Indycar Racing II, from Papyrus (now part of Sierra), is a terrific computer racing simulation. The latest version, enhanced to use the 3D capabilities of the Rendition 3D chipset, is simply incredible. The graphics, the realism of the cars and tracks, and the realism of the car's response to your inputs simply has to be experienced to be believed.
In racing simulations, frame rate is critical. Unless you have a very fast CPU or turn off a lot of graphics detail, most sims render the action with an unacceptable choppiness that makes it difficult to drive. Not so with Rendition-ready ICR2. With a Rendition 3D video card on a P-133, you can turn all the graphics details on and still get a frame rate of around 30 fps. In addition the cars, tracks, and scenery look fantastic (at least in the tracks that have been reworked to take advantage of the 3D rendering engine).
Note: check here for some information about running ICR2 on the newer Rendition 2x00 3D cards.
Most importantly, Papyrus' vehicle dynamics engine - the part of the sim that controls the car's behavior as you drive it - is the best, most realistic of all the sims. Most other "sims" are really arcade games, whose driving model only roughly approximates real-world physics. Papyrus is the only computer sim manufacturer to date that has really gotten this right, in my opinion.
My varied racing experience has given me a good idea of how race cars should behave at the limit - and beyond. Papyrus' implementation of vehicle dynamics in ICR2 is almost eerily realistic. Understeer, oversteer, shifts in balance due to power- and brake-induced weight transfer, as well as powerslides, slow spins, fast spins, rebound from soft or hard contact with opponents or walls, crash behavior; it's all here, all magnificently rendered with uncanny accuracy.
A number of resourceful Web netizens have developed enhancements for racing sims and have made these enhancements available on the Web, most of them for free.
ICR2 is perhaps the most-modified sim of all. Using free and legal enhancements available from various Web sites, you can make some terrific enhancements to ICR2. Here are some of the enhancements you can get from the Web for free:
Check out my favorite links to Web resources for these and other enhancements.
Despite more recent releases of other sims, ICR2 remains my favorite sim. For more detailed information about ICR2, see my detailed description, previously published on Thunder Valley Racing. Also see my note on the re-release of ICR2 as CART Racing.
If you buy ICR2, you might like to race with me. If you want to try the non-Rendition version of this excellent sim, you can download the Indycar Racing 2 demo from The Games Domain.
Note: Most Rendition-based 3D cards, including Sierra's Screamin' 3D, Intergraph's Intense 3D, Canopus' Total3D, and I/O Magic's Magic Video are bundled with the Rendition-enhanced version of IndyCar Racing 2. Papyrus' newly released CART Racing is also said to include the Rendition-ready version of ICR2.
See my techical requirements section for more information on Rendition-based 3D cards.