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One of the most important changes needed for Online Leagues in F1 2014

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Some of our drivers have done some testing to better understand what Codemasters have implemented in the game that makes an experienced gamepad driver faster than an experienced wheel driver.

The answer is Steering Assist.

With a gamepad, so long as your speed is appropriate for a corner, you can go full lock for every single corner, and you will take the corner perfectly.  This is true if it's a 30 degree turn or a hairpin!

What's worse is that you can get this same Steering Assist with a wheel!  Just set Override Device Type to "Gamepad", and then when you go full lock with your wheel, you will take every corner perfectly.  One of our fastest drivers (and we have some VERY fast drivers) tried this along with a small change to his steering saturation, and in just two laps, he was almost a second faster than his previous personal best!

One of our other drivers summed it up perfectly:

"I always wondered how gamepad guys could get just the right amount of turn in and hold it through a corner.  I was picturing someone with god like thumb accuracy holding the thumb stick at the exact right amount of steering input, but now I know…  it basically completely removes the need to steer from the game."

You can see more PRL drivers discussing this on our forums here.

The best solution there is for F1 2013 is that gamepad users have to set "Override Device Type" to "Steering Wheel", but unfortunately, there's no way to enforce this, and policing it is difficult, so it really jeopardizes the integrity of any leagues.

What is the solution for F1 2014?  First of all, let's call it what it is in the game - "Steering Assist"..... then it has to be moved from the Wheel Settings, and into the Assist settings.  This will allow us to ban it for online leagues so that we can finally have a level playing field.

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This sounds like a brilliant idea but will Codies implement it, I can't drive F1 with a pad to save my life so I imagine they do this to make the game playable for the majority of gamers... shame for us that use a wheel that we have to climb a steeper hill. Lately I have moved away from F1 to NASCAR for a change of pace and in the online screen while waiting for a race in a lobby you can toggle the other players assists... they ALWAYS kick anyone that uses assists... might also be an idea. 

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This is a crucial thing to implement in the game, it's a very minor change from a settings point of view, and can still be enabled by default when devicetype=gamepad, but it has huge implications for online play and fairness.  I can see how this could have been mis-classified originally, as this feature probably came about from people complaining about it being hard to play the game with the gamepad.  But this really ended up being a huge steering assist, and it should be treated as such.  I really hope codemasters has time to patch this in between cycles on 2014 :)

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I doubt codies will do something about that because this game is a balance of arcade and sim. 
Yeah, but come on.  It's almost unfair that I call this an assist.  It's more like a cheat.  You can't get this type of benefit from TC, ABS, or manual gears.  This is basically removing steering from the game!  Last time I checked, different degrees of steering were an important part of racing....... unless every single corner in Formula 1 is suddenly identical?  Surely something that impacts the game so severly has to be resolved in the next release!

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I doubt codies will do something about that because this game is a balance of arcade and sim. 
Yeah, but come on.  It's almost unfair that I call this an assist.  It's more like a cheat.  You can't get this type of benefit from TC, ABS, or manual gears.  This is basically removing steering from the game!  Last time I checked, different degrees of steering were an important part of racing....... unless every single corner in Formula 1 is suddenly identical?  Surely something that impacts the game so severly has to be resolved in the next release!
Yeah i agree its a cheat, but I don't think there will be a way of solving this because codies want to be able to have noobs buy this game as well. And i doubt they'll be able to turn it into a steering assist that you can turn off or on

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Any new drivers will still be able to use Steering Assist.  Leagues will just have the option of not allowing it.  I don't see why Codemasters couldn't configure it that way.  I've seen Steering Assist as an option in other games..... just never seen it hidden in the way that it is in F1 2013.

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I doubt codies will do something about that because this game is a balance of arcade and sim. 
Yeah, but come on.  It's almost unfair that I call this an assist.  It's more like a cheat.  You can't get this type of benefit from TC, ABS, or manual gears.  This is basically removing steering from the game!  Last time I checked, different degrees of steering were an important part of racing....... unless every single corner in Formula 1 is suddenly identical?  Surely something that impacts the game so severly has to be resolved in the next release!
Yeah i agree its a cheat, but I don't think there will be a way of solving this because codies want to be able to have noobs buy this game as well. And i doubt they'll be able to turn it into a steering assist that you can turn off or on
I really wish people would stop using the word "noob" for less skilled players. It's a degrading term and just because someone may not be as fast as others shouldn't be labeled as such. Racing is fun no matter what the skill level. And this is coming from an average top 500 driver, and I respect everyone who simply enjoys driving games.

