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Forza 5's Drivatars have anti-cheating safeguards, make the same mistakes "that real people make"

"We've never seen AI do that in a game. Never."

Forza 5's Drivatar AI racers will pick up on pretty much every nuance of your racing style, according to Turn 10 creative director, including such classic human errors as attempting to take a corner side by side with other racers. They won't, however, imitate trolls or copy attempts to "break" the system.

"The thing that's interesting is that they don't just drive faster - they drive completely differently," Greenawalt told us, during a discussion of the game's difficulty settings. "Because fast drivers tend to be cleaner, they cut corners more, they use the car a lot more, they're much smoother. So, when you change the difficulty the racing fundamentally changes, and all this was trained by real people - it's not programmed by us.

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Drivatars are grouped into seven categories, which appear to correspond to different levels of difficulty, and are derived in large part from the activities of previous Forza player groups. As we've reported at length elsewhere, they'll learn from your performance with every car on every track, and will replicate your tactics - and errors - when racing against your friends.

The fallibility of Drivatars has caught some players out during playtesting, Greenawalt went on. "So people cut corners and the Drivatar learned how to do it and where to do it and how to do it appropriately. We didn't train it to run into you. Usually what's happening - and I've been finding a lot of people do this - they cut off the AI and then they slam on the brakes, and they get hit.

"And they're like, 'oh, that AI hit me!' And we're like, 'it's got real human reaction times and it's driving with the real physics, so of course it hit you! You went in front and cut it off!'"

Turn 10 hopes to make people think of the AI as a real opponent, rather than a system to be exploited. "The problem is that we, as gamers, have been so trained to think of AIs as cheaters that we expect them to cheat. We want them to cheat. We shouldn't want them to cheat - we should want them to play like people.

"So, we've got safeguards on it. It's not even allowed to record driving backwards, doing donuts on the track... We're not stupid. Gamers are gamers. Believe me, some of your gamers will think of it.

"So there are certain things it's simply not allowed to even learn," Greenawalt concluded. "And there are certain things that we've been amazed that it's learned - you know going three-abreast through a corner. We've never seen AI do that in a game. Never.

"I've seen AI make mistakes before, but it's always been scripted. Now it's unscripted. The mistakes you're seeing them make, those were just mistakes that real people made."

All that's not to say that Drivatars are too snooty to adopt rough-and-tumble tactics. Speaking to OXM earlier in the year, lead gameplay designer Rhett Mathis promised that those who enjoy slamming into other cars on corners to "adjust" their angle of entry will be catered for by the system.

Forza 5 is out alongside the Xbox One, on 22nd November. That's in just over a week, yes. Gosh.

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