There is no denying its popularity for online races. But Assetto Corsa Competizione AI must improve if the game is to remain popular for years to come.
We recently released an article on the fun to be had racing GT2 and GT3 cars on-track at the same time. In fact, the two classes combine for fantastic racing on a variety of circuits. However, there was one part of the experience that felt lacking.
The article states that, at times, the Assetto Corsa Competizione AI can appear as if it were on train tracks. Following a very narrow racing line, rarely deviating. It does take away from the immersion of the title.
So with the game’s end of active life coming up fast and the Nordschleife soon to require greater AI use, surely it is time for an overhaul.
ACC: Problematic AI
The issue does not limit itself to the blend of classes, nor does it only influence GT2 cars. Ever since the game’s release, it has seemed simplistic. As aforementioned, ACC AI does seem to follow the same line and stick to it in a very robotic way.
Furthermore, strange inputs such as brake dabbing mid-turn and a lack of confidence in door-to-door situations are a clear inheritance from the original Assetto Corsa. Elsewhere, random divebombs are not a rare occurrence in races, making for uninspiring fight-backs.
These race craft issues do not improve when it comes to multiclass racing. Confidence in traffic is lacking so long lines of faster cars unwilling to pass fill British GT content races. In addition, opponent strength does not seemingly mean much.
Pace from circuit to circuit and car to car does seem to be inconsistent. At times, 100% difficulty will be an easy win. Other times, dropping down to 95% will require a massive push to reach points-paying positions.
Finally, with offline race stints being limited to 30-minute driver time, accurate endurance simulations are complicated to complete in most game modes. Whilst it is possible to extend this in some cases, the feature does show signs that AI strategy is not up to par for a sportscar simulator. Poor performance and decision making in mixed conditions does not help the argument.
The result is an experience that lacks immersion in most cases. Whilst certainly serviceable, the experience of racing ACC AI will no doubt drive players away from the offline modes.
Time for a Fix
Going further back, Kunos’ previous title does not exactly have industry-leading AI either. It seems offline racing is not the developer’s forte. But now is surely the time for change.
The modern racing game market is seeing a greater focus on AI development. Automobilista 2 received a major update last year to its AI’s strategic capabilities. Through the first month of 2024, the Brazilian title also saw its system become adept in race craft scenarios. Elsewhere, iRacing frequently adds to its offline racing library, an impressive experience in all scenarios.
Nurburgring Nordschleife Requires Top-Notch AI
But perhaps the most important crunch time signal of them all is the upcoming addition of the Nordschleife to ACC. A tricky circuit layout with a variety of turns, the Green Hell demands a lot from sim racing AI systems. In addition, multiclass racing is the norm on the course. So the title will need greater capabilities in that respect if Kunos wants to satisfy the offline VLN fanatics.
The Green Hell in itself will require improvements to the ACC AI system. But it will also likely mark the end of active updates to the game. With Kunos moving attention to the upcoming Assetto Corsa 2, the online racing scene will no doubt suffer a decline. To keep the game alive, offline racing will be more crucial than ever.
The ability to run intense, competitive races offline years after the end of frequent updates will ensure ACC remains one of the greats. If all goes well, picture the sim alongside the likes of GTR2 and NASCAR 2003. If single player racing remains the tedious exercise it is today, a forgotten Project CARS scenario may be more likely.
Do you think Assetto Corsa Competizione needs major AI improvements in coming months? Tell us on Twitter @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!