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AI Difficulty Calculator

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Posted (edited)

To try and aleviate the issue of AI having an inconsistent pace, I made a Google Sheets AI difficulty calculator. Simply complete the AI difficulty procedure on Spain first, then input that difficulty as the base, and the calculator will give you the resulting recommended difficulty for each track.

Here's the link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Y0iOuUoksSxmUtuV58dKXdcdlIuoMvoOuYuX6G8VFbk/edit?usp=sharing

You can also make a copy of the sheet and input your best times on each track into the WR Track Comparison page. This can show you which tracks you are under/over performing on compared to your average.

It would be great if anyone wants to try out the recommended settings and leave some feedback here (survey). This is the main way I update the calculator, as it averages the everyone's experiences easily.

Notes/Info:

These are recommendations only, based on the AI qualification speeds. It will not account for your own variability, or changes in AI race pace.

AI Pole times at 100 difficulty were recorded (3 times each track and averaged), then compared to top time trial times (the best no assists, top but not suspicious times were used).

Some tracks use the top 10% time trial time instead of the world record to improve accuracy (Thanks @Gonira for the suggestion).

The recommendations have also taken survey feedback into account, so are not a completely objective conclusion.

AI race pace may differ from qualifying pace. AI race pace may be significantly faster/slower on some tracks. Please comment these cases if you find them.

The calculator does take into account the non-linear difficulty change around the 105+ mark. If there is a non-linear change at the very low difficulties, it does not account for that.

Users have reported that some tracks are much easier/harder using TC assist. If you use these assists, you may need to tweak the difficulty based on the overall track type (high speed vs. slow speed).

 

Rough Speeds (difficulty 100 AI compared to top legit leaderboards) and Difficulty Changes (these are just for visual purposes and do not take take change in difficulty above 105, please use the calculator for accurate results) :

Track Rough Difficulty
Australia +2
Bahrain -3
Vietnam 0
China +1
Netherlands +3
Spain 0
Monaco +7
Azerbaijan +2
Canada +2
France -1
Austria +8
Britain -9
Hungary +9
Belgium -5
Italy -1
Singapore +7
Russia -1
Japan -4
USA -4
Mexico +2
Brazil +3
Abu Dhabi +4

 

Edited by NinjaElmo
Updated for v1.12 and include survey feedback
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Is Bahrain really that bad? I've heard pretty much everyone said that the AI there is super op...but I've found that their only strong corners are turn 8 & 10, and I still often get decent result on my first season with 105% setting in race, 103% for qualifying.

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on the survey I can't select all tracks, only one select are available.

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2 hours ago, EduCalza said:

on the survey I can't select all tracks, only one select are available.

Oops. Should be fixed now, thanks.

2 hours ago, DRTApophis said:

Is Bahrain really that bad? I've heard pretty much everyone said that the AI there is super op...but I've found that their only strong corners are turn 8 & 10, and I still often get decent result on my first season with 105% setting in race, 103% for qualifying.

I've heard people say they are strong there too, but haven't really raced there enough to say. My Team mode is interesting, because at the start you will sort of expect to do poorly, so if you do worse than your first race you might think that that's just where you're meant to end up. Whereas at Silverstone, people know by then roughly where they should be placing. Grand Prix mode can probably show a more clear result here, but at the end of the day I can alter the recommendations a bit if enough people find that they seem off.

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6 hours ago, DRTApophis said:

Is Bahrain really that bad? I've heard pretty much everyone said that the AI there is super op...but I've found that their only strong corners are turn 8 & 10, and I still often get decent result on my first season with 105% setting in race, 103% for qualifying.

It's a cake walk. I have a much easier time there than I do in Australia.

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Oh this is a nice little add-on to what I put in the Beginner's Guide, I'll have to give it a go 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

I think the AI calculator is not very useful if you run with the following settings (using a Fanatec-Wheel) :

- ABS Help
- Full traction control
- Automatic gears
- ERS Help
- DRS Help

Here is a table I made using Grand Prix mode. In this mode I drove the Bottas-Mercedes and the Latifi-Williams. I made sure that my teammates Hamilton and Russell were on the same level of performance as me (+/- 0.2 seconds).

