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Getting ready for a track day/weekend: Recording a lap-based session

August 25, 2015

It’s Thursday and you’re looking forward to an awesome day or full weekend of on-track gloriousness! Whether you are doing a track day or a full wheel to wheel race, there’s a bunch of stuff on the list to prep.

One thing that you are probably thinking about but that is easy as 1, 2, 3 is how to record a session on Track Attack.  This article is intended to help get you and your phone ready to record a lap-based session (road racing, oval racing, rally-x or whatever other shenanigans you’re driving).

Before getting to the track:

  1. Make sure Track Attack is downloaded on your phone.  Track Attack is free to download and try 3 times before buying.
  2. Make sure you’re registered with a user name.
  3. Go to settings and pick your preferences:
    • Set the video quality you want for your sessions, if you’re recording video.  Check the amount of available storage you have on your phone and estimate how much space you’ll need based on the # of sessions you are going to run.
    • Decide if you want to use ‘Auto-Start’ feature.  This is super helpful in that it will initiate video and data recording automatically, once you hit the designated speed.  Note – you’ll still have to hit ‘Stop’ at the end of your session.
    • Download/update the Track Database!  Many tracks have shotty data connections because they are more remote, so when you download the Track Database, you will have everything you need to be able to record sessions without a data connection.
  4. For Windows and Android phones, you can ‘pin to start’ or create ‘widgets’ for the track you are going to drive so that you can initiate a session recording with one click from your home page!
  5. Double check connections to your accessories.  Some of  you are using external GPS devices for data sampling at 5 or 10hz and GoPro cameras (Windows Phone only right now).  Double check they have been paired and are showing the right status’ on the recording screens.

That’s it!  To be honest, we personally do #4 for all the tracks we typically race and #5 each morning.  Sometimes, the external GPS lose the pairing relationship with the phone (not the app) and need to be re-paired.  This appears to happen maybe once a month or so.

Before heading out to pre-grid:

You’re at the track and ready to head out to your session.  Here’s what you should do to get your session started:

  1. GPS check – we rely on GPS signals to accurately tell you what tracks are nearby and record data.  To jump start the accuracy of your GPS, launch your default mapping app and hit the button to center on your current location.
  2. Launch Track Attack.
  3. Select your session type (Road Course in this example).
  4. Select your race track.
  5. Hit Start AFTER the GPS accuracy turns green OR have your ‘Auto-Start’ feature turned on.
  6. As soon as you hit the designated speed (if Auto-start is on) and cross the start/finish line, lap timing will reset.
  7. Each time you pass the start/finish line, your lap time will flash for 5 seconds.
  8. Hit stop when you get off track or pass through the checkered flag.

That’s it!  TA will take you to the session summary page for that session.  If you recorded video, you can immediately playback any of the laps you drove.

 

 

NEW FEATURE – Pin Tracks to Start on Windows Phone

April 21, 2015

We heard from our users that the faster they can initiate the recording of a session, the better. So we leveraged the Pin to Stat and Live Tile functionality of Windows Phone and created ‘Pin Tracks to Start’.

Literally, with this set up, you can start recording a session with one touch and in less than a few seconds. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Yesterday, January 10, 2015 we released Track Attack 2.2 for Windows Phone.  It’s currently in the review process but should go through in the next 24-48 hours.  Here’s what’s included:

New Features

1. Enhanced Track Database Functionality

There is a new Track Database Page on the first level navigation.  Here you can start exploring all of the tracks on the official track database and update the locally stored track database.  Each track has it’s own profile page, where you can see the start/finish coordinates, a map preview of the track, the ability to designate it as a favorite track, drive it immediately or pin to the start screen.  More on this below.  We are super excited about this functionality and looking forward to rolling out more features on this over the next few months.

 

See the full Track Database and Update the database!

See the full Track Database and Update the database!

