Studio 397 published a new blog write-up, providing us some more insight regarding the ongoing (beta) competition system development for rFactor 2.
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 2020/2021 Competition System posts:
Official Webpage – www.studio-397.com – The rFactor 2 Racing Simulator is available via Steam for €29,99.
Studio 397 Quote: Written by Paul Jeffrey
Looking around me, the outside world is covered in snow. A clear sign we’re still in the middle of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Today we also started a new series of competitions, leveraging the just-released update of Indianapolis as well as the build update that we’ve just shared publicly as a release candidate. A lot of effort from our complete development team has gone into that, so we hope you will all take it for a thorough spin to ensure it works well before we declare it stable in a week or two.
One of the scheduled competitions actually did not start yet. I guess this is one of the things that can happen in beta. One of our tools we use for generating such series showed a very specific issue, which we have pinpointed and solved today, so we expect that one to be up tomorrow too.
Behind the scenes we are currently working at a plan to bring some parts of our upcoming GT Challenge and hotlap competitions into the new system. I anticipate that in a week or two we will be able to announce a lot more details about that. But for today, that’s it, so let’s move on to answering some of your questions again!
To which pace the system is going to evolve? Is it going to be “steps by steps”, or will we see a big update every 3 – 4 months for example?Spyro
Honestly, it will be a bit of both. We are currently in a phase where we are fine-tuning some of the basic systems to ensure that everybody can race smoothly, and I feel we’re getting to the point where those mechanics are now in place. That means that we can shift our attention to the introduction of a few next big features. On the one hand we will focus on a good way to run more races (as that seems to be a returning question) and on the other hand we need to make sure there is some kind of marshalling system in place to ensure everybody behaves. On that last point, as a side note, we have been pleasantly surprised that most drivers are indeed being very fair and sporting. Still, for the few that are not, we need to make sure they can’t ruin the race of others.
Do you have an idea how long the beta phase will be? Are we talking something like 6 months or 1 year (maybe more?)Spyro
The roadmap we outlined before is quite extensive, I would definitely say that 6 months is the minimum, and if you look at features like offline racing, that will probably take us into 2022. That’s my current take on it. As we proceed and get more feedback from the community, we might adjust our plans.
Can we expect different racing conditions in the future (night, scripted weather or even real time weather)? Preferred cars / tracks they would like to see within the system in future too?Spyro
Yes. I would love to add weather conditions, including real time weather. It would be awesome if we could ensure that this means that 5 splits running at the same time all end up with those conditions too.
Is it planned for longer races (>30 mins?) to add the safety car either for road (where it seems to work decently) and oval racing?Spyro
Certainly that will be an option going forward.
Will the friend system you talk about in this entry allow you to play with some friends who have a similar rating?Guillem Rego
One thing we’ve been discussing internally is different ways to do matchmaking. Traditionally that is done on ranking only, but that poses one big problem. If you and your friends want to do a race together at a specific time, you have to be really lucky to end up in the same split. It would be a great feature to add a social aspect to matchmaking, so you can indeed race with your friends in the same split. Technically we can make that happen, so unless we get pushback from the community about this it’s likely this will happen.
When are we going to get more frequent events? I’d love to use the system but there so far apart it’s impossible?Callum Hambley
You mean you just want to do a lot of races in short succession and not have to wait for a few hours until the same competition is scheduled again? We have a few minor issues we would like to resolve before we ramp up the frequency, but we definitely plan to. I don’t have an exact timeline for that yet.
Can fantasy tracks feature in CS, like Nsuka or Maastricht?jtilambucano
Any track with no IP or copyright issues is usable. We adopted the Alpine. We could similarly adopt Maastricht or other fantasy tracks or cars. We already have featured some of our own fantasy tracks, Mills and Toban, and we have been getting very positive feedback about them.
