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AI coming to IRacing

FastCat

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https://www.reddit.com/r/iRacing/comments/7pq5jb/iracing_working_on_ai_cars_for_2018_release/

"Ok, this will be a “shocker” to some. We are working on AI/Artificial cars and in fact very far down the road with the project. In fact, we should release it this year as well. Hardcore folks take a deep breath. We are not straying even the slightest from our philosophy of trying to create the most accurate and detailed simulation we can along with the best head to head racing competition. This has been an isolated project being done by a small team and has not impacted any other development.

However, having this feature will allow for many opportunities for members and for us to continue to grow. It will allow members to practice in a simulated setting before getting on track with real cars which is a good thing, especially for people new to sim racing. It will also allow for a more relaxed and fun format which will be a welcome addition from time to time for even hard-core members. Now you don’t need to go to another racing game for AI. Ha Ha. It will bring in many new members who will use it as a stepping stone to head to head racing. It allows us to have a much more competitive demo option for potential new customers in various settings like trade shows or even on-line trials. At the end of the day, it is a huge feature and request in regard to the overall market. It will be a free addition to members and yet another option for you under your membership. If AI not for you, great, but you will still benefit. The work has helped improve our multiplayer net code and player car code which will be out on members about the time we launch AI. We also feel it will help novice drivers and again boost the overall service."
 

RacerXero84

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I called this a long time ago.
I even said recently that if they do this, it's going to be a big swing at many other racing platforms out there.

How they implement it will be the key to whether this whole thing is a flop or successful.
 

FastCat

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I called this a long time ago.
I even said recently that if they do this, it's going to be a big swing at many other racing platforms out there.

How they implement it will be the key to whether this whole thing is a flop or successful.
I agree, it's smart business move. I am surprised it has took them this long to do it. Like you said, it all depends how they do it though.
 

RacerXero84

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It'll be a hit if they roll out:
- customized liveries for the AI cars/custom driver names
- custom schedules (not just 12, 24, 36 race seasons but allow for assorted tracks to be added to a completely custom schedule)

They roll out that much, it'll not only be a great asset for practicing, but add another level to the experience. I.E. I can't let people who want to try it race for fear of my SR/iRating taking a hit, which forces them to turn solo laps. Having this as an option would really help people trying to convince people to join.
 

RacerXero84

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Cool they are adding it but I still don't want to pay for an online service to race with AI. Much rather race in NR2003 still with no limits to camera views and/or having to pay per car type/track.

Could be a stepping stone to a stand alone, which would be a marketing tool as well as a revenue source later on, which would, if done right, absolutely crush companies like 704 Games in terms of NASCAR racing.
For those of us (like me) that own most of the oval content, this is huge. It's a nice little gift for those of us who have poured countless dollars into content and yearly subs.

I doubt they would do it, but could you imagine the core group from NR2003 putting together a type of NR2018/NR2019 with the big 3 series and all the licensed tracks? Something like that could really be big.
 

VirtuaBranson

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I came here expecting people to be super happy about this but I guess not. I’d be very surprised if they spun this into a core nascar game. Keep hanging on to the old game I guess then.
 

EarnhardtCountry

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I'm actually kinda happy about this. I didn't read the whole thing but I hope it doesn't get added to actual races in iracing and just the test sessions. Perfect way for others to study the AI and maybe try to follow them and be better.
 

ShadowKnight508

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To be honest, I was somewhat surprised that they ended up doing this. I am also very surprised at the massive tidal wave of outrage and frustration that has bubbled up over on the iRacing forums (multiple threads have popped up since the announcement was made, with many users posting their negative views about having AI in iRacing). Some members on there are acting like this will have devastating effects on the service and hurt the simulation.

Unlike the masses of upset people over on iRacing who are disappointed/upset/furious that AI is coming to iRacing, I am quite excited about getting the opportunity to run races on plate tracks against a field of AI drivers (like back in the day with the EA Sports NASCAR games and what I did with NR2003 from 2011 to 2014). It will be quite interesting to see how it all comes together, considering that some of the guys that put together NASCAR Racing 2003 Season (NR2003) are still on the iRacing development team, and we all know how awesome the AI was in that game (for the most part).

Here is what I would like to see happen when iRacing does roll out the AI update (borrowed from a post iRacing member Nick N. made in his thread):
Here are a few things I have been thinking about, I am sure everyone else will have more.