See the detailed Track Profile, add them to your favorites, pin them to Start or drive them right from this screen

See the detailed Track Profile, add them to your favorites, pin them to Start or drive them right from this screen

Add them as a favorite track!

Add them as a favorite track!

 

2. Enhanced Session History Functionality

You will also see that we’ve re-arranged the History page:

  • All Sessions: This is the familiar view you’ve had in the past where it shows all of your sessions, sorted by default with your most recent sessions first and now we’ve included the ability to change the sorting from descending to ascending.  Here you can also still synchronize your sessions with the sessions on your online profile.
  • Favorite Sessions: Now you can go into a individual sessions and designate them as favorite sessions and those will show up in this section.
  • By Track: Sometimes you just want to see your highlights and in this view, we show your top 5 lap times by track driven.

 

New History Page

New History Page

All Sessions - same as before

All Sessions – same as before

See just your favorite sessions

See just your favorite sessions

See your favorite laps!

See your favorite laps!

 

3. Get going fast with Pin to Start

Pin Tracks to Start: We know how stressful it can be on a track day or a race when you’re waiting for your session to come up and next thing you know, you need to be on pre-grid, strapped in and ready to go.  Even the few extra seconds it takes to have the GPS engine turn on, find the tracks around you and hit start can feel like an eternity.  With the ability to pin race tracks to the start menu, now you can simply select your track and get driving.

Pin tracks to start!

Pin tracks to start!

Pin all your regular tracks to Start!

Pin all your regular tracks to Start!

Pin Favorite Sessions and Laps To Start: Almost as stressful is when friends want to see some of your on track greatness and you need to get into the app, go to your sessions, find the fastest lap and then bring up that personal best lap time session.  Now you can pin that session or that specific lap to your Start screen so you can instantly start watching!

Pin a specific Session to Start

Pin a specific Session to Start

Pin a specific lap to Start

Pin a specific lap to Start

Folders on the Start Screen: Another really cool thing (if you have an 8.1 Update 1+ Windows Phone) is the ability to create folders on the Start screen.  For example below, I’ve created a folder with all of my usual tracks, so with one click I can get going on the track.  I can imagine creating a folder with all of your personal best fastest laps or the races from each race weekend of the year.  Each phone platform has some really cool differentiators and this is one of the things that makes Windows Phone an awesome platform!

Create folders for your regular tracks, personal best laps or sessions!

Create folders for your regular tracks, personal best laps or sessions!

 4. Critical Bug Fix

Users of Track Attack with an external GPS device might have experienced some weird errors like the screenshots below.  The root of the issue is that while these external GPS devices provide sampling at 5 and 10Hz, which is great!  It also comes with bad data at some times, primarily speed values of NaN and “infiniti”.  When and how often these values are provided in inconsistent but Track Attack was not effectively managing these bad values when recording or playing back sessions that had those values in the data file.  In 2.2 we’ve fixed this issue and made sure Track Attack is rock solid when using external GPS sensors.

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NAN Speed values causing bugs

 

wp_ss_20141229_0004

This is the result of a session which collected a NAN or infinity value in the GPS data – unfortunately, the session is completely lost.

 

wp_ss_20141228_0006

If a session successfully recorded with a bad GPS value, you would have gotten this error. With the fix, the session will play back correctly.

 

2014 Technology Year in Review

December 29, 2014

With only a couple days in the year, wanted to take some time and reflect on a challenging but overall really good 2014 for Track Attack.

When we started out the year, we had finally launched Track Attack for Android officially out of the beta stage and were in the midst of moving Track Attack for Windows Phone out of Beta as well.  By May, we had Track Attack commercially available across all three platforms (Windows, iOS and Android) with in large part the same features on each version.

