2 Lap Races Aren't Races

#1 Posted by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

If any of you listened to this week's Weekend Confirmed you heard Garnett Lee rant about the state of racing games', specifically simulators' stagnant career modes. He argues that 2 lap races that we've been racing since practically forever aren't races, and it's something I too have had issues with for a while now.

Think about any professional motorsport event and the number of laps that these cars are running with each race, Now, I'm not saying each race has to be an hour or more in length, but the reasons these races are so long are simple. 1, you don't want to run 6 minute sporting events (duh), and two, strategy. These racers have time to plan out their overtakes, knowing when to attack. In these Forza 4 career races you're launching yourself into corners desperately trying to overtake 3 cars a lap, strategy be damned. It's a bumper car race at that point, especially with the ferocious AI that either doesn't have peripheral vision, or they've all just decided they want to be M. Rossi (incredibly aggressive AI racer in the game).

It's not until I get into the last quarter of the World Tour that I really have a chance to stretch my legs, and plan my attacks. The other three quarters you're playing next-gen Destruction Derby.

I get this game isn't meant just for super enthusiasts like me, but putting an effort to show new players strategy and educating them about racing techniques so that they at least know some of what they're doing could possibly help get over that hump, because I'm sorry, this 2 laps shit is dumb (unless we're talking about the der Nürburgring).

Also, give me back the option to increase the AI's difficulty, because goodness is it easy to out-corner them.

#2 Posted by Wacomole (815 posts) -

I don't want to be the one to tell Usain Bolt that running for less than 10 seconds isn't actually a race. And think of all those Drag Racers who now have to think of another word for what they are doing.

#3 Posted by Falconer (1681 posts) -

And yet, I still want to pass three cars in one turn because the AI in Forza (and every other sim racing game on the planet) is frustratingly slow, and downright terrible. I want to get out in front of the AI as fast as possible so I can run faster laps, get the monotonous career mode races out of the way, and have credits in my virtual pocket.

Longer career mode races just makes for a worse experience so long as the AI remains bad.

#4 Posted by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@ShaggyChu: Longer career races give cars a time to spread out and a chance for you to plan out your cornering attacks.

And if all you care about are hot lap times, you shouldn't be in track races.

#5 Posted by ExplodeMode (852 posts) -

That's racist.

#6 Posted by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@MoleyUK: Someone on the internet completely missing the point! Consider me un-surprised.

The context for that is very obviously track races with, you know, actual cornering.

#7 Posted by Wacomole (815 posts) -

@Alex_Carrillo said:

@MoleyUK: Someone on the internet completely missing the point! Consider me un-surprised.

The context for that is very obviously track races with, you know, actual cornering.

Then don't include sweeping generalisations like "You don't want 6 minute sporting events..." and "Think about any professional motorsport event..."

#8 Posted by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

Forza 3 had endurance races, but they're not in 4. However you can set up a custom online race with AI and set the time really high or make the lap count really high. Done.

#9 Edited by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@MoleyUK: A televised sporting event that lasts 6 minutes? Typically sports that last that last that long are tied together with something else, or are spread out. I don't know of any sporting event that runs for 6 minutes and is over, and now you're watching something else.

EDIT: And drag races don't last for 10 seconds. When you go out to see a drag race you aren't just watching 2 guys run the quarter mile and then it's over. You're watching many people run races.

And now that I've gotten into a pointless idiotic internet argument about semantics, we can now move back to the original point of the post, yeah?

#10 Posted by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@XII_Sniper: And I have done that, and I had a good time. I'd like for that stuff to actually be integrated into the World Tour, though. If educating people who casually play Forza doesn't help get them excited for longer races, I at least wish that stuff was a difficulty option so that we that have a choice.

Do three times the number of laps, get a cash bonus like you do with turning assists off. And like I originally stated, give me back the option to crank the AI difficulty up. A few sports games have the option to set longer, or even realistic game time. Forza should too.

#11 Posted by Falconer (1681 posts) -

@Alex_Carrillo: If by "plan out your cornering attacks" you really mean "figuring out the best way to cheese the shitty AI", then yes, longer races give me more chances to do that.

#12 Posted by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@ShaggyChu: In any race, stupid AI or not, you have to figure out a way to attack their racing line. You're always doing that. There is no "cheesing" anything. You observe how they're going to take a corner and you act accordingly. That's just racing.

The AI in this game is much better at reacting to one or two cars than it is at reacting to 8 cars all bunched together on the same corner, which is what generally happens on shorter races.

#13 Posted by Evikull (60 posts) -

I don't know man, I tend to just bash people out the way anyway.

