What did you think about pack dynamics, drafting, etc?
I did my first 90-minute ride this morning, and overall it was very positive. First, I will start with some negatives, and then I will finish with the good stuff.
Kickr resistance - I did not feel any significant changes in resistance based on changes in slope. At first I thought I did, but toward the end of my ride, there was definitely no change. Not sure if that was something to do with bandwidth or not. I perceived a difference in smart resistance on the same area of the island on two separate laps.
Cadence - It seemed that my cadence changed based on terrain and power instead of my actual cadence. At one point, I was climbing a slope of about 4 percent at about 270 watts, and my cadence was about 90. I down-shifted to an easier gear to spin, as I was beginning my cool down. My power dropped to about 200. My actual cadence went up, but the computer showed a significant drop to about 70 RPMs.
Drafting/AIs - I did not get a chance to draft. As the AIs went by, I saw a message telling me to close the gap. I increased my power output from 200 to 405, and I could not close the gap on the flats. I did close it once on a climb, but as the AI got closer, it kept jumping away, almost like a glitch.
Sprint/Mountain/Lap feedback - When I crossed a banner, I saw a standing or list with a number. I’m not sure what that number meant.
Terrain vs. visual depiction - On various points along the course, the slope does not match the visual depiction. I was climbing at three percent, but the visual depiction showed me going down a hill.
Graphics - Absolutely phenomenal. The screen movement was a little choppy at times, but overall, it was pretty good.
Terrain - The changes in terrain break up any monotony that I thought I would experience, being that I was not racing. The mix of climbs, flats, and descents is well done.
Time splits - This is great. Once group racing is implemented, this feature will be awesome to allow someone to break and try to chase him/her down.
Pause - Wonderful! I have used other simulators, and the biggest pain is that I cannot pause the race to refill my bottle. Thus, I rely on my wife to serve as my “team car”.
Rider weight - Adding rider weight will make the speed/power algorithm more accurate. A rider weighing 130 lbs climbing at 300 Watts will have a significant advantage over a 180 lbs rider at the same power output. Additionally, there will be advantages while descending.
Wind - On the course, you can see the wind blowing the leaves. Maybe it could affect speed, alter drafting, etc.
Drafting - I would like to see an indicator that shows when you are in the draft of another rider. Maybe this exists, but I was unable to draft off any AIs to see it.
AI configuration - It would be nice to be able to configure some AIs to fall within a pace or power range. I am sure something like this is in the works for the workouts, but getting passed and dropped by AIs pushing power like Fabian Cancellara is a bit rough to stomach.
That’s it for now, as I have to head to work. Overall, I think that this platform has a lot of promise and can’t wait to get on with other human riders.
I did an easy 2 lap spin around Zwift Island last night on my Kickr just to get a feel for the software.
Unlike Ian, I definitely felt changes in resistance based on terrain. I was definitely feeling the uphill segments and the free wheeling lightness of the downhill. I was dripping in sweat just after two relatively easy laps.
I didn’t try particularly hard to catch the AI riders. The one mediocre effort I did make didn’t result in closing the gap very much. I’ll try that again later when I am better prepared for the effort.
The one thing I did notice was a bit of lag in what the terrain displayed on screen versus the resistance. For example, when the screen showed I was about to hit a downhill, I tried to ramp up my speed to get a 50mph achievement, only to find that power-wise, I was already past the downhill and the resistance had increased while my screen was showing me still in midst the descent.
Graphics and sound are phenomenal.
More to come when I can get in a longer workout with more concerted efforts on riding with the AI cyclists.
Thank you for all the in-depth feedback so far! Telling us what worked, what didn’t, and what was unclear will be very helpful as we decide how to move forward. We look forward to hearing more!
Wow, time flies when you are having fun. The past 90 minutes flew by for me in a 31 mile spin around Zwift Island. Easily the most fun I’ve ever had on a trainer!
AI riders are ok, but when you see a name tag above a rider’s head in the distance a switch gets flipped in your brain and it’s game on!
I was fortunate to be able to ride a few laps with a certain E.Min and C.Issendorf. We had some good, spirited efforts. It was exponentially more fun to ride with real people than to pace with the AI riders. It was really, really fun. I don’t know how to express that any better! Did I say it was really fun? That E.Min guy has a pretty good kick on his sprint!
A few notes about pack dynamics:
The algorithm for pacing needs to be smoother with regard to closing gaps and maintaining pace. As I would accelerate to close a gap I would invariably blast by the rider. When I would slow down slightly to let them pass so that i could resume pacing they would shoot by and another large gap would form forcing me to chase again.