Screenshot_2013-06-05-14-55-05

Throughout the year we rolled out updates, just about once every other month for each platform.  Most of the time our goal was to introduce one or two new features and fix bugs that cropped out.  While we had a ton of bugs (and there are still some that exist, known and unknown) these are some of the features we are the most proud of:

Auto-Start

We all know how nerve racking it can be when you’re at the hot pits, gridding up or pulling up to the start line for your race or session.  The last thing you want to worry about is ‘hitting start’ before you get going, especially if you have gloves on or have positioned the phone behind you for a more complete video angle.  With auto-start, you simply go into the Settings screen, enable Auto-Start, set the speed that you want video and timing to begin at and start your session.  That’s it!  The app will automatically start recording and timing as soon as you cross the speed threshold you set for more than one second.  Here’s a quick video where we demonstrated how it works.

 

External GPS Compatibility

Related to the video above, making Track Attack compatible with external GPS systems that will sample at 5 and 10Hz was also huge.  Smartphones, with their internal GPS systems sample at about 1Hz (or one reading per second) which for simple calculate of lap times, works perfectly fine.  But for those who want to really dig into their data and figure out how to shave tenths of seconds or less, sampling at 5Hz is a minimum.  Throughout the year, we took on this challenge and have made Track Attack on Windows Phone and Android compatible with the main external GPS system accessory, QSTARZ line of Bluetooth products.  These products are well priced and have worked really well.  For iOS, we are working on the compatibility but are constrained due to the iOS certification process but expect to have this out by the end of January.  Below is a session recorded on an Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Qstarz 818XT, sampling at 5Hz.

Using a Qstarz 818XT

Right Click the Image and Open in New Tab/Window

 

Video Export

We know sharing is one of the top reasons people want an app like Track Attack and we spent a lot of time and efforts in enabling that through www.trackattackapp.com but thanks to your feedback, we realized that we needed to give our users options. This meant enabling you all to select a lap or full session and export the video with the data overlay at once so you can share wherever you want and create new videos. We heard you loud and clear and made efforts to make it happen. Unfortunately, this feature sounds a lot easier than it really is. In 2014 we made this happen for iOS, got 90% there with Android but hit some real roadblocks and have started exploring how to make it happen on Windows Phone. In 2015, we’ll get Android done and make it happen on Windows Phone, if it’s possible. Check out how it works on iOS below:

Thank You!

There’s a lot more that we did in 2014 but these are some of the highlights and we couldn’t have done it without your feedback and usage. We also couldn’t have done it without the great team of developers we’ve been able to assemble over the past year from all over the world. These guys are passionate and work tirelessly, usually in the evenings after their day jobs are done to make progress. Thank you to them in Canada, Italy and Ukraine!

Over the next week we’ll publish our plans for 2015 and hope you all will not just like them but give us feedback on how to make using Track Attack the must have app for when you hit the track, whether it be an oval, a drag strip, a road course, the cones or a dirt trail!

This past weekend, we released Track Attack 2.0 for Windows Phone.  Jumping to 2.0 is a big deal and something we’ve wanted to roll out for some time now.  While we have much more work to do, we’re excited about this release and getting the Windows Phone version of Track Attack on par with the iOS and Android versions.

Updated UI – Windows Phone Style

Every single screen has been revamped, updated and cleaned up.  Our goals was to make the UI as clean as possible while still retaining the fact that it is clearly, a Windows Phone app.

 

New, clean and modern!

New, clean and modern!

Track Attack Windows Phone Settingswp_ss_20140830_0003wp_ss_20140830_0004wp_ss_20140819_0001wp_ss_20140830_0008

Record Screen – Video On/Off Toggle

While the windows phone version of Track Attack has had the capability to turn off the video recording, users haven’t been able to simply hit the camera button again and turn it back on.  That’s changed!  :)  It’s a small thing but important.

Track Attack Record Screen

Fancy new toggle switch and use the front camera!

