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  1. #1
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    Zwift (Virtual) Racing - It's getting kinda serious...

    I was just reading this interview over on ZwiftBlog.com

    Interview with the CEO of Cycligent
    Interview with Frank Garcia of Cycligent Virtual Rankings - ZwiftBlog

    Overview of CVR on ZwiftBlog
    ZwiftRankings.com (Cycligent Virtual Rankings) beta launch - ZwiftBlog

    As anyone who has ever done a group ride or race in Zwift knows, watts per kilogram is not an ideal means of categorizing riders. For one, it's susceptible to cheating, and two, it very inconsistent in that affects hills differently than it affects flat courses. You also probably know that there are some seriously fast riders in Zwift, right up to pro level.

    For those who haven't experienced it, Zwiftblog has an interesting write up called 'Why am I getting beat by people with a lower W/kg'.
    Why am I getting beat by people with lower w/kg? - ZwiftBlog

    It seems some folks are getting serious about developing a ranking system that takes many factors into account. After a three event 'rookie' period, it ranks you in three separate categories. "Flat", "Climbing", and "Flat and Climbing".

    It's called Cycligent Virtual Ranking Systems.

    It's not in use by all Zwift races yet, but some of the results are ZwiftRankings.com are using it. It's pretty interesting.

    Homepage (ZwiftRankings.com)
    Cycligent Virtual Rankings

    Overview
    Cycligent Virtual Rankings

  2. #2
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    Virtual "racing" is like playing with yourself.
    If you want to get "Serious", pin a number on, line up, and get your rear end kicked.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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    Mr Grumpy,

    Have you ever tried a Zwift race? I'm just curious.

    I've heard similar comments from people who were humbled the first time they joined a race. The first time I rode in one I rode about 30 watts above my FTP for over an hour. I have never pushed myself that hard on a bike outside, even on a really long hard climb.

    I have exactly ZERO interest in lining up with a bunch of CAT 5's and age groupers outdoors. NONE. But racing in Zwift is fun, and it's HARD, and I don't have to worry about weather, or idiots clipping a wheel, or overcooking a turn.

    MMsRepBike,

    I think that within the restriction of using a power trainer or real power meter (i.e. vritual "ZPower" would normally exclude you from most race results), the body weight setting in Zwift is the only real form of cheating. This is a tricky one to overcome.
    Last edited by Migen21; 01-22-2017 at 11:40 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    Mr Grumpy,

    Have you ever tried a Zwift race? I'm just curious.

    I've heard similar comments from people who were humbled the first time they joined a race. The first time I rode in one I rode about 30 watts above my FTP. I have never pushed myself that hard on a bike outside, even on a really long hard climb.

    I have exactly ZERO interest in lining up with a bunch of CAT 5's and age groupers outdoors. NONE. But racing in Zwift is fun, and it's HARD, and I don't have to worry about weather, or idiots clipping a wheel, or overcooking a turn.

    MMsRepBike,

    I think that within the restriction of using a power trainer or real power meter (i.e. vritual "ZPower" would normally exclude you from most race results), the body weight setting in Zwift is the only real form of cheating. This is a tricky one to overcome.
    You can join a group ride that's above your ability and get the exact same thing you are talking about in a "race" on that site.

    And no, that's not the only form of cheating, far from.

    First I can change my weight, as mentioned, and as long as I'm just under 5.0w/kg there's nothing anyone will do or can do.

    Second I can change my air pressure if I'm riding a wheel on trainer to skew their fake z-power thing in my favor. Do a little search of people who used wheel on trainers than switched to a Neo. You'll find that they all said the exact same "effort" on the game became much harder on the Neo.

    Third I can change the trainer difficulty, and in reality I can just shut it off. Like weight, there's no stopping this. What this does is eliminate any and all gradients from affecting me. As you go up the 2% or whatever grade and have to switch gears, I don't. I stay virtually on flat ground due to my trainer difficulty setting.

