Avatars Riding Through Other Avatars

Avatars riding through other avatars has been brought up as an issue.

Looking at this with a programmer’s eye, I see the following problems:

  1. First of all, let us set aside for now considerations of pace partners and group rides, which are somewhat special cases.

  2. In the real world, a rider with no one in the vicinity would move over to the edge of the road (right or left, depending on country). This allows others to pass easily. Zwift does not do this. My avatar seems to pick some random location left to right within the lane.

  3. To allow for stopped riders, runners, etc., perhaps riders actively riding should be one "row’ over, toward the inside of the road, by default.

  4. In the real world, if one is quickly gaining on a rider in front, one will start strategizing how to pass that rider much earlier than Zwift does. This means moving toward the inside of the road - which also serves as a signal to other riders behind you. (This may be different during races; see above regarding groups.)

  5. Zwift seems to be VERY strongly biased toward drafting. It seems to decide that one’s avatar should pass the one in front only at the very last second, when wheels are touching. This bias toward pushing one’s avatar into a drafting attitude is, it seems to me, what leads to avatars suddenly having no room to pass and having to ride through each other.

  6. To add to the above, I would posit that anyone going 8 km/h up a climb has no need of drafting until and unless Zwift implements wind (of changing direction and strength each day if not hour; and varying according to the amount of surrounding vegetation). Thus, trying to position an avatar for drafting in such a situation is pointless.

  7. Real-world riders that stop pedaling on an uphill would steer their bikes to the edge of the road and stop. Zwift does not seem to get this; avatars are stopped in the middle of the lane. (This also goes against the “riders sorting themselves by speed” I mentioned in #2).

  8. Not a avatar riding through avatar problem, but I’ll throw this in. If one stops pedaling Zwift assumes a stop; Fair enough. However, on the topic of realism, I have ridden down the steep part of the GAP trail (former Western Maryland Railroad), a 2.5%, then 2.3% grade, which is a crushed limestone surface, on a hybrid bike with knobby tires. Without pedaling I maintained 6-8 MPH. With easy pedaling I maintained 12-15 MPH. With only moderate pedaling I was going 20-22 MPH. So, if we’re talking realism, Zwift avatars should not stop on downhills when the user stops pedaling.

They don’t, you can coast down all the mountains. People get off their bikes going down the alpe.

Not entirely true, Gerrie. My avatar stops on downhills regularly. Part of this is that Zwift only sends 50% of the actual grade to the trainer, but I’ve always been baffled on the rest. On any sort of downhill IRL I will continue to coast as long as the descent continues. In Zwift, though, I sometimes coast to a stop on descents of 3-5%, which is really odd.