Inclusion of Silverstone Masks Underwhelming R3E Build – *Updated with AI Impressions*

rrre-2017-01-25-13-27-15-69Don’t look over there, look over here!  The January 2017 update of RaceRoom Racing Experience deployed a few short hours ago after a brief period of routine server maintenance, and other than the free-to-play racing simulator finally receiving a long awaited circuit in Silverstone International Raceway, there are certainly more negatives than positives to discuss this afternoon. For a game that’s looking to implement some sort of organized online racing service comparable to iRacing in the near future, Sector 3 have a mammoth amount of work to do in order to properly prepare for what lies ahead with R3E.

Yes, there’s now a beautiful rendition of Great Britain’s most iconic purpose built auto racing facility for R3E owners to purchase, and you’re now able to execute pit stops entirely by yourself – without the computer ever taking control of your car – but these are immediately forgotten about once you hit the track. Silverstone is already found in every other modern racing simulator on the market, and a whole host of these games dating back to the days of MS-DOS have allowed you to drive the car in pit lane and stop in your respective pit stall for a set of four racing slicks with complete independence. With this latest update, Sector 3 are essentially playing catch-up. Once you realize that you’re celebrating the ability to do things you were once able to do in simulators released decades ago, the magic of Steam downloading a sizeable update for R3E is lost.

Don’t get me wrong, R3E’s rendition of Silverstone is fantastic and a worthwhile addition to the game compared to all of the obscure Swedish tracks Sector 3 recently announced, but there are many fantastic versions of Silverstone floating around in the wild. And there are still many problems with R3E that should have taken precedence over the release of a new track.

rrre-2017-01-25-13-25-38-24Traditionally when I compose pieces like these for any number of racing simulators, I typically head online for a race or two, save the replay, and spend a couple of minutes poking around with the free roam camera so our readers have a collection of pretty pictures to look at. It’s incredibly hard for me to do that here. R3E currently suffers from a problem where if any user retires from a race prior to its completion, they don’t show up for the duration of the replay. This never used to be an issue until a build or two ago. Sector 3 still haven’t fixed this, meaning several key players from a battle that occurred early on in a GT3 session at Silverstone are nonexistent in my replay file. It’s pretty hilarious watching myself and the guy in the Corvette give space to our imaginary friend in the Mercedes SLS AMG for the opening laps, not to mention a cluster cars randomly scattering in turn one to avoid a wreck you can’t actually see.

For leagues using R3E as a competitive platform, this is a deal breaker. As an administrator or steward, how do you go back and analyze footage of an incident, when there’s a chance the car that caused the incident won’t appear in the replay unless they finished the race prior to disconnecting from the server? Oops.

rrre-2017-01-25-13-28-29-22Now we get to the fun stuff.

Around this same time last year, RaceRoom Racing Experience featured a setup exploit that let you run the lowest downforce configuration possible in every GT3 car on the roster, without any obvious detrimental effects to your performance. Basically, you could set the rear wing to a value of 1 (out of a possible 20), and utterly stomp the field with free top end speed, when in theory the car should have been a deathtrap and nearly undrivable in all but the slowest of corners on the race track. I used this exploit to my advantage for a few races before reporting it to Sector 3, and it was supposedly rectified by March of 2016.

I don’t think they’ve fixed it, or if they have, it hasn’t been on every car. Just for a giggle, I dropped the rear wing to the minimum value of my McLaren 12c before an online GT3 event of Silverstone, primarily to see how much I could get away with considering Silvestone features three very long high speed sections where low downforce would greatly benefit your car’s performance. I also ran the qualifying session with a full load of fuel, because I was so incomprehensibly lazy, I couldn’t be bothered with creating a separate qualifying setup.

rrre-2017-01-25-12-54-11-44Rather than the rear end trying to loop around on most corners of the circuit, the 12c I’d chosen was fairly neutral with a tad bit of understeer if I got the throttle application point wrong. And not only was I murdering people in the high speed sections, nobody else in the session stood a chance when it came to the overall lap times. The current leaderboard record holder, Thomas Schmidt, was over a second off pace. Keep in mind, I was also running a full tank of fuel, whereas Tomas was noticeably faster in qualifying than he was in practice – indicating he devised a proper sprint trim setup. I ran just two laps in qualifying, and parked it for the rest of the twenty minute session.

