April 1, 2003
After a year of research, modifications and testing I've finally finished my article on the BIC DV62 CLR-S speakers. The results of all my tweaking surprised me. The article has 2 parts. The first one is on about the modifications and the second part is about finding the "sweet spot" and speaker placement. These are great sounding speakers for a very reasonable price.
March 11, 2003
The GP4 review I wrote for SGN is finally posted. It's pretty well hidden in their menu (read it and see why), but there's a link to it just above this "News" section. My Nascar Racing 2003 review is also finished and posted. It's a great game so be sure to read the review.
On the lighter side, my son Joey had his third Boy Scouts' Pinewood Derby meet and I'm posting the results today. Check the table of contents (left of this page) for the article. Isn't the idea of racing cars to find out which one is the fastest?
February 12, 2003
I received my reviewer's copy of Nascar Racing 2003 late last week. I'm going full speed ahead learning the game's ins and outs so I can write an informed review. It will appear on the Sports Gaming Network web site as soon as it's done. After the review is finished, I'll be working on an article about the "New" GPL. That is, the way Grand Prix Legends is today with all the add-ons.
I'd like to post a couple informational pieces on this site as it seems a logical place for people to look for them. One would be a list of transformers used for different force feedback steering wheels (for those who are looking for replacements) and the other would be a list of different pedal system wiring diagrams, to consist of which color wire goes to which tab on the pots and then to which pin on the connector. This information would help a lot of people, but it won't happen without your support. If you'd like to take a minute of your valuable time to contribute info on either of these things, email me or post a message in the forum and I'll let you know what info I need. I'm sure just about everyone visiting this site has a FF steering wheel which includes pedals and a transformer.
January 20, 2003
The demo for Papyrus's Nascar Racing 2003 is available now. I'm pretty excited about it. This will be the last in the Nascar Racing series and it's the best one yet. The graphics are an improvement over Nascar Racing 2002, especially in the fine detail areas like white road lines and fences, and that's saying quite a bit. If all the graphics options are maximized, it can make any of today's computers crawl. Luckily, there are plenty of options to turn down and still have an excellent looking game. Since it's the last of the series, it's probably going to be around for a long time. Much like Grand Prix Legends, I expect the sim racing community will create a lot of add-on files like photo-realistic dash boards and other things. I hope to do a small review of this demo soon.
Speaking of Grand Prix Legends, the photo at the top left of this page is a screen shot from the game. It's come a long way since it was first introduced. I'm now racing in the FV class which is F3 engines in F2 chassis. The cars handle great and the on-line racing action is fun and close. This game has truly been reborn. With all the add-on textures, tracks and utilities, things that the developers never dreamed of are now possible. If you've got it hanging around somewhere and put it aside because it was too difficult for the casual driver, you ought to take another look at it. I hope to do a small review of the New GPL soon, also.
January 12, 2003
The new forum is working well. No bugs so far and I don't expect to see any.
Regular readers on this site probably noticed the picture on the top left of this page has changed. The SCGT screen shot will appear again someday, but I plan on rotating pictures from different games. Let me know how you like them.
I know, the "NE Patriots World Champions" bit will have to come down. Hey, can't I wait until after the Super Bowl?
December 24, 2002
Hurray, the new forum is working. Please stop by and let me know what you think of it.
Have a Safe and Merry Christmas!
December 21, 2002
I hope to have a new forum operating soon. Some technical difficulties have made it hard to use this site in the past week. Those are now cleared up, but I lost the forum. The good news is that I hope to have a new, improved forum operating soon.
December 11, 2002
Once again, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, don't forget to download Slot's (moi) mafia style version of 'The Night Before Christmas'. It's my voice, but very well disguised.
And now, for you GPL fans here's A GPL Christmas written by Joe Shaw.
A GPL Christmas
'Twas The Night Before Christmas, And All Through The House,
Not A Creature Was Stirring, 'Cept My PC Mouse.
I Was Surfing The Web, For Setup Advice,
For The Right Lotus Toe-In, I'd Cash In My Wife.
My Line Through The 'Bolica, Was Awfully Poor,
My Top End Pathetic, With Throttle To Floor.
I'd Spent All My Earnings, I'd Made Every Deal,
For A P3 Four Fifty, And A Force Feedback Wheel.
When Out On The Lawn There Arose Such A Clatter,
I Sprang From My Desk To See What Was The Matter.
A Strobe Of White Light, Through The Window Did Flash,
It Looked To My Eye, Like A Giant Clock Smash.
I Threw Open The Sash, And What Should I See,
But A White Bearded Driver, In A Red Ferrari.
He Stomped On The Clutch, And Feathered The Gas,
Then Lifted His Goggles, I Could Tell He Was Fast.
He Pulled Down His Scarf, And Flashed Me A Smile,
And Tossed Me A CD, Labelled "Lo1 File".
"Remember," He Said, "The Ones With The Fame."
And With Eyes To The Sky, He Called Out Their Names.
Now Jimmy, Now Graham, Now Denis, And Jochen,
McLaren, And Pedro, Ginther And Irwin.
"Enter Turns Slowly, And Exit With Speed,
And You'll Get All You Can, From Your Trusty Green Steed."
Then He Shifted To First, And Out Popped The Clutch.
"I'm Off To Zandvoort, And The Grand Prix That's Dutch!"
He Peeled Out In First, With Wheelspin Galore,
Looking For Brabhams, That Still Had A Door.
And I Heard Him Exclaim, With Great Holiday Cheer,
"To All A Good Night, Have a GPL Year!"
by Joe Shaw
September 7, 2002
I've completed a modification for the TM Ferrari pedals to soften the tension on the accelerator pedal. You can see it HERE.
August 24, 2002
There's a new demo out called Live For Speed. It's very good. There are some screen shots here. Check it out and tell me what you think. I hope to write a full review later.
July 25, 2002
I finally got around to painting my car for Nascar Racing 2002. Well, actually it's not finished yet because I want to put a GTX or T&R on the hood, but at least I've got something to race with. I take a shortcut whenever I paint one of these by just repainting an existing car. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger picture.
NR2002 NR2002 Nascar Heat
July 19, 2002
I added yet another couple pictures showing suspension parts in GPL with and without 4xS AA in the Radeon/Ti4400 article.
July 15, 2002
I added a couple more pictures showing Nascar Heat with and without 4xS AA in the Radeon/Ti4400 article. It's quite revealing.
July 12, 2002
No, I haven't been sleeping for the past 4 months, just real busy. In fact, I've worked on a lot of projects but just haven't had the time to publish the articles, which takes an average of about 30 hours each. Even the article I just finished on the Radeon 8500 to Ti4400 upgrade took about 25 hours to publish, and that's not including the actual upgrade. There's a lot to it. Anyway, you can read the article here, or grab it off the table of contents on the left. I've also upgraded Joey's Pinewood Derby article to include his results at the state meeting.
I have a Nascar Racing 2002 review on SGN (its been there a while). Just scroll up a little to find the link.
I've got some real nice paint jobs on the Force RS and Ferrari wheels. Looks good in red. I'm not done with the Force RS face lift but I finally got the stick-on carbon fiber for it. I'll post pictures later.
March 11, 2002
Congratulations to my son, Joey, for winning the local Pinewood Derby race. A good time was had by all the kids.
March 7, 2002
Well, today is the 2 year anniversary of Tweaks & Reviews. As of today, there have been 195637 visits to this site. The first article was actually written on Feb. 6, 2000 on my RoadRunner Home page and had about 3000 visits before it was moved here at the end of April, 2000.
February 25, 2002
This article on P4 over clocking is not finished, but due to the amount of interest I've decided to make the SiSoft Sandra benchmarks available. You can find it HERE
February 7, 2002
It's time for me to upgrade my computer again. I've been running a Celeron 566 overclocked to 1071Mhz and it's been a stable friend to me for quite a few months. This CPU, Abit BE6II mother board and 256mb PC133 CAS 2 Micron memory will now go into my kids' computer, so I'll still be able to do game reviews with a system that's in the Mhz range of what several people are running.