1. AI Roster - Custom Drivers or Auto Fill (using members name)

2. Allow us to easily share AI Rosters, that way we can make NR2018 easy

3. AI drivers point to a paint scheme and helmet just like a regular member does i.e. AI_00001232.tga

4. Random AI creation should pull member info so that it points to a regular members paint scheme

5. Allow us to turn off iRacing generated numbers for custom rosters if we choose, that way we can have real NASCAR fonts

6. Allow us to edit the roster through the season to change drivers, add drivers etc...

7. Allow us to have up to 100 drivers on the roster and allow max cars at each track to go up (keeping grid size the same) that way we can simulate massive events in single player with heats and features, or have to qualify in to a single race event

8. Allowing for easy editing of the AI drivers names, numbers, skill set, whatever that may look like through a file such as AI_00001232.inf

The biggest issue with all of the single player games out there right now is it is a random grid every race, if I am doing single races, I want to choose/create a roster, or if I don't want to put the time in to it, then I want iRacing to randomly create one with members info that stays the same until i tell it to change.
 
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DavidN

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I want Ai so I can race the Irwindale Figure 8 and have a blast for a few hours haha
 

Mystical

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I am not against iracing getting AI and if users on the iracing forum are mad about it that is their loss. Personally I love any game whether racing or a first person shooter that offers offline bot/AI support. The reason iracing's model with AI still does not interest me is becasue it is still based on the online always pay subscription per year deal. I don't play racing games where I have to pay a membership to race against the AI.

I think it is great content for already existing iracing members but if iracing thinks they are gunna pull in members like me they are not. I want a full standalone Nascar game that resembles NR2003 but with 2019 graphics, features, customization, and possible mod tools. Iracing won't do that becasue that is not their business model and the type of game they make. I wouldn't really even call iracing a game, it is more geared towards being as realistic as possible in the simulation area for professionals or those who are really hardcore about racing in cockpit view only and being in online races. I'm just not about that and iracing shouldn't or won't cater to me and that is ok. Now if with this AI their goal is to try and cater to more offline racers then cool but it seems like they want the AI as a gateway so everyone will eventually just race online after they have practiced tracks offline enough, I'm not interested in ever jumping to online racing. Maybe one day if the have a one time purchase for an offline mode only then I would be more interested but I doubt that will really happen. As far as I know were are still stuck with the Nascar heat games and I've not even heard any news about their next game (or maybe they have given up like Nascar the Game did). So until then its NR2003 for me still and I'm fine with it.
 

J.R.Franklin

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I am not against iracing getting AI and if users on the iracing forum are mad about it that is their loss. Personally I love any game whether racing or a first person shooter that offers offline bot/AI support. The reason iracing's model with AI still does not interest me is becasue it is still based on the online always pay subscription per year deal. I don't play racing games where I have to pay a membership to race against the AI.

I think it is great content for already existing iracing members but if iracing thinks they are gunna pull in members like me they are not. I want a full standalone Nascar game that resembles NR2003 but with 2019 graphics, features, customization, and possible mod tools. Iracing won't do that becasue that is not their business model and the type of game they make. I wouldn't really even call iracing a game, it is more geared towards being as realistic as possible in the simulation area for professionals or those who are really hardcore about racing in cockpit view only and being in online races. I'm just not about that and iracing shouldn't or won't cater to me and that is ok. Now if with this AI their goal is to try and cater to more offline racers then cool but it seems like they want the AI as a gateway so everyone will eventually just race online after they have practiced tracks offline enough, I'm not interested in ever jumping to online racing. Maybe one day if the have a one time purchase for an offline mode only then I would be more interested but I doubt that will really happen. As far as I know were are still stuck with the Nascar heat games and I've not even heard any news about their next game (or maybe they have given up like Nascar the Game did). So until then its NR2003 for me still and I'm fine with it.
Very well stated and I couldn't agree more, Mystical. To further add to your comments, I can't see a scenario where iracing would allow for the ability to paint up full rated car sets like we are producing at GPD (and numbers of others are for all the various forms of racing we enjoy on NR2003) so that we can run our own offline seasons and races against the a.i. Nor would they allow for the ability to build or import tracks from NR2003 that are not available in iracing (and likely never would be available). That just wouldn't be in a smart business model for them. For me and a vast number of people in the NR2003 sim community, half the fun for us involves producing content for this sim, such as tracks, mods, car paints and car sets, etc.. If that is not available to us and the only attraction is to have generic a.i. to race against only on the library of tracks they offer... at a monthly subscription cost... I just can't see that they are going to get a tidal wave of people jumping from NR2003 over to iracing.

