Still Looking for the Hidden Jewel

ams-2016-10-30-19-34-38-29A Steam user review by an account going under the name of RWB Rodders claims Automobilista is a “hidden jewel” in the land of sim racing – and on the outset, you’d have every reason to believe him. With over 180 hours in the simulator since it’s launch on Steam’s Early Access platform in the spring of 2016, it’s not wrong to assume this guy knows what he’s talking about. While other games may boast a huge cult following among the sim racing community, or tout massive sales numbers aided partially by a marketing campaign traditionally seen with mainstream AAA titles, Automobilista on paper should be the superior simulator you finally discover after exhausting all other options.

And I was part of the crowd who advocated for Automobilista as well. Building upon a solid base in the widely used isiMotor engine, Reiza Studios upped the physics engine refresh rate and tweaked other behind-the-scenes elements to essentially build the ultimate rFactor package money could buy; quite literally, I might add. When you examine the simple element of how Automobilista interprets the relationship between four racing slicks and the tarmac, no consumer simulator does it better.

But then you actually try and play the game.

ams-2016-10-30-19-44-18-55The team over at UnitedRacingDesign released their totally not DTM payware mod earlier this evening, and as someone who’s a fan of their work, I had no problem handing them $8 CDN to download their fictional pair of German Touring Car championship seasons. After a few testing sessions at various tracks, in which I dialed in the setup and genuinely felt as if my disposable income went towards a quality piece of content for Automobilista, I figured it was time to participate in a short offline racing event.

I chose the 2012 rendition of the Ribeirao Preto circut found in the vanilla list of content; a temporary street course some 4Chan users affectionately refer to as the Brazilian Death GP for it’s tendency to punish you for even the smallest of mistakes. With lap times coming in at just over a minute in length, and several extremely technical sections really testing your driving skills, I thought it would be the absolute best place to run the light, nimble, and extremely powerful 2013 DTM cars for a 12 lap session.

We didn’t make it through Qualifying.

ams-2016-10-30-19-42-16-04Straight up, I don’t know how artificial intelligence this poor made it into a consumer product, especially after what was essentially an open beta period where people were paying pretty substantial amounts to test the sim ahead of schedule. The AI was simply unable to string a lap together without trashing their respective vehicles, and the problems never boiled down to a single corner. If they weren’t helplessly smashing into barriers, they were taking lines that were beyond nonsensical – such as this guy in the BMW knockoff monster trucking over the hairpin berm.

ams-2016-10-30-19-40-09-66The most challenging part of setting an acceptable qualifying time wasn’t ensuring I ran a clean line while maximizing my time on the throttle; I was constantly forced to avoid completely absurd wrecks that I was virtually unable to predict. Every AI driver in the field trashed their car on multiple occasions.
ams-2016-10-30-19-37-18-57I mean, it was seriously incredible. You’d check the delta bar at the top of the screen, hyped to be on a killer lap that was a couple tenths ahead of your previous effort, and suddenly there would d be a guy driving backwards on the circuit, grinding the wall in the process.

ams-2016-10-30-19-45-38-43Or, you’d catch up to an AI car in the third sector, only to see him channel his inner Ken Block and drag the side of the car along the tarmac after literally jumping over the final corner. It looked as if I’d traveled back in time to 2007 and had been downloading sketchy Russian conversions for rFactor – only this time I had the credit card receipt to prove I’d given $40 to Reiza Studios for what was transpiring on my screen.

ams-2016-10-30-19-50-15-07Analyzing the replay became a game unto itself; capture every last qualifying incident for use in an article on PRC.net, as there was no way I was actually going to finish the event in a satisfactory manner at this rate. In a hardcore racing simulator aimed at a fraction of a fraction of an already small audience, there was arguably more chaos than Destruction Derby 2 on the original Sony PlayStation.

ams-2016-10-30-19-41-07-82AI cars were jumping over kerbs, completely disregarding the concrete walls which lined the circuit, and going all-out Saudi Arabian stunting – which made for some neat screenshots given the expressions of certain 2D fans plastered throughout the facility.ams-2016-10-30-19-52-14-94Damaged cars parked on the side of the circuit were decimated by other AI cars arriving on the scene. Very rarely were there more than five cars on track at any given time, as circuit activity cycled through sets of cars every 45 seconds or so; the first wave of five would go out, wreck, and warp back to the pits, allowing the next set of five cars to do the exact same. We basically repeated this process for the entirety of the eight minute qualifying session.

ams-2016-10-30-19-53-21-51It was hard to watch, especially knowing the reception Automobilista receives among the sim racing community as the aforementioned hidden jewel for those that don’t feel games like iRacing, Assetto Corsa, or Project CARS have met their own personal needs. What was occuring on my monitor was nothing short of complete incompetence, and as you’ve seen with both Project CARS and Assetto Corsa on current generation consoles, a game displaying this kind of ineptitude from the so-called artificial intelligence would receive a public flogging.

