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Tips for racing against the AI

Discussion in 'Automobilista' started by Lorencini, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Lorencini

    Lorencini

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    Hello everybody!

    After spends countless hours playing Automobilista, racing against the AI, I start to understand how they behave in longer races (30 minutes or more).
    In this post, I summarize some main AI behaviours, and how to configure your race options to get the best possible experience, including practice and qualifiyng sessions, enforcing pitstops, multiclass racing, and so on.

    My goal is to make this post a central information point about single-racing in Automobilista, so feel free to post your own tips.


    General Tips:

    1 - AI Behavior

    AI-controlled cars have a simplified physics, and behave differently comparing to real humans. I summarize some behaviors based on my experience racing against them. You should consider the tips below when racing single-player against the AI on your own:

    • In Practice, the AI always run with full tank. In qualifying, they always run with enough fuel to run 3 laps (pit exit lap, flying lap, pit return lap) That explains why qualy times drop up to a second in qualy comparing to practice.
    • In Race, the AI will use enough fuel to complete the race. However, if a full tank is not enough to complete the race (resulting in at least 1 pit stop), they will ALWAYS start the race with full tank.
    • The AI will only make a pit stop if they run out of gas. By the time the AI run with low fuel, the simulator distributes the AI pit entering in 3 laps, in order to avoid all AI cars pit at the same lap, which would result in several cars have to wait their teammate finish his pitstop. Tip: when you a message "Your teammate is in pit", prepare yourself for pitting next lap at most.
    • When in pit stall, AI will ALWAYS change its four tyres, no matter how much they wear it; and will ALWAYS fill up the tank, no matter how much time is left for the race to end. Pit stop times can be 32 to 38 seconds, depending of the vehicle.

    • Turn off Tyre Wear: The AI has very little tyre wear effect. As the race goes by, AI time laps will decrease each lap, according to fuel usage: each lap the amount of fuel decreases, the car gets lighter and the AI run faster. On the other hand, AI tyre wear is so little that seems not to be relevant in lap times. So, by the time AI cars are almost out of gas (hence, close to their pit stop), their lap times will be very close to their qualifying times, while the player lap times will increase due to his tyre wear, much more noticeable when running several laps. You can check a detailed example in this post.

      Example:

      Series: Endurance Brasil (MR18 and MCR2000) (download here)
      Track: Tarumã
      Qualifying lenght: 30 minutes
      Race length: 30 minutes
      Fuel Usage - 2x (with 2x fuel , MCR will race for 25 minutes before run out of gas, so a pit stop will be surely necessary) (MR18 cars can race up to 35 minutes with 2x, so they won't pit in this scenario)
      Tyre Wear - OFF (otherwise, bots will get faster each lap while you get slower each lap due to your wear tyres)

      In qualifying, put enough gas in your tank to run 3 laps and to go track. When you complete your 3 laps, get back to the garage (hit ESC) and repeat the process until you feel ok with your times. Then, press Control + T to quickly finish the session.

      In race, start with full tank. When you're gonna make a pitstop, fill up your tank and change all 4 tyres.

      By doing this, I can guarantee you will have a close race throughout the race lenght (30 minutes), with a mandatory pit stop, in a standart pit-window of three laps.



    • Agression: always use Max Aggression when using Reiza's cars (they have a very good car position awareness, specially the Stock Car Brasil -Stock V8). If you set aggression for, let's say, Medium, and run through a corner side-by-side with the AI, the opponent car will try so badly not to touch you that he will deliberaty open a little bit and end up off-track, even if you let enough space for him. On the other hand, using Max Aggression, the AI will still play fair in the aforementioned scenario, but in the edge of the track, he will stick with it and will not run offtrack.

    • Session time: never skip a qualifying session end never click 'Finish Session' to go to race. It seems like the engine need the qualifying to complete all its stipulated time to proper carry on AI performance to race session. So, when you finish your qualifying, press Control + T to fast foward qualifying time, and when the clock reaches zero, then click on 'Next Session'.
    2 - Multiclass racing

    Tip for multi-class racing: ALWAYS do a qualifying. This way, you will split the different class in the grid, assuring that all the faster cars will be in front of the slower ones at race start. If you skip qualifying, simulator will scramble all cars, putting faster cars mixed with slower ones all over the grid. A 30 minute qualifying is recommended to assure all AI cars will do a flying lap according to its class and won't be cought in traffic. When you finish your qualifying, press Control + T to fast foward qualifying time, so you won't need to wait halp na hour to race.


    3 - Race Scale and Day/Night Transition

    With a race scale of 20x, each 10 minutes in a race will make the time move forward 3 hours. So, if you want to simulate day-night transition in a, for example, 40 minute race, set the race scale to 20x, and the race start time by noon (12PM).
    • 10 minutes racing will be at 3PM (you will notice the shadows start to move);
    • 20 minutes, it will be 6PM (and you will notice the golden color of the sunset upon the track and cars);
    • 30 minutes will be 9PM (headlights will be required, the light will dim gradually, to a point where the sky is almost black and you will have some hard time to find your marks);
    • 40 minutes will be midnight (the sky will be pitch black, and if the track does not have native light posts, all you can see is what your headlights can lit, and the other cars lights).


    4 - Night Races
    • Racing at night can bring performance issues in some rigs, mainly due to the headlights of your opponents. But I found some parameters in the PLR file that solves the issue:

      Max Headlights="2" // Max headlights visible relative to your car.

      The default value is 12 cars with visible lit headlights. In my tests, I change the value to only 2 cars, so I can see headlights from on car in front and 1 can behind. Thats enough to keep the track visible enough, and I don't suffer any more performance issues.
    • Another issue when racing at night is cockpit ilumination: other cars headlights also iluminate your cockpit, making it too bright, sometimes white. To solve this, use this parameter in PLR

      Headlights On Cars="0" // Headlights illuminate other cars.