The results are based on the Standard Setups (Default 2, Default 3 and Default 4) :

AI-Level.jpg

Note : I don't like to race in Monaco and Singapore because i'm 52 years old and play on 100% race lengths. Monaco and Singapore are to heavy for me. So i skipped this Races. "Red" means : I skipped also this Races because i play with 16 Races in My-Team. As you can see it plays an enormous role with which driving aids you play.

 

Edited by ndrst
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Very nice effort, but as @ndrst said, its not useful for TC users.

i play with

  • medium TC
  • ABS off
  • Auto gears
  • without ERS and DRS assistance.

what i seem to note with TC on specially is that slow tracks the AI tends to be much faster, I play on a base 89 difficulty

MOnaco needs to be 70 to be almost competitive. Vietnam, singapore 80.

Australia is much harder than Bahrain, 85 for australia, 89 for bahrain

russia, belgium,italy, austria are a cake walk and i turn it up to 95

 

i believe the game AI behaves very, very differently for those with TC on

specially on rain. when it starts raining the difficulty goes way UP

 

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Food for thought, sometimes we seem to see the AI's performance as variable and ours as constant across all tracks. That's not reasonable and we should take it into account when discussing the game difficulty.

Think of it this way. Take a game like God of War or Witcher 3. You set your difficulty level to Story Mode or whatever equivalent of Easy devs employ these days. You defeat your first boss within 2 minutes with 10 hits and taking 2 with no need to drink a HP potion. Is it expected that the final boss will be dispatched with the same parameters in that difficilty level or would it be ok if it took 10 minutes, 25 hits, being hit multiple times and needing to use 3 HP potions?

We need to be mindful of that. Not only tracks have inherently different difficulty levels, but personal skill in running on them plays a huge role too. Singapore is one player's first minor fiend and another's final boss. We should not expect expect to have the same performance across all tracks.

If you keep on changing the AI level to be equally competitive across all GPs, then maybe you're accommodating their performance to your varying skill, and not their hypothetical unintended disparity from one track to the other.

I'm totally ok with getting a podium on Austria and finishing on a non-scoring position in Singapore. I can't keep a rhythm there and that is 100% on me.  

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For me, and I posted my qualifying time guide in a different thread, it's a case of running AI qualy sessions on various difficulties at every track. This gives you a guide to work from, before any race jump in TT, do 5 laps of the track, have a look at your average and then compare to the AI qualy times and make a judgment of where you would be. 

Times are much easier to work with as you can see in a handful of laps the general range of where you're going to be and can tweak session to session still if you need. And you've had a few laps practice for a track maybe you haven't raced in a while (I consider it the simulator!) 

Using someone else's difficulty guide will always cause problems as they may at a basic level just play the game better / worse, as someone notes above, assists will cause variation, as will track performance. 

Getting the range of lap times the AI performs at will give you a much more solid guide and a site like https://difficulty.racing/index.html which one of the mods shared a while back can make it easier for you if you don't have the time / patience to sit running AI sessions. 

 

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Posted (edited)

@KNT2011 not sure if you're commenting on my input but you somewhat touch on what I was getting at.

Say you get your best lap times on Monza and on Hungaroring, two tracks that may as well be the opposite of each other. I think it is safe to assume that barring you being an ace semi-pro driver, you will naturally fare better in one over the other, depending on your set of skills?

With that in mind, what is your end goal when adjusting the AI level in Italy and in Hungary? I am totally for adjusting the AI so that you end on the same ballpark from your teammate for instance, given that you two are racing with equal machinery. But (1) "ballpark" is not the same as "always up to a 0.1s faster than your teammate", being expected that you may end up behind him here and there, and (2) people can't treat their performance level as a constant. If you don't have both factors in mind you'll end up deforming the intended difficulty so that you're always slaying the boss within 2 minutes and 10 hits, be it the tutorial chief goblin or the ancient cross-dimensional lovecraftian dragon.

