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05-06-2009, 04:28 PM,
I think using elements such as throttle control (similar to TCS) and some modification of steering input filtering during a drift could make an optional auto-drift mode that could be really fun to play.

I'll go further into my idea and talk a little about the way that I think Mario Kart Wii implements this in later posts, but wanted to go ahead and open up the discussion and see if others are interested in such a feature.

05-06-2009, 09:22 PM,
I kind of doubt mario kart wii does much in the way of physical modeling or complicated control algorithms... but I'm interested in your thoughts.
05-07-2009, 03:01 AM,
Well, I didn't really mean to imply that...

Mario Kart Wii's drift mode is very scripted, but in a way that provides for different karts/bikes to behave differently during a drift. The most notable thing about "manual drifting" on MKW is that during a drift the input is filtered so as to give the illusion of counter-steering and allows the player to have a limited effect on the direction of the drift, instead of it being totally scripted.

An auto-drift mode for VDrift might do some of the following things:
  • use components of the drift scoring algorithm to determine if the player is trying to drift
  • once this has been determined, gradually turn on "drift assistance" which does partial throttle modulation and steering control
  • throttle modulation would be similar to TCS, but instead of inhibiting wheel spin it would control it to a certain drifting-optimal range (not too little, not too much*, and smooth out any harsh throttle blips)
  • steering control, similarly, would inhibit steering except within a certain optimal range (counter-steering)
  • the player still has control over the steering and throttle, but within the optimal range determined by the throttle modulation/steering control systems
* The ideal wheel slip ranges for drifting a given car might best be determined through trial and error and stored as car settings

A couple of game options would be needed:
  • toggle: enable auto-drift
  • slider: auto-drift max steering control (0% - 100%)
  • slider: auto-drift max throttle control (0% - 100%)
The latter two options would be used as scalars to tweak the performance of auto-drift, basically, how much does it limit the player's input to the optimal values versus how much control is left to the player.

This would be useful for AI drifting, which would basically use the same input filtering, perhaps set at 100% for both steering and throttle control. It would also help players learn how to drift, and encourage/reward them more (making the game more fun to play). For players who don't want it, auto-drift could simply be turned off.
05-07-2009, 07:48 PM,
Sounds reasonable, the only thing I'm not sure about is when to engage/disengage the special control modes in a way that wouldn't confuse the player... needs some prototyping.
05-08-2009, 04:23 AM,
That will take some playing around with to get right. There are a few options:
  • make a control assigned to starting the drift, give the player full control
  • make the game detect the player's intention to drift, by looking for things like the player hitting the throttle through a turn, or trail braking
  • some mix of the above two - instead of having a separate control to start a drift, just look for the player to brake too hard and steer too far to one side
  • give some kind of visual feedback to the player so they can know that some assistance is occurring
A little more about MKW - to start a drift the player press/releases the B button (trigger on the bottom of the wii remote). For the standard MKW controls B is jump, drift, brake, and reverse, depending on what you're doing. If you're standing still then B goes in reverse, if you're moving then it does a hop and then brakes, if you're moving and turning it does a hop and then starts to drift. So basically to drift, you start turning and then hop and hold down the button. This is when the changes I described in input filtering begin to take effect, the steering is reversed and limited or focused on a small range of directions. To give visual feedback, blue sparks start to fly out of the rear tire(s) of the kart/bike.

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