With the AI riders I found it really tricky to pace. It seemed that just when I would grab a wheel the rider in front would increase the pace and open the gap. (Sort of like a typical Saturday group ride, right?). It would be nice if some of the AI riders could match pace better with my efforts for times when I just want to sit in the pack for a couple of minutes.
Some type of indicator of how close you are when drafting might be helpful. Maybe something that shows when you are in the sweetspot of the draft…like a progress bar or something that shows how much benefit you are getting from your position behind the other rider.
For example, on a sprint with the non-AI riders I was trying to draft the rider in front of me as a lead out but I kept popping out from behind him. I had no feel on how close I was to him or how close I was to matching or over taking his pace.
I did experience a few brief drop outs of ANT+ and lost my HR monitor completely for the last 15 minutes or so. May or may not be related to the game. I’ve experience ANT+ drop outs on TrainerRoad before as well.
As Ian reported cadence is a bit off. It does seem like the program is trying to predict cadence based on terrain rather than report actual cadence.
One minor point also is that when riding with more than one human rider, the name icons overlap one another when they are behind you so you can only see one name clearly. More importantly - you can’t see the distance they are trailing. For example, as you approach a sprint finish, it’s helpful to know if someone behind you is closing the gap quickly. Maybe you could tile them across the bottom in some way, but I suppose when there are lots and lots of rider there is no way to avoid it.
Regarding sprint segments, it’s hard to tell where they begin. Do they start at the end of the previous segment? Do they start out on the road where the 300m signs are? Rather than road signs I would prefer to see that information painted on the road. When you are focused on a sprint it’s easy to miss signs beside the road. Would be great if the start of a sprint segment was painted on the road as well so you know exactly when you enter it.
I got a really good workout today and I’m very pleased with the experience. The base terrain has some nice variety. Looking forward to adding some longer climbs.
It was a blast just riding with a couple other real people. I can only imagine how much fun it will be riding with others I know and being able to talk/interact with them.
Very nice opening effort!
(This post was edited by the author for clarity and to add content left off the initial post)
BTW, for displayed power data are you using 3 second average? I ask because it seems that when I start to hammer an effort there is a delay before my virtual rider appears to respond…so a good 2-3 seconds after I start hammering my on screen guy is still chillin’…maybe just a lag on ANT+ data transmission?
I’ve been doing some tests yesterday and today. What I saw is a very promising program that should be able to grant many hours of fun on the bike and a bunch of possibilities.
Here’s what I found:
- I have to enter my password every time I start Zwift - glad I haven’t chosen my typical 16-character passwords I would never remember if I hadn’t a password manager (that doesn’t work with Zwift).
- As I noted in a separate thread I couldn’t find a place to see my profile and achievements.
- Imperial units are a bit of a pain for us Europeans as we never learned them. I have an idea what they mean but it’s guessing all the time.
- AIs are way to fast. I can’t catch their draft - no matter how hard I push.
- Metrics seemed to be correct.
- I’d rather prefer real shifting here. What I mean is that in the current mode the load (power) is constant for a given gear/cadence ratio and Zwift is changing the speed when the ascend changes. In real life the load changes while a given gear/cadence ratio gives the speed. I think that the current implementation has it’s advantages - especially when the terrain is not very smooth. Maybe give the rider the chance to choose power or speed adaption. But strange as it may sound, when I rode yesterday for about 15 minutes I had the feeling that power changed when the slope adjusted. So maybe both ways are already implemented.
So as I said a very promising piece of software.
Good feedback so far. We’ve enjoyed watching some of the race action here at Zwift. I’ll address a few of the comments:
The starting sprint points for the Sprint and Zwift arches are 200m, and it’s based on segment time like strava, not who crosses first. The KOM climb starts ~500m out.
Press the ‘u’ key to toggle into metric mode. Eventually this along with many other options will be in a settings screen that’s saved. For now you’ll have to press ‘u’ once every time you start up.
Rider weight, in a couple of weeks you guys will all see a popup in game asking you to fill in your weight, height and DOB. Right now everybody is 75kg.
ANT+ power we display is instantaneous. It’s the same numbers you’ll see on a garmin, and we generally show them ~0.5 seconds quicker than even a garmin does. This lag is partially due to how power is calculated and sent in a power meter.
Cadence is a “guess” on a KICKR, as it does not broadcast cadence data. If you do not use a separate cadence sensor then the visuals will never match real life. You can get a cadence sensor and pair that if you’d prefer the animations in game to be closer to real life.