Edit: Again, I do think there is something funky going on with the AI performance. I'm just raising the point that tweaking the AI level to a certain degree will take care of that, however going further will enter the realm of the "I'm compensating my naturally poor performance on this track by handicapping the AI".

Then you log in 2 weeks worth of playtime, get on that same circuit again with the same difficulty you had previously set and be all like "oh this game is bonkers I had to increase 10 points on the AI scale" when in truth you just got naturally better at applying throttle on corner exit or whatever on a track that favors that particular skill.

Edited by marioho

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, marioho said:

@KNT2011 not sure if you're commenting on my input but you somewhat touch on what I was getting at.

Say you get your best lap times on Monza and on Hungaroring, two tracks that may as well be the opposite of each other. I think it is safe to assume that barring you being an ace semi-pro driver, you will naturally fare better in one over the other, depending on your set of skills?

With that in mind, what is your end goal when adjusting the AI level in Italy and in Hungary? I am totally for adjusting the AI so that you end on the same ballpark from your teammate for instance, given that you two are racing with equal machinery. But (1) "ballpark" is not the same as "always up to a 0.1s faster than your teammate", being expected that you may end up behind him here and there, and (2) people can't treat their performance level as a constant. If you don't have both factors in mind you'll end up deforming the intended difficulty so that you're always slaying the boss within 2 minutes and 10 hits, be it the tutorial chief goblin or the ancient cross-dimensional lovecraftian dragon.

This is something I've been considering also. And one of the reasons a part of me preferred the general difficult levels Hard - Master - Expert etc. which didn't let you tweak to the single digit. YHes at some tracks you'd dominate, and some tracks you would suffer, but you wouldn't have it playing on your mind all the time. 

I generally do it this way, say I am driving the Ferrari, I would consider that (in the game, lets not get into all that haha) to be a top 5 car. Does my TT time put my in the top 5 on a difficulty level? If it does, that's what I pick. And go from there. But your question is a good one, where do you settle? 

I'm a firm believer that the difficulty needs some serious work by CM and needs streamlined so we're not stressing over whether it's 92 or 93 difficulty. Austria, for example, is an obvious one, and they need to get rid of the obvious ones where the player is miles ahead on the same difficulty they're competitive in at say Bahrain. Once you get the obvious ones out of the way, only small tweaks remain, and then you can return to a more basic Hard - Master - Expert difficulty selector and save people creating full websites and spreadsheets to find that perfect number, in all honesty it's incredibly tedious, and we all just want to get out on track and have a competitive race. 

Edited by KNT2011
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Posted (edited)

@KNT2011 haha I get it and I would probably endorse everything you said were we having this conversation last week. It is the "obvious ones" that actually threw me off. these past days.

Let's take four tracks and try to disregard the hypothesis of our personal skill varying between them. What does your heart ask you to do with the difficulty for qualifying on them? For me it would be:

  • Australia: reduce slightly;
  • Bahrain: increase significantly;
  • Austria: increase significantly;
  • UK: decrease significantly.

Australia probably aint obvious, but I threw it on just to make it four. Could have just as well replaced it with Hungary – a track where I would increase the difficulty significantly. The other three I recently saw being referred to as having a "obviously strong/weak AI".

Just look at this thread and see how people classify them differently.

I don't think that's just the AI varying from track to track. There gotta be another factor playing with our experiences here since we're not seeing the same reports between users, even for "obvious" tracks. I'd wager that is personal skill and that we're disregarding it too much.  

Edit: let's have it a five and take a cursory glance on the recent posts here.

Adding Hungary: increase significantly to the four above and comparing my subjective perception to that of:

And the matches vary from player to player.

Edited by marioho
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@ndrst @Chiarello Thanks for the feedback, I've added a note on the calculator about TC assists. Unfortunately I don't see a way to account for this, but if the assist is especially prominent on certain tracks, I could put a warning (i.e. more useful on some tracks than others). 

