Hey, all. I think it’s not a controversial statement to say that group rides need a little more love. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that group rides are less “group rides” and “rides that start out in a group and end up scattered to hell and back”.
The reasons for this are varied and not always because there’s a bunch of tryhard showoffs who immediately blow by the ride leader, in order to show off their e-phalluses (note: “e-phallus” should be read as a gender-inclusive term). Sometimes, the same mechanics which make races so good are working against group rides.
Note that a lot of this is cobbled together from other suggestions, mixed in with some of my own.
- Drafting - On group rides, you can often end up drafting someone not in your group. As a result, you can end up way out of the pack, even though you are technically under the W/kg limit. Ideally, the group leader could remove or reduce drafting from riders not in your group. (Possibly by having the “isPlayerDrafting” code check to see if the draftee is part of the group, first).
- Overtaking the ride leader - This is probably the most common complaint, and there are a myriad of ways to deal with it:
- “Force field” - if the user passes the ride leader, resistance increases until they are forced back into the pack, at which point it gradually returns to normal
- “Teleport” - users in front of the ride leader are teleported back into the pack, possibly an increasing distance behind the leader for each violation (i.e. first 5 seconds behind the ride leader, then 10, then 15, etc). Bonus if the ride leader can assign the number of penalty seconds, from 1 to 10, or whatever, and if the penalty should increase with every violation.
- “Warn then kick” - users receive a “Ahead of group leader” warning for X number of seconds, followed by a “Return to group” warning for Y seconds, followed by being removed from the group, where they continue to ride normally (not receiving credit for any miles ridden with the group). Bonus if the ride leader can choose between just “warn” or “warn then kick”.
- “Hard limit” - no matter how hard they pedal, group members can never overtake the ride leader. I have no idea how this would be implemented, as it would require the game to effectively set a user’s W/kg to that of the ride leader, or less, if they’re at the leader’s position along the course.
- Identify group riders on minimap - Sometimes you simply have no clue where you are in the pack, so it would be nice to have the “pips” on the minimap for other group riders be a different color.
- Dis-identify non-group riders - Have the rider (not the group leader) be able to turn riders not in the group into variations of the AI riders – transparent, undifferentiated (i.e. no custom gear or bikes) player models, so it’s easy to see who is part of your group and who isn’t
- “Group” chat vs “Global” chat. Online games have had this since the beginning. You have chat that will go to everyone within 500m, but then chat that will go to everyone in the group, regardless of distance. A separate key / mobile app button for each.
Again, none of these ideas are very novel, and I’m sure this is the n+1th post about making group rides better, but I’m hoping that putting it all in one place and making it as organized and well-written as I can will get it some upvotes and some attention.
Thanks for reading, everyone!