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Subject: How to Simulate Tire Wear in a Game rss

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Chris Intres
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I'm working on a NASCAR inspired racing game and I was wondering about how tire wear should be simulated. I want it to be at a certain amount of laps the tires will slow so that the number of spaces on the track are lessened.

Should I have a certain line on the track that is used when that amount of laps is completed (like a line of red dashes or something around the track in each racing line that slows down the car a bit)?

Then following that, you can get a bit of an advantage while the other guys are on the pit or to get a lap back, after a couple of laps after the red line is used, should I have like "Tire deck" of cards that has some cards like "Flat", "Blown Tire" and "slow leak" that influence their car and force them to pit?

I'm still not sure. Maybe once I get everything set up I can get some feedback with some play testing from you guys.

Anyway, let me know what you think about what I told you so far. Thanks.
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Marshall Miller
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I would have a track with multiple spaces. You move up on the "tire" track spaces for every change in speed and for every lap. That way you are wearing your tires by braking, accelerating, and over time. I think a deck would be too random, but that's me. I think it should force you to pit stop as soon as possible and slow you down.
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Pete Belli
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Not too sure about recording tire wear (sounds like a pain in the exhaust pipe) but the best way to simulate random events in an auto racing game (in my opinion) is a spinner.

A spinner fits the mechanics (pun intended) of a vehicle racing game because cars "spin" out of control during a race. It is fun, it is simple, and it works.



This is an image from my Duel in the Desert off-road Baja racing game. See the spinner? The gray and white shaded areas can perform different functions depending on the situation. One spinner is used for collisions, tire problems, and driving over rough terrain. Quick & dirty but it flows like high octane gas into a carburetor.

Good Luck with your prototype!
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Chris Intres
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The randomness of the deck is supposed to simulate the way the tires actually perform when they are worn. I can't tell you how many races I've watched that a cars tires are just a bit worn and suddenly blow out with no warning whatsoever.

I guess I'm trying to put in a risk vs. reward system that the player has to calculate into their descisions as to pit or try to get that extra bit of a lead.
 
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Marshall Miller
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Perhaps a die would work better. More funtional than a spinner, but to make it a potentially profitable position, you'd need enough sides to justify needing symbols for the outcome (lots of blanks, some negative effects).
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Abraham Drucker
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Mease19 wrote:
Perhaps a die would work better. More funtional than a spinner, but to make it a potentially profitable position, you'd need enough sides to justify needing symbols for the outcome (lots of blanks, some negative effects).


You could also use a chart and dice. if the tire is good, then you need to roll snake-eyes and the tire blows. If the tire is bad, then any roll under 5 blows the tire. If the tire is really bad, then any roll under 9 blows them.

To go with the card idea, you could have the deck that is mostly 'tires ok' with a few bad cards e.g. 'flat' thrown in. The number of cards you pick could depend on the state of your tires. If your tires are ok, you pick 1 per lap, if you tires are old, you take 3 per lap etc.... You can work it so that there is always a chance for a blowout- but it goes up as the age of your tires increases. This still could lead to some unlucky card-taking, but if you stack the deck hard enough, and vary the odds enough, it should roughly even out.

Or go with the spinner idea and vary the number of spins.
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Kenneth Sheffield
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This is a hard question for me to answer without knowing how the rest of the game will work, for example, you seem to have a track/board. How many "player turns" (PT) will it take to make a lap? How often do you want the players to check for a tire incident? Most (definitely not ALL) tire wear occurs in the corners so maybe have them check only when starting a PT in a corner.

I like the outside lane idea - how about this - Tires a good for X laps after a pit. Once that window closes, his tires are worn. If the driver needs to change lanes it must be toward the outside. Once he's in the outtermost lane, if he should need to change lanes again, he hits the wall (include whatever effect that entails).

