All posts by Coniah

RaceTools v3.2 – seeing more data

RaceTools 3.2 adds extra fields to the Session Results table and Heat Map color coding of section times. This is an optional upgrade for INDYCAR users but a recommended upgrade for IMSA users.

Custom Fields in Session Results table:
To bring more information to the main program window, I’m adding some custom fields that you can manually enter into the column field by using the Insert Column or Edit Column options. I consider these ‘works in progress’, but you will be able to add:
1. Section Times/Speeds by entering the section name. If the field is defined as a speed trap, then it will be displayed as SPEED. Otherwise it will be displayed as time.
2. Best Lap Section Times by entering ‘BL_’+ (ie. ‘BL_S01’). This will display the section time for the competitor’s best lap.
3. Best Splits Section Time by entering ‘BS_’+ (ie. ‘BS_S01’). This will display the best section time for the competitor.
4. Best Lap Section Time Delta by entering ‘BLD_’+ (ie. ‘BLD_S01’). For the class leader, it will display the Best Lap Section time. For all others, it will display the delta to the class leader, which may be greater than (longer time, slower) or less than zero (shorter time, faster).
5. Best Splits Section Time Delta by entering ‘BSD_’+ (ie. ‘BSD_S01’). For the class leader, it will display the Best Section time. For all others, it will display the delta to the class leader, which may be greater than (longer time, slower) or less than zero (shorter time, faster).
6. Previous Rank by entering ‘PR’. This will display the competitor’s rank at the last S/F crossing and is used to highlight improvements (P column green) or decline (P column red) in position.

Heat Map:
To make it easier to identify faster/slower section times, the Section Time Delta fields defined above are color coded when the ‘Heat Map’ option is enabled. The colors below are subject to change as this is my first pass at this feature.

History:
v3.2.0
2017 03 07 – clear SessionResults column if field not defined
2017 03 06 – fix Access error in DriveTimes report (accessing sgdResults.Datasource.DataSet before it is configured)
– apply HeatMap to BS and BL section times
– apply position change highlighting to PR field
2017 03 05 – add HeatMap to BSD and BLD fields
2017 03 04 – move SessionResults draw routines to TASDB unit to share with other stringgrid rendering
– add BL_ to SessionResults table Best Lap Section Times
– add BS_ to SessionResults table Best Splits Section Times
– add BLD_ to SessionResults table Best Lap Section Time Delta to P1
– add BSD_ to SessionResults table Best Splits Section Time Delta to P1
– add TOP_ to SessionResults table – average of Top lap times
– fix setting of PrevRank to highlight P field for position changes
v3.1.0
2017 03 03 – save/restore Maps and Graphs on exit/launch
v3.0.10
2017 02 28 – prompt for team name for expired license keys to allow user an opportunity to reset the team name if necessary.
2017 02 27 – add LoadSettings to load all settings from another configuration file.
– check AppDataPath for configuration file, if not found but ParamStr(0) configuration file found, use ParamStr(0) path to load configuration
v3.0.9
2017 02 24 – fix FloatToTimeStr to round time to requested precision before converting to string. Fixes rounding of 118.995 to 1:59.00 instead of 1:58.00
2017 02 23 – check for availability of frmPitWindows before reading settings from it. Eliminate access error frmConfiguration.OnShow in MRTI version.
v3.0.8
2017 02 10 – save alias to track configuration file when saving track, before sorttrack which reloads the alias from disk.
2017 02 10 – trap when [TrackMap] Filename= or MapPath=Filename which disabled OpenDialog from opening to load a new track map
2017 02 10 – clear LastSpeed/BestSpeed from RP $O messages (fields in eRP but not RP, need to ignore if RP message)
v3.0.7
2017 01 28 – add Pause button to pause scrolling of line crossings table to display the latest crossings.
v3.0.6
2017 01 27 – remove SCx/Ex filter under yellow due to flawed logic. Need to replace with a better filter.
– add Highlight LSP in Running Order table. Need to add highlighting to results table.
v3.0.4
2017 01 15 – disable DriveTimesReport.refresh timer onclose to prevent trying to access database while closing.
– ignore Main UpdateDisplay trigger to update pit windows if pit windows update timer enabled to prevent duplicate refresh of pit windows
v3.0.3
2017 01 12 – change default configuration file path to AppDataPath if executable is in the Program Files folder to be more Windows UAC friendly.
v3.0.2
2017 01 07 – update IMSA replay file URL to http://results.imsa.com
– update IMSA data feed server to timing-data.aks port 10030
2017 01 04 – disable CarTracker.BringToFront when main program activated to fix bug accessing main window controls (menus, etc.)
– move ClocksToFront from CarTracker.Activate to imgTrackMap.OnMouseUp to keep clocks on top of track map but without disabling main program or track map interface.