Maybe that means I'm a bad driver. Or I'm just smart.

2 Laps seems incredibly short. I would naturally expect at the very least 3 laps, because, well, Rule of Threes and all I suppose.

Online
#14 Posted by Falconer (1681 posts) -

@Alex_Carrillo: The AI in Forza 4 is terrible. This is a fact.

Link, my post is towards the bottom. Discussion picks up again on page nine. I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Why in god's name would I ever want to "tactfully attack" the AI in a meaningless race? I, and many others, play the single player portion of Forza to get credits. Pure and simple. Forza is a game where the economy is an integral part. If you don't have money, then you can't do anything beyond what you already have. And don't tell me "then don't play single player". The single player is the fastest, and easiest way to get credits in the game. Why would I ignore that?

Would I like for the AI to be better? Of course. But fact of the matter is, it's god awful, which in turn makes the World Tour mode a bad experience for some/most people.

#15 Posted by FritzDude (2253 posts) -

I think one of the problems here is that we think we need to come in 1st in every race, but I fully understand your point. Also a qualification between races would be a great addition. Hopefully this is something they can further improve in a patch or two in the near future.

#16 Posted by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@ShaggyChu: I never said I thought the AI was good. One of my complaints in the original post was that the AI was far too aggressive, so you didn't have to scour the internet to find people who agree with you.

My point being is that the AI on longer races spreads out and they react better to one car, and that coupled with the option to increase the AI's difficulty so that it actually poses a challenge (for some), is better. And this game is all about giving people options, so why not give people the option to have World Tour races be more realistic, because, you know, it's a simulator. I'd rather have a longer drawn out race that yields me more credits than a 2 lap destruction derby to the finish. At least then, even if I'm vastly better than the AI I can get some more time on that track to learn its corners.

I agree with you. The World Tour mode is an insufferable grind.

#17 Posted by Trace (3549 posts) -

@Alex_Carrillo said:

@ShaggyChu: In any race, stupid AI or not, you have to figure out a way to attack their racing line. You're always doing that. There is no "cheesing" anything. You observe how they're going to take a corner and you act accordingly. That's just racing.

The AI in this game is much better at reacting to one or two cars than it is at reacting to 8 cars all bunched together on the same corner, which is what generally happens on shorter races.

I'm with ShaggyChu on this. The AI, while improved from 3 in some manners, is unreasonably bad in its approach to most corners, and it displays a distinct lack of respect for side-by-side racing and attacking for passes. Yeah, part of racing is finding a way around, that's basic, but in the case of Forza, it's rarely fun even in one-on-one situations. The four-hour races I ran last weekend were full of dumb AI moves that made racing them no fun at all, which is why focusing on something like lap times at least makes the singleplayer races somewhat entertaining (even if I wasn't able to do that in a timed race).

As for the notion that race length is the reason racing games suffer, I disagree completely. Unless you're dealing with short dirt ovals, most club races are at least 15 minutes in length, with nationals roughly 30 minutes (or an hour for major races). That's not even taking practice and qualifying sessions into account, which would alleviate a lot of the dumb issues at the start of the race by placing you in front of the AI when you should be. While races of that length might be nice and dandy to some of us, putting a person who's still struggling with driving a clean, fast lap in a situation where they have to last 15 minutes is going to bore and/or frustrate the crap out of them, which isn't ideal for giving that person a fun racing experience that's easy to pick up and play.

iRacing's about the only place you're going to find realistically long races, and that's a shameful world of elitists who call games like GT and Forza arcade racers while brandishing racing wheel and seat setups worth hundreds or thousands or dollars, which they deem mandatory for any "true driver." If you believe a proper career experience involves long races, you pretty much have to accept that you're headed towards their world.

Instead, I think racing games need to focus more on proper career growth, rather than running every track in the game with every type of car. Give the player a choice of home track at the start of their game (locking away high-profile tracks that don't typically see club racing), and have their first season be running low-class or spec races there. Don't make it like the Gran Turismo grind where you have to run those tracks and cars because you can't afford anything better; instead, you have to run the slower stuff to unlock the ability to participate in higher-profile series. As the player continues to play, they're able to race on tracks further away in bigger series, national championships, and it turns into a more Rock Band experience where you're working to unlock your ability to drive the best cars and experience the best racing around the world.

I doubt you need races of a more realistic length to make something like that work. Rather, what's needed is a career experience focused on growth, in which the player feels like their actions are actually accomplishing more than unlocking achievements.

