Studio 397 published a new blog write-up, providing us some more insight regarding the ongoing (beta) competition system development for rFactor 2.
In January, Studio 397 decided to roll back to rF2 Build V1.1123 to resolve some issues that popped up. Therefore, they skipped week 4 of the competition System Blog.
Nevertheless, in Part-5 of the Competition System Blog series, Studio 397 continues with a new Q&A session, in which they answer rF2 competition system related questions submitted by the community.
Previous Competition System posts:
Official Webpage – www.studio-397.com – The rFactor 2 Racing Simulator is available via Steam for €29,99.
Studio 397 Quote:
With the new series past the half-way point, we start looking ahead again! Two weeks after having to roll back the build, we can now say that the hotfix successfully suppressed the issues with the “exploding car bodies”. By now we have also managed to reproduce and (in a test build) fix the cause of it. Interestingly, the bug has been in the codebase for a few years, and although we’ve had one or two reports pre-dating the competition system it shows that sometimes bugs can hide in a codebase for quite some time.
As promised in the last blog, we have outlined some changes to how we deploy new builds publicly in the monthly roadmap. In the meantime, we are working hard to bring the next code update, collate community feedback and prioritize it, so expect us to communicate more about this soon.
But for now, let’s move on to our questions, as we’ve had quite a few coming in again.
Q: After qualifying, I was 8 out of 8 participants, But only 4 of us were given a place on the results. I am assuming this meant 4 of the fellows left before the session was completed. They still get assigned to faster groups I hope?davehenrie
Yes, when you set a time on the server, that’s what counts, regardless if you stay until the end or not.
Q: We’ve seen a few changes since launch to the frequency of races and times in which they are held – do you have a particular ‘goal’ as to what you feel the optimum frequency of events will be, and also how many types of series could run at the same time?Paul Jeffrey
First of all, welcome Paul, nice to see you asking a few questions here as well. I think there are two ways to describe our goal. One way is to approach it from the point of someone firing up rFactor 2 and wanting to do a race. Ideally, there is always something to jump into within the next hour or so. The other way is to look at it from a participation point of view and say that we want to increase the frequency of racing whilst ensuring we have at the very least one or two full splits at all times. Obviously, it will require constant balancing to get as close to those goals as possible, so we are making sure it’s easy for us to schedule and reschedule competitions.
Q: The combinations that have been seen in the Competition System so far have been really enjoyable, however, do you plan to engage the community via a vote or something similar in the future, to see what preferred cars/tracks they would like to see within the system in future?Paul Jeffrey
I like the idea. Maybe have people propose and then vote for a specific series. Could be the “community series”. Obviously we will have to make sure we only use legal and licensed content, but the Alpine has shown that can be done!
Q: Do you have a rough timescale in mind for when you think big competitions the likes of GT Pro and GT Challenge may transfer to the competition system?Paul Jeffrey
It’s something we’re discussing internally, as you might know, and it’s likely we will start with the different splits in the GT challenge. Maybe as soon as the upcoming season. No final decision has been made, but it’s definitely our intention to move such big competitions into the system.
Q: Is it possible, or even desirable to have a time trail / hot lap leaderboard for each of the official tracks within the system – say something like 1 car per track for x number of weeks, then swapping out the car for something different after that time has passed?Paul Jeffrey
What we can do is set up “competitions” that feature hotlap sessions, and use those to build standings (leaderboards). As with many things, I think our community will ultimately decide what we run. If there’s an interest, we’re on board!
Q: Is it within the roadmap of development to have the possibility to assign a ‘favorite’ or ‘friends’ marker on certain drivers within the competition system, so we can easily and quickly see how we are matching up against people we are interested in comparing against?Paul Jeffrey
Yes, we are considering two options for this. First we can leverage your Steam friends list. Second is to add another “friends” or “teammates” system inside rFactor 2 specifically for this purpose, or even a way to just “follow” certain people.
Q:We’ve heard about a richer set of statistics coming to the system in future, can you give us an insight into what can of stats will eventually be measured once the system is fully feature rich?Paul Jeffrey
As a broad indication, expect us to provide statistics similar to tools like “replay analyser” but then with additional data that is about competitions and the overall system.
