The Zommunique logo June '23


indieVelo—Racebots Explained!

Newly enhanced AI-powered Racebots add a more lifelike, dynamic, and "aggressive" flair to the cycling esports platform indieVelo.

If you’re new to the virtual cycling platform indieVelo, the question has undoubtedly come to mind. indieVelo Beta-testers have heard them all. It doesn’t phase them one bit. Their experience on the platform affirms the claim that indieVelo is defining the future of virtual sport, and this is one of the many ways.

How do I know which avatars are human and which ones are bots? The fact that the question arises at all is good, right? indieVelo Racebots act and react like human riders. The resemblance is so close that most users can’t tell the difference.

Whether cruising The Island of indieVelo during a free ride or doing some training intervals, you’ll encounter Racebots doing the same sorts of things. As the platform develops and popularity grows, living “heavy breathing” humans will replace many bots, but they may never be gone for good.

indieVelo Robopacers
Photo courtesy of Beta-tester Andras Beck!

Racebots Ensure An Interactive Riding Experience

The bots ensure that every indieVelo riding experience is fulfilling and interactive. When you think about it, there are only a few things worse than enjoying a steady endurance ride with a group of Pacebots acting like your mates during a real-life cafe ride. That is the solitude of indoor riding in a lonely, unstimulating digital space. Or worse!

We’ve all gotten to our Gain Caves in time to put in a solid warm-up in preparation for a race, only to find we’re among “very few” who’ve done the same. The pens are empty, and those that start the race don’t see any point in finishing. Alone again. That’s one of the beauties of indieVelo’s Racebots.

The platform varies the number of active bots as more humans join the open world, but they’ll always be there if you need them. Like when you have a small window of time to get in a race effort, and there are only a few like-minded heartbeats to join. Or when you create a custom event at the last minute and don’t have time to invite others. Your friendly neighborhood Racebots step up to fill out the field.

Five Key Facts About indieVelo Racebots

  1. Human-like Simulation: indieVelo’s Racebots, powered by advanced AI, effectively emulate human behaviors, engaging in similar activities as human players, like free rides and training intervals.

  2. Enhanced Interaction: Racebots counter the isolation often felt in digital indoor cycling by providing a fulfilling and interactive experience, ensuring there’s always competition, even when there’s no one else around.

  3. Diverse Abilities: Thanks to their AI, Racebots embody various racer profiles such as climbers, time trialists, and sprinters. Their performances are based on the Critical Power/W’ model, simulating energy reserves and sustained power capabilities.

  4. Realistic Ranking System: Racebots utilize the same ranking and rating system as human players. Their skill level and in-game status evolve based on their performance, contributing to a more realistic and dynamic competitive scene.

  5. Continuous Evolution: indieVelo’s developers consistently refine Racebot AI based on user feedback and observations. The latest update, Version V0.2.6, introduced even more strategic, tactical, and aggressive behaviors in Racebots.

AI-Enhanced Racebots Behave Like Humans

Don’t be fooled! The Racebots won’t be friendly for long. You will soon wish they didn’t have such an uncanny resemblance to the fittest and most strategic mate at your local crit. indieVelo’s developers have applied sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) to individualize their lifelike characteristics.

The virtual Racebot community is inclusive and diverse, modeled to behave like human racers. You’ll find bots with classic phenotypes, like climbers, time trialists, sprinters, or a combination. Each has a unique AI signature based on a Critical Power/W’ model with digital-physical performance attributes.

indieVelo Robopacers 1

Racebots Have Individual Phenotypes and Characteristics

Picture it like this, the Critical Power (CP)/W’ model equates each Racerbot’s performance to a bucket of water, with water as their energy reserves. CP is like a hole in the bottom of the bucket, signifying the highest power the bot can maintain for an extended period. W’, the bucket’s size, indicates their energy reserves for efforts above CP.

Like you and me, once the Racerbot’s bucket is empty, there’s nothing left to give. The bots must be strategic about metering out their efforts because they only have so many drops in the bucket to spill. They must recover from attacks, and the sting comes out of the whip with each subsequent angered turn of the pedals. In short, they get tired and, in some cases, will “blow up.” 

That’s your chance to take advantage because beating a bot influences your in-game status. The Racebot’s tactical realism and lifelike physical limitations are essential to the competitive cycling esports experience. indieVelo takes it to another level by assigning the same ratings and rankings to the bots.

indieVelo’s Racebots Take Esports To The Next Level

Racebots utilize the identical rating and ranking system as their human counterparts. Their performance in events directly influences their ratings, increasing with successful outcomes and decreasing when they fall short. This system accurately represents a Racebot’s skill level in various race scenarios. The matchmaking process considers it to ensure a consistently high-quality competition, matching your skill level, regardless of your ability.

Much like their human rivals, the Racebots are evolving. indieVelo’s developers observe bot behavior and process Beta-tester feedback, using it to tweak the AI. With Update Version V0.2.6, released on July 17, 2023, indieVelo introduced the latest iteration of Racebot. From what racers are saying, the learning curve is more like a hockey stick, and the racing is strategic, tactical, and aggressive.

“The bots attack and counterattack now,” notes Saris-NoPinz elite esports racer Gavin Dempster. The Racebots enhance the racing experience with more dynamic and compelling competition. “They absolutely send it when they attack too—quickly getting a ten-second gap.”

Dempster’s teammate and Beta-tester Matt Gardiner share a similar experience: “There were several break attempts that I bridged across to, and the one that stuck was a counterattack after we got caught. I bridged the 10-second gap, lifted the pace, and the bot met my effort. We stayed away and won by 40 seconds.”

How do you know if the avatars you’re racing are bots? Judging by how Matt and Gavin’s scenarios closely resemble real-life racing, there may be only one way. Well, if there’s no smack talk after receiving a bot beatdown, you may be happy that you don’t know!

Your thoughts?

What do you think of indieVelo’s Racebots? Comment below. Your fellow virtual cyclists want to know!

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