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Possible new multi-platform racing app for Carrera digital

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  • Possible new multi-platform racing app for Carrera digital

    Hi All,

    b.yingling here, author of HSSRMS software for Carrera Digital.

    My own software has gone about as far as it can given the limits of Carrera's digital hardware. A few years ago I made the switch to a 'wizard' style interface for almost all operations in order to make the software easier to use. Then a couple of years ago some new ideas resulted in additions like the Driver Display web server and Team Radio.

    At this point the software has become very complex to maintain and continued development is a struggle. There are a great many things included that were not planned for at all at the start (now more than 10 years ago!), and even after a couple of near-total rewrites, it has continued to spiral in complexity.

    So I am toying with the idea of writing a new application, ground up, for multi-platform use. Definitely Windows, probably android, and possibly iOS and even Mac.

    The new software would include all of the notable features of the current software- meaning it will still include race rotations, the ability to score a series of races in a racing series, and, at least on some platforms, the Driver Display web server and Team Radio. Of course, since it will hopefully be aimed at android as well as Windows, you will be able to use the Bluetooth dongle or the existing USB serial device for communicating with the track. I have a lot of testing to do before I can say with assurance that I can get Bluetooth working well enough under Windows, and if I can't this will (if I proceed from that point) likely wind up as single platform (Windows) software using serial communications, just like the existing work.

    If this happens- and there is a very real probability that it will not happen- it will be well in the future. The only reason I am making this post is to find out what you might want to see. I know you will all be asking for things that just aren't possible with Carrera's existing hardware, but ask anyway. Maybe I- or someone else!- can come up with approximations for some of the things you want that just can't be done.

    The only new features I have planned at this point are a qualifying mode, and the ability to move drivers, cars, and results far more easily from one machine to another. Either because of hardware replacement, or to facilitate running a racing series on multiple tracks.

    Again, this may not happen at all! But post your ideas and wants here anyway. It will be a resource for any one who decides to create or improve software for Carrera digital in the future.

    The thread is now yours, as I won't even jump in to point out why more than half of what you wish for is currently impossible with Carrera digital hardware :-). Imagine away.
    Last edited by b.yingling; November 9, 2019, 10:22 AM.

  • #2
    Bruce whatever you choose to do or not do, everything is good here. Just keep the Event features for the people who wont use your software for anything other than casual use. Since this is directed more towards the people who actually use your software for racing I will gracefully bow out. You've done great things for this hobby.
    Saginaw Valley Raceway
    Only Rule: Just enjoy who you are racing with.


    • #3
      Hey Bruce

      Welcome to our new home... I've been thinking about what might be potential features for a next generation in both PC and Bluetooth interface. I guess I first have to say that there is nothing that I feel like I am "missing" in HSSRMS. We've been along for the ride as you fixed bugs, added features and got way more out of the hardware than even Carrera imagined. We had sector timing 2+ years before the Check Lane came out, the addition of the Driver Display and Team Radio with the rewrite is excellent. As Dave says above, a big thank you for your efforts over the years.

      The poll we have running in the sticky section shows 47% using HSSRMS and 32% using SmartRace - it will be interesting to follow that trend as we get more folks on board but it's clear that there is a broad level of support for HSSRMS

      As far as potential new features or interaction to other apps, I thought this was an interesting post by John Kohler in the survey thread a week ago:

      Originally posted by John Kohler View Post
      I use Smartrace on Android. Very easy to use Tasker (another Android app) to automate lighting (both overhead and scenery) and (future) track animations based on race conditions. Using the weather plugin, Tasker can read when that event occurs, and automatically start a thunderstorm, rain, lightning, thunder. Really fun!!! Gradual shifting of overhead lights based on time of day run by a fast clock, I can run a 24 hour race in hours or minutes and the lighting will gradually change to suit the simulated time of day.
      I can see some benefit in an increased ability to turn things on and off, whether it is connecting through another app or some specific device control I/O.



      Ed Magner
      Portage, MI


      • #4
        Open source would be great.


        • #5
          Originally posted by JTK View Post
          Open source would be great.
          OK. For this one I will jump back in and comment. Start one.
          Last edited by b.yingling; November 22, 2019, 03:13 PM.


          • JTK
            JTK commented
            Editing a comment
            Visiting Walt and Mickey with my kids in Orlando this week, but I can start something up on Github next week. When I do, will you participate?

        • #6
          Probably wouldn't be of any use to you unless you're programming it in Pascal.


          • JTK
            JTK commented
            Editing a comment
            So you're taking feature requests for a "Possible new multi-platform racing app for Carrera digital." And you're gonna build that in Pascal?

            Also, I was not hoping to get help from you. Quite the opposite. It would be an honor to provide some software engineering assistance to you.
            Last edited by JTK; November 27, 2019, 07:28 PM.

