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sirlynxalot

Question about Hard Drivin' / Race Drivin'

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Posted (edited)

I recently got a steering wheel for my pc and have been enjoying testing out various driving games in MAME with it. I noticed that Hard Drivin and Race Drivin in particular have extremely sensitive steering, even if I set MAME's analogue sensitivity for the wheel down to single digits. 

 

For example, I only need to rotate the wheel extremely slightly for the car to turn sufficiently on tight corners (assuming my speed is slow enough), like 15 degrees or so.  Unlike most other arcade racing games, I don't think I would ever need to turn the wheel 45 degrees from starting position, and doing so tends to send my car into an uncontrollable (and oftentimes bizarre) spin, that sometimes involves my car inexplicably jumping or flipping into the air before landing and exploding.

 

Hard Drivin is a sim, but it actually feels very unrealistic to do a sharp turn while only rotating the wheel a tiny bit...

 

Is the steering control on the actual arcade game like this?

Edited by sirlynxalot

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I know this doesn't really answer your question about the wheel but I found this video on the bizarre shift mapping for Hard Drivin' which kinda turned me off ever trying to play that game in MAME with a wheel or gear shift ....

 

 

 

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On 4/30/2021 at 3:28 PM, sirlynxalot said:

I recently got a steering wheel for my pc and have been enjoying testing out various driving games in MAME with it. I noticed that Hard Drivin and Race Drivin in particular have extremely sensitive steering, even if I set MAME's analogue sensitivity for the wheel down to single digits. 

Have you also done wheel & pedal calibration in the game itself?

 

 

On 4/30/2021 at 3:28 PM, sirlynxalot said:

For example, I only need to rotate the wheel extremely slightly for the car to turn sufficiently on tight corners (assuming my speed is slow enough), like 15 degrees or so.  Unlike most other arcade racing games, I don't think I would ever need to turn the wheel 45 degrees from starting position, and doing so tends to send my car into an uncontrollable (and oftentimes bizarre) spin, that sometimes involves my car inexplicably jumping or flipping into the air before landing and exploding.

This sounds remarkably like most of my experience with playing the game ;)

On 4/30/2021 at 3:28 PM, sirlynxalot said:

Hard Drivin is a sim, but it actually feels very unrealistic to do a sharp turn while only rotating the wheel a tiny bit...

 

Is the steering control on the actual arcade game like this?

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. Yes, it's a simulator, but one from the late-'80s / early-'90s.  Things were still being figured out in this regard, so realism is a bit relative.
  2. I always found the arcade game's steering controls to not be to my liking, even when properly calibrated.  They felt detached from what the car was actually doing on-screen.

Frankly, it's not a game that I ever owned back when I was collecting arcade games, so my knowledge of its workings is pretty sparse.  Give the in-game calibration a shot and see how it does.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, that's good advice. 

 

I did give the in-game calibration a try after posting my first post but it didn't seem to change the steering from what I had already been experiencing. 

 

I did watch some youtube videos of a guy playing Race Drivin' on a real cab that showed how he turned the steering wheel.  He seemed to regularly turn it 90 degrees, so my PC wheel isn't really simulating the experience.  To hazard a guess, maybe the potentiometer in my wheel is much more sensitive than the one in the arcade cab and/or the arcade wheel has a much greater maximum rotation than my pc wheel, hence why giving it a slight turn is more than enough. I might give it a shot to emulate the version on Midway Arcade Treasures 3 on Gamecube, and map the wheel to the analogue joystick on the gamecube controller.  Not sure if there is anything else to try at this point.

Edited by sirlynxalot

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, sirlynxalot said:

Thanks, that's good advice. 

 

I did give the in-game calibration a try after posting my first post but it didn't seem to change the steering from what I had already been experiencing. 

Something I forgot to mention: delete the NVRAM file created by MAME, then retry calibration in both the emulator and game.  Taking a wild guess at it, it's probably called harddriv.nv.

Quote

I did watch some youtube videos of a guy playing Race Drivin' on a real cab that showed how he turned the steering wheel.  He seemed to regularly turn it 90 degrees, so my PC wheel isn't really simulating the experience.  To hazard a guess, maybe the potentiometer in my wheel is much more sensitive than the one in the arcade cab and/or the arcade wheel has a much greater maximum rotation than my pc wheel, hence why giving it a slight turn is more than enough. I might give it a shot to emulate the version on Midway Arcade Treasures 3 on Gamecube, and map the wheel to the analogue joystick on the gamecube controller.  Not sure if there is anything else to try at this point.

I'm wondering if it might not be necessary to calibrate the wheel in Windows (i.e., slow the response when turning), then MAME, then finally in Hard Drivin' itself.  I've run into situations like that before, though not this specific case.

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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On 5/4/2021 at 8:26 AM, sirlynxalot said:

I might give it a shot to emulate the version on Midway Arcade Treasures 3 on Gamecube, and map the wheel to the analogue joystick on the gamecube controller.  Not sure if there is anything else to try at this point.

Let us know how that goes cuz I too have been thinking of using a steering wheel controller on that particular collection and that specific version of Race Drivin'. I don't have a full steering wheel yet so if you find it's not a good match then maybe you'll save me a few bucks.

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14 hours ago, ComputerSpaceFan said:

Let us know how that goes cuz I too have been thinking of using a steering wheel controller on that particular collection and that specific version of Race Drivin'. I don't have a full steering wheel yet so if you find it's not a good match then maybe you'll save me a few bucks.

