Mod 1.4x Development: Part 2
Realised that I should probably do another one of these.
Still Waiting for Stable Patch
1.42 is still in beta, so progress as more or less halted on putting together a complete mod as of yet. However, I’ve been testing some bit’s and pieces for when we finally get a stable release. These are some of the bigger features – rather then just the small touch ups found in Part 1.
Other Touch Ups to be included are:
- Fixed an issue where Buttered Up / Insulted via interview questions effected AI teams as well as the players (effectively making Insulted drivers un-hirable anywhere).
- Reorganised a number of the asset text files. Each update, the game developers are forever adding new ones and we’ve had several ID conflicts in the past causing issues in a number of texts. We’re moving our modified IDs well out of the way now, spending a lot of time re-organising these texts such that we won’t have to do it again in the future.
Re-purposed Difficulty Slider
1.42 added a difficulty slider which I am hoping stays – though I’ll be adjusting what it does.
In vanilla, this slider adds a blanket time cost per lap to either the AI (to make things easier) or to the player (to make things harder). While this may seem like a good way to customize the difficulty of the game, it does is in a way which doesn’t feel right. Any deviation of the default position results in all the ‘driver’ and ‘car’ comparison graphs / ranked tables completely null and void – as if you set the AI to run 0.5s a lap faster then you, then some teams with worse driver / car performance stats then you will magically be faster then you.
So I plan on completely eradicating that approach and combine it with my concept of ‘difficulty’ added in previous editions of the mod.
So all the Tech Decay / AI boosting from my mod from 1.3 has gone. Instead, what will have is this slider will boost (or reduce) the AI’s Start of Season’s Base Performance Stat based off of the difficulty slider. This will have the effect of allowing the user to customize the ‘Difficulty’/’Ease’ of catching and overtaking in the ‘Car Development Race’
So in short. Move the slider to the left, and by aggressively developing the car, it might only take a couple of seasons to have the best car on the field. Constrating, move the slider to the right, and you’ll have to try your very best to move up from having the 7th best car to the 6th best car over a few seasons…. Move it too far, and maybe you’ll never catch them up!
The Slider’s purpose is for the user to now define, not only the difficulty per say, but actually the ‘pace’ of gameplay. If you want a vanilla experience, then leave the slider alone. If you are short on time and want to fly through the series, then move the slider to make it easier. If you want a slower rise to the top, then move it a bit right. If you want to struggle for season after season – then throw it all the way to the right.
It might take a bit of trail and error on the users’ part to find the difficulty they desire the best, but it’s no different to deciding how to customize the difficulty to any other game. At least now, for the first time in a while, you have a broad choice which can be changed any time within the game itself (previous attempts meant replacing files with other files).
AI Additional Help
An old feature and a new one:
1 – Once again, the AI will be given a large reduction to their car development costs. This is because the AI are still no masters at using money best. Overall, this change really just makes the AI more competitive by ensuring they don’t go bankrupt anywhere near as often. This doesn’t make them overpowered though as their questionable choices, chances of still going bankrupt and having most things in the game balanced by ‘time to design a part’ prevents them from running away from the player.
2- Catch up Boosts:
Having never to this day seen an AI car which I have already surpassed in the ‘development race’ overtaken me again, I decided to apply a Randomly based Car Stat Performance Boost to teams who have an end of season expectation lower then that of the player. What this does, is allow for a team lower then you in the standings to get a minor bonus to their car development so that, instead of looking ahead, you may now have the occasional threat from behind too. This however, is randomised – so it may not happen some years – and may happen to the 10th best car in the series instead of the car just behind you. It might keep you on your toes a bit though – but the feature should not be overpowered that they should overtake you forever more (as once they’ve finished above you, they’d lose that bonus the next year). It is likely I’ll tie this into the difficulty slider too (dependent on testing).
As seen in a file you can grab from my Motorsport Manager v1.4 Patch post, Removing most of the smiley feedback from Practice (and Qualifying).
I always disliked the Perfectionist Approach to Practice and setting up the car – it became very algorithmic, as in time you could accurately get 3 Purple Faces without any thought – while the AI were not so clever.
Meanwhile, the two mobile games of this title didn’t go the simplistic route! Instead making you test which setup was faster – and seeing the results in the timing sheets, which is a far more immersive approach to the start of a race weekend (and harder)!
Now the PC version is more complex, but they also give you a nice Green Bar so you are never too ‘wrong’. And drivers will give you radio feedback on how the current setup is! So in short, the Smiley faces are going and you’ll have a reason to look at some data in practice now! (and you should, those new graphs are lovely)
[For now, I have left the Excellent rating unchanged (So you know when it’s spot on in an area). I’m interested in a few testers to see how they do responding to driver feedback (and green bar) alone – and how they find changing setups based on that. I am considering removing either the % or the Excellent (or both) in the future, but this is a good starting point for tests]
This has generally worked well as a concept. I’ve now increased the time-costs for having a wrong setup such that it might appear more obvious when you’re on the right patch of a setup. I am still conflicted about removing the Percentage value – as unlike the mobile games, there are generally many, many more factors at play.
Oh, there is an issue where it appears Suspension Based Radio Feedback is still reversed, after all this time.
I hope I remember to fix that…
Repairing The Problems
I thought I was making a new feature with this one, but actually, I am just increasing the volatility of a current feature.
When you repair a part during a race, I was under the impression that the part was repaired to full. However, the amount added is based on a Mechanic Stat and Random Variable. However, in 95% of cases these values were enough to completely repair the part, and in the other 5% of cases, increased it to near maximum.
This latest change decreases the minimum value added and increases the random variable significantly. This means that when you pit to repair a part, it may not always be repaired fully. In fact, it may very well only gain a couple of % condition back.
I’m a kind soul though, and a front wing will always be repaired to 100% (as pit crews replace the entire unit) but for the other parts which are only ‘tampered with’ or ‘reset’ will have varying degrees of success. You may need to re-pit to try and fix that troublesome engine (and re-pit again and again).
This makes ensuring that you’re car is in a good condition is more important, as you can no longer be 100% sure that you will only need one repair opportunity during your race.
Second Overhaul Incoming
Much attention while we await a stable patch has gone into another large overhaul, similar in size and scope to the Rebranding Project released in 1.31 (which will make its formal appearance and a main-stay of the mod). I’ll probably go into more details on this in Part 3.
Current Project: Motorsport Manager Balance Mod. A mod dedicated to expanding existing game play elements and increasing both the difficulty and impact of choices.