ams-2016-10-30-19-38-29-27We ended the session with only five of the fourteen entrants completing a single timed lap within the eight minute period. Let me explain this to you in terms which you can understand; at a track where laps are just over a minute long, and most drivers will be able to click off five or six in that time frame, more than half of the AI bots on the grid – despite having more than enough track to work with, could not complete the out lap without destroying themselves.

ams-2016-10-30-19-15-20-70This is what you get for your $40 USD when purchasing Automobilista in its current state. From a raw physics standpoint, I believe this is the best simulator currently available on the market, but you can’t actually play the game without the AI having some sort of colossal meltdown. Reiza Studios are extremely lucky this game does not have a mass market following, because very few gamers would be willing to accept the atrocious experience outlined above.

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95 thoughts on “Still Looking for the Hidden Jewel

  1. There are lots of car/track combinations with official content in Automobilista where the AI always crashes early (even at the pit exit), but for the article where you specifically bash this flaw you only demonstrate a modded car in a game that doesn’t officially support modding?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe he wanted to spare Reiza’s feelings? AI is rarely good for all types of cars, but it’s a fact that depending on what you like to drive, you might have a bad time.

      Not about to buy this sluggish mod for yet another game, but the sounds appear to have been improved at least.

      Like

  2. Just tried this track with stock content and the 24 AI drove around just fine at 120% and max aggression. Ever stop to think the mod is screwed up? Typical PRC bullshit reviewing a game with 3rd party content.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keeping in mind that “stock content” can mean a V10 F1, F3, 1970s Barzilian stock cars, Mini, Formula Vee, a fake Porsche GTx, an endurance prototype or a kart.

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        1. Good to know. I feel the DLC cars have something about them, whether it’s AI or physics, that make them slower, so maybe it’s the complexity that added affects them like that.

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    1. It is kind hard to expect consistency in the comments when the argument of the post makes no sense at all. Criticizing the game based on problems on a unofficial mod, which is intended to be used only on multiplayer is ridiculous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m lazy to imgur but v8 rolling race start from the back at the Full Brasillia theres always 2 gay ai pit early at the roll start..lel

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      1. “Thank you Hash for another AC bashing comment.”

        Just relaying my experience and frustration of finding quality online racing with a tight schedule and small player pool (timezone), AC was mentioned cause belive it or not, thats what Ive been Mping lately,

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        1. Well good luck cause you won’t find it on pc unless consoles no longer exist.

          There is zero money in pc racing games unless you sell expensive accessories and pc gamers especially sim racers are elitist assholes who think their shit don’t stink.

          So…have fun finding a good community there. Even real drivers are nicer to each other than virtual ones.

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          1. I hope you are not trying to suggest console community full of over zealous under sexed teens has a better sim racing community lol, playing online on a console (on any game) ruins my respect for humans, its like doing pro bono babysitting for a circus familys retarded freak show children.

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    1. I don’t know when was the last time you played AC online, but there are decent online races and don’t look at all like the bugged AI situation in this ribeirao preto track from the article.

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  3. I had some intense good races with the AI, but don’t care about this mod. And so much Bullshit on this blog, I shouldn’t care too.

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  4. Haven’t had more issues than some stupid a.i crashes here and there, also in out exit so far. The extreme scale is so.. extreme because of the mod, obviously.
    Fuck these articles are inconsistent lol good, bad, it’s like ign… 😂

    Yeah they a.i are stupid as hell sometimes but this payware mod is just asking for it, I don’t expect the best a.i in any sim no matter if the car or the track is the mod content.

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  5. There’s definitely some inconsistency with the AI.

    I remember running the Marcas at Montreal, and 1 or 2 AI would roll their cars at the chicane before the hairpin and end up in out of bounds.

    Elsewhere its pretty good; though RF2 AI is better in my experience.
    Just a shame the online is dead.

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  6. I love how you picked a just released 3rd party mod to bash Reiza for its shortcomings, not to mention that URD probably never expected it to be used offline anyway.

    Good thing I’m not a manchild obsessed with “coming first”. I can fully enjoy the SIMULATION and FFB the title has to offer. Could care less about either AI, or MP.

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    1. AI isn’t totally broken and the modders could likely have made it work for AI but they didn’t because these are cars clearly intended for league racing, the same way the URD WEC cars are.

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      1. This IS an URD mod, you moron. So blinded by Renato’s sperm on your eyes that you can’t even read properly what others write.

