Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Championship Formula Racing Update -- What I'm Working On

I've been working on two elements for Championship Formula Racing over the last couple of months: weather and automated opponents.

Weather is something that others have taken stabs at.  So this isn't totally new ground.  But it is something Jim and I wanted to have as an optional rule for Championship Formula Racing.  I've thought about weather before and failed to come up with anything I really liked.  I had set it aside for a while but picked it back up again recently.

The three card types that form my weather deck.
My primary goal with my weather system is to keep it from becoming just a random event with no strategic element to it.  In real F1 racing, impending weather adds an element of strategic gambling.  Do I come in early for wet weather tires or stay out as long as I can on dry tires?  If I know the day before that it is likely to rain, do I set up my car accordingly or not?  So I realized early on that I needed some sort of predictive element to weather.  A way for drivers to see the odds of weather affecting the race next lap and be able to do something about it (ie. pit for different tires).  That way weather became a strategic decision point not just a random factor -- even if it is playing the odds at best.

I think I have something that does that.  But it needs play testing.  I'll elaborate later on what I have so far.

More recently I've been tinkering with a set of rules that would allow you to race against automated opponents.  The idea came from Jim who wanted to let people race against their favorite historical greats.  First I needed a system for automating the tactical and strategic decisions of the game.  Not perfectly, but credibly enough that it would be fun to race against -- maybe even challenging.

I'm currently tinkering with a system where 6 possible tactics are determined semi-randomly for each automated driver based on their over all strategy.  Those tactics correspond to different speeds marked on the side of the track for that row of space.  Its worked well enough that I ended up running a 6 car race of all automated cars until 1 am Sunday night because I lost track of time.

I've also started researching which drivers I might want to model and how I would model them.  I think the biggest challenge with this system is to make sure it is easy enough that someone other then me can do it.  I'll try to get into this more in my next update as I've been testing it every night for almost a week now.

Testing auto-piloted cars on Monaco.

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