Your Complimentary AI Issues Have Arrived

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While I’m not a fan of his content reviews, and he could work on shaving a second or two off his overall race pace, I think sim racing YouTube personality Empty Box is criminally underrated as a video editor. Regardless of what sim he’s playing, he manages to present this extremely niche hobby in a way that can be easily understood and enjoyed by a wide variety of audiences. And part of what makes Matt so popular among sim racers is how down-to-earth he is as a commentator: occasionally he’ll give a pseudo-review on the title he’s playing – listing off the positive and negative aspects – and then he’ll slowly move back into describing the action in front of him. It’s a really fluid viewing experience, and his videos are a good way to kill ten minutes or so after you’ve just got in from work and aren’t in quite the right mindset to turn some laps of your own.

For those who are avid viewers of Empty Box, I’m sure you’ve noticed that Matt does not withhold praise for Reiza Studios. Matt routinely cites Stock Car Extreme, and now Reiza’s new title Automobilista, as the absolute best offline racing experience due to the superb artificial intelligence.While Matt’s iRacing videos are obviously pulled from online events he’s participated in, traditionally his videos featuring products from Reiza Studios are predominantly offline affairs.

Like many, I believed that I would be able to replicate Matt’s satisfying offline brawl sessions against the AI just by loading up a Reiza product and hitting the track. Unfortunately, his lengthy videos spent dueling with computer opponents are not indicative of the retail product – Automobilista’s AI needs some serious work. Tonight, I spent about half an hour jumping from series to series in the same way I used to do with Assetto Corsa a few months ago, and was able to document so many artificial intelligence issues that it’s hard to believe no other sim racers are discussing this. It wasn’t cool in Assetto Corsa, and it’s certainly not cool to experience the same issues all over again.

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Now it’s important to note the settings in which I was experiencing these major AI issues with. First of all, Reiza Studios need this information to help fix their game, and for readers of, it serves to demonstrate how I was truly attempting to give the artificial intelligence in Automobilista every chance I possibly could for them to succeed. The overall pace of the AI had been set to 107%, with their overall aggression set to Low, and the default track grip set to High. Basically, I made the AI quicker than the vast majority of sim racers, yet extremely docile in traffic, and gave them a super sticky track surface. I’ve done as much as I could possibly do within the menus of Automobilista to ensure virtual Buddhist monks were sharing the track with me. I also began each race session starting at the back of the pack, allowing the AI to react naturally to each others’ presence without my involvement to skew their behavior in a sensationalist manner.

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I began by taking the Formula Vee to Velopark, a car in Automobilista that’s essentially a Formula Ford powered by a Volkswagen Beetle engine. You aren’t going to hurt yourself in this car, and if you’re completely fresh to racing simulators, this is exactly where you should start to learn basic car control. Yet during practice laps, the AI would routinely spin out when leaving the pits, and I grew to expect a mess in turn four. If computer opponents left in a pack, the size of the mess was only amplified as you can see above.

When it came time to race, half of the field – including the pole sitter – wiped out in turn one. We weren’t even up to speed yet, entering turn one 50 km/h slower than we’d enter it during a lap at full speed. I mean, just look at this shit – ten seconds into the race, and half of the field is in the process of destroying itself. This is the easiest corner on the track.

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So the natural response to avoid the chaos of Formula Vee was to take the Stadium Truck to the specialized layout Reiza created for the series at Suzuka. Two corners into the race, a pair of trucks literally drove off the track into the sand trap, but nothing could prepare me for the ultimate display of carnage awaiting at the end of the first lap. An AI truck spun coming out of the makeshift chicane, and sat on the track for the rest of the field to plow into. A minute into the race, seven out of twelve trucks were destroyed.

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But, to be fair, the Formula Vee entries are running on what appear to be bias-ply tires, and the Stadium Super Truck is by far the most difficult race car truck ever created for a modern racing simulator. To offset the rough start I had to this little experiment, I brought the V8 Supercars to Campo Grande – a track with virtually no elevation changes, no tricky corners, and located in the middle of a completely flat farmer’s field. Nothing should go wrong here. If you can’t drive Campo Grande, you should probably just give up. This is one of the easiest tracks in the entire game.

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Not only did an AI car or two occasionally venture off-track, they would proceed to steer directly back into the pack and obliterate anyone unlucky enough to occupy the same space as them, leading to some absolutely stellar action shots. But of course, not everyone is playing Automobilista to take fancy pictures of AI bugs for their shitty sim racing blog; most of them wanted a working video game.