Will we be able to join the races in a series with the tracks we do own and skip the races with tracks we don’t own yet? Would be reasonable because we already need to own all the cars in a series.EricW
Technically, you are right, we could generate a separate series (rfmod) for each individual event. We decided against that though as you end up with a lot of different installed series instead of the much nicer model we have now, where if you have one series installed, you can be sure you have everything you need to participate in any event. This also gives us a good basis for using series elsewhere in rFactor 2, such as an offline championship.
You mention support for rolling starts for some competitions in the future. How about fast rolling starts, which I know the game supports offline, but I’m not sure about online. I don’t think anyone is going to want to do a full formation lap at the Nordschleife!Bill Worrel
Nordschleife has its own set of specific challenges, outlaps being one of the bigger ones. We are aware that we will probably need to build some specific code for that track in the future.
There have been many questions about marshalling and unsportsmanlike behaviour. You say you’re looking at things about how to best manage this. I want to point out something you can explore: How about assigning reputation? You gain some amount of rep by completing races (value depends on time/laps), you lose it by causing collisions (different amounts for different seriousness). Then you can restrict entries for competitions above a specific reputation, or do the splits with players of similar reputation (or combining it somehow with the ladder if there are few entries).Alexfighter
The system you propose is reasonably close to the “safety rating” used in iRacing, except that you call it “reputation”. There you end up building a statistic called “corners per incident” which is a way to keep track of how often someone is involved in an incident, without actually attempting to assign blame. You do seem to want to try to assign blame in your proposal, which I think is a good idea but also a challenging one. Not many simulations out there have a really good “automatic marshalling” system right now that can always correctly “assign blame”. That said, we are looking at doing some experiments with a few possible systems.
20 minutes seems to be the most common race length so far – do you anticipate longer events in future?juninho tilambucano
Certainly. Endurance races are an important part of rFactor 2, and we are planning to add both longer “single driver” races and ones where and entry is driven by a “team of drivers”.
Are we likely to see other Tatuus models used within the system, as opposed to the current FT-60?juninho tilambucano
Yes. This current season we ended up not picking any of the Tatuus cars, but we definitely also want to include the others.
Do you foresee the possibility of bringing in the original ISI tracks into the Competition System schedule – in particular ovals?juninho tilambucano
Most of those are unfortunately unlicensed replicas of real tracks and quite dated by now in terms of quality. Quite a few were also done by community members and quite frankly we don’t have sources for all of those. So I would not expect us to bring most of those into the schedule. So we would have to go and license a few more ovals, or really build a few new fantasy ones.
Maybe there will become a certain night, eg. Wednesday night Skip Barber where a vote could be held, which car for Wednesday, which car for Thursday, etc. With the same crew that will arrive and race, and then run for 4 weeks or so.davidporeilly
What you are describing sounds a lot like more league-style racing where a fixed group of people race a series on fixed times. We will definitely be able to model that. The process of “self organizing” such a competition is definitely interesting. If we can build a matchmaking mechanism where a group of people can get together and do this, that would be nice (assuming they then show up for those races).
Not sure if it’s been asked but a “finding your own name button” in the leaderboards would be nice.daguru
That has been asked before and we are currently working on adding that.
Can we have a “De-register” button in CS? I registered for LMP3 and found I was unable to attend races due to timings and life not matching up, but I can’t leave the championship. It now clutters up the “My sessions” page.Neil Tyler
We decided against adding something like this, because we want people to commit to something and then follow through. I understand there are always situations where that does not happen. In those cases you will just have to ignore the fact that such a series is in your “my sessions” page. It should not matter too much since apparently you don’t have time to race anyway.
Would be nice to be able to exit the game via keyboard i.e. esc then enter.smithaz
Will I be able to race in the CS in VR and not have to see the thin black border around the screen? Will it be soon?jamesleegte
Nice question to sneak in, but not really related to the CS. We are fixing this at the moment though. I anticipate that to be in the next “release candidate” but even if not, it will be out soon.
We know the plans they have for the gameplay of the competition system but. What plans do you have to continue improving the graphics of the game, taking into account that the other simulators continue to advance at a great pace?dazzer
Short answer, yes. We have a few new longer term developments in terms of graphics as well as some shorter term balancing tasks. So you will see various updates of that this year as well.
