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Thread: Random Failures - A Better Way

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Random Failures - A Better Way

    Let me start this off by saying this is probably less about making changes in Pcars2 and more geared towards ideas for Pcars3 (as it relates to the first two games) as the current game is now mature enough that these sorts of changes will never see light of day in it.

    That said, I have a couple of thoughts about the "random failures" that occur in game. PC1 had these and PC2 does as well. When pulling into the pits, a player may randomly experience a "failure" which will keep them in the pits longer than anticipated. I really like this idea as it gives races more spice and gives it a bit more of a realistic element as things in real life do "just fail". However I do have to question the execution of the idea. Currently, the only way one of these failures happens is when you pit. And it doesn't matter if you've pitted for full service, or just a quick "splash" to finish off a race. It is a bit ridiculous to think that someone who needs to pit for 3 seconds of fuel now has to wait 33 because his perfectly running car has suddenly experienced "clutch failure".

    My proposal, is to change where these random failures occur from the pits to the actual track. I'll get to the specifics in a moment but my belief is that this would make for an even more realistic experience, but more importantly, a much more straight forward experience for a player from a game play standpoint. As it currently stands, a player has a car that is functioning perfectly, comes into the pits, and discovers that his battery "died". If he had stayed out instead of coming in to fix the 4 points of damage to his front wing, the car would've continued to run just fine. By moving these random failures from the pits to the actual track, players now get a sense that there is something wrong with their vehicle and they should pit to get it fixed, instead of being rudely surprised in the off chance they do make a stop (god help them if they have a race with a mandatory stop). In addition to that, this also adds that element of spice to races of all lengths. As is obvious by now, the majority of online races tend to be pretty short. That means that pitstops aren't ever really required in an online race which, in turn, means that the random failure system is never used. Once again, by taking this system out of the pits and onto the track you're adding that element of spice to these shorter races. This may even help keep players engaged on a race-by-race basis because a player who didn't qualify well now has less incentive to just leave an event because they can't keep up. Instead they'll be more inclined to stay and "see what happens" during the race.

    Now, how would it work? Using a time-based interval, the game would roll to see if a players car draws a random failure. The percentage of a successful draw would obviously need to be kept quite low to avoid having players repeatedly drawing failures. If the draw is unsuccessful, the timer resets and counts down to the next roll. If the draw is successful, the failure is relayed to the player along with a pit board. This allows the player to continue racing if they desire or dive into the pits if they want to get it fixed. If they decide to fix the issue, the traditional 30 second pitstop timer/penalty ensues. If they decide not to stop however, then depending on the type of failure drawn, the car will begin to exhibit side-effects similar to the way engine-overheating is implemented. For example, if the player has drawn clutch failure, they can continue out on track but will notice after a few laps, that they can no longer reliably shift the car from gear to gear. If it's a case of battery failure, the car may start cutting in and out. If it's a suspension or wheel problem, they begin to have handling issues or trouble steering. If an aero piece comes loose they start to lose downforce or increase drag with the piece in question eventually detaching from the car completely. The end result of some of these being a severely crippled car, others being a complete failure and disqualification (all depending on the type of failure of course).

    The reason for doing things as described above, is that this method allows a player to choose how to deal with the situation. If they get an alert for clutch failure but only have 5 laps to go, they may elect to forego the pitstop and just deal with the problem so as to avoid losing more time. Players may also elect to avoid fixing the problem even when pitting by turning off all repairs so if they need to stop for that 3 seconds of fuel with a failing battery and want to chance it they can. It might work out for them, it might not, but it's the players decision now and their actions will drive the results instead of the game itself. So overall, it puts much more control in the players hands, gives players a much less jolting (and frustrating) experience compared to the current system, more closely mirrors reality, and makes more sense logically from a player standpoint.


    Thanks for reading if you have any thoughts or ideas to add to this post them below.
    Project Cars 2 is coming here! Okay enough with the silly signatures... I gotta find something better to put here.
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  2. #2
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    Seems pretty good.

    I remember back in F1 97 on the PS1, there were random failures like this. The race engineer would say something about your engine or whatever, and there might be a whiff of smoke, and you would have a few laps to come in before it failed.

  3. #3
    Superkart Pilot Nyreen's Avatar
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    I don't quite agree with this since I never liked the RNG in competitive video games. I do accept the gamble or the luck, though. But delivering random penalties (because they are), is a bit too much, and I'm a supporter of giving everyone his chance aka equal to each other.

    If you want to put RNG into a more equal environment, then bring out oil spills for example.

    To me, random pit failure is already a no-no. In real life, it's always someone's fault, or something that could've been avoided, nothing comes "randomly". You don't randomly break your clutch, even if shit happens. The fuel nozzle doesn't get stuck randomly during endurance races. It's because a pit-crew member failed, an human person fault, that could've been avoided.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyreen View Post
    I don't quite agree with this since I never liked the RNG in competitive video games. I do accept the gamble or the luck, though. But delivering random penalties (because they are), is a bit too much, and I'm a supporter of giving everyone his chance aka equal to each other.

