Fast-forward slightly to the early days of gaming consoles and computers. We still have radio controlled cars we can run on the street or at the track but now that track includes on-screen -- virtual RC car racing. Yes, radio controlled racing also includes PC and console games. Some have come and gone. Others are newer.
Game Console RC Racing GamesI remember the old 8-bit Nintendo game called RC Pro-AM. This was a basic game that had you racing around a small track gathering powerups to upgrade your little RC car. Back then that game was top notch in the graphics department. Now there is a website where a person has made a web-friendly version through Java that you can play online.
Moving on through time, we are now at the point when PlayStation is king in the graphics department of consoles. The game released by Acclaim called Re-Volt made it to the console and was soon to be released for the PC. This game had a lot more choices when it came to cars and tracks. The sounds weren't half bad either -- realistic as RC cars go Both electric and nitro were available to race.
The track selection was pretty interesting to say the least. Themes like racing on the deck of a cruise ship,,racing through a supermarket, and my personal off-road favorite, the construction site. Like all old games that have came and gone this one was discontinued down the line. But with a little luck you might find a retail seller somewhere on the web who may still be selling this awesome little game.
PC RC Racing GamesRe-Volt moved from console to PC but other RC racing games started as computer games. As PC graphics and processing power vastly improved, Duratrax came out with their PC version of both on-road and off-road racing called RealRace G1 and G2. Both are hard to find now days but with a little searching on the web there are still some places that sell these two great RC racing games.
For the people that have RealRace there are still sites that host a lot of add-ons and mods for these games. From cars to track and help in tutorial form for those who might want to try and make their own cars and tracks, these sites keep RealRace racing. The only thing is that you have to have is either the controller that comes with it or go to your local hobby shop and pick up the USB to radio receiver dongle for about $35.00.
Speaking of virtual RC racing (well, yes, that's the topic of this article) you can also download a demo of the aptly named VRC (Virtual RC) racing software for the PC. You will definitely have a blast racing both online and offline. Their Virtual RC Racing USB dongle that they sell in their E-Shop works with almost all types of transmitters/receivers including the new DSM 2.4 GHz radios.
If you don't have the USB dongle you can still race using the arrow keys on your keyboard although it won't quite feel the same as racing with your own radio system. The graphics are pretty realistic and the realism in the handling is pretty close to the real thing. The only thing with the VRC software is that it is strictly on-road. VRC has talked about making an off-road version for about 4 years now so don't hold your breath waiting for the off-road version to come out anytime soon.
RC Driving SimulatorI recently discovered that SVK Systems the makers of ClearView RC Flight Simulator have released their version of ClearView RC Car Simulator. The graphics representation of the demo models aren't very good but it's a start. One great thing is that the ClearView RC Car Simulator is an open source type program That allows you to make your own models, tracks, and scenery using programs like Blender and AC3D. You have the potential for unlimited cars, tracks, and scenery. How cool is that? I plan on making models of all my hobby grade RCs to race in this game.
Grow Your Own RC Racing GameBeing able to add cars and tracks is cool, yes, but I've often thought about making my own virtual RC game That way there wouldn't be any disapointment as to what the game has or doesn't have. If I wanted certain things to be in the game I would just add them. Well Garage Games has introduced their game engine call Torque 3D and boasts that it can do impressive things like what I want to do.
I got to looking around while investigating the torque game engine and found this game called simply 3D RC Racing made by Red Hill Games. You can download the demo. It looks very well done, although it still needs a lot of work to provide realistic RC control and handling. Being able to create your own tracks is pretty cool -- providing unlimited possibilities for racing scenarios.
Why Virtual RC Racing Games?RC cars on the gaming console or computer screen won't replace the thrill of real RC racing. Most of us still want to get out on the street, in the dirt, or on the track with the heat or the cold, the dust flying, the smell of nitro in the air, the real life pit stops where you can't find that extra set of tires or you have to do makeshift repairs to a damaged steering rod... things that virtual RC racing doesn't give you. But, when you're awake at 3am (and your neighbors aren't) or when there's 10 inches of snow (not a problem here in Texas) or when your real life RC is waiting on new parts, then virtual RC racing games can keep you in the RC game (and, hey, they're just fun too).
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