I did 1.5 hrs ride the day before yesterday and very short ride today. I did find couple of non show stopper bugs but I already submitted those by email. No point of repeating. Overall experience is very pleasant. Just go and ride. No crashes, no stalls. I did experience periodic signal drops from the KICKR but the same drops were recorded by my Garmin head unit which I raqn in parallel. I guess that is a "beauty: of wireless. Contrary to what was reported by others I had no problems chasing, keeping up with, passing bots at all. Could it be the case as I have KICKR and the other person used power meter? I like’d the graphics and as was noted before I also enjoyed variable terrain. Rolling hills are my favorite type anyways. Being not much of a “social event person” I am looking forward to longer visually appealing courses. This of course might change if I get to like chasing other participants. When you’re chasing someone your concentration is on that person in front of you, not on graphics. If I am just simply training/riding along I of course like to look at the nice scenery.
So today was a little frustrating. I did notice resistance change in my Kickr, so I’m glad that worked out today. However, my HR dropped out for no reason. When I paused the game and checked the sensor pair, it showed my HR monitor and displayed a bpm. Not sure why it didn’t work while in the game. I also tried to jump in a pack to no avail. I saw J. Perullo riding in one, so I know it is possible. I’m not sure what I have to do because I was pushing 500+ watts for a 30 second period when I was subsequently passed and dropped like I was standing still. I tried a few more times in the upper 300s with no success. I shouldn’t care too much since I was on a recovery ride and shouldn’t have pushed hard when I did, but I am way too competitive to not try to jump on the back of the pack.
Some of this may be internet speed issues. I did a speed test while in the game, and it was slow. A few minutes ago, it was a lot faster. Again, not sure if the slowness was due to having Zwift running concurrently or not. It may also be Comcast not providing me the speed promised in my service (that would be such a shock).
Anyway, I did 35 minutes and am still highly impressed with the graphics and in-game potential. I’ll give it a whirl again during my next session.
Apparently I rode around Zwift Island all day today. Started with a nice moon over the water. Then gorgeous sunrise. Later I enjoyed a beautiful sunset and another big moon over the water. Funny, my timer says I only rode a little over 90 minutes! Maybe I was riding at the speed of light!
BTW, does my bike have lights? It got pretty dark back there in the woods!
I had a lot of ANT+ issues at the start of this ride. The pauses were long enough that the rider would stop. It took 3-4 restarts and system reboot but once I got everything going it went ok for the most part. I think there was one or two minor dropouts during my 90 minute ride. I did have one ANT+ dropout and when I reconnected the system gave me achievements for 50mph and for 1100 watts - neither of which I actually obtained during that moment, I did actually hit 50mph later on the downhill.
The big thing I noticed today is that “coasting” needs to be smoothed to be more realistic. If I stopped pedaling on a downhill, I would come to a stop, or at least near stop, very shortly after the display showed zero watts. This may also be what makes pacing a bit tricky in that when you try to slow a bit to let the pacing rider get in front, you slow too much and the rider opens a gap. That aside, when the display reads zero watts the bike slows rapidly regardless of terrain.
No human riders today unfortunately. I saw 3-4 people attempting to join but they never moved so apparently they were having issues getting connected? Still managed to have a really good workout chasing the AIs around.
Just finished another 90 min ride. In the beginning there were riders appearing and disappearing seemingly at random and changing their position. After maybe 30 min into the ride suddenly everything stabilized and I had pleasure of riding with Eric Minn but after a while he kicked my butt and rode away into sunset ;). One notice for a short while we did some sprints passing each other. I dunno how I looked when I passed Eric but when he decided to pass me (he was trailing for a while) his acceleration was that of a rocket. No way human can accelerate like that. I guess they have to fix some math here. Also even though my cadence sensor was paired and active (i record on Garmin unit in parallel) in Zwift my cadence was showing as anything but it’s real value. Only single short ANT+ signal drop today. Had lots of those last time I rode. Instead of/in addition of estimated time between riders I’d rather see distance and maybe their speed/
Kostya, when a human rider is within about 30-40 meters of you their name tag will be displayed at the bottom of the screen along with the distance behind. You can watch the distance change to see if they are accelerating to pass you on a sprint.
I actually like the display of time for the bigger gaps and the distance in meters when they are drawing near.
Hi Greg. I know it shows the distance when one is close. But then I can pretty much see it visually. I want distance for larger gaps so I can estimate do I chase the bugger or not.
