Forza Motorsport 7

Inside Forza Motorsport 7's Race Regulations: A Genre-Defining Learning System

Article By 
Alan Walsh
December 13, 2018
Forza Motorsport 7

Inside Forza Motorsport 7's Race Regulations: A Genre-Defining Learning System

Article By 
Alan Walsh
December 13, 2018

Forza Race Regulations is designed to promote and encourage fair, clean and competitive racing on Forza Motorsport 7. The system is being developed by Turn 10 Studios to not just penalize dirty drivers, but to also help educate newcomers to the Forza franchise who are unfamiliar with the rules of professional racing and competitive motorsport. In the latest episode of the Forza Monthly broadcast show, developers from Turn 10 Studios offered a first-look, deep-dive into the upcoming race adjudication system, which is slated to arrive into Forza Motorsport 7 in 2019.

To walk viewers through the upcoming feature, Turn 10’s Community Manager Brian Ekberg was joined by Creative Director Chris Esaki, Multiplayer Design Director Elliott Lyons, and Art Director Scott Lee. The version of Forza Race Regulations shown on stream used an internal rule-set, which was curated more towards the developer environment rather than retail versions. The whole purpose of this wasn’t to focus on the overall nitty-gritty of the type of penalties handed out to drivers, but rather offer a first-look preview of the system and showcase how it performs live on-track adjudication.

Forza Race Regulations uses a severity system to detect and adjudicate questionable and dirty racing tactics used on the track. For example, if you cut the corner or chicane and collide into another driver, your severity level will be increased, and this will lead to some form of a penalty, based on the overall severity of your actions. These include time penalties that could drop your final result position and thus see reduced rewards, on-track ghosting to prevent further collisions and incidents, and even a full disqualification from the race. The latter of these will allow you to continue driving, but your finishing position won’t matter in the overall race results as you’ll be thrusted to the bottom of the leaderboard.

With Forza Race Regulations able to detect cut corners and skipped chicanes, the team at Turn 10 Studios have been able to remove unnecessary tire-walls from circuits – resulting in cleaner, nicer and more realistic track environments with less room for collision. The example shown on stream revealed the tire wall at the main chicane in Monza has been removed – and cutting this will lead to a harsh penalty of 30 seconds that will greatly impact your finishing time. Of course, this will naturally be fine-tuned and updated ahead of release, but that’s one example of how your actions on the track will lead to severe punishment.

The updated mini-leaderboard to the left of the screen will now cycle between drivers ahead of you or behind you and those who have received time penalties or disqualification. Meanwhile, the newly-revamped opponent labels introduced with the Forza Motorsport 7 December Update show penalty times applied to drivers, if any. They will also notify you of whether a driver has been disqualified from a race, offering a clear and concise look at the overall status of any drivers ahead of you.

One of the new HUD elements shown on the livestream included the Severity Metre, which Turn 10 has yet to decide if it will be present once the feature ships – or kept exclusively behind-the-scenes for the game to utilize. The Severity Metre offers a quick glance at whether your driving has been clean or dirty throughout the race. If you’ve caused several collisions and have cut numerous corners, then you’ll have a high severity level – leading to a significant time penalty and even disqualification from the race. Forza Race Regulations does not use a 3-strike rule or anything like that. Instead, it’s all based on the severity of what you do, and this is what leads to the penalties you receive, as well as their overall stiffness – and this is all represented by your current level displayed on the Severity Metre. The more you do that’s considered wrong, the stiffer the penalties will be.

The overall specifics of penalties handed out based their severity has yet to be sorted. This is still an aspect Turn 10 remains focused on internally, but because Forza Race Regulations is being built as a server-level feature, it allows the developer to adjust the system based on feedback once it’s in the hands of the public without shipping an entirely new content update. This means Forza Race Regulations will evolve overtime and Turn 10 even has various presets for the system. This means you can have easy rules with minimal penalties all the way up to esports standards as seen in the Forza Racing Championship.