For the offline championships, do you plan to leave a system similar to that of rFactor 1, in which we could play the practices and classifications on day X and then do the race another day?dazzer
Yes, effectively an offline championship is basically the same as a competition except for a few things. First it runs on your local machine, second you run against AI and third you get to run races when you want instead of at a scheduled time.
Physically, are there any areas that you would like to upgrade to newer technologies such as the gear box system?dazzer
That’s really too much of an open-ended question to answer in great detail, but taking the gearbox system as an example, yes we would like to improve on that. I would also like to see some hardware innovations when it comes to gearboxes and shifters really!
Finally, I don’t know if they know about this, but in the new interface we have the possibility of doing 2 races in a row or more, the problem is that we cannot define different schedules or weather, basically when we configure 2 races, both are a copy of the other, and it is impossible to configure them differently.dazzer
We are aware of this. It’s a current limitation of the underlying system. We have not decided on the best way to change that.
Does the system reward those who compete most?EmanueleMarra15
Not right now. The current competitions score you based on a calculated ranking. There is a positive effect when you race more often, the system can be more sure of your ranking. Currently, if we are unsure, we err on the safe side, so you might actually be better than we think!
Is it in your plans to add mechanics in motion at the pit stops for changing tires or refuelling? Giving life to one of the key moments that are the stops in a race would be wonderful for the show.Adrian Blasco
Whilst I agree it is also hard to add a generic system of pit crews running around cars. We support so many types of cars and series each with their own specific rules on pit crew sizes, what can happen concurrently, how well they are trained, etc. Motion capturing all the possible combinations would take a very long time, and building a much smarter system is also a huge job. At the moment we feel we can spend that development time more useful elsewhere.
In the future, will it be possible to have, with a reputation quotient, races with drivers of my level more or less equal?mixer61
We are looking at such systems, yes, and different algorithms to calculate how to do splits.
Stock car 2018 comp when?Remco Majoor
Car? Check! Tracks? Lacking ovals.
In case you have manual/H pattern cars in future competition races, how are you going to deal with that? Since there is still no realistic clutch/gearshift system in place and users can operate any car with paddle shifters.vmgn021
I’ll give you an honest and probably slightly unsatisfying answer. There are not good systems in racing simulations right now and part of that is because there is no good hardware to simulate this in a way that can’t easily be exploited. As you know, most simulations out there allow you to use an H pattern shifter and each gear ends up being a button. The obvious exploit here is to just have 6 buttons on your wheel for all of those gears and quickly press them when you want to change. That takes away all the mechanical delay that the fancy shifter hardware introduces, so it would always be slower to use the correct hardware. I have not seen a good solution to this problem yet. Have you?
How system manages splits? Is there plan to get rid of situations where split one have 20 drivers and 21st driver goes into split two all alone?Alexandr Meshkov
Yes, that is a bit annoying of the current (too simple) split algorithm. If we end up with 21 drivers and 20 is the maximum, we should try to split them as 11+10 or something similar instead. I hope we can get that improvement in relatively soon.
For upcoming seasons, will there be schedules announced beforehand in the future? Right now I haven’t got a clue what is coming in 2 days time when the new season starts.Remco Majoor
While we’re testing we want to be able to make these decisions at the last minute, but as we transition out of beta that will change. Until then all I can say we will try, if we can.
Will there be a series from the Reiza car pack in the future?Raam Adithyan
Yes. We already featured some of their tracks, and we definitely also want to feature some of their cars (on their or other tracks).
Personally I would like to see more races during late evening CET. Like between 8pm and 2am. That’s when I and I guess many other working people can race. It’s frustrating also the qualification system. Not so much that there are qualifying sessions, more that there are no races immediately afterwards. Putting eg a 20 min quali session then scheduling a race right afterwards makes more sense to me. Those that enter qualifying could automatically be moved to the race. Those that don’t want to qualify could just register for the race. Make it easier for people to get their fix.Mauberley
Points noted, and I think I gave some answers to similar questions already above.