Moderator
#18 Edited by Alex_Carrillo (275 posts) -

@PsEG:

iRacing's about the only place you're going to find realistically long races, and that's a shameful world of elitists who call games like GT and Forza arcade racers while brandishing racing wheel and seat setups worth hundreds or thousands or dollars, which they deem mandatory for any "true driver." If you believe a proper career experience involves long races, you pretty much have to accept that you're headed towards their world.

Well, that elitist attitude exists within Forza and Gran Turismo's community where they'll call the other game an "arcade simulator", whatever the hell that means.

I'd like that option, however. It doesn't have to be mandatory thing. It could be--like I said previously--another difficulty option that will yield me bigger winnings.

Even if the AI situations is sorted, running 2 lap races that last a total of 3 to 4 minutes for a lot of the career for someone of my skill level (which admittedly isn't great) sucks. I'm still going to barrel through corners to get to first. In a situation where you have a competitive and aware AI, 3 to 4 minutes isn't enough to overtake 11 or even 15 cars in some of the online races.

Whatever the solution is, however, these games need to make attempts to change this tired, nearly 2 decade long formula they've been stuck on. Yes, the physics have improved, and yes things certainly look prettier, but we're still playing games wherein you start in 2 lap city car races and progress from there.

#19 Posted by sharkeh (70 posts) -

This is one of the things I love about CM's F1 games. They let you do the whole weekend and full length race which, for me, is fun but for most people they just want 3-5 laps at most and they have that option. There are so many races you have to do in Forzas career mode though that I'm fine with not having any endurance races especially considering the AI which PsEG summed up nicely.

#20 Posted by Falconer (1681 posts) -

@PsEG: Other than fixing the AI, I think the World Tour is presented well in all but one aspect. It's basically what you said, they need to do away with these specific races. Like you said, start off with low class cars, and slowly go up. Similar to Burnout 3, start out in one continent on a handful of tracks. As career progresses, faster classes are accessible, along with more tracks, and the longer versions of tracks. Keep giving players these cars at every level, but don't FORCE players into them. All races should only be class specific, and not car specific.

Turn 10 boasts about letting people play the game however they want to play it, yet they put this ginormous amount of events in the game that require specific cars. If you want to earn more credits, or S rank the game, you need to buy a bunch of cars you otherwise want nothing to do with. It's ridiculous.

The event list should be removed. After a player has completed World Tour the first time, the world map should then be unlocked for the player to explore. Let the player select their car, track, number of laps, and go, giving them the same amount of driver exp and credits as they normally would the first time in World Tour (and a mystery bonus every time too, since that has been introduced).

#21 Edited by Winsord (1163 posts) -

@FritzDude said:

I think one of the problems here is that we think we need to come in 1st in every race

Completely agree with this. It doesn't matter how long the races are because when racing with the AI, you end up with the mentality of "I need to come in first to get the XP and the credits". If I'm honest though, I think Forza 4's economy permits a much better opportunity for the kind of racing you're looking for than the previous game. Without having to pay for upgrades after using a manufacturer for four or five races, everyone's able to get their cars to a class spec easily and then when you go online, you actually can have the longer, competitive, custom races. I don't have any problem with the short races in Forza, nor the event list; it's more an issue of what's missing from the game afterwards. It'd be really great if after doing five or six hours of the career mode (in which it has you drive on every) track, a custom race option opened up where you could choose the track, choose the vehicle class, choose the AI difficulty and choose the number of laps; then through some sort of algorithm, get paid a fair amount for your efforts. Now with this, there'd desperately need to be some sort of leaderboard time pooling, where it'd look at the time you'd set previously or your best time and get the AI to set times slightly above and below your best. That level of difficulty with the AI would really help in keeping the races against them interesting. All in all however, the AI is never going to be the best experience for a game like this. You need to be online or system-linked, with a bunch of friends who are playing seriously, and do moderately long races (i.e 10 laps of Suzuka). The variability and constant changing in player skill is what makes for the most fun, and I don't see that being replicated very well anytime soon.

Edit: Also, I've been finding I've been pushing through the AI in much fewer corners in Forza 4. With the damage set to simulation, the rewind off and the steering set to simulation, you're pretty much screwed if you're smashing into the AI. It really doesn't make them that much more difficult to pass, but it makes you behave significantly more carefully about when and where you push your luck in the corners.

#22 Posted by Falconer (1681 posts) -

No. Always Be Winning.

#23 Posted by BisonHero (6169 posts) -

This sort of thing is why I tended to knock the difficulty down a notch when playing Dirt 2 on any of the circuit-based tracks. Well, I did alright on the trucks, but any of the circuits you race with cars are kinda lame, because the the car tracks are rather narrow in a lot of places, and they always start you in 7th or 8th out of 8, and you have 3 fairly short laps to jostle your way to first. There are a couple "enduro" events where it's 8 laps instead of 3, and those are actually significantly easier than the usual since you have so much more time to plan when you overtake guys.

