(General guidelines for getting started with Daytona USA
* Familiarize yourself with the cockpit. Good driving position is very
  helpful in this game, so be sure to set the seat comfortably. You want
  to be able to reach the gas pedal, brake pedal, and the shifter (if
  you're using the manual transmission) easily. If you're unsure of
  where to set the seat, one method is to sit back in the seat with your
  shoulders against the seatback. If you then fully extend your arm, you
  should be able to lay your wrist on top of the steering wheel. Unlike
  Ridge Racer by Namco, Daytona features a 'low to the ground seating'
  design that places your feet at almost the same level as the seat.
  This allows you to operate the pedals easily without straining your
  legs. Also, unlike Ridge Racer, the manual transmission in Daytona is
  clutchless. Shifting is done simply by moving the shifter from gear to
  gear. Finally, the pedals on Daytona are *not* 'on/off'. They use
  potentiometers to determine how far down the pedal's been pushed (this
  was also the case with Hard Drivin' and Race Drivin' by Atari Games),
  and just slamming the pedals to the floor is not the way to get good
NOTE: If the pedals feel unresponsive or far too sensitive, talk to your
  operator. The potentiometers can be maladjusted or broken. If you
  can't accelerate at all even with the pedal to the floor or your gas
  pedal acts like it's been slammed to the floor when you press it
  extremely lightly, it's time to see your operator's tech people.
  Expensive games should be maintained well. You are PAYING for it.

* During your first few games, try out the V.R.-buttons and choose your
  favorite viewpoint (the V.R.-buttons are found, along with the Start
  button, to the right of the steering wheel on the large-screen version
  and to the left of the wheel on the twin-screen machine). Playing with
  different viewpoints all the time makes learning much harder so play
  around with them for a few games and choose the one that you like
  best. In the following descriptions:
    * describes the location of the 'camera' used for the viewpoint.
    + describes plusses to each viewpoint.
    - describes minuses.
  The following notes are just IMHO, so no flames or jihad type
  reactions to them, please!

 1 - Inside the car.
     * Camera is located on the front edge of the hood of the car.
       The camera is on the same level as the driver's eyes, so this is
       what the driver would see if he were sitting on the bumper of
       the car. :)
     + Sensation of speed is greatest with this view to due to
       viewpoint's closeness to the roadway. This view also gives a
       panoramic view of the road and passing scenery which adds to the
       sensation of speed.
     - Car is not visible in this viewpoint, so there are no reference
       points for judging how close you are to other cars. Also, it is
       impossible to determine how much damage the car has taken. The
       scenery can be somewhat distracting if a driver's concentration
       is broken. Also, spinouts in this view can be troublesome for the
       novice driver.

 2 - Above car's roof.
     * Camera is located in the roof of the car directly above the
       driver (roof itself is erased for visibility).
     + Hood of the car is visible in this view giving you some
       indication of how much damage you've done to the car. Also, the
       presence of both the hood and a portion of the dashboard make
       this viewpoint more natural-looking. The hood gives you a visual
       reference point when you're sliding the car around corners and
       when you're trying to pass other cars without coming into
       contact with them.
     - Spins can be somewhat disorienting in this view also. It isn't
       possible to determine how much damage you've done to the wheels
       and suspension since the wheels are not visible from this
       viewpoint (though damage to the body often occurs at the same
       time as damage to the wheels, such as during a crash, it is
       possible to damage the wheels and the car's handling without
       touching the body work).

