for staying connected, below, should help too. Hopefully future releases of F1RS patches and Kali95 updates will improve things.

Getting Stuck in Voodoo Mode. Sometimes if someone leaves F1RS chat suddenly, it can cause your F1RS to crash. This can leave you stuck in Voodoo mode, where the display is showing the last thing you saw in F1RS but really your computer is back in Windows. The only way I've found out of this is to reboot Windows. If anyone knows of a way out of Voodoo mode when the Glide application has quit ungracefully, please email me and let me know! I'll post it here.


Staying Connected. The existing implementation of networked play in F1RS leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from poorly designed menus and connection sequence, it seems to be very sensitive to the slightest mis-step. While two-player races seem to be reasonably stable, instability goes up exponentially as players join. Here are some hints on staying connected.

Make sure you've set up Kali to not drop packets! See above for details.

Don't click anything you don't have to! Once you've joined a game, if you're not the host, let the host run everything! Click nothing in the main menu except the OK button, and click that only after the stopwatch appears. Click only once on the OK button on the track map screen.

Once you get to the race menu, click only enough to load your setup. Wait for the stopwatch before you click OK!

If you're the host, also follow the rule to keep clicking to a minimum. If you can, choose the track, select the mode, and set the race options in single-player mode before you start the multiplayer session. If you must change them once people have joined your session, keep it simple, and only go where you have to go. Don't change anything you don't absolutely have to.

Be patient! If nothing happens when you click OK, wait a while! It takes time for the game to sense the other players' responses, and decide to go forward.

On some machines, the game will fail to sense a mouse click unless you've moved the mouse a little first. If yours is like this, get in the habit of moving the mouse cursor a little each time before you click.

Keep chat within F1RS to a minimum. The only safe time to chat seems to be before the session is started. If you must chat once the session is started, leave immediately when you're done. If you're the host, make sure everyone leaves the chat before you go the grid; otherwise, they are likely to drop like flies and you'll wind up racing alone.

If you find yourself having continuing troubles, exit F1RS, wait a moment for Windows to rearrange your swap space, and launch F1RS from within Kali again. If all else fails, shut down Kali, log off your ISP, and reboot.

Race Options. For your first online races, I suggest using Amateur level so you can select the No Damage option. There's nothing more frustrating than to have a wheel taken off on the first corner and have to watch the rest of those lousy bums race around having a blast while you're stuck at the side of the road! For the same reason, and also to reduce warping, I suggest omitting computer cars and racing only against your human opponents, at least until you've gotten used to online racing.

Races in progress. The eighth button from the left at the top of Kali is named "Games". Click this to see everyone connected to the server, even those who've left the chat and are currently playing a game. If you see someone running f1voo, they are either getting ready to race F1RS or are in a race. If they are preparing to race, you might be able to join them if you launch your F1RS quickly. If their race is already in progress, you won't be able to join them, but perhaps they will come back to the Kali chat when they're done and you can join them for a new race.

F1RS Chat. Once you're connected to a game in F1RS, you can chat with other players using F1RS' built-in chat capability. Just click on the little envelope in the lower left-hand corner to get the chat window. If the little light beside it lights up, that means someone has sent a message via this chat service. This chat is especially useful after a race to see if the participants want to stage another race, and to decide what track to race at next. By convention, when a race is over, the host starts a new game and when the other players join it, everyone gathers in the F1RS chat to decide if they want to go again, and where.

Kali Chat. You can return to Kali chat without exiting F1RS. This will enable you to restart more quickly when you find someone else to race with. It will also let you go looking for a fellow player who got lost from your race. If the race hasn't started, you can keep F1RS running, go to Kali chat and look for him or her, make contact via Kali chat, and invite him/her back into the race. Someone did this for me, and I very much appreciated it.

To do this, first suspend F1RS by pressing ALT+TAB, or ALT+ENTER, or CTL+ESC. Then go back into Kali, pull down the Chat menu, and click on Chat Mode. Now you can talk with anyone in that server's chat room. When you're done, leave Kali chat so that someone doesn't page you while you are going through Eau Rouge at 170 mph (very bad!) and reactivate F1RS by clicking on it in the Taskbar.

Sharing Files. You can share setup files or other files with other players through Kali. The best way is with a Special Offer. In Kali, pull down the File menu and click on Special Offer. Choose the people you want to share your file with, and specify the file.