    I haven't even started to get into scripting. Nor have I even mentioned botting. Both exist and are growing. Know what botting or scripting is? Maybe you should look into online competitive gaming before making your opinions about there being only one way to cheat and that it's tricky to overcome. Come on now, you should be smarter than that.
    use a torque wrench

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    I thought it was odd they even have watts/kg in a virtual world where the weight is set by the user. With that much potential for incorrectness I would have just based everything off power. Seems like that would keep things even.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    I thought it was odd they even have watts/kg in a virtual world where the weight is set by the user. With that much potential for incorrectness I would have just based everything off power. Seems like that would keep things even.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk
    Not even close.

    Going up a 5% grade, if one guy is 130lbs and the other is 200lbs and both are doing 300 watts, the 130lb guy is going to be much faster.

    There's no way to stop the cheating.

    Think of it like this: There's already lots of online competitive games with identical input devices. With shooting games or whatever, everyone has the same equipment, same input data. However they cannot stop the cheating in these games, no matter how sophisticated they get. Just look into Overwatch or CSGo cheating to learn a bit about how it's done. Now if a giant company like that can't stop cheating with everyone on the exact same input devices, how is Zwift going to manage, being a tiny company, and having everyone on different input devices?


    What Zwift did to establish their Z-Power curves was to buy every single trainer on the market. Yes, they bought and tested every one of them themselves, they have them all still. Each and every trainer has it's own Z-Power curve. Well... what if I tell the game I'm riding an Elite trainer when really I'm riding a Tacx trainer? What then? The power curves could be very different between the machines. So the elite could be 20mph at 3w/kg, but the Tacx could be 22mph at 3w/kg. How are you going to stop that? How are you going to verify what dumb trainer people have?


    And then what if you're using a power meter like a stages or whatever? I can very easily offset the zero offsetting (what many call calibration) of the unit. How are you going to prove if it's offset correctly?


    And you can change tire sizes too on dumb trainers. Change their air pressure, all kinds of things.


    There's no way to stop cheating in Zwift, it's not possible outside of a physically controlled location. If you want to race, fine, just don't think it's real, it's not even close.
    use a torque wrench

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    Keep in mind that the racing and ranking systems are not done by the game developers. This is all work that is done by third parties. The only real development Zwift has done in this regard is to create the "Event Module" system (staged start, rider tracking, leader flagging, etc..), and some back end work to allow third parties to access ride data to track the races.

    Nathan Guerra does live commentary of some if the bigger races.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Not even close.

    Going up a 5% grade, if one guy is 130lbs and the other is 200lbs and both are doing 300 watts, the 130lb guy is going to be much faster.

    There's no way to stop the cheating.

    Think of it like this: There's already lots of online competitive games with identical input devices. With shooting games or whatever, everyone has the same equipment, same input data. However they cannot stop the cheating in these games, no matter how sophisticated they get. Just look into Overwatch or CSGo cheating to learn a bit about how it's done. Now if a giant company like that can't stop cheating with everyone on the exact same input devices, how is Zwift going to manage, being a tiny company, and having everyone on different input devices?


    What Zwift did to establish their Z-Power curves was to buy every single trainer on the market. Yes, they bought and tested every one of them themselves, they have them all still. Each and every trainer has it's own Z-Power curve. Well... what if I tell the game I'm riding an Elite trainer when really I'm riding a Tacx trainer? What then? The power curves could be very different between the machines. So the elite could be 20mph at 3w/kg, but the Tacx could be 22mph at 3w/kg. How are you going to stop that? How are you going to verify what dumb trainer people have?


    And then what if you're using a power meter like a stages or whatever? I can very easily offset the zero offsetting (what many call calibration) of the unit. How are you going to prove if it's offset correctly?


    And you can change tire sizes too on dumb trainers. Change their air pressure, all kinds of things.


    There's no way to stop cheating in Zwift, it's not possible outside of a physically controlled location. If you want to race, fine, just don't think it's real, it's not even close.

