The experience of racing online can be made much more enjoyable for yourself, but also for your fellow members, through the use of a few basic "tweaks" to your machine's configuration.
We won't go as far as to say that the settings for the game are mandatory, but consider this (straight from the General Rules).
- All drivers are responsible for ensuring their own internet connection is as free from warp/lag as possible. A guide to reducing warp can be found on the Information page.
- Any driver seen to be warping during a meeting will receive one warning - any subsequent problems and they will be banned from the rest of the meeting.
DISCLAIMER: If you are at all unsure about making any of the changes described below, then please don't attempt them. The last thing we want is for your machine to be messed up as a result of these instructions. Note also that due to different versions of Windows, some of the instructions which follow may differ slightly from your machine.
Virtual Memory is used by Windows when your computer runs out of physical memory(RAM) - instead of just stopping, Windows then uses space on your hard drive as "virtual memory". This is slower, but keeps things working. The default setting for virtual memory in Windows is "Automatic", which means "let Windows guess at how to do this". Unfortunately this is the slowest way of doing things. The trick is to specify the amount of space on disk you want Windows to use, which means it doesn't have to work it our every time (essentially). If you have a 2nd HD or partition, its preffered to use that for the "virtual memory".
Double click "System" in your control panel, then "Performance", then "Virtual Memory". Then click "let me specify my own settings", and enter a minimum and maximum amount which is double the size of RAM in your computer. For example, if you have 512 MB of RAM, enter 1024 for both the minimum and maximum size. Click OK and you'll then be asked to reboot.
Files are stored on the disk in small fragments, and not always grouped together. By 'defragging' you organise the fragments to speed up disk access. It is always a good idea to defragment your hard drive occasionally. You access the defragmenting utility through your "Start" menu - Programs - Accessories - System Tools. Make sure nothing else is running on your machine when defragmenting, as this will just cause the process to keep restarting. Use EndItAll if necessary.
One of the most important things is is to stop running lots of unnecessary software on your machine while racing. Virus checkers for example are a notorious thing for causing problems with racing simulations, especially when running online. Download the following programs to get rid of them :
- EndItAll - stops most unnecessary programs before running the game.
- Ad-Aware - stops hidden programs that may still running, and most importantly, using your internet connection.
Setting up your connection
I can write a whole section on how to set it up, but why should I bother. There is a simpel little program available which does it all for you. Its called the TCP Optimizer (developed by www.speedguide.net).
The TCP Optimizer is a free, easy Windows program that
provides an intuitive interface for tuning and optimizing your Internet
connection. There is no installation required, just download and run. The
program can aid both the novice and the advanced user in tweaking related TCP/IP
parameters in the Windows Registry, making it easy to tune your system to the
type of Internet connection used. The program works with all current versions of
Windows, and includes additional tools, such as testing average latency over
multiple hosts, and finding the largest possible packet size (MTU).
The TCP Optimizer is targeted towards broadband internet connections, however it can be helpful with tuning any internet connection type, from dialup to Gigabit+
Now BEFORE you start the program, you might wanna read and do the following first:
Goto www.speedtest.net and click on the MAIDENHEAD server. It doesnt matter if its NOT the closest server. The purpose of this is, to have all members test their speeds at the same place. Dont forget the JOLT-servers are only 10 miles away from the Maidenhead server.
After the test has run, you will get a result.
Make a note of the downloadspeed. You need to use that number in the TCP Optimizer program.
Run the TCP Optimizer program and set the connection speed to the download speed that you received earlier.
Now click on "Optimal settings" and then on "Apply changes".
The program will ask you if want to apply the changes and if you want to create a backup of your "old" settings. Its recommended that you do make a backup. The backup will be stored where the TCP Optimizer program is located.
Click OK and reboot your computer. You can run the test at www.speedtest.net again if you want to see if anything has improved.
Setting up NASCAR Heat
The most important thing to have configured properly is the game itself. If, for example, you are using too high a graphics resolution, this will stress your computer so much that it cannot handle the added load of running multiplayer races online. Check the following items:
Graphics Options - these will make the biggest differences.
- Detail - Turn this down.
- Draw Distance - Turn this down. It determines how far away a car is before it is not shown on your screen. Do you really need to know if someone is half a lap ahead?
- Effects - Turn this down. This will stop tyre marks and smoke effects. They look nice, but don't make you drive any faster.
- Mirror - Set it to ALL, unless you are having real problems, in which case set it to Cars or turn it off.
- Resolution - Go to a lower resolution if possible. It won't look quite as nice, but you're here to race, not look pretty.
- High Details - Should you have this option available, untick it. As above you're here to race.
Sound Options - these won't make a huge difference, but it will still free up processor power.
- Fidelity - set it to 8-bit.
- Spotter - Turn the volume right down to zero. We still don't know who Carlo is.
- Music - Turn the volume right down to zero. If you want music, turn your stereo on.