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And as I pressed on, Automobilista’s AI barely worked. This is a game regarded by some Reiza fans as a Player’s Choice Edition of Stock Car Extreme – running on an engine that has seen retail use as far back as the early 2000’s. Yet, here I am, watching Super Karts make a beeline towards a concrete wall during the first lap of a race at Ribeirao Preto. This track is literally the best place to take these karts in the entire game, and the AI drives straight into a wall.

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Now we get to the Rally Cross portion of our program, which suffered an entirely different problem completely unrelated to computer opponents wrecking the shit out of each other. As was the case with the Super Trucks, these cars were one of the main draws of Automobilista, as the isiMotor engine has traditionally been a road racing-only racing simulator engine, and highly accurate off-road cars were something of a rarity. But in testing out what Rally Cross had to offer away from Multiplayer servers, the AI cars were straight up glued to the track, and braking at points they really didn’t need to. This results in an offline Rally Cross experience that nobody should even bother with; what you’re witnessing simply isn’t Rally Cross racing.

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Moving away from the dirt tracks of Finland, I brought the generic mid-1970’s Formula One season included within Automobilista to the Buenos Aires circuit, as I’ll be running there this weekend with the guys over at Realish Racing. Half of the field hadn’t even entered turn one before things started to go haywire…

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…and given that grass doesn’t provide the greatest amount of grip, these rogue AI cars proceeded to come flying back onto the track and smash into the remaining cars who were able to stay within the white lines. Like clockwork, a good portion of the twelve car grid had suffered severe damage prior to the end of the first lap.

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Lastly, as I get to drive a few of these at work when summer rolls around, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring the Chevrolet Camaro to Montreal. These cars are heavy, slow, and should be fairly easy for the AI to maneuver around a modern Formula One circuit. Of course, we get four turns into the race and an AI car is already stopped on the track in an inconvenient location.

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I fully expect the guys who love Reiza’s work to come in kicking and screaming, claiming that Automobilista is an Early Access title, and this period of time will be used to iron out the numerous bugs that pop up. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, Automobilista isn’t a whole lot different than Stock Car Extreme, which is in turn not a whole lot different than ISI’s rFactor with a good selection of built-in community plug-ins. Yes, Automobilista is listed as an Early Access title, but the technology powering it, including the poor AI behavior, isn’t an entirely new discovery. It’s frustrating to be sold a new game, and be subjected to shortcomings that haven’t been addressed in almost a decade, while a large majority of the community stays silent over problems that can be re-created through normal gameplay.


71 thoughts on “Your Complimentary AI Issues Have Arrived

  1. I mean, Empty Box cherry picks races from every title. It’s not secret that he spends a lot of time fiddling with AI before recording it, or that the majority of his iRacing time is not uploaded (really you could guess that by the fact that his safety rating stays acceptable despite most videos having 4+ points because he keeps the ones with some action in them)

    That said it’s kinda disappointing that AMS is the same as GSC as far as AIs having very little spatial awareness rejoining the track but not all that surprising. I’m gonna guess that the dynamic rubbering is partly to blame for them having issues but of course it’s not really an ok state of affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Running a short SV8 race at Buenos Airesw ith 11 AI, I am inclined to say it’s slightly worse then GSC even. On medium aggression the AI is less prone to make a choo-choo train than before, but they are very unsafe when rejoining the track which for some reason they often need to do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Queequeg, that’s exactly what I saw too. They will turn right back in wayyy too hard after losing it. combination of line buildup and debris pickup seems to have brought out some AI insanity.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Automobilista AI is all over the place, maybe even worse than infamous pcars, here’s vid that i posted here couple of days ago, AI divebombing me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What are you talking about? The AI in pcars isn’t nowhere perfect but it still the best AI of the lot.. again it doesn’t mean that is good, it just mean that the AI in the other sims is even worse!
      It get confused especially with multi-class races or packed races with many cars (in example monaco), but overall it still better than any other sim (including Assetto Corsa).
      Of course if we edit a video with only the worst AI moves, it will look ugly, but if you actually play ALL the sims out there, you will end to appreciate PCARS only because the others are a complete nightmare.


      1. What the hell are you talking about?

        You clearly aren’t in any position to judge relative AI quality or skill. You just claimed pcars AI is better than rf2 AI.

        Wake up.


      2. After high school ended, one of my bro’s grew shitty weed in his basement with his dad, and one dude actually called back asking for a refund because it sucked so much.

        Plot twist: It was our assistant manager.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The AI certainly needs to be improved. It s okay and realistic if they do mistakes, but they should avoid contact and not hitting me off track that often in certain corners. With open wheelers most contacts ends in my car spinning. But between this events the AI can be fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why is making a proper AI so difficult anyway? I know the computations required can be high at times, but surely they’re not that bad given how powerful most modern PCs are.