I did a lot of research to determine which components will be right for me. I'm not loyal to AMD or Intel CPUs, so the choice was wide open. I wanted a fast chipset, extreme overclocking ability, and most important, stability. Here's what I ordered for my new system. Abit SD7-533 mother board. It has the SiS645 chipset and built in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. This is one of the few mother boards that will run an AGP video card that takes 3.3Volts as well as the newer 1.5V. That means I won't have to use my Radeon 8500 all the time. It'll be interesting to see what frame rates my old Voodoo5 5500 will produce with some real horsepower behind it.
The CPU will be an Intel P4 1.6a (Northwood). I expect to be able to overclock it in the 2.2 to 2.4Ghz range. I'm going to use a Swiftech MCX478 (yea, I know - expensive) HSF (heat-sink/fan) instead of the standard Intel unit. The fan on this unit puts out 68CFM. It's the best cooling solution I could find without getting into liquid cooling.
The memory is 256MB, PC2700 CAS 2.5 by OCZ Technology. It's 333mhz DDR SDRAM and comes with the heat spreader attached. It's mostly because the SiS645 chipset will take this 333mhz SDRAM that it's performance is equal to or better than the i850 chipset, and it should be more stable.
I'll stick with Win98 or 98SE because all the benchmarks I've gathered show it to be 5 to 15% faster than WinXP (15% at higher resolutions) and it's still more compatible with existing games, drivers, and peripherals. I'd like to make the jump to XP some day, but as things stand right now, Win98/98SE is still the best gaming platform.
If I'm lucky, all the parts should be here Friday and I can work on it over the weekend. I'll give you a full report on how the project went, who I used for vendors and how good or bad they were, and what the project cost. For an unemotional person, I must say that I'm pretty excited about this project. Stay tuned for more...............
February 1, 2002
The Rate Our Site feature is gone. It seems that the nascar-racing-sims site has shut down. My thanks to all who voted and kept Tweaks & Reviews at a 9 out of 10 rating for all these months.
The folks at www.simbin.com are getting ready to release version 2 or their FIA GT mod for F1 2001.
If you haven't had a look at it, you're missing something. This is a screenshot I took of one of the Vipers. Nice graphics and sounds, and it's own physics. Version 2 should be sporting an installation program, so everyone will be able to get in on the fun. This is a great add-on.
Housekeeping - this page was getting a little long, again, so I moved some of the older news to the archives.
January 27, 2002
My review of F1 2001 is posted at Sports Gaming Network. Be sure to look it over and let me know what you think of it.
As of today, there have been 194517 visits to Tweaks & Reviews. I wish I could find a way to automatically update the number to this page, but alas, web design is not one of my strong points.
January 11, 2002
I'll be writing some sim racing reviews for Sports Gaming Network . I'll be sure to let you know when they post them. The first will be on F1 2001 and should be up within a couple weeks. This will give me the opportunity to try more sims and post controller setups here. The reviews will only be posted at SGN . The fine folks there told me to "tell it like it is", so I'm pretty excited about working with them. Good people, honest reviews. I can't ask for much more than that.
December 18, 2001
New review. Check out the TM/Guillemot Ferrari wheel comparison. Points out the good and the bad, and how the new Thrustmaster Ferrari wheel compares to the old Guillemot Ferrari wheel.
December 17, 2001
In keeping with the Christmas spirit, don't forget to download Slot's (moi) mafia style version of 'The Night Before Christmas'. It's my voice, but very well disguised.
December 3, 2001
I've updated the article on Lowering the RS Shifter. It now gives an alternative method for different size desktops.
November 19, 2001
Staying off topic until this project is finished, the Pronto ccf file for Dish Network's Dishplayer receiver (7200 series) is here.
November 15, 2001
I know this is a bit off topic, but the HDTV Toshiba 50H81 file for the Pronto remote can be found here.
As Winter sets in, I plan on having time to post some articles I've been working on. A mini review of the new Thrustmaster Ferrari FF wheel is written, I've just got to take a few pictures. It'll be a comparison between the old and new Ferrari wheels. I've got a few articles that are almost ready, I'm just trying to find the time to finish them and post them. Hold tight!
September 24, 2001
I've received one of the new Thrustmaster Ferrari FF wheels. I'm doing some experimenting with it and trying to get accustomed to it. My initial finding is that there may be some slight driver issues for some people and that the wheel is extremely sensitive to subtle FF effects. I'll try to have more info on it within the next couple weeks.
September 5, 2001
Just an update as to how this site is doing. As some of you know, the hit counter on the bottom of this page is not that accurate (I'm thinking of taking it off). Many visits are made without going through this welcome page. But, there is a stat page on this site, provided by the host, that's hidden from your view and I thought you might like an update of the real numbers.
Total visits since Tweaks & Reviews moved here about a year and a half ago is about 160,000. The daily average for the past 14 days is about 1100, and that is just about double what it was a year ago for the same period. The most popular page is the GPL Intro by Phil Lee, 2nd is the Game Settings page and then the Forum. The Forum is the real surprise to me. It doesn't seem that active. Must be a lot more people dropping in but not participating. Old Forum topics are hit quite often, too, meaning (I assume) that people are looking up old topics for reference. I like that.
I'd like to have the actual visits displayed at the bottom of this page, but I just don't know how to do it. If someone does, please let me know.
August 27, 2001
I just finished an article on building Adire Audio's 12" Shiva subwoofer. It might have some good info if you're planning to upgrade your home theater sound or get a lot of extra bass for your computer games. Check it out here, or check the table of contents on the left under Misc.
August 22, 2001
Act Labs is auctioning off a prototype of their new pedal/clutch system. It's a special polished version that's been signed by the development team and partial proceeds are going to a charitable institution (unfortunately, not Tweaks & Reviews). The eBay listing is here: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1267573486
August 7, 2001
Owners of new Act Labs Force RS wheels, received after July, 2001, will need to go to the Act Labs web site and download new drivers, version 2.2. This is ONLY for wheels received after July, 2001. The new drivers won't work on other wheels. There is no advantage in these drivers over the old ones, but the new cartridge uses a different chip to accomplish the same things and, I assume, the addresses are different so a new driver was necessary.
August 2, 2001
It's occurred to me that I've never publicly thanked Tifosi for all the help he's given me on the forum these past few months. The forum isn't just there for visitors to ask me questions, it's there for everyone to participate and give answers and opinions. As things are real busy at work, I don't have time to get on this site every day. Tifosi has consistently taken up the slack for me by pitching in and helping out. Remember, everyone is invited to participate in this way.
July 13, 2001
I realize this news is a bit old, but since some still don't know about it, I'll post it here. It seems that Fox Network wants to change the format of their newly acquired Speedvision to an all NASCAR channel. Many of us are great NASCAR fans, but I think this change would be bad (and sad) for motorsports fans overall. The following is taken from a petition that's been started to ask Fox to reconsider:
Speedvision provides a crucial service to the motorsports community, being the only cable or broadcast TV network in America to provide in-depth coverage of Formula 1, vintage, motorcycle, sports car and endurance racing, as well as amateur and other lesser-known series and events such as FIA and SCCA rallies, Trans-Am, and the annual SCCA Valvoline Runoffs. This season’s flag-to-flag coverage of the Daytona, Sebring and LeMans endurance races was a rare blessing for racing fans.
I urge everyone to go to www.petitiononline.com/svsn/ and sign the petition. At this time, there are already over 44,000 signatures, but it'll take a lot more.
May 16, 2001
I put some of the older news into the archive (bottom of page). I little house cleaning doesn't hurt.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm excited about a couple new products from Act Labs that are coming out soon. You can find out more about them here.
