Forum topic: [NEWS] Upcoming changes: Automation, Scouting, and Person negotiations

Belgium Frank Van Laere Pitwall Administrator

Lokeren

270 races

1 championships

9 wins

29 podiums

Current team

Belgium Skylark Racing
Division 3.2

Hi everyone,

It has been a while since Pitwall has seen an update, but there's a good reason for that. I have been working on a major update which focusses on some parts of the game where I felt that managers were kind of blocked and couldn't do much to change their situation, but also some nice fixes which improve the quality of life.

Automation
The first major change is "Automation". It only takes you a couple of weeks in a deserted division to know that the game is not fun when there are no competitors. Because of that I've worked on introducing automation in the game. This means that teams are starting to be able to take care of themselves. It will definitely be far from perfect, but at least they will be able to research, develop and create cars, participate in testing/qualification/race sessions, sign drivers and staff, sign suppliers and sponsors, etc.
When teams have been inactive for 2 weeks, the automation will automatically kick in to prevent the teams from becoming deserted. On top of that, old teams who used to be active in the game will join empty divisions until at least 8 teams have been reached.

Scouting
Another major change is in "Scouting". Before we've already had some changes which made the reveal of skills more interesting. This upgrade builds on top of those changes. The reason why I want to build on top of this, is because I feel that most of the interesting profiles have not been discovered in the game yet. We are seemingly stuck with the same persons in the game.
To improve this situation, the following changes have been made. The scout grading system has been entirely removed and has been replaced by actual values. This means that the persons who have been scouted are no longer sorted by the grade that scouts gave the person, but by their actual values.
Next to those changes, roaming is re-introduced. When the maximum of the scouting points have been reached, the scout will do a scout report at the next day update. The manager is able to choose which type of person to scout, and whether those need to be available (without team).
Another new features is "Academy". Managers can choose to invest in different types of persons. Once per week a person can be promoted from the academy. The highest the quality, which is influenced by investment, the more chance a good person is created. All these persons are created "fresh". It does not mean that they are exclusively available to you, the game just generates them and delivers a 100% scout report. Because managers will be the first to see them, this gives them the chance to sign a new talent.
Finally, once per week you can also train your staff. This improves one skill from 1 to 5 skill points, but it's not a guarantee so it could be 0 as well. Whether it improves greatly depends on the motivation of the person. Morale has also been tweaked, so it will be harder to keep your persons happy.

Person negotiations
The last major changes is in "Person negotiations". Getting to know a person through scouting is one thing, but I felt that some teams were sitting on talents with others unable to get them. To spice it up I'm re-introducing something which I thought I would never re-introduced after Pitwall 1.0, "driver transfers". The system works completely different from the previous system as this system is much more railroaded. The allow talk clause has been replaced by a buy out clause. There are 5 options when negotiating a contract: no buy out, which is the system as we have it today, and which will also be the case for all "old" contracts. The non buy out clauses gradually increase from low to high, with high being a buy out cost of 5 times the annual salary, while low is 0.25 times the cost of the annual salary. Persons will not be very lenient on this, but they won't always block what you are offering them.
In negotiations you will now always see all the teams that are in negotiations, and you will also see in some cases who is winning. This is done to add some more competition to get the signature of the person. Similarly as before, there are different scenarios with some persons prefering not to share any details, while others are 100% transparant.
Finally, the number of persons who get the opportunity to think about whether they want to negotiate has been increased since there was a huge backlog in the hour update. But on top of that, managers are now able to try to convince persons that they should talk to them. This greatly depends on the motivation of the person. If he's demotivated he'll be more likely to be willing to negotiate.
All these changes should spice the market a bit up, a market that I've felt was too stale for some time now.

