My experience with Rolla

Hello. Recently, I accidentally saw a video about alternatives to Zwift and decided to try Rolla. I would like to share my first impressions.

Visually, Rolla is incredible. Realistic, grounded, detailed environments... there's nothing to criticize here. This is something I find really frustrating about Zwift. Some observations:

  • It seems to me that the optimization of the engine could be improved. On a powerful computer with an RTX 3060, I expected better FPS at all resolutions. The drawing distance is nothing absurd, the geometry and textures don't seem to be extraordinarily complicated or large... I'm not sure what caused my machine to struggle to maintain a rate close to 20-24 fps at 4k.

  • From what little I could see, the graphics suffer a lot from moiré and aliasing. Where there are grids, screens, fences, the moiré is very noticeable and somewhat distracting. I think it's worth investing in better anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, etc.

  • The first-person view option is a very special touch.

The mobile app interface puts the competition to shame. Congratulations to those responsible! Definitely one of the best I've ever seen. Much better than Zwift and even Strava.

Unfortunately, the actual cycling experience was not positive. I had many connection problems. Although both the phone and the computer were connected to the same Wi-Fi router (which is less than 2 meters away), the phone frequently lost connection with the display, which simply ends the ride after 10 seconds. I also had to restart my phone app and the PC app a few times. Some times the mobile app just wouldn't find the display to connect. Other times it couldn't find the trainer. Sometimes the app would go kinda crazy and would keep showing a message like "the device is already connected" every 2 seconds or so, nonstop, while it failed to find the trainer. When it happened I always ended up finishing the app and opening it again.

Of course, it could be a problem with my phone or PC. But either way, I don't understand the need to have a phone permanently online mediating the entire activity. Honestly, I really missed having a standard interface with a mouse, etc. For me, the phone as a mandatory part of the system just adds complexity to it, and dramatically increases the chances of problems. If I have a PC and the trainer connected, I don't see the need for the phone as a mandatory component. In this respect, the Zwift mobile app makes much more sense: if the phone battery dies, or the Wi-Fi signal vanishes, the workout continues uninterrupted. I had a situation where the phone lost connection with the display because I switched between the Rolla App and Spotify. In the end, I couldn't ride for more than a few minutes at a time, which was frustrating. Eventually, I gave up.

One more observation: I don't know if Rolla also stops the workout if it loses connection with the trainer. If the answer is yes, remember that some trainers (like the Tacx Neo, which I use) can be used without being plugged into the socket, as they generate their own energy when the athlete pedals. In this case, on descents, if the user stops pedaling, the trainer "sleeps" until the descent is over and the person starts pedaling again.

I will try to use Rolla again soon, but to be honest, I am quite wary of spending a long time riding and suddenly losing everything due to a connection problem.

Anyway, congratulations on the app. I really hope to use it a lot in the future. It seemed very, very promising!

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Rolla World

Date

About 1 month ago

Author

Fabio

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