Blue flag logic needs improving

Discussion in 'Wish Lists' started by hardtohandle, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. hardtohandle

    hardtohandle Registered

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    This is more a request for improvement than a bug report.

    There is a problem with the way penalties are falsely awarded by the game. I was in a race recently, and I had a car coming up behind me to lap me. It was near the end of race, and I also had a car 3 seconds in front of me which I was catching to race for position.

    I get the blue flags, the car behind me is not close at all, I have my own race to do and I am looking to let this guy past whilst minimising the time cost to myself. But the chasing car failed to catch me any further, I am looking out for him the whole time but he is not getting anywhere near close enough for me to warrant letting him though.

    So a certain amount of time went by like this and I got a drive thru penalty! The same thing has happened twice this week in fact.

    So I think the logic of how penalties get awarded for ignoring blue flags could do with being changed. It was only a practice race where I got wrongly penalised but it if was a league race I would be really sick to my stomach to get a penalty like that. I am sure we all would!

    The game needs to be more sure that the leading is car is actually being impeded, or being within a much closer range to the soon to be lapped car.

    For now, it would be good to know how the game currently works, I am guessing you get about 30 seconds from the start of first blue flag, then you get penalty? This would be good to know so I realise I am about to get a false penalty and take preventative action then.

    Also, is there any data embedded in the vehicle mod or track which can affect the penalty calculations?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2013
  2. Lazza

    Lazza Registered

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    There are two aspects to this.

    1. Blue flag timing

    There is a server side setting for how blue flags operate. If you want the game to penalise drivers for 'ignoring' blue flags (as was obviously the case for you) you are able to set the time gap for blue flags to be shown. It ranges from 0.3 - 1.1 seconds (search for BlueFlags in the PLR, it has a setting for offline and for online [server]). Depending on the type of cars and the tracks being used it can be a good idea to adjust this gap so it makes more sense. From a league point of view it's still problematic because you can't really judge when a driver is/was being shown blue flags, and the timing itself is a little fuzzy because the game doesn't measure the time gap between cars reaching a specific point on the track, but estimates it using the AIW and their speeds. If you have live timing gaps shown on your HUD when racing you'll see how the gaps can fluctuate a bit.

    In some ways it's easier to just use the alternative option, which is to show blue flags but never automatically penalise, but this makes more sense in a league environment where people abusing the system can be reported and manually penalised in some way.

    As far as how long you can run around with blue flags on before getting a penalty, you'd have to think it would be time or distance based. It would be difficult to use, say, a number of corners, because you need to 'detect' where corners are and it would be an issue at some tracks (very long straights, or tri-ovals for example). Either way it's not clear exactly how much time you've got, and this can be a sticking point for people getting lapped... which brings me onto...

    2. Getting penalised for ignoring the blue flag

    I'm seeing a few things in your post I've seen before from people who got pinged for ignoring blue flags. I'll just quote a few bits:

    In a league situation, if I were the admin and you complained with comments along these lines, my response would be simple: you got shown blue flags, so move out of the way.

    Blue flags are not your pit crew letting you know you've got a leader coming up and to keep an eye out. It's race control, via the track marshalls, telling you a leader is behind you and you are to move over and let them through. Whether they're being shown too early, or you don't think the leader is fast or close enough, or you're racing however many cars for position and he's not, is completely irrelevant - you're being given an order.

    You can't ignore a black flag because you don't think you're dropping enough oil to warrant being retired, or your front spoiler probably won't fall off and impede others, and you can't ignore waved yellows until you make a decision as to whether the situation warrants slowing down.

    A flag is shown to you, and you have to obey it. Ignoring flags in real life would quickly have pretty serious consequences, and in sim racing you should treat them the same way.


    So, while the system could probably be improved and tweaked, I think it's important to remember the other side as well.
     
  3. canastos

    canastos Registered

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    Great explanation!

    byyyyyyyye
     
  4. Johannes Rojola

    Johannes Rojola Registered

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    I never liked European blue flag rule. You should be able to pass car in front of you if you are faster. If you can't, then I don't know what's the issue but race control should not help you to do that.
     
  5. Denstjiro

    Denstjiro Registered

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    How is it done in Finland? (or other examples)
     
  6. Johannes Rojola

    Johannes Rojola Registered

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    Finland is part of Europe. I mainly follow NASCAR and while it has its own version of blue flag, there the issue of giving room to leaders is not forced by race control. Drivers solve the issue by themselves, usually just by changing lanes or if nothing else works by nudging the car in front.
     
  7. Denstjiro

    Denstjiro Registered

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    I had no idea :p

    Its two different discussions really. one is what rf2 does and you can't go 'philosophical' on basic rules. gotta pick something otherwise everyone will be confused all the time.
    And you can set the server to black-flags only. would still get yellows and blues, just not the penalties.

    As for the 2nd discussion, that depends soley on how a group or community wants to address it. we've done a league vs league event a few years ago and the blue flag caused loads of irritation. neither league expected it to be an issue but our guys would yield for a lapping car, their guys would race lapping cars and not let them pass. imagine the confusion and frustration on both sides :p

    Our league has taken a subtle different approach where safety was the main focus. Drivers lapping others usually have more control, drivers getting lapped usually have less control (less experience/practise/skills makes them slower)
    So we advise our members to follow that logic, don't move over, just stay where you are, lift a bit and let the aliens find a way around you.
    Its not a rule but it does seem to work much better then slow inexperienced drivers, already stressing because they don't want to get in the way, doing weird unpredictable moves and causing incidents.

    Because there is a big difference with real drivers and simracers. they are all professionals and skilled, have briefings en actual stakes, we are dealing with a whole range of different skillsets and mindsets as simracers.
     
  8. hardtohandle

    hardtohandle Registered

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    Thanks Lazza for your highly detailed and comprehensive reply.

    I think that it is this server setting you mention, perhaps if it could be reduced the problem will go away. I am glad it is not a hard coded thing in the game, and something can be done about it.

    It's also interesting what you say about the live timing, I do indeed note fluctuations in the trackmap timings, if the blue flag calculations are based of the same figures then it will adversely affect it sometimes. They often fluctuate 0.4s I would say. I had no idea the blue flag rules change around the world either. Nothing is ever simple!

    I hear what your saying about obeying the blue flags regardless, you are correct of course. I do not have a problem in obeying blue flags. On these two occasions I felt they were being waved at me prematurely, so I did ignore them because I thought the game was being stupid, although I made sure I was not holding the car up whatsoever which is what was more important to me. Thats what blue flags mean to me - do not hold the car up by failing to get out of way. But I guess that is my own rule not race controls.

    Important though it is to obey flags no matter what you may think of the race controls wisdom, it is most uncool to have to get off gas and wait over a second for the car to catch up let alone get past! It's highly likely if that server setting got reduced 30% or so the whole problem would not have happened.

    Thanks a lot guys.
     

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