Friday, November 28, 2008

TORCS Championships 2008 - Corkscrew

The TORCS robots moved across the US, from Michigan to sunny California this time. Testing their skills at the dreaded Corkscrew complex, on a newrunner track (erm created by... me?). It was a fun race, one that I enjoyed the most so far I guess, and not because it was on 'my' track.

Ah right, forgot to write about Michigan... oval racing, going round and round lotsa times. My robots did quite well, being speedy, but their technique in the corners would need some more work. Ah and at one point they tend to miss a pit visit so can run out of fuel. That was solved with a temporary hack for Corkscrew, telling them to start thinking about pitting when they still have fuel enough for 3 laps :)

So came qualifiers and the kilo bots finished #13-14 while the dotty ones #17-18 (by design). In fact the Dots were some hundredths faster on test runs than the Kilos but I preferred the Kilos to gain points, so made the qualy setting of Dots a little bit slower. That is a programmer, playing God :D
Start went fine and the first hairpin was solved without any big amounts of damage, but Turn 3, a sweeping right-hander prooved fatal for some top teams. USR lost R.Giskard who though he should pit each and every lap after the accident, a JDI was thrown back and Bea Benz had to fight her way back to the top 10, too.

Kilo 2 and Fuzzy Foe got in top 10 somehow while the other halves of my teams had to jog a bit in the second half of the field. The track prooved to be quite entertaining, there was always something happening somewhere, there were not many boring empty minutes.

Like here: Kilo 1 (blue+yellow) overlaps the orange R.Giskard, Dotty laps them both, while they were all lapped by the wdbee team (on the far left):

Team Inferno's aggressive driving style caused them to spend quite some time in the pits, obviously loosing too many places, also with the (not so occasional) spins:

The Corkscrew turn complex produced some hot moments:

As I've said before, the race was full of action, takeovers, overlapping, taking a lap back, it was hard sometimes to decide who fights who, the pit was crowded, entering cars caused some trouble, too:

All in all it was an exciting race - too bad the scenery is dull, it definitely needs some Blender work.