Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PitchCar and Gyroscopic Inertia

We took PitchCar along to QUGS on Saturday morning. Ann completely kicked our butts with her careful style of play, but the revelation of the day came from Brian who took quite a while to even get past the start line. As we were all gently tapping our cars along, Brian flicked his viciously and and it zoomed halfway around the track. We were very impressed but he was thinking about what he had done, and sat down with the game for a few minutes to figure it out. He discovered that by flicking the car off-centre so that it starts spinning, it goes further.

My understanding of this is that the spinning disc is acting as a gyroscope and hence resists the urge to move away from the horizontal. As long as you can keep the disc horizontal and below the guard rails, it should stay on the track even if you flick it very hard. I tried it myself, and although I have trouble getting my fingers in the right place, I did manage it. I'll have to practise.

That adds a whole lot more strategy to the game, if you can use this skill to make big flicks where appropriate. We have the expansion as well, with the jumps, so obviously there is some sort of soft-flicking needed to get over the jumps, and hard flicking can be used in straights and round easy corners. Hard corners would the ones where there is no guard rail to keep the hard flicks on the track. You'd need to be multi-skilled to be a good player. I suspect experienced players have accuracy which helps them get the car into the chicanes as well. Definitely need more practice!

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