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Season 22 changes

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One week later than originally anticipated, the changes for season 22 have been released. The focus for these changes are still mainly located in the upgrade of the race script. This script is one of the oldest scripts in the game and was in dire need of an upgrade. It's the most complex script as well however, so changes take quite a bit of time and need to be scheduled one by one.

Race script
Thanks to the changes from the previous update which allowed a car to be created automatically and a strategy to be automatically set, I was able to finally get rid of the old system that prepared the cars for the race. This dated back to the first version of Pitwall, and meant that youth and guest drivers drove with parts that were not created in the same way as normal teams their parts are created. This meant that changes to that newer system were never reflected. To give one example, the tyre temperatures were never properly working for youth drivers. Thanks to these changes, the cars are all using the same parts and a real comparison is possible again.

Another reason why I wanted to implement the automatic car creation and strategy set up was to allow automatic qualification. From now on teams will see their drivers participate in a qualifying session once we're 30 minutes before the end of the qualification session. The driver will see his car set up automatically, and qualify. Another change is that if no strategy was set up (in case the manager forgot to set one, or the driver qualified automatically), then the driver will get a strategy automatically generated.
The strategy calculation has also been tweaked and improved to give better results, and will from now on also fits the correct tyre if the car is available. Also, it will take the current fuel tank into account if there is one already mounted to the car.

Because of all these changes, I could enable the guest drivers again. Before they would fill up the grid to 12 drivers (so if there were 10 normal drivers, then 2 guests would be added). But this number has now been increased to 20 to give better racing.

Several other things have been fixed, which include the tyre selection code which has been completely changed. There were issues with tyre selections in the past, and the script would not find any tyres if the replacement tyre was set to "Medium". Also, the alternative part selection has been changed so that it also takes the part condition and kilometres remaining into account. This functionality has been improved and should give better results.
Finally there have been many performance improvements to the race script. This is something that you won't notice immediately, but it means that the script will need less time to calculate lap times and to set itself up. This means that the race will lag less behind in case there are many races with full grids.

Youth series
There have been several changes to the youth series as part of this update. These changes may not always be popular, but they were necessary as I started seeing 14 year olds with maxed out skills which is obviously completely unrealistic. I have therefore completely re-calculated how the skill progression would be realistic and made some changes.

Before, a youth series would mean that it's all the same in terms of how fast a youth driver would progress skill wise. This would mean that the person with the same talent and the same coach had the same progression per lap in the U6 series as in the U12 series. This is no longer the case. Each youth series now has a skill improvement stat which determines how fast the skill improves. The idea is that the lowest series don't have the highest improvements, but the middle of the youth driver education is the most important, after which the boost starts to decline again.
From now on series also have a limiting factor on skill. This means that a driver will only be able to progress so much in each series. Once he hits the ceiling, he won't be able to improve the skill any longer which has hit the ceiling.

Another change is that the efficiency of a coach is now much more strict. Before it didn't matter that much how many series a coach would be coaching. It mattered, but not enough. This has been tweaked now so that managers will need to make choices in which youth area they want their efficiency to be the best. The efficiency stat determines how much the boost that a coach can give matters. If there is a low efficiency, then the extra value that the coach can bring to a youth driver is lower. This is not a stat which is determined by the skill of a coach, as each coach starts with an efficiency of 100% if he's managing one series.

Finally, the coach his "Coaching" stat is now used to determine how high a coach can take a driver skill wise. If the coach has a coach skill of 8/20, then he won't be able to train driver skills which are higher than 8/20. This means that if you want a star driver, that you will need a star coach as well.

Since these are a lot of changes which require a good overview, I also created a new drivers page which makes it far easier to manage your driver line-up. It gives you visual feedback on whether a youth driver is being limited in his series maximum

Person changes
All of the above have meant that it's vital to get good information on how skilled persons are. I felt that this area was still not ideal, and have made some changes to the way it's calculated how detailed the skills are. The progress statistic (which determines how detailed skills are) are now influenced by rank, number of races done, your coaches and scout reports. To give even more clarity, I have added an extra box on the person page which allows you to see how detailed the information is, and where it's coming from.
Also visible from now on is the condition of a person. If he has gotten injured in a session, then it will now show the date from when he can start racing again.

During all these changes I needed to do some research in the teams and noticed that the wages for persons (drivers and staff) are still very, very low. Especially when you compare these to the income, then it's clear that this was improperly balanced. Therefore I made some changes in this area. When a person determines his base wage, he also looks at what others are earning. If others were earning 2,5 times more, then he would cap what he would ask by 2,5. Meaning that he should actually ask more, but he didn't since it would be a big increase. This multiplier has been changed to 5. The base wage that he would ask based on his skill and reputation has now also been multiplied by a multiplier. In general it will mean that you can expect an increase in contract wages.

Team reputation
The team reputation ranking has been under fire for some time now, and probably rightly so. I also invested time in this area so that the ranking should now better reflect the true ranking of teams. This ranking used to be calculated solely on the basis of recent results. This has been changed into a part of recent results, but also to a permanent part. This permanent part does not decrease over time like the recent results, but is dependent on several factors: top 10 persons (drivers or staff) which are signed to the team, the amount of races the team has done, the HQ level, the financial situation of the team and the number of titles whereas a higher division title counts for more.
The recent results are still sort of calculated as before, but teams who are no longer in a division will get an extra reputation decrease for not competing. And junior teams only get 30% of a reputation score for results since their point is not to become the best team in the game, and they're exclusively racing in division 3 where it's easier to get a good result.

The game was lacking a page which showed the ranking of the teams. This page is now available on the teams page by clicking the "All teams" button on the right top. This will take you to a page where you can see the top reputation ranking in global terms, but also per division number. This page now also show the richest teams, just like the old version of Pitwall. And this will also show you that we had a big problem income wise versus expenditures.

Other changes
There have been several other changes, and I would highly recommend you to check them out on the Status page (Game info > Status). But in a nutshell, here are some of the other changes.

Several layout updates such as tabs which get a nicer styling. The contract section of persons has also been changed. On the desk the labels are changed so that the page looks less busy, and the links at the bottom of news items are now normal links.
The cars page has had its drop downs removed, and they have been replaced by buttons which allows you to faster go through the page. More changes can be expected on this page since it's still a bit "heavy".

The forum has been changed into a single forum. In the previous iteration of the game the forum was much more active, but this has been largely replaced by the chat since that was visible from the top navigation bar. To get the forum back into the spotlights, I've also added a section for the forum in the communication widget (which before only held the chat).

Apart from all the other bug fixes that have been done, I have also closed the loophole which allowed junior teams to search for loopholes in driver contracts. Which could be used to the benefit of the main team.

I hope you all enjoy these changes. I will continue to work on the race script which will involve changes in how the car ratings are calculated, and we get one step closer to an improved race script.
Let me know if there are any questions (forum/chat).

Posted May 4, 2020 10:18 am by Frank Van Laere.

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