Pitwall news

Season 31 update

The game was unavailable Monday and Tuesday due to an error in the season update from season 30 to 31. The cause was a small bug in the season update, and because of that the season update was unable to finish. Therefore it seemed as if every manager was fired, which was obviously not supposed to happen. Some managers had already applied for other teams, and because of that I could only roll back the midnight back up which is taken just before the updates start.

The issue was that I'm currently on holiday in the south of France and only have limited resources available. An update to the database had caused backups to be rolled back at a very slow pace. I was able to fix this last night, and the beta was rolled back as a first. Once that was rolled back I switched the beta and the main game database and could start the season update without the issue. The issue is in the hourly research that needs to be closed down. I will investigate as soon as possible with resources permitting and roll that out manually.

Apart from these issues there have been no major changes for season 31. An update was coming, but unfortunately it was not ready in time and I will continue development and roll it out later once it's ready. Apologies for the down time, but have fun in the new season!

Boosting morale and fixes

Yesterday and today a small bug fix release was deployed to the game. These included changes to morale and fixed issues in the preparation and parts section of the game.

First of all by popular request the boosting of morale has been re-introduced. This used to be available, but was removed in the latest major update because it was too easy to boost morale of a person. This caused them to always stay with the team, as it has a direct effect on their desire to either leave or stay with the team in contract negotiations.
However, this made it much more difficult to keep persons since there was not a lot that could be done. Because I like the game to offer many possibilities to achieve a certain objective, I think it's best to re-introduce it. It can be found on the "Personal" tab of a person. This tab also shows a lot of information about why a person is unhappy. Since I didn't want to make it too easy to keep persons happy like before, the cost has been increased compared to before.

Apart from this only new introduction the rest of the major changes were bug fixes. In preparations the display bug has been fixed which incorrectly limited the sim level of the current week to the maximum of the mechanic. This always worked as expected, but showed the wrong value. I also added some more feedback information to this page, and the train and rest values are now dynamically updated without requiring to submit the page any more as a quality of life improvement.
Next to those fixes, a major issue was found in the floor part. The values of aerodynamics and grip were not transferred to the part when it was produced. This caused every floor part to have a 0 rating, which the cars page was correctly showing. Because of this I have removed all floor parts from the teams and refunded the mechanic points that have been spent on them.
So as a direct action everyone will need to produce new floor parts since all old parts have been deleted automatically.

As always, more information can be found on the status page. For the next release more bug fixes are coming up, and some preparation for bigger racescript changes.

Season 30 changes

Season 30 is just around the corner, and it was time to release some of the updates that have been worked on recently. But before I get to that, I would like to inform everyone that it is my plan to get divisions as active as possible. Teams that have been inactive for a season will be demoted to division 3, without exception. So even those who have been inactive in division 1 will be relegated to the bottom. Active divisions is part of the fun, and being in an empty division is simply not providing the experience that was intended. All divisions in division 1 and 2 will also be filled up until there are 12 teams in each.

About a season after the introduction of the new development system, it was a good time to make some tweaks to this new system. Overall, the implementation of this system is considered to be a success but of course improvements are always possible. These changes have already been implemented on the brink of the new season.

Upgrade unlock
Before a part can be upgraded, the upgrade unlock progress bar needs to reach 100%. This depends on the number of kilometres. The number of kilometres that are required has been slightly reduced for the chassis, gearbox, and floor.
Also, from now on the more iterations are done, the faster a part will reach 100%.

Research progress
When a concept is discovered the team needs to reach 100% by researching the newly found concept. This is done by increasing progress. The progress would used to increase on a random number between 15% and 20%. This has now been fixed to 20% as the random could have been quite annoying.

Competition concept
Since the introduction of concepts, teams their concepts are shown on the development > competition page. It was felt that these concepts were visible way too early, actually even before the own team could upgrade the concept. So the number of kilometres required for the concept to appear on this page has been doubled.

