Daytona USA Drifting Technique

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Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby Ghegs » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:51 am

Alright, for once and for all - what is the technique for drifting in Daytona USA? I know it has to do with dropping to lower gear and then upshifting at certain points, but beyond that I don't know the specifics.

deca, FIL, you're the experts around here...what's the trick to it?
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby 1up » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:42 am

a good place to practice is on the beginner level, last turn. What I do is this.
1. keep to the far right
2. when you reach the sign with the big face on the right side turn into the apex while braking (for about 1/4s) while shiting into 3rd

the car will now start to drift

3. countersteer and when you reach the apex shift into 4th.
4. straighten out and drive away.
You can take this turn with full throttle. My fastest lap time is 0'17"14.

On the other courses you have to manage the throttle. If you go full throttle the car will slide further to the outside.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby deca » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:43 pm

I don't think that's really what ghegs was looking for as an explanation though, that's an explanation of how to approach a single corner rather than an explanation of how the game engine behaves overall and handles drifting. Also that's definitely a 4-2-4 corner and you should never brake to initiate a drift. As far as I'm aware the only place you should use the brakes at all is to slow down before initiating on the final corner of Expert.

Also you don't usually want to countersteer if you're using the optimal line and technique. If you have to countersteer it means your angle was too high or you were just going too slow. Optimal drifts on every corner will involve you setting up such that you're steering all the way into it and just barely have enough cornering authority to get around using the entire width of the track. There's only one fastest line and you'll know when you hit it. The optimal line will also allow you to take every corner at full throttle, you only have to worry about throttle management in Scud Race and Daytona 2 (which is probably why I can't figure those games out at all)

I apologize because I'm still kind of running all over the place and just poked in to reply, I'll write up an explanation as best I can once I have time to sit and thing about it.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby FIL » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:40 pm

Oh dear, I'm really not an expert at Daytona. I'm sure Deca can give a better version of things than I can.

The basics of drifting in Daytona are shifting to a low gear as you enter the corner, usually 1st or 2nd then shifting back up to hold as much speed as you can, it's a bit like a more complicated version of Outrun 2's drifting. When you shift back up that sort of sets your line through the corner, try to use all the road but never touch the grass.

The specific shifting patterns depend on the corner and your approach but the faster guys tend to shift 2-4 or 2-3-4 in most situations. I'm not that fast so I sometimes have to make do with shifting 1-3-4, sacrificing a bit of speed for control.

Hopefully that will hold you over until Deca can give a full rundown. Also Smraedis uploaded a couple of videos of himself playing Daytona. He's not the fastest and some of his shifts are a little sub-optimal (as are mine to be fair) but he's not far off.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-QDHnl6oCo[/youtube]
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby deca » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:05 pm

OK here goes, I'll try to cover things as I understand them. I'll try to give a breakdown of drift behavior in each gear, and then I'll give a corner by corner guide for Advanced. Once I get a chance to go to the arcade and take notes I can do it a bit more in depth, I haven't been playing a lot lately and can't remember entry and exit speeds for each corner. Doesn't help that I'm used to mph and all the superplays are in kmh.

That SMR video is alright but it looks like he's playing with a keyboard or something weird. Some of his shifts don't make any sense and his overall time is really slow. When I was learning the game initially, my baseline goal was to hit 44 seconds on a lap and then to hit 44 seconds every lap. If you follow the guide I'll provide it should be very reachable for anyone that wants to figure the game out. I can never remember what a fast initial lap is because of the standing start, but you'll know if you do it right. Again, I'll try to get more specific stuff once I have a chance to go play for a while and take notes.

ok so DRIFTING MECHANICS

I've always thought of the drift mechanics in terms of how the car behaves in each gear during downshifting and upshifting, so I'll list each case below.

1st Gear, Downshift:
When driving straight with no steering or throttle input at all, this will apply heavy engine braking and slow you down. This is a technique I've mostly seen used approaching the first sharp right on Expert, I can't tell you exactly why it's used rather than braking because I haven't put a ton of time into that track and don't have a full understanding of it.

While applying steering input (generally with full throttle applied) shifting into 1st will initiate a drift and cause the car to rotate at a high rate while losing speed. Whether you want to shift to 1st or 2nd to initiate on a given corner is decided by your entry speed and required exit speed.