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With a gamepad, so long as your speed is appropriate for a corner, you can go full lock for every single corner, and you will take the corner perfectly.  This is true if it's a 30 degree turn or a hairpin!
I was about to ask "Is there really a difference?" because I use a gamepad, but if anyone wants to set the "Override Input Device Type" setting to "Steering Wheel" and tell me there's no difference then go ahead and lie because holy hell the steering is different, and I had never thought it would be.

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Tried it myself with a 360 controller tonight, and I can definitely verify that there is a huge difference when you set Override Input Device Type to Steering Wheel.  You actually have to steer to match the corner!  It's difficult, but not impossible by any means.  A bit twitchy for me, but I know this could be dialed out with the advanced settings which I didn't get into.

I suspect that some drivers aren't even aware they're not really steering the car.  Having tried them both, I don't know why someone would want to have the Steering Assist on.  It just doesn't feel like racing, so I'm not sure why Codemasters enabled it by default, or put it in Driving Controls instead of Driving Assists.

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Recon1k said:
I doubt codies will do something about that because this game is a balance of arcade and sim. 
Yeah, but come on.  It's almost unfair that I call this an assist.  It's more like a cheat.  You can't get this type of benefit from TC, ABS, or manual gears.  This is basically removing steering from the game!  Last time I checked, different degrees of steering were an important part of racing....... unless every single corner in Formula 1 is suddenly identical?  Surely something that impacts the game so severly has to be resolved in the next release!
Yeah i agree its a cheat, but I don't think there will be a way of solving this because codies want to be able to have noobs buy this game as well. And i doubt they'll be able to turn it into a steering assist that you can turn off or on
I really wish people would stop using the word "noob" for less skilled players. It's a degrading term and just because someone may not be as fast as others shouldn't be labeled as such. Racing is fun no matter what the skill level. And this is coming from an average top 500 driver, and I respect everyone who simply enjoys driving games.
Hey nothing wrong with being a noob, I'm a noob my self. I don't have time to play this game 24/7 so I can actually race against some pros lol. I'm defo using this to my advtange now lol 

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Important point to remember here is that we don't have to remove this assist (lets call it that, even if it basically is a cheat), as I can totally see the need to keep it to cater to the more arcade users, some users would want/need this.  All that needs to happen is for it to be treated as an assist by the game, simple as that.  If this was in the assists menu, where it belongs, with ABS and TC it could be disabled/enabled online or offline, and it would be obvious to everyone that this actually is an assist.   Which would also mean you could use this assist if you have a steering wheel, or some other type of controller and are in need of a little help with your times.

Basically I'm saying it should be obvious to the user that this is an assist, and they can then decide to use it or not.  As opposed to how things currently are, with it silently being always enabled when you are playing with a gamepad...

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I'm a pad user, I play with all aids off.
I think they should do with steering assist what they do with traction control, have an option to set steering assist to either full, medium, or off, and give lobby host the option to disable steering assist as well as disabling any other driving aids.

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Well, that explains why I could never keep up with my friend on most tracks.

I use wheel, he uses controller.

BTW, the correct term for someone new to the game, or just not that good, is "newb" A "noob" is someone who drives into a hairpin at 100 MPH and kills everyone.

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im sure pad users will want the same idea, restrict the lobby to pad or wheel whatever your group of racers use. the idea is good for private lobbies but with so few people actually playing f1 online why marginalize it even further by allowing it in a public lobby,  I like racing in public lobbies as you take on whats there at the time. best thing to do would be  to have everything equal but I think its too hard as they aint done it yet, year on year there is a debate about wheel/pad and tbh its old news, just get on with playing the game. peace

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I personally think it just needs tuning/dumbing down - so it corrects your gamepad steering error by a fixed percent rather than 100%. There are lots of good drivers who can use both that could help Codemasters here and get it right.

Yeah, I run a No Assists League and it annoys me that some guys use pad purely cos it's quicker even when they own a DFGT which they use in Gran Turismo etc. Equally, if there was ZERO pad assist, I don't think that's fair either as the pad has no FFB and is very imprecise - it just needs the assist balancing out.

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@T4RG4 says it's better with wheels, so we gotta ask someone else to help :)
Maybe @Britpoint and Mr. Matter could have a look?

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Hey guys,

Interesting discussion here. As you know, most racing games have some sort of lock reduction for pad users, and for obvious reasons; you don’t drive a car with a thumb stick so things need to be readjusted.