      The default value is 1. Set this value to 0, and headlights will iluminate only the track (tarmac, grass, signs, etc). Your opponents will still be visible but darkened, with their taill lights in highlight. And, most important, your cockpit will be dark, and you'll only see the led lights in your panel and wheel.
    First Event Issue

    I've noticed that in the first ever session I enter after starting AMS, the AI runs slower lap times. Then, if I quit session, go back to menu screen, and re-enter the same race (same AI%, same parameters), AI gets back to its original performance, and immediately runs 1-2 seconds faster, depending on track/car combo. After that, while AMS is still open, AI retains its best performance. But if you close AMS and open it again, the first event will experience slower AI.


    [Edit - Aug 9th 2017 - the "Blue Flag Issue" has been resolved at release v1.4.5, with the new revamped AI. Now faster cars overtake slower ones easily.]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  2. Marc Collins

    Marc Collins

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    Thanks for your effort to help out.

    May I ask why are you telling us about prior to v1.20? No one will be using that any longer.
     
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  3. Lorencini

    Lorencini

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    My mistake, its suppose to be from v1.20 onwards. I'm gonna fix it. Thanks for your input!
     
  4. kkdrummer

    kkdrummer

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    great topic. This is a shame though: "Tyre Wear - OFF (otherwise, bots will get faster each lap while you get slower each lap due to your wear tyres)"
     
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  5. Lorencini

    Lorencini

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    Agreed. We lose part of the simulation with this option, but without it, the racing itself become extremelly unfair against the AI.
     
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  6. schlitty

    schlitty

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    Amazing write-up. Bookmarking this one. Thank you. Lots of stuff and little details I hadn't even ever noticed after over 100hrs vs the AI! And lots of good tips to make the race more enjoyable.

    I hope Reiza fixes a lot of these issues some day so we don't need these tips!
     
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  7. Marc Collins

    Marc Collins

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    Who has asked Reiza to change this in the official "bug" list or wish list? I'd say it's a bug for serious sim racers ;)
     
  8. Emery

    Emery

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    Nice write up! I've mainly been running single class races, so do you know if increasing AI Aggression helps the blue flag bug?
     
  9. Lorencini

    Lorencini

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    Unfortunately don't help. That issue is close related with the track 'corridors', waypaths defined in the track representing race lines. In tracks with good AI (like Reizas tracks, @Patrick Giranthon tracks and @GTSpeedster tracks), there are additional corridors with alternate lines for overtaking, but that is mostly like to happen in corners and brake zones.

    Speaking of aggression though, I recommend always use Max Aggression when using Reiza's cars (they have a very good car position awareness, specially the Stock Car Brasil (Stock V8)). If you set aggression for, let's say, Medium, and run through a corner side-by-side with the AI, the opponent car will try so badly not to touch you that he will deliberaty open a little bit and end up off-track, even if you let enough space for him. On the other hand, using Max Aggression, the AI will still play fair in the aforementioned scenario, but in the edge of the track, he will stick with it and will not run offtrack.

    Can't say the same about mods though. It will solely depends on the modders' programming. Some mods go very well on Max Aggression, but others go crazy and have a desire for carnage (those work well on Medium). That's more like trial and error.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  10. maxspeed3

    maxspeed3

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    Rfactor 2
     
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  11. Ross Garland

    Ross Garland
    A legend in my own mind... Staff Premium

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    Give yourself a big pat on the back for such a valuable contribution to this discussion. /sarcasm :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Lorencini

    Lorencini

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    Update the OP with the tip about Agression.
     
  13. Justin Davis

    Justin Davis
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    What a great post, very helpful. Thanks so much!
     
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  14. Jamie McManus

    Jamie McManus

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    Nice work mate, very informative.
     
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  15. Andy Jackson

    Andy Jackson
    Track Limits Marshall. Premium

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    Excellent thread. Very useful to us offline AI racers. Thanks. :thumbsup:
     
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  16. Stephen O'Sullivan

    Stephen O'Sullivan
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    Really helpful. Definitely bookmarked. Thank you. :)
     
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  17. David Wright

    David Wright

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    isiMotor 2 does simulate AI tyre wear. It seems very strange that Reiza would disable this feature.
     
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  18. Lorencini

    Lorencini

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    You are right in an extent, since I don't have access to source-code to affirm this. However, based on tests and observation, I can tell you that, If tyre wear is present, is so weak that can be ignored. As I stated in OP, AI cars seem to suffer influence only from the fuel, hence every lap they got faster as I fuel goes lower. On the other hand, If you race with tyre wear, your lap times will consistently get slower, which means the negative effect of your tyres' grip loss is far greater than the positive effect of your car getting lighter as fuel is spent.

    Regards!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
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  19. Alex Sawczuk

    Alex Sawczuk
    Reiza Studios Premium

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    There is AI tyre wear. It's quite simple to check actually, see their lap times at the end of a race run compared to qualifying. Whether it's sufficient or not is a different question, but there is definitely AI tyre wear.
     
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  20. Marc Collins

    Marc Collins

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    Alex, you are implying that the AI slow down to account for (some degree of) tire wear. The OP is implying that the AI speed-up due to lighter fuel load due to fuel consumption. Which is it, guys?

    In reality, both should be happening at the same time, partially cancelling each other out. The effect of one versus the other will vary based on how powerful the car is and how big its fuel tank is versus how good the tires are and their degradation rate (with wear and/or abuse). Given this, I would expect quite a range of outcomes depending on which cars we're talking about. Remember some tires are designed to last multiple races or even a whole season for the poor-man's version of the sport. Not everything is F1-grade tires that last 100 km!
     
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