        • #7
          OK Bruce, you opened the flood gates on this one, and remember you here goes, this may be long. Remember don't kill the messenger LOL. Some history; I received my first 1/24 slot cars as a youth in the 60's when commercial tracks were everywhere. Some great times. Then about 25 years ago I purchased an Artin 1/32 set and had a nice 4 lane 16x5 layout on a table that provided hours of enjoyment for the family. While using that analog system I searched for some lap timing software that would fit my needs best. Although there were a few options only one seemed to have exactly what I was looking for, specifically the ability to have multiple drivers and have fixed cars on each lane. IE rotate the drivers. The program (no names mentioned) however was quite complex and had a huge "learning curve" to say the least, but once conquered it worked well in analog mode. The methodology in the race setup within this program was the reason for my choice, which I will explain shortly.
          Years later I was intrigued with the digital race sets, and after much research decided on the Carrera digital 132. I was happy that the analog software vendor I was using was just about to complete a version for Carrera digital 132 since the race set up was an invaluable feature for me. Once the Carrera digital version was released the input to start a race was enter drivers, position, cars and choose rotate drivers. Unfortunately the software just never functioned properly without freezing up, needing a reboot, and loosing all race data usually halfway through the race. The software was never debugged and any updates haven't been released in years.
          After much frustration I set out to search for an alternate lap timing system. That is when I found your software, and all I can say is WOW, very impressive! I salute you for the time and effort you have put into this software over the years. I have been using it for many years so I have seen the various upgrades and additions. The external monitor feature which will display on a smart TV is simply ingenious. The program is straightforward, easy to use, and the results display just perfect. I was so impressed I sent you a voluntary small donation you were going to use in your tire making project years ago. (Hope that went well)
          What I would like to see in any changes to your program is a race setup like I used in the past. When the race is started, display a screen with several boxes with the heat # as the heading. Within each box have the position number, color, driver, and car listed. It is invaluable to be able to print the heats so everyone knows when to prepare for their race. Since I usually have around 20 heats with family gatherings (big family, six kids, spouses, grandchildren, in-laws, outlaws, etc) using 4 positions, drivers were shuffled in each and every heat. I have no clue how this was done but a driver might race heat 2,7,14,18. of 20 heats. The drivers were not shuffled together from heat to heat but were shuffled separately and raced against several different drivers. On rare occasion a driver may race a consecutive race depending on the shuffle. I have a hard time keeping everyone focused when in a 20 heat race they are done after the first 4 heats or have to wait 16 heats to race. (remember kids and grandkids). The heat display was actually the starting point for the race. Click on any of the boxes, to start the selected heat. The heats did not have to be run in consecutive order which helped for the infamous bathroom run, important cell phone call etc. You could skip a heat and proceed with another. Once the race was over the results would display for a user defined time and return to the heat setup page to pick another heat. The heat ran would display it was run, however you could rerun it in the event of a catastrophic event (usually someone with the wrong controller) and it would repeat the heat and overwrite the previous heat ran. Advantage #2 By having the ability to print out the heats and not have the drivers run consecutive heats, the Marshaling wars are over!!!! Drivers in the last heat marshal the first, and after each heat the drivers of that heat then marshal the next heat. Driver 1 now marshal 1, position 1 etc. No more its not my turn, I just marshaled, I want to marshal over there.... no more....gone In the event a driver may catch 2 consecutive heats it was his/her responsibility to get a replacement. Makes the race run very smooth.
          Penalty - #1 maybe its there and I missed it but I would like the ability to have a false start penalty for both the beginning of a race or when a race is paused and restarted. Maybe a user defined time (seconds) and/or lap. Also a penalty in the race point system when it happens. Penalty #2 The ability to assess penalties after a race. I'll explain this one. Unlike analog where each driver has their own lane, digital is a world of lane sharing. Us in the adult world realize to duplicate the real racing theme, but the younger generation not so. In reality some cars are faster than others, and more time than not I have to warn drivers not to push a slower car around the track. This is especially true when running ghost cars. The concept is get around the car in front, not push it out of the way. Somehow my young racers are under the impression that for each second they push a car, a second gets added to their lap times. Where they got this idea I have no clue, but its working! Having the ability to assess time penalties (time and points) after the race would surely curb any demolition derby driving.
          Bruce, currently I run my races as listed above, but with double the work. I duplicate the data in both my old software and your program, print the scrambled heats for posting and to know who is marshaling, and then run the race with your flawless software using manual rotation following the printed heat sheet. Lotta work. Feel free to comment, question, or complain, you deserve at least that much for your contribution to this hobby.
          Thanks Again, great stuff!


          • #8
            You didn't really ask for much, Bob. Penalty is already there. You have to enter the pits (and not take fuel) within a certain number of laps, stay for a user selected amount of time to lift the penalty. If you fail to complete the penalty in the allotted time, laps are no longer counted until you do. You assess a penalty with Ctrl-#, where # is the controller ID to be penalized.

            As far as penalty after the race, all you can do is adjust lap totals.

            I have had a hidden option for random rotations for a couple of years. It's hidden because I have never fully debugged it. That's something I may finally do this winter.


            • #9
              Bruce, thanks for the response. Random rotations and being able to see all the listed heats pre- race for marshaling purposes would be huge for me. Thanks for the explanation on the penalty, tried it and works perfect, very nice.


              • #10
                Hi Guys,
                I've been using HSSRMS for 4 days now, I'm very impressed and plan to register it. What I really need is a good single thread to read up on the latest and possibly the last program version 5330, Zip file version 2226 without wasting any space here for the future. Any suggestions?


                • #11
                  We run a night of racing and let the scoring system keep track of scoring.

                  The only feature I would like to see added is a points penalty for crashing. We have some guys crash more than others. I would like to be able to press a number on the keyboard to match the car that crashed. At the end of the race that driver has a number of points reduced for each crash. You could perhaps make that number variable within the scoring system.

                  Over the course of the evening the less crashes the more overall points you would score.

                  Overall I love the software and it has made our racing so much more enjoyable. I really think Carrera should hire you or incorporate your design in to their track somehow.


                  • #12
                    Modern software writers amaze me with their courage to go into an unknown situation with the view to coding or bridging their way back out again. With multi-platform compatibility in mind, Bruce, with the current hardware, would you think you would be switching to the bluetooth adapter? Or thinking of something else? Or wait and see if any new kit comes along?
                    Surprisingly I don't have any fancy feature requests. Thanks for opening it up for discussion though.