Tales From The Team: Billy Fischer

“Over the past several months, a group of my friends has been on my case about me getting a PS4 and playing a racing game with them called “Project Cars”.  I’ve just blown it off time and time again, but eventually I caved and bought the gaming system and the game.  It’s been about six weeks since I gave in and made the purchase.

I hadn’t used a gaming system in quite some time (since the PS2 days), and I was pretty rusty.  I practiced quite a bit for the first few weeks, just playing one track and focusing on braking points, throttle application, and being smooth on the steering with the joystick. 

A few of my buddies had pricey steering wheel & pedal setups, but I wasn’t about to invest that much up front (and still haven’t).  The controller (gamepad) seems to be on-par with the pedal setup when it comes to brake and throttle, but the joystick isn’t nearly as proportional as the steering wheel.  Adjusted as many parameters as possible to try and get the gamepad to feel as proportional as possible, and now feel as comfortable as I can without spending more money.

It isn’t easy, I am telling you!

My buddies and I have a “club race” on most Friday nights, and we also run quite a bit with other random online players all the time.  The online multiplayer rooms consist of up to 16 people, and everybody races the same car or at least the same class of car on different tracks. 

You can adjust nearly every setup option imaginable, and you have to take many factors into consideration such as camber, caster, toe, shock rebound & compression, tire compound & tire pressure, traction control, fuel load, spring rate, ride height, radiator opening, gearing, and much more.  If the race is long enough, you also have to consider your pit strategy and tire wear.  Track temps & weather conditions always come into play as well.

Having to balance all of the different variables keeps my brain sharp for R/C as well, by putting unusual aspects into consideration.

….Almost like RC! ?

When it comes to video games, you can always just reset and start over if something doesn’t go to plan, but not when playing this game online.  Sure, you can always just exit the race and go jump in another group which would be the same idea.  However, with the time spent on practice, perfecting your setup, race strategy, and focusing on the effort you put into qualifying to start the highest on the grid as possible, it would all go to waste if you quit because of a bad start or a bad decision that ruins your race.  If you treat it just like R/C, it helps mentally prepare you for there not being a reset button in real life.  Sometimes, you just have to make the best out of a bad situation and just salvage what you can.

Things can go really wrong!

Playing games with as much realism as Project Cars is an excellent way to keep you in the right mindset if you’re not able to get to the track that day.  Although not the real thing, it’s much closer than other types of video games or just watching TV.”


Billy Fischer