In F1 2013, wheel users have 270 degrees of rotation lock to lock (on average).  With 15 degrees of lock on the car, this allows for very smooth and measured inputs.  With the tiny amount of throw on a stick, and tyres with a very narrow peak slip, the player would find it hard to make gentle, smooth and subtle inputs with just a couple of inches of stick travel.  Most of the time the player would be massively beyond peak slip, even when adjusting the car on the straight, which will result in higher tyre wear and temperatures, making it overly difficult to compete. 

I don’t think I’d call it a cheat either. Claiming it ‘removes steering from the game’ isn’t very fair as the compound, tyre wear, fuel and weather conditions still greatly affect the player. The lock reduction system isn’t really an assist like Traction Control or ABS, it’s a core component of many, many racing games and can greatly improve the gameplay experience. Playing the game on a pad without the system in-place can make the handling feel incredibly unnatural.

I’m not sure if I’ve explained that well enough so let me know if you have any questions, right now I can’t see us moving this to the assists menu, but we’ll continue to look at other avenues in which we can support you, and other racing leagues. We know we can do more.

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I think someone worked out how to turn off the assist on PC using a pad, I hear it was basically impossible to drive in a straight line, imagine to amount of crashes that would cause..

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Hatta

It's not really about removing the pad assist, it's about down-tuning it slightly so that pad users are not faster than wheel. We have guys in our league who use pad for F1 2013 and their DFGT for Gran Turismo simply because they can't get the same lap times using wheel - that's wrong. 

All the best
Bobby

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Hatta

In the 90s I wrote a golf game which was the first golf game NOT to use power-meters - so you controlled the power of a shot/putt by the length of backswing. This (like using a pad to steer an F1 car) was OK on 4-foot putts, but got very difficult on 60-footers so I did some coding which worked out the "correct" power the putt should be hit with based on speed of greens, slopes, length of putt etc. and used this calculation to "modify" the input power. So crudely speaking:-

Actual power = ((Input Power x A) + (Correct Power x B)) / (A + B)

I then played around with A & B until the balance was right, so a high level of B would be a large amount of correction and a low amount of B a small correction. In my case, I finished up with something like A = 3 and B = 1 (a 25% correction). You could do similar with the steering, probably favouring a high level of correction - but not 100% like now.

Bobby

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im risking the wrath of the wheel users but im sorry you are in the minority, most people use pads when using consoles hence the need to cater to pad users. the idea of restricing the lobbies to either pad or wheel is the only sensible option I can see, but it has to be both, if you can restrict every1 to a wheel you must be able to restrict everyone to a pad. I believe this about the gears and assists too, if you can ban them then you must be able to enforce using them. keeps things fair,,,,,thats what we want right?? fairness? lol

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Hatta, the actual problem isn't that guys that use a controller are somewhat faster, the problem arises in the settings.  You can have your G27 wheel connected to the PC, use a slightly custom setup (re-mapping a few buttons, let's say), which causes the "device>" thing to say "custom".  And then below, you can select "gamepad" in the "Override input device".  This basically gives the ultimate in setup..the fine control of a wheel, with the steering assist of a gamepad. 

Like Moogle says above, one of our fastest PRL drivers did exactly this, and immediately improved his lap time by nearly 1second.  By turning up the saturation a bit, and going full lock in a corner with a wheel, the game turned for him perfectly every time. 

This either has to be exposed as a driver aid which can be limited/allowed in lobbies, or the ability to mix and match disparate input devices needs to be restricted.  Heck, I once accidentally had my Thrustmaster FFB430 behaving like a keyboard.  Was the weirdest thing ever.

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Hatta said:

Hey guys,

Interesting discussion here. As you know, most racing games have some sort of lock reduction for pad users, and for obvious reasons; you don’t drive a car with a thumb stick so things need to be readjusted.

In F1 2013, wheel users have 270 degrees of rotation lock to lock (on average).  With 15 degrees of lock on the car, this allows for very smooth and measured inputs.  With the tiny amount of throw on a stick, and tyres with a very narrow peak slip, the player would find it hard to make gentle, smooth and subtle inputs with just a couple of inches of stick travel.  Most of the time the player would be massively beyond peak slip, even when adjusting the car on the straight, which will result in higher tyre wear and temperatures, making it overly difficult to compete. 