Overall, interesting. I jumped on for a lap and here’s my impressions:
The AI for drafting/pack riding doesn’t seem right. I got at least one AI on my wheel, and he gradually came around as I lowered my wattage. Then he attacked like we were on the Champs de Elysse. seemed to happen multiple times.
I caught up to an AI on a climb, and the effort dropped more than it should have, which resulted in me accelerating past him even at a decreased level.
Resistance on the flats seems too low. I was cruising around 22 mph at around 200watts. Perhaps that’s what happens on a full TT setup, but it doesn’t match my real world experience. Maybe its due to me being 6’1" on a 58cm frame in the real world ('14 Felt AR FRD if that matters).
Climbing seemed about right at 5%+ grades. FWIW, I my weight fluctuates between 154 and 159 lbs. Add about 15lbs for my bike.
I’d guess we’ll need some way to enter height to make it feel real, and weight so the software can estimate the drag. And perhaps how aggressive the position is. But that depends on if the goal is to have a realistic virtual reality, or a video game like power comparison.
I only tried for about 10 mins after getting it set up for the first time. Some comments (in a random order)
I have to keep putting my password in each time I open the program.
I had TrainerRoad open when I first used it and it couldn’t find my ANT+ and when I got to the screen to pair the sensors it couldn’t find it but there was no way of getting back other than by closing the program. When I turned TrainerRoad off it worked fine.
I saw that some people said that their were leaves blowing around. I just saw green globes that seemed to be some sort of alien spawn.
The frame rate on my 2 year old i3 PC was pretty poor. I’ll have a go with my main computer with graphics card (if my daughter will let me) and see how that goes.
What is a “FT” I was guessing it was feet but it seemed to go up quite slowly compared with the effort I was putting it. I’m not from the US so prefer metric as well.
When I first registered, it didn’t like my email address (it was right, I checked) and so I had to delete it all re-type it before it accepted it. Also, there was quite a lag between typing and the characters appearing.
When I finished, it just turned the program off. There only seems to be a “save and exit”.
How do you change the settings (e.g. for daylight) - I couldn’t see anything like that.
It controlled my kickr well.
The AI guys were going pretty fast!
I worked out that by clicking on the names you could see the names of people, you could see where they were. But I couldn’t see anything else.
I doesn’t say where the data for the ride is stored (but found it with an advanced search). It imported into Golden Cheetah ok.
Pressing the “L” key logs you off and you have to re-do your password which seems a bit strange…
Pack dynamics - I’m not the fastest person and so I couldn’t keep up with the AI.
I look forward to trying it some more.
“u” toggles to metric but you have to toggle each time you start the game currently.
Looks and sounds great and my kickr reacted well to the terrain. On my first go I was over taken by an AI so I pushed to near 400W to catch them but it made no difference. After that I didn’t bother with the AI, I just watched them fly past while I sat on ~200W. I didn’t see any human riders.
I never managed to complete a full lap - I gave it 3 attempts but ZwiftApp.exe crashed at nearly the same point each time which was near the top of the hill. It might be the age of my PC which is a 3yr old Apple Mac mini i5 2.3GHz with 8GB ram and running Windows 7. I’ll try to send a crash log through in the next few days.
Also, the app didn’t detect the kickr’s speed signal (I think it has one), but it did detect my garmin speed/cadence sensor.
Very promising and I’ll try again in the next few days.
Reece Wilson - “I never managed to complete a full lap - I gave it 3 attempts but ZwiftApp.exe crashed at nearly the same point each time which was near the top of the hill.”
This is interesting because earlier I reported in “Invisible Hole” topic experiencing repeated power / resistance / communication drop happening at the point near the top of the hill. The application did not crash though and in each case interruption lasted bout couple of secs or maybe less. hard to tell, I am always working harder on that part
Did my first ride this morning. Rode for 41 minutes (not sure how many laps that was). The island is very small, but I like the climb. No other humans were on when I rode, but so I kind of just rode a hard training pace and then pushed it on the climb. I like that you get different jerseys for each point (polka dot, green and orange). Though I wasn’t quite sure what the difference between the orange and green jersey’s were. I found as long as I kept my watts over 300, I could easily beat the AI times for each jersey.
Hopefully I’ll get to ride against real humans soon. Also, I saved my ride at the end, but is there actually a way to access this data post-ride? Down the road, I’d love to see a file that I can load into training peaks or golden cheetah.
One feature I would like to see would be the inclusion of an AVG Power on the display somewhere.
Technical info: Rode on a Computrainer for power reading, and Ant+ cadence, speed, heartrate. Worked great.