rFactor 2 Deploys Hotfix to Improve AI Racing

rFactor 2 AI Hotfix IndyCar Indianapolis Romain Grosjean.jpg
As the multiplayer aspect of sim racing has become increasingly important, focus on the offline elements of a title has become a rarity - which is why singleplayer-focused racers will likely appreciate the latest rFactor 2 update: A hotfix improves numerous issues concerning AI racing and paves the way for a better offline experience.

Image credit: Studio 397

Getting the AI to behave in a believable manner is not an easy task for racing simulations: They should be predictable enough to be at the same competitive level relative to the player for certain difficulty settings, but not behave like robots on track, instead mimicking the behavior of real pilots. The latter point has received special attention in the rF2 update.

The computer-controlled opposition tended to lift off the throttle in the middle of a corner when shown a blue flag, and running into the rear of players who braked and changed direction also did not contribute to pleasant racing against the AI. Both of these issues have been taken care of, as well as better lapping behavior and the elimination of suicidal overtaking manoeuvers that lead to accidents.

rFactor 2 Ford Focus ST 2023 BTCC Brands Hatch.png

Races against the AI should be a much smoother affair after rFactor 2's most recent patch. Image credit: Studio 397

Emergency Overdrive​

Avoiding crashes via an emergency mode is also on the improvement list: Studio 397 has implemented this feature so the AI will overdrive the car to avoid an obstacle, which may still lead to spins or crashes, but should prevent them from mindlessly running into an avoidable obstacle.

Unrelated to the AI, the patch also fixes an issue that many sims have had over the years, namely that of unrealistic AI lap times when skipping to the end of a session. They are now simulated to prevent ultra-fast, impossible times that leave the player stranded further back in the standings than they should have been.

You can find the full changelog of the update below.

Build: 11731633
Server: 11731638


Change log:​

  • Fixed cars rolling over
  • Introduced behaviour to deal with understeer and oversteer
Fixed various issues related to AI limits:
  • AI no longer ignore walls to attempt an overtake
  • AI won’t deliberately leave the track anymore to overtake
  • AI only leave the track if they get pushed off, rather than going into the grass to keep their safety distance to other cars

  • Fixed AI attempting to overtake when the laws of physics would not allow them to leave their line without crashing
  • Fixed an issue where cars would refuse to pit because other cars already requested a pit stop, causing them to run out of fuel in Qualifying
  • Fixed AI randomly starting to shake and getting confused when overtaking another car, falling back or crashing
  • Fixed cars running off the racing line and sometimes even into walls for a few seconds after spinning
  • Fixed AI sometimes not braking enough for their pit boxes
  • Added a warning to moddev when pit boxes don’t have waypoints, making them inaccessible to AI
  • AI no longer move off the racing line into the middle of the track when shown blue flags, which caused traffic jams
  • In addition to the previous fix, AI no longer lift off in corners when shown the blue flag - They will not fight back and stay predictable, following multiclass rules
  • AI no longer incorrectly interpret player car’s deceleration and change of direction as acceleration - This fixes AI cars rear ending the player
  • Various fixes and improvements for AI pedal inputs, including improved draft behaviour
  • Fixed waypoint lapdist inaccuracies completely disabling AI braking, causing cars to run flat out into walls especially in or near the pits
  • Fixed various issues with obstacle evasion, improving AI behaviour around cars out of control. Known issue: AI still occasionally fail to move off the racing line if they encounter an obstacle on the racing line mid-corner
  • Added emergency state for AI allowing them to overdrive the car if necessary to avoid hitting walls or obstacles
  • Improved safety car physics in wet conditions
  • Fixed AI moving off their lines instantly, causing them to spin frequently if other cars are around - This fixes their behaviour to change lines just enough to get to where they need to be as efficiently as possible
  • Fixed “Finish Session” and “Next Session” to actually finish the session, simulating the rest of it. When the player chooses to skip Qualifying, this will still ensure a reasonable starting grid

Your Thoughts​

What do you think about the focus on the AI for this most recent update? How often do you race offline? Let us know in the comments below!
About author
Yannik Haustein
Lifelong motorsport enthusiast and sim racing aficionado, walking racing history encyclopedia.

Sim racing editor, streamer and one half of the SimRacing Buddies podcast (warning, German!).

Heel & Toe Gang 4 life :D

Comments

Premium
As AI and ML is getting involved in all ways of life, why is it not revolutionizing simracing AI? You don't have to prescribe how AI should drive when you could train it on near infinite data of actual simracing drivers. Input, lanes etc
 
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As AI and ML is getting involved in all ways of life, why is it not revolutionizing simracing AI? You don't have to prescribe how AI should drive when you could train it on near infinite data of actual simracing drivers. Input, lanes etc
People already struggle to run rF2 on their aging systems, no one's computer could handle all that
 
I insist that Studio 397 put the AI behavior back to the way it was. It was great training for the nimrods that I race against online. :whistling:

rF2 AI is very dynamic and at times has a mind of their own which is what I like about it most.
Other sims behave canned and boring, AMS 2 and ACC traffic you can read like a book.
That is not fun to me nor exciting.

:thumbsup:

These AI fixes have just reverted back to old days, yes there are still glitches and abnormalities
but this is what makes rF2 AI racing interesting and imho the best.

Honestly I do more then one sprint race at same track in other titles is like Deja vu.

rF2 you got to learn to walk before you run, these types expect to have it up and running 100% in a few hours to suit themselves lol they have no idea what is required.

And that my friends is because of what other engines let you accept.
 