RaceTools v3.1 – improved settings management

With increased use of the docking features of the software, especially with the ability to have multiple track maps and graphs, the need for better management of configuration settings is needed. With the change in v3 of saving configuration files to the %appdata% folder when running the executable out of the %program files% folder, I needed to add a way for you to restore the settings from v2. RaceTools v3.0.10 (which was never released publically) and v3.1.0 addresses these two key annoyances.

V3.0.10 adds a ‘Load Settings’ menu to the main program menu to load the program settings from any configuration file. This is most useful when migrating from version 2 to version 3 as the location of the configuration files may have changed, depending on where you run the software from. If you run RaceTools from the Program Files or Program Files (x86) folder, version 3 of RaceTools stores and loads the configuration from the AppData folder as recommended by Microsoft. It no longer saves to the Program Files folder as this folder is protected by the operating system and users were having problems closing the software and/or restoring their previous configuration when starting the software. If you run RaceTools from another folder, RaceTools will continue to save/restore the configuration from the same folder. With the ‘Load Settings’ menu, you can now load the configuration from a different folder. If you save or close the software, RaceTools will save the settings to the default folder which is the RaceTools program folder if not the windows program folder, or the AppData folder if the RaceTools program folder is in the Windows Program Folder (ie. c:\Program Files or c:\Program Files (x86)).

V3.1.0 now saves and restores any extra maps and/or graphs that you may have added. Previously you would have to re-add the maps and/or graphs each time you launched the software, but now RaceTools will remember how many maps/graphs you added and restore them when you start the software.

Other fixes include a rounding display error when the Show m:ss.zzz option is enabled and the number of digits to display is less than the timing system precision (ie. when Report Digits is set to 2 or less). The previous version would display the truncated seconds field with the rounded fractional seconds so that 1:57.995 would display as 1:57.00 instead of 1:58.00.

Version History:
v3.1.0
2017 03 03 – save/restore Maps and Graphs on exit/launch
2017 03 02 – fix setting of PrevRank to highlight changes in rank. (IndyCar version)
v3.0.10
2017 02 28 – prompt for team name for expired license keys to allow user an opportunity to reset the team name if necessary.
2017 02 27 – add LoadSettings to load all settings from another configuration file.
– check AppDataPath for configuration file, if not found but ParamStr(0) configuration file found, use ParamStr(0) path to load configuration
v3.0.9
2017 02 24 – fix FloatToTimeStr to round time to requested precision before converting to string. Fixes rounding of 118.995 to 1:59.00 instead of 1:58.00
2017 02 23 – check for availability of frmPitWindows before reading settings from it. Eliminate access error frmConfiguration.OnShow in MRTI version.
v3.0.8
2017 02 10 – save alias to track configuration file when saving track, before sorttrack which reloads the alias from disk.
2017 02 10 – trap when [TrackMap] Filename= or MapPath=Filename which disabled OpenDialog from opening to load a new track map
2017 02 10 – clear LastSpeed/BestSpeed from RP $O messages (fields in eRP but not RP, need to ignore if RP message)

Rolex 24 at Daytona recap

Congratulations to all of the participants and especially the winners at this year’s 55th Anniversary Rolex 24. It was great to see so many of you.