Mounting parts
When mounting a part, the system looks at how many times the part has been mounted to the car already. Based on that and other factors the mechanic points cost is calculated. Before it used to be that when you develop a new iteration of a part, you would be back at 0 mountings. From now on, all mountings from previous iterations count for 50% which means that the cost for later iterations won't be back at 0 mountings, but 50% of all earlier iteration mountings. Due to this, the cost will increase after an iteration, but not by as much as before. Also, the more iterations are done, the less the costs will rise.

Apart from changes to the development system, the person negotiations bug which pushed back the decision date all the time should also be fixed. The page no more loading issue should have been resolved as well. Notify me in the chat if you see it re-occurring again.

Coming up
Next up, and more accurately: soon, the scouting system and person rating system is going to be slightly changed. The scouting system currently is simply not that great to play with, and I feel that the 1, 3, 5 star system is just too complicated and simply not fun. Therefore I'll make some changes to the way ratings are shown, and will get rid of the 1, 3, 5 star system. The system will just always show either a question mark, or 5 stars. When the stars are in blue then the rating is not final, when the stars are in gold then the rating is final. How that rating is calculated will also be changed, but more on that later.

Also coming in an update soon is that parts are still as brand new if they've been in a crash or collision. This should hopefully be fixed before the first race of the next season.

Major update live

Welcome to the updated Pitwall. Many things have been changed, and I won't be able to go into detail on every one of them. But I'll try to highlight the most major changes. A full list of the changes can be found at the bottom.

First of all the most noticable, the layout of Pitwall has been redesigned from scratch. I felt the old one was in dire need of an update, and I felt the original Pitwall which was quite "white" still worked best.
The main change is that the page width is now fixed, which makes it much easier for me to style the pages.

Together with this layout update, many pages have been redesigned. Some pages their design has been completely changed, such as the homepage when not logged in. Other pages have been tweaked by adding tabs to make everything much easier to navigate.

New player registrations
One issue that Pitwall has is that the learning curve is steep. I tried to make this better by changing the layout of pages, and by adding all help information to the wiki. The wiki has replaced the old help pages that we had. The reason to switch to the wiki is because it allows us to provide better layout of help pages.

Another change is the tutorial which was outdated and hard to maintain has been replaced by a new system. The new system is much simpler as it can be translated by everyone, and is easy to update text wise. The new system shows a popup when someone visits a page for the first time with information on that page.

Finally, but most importantly, the sign up process has been changed. When people sign up for a team everything is set up so that they don't need to do much before they can go out and race. Their team is set up, a division is picked, they get a random driver, a car is created and suppliers are signed. These options are disable-able. Hopefully this leads to people staying longer, and hopefully this reduces the step to start playing Pitwall. I will be making more changes in this regard in the future.

Development system
This is the big one, and the original reason for the major update. I felt that the old development system was quite repetitive, and that it didn't really provide a challenge. Also coupled with other ideas I changed the system so that development and research are now very different from each other. Basically to understand this system, it's best to forget the old system and start anew.

The research system now works with concepts. Managers need to find concepts. There is always one concept available, but how many are available is unknown. Each concept has a potential value for each characteristic which increases every season. Since every concept has a different potential value, you may start on the wrong concept and may need to change your designs as time progresses. Each time a concept is discovered the chance that someone else can discover the concept is increased. This will lead to a concept being public knowledge after some time.

Once a concept is researched, it's ready to go to the development system. In this new system the development system is stuck to one development path per concept. Once you choose a path, there's no way back. Each development cycle you're able to increase the rating of all characteristics. Choosing the design approach has an influence on the new ratings. Updates can fail and you may end up going backwards, but in general on average each time you decide to develop a part your progress will be positive. Once the development is finished, it remains to be seen whether the upgrade brought exactly what was expected. To speeden this process up, a new testing program "Car development" was created. This doesn't add a lot to the setup (and likewise), but it does speed up the reveal of the development progress and whether the update brought what was expected.

More information can be found on the Research and Development pages on the wiki.