    1. Imagine the length of time it takes someone to learn to drive at an alien level, starting from the time when they don’t know what a car is. It’s probably a decade minimum, maybe more. You have to program every single thing that they learned about driving in that time into the AI, or they’re not going to drive as well as humans.


  5. Why even bother wasting time on this old shit? Just re-release the game with a better & more broadly appealing name to join the Steam ecosystem. I really don’t see what’s the point investing time / energy / money (theirs or not) into old shit.

    Fuck. At this point, their new shit better be mother fucking next gen. If they lag again, it’s gonna be hard to take them seriously. GSCE was fine on its own. Sure, it’s rF1 to the nth iteration, but a fine package overall. Thing is … the shit is old. AMS is thereby the same old shit with a few tweaks and a few DLC’s added. What’s the mother fucking point?

    Reiza … get your shit together and give us some next gen shit. Stop this refried beans madness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for me then – my PC can’t run games that use overly ridiculous visual elements, and AMS still happens to be the best game of the bunch in spite of its own share of ridiculous issues.


      1. It simply obliterates Assetto Corsa when it comes to physics and FFB, and I could care less about any kiddie flashy graphics effects. Kids will always ask for more graphics though.


  6. Oddly enough I’ve been having ‘ok’ races against 100% AI at ‘low’, usually either half a second faster/slower than the fastest AI car.

    I’ve seen a ST slide-off in quali a few times, and 1 time a V10 veered-off track randomly like he suffered a puncture, but in actual races I probably miss the chaos by just being ahead of it.

    Still better than AC’s 2-wide choo-choo-through-every-corner-until-they-crash AI.


  7. I’ve had nothing but absolutely shit races against the AMS AI. It’s awful, it really is. Way worse than SCE which was horrible, but with less pile-ups.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “While I’m not a fan of his content reviews, and he could work on shaving a second or two off his overall race pace, I think sim racing YouTube personality Empty Box is criminally underrated as a video editor.”

    C’mon! Your such a troll! a funny, informative troll, though, but, again, c’mon!


    1. It’s criminal to say Empty Box is a ‘video editor’ at all, with the piles of useless minutes spent rambling he keeps in his videos. Just press play and listen to the redundant mess pour from his face.

      His video content could actually be enjoyable if it had cliffnote subtitles only.


      1. When I said “looking forward to see your videos about sim racing.” you immediately thought I was discrediting your opinion. But if you’d have paid more attention to that post, you’d understand that I didn’t criticize your opinion, I just said I wanted to see your videos, with the intention to analyze if you make better content than him. But I didn’t analyze your opinion about his content.

        On that, I completely disagree with your opinion about him making shitty content. For me isn’t like that, I watch almost all of his videos, and I don’t even play iracing.

        And your opinion is incomplete, no you don’t need to make videos to recognize shitty video content, but you at least need to give a base for what good sim racing content would be. Otherwise your opinion of “shitty content” stands on no ground.

        When you say “recognize someone else’s shitty content”, you are trying to pass it as a fact. So when you want to state a fact, you need to analyze first what’s going on in his video(s) and from that analysis deduce on what quality his content stands.

        Cutting to the crap, his videos are his views, his opinion, preferences, his perspective on various sim racing themes. Therefore his content can’t be shitty (unless analyzed and then drawing a logical conclusion to prove it). You complain that he rambles for useless minutes. Apparently you are more annoyed that he speaks, without caring to assert what he’s actually saying.

        You are more discontent with what he does in his videos than to what he presents in his videos. So from that I can only conclude that you don’t like the format of his videos but you didn’t make any analysis about the actual juice.


      2. The weirdest part of mentioning Empty Box is that he hasn’t actually reviewed AMS at all. He did a video skinning the super truck but he hasn’t said a single thing about the game.


      3. After that entire wall of assumptions about what I wrote, I believe you still managed to miss my point entirely.

        I made my premise regarding Empty Box’s lack of video editing quite clear. Not once did I make a claim regarding the *substance* of his videos–I only stated that I do not enjoy them with all of his unnecessary repetition. I simply dislike being held hostage by other people’s disorganized streams of thought.

        What purpose does it serve to say the same thing again and again after one has explained themselves adequately the first time? How does that make the video content better? Other than to recap something, it typically doesn’t.


  9. You can’t set the AI Grip to high. They’ll go for impossible moves and crash. It needs to be either medium or low, with a high percentage of AI difficulty.


  10. I guess James forgot when EmptyBox stated ” I don’t particularly care for the person behind the site, I don’t care for the way he does things, the way it occasionally takes things totally out of context nor the way he says things 90% of the time”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe James is just giving credit where it’s due. IIRC, the full context of your quote is kind of the same situation, I think you left off the ‘but he’s often right’ part.


