Fixing driving skill

What driving skill does:

[ul][li]If it is less than 4, you randomly turn left or right while driving. Doesn’t depend on speed.[/li]
[li]Once above that, it only helps to avoid skidding during handbraking and to recover from skids after handbraking or collisions.[/li][/ul]

What it could, but doesn’t, affect:

[ul][li]Turning time (possibly only negatively, due to how vehicle velocity works)[/li]
[li]Fuel usage (extra fuel consumption due to low skill, especially at high velocity)[/li]
[li]Maximum/safe velocity (maybe with extra scaling for bigger vehicles?)[/li]
[li]Braking speed[/li][/ul]

All of those sound like they make sense, but I have no sources to tell how strong should the effect be.
Any good data on that?

As for turning speed:
It can’t really go faster than the current one without changing the vehicle driving UI. The problem is that we can’t stop the vehicle in the middle of its turn to ask the player for an action, it has to be all decided before the vehicle starts its turn.
It could be achieved by having the vehicle turning be like cruise control: the player would set a desired direction and then pass the turn. As opposed to pressing left/right once per turn to change the direction.

why extra fuel consumption in an autmatic for poor skill?

same thing with brake speed. i think that maybe safety instead of speed. id expect a new driver to just slam on the brakes, in fact

acceleration, again, seems moot in an automatic car.

in honesty i like that fumbling system now. A litte too dramatic at level 0, but what if it really came out when turning or high speed obstacle hitting? most complaint are about going 10 miles an hour and fumbling while driving straight.

I get that represents a drifting of sorts, but its annoying. I think just make high speed turns harder and rapid deceleration driftierwith more fishtails and squealing tires and make skill more subtly affext driving.

Its be neat to see backing up more affected than foreward driving, and if lowskill drivers cut theircorners too sharp on occassion.

Actually driving experience does have big effect on fuel consumption and acceleration, especially for long distance drivers. Then again most of that do not apply to the short distance driving in the game, and who know what kind of technology does future cars hold?

Personally I think adding fuel consumption, acceleration and maybe less car damage (like from Hollywood movies?) might make the skill fun and worth wise without breaking the immersion. Atm I just never bother with the skill while still able to put together a giant death-machine.

I once talked about manual vs. automatic vs. driving skill.

Like, 99% of cars in New England are automatic. But wouldn’t it then be its own little sub-objective - To get a car with manual transmission and gain more control over it, which highly skilled drivers could take advantage of in demanding situations? Wouldn’t you want to be the one-percenter of the New England roads? 8D

The automatic transmission thing kills a lot of innovation in the driving skill department.

I could see an alternative in replacing ‘driving’ with ‘automobile knowledge’, which would determine what you’re allowed to install in, or take out of a vehicle, and in what item condition, but then again, that might overlap with the ‘mechanics’ skill too much. Would it, though? Would it overlap too much?

Maybe even have ‘driving’ determine which default vehicles you’re allowed to start up.

Maybe wildlife should be rendered invisible while the player is inside a car? The lower your driving skill, the lower your perception, the higher your speed, the further away the creature, the more likely a wildlife creature is to remain concealed (invisible)… until it’s too late, and it’s right in front of your grill while you’re driving 80mph. It really did come out of nowhere. Experienced drivers at least have better powers of observation on the road. Low-skill players should be too creeped out to drive too fast.

Maybe we’d need to consult a driving instructor. We could investigate what separates rookie drivers from experienced drivers, psychologically.

Another angle could be vehicle-specific familiarity number. Once you’ve driven an RV, you should be just as comfortable driving all the other RVs… until you pilot a police car or a truck. Highly motivated drivers could gain familiarity faster. Familiarity would be a number, 0-100%, tracked per default vehicle type. Custom built vehicles would have automatic 100% familiarity. Low familiarity would result in more mistakes (drifting), lower max speed (too uncomfortable to drive fast), lesser visibility on the driver’s seat (loss of observation due to increased focus on vehicle operation), even negative morale. ‘Lesser visibility’ could mean smaller field of view, and shorter distance… possibly as a function of speed: drive fast = observe less. …Unless you’re experienced and comfortable with driving fast.

