Sanity check - Racing against AI in RF2

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MetalMania, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. MetalMania

    MetalMania Registered

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    * If this is TLDR, just go to the end

    First things first, I am not posting this to "bash" RF2. I greatly enjoy driving in this sim, and I am really happy with the attention Studio 397 has been giving to it the last couple of years (even if I don't give a @#!* about Formula E). I truly believe they are working hard to make the most out of what this sim can be. I don't have every current racing sim out there, but I have a few, and I think RF2 drives the best, and is probably overall my favorite all things considered. But, I need to vent a little bit and ask a question or two for my own sanity. I tend to be long-winded, and it's Friday night, and I might have had a beer or three before writing this.

    I mostly play single player offline. According to Steam as of this writing I have over 600 hours in RF2... by FAR the most of anything in my Steam library, and probably 75% of that has just been hot-lapping various cars on various tracks including 1st party content as well as mods. I enjoy just turning laps here in search of tenths that much. But, I didn't buy RF2 to only hot lap, I want to race. One of the reasons I bought RF2 was because I read a lot of commentary about how RF2's AI is the best there is. So far, my only reply to that is, "Yes. Sometimes."

    I've been a racing fan for the last 26 years. I've watched Nascar, Indy Car, F1, Sports Cars on TV for most of that time - you can learn a lot if you pay attention. I've attended in real life all but F1. I went to Skip Barber school (one day course - couldn't afford more). I've raced karts several times, even won my class in an 8-hour enduro once and scored several top 5's. I have a reasonable knowledge of what realistic behavior is on the track. I've driven "realistic" racing sims dating back to the original "Indianapolis 500" and "IndyCar Racing" titles by Papyrus in the early to mid 90's. I'm not a clueless noob that only knows Gran Turismo and Forza.

    I've had races vs the AI in RF2 where I have literally been sweating, and my hands hurt from gripping the wheel so tight because it was just that intense and hard fought. And, I've had races where literally THE ENTIRE RACE was run behind the safety car because the AI couldn't get through the 1st turn - over, and over, and over again. It seems like, at least on road courses with rolling starts, at least 2/3rds of the field usually can't keep up with the safety car during the formation lap. A) The safety car seems insanely fast sometimes, and B) WTH is with the majority of the AI field that is apparently dumbfounded by this? It's not just with mod tracks either - I've seen this with 1st party and "3PA" (which I consider 1st party) content, both tracks and cars. Solution? For now it seems just skip the formation lap if you want a decent realistic race start. Some sims from over 10 years ago did a better job of this!

    One of the things I frequently see lauded upon RF2 AI is that they defend their position, and this makes them more "realistic". Uh-huh. Except when they decide to move into the "defense" position when I'm already along side them before a braking zone, so they just drive into the side of me like mindless idiots - every lap.

    I try to find a balance with AI settings where if I drive well and consistently, I have a shot at poles and wins - but if I screw up I'll pay for it. Generally, that seems to be somewhere around 95% AI strength for me. Maybe that's good, maybe I suck, I really don't care - my goal is a good competetive experience for how I drive. Hopefully, good or not I'll improve and get faster, and increase the AI strength accordingly to keep things challenging.

    **TLDR start here**

    The problem is that a given AI strength seems to vary widely from car to car and track to track, and I'm not sure if the issue is ME driving or an actual variance in AI for a given car/track. For example with AI at 95% in the USF2000, at Palm Springs I qualified 2nd 1/10th behind, at NOLA I'm dead last 3.3 seconds off the pace, Palm Beach I'm on pole by 0.14, Indianapolis GP pole by 0.16, Montreal pole by over 3 seconds, Toban off the pace by 3 seconds. My point is, I don't expect to be the same speed relative to the rest of the field at every track. Some will be better than others, but to be THREE SECONDS ahead of the field at one track and THREE + SECONDS behind at the next when I'm pushing hard is not consistent. I can see where I'm losing a few tenths in a few spots but I can't fathom THREE + SECONDS when I know the track and am pushing fairly hard. I'm trying to be realistically humble about my abilities, but I really can't see where I'm that slow in the same car at some tracks where I'm almost dominant at others with the same settings.

    So what's my question? Basically, is it "normal" in RF2 for AI performance in a given car with the same AI strength settings to vary significantly from track to track. Is it normal that I should need to test a specific car vs AI at any given track and find a unique AI strength setting per opponent/track to find a competetive balance, vs a blanket setting of x % that works "across the board"?
     
  2. ADSTA

    ADSTA Registered

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    With all the different modders working by themselves in an sim designed with 3rd party mods as it's core, there will be little consistency.
    So if racing AI is what you want, than you will have to find a AI performance balance you like.

    I'm off to race some humans!! ;)
     
  3. Juergen-BY

    Juergen-BY Registered

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    The first problem is: some mods are coming with an ai talent file and some not second: some aiw files (track pathes for the ai`s) are done properly and some not...
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  4. Bernd

    Bernd Registered

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    And to defend aiw creators, i want to add that the physics and default setups of some cars and the from that resulting driving behaviour is better some is worse.

    There is no way to create an aiw file that perfectly matches to all cars, for every track.
     
  5. Emery

    Emery Registered

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    Yes, as far as I can tell this is a bug that crept into the code. Rolling starts used to be consistent, but sometime around the handover to S397, AI rolling starts stopped working properly. Might have been just before the handover, might have been just after.
     
  6. AMillward

    AMillward Registered

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    just before the handover I think. They are looking into it.
     
