I just finished the Monday Experience Mode ride and thought I’d give feedback.
In general, I have nothing but good things to say. I am one of the contributors to the ‘Declutter HUD’ request in the feature request forum so I am biased, but the no-HUD experience definitely met my expectations. I had thought that a variable de-clutter mode would be good, but having used Zwift 100% HUD free I think that the Companion App provides most of what you need, you just bring it into your scan a bit more.
If I was going to ‘just ride’ Zwift, especially for a longer distance, I would definitely choose Experience mode. I’m looking forwards to tackling a decent climb, I think Epic KOM will be a very different experience in Experience mode. It added a new Zwift experience in a way that I hadn’t expected.
- There is a definite sense of ‘scale’ in the landscape that is not there during normal riding. Landscapes opened-up as they came into view in a way that I hadn’t previously experienced that was very pleasing.
- I could see details that I had otherwise missed. I know that the Zwift designers put quite a lot of work into the worlds, Watopia in particular, and even on the short sand-and-sequoia’s circuit I saw details that I hadn’t seen before.
- Both those first two really help the sense of immersion, which I what I was hoping for.
- There were some occasions where the increased immersion made the way that visual effects are achieved more visible - heat haze was an example - all of a sudden you’d notice that a lamp-post right beside you was shimmering which wasn’t particularly realistic - I don’t think it’s bad enough to spoil the visual illusion though.
- You rely pretty much exclusively on the Companion App in experience mode. It might be a good ideal to limit access to Experience Mode just to people who are logged-in on the Companion App, perhaps just to ensure that users have a positive experience with the mode. Likewise, I think for a lot of riders it needs to be able to be toggled, rather than selected before the ride. I can see people wanting more info for some of the ride (Alpe for example) while wanting Experience mode for the rest of it.
- I missed the ability to quickly see who around me is doing what, in terms of other people’s accumulated distance and power. Choosing who you might want to draft onto and finding a temporary riding partner is one of the things that I like about Zwift (that little exchange of 'Ride On’s!). The ‘Zwifters’ page in the Companion App could definitely use improvement in terms of information presentation and the way it refreshes.
- Given that when the ride ended the app reverted back to HUD mode, I guess the mode is simple to toggle in the software, so why not just go ahead and enable it as a beta mode for everybody!?
- This one’s maybe a bit unfair, because I didn’t get to see it in sand and sequoias, but I have another forum post about the ‘terrain bounce’ effect, particularly around the jungle (I think it looks like you’re riding a demented pogo-stick). I do strongly suspect that the increased immersion of the Experience Mode combined with the lurching, jumping visuals off-road would be ‘sub-optimal’ from a visual experience perspective.
Just for info: Windows 10, GeForce 1050ti, i5 4750.