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Psychology of Rally - questions and a video

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Driving update:

I must be improving, because the stages are getting harder. I was beaten up this week by Spain, Argentina, Wales, New England, Australia and Poland. Each had their own lessons to teach me, and oh boy, did I learn them over and over.

One Challenge Stage I drove on Wednesday managed to stand out more than the others and prompted some questions that experienced folks might be inclined to chime in on.

  • Do you ever just abandon a stage before terminal damage? If so, how often would you estimate that you do so?
  • Do you ever have points in a stage when you take one too many seconds after your car has ended up somewhere off the road, or you made a miscalculation and thought "Maybe today is not the day for this stage."? 
  • How does your driving change after you've had a setback and realize this stage is way more than you thought? (if that ever happens to anyone else?
  • Does anyone else find that there's always a "boss" at the end of stages right before the finish? Maybe I'm just too fast trying to get to the end of the stage, but I find that somewhere in the last leg, there's a corner combo or a stand of trees or a stray boulder that wait to throw you off your race.

That's where I put together this video, which is part Rally stage replay and part narration. There's the doubt, and then the wipeout at the end. I'm so glad they don't expect your car to only go through those little gates at finish :D

 

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1 hour ago, EggBerry said:
  • Do you ever just abandon a stage before terminal damage? If so, how often would you estimate that you do so?
  • Do you ever have points in a stage when you take one too many seconds after your car has ended up somewhere off the road, or you made a miscalculation and thought "Maybe today is not the day for this stage."? 
  • How does your driving change after you've had a setback and realize this stage is way more than you thought? (if that ever happens to anyone else?
  • Does anyone else find that there's always a "boss" at the end of stages right before the finish? Maybe I'm just too fast trying to get to the end of the stage, but I find that somewhere in the last leg, there's a corner combo or a stand of trees or a stray boulder that wait to throw you off your race.

Disclaimer: I'm not a top rally driver, I'm usually 10-20 seconds off the top time in leaderboards for time trial.

1.) No, never, although I'll restart sometimes.  I try to roll with the punches, that's rally.

2.) No, not really?  If it's a stage I'm unfamiliar with, I'll generally try a full speed run right off the bat to note any particular trouble points or spots where I feel the corner call is bad, and then I may do a low speed recce to try to get a better handle on some stuff like that.  Some stages I just struggle with overall, I suppose, and I'm pretty garbage on all tarmac rallies (spain, germany) due to not really being able to wrap my head around the weird tarmac physics.

3.) I guess the aforementioned recce and more attempts at identifying trouble points and learning the corners leading to them so I can be ready when Phil calls what's actually a 2 left over crest as a 4 left.  Some stages have problems with what I'd call incorrect calls (Poland has a lot of these, either a 2 called a 4 or just missing critical information like a caution keep in or something like that) or calls that just come too late (Scotland for example has a good number of these where even with the earliest call time, you're already on top of a blind corner before Phil even says the number of the corner.  Just gotta memorize these.)  I am somewhat bothered by the need to almost outright memorize certain stages due to the calls just not lining up with what I'd ever call them as, and I wish you could edit pace notes without using weird 3rd party programs that I don't want to bother with.

4.) A couple stages have a nasty corner combo right before the finish (that 4 right with a cliff to the left in Greece right before the finish line that's only a 4 right on the best line and a 2-3 right if you're not on that for example) but the ones that usually cause me more trouble are generally more in the middle of the stage I think.  HOWEVER: the slowdown area on some stages is absolutely nightmarish if you're going full speed across the finish.  If I'm not doing time trials, I wreck a distressing number of times in the slow down areas and I swear that no sane rally organizer would do some of those time control areas.  They're obnoxious.

The main suggestions I'd have to keep getting better are

1.) wheel rotation to 540 DOR if it's not already
2.) Go slower than you want to and build speed over time as you build skill rather than going McRae Flat Out all the time when you're learning.  It's way more satisfying to complete a stage really well but 20 seconds slower than you wish you went than it is to continually wreck because you're going faster than you're capable of.  Speed comes with practice. 
3.) Learn weight transfer.  DR 2.0 has pretty good weight transfer mechanics and honestly that's a massive amount of what gets you around corners, be it on-throttle braking, scandi flicks, or umpteen other things.  Practice that stuff. 
4.) Read this if you haven't (assuming the forum doesn't eat the link - it's almost all relevant in DR 2.0: Rally Driving Tips

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I don't have any answers (ok.....apart from that I always try to finish a stage or restart it if possible, and yes, I can drive a decent stage for the first 80% or so then have a spin or run off just before the finish). Maybe at this part of the stage I should drive more conservatively but I always want to push it for the 'big finish'. Or maybe I'm just getting a bit finishing gate happy and lose a bit of concentration.