In order to successfully initiate a drift you must downshift sufficiently relative to your current speed, 2nd gear will always work coming from maximum speed but 1st may be required in sequential corners such as the sharp uphill right on Expert.

2nd gear, Downshift:
This gear behaves the same as 1st but less drastically. It is by far the most common gear for initiating drifts. The car will rotate and decelerate slightly slower than in 1st gear.

3rd gear, Downshift:
I literally never downshift into 3rd. I'm pretty sure there's no use for it at all but it's possible there's some weird tech on Expert I'm unaware of.

2nd gear, Upshift:
Again, no use for this whatsoever.

3rd gear, Upshift:
This one is extremely important in vs. races and while you're in the process of learning tracks. This is basically your safety net. After you initiate and establish your angle, shifting into 3rd will lock it in and stabilize your speed. You can still influence the drift slightly with steering input but you won't be able to spin the car. Don't misunderstand though, you can't throw it into 3rd right as a spin starts to cancel it or anything like that.

4-2-3-4 will work on most corners and give you a safe, low-risk line if you're simply trying to play it safe for whatever reason. Extremely useful on the final corner of Advanced.

4th gear, Upshift:
The goal of every drift should be to get back into 4th as fast as possible. Once you shift back up into this gear you accelerate very quickly while being pushed to the outside of the track as your car straightens itself. You want to drift to the apex and shift up into 4th, using the entire width of the track to accelerate from that point. Once you shift into this gear you've committed to your line, which is why 3rd can be useful to stall for a moment before actually exiting.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. Feel free to ask questions if anything is unclear. I'm going to make the Advanced guide another post because this one is already long as hell.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby deca » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:13 pm

Advanced course guide

I've spent the overwhelming majority of my time on Advanced. I love this track, it has a perfect rhythm to it and just feels really satisfying no matter how many times I run it.

Your first goal on this track should be 44 second laps, from there you should have a sufficient understanding to push forward and refine your technique. I forget exactly what my fastest lap is but I'm sure I have a photo saved somewhere, I know it's in the low 43s (EDIT: wow I was wrong, it's a 42"54 logged on the xbla version). My best overall time is probably just under 3 minutes, but let's just say 3'00"56 since I did it recently and know for sure. 42 second laps are really the goal here, and I'm pretty sure I've seen high 41s from top rankers.

I'll break the track down turn by turn as best I can. I outlined drift mechanics in the previous post, but you actually shouldn't need to worry about any of that if you just follow the shift patterns and directions I list for each corner. I started out by reading up on general techniques and copying replays, it took me a while to make sense out of what was actually happening mechanically.

First things first though, I'll need to start by explaining a surprisingly obtuse mechanic.

Rocket Start:
This took me a long time to sort out and I still mess it up every once in a while. It isn't your traditional special boost start or anything dramatic like that, it's more of simply avoiding an awful start where your wheels spin forever and you can't accelerate.

First press the brake pedal all the way down and hold it there. Next, use the throttle to raise your rpm to around 6500, it's easy to tell you're at the proper rpm because the car will kind of squat down on it's back wheels. Hold your rpm steady right where it does that.

This is the part that's easy to screw up. As soon as the light turns green you need to COMPLETELY release the brake pedal AND THEN floor the accelerator. It pays to be a little cautious here and hesitate for a split second in between. If you try to nail the brake off-throttle open timing frame perfect every time you're going to end up blowing it and spinning your wheels a lot. Believe me, that gets really frustrating.

Opening Stretch:
This part is very straightforward. Throughout the first long right hand corner you want to keep your inside wheels planted somewhere between the white line and silver trim on the inside of the road. Just get used to holding this angle and avoiding any unnecessary adjustments. You can wiggle the steering back and forth while going around this corner in order to accelerate marginally faster on your first lap, but unless you've perfected every other part of the track there's no reason to so don't.

Try to cut the uphill left as close to the wall as possible. You should be over 200mph around the entrance of the tunnel I think. Again cut as close to the wall on the right hander coming out of the tunnel. On both of these corners work to be as smooth with your steering as possible. This will bring you to the first turn of the track.

Turn 1:
Just to clarify, I'm only numbering corners that you'll be drifting on.

As you cut through that right hander out of the tunnel you'll come back to the left. Cut this as close to the grass as you can but be very careful not to touch it. As soon as you apex that left hander you want to cut hard right and initiate your first drift.