As AI and ML is getting involved in all ways of life, why is it not revolutionizing simracing AI? You don't have to prescribe how AI should drive when you could train it on near infinite data of actual simracing drivers. Input, lanes etc
It is getting involved in racing video games. The MotoGP games AI behaviour is generated through a sophisticated machine learning approach, for example. Then there's the Sophy technology that's been demoed in Gran Turismo 7 using AI to guide both driving behaviour and racecraft (which is super cool). Here are links to the research behind the MotoGP approach and the Sophy approach.

Important to mention – techniques that we would now call "AI" have been in use for AI in racing games for 20+ years. For example, neural networks were used by Jeff Hannan for the AI cars in Colin McRae Rally 2.0, released in 2001. Interview source at this link.

The thing is... for an environment as controlled as motor racing, where computer-controlled cars must behave in quite predictable ways to interact successfully with the player, a simpler, old-fashioned approach to AI based on decision rules can work quite well. For example: "am faster and see gap so change line to overtake", "back off when it appears gap will disappear". Even more complex ones like "move off racing line on a straight under blue flag to not hold up leader". Humans behave by the same 'rules of thumb' and expect other racers to do the same. Sure, a neural network or something similar would be a great way to "teach" the game to drive cars with diverse handling (without simplifying the physics like in rFactor-based games)... but then again, the original Assetto Corsa managed this just fine, before all the ChatGPT hype.

What makes capable, predictable AI that's fun to race is when developers devote a lot of effort to it – in particular, to not just design a system, but to laboriously tweak the systems and massage all the parameters just right to get good behaviour. Like Geoff Crammond's games, where AI was a central focus... and it shows in the sophistication of the AI behaviour (especially for the time, and even by today's standards). In many recent sims, other features like physics, graphics, and online features have had priority... and it shows in the half-baked "yeah this sorta works mostly on some tracks" AI we tend to see.

It is possible that today's impressive "AI" tools will help developers to tweak systems and parameters more quickly, but we don't know yet, and that's a far cry from what people tend to imagine when discussing advancements due to recent "AI" technologies :roflmao:

Anyway, the need for dev effort is why I'm so pleased to see Studio 397 finally putting in the time to tweak existing systems, add new systems, and fine-tune parameters in their recent AI-related updates. It's what they need to do to have excellent, class-leading single player racing once again. Took them longer than I would have liked, and along the way they broke things that previously were functional... but that's water under the bridge now. Keep up the good work, S397. :)
 
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Of course it is getting fixed now, just after i have sold wheel and so on... But years a go i had best ever ai races than in every game/sim i have ever driven, and mostly it was with enduracers carrera cup mod. It was intense and fun as hell, revving engines, pulling gears in, fight side by side, late brakes, sometimes little bumbs etc, 1vs1 or group to race, everything.. better than 90% time with humans. Then it got fked up, and i waited and waited.. :coffee:
 
rF2 AI is very dynamic and at times has a mind of their own which is what I like about it most.
Other sims behave canned and boring, AMS 2 and ACC traffic you can read like a book.
That is not fun to me nor exciting.

:thumbsup:

These AI fixes have just reverted back to old days, yes there are still glitches and abnormalities
but this is what makes rF2 AI racing interesting and imho the best.

Honestly I do more then one sprint race at same track in other titles is like Deja vu.

rF2 you got to learn to walk before you run, these types expect to have it up and running 100% in a few hours to suit themselves lol they have no idea what is required.

And that my friends is because of what other engines let you accept.
Have to disagree about AMS2 AI being boring. It's actually one of the most dynamic of the modern sims. They do mistakes, have mechanical failures, have a lot of personality "traits" that you can edit to alter their behavior and they are the best in my opinion in wheel to wheel with the player.

They still have issues like hesitation to overtake, following each other too closely, and going off track to pass, but they are much better than ACC.

Need to try Rfactor2 with these new updates to judge it, but the last time I played it ( some 4 months ago) the AI was very erratic, error prone and very bad in wheel to wheel with the player. Eager to try it now.
 
Testing current indycars in indy 500 AI is complete chaos, impossible to run a clean and balanced race, useless content for ovals. :thumbsdown:
 
rF2 I never have 2 sectors or first laps the same, I can never guess what the AI will do, where, how, why it's all real time dynamic and so varied it could not possibly be choreographed.

AMS 2 AI a particular combo is almost always the same for me a little variation here and there.

In rF2 anything can and will happen then you may never see it again.

I never said they don't have accidents, spins or mechanical, ;) just for mine it's way more canned behavior. Personally I think this is engine limitations.

rF2 I never have 2 races that are the same in AMS 2 and ACC same combo same settings I get it all the time a lot.

Do AMS 2 single models have variable strength and behavior traits ?
That is why you can start a race without qualifying and cars will race normal.

If you do that in rF2 you are going to have some pileups like you get in real reverse grid races . rF2 you must let the cars qualify ( or go to end of session )

rF2 AI will no doubt sometimes do wacked out things right out of the blue, that is what I like about it.
 
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Testing current indycars in indy 500 AI is complete chaos, impossible to run a clean and balanced race, useless content for ovals. :thumbsdown:

Can you elaborate and what you attempted to fix this.

Personally i tell anyone listening when you have consistent trouble with particular combos turn off all flags. More fun. ;)
 
Great to see the ai improved because sadly enough the public MP servers are completely dead except some servers that run some stone age mod's. So not a playable sim for me.
 
Just a heads up.

Anyone trying the new AI that also does AI tweak to *.json need to backup and reacquire it from Steam.

Possible old tweaks could break it. :x3:
 

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