I really enjoyed the video.......hope that you do more....... maybe showing your development as a DR 2.0 driver.

One question for you bud. Are you still using controller are you now on a wheel?

Edited by Scrogs
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2 hours ago, Scrogs said:

I don't have any answers (ok.....apart from that I always try to finish a stage or restart it if possible, and yes, I can drive a decent stage for the first 80% or so then have a spin or run off just before the finish). Maybe at this part of the stage I should drive more conservatively but I always want to push it for the 'big finish'. Or maybe I'm just getting a bit finishing gate happy and lose a bit of concentration.

I really enjoyed the video.......hope that you do more....... maybe showing your development as a DR 2.0 driver.

One question for you bud. Are you still using controller are you now on a wheel?

I posted a question about my steering wheel in a separate topic. I've got it on a stand, but can't use the paddle shifters to save my life.

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Well, I can safely say that one thing I hadn't expected to come out of DR would be a rally video with film-noir style narration.

Can almost see the driver step out of the car at stage-end wearing a fedora, then leaning casually against the mud-spattered vehicle and lighting up a Camel...

Great stuff! 😀

On using a controller: I'm exclusively a controller player, and must say a few things in its defense:

You can most definitely enjoy this game thoroughly, and post decent times, with a controller. In fact, in many ways it's a lot easier than a wheel set-up. You can left-foot brake and micro-handbrake with ease, for example. I use a custom-built controller by an outfit called 'Battle Beavers controllers' and it has domed rubberised sticks, and best of all, extra stiffness which makes the steering control much more precise. I've never looked back and have no desire to get a wheel set-up. But then for me personally, even with a simulation, gaming is all about kicking back on my sofa with my TV screen.  DR2.0 has the greatest controller handling in a driving game ever, imho.

As for setbacks and struggle with stages, some things I'd suggest:

- One thing to remember is that there are varying degrees of surface degradation. The same stage might be a joy where you find the car is a point-and-shoot machine and super nimble, then another time the same car and stage feels like a cross between a boat and golf-buggy. So it's OK if you find a stage is suddenly much harder and you need to brake a lot more. It's not necessarily you that's the problem.

- For me, it's all about braking. Be sure to use your shake-downs to set up your braking so you get just enough turn-in without it tipping over into oversteer. Same with the other settings actually. But as you start, apply the brake early and often. Then as you get more confident you can see how much less brake you can get away with. But the key is to take it cautious and actually just finish the stage. Doing that and then getting faster over time, is way way way better an approach than trying to go fast and failing the stage and re-starting constantly or hoping to eventually just 'nail it'.

I'm not sure if stages intentionally have 'bosses' - it may be designed somewhat that way. But I think that it might also just be that towards the end of a stage there is that 'choking' fear that grows, and this distracts the mind. Fear is the mind-killer and all that.

You have to actively suppress yourself from a wandering mind thinking about real life and all its issues when rallying. Which is good for both you and for your stage result!

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One other suggestion is to try stiffening your suspension (that is, set all the dampings uniformly towards the RHS, ie fast/firm, and in the springs section, lower ride height and push the others towards firm) for almost all stages (excepting say Argentina and Wales to a lesser extent).

The less bumpy the stage, the more you can get away with suspension stiffness. Even Scotland and NZ I find are easier with really quite stiff suspensions.

The default suspensions are too loose I believe.

Then also adjusting wheel alignment so that camber and toe are closer to the centre setting. Bias it against understeer. And the same with diffs - make them generally biased against understeer. It works for me, as understeer is the killer I find. Just make sure your car doesn't spin around easily at all, which is where you've gone too far.

NB the above biasing applies to FWD and AWD cars. RWD are another thing altogether as oversteer is the monster you need to kill.

Apologies I know this thread is about psychology but hey, helpful setups will help your psyche!

 

Edited by Jake Cushing
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18 hours ago, EggBerry said:
  1. Do you ever just abandon a stage before terminal damage? If so, how often would you estimate that you do so?
     
  2. Do you ever have points in a stage when you take one too many seconds after your car has ended up somewhere off the road, or you made a miscalculation and thought "Maybe today is not the day for this stage."? 
     
  3. How does your driving change after you've had a setback and realize this stage is way more than you thought? (if that ever happens to anyone else?
     