The driver must roll a 2d6 every time he starts a PT in a corner space. Each die is treated seperately, once a player rolls his second "6", his tire blows. Perhaps if he already has a "6" and then rolls a "5" before pitting, his tire is going down and he must "limp" to the pits.

I'm a NASCAR junkie and a statistician and I'd love to playtest for you!



RowdyRodimus wrote:
I'm working on a NASCAR inspired racing game and I was wondering about how tire wear should be simulated. I want it to be at a certain amount of laps the tires will slow so that the number of spaces on the track are lessened.

Should I have a certain line on the track that is used when that amount of laps is completed (like a line of red dashes or something around the track in each racing line that slows down the car a bit)?

Then following that, you can get a bit of an advantage while the other guys are on the pit or to get a lap back, after a couple of laps after the red line is used, should I have like "Tire deck" of cards that has some cards like "Flat", "Blown Tire" and "slow leak" that influence their car and force them to pit?

I'm still not sure. Maybe once I get everything set up I can get some feedback with some play testing from you guys.

Anyway, let me know what you think about what I told you so far. Thanks.
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Brad Johnson
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pete belli wrote:
Not too sure about recording tire wear (sounds like a pain in the exhaust pipe) but the best way to simulate random events in an auto racing game (in my opinion) is a spinner.


I certainly respect your design (better than anything I've done, which is nothing ), but I think a spinner is a terrible game component - they just never seem to work right, and even if they do, they usually wear out quickly and/or break.
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Jack Neal
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Do it like bowling dice - anytime a nail or something comes up, your tire goes down a level - from green to yellow, yellow to red, red to flat.
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Simon Stump
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How about this: You keep track of the number of laps, and then after you have gone 3 laps, at the start of each turn you draw a card. Each card has a number, and an event. If you have traveled at least the number of laps on the card, the event happens, otherwise it is ignored. For example, "6+ Blowout," if you were on your 4th lap, nothing would happen, but if this was your 7th lap, you'd be in trouble.

Alternatively, you could roll 2d6 at the start of each turn, and if the number was less than the number of laps, something bad could happen (and I like the green, yellow, read idea).
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Rod Peters
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I also have a Nascaresque game on the back burner. Not sure exactly what you are looking for, but some of the mechanics I have considered are speed in corners (particularly speeds above a 'rated' safe corner speed), how the car is set up in pit (wedge, tire pressures, etc).

Each factor affects tire wear more or less significantly depending on how the car is configured and/or driven. All tire wear is applied each time the car crosses the start/finish line. The new tire status may prompt the driver to pit for tires or may simply affect car handling depending on how badly worn they are.
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Dan Keith
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I have a MotoGP game in the works and looked into this issue myself. In my game I needed 3 things tire wear, engine wear and rider endurance. I don't know if tire wear is all your tracking. In my case I decided to move tire wear in with engine wear as a total. The faster you take a corner and the sharper your angle of turn causes tire wear, possible endurance loss and a "save" to avoid wrecking based on speed vs radius of turn and current bike"durability(the combined engine/tire). This is tracked on a sheet in front of each rider with a peg.

If your tracking all of these things (each tire and the engine) I think your going to capture more of the real race feel. Having each tire breakdown on its own lets you make pit choices like getting 4 fresh or just your outter 2 etc like a real pit crew. However this all depends on how heavy or light your going for.
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Mark Jimenez
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I'm not sure to what detail you would like to simulate wear.

A good driver should be able to take a better line, squeezing out more mm of tire than a less skilled driver. And on the other side, more aggressive driving probably contributes to more wear.

Since you're running NASCAR, you get the law of large numbers on tire wear. Apparently some parts of some tracks are more susceptible to a tire blow out that others - a quick google search shows turn 4 on Texas Motor Speedway to have higher blown tire rates that other parts. This would be good research, if you would like to incorporate that level of detail in your game.

A good research in the variables of NASCAR tire wear might be in order.

