Driving in My Summer Car is perhaps one of the most rewarding in-game driving experiences in recent years, while also the most harrowing. One element that adds a great deal of enjoyment is the manual transmission – giving you complete control over your vehicle and what it does. Just about every vehicle you can operate is manual (technically even the outboard motor on the boat). Operating such a vehicle requires a basic skillset that used to be handed down from generation to generation, but with advances in technology has become something of a lost art. This guide seeks to educate the reader on the basic skillset of driving with a manual transmission.
The Basics Edit
Note: the Auto-clutch option is popular for folks that have zero or limited experience with manual transmission driving, but doing your own clutching adds significantly to the enjoyment level. This guide assumes that auto-clutch has been turned off, although if you prefer to leave it on many of the principles still apply.
The Clutch is Your New Best Friend Edit
You’ll be on that clutch a lot. Anytime you start the car or approach a stop, the clutch is the first thing you touch. It disengages the transmission, effectively putting the car in neutral while the pedal is down. Why does it stall in first gear? The engine isn’t generating enough energy to give the transmission enough torque to overcome the inertia in the stationary vehicle, and when the gear engages it kicks back and stops the engine. Stalling out is a normal behavior, and is actually a legitimate method of stopping the vehicle in the game without using the ignition. In the real world, you’ll probably not want to do that (you’d stop the car with clutch down, turn off the car, then leave the car parked in first gear).
Starting the Vehicle Edit
Get in the habit of having the clutch engaged when you start the vehicle. That way you ensure you won't jolt forward or backward if you left the car in gear (which you would have if you were driving a real Satsuma)
- Rev the engine to about 3,500-4,000ish RPM. This is the "Golden Rule", the level of RPM that almost always tells you when it's time to shift gears.
- Engage clutch, shift into First gear (First Low for tractors/semis)
- Disengage clutch, and a split second after give it some gas. Not too much gas or you’ll peel out, but if you don't give it enough you'll stall. Timing here between when you hit the gas after disengaging, and how much gas you give it is the key. It will be rough at first but once you get that Clutch-Gas timing down, it’s very smooth.
- Shift into Second Gear as soon as you can after the car is moving successfully in First. Second gear is your baseline, with First only used for starting from dead stops.
Intersections and Turns Edit
One of the most common reasons for down-shifting, there are two types of approaches to an intersection: Full Stop, and Roll Through
- When approaching an intersection, engage clutch and start feathering brake to slow down. DO NOT use the brake without the clutch unless a stall is acceptable, e.g. in an emergency. In general DO NOT use the brake without the clutch engaged.
- For a full stop: come to the stop with the brake and clutch both down and down-shift into First. When you want to proceed, refer to Starting the Vehicle above for how to get the car moving from stopped in First Gear.
- For rolling stops (or hard turns): down-shift into Second, make the turn, re-accelerate to the proper RPM and shift back up. Second gear is the lowest you’ll normally have to go in order to keep the car rolling.
The transmission can be used to assist with gradually decelerating the vehicle, and this helps a lot in the sewage truck. Before approaching a turn or freeway exit, shift one or even two gears down. Aim for the 4,000 RPM “Golden Rule”, but don’t be afraid if the engine hits twice that amount as the transmission slows the vehicle down. The higher-torque gearset creates extra drag on the engine which slows the whole vehicle down without using your brakes. Highly preferable to slamming brakes at the last second, which can cause catastrophic weight-transfer imbalances.
Climbing Hills Edit
A decent grade will often require downshift. This gives your transmission more torque to be able to overcome the forces of gravity trying to prevent the climb. Operate on the the 3,500-4,000 RPM golden rule; dropping below this may indicate the need for a lower gear.
Driving Fast Edit
Once on an open road requiring speed, start shifting up when your car approaches 3,500-4000 RPMs. At max gear, the Tachometer will dictate how much speed the vehicle can really handle.
For fast acceleration, stay in lower gear for longer; push into 6,000 RPMs or so (much higher if you're racing), which allows you to jump up through the gears and reach top speed faster.
The tractor and the sewage truck have a Range gear, or “Low/High” gear. Use Low for starting from a dead stop. Immediately shift from Low to High when the vehicle is successfully in motion, then shift normally. One exception: it can be useful to remain in Low for precision manoeuvers like backing up (or the ultimate test - backing up the flatbed).
Racing is all about knowing when to shift up or down, and doing it really damn fast. Downshift before going into turns or passing another driver, apply max force at high torque, shift up rapidly to re-accelerate as fast as possible. It’s a clutch-user’s nirvana.
PC Control Arrangements Edit
Clutching in My Summer Car via keyboard presents some unique challenges. You need the ability to clutch, shift, and brake at the same time. You need to be able to rapidly down-shift and up-shift without disrupting your steering. With H-shifter activated in Settings, you are also able to shift to specific gears (i.e. from Fourth straight to First if you're braking to a stop at an intersection). Experiment with key bindings that allow these activities.
Using a generic Xbox/USB based controller you can set the layout how you wish, the game registers it as a "Joystick" input and can be mapped quite simply to the controls in the game, however it will replace the control scheme, effectively making you have to swap between controller and keyboard for certain tasks; getting in or out of the vehicles. Reference your favorite driving game w/ controller support and use that layout (i.e. Forza, Dirt 3/rally, asseto corsa, project cars, etc)
X - shift up, A - shift down, B - Hand brake, Y - Enter driving mode (If you feel thats more comfortable,) left bumper - clutch, right bumper - range selection, left trigger - brake, right trigger - throttle, left stick - steering
This also works with Driving wheels with basic inputs (Gas, brakes, clutch, steering) as its mapped through a "Joystick" type input as well. "H" style shifter accessories may require further tweaking and experimenting.
- Make sure you mount the Tachometer (shows engine rotations per minute) instead of the clock in the dashboard meters.
- For dead-stop starts in bad traction, meaning if you're on grass or in a ditch trying to get out, don't hold the gas down because you'll just spin your wheels. Apply consistent and methodical acceleration, enough to keep the engine running but not so much that you wheels spin. Sometimes, you will want to launch in 2nd gear and/or High range instead of Low in order to reduce the amount of torque trying to spin the wheels.
- In My Summer Car, driving too slow on the freeway can get you killed. Don't mess around with freeways: accelerate to top speed as fast as you can (and make sure you don't pull out in front of anybody).