April 24, 2001
Updates are coming slowly. I'm very busy at work drawing house plans. Seems like everyone wants a new house from us these days. I guess that's what happens when you climb up to the number one spot (largest builder in the state of Maine). I'm still working on the articles I mentioned last time, and I won't waste any time getting out the info on the new Act Labs USB Shifter and their new pedals when they are available.
March 26, 2001
Sorry about the lack of updates for the past couple weeks. I and my computer each got a virus at the same time. For me, the worst has been a sinus infection causing terrible headaches that wont' go away. I almost never get headaches, though I've been told I give them quite often ;) For the computer, the virus came from my kids' computer which is networked to mine. Getting rid of that virus was easy, but it also messed up my email. One of those things that made OE5 take forever to open. I tried all the "fixes" for this in the MS Knowledge base to no avail and finally had to settle for reinstalling Windows. It's bad enough to have to reinstall all the programs, but it's even worse when your head feels like it's going to explode.
I'm currently working on 3 new, small articles. One is on an ATI TV card, one on a nifty new round cable for your disk drives (replacing the regular flat ribbon cable) and the last is on BNC connectors for you monitor.
March 7, 2001
Today is the 1st anniversary of Tweaks & Reviews. It started with 1 page about how to center the wheel on the Ferrari force feedback steering wheel. At the time, it was on my Road Runner home page. Then on April 28th, out of frustration with updating the roadrunner home page (which I could barely access at times), I secured the slottweak.com address. Actually, I originally got gametweak.com, but had it only a day when I was offered a thousand dollars for it.
Since the beginning of May, 2000, there have been 72451 page hits on this site. The counter at the bottom of this page doesn't reflect direct visits to other pages (by-passing this home page). Obviously, the number of visitors in the past few months is more than double, almost triple, the number during the first months. There was only half as much content back then.
In the future, as time permits, some changes will be made. A new paint job will probably be one of them. Some things will stay the same. I've usually let the number of inquiries about a certain topic dictate what projects I work on. The inquiries come in the form of email and comments on the forum. When I'd get enough, let's say 20 or so, I'd make a determination if it would save me a bit of time to write an article instead of answering 20, 50 or even 100 pieces of mail on the same subject, and if it seemed more people could eventually benefit. from it. In fact, this is how the 1st article, and this site, got started. A few tweak articles are projects that I personally wanted to work on. This format for what content gets posted here will continue, however I will probably ask for help from visitors and some of my online friends. I'll also get rid of some of the things that don't get viewed often. The songs, for example, which have only been accessed a few hundred times, will be gone.
Some of you have done variations of a few of the projects on this site. I think it worthwhile to put up the pictures you've sent in with a description of how you did it. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to organize it all myself. If you can write the text and include the pictures, I can get the rest done. You don't have to put it in html format if you don't want to. Also, if any of you has any experience with web site design and ideas for a new look for Tweaks & Reviews, I could use your help. I'm not a good webmaster and have spent most of my time working on projects instead of trying to learn the 'web ropes'. I could use some help.
March 4, 2001
I added a short review of the IBM Deskstar 75GXP hard drive with a comparison to a Maxtor drive and included the time it took to load games with each drive.
February 27, 2001
Kenneth Verberg at High Gear has posted my 1st guest column. He did a great job on the layout - so professional that it even make me look good :) The article is titled 'Attitude, Psychology and Winning Races'. If you're interested, you can see it at High Gear www.simracingnews.com . Let me know what you think.
February 20, 2001
Controller settings, such as they are, for Nascar Racing 4 are done. You can click on the Controller and Game Settings button in the menu if you'd like to take a look. No magic here, but maybe something helpful to some.
February 19, 2001
With the passing of Dale Earnhardt a lot has been said about how racing fans either
loved him or hated him. I'm one of the guys that loved him. I like most of the Winston Cup drivers, but always cheered for Dale. He was the absolute master at using the draft, and one of the best at passing and protecting his line. Off the track he was very generous with the 'Make a Wish Foundation' and other charities. A top competitor, loving family man, successful business man and generous, giving person. I'll miss him terribly. I never understood before how people could be so moved over the passing of someone they haven't actually met, but I understand now. I was saddened when Ayerton Senna died, but this moved me to the point where even my wife and children cried. I guess he was such a champion that I never thought he would die while racing. It's hard for me to imagine watching a Nascar race without looking for number 3. You see, to me, Dale Earnhardt has won that 8th championship.
February 12, 2001
I am extremely happy to announce the addition of 'A Beginner's Guide To: Grand Prix Legends' written by Phil Lee. This well written article will be beneficial to anyone who is trying to find useful links and information for GPL. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a series of "A Beginner's Guide To:" articles. Phil is the first one to contribute an article to me for Tweaks & Reviews.
Will this article help beginners (and the rest of us) to find their way around? Stop by Slot's Den and let us know what you think.
January 21, 2001
I added Midtown Madness 2 to the Game Settings page and updated GPL while I was there. Most of my spare time is spent on the 1st guest column I'm writing for High Gear. It's almost done.
January 19, 2001
The shoot-out between the Asus P3V4X and the Abit BE6-II motherboards is done. You can read it here, or jump up to the table of contents which I've updated to include this article and the one on the Home Made Shifter.
January 18, 2001
The nice guys at AmHosting just increased my storage space, free. All in all I have to say they're a good group.
I've added a quick article on building a home made shifter. I've been getting quite a bit of email about this lately. It's probably something I should have done before. Those interested can see it here until I get around to putting it in the table of contents. I'll probably do that when I post the motherboard shoot-out article, which is almost done.
January 14, 2001
Ken from High Gear ( www.simracingnews.com ) has invited me to write a couple articles. High Gear is one of the premier sites for sim news and more, so I'm quite excited about it. Also on that site, check out the Crew Chief's Notebook. It's being brought back in the "Oldies" section. It's a very well written series on driving authored by Tom Pabst. I read it when it was originally posted about a year ago and have been campaigning to get it posted again ever since it was taken down. This is your chance for some enjoyable and informative reading. Don't miss it.
I have recently compiled a brief comparison between the Asus P3V4X and Abit BE6 2 motherboards. I hope to have a shootout between these two 'overclockers' choices' posted in a few days. Both are good, but one is slightly better.
January 3, 2001
I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season. While you were all out partying on New Year's Eve., I was hard at work writing the GeForce2 MX article. You'll find it in the Table of Contents under Reviews.
December 19, 2000
I want to make sure to wish you all a Merry Christmas (or happy holidays, if that's the case). Just in case I stay busy and don't get a chance to do it later. To help get you in the Christmas spirit, here's Slot's mafia style version of 'The Nite Before Christmas'. It's about 783KB, but you might get a kick out of it. Drive safely this holiday season!
December 6, 2000
I've never been this long without an update. I guess it's time to fill you in. First, if you didn't know, Act Labs is in the process of developing a new set of pedals with a clutch. There's no definite release date yet, but they'll be well worth the wait. It'll be a complete re-design, not just adding a clutch to their existing pedals. If they follow their pattern, they'll probably take care of their existing customers first.
I've added a nifty little program to the Utilities section called Themebar. It allows you to skin your IE and Explorer toolbar icons, spinning logo and background. I never cared for the default gray icons MS uses, and now I can change that. Take a look; this is a must have little gem.
I haven't been idle this past month. I'm working on a final mod for the Force RS pedals that'll add nice pressure to the brake. My previous mod in this area works good, but I can't find a source for the foam I use. This mod is quite different as it uses a piece of a black rubber tie-down. Most mods of this type compress something as you push the pedal forward whereas this new way pulls and stretches. If all goes well, it'll be adaptable to other pedals as well. I'm also working on extensions to the paddle shifters. I tend to drive with my hands more toward the top of the wheel and can't reach the paddles with my fingers. The Christmas season may slow me down a bit , but I'll try to get some pictures up soon.
