Forza Motorsports' AI Opponents Could Race Smarter And Cleaner Than People

Offbeat / 3 Comments

Team 10 Studios promises that computer-controlled drivers won't use rubber-banding or cheats.

When playing racing video games, the most exciting part is racing against your friends, as NPC racers seldom offer the same level of competition. However, the upcoming Forza Motorsport 8, which will be released this year, features new and improved artificial intelligence (AI) opponents that the developers say will be fairer, and possibly even better, drivers than their human counterparts.

This is according to Forza Motorsport's creative director Chris Esaki, who further described how the AI drivers work.

In a nutshell, Esaki says that these computer-controlled drivers are managed by two components: the AI controller and the driving line. The former is how the game manipulates a car's throttle, brake, and steering inputs. The driving line, meanwhile, is the path the AI follows.

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That sounds simple, but more tech sauce went into this system. For instance, Forza Motorsport developer Turn 10 Studios employed machine learning. Through this method, AI opponents no longer replicate how your multiplayer buddies drive as they did in the older Forza Motorsport games.

On top of that, AI opponents are made more competitive without using rubber banding (where the game speeds them up if you pull too far ahead or slows them down if you fall behind) and cheats. This has previously plagued serious sim racers as it makes for unrealistic competition.

That said, the AI can still make mistakes. It can still mess up the braking timing and take corners wider than intended. Furthermore, it was implied that it could crash or go off-track despite its rapid learning capabilities. This adds to the game's realism because professional drivers in real life, even F1 drivers, occasionally make these mistakes.

Beyond its improved AI opponents, Forza Motorsport is also getting improved tire physics which will replicate how real-world tires work.

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Unlike previous Forza Motorsport games that employed only one point of tire contact, the new game will get eight. This allows tires to find grip on uneven surfaces like bumps, curbs, and rumble strips, meaning you get the full use of the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires on your Corvette Z06.

Players can likewise choose various tire types for their cars. These are divided into five categories: wet, drag, race, performance, and street. Race tires then have sub-types: soft, medium, and hard. Like in real-life racing, softs will offer the most grip but wear out the fastest.

It isn't all positive, though, as Esaki also has bad news: the game's drag and drift modes won't be available at the time of release. However, the related parts will be available from the get-go via the game's extensive car-building feature. As such, a player can still test them out on a private "meetup lobby."

Forza Motorsport 8 is coming to the PC and Xbox on October 10, 2023. We're particularly excited since Turn 10's continuous updates and tidbits hint that this game is going to be a banger.

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