Welcome to the addiction
I'll fill in some more detail, but to answer all your questions fully would take an even longer posting than I'm about to write!
So, best to just refer you to some other sources of info, which I'll do towards the end.
As Jim says, it's quicker to use manual gears once you have practiced and mastered them, but if you're having trouble with your pedals and paddle shifters this will be difficult or impossible, so you may be forced to stay with auto shifting for the moment. I'm pretty sure the rules allow their use (don't remember reading anything to the contrary), but most people don't because of the speed penalty and the tendency of the auto to get into the wrong gear at some tracks, especially where selection of a higher gear is preferable to limit wheelspin.
Throttle help works like a traction control in a road car, limiting wheelspin. Its use is generally not recommended because you'll effectively have to learn to drive all over again when you eventually decide to drop it.
Braking help acts like an anti-lock braking system in a road car. It's easier to drop than throttle help after using it for a while.
Both throttle and braking help limit the performance available from the car, so you will be forced to drop them eventually in your search for ultimate speed.
Linear/non-linear: Non-linear applies a scaling effect to the steering that increases the steering rate the further you move from the centre position toward the extremes of lock (full left and right). Effectively the steering allows finer control around the centre (helping stability on straights taken at high speed), but still allows you to get around tighter corners as you move toward the extremes of lock. However, use of non-linear tends to make it harder to recover the car, using so-called 'opposite lock', when the back end 'steps out'; in these situations the quicker initial response of linear steering is preferable. So, this setting is a little like driver aids - using non-linear may help you initially, but you'll tend to move it more and more to full linear in the search for ultimate control.
- Field of view: Bigger numbers allow you to see more of the world around you through the window of the computer screen (wider angle view), smaller numbers reduce what you see (narrower angle view). A wider angle view also increases the sense of speed, narrower reduces it.
- player.ini and core.ini. If you are referring to the drop down lists, I believe the first one adjusts a number of graphic related options to set the overall load on the computer (full is most demanding and light is least) - useful if you have a slow computer. However, be aware there are a whole array of graphic options to set in-game to tune performance - GEM is just offering an easy generic way to adjust them, but won't necessarily give optimal results. core.ini settings appear to relate to the setting of force feedback latency - again, this may help (assuming you are using force feedback) to optimise performance depending on the speed of your computer.
- Rasteriser. Is the software 'driver' used by your video card. Nowadays, most people run DirectX, but some people get smoother results with OpenGL (if their card supports it well, but many cards don't). 3Dfx and Rendition relate to very old graphic cards from round about the time GPL was originally released. Software rendering - don't even think about it (gives very poor results)!
Shift/R: Yup, back on cold tyres and whatever fuel load you specified in your race setup (maximum load if you left that as default). So, to be avoided if poss, but inevitable if you've really crunched the car with damage settings on.
Extra in-race info. Best solution is Pribluda (assuming you run the DirectX video driver). You can find it here:
OK, hope that gets you started. Here are the other links I promised you...
Bob Simpson's GPL FAQ:
Stefan Roess's GPL Info and FAQ:
Race Sim Central (RSC) GPL Forums:
And, of course the ADC forums. Remember to select the Show All option in the search settings down toward the bottom of each forum summary page then click the Go button to search - if you don't do that you'll only see threads that had posting activity in the last 30 days. That trick is even more important in RSC (use the 'From The' setting toward the bottom of RSC forum summary pages) where there is masses of historical posting.
Best of luck and see you on-track some time
P.S. Well done with the 1:31.84 - that is well on the way to rapid.
Edited by John Ollis, 06 June 2006 - 01:36 AM.