Okay; it’s live! After an extensive period of development, RGT Real Cycling Physics (RCP) V2.0 is now live.
Get ready though, this is a long blog…
WHAT IS RCP
RCP is the term we use to define the server calculations that result in the movement, positioning, and aerodynamics of your RGT avatar.
It is extremely important to recognize what is meant by ‘server-side’ physics. Essentially, this means your position, your movement, the draft you benefit from, and the draft others receive are calculated on RGT servers.
This results in all athletes on the road experiencing the same position and conditions at the same time. If in your experience you’re following your teammate, you are in everyone else’s.
This differs from client-side physics, where your position, your movement, the draft you benefit from, and the draft others receive are calculated locally, with you on your local hardware.
This client-side approach results in unrealistic racing, a much-reduced potential for team tactics, and winners being demoted ten places between what the athlete sees when they cross the line and the official results.
We believe that server-side physics represents the only credible system for eSports. It provides the credibility needed for fair and equitable racing.
WHY DID WE CHANGE RCP
Back in May 2020 we hosted some of the best U23 riders in the world as part of the #SEGeRacingU23Series. This was the first big test of RGT physics and the capabilities of the platform. In keeping with our open and inclusive approach to development, we asked riders to complete feedback on their experiences on RGT.
We had also been taking feedback from the wider community, as well as other event organizers and coaches.
It should be noted at this early stage, the majority of the feedback on physics was positive. Most users, and in particular racers commented on the realism and it became clear to us that this was important, it added value to racing on RGT and eSports in general.
Teams and individuals started to approach races tactically, the opportunity to breakaway was real, and races were not considered a threshold effort with a sprint at the beginning and the end, as with some other eRacing platforms
Although the majority of feedback on the physics in these early days was positive, a number of shortcomings were highlighted:
- Washing machine effect on long downhill sections and in high w/kg groups
- Rider line selection for corners was undesirable
- Unintuitive rider movement when following wheels and passing
- Over braking for corners
- Undesirable braking when climbing, or moving slowly
One other problem not directly related to the user experience but still in need of improvement was the limitations the physics calculations placed on the total number of possible riders on the road at one time. Essentially, it is physics that placed the original capacity limit of 200.
The RGT team dealt with most of the above relatively quickly, another benefit of server-side calculations is that tweaks can be made without users updating their own apps. The general feedback from the community was again very positive. The changes added to the experience, improving the realism and making RCP more realistic.
As already mentioned, our approach has always been to listen to our users and act accordingly, despite the improvements made to RCP V1. it become apparent that there were not sufficient controllable inputs into the calculation to improve it further and it was because of this the big decision was made to restart the code.
WHAT DID WE SET OUT TO ACHIEVE
Anyone into programming will understand the complexity of adjusting such a large part of the app’s code and the potential interdependencies this might have on other elements of even unconnected areas of the app.
Anyone into aerodynamics, rolling resistance, and racing bikes will understand the potential complexity of creating a new algorithm that has the single input of power to establish everything from a rider’s motive to the amount they should slow down for corners.
With this in mind, the scope of the project was set out as follows:
- Rewrite the physics code to improve overall stability
- Increase the number of athletes that can participate on a single road or event
- Increase the number of variables that can be manipulated to improve the overall feeling of riding a bike on RGT
- Recreate the ride feel of RCP V1, and then;
- Improve the overall ride feel
Out of the scope of this project:
- Improve the rider interface
- Add additional user inputs to direct onscreen behaviour
- Improved line selection
A less pithy way of describing the above bullets would be to say:
We wanted to create an experience consistent with the feedback we had received from our users.
WHAT DID WE ACHIEVE
This is obviously subjective. Again, (and this cannot be stressed enough) it is our priority to make this the best possible experience for our entire community.
After a debrief and consistent with general feedback since the launch of the RCP Development Project we can confirm that we:
- Increased the number of athletes that can participate on a single road or event (not live)
- Increased the number of variables that can be manipulated to improve the overall feeling of riding a bike on RGT
- Recreated the ride feel of RCP V1, and then;
- Improved the overall ride feel
WHAT IS NEXT FOR RCP?
This is not over! We’re still going to make this better with improvements to line selection and much more.
But this iteration still needs time to soak in before we make any changes and we’re not sharing a timeframe on this ‘soak period’.
To put it another way…
Can you remember the first time you rode your new bike? It was likely frustrating and hard to comprehend at first, but actually, it was fine, and your new bike was actually better when you got used to it.
We have done hours of research and worked with all manner of stakeholders, which were selected to inform and support our approach.
With this in mind, we’re also asking the community to trust us and our expertise as we have trusted yours. Get out there, ride it, enjoy it and present your feedback here so we can take things to the next level (again).
On a personal note, I would like to send thanks to our community for their patience and passion for RGT Cycling and…
Another big thanks is being sent to all the developers for their hard work and effort on the project. Not just Cristi (who gets kudos for the development of the physics) but equally Matt, Radu, Cosmin, Alex, Adina, Mike, and Silviu… Oh and John By The Way
Sometimes these tasks can seem so simple at face value but the reality is there incredibly complex and open to endless interpretation and feedback from the rest of the RGT Team and the community.