rrre-2017-01-25-12-54-18-42Personally, I would prefer if Sector 3 released a hotfix that locked the rear wing setting for all GT3 cars at a uniform value, as your average person isn’t going to discover the low downforce exploit, therefore spending countless laps trying to fine tune the rear wing setting when they simply don’t need to. In order to level the playing field and make online races at least somewhat competitive for the time being, the rear wing should be a fixed value until Sector 3 can figure out what’s causing this problem. I love winning races by a large margin, but it’s a lot more fun when it relies on driver skill rather than discovering something in the garage area that most wouldn’t consider. And it would be really shitty if this was still around with skill points on the line, or whatever Sector 3 are planning to do with their organized online racing structure.

rrre-2017-01-25-13-19-24-57There are other little niggles, as well. The online server browser has been redesigned as well, though it’s not without its problems. Visually it’s a step up from the primarily text-based format, but there’s no option to permanently hide restricted servers by default, meaning you’re forced to click the button every single time you enter the multiplayer screen. And though there’s a nice picture detailing each circuit being used in the lobby, the cars available are now written in a smaller font. Look, I don’t care that the name of the room is FERAL CIRCUS, I want to know which classes of cars I can drive. That’s the important part. Don’t hide it off to the side.

rrre-2017-01-25-14-44-10-43Like I said, it’s a very underwhelming update for RaceRoom Racing Experience that fails to fix the important stuff, while adding a circuit that all the other games already have, and a feature that should have been in there from the start. I’m not happy that the low downforce garbage is still present – as it compromises the level playing field – and it’s lame how replays still fail to include drivers who disconnect prematurely, especially as this is a relatively new glitch that wasn’t present in the past. Stuff like this just makes me extremely skeptical that Sector 3 can pull off releasing an online racing service intended to directly compete with iRacing. You’ve got to walk before you can run, and they’re still struggling with the walking part.

rrre-2017-01-25-17-16-28-93EDIT: Now since a lot of you have been rightfully asking about the artificial intelligence improvements Sector 3 have bundled with the latest build, the least I can do is talk about them for a bit, as many use this title for their go-to single player racing experience (no pun intended). According to the patch notes, Sector 3 have attempted to breath new life into the AI by giving them a basic set of dynamic behavior traits, and on paper what they’ve tried to introduce sounds fairly impressive. No longer are the AI running on rails at a set pace, they’re generally aware that they’re driving a high performance race car in a competitive environment, against other drivers trying with the same common goal – win the race. That’s a good thing for owners of R3E.

  • Introduced “Stress factor” for AI. AI’s can now be pushed into making mistakes when under pressure. Likelihood of those mistakes increases from being chased and from collisions.
  • Improved AI awareness of opponents on their sides.
  • When two AI’s are side by side reaching a braking point, one will brake 3% earlier and the other 2% later, depending on longitudinal position and relative speeds

The bad thing is, these new lines of code don’t produce the results we’re all looking for on the race track. In short, while the additional logic implementations look nice in a forum post outlining what you can expect from the January 25th update, the AI basically ram into each other at a rate that makes racing offline exceptionally frustrating. As you can see in the shot above, one AI car is straight up turning into another only a hundred feet or so after the start finish line. It’s a pain in the ass to navigate through, because they never seem to let up.

rrre-2017-01-25-17-28-08-79I’m racing on an AI strength of 117, and the computer opponents are basically trying to kill each other at any given moment. Here at the Slovakia ring, you can see two sets of cars playing chicken with one another; the group on the right side playing bumper cars with each other before we’ve even made it to the first corner. It’s utterly silly to watch in motion, and it almost always results in a cluster of cars slamming into one another. Don’t get me wrong, I love trading paint with people online, but it’s all contextual. This isn’t something you do right at the drop of the green flag – it’s the result of several minutes fighting for position, and yet in R3E’s single player component, the AI drives like we’re in Destruction Derby from the moment the lights go out.