 

Record Video Using the Front Facing Camera

Also on the record screen, users now have the ability to switch their video camera used for recording from the rear facing camera (default) to the front-facing camera (if your phone is equipped with a front-facing camera).  This is important for a couple scenarios:

  1. Racers – in some race scenarios, you want to practice your ability to manage traffic or study other competitors who are trying to overtake you.  By using the front facing camera to record video instead of the standard rear-facing camera, you can keep a close eye on what’s going on behind you!
  2. All drivers – look where you want to go and look as far down the track as possible!  Those are some of the fundamental techniques preached by coaches far and wide.  Use the front facing camera and mount the phone in a position where you can study where you are looking.  Are you looking through the apex?  Are you keeping your eyes up?  Are your eyes moving across the track and through corners smoothly?  Now you don’t have to wonder and you’ll have the  lap times to figure out what impact changes in your techniques have had.

 

Bug fixes!

Each build we release, we collect anonymous user data to see how you all are using the app and really, to see when it breaks!  Each release we’ll include several bug fixes to make it perform faster and be more stable.  A lot of these fixes are for one-off situations and take really nerdy explanations, so unless it is one of our known issues, we won’t include much detail about it.

Almost 6 months later, we have officially ended the beta period and launched the first commercial version of Track Attack for Windows Phone. Here is what is new with Track Attack GPS Lap Timer 1.0 for Windows Phone:

  1. Windows Phone 7 support: We have many WP7 users and we appreciate your support.  For WP7, we wanted to make sure you continued to have Track Attack but this will be the first and only release.  With WP7 phones no longer being sold and them being a minority of WP handsets in the marketplace, within the next year almost all Wp7 phones will be out of the market.
  2. Still Free to Test Run: Track Attack was free as a beta and we realize how important it is to try out an app like this before buying.  So Track Attack will remain free as an initial download, with users being able to record up to 3 sessions with full functionality.  At anytime a user can upgrade to Track Attack PRO – the full functionality you’ve come to use and love.
        • What about existing users?  When the update hits, your existing data will persist and you will be able to view/share/upload with no limits.  You will be able record 3 sessions as part of the free trial and then upgrade to continue using Track Attack.
    Record up to 3 sessions for free with full functionality.

    Record up to 3 sessions for free with full functionality.

      • How much does it cost?  The cost will vary in different markets but it will be ~$15USD.

    Swipe to the left of the Drive Screen to Upgrade

    Swipe to the left of the Drive Screen to Upgrade

  3. UI changes and clean up:  You’ll see the UI take a significant step forward in terms of cleaning it up, making it look like Track Attack on iOS/Android and in some cases, looking like a native Windows app.  Most notably, you’ll see a much improved Session Record and Session Playback Screens.  We’ll continue to fine tune the UI and expect to see regular updates.
New and cleaner session playback screen.

New and cleaner session playback screen.

Newly cleaned up Session Record Screen

Newly cleaned up Session Record Screen

Cleaned up Session Details Screen

Cleaned up Session Details Screen

  1. Bug Fixes and Performance Upgrades: As with all of our updates, we rolled out new features but we also cleaned up bugs that only happen in the real world.  Users should see Track Attack be stable and performing well with many of the bug and performance enhancements we implemented.

Go ahead upgrade and tell your friends to download Track Attack on Windows Phone, Android or iOS.

 

 

We’ve been busy!  Track Attack Beta 4 was released this past weekend and we’re close to the final build.  Here’s what’s new:

1. Download history bug fix

Some of our users who have been using the app for some time might be the ones who have changed phones or for some reason wanted to sync their session history from the site to their phones.  We had some intermittent bugs with that sync process in the last build and that has been resolved.

2. Adding Google Analytics

Yes, this doesn’t sound very exciting but its really important in our ability to maintain a healthy product and improving on the features people are actually using.  We’ve added Google Analytics to ensure we know how the app is being used and when we have bugs so we can react quickly.

3. New Home Screen Tile Icon

You likely saw the new icons on the store with the last build and we’ve received good feedback.  While we aim to have a consistent set of features and UI across the three platforms (Android, iOS and Windows Phone), we also want to take advantage of the unique features each platform offers.  Tiles and in the future, Live Tiles are a cool part of Windows Phone and we want Track Attack to seamlessly integrate into the platform.

