DWarehouse blog zone
Version 5.00 ... Progress Report 
Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 02:57 AM - Spotter / Crew Chief
Posted by Dave Hoffman
Work is coming along fairly nicely with version 5.00. I was a little under the weather this past weekend and didn't feel like doing much, so I did nothing all day except for pull sound from races over the last two seasons. I ended up with around 300 raw samples when the dust settled.

While giving them a listen and letting my mind work at how I could use them, I quickly remembered two of things that I hate about building spotter packs. 1) The constant changing of audio quality from race to race. I desperately want the same voice tone for each respective guy throughout the pack. It just doesn't sound realistic to me if some clips are clear, and some are muffled, or if the quality is good in some, and horrible in the next. I have 12 "Pit road is open" calls, and it sounds like 4 different guys saying it, that's how varied the source quality can get.

2) While listening to my 12 "Pit road is open" calls, I couldn't help but think that it would be so cool if I could actually use all 12 instead of just 1. The whole spotter dynamic would come alive if you could use unlimited clips for every trigger. Every race would sound very different than the last, and you could continually keep adding on to spotter packs instead of just swapping out clips. Hopefully iRacing will mix that ability into the spotter component in the future.

Other than that, I still have work to do, but I'm happy with how it's coming along so far. It will probably be done sooner than I thought, as I'm finding myself a little more motivated than I thought I'd be. It's only 11:30p.. time to dive back in.

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Version 5.00 
Saturday, March 13, 2010, 12:30 PM - Spotter / Crew Chief
Posted by Dave Hoffman
Work has begun on the next version of the spotter pack, and it's going well. I'm currently going through the difficult task of listening to my archive of races, right now at Darlington in May of 2009. It's only difficult from the standpoint of time involved.

Each race compiles into about 25 minutes of solid audio, give or take. Lots of races = lots of hours invested. So the challenge is to stay motivated to really listen and not have the audio fall into background noise. That's tough to do when I'm watching TV, painting cars, browsing the net, writing this thing, etc. You almost have to re-wire your brain to always listen for stuff, even when concentrating on other things.

Anyway, I've pulled a lot of Earl Barban stuff thus far, with lots more to come. The biggest challenge so far is figuring out how to do the 3-wide calls. Unlike Chris Osborne who says, "3-wide you're on the top," Earl says, "2-wide inside." The hard part is how to transition from a 3-wide to a 2-wide. Chris does a, "3-wide you're on top... two wide." Earl does a, "2-wide inside.... 1 inside." The issue is that the iRacing files are set up for how Chris calls it. No matter where you are in a 3-wide, when it becomes 2-wide, the software will play the "2wide" file. So it looks like I'm going to have to piece something together. I'll figure it out.

After I go through the races and pull all the Earl audio, the next step is to process the audio into the correct file specs, clean it up, and to make sure the volume and tone is close to what's already in there. Then it's testing time to make sure all is cool and nothing explodes.

One thing is for sure, I really don't miss the days when I had no idea what played when or where. This thing is so much easier to do when I can build a full spotter pack without even loading up the sim.
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Spotter Oddities 
Saturday, September 12, 2009, 11:09 PM - Spotter / Crew Chief
Posted by Dave Hoffman
In creating the spotter, it's always a series of decisions and trade offs. I like to go as outside of the box as you can get, yet, not have the intended message get lost.

For instance, we have the stock, "You're in 5th place." That's a little too boring for me, and honestly, it's very hard to find any audio of a spotter or CC saying that. There are scoring towers all over the place, I'm sure the drivers sneak a peak and already know that they're in 5th place. Same with iRacing. As drivers, whether we have F1 or F3 open, you already know what place you're in, no need to tell us.

So I look at those 12 triggers as complete wildcards, putting in there anything that I want to. Your in 1st-5th, you're back in 1st-5th, top 10, top 20. If you've used this pack or the NR03 pack for any amount of time, you pretty much know what I'm trying to accomplish.

I'm starting to stray off into a "spotter pack creation theory" dialog, so I'll get back on track.

In doing it how I do it, there are things that don't sound right. In no particular order...

With 4 laps to go in a race, Chad starts telling you that he's pitting you in about 3 laps or so. What!? Why!? Well, you've got about 5 laps of gas left in the tank, that's why he says it. At this point in time, the sim doesn't abort triggers if they're irrelevant. So my decision was to either put in the stock "5 laps of gas left," or go with something more realistic. I chose realism, which makes absolutely no sense when triggered late in a race where pitting isn't required.

Copy that for 2 laps of gas left as well, except this time Chad is yelling at you to pit. I don't like that it does that, I can't control it, so it is what it is.

You get those a lot in qualifying as well. Hopefully iRacing develops that a little bit further in the future. In the mean time, always defer to your F4 window.

Another oddity is taking the checkers, but Chad or Chris tells you something that leads you to think that the race is still going on. As mentioned before, it's probably one of those "you're in 3rd" type messages. Those really shouldn't be played when the race is over, but again, that isn't up to me.