October 31, 2000
Okay, the answer to the birthday question is ...... 50. It's not so bad. Hey, I only look 35.
|I've been working on a fun project with the Force RS. I decided to paint the wheel. Click on the picture for more larger pictures and a brief description.|
October 18, 2000
Two things for today. The new FF settings for Nascar Heat and the Force RS are posted on the Nascar Heat page. Only a couple of my testers got back to me with results, but I've decided to post it anyway. Let me know how they work out on a stock RS wheel.
Also, today is my birthday, and it's a big one. Should I tell or let you guess? A big surprise party was held at work. They sent me out to check on a couple sub-division job sites, and when I returned the place was all decorated. Tons of cars were in the yard, but my wife's car in the parking lot was the real giveaway. Still, I didn't expect it and I was surprised. It lasted until well after closing time and I had my share of food and cheers. I'm still feeling pretty good now
October 14, 2000
I finished the Scoring Customer Support article. I hope this is the kind of thing you'll find useful when you're having a hard time choosing a product.
October 12, 2000
I added more companies to the Scoring Customer Support page. Also finished the Nascar Heat FF settings for the Force RS, but I'm waiting for my testers' responses before I post them.
October 7, 2000
Scoring Customer Support This isn't finished yet, but I hope to wrap it up later today. Check back for the 'Additional Information'.
October 1, 2000
I added the new FF settings for the LWFF wheel, taking advantage of the new strings in the Official Nascar Heat patch version 1.1e. In these settings, I was actually able to eliminate all wheel oscillation and maintain strong FF effects. Check it out on the Nascar Heat page.
September 25, 2000
New FF settings for Nascar Heat with patch vers. 1.1e installed. These are the best FF settings yet. The new 1.1e official Nascar Heat patch includes more options for controlling force feedback. They're on the Nascar Heat page.
September 21, 2000
The new Nascar Heat patch is out with quite a few new things. As you can see by the picture, the new damage (front and back only still, no sides) allows wheels to come off. It kind of reminds me of that country western song. How did that go again, "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Loose Wheel." ?
The link to the patch is on the Nascar Heat page, of course.
September 18, 2000
A few updates. I finally put up a listing of some of the key meanings for Nascar Heat's options.cfg file. It's on the Nascar Heat page (where else). I updated the Industry News to reflect the fact that the new Ferrari paddles do indeed still have to be modified before you install them. Also, I added Rain to the Utilities page. If you don't have it, you need it. I've been running it for 2 or 3 years. The News section was getting a little long, so I did a cut-off from the beginning of August and added it to the Archives.
September 9, 2000
Question for you: Should I modernize the look of the site? I could eliminate the graphics on the table of contents and stuff like that. Similar to www.sharkyextreme.com or www.litestep.net . You get the idea. Or using Flash would be nice, but it would require that I take some valuable time to learn it. I chose the current format to be different, but now I'm wondering if it was a good idea. Leave me some comments in the Forum.
I'm back online at home and my email is working. I was wrong about the problem being at RoadRunner's end. The RR techie came here and was baffled. As a last resort he plugged in a new network card. Connection established !! "That's it", he said, "both of your network cards are bad." Hmmm..... both bad and yet will communicate with each other, just not RR. He offered to sell me 2 NetGear cards for $49.95 each. Outrageous! They list for $27 and can be bought at buy.com for under $18. I thought it strange that both cards could go bad at the same time, but what actually happened is just as mysterious....... Later that day, I searched for my SMC (network card) installation disk. Finally finding it, I booted up into DOS and ran the diagnostic program. The card checked out okay! In the configuration tab of the diagnostics, there is a place to burn the eeprom. Remember, my networked computers use 100baseT and the cable modem uses 10baseT. The card configuration is set to Auto, so it will connect at either speed. Here's were it gets strange. The eeprom was set to 100baseT Full Duplex. I quickly burned it again, setting it to Auto, et viola! Tout est bien! Somehow, and I guess I'll never know how it happened, both network cards had burned their eeproms to a different setting. The only way of doing this that I know of is with the diagnostic utility run in DOS. But that surely wasn't done. These computers have been unplugged before and this has never happened. And both computers at the same time? It will remain forever, one of the greatest mysteries of all time. I guess that's what happens when you build your house on an old Indian burial ground.
So, I'm connected again. My email is working again, also, but I did lose all my old mail and my address book It doesn't even bother me anymore. I found an old install file for IE5 (not 5.1 or 5.5, remember?) so my LiteStep would work properly. It was a ZDNet download from a year ago. I I didn't care for the twirling ZDNet logo (replacing the globe), so I edited it out of the registry. Maybe later I'll add a twirling GTX or race car. While my computer was off line, I did get a chance to do a bit of racing - Nascar Heat, mostly. How's 45.3 at Daytona? BTW, the game looks great at 800x600 with 4xFSAA and 35.5 fps! All eye candy on full. Oh, also beat Joe Nemechek in Race the Pro. But I wish the Ghost cars were more ghostly (transparent).
September 6, 2000
Update on my cable modem status at home. Still down. Besides my email woes, I also haven't been online at home since Saturday morning (Sept 2). I always leave my cable modem on even when the computer is off. I got a nice 10' counter top to put my computers on, replacing the banquet table I was using. Saturday morning I cleared off the old table and set everything up on my new one. Of course I had to unplug the cable modem. When I plugged it back in, I couldn't connect to RoadRunner with either computer. The cable modem status lights said everything was working fine. Hours of trouble shooting followed, including a reload of Windows. The 2 computers could communicate fine, but still no RoadRunner. So, I called tech support to see if I could get them to reset my connection from their end. This usually works. But being a holiday weekend, they couldn't do it. I finally got a call last night (after threatening violence). The tech guy reset my connection, but still no RoadRunner. This morning I picked up a new cable modem and connected it. This time the cable light was blinking, indicating a connection problem. Another reset from them and still no good. So tomorrow morning a techie will visit my house and hopefully fix it.
Is it really possible that, in the few hours that my cable modem was unplugged, it went bad and I developed a bad line connection? The old modem said everything should be working, but the new one shows a bad connection. So I have to conclude that the old modem somehow broke after being unplugged. Since the new one shows that there's a line problem, I also have to assume that my line went bad while the old modem was unplugged. But, my cable TV still works. I'm almost willing to bet that the real problem is still at the RoadRunner end. We'll see.
All of this has nothing to do with my email problems. I've lost all my old mail and address book. I'll have to sort that out when I get back on line. I want to run IE5. Not IE5.1 or 5.5, just plain old IE5 and OE5. Many of my LiteStep (I don't use Explorer) links (to Control Panel, etc.) don't work when IE5.1 or 5.5 is installed. But, the Win98 cd only has IE/OE4, and you can't download IE/OE5 anymore. You can only get 5.5. And you can't get OE5 separately at all. Well, I'll get around it somehow.
I had the whole holiday weekend planned. Got all my chores done (mowed the lawn, etc.) ahead of time and had a few hours set aside for the family. The rest of the weekend was for changing the computer table and finishing a bunch of articles I'm working on. It just goes to show you that plans don't always work out.
September 4, 2000
Just a quick word. I'm sitting in my office with the family waiting for me in the car. RoadRunner is down at home so I haven't received any email or been able to update since Saturday morning. All they need to do is reset me, but it's a holiday weekend. It's frustrating....... bear with me......
Julien's latest RS Shifter utility is here. From what I understand it's improved over the first one and there may be more improvements in the future. Good work Julien.
September 2, 2000
The Free Shifter utility by Julien that many are looking for is here. It's made for NFS:PU, but also works with GPL. Some experimenting may be needed to get it to work properly. It actually sends multiple up or down shift commands in succession when skipping gears, giving the illusion of going directly to the chosen gear. Play around with it and have fun, but please don't ask me for (timing) settings. Your settings will probably only work on your computer. This will only work with the Force RS and RS shifter. It's made for NFS:PU but works in GPL and probably any game that allows you to set the up/down shifts to [pg up] and [pg dn]
August 30, 2000
As some of you know, my email program quit a couple days ago. It's still not running the way I want (I'm stuck with OE4). Anyway, I lost all my email and while trying to get OE5 running, I'll probably lose more. If you don't get an answer, you know why. Try using the forum instead of email. Most of the questions I get should be going there anyway.