As it turns out, the last minute fix for the safety car wasn’t required as T&S changed their procedure from Friday’s CTSC race and we got the competitors before the safety car, so v3.0.5 would have worked fine, but v3.0.6 did not introduce any new bugs so there was no harm in the upgrade, just a long night and a little more stress. It’s never boring.

I have a couple of bugs to fix and enhancements to finish for the next release. If you have any comments, suggestions and bug reports from this last week, please send them to me.

Coniah

RaceTools v3.0.6 – Daytona Race edition *** Safety Car Alert ***

I don’t like to release new software during an event, and more so the morning of a race, but here is what I discovered during the CTSC race yesterday.
1. Based on some procedural changes in how Timing and Scoring is done, the datafeed exposed a flaw in RaceTools v3.x that can filter out the safety cars, even under yellow. This can be resolved by going back to v2.114 (http://racetools.com/racetools/imsa_tsmodule_2016.zip) or updating to v3.0.6 (http://racetools.com/racetools/imsa_tsmodule.zip). This is not a critical update, but recommended as it may affect the track map’s ability to display the position of the safety car during caution periods, and more importantly the running order display might not place the safety car at the top of the field. Depending on the order of the cars being sent in the data feed at the start of the session, the safety car could be filtered at all times, even under caution with v3.0.5.
2. During the race, all of the cars stopped moving around the track. I tried all of the usual tricks to get the cars moving again, including the unstick cars and even the more severe step of clearing the data (starting a new session) without success. I spent 30 minutes trying to track down the problem with my software. Then, miraculously the cars started moving on the track map again. I found out after the race that there was a problem with the data feed for around 13 minutes which incorrectly assigned transponder numbers instead of car numbers to line crossings so during that time, all of the line crossing messages could not be applied to the cars in the race. The replay file on results.imsa.com had to be fixed manually (replacing the transponder numbers with the correct car number) before being made available. Thanks to David Pees for that extra work to make the data available in the correct format.

If you use the Running Order popup (and I think you should during the race), make sure you are running either v2.114 or v3.0.6. v3.0.5 may or may not correctly display the position of the safety car. It all depended on when the safety car’s $A/COMP message is seen relative to other cars in the field.

RaceTools v3.0.4 – Daytona Release

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is upon us and RaceTools has been updated in preparation for the 2017 season opener of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

With the change in T&S suppliers and the associated change in the data feed, it is recommended that your run v3.0.4 or above of the RaceTools software. If you prefer to stick with the version from last season, v2.114 is still available with the same features, reliability and issues as we ended the last season with.

The differences between the new version 3.0.4 and last season’s v2.114 include:
1. Improved support of the new eRMON data feed, specifically with line crossings.
2. Pit Stop Window popup now available as an independent window, or you can continue to dock it to the main program window.
3. Bug fixes, including performance optimization of the Pit Stop Window, especially when cars are in pit lane.
4. Replay Remote which allows you to quickly jump to any point in the session in memory. For more information see the Replay Remote article.

I will be in Daytona January 26th through 30th to meet with any teams requiring assistance in using the software. Please contact me to make an appointment if possible, or email/call/text me and I’ll try my best to accommodate your schedule.

V3 – Replay Remote for when you really want to jump around.

The ability to replay a session in RaceTools has been part of the software since the very first version. It was a good tool for me to use to develop and debug the software and a great tool for teams to analyze data from previous sessions, events or even years. Using replay files rather than CSVs or other event data files, you could ‘relive’ a session in real time or even faster than real time, to truly understand not just the data, but the context of the data as a session evolved. This is a useful tool and teams use it to prepare for upcoming events, practice using RaceTools and do post session analysis with a clean dataset. With the custom playback speed, you can quickly fast forward to a point in the session you wanted to review. With the Play Until feature you can let the replay run while you did something else and have it stop at a designed point, whether it was a Time Of Day, Elapsed Time, Lap Number or Flag Change. These are great tools, but we wanted more.

