Drafting: Avatar does not follow other rider

(Christian Wiedmann [X] 50) #1

It appears that there have have been changes in steering behavior recently trying to address drafting. I noticed yesterday that many times my avatar will ride on the opposite side of the road to the rider in front, even if there is no other rider near.

I got dropped from a group yesterday because my avatar wouldn’t draft. It would be nice if either the steering were improved or the drafting were made less sensitive to side-to-side displacement.

(Andrew Williams) #2

I’ve noticed the same.

(Wynand Viljoen (B1 Evo)) #3

I experienced the same thing Christian. Ever since the last update, it seems that you need to back off and then try to close in in order to pick up the draft. I’ve also had the riders in front of me ride on the grass as opposed to the road.


(Francois Coppex [X][Velosophe]) #4

Same here. Moreover, apart from this steering behaviour, I wonder how the drafting algorithm works. Does it take into account only the “vertical” distance to the rider in front, or as well the “horizontal” distance? Since we do not have any way to influence steering, I would suppose that a drafting algorithm that doesn’t take into account steering (i.e. “horizontal” distance) would be more appropriate, even if it may be less realistic.

(Mike Hoogerland Athl. Mentors) #5

Is there any cue that you’re drafting?  I’ve been trying each time I ride, but mostly I pass the other riders and then give up.  Any suggestions will be appreciated.

(Christian Wiedmann [X] 50) #6

@Mike: You can tell you’re drafting if you’re riding between 20mph and 30 mph and your avatar sits up. If you’re more than 2m behind you’ll also get the “Close the Gap” message.

I also wanted to re-emphasize my frustration at this behavior. In today’s race I measured out my energy on the final climb assuming I was going to be able to draft after the top only to see my avatar maintaining horizontal separation after cresting the hill :(. (still was a fun race, though).

(Casey Schumm [X]) #7

Just wanted to bump this and add that I am also noticing this.   I have taken some screenshots where I am 1-4m to the rider in front but clearly not drafting and well off the to side.   This is a significant change to what the drafting was just a few weeks ago.  I thought the drafting and draft lock was working pretty well prior to this last update. 

For racing this is really hurting our ability to race strategically.  As Chris pointed out we count on the draft to conserve and recover.   If you can not count on or lock into the draft it is hard to work as a group to close a gap or to use strategy to hang with a group of stronger riders. 

I understand it is Beta and these are all part of the process but I would like to hear from Zwift if/what was changed and/or if they plan to go back the other direction or give us some tips/tricks to how the algorithm works so we can work it into our ride strategy.  

(Andrew Williams) #8

I must admit that I don’t have a lot of interest in group riding on Zwift lately.  This issue is one of the reasons.   I realize there won’t ever be perfection but I have to be honest about how I feel at the moment.


I’ll probably still be here, riding solo.  The thing is, riding in a group should be more like reality.  Sure, I get dropped sometimes, but it’s not all that easy to do in real life. 

I don’t have a solution to the problem of people going faster than they would in real life due to zpower, or maladjusted kickrs, or fake weight.

But let’s at least get back to a sense of reality with the drafting, especially the AIs, since with a long course, most of the riders I ride with are AIs now.



(Craig Pate) #9

Pretty much every ride turns into a solo since this issue.  I sent a ticket a couple weeks ago and Zwift acknowledged the problem as known.  Hopefully an update comes soon.

(Casey Schumm [X]) #10

In the winter I used to enjoy picking out riders that were just under my pace and trying to get them to latch on and stay with me.   With the current setup I agree it is pretty hard to get an adhoc train going.  


(James Prosperi SASCC) #11

Yes, I agree. I am seeing same behaviours in drafting. It is hard to hold a draft position and the rider often sits to one side as noted and does not seem to draft.

Would be great if riders could get organised and ride in pacelines and so on. This would be fun and great for weaker riders to improve their abilities with stronger and more experienced riders.

I also noticed my rider ziggzagging every now and again this morning for no apparent reason, along with riders shooting off the road into the hills etc.



(Andrew Williams) #12

Here is my current hypothesis:


I think this problem showed up around the same time that Zwift began using a “momentum” algorithm.  I’m not sure exactly which update that was, but it was on Watopia a while back.  It made the accelerations on downhill more realistic, but I think it’s a bit too strong, since it may be gluing riders in place rather than letting them slip into the draft.


I hope we hear from Zwift on this.  Group riding is a drag now.

(Mike Blaszczak) #13

I’ve never been able to deliberately draft. Sometimes, I’ll get caught in a swarm of ghosts and I can sometimes find a wheel to hang on to. But I’ve absolutely never been able to draft on purpose.

If I have to be going 20 to 30 mph (that’s 32 to 48 kph) that’s probably why: it’s not often I have such a high velocity in game. But if that speed is required, why am I given “close the gap” messaging at half that speed?

In real life, drafting is easy because there’s feedback: you can see how far behind you ar, and its easy to make fine adjustments. The game isn’t real life: there’s lag, and distance and momentum aren’t easily discerned. Regardless of the algorithm the game uses, clearer feedback needs to be given to help riders learn what the game is doing.

(Andrew Williams) #14



Last nights TNW was pretty badly affected by the drafting issue.

(Duane Gran [Vision]) #15

Drafting felt more realistic back in the Feb - April time period, but even then I found it challenging.  In my observation Tour de Giro has the functionality the most correct.  I don’t share this to tell people to jump ship or anything like that.  They are different but similar platforms, but drafting in Zwift needs three key components:

  1. Visual feedback:  In TdG you see a bar graph showing how much you are in the draft and how many watts you are saving.  It takes some finesse but you can modulate power to good effect.
  2. Position: The rider position algorithm should try to put you behind others with more priority.  The problem of course is that this creates a jumpy view if it isn’t handled gracefully.  I think the key is to not enter the draft zone if you are overtaking someone at high speed.
  3. Physics: When I’m in the draft presently it rarely feels like it.  A good draft at speeds exceeding 30kmh will actually result in 30% less effort.  The model feels more like 10% to me.

I hope the above is helpful feedback to the Zwift crew.  As I was riding last night I was thinking about ideas for doing pace lines and such, but then realized it was all for naught until basic drafting gets better.  The tactical end of the game will improve dramatically if drafting is improved.

(Francois Coppex [X][Velosophe]) #16

Here is a video from last Tuesday’s training race providing a few examples of issues with drafting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWBrzJz2KVA

(Andrew Williams) #17

I actually quit the ZTR in disgust after 3 laps today when I got booted out of the draft and then could not catch back up, even while putting out 1 w/kg more than the rider who dropped me.  The physics are effed.

(Jeff Doughty PVC WBR (B)) #18

I will add my opinion that the drafting has certainly taken a step backwards in the last update.  I did a ride with Casey the other day and it was basically impossible to draft off of each other.  My avatar rarely followed his and when it did it appeared to be by chance.

I don’t do the Zwift races, but for those who do I see this as a major problem.  For me, it’s a definite frustration when trying to ride with someone.

(Craig Pate) #19

Yes, I rode hard yesterday and made it up to some AI’s and hoped I could tuck in for a bit but no dice.  I like the graphics and so forth but the drafting was definitely useful before the last couple updates.  The pop up message of “inside the draftzone” is annoying when you can’t latch on.  On a positive note, I will say that the downhill sections are much better, now that you can’t go 50 mph in recovery.  Bring the draft back!

(Macho Lim) #20

If you’re riding solo and worried about other cheaters - try veloreality…might as well ride the real scenery.