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October 04, 2022, 03:05:08 PM


MX Bikes beta17e available! :)

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Topics - Some_Doofus

I've had several things on my mind about some key physics issues and the general state of development at the moment, and I think they all need addressing. Starting with the physics issues...

While testing some new tyres I made some discoveries about the ground physics of the game, specifically the issue of being able to bar drag on a flat corner. For a long while I thought this issue was caused by the traction model having too much grip, allowing you to lean all the way over without sliding out like on tarmac irl. But while testing a tyre with very low grip I found this wasn't the case. Here's a video to demonstrate:

Despite having almost no traction, you can still bar drag on flat ground. So obviously the issue isn't traction. Rather, it's more likely due to the "legs simulation" holding the bike up at unnatural angles (thanks to Ruubs for bringing this to my attention initially, he's known about this for ages and has asked for fixes multiple times in the past). From my experience the legs simulation causes a lot of weird "slow physics" behaviour, like the bike flopping from side to side without falling, standing itself back up after falling over, drifting across the ground on it's side, allowing you slide sideways while upright without high siding, allowing you to land jumps completely sideways without high siding, I could go on. Basically it stops the bike from falling over in many situations when it absolutely should. It does make the game easier and less punishing in a lot of ways, but sometimes it causes the bike to behave unnaturally and actually makes things harder. So I propose some major reworks to the legs simulation to fix this.

Legs simulation should be either disabled or heavily toned down at any speed above walking speed. It does make sense to allow it when riding very slow so simulate the rider putting his leg down, but this could still lead to a lot of weird behaviour and typical slow physics issues, so I'd even tone it down or adjust it at slow speeds. At medium to high speeds it should be largely disabled. This will mean flat corners will become entirely dependant on traction and body positioning, and landing sideways will make you high side and fall off realistically. The game will be a lot more difficult with it disabled in this way, but it will be a simpler physics system overall, and once you learn to balance yourself properly it will be more predictable and realistic. I think it's a necessity in the pursuit of realism because this heavy use of the legs simulation seems to be doing the lion's share of holding the bike upright instead of relying on player inputs and tyre traction. Irl the only things holding the bike up at any given time are the combined effects of traction and rider balance. Take either of those away and the bike will fall. Evidently that's not how the game functions at the moment. EDIT: Also, calling it legs "simulation" isn't exactly accurate because irl the legs don't do anything to hold the bike up unless you're stopped. So i'd say if the goal is a simulator, this "simulation" needs to be removed.

Of course, making these changes will mean more reliance on the traction model, and because that still needs a lot of work as well you're likely to slide a lot more until then. I'd suggest some changes will have to be made to the "intelligent" virtual rider to help manage this. At the moment, the way the virtual rider corrects oversteer can often make it worse. Here's another clip demonstrating that:

Obviously this is a serious issue. The way the virtual rider is able to steer the bars in an attempt to stabilise the bike actually makes the situation worse more often than not. It's the reason we have never been able to do hill climbs in this game, which is just absurd for a dirtbike simulator. Following the trend of my previous suggestions, I and others believe the way to fix this is to make the rider physics more simple rather than more complex. Remove the virtual rider "intelligence" and replace it with a simple, unscripted spring and damper system on the bars, so unless the front wheel is on the ground, the front wheel will simply return to a straight position. Ruubs explained this idea in the discord the other day:

"AFAIK, the 'virtual rider' has 'intelligence' of what to do with the handlebars. This virtual rider also turns the handlebars to achieve the bike lean angle we put in on our joystick (direct lean). What I'm trying to say is that as far as I know, the virtual rider has 'logic' for when to turn the bar and when not to

"I don't think the virtual rider should have much hard-coded 'intelligent-logic'. The fact that the virtual rider is aware of the front grip and does actions depending on this sounds very unpredictable and 'clunky' (and that's kinda how MXB's front end feels to me)

"What I think is a better way to keep the front-end stable, is a spring and damping system on the front-end/handlebars. The damper would dampen any sort of forces on the front-end and could be seen as the rider's arms absorbing the forces. This will help in situations where the front-end/handlebars tend to lock-out easily now, like at sharp terrain transitions.
The spring would basically be the virtual rider which at all times tries to keep the handlebars straight. This obviously means that the forces which the rider applies to turn the bars should be increased due to having to work against this spring. But I don't think that's a problem."

These two mechanics appear to be the cause of the most significant physics issues that have plagued the game since its inception. Us long time players have been asking for these issues to be fixed, or at least investigated, for years, yet still they remain. We've already offered a lot of feedback and potential fixes for a lot of the physics issues, and we tend to know our stuff because most of us have been riding irl for years, but most of this feedback is just refused or ignored with no elaboration. Ruubs, Insane, Jesse, myself and many others know a lot about the physics of riding a bike on dirt, and not to offend, but with your background being in road bikes you could use our insight.