4. Not New but Awesome – Predictive Lap Timer

Predictive lap timer is a feature we’ll be rolling out to Android and iOS versions but we started it all with Windows Phone.  The way it works is simple.  Within each lap-based session, as you drive, Track Attack keeps track of the fastest lap in that session.  As you complete another lap, it will start displaying to you, real time, how much faster or slower you are going compared to that fastest lap at that location (geographic location) on the track.  This way, if you feel like you are in a good lap, you can peak over at the app and if you see green, you are going faster.  If you see red, you are going slower.

Also, during playback in the app, it shows you those values on the screen as you watch your lap.  See the example below:

In this lap I am going .717 seconds slower at that specific location, compared to my fastest lap in that session

In this lap I am going .717 seconds slower at that specific location, compared to my fastest lap in that session

So check out the latest update to Track Attack GPS Lap Timer on Windows Phone and tell your friends!

Track Attack Known Issues – iOS, Android and Windows Phone

April 6, 2013

This blog entry for now will be used to publish the known issues we have and status for getting them fixed.  Feel free to post comments on here to add new items or email us at trackattacksupport@9104studios.com.

Track Attack on iOS: Updated 8/6/2014

Current Versions:  2.0.8 (Full Paid Version) 1.0.2 (Lite – enables free download and trial with in-app upgrade option)

Known Issues:

    1. Users who had 2.0.5 or older versions and upgraded to 2.0.6 may experience an issue where their session history is not showing in the history page.  This was reported by 2 users and 2.0.8 resolved the issue.  Note, if you recorded new sessions successfully but they did not show up in your history, they are not lost.  They are simply not showing in the UI.  The 2.0.8 update fixed this problem but contact us at trackattacksupport@9104studios.com if you are still having issues.

 

Track Attack on Android: Updated 8/6/2014

Current Versions:  1.1.7

Known Issues:

    1. Inconsistent lap detection when recording at 1080p and sampling at 10Hz using an external GPS accessory.  The issue is that the application is doing too many things at once and most phones, even with quad core processors cannot detect the lap times in real time.  Status:  Fix is being developed.  ETA:  August 29, 2014.  Note: Recording at 1080p with only the internal GPS sensor works 100%.  Recording at 1080p with 5Hz works 100%.  It is only recording at 1080p at 10Hz which is creating problems.
    2. For users who have purchased PRO, sometimes when internet connection is lost, the app believes the user is still in trial mode.  Status:  Fix is being developed.  ETA:  August 29, 2014.  Workaround: Make sure you have an internet connection, hard kill the application, launch the Google Play store (confirm it is connecting to the store) and then relaunch Track Attack.  Make sure you are signed into Track Attack as well and it should detect you are a PRO customer.  The combination that is needed is validation from the Google Play store as a PRO purchaser and logged in with your account on Track Attack.

 

 

Track Attack on Windows Phone: Updated 8/6/2014

Current Versions:  1.0.2

Known Issues:

    1. Website Processing Errors: HD video uploads are being corrupted during the upload process and causing web site processing errors.  This means that during the upload, at least one block is lost and thus is not a complete file for the server to process.  This can be caused by trying to upload a large video file on a weak or intermittent internet connection.  Ideally, users should connect to the strongest/fastest Wi-Fi connection available and use that to upload a video.  Status:  Fix is being developed.  ETA:  August 10, 2014.  Note: This will not impact any of the sessions on your phone.  Once the fix is released, users will have to re-upload their session videos.
    2. Fun Run Bug: Fun run currently has lap-detection logic built into the session type which means that for auto-crossers who do a Fun Run session, if they go over the same place twice, it will detect that as a lap and not play full session from beginning to end during replay.  Status:  Fix is being developed.  ETA:  August 10, 2014.  Workaround: None.  Once the fix is released, the sessions will play back correctly and future Fun Run recordings will not have any laps detected.
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