    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Anyone who takes racing seriously on Zwift and/or the results of such is a moron


    I get it. You don't like it. It's fine, you don't have to (although I'd appreciate leaving the name calling out of it)

    If you had bothered to read some of what I linked, you would know that some of the methods of cheating you mentioned don't apply to the higher level races. Some of them even require you to send power files from outdoor rides before they will put you on the leaderboards. And the very point of the CVR system I referred to in my first post is intended to more accurately rank people so they can't sandbag. And let's not pretend sandbagging doesn't happen in outdoor races. We all know it does.

    I'm not saying the system is perfect. Far from it. I don't think anyone is going to be awarding any prize money based on these rides. It's just a ton of fun and an extremely good workout.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone who doesn't like virtual riding/racing/training that they should do it. It's not for everyone. It's not going to replace outdoor racing. But for those like me, who do enjoy it, I just wanted to share that some progress has been made in regards to improving the accuracy and integrity of the system.

    Edit: Really, all I'm trying to point out is that the biggest problem with Zwift group rides and races (ranking/grading riders so they participate in the right events) is being worked on. Don't be so damned defensive. If you don't like Zwift, just move on and ignore this thread.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    Keep in mind that the racing and ranking systems are not done by the game developers. This is all work that is done by third parties. The only real development Zwift has done in this regard is to create the "Event Module" system (staged start, rider tracking, leader flagging, etc..), and some back end work to allow third parties to access ride data to track the races.
    Which further proves my point.

    If you look back to the inception, you will see plenty of official comments from Zwift. They recognize the want/desire to have racing on Zwift and they know there's a lot of cheating. They said, long back now, that they'll do everything they can to stop it or prevent it so that there can be fair racing.

    They quickly threw in the towel.

    The 5.0w/kg number I posted earlier isn't from Zwift, Zwift doesn't care or as you stated they don't do anything. It's from Zwiftpower, a third party company making leaderboards for racing and group rides and such. They'll disqualify you if you're over 5.0w/kg unless you can back up your data with Strava data (also easily fudged, so that's a poor way to prove anything). If you're under 5.0w/kg average though for the race they won't even look at you unless you're winning 90% of the races you enter.

    So I'm fully aware that all of the policing is done by third party companies and that Zwift hasn't even attempted to get involved with it. If you ask me, they never will. If they're smart, they never will. If they're smart, the only thing they'll get involved with is local events where they provide the trainers and equipment and they do all of the settings themselves. If someone is riding at home, there's zero way of stopping them from cheating.

    I'm not trying to convince anyone who doesn't like virtual riding/racing/training that they should do it. It's not for everyone. It's not going to replace outdoor racing. But for those like me, who do enjoy it, I just wanted to share that some progress has been made in regards to improving the accuracy and integrity of the system.
    And I'm not trying to convince anyone not to do it. Like I said, if you want to do it, great, just don't think it's real.

    And no, no progress has been made to improve the integrity of the system, I think I've been quite clear about that. This system will never have integrity. If you think those leaderboards are in any way real, you need a reality check.
    use a torque wrench

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    Jeebus,

    Why are you expending so much energy on this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Which further proves my point.

    If you look back to the inception, you will see plenty of official comments from Zwift. They recognize the want/desire to have racing on Zwift and they know there's a lot of cheating. They said, long back now, that they'll do everything they can to stop it or prevent it so that there can be fair racing.

    They quickly threw in the towel.

    The 5.0w/kg number I posted earlier isn't from Zwift, Zwift doesn't care or as you stated they don't do anything. It's from Zwiftpower, a third party company making leaderboards for racing and group rides and such. They'll disqualify you if you're over 5.0w/kg unless you can back up your data with Strava data (also easily fudged, so that's a poor way to prove anything). If you're under 5.0w/kg average though for the race they won't even look at you unless you're winning 90% of the races you enter.

    So I'm fully aware that all of the policing is done by third party companies and that Zwift hasn't even attempted to get involved with it. If you ask me, they never will. If they're smart, they never will. If they're smart, the only thing they'll get involved with is local events where they provide the trainers and equipment and they do all of the settings themselves. If someone is riding at home, there's zero way of stopping them from cheating.



    And I'm not trying to convince anyone not to do it. Like I said, if you want to do it, great, just don't think it's real.