 3 - Above the car narrow.
     * Camera hangs in the air a few feet above and behind the rear
       bumper. It always faces in the direction the car is MOVING. This
       is not necessarily the same direction the car is FACING.
     + Easier to dodge other cars using this view as all nearby cars
       (including those very close behind) can be seen. Also, the wheels
       are visible during turns letting you see how much damage they
       have taken from crashes into the wall. Damage to body panels at
       the rear of the car is also easily seen. Smoke from the tires (an
       indication that you're spinning your wheels) is visible only from
       this view and Viewpoint 4. Since the camera always faces in the
       direction of movement, spins aren't as troublesome in this view
       and Viewpoint 4.
     - Because camera doesn't face in the same direction as the car, you
       can't just 'feel' how the car is sliding. It is also somewhat
       frustrating to be able to see that you're heading for a wall when
       you don't have enough time to do anything about it. :) Also, you
       can't easily judge how close you are to a car directly in front
       of you.
 4 - Above the car wide.
     * Camera is located further behind and MUCH higher than 3rd
       viewpoint. Like Viewpoint 3, it also faces only in the direction
       the car is moving.
     + Good for scenery watching. :) Also good for keeping track of
       nearby traffic without looking away to the 'TRAFFIC' display. The
       wider view from this viewpoint gives you more warning if
       someone's coming up behind you. This view gives you a better look
       at what line you're following around a turn, making the tracks
       somewhat easier to learn. Also see plusses for Viewpoint 3
       regarding damage to the car and tire smoke.
     - Makes car very distant. This detracts from the feeling of 'you
       are there' that you get using Viewpoints 1 and 2. Passing scenery
       takes up a LARGE portion of the screen (scenery doesn't take up
       as much screen space in Viewpoint 1 because of oncoming road).
       Also see minuses for Viewpoint 3.

So go ahead and experiment. Everyone will have their preferred
  viewpoint; and, unlike Virtua Racing, Daytona doesn't keep track of
  what viewpoint you used to set your times. :)

* Learn to use the information that Sega provides for you on-screen.
  Just as a good 'scan' is important in real driving, it is also
  important here that you be able to take in what you need to know at a
  glance. The things to keep checking, in order of decreasing
  importance, are:
    (1) your view of things ahead of you
    (2) your speed displayed on the top center of the screen
    (3) the location of nearby cars on a 'TRAFFIC' display off to the
        right side of the screen
    (4) the gear that you're in displayed directly beneath the speed
        (only shown when using manual transmission)
    (5) your location on the track displayed on the map in the lower
        right corner of the screen
    (6) the lap that you're on displayed in the top left corner of the
  Everything else is pretty much extra information that you may want to
  take in from time to time.

* You should also use the sound to your advantage. The sound of tires
  squealing should be your main sign that your tires are fighting for
  traction. Tire smoke also indicates this, but it isn't as reliable an

* Learn to use the manual transmission. It's rather easy to use
  (especially since there is no clutch), and there are some key
  advantages to using the manual transmission (higher top speed and
  better control of the car while sliding). Beware, however, for broken
  shifters. The shifter seems to get the most abuse, and therefore
  breaks down more often than any other part on the game.

* There are several options built into the game. You can select what
  background music is played during the race, the range of the TRAFFIC
  radar display, and the size of the map. These are controlled using the
  VR buttons:

  Background music selection:
     This is done during the 'GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES' intro
  screen. Holding down one of the VR buttons will override the
  computer's choice of BGM. The songs are:

  VR1  King of Speed     (Beginner track)
  VR2  Let's Go Away     (Advanced track)
  VR3  Sky High          (Expert track)
  VR4  Pounding Pavement (bonus music)

  TRAFFIC display range adjustment:
     At any time during the race, you can adjust the range of the
  TRAFFIC display by holding down the Start button as you hit the VR

  VR2  Short range
  VR3  Normal range
  VR4  Long range

  Map display size adjustment:
     At any time during the race, you can change the size of the map
  displayed on the right side of the screen by holding down the Start
  and VR1 buttons as you hit the other VR buttons:

  VR2  Large map
  VR3  Normal map
  VR4  Small map

  General driving tips

* Learn to start properly.

  Beginner track: This track is the easiest to start on because you
  start at full speed. All you have to do is make sure you have the gas
  pedal floored and that the shifter is in 4th gear if you're using the
  manual transmission (with the automatic transmission the shifter
  doesn't do anything, so you can leave it in whatever position you
  like). You also should remember that you don't have control of the car
  until the announcer yells "GO!!!" as you're crossing the starting
  line, so turning the steering wheel all the way to the left before the
  start is not a good thing to do.
  Advanced and Expert tracks: These races begin with a standing start
  that determines by how much you fall behind the other cars. Try to
  balance between wheelspin and slow acceleration. Just slamming the gas
  to the floor results only in burnt rubber and no real acceleration
  until you get to 35-40 mph (55-65 km/h), but the worst mistake you can
  make is to watch only the tachometer (gauge across the top of the
  screen with gray, yellow, and red zones that goes from 0 to 10) when
  accelerating. If you slam the gas pedal to the floor, because of
  wheelspin, the tachometer will peak at around 20 mph (30 km/h); and if
  you start switching up gears from there you end up with 4th gear with
  a speed of about 50 mph (80 km/h). Not good. Watch the speedometer
  instead. 70 mph (110 km/h) is the point to use 2nd gear, and around
  110 mph (180 km/h) is the place to go to 3rd gear. 4th gear comes into
  play around 155-160 mph (250-260 km/h).

