Today’s Reader Submission comes from David G., who after reading yesterdays post about the Version 1.2 Update for Assetto Corsa, wanted to chime in with his own lengthy thoughts on the subject.
I’m not sure how the AI in linked videos are set up as I just clicked through the videos because one dumb AI is the same as thirty dumb AI, but I have noticed a pattern while playing Assetto Corsa myself; setting the difficulty makes a huge difference to how well they drive. On the lowest setting, they are retards – braking randomly, taking stupid lines, and all kinds of weird shit seemingly because they are trying to drive to a certain lap time if that makes sense. Setting them at the highest setting, most of the field do well but some fuck up as if it’s too fast for that AI driver’s “skill level”. Driving between 90% to 95% AI difficulty is where I do most of my races and rarely do they make any mistakes. Maybe over ten laps someone will go off track or lock up coming into a corner, but other than that, they take a smart racing line, and drive aggressively but not in such a way as they are completely unaware that you’re there.
Granted, I’ve got no data to back up my wild claims of “it just works for me”, but I have run hundreds of laps in various cars and it seems to work perfectly for me playing with the AI between those two values.
Might be something for the Assetto Corsa devs to look into for the reasons why the AI are having issues.
Also, as a side note, I enjoy the site, guys. I have based what I buy and play to a degree from your articles, and your words do seem to match my experiences. Gave iRacing a go and ran into the 20 lap tire issues in the oval series. I started dicking around in 4Chan’s hosted stuff at about the same time they had a cry over James for what seems to be fuck all reasoning. Entered some of their series but timezones make anything but posting qualifying times nearly pointless.
But keep it all up, who gives a fuck if fanboys get mad over you all not bending over and licking the taint of every game that comes along. I don’t understand the point of getting mad over someone pointing out things wrong with the game you play.
Keep pissing people off, keep posting the articles you post, keep the podcasts up, but for fuck’s sake buy some better mics.
I really like how you’ve addressed the recent AI issues that have come to light over the past few days with the release of Version 1.2. Indeed, like yourself, there are several hundred people playing Assetto Corsa right now with zero problems. However, now that there is properly documented evidence of huge AI shortcomings with the latest build of the game, it’s important to take these reports seriously, regardless of who posted them or how few and far between they are. I’m happy you’re enjoying the game, and I’m happy that you’re aware a few individuals are having problems without slamming them outright.
I run at 100% AI because I have setups built for most of the cars I prefer driving. When everything is going good, myself and the AI are pretty much even, and it can be pretty enjoyable to race against them. But my experience with the AI’s overall competence is about 50/50. Yesterday the racing at Zandvoort against the AI was atrocious. If the cars went side by side, the car on the outside would slowly wander outside of the track limits before coming to a slow stop. Today, it hasn’t been so bad at the same location. I’ve expanded my testing to Spa, and indeed noticed that the AI has no idea how to take Eau Rouge – the AI in the Lotus 98T slowed up to less than 120km/h to take a corner that’s usually almost flat out, and in a slower car, the Lotus 49, the exact same thing happened. Now I know some people will jump out and say “well, they were just cautious due to cold tires.” There’s a difference between lifting a bit extra due to cold tires and doing what the AI was doing, which was dropping two whole gears and pussy footing up the hill like they were in Renault Clio’s.
Your theory about running less than 100% AI strength makes sense if Aggression, Speed, and Competence are all mashed into one value. That’s something one of the Kunos boys (or beta testers) will have knowledge of, so in this case your friend would be the official forums. I know with rFactor, especially rFactor 2, you had to play with the aggression slider on oval tracks so the AI wouldn’t be afraid to run side by side with you, so again, if all three values are baked into one overall AI Difficulty slider in the main menu, it would make sense to lower it a bit.
I think, now that the issue has been brought to light, the community as a whole has to be very careful when addressing complaints about the AI. The guy who kicked off this whole madness was a known troll with a shady post history where the guy does nothing but sit on his ass writing mammoth paragraphs about how shitty Assetto Corsa is compared to other racing sims, but you can’t exactly deny video evidence. Already I’ve seen this in the official forums where people are bending over backwards to try and discredit him, and I’m definitely concerned as to how this will all develop over time:
The OP of the AI issues thread posts a video of the bots in Assetto Corsa spazzing out at Spa in the Lotus 98T, and someone tries to discredit him by saying the AI issues are related to the car/track combination, and that the Lotus 98T, a car that ships with the vanilla game, is a third party add-on. This gets better. When the OP refuses suggestions to turn down the car count, opting for a realistic sized 1980’s F1 field that is easily doable at Spa both in real life and in most other racing sims, he is essentially called a whiner by another forum member.
The sub-genre of hardcore racing games began in 1998, with the release of Grand Prix Legends for the PC and Gran Turismo for the Sony PlayStation. No NASCAR game since 2000’s NASCAR 2001 by EA Sports has ever shipped without a full 43 car field, and EA Sports in particular has often talked about the challenges of computing 42 AI drivers on-track, each with their own separate personalities. For fifteen years and two console generations, we’ve been able to load the grid with a reasonable amount of cars without any issues, and now suddenly in 2015, that’s too much to ask and you should turn the car count down so the game doesn’t break and you’re just a whiner if you think otherwise.
So please, when stuff like this comes up, resist the temptation to shit on a known troll and get to work on giving feedback, positive or negative. Ideally, do something like David G. wrote and list your own personal experiences, because if enough people attack someone with a genuine problem, it’ll get swept under the rug, and might pop up later in front of a much larger user base.
As for the site, we do what we can. It helps being known shitheads to start with, so there is no reputation to uphold. Driving games have objectively gotten worse over the years, and we’re just calling it as we see it. Hopefully someone understands why we do what we do with this shitty little blog, and the next batch of driving games on store shelves are titles we can get lost in.