Ok, you've motivated me to give that a shot. I've actually had surprisingly good success mapping the wheel to the gamecube thumbstick for a variety of other games like Need for Speed Underground, NFS Carbon, Smashing Drive. I tend to map it to the thumbstick instead of telling the emulator that a gamecube steering wheel is plugged in because SURPRISINGLY some gamecube driving games like Smashing Drive don't recognize the GC steering wheel and just display an error message to insert a controller.

 

I'm also a little curious about using it with Road Blasters and Super Sprint on Midway Arcade Treasures 1. Ordinarily, in MAME, the input for these games is a spinner/360 degree rotating wheel, and you can't simulate the appropriate movements with a self-centering analogue steering wheel, but it seems that the games were either reprogrammed or hacked in some way to work with the gamecube analogue thumbstick (especially Road Blasters, which doesn't self center on the arcade machine or in MAME, but does self center on Midway Arcade Treasures).

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5 hours ago, sirlynxalot said:

Road Blasters, which doesn't self center on the arcade machine or in MAME

Hang on a sec - that's not how either one should be functioning.

 

MAME 0.230 mimics the self-centring behaviour of the arcade game, at least when using the keyboard.  And of the half-dozen or so RoadBlasters yokes I've rebuilt, all of them had a spring on the centre shaft designed to bring the yoke back to the middle position when released (see photo).

 

roadblasters-yoke.thumb.jpg.2df22d55dc1821eac66832a68304deb6.jpg

 

Unless I've missed something, both should self-centre.  Which version of MAME did this not work in?

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Oh very interesting. Admittedly I'm using MAME 0.214 from a couple years ago, but as far as I recall, every version of MAME I've ever used (stuff earlier than 0.214), Road Blasters has never had an autocenter speed option in the controls menu and the game did not auto center itself for me when turning was mapped to digital or analogue controls.  Here's what the controls menu looks like for me in MAME 0.214, there's an autocenter option for the gas pedal but not for the wheel "dial".

 

image.thumb.png.7840bf856dba955f427bb7adb337fb92.png

 

 

It looks like this was identified as an issue and only fixed in 2020!  https://mametesters.org/view.php?id=7671  Looks like I'll have to get a new version of MAME then.

 

 

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1 hour ago, sirlynxalot said:

Oh very interesting. Admittedly I'm using MAME 0.214 from a couple years ago, but as far as I recall, every version of MAME I've ever used (stuff earlier than 0.214), Road Blasters has never had an autocenter speed option in the controls menu and the game did not auto center itself for me when turning was mapped to digital or analogue controls.

Interesting.  Quite honestly, I have no clue if something changed in MAME as regards the self-centring - my recollection is that it's been like that more or less forever, but I'll also happily acknowledge that it's not a game I tend to fire up that often. *shrug*

1 hour ago, sirlynxalot said:

Here's what the controls menu looks like for me in MAME 0.214, there's an autocenter option for the gas pedal but not for the wheel "dial".

Ah, OK.  The likely reason why there is no self-centre option in MAME for the yoke is that this is how the machine worked by design, so it's not an on/off/adjustable option.  Re: the gas pedal...  You've got me there.  The one RoadBlasters upright that I owned would return the pedal to the upright position if the player lifted their foot off of it (which seems logical to me), but I don't know if there were differences between cockpit and upright versions, etc.

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19 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Ah, OK.  The likely reason why there is no self-centre option in MAME for the yoke is that this is how the machine worked by design, so it's not an on/off/adjustable option. 

I know people behind MAME like to say that MAME is strictly about emulating the features of the machines and nothing else, but I think it would be odd to omit auto centering functionality just because it is done by mechanical means as opposed to a software setting or dip switch in the game rom.  MAME allows the user to set autocenter speeds for many gas/brake pedals in games, I can't really think of any arcade driver that has that feature as part of its controls, Road Blasters included. 

 

 

On the topic of Midway Arcade Treasures 3, I did get that set up with my steering wheel and I did not have a good experience with it.  Race Drivin's steering controls a little better than the extremely touchy controls I'm getting with MAME, but the game itself did not emulate well on my pc and had odd slowdown and occasional other glitches. Part of this is that the game is running on an emulator within an emulator (arcade rom being emulated on a gamecube, and gamecube being emulated on my pc), but I think part of this is also that they didn't really nail perfect emulation for this game on the gamecube at the time anyway... I wouldn't base the purchase of a steering wheel on the hopes that it would be fun to use with this version of Race Drivin...

 

I tried the other games out on Midway Arcade Treasures:

-STUN Runner had similar odd slowdown and periodic emulation glitches that Race Drivin did, which makes sense as its similar arcade hardware being emulated.  I also lack the full yoke functionality for that game since I'm using a steering wheel instead of a yoke.

-Off Road and Badlands play OK but you need to rely on returning the wheel to its small deadzone frequently in order for the car to go straight after you turn it. This isn't that fun to do.

-Rush 2049, Rush the Rock, Hydro Thunder - I couldn't get these to work with my accelerator pedal!  I have the accelerator mapped to the R trigger of the cube controller, and that works fine for every other game, including Race Drivin and Off Road on this very compilation, but it simply wouldn't work with these three games, so I was unable to play them. The control scheme shown in each of these three games says that the R trigger is mapped to accelerating (there is no in-game re-configuring of controls on this compilation), so not sure what the problem is here.

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To follow up on my original issue, I saw some comments by people on an arcade forum that Race Drivin (and presumably Hard Drivin) use a 900 degree wheel in the arcade.  I guess mapping the full analogue range of that wheel to my 270 degree wheel is my problem. 

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