I'll try to get the Nascar Heat options.cfg file explanation on that page as soon as possible. School starts in a few days so I want to spend some extra time with the kids before then, I still have to get the mail working, and my beta DirectX 8 expires tomorrow. The full version was supposed to be out before the beta expired, but it seems doubtful now. That means I have unload DX8 and reload DX7a. Wish me luck. I hate to part with DX8. I'll get to the options.cfg file as soon as I can.
August 23, 2000
I added another (probably final) FF patch for Nascar Heat. It's a special race tuned version for the Force RS.
August 22, 2000
Rare Lotus XI LeMans pictures. On my mini vacation I found a nice 1957 Lotus XI LeMans at (of all places) a railway museum.
August 21, 2000
I took a couple days off for a small 3 day vacation. Added a replay in the Nascar Heat downloads of a win at Daytona. I thought it might give beginners a chance to see the lines taken. If you watch it in "Stat" mode you can see where I let off on the gas and catch the draft, etc. It's a bit long, 2.4MB, but that can't be helped.
August 17, 2000
Another day and yet another FF patch for Nascar Heat. This is an updated Ferrari patch. I'm getting so many of these that I rewrote the bottom of the Nascar Heat page. I know that I've spent far too much time on these - about 25 hours now. For those of you who wish I would get onto something else, please bare with me. It won't be much longer.
August 15, 2000
I added a Nascar Heat FF patch for the LWFF wheel. Check it out on the Nascar Heat page.
August 12, 2000
Ok. I've finished the article on Nascar Heat, and I've also added a couple patches. One is mostly for force feedback strength, the other is so you can race at Daytona. The patches are at the bottom of the article.
August 11, 2000
Nascar Heat looks like it's going to be a winner. I've written a preview and included some screen shots. Click on the image for more..
August 6, 2000
For those of you who don't like the brown wheel and interior in GP3, I've put a gray and black version for download on the GP3 page. Check out the picture and see if you like it.
August 4, 2000
I put two GP3 cockpits up on the GP3 picture page. They're available for download.
August 1, 2000
The events of the past few days have made me more aware of bandwidth usage and image sizes. I can tweak a wheel pretty well, but I'm not an expert at web sites. T&R is a very graphics intensive site and I don't want to change that. But, I've become aware of how much these pictures can be compressed with only a little loss in quality. So I have already begun the process of compressing images. 3 articles are done already and I've got a good start on this home page. With the amount of compression I'm getting, images should load in less than 20% of the time it took before. That means that an image that took 18 seconds to load before, will now take 3 seconds. I'll make it my priority to finish compressing images in all the articles and all new articles will also be done this way. Hey, I'm learning. Compressing images isn't exactly what I consider fun, but I'll try to find a way to enjoy the rewards. It might not make much difference to those of us with cable modems, but it should make quite a difference to the rest of you. Let me know if you notice the difference by dropping me a line in the Forum.
It's the beginning of a new month, so I've moved some of the past months' news items onto the "Previous News" page.
July 28, 2000
A Surprise for Force RS and RS Shifter users. Are you tired of pulling out your Shifter cartridge when you want to use the paddle shifters? Then check out the tweak article "RS Shifter Switch"
July 27, 2000
A couple of things today. First, I made a few changes in the Hybrid wheel again. Added real hex head screws to the hub and painted the hub black. Check out the picture in the article and let me know what you think.
Now for some less pleasant stuff. Amhosting, the server I use, took it upon themselves to shut this site down for using excessive bandwidth. Server Hosts, I've been told, take a shoot first, ask questions later, attitude. After some investigation, I found the culprit to be the GP3 page and pictures. Probably because it was posted on the HighGear forum, it got a few hundred extra hits on this site in a couple days, and the full size pictures were quite large.......
[later on July 27 I edited a bunch of stuff out]
...........Anyway, now most of the damage has been fixed and I'm trying to upload the large GP3 pictures to another url. Wait, there's more.
I decided to check the internal stats on this site. Something I've only done once before. It's a page provided for me that tells me usage, page hits, numbers, bytes and all kinds of stuff that's been accessed by hours, days, months, averages, etc. To my amazement, the numbers were much higher than my hit meter (bottom of each page) indicates......
[later on July 27 I edited a bunch of stuff out]
.........As you cruise around the web looking at sim pictures, right click on them. A drop down box will appear. Choose 'Properties' and check the Address [URL] of the picture. If it says slottweak anywhere, let me know. This makes me angry and has got to stop. I've got buddies locally that I can show-off my work to. That's not what this site is for. Some guys are good at car setups, some at painting, track making, and some at making dashboards for GPL. You get the picture. This is what I can do to contribute. It's my way of bringing a case of beer to the party. But, if the leeching continues, I'll just shut it down. In a couple weeks nobody would miss it anyway.
July 24, 2000
More work on the Force RS Hybrid project. Click the picture to see how the project is progressing. I bet if the stock Force RS looked like this it would sell even better.
July 23, 2000
Well, it's all there seems to be in the news lately. GP3 is going to be here in a few days. I'm already working on controller settings for the Controller and Game Settings page. I also have some screen shots donated by Rafael Medeiros. These are 1024x768 with 4xFSAA on a Voodoo 5500. Also included is a screen shot of Slot's (moi) LiteStep desktop with a GP3 pic for the wallpaper. I'll put a button in the table of contents for this page later. In the mean time you can see it here. GP3 isn't perfect, but from what I've seen of it so far it's very acceptable.
July 20, 2000
I've put up a few pictures the Force RS with the Logitech wheel mounted to it. The Hybrid Wheel isn't really a tweak, but it's not that hard to do and I've had some requests to post it.
It looks like I need an addendum to today's news. If you'll look under "Industry News - Guillemot comes through", you'll see that I've posted pictures of the new Ferrari shifter paddle.
the misunderstanding with Mr. Petersen at Guillemot Nordic has been
satisfactorily cleared up, I see no need to keep that news here and have deleted
all reference to it. Simply, he mistakenly gave this site url in a complaint he
had about the new paddle information. Thank you, Mr. Petersen, for clearing that
July 18, 2000
I've started writing the reviews of the 3 wheels I've been testing. It's a harder job than I thought it would be. I'm going to try to have it up by next weekend, but don't know if I should post parts of it, or wait for the whole thing. The wheels will be rated in several categories and then in tweaked and stock versions. Then there will be comments about how they perform in different games. The final categories will likely be: customer support, quality, style/comfort, steering performance, FF performance, and pleasure. The category scores will be added to get a total. This way new buyers can choose a wheel based on what's important to them. Also, I may have a separate rating for GPL, as the game behaves differently than most others. Separating my months of data collection is taking time, but I'm glad I used the wheels for some time and didn't write the review 3 months ago. It would have had different results. Just to keep you interested, I will say that my conclusions will surprise you, as they did me.
July 17, 2000
I've received a few requests from Logitech wheel owners to show the wiring for adding the RS Shifter, so I posted those pictures in the article.
Next up, a couple of apologies. First to those that I've told there is no frame loss with FF in the Ferrari and Force RS wheels. I was wrong. In SCGT, and SCGT only, I lose 8 frames per second with these 2 wheels when I turn FF on. The frame loss does not occur with the LWFF. I could have sworn I tested this months ago, just before I got the LWFF, and had no frame loss. I guess I didn't. I never really noticed it because my fps were quite high anyway, but on a slower computer it could be a real problem. The only explanation I can think of is that the 1551 patch, which wasn't an official patch recognized by EA, was written by someone who had a LWFF and not tested with other wheels, and there may be bits of code missing to optimize it with standard i-Force drivers used in the other 2 wheels. Again, this is only in SCGT. Other games that I've tested are not effected.