  4. Does anyone else find that there's always a "boss" at the end of stages right before the finish? Maybe I'm just too fast trying to get to the end of the stage, but I find that somewhere in the last leg, there's a corner combo or a stand of trees or a stray boulder that wait to throw you off your race.

 

  1. If I'm going to get Terminal I normally don't have enough time to think or pause the game beforehand 😉 
     
  2. Maybe at the end of a stream once I get fatigued, I'll note that I've done enough driving for the day.
     
  3. Restart the Stage, keep pushing, but make a mental note of that corner so that I don't make the same mistake next time.
     
  4. Some Stages have "that one corner" 🙂 
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14 hours ago, Jake Cushing said:

Well, I can safely say that one thing I hadn't expected to come out of DR would be a rally video with film-noir style narration.

Can almost see the driver step out of the car at stage-end wearing a fedora, then leaning casually against the mud-spattered vehicle and lighting up a Camel...

Great stuff! 😀

On using a controller: I'm exclusively a controller player, and must say a few things in its defense:

You can most definitely enjoy this game thoroughly, and post decent times, with a controller. In fact, in many ways it's a lot easier than a wheel set-up. You can left-foot brake and micro-handbrake with ease, for example. I use a custom-built controller by an outfit called 'Battle Beavers controllers' and it has domed rubberised sticks, and best of all, extra stiffness which makes the steering control much more precise. I've never looked back and have no desire to get a wheel set-up. But then for me personally, even with a simulation, gaming is all about kicking back on my sofa with my TV screen.  DR2.0 has the greatest controller handling in a driving game ever, imho.

As for setbacks and struggle with stages, some things I'd suggest:

- One thing to remember is that there are varying degrees of surface degradation. The same stage might be a joy where you find the car is a point-and-shoot machine and super nimble, then another time the same car and stage feels like a cross between a boat and golf-buggy. So it's OK if you find a stage is suddenly much harder and you need to brake a lot more. It's not necessarily you that's the problem.

- For me, it's all about braking. Be sure to use your shake-downs to set up your braking so you get just enough turn-in without it tipping over into oversteer. Same with the other settings actually. But as you start, apply the brake early and often. Then as you get more confident you can see how much less brake you can get away with. But the key is to take it cautious and actually just finish the stage. Doing that and then getting faster over time, is way way way better an approach than trying to go fast and failing the stage and re-starting constantly or hoping to eventually just 'nail it'.

I'm not sure if stages intentionally have 'bosses' - it may be designed somewhat that way. But I think that it might also just be that towards the end of a stage there is that 'choking' fear that grows, and this distracts the mind. Fear is the mind-killer and all that.

You have to actively suppress yourself from a wandering mind thinking about real life and all its issues when rallying. Which is good for both you and for your stage result!

Thanks. I didn't think about Film Noir, but I can see that now, hah! I definitely hope to do more of them. I already have something written about Shakedowns. :)

I will likely switch back and forth between a controller and the wheel, just because I started with the controller, and it works reasonably well for where I am right now. And yeah, sometimes I just want to race without having to get "behind the wheel" haha.

I do notice that "choking" fear, alternating with "oh ****, I've got to catch up on time!" panic. Neither of which are good for driving.

Your last statement has been the story of my "career" so far - It's almost like when I get into a nice stretch of turns and everything's hitting well, I start thinking too much. 

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14 hours ago, Jake Cushing said:

Apologies I know this thread is about psychology but hey, helpful setups will help your psyche!

Now that I'm getting a bit more comfortable with all the other things one has to manage on stage, I've begun to notice more how the setups make subtle differences. I had the same experience switching from semi-manual transmission to manual sequential - The difference in control was astonishing. I may not have immediately cut seconds off my time, but I knew this was how I was going to cut seconds off my time. ;)

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Might be a good idea to turn off all onscreen hud, especially the stage progress one and direction arrows.

As well as being more immersive, you’ll not feel pressure when stage is about to end, also listening to co driver prompts only will focus your eyes on the road instead of the corner prompts which I find distracting.

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1 hour ago, Frankiestail said:

Might be a good idea to turn off all onscreen hud, especially the stage progress one and direction arrows.

As well as being more immersive, you’ll not feel pressure when stage is about to end, also listening to co driver prompts only will focus your eyes on the road instead of the corner prompts which I find distracting.