* You start from the tail of the starting grid, so the main thing is
  overtaking and avoiding computer cars. In general, when you get to the
  point where you can drive around any given track near perfectly
  (perfection is impossible), computer cars become the main problem.
  If you drive like a robot, it is possible to make the computer cars
  react the same way for every race; but since no one drives like a
  robot, the computer cars end up driving pretty randomly. A perfect
  race can be ruined by a few bumps to the back of a computer car, and a
  major accident right in front of you at 200+ mph (320+ km/h) can
  REALLY ruin your day.
A note from 'Eug': A crash does not disqualify you from finishing the
  race. So, don't give up on a race just because you've crashed (unless
  you crashed VERY late in the race or were going for a record time).
  I've managed to drive a race where I crashed once, spun twice (all
  during the first lap of the Expert track), and still managed to finish
  in 1st place.

* Use computer cars to your advantage by 'drafting' whenever possible,
  and learn to pass them cleanly when you start to get close to them.
  Drafting consists of driving directly behind the car in front of you
  so that air turbulence coming from their car allows yours to go
  faster. This is also called slipstreaming. This contradicts the
  previous tip a bit, but it is necessary for getting the best possible
  times. So when hanging close to a computer car, ALWAYS stay alert. 3-4
  computer cars bumping each other in front of you or one computer car
  pushing another towards Wall Contact(tm) should flash 'accident' alert
  in your head pretty quickly, and GENERALLY if you see computer cars
  pushing each other, don't get close. The advantage from drafting does
  not cover the losses from hitting a flipping computer car.

* Avoid hitting walls, and stay off the grass. Braking a little more and
  keeping your foot off the gas is usually better than even slight
  contact to a wall, and it is MUCH better than mowing some lawn.
  Driving on the grass GREATLY reduces your speed, costing you a lot of
  time. It can also make it difficult to control your car. Wall contact
  only drops your speed by 10-50 mph (15-80 km/h), unless you slide into
  the wall tail-first or crash, but it affects your car's handling by
  wearing down your tires. So be sure to avoid both as much as possible.

* Again, learn to use the manual transmission. Using the shifter isn't
  very hard to do (it only requires a little more effort to learn), and
  the rewards are significant. The only good use for automatic gears is
  while you are learning a course. Using the automatic lets you
  concentrate on finding out how fast you can go through certain curves,
  but you will need to adjust those speeds upon switching to the manual
  transmission. This game is hard even if you use the automatic, but
  it's VERY HARD to finish in better than 8th place without the manual
A note from 'Jarnis': When our shifter was broken with 1st and 2nd
  gear unavailable, I still got better times on the Advanced track with
  manual shifting even if I had to lose time at the starting line by
  using 3rd gear. I couldn't finish the race with the automatic
  transmission at all (I always got game over on the last turn before
  the goal). With the manual transmission, I couldn't get to the top
  three that easily, but getting into the top six was no problem. And
  all this without 1st or 2nd gear at all!

* Learn the proper 'line' to use going around turns. The line through a
  turn is the path taken by the car as it goes around a corner.
  Generally, racing requires that you start the turn wide, brake late,
  and place the 'apex' of the turn a bit past midway through the turn.
  If this is done properly, you will be able go faster through the turn
  and accelerate sooner, leading to better times.
The normal method for taking a 'late apex' around a corner is to start
  turning into a corner, and then slow to a certain speed and turn the
  steering wheel some more. Sometimes you must also downshift to slide
  out the rear end. You then push the gas pedal to the floor. If this is
  done right, the car should swing its tail out a little bit and then
  start to slide slowly towards the outside of the turn. This technique
  will vary depending on the curve as you sometimes have to brake first
  (when you have to lose a lot of speed to make the turn) before turning
  the wheel, but for other turns you may end up turning the wheel and
  beginning to brake at the same time.
There will be times when you will mess up slightly while taking a turn.
  You must learn what to do in these instances. It is possible to
  control a skid to some degree with the steering wheel. If you've
  turned too hard and the car's nose is pointed at the inside of the
  turn, opposite lock on the steering wheel will keep the car on the
  track, but it is important that you regain control of the car. In this
  situation you should take your foot off the gas pedal and wait for the
  car to straighten out before you put your foot on the gas again. On
  the other hand, if you feel you're going to 'kiss the wall' on the
  outside of the turn, let go of the gas pedal and tap the brakes if
  necessary (sometimes you might want to tap them several times) to drop
  to a 'safer' speed. A small speed loss is nothing compared to the
  results if you wrap your car around the trackside fence.
NOTE: Reckless braking also has a tendency to put you into walls so try
  to avoid having to use the brakes in the middle of a turn. Do all of
  your braking before the turn. If you DO have to brake while in the
  middle of a turn, use short taps to the pedal. This will slow you down
  and yet keep you from skidding too much.