This is a 4-2-4 drift and should be done EXTREMELY fast on an ideal lap. You only want to be in 2nd long enough to upset the car and then get back into 4th immediately. If it's locked in properly the car will barely be turning at all and more or less make a straight shot up through the checkpoint and to the left side of the track at the top of the hill. If you exit the corner over 190mph then you did it correctly.

Don't try to optimize this right off the bat because an error shifting will result in a big crash into that outside wall. Let yourself go at a comfortable rate and aim for 180mph to start. Once that's comfortable start trying to make that shift faster.

Turn 2:
Another right hander, this is the somewhat strange 4-2-4-3-4 shift.

Stay on the far left side of the track and initiate your drift at the first turn sign on the left side of the track. This shift doesn't need to be near as fast as the previous one. Just cut in and drop to 2nd at the same time, then shift back up to 4th and while still keeping the wheel turned to full right lock, shift up into 3rd and directly back into 4th.

The idea behind this shift pattern is that it allows you to get back into 4th very quickly in order to keep your speed up, but the blip down into 3rd is required to keep you at the inside of the corner. I don't think that I would ever have developed this technique on my own and I fully admit to just watching and copying more skilled drivers. All I know is that it works and is really fun to do :P

This corner can seem really tricky while you're in the process of learning the track, but it's actually pretty easy once you get a feel for it. You won't find yourself messing up here very often.

Turn 3:
However, you are going to mess up here a LOT. I still have issues setting this one up and if I'm really trying to push myself I make a lot of mistakes here. I'm generally either off in the grass or I feel like I went way too slow.

This is your first 4-1-4 drift. You need to use 1st in order to reduce your speed quickly enough to make the exit. Set up on the right side of the track as soon as you exit the previous corner (using the 4-2-4-3-4 should allow you to exit pretty close to where you want to be) and be ready to initiate...uh...whenever it feels right I guess? I don't have a specific reference point for this one, which is part of what makes it so difficult. Maybe just after you start to go downhill. I'll try to figure out something more useful in the future, but this is really a place where replays can help more than I ever could in text.

Anyway, you want to cut in and shift to 1st at the same time. Be careful not to spin out, your goal is to rotate the line it up with the straightaway coming out of the corner. Once you've slowed to about 170mph (this is another thing I need to check on, this might be overly conservative) you want to shift back into 4th and cut hard left again as you exit. Ideally you'll end up with your right wheels on the very edge of the track. You're going to go off into the grass here a lot while you learn.

I should add that even though you're decelerating you want to keep the throttle floored the ENTIRE TIME. There is no point on the Advanced course where you will ever need to let off the throttle at all unless you make a mistake.

Turn 4:
Now you should be cruising along the right side of the track down the straightaway to set up for the most difficult corner on this track. I have no idea what makes this turn so goddamn hard and have still not been able to figure out how to take it properly. It's the only thing standing between me and 42 second laps and I'm honestly pretty frustrated about it.

This is a 4-2-4 corner, but you're probably going to have a hard time believing that going into it. I still find myself going up into 3rd here most of the time. I did it every lap of that last record I set, it'll get you into the 43s. If you just want to safely take the corner you can set up around the middle of the track, maybe just slightly to the left, and initiate with full right steering and 2nd gear just before you pass that sign on the inside wall. Allow yourself to rotate until around halfway through the corner and then shift into 3rd, once the road has almost completely straightened out you can go back into 4th and finish your lap.

The ideal line here is just a quick 4-2-4 with full right steering the whole way. You'll clip the apex and exit fast. I've seen it in replays a ton of times but for whatever reason simply cannot make it happen. There are some other techniques as well, such as starting on the inside of the track, fainting out to the midpoint and then cutting back hard to initiate.

There's also the ratchet-steer technique where you do that but neutralize your steering just before shifting back up to 4th and then very quickly cut back to full lock right as you do so. I used to somewhat understand the logic behind this and experimented with it quite a bit, but it's been so long that I'm not really comfortable attempting to explain it right now.

At any rate, just know that the fast 4-2-4 is possible and necessary to fully optimize your times.

That should about do it for now. If any of these techniques aren't working for you, do note that they all rely on each previous corner being executed correctly in order to put you at the proper entry speed. This track has a pretty severe domino effect to it where a single mistake will pretty much botch an entire lap. One reason it's better to play it safe on the final corner is to prioritize your acceleration on the front straight, you'd be surprised how big an effect coming out of that turn slowly can have on your next lap.