Honestly, we are starting to lose patience. We know the pandemic and life in general has made development very difficult, but it's incredibly disheartening to see you putting time into unimportant things like freestyle tricks, particle effects and backfire sounds instead of fixing the fundamental issues the game has had forever. The community does so much for this game, giving it an endless stream of free content to attract new players and keep existing ones interested, but there's only so much we can do ourselves. We have even resorted to trying to make a full set of new tyres to make the inadequate traction model manageable on each different soil type, but this is difficult because we're working blind with values we don't understand. Collectively we have put thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours into making content and organising the community for this game, yet development seems slow and misguided with minimal communication of what's even happening. It's getting very hard to justify putting this amount of time, effort and money into a game that will supposedly never be fixed. And now there are other games on the horizon with very active and transparent developers who implement player feedback the day they hear it. They're in very early days now, but give them a year and at this rate their games will be easily competing with MXB.

I hate to say it, but the bottom line is this: if we don't start to see either progress in fixing the major issues in the game or at least much greater communication of what's going on behind the scenes, many long time players and modders will leave for other projects. And without the free bike packs, tracks, skins and web services provided by these people the rest of the player base will soon follow. So please, use these points as valuable constructive criticism and spend some good time fixing these major issues with the physics and the netcode, or if that's not possible, tell us why not.

I wish you all the best

- The Community
Suggestions and wishlist / Mod file size optimization
September 07, 2020, 06:10:30 PM
I've always thought the way paints for bikes and gear are handled is pretty poorly optimised, but crunching some numbers on my last KTM skin I've realised it's worse than I thought.

The issue comes up when your skin has multiple colourways with the same base/normals/reflection, and even worse when these skins are put in multiple bikes folders.

For example, for my last KTM skin I had the diffuse for the livery, metals and 2t engine, with normals and reflection maps for each one, along with wheels and chain which I didn't touch, which is 11 files for 1 skin (could be more with stand etc.). I had 4 colourways, and put them on all of the 6 KTMs, so all up thats 264 files totaling 822mb. The issue is the vast majority of these files are just copies. All the norms, reflections, 2t engine, wheels and chain files are the same for every skin. The only thing I changed for each one was the livery and metals diffuse. So really, there's only 17 unique files (~40mb when packed) and 247 unnecessary copies.

My suggestion is we use a base skin that has all the norms, reflection, metals etc. and have separate files for different colourways that only contain the files that are different from the base (livery/metals diffuse). On top of this we could pair each skin with a config file that tells the game which bikes can use the skin, so in the file you have a list of the compatible bikes and a true/false option for each bike. This way you would only need one copy of each skin but could still use it on every compatible bike.

I know this would require a lot of work from devs/content creators/players to implement, but with mods folders getting up to 50+GB for some people I think it's worth looking into. It would allow us to download a lot more mods which encourages creators and we'd be able to see everyone looking sexy online too, which is the main reason I have so many mods downloaded.

I also think that this should come with some improvements to the sorting of mods ingame. When you've got heaps installed it gets messy and hard to find specific skins. I'd like to see filters or sorting options or more categories, and a favourites function would be very useful.
I've mentioned this on discord already but figured it would be better posted here.

After working on a new font for my KTM skin I noticed a few things that I didn't like about the way custom numbers work. First of all, they have no proper shading or reflections that I could see because they're applied as a separate layer on top of the graphics. I thought this could be fixed if the numbers were applied under the normal map of the bike or gear so they show the same shading and reflections. This would integrate the numbers into the skins much better and would encourage people to use these numbers instead of making their own on PS which nobody else can see online.

Second of all, I would like to see more options to customise the position of numbers on bikes and gear when making a font. At the moment we can only change the basic X/Y positions of the numbers in the fonts config file, however we can't change the angle of the numbers and only have very limited control over the spacing between the numbers. Even when exporting the tgas with no gaps between the numbers and setting the spacing to exactly the width of the numbers there is still a large gap between each one in game. We should be able to make the gap as small as we like to make more compact looking fonts.

Another issue, at least with the current KTM model, is that the numbers on the side plates are in different positions on each side (see screenshots). Even though I've spent hours making sure my plates are symmetrical the numbers don't sit in the same place on both sides, meaning on one side the numbers are in the right position and on the other the numbers overlap the logos and such. The obvious fix for this would be to update the model and fix the number placement properly, but it would be good to have the option to change the coordinates of each side separately so we could fix it ourselves.

Lastly, and I'm not really sure why this happens or if it can be fixed, but if you move the numbers too far in one direction they get to a point where they will stretch across the graphics (see screenshots). This severely limits the range of customisation you have, and for any kits with slightly unorthodox number positions (like mine) it makes it very hard to get it right. It would be very useful to see this limit expanded to the entire side plate so numbers can be placed anywhere on them.

Hopefully these are all relatively easy fixes/additions, and I know there are bigger issues that should be focused on first, but this would be nice to see done soon.