Reverse-gear vehicle handling is counterintuitive


#1

To be fair, it’s counterintuitive at first in real life, too, but in the game it’s doubly counterintuitive by being the opposite.

I tested this out in-game, to see exactly how hard turns behave at 1t/t on a bicycle. The ‘h’ and ‘l’ represent the locations the facing cursor would be at if you pressed the respective buttons. If you use the keypad, replace ‘h’ with ‘4’ and 'l with ‘6’.

Forward gear:
+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+
|           ..          |           ..          |                       |         ..            |        ..             |        ..             |
|          X..          |          h..          |           ..          |                       |        ..             |        ..             |
|        h   l          |           .X          |           .h          |         ..            |        ..             |        ..             |
|           ..          |               l       |           ..  X       |         ...   h       |        ..             |        ..             |
|           ..          |           ..          |                 l     |         ..      X     |                 h     |                       |
|           ..          |           ..          |           ..          |                       |        ..             |        ..             |
|                       |           ..          |           ..          |         ..       l    |        ..        X    |        ..             |
|           ..          |                       |           ..          |         ..            |        ..             |        ..             |
|           ..          |           ..          |                       |         ..            |                       |                       |
|           ..          |           ..          |           ..          |                       |        ..         l   |        ..          h  |
|                       |           ..          |           ..          |         ..            |        ..             |        ..             |
|          |..          |          |            |           /.          |         ../           |        .. /           |        ..             |
|          #..          |          #..          |          #            |         .#            |         o#            |          o#-        X |
|          o..          |          o..          |          o..          |         o             |        ..             |        ..             |
|                       |           ..          |           ..          |         ..            |        ..             |        ..             |
|                       |           ..          |           ..          |         ..            |        ..             |        ..          l  |
+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+

Reverse gear:
+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+
|            ..         |            ..         |                       |            ..         |           ..          |        ..             |
|           X..         |           h           |            ..         |            ..         |           ..          |        ..             |
|         l   h         |         X  ..         |         h  ..         |            ..         |                       |        ..             |
|            ..         |      l     ..         |      X     ..         |       h               |           ..          |        ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |    l                  |    X       ..         |    h      ..          |                       |
|            ..         |                       |            ..         |            ..         |           ..          |        ..             |
|                       |            ..         |            ..         |   l        ..         |  X                    |        ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |                       |           ..          |        ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |                       |            ..         |           ..          |                       |
|            ..         |                       |            ..         |            ..         | l         ..          |  h     ..             |
|                       |            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |                       |        ..             |
|           |..         |           |..         |          \ ..         |          \            |          \..          |        ..             |
|           #..         |           #..         |           #           |           #..         |           #o          | X        -#o          |
|           o..         |           o           |           o..         |            o.         |           ..          |        ..             |
|                       |            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |                       |        ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |                       |           ..          |  l     ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |                       |            ..         |           ..          |                       |
|            ..         |                       |            ..         |                       |           ..          |        ..             |
|                       |            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |                       |        ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |            ..         |           ..          |        ..             |
|            ..         |            ..         |                       |            ..         |           ..          |                       |
+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+-----------------------+

Note how ‘h’ and ‘l’ are swapped in the second strip: when travelling in reverse, the steering controls are inverted so that pressing the “left” key causes the player character to steer to the right (that is, turn the steering wheel clockwise). Note also that you are only considered to be “travelling in reverse” for the purposes of steering if your velocity is negative—if your cruise control’s target velocity is negative, but you’re still moving forward, the steering works the way it works when you’re going forward until the moment when you start moving backward. This is especially weird for the backwards diagonal inputs, which apply negative acceleration and steer you in a direction determined by the sign of your velocity (which, of course, may itself be changed by the application of said negative acceleration!)

I think we should at least have an option in the settings to have steering commands work the same way regardless of whether you are traveling backward or forward. To me at least, the current system of context-sensitive steering does not feel comfortable at all, and make it especially hard to do things like parallel parking and 3-point turns.


#2

tl;dr: steering controls are inverted when you’re going backward and this is annoying and clunky and makes no sense.


#3

I don’t really find it unintuitive, but it is a shitload harder to make tight turns in reverse than it is going forward. Had to smash up the fence around a post office because of that.


#4

I agree completely. This is a great illustration of how steering while in reverse is unintuitive and can feel pretty awkward. An option to toggle this behavior would be awesome and seems like it wouldn’t be too difficult to implement.


#5

I never had a problem with it. Just picture two half-circles, (( and )) with your car in it. Turning the wheel right bends your course the first way, and vice versa.
Admittedly it’s a little weird when you pass over 0, that should probably be fixed.


#6

Having played it just now, I actually don’t think the controls invert when you’re moving backward. I think what’s confusing is the behavior of the crosshair. It points in the angle of your velocity, when it feels like it would be more intuitive for it to follow the point you’re steering at.