Next, a few days ago (see news for July 6) I wrote about how long it takes me to put up an article for a tweak or modification. I meant it as an explanation and an apology for not getting things posted when promised, but instead I received several emails from people saying they were sorry for nagging me. This isn't what I meant, so I figured I didn't get my point across well. I guess my writing wasn't very clear, so in keeping with that spirit I thought an explanation explaining my explanation and an apology for apologizing was in order. (huh?) Gents, I'm not angry, just sorry that sometimes I can't fulfill my promises on time.
July 13, 2000
Many thanks to Erich Haberl for sending me his old Logitech wheel. Well, it's no secret that I like the Force RS but don't care for the style of the wheel. As I've said in past news items, I wanted to try fitting another steering wheel onto it. When Erich's broken LWFF arrived (the drive cable broke), I didn't waste much time trying to figure out a way to mount the wheel onto the Force RS. It's mounted now in a temporary way so I can test it and see if I want to make it permanent. I've been putting it through it's paces for the past couple nights and I think I'm really going to like it. The wheel diameter is slightly smaller, about 1/2 inch, than the Act Labs wheel. It's just what I've been looking for, and I've always said the LWFF was the prettiest wheel out there (well, I'm not sold on the red color, but it's okay). Right now the Logi wheel is mounted with the full paddle hub, which makes the steering column kind of long (Nascar style?). Later I plan to shorten it by 1 1/2 to 2 inches. That'll put it in about the same place as the stock wheel. I'm going to use the Logi shifter paddles because it'll keep things simpler. I'm also going to do some re-wiring. Since I run the RS Shifter all the time, there are only 8 active buttons on the RS wheel and base. I also want to keep the paddles active even when the Shifter is plugged in, so I'm going to assign the top RS spoke buttons to the new paddles. The second spoke buttons will be assigned to the top Logi buttons. The vertical spoke button and one panel button will be assigned to the bottom Logi buttons and the remaining 2 RS panel buttons will go to 2 micro buttons that I'll add to the Logi wheel. Follow that?
As for the performance of the wheel, I find the slightly smaller diameter just a little more accurate than the larger one. Along with the tweak for decreasing the steering sweep to 180°, the new hybrid wheel feels very secure and precise.
So, does anybody know where I can find a good picture of a Lotus logo? After all, I can't leave the Wingman logo on the Force RS. If I can find a good picture, I'll size it and print it, then laminate it and use it for the center of the new hybrid wheel. I'll be posting some preliminary pictures of this project so you can see what it looks like along the way. However, this doesn't qualify as a tweak as it's too involved. I'll only post an article on it if I get some requests to do so.
July 9, 2000
Well, I finally got the article up on un-squeaking the Force RS. I tried to finish the article on cutting the RS belts also, but ran out of time. I hope to get it up soon.
July 6, 2000
I previously posted a bit about new steering pots I had received from Act Labs. As it turns out, they were actually from older stock that were used when the Force RS was first introduced. The suppliers mistakenly sent them instead of the ones that were ordered. Although they are nice pots, I checked them out and they have the same values as the ones used in current production, so I see no advantage to one over the other. Act Labs was kind enough to send them to me, probably partly because they know I like 'the unusual' and partly to broaden my knowledge of parts that were used in all the Force RS wheels at different times. The reasons don't really matter as I appreciate the support they have given me. I know at times the guys at Act Labs must cringe when I tell them about something new I'm trying on the wheel, and yet they back me up. You should keep in mind, however, that my tweaks and modifications are my own and not endorsed by Act Labs. To my knowledge, the only tweaks that are approved by a manufacturer are in the Ferrari Paddle and Ferrari Wheel Centering articles, and only if you contact Guillemot tech support first. All companies have a policy that says you'll void your warranty if you take the product apart, but some are more lenient than others about enforcing it. Also keep in mind that I take these wheels apart and put them back together again several times. This creates tremendous wear on parts that weren't designed for continued disassembly and reassembly. An example is the wear on the coupling (or socket) on my Force RS. It's the part that the steering pot shaft plugs into. On mine, the hole in the coupling enlarged so the pot shaft didn't fit tightly anymore. This is probably because of the number of times I've had them apart and not something that you should expect to happen in normal use.
When I do a tweak or modification, I try to make sure it will hold up before writing the article. Even though I'm not responsible for modifications you do to your wheel (it's at your own risk) I don't want to unintentionally mislead anybody into thinking a tweak will perform in a certain way, only to find out later that it didn't hold up as well as I'd hoped. I want to keep you informed about upcoming tweaks, but they take time to test thoroughly . Most of the tweaks only take me about 1 to 3 hours to do, but taking pictures, processing them, captioning them and writing the article takes about 30 hours. In the meantime, especially in the summer months, I have weed-whackers and lawnmowers to fix, a large lawn to mow, car luggage racks to install, kids toys to fix, a 5 year old boy that wants to learn how to ride his new bicycle, games to play with the kids and evening hours at work with customers (in the real world I'm an architect). If I'm lucky, I even get to sim race once in a while. When I promise to get an article finished at a certain time, I do take it seriously. But sometimes things happen, guests come in unexpectedly or the washing machine quits. I'm sure you know the type of things I'm talking about. So, your patience is appreciated.
July 4, 2000
I hope you all had a safe and fun Independence Day. I took a little time today to catch up on some things that I've been promising to get done and make some gaming repairs for myself. The Force RS squeak and belt cutting articles should be up soon, really, at least as unfinished articles.
June 23 2000
Some days things just go right. I've upgraded my computer CPU to 920 Mhz. Yes, I'm an overclocking junkie. That's not too hard to figure out. After 4 months of running a Celeron 366 at 600 Mhz @ 2 volts (default), I decided to try a Celeron 566. It's time to sell the 366. At first I couldn't get any more than 850 Mhz out of it, but a quick email to my supplier and I figured out how to change the voltage range on the Abit SlotKet. Also, for those of you contemplating a Golden Orb fan/heatsink, don't forget to give it a twist after you mount it on the processor. That's what tightens it. I've had the CPU up to 944 Mhz, but decided to go for a real rock steady 920 (to be safe?). Even with a 90° room temperature it's run all evening without a lockup. That's pushing it with about 3 hours of Unreal Tournament, then NFS:PU, GPL, Nascar 3 and Midtown Madness. But that's not all. Read on.
Also, since I had good luck with the Force RS mod that narrowed the wheel travel to 210°, I decided to try 180. Bingo! Although 210° was much better than the stock 270, I still ended up beating my new lap times when I switched to the Ferrari wheel on many games. The RS times were closer, much closer, but still not as good. Well, I think I've finally turned that around. I just met my best lap times in GPL, NFS:PU and Nascar 3, all previously set with the Ferrari wheel. Actually, I beat my best in Nascar 3 on Daytona. I can't express strongly enough how great N3 feels with the fully tweaked Force RS. The steering precision now is just excellent. How would you like to be able to say that the force feedback in Nascar 3 is quite strong and has good road feel? Well, it does now! With the lubed Force RS and the narrowed belts (still holding up well), the drag is way down. With the controller and game settings found on this site, the powerful motor is now enough to give excellent FF and road feel. And with the narrowed, 180° steering sweep the car goes right where you want. Very secure driving feel. It's hard to explain what a difference the precision makes, but you definitely feel it. This has breathed new life into Nascar 3 for me.
June 13, 2000
Got a squeaky Force RS? Cheer up, help is just around the corner. I've got a cure that seems like it's going to be a winner. And, it uses NO chemicals, cleaners or lubricants in the motor (or anywhere else). My wheel has been squeak free for the last 5 hours of use, but I do want a couple more days to test it. A simple mod that only takes a couple minutes, once the cover is off the wheel.