    2. I guess that’s what any shill would say. James is the opposite of a shill, so no wonder EB isn’t too fond of him or this site.


      1. Yea .. James is opposite of shill … in his case means complete idiot with zero knowledge about game development and with overgrown ego (because he is sooooooo fast in these GAMES)


  11. Ok, so let me get this straight, you start this article by calling out Empty Box for literally no reason, then make some valid points about AMS’s terrible AI, which although are true, you have to admit it’s pretty funny to watch the AI launch themselves off the curbs on turn 2 of Velopark, every lap, without fail, and end the article by contradicting a statement you made in a previous article where you said you were “Pleasantly surprised” that AMS was significantly different to Stock Car Extreme, yet now you’re saying they’re basically the same game? All while casually insulting some of the “less able” sim racers, this community’s already small, let’s not make it smaller, eh? Nice work Austin.

    Your constant pessimism may piss me off, but the fact that you’re right pisses me off even more.
    (I’m not saying I hate the fact that you’re right, I’m saying I hate the fact that every single current sim-racing game is broken)


    1. Empty Box makes offline racing look appealing.

      Traditionally I use AI bots to fill the track with activity during testing sessions for online races. And for the most part, they’ve behaved themselves. However, discovering the Formula Vee’s parked on the track after exiting the pits made me wonder how bad the extent of the AI problems were.

      Turns out, it’s REALLY bad.


      1. You shouldn’t have run the AI Grip on high.

        AI behaviour depends a lot on the AI Grip.

        In rFactor, it was set using the .plr file. And if set too high, the AI would go crazy.

        AI Grip needs to be set between 0.85 and 0.92. The AI will handle realistically. If the cars are a bit more grippy (which ALL THREE you used for this article aren’t), you can run up to 0.95, 0.96.

        It’s not a rocket science. But I grab rFactor and set the AI Grip to 1.00 (which I will imagine is what High set ittoo), the AI will handle in very stupid ways. So, the AI will take corners way faster than necessary, and rejoin much faster, resulting in those phenomenons you saw.

        And no, this is not beeing written by a fanboy. It’s beeing written by someone who was spent way too much time fiddling with AI Grip in all the ISI games, and know’s what he is doing.


  12. So far I’ve tested the lancer rallyx AI (fairly slow but safe, not very interesting to race against, more like moving obstacles that are scared of any oversteer) and v8 supercars. The v8’s seemed largely similar, but there’s definitely a problem with how they re-join the racing line now. They just bash straight back at the racing line with completely crazy angles. Looks like they would lose control if they didn’t hit other cars.


  13. This.

    Moan and bitch all you want Austin, but if you don’t actively try to communicate issues & concerns with the developers and interact on a professional & respectful level, then you’re only part of the problem.

    No, ‘articles’ don’t count.

    Get in contact with Kunos if you’re disappointed in them, don’t wait for them to come to you, you ain’t that special.
    Get in contact with Reiza at their development forum, help them to help you with proper reports of these issues.

    You want sim-racing to improve?, then help it improve.

    3/10 made me log-in. :/


      1. Doesn’t change the fact that you’d rather complain about game issues yet do nothing about them, rather than help the genre improve and move forward.

        Upset over the ‘monetary investment’?, then get a refund and move on.


              1. Same can be said of those who play it in Early Access.

                Snipped from the Steam page.
                “(Automobilista) will in turn benefit from testing with the broader user base we intend to gather during Early Access.”

                Which includes you, whether you want to help them/the genre/this community or not.


                1. So every reviewer from Gamespot/IGN/Kotaku shouldn’t publish a negative piece on a game’s bugs, but rather venture onto the official forums and ask the developers for help?



                  1. Now you’re deflecting.

                    I didn’t say anything about the ‘mainstream’ review sites, which you’ve said usually have people who have no idea what they’re playing with in the first place.
                    I didn’t say anything about ‘asking’ for help either, rather I suggested you help them directly, constructively & objectively, instead of just bitching & moaning in your corner of the web.

                    This is about you, and your un-willingness to actually do some good with this ‘position’ of yours as a blog ‘writer’/’successful’ sim-racer.

                    Feel free to prove me wrong, lets see a response from Kunos after you contact them (good luck there though), lets see a response from Reiza after bringing up these issues where they’ll actually see it. (Because we know they’ve moved-on from commenting here)

                    Again, you want sim-racing to improve?, then help it improve.


  14. @Dave C

    In all of the ISI games, it’s in the .plr file located inside your profile folder. In Automobilista, from what James wrote, it can be set within the game it seems.


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