For the love of everything automotive, remove drivetrain swaps

It is actually very easy to turn a FWD car AWD. It might not even need programming unless you want traction control or torque vectoring. Most FWD cars have a shallow tunnel through the center of the floor pan to route the exhaust and crucial fuel and brake lines so they are above the lowest point of the car. There are many manufacturers that offer AWD options on their FWD cars (Camry, Santa Fe, Accord, Mazdaspeed 6, Lancer Evo, etc etc) because the conversion is relatively inexpensive and simple.

Swapping from transverse engine with FWD to longitudinal engine with RWD is more difficult and usually requires firewall and floor pan modifications in excess of most people’s garage capabilities.

The most complicated AWD system I’ve ever seen is by far and away the Ferrari FF setup, and the most interesting FWD setup I’ve seen is the 1930s Cords (longitudinal engine set entirely behind front axle with transaxle mounted to front of block pointed towards front wheels) and the UPP power train in the Oldsmobile Toronado and later Cadillacs. Longitudinal big block V8 with chain driven side mounted transmission that sends axle shaft through the oil pan of the engine to get to the driven wheels. Unfortunately both of these options are not present in Forza even though I think they should be.

Drivetrain swaps are usually massive undertakings IRL but some are easier than others and always make for a unique finished project. I don’t want to see them go but I would like the game to more realistically portray the benefits and drawbacks of each style of drivetrain.

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You don’t really have to call it a swap, you could just say it is a car option that comes ready built for you. Just because we do it ourselves in the game doesn’t mean that we aren’t setting up the default car.

If AWD / engine swaps dominate PVP like Horizon 4 I will not be buying this game.

I think its a great option for having fun. Horizon isnt a racing sim as much as a fun escape. The kids love the ability to turn something into a RWD or AWD car that wouldn’t otherwise not be. You dont like it, dont do it.

They could do specific races where the criteria has to be more realistic e.g. has to have original drivetrain, engine, etc.

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I think it’s fine to have AWD swaps on a lot of cars, but in FH4 I think the AWD swap costs too little PI, and that’s why you commonly see it in lobbies.

My understanding is that the PI values are determined by how quickly an AI driver can make lap times. I think there are a couple of reasons this undervalues AWD.

  1. In high HP cars, AWD helps with getting all the power down on launch. Since ranked races are short, it really helps to have a good launch and get good track position at the beginning of the race.

  2. The other thing is that for most drivers, having AWD makes the car easier to handle in traffic – a higher-HP RWD build at the limit might be able turn better lap times in Rivals, but when you have to react to drivers around you, being able to put the power down without needing such precise throttle control becomes a bigger advantage.

It’s not necessarily an easy problem to solve. I like the idea of erring on the side of giving RWD a PI advantage, because even if I’m not the best driver in the world, I can appreciate that for high-HP cars, RWD requires better throttle control and there’s a certain high-risk/high-reward aspect to a RWD versus an AWD build. To use an AI to balance it, you’d need an AI good enough to honestly simulate races against other AI opponents, and take into account somehow that real-life user inputs for most users will not be extremely precise.

But also, the idea of having some lobbies/championships that have drivetrain restrictions makes a lot of sense to me, too. Like I think we can recognize that balancing RWD vs. AWD is difficult, and the easy way out is to let everyone pick their drivetrain of choice for cruising around, drifting, PR stunts, etc., but also give RWD enthusiasts some options to race against RWD builds, and AWD enthusiasts the option to race against AWD builds.

For me, the natural thing would be to favor RWD championships for road racing and street racing, while favoring AWD championships for dirt and cross country, but overall mixing it up so everything comes up from time to time.

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I like most of what you said (I also liked the post) but this statement cannot possibly be true, there are some builds that are just better than others in every way at certain PI levels. An AI driving the Boneshaker at A800 would destroy an AI driving an Alfa Romeo 4C at the same PI, regardless of track or conditions.

You make a good point though, PI is a tough thing to figure out. How do you account for all the variables? PI probably will always be an imperfect solution. One of the many reasons why I think drivetrain restrictions are a good idea, and probably the only real solution. Even there, there will still be a car meta of some sort, but it least it gives RWD and FWD enthusiasts a chance to compete without having to go AWD in everything.

Me? I like them all. I enjoy variety, and drivetrain restrictions help add that extra spice and flavour to competitive. Mind you I don’t really care for competitive in the first place. Takes some of the joy out of the game IMO. I do my placements, and I would probably play it more if freeroam rush weren’t forced on it, but not much more. I play rally sims for my competitive fix. Forza Horizon is all about the pure joy of cars for me, and thinking about meta builds and tryharding at all times doesn’t really scratch that itch. However drivetrain restrictions on the playlist a little more often and letting us set them for custom championships would be a godsend. Anything goes FWD dirt anybody?

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Jonk has posted a fairly informative explanation of the differences in Motorsport and Horizon PI calculation. While this was approximately five years ago, I would imagine for the most part it’s still largely accurate, but some details may have changed (so, grain of salt…). At least this is some bonafide digestible information regarding the matter straight from the horse’s mouth. Read it HERE.

I’m not sure that can be true either. I’ve seen some pretty clear evidence of rubber banding occurring, at least when the AI is behind you. for example, I’ve taken two different builds in the same restriction at the same PI on the same track with the same conditions, and had vastly different AI lap times.

I was more referring to the programmer’s perspective. How do you program a dynamic car rating system that accounts for all factors? Things like grip, horsepower, weight, and aero don’t universally impact all chassis the same. Then you also have to consider the variety in tracks and how different tracks may favour certain elements over others, and also the variety of conditions available in the game. Add on top of all of that the fact these ratings need to be applied to hundreds of cars, and I’m not surprised there are a few cars where the system doesn’t really work, either to the car’s detriment or benefit.