I don’t think I’d call it a cheat either. Claiming it ‘removes steering from the game’ isn’t very fair as the compound, tyre wear, fuel and weather conditions still greatly affect the player. The lock reduction system isn’t really an assist like Traction Control or ABS, it’s a core component of many, many racing games and can greatly improve the gameplay experience. Playing the game on a pad without the system in-place can make the handling feel incredibly unnatural.

I’m not sure if I’ve explained that well enough so let me know if you have any questions, right now I can’t see us moving this to the assists menu, but we’ll continue to look at other avenues in which we can support you, and other racing leagues. We know we can do more.

Hey Hatta, thanks for chiming in!

I don't think anyone is seriously calling this a cheat, but it's certainly an assist, no questions.  There is FAR more than just static input filtering going on here, input filtering to help dampen inputs, and improve the control feel is fine, this is not an assist.  What is happening here is that drivers are receiving dynamic input filtering, This is what I would consider the definition of an assist...  Traction Control is exactly this, it regulates throttle input, but for acceleration forces on the rear tires, ABS is also exactly the same principal, it regulates braking input based on braking forces on all tires.  This steering assist is the same principal, it regulates your steering input based on wheel slip (understeer) on the front tires. 

So what this means is, with the assist, based on track conditions, car speed, weather, tires, the game will not let you turn in past the point where you would start producing understeer, and infact it actually holds the steering at exactly the perfect point, so perfect that it is virtually impossible to consistently replicate without the assist, particularly in changing conditions.  This really does almost completely remove steering from the game, the user can just go full lock for EVERY corner, and get perfect results every time, regardless of how sharp the corner is.  This gives a huge advantage in terms of consistency in races. 

This definitely belongs in the assists menu, perhaps the static filtering parts of what happens in gamepad mode should stay in gamepad mode, but the lock control that's based on wheel slip at the front wheels, that's an assist and should be separated out and placed in the assists menu.  This way drivers with steering wheels, or other input types, could also leverage this assist if they need some help with their times, and it would also mean more advanced pad users could disable the assist for a greater challenge. 

It would also mean for no-assists online leagues we would have a way of controlling who is using this assist, as how things are now there is nothing stopping someone with a steering wheel from enabling "gamepad" mode, and taking advantage of this steering assist.  It does have drawbacks, as it does also enforce some static filtering that feels very strange with a wheel, but once you get used to it, it's easy to be faster, it just feels pretty silly driving like that.

I also want to point out that the game is still very playable on a pad with the override set to steering wheel, if you increase the steering linerarity and decrease the deadzone it makes the inputs really quite manageable.  Of course it is more difficult, it is also now possible to get understeer with a pad, but this is how it should be!  If it's too tough for users, they can turn the steering assist back on again.

Sorry about the long post, but hopefully you guys can take a little closer look at what I'm saying here.  If I'm wrong, and the lock control isn't based on wheel slip, please feel free to correct me and maybe give a little more detail on what it does?

Thanks!

Mark

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Thanks for the response, Hatta.

Like Mark, said, this is most definitely an assist.  Let's look at this for a minute..... If you're not that good at throttle control, you can be assisted by Traction Control.  If you've not that good at changing gears, you can be assisted by an automatic gearbox.  If you're not that good at braking, you can be assisted by ABS.  If you're not that good at steering, you can be assisted by Steering Assist!  It is just as much an assist as these other things I mentioned.  In fact, even more so because steering assist is improving fast drivers lap times by much more than TC, ABS etc (with or without a wheel).  This is why it's approaching cheating territory.  Yes, it's within the confines of the game options, but surely it was never intended to give this kind improvement in laptimes for the drivers that are already very fast.

I completely understand that driving this game with a gamepad is much harder than with a steering wheel if all things are equal.  That said, I see no reason this can't be in the assist menu - it can still be enabled by default if a gamepad is detected if there's a concern that some gamepad users will pick up the game and instantly give up if they find the steering too twitchy.  That said, there is a solution which Mark mentioned.....

....Steering Linearity.  Turn off Steering Assist and put Linearity to 100% and it isn't twitchy.  In fact, it's very easy to be accurate and to emulate the movements of a wheel.  We already have one very fast gamepad driver who has done just this and loves it.  He's horrified that he was using an assist he never knew about and that there hasn't been a level playing field in our league.  Hopefully the other gamepad drivers will feel the same.

I always race on a G27, but I tried a 360 controller without the steering assist and with linearity at 100% and even I was able to be smooth and natural with it.  It's not impossible to have a solution that works for all input devices and all drivers while allowing us to have things equal between all drivers if called for!

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