I've been able to turn off everything but the progress bar and the instrument cluster, which I use because I have a hard time seeing which gear is in use on some of the dashboards. I tried getting rid of the progress bar, but I think it made my paranoia about screwing up the stage even worse! I'll probably try it again in a couple days. Getting a gear shifting pattern and a bit better understanding of braking has helped my confidence some.

I have to admit, sometimes the co-driver's tone of voice is just out of context, like he's really excited that there's a Right 3 Left 6 up ahead! That gets my heart pumping lol.

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The co-driver audio is recorded at three different levels of intensity. If he sounds excited it means you're going through the Stage at high speed.

Watch a flat-out run of Scotland and it sounds like he's dropping a hot new rap album 😄 

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19 hours ago, EggBerry said:

Now that I'm getting a bit more comfortable with all the other things one has to manage on stage, I've begun to notice more how the setups make subtle differences. I had the same experience switching from semi-manual transmission to manual sequential - The difference in control was astonishing. I may not have immediately cut seconds off my time, but I knew this was how I was going to cut seconds off my time. 😉

Manual sequential is key in so many ways.

For setups - I strongly recommend checking out RALLY Technical's Channel on YouTube.  His setups are excellent and have really helped my driving.  I don't personally tweak them because I'm not any good at it and don't really ever know what I want aside from maybe gear ratio changes, but if you do enjoy tweaking them, they'd be an excellent starting point.

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6 hours ago, PJTierney said:

The co-driver audio is recorded at three different levels of intensity. If he sounds excited it means you're going through the Stage at high speed.

Watch a flat-out run of Scotland and it sounds like he's dropping a hot new rap album 😄 

I just went through Scotland again and was reminded of one of the early lessons I learned the hard way: Whatever you do, stay out of the ditches in Scotland. (said in a gruff Scottish accent) :classic_biggrin:

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18 hours ago, PJTierney said:

The co-driver audio is recorded at three different levels of intensity. If he sounds excited it means you're going through the Stage at high speed.

Watch a flat-out run of Scotland and it sounds like he's dropping a hot new rap album 😄 

Why does there seem to be so much more co-driver audio in Scotland compared to all the other rallies? Was there a decision to make it more detailed?

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9 hours ago, Jake Cushing said:

Why does there seem to be so much more co-driver audio in Scotland compared to all the other rallies? Was there a decision to make it more detailed?

Probably, it was developed entirely from scratch afterall, whereas the other DLC Locations had a previous game's notes as basic reference.

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50 minutes ago, PJTierney said:

Probably, it was developed entirely from scratch afterall, whereas the other DLC Locations had a previous game's notes as basic reference.

Whoever decided to develop scotland (the complete package basically) needs to get more money.
A masterpiece.

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On 10/20/2020 at 9:43 PM, Jake Cushing said:

Why does there seem to be so much more co-driver audio in Scotland compared to all the other rallies? Was there a decision to make it more detailed?

Because there's so much stuff to race through! 

What would be funny would be to get Sean Connery or Craig Ferguson to do a couple of special Scotland co-driver calls. That would be DLC I'd paid good money for! :classic_laugh:

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On 10/21/2020 at 7:45 AM, UnderclassGDfan said:

Whoever decided to develop scotland (the complete package basically) needs to get more money.
A masterpiece.

I have to say that every location I've raced so far (haven't gotten to Greece) has been gorgeous, but Scotland was a nasty brute the first time I rode through it and I still couldn't help but catch a glance at the well-rendered trees. Which reminds me of Finland. The NPCs in Finland at night make the drive special.

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Tell me someone has done impersonations of famous people as co-drivers - Morgan Freeman, Bob Dylan, Sean Connery, etc. I have to see that.

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On 10/23/2020 at 3:52 PM, EggBerry said:

I have to say that every location I've raced so far (haven't gotten to Greece) has been gorgeous, but Scotland was a nasty brute the first time I rode through it and I still couldn't help but catch a glance at the well-rendered trees. Which reminds me of Finland. The NPCs in Finland at night make the drive special.

Greece is really difficult for me.
There are so many points were a small mistake let you fall down a cliff.
Only sweden is even harder for me, never have a good pace there, but it is really fun to drive.

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3 minutes ago, UnderclassGDfan said:

Only sweden is even harder for me, never have a good pace there, but it is really fun to drive.

I've had some really good runs in Sweden. The "snow bumpers" help me stay on the road :classic_laugh:

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2 minutes ago, UnderclassGDfan said:


There are so many points were a small mistake let you fall down a cliff.
 

After falling down cliffs far too many times for my liking....I've learned to take notice when my co driver starts a driving note with the initial word of "caution".

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