Update on the Force RS cut belt mod. If you're not familiar with this, see the news for May 31 and June 1. The belts, at about 40% of their original width, seem to be holding up perfectly. This is even after countless hours of Midtown Madness with full force and driving on bent rims. What a beating. Speakers falling off my desk, beer and soda foaming over, and loose screws from disassembled wheels falling on the floor. I'm starting to really get tired of this game. Good thing I have kids that like to play it. Hey, you didn't think I do all this testing myself, did you?
June 10, 2000
See "Guillemot Comes Through" in the new section on Industry News for information about Guillemot's new design for the Ferrari wheel paddle shifters.
The Force RS is now better than ever. I re-lubed everything with Tri-Flow, a Teflon based lubricant. The wheel is now smoother than ever and with less drag. The cut belt mod is still holding up very well. It looks like it's going to work.
I added the Industry News section and, for your viewing enjoyment, some new graphics on this page.
June 7, 2000
Two bits of news today. Act Labs has released beta drivers for Win 2000 for the Force RS. This should be good news to many Force RS and Ferrari wheel users. I don't use Windows 2000 myself, but I'm sure there are a lot of people saying 'thank you' right now.
Next, I've done another mod to the Force RS. This may be the 2nd to last regular tweak on this wheel. Although this is quite subjective, I've always thought that a 270° steering arc with a large diameter wheel is just too much of a good thing. There are several reasons for my opinion, dealing with rim and tangent velocity, etc. I'll wait for the article before I give a full explanation. Even though the wheel has good steering resolution, I've never been completely comfortable and secure with the feel. I've also received several emails from people stating that they just didn't feel like they had good control. Anyway, I simply used a couple of screws as new stoppers and set the rotation to about 210°. The circuitry in the Force RS seems to be designed so I didn't need to replace the steering pot as I thought I would. It seems to be auto calibrating and self adjusting to maintain maximum resolution even with the new stoppers. That makes this mod quite easy. So, am I happy with the mod? Well, I just took 7 seconds off my best time at Pyrenees with the Moby Dick Porsche running a full field of the same cars. The significance of this is that I was able to weave through the traffic with much greater accuracy.
I mentioned that this may be the 2nd to last tweak to this wheel. The last may be extensions on the paddle shifters. I don't use them much, but that may change with the release of GP3 and some other games. The problem is that I'm one of those guys that drives with his hands on the top of the wheel. Well, actually just my left hand, now. I've managed to get my right hand close to 9 o'clock, but my left is at 11 or 12 o'clock and I just can't seem to change it. This means that I can't reach the paddles. Right now I'm using temporary extensions, but as soon as I find the right, easily available pieces that look good, I'll write the article. The only other thing I may eventually change is the wheel itself, but I don't know if I'd really consider that a "Tweak".
June 1, 2000
Sort of a part 2 of yesterday's news - A quick email to Zenon at Act Labs and the mystery about removing the lower belt was solved. Now, with both belts narrowed to 40% of their original widths, the amount of Default Spring need to center the wheel from a full turn is only 10%. To learn more about the benefits of this, read yesterday's news and the article on Force RS Lubricating. The wheel feels totally different than a stock one and now turns more freely than the Logitech. As an experiment, I lowered the Overall Device Gain to 45% so that it took 30% Default Spring for centering the wheel just like the Logitech wheel. I used conventional LWFF settings in Grand Prix Legends' core.ini file and ran a few F3 laps. The result was that it felt amazingly like the Logitech, and NO notchiness. So there you have it. Do the mod, lower Overall Device Gain to 45%, and you have a wheel that feels like the LWFF in GPL
On an unrelated note, I want to assure you all that Buster the cat is still alive and well and living in bliss. I still am not looking for a kitten, and I was kidding about having a dog (but a Bulgarian Weasel Hound interests me).
May 31, 2000
Another WOW on the Act Labs Force RS. In a further effort to reduce drag on the wheel (see Force RS Lubricating), I cut the width of one of the belts in half. The belt is brand new (not broken in but lubed) but it still took only 12% Default Spring to center the wheel from full left turn. That's 1% less than the stock Ferrari wheel and 18% less than the LWFF, making it the new power to drag ratio champion. When the belt breaks in, I expect another 1 or 2% drop. At that point, however, I don't expect much more of a drop no matter what I do because of the inertia of the wheel (kinetic energy). With the stock belt, broken in and lubed, I got 15%. What's really amazing is the difference in the feel of the wheel. It's really quite light now and feels like it has very little resistance or drag. Also note, I only did this to the top belt, not the bottom one. The reason is quite simple. I can't figure out how to take the bottom belt off without peeling off the silver facing on the front of the wheel. Maybe a second look or a call to Act Labs tech will solve the mystery. Anyway, about 2 hours on GPL and NFS:PU (breaking records, I might add) and the new thinner belt is holding up perfectly. If things continue to hold up after a few more hours, I'll write a Tweak article on it.
May 26, 2000
Paddles for the Ferrari wheel are in at Guillemot North America. If you need them, call or email them. Here's the email they sent me.
paddles for the Ferrari wheel have (finally) arrived. They
will be distributed freely by Guillemot to users under warranty."
It took a while which I'm sure was frustrating to some of you as well as to them, but they did come through for us.
May 25, 2000
I'll be gone from Friday through Monday. I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend. I finally made a new page for past news. The news section was getting too long and it just had to be done.
Finally, for those who wrote in about my post on r.a.s. about hurling my cat, I assure you I was only joking. Buster is alive and well and eating the kids' Candy Canes on the kitchen counter.
Not shown is his favorite pass time of chasing my slot cars around the track. Don't worry, I'm not turning this into a family snapshot site. These pictures will be removed in a few days. I just want those concerned to see that he is alive and well..... and has at least one of his 9 lives left
May 20, 2000
I posted an article on adding a lowered RS Shifter to the Ferrari wheel. Driving the Ferrari in GPL with this combination just doesn't get much better. I'm also putting up an updated contact page for contacting me regarding the tweak articles or site problems.
May 11, 2000
I put a Guest Book on the site just in case there's any interest in that sort of thing. But more importantly, I also put up a Forum for the general discussion of game settings and hardware settings. I hope you'll all share information in the Forum.
May 8, 2000
I've posted the "in progress" version of the Tweak for lubricating the Force RS. Also color coded the articles on the table of contents to signify finished articles, articles in progress and posted, and coming articles that are not posted.
Oh, I've also put up a new newspaper front page from GPL. Yea, I won the Belgian Grand Prix tonight in a Ferrari. Actually I had to win it twice because I forgot how to do the screenshot the first time. Don't worry, I wasn't out having a good time playing, I was just testing the Force RS wheel with the new, lowered RS Shifter.
May 6, 2000
Obviously, the table of contents buttons have changed. I really liked the gold ones, too. The problem was that they were what's called 'hover buttons' in Front Page, and hover buttons don't respond well to scrolling. So, as you scrolled up or down the page, the buttons and text could get garbled and mixed. I could have used the gold buttons as hyperlinks, but each would have had to be made with a separate label, and that would be too time consuming. Send me an email and let me know if you like the new format.
I suppose I'll have to make a separate Archive page for older news as this page keeps growing. That will happen soon. I can think of so much I could add to enhance this site, and so many Hardware Tweaks I'd like to do that would really be helpful to many people. It's too bad I can't make this my full time job. Being an architect, when it's this busy at work, just isn't as much fun as it was
Well, on that note, happy birthday to my dad who passed away at 44 years old on Dec.25, 1965 from a sudden heart attack. I still remember what you taught me, Pop.
May 5, 2000
Check out the new article in progress, Lowering the RS Shifter. Try it and you'll agree it's the only way to drive!
As you can see, daxe upgraded my title graphic again and it looks better than ever. It sure is nice to have some talented help.
