iRacing is getting AI drivers (and you can now see them in action)
For those who like a 'proper' simulator, iRacing on PC is hard to beat. But what it lacked, for better or for worse (you decide), was the ability to race against bots.
Well, not anymore because the developer confirmed AI drivers are coming to iRacing earlier in the year and now you can watch them in action, courtesy of a video by Römsen Racing, which was filmed at the Sim Racing Expo in Germany.
Watching the YouTube video, you can see what looks to be competent AI driving that is both aggressive enough to fight back when things get physical, but also smooth and fast to provide a decent challenge. Exactly as it should be, then.
On whether AI drivers will be added to the Official Races feature and other human-focussed modes, the answer is no ─ for the time being, anyway. That is according to iRacing president, Tony Gardner, who had a chinwag with Inside Sim Racing back in April, 2018.
Instead, it will be a case of selecting the 'Race Against AI' option and then create a race or season, as opposed to AI drivers filling in for absent humans. Who are still finishing their dinner/homework/beer at the pub [delete as appropriate].
Gardner did answer a few other important questions, such as that the AI mode is included as part of your membership, all tracks should be AI-friendly and you will still need to be connected to the internet to login and play.
Some iRacing purists will argue the move harms the character of the game, but with the right implementation it should be no bother and nobody is forcing you to use it. In any case, letting players get more practice without having to wait around is surely a good thing.
Not only that, it could open up iRacing to a mainstream audience, which may generate more money to keep the improvements coming. Console release without the subscription to play? Never say never.
Sadly, there is still no word on a release date for the AI implementation into iRacing. But we get the feeling we will at least hear solid confirmation before 2018 retires.