  7. peterchen

    peterchen Registered

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    Its only a question of years till its fixed....lol
     
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  8. toebee

    toebee Member

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    Yes.
     
  9. Juergen-BY

    Juergen-BY Registered

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  10. ucfquattroguy

    ucfquattroguy Registered

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    IMHO that's one of the drawbacks to a sim that's mostly dependent upon 3rd party modders for content. Offline seems to be an afterthought in a lot of cases.
     
  11. MetalMania

    MetalMania Registered

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    Ok, thanks - I feel better now. I know just like anybody I'm going to be better at some tracks than others, but the deltas are massive in some cases - to the point it just didn't seem right, like the AI were almost another class of car.

    With regard to mod content - that totally makes sense about AI tuning being inconsistent. Unfortunately it seems to happen with stock content too. All my recent races have been with USF2000 ,and though I am using a mix of 1st party and mod tracks in my "championship", it's all over the place even with the ISI/S397 stuff. At the same AI strength I'm having really good races at Palm Springs, Palm Beach, Indianapolis GP, Mills Metropark - but I can't touch them at NOLA and Toban. I mean, like a full second behind the last place AI in a 25 car field, and 3+ seconds off the pole time. I have room for improvement but I'm not that slow - especially with the AI well below 100%. Flip that to Montreal and I'm 3 seconds ahead of P2 in qualifying and won a 30 minute race with a 50 second margin.

    Anyway, now I know I'm not crazy - thank you. It is what it is for now, I'll just take notes on what works for what car/track and go from there.
     
  12. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo Registered

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    Well.. here is something interesting: modding community have specialists on models, physics and tracks. But none of the offline players decided to become a specialist in AI tunning despite being a majority of the player base. ;)
     
  13. Tom Lebeuf

    Tom Lebeuf Registered

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    yeah,if you want to create a season offline, you have to do a lot of testing on each track then write down the %strength for each track. A bit of a pain but worth it.
     
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  14. Comante

    Comante Registered

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    IT would really really really be nice to have a tool to auto tune this value: you make some laps in practice and then you select one of your times, and your "expectation" about fastest and slowest time or more simply grid position based on that time, press a button and AI is tuned accordingly for qualy and race, so that if you mark the same time you selected previously you can expect to be AROUND the position you predicted. This could really help make single player engaging, coupled with an easier way to dictate AI setups
     
  15. LokiD

    LokiD Registered

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    ai level per track - hint..

    more sim should have this.
     
  16. Cote Dazur

    Cote Dazur Registered

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    As long as their is a range, their is no issue. It does not matter if your are racing at the front mid pack or at the back, all you need with AI, is an AI with similar pace to race with. So as long as the AI are not all racing at the same pace, which is often the case, if you set the range of talent correctly, you always have a race going on. Content Manager in AC does that very well. 2 sliders is all it takes, if you select randomize you even have some of the faster AI start from the back.
     
  17. peterchen

    peterchen Registered

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    Well, longer ago I used to do exactly this. While not being 100% succesful at AIW-editing (but with good/better results most of the time)
    I am able to (and did) create a good-very good overall AI experiance, including championships with per-track-tweaking, talent-files,
    calibration of AI-related values (also physical nature) in car-mods and so on.

    But as it turned out that rF2 is some kind of "vapoware" with close to non-existend development and devs that give a sh!t about AI,
    this program and it´s modding annoyed me more than it gave me pleasure. So I gave up on modifications of any kind, as it isn´t fun
    when always (after every update) some important things are broken, not implemented (although the predecessor had it), or simply not developed further.

    And as everybody knows, I´m not the only one who gave up on modding rF2! That fact has it´s reasons....
     
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  18. daredbarn

    daredbarn Registered

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    Editing the AIW is not really the biggest issue IMO, there needs to be a lot of code work done under the hood before a lot of the modders are really going to put forth a lot of effort and I think they already know that. Even with a really well built AIW, you can only get them about half way to where they need to be. AI not really acknowledging the player or other cars and being too dependent on following prebuilt racing lines is a big one. AI will create complete mayhem on ovals on pit exit due to this very issue. AI checking up when passing cars on pit in/out lanes, etc. Corridors can be removed to help, but right now there’s a bug where the corridors will not delete in banked track areas(I reported this over a year ago). AI are a mess under caution, don’t really develope a pitting strategy, etc...there’s a long list of things that need to be addressed. Are they? I dunno, haven’t really seen a lot from the devs in the way of saying that the AI are getting any real attention though so I personally don’t have a lot of faith. Again, I think the modders are aware of all this stuff so until there’s dev work done, I don’t forsee anyone dumping time into it.
     
  19. Jean-Simon Chénard

    Jean-Simon Chénard Registered

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    Dude what are you talking about ?

    RF2 AI is considered one of the best in the industry and the devs are busy releasing patches and ameliorations every months.

    You still can go play Project Cars if you want and let the grown ups use a real sim like RF2 / RF or even AMS
     
  20. The Iron Wolf

    The Iron Wolf Member

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    I typically spend a month with series/track combination. A weekend to figure out all the settings then 3 weeks of joy. The more flexible the sim is, the more work you will have to put in to enjoy it. Yes, we can desire fore things to be better, but if you look around, flexible, deep simulations require a lot of configuration - that's just the way things are. But it is very much worth it and gives a lot of great memories. I also have a OneNote page where I track settings for every series, not just AI settings. Min FFB force, audio volume balance, etc. Now, low hanging fruit for S397 would be to save those settings per series, or to have per series game setup.
     
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