Q: How do you plan to act and penalize pilots who cause accidents with dirty and unsportsmanlike behaviour?Esplomer38
Let me start by stating that people who behave in an unsportsmanlike way on or off the track have no place in the competition system. Since the start of the system we have been monitoring races, and we fully intend to act on the data we are collecting. I don’t have an exact timeline yet for when these actions will be taken but the best advice I can give anybody is to remain calm and respectful to others.
Q: If and when a ranking system will be implemented? (Apologies if this info is already available)M-Bimmer
It’s a valid question. Right now we have a ranking system that we can feed data, for example, everything that happened in a single event or competition, and it will calculate the ranking of every driver involved (including an estimate of the accuracy of that ranking). We are using the first rounds of competition to validate the algorithms, and we anticipate to start showing it in some form at various stages during the beta phase. Eventually, it is our goal to have a global ranking.
Q: Will there be sessions with back to back qualification and race ?M-Bimmer
Yes, that will be one of the formats we intend to support, so before a race, within each split there will be a qualification session to determine the grid.
Q: If the first race and qualy start a bit later. Could be wrong, but I think it starts at 18:00 CET so an hour later would be great. Rest of the schedule will need to be adjusted which is a pain I guess?M-Bimmer
We are aware that with the current amount of races, there will be certain competitions that only have races at inconvenient times. We basically have a race now every 90 minutes. In the beta phase, we deliberately limit the number of races overall, just because we are still testing and don’t want to run too much just yet. After beta, we will run as many sessions as makes sense. Our goal is certainly to make sure that anybody can race at any time.
Q: Any plans for more races per day per region and when?M-Bimmer.
Certainly, after the beta ends, and yes we are also looking at possible competitions that are bound to regions.
Q: When can we expect big events taking place in the system (Indy 500, if teams aren’t implemented yet 2.4 hours of spa/nords for example)?Remco Majoor
Team based events will certainly have to wait a bit longer. We are first looking at integrating shorter races, for example our GT challenge series. Internally we are currently discussing the requirements for this, also for things like broadcasts, stewarding, etc.
Can we expect rolling starts for GT cars any time soon, which would also be good for the stock car 2018?Remco Majoor
Yes. That will be configurable per series so we can pick something that is the same as what they would use in real life too.
How many cars can an event support? For example can a single Nordschleife event have the full 90 car grid?Remco Majoor
We have a hard limit of 104 cars (and an additional 104 spectators) per server, so 90 would still fit if we can also make sure the pits, grid, and other facilities are there. I have not memorized these numbers of the Nordschleife. It might need some tweaks to get to 90, but it’s certainly technically possible.
I know that the issue is redundant, but for any competition to go forward, bad behavior on the track must be sanctioned, it is not reasonable to wait with illusion to enter a race at 02:00 AM, sacrificing night rest, and that in the first lap they take you off the track and destroy your car, mistakes we all make, but some are very flagrant and should be corrected with a penalty in the middle of the race. This if you want to have serious competition, not to become an arcade in which anything goes.Chug_59
We get quite a few questions about this, and I can only agree. We are still in the first phase of testing, where we wanted to test the basic mechanics of running sessions, signing up, getting the right content, etc. Obviously, in the recent weeks, we’ve also uncovered some issues in rFactor 2 itself, possibly made more visible because we are now doing so much racing online, so our first priority remains to deliver a stable platform. But making sure everybody “behaves well” is high on our list after that.
Will there be the possibility of rejoining after an event has started?davehenrie
If you get disconnected from a race, you can already rejoin. Qualifications are currently still closed. We intend to at least have an option to change that.
Would be cool to filter that in the competition system. So I only see competitions that work with my installation, if I want to….Flaux
That is actually a great idea, to have such a filter. I could imagine us having a few similar ones, including an option to only see competitions that you can join without having to purchase any new content. The tools are in place for doing such things, so we’ll add that to our list. Thanks!
Will we see fixed(setup) series in the future? And if the answer is “yes” then the obvious when?Stevy
The answer is “yes” and I think we will do that probably after the upcoming round of competitions. To be honest, the biggest obstacle here is to provide a really good setup that everybody enjoys and we have not taken the time yet to do that. We’d certainly appreciate community feedback and input here though.
