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More prominent/noticeable Time Trial records, without extra server load

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Posted (edited)

I think racing against your own times is such a pure part of what the Dirt Rally series is about, but the Time Trials section of the game is incredibly cumbersome to deal with when you just want to look through your times. This suggestion tries to improve that, with as few changes as possible.

Suggestion:

  1. Add times and some other extra details to the Stage Select and Vehicle Select screens
  2. Do so using local saves so the new info can always be presented with no delays.

By keeping just the player's own times saved locally, 100% independent of the server's records, it would mean:

  • no concern about players modding offline files
  • no extra server load
  • no server code changes to implement
  • the player can easily view the info that matters (see screens below) with no waiting

If a player were to edit those offline saves, it wouldn't matter since the online records would have nothing to do with it. Only that modding player would see a discrepancy, due to their own actions. 

The mockups below show the simplest way I can think of to get useful info to the player as soon as is helpful. They take into account the rule of "1 record per stage + conditions + class".

Stage Select screen:

Add something like:

  • "Latest Record"
  • "Vehicle"
  • "Classes Driven"

... that update as the player changes stage and conditions.

image.thumb.png.41e7f3339dae86525a2cd21dadb6b7b9.png

 

Vehicle Select screen:

Add something like:

  • "Personal Best" next to the class selection widget, that updates as the player changes vehicle class
  • An icon representing "fastest in class" on the thumbnail of the vehicle that set that class's best time

image.thumb.png.d34d65fd39235b26b1e0d3d386f54a26.png

I understand that it isn't the role of the Vehicle Select screen to show times, so my suggestion is fudging that design principle a bit. It's just the best thing I can think of, short of adding entire new screens to the interface. (Not that I'd have a problem with improved records menus, but I'm trying to keep this suggestion as simple as possible.)

 

Why I'd like this change:

When choosing which stage I want to time attack, I find I care about 2 things: Which vehicle classes have I already set times for on a stage? And what are those times?

But looking up this data in Dirt Rally 2 is so tedious that it's genuinely impractical to even bother. I have to choose a stage, then a vehicle, then wait for a leaderboard to download just to check one single personal record... that might not even exist. Basically if you're looking for one of your previous records it's just a big guessing game, punctuated by server delays. For those of us who can't always remember exactly which vehicle classes they ran on exactly which stage and which conditions in each country, here are the steps you would take to compare dry and wet for any 1 stage, any class.

  1. Go to Stage Select and select North Fork Pass (for example) Dry Surface, hit Confirm.
  2. With H1 class already selected, press Y.
  3. Wait for the server.
  4. Observe you don't have a time for H1 on this stage.
  5. Go back, hit right-bumper, press Y.
  6. Wait for the server.
  7. Observe you don't have a time for H2 (FWD) on this stage.
  8. Go back, hit right-bumper, press Y.
  9. Wait for the server.
  10. Discover that you do have a time for H2 (RWD) on this stage.
  11. Remember it.
  12. Go back, go back again.
  13. Change to Wet Surface, hit Confirm.
  14. With H2 (RWD) already selected, press Y.
  15. Wait for the server.
  16. Observe now that you don't have a time for H2 (FWD) on this stage.
  17. Go back, hit right-bumper, press Y.
  18. Wait for the server.
  19. Keep doing this until you find a class with a time on each stage condition.

Or say you want to revisit the track you set a good time for last week. You know it was one of Spain's tracks, dry surface, and you're sure it was a H3 or H2 RWD. Finding that time is just as bad as the steps above.

 

Now instead the player could skip all that and just start a stage, but it makes you wonder why bother keeping personal records when they're so hard to enjoy. Bear in mind also that even after the entire loading screen finishes, the player still won't know their best time. In fact they still won't even know if one exists, not until they've also tuned the car and actually put it on the starting line. 

So the player is massively discouraged from using the Time Trials mode because it's just a constant hassle to look up anything they've done before. Whether it's new screens, or Vehicle and Stage Select screens with added details, I'd be happy with any improvement that makes viewing records much faster than it currently is.

Thanks for the read. :)

 

EDIT - It seems I can't delete all the old pics below this line. :(

If a mod is able to get rid of these, please feel free to.

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Edited by XenialJ
Removing old pics, take 6
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5 hours ago, XenialJ said:

When choosing which stage I want to time attack, I find I care about 2 things: Which vehicle classes have I already set times for on a stage? And what are those times?

But looking up this data in Dirt Rally 2 is so tedious that it's genuinely impractical to even bother. I have to choose a stage, then a vehicle, then wait for a leaderboard to download just to check one single personal record... that might not even exist. Basically if you're looking for one of your previous records it's just a big guessing game, punctuated by server delays.

You have said it all. As a racing game, it is a must-have feature that does not exists in DR2.0. The only other way I see to do this is by logging telemetry and use other software like MoTeC, but 1) it's not every user that want to go through all of this and 2) it is a hassle to switch between the game and other programs since you must either leave fullscreen mode or run the game in windowed mode.

Thank you for this extensive and detailed post. I really hope it will be highly considered by CM.

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Definitely a nice idea, I've pointed out in the past my frustrations with the record keeping and methods of checking records, I came up with the idea in this link as a central leaderboard menu, accessed direct from the main selection screen

 

 

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