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  7. James I remember having the same issues when running AI on 120% on some mod tracks (official tracks usually work much better than mods)! I found out that more than 100% AI does NOT make them faster or more intelligent – it just gives them more tyre grip and that caused more issues than the ones it tried to solve more so in some tracks than others (Cars going on two wheels on bends, AI overturning causing them to hit the walls etc! It’s almost like the AI were not expecting this much grip)
    Now, although I do race in real life, virtually I’m not that fast and 95% -100% AI is usually good enough for me and for most people out there! For aliens like you the only option is going online (and hope you don’t get placed against the likes of snails like me)!
    Lastly, I just wanted to say that articles like these are what earned you your “name” as a shit stirrer and or asshole in the sim community! The reason is because you are all for pointing out the issues, the wrongdoings etc of publishers, rejoicing in causing mayhem and conflict but you do not care about resolution! Do proper journalism, investigate and find out: when does this issue happen? Is it with all car/tracks or just mod ones? What’s the reason behind it? Play around with the settings a bit and find the limits! This doesn’t happen with lower AI settings does it! Be a champion of the community by trying to help publishers and users resolve issues!
    Sorry for my previous bad language!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is why Rf2 amen anything reiza make will never be successful,yes the physics and ffb are the best to date,but if they don’t offer structured online multiplayer racing,they will always be left behind,it doesn’t cost that much to setup a structure like iracings,it boggles my mind devs think people just want to hotlap or race incompetent ai.

    Like

  9. Gotta agree with the argument of modded AI being a special case, too.

    Even though Reiza’s AI isn’t always great, I know from personal experience that the AI can pilot the (official content) Stock Cars around this track just fine. It’s an open secret in the simracing community that modded cars usually have poor AI in gmotor2 sims because the modders often don’t know how to or don’t bother properly tweaking their parameters.

    This is to blame entirely on URD who have failed to properly set up the AI for these cars for the official content tracks in the game. That is not to say stock content AI is always perfect; you can tell the AI is callenged just keeping the SuperV8 on the track on most tracks, but even that combo is AI wise miles above that URD shitshow you just showed.

    Like

  10. I bought the DTM style and endurance pack from URD for rF2. Haven’t tried the former yet but in an offline race in Le Mans mod a “Daiche” Porsche stopped and wouldn’t start although invulnerability was on for practicing. It happened a couple of times so must check it.

    Like

  11. I’m a little new to AMS, but I was under the impression that each series “talent files” are unique. AKA in a mod, much (all? I’m not really sure here,) of the AI behavior is down to mod / creator and not the game. For example the EEC GT mod, I’m pretty sure they mention that it will not race well at all off line because they did not work on the AI.

    Like

    1. Every American is illegal. The only legal Americans are the natives that were there before anyone else. So learn your place, as Trump will have to deport all “Americans” including himself and Hillary.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Unfortunately, this isn’t how society works. If a land is conquered, it now belongs to those people. If the Indians had better technology and a more organized front, they could have won. They just didn’t realize anyone would come there and do what they did. If Mexico wanted to invade and won, this land is all theirs and they would be legal. Until then, nope.

            Like

              1. Nope. Wrong again because the rule of law still exists. If you conquer a country, there is no one left to enforce the law against you. It is now yours. Keep trying. I know you will get there eventually.

                Like

  12. As much as AMS drives really well its AI pretty much stopped me playing the game. This is all stock content, the AI warp when rubbed (poor collision model) never overtake on straights (ai tapping brakes) and a lot of tracks have these murder corners for some AI! Yes reiza have created possibly the best driving model on a pc, but the offline racing against bots is no where near as god as rf2.

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  13. Im in beta at the moment and I’m asking reiza if the AI can improve given the engines age? Im not sure it will get better than this 😦

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  14. so you demostrate AI on mod that has is configured in poor way .. AMS AI is not perfect but still one of the better ones from current sims ..

    Like

  15. inb4 Major Truth is coming back.

    Still, it’s so sad that modern era of video game is totally bad. And until the situation is clear, classic game like Half-Life, GTR2, NASCAR Racing 2003, The Sim and a lot will be my favorite (not every game, though), with my crappy PC.

    Wish that the developer and publisher realize this before it’s too late.

    Back in the topic: That would be pretty bad if someone want train with A.I. before going race with other player. Some game did better, btw.

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  16. I think other people have pretty much covered it, but I’ll say it too, this is a pretty weak attempt at bashing the game, when the actual issue is that the mod team couldn’t get their AI sorted out. AMS has other issues that turn people off, maybe an article about those things would have been a better use of space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are Reiza trying to blind people by including VR in their game, when the graphics are absolutely the worst out of any racing game in 2016?

      Like

  17. This could be your worst article yet based on its embarrassing lack of understanding by the author of what he’s talking about and how he goes on and on complaining about something on the basis of this simple failure to appreciate the reality that a mod not made to function with the AI will not function with the AI.