Race script
Several bugs have been fixed, and potential loopholes have been closed. The tyre wear values have been tweaked, and some tyre wear bugs have been fixed as well. The safety car race stall bug which has stalled many races has also been fixed. Finally, together with this update the car calculation formulas, which were always duplicated as a carry over from the old game, are now finally using the same method. So what you see in the cars page is what is effectively used in the race script. Together with these changes, the values to calculate the car performance on track have been tweaked.

Coupled with the introduction of the new development system do we now get a legality check. This was never properly implemented in the previous version and now finally the top 3 and 3 random finishers their car is checked for illegal parts. If an illegal part is found, then the car is disqualified.

Finally in this category have there been changes in the car setup. Mechanics now have a maximum car setup modifier, which influences how high the car setup can become.

The major change in this category is that mounting parts now costs mechanic points. Since it would block people from racing, mounting parts can make the mechanic points go sub zero.

Some changes have been made to make Scouting more interesting and interactive. No longer will there be big restrictions on scouts, and it will be possible to instantly scout someone. Scouting points are generated by your scout team and these can be used to scout persons. The cost to scout someone is different depending on several factors.

Person contracts & negotiations
There were clearly some inflation issues with demands that persons had. The system to calculate the demands have been changed, and demands should be much more realistic now. Because of this, everyone is now able to negotiate a new contract with their staff and drivers for the rest of the season.
The demands of persons are now more frequently calculated (every 7 days), and whether someone is interested in negotiations is now set and doesn't change all the time. The person will inform you when he's ready to sign a new contract with either only your team, with only another team, or with both. Other changes were also done here such as new calculation method of how the power position is calculated, and the maximum contract length is now 3 seasons + 2 optional seasons (clauses).

Teams were getting very rich, and some changes had to be made to keep everything balanced. A cash cost and income tax have been added to prevent teams from sandbagging too much in lower divisions. Cash cost means that a cost needs to be paid on the money that is stored in the bank. Not only does this help to balance, it's also realistic. Secondly an income tax has been created which taxes the income of the week before in a buckets system. A new specialization has been added so that people can optimize their taxes. This will effectively lower the tax rate that needs to be paid.
Next to that are teams now also able to declare bankruptcy themselves. Before it would only be done automatically.

Basically a lot has been fixed. I would suggest to go through the changelog below and search for "FIXED" to get an idea of all the fixes that were done.

Constructive feedback is always welcome in this topic: https://pitwall.org/forum_topic.php?id=7986&forum_id=1.