* Memorize the tracks. You will drive much better once you've learned
  lines through the turns and how to control your car through them.
  Learning the Beginner track should be easy, but the other tracks
  should also be memorized so that you can go smoothly from one part of
  the track to the next. You will want to memorize what lane you want to
  be in at certain points on the track, what speed you want to be at
  when you reach that point, and the driving techniques you will use to
  get the car around hairpins and other curves on the tracks.
A note from 'Jarnis': Fine-tuning your routine to the point where you
  can finish the track requires some practice, but I learned the quirks
  of the Advanced track in just 3 days.
If you're having too much trouble learning a track, try the Time-Lap
  mode by holding the Start button when you push the gas pedal to choose
  the transmission. This eliminates all the computer cars and places you
  in Time-Lap mode. You can then drive each track without worrying about
  traffic (you only need to worry about getting time extensions so you
  can finish the race). This mode is easier to drive because it leaves
  out all those annoying computer-driven cars, but it also takes away
  the 'draft effect' that allows you to go REALLY fast. :)
A note from 'Eug': As you're driving in Time Lap mode, you'll notice
  that when you pass checkpoints, two numbers will flash superimposed on
  the map display. These times represent the record time for that
  section of track, and your time for that section. You do not need to
  do anything special to activate this Checkpoint Timer display
  (contrary to what was posted on Usenet by myself and other people). :/
  Taking note of these times is a good way to find out what parts of the
  track you might need to improve on. This timer is not available on the
  Beginner track. It is also inactive during backwards racing.

* Pit stops are useless unless the machine you play on is set to 'Grand
  Prix' or 'Endurance' mode. During the course of a race, the handling
  of the car will change due to contact with a wall and from accidents.
  But the races are so short in 'Normal' mode, a pit stop is totally
  unnecessary. A pit stop uses more time (you must do a standing start
  that uses up a lot of time) than you gain from fixing up the car.
  Basically you can use the pit stop to show off the machine's graphics
  capability, but that's pretty much it. On the other hand, races in
  'Grand Prix' and 'Endurance' modes are long enough that tire wear
  plays an important part and pit stops become an important part of your
  racing strategy.
There's an Easter egg in the game involving the pit lane. You can pass
  through the pits without stopping if you do it on your last lap. This
  is pretty much useful only for trying to avoid traffic. Going through
  pit area will not allow you to improve your times (unless you haven't
  learned the 'crossover' on the Expert track).

* As explained above, your car's handling is affected by contact with
  the wall and by accidents that send your car flipping through the air.
  This is represented by wheels that bounce up and down (easily visible
  during turns at low speeds from Modes 3 and 4). Also, damage to body
  panels is also a good indication that your car is handling differently
  than it did at the start of the race (use Modes 2, 3, and/or 4 to spot
  damage to the body). Your goal should be to finish the race with a car
  that has wheels spinning without wobble and a perfect body.
Things start looking good when, at the end of the game, your car
  doesn't resemble an abstract piece of modern art with bent body panels
  and misaligned wheels. Getting to the finish line on the Beginner
  course (one of the 'dirtier' tracks because of all the car-to-car
  contact) without too much damage to your car is a good sign that you
  are learning something. :)

"Jarno 'Jarnis' Kokko (jarnis@mits.mdata.fi)" | "Eugene 'Jack Ryan' Moon (jackr@engin.umich.edu)"