Again, if there are any questions about anything please ask away! I'll be happy to try and clarify things. I apologize for anything being worded confusingly or typod, this was done entirely off the cuff.
Last edited by deca on Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby 1up » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:10 am

great explaination of the drifting mechanics. Thanks
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby deca » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:10 pm

Here's an excellent replay, shows off the ratchet steer technique I mentioned as well.

http://youtu.be/NPpOHdkgmg0

Huh can't get it to embed properly.

Edit:

Here's a much faster run.

http://youtu.be/4UAiQNOPoQE
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby FIL » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:59 pm

That machine looks a lot nicer than the one I played in Brighton last Friday.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby 1up » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:31 pm

Wow that was pretty incredible, he made it look so easy.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby Ghegs » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:26 pm

Alright, I finally got to practicing on Dinosaur Canyon (using the PC port from '97, even works great with Xbox 360 controllers) and I got my lap time to 47'57. Still ways to go from deca's recommended goal of 44 seconds, but at least I beat the game's default best time of 50 seconds.

I sort of got the gist of the drifting mechanic now, I think. I don't have a feel for when to start a drift yet though and I haven't been able to drift through Turn 3 once yet, probably because I'm going too slow.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby djhaigh » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:21 am

Deca's breakdown speaks directly to my brain.

Honestly, this is the best analysis. The way you break down the approach to each corner and especially the way the car is going to react to your inputs is as good an approach as I've seen in any discussion of arcade racers.

I really appreciate it.

Now to apply it.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby d123456 » Fri Jun 12, 2015 2:49 pm

Thanks for the techniques. Really appreciated.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby deca » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:16 pm

Hey thank you! I'm really glad the guide is helpful :)

If anyone has any more specific questions I'll do my best to answer them. I've actually been playing again lately since my local arcade finally got their good cab back up and running.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby mickael28 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:37 pm

Sorry, for replying to an old thread... but I didn't know about this game and trying to learn how to play it on an emulator with an xbox controller.

I have started in Auto so that I don't need to worry about changing gears for the time being, basic question... is there a technique to drift in Auto mode? as we cannot control when the machine chooses to change gears?
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby Ghegs » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:30 pm

For AT, the only choice for initiating a drift is by braking and turning into the corner.

I urge you to learn MT, though. The game's so much more fun with it, and your results will be better. It might feel odd and obfuscated at first, but you can do it with a bit of practice.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby mickael28 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:03 am

I bet it's a lot more fun... I thought that it might be too much for a beginner, so I was thinking about learning how to handle the car and breaking first and then moving on, but I don't manage to drift properly, it kind of breaks and turns rather than drifting when I'm in AT...
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby spectre » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:48 am

When using AT you just step on the brake and turn hard until the rear steps out.

A good way to start getting used to MT is on the Beginner track. You start in 4th and only have to shift at the last turn. Down to 2nd then up to 4th again.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby itsgood2slide » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:29 pm

spectre wrote:You start in 4th and only have to shift at the last turn. Down to 2nd then up to 4th again.


Interesting... I usually shift to first to initiate drifts. I don't think I ever use second gear other than at the last hairpin of Seaside Street Galaxy. I see that 4-2-4 is often recommended by deca, so I guess I am in the minority here.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby spectre » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:00 am

I think I use 4-2-4 everywhere except the last turn on Expert where I go 4-1-3-4
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby Lee » Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:23 am

I still don't understand this game and I need to know something about gear drifting.

Do you ever completely lift off the accelerator when doing a gear drift?

I started doing this and after many fails with the turns on Advanced and it's been much more reliable but it feels quite wrong. Well, it's unlike any other game.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby Ghegs » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:23 am

Lee wrote:Do you ever completely lift off the accelerator when doing a gear drift?


Nope, I don't think I let off the accelerator at all on Advanced.
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby spectre » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:10 pm

I have the gas planted firmly througout Advanced as well.

Does anyone use the brake for the last turn on Expert or is it enough to shit to 1st? I spin out on that turn all the time...
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Re: Daytona USA Drifting Technique

Postby itsgood2slide » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:05 pm

spectre wrote:Does anyone use the brake for the last turn on Expert or is it enough to shit to 1st? I spin out on that turn all the time...


That is the one corner where I brake too (I'm no expert though!)
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