Good luck in your game!
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Dan Keith
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There is a large can of worms when going for tire details. A hard compound tire wears slower but takes longer to warm up causing more slip early on until the heat gets them sticking well. Softer tires heat faster and give you good grip early but wear more and fade faster as a race goes on. Add in rain tires and the myriad variations and you have alot going on. Now in NASCAR I thought I saw something about drivers all using the same tires with no options but I don't know if they have any choice at all. A fan would of which I am not.
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Mark Jimenez
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Your thoughts on a deck and levels of wear started me thinking about Pandemic.

Say you have 50 cards. Separate into 5 piles of 10. In 4 of the piles, shuffle in a "bad" card (representing increasing level of tire wear).

Stack these 4 piles on top of each other. Then put (on top of this stack), the 5th clean stack. This gives you some clean run time with the fresh tire, then some uncertainty as you pull cards from the deck.

For any 2 "dirty" stacks of 10, the 2 bad cards could be right next to each other (the top stack has the bad card at the bottom, and the bottom stack has the bad card at top), or have 18 cards between them.

I'm not sure what you would do at each level, but each level would probably contribute to less efficient handling of driving events and increased probability of a bad event.

If the driver pits, the stack is "reset". I suppose the bad side of this is that each driver would need their own deck (not attracted to this part).

Maybe another way to do this would be to have an opponent track wear, and reporting on a tire event given some random factor (e.g. die roll), with overlapping effects on the levels.

e.g. say there are 5 levels (all overlapping). A tire event happens, so opponent rolls a die, subtracts some points, and reports event Y (perhaps this represents a "minor slip"). The problem is, the driver doesn't know if "minor slip" is at the bottom of level 5, or the top of level 4 (due to the overlap).

Of course, I'm not keen on the opponent knowing your exact tire wear point. But something needs to "know" where you stand exactly with tire wear, and it can't be the driver. A perl script (or other computer tracking) can do this, but that's unattractive too. That's why I mentioned the Pandemic mechanic.

I'm trying to figure out a way to simulate this:

Assume the tire has a fixed set of "wear points". The challenge would be to simulate that even though this value is known, the driver doesn't know exactly how close he/she is to the final end wear point. However, the driver has some clues. At some range of wear, the car is known to act with increasing level of unresponsiveness. However, there are some minute variables (probably not fun in simulating in a game) of unknown quantity that contribute to wear.

The driver should be given the decision to test approaching this value at some hidden rate by deciding when to pit, and how aggressive the driving should be (i.e. pushing his/her luck), risking complete blow out versus a change in position.
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Dan Keith
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If there are driver checks for various things you can use "zones" of wear. Tires start with a total in Green zone and as you wear you would move down zones making it harder and harder to make your check. A failed check would simulate the "unknown" aspect. While never knowing when tires may fail you would know the odds were turn against you by the "zone" you were in.
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Chris Intres
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I appreciate all the replies. I like most of the ideas, so I've kind of cobbled together a rough plan like this-

1) Each player has a "Scoring track" to keep track of laps, info on the card will be color coded to the number of laps in the race (i.e. green, yellow, red)

2) Depending on the number of laps to be run (we'll say 20 for this example) laps 1-8 will be green, 9-17 will be yellow and 18-20 will be red.

3) The deck of cards will be seperated into 3 stacks based on the color.

*Green- Mostly harmless cards with the occasional blowout or wreck type card involved, mainly though the "bad stuff" on the card might put you one lap back.

*Yellow- Still pretty harmless, but with the increased chances of being put out of the race (only in more than two player games, in two player games it just puts you laps back)

*Red- Mostly bad, with the occasional harmless card thrown in.

Now, I know a lot of people will hate the fact that it's a roll and move (it seems that's pretty much the only way a racing game can work), but what I'm trying to do is have the track itself like a grid, where certain lines are faster and you have to dig in the corners to pick up speed for the straightaways. The outside lanes on the straights are larger grids so you get more speed that way, but you have to slow a bit to take the corners right since in the turns the grid is the opposite and the inside track has the larger grids and the outside has the smaller ones.