    And no, no progress has been made to improve the integrity of the system, I think I've been quite clear about that. This system will never have integrity. If you think those leaderboards are in any way real, you need a reality check.
    MMS, you really seem to hate Zwift. Did someone from Zwift run off off with your wife or steal your identity? Its just a game/training tool. Migen says he finds it fun and you call him a moron

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    Zwift is great. Zwift is fun. It's a great training tool. I do races, I do group rides, I do workouts, I just ride around sometimes.

    I have nothing against Zwift.

    Zwift racing is not real though, it's full of cheaters and it will never be fair. It's a joke to be honest. It's totally unnecessary, as I mentioned you can race just fine with group rides, you don't need a fake "race" moniker.

    Anyone who takes the races seriously needs a wake up call. Cheaters ruin competitive games if not dealt with, and there's zero way to deal with them here. So there's zero way this will ever be a real competitive online game. That simple.

    Stop trying to make Zwift racing seem legit, it's not and it will never be.
    use a torque wrench

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    FWIW, I used to host/admin GTR and Battlefield servers. While there is most likely no way to level the playing field as far as equipment, it would be possible to prevent users from joining servers based on software variances, if files have been altered. This software check was in place for online GTR races, where if a user joined a server with a car file which differed from that on the server (GTR has a huge modification community for both cars and tracks) the user received a system message, and not allowed to join.

    Environment requirements, such as min weight, fixed trainer difficulty, etc. could also be set. However in order to implement, they may have to move to a multiple/private server model (something I think they should have done from the beginning), or add some sort of "join event" option (if not already there) at login added, for user created events, allowing for parameter settings, if the races are to still exist on the main Zwift server.

    Or, they could lock it down where in order to join a race, you "have to have" trainer "X", or "Y", on top of doing file checks, and setting weight, and or difficulty minimums. The Zwift software already knows the trainer model.
    Last edited by colnagoG60; 01-22-2017 at 01:06 PM.

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    Thankfully there's absolutely no way to cheat in real world races!

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    fruity

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Zwift is great. Zwift is fun. It's a great training tool. I do races, I do group rides, I do workouts, I just ride around sometimes.

    I have nothing against Zwift.

    Zwift racing is not real though, it's full of cheaters and it will never be fair. It's a joke to be honest. It's totally unnecessary, as I mentioned you can race just fine with group rides, you don't need a fake "race" moniker.

    Anyone who takes the races seriously needs a wake up call. Cheaters ruin competitive games if not dealt with, and there's zero way to deal with them here. So there's zero way this will ever be a real competitive online game. That simple.

    Stop trying to make Zwift racing seem legit, it's not and it will never be.
    I've been Zwifting since Beta and racing and agree 100% .. hell Zwift is like polar opposite for me even.. Climb ok and suck on the flats.. in RL I can't climb out a paper bag.

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    The closest I come to virtual "racing" is on calibrated Computrainer races. You get weighed in before the event (total bike/shoes/person), so there can be no cheating. The calibrated Computrainers are supplied by a local bike shop and 8 people race at one time. All data is piped into a computer, and is shown on a large screen TV, so you know how far ahead, or behind you are everyone else. Courses can be set flat, or hilly, with drafting on, or off. Even with the machines being calibrated, sometimes you get a heavy machine, so it's still "pretend" racing.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colnagoG60 View Post
    or add some sort of "join event" option (if not already there) at login added, for user created events, allowing for parameter settings, if the races are to still exist on the main Zwift server.
    They added this very thing over the summer. It's called the "Event Module". You use the 'Mobile Link' app to sign up for an event, then when you log into the game you have a 'Join Event' button that puts you on a trainer at the starting line so you can spin until the start time, at which time all hell breaks loose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    Mr Grumpy,

    Have you ever tried a Zwift race? I'm just curious.