    If you want to put RNG into a more equal environment, then bring out oil spills for example.

    To me, random pit failure is already a no-no. In real life, it's always someone's fault, or something that could've been avoided, nothing comes "randomly". You don't randomly break your clutch, even if shit happens. The fuel nozzle doesn't get stuck randomly during endurance races. It's because a pit-crew member failed, an human person fault, that could've been avoided.
    You're definitely correct in terms of in real life there usually always being the result of a human error. But the thing about computer games/simulations is that there are no humans involved that can error (aside from the player of course). Given that situations like above do happen in real life but do not happen with any sort of consistency the best way to repeat that in a simulation is through the use of RNG/random draw.

    As to whether or not they should exist in the first place, that much comes down to a point of view. I personally like the added touch and add to the immersion of the game. I do also believe however that the current implementation can lead to high levels of frustration because it leads to situations where race results can become just randomized listings due to the player having no say in whether or not they're stuck waiting for 30 seconds. The system outlined above helps alleviate that issue by giving control over how to handle the situation to the player instead of forcing them to do something (wait longer) when they initially set out to do one task and one task only (complete a pit stop).
    Project Cars 2 is coming here! Okay enough with the silly signatures... I gotta find something better to put here.

  5. #5
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    IRL, when 'random' failure in the pits is the result of human error (failure to secure a wheel, unsafe release, etc.) there is the possibility of replacing the unreliable element, which is the course of action pretty much most teams take.

    Personally, I think this 'element' of so-called 'reality' is unrealistic. You can't fix it. Bottom line, isn't there enough unpredictability out on the track racing already that there is nothing to be gained by this element of gameplay?

  6. #6
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    I see the points being made here but... isn’t anything man made prone to breaking because of human error? If you wish to attribute everything to unavoidable human error, you really get nowhere. As an example, the Sioux City, Iowa plane crash from years ago can be called a human error because, decades before the crash, when one of the castings for an engine was being made there was a tiny flaw in the metal that eventually blossomed into a huge accident. Human error... but really more of a systemic error.

    I don’t accept the idea that things don’t happen “randomly,” particularly in the context of a closed end simulation. Things do happen randomly in actual races. Tire failures and engine failures seem to be the most common things I can think of that happen fairly frequently. However, we don’t have crew members and we don’t have an engineering shop at which we can point fingers within the context of the game, so artificial randomness has to suffice within the context of the game. Personally, I think the mechanical problems as implemented feels artificial because most problems don’t occur in the pits. I assume there was some sort of programming decision that resulted in that implementation because it’s probably easier to add time onto a pit than it is to create a problem on the track.

    In future implementations, I sort of agree with the random idea to simulate real world issues but I think they should probably occur anywhere on the track. For example, you’ll often hear drivers on the radio talk about how they smell an engine about to blow up long before it actually blows up. Perhaps, given a player is selected for a failure (so to speak), an engine could take X amount of damage followed by a spotter message “ayyye looks like you are trailing smoke” or something. Similarly, if your front right suspension suddenly took Y amount of damage, you’d feel it but it could be followed by a spotter message “ayyye mate looks like you are down on the front right.”

    Implementing the randomness seems to be a different kettle of fish much like “random” weather. If you don’t have enough random failures, people will assume it’s not working. If you have too many, people will be annoyed. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to do a bit of statistical work, make some generalizations, and soften it up a bit for a more friendly racing realism. Example: if Z number of GT3 cars have serious non-accident related mechanical problems per minute of racing in the real world, it should be fairly easy to implement it... but I’m not a programmer. Lol
    Porsche Cayman S, Maserati Granturismo MC, 650S, a PC with some monitors.

  7. #7
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    The problem is, what does this 'randomness' teach us? That no matter how well we prepare, that no matter how well we perform on track, the Hand of God can come down and crush us!

    What kind of a lesson is that in a game? That no matter how hard you work, no matter what you do, your efforts are insignificant on the day.

    I can only imagine what you would think of a parent, or a teacher, or a priest that made that point!

    Life is hard enough already without adding the element of futility in a game, isn't it? LOL

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dikikeys View Post
    The problem is, what does this 'randomness' teach us? That no matter how well we prepare, that no matter how well we perform on track, the Hand of God can come down and crush us!

    What kind of a lesson is that in a game? That no matter how hard you work, no matter what you do, your efforts are insignificant on the day.
    That's racing bud. In fact, that's life in general. You do your best to prepare, do the best that you can, and the rest is just fate.


    But this thread isn't about whether or not there should be random breakdowns in the game. It's about how to more effectively integrate them and allow more than one way to deal with them for the player.
    Project Cars 2 is coming here! Okay enough with the silly signatures... I gotta find something better to put here.

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