@KNT2011 @marioho I initially started working on an excel sheet because I noticed that the subjective recommendations people were giving weren't consistent, as marioho has pointed out. I do definitely agree that using someone else's settings could lead to issues, which is why I wanted to just look at the objective speeds. In an ideal world, the tracks I see as a big issue (Austria, Silverstone, maybe Singapore) could be 'fixed' by CM, and then we could just leave the difficulty alone. It's hard to work out exactly what is making the percieved changes, when there are so many variables (weather, track, car type, race distance, setup, engine wear), and sometimes the AI can be slow throughout some sections, but then crazy fast in others.

I've added a WR Track Comparison section to my sheet, but you'll need to make a copy to use it. If you input your best times on each track, it can help show people which tracks they are under/over performing on compared to their average pace. 

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@NinjaElmo please never change and never go away. Impressive nickname, avatar and post history. Wish you could be there for every eye-gouging argument there have been in this forum in the last month.

Back on topic I think that's something only an overview of a comprehensive data sample would truly give insight for a proper fix.

I have no idea what kind access to gameplay data Codemasters has nor how anonymized said data is, but if they managed to correlate the qualifying performance of a predetermined group of players (preferably players with no assists on wheels or minimal assists on a pad) across different tracks with the AI grid position they could probably catch all major deviations.

Just saying, @BarryBL. Just saying. 

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3 minutes ago, marioho said:

@NinjaElmo please never change and never go away. Impressive nickname, avatar and post history. Wish you could be there for every eye-gouging argument there have been in this forum in the last month.

Back on topic I think that's something only an overview of a comprehensive data sample would truly give insight for a proper fix.

I have no idea what kind access to gameplay data Codemasters has nor how anonymized said data is, but if they managed to correlate the qualifying performance of a predetermined group of players (preferably players with no assists on wheels or minimal assists on a pad) across different tracks with the AI grid position they could probably catch all major deviations.

Just saying, @BarryBL. Just saying. 

Find it pretty impossible to believe CM don't look at Austria and know they need to work on the AI there. I have a 20 point difficulty swing between Australia and Austria.- 85-105 and I have driven Albert Park for 20 years, it's not a question of my performance. 

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Haha I wouldn't credit it exactly on a bad-good performance scale, @KNT2011. Please don't take offense!

I think it is more a case of different driving styles. Performance terms of skill still plays a significant role and that must be accounted for, specially when a player is still improving day after day. It's just that even when you have kind of saturated your skill range, your driving style will still impact how well you do on a given track. That's an unremovable factor with real drivers, imagine with players. 

A man's lovely and helpful oversteery setup is another man's nightmare.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, marioho said:

Haha I wouldn't credit it exactly on a bad-good performance scale, @KNT2011. Please don't take offense!

I think it is more a case of different driving styles. Performance terms of skill still plays a significant role and that must be accounted for, specially when a player is still improving day after day. It's just that even when you have kind of saturated your skill range, your driving style will still impact how well you do on a given track. That's an unremovable factor with real drivers, imagine with players. 

A man's lovely and helpful oversteery setup is another man's nightmare.

I do get what you're saying but it assumes CM must have difficulty perfectly balanced and all discrepancy comes from players, different styles, assists, etc. 

The truth is likely in the middle somewhere, but I don't agree that everything comes from player difference. I appreciate it's not an easy thing to do but it can certainly be improved by CM,  Austria is the smoking gun I'm afraid! 

and it has been like that for a few years now, certainly all of this gen... 

It can never be perfect, but CM certainly have the data that would allow them to bring it at least closer so that difficulty adjustment doesn't have to be such an overwhelming part of the game. 

I would remind that AI times in Catalunya are 3 seconds faster than 2019. The biggest jump between games, so they are clearly tweaking. 