So I tend to agree that unless you're playing Mario Kart or F-Zero or Burnout, there should be more laps per race so you aren't desperately ricocheting off of cars to get ahead.

#24 Posted by matt_wickstrom (156 posts) -

I only noticed I was getting a lot of 2 lap races after I started doing World Tour. Prior to WT I was just picking races from the Event List, and I never had any 2 lap races. Now in WT I'm getting 2 lap races all the time, and most are in "X" Class North American Tour, etc. championships that usually consist of longer races.

I'm starting to think that doing races in WT are shorter than just picking from the event list.

#25 Posted by Renahzor (991 posts) -

I think there just needs to be a second "season" mode integral to the game and run side by side with the current world tour. TBH world tour this year is leaps and bounds better than F3's iteration of the same thing. Keeping the world tour feel is great for casual players just just help move along, picking new cars and tracks constantly. This works well for the current system, but we can always want a "deeper" career type mode

New mode should be something like Club Tour. Separate currency just for that mode. Bring in practice days, qualifying, heats that actually narrow the field to 16 (32 would actually be ideal for region/national events) and actually follow a multi heat structure to race on Sunday night if there's enough qualifiers. Make the cars spec racing so its much more competitive, have different restrictions, and AI that doesn't corner like shit. Have to make side by side racing with AI viable to make the runs non-frustrating. Money earned here goes to tires, fuel, repairs and only eventually to new cars for a new spec series. Sponsors should be in, having a sponsor pay for a weekend of tires early on should be a big deal. You pick a home track, Sunday races are maybe 25 laps minimum and you do 6ish races at your home track per season, maybe short trips to other venues on certain weekends. Championship weekend is longer, more cars, maybe travel to another venue for a big regional event, like real life club racing. The production classes of the SCCA, spec miata, and other more regional club events are a good place to look for class racing ideas, but really there just needs to be a LOT more depth to the career if we're going to get longer races as standard. I would love to see it, I could write a novel about what would make for an awesome actual racing sim, but who knows if current AI could handle something like this anyway.

@matt_wickstrom: Early world tour has shorter races, they get longer the deeper you progress into world tour.

#26 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

i agree, they are short races. i haven't gotten a good thing for the game yet. i am sad to hear that they removed the endurance run races. those were fun to have, driving for like an hour at a time. you had to find time to do those races. 
 
i have gran turismo 5. i just unlocked the endurance races on there. i have those. i'm not exactly excited  about 24 hour races. it takes too long. i would have to do it twice for b-spec also.

#27 Edited by dagas (2746 posts) -

I disagree. I think that 2-4 laps is optimal. I get so bored with those 10 lap races at the end of the career. I can see what you mean if it's a super simulation title like F1 or something, but in most driving games I reach first place in half a lap and then it's just a grind to race all those laps.

@iam3green said:

i agree, they are short races. i haven't gotten a good thing for the game yet. i am sad to hear that they removed the endurance run races. those were fun to have, driving for like an hour at a time. you had to find time to do those races. i have gran turismo 5. i just unlocked the endurance races on there. i have those. i'm not exactly excited about 24 hour races. it takes too long. i would have to do it twice for b-spec also.

I frickin hated endurence races. In Gran Turismo 4 I had the AI driver do it for me (B-spec), In Forza 2 I had a friend race them for me and in Forza 3 I just never did them. Guess I just don't have the endurence. It feels like an MMO grind to me, doing the same thing again and again and again.

#28 Posted by Yanksrule56 (2 posts) -

I absolutely despised the endurance races in the previous Forza races. I like when the races are about 6-7 minutes long. I don't always have hours a day to dedicate to playing, so its nice to be able to come on, play a couple of races, then call it a day. So essentially, I wholeheartedly disagree with you, TC. This is a video game, not a sporting event. Its the same reason that most people don't play Madden for the length of an actual football game, or Fifa for the full 90.

#29 Edited by Lnin0 (146 posts) -

The problem is thinking of Forza as "racing" games. It is not. No choice the developer ever made supports Forza being a racing game. Forza is car collecting game. Calling the "grind" a "race" just makes it sounds less tedious.

#30 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

My gripe with 2-lap races isn't even the lack of length in the race. It's the lack of a practice and/or qualifying run. I absolutely despise having to work my way up the grid in the short span of two or three laps. And if I make a mistake, there's no way to recover (not considering rewinds). Short term perfection trumps long term consistency, and I feel like the latter should be rewarded more than the former, especially in a racing game.

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