Mod 1.5 Development: Part 5

Release Impending

As I type this final Dev Blog, I’ve already got testers going over the alpha version of this build. It will soon be pushed to Beta where it will sit for a long while, with plenty of bug fixes and further improvements. I may however, take a month or two out of heavy development to bug fix and play the game a bit – as I’ve not done a serious play-through since 1.2.

We should be releasing a beta version here before the week out – however, due to the extensiveness of the overhauls and rewrites, we expect a few bugs – however, most should be fixable without needing to restart a game – so save often.

Two main features today (plus a recap), One should change the way you look at the rules of the series. The other should change the way you look at the game.

SERIES UNIQUENESS

Each series is under going some rule restrictions for the sake of making each series feel a little more unique. This is just the starting point of a larger potential overhaul – but the new features in 1.5 have made this section easier.

SINGLE SEATER – ERS

  • Short race length – Restricted
  • Random or Reverse Grid only – Restricted

SINGLE SEATER – ASPC

  • Medium race length – Restricted
  • Qualifting based Grid only – Restricted
  • Timed Races – Restricted

SINGLE SEATER – WMC

  • Long race length – Restricted
  • Three Part Qualifying – Initial Rule

GT – IGTC

  • Medium / Long race length only – Restricted
  • Timed Races – Initial Rule

GT – GTCS

  • Short race length – Restricted
  • Standing Based Batteries – Initial Rules
  • Rolling Starts – Initial Rule

ENDURANCE – A/B

  • Already have a unique ruleset and are very diverse from the other series with their driver system, race length and Class system. At this point, I feel it is a diverse enough championship.

The Race Length Restrictions to enable us to really define a race length for each series. For example, we might decide that GTCS will be a really short, 30 minute series – but we don’t want IGTC to have such a short length as it’s balanced for 1-2 hour races. ERS and ASPC have a lot more restricted as we really want to make the ‘journey’ from ERS to WMC feel different at that Mid-game zone. 

BE A MANAGER – Inspiration

A new Backstory “New Manager” is now available to the players. It has no bonuses, but when selected a new Game Mode becomes active:

RaceManagement becomes an ‘Inspiration’ skill – and acts as a ‘this is what you bring to the team’ stat. The Inspiration skill actually counteracts the ‘AI development difficulty’ (the boost the AI gets to development each season) meaning the more Inspired you are, the more competitive you will be year on year.

At the start of the game, the Inspiration skill is begins at 5 – so you’re not bringing a whole lot of new ideas to the team. So the AI will begin to outpace you initially. After all, you’re not very experienced a manager.

And here comes the bigger problem. Stagnation!

BE A MANAGER – Stagnation

If you remain with your team, each year your Inspiration actually decreases! After-all, you’re staying in one place, getting a little comfortable in your job, not learning from new surroundings or new people. And this in turn will make the AI develop more and more then you each year. They’re going to (by design) outpace you at some point. But there is a counter:

BE A MANAGER – Inspiration through Diversity

Switching teams now actually grants you a boost to your Inspiration, significantly increasing it. This is because you are now in a new environment and are able to bring your expertise to this new team and refine your skills.  This will increase your ability to develop your car in comparison to the AI, closing down the AI’s advantage! However, each year from that point, stagnation will once again begin to set in.

As an incentive to stay with a team for as long as possible, the Inspiration bonus you get when moving to a team is increased with EACH YEAR YOU REMAIN at the previous team (unless you get fired, in which case for forfeit the bonus). I shall call this the Yearly bonus.

 

BE A MANAGER – Changing Teams

This leads to forcing the player to use, what I consider, the “best feature of the that nobody ever uses”, namely the changing teams within a playthrough.It is now a necessity to eventually change teams to ensure you don’t cause your team to go backwards (which has its own consequences).

Swapping teams should now be a core feature in your gameplay in this mode if you wish to challenge for the top titles. You can probably get by in an ERS or other lower tier without too much trouble but the higher the tier, the harder it will be with low Inspiration. Here are some things to help you in your changing teams strategy:

  • If you are fired, you lose even more Ingenuity.
  • At the end of each season, just after Prize Money is dished out, you are given an automatic approved contract offer with one other team from each of the different racing classes (based on your overall player stats). This ensures there is always available options to the player – including if the player is left unemployed.

BE A MANAGER – Changing the Way We Play

The “Best feature of the that nobody ever uses” – was how I described changing teams.