    I have. They're a joke. Very unlike any real-life riding in regards to the dynamics of a group, the aero-benefits, and of course the out and out cheating (both intentional and not due to absurd power/trainer correlations).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY View Post
    Virtual "racing" is like playing with yourself.
    If you want to get "Serious", pin a number on, line up, and get your rear end kicked.
    This. So much this. Some of these deluded zwifters have absolutely no idea what a real race is like and never will because they think a video game gives them a clue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    They added this very thing over the summer. It's called the "Event Module". You use the 'Mobile Link' app to sign up for an event, then when you log into the game you have a 'Join Event' button that puts you on a trainer at the starting line so you can spin until the start time, at which time all hell breaks loose.
    I thought it was available...forgot about the trainer startup area. The choice is just not in the main screen, where you select which route/workout. Does the event creator get to set other game variables (e.g. - min weight/height, "no z-power", no boosts, trainer diff, etc)?

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    The event creator has parameters they can select, including limiting the type of bikes used, the intended W/Kg category (A/B/C/D/E - All), whether Z-Power (virtual power - sketchy stuff) is allowed, if power-ups are usable, the course/map, whether it's time elapsed, laps completed, or distance completed. There is also a description area made available to the users explaining these parameters, and any other useful information.

    You can preview the events on this webpage, but the only way to sign up is via the "Mobile Link" app (as far as I know).

    Zwift | Join the Pack.

    Note that the majority of the events are group rides, and not actual competitive races. Some the group rides designate max W/kg thresholds (i.e. Sub2, Sub3, etc... ) so they appeal to casual riders. Some are more friendly than others. Anything intended for A/B riders is going to rip the lungs out of most people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    Zwift is great. Zwift is fun. It's a great training tool. I do races, I do group rides, I do workouts, I just ride around sometimes.

    I have nothing against Zwift.

    Zwift racing is not real though, it's full of cheaters and it will never be fair. It's a joke to be honest. It's totally unnecessary, as I mentioned you can race just fine with group rides, you don't need a fake "race" moniker.

    Anyone who takes the races seriously needs a wake up call. Cheaters ruin competitive games if not dealt with, and there's zero way to deal with them here. So there's zero way this will ever be a real competitive online game. That simple.

    Stop trying to make Zwift racing seem legit, it's not and it will never be.
    You are over exaggerating this issues with cheating, to the level of hyperbole. Certainly there are cheaters, and most of them are easily identified and removed from the results. Most races don't allow ZPower in the results, so hardware stuff doesn't really apply. HR is required as well.

    No one is trying to legitimize this to the point of it being some kind of officially sanctioned event. It's just a bunch of people having fun on their bike.

    I'm kind of surprised that you are so down on it considering the popularity of it on facebook and other social media sites. There are organized Zwift race teams with thousands of members around the world. If cheating were has bad as you are trying to make it out to be, people wouldn't be doing it.

    Here is one groups website. They are very well organized, and have 12-13 scheduled rides weekly, organized training rides with training plans, an in-game and real-world Kit you can buy, etc...
    teamodz - TeamODZ

    Companies are throwing money behind it. Castelli is one company that sponsors at least one ride series that I'm aware of.
    Last edited by Migen21; 01-22-2017 at 08:56 PM.

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    It seems pple are comparing virtual racing with real racing. They need to stop doing that, both "sides".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumguy1 View Post
    It seems pple are comparing virtual racing with real racing. They need to stop doing that, both "sides".
    I don't know who you are referring to. I have never given any correlation between Zwift (or virtual racing) and actually riding in an outdoor race.

    I'm not on any 'side'. I didn't start this thread to have some inane debate about the viability of Zwift racing.

    All I wanted to do was let those interested know that some of the 'issues' that have plagued group rides and racing (mainly how riders are categorized pre-ride) is being addressed. Companies are putting development and support resources behind it. And it's only going to get better.

    Outdoor racing is great. I'm not advocating riding in Zwift instead of your local crit. But for those who live in cold, wet, dark places, it is a great training tool to prepare for it, and perhaps get an advantage over those who are sitting on their couches all winter. More importantly, it's just a lot of fun. A hell of a lot more fun than just grinding out intervals and winter base miles. It's a great way to get in shape when outside riding isn't available to you.
    Last edited by Migen21; 01-22-2017 at 09:03 PM.

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