What was wanted and missing was the ability to go backwards, to quickly jump to a point in time, whether forwards or backwards to review a section of the session. With RaceTools v3, work has begun on the Replay Remote feature. Currently in beta, this interface will allow you to pause, rewind or jump ahead to any point in time that the software has in memory. You can load the session into memory using the traditional replay feature, or load a previously saved session using the Load Session feature. Once a session is in memory, you can use the slider to go to a point in time and then hit the play button to play back the session either forwards or backwards. Jumping to point in time takes less than a second, so you can quickly find the point in the session you are looking for. You can use the Jump To button to go to a specific elapsed time.

Replay Remote

Note that the Replay Remote is still a beta feature so please use it with caution. The previous Relay option still exists and is useful even with the new Replay Remote feature as a way to get data into the system. You can only use Replay Remote on session data in memory, so you may need to replay a session into memory first before you can take advantage of the new features.

RaceTools files moving to a new place in V3.0.3

With the new season, a lot of teams are reinstalling RaceTools and upgrading to Windows 10. This has caused some users to get file access errors when running RaceTools from the ‘Program Files’ or ‘Program Files (x86)’ folder as Window’s UAC restricts access the the program folder. The recommended place to store user data files is the AppData folder.

With RaceTools v3.0.3, we now support both the old style running and saving settings in the program folder or the new style separating the program and data files into the Program Files and AppData folders. If you are running RaceTools from a folder not within the Program Files or Program Files (x86) folder, then RaceTools will continue to read and save the data and configuration files in the same folder as the application. This makes it easy to run multiple versions with it’s own configuration or copy the configuration from one system to another. I usually run RaceTools from a folder in the Documents folder.

If you choose to run RaceTools from the Program Files folder, then RaceTools will read and save the configuration and data files from and to the AppData folder. This should eliminate the file access errors that Windows generates for trying to save to the Program Files folder.

This does mean that if you are running RaceTools from the Program Files folder, you may need to reconfigure some of the settings that did not get migrated to the AppData folder. You should only have to do this once.

As always, you can get the latest version of RaceTools from http://racetools.com/racetools.

RaceTools for PWC suspended

For 2017, Pirelli World Challenge is using a new timing and scoring provider. This means that the datafeed from previous years is no longer available. At this time we are forced to suspend development of the PWC version of RaceTools until we have access to the new datafeed. We apologize for the inconvenience as we worked all last season to create a version of RaceTools that you could use with the PWC series. If you are interested in running RaceTools in the PWC series, please send us a note and/or let the officials at PWC know. We hope to have something developed during this season for release in 2018.

Best wishes for a great season.

Happy New Year

With a new calendar year comes new promises and new hope. It also comes along with expired software and new updates. If you have not updated your copy of RaceTools since September, you will need to download a new version to use it in 2017. All pre-v2.113 RaceTools software expired on December 31, 2016. You have to run v2.113 or above for 2017.

If you have not received your 2017 software license, please contact me and I’ll get you sorted out.

I will not be at the Roar but I will be at the Rolex 24 at Daytona from January 26-29, 2017.

Happy New Year and best wishes to everyone.

RaceTools 2017

The off-season is also the software development season.

While the software is constantly developed, new features added and bugs squashed, most of the work in-season is due to necessity. The off-season is when the gloves come off and I get a chance to make major changes to the underlying code.

The off-season is divided into three phases. The first phase is cleaning up last year’s mess. The primary focus is fixing any outstanding bugs identified through the season. The second phase is making major changes and for 2017, a new replay system is the focus. The third phase is stability testing and refinement. I’m almost finished phase one and will start phase two in November. Phase three starts in January.

If you have bugs or feature requests, please send them to me as soon as possible so that I can get them into the new version.

VFX is Back

For years, the company name was VFX, or more precisely, VFX Digital Solutions, Inc. In 2004, the business was acquired by another company and as part of the agreement, the company name had to be changed, and it became 0435432 BC LTD. Now that the agreement is no longer in place (I bought back the business in 2009), it’s time to reclaim the VFX name. No more 0435432 BC LTD, it’s back to VFX Digital Solutions, Inc.

Nothing else changes. The software is the same. The people are the same. Only the name has changed, and changed back to what it was all along.