Real FX Slotless Racing with Artificial Intelligence
After seven years of development, a new way to enjoy the thrills and many spills of motor sport has pitted into the shops.
Real FX racing describes itself as a slotless racing system, promising “…racing like you’ve never experienced before.”
With two cars, two controllers and 20 track pieces to lay out, Real FX will look familiar to anyone who has played with a slot racing set, however, with Real FX there’s much more involved than controlling the throttle and hoping your car will stay on the track.
Artificial intelligence helps keep Real FX cars on the track but leaving it to the built-in optical sensors is no way to achieve a glorious victory – heroic overtaking and perfect cornering come into play as the steering can be over-ridden.
Not only does Real FX out-class even the best slot racing system, its makers have added features that would usually only been found in video games, such as, simulated fuel, tyre wear, and oil spills. In some modes of play, it is also possible to target hazards at specific opponents.
A two-day tour demonstrating this product stopped at Hamley’s Regent Street branch, giving me a chance to investigate. Dr. Graeme Taylor of Wow! Stuff talked through the many features of Real FX to a number of journalists.
Hands-on, the controller works just like a handset for a quality radio controlled car. There is a trigger to increase the throttle and put the vehicle into reverse. Also, there’s a small steering wheel, however, there are also a number of buttons on the controller that select various game modes and one that switches the car into r/c mode, necessary if you’ve made the car stray from the track. The handset even includes a slot for a memory card for future expansion.
Setting-up the track takes a matter of minutes, durable pieces of PVC slot together at the corners, there are 20 pieces of track included in the first set launched which you can use to make and re-make one of 40 different layouts. One great advantage of Real FX is that it battery operated, so you don’t have set it up near a wall socket.
The cars are similar in size as the most famous of slot cars but instead of electrical contacts underneath there are two optical sensors which detect where the car is on the track, when it crosses the finish line, and when it goes in and out of the pit lane.
The body and wheels of the car can be detached, allowing them – in the future – to be customised for a new look, possibly even well-know vehicles. Removing the body also reveals a mini-USB port, which provides even more future capabilities, such as, power for headlights or transferring data.
Up to four players can compete on the track, laps are counted and and lap times are measured to 1/100th of a second. A speaker in the controller keeps you updated, there is also a headphone socket for those that don’t want to miss a single word during the heat of competition.
With all the realist racing elements and complications that Real FX brings practise is essential, you can drive around the track on your own perfecting the racing line through each bend, or better still compete with a pace car. On-board artificial intelligence will make a car automatically drive around the track in either novice or expert mode so you will always have an opponent.
The Toy Detective’s verdict is that Real FX Racing is Most Wanted. Although you don’t have to take my word for it, you can try out Real FX racing for yourself, as it is one of the toys showcased in the Hamley’s ToyTesters.TV summer tour taking place during the school holidays.
Forget nostalgia, the old slot racing car toys are going to continue to stay in the loft.
Real FX costs £99.99 and available from a variety of stores, including The Entertainer.