Any possibility to have “meatball” flags in the future?L0P3X
This would need to be a feature that goes into rFactor 2 directly. We have no plans for that at the moment, but we will evaluate what people do if they’re heavily damaged and we could certainly take into account that if you are damaged and involved in another accident, the blame shifts to you because you might not have full car control anymore. But you definitely got us thinking about this problem.
Could the briefing screen show which layout of circuit we are using?Jtilambucano
Yes, that is on our wishlist as well, to not just show your own car but also a graphic of the actual layout.
Damage model adjusted/graded per split so the better drivers in higher splits take more damage vs the new in lowest, who will make mistakes and need help to get to the finish, are encouraged to learn. Probably undoable in rFactor 2, but would work for all when splits are decided by grading. The wreckers… only bans will slow them down.Boldaussie
It’s technically doable to setup splits differently. We have not considered this idea. I see positives and negatives so for me the jury’s still out on this. I’ll let others in the community chime in on this one!
I have always been only an offline player, but I am passionate about the Nordschleife variations, in particular the Nurburgring Combined. Maybe the competition system might appeal to me if there were enough and frequent events on this track, in any form. Could we have information on what is planned on this track in the future in the competition system (including a number of sessions and frequency)?pilAUTO
We will organize events for anything that attracts a big enough crowd to be viable. Nordschleife traditionally does, so I expect us to hold events there for sure!
Are there plans to make the offline competitions customizable? Or will those use predetermined rfmods as well, so we’ll need to own all the content for each?Mitch9
We will offer both options. First, using series we supply, and may I comment that we will not exclusively create ones based on paid content but also free ones. Alternatively, you will be able to create your own ones, based on series you create yourself (or created by other community members). Offline competitions or championships are still some way out though. Our first focus is the online part.
We really need some sort of reminder and/or a way to sign up for the next race while practising. I just spent nearly an hour practicing to be 5 seconds too late to register.Bruno Gil
That is planned, Bruno. The notification sidebar where chat messages show up as well will start giving you reminders if you’re not “in the car” and we will have something show up in the message center directly when you are. It almost happened to me as well once already.
Any plans for historic cars and track combo and oval racing on the competition system? It can be used the F3 historic because it’s rather easier than the F1. And the Tatuus from Indy Lights or even the US2000 for oval. We also have the historical Indy on the base game, so it’s already set!Kesk
We’ve been considering doing more with our historic content for some time now. It has a hardcore following. It could also use some graphical updates. We might just try some series to see how popular it would be. I agree the F1 car might be a bit too much for some to handle. F3 sounds like a good starting point.
Please give some feedback on what was causing the graphic bug addressed in the last builds?Stefan Wirth
So without getting too technical the bug had to do with our deformable meshes and how we apply damage to them, combined with some coding error that caused a timing issue.
Will it be possible to get practice servers that are running all day long all night long simultaneously to the actual race events? I think it is important to have them because so you can learn to behave in traffic, how to overtake, make space for faster cars, how to leave the pitlane and so on and so on. Communication in the community will grow too I think because you can and will meet on the track.Hocician
The short answer is, yes, this is planned. Until that time, there seem to be a few people in the community that has started hosting such servers already. For example, I have joined one of the servers put up by “MrGit” to do some training there. But I agree it’s valuable enough for Studio 397 to provide them, and we will.
When will skins work online?Hocician
We don’t know yet. We are still analyzing how best to implement custom skins in competitions. We would like to allow people to sign up for a competition with their own livery. The trick is striking a good balance between allowing that, and possibly even allowing people to change their livery during a competition, and making sure this does not cause a huge burden on everybody else. If a competition features 5000 entries, you probably do not want to be forced to download all 5000.
Are there any plans for the near future (if yes, when) to evaluate or judge unsportsmanlike behaviour?Hocician
Internally we are experimenting with a few different ways to come up with some form of safety rating. At the same time, we are working on tooling to evaluate races and chat logs. To be clear, such systems will be implemented and people not behaving correctly can expect to be banned temporarily or, in case they keep it up permanently. And as a service to the rest of the community, that might include banning them from all online play. In other words, be warned and behave!