In closing, I always have to make a decision when replacing an utterance. Do I match it up and have it say the same thing as the defaults, or do I get creative and go an entirely different direction with the verbiage. I tend to go the creative route just because it sounds more realistic. The side effect is that it opens up the possibilities to sounding completely out of place in certain situations. That's just the nature of the beast.

So yes, I hear it too, and I don't like it either. :)
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I really wish people would shut up 
Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 08:47 AM - Race Talk
Posted by Dave Hoffman
No offense.

One thing that no one will ever hear during a race is me keying up the mic and demeaning someone for being an idiot, driving like a tool, driving with their head up their ass, doing something stupid, criticizing someone, or anything else of the like. In short, youíre never going to hear much from me in a race.

Not that Iím not thinking those things, or saying them to my monitor, or saying them to some unfortunate friends who happen to be on our TeamSpeak server at the time. Many times I am, and many times some people are driving like idiots.

Fair enough, but I wonít key that mic up for a few reasons.

1) I have absolutely no room to say a word to anyone. Zero. My SR might be below 2 on both oval and road, but Iíve done some pretty forgettable things on the track that caused wrecks over the years. Iíve spun people out in the pacing line. IN THE PACING LINE! Iíve dive-bombed people into a corner and took them out. Iíve forced a 3-wide in places where 3-wide racing is asinine, and wrecked Ďem both. Iíve punted people off the track. Iíve once wrecked 24 cars at Talladega in a single bound! Iíve tried to pass in a set of esses, wrecking us both. Iíve wrecked people on pit road. Iíve self-spun in front of the leaders and collected both of them. Iíve drifted off the low line and checked people up into the wall. And thereís more to that list that I choose to forget.

All of my "hall of shame" moments were unintentional accidents. Just me doing something stupid, or me ďrunning out of talent,Ē or me just getting an acute case of the morons. I pride myself on being clean, so I felt horrible about all of those things after they happened. Many times Iíve parked it after I've wrecked someone, essentially DQíing myself for driving like an fool.

Since Iíve done all of that stuff, and I know how it feels, and I know that it wasnít intentional, how on Earth would that give me any right to jump on chat and browbeat someone for doing .... exactly what I have done myself in the past and will probably do again? How would I have any room to talk? Hello Pot, itís Kettle calling. Yup, weíre both still black!

I know that whoever just wrecked me didnít mean to do it, and they probably feel bad about it whether they convey an apology or not. I know, because Iíve been there, Iíve done it too, we all have. Thereís no need for me to point out that what they did was stupid, because they already know that. Duh.

2) Nobody else in the race wants to hear it.

3) No matter how it happens, you sound like a whiny little baby when you complain about getting run into. Iím sorry, thatís what it sounds like. Honestly. Ask anybody. Itís something with the emotions in the voice, but no matter what tone of voice the bitcher has, at that moment, it sounds like whining. Even Emperor Palpatine would sound like heís having a whiny little bitch fit. ďYour feeble skills just destroyed my car, that which the power of the dark siiiide cannot even rectify... n00b.Ē Close, partially menacing, but still mostly whining.

4) Nobody else in the race wants to hear that either.

5) The thing that I would chastise someone for doing is the very thing Iíd probably turn around and accidentally do a race later, or even in that very race. That, my friends, would truly make me look like an imbecile.

In conclusion, keep your damn mouth shut. Nobody wants to hear it, they didnít mean it, and you donít do yourself any favors by calling people out. Iím a laid back happy-go-lucky guy, but Iím just getting tired of hearing this crap in races and reading about it in the forum. It makes iRacing unappealing when people think that every little mistake is going to be met by an arrogant tongue-lashing. So I apologize, but all of this had to be said.

The only people who have any right to reprimand someone for making a mistake are those who have never made any. Luckily, I have that list of drivers. They are as follows.....


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That Stupid Little Cowboy Emoticon 
Thursday, July 30, 2009, 01:40 AM - DWarehouse
Posted by Dave Hoffman

Yea, that thing. As I was updating the site tonight with the latest spotter version, I habitually tagged my post with that emoticon. I don't even realize that I'm doing it anymore, and when I see it, I don't see it. I got to wondering if anyone wondered why I drop that dude in there. Keep reading, I know this is all riveting.

That little guy dates back to the old Sierra forums during the Papyrus years, which brings back sometimes fond memories. That old ugly yellow border, the birth of the catchphrase, "Soon." The purple-tagged developers. The admission (in the end) that a Save Race feature was, in fact, possible. The "Night of Porn" where half the membership got booted the next day. Nike, the king of trolls, who I actually liked in retrospect. Good times.

Whenever I'd post an update to the spotter over there, I'd always drop the cowboy emoticon at the end of my posts. I'm a redneck, I frequent honkytonks, so it just seemed fitting. For whatever reason, I keep up the tradition. It's my little link back to the old days.

There, now y'all'l be able to sleep tonight.

Another symbolic relic from the old days, which some will know what it means.

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