Artificial Intelligence in Racing Simulations

March 29, 2017

Long ago, now over eight years ago in fact, a couple books; Speed Secrets and A Twist of the Wrist got me thinking about approaching artificial intelligence in a completely different way. I had not much experience writing artificial intelligence, a tiny bit of pathfinding, decision trees, and a few other basic things that were class assignments or the such. Wouldn’t it be cool if the artificial driver had to work with the same knowledge and inputs as the player? You know, instead of directly moving the vehicle to the new location, the accelerator, brake and steering inputs would be used. The books also mentioned how important reference points are, so the driver should also use these!

I started a fairly epic thread on LFSForum that has evolved into my project log, but in the early days there were some difficulties explaining exactly what I wanted from the project, perhaps at the time I didn’t fully know or understand that myself. But over the years it has become more clear; this is a learning project, a brute force method to learning how to write and artificial driver. Is it the fastest driver, oh no- but getting faster. Is it optimized, ho ahahah – not at all. But it has presented me with numerous challenges that I’ve overcome and most of them with little to no research and just good old “thinking”. Which is what keeps this project going.

It has not been 8 years of constant work, there will be months of off time and then an idea pops in my head “what about …. “? and I build it out in my mind, get super excited and start working on a way to test out that idea. In the beginning it was a challenge just to collect the pertinent data. That evolved into a challenge to control the car in the LiveForSpeed racing simulator. The first time I got a car to move and aim at a cone (in a car park with nothing near) I threw my hands in the air with excitement. Unfortunately I don’t have footage or data available from these early days. The replays I had became corrupt over time.

I believe it would be a great exercise to go through the old history, pick out the most difficult challenges and victorious moments and bring them to life here in this blog. It is likely looking back upon this project could inspire new changes, make me reconsider old ideas, or at the very least bring the information to anyone interested. The trick is keeping it cohesive, as I want to write about current challenges as well as those in the past and that could get messy.

If you have ideas on how I should approach this, please let me know on @timbeaudet on twitter, or any other way you have to contact me.

Game Development Arena

December 9, 2016


No game development arena would be complete without a library of books, actually google does pretty well these days – but I also have a fair collection of table top games for those times when Read the rest of this entry »

Midway Point of 2016

June 25, 2016

June is wrapping up, meaning that the year is almost half over, or half the year is yet to come. Looking back at my goals for this year I’m on target for some, haven’t started others and in danger of completely failing some. As written at the start of the year my goals for the year were:

  • Keep at $2000mo for student loan payments. (on track to surpass)
  • Read at least 6 books, cover to cover. (have read 3 books, started 2 larger text books)
  • Write a blog post at least once every two weeks, weekly preferred. (clearly failed at writing in this blog)
  • Go camping/hiking and practice bushcraft / survival skills at least 6 times. (at least 6 nights spent outside already)
  • Participate in at least 2 full racing seasons in iRacing. (one full season complete)
  • Complete 7 of 12 OneGameAMonth games. (failed to submit a single entry, but LD35 would count as 1)
  • Catch up TurtleBrains documentation, and create a sample game project. (still need to create sample and documentation)
  • Get three developers to try TurtleBrains and collect feedback. (still need to create sample and documentation)
  • Earn at least $1 from hobby/personal game development efforts. (made no real effort yet towards this)
  • Do art everyday for at least 30 consecutive days. (made no real effort yet towards this)

Being halfway through the year, a few of these are complete wipes. I haven’t had nearly as much time for hobby/personal development as I had last year. So TurtleBrains has suffered as have the 1GAM projects. I would like to get at least a single developer to try the framework but it really does need high level documentation first. It looks like this won’t be the year I make money from my personal development efforts either, although I won’t give up just yet. I nearly finished a second season in iRacing but life got busy and took time away for several weeks, I may just let that one lay where it is, or I may race in season 2016S4.

I haven’t done much art at all, and honestly I really should give that a solid attempt. I may change it a little bit though, to include graphics programming. This could be shaders, animation, shadows or other engine technologies that could help ZoomCarWorld3 come to life. This might be stretching the definition of “art” a little, but I think it works to my larger goal of creating a racing simulator. As such I am also modifying the 1GAM projects to be either a smaller sized game project (24 hours or so in size/scope), or a technical demo/simulation much like my Double-Wishbone Suspension Simulation that I am still working on simulating.

The  TurtleBrains goals may be a wash for the year as my primary focus is moving forward on my racing simulator with the first basic playable of ZoomCarWorld3 hopefully being semi-playable this year.

Goodbye to 2015

December 31, 2015

Looking Back

I have managed to lose the list of goals I set out for during 2015, my old racing team forum has now disappeared and all the information was lost. A bit unfortunate since my yearly goals have been kept there since 2009. I know that my financial goal for my student loans was not only met but exceeded! I failed at my writing and reading goals, although I did read a handful of books and wrote a lot of documentation for Read the rest of this entry »

Building Monitor Stand

September 9, 2015

20150905_srs_01_beforeI’ve been racing with 22″ monitors (pictured above) for nearly 8 years now, The ol’ Acers held up fairly well, though power boards were replaced on two of them and recently one developed a dead line of green pixels. I had not realized, until very recently, that the virtual world had been Read the rest of this entry »