Pack Dynamics 3.0 Update [October 2021]


PERFECT! Thanks Jesper AJ

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Spare a thought for the lighter riders like me who have to push 10w/kg to avoid getting dropped downhill.

I haven’t done any big downhill bits but on the flat parts it was all good, less sticking me to slower riders and much smoother.

Will the new pack dynamics be enabled in any more worlds? Or not until a fix for the steering issue is found?

@Oliver_SPEED_HOUND
The plan is to release on all worlds after this week’s ZRL events so that our racing community has another week to settle in to this new pack behavior. For those worried about the upcoming ZRL team time trial - please set up a Meetup with your teammates in London, Watopia, or Yumezi to practice.

Stay tuned to this thread for details on when we’ll release PD 3.0 to all remaining worlds.

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Thanks Shooj, looking forward to testing it at 50kph in TTT this week before ZRL TTT :+1:

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Would be fun to have it in France for Thursday’s TTTs :slight_smile: I reckon it will be a nice improvement once riders are used to it.

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I like the new draft. It’s a bit unnatural when how people move inside the peloton when you advance. Normaly you often advance on the outside.
For 4.0 I think the peloton should be more drop formation instead of a “inverted half sphere” like now.
Speed is way to fast in peleton at least in lower speeds. Did a groupride 2,0-2,5W/kg and we was moving in 40km/h. More speed normal would be 35-36km/h depending on the heavy hitters in the peleton. This would make groupride easier to draft and racing more unpredictable.
Speed for soloride was good. TTT not tested yet but there was speed ok before.

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I’ve just ridden my first race with PD3 and have to say, in the 2 years I’ve been on Zwift, I’ve never seen such a good change to pack dynamics!

Thank you so much to everyone at Zwift who must have worked hard on this. it does feel a lot better, and a lot more fun.

Sticky draft is Dead! Long Live PD3!

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It’s a shame (going from the Zwift Insider article) that the pack still has the issue with continuous acceleration as riders move from the back to the front. To accelerate the group, there should be a conscious effort from riders to up the pace at the front. This would be a game changer for racing.

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Did another ride with Bowie Brevet tonight and it’s clear that steering in a big group really doesn’t work with PD 3.0 at the moment. I was either at the back or on the side of the group all the time and if I for once managed to get inside the group I was moved to the side shortly after.

If it was possible to turn off steering with the Kickr Bike on BT this wouldn’t have been that big a problem, but at the moment the pace partners are «broken» for me due to this issue.

I really like both PD 3.0 and riding with the pace partners without steering, so hope you can make a fix for this.

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I did a group steady state ride yesterday, by far the best group ride I’ve done, really smooth, and I think because of that, the blob was way more stable, i.e. I think flyers and breaks in the pack tend to occur more when there is erratic visual position and lag, not riders being ‘naughty’ (well there’s always some that are).
I haven’t done a race yet (and fwiw I don’t have steering, so can’t comment on that) but for non race rides, this is a lovely update (and ride leaders will probably appreciate it too).
Well done Zwift team, made me a very happy person.

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I have a KICKR bike and ran into the same issue with steering turned off. I also noticed that the screen was very jerky (like it was dropping frames) and my iPad battery (while plugged in) was draining at about 1.5% per minute of riding. All very odd.

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It’s difficult to know what to do about this. If a bunch of riders are all doing 4W/kg, say, then what should zwift do? In reality this situation would require a fast-rotating chain gang with riders accelerating to the front while in the draft, briefly hitting the wind and starting to slow, until they drift back. This seems to be roughly what the washing machine simulates, but zwift can do it with 50 riders or more when in reality that’s impractical. A massive sticky draft effect might help (ie so pack riders don’t go past the lead rider) but brings huge problems elsewhere.

Yes, the real problem is that we can’t break. IRL we break to stay in the draft. There could be a progressive sticky draft as you move up the field. To consciously go to the front, you would then have to break out of the sticky draft. Then we are back to dealing with the sticky draft in various scenarios. Maybe it in addition could also be progressively stronger when the speed increases.

So:
Low speed => little sticky draft and easy to pass riders
High speed => progressive more sticky draft as you move up the field

Maybe they could make it impossible to overtake unless there was space, but riders would complain about being blocked in and there would be a tendency for big tail-backs whenever the road narrowed or pack slowed (eg at the bottom of a hill). Of course this would be realistic but it could be problematic especially for the massive events.

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I’m checking this thread often… It would be great to have confirmation of the PD 3.0 rollout soon… with WTRL TTT (Thursday) on France R.G.V course in mind, it’d be good for PD 3.0 to be active in this world today so that people stand a bit of chance of getting some practice in. Fingers crossed for good news

… Really liking PD 3.0, so excited to see this across all worlds!
(p.s. I have a Kickr Bike and have noticed the steering issue in free ride, but this is only a minor gripe and does not impact group events or racing)

On the whole, this is a much better dynamics for the game, which is clearly being very well received.

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I think it would be a good one for Jon Mayfield to have a look at. For me I would focus on the air resistence at the front - if you hit the front, the amount of power you need to overcome that resistence increases (like real life). So there wouldn’t be the washing machine effect as once you hit clean air (the front) you are slowed considerably.

Rider in front doing 300w, rider behind doing 300w (all other things equal). The rider behind would gain on the rider in front, but they would end up riding side by side, rather than perpetually overtaking eachother.

There is an update:

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Hi Mike,
Yes, I had seen this update and had replied to this post… I was just trying to give a bit of a nudge to hopefully get news on this at some point today :crossed_fingers:

Well the air resistance certainly does increase at the front in the way you describe, but the overtaking rider is going quicker as they pass and it takes them a while to slow down. If we assume losing the draft is equivalent to an extra 100W of resistance at 45kph, this only amounts to an additional force of about 8N (if I’ve done my physics right) which will cause a slow deceleration of 0.1m/s^2 for an 80kg rider (including bike). It would take 3s (=37m distance) to even drop to 44kph, and with 50 riders, there’s another one to take their place soon enough.

I wonder if it would help moving the draft zone a bit more rearwards, so the 2nd rider is significantly hitting the wind a bit sooner as they start to overtake. Of course I don’t know exactly how it’s arranged currently, the graphics look a bit approximate to me.