Pitwall news

Staff skills

In the past development updates it became clear that there was a big issue with the skills of staff that was not correctly updating. In fact, the skills have remained virtually the same since the start of Pitwall, apart from the persuade skill. This was never intended, and had to be corrected.

I removed the faulty code, and created a new system which is much easier than the overly complex system that was in place. The new system updates the skills of each assigned staff each day. There are several factors which play an influence apart from the maximum skill and talent of a person: age is the biggest factor, but the role of the person (head staff gains optimally compared to junior) and the division the person is working in (not that big of a difference).

To correct the incorrect past 21 seasons, I have run a script which has looked at the age the person would have been at that point, and have done corrections. Because of that a lot of staff have jumped in skills and therefore I also ran an extra reputation ranking and rating calculation script. The skills of staff will now improve like they were supposed to all this time.


Today the world of Pitwall has become a bit more democratic with the introduction of Politics. This module allows managers to vote for rule changes in the published rulebook for the upcoming season.

The governing body can propose one or more rule changes in a proposal. This is then published after which all active managers get a notification in their news center. They can then vote to approve, reject or abstain to vote. Making a vote costs 500 administrative points. Most votes will require 50%, but this number can vary depending on several factors.
If managers vote for, then they agree with all the proposed rule changes, against then they are against obviously, and when they decide to abstain they want to remain neutral but they will keep the vote for a next proposal. Abstaining can be interesting in case you want to save up votes for future proposals where you want to throw more weight into the scale. You can vote with a maximum of 3 votes, and it's not possible to accumulate more than 3 votes.

The first proposal has just been sent out of the door, and it is related to a new rule that was also introduced over the weekend: parc ferme conditions. This rule is currently set not to be enforced next season, but if enough people vote in favor (50%) then it will be adopted into the rule book next season.

In the future it will be possible for managers to create proposals, which will cost a lot of administrative points and have other requirements. But for now we will stick with the governing body making rule change proposals. Of course, the governing body keeps its veto right, but we intend not to use it too much.

Go out and vote! Next up is a new strategy page that is coming soon, and I will try to fix the bugs with the cars not getting of the grid in some races.

Scouting and person discovery changes

The scouting and person discovery section of the game has received an update over the weekend. The point of these changes was to make it easier for managers to discover the undiscovered potential. Especially in the staff section there are much better staff which never end up getting a job since it's too difficult for managers to find them.

Scouting gameplay changes
The blue stars got their introduction in a recent update. They are used to indicate how good the potential and current rating of persons are. If the "Known" statistic is not at the maximum level, then the stars will be blue. The known statistic can only increase, and increases by competing in races for drivers, or by being assigned to a position for staff. There are some small other parameters that play an influence to that, but that's the general idea.
There have been two changes in this area. First of all, from now on scout reports also play an influence in the known stat. Each time a scout report is generated, the known stat will increase slightly. The idea is that people talk, and some information will always be exchanged between teams.
The second change is that before the known stat would play an influence on the (blue) rating stars in an incremental way. This means that the person would always get low stars when he was unknown. They would increase as he would become known. This was kind of annoying, since it meant that all only-slightly-known persons would be low in stars. This has been changed so that it can work in two ways. Each person has an offset factor which reduces as the person becomes more and more known. How big this factor is depends from person to person. So some people can start off as a big talent, and reduce in rating big time. Or others could be a bit under rated, and increase in rating slightly over time.

If someone isn't known yet, then there are no stars to display. So I analyzed the flows, and it was quite clear that scouts keep rotating the same persons all the time. The only chance that fresh blood would enter was when a team would hire an unknown person. The original idea was that you can only scout someone if he has a job, but that restriction has been lifted now to open the market all the way for undiscovered potential. This means that from now on scouts will also be able to file scout reports for staff which are not contracted to a team, or to those who are contracted to a team but not assigned to a role.
The changes above should open up more staff talent, but driver talent suffered from similar issues albeit not that big. A small change has been made so that more driver talent should appear in the scout reports. Before youth or guest drivers without a team who competed in a division in the same season before would get preference when youth or guest drivers are invited to participate. This restriction has also been removed. This means that guest and youth drivers who are without a team will always be decided on a random basis.

Scouting page changes
The scouting page used to be a page with lots of panels crammed together on one page. The information that was shown was also quite generic and didn't offer that much information and still required you to click the person to see details. Because it's a vital tool in discovering new talent, I decided to make some changes to the scouting and market pages.
The scouting page is now split up into several tabs, and more scouting information is shown on the knowledge tabs. This should make it easier to spot great talent.
As a quality of life improvement it's now also possible to re-scout persons which were recently scouted, so that you can get more information about a person. And it's now also possible to easily decrease the number of requested reports.

Finally, the scouting page also allows the manager to specify that scouts should only scout staff which are teamless (free staff). This works similarly to the free driver only check box.
Some changes that are planned but that didn't make the updates yet are a redesign of the scout settings on the top of the page, and the removal of a news item each time there is a new scout report. These will be changed by a daily grouped scout report message.

Job market page changes
The job market page offers a lot of details on persons at a single view. Or at least, it should, but you could only really see the experience statistic before. This is not that great information wise, and therefore this page also received a long overdue update.
First of all, the table which shows the information will now also resize depending on the screen size which should be better for mobile devices. And due to that change, I could also implement dynamic columns to be shown. This means that skills per person are shown. For example: designers will get their skills shown, while drivers will get the average of each skill category shown.
Some columns which didn't offer the most critical information have been removed, and the talent statistic has been added. The contract expiration is changed into a more readable format, and youth drivers get their actual role shown instead of the generic "Youth driver". From now on it's also possible from this page to quickly add a person to the scout queue, without requiring a page redirect.
The age options have also been changed so that they make more sense. Each youth age has been replaced by the minimum and maximum age per series, so that the eligible drivers can be listed.

Other changes
Some small but handy changes as well on other pages. The cars page quantity and tyre type fields now default to a default value, which should save some clicks.
And the loophole page has been slightly tweaked so that it offers a bit of a better overview. More changes are coming in that area in a later update, so apart from the layout not much was changed.

If there are any questions, let me know in the chat.

Season 22 changes

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).

Shares and personal balance reset

As announced earlier, I was going to reset the personal balances and the shares as this system was exploited in the past. Because I wanted to prevent that people would take this information and exploit more things, I've already taken action and reset the shares. The shares have reset to 20 instead of 100 for each team that is in a division, and all other teams have had their shares removed. Also, it's no longer possible to buy shares from teams who are not in a division.
The personal balances (which benefited from the exploits) have also been reset to 20 000 000,- per manager. New managers will now also have 10 000 000 in cash when they start playing.
I know it's not a popular decision, but the personal life section has always been for fun and therefore I decided to take these measures to keep that section fun. I reduced the number of shares from 100 down to 20 to make the shares market less of a micro management thing to do.