May 2, 2000
Let's start the news out right tonight with a big WOW and thanks to ~daxe for the new front page title graphic. I don't think anyone will disagree with me when I say that it looks about 100 times better than my feeble graphics attempt.
I've got a couple simple projects that I'm working on and doing extensive testing on the additional brake mod for the Force RS pedals. It's holding up very well. Testing them, of course, means that I have to run several laps in my favorite racing games. It's tough work but hey, somebody's got to do it
Also, added some songs for your entertainment in Real Player format. Songs you're not likely to find on many other sites. I often listen to Radar Love while racing a Speedster in NFS: PU. "Last car to pass, here I go. And the line of cars goes down real slow-o. ......."
April 28, 2000
Wow! Things can sure happen fast. A couple days ago I just got gametweak.com set up, and now I'm at slottweak.com. The reason for the change is, of course, money. Well, not entirely money. Money and helping out a nice guy. I had gametweak.com for a day when I got my first offer of $1000 to buy the domain name. The guy was kind of rude and I turned him down. The next day I received another offer and I took it. He seemed pleasant and sincere, and I can't wait to see what his site looks like when he gets it set up.
April 26, 2000
The news for today, for the 25th and the 23rd were actually all uploaded today, so you might want to catch up on those before reading this. I sure am pleased with the new domain host. It only took 10 minutes to upload this whole site. It took over 3 hours to update the front page on RoadRunner that tells you of the address change and its only about 4 lines of text. AmHosting was very fast setting up my domain name and this site. So far I'm very pleased. Now I can spend time finishing the work, not waiting for uploads.
You may have noticed a name change from 'The How-To Guide' to 'Tweaks & Reviews'. I can't seem to get any help on the graphics, so I'm giving it a shot myself. I'll keep playing with it until I get something that looks good to me. Right now I can't seem to get rid of the color bleeds in the red text. I'm using PSP6. It looks good while in Paint Shop, but when I load it the color bleeds. Any tips you can give me would be appreciated. I'm also going to play with the background colors.
April 25, 2000
Well as you can see, the domain name has changed. Believe it or not, just minutes before AmHosting went to register "slottech.com", somebody else grabbed it. I can't imagine who else could possibly want the name. This happened yesterday and a rep from AmHosting called me immediately to get another domain name from me. I picked "gametweak.com" for better or worse, but I wasn't about to ponder it further. To enter the site you don't need the "www" before the name. Today I received an email from a guy who wants "gametweak" badly, and was just hours short of getting it. I understand his frustration. I told him if he can get "slottech" for me, he can have "gametweak". I don't have much hope, but you never know.
April 23, 2000
I added game settings for NFS: Porsche Unleashed for the Force RS with suggestions for settings with the LWFF and Ferrari wheels. I'm having a very hard time uploading the page because I keep getting a server error. I've made up my mind to get rid of this ridiculous RoadRunner home page, so today I filled out my application with AmHosting and picked the domain name "slottech.com".
April 16, 2000
I added an article on tweaking the LWFF and adding the Force RS pedals and RS Shifter. Also added a page of a nice 1/18 scale model '67 Lotus 49. I'm finishing the secondary brake spring mod for the RS pedals. It's working great. I'm just making it adjustable and it'll be finished. When that's done, I'll finish the picture captions on PartII of the article and put PartIII in final form.
April 11, 2000
Happy Birthday to my daughter, Jennifer Lynn DeRoy. Jenny is 11 years old and as precious today as the day she was born.
I've posted more on the Act Labs pedal modification PartIII. No captioned pictures and it's only in outline form, but it will give you a jump on it. I did this now because it's easier for me to caption all the pictures at one time. If I do say so myself (and I do), these modified pedals are a real pleasure to use.
April 10, 2000
I have PartII of the Act Labs pedal modification posted. The pictures are not captioned yet so it's not really finished. I'll try to get to that tomorrow if I don't have evening meetings. I know some of you were anxiously awaiting this article, so I wanted to get it posted as soon as possible. Hopefully the instructions can be followed without the captioned pictures, but if not, consider this a preview and wait for the captions. I also put up some pictures from PartIII. You can access PartII at the bottom of the PartI page.
April 6, 2000
I received a Logitech Wingman Formula Force wheel today. After driving it for a while in GPL and NFS: PU, I've come to the conclusion that it's a pretty wheel. I'm not crazy about the red wheel rim, but I do like the spoke design.
April 4, 2000
Once again the RoadRunner home page server has failed, and once again I lost 6 hours of work. PartII of the Act Labs pedal article was done, but now it's only half done again. Lousy service, but what can you expect from a bunch of trollops.
March 29, 2000
NEWS - I've got a Logitech Wingman FF wheel coming in a few days. It's been a year since I've tried one. It'll make for some interesting comparisons at least. Updated the GPL game settings with some more notes. Meetings Mon. through Wed. nights. Hopefully I can get Part2 of the Act Labs pedal article done Thursday night.
March 27, 2000
I took some new pictures for Part 2 of the Act Labs pedal article. If I don't work late Monday night, I'll try to get it posted. Otherwise it will be done the first night I don't have to work late. I also took pictures for a new article on lubricating the wheel. Last night I ran a few GPL F3 laps with the Ferrari wheel with close to my usual settings, damping at 5000, torque at 2500 this time, but the twist was that I had damping in controller panel set at 100% and default spring on at 25% and I kind of liked the feel. I don't know if it's something I'd run all the time, but I could really feel the wheel loading. It might be something to consider trying.
March 23, 2000
I added a few more comments and general explanations to the Act Labs pedal article. Also added the Voodoo3 overclocker to the Utilities page.
March 22, 2000
Finally, I finished Part 1 of the Act Labs pedal tweaks. As always, I'll proof read it tomorrow. I need a new domain name when I change web hosts. Any ideas? How about "Tweaks and Reviews" or "Enhance and Review" or "How-To and Review" or something like that. I want your suggestions. Send me an email.
March 19, 2000
Well, I got the first part of the Act Labs pedal modification done. As usual I couldn't connect to the server and after several attempts to save it, the computer stopped responding. That's right, all is lost. Hours of work down the drain. Yes I tried saving it and tried publishing it on my hard drive, but it won't do that unless it can access the server. So, I thought I had the 'simple' modification done and could breeze through the other 2 mods. Never, ever, use RoadRunner's home pages. They're dog slow (not the same server as the regular service) and you usually can't publish to them until after 2AM. So, I guess I'll be looking for my own domain name and web host. I've found one that looks pretty good and it's a triple T3 line, I think. Anybody want to rent 10MB of ad free space, real cheap, on a slow server? ;)
March 17, 2000
Added some more controller settings. The text on the contents buttons to the left sometimes gets messed up as the page scrolls but is ok again when you do a mouse-over. I haven't got a clue why this happens. They're just regular hyperlinks with jpegs of gifs. I'll try to fix it if I get a burst of inspiration, but with all the work I have left to do, it's not really a priority.
March 15, 2000
The Controller/Game Settings button is active and I've written my GPL settings as well as my force feedback/core.ini theory.
March 12, 2000
I finished the Ferrari paddle How-To. It's late tonight so I'll check it again later and make changes if necessary. It should be accurate now but I generally like to check these things again for clarity.
March 10, 2000
I didn't have much time tonight, so I just tried sprucing up the title a little. I'm still hoping someone will step forward and volunteer a little art work. I guess I'm better with nuts and bolt than I am with a brush and palette.
March 9, 2000
I got a lot done tonight on the Ferrari paddle article so it won't be long until it's finished. Just got a couple more paragraphs to finish and then insert the pictures. I also added the Utility Programs to the contents menu and included a couple favorite utilities.
March 7, 2000
A new format for the site is done although it may be temporary. The how-to for the Ferrari wheel was done on Feb 7, 2000. The Ferrari paddle article should be done in a couple days, and the Act Labs pedals articles shortly after. Many of the links in the table of contents to the left are not active, but indicate what is to come.
Page opened May 25, 2000