Or, using the above, we could class vehicles into size categories: tiny (bikes, scooters), small (cars, electric cars, police cars), medium (RVs, vans) and large (busses, trucks, tanks). And somehow apply driving skill to each category, whether it’s disallowing low-skill players from driving larger category vehicles or applying the familiarity mechanic.

Even with cars that have automatic transmission?

maybe tie driving skill to engine wear / tires wear ?

o.o I like the idea of making preventative maintainance a thing.

I’d say that both engine wear and fuel usage is skill dependent whether its an auto car or a manual. But sure, this would be more pronounced in environments requiring frequent breaking & accelerating (mountains, urban etc.), while even in such places the skill difference effects in an automatic car would not be that big.

Imo we should make driving skill affect these, but only a little.

Providing a quantitative assessment of the effects of driving skill is quite hard though. Anyone here a driving instructor?

Maximum/safe velocity & acceleration are good factors to consider, but not that good to directly limit. The are only based on the car, but the chance to crash somewhere should increase quite a bit at high acc/speed and low skills.
How to achieve that? Make the car more sluggish and the driver prone to errors.
Errors are already in (steering errors and breaking errors).
Sluggishness would be achievable by limiting turnrates if its possible to do.

Another way to implement sluggishness would be to add a ‘lag’ between decision and execution. Low skill drivers need more time than experienced drivers to do anything with the car (break, turn, shift, look around etc). So giving a penalty to execution time for each (keyboard) button pushed while driving could work.

How about inadvertent acceleration:

Low-skill drivers + high-power engine = less accurate gas foot, sometimes resulting in more or less acceleration than intended (but never exceeding the vehicle’s maximum). Basically you’d randomly get a message “You inadvertently press the gas pedal too much.” and then you’d have to suffer an extra dose of higher than intended acceleration and speed… but only while speeding up. This would result in more minor bumps while trying to drive slowly, carefully and accurately (parking and other low-speed precision piloting).

And also:
“You hesitantly press the gas pedal with this much horsepower at your disposal. It takes you more time than usual to speed up.”

Now, vehicles have safe top speeds and max top speeds. I think there should also be safe and unsafe accelerations. Accelerate too fast = minor engine damage, gearbox damage, wheel damage. And yes, I still think gearbox should be a vehicle component. Brakes, too. Hehe. (losing brakes could be hilarious)

And we should totally do away with steering wheel fumbling at low speeds. It’s so annoying. Anyone should be allowed to drive 10mph without fumbling… but they should still be subjects to accidental acceleration.

With automatic transmission, driver experience has no effect on fuel usage or acceleration.

I don’t know about the US, but here in Poland most cars have a manual transmission. To get an automatic, I had to pay extra (I had to have automatic since I’m disabled and can’t operate the clutch)

most cars in the us, or at least the populated northeast, are semiauto or automatic.

older cars are still standard, and you can buy them new if they were made that way, but most ‘common’ cars are auto, many trucks or larger/diesels are manual.

perhaps we could have both in game? one has almost no skill modifier while manuals can stall at low levels.

We could make most heavy duty cars/trucks manual? I like that, because it makes it practical to take a carover a military humvee early game

I will again state that in mountains and somewhat in city driving, driving skill does play a part in fuel usage and engine wear. I know that from personal experience, having driven in such environs both auto and manual cars.

The point is that when we are talking about constantly changing grades and turns, knowing when to brake, when to accelerate, when to turn and how to turn is as important as shifting. Same applies to a lesser extent in urban driving.
Also i will argue that having the option to go semi-auto can bring improvements over full auto in such conditions (for experienced drivers).

The point is moot for the driving we have in cata, though. I assuming a usual drive takes 2% of the tank and the effect of skill is 3-5% of that, we are talking about 0.06-0.1% more fuel consumed per trip…

When to accelerate and when to break (aka driving style) is irrelevant of transmission, is skill related and does play a part in all these things, even outside of mountain driving…

Maybe driving skill could also influence the amount of control one keeps over his vehicle during a collision and the time or even the success rate for any action done while driving.