Great thread and explanation, thanks for bringing the issue up! :)
Shooting is very hard at the moment, and on Escapade it does become clear as you're dealing with higher velocities with targets that are further away, as opposed to Shooting Range's short ranges and relatively low velocities.
The first thing we need to do is to check whether or not this is a problem for many.
So, to anyone reading:
1. What do you think of the shooting mechanic in singleplayer racing? (Asking everyone but Ravidge, as he just wrote a thread about it!)
2. If you try the method described later in this post, does it help aiming, or is it still as hard?
3. If you start up Alpha Arena, fly around and shoot the enemy and respawning it as it dies, "pretending" to play 1v1; do you get used to the aiming after a while, when you're not rushing the shots? (If you have someone to play against, that's even better!)
As for your post, I agree to a degree! I can only speak for myself - but when playing multiplayer, where you have another factor to account for (Enemy movement prediction and enemy grenades), it seems to actually work fine after playing for a while, but it might not because I've balanced all the parameters that "need to be right" to hit the enemy, I think it's because I'm simplifying them.
I've found myself to cope with the slim margins by almost always charging to max or near max charge, and aim pretty much only by rotating and timing the release of the grenade.
This is how I line up pretty much every non-arc shot in 1v1 multiplayer:
1. Make sure your rocket will have controlled motion for a while without too much maintaining
2. Start charging when the enemy is approaching your line of sight/aim
3. Let it charge for a while, slightly before the point where the path becomes near-linear
4. Start rotating the rocket in one
direction, ie: no "fiddling" around or going back and forth with rotation to line up
5. Time the release to make it travel to the enemy, hopefully hitting.
6. As you fire, do not
look at the grenade, focus 100% on not dying. (Breaking/avoiding enemy shots, etc)
The idea is to cancel out parameters.
Charging for long means very low gravity influence, plus a long aim reticle, which helps the aim part.
Rotating in just one direction means you don't have to care about aiming in the sense of rotation, only about the timing of the release of the shooting key.
This has worked really well, and helps me consistently hit.
That said, multiplayer combat is very different from target race, because you have entirely different scoring metrics.
In 1v1 combat, the objective is to not crash or be shot, while making sure the enemy crashes and is shot more than you.
In Target Racing, the objective is to shoot targets and finish the level superfast.
If you look at the 1-6 list above, and try to apply it to Target Racing, point 1 and 6 are played entirely differently, though the rest is still applicable.
So this pretty much is the issue:
And if you're racing for a top time, you don't have time for that shit, things need to go according to plan.
I think another way to see the issue is that when just racing, you get near constant feedback on your performance, but when shooting, there's always the waiting time between grenades being fired, and waiting to see if they hit or not. A miss means everything you did was pointless (If running for a better time)
and you need to restart. Shooting might simply not be very fit for singleplayer racing play.
We want to keep the game skill based, but it might just have too many things to account for at the same time, making it extremely hard to learn, even on a basic level. Our goal is to always make sure you can learn.