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Latest Community News
Community News | Microprose F1GP | By Barrie on 17 October 2006 17:26

It's been a busy month in the world of F1GP/WC, with plenty of developments of interest to the community as a whole.

The most significant of these relates to the multiplayer capability of the game itself. Up until now, Internet gameplay using F1GP/WC has been a virtual impossibility, as no real network code exists in the game for establishing remote real-world connections. However, one potential option to resolve this is to use a serial emulation tool which routes the data over TCP/IP rather than across a real cable. Although this solution has been apparent for many years, nobody to my knowledge has actually tried it.

However, some new developments in the Dosbox community have finally rendered serial emulation which is fully compatible with F1GP/WC. I have myself managed to connect two copies of the game on the same computer, and then to other computers across both a LAN and a wireless network. The game worked perfectly in each case, without any problems whatsoever. Therefore, it is now fair to say that F1GP/WC can now run perfectly over any kind of home network connection and is no longer limited to any of the game supported methods.

In terms of Internet connectivity, I have not yet been able to establish if the game will work just as well over such a connection. The principle difference between Internet and local network connections is the lag time between the two gaming hosts. In my local network tests, I did not have a lag time higher than 3ms, which is easily fast enough to deal with the maximum 25 frames a second used by F1GP/WC. However, even the fastest Internet connections will have significantly more lag and this may prove a problem for the game. According to my rough calculations, I believe the game would be totally unplayable at anything over 125ms of lag. For reasonable performance at about 20fps, a lag of around 50ms would be much better. The latter category sounds achievable on broadband connections for users in the same geographical region. I'll know more about this after I've done some testing.

To achieve the connection with Dosbox, I had to use a specially patched version of the CVS code (essentially the newest code submitted by the developers). For now, I have only been able to build a Linux binary copy of the emulator, but I do intend to have a Windows binary built soon. When I do, I'll send my copy to somebody else and try to test the game over the Internet. Then I'll have a better idea of how reliable Internet gaming will be and can post more information here.

In other developments, the programming work on Chequered Flag is now essentially completed and the final touches are being added to the editor. This essentially amounts to bug-fixing at this stage and around 75% of this work has already been done. There are two or three more things that have been identified and need to be corrected before release. After that, version 0.1.0 of the editor will be made available to the public and we will then work towards 0.1.1. I think the plan in the future is to improve little and often, so incremental releases can be expected more frequently afterwards.

Finally, I have recently been updating the F1GP/WC Wikipedia page to bring the entry in line with current community developments. With thanks to John, who also independently made his own revisions, I believe the page is now much more representative of the current affairs relating to the game. If anybody is interested in reading more about F1GP/WC in general, please feel free to visit the Wikipedia page here


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