We took a little time this afternoon to preview the latest upgrade by Bkool to their simulator. Read on to preview the latest upgrades implemented in the app.
Looking ahead to the new release of the Bkool simulator, there were a number of possibilities that we were getting excited about. There is something about the Bkool Simulator that we have always loved – the potential for a 3D rendered world limited only by the gpx library has always appealed. Graphically though the simulator has generally left us underwhelmed. So our Wishlist was as follows:
- Enhanced urban scenes
- Enhanced rural scenes
- Enhanced water scenes
Perhaps the Luis Puig Velodrome provides the best opportunity to describe the upgrades to the user interface. In top left corner noticed the shrunk rider list, containing enhanced information about your competitors output – including time, w/kg, and distance ahead/behind. The elapsed and remaining metrics have been consolidated to the left of the screen, which we found to make it much easier to read.
We’ve never ridden in the velodrome prior, and if you were wondering (as we have) – it does map to gpx/strava!
There is also a new approaching slope indicator in the bottom right corner that in addition to the gradient indicators presents a rolling continuous indicator of the the gradient ahead.
On the Giro del Lago Grande di Avigliana course above the presentation of the buildings is much improved, as is the rolling countryside – so the presentation of some urban scenes is much enhanced. Unfortunately the water pixels could still use a little work.
We then turned to a big city scene, taking in a short, flat riverside route along the Thames in London. One of my most disappointing rides previously had been in London, where the simulator continued to render buildings where there should have been openspace. The graphics have been improved, and the buildings appear much crisper. Some of the underlying problems remain – the absence of famous landmarks from the graphical representation, the generic reproduction of tall buildings. Also on the iPad we had disappearing buildings to left and right, and frankly – where is my river?
We then turned to compare the level of detail on MacBook Pro to our iPad Pro. The scenes above are perhaps not a fair contrast, and the rural scenes are much improved on iPad. Look though at the level of detail on the MacBook Pro photo to the left hand side.
Also note the new chat feature to right centre, which allows you to chat to other riders on course.
The overal verdict – we really like the upgrade, though there are further improvements that we would like to see:
- Better metropolis generation, including famous landmarks.
- Better water presentation, and correlation to water and public land features on map.
We suspect that there is a bit of ground between the depth of graphics on iPad, and than on MacBook Pro, though cycling on a tablet suits our workflow much better – and keeps the MBP out of the sweat zone! We’d like to see the iPad version be able, ultimately, to show ultra level graphics like the MBP – it has a full retina screen after all. We might be being fussy on this point, but can give a view on that once we’ve tested the iPad version some more.
How are you finding the new version of Bkool? Join the conversation in the comments section below, or talk to us on our Facebook and Twitter streams below. Also keep an eye out for our introduction to participating in group events in Bkool – coming soon.