Right now, Turn 10 is focused on delivering Forza Race Regulations for the online multiplayer experience. Whilst the developer can enable it for Free Play or the Forza Driver’s Cup if it decides to, the focus for now is on multiplayer and the compeititve community – and then expand this feature to more areas of the game overtime. Forza Race Regulations is very much a progressive-based system, which is why we saw the new track limits go out in August to allow drivers to acclimatize to them. This was then followed by the updated HUD elements and the new opponent labels, allowing players to adopt to this overhauled system. The next phase is all about introducing the actual penalties and race adjudication system itself.

Forza Race Regulations is “not a one and done scenario,” as Chris Esaki put it during the broadcast. This is a feature that has taken years to come together – and it’s a feature that’s been in the works for more than 12 months already. Forza Race Regulations has been built to become part of the “Forza Motorsport DNA” moving forward. It’s an aspect of the game that’s now fundamental to the franchise and the team has longer-term plans for this feature.

Esaki noted how Turn 10 even has a Machine Learning specialist developing a system that allows Forza Race Regulations to determine intent from accidental collision. There’s a lot of aspects of this adjudication system that might not show up on day one or even a full year on from release, but rather years down the road after millions of hours of AI learning on how players are getting penalties and whether they were at fault or not. What Turn 10 Studios is building with Forza Race Regulations is “a genre-defining learning system.” One that will continue to improve and expand in the future. It’s one of the new fundamentals that’s crucial to Forza Motorsport 7.

What this means, however, is that Turn 10 won’t get every aspect of Forza Race Regulations perfected from day one. There might be issues or aspects that don’t fully make sense. Perhaps overly severe penalties, or maybe penalties that aren’t severe enough for endurance racing. The system has been designed and built to be updated and changed overtime based on fan-feedback. It’s been a long time in the making and as noted before, Turn 10 Studios has been preparing players for the upcoming adjudication system in its recent content updates for Forza Motorsport 7.

The overall goal of Forza Race Regulations is to make people better drivers and to deliver compeititve online racing experiences that are clean, fun and fair. Esaki teased that Turn 10 Studios has partnerships in the works and is making investments in helping drivers to become better racers and to educate them in terms of what’s right and wrong when racing on the track – almost like a “driving school” idea of sorts. Obviously, the developer had no official announces to share on this front yet, but it’s something the team are actively looking into.

Forza Race Regulations won’t just be beneficial to online racing and the ForzaRC esports series, however, as Turn 10 has confirmed that users will be able to take advantage of the feature in Private Lobbies. Whether you’re playing with friends or participating in an open lobby, this will ensure the overall racing is competitive and clean with a fair outcome.

Elsewhere, Turn 10 still has a lot to think about when it comes to implementing the Forza Race Regulations feature and how it evolves moving forward. For example, do they keep dirty drivers separate from clean players or should compeititve players be matched to each other and not those who are less-skilled. It’s these ideas that the developer must consider as it moves forward with evolving the Forza Race Regulations system.

This has undeniably been a transformative year for Turn 10 Studios and Forza Motorsport 7. The title has received new content updates on a monthly cadence introducing new features, cars and experiences into the game. Between the all-new force-feedback model for wheel users to the redrawn track limits and the new drifting experience, there’s been a lot of core fundamentals in Forza Motorsport 7 which have been revamped and modernized over the past year.

However, this story doesn’t end here. In 2019, the Forza Race Regulations system arrives into Forza Motorsport 7 with in-race adjudication and live penalties, but as we know, it will evolve and continue to improve in the future – like all other aspects of the game that are now considered “fundamentals” to the franchise. Turn 10 is also working on a rebuilt Drivatar AI system that will see opponents drive with more realism and skill in single-player races – with the ability to push the difficulty all the way up to ForzaRC standards. Beyond that, the Experimental Drag feature will also evolve too – and there’s still one more Car Pack in store for Forza Motorsport 7 Car Pass holders that was announced all the way back in May. If one thing is for certain when it comes to Forza Motorsport 7, it’s that Turn 10 isn’t lifting their foot off the gas as it heads into 2019. Instead, it’s doing the exact opposite.

Alan Walsh

Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.