    Meanwhile I’ve been working with Gringo over at RD to give feedback on the AIW file for Portland based on my numerous races run there with the CART Extreme mod. I did this because running repeated 20 minute races against the AI in these monster machines was enjoyable, exciting, but not quite perfect. Today the updated Portland AIW is available and should make for some great action.

    The reliability that can be achieved getting a full grid of late 90s CART AI through the tight chicane at Portland International indicates that this article is nonsense and should lead the author to hopefully actually know something about what they are talking about before posting another like it… but who am I kidding?

    CART extreme plus Portland – get it, race it, enjoy it. Its a perfect rebuttal to this article.

    http://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/cart-extreme.10810/
    http://www.racedepartment.com/downloads/portland-2-seasons-2-layouts.10809/

    Like

  18. RWB Rodders Steam review was based on online racing with our club, we race real people, the AI issue is a non issue to us and as stated don’t review a game on it’s mod content, AMS has some issues of course but none of them groundbreaking enough for us to not start up a weekly league race in the near future when we are all up to speed, coming from PCars the FFB and car physics are fare superior, Ok the graphics are a bit meh, but who cares when you are stuck to a cars bumper at 160mph!

    Check us out at RWB Racing

    Like

  19. Your making an article about the Ai of a mod? Not Ai thats been through the Reiza treatment.
    I actually find the Ai to lap reasonable well with lap times that range from faster than me at 110% by 1 second to slower by 1 second and that can make for a quite fun and competitive race.
    Maybe do a article about Automobilista in its pure form.

    Like

  20. Well I guess I should reply and be glad I wasn’t mis-quoted but the article is trash. I’ve found a few tracks, while using mod cars, that the AI don’t handle well but otherwise when I’ve added AI to a race they have given me a good race. If you wanted to criticize the game, which is obviously your modus operandi, you could have picked some other aspect of the AI behaviour which is reflective of issues they have on any track but then I guess the article wouldn’t have fit in with tone you like this site to portray.

    Right I’m off back to what I normally do which is not getting involved on this site…..

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    1. Yeah this is pretty epic. Half tge comments say the AI in AMS objectively isn’t very good and people on the forums are voting for Reiza to address it, while the other half claim it’s just the mod cars.

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      1. This article isn’t really serious in who puts the blame. First and foremost it should go to URD as they made this mod, and then analyze how official cars would behave in the same conditions. So the current situation doesn’t tell us anything than to avoid buying this mod if we just want offline racing with it.

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            1. Off the top of my head, here’s what we’ve shit on them for:

              – Cheating in DTM comp
              – wallriding in DTM comp
              – holding a competition when the online servers had trouble calculating running order correctly
              – no tire pressure adjustments
              – shit AI
              – one setup working across all cars
              – microtransactions out the ass

              I admit the current site layout makes tracking down these articles – or any older postings – quite difficult.

              Like

  21. With the election ending next week, I know I’ll get a jones for entertaining shitposts.

    I find comfort knowing PRC will be here.

    Keep up the good work.

    Like

  22. I’m not gonna sit here and defend bland, boring, AI. But I only play Automobilista and only offline and I’ve never had the absolute messes that I’ve seen here or on YouTube. Mods cars or not, mod track or not. I’ve even dabbled in editing talent files and running simulated full length races for my own F1 season and never managed these messes. I dunno if I’m just horrible and racing on too low of settings or the luckiest guy in the world. That said, the AI is lacking.

    Like

  23. Need video man. Its 2017almost. The lack of them implies that these are just something you manufactured with a bad mod.
    A lot less entertaining or noteworthy for sure.

    Easily identifiable as a shit post.
    But that’s what stirs the comment section and views I guess.

    Videos are legit. They tell the real story.
    Screen shots are a joke that can easily be manipulated.
    Especially in a mod scenario.

    Get a video capture card my man.

    Like

    1. I agree, wouldn’t be suprised if James has manipulated these screenshots to make AMS look bad so he can write another negative article about it..

      Like

  24. I’ve had a pretty good time with about 5 cars on about 5 different tracks, one of which used to have some serious problems. I found high aggression to be critical for getting any sort of race going with the AI.

    The element of unpredictability is hard to balance but is also pretty neat when it works.

    I prefer it over rf2 (when it’s working well), the AI feels more dynamic and seems more willing to hold alternate lines instead of giving up position (again, high aggression is critical).

    Like

  25. Can someone please give a good review for the mod physics, sounds and 3d moddels?

    I have never bought anything from URD because I played Iracing before GSC/AMS. The only feedback I have found about this mod says that are easy to drive but not as forgiven as a gt3 car, and also that urd will soon update the mod to include drs and correct other bugs.

    Like

    1. As a newer consumer myself I most definitely will be waiting it out. Too little information, even on their own site. Their free Corvette for AMS is still without an update for it’s many small problems (mirrors, wheel display lights, etc). Plus the idea of paid mods is very foreign to me.

      Like

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