While NR2003 will never be or look as slick as iracing, the content that we are now producing is miles ahead of what the content looked like when NR2003 initially hit the shelves 15 years ago and is getting pretty darned close to the iracing product. We are now building and offering a very VERY good alternative to iracing for people at a significantly lower cost (can you say "free"?) and with lots more flexibility for individual tweaking of the game. Yes, the new content does tax the ability of older less potent rigs and is causing people to upgrade their machines, but if you want to enjoy the better nicer looking content that is coming out of the NR2003 community these days, you're going to have to get a better rig to run it on. However, in the end it will still be less than paying for the monthly iracing subscription, not to mention the extra cost to get the full library of tracks and cars they offer. Keep in mind that in order to get the most out of iracing, you will also have to upgrade your rigs as well.
 
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David24

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You get what you pay for.

If this AI is what everyone else wants and is thinking then it will be an easy sell for me. The hint at a career type mode has me excited as well, but like with every other game I will wait until after release to see what it's really like and what people think of it

Meanwhile I will still play/paint NR2003. But if this whole AI "offline" thing allows paintable carsets and custom schedules (They already mentioned a difficulty silder for the AI) I'm jumping the NR2003 ship.
 

FastCat

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Yeah, I forgot to add the quote in the OP about the season long "career" and build your own schedule and series, that does has me really excited.
 

Hendrick4life

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You get what you pay for.

If this AI is what everyone else wants and is thinking then it will be an easy sell for me. The hint at a career type mode has me excited as well, but like with every other game I will wait until after release to see what it's really like and what people think of it

Meanwhile I will still play/paint NR2003. But if this whole AI "offline" thing allows paintable carsets and custom schedules (They already mentioned a difficulty silder for the AI) I'm jumping the NR2003 ship.
New rules, new points without all the Score4 stuff (although if you can export it still would be fun to run some custom points), Double file restarts, lucky dogs and wave arounds, frozen fields at cautions. I mean the list goes on and on of things the NR2003 community wishes they had and can now have if this comes to fruition.

The track models with the moveable groves would also be awesome. Especially if they make the AI move around and try things. Maybe a ratings slider for "riskiness" and " racing line experimentation" or something. This also has me excited. If they do make it a subscription thing, hopefully its like $30-40 a year (cost of a new NASCAR game every year). ORRRR maybe a one time fee and the updates can come as DLC's? Who knows.
 

RacerXero84

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New rules, new points without all the Score4 stuff (although if you can export it still would be fun to run some custom points), Double file restarts, lucky dogs and wave arounds, frozen fields at cautions. I mean the list goes on and on of things the NR2003 community wishes they had and can now have if this comes to fruition.

The track models with the moveable groves would also be awesome. Especially if they make the AI move around and try things. Maybe a ratings slider for "riskiness" and " racing line experimentation" or something. This also has me excited. If they do make it a subscription thing, hopefully its like $30-40 a year (cost of a new NASCAR game every year). ORRRR maybe a one time fee and the updates can come as DLC's? Who knows.

That's why I've been cautiously optimistic, and going as far as to say all this really depends on how they implement it.
I don't think for one instant though that it's going to be the death of iRacing's multiplayer aspect, like all the alarmists are suggesting (so-called iRacing "purists"), instead, I think it's going to be an asset to the company on many different levels. Again, it's success and popularity will depend on how they implement the single player/AI functionality. I DO believe this is a step towards a concerted effort to pull in some of the 'casual' racers, others from various other sims, and I strongly believe this is a move to pull in some of those that still hold fast to NR2003; only a fool would miss the fact that NR2003 is still strong as a sim, with various people and leagues to its credit.

I don't completely think this will "end" NR2003 though; there is still much to it that iRacing will never truly be able to deliver, like custom tracks, mods, and customization options. However, like you pointed out, iRacing will have their own advantages, if done correctly, things that simply cannot be implemented into NR2003.

One thing is for sure, it's got my (and many other people's) attention.
 

Mystical

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I don't think for one instant though that it's going to be the death of iRacing's multiplayer aspect, like all the alarmists are suggesting (so-called iRacing "purists")

Players in FPS's that hate offline bots say the same thing but its just a fallacy. Games like Call of Duty have for years offered offline bot support fully and in no way has it taken away from or 'killed' online multiplayer. Online players are going to want to play offline and offline players aren't playing or wanting to play online anyways. Furthermore its usually just silly fear from players who know if all the 'noobs' leave they'd actually have to have some skill becasue they'd get wrecked by all the legit players. iracing I'm sure has hardcore online only racers, the population won't die. Just for fun though lets say it did die? So what? That would just prove that there are tons of offline players that are worth catering too and make all the ore reason for a Nascar Racing game to be made as well as possible.
 
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