For a long, long time, we as players have been playing the game like this:

  1. We start the game with a team, usually in a lower tier, often a Create Your Own Team.
  2. We develop that team for many many seasons. We stay with that team for the entirety of the play though.
  3. We consider being fired as ‘game over’
  4. We consider getting that team to win the top tier championship we are in as the winning condition. At which point, we tend to stop playing that save.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the above. Hell, I’ve been doing exactly the same thing. I believe I once said “We pick our team on the start, and we call that team Home, and can never bring ourselves to leave it”.  And in fairness, The Predator Challenge helped us to do this. I haven’t changed teams of my own volition since the Archer Challenge back in 1.1. I know most of my testers play this way too. In comparison, only a couple of % of players I know have switched series during a playthrough.  At this point, to change a team, I need a kick up the ass! Which is what this feature was designed to do.

So how this change will cause most people to play is as follows: It will make us play the game like we are Managers, looking for the best job in hope of securing and then defending a good job where we win championships!

  1. When we start the game, we will probably try and stay with the initial team a couple of years to grab a couple of years worth Yearly bonus. These years will probably be hard and seeing the team move backwards rather then forwards overall, especially after a few years.
  2. You will then move teams, increasing your Inspiration and repeating the above.
  3. Through each iteration, you can probably stay in a team longer with each move if you are clever with your ‘when to stay and when to go’ decisions. Your Yearly bonus should be increasing with this, though over time the AI will catch up again causing another move.  You’ll probably experience the other series leading to quite a well rounded play-though of content.
  4. Eventually you’ll gather enough Inspiration that you will find a team you will accept as your ‘home’ and push for the championships, knowing you have a number of years before harmful stagnation begins to fight back. However, eventually it will, and the once awesome team you built will slowly go backwards yet again. So Defending a championship will really be a thing.

In the event you are set on CYOT, then there’s probably one big change here.

  1. You’ll try to stay with your CYOT but know you have to abandon it! (as heart breaking it as it sounds).
  2. As above
  3. As above
  4. Eventually, with enough Inspiration, you’ll manage to return to the team! You can make it yours again and try to push it up the leagues and lead it to greatness finally with all your new found knowledge! (doesn’t the thought make you all warm and fuzzy inside).

So the real benefit of this mode is:

  • There’s an incentive to both stay with a team and then move to a new team. In fact, there’s actively a meaningful choice on when to do this. Staying longer will benefit you more when you finally do switch (greater Yearly Bonus) but you don’t want to stay too long and risk Stagnation getting too strong causing you to get fired (losing that Yearly Bonus). Seriously, you may end up really doing well with a team and spending an additional 3 seasons there successfully meaning the next time you jump you’re Yearly bonus will propel you into a few years of security.
  • There will now always be a present challenge. You cannot forever race ahead. While some years will appear easy, there is that knowledge that the AI will continue to claw back. Defending a championship will actually be a thing!
  • It’s actually near on impossible to Max out your team now. An easy way to win in the past, was to ‘Turtle’ a lot. That strategy is out until the late game, because you’re not going to be around that many years in the early game to take advantage of the Turtle. Actually, this leads to the player changing the way they play constantly though a save file.
  • Each time you change team, you’re faced by a new team dynamic each which has their own challenges. Depending on the driver line ups, finance, HQ, you will find that switching teams is a good way to give you the player a fresh challenge.
  • In the early game, where switching teams is more common, you get to experience both Single Seater and GT series, where as in previous playthroughs, most people only played one or the other in any given save. This actually brings some extra value added to a series you may not have played in some time.
  • There is varied progression and new ways to propel yourself forward and many opportunities to overcome challenges (which is the point of a management game – to overcome adversity and challenges – and the issue with a normal ‘zero to hero’ run is that once you have your foundation  done, it’s just a steady, unimpeded slope to the top without many falling boulders).
  • You can actually feel like a manager. You’re looking for promising teams you can stay with a while. The game mode is meant to make this feel like a career of the player, not of your ‘home’ team.

Developer Note

Honestly, I really recommend anyone who has played the game a lot to try it.

That said, it’s probably my least refined feature on the list (I came up with this idea 3 days before coding and writing it). It might seem convoluted and unpolished (and it is) and it may not even be balanced particularly well yet (it is a big, long term change) but the goal is to improve and refine this. None the less, it is one of the features I am most excited about. It may not be perfect, but I hope some people will enjoy it.

 

The Flaming Red

The Flaming Red

The Flaming Red – Mathematician, Programmer, Researcher, Scholar, Educator, Scientist and Author.

Current Project: Motorsport Manager Balance Mod. A mod dedicated to expanding existing game play elements and increasing both the difficulty and impact of choices.
The Flaming Red

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