* General, NEW: New layout
* General, FIXED: Members without a team can now visit normal pages, but no longer team pages.
* General, FIXED: Much more pages are correctly handled by the no team checker.
* Index, NEW: Changed design.
* Career, NEW: Changed design to tabbed layout.
* General, FIXED: Several items which shouldn't be shown to managers who have no team, are no longer shown.
* Team, NEW: When starting a team, members now have the option to automatically set up the team.
* Team, NEW: When starting a team, members now have the option to automatically choose a division.
* Development, NEW: When the first chassis of the season is finished and no cars have been created, the system will automatically create 2 cars.
* Team, FIXED: Team founded message was no longer shown.
* Chat, CHANGED: Performance optimization which should case the page to load faster.
* Racescript, CHANGED: An extra check is performed after qualifying to make sure that the drivers who qualified still belong to their team.
* Press, CHANGED: Message is now also required.
* Suppliers, CHANGED: All logos have the same size now.
* Sponsors, CHANGED: All logos have the same size now.
* Team, CHANGED: Team worth is now also shown for private teams.
* Team, CHANGED: Team worth is rounded.
* Racescript, CHANGED: Tyre wear values tweaked
* Parts, CHANGED: Grip values for hard and medium tyres are now a percentage of under 100%, instead of above as before. Therefore the grip value of the soft tyre will always be the highest.
* Racescript, FIXED: Tyres stay in their temperature and stress levels even after returning to the pits.
* Racescript, CHANGED: Tyre wear is now influenced differently for wear and stress than before when it was the same.
* Drivers: CHANGED: Feedback message is now showing when trying to change coach on Monday and Tuesday.
* Development, FIXED: Staff rating was incorrectly calculated as originally intended.
* Production, FIXED: Staff rating was incorrectly calculated as originally intended.
* Staff, FIXED: Staff rating was incorrectly calculated as originally intended.
* Politics, CHANGED: Junior teams can't vote any longer in politics.
* Development, CHANGED: Junior teams can not research concepts.
* Help, NEW: Help system moved to wiki.
* Finances, NEW: Cash cost.
* Finances, NEW: Income tax.
* Development, NEW: New development upgrade system.
* Session, NEW: Program: Car development testing: improves the unlock of progress of development
* Team, NEW: Teams can now declare bankruptcy.
* Session, NEW: Top 3 and random 3 finishers have 6 random parts checked for legality.
* Session, NEW: Race overview page.
* Session, NEW: Race insights.
* Development, NEW: Overview page
* Racescript, FIXED: Stoppage of script due to deploying of safety car.
* Development, CHANGED: Tweaked points required to develop parts.
* Car, CHANGED: Tweaked values of handling/speed/cornering.
* Cars, NEW: New layout.
* Development, CHANGED: Modifiers only change over time.
* Racescript, CHANGED: New calculation method.
* Desk, NEW: Feedback that the member is not in a division.
* Session, NEW: Feedback that the member is not in a division.
* Development, CHANGED: Finetune was not correctly calculated, and has now more weight to the rating of a part.
* Person contract, CHANGED: Expiration length now has a maximum of 7 days. Which means that every 7 days a new requirement calculation is done.
* Person contract, NEW: Whether a person is interested in negotiations is now set once and not recalculated all the time. This is split between the current team and the non-current team.
* Person, CHANGED: Power position formula re-created from scratch.
* Person, NEW: Power position is now influenced by the current team. Teams in higher divisions will get a lower power position compared to lower division teams.
* Person, FIXED: Negotiations with a person who was not yet negotiating would always fail.
* Person, FIXED: Power position was not always correctly calculated (in case the person was not part of your team).
* Person, CHANGED: Cap on difference between expected wage and market wage used to be 5, this is now 3.
* Person, CHANGED: Maximum contract length is now 3 seasons + 2 options.
* Person, CHANGED: Reduced the effect of motivation on a skill rating.
* Person, CHANGED: Reduced the effect of synergy and discipline on skills by 1/3rd.
* Person, NEW: Concept insights skill for designers.
* Person, NEW: Maximum car setup skill for mechanics.
* Session, NEW: The car setup is now a maximum of either the chassis maximum car setup (calculated by number of km's completed) & maximum mechanic setup rating.
* Cars, NEW: Mounting parts costs mechanic points. These can go negative. The cost depends on the part type, the mechanic mount efficiency stat, and how many times a part has been mounted already.
* Scouting, NEW: Scouting reports are now instant and are no longer done over time. Generating a scout report costs points which is based on the job type of the person, their age, and their ranking. Points are generated each hour and are based on the professionalism stat of the scout team.
* Scouting, CHANGED: Updated design of the page.
* Finances, CHANGED: Debt interest percentage reduced from 6% to 4%.
* Team, NEW: Tax optimization specialization: reduces each tax tier rate by 15%.
* Session, CHANGED: Youth cars and parts are now deleted after each race.
* Race, FIXED: Several car mounting issues for youth and guest races.
* Scouting, NEW: 3 random persons are put forward to the manager.
* Strategy, NEW: New strategy page.
* Person, FIXED: Try to break contract box did not appear.
* Coach, FIXED: Assigning a coach could throw an error.
* Coach, FIXED: Mondays and Tuesdays would never allow unassign coach, even in non-race weeks.
* General, NEW: Google Analytics events.
* Team, CHANGED: Worth calculation formula. Balance, loans and investments are now also included. Division modifier reduced.
* Team, CHANGED: Financial information is now available for everyone to see, even for those who have not yet invested in a team.
* Team, CHANGED: The variance of the share price (when many shares are available) has been drastically lowered. From 75% to 25% of the share price when all shares are available. The maximum (when 0 shares are available) is still 150% of the share price.
* Session, NEW: Compound mounted is now shown.
* Cars, NEW: Weather information is now shown in the Tyres section.
* Cars, FIXED: Over limit of engines and brakes was not properly implemented.
* Staff, NEW: Scout modifiers are now also shown.
* Person market, NEW: Main eligble age filter