When this update will go live is not certain yet, as I want to do another round of bug fixing especially in the automation. Once some more changes are ready this will go live.
I will post the full changelog so far in the comments in the forum, and also what is still planned before release. Go check it out, because there are many more changes in other sections of the game that have not been mentioned. If you want to see the changes for yourself, go to beta.pitwall.org to see it live in action.
June 8, 2023 11:10 pm

Belgium Frank Van Laere Pitwall Administrator

Lokeren

270 races

1 championships

9 wins

29 podiums

Current team

Belgium Skylark Racing
Division 3.2

Confirmed changes (already live on beta):

* Scouting, FIXED: Error message when too few points is now readable.
* Team, NEW: Automation
* Team, NEW: Automation is automatically activated if a member is 2 weeks inactive.
* Team, NEW: Bot teams will automatically sign a (normal) contract with one of the supplier options.
* Rulebook, CHANGED: Development announced rules are no longer visible in the rulebook.
* Team, NEW: Best compounds can be calculated for the week (or remainder of the week).
* Cars, NEW: Bulk order advised compounds.
* Session, FIXED: The testing or qualification page would not load when there was no car created.
* Session, CHANGED: Auto qualifying is now in risk a lot and the highest engine mode.
* Session, NEW: Teams can automatically do testing.
* Session, CHANGED: Teams will only auto qualify if the auto qualify automation setting is enabled.
* Session, NEW: Teams will only automatically set a strategy if the auto strategy setting is enabled.
* Standings, NEW: Old teams will automatically join a division that has less than 8 teams. The manager will always be dismissed so that the team is available to take over.
* Team, NEW: Teams without a manager will sign a supplier contract.
* Person, CHANGED: Person negotiations speed optimizations.
* Person, FIXED: Person negotiations team id would not always be set to the correct team.
* Person, NEW: Teams can automatically set roles for its persons.
* Person, NEW: Teams can automatically sign persons.
* Development, NEW: Teams can automatically research and develop parts.
* Production, NEW: Teams can automatically create parts. By default it will try to create 3 parts for each of the latest designs.
* Sponsors, NEW: Teams can automatically start negotiations and try to sign a sponsor. In automation a random sponsor of the top 2 quality levels will be approached.
* General, FIXED: Person portraits and flags no longer have a dotted (link) line.
* Scouting, NEW: Added link to recent reports in the top section.
* Scouting, CHANGED: Before the report stopped generating progress from 3 seasons on, this has been changed to 5 seasons.
* Scouting, FIXED: Scouting reports would always be set as older than 3 seasons.
* Scouting, CHANGED: Scout report grading system removed, replaced by actual values.
* Scouting, NEW: Driver and staff tabs are now showing ranked by the rating or the potential of the person.
* Scouting, CHANGED: Information shown on the Recent tab is now more relevant to the user.
* Scouting, NEW: Academy
* Scouting, NEW: Each week each team gets the option to promote someone from the Academy for free. This person will be known for 100% for each relevant skill. The better the academy rating of your team, the better the chance you can score a good "pull".
* Scouting, NEW: All tabs now allow to immediately generate a scout report.
* Scouting, NEW: The shortlist is now also shown in the scouting center.
* Person, NEW: The shortlist button has been added to the contract tab on the person page.
* Scouting, NEW: A bookmark icon allows users to add persons to the shortlist from the knowledge pages.
* Scouting, NEW: Automated scout reports when the maximum number of points is reached.
* Scouting, NEW: Each job type can be enabled or disabled for automated reports.
* Desk, FIXED: Layout issue in testing only weeks.
* Person, CHANGED: Only persons who are "driver" can be signed as a guest driver.
* Person, CHANGED: Persons who have retired can no longer be approached from the person contract page.
* Person, CHANGED: Persons who have retired should no longer start a negotiations session.
* Person, FIXED: In negotiations with a person without a rank, there would be a non-numerical error.
* Person, CHANGED: The negotiation incentive tick will always be a cross if the person has decided to retire.
* Person, CHANGED: The job type of a person in negotiations is fixed to his prefered job. It's no longer possible to offer persons different roles to their prefered role.
* Person, NEW: Negotiations page now also shows how many teams are negotiating with a person.
* Person, NEW: Teams who are negotiating with a person are now shown on the person negotiations page. Depending on the persons' preference, he will share a full top ranking, only who is in the top 3, or will share nothing at all.
* Person, NEW: Supporters can quickly set a preset value of minimum, average or maximum.
* Person, NEW: If there are not enough points to offer a contract in the negotiations page, then this is highlighted in a message below the offer contract button.
* Development, NEW: Potential design team rating is now also shown, which will help to get