Edited by KNT2011

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Not what I'm trying to say, sorry for not being clear. I'll sum up:

  • The AI performance is not uniform across all tracks and this definitely should be looked upon. It needs balancing. 
  • Though there is an imbalance we need to:
    • take our personal experience with a grain (or a kilo) of salt as not only our experiences differ from one another (v.g. Austria is freaking easy, peace of cake, Neymar dribbling through a field of Karen's cubs on Tuesday morning soccer practice for me) 
    • acknowledge that our set of skills plays a role in this. Maybe you're great with hairpins but can't hit your mark on long sustained corners and chicanes while I'm the complete opposite. Some degree of variation is expected even with a balanced difficulty level; we should not expect to always qualify in 4-6th or whatever across all the calendar as different tracks suits different driving styles.

I'm afraid Austria is not that hot smoking of a smoking gun.

 

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3 minutes ago, marioho said:

Not what I'm trying to say, sorry for not being clear. I'll sum up:

  • The AI performance is not uniform across all tracks and this definitely should be looked upon. It needs balancing. 
  • Though there is an imbalance we need to:
    • take our personal experience with a grain (or a kilo) of salt as not only our experiences differ from one another (v.g. Austria is freaking easy, peace of cake, Neymar dribbling through a field of Karen's cubs on Tuesday morning soccer practice for me) 
    • acknowledge that our set of skills plays a role in this. Maybe you're great with hairpins but can't hit your mark on long sustained corners and chicanes while I'm the complete opposite. Some degree of variation is expected even with a balanced difficulty level; we should not expect to always qualify in 4-6th or whatever across all the calendar as different tracks suits different driving styles.

I'm afraid Austria is not that hot smoking of a smoking gun.

 

It is frustrating as once you have the difficult set correctly for it, Austria is a blast of a race. You can try different strategies, you can score some great overtakes, it's always unpredictable weather wise, and if you're not careful and too into the racing you can go off the other side of the planet at Turn 1.  Not to mention it is a beautiful part of the world well realised by the artists. 

And I just feel for the players to whom it's just easy race on the calendar they can probably lap 2nd place as they don't spend time adjusting difficulties and will never know what it is capable of. 

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Well the AI in Hungary sure seems weak this year. In last year's game I had a top 3 car but could barely keep up with the midfield teams in the race (102% difficulty). This year in the same track (104% difficulty) in My Team mode I had the second worst car on the grid after Williams yet I scored a podium finish and overtook with ease many cars who were ahead of us in the performance chart (including Red Bull & Ferrari who had the second and third best cars). Maybe they nerfed the AI on this track or maybe this year's handling model suits my driving style better. At least now I know that I should raise the difficulty to 107 the next time I race there.

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Posted (edited)

The AI does not perform equally on every track but we don’t either!

Our driving style, our knowledge of the track, our way to brake and chain good corners, our personal preferences (I hate Monaco, Hanoi and Singapore and therefore have no interest of improving there, I removed them from the calendar), all this make a difference. I have the opportunity to drive IRL at Spa and being a Belgian I really love this circuit. I could raise my 80 level to 95 for this track. I know this track very well and I am very quick there.

You are going to tell me: which driving style suits better the AI? I don’t know but one thing needs to be considered: setups!

A setup is personal. Maybe you don’t get the good setup for a particular track that suits your driving style.

Speaking of setup, I’ve heard that the AI has a default setup. Is this setup adapted for every race and does it suit the driving style of the AI? This maybe an explanation why they perform differently on some tracks. Just an idea.

Edited by RS Phil
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2 hours ago, RS Phil said:

have the opportunity to drive IRL at Spa and being a Belgian I really love this circuit. I could raise my 80 level to 95 for this track. I know this track very well and I am very quick there.

I'm so envious my tongue gew thick in ma mouth. Spa is so beautiful and so cool to drive I'll probably make it one of my first tracks once I get a wheel. What manner of vehicle you drive up eau rouge & raidillon up there? Mate it could be a bicycle and I'd still be awe stuck with the story!

 

Anyway the AI has a set setup for all tracks if I'm not mistaken. A telemetry app can pretty much attest to that.

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22 minutes ago, marioho said:

drive up eau rouge & raidillon

Yeh quite impressive even when you take it with a small Renault Clio RS, you really feel your stomach mate. I know F1 take it flat out but it should be something really cool.

So if AI has a different setup per track, this could not explain the differences.

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