First ride impressions, 2/12/2015

First of all, I’d like to thank Zwift (and specifically Scott) for sending me an invite! I appreciate it, especially given the severity of the Northeastern winter so far.

One of the first things that comes to mind is that the experience lived up to the hype. I felt a nice degree of “immersion” in the game, and the two hour session went by pretty quickly. It was nice to have some solid riders around me and shoot for some prizes, even if I didn’t actually win any.

The install was totally smooth. No issues. The program ran very well on my machine and it seems that the developers are good at making a multi-threading app, since my Resource Monitor showed a very balanced use of all four processors (core i5, 2.5Ghz, possibly overclocked up to 3.0 at times)

So processing wasn’t an issue. I don’t have a way to see how much of the 2GB Nvidia card was used retrospectively, but I got the sense that the game was running well within “easy” margins. I had it going on two monitors, since my main one is a projector (and not a very good one) onto a 100" screen. That brought up the first comment I’d make. It was hard to read the w/kg of the riders around me (and I tend to pay a lot of attention to that) so I’d like it if there were a way to increase that particular font size.

Drafting was, well, let’s just say it’s a learning curve. Without a draft-o-meter, and running a dumb trainer and Quarq, I had to sort of wing it in order to stay in the draft. This proved easier with some human riders, tougher especially on the downhills, and really tough with some of the jumpy AIs.

Normally in a race, I am an excellent wheelsucker, and it’s hard to break me out of a draft, but this wasn’t like that. I had no chance on the downhills once they got a good gap.

Downhill coasting seemed pretty accurate. I’d love to hear a freehub clicking away while coasting. Maybe I’ll suggest that.

Flat coasting wasn’t quite right. It felt like there was a brake rubbing hard or a slight headwind once I stopped pedaling. I’m used to a lot of glide time in real life.

Stopping the program was fine, although the auto-pause sort of took me by surprise. At one point I accidentally clicked the X (this was fortunately not after a real ride) and I think that loses all data.

There was one minor issue which I don’t think is a bug, but might be a valuable piece of data for other users. It seems like the program ran more smoothly (even at a higher frame rate?) when the network was clear. I switched on iTunes at one point and was streaming music. Then I discovered that, even though my power, HR and cadence readings were still responsive in realtime, my little “guy” wasn’t. He took a long time to react to my changes in power, and this actually contributed to my losing the draft at some spots. Additionally, the game seemed to run at a lower frame rate (maybe I was imagining that) until I switch the music off.

Next time I’ll try only playing music on the local drive and see how that pans out.

Hope some of this was helpful.

To clarify regarding the flat coasting. “Felt” isn’t the right word. I am referring to my road speed on the game. It dropped a bit too quickly.