Disqualifications, result calculations, tyre compound rules and more

In a long overdue news post, I can talk a bit more about the updates that were recently added in the game. Apart from the bug fixes in the game (bit.ly links and redirection for new users) this was primarily focused on race script fixes and updates.

The biggest change which allowed me to make other changes was the results calculations which has been removed from the race script and inserted into the hour update script. It not only allows us more time to check that everything is right before points are awarded and bonusses are paid. The events in the first division race have proven that, but also that it will probably be even better to move the result calculations to the day update. As long as the calculations haven't been done, the race page now shows the unofficial results with a new view that gives an overview of the race. Also new in this regard is the starting grid before the race.

This change of calculations was also necessary since another new feature is introduced: disqualifications. The game can now disqualify drivers, or hand out time penalties. These have been introduced already, since from now on drivers can get penalties for causing a collision or jumping the start (also new). Time penalties vary from 5 to 10 seconds.
If a car is not legal, then the driver can be disqualified from the race. This is something that is not possible this season yet, but will be next when the new compound rules (also new) come into play. Compound rules have been created so that the team can be required to use a number of different types of compounds. But the rules can also be written so that a certain compounds needs to be used a certain amount of times. For example: it could be required to use the soft tyre 2 times and the hard once. Just like in real life, these compound rules only count if it stays dry. Once there's one rain drop on the track, it's no longer necessary to satisfy these rules.

Luckily, we have a politics system in which you the managers can vote. We will be requiring the usage of 2 compounds just like in real life F1, but the vote is on whether we require the usage of the soft tyre (which will be tweaked to last longer next season). The vote is on and expires at the end of the week.

The next release will shift its focus for one cycle from the race script to the layout and the step it takes to start playing this game. The game has a bit of a step to take when you start playing. This because the tutorial is not great, the layout on some pages is very messy. Because of these reasons I've made a few changes which are currently being implemented on the beta.
First of all, the help system is being ported to a wiki. This will allow the help pages to display content in a more interactive way. The current help pages can only show text, but no tables, images, ... The downside is that we will lose translations, but I think the benefits outweigh that.
Secondly, the tutorial has been removed and will be replaced by one or two popups which guide the player into the direction where to get help. The many changes in the game meant that the tutorial was outdated quite a bit. If the player knows where and how to get help or more information, then that will help. It's also an approach that other games have taken, since it's better than the "hold my hand" approach.
Thirdly, new teams are now entered in a division by default, and get drivers/staff and a developed car by default. These options can be disabled, but the found a team page explicitly advices new players to not disable those options. This will allow new members to get started straight away. A later update in the race script will also mean that they can do a private test on their first day at Pitwall, so that they can get running straight after registering. Other changes in this area are for example that a "car" on the Cars page is automatically created when the first 2 chassis of the season are finished.
Finally, the general layout has been redesigned. The idea was to get rid of the gray website with too many buttons on pages. This change had already started on the current layout, but it will be even more clear on the new layout. I returned to a white website since I feel the original Pitwall still had the best layout, which was also white. The background I feel made me have to use too many layers over each other, which wasn't always great for visibility. So that has been removed as well. An example of a new page can be found here. Some pages have already been designed, but for now I've only focused on the new homepage (see link above), the chat, forum, calendar and career pages. The main design is done, so creating the new pages will go quite quick. Keep an eye on the beta if you're interested in the new designs.