So for the actual racing, I figure a d20 would work, then for pitting you can either give up one turn or try rolling a d8 and make the pits 5 spaces (Which means you might not make it to your pit box in one turn), so you can try to get out on the track during your turn or take the safe route and just give up your turn.

For the track itself, I'm thinking of either a grid or overlapping hexes. The hexes may work better to give me the different lanes I'm trying to achieve.

Anyway, that's what I have so far. Let me hear how bad it sounds.
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Marshall Miller
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RowdyRodimus wrote:

Now, I know a lot of people will hate the fact that it's a roll and move (it seems that's pretty much the only way a racing game can work)...


What about a set of speed cards that come up (1 per player) and players bid with tire points to obtain the most advantageous card, fast for straight, slow to get around turns. The tire points advance the player on the tire track and makes them move up to harder tire damage decks. Perhaps it would be worth moving very little on the straightaway to force someone else to take a high card and overshoot a turn (read crash, sideswipe, or at least grid the rail). Players could also take body damage for collisions and overshot turns.

[edit]

Having two damage systems would let the game model metal and rubber. Metal is your car body and engine which get damaged when you collide with things. Having a pretty car could get you better sponsors and better track crews, hence faster pit stops. Rubber is your brakes, belts and tires which take wear when you accelerate, decelerate, and over time. The more your rubber items wear down, the more likely you are to crash and the less versatile your car, hence lower bid amounts to avoid harsher tire damage decks, hence worse chance of high cards on straightaways and low cards for turns.
 
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Philip Migas
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I personally feel you have too many statistics about tire wear. A driver does not know when there tires are going to pop. They may feel that their tires need changed soon but it’s not a statistic, it is more of a feel.

Personally I would have one deck of cards. Once on their turn, or depending on there board space, the player must draw a tire card. The card would go face up in front of them. The card would have 2 parts. The top would be a number say 1 through 4. The bottom would have an event.

Example events:
1. Top: 2, Bottom: If your tire cards add up to 10 your tire immediately pops.
2. Top: 1, Bottom: If your tire cards add up to 6 reduce your speed by 2 until your next tire change.
3. Top: 1, Bottom: Draw another Tire card if you are on a turn.
4. Top: 0, Bottom: No wear.
5. Top: 1, Bottom: Slight wear.

This way you do not know when your tire will fail. It could be the next card or it could be in 3 cards. This will add some drama and brinkmanship to the tires. A tire change can then be 1 tire (remove 1 card), 2 Tires (2 cards) or 4 wheels (all cards). You could add a pit stop timing on the card removals. I would do it this way to reduce die rolls and record keeping.

In response to the rest of your post: You do not have to use dice for a racing game. Cards, spinners, tiles or throwing sticks on the board can give just as much randomness as dice. Many racing games do use dice. Dice is a quick and easy way to simulate driver skills. I personally think that in NASCAR the car does 90% of the work. That would mean only 10% of the cars movement would need to be rolled. Really you could have the movement set by the car and the roll to just determine who gets to move their car first in a round.

I also hope you have looked at PitchCar

Good luck with the game.
 
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Kenneth Sheffield
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No disrespect but in what way does pitchcar simulate NASCAR? If you you saying the discs are all the same so it's driver skill that makes the difference, might buy that. But it doesn't sound at all like what the OP is going for.

I do like you tire mechanism.
 
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Philip Migas
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You are right, Pitchcar has nothing to do with NASCAR. But it does show a way to make a racing game that does not rely on dice. It captures the suspense of racing better than many other racing games. Any newer racing games should take into consideration similar games that are currently successful.
 
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Marshall Miller
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I guess no one liked bidding tire points to get distance cards...
 
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Kenneth Sheffield
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Actually not bad, no reason it couldn't work with the other ideas.
 
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