Thursday, March 22, 2018

Imola Build

My latest track build was Imola and I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Imola is the other F1 track in Italy and has hosted a number of grand prix under the name of the San Marino grand prix.  San Marino being a small nation in central Italy near the track.  Huge thanks to the San Marino group for giving me a great reason to build this track.

My usual process starts with lots of research...

Here's my notes (pdf) after watching these videos and more, reading notes online, and finding speed and braking notes for each corner.

I went into the build thinking most corners would have racing lines with only one decent path through each corner.  I also felt like this was generally a tight track that was hard to pass on... except Tosa -- which I would give multiple paths through to create the action we would sometimes see there and that I would try to exaggerate for game balance.

Here's my initial sketch of the corners for each track.

This initial plan worked out really well and I was just about to wrap up development when I noticed that the track was a LOT longer than I had planned.  Somewhere along the line, I lost track of my planned space count and made the straights a lot longer.  I had to cut them back a lot.

As a result I got pretty creative with some of the corners... effectively taking spaces away from some corners to add spaces back to some of the straights.  I think the end result is a technical track that drivers will have to pay attention to or risk taking a corner wrong because they assumed they knew how it would work.

Tosa is clearly the signature corner of this track.  As one of the slowest corners on track it provides a braking opportunity and one of the few good passing locations in real life.

As you can see, this is not a "normal" looking CFR corner and combines a lot of tricks I've used before.

Having the racing line in the middle lane means that in some cases, a car can under-cut that ideal line if they have the braking and/or wear to pull it off.  Allowing a car to accelerate 40 mph from the first inside 40 space into the following 80 space can make that particularly effective if they hit that apex just right.

The two 100 spaces outside provides another avenue through the corner which can be effective if you hit it just right.  Leaving the speed off of the last space of that path also means cars can accelerate quickly from that lane.  Lining up the last two spaces of the middle and outside lane provides cars with ways to avoid congestion in case of slow traffic ahead.

I'm excited to see how the track works when raced in anger for the first time and pleased that that will occur at the San Marino game convention to boot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

P1 PBeM New Season Announcement

The 2017-18 season is over for my play-by-mail series.  Which has been struggling with branding for a while now but I'll now be calling the P1 series for this post.

Doug Galullo won the season after winning the 1st two races in the top tier -- coasting to the series win even after finishing last in the final race of the season.  Below is the 2nd to last turn of race 2 in Baku.  Doug was 4 spaces behind Don and Chris a turn before this image.  Going 200, Doug closed the gap through the last corner.  Next turn, Doug would push to 220 while Chris L would fail his push to 180 and get beat out at the line.  Third to first in the last turn of the race for Doug.

Now lets look forward to the next season featuring some changes.  First off, thanks to everyone who responded to my survey (See the survey results).  Here's the summary of what will be new.

  • No more mid-season demotions or promotions.
  • Slip movement guidelines.
  • Bidding change.
  • New series names.

Mid-Season Driver Movement
I was leaning towards eliminating the mid-season driver movement so I was glad to see the survey results agree with me.  I think the move from a pure ladder to more of a pyramid structure for the series means that people can move from the bottom to the top tier in a couple season.  I also do not like punishing drivers who push hard for a race and crash or dnf.  For instance, Chris Long ended up performing very well in the top tier this year but DNF'd the first race of the season.  Having 2 races to prove he should stick in the top tier was good I think.

There was some controversy in the top tier last race about double slips and the appearance of team-work.  Guidelines will be promulgated to the stewards so that we can promote as fair a racing environment as possible.  All of the words will take up a lot of space.  The short version is:
You can't line up to give someone else a slip next turn, unless there is another reason to.
Those reasons can be many and pretty liberal but there has to be some reason.

Knock-Out Bidding
For the 2017-2018 season, the 3rd tier will stop using knock-out pole bids.  The top two tiers may continue to use knock-out pole bids if the drivers and stewards in that race unanimously agree.

Since the races do not directly feed into each other this season, I had the freedom to rename the series.  The top tier will be named P1 after the series at large.  The two second tier series will be named Divoll and Reilly after the co-designers of the original Speed Circuit.  The third tier races will be named after old formula greats: Ascari, Clark, Fangio, and Moss.

Other Updates:
The Driver and Steward line-ups will be announced later.  If you would like to volunteer to be a steward, let me know.  It is no lie to say that this series would cease to exist without the excellent stewards that sign up for more time, effort, and grief than you'd think.  If you want to help out, I will be very grateful.

The first race of the season will be Montreal (pdf) -- so sharpen your knives.  I will announce race 2 and 3 in the season at later dates.  The main reason I delay announcing tracks for this series is that it is the most effective test bed for my tracks.   One race of a track in P1 is now 7 play-tests at once.  In 3-4 months, the track I most want to validate or test may be very different, so I hold off as long as I can.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Organized Play 2018 at the Half-Way Mark

This blog post is going to start like a confessional.  It's been two months since my last post but I have another organized play update.

click for larger

Here's our new top 10.  As promised, we now have two tournaments in the books for the 2018 season.  No surprise than that the winner of both events now tops the rankings.  Doug Gallullo was 4th a couple months ago, but he won PrezCon and then won my Play-by-mail event.  The points from those events plus two more good race results puts him nearly 50 points ahead of Don. 

But more points will be available as the season progresses.  Three live series are scheduled to finish up by early summer and the Redscape play-by-mail series has started its final race.

Already, 2018 has eclipsed the inaugural 2017 season in nearly every category.  So far, 119 drivers have been ranked over 50 total races.