I hope PI balance is better in the next game, but making it more balanced does not seem like an easy task to me. I suspect improvements to the physics engine (for example: adding the 8 points of contact to tires that’s coming to FM into the game) would be of more benefit than trying to overhaul the PI system as well. I would not be shocked to find out that the discrepancies in the PI system were due to issues with the physics systems. This is all supposition of course, I’m just saying that from my (admittedly somewhat unknowledgeable) perspective, creating an accurate and universally balanced PI system seems very difficult.

Well it’s not meant to be precise, else it wouldn’t look realistic. It would have a random factor in it. That’s just what most programmers do.

No ‘your’ PI decides how quickly an AI driver can make lap times, not their PI such as in a Boneshaker.

Personally, I like the AWD swaps, you can build a monster off-roader/rally car from virtually anything, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m an average racer, and I’m not competitive in any way, but my AWD rally Ford Mustang S1 build is an absolute beast. I don’t race in lobbies, I mainly qualify for each series and then forget about online racing., because I’m completely out-classed (highest is league 9, and that’s only just). AWD drift builds are a lot of fun too, and are less likely to spin out of control. All of the drift zones in FH4 were done in a Hoonigan 10 Focus, and it’s my favourite car in the game. I get that people take their racing seriously, but Horizon has always been geared to having the freedom to experiment with different set-ups, whether you’re tearing up the streets, or blasting down dirt tracks, the emphasis has always been on fun, and if they take that away, it will destroy the sole purpose of Horizon’s vision.

What I’m saying, is that, if Horizon was to do what you want, it would be detrimental to my personal experience. Is that fair? So, how about you build/drive the cars that you want to drive, and I drive/build the cars I want to drive, and everyone else can do the same? Horizon is an “E for everyone” game, so everyone should be able to play the game how they want to play it, not just you…

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Regarding the AI:
Currently the AI starts rubberbanding once they are falling behind a certain distance. It’s roughly at the drawing distance of the minimap. They always keep that distance.
At this point they also lose every car-specific traits. When you are close to a AI Raptor for example you can see it bouncing due to the soft suspension and through turns it loses time relative to other AI cars.
Once they start rubberbanding they are clustered together and achieve similar lap times.

Regarding drivetrain and engine swaps:
Generally I don’t mind them but in the end it comes down to balancing. If the PI system would rate different engines more precisely we wouldn’t be seeing the same overused swaps in every car.
Drivetrain swaps are also a sole matter of balancing imho. Horizon mostly favours AWD due to game’s environment and structure while FM7 harshly punishes AWD. In the end the PI system has to rate tire width ratios, aero and engine positioning better to prevent broken stuff like a Track-Tor, Bone Shaker or Roadster, Bubble Top.
But meta cars will be a thing in Horizon 5 too. If they won’t overhaul the PI system it’ll be rather easy to predict the cars. Ford GT '05, both McLaren F1s and the Bugatti EB110SS seem like reliable guesses ;}

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I agree remove them. But I can get behind RWD swapping an AWD.

Hes not saying all swaps mainly the AWD swap. They just needs to be removed. If its only serves as making “interesting” drift builds. One its unrealistic to have them, like the head said. The only swaps that would be possible IRL would be AWD to RWD or FWF or FWD to RWD. First possible swap would be FWD to RWD which would also change the dynamics of the car becuase one way to do would be to remove the engine from the front of the car and move it to the back of the car. Its not as simple as that but it can be done. An other way is to find a RWD transmition that can mount to the engine with the engine spun 90°. Still drasticly chages the car but possible and has been done. RWD or FWD to AWD not possible for almost all car becuase it complicates and contradict many workings of the vehicle not to add it would take hundreds of hours and would cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollers and the huge possibility of it not being possible. But with AWD to RWD or FWD would pretty much be the easiest in todays age of computers. Pretty much all youd have to do is map the computer to push instead of RWD bias (which most AWD cars are) to complete RWD. But AWD to FWD is alittle more work but still possible. Lastly RWD to FWD would never cross anyones find.

I figured id explain the realistically to you. The issue i have with the AWD swaps is the realistic stand point ^, but also the level of ease it adds to the game (I mean that in a bad way). Forza used to be fun and challenging now its just as easy as puttting a v12 in a prius and throwing AWD in it and pushing mach chicken through corners and straights. How is that stupidity fun? Only AWD swaps need to be removed becuase what every they’re used for, its stupid.

Let me clearify your saying taking away customization would be a bad thing? Id say getting rid of some customization would greatly improve the game, say the AWD swaps and v12 swaps in everything. Scew civil liberties there are not correlations beween this and civil liberties. Zip it.

Do you drive with full damage enabled?
When you hit a tree at 200 mph do you just rewind and try again? Lets extend reality to all aspects of an arcade game, make the cars as real as possible.Hit that wall? Your alignment is out of whack. Hit a tree? Race over. All that tire smoke is burning rubber, eventually your tires will fail and you lose grip. You want reality in an Arcade game, then lets just go full tilt boogy and bring on realistic damage. Theres nothing realist about this game, even the handling of rwd cars is not realistic.
AWD swaps might not be realistoc,but neither is hitting a tree @200 mph and driving off like nothing happened.
I bet you dont drive around in your realist world with full damage turned off do you? So yeah, if we are going to remove things for reality, then we gotta start with damage to the car. Too much realism for you?