rrre-2017-01-25-17-30-20-22The quality of racing varies greatly from track to track, so while some of you may be lucky to find yourself enjoying an acceptable battle against the AI, some tracks are borderline useless. Sonoma Raceway and the Slovakia Ring produce some phenomenal clusters throughout lap one, while the brand new Silverstone Raceway fares much better, aside from AI cars randomly applying the brake pedal long after any significant event has occurred in front of them. It’s very Assetto Corsa-ish in that the AI sometimes piss themselves for no identifiable reason, and you can make up a few spots here or there due to their sheer incompetence.

Portimao, one of my favorite tracks in R3E, is sadly a complete clusterfuck when racing against a field of bots. AI cars occupying the inside line going into turn one routinely misjudge the turn-in point on corner entry, notice they’ve made a mistake, counter-steer to bail themselves out, and shoot across the track into oncoming cars whom are going much faster than they are. I’ve tried to capture the moment of impact in the shot below, but it’s to the point where multiple cars are causing a wreck, one after the other. The silver Mustang took out the SLS, and the blue Z4 took out the black Camaro.

rrre-2017-01-25-17-38-39-55As I kept restarting the race to see what else would happen, it was basically just a matter of watching the same three or four AI cars plow into each other with reckless abandon, sometimes in places that nobody should possibly place their car entering turn one at Portimao. I mean, seriously, these guys are a solid thirty feet away from the proper racing line.

rrre-2017-01-25-17-39-54-52I would love to say that the artificial intelligence in this game is a massive step forward with Sector 3’s upgrades to their behavior, but I can’t. Yes, there are some tracks where the AI are partially tolerable aside from micro-braking. Venture past that, and they have no problem playing bumper cars with one another. Sure, if you only drive one or two tracks in the game, and they happen to be locations not adversely affected by the changes in AI driver logic, your experience will most certainly vary. However, in about thirty minutes of mucking around within R3E’s single player mode, all I saw was carnage. In Automobilista – a simulator inspired by the same underlying engine – I can deal with the odd AI car or two nudging each other out of the way, but R3E jacks things up to eleven. It’s an all-out battlefield, and very rarely does their aggressiveness make sense given each on-track situation.

Back to the drawing board.

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51 thoughts on “Inclusion of Silverstone Masks Underwhelming R3E Build – *Updated with AI Impressions*

  1. Major AI improvements and early VR support are also in this update and are surely worth a mention? The AI in particular is a big step forward

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          1. Does it give the same results if you set them to 85? Maybe pushing the limit above 100 makes them overly agressive?

            I understand that having them clean but slow isn’t a nice tradeoff, but i’m wondering.

            Thanks,

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        1. “Geez, is there any modern sim with good AI?”

          The AI in rF2 works pretty good – eventhough its pretty obvious(and irritating) that they drive using other physics and TM than human drivers.
          To the best of my knowledge the rF2 AI´s use the old rF1 physics 🙂

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  2. Hey that’s my Mercedes SLS on the first pic 🙂
    Why don’t you just reload the replay, then ALL cars will appear correctly. It’s just a workaround but it works 100% for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. except you didn’t mention that you had to stiffen the front and soften the back as a concession. This means your setup will be slower than standard wing settings on lower speed tracks. Sounds pretty normal to me.

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        1. Physics don’t change when you cross state lines or international borders. A race car doesn’t know it’s at Monza or Lime Rock. Use this to your advantage.

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          1. Sooo.. a tight twisty circuit doesn’t require different things to a circuit that’s all about top speed? I’m guessing that’s why F1 teams don’t bother with special packages for Monaco and Monza then, because what would be the point?

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  4. Silverstone really feels massively over-saturated in sims and even more casual racing titles nowadays, but I wonder if that’s just American bias on my part showing through. It’s a fantastic circuit, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like a lot of these titles are getting boastful about achieving parity instead of accomplishing something new.

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    1. Well, the real circuit is painted with some very strong colors, which doesn’t help. Lighting in games isn’t the greatest and R3E must do with some new layers on top of very old tech. If you see their art, you can see it’s still a bit saturated and with a blue filter, so although it is a bit too much, the game’s environment is well constructed and the assets fit well together.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Weird that we had such different experiences with the AI. I raced the G5 cars (level 109) at Bathurst, Oscherslaben and Spa and had an absolute blast – it worked really well

    Liked by 1 person

  6. R3e ai is better than AMS because they can fight each other unlike ams where they get stuck in drafts, dont block etc etc. Its not rf2 ai but its not far off the best in sim racing atm.

    Jeez, this site is just full of shit.

    What we could be talking about is the weird ffb feeling around centre wheel (almost spring like) in some cars as if the cars are rotating on a pivot..

    S3 are getting their crap together, maybe james you should?

    But I’m done here. I thought you woke up mate and realised what you were writing here.. seems not.. Your title for this site is totally true, worst site in sim racing.. Maybe you should think about taking it down now?

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    1. I agree with the FFB thing. I can’t seem to dial in my V2 in R3E. The wheel feels odd in the first 10-15 degrees of rotation in either direction from center but after that, feels ok. There are so many options to tweak in game so I’m still fiddling around. I wish it felt as good as the AMS FFB out of the box.

      As for the rest of your statement, relax. You are done because you don’t like someone honest views of a sim? Dude gets all of R3E for free so you would think he would be careful as to what he said but I respect that he isn’t shillious maximius with them. It is a good thing.

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      1. He may not be shillious maximius with them but is still shillious. Is not a good thing. Honest views of a sim don’t automatically translate into truthful views of a sim. I feel like “honest” is being thrown at everything too much and people are just hiding behind that word or using what someone said with the honest excuse. Can we just go back to opinions without putting honest in the mix?

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        1. Well the problem with truthful views are that they are opinions. That is the thing with opinions, they are opinions, not undeniable facts. Everyone has their own opinions and just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t make it wrong, or right for that matter. What could be someone’s hardcore believe could be another’s hardcore disbelief.

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          1. Yea that’s what I said, just opinions. But using “honest” before “opinion” is often thrown as an argument to validate someone’s opinion or view.

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      2. Turn down the “Lateral Force” setting in the FFB section of the game. For cars with tires that have very stiff construction (i.e. modern race cars), this should be around 50-60. For older cars, I like to increase it up to 70 (so they don’t feel as “mushy”).

        Anyway, lowering that will get rid of that odd initial “stiffness” that doesn’t feel right. If you run it at 60, it works pretty well with everything. Getting this one setting right makes a big difference.

        Great thing about R3E is that you can pause and adjust FFB settings on the fly, so you can really dial it in fast.

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          1. Let me know if it works! Any time I have a car where it has that weird “sharpness” to the FFB (hard to describe) where it rises too fast then suddenly falls off, that Lateral Force setting has been the culprit. I actually wrote down my favorite setting for each class of car. I’m at work, but later I can post up my overall FFB settings as well. They feel incredibly good to me, so it might help you out. But IIRC the stock FFB settings were pretty much right.

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  7. Shill out guys. I love R3E for what it’s worth and have been playing it since 2014.

    The points which PRC brings up are valid and should be noted by the dev team. It’s good to get this type of stress test feedback.

    I usually finish in the top 20 in leaderboard competitions and I run the AI on 107-110 percent and I feel that something happens with them if you go beyond those values. They become way too aggressive just like the article describes. The problem might be that there’s some sort of threshold where the settings works perfect at around 100 percent but when entering higher values the AI bugs out. When modding AI files for Richard Burns Rally there was this problem when you raised the aggressiveness and talent of the drivers they crashed off the stage more than before. But the raised levels where needed to have a good fight against the AI.

    The replay problem is a serious matter and if not fixed – how will you review races? How will you post race recaps? How will you be able to send replay info to race stewards? These issues need to be addressed.

    Overall R3E has made huge leaps forward from when I began playing it but now that the bar is raised the dev team need to fix the small, but important issues still niggling in the background.

    And PRC. Isn’t it good to have some small obscure Swedish tracks since not many other games feature them? Isn’t that a good step forward from the usual 10 tracks featured in every sim racing game? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Obscure tracks are like innovation in video games: people claim to want more of them, but in the end everyone flocks to the same familiar tracks they already know.

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      1. To me it appears people want a 65/35 split of familiar versus obscure. GTR2 was really good at this. You had Spa, Monza, Imola, Magny Cours, and Barcelona for familiar ground, but then you had weird shit like Enna Pergusa, Anderstop, and Zuhai. I know that’s just the ’04 FIA GT schedule, but it worked in the climate of sim racing.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The problem with the AI competence at higher levels is that some of us actually need to run on that difficulty for a proper challenge. Not trying to dickwave for the hell of it, but turning things down to try and hinder the aggression results in a margin of victory counted in laps, not seconds.

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      1. Good for me, I’m a dead slow turd in the middle of the track 🙂 . However, what was 100% in Race07 or GTR2 seems much slower in R3E. Am I right or do I just suck at the older games?

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      2. Name a single racing sim where you didn’t eventually outgrow the AI.

        Biggest reason: They can’t tweak the setups like you can. It’s as if you’re racing against a room of guys who are stuck with the default setup.

        Do you get the same results if you stick to the default car setup (especially fuel load)?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I still can’t beat the GTR2 and Race07 guys on high difficulty. BUT (and this is I think the core of your point) I never spent too much time tweaking the car setup to make it perfect, just to improve my time and make it easier for me to handle. I’ll try this… I think Brno + the GTC BMW will be a good starting point for me, since I know that track well and I’ve driven that car a lot. I would be an interesting experiment.

          Also, the GTR2 AI actually beat the real life track records on 100%, but I think a player with a good setup will also. Maybe it’s just GTR2 being GTR2 and that is a very good old sim, but not perfect. Heck, I saw AI cars driving in the night with no headlights like it ain’t no thang.

          Looking back, I’ve recently played a bit of Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, on the PC with the keyboard, just like I used to when I was a kid. Even making mistakes and not remembering all the corners and shortcuts, I was beating them by MINUTES. I’m happy that in the racing games I play now I never get to that point, because the AI would just become useless. It also serves to keep me humble. When you kick the crap out of the AI and you feel like you’ve got no room for improvement you can go online and get a good hard slap from reality. With AI that are very quick (but not obviously cheating like a bunch of artificial assholes) you can test yourself even without human opponents. Sure, that happens if the AI don’t crash like idiots (like they tend to do oh so often) 🙂 .

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    3. The track issue is somewhere in between. Sure, we need a lot of well-known tracks because people already know them, love them and want to race on them. However, I recommend anyone who has the STCC or STCC2 packs for Race07 to try doing an STCC championship. There are some maybe too narrow, maybe too short but ultimately fun tracks there 😀 . Oh and don’t forget to turn on the weather, makes for some nice racing.

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  8. And they didn´t fix the clutch-bullshit again. You are far slower with a clutch and needs a lot of dead zones in the settings to not getting miss-shifts all the time. But shifting even Group5-cars with paddleshifter is nearly as fast as shifting GT3-cars. Than there´s this car-unrelated clutch-setting, so switching from a historic car to a GT3 you need to activate auto-clutch and turn off h-shifter, which is even hiding in different tabs. That´s ancient compare to all other titles. Okay, just rF2 has no clutch-function at all it seems. You can use it, but no need even without any helpers.

    I think people who can´t drive h-pattern-cars should just stay away from them and “get real” should be like it´s meaning and not the opposite. In AC you need at least to blip throttle with auto-clutch because auto-blip isn´t working as well. In pCars you get scripted miss-shifts or much slower shifting with auto-clutch (last one even in a GT3-car), but no engine stalls. AMS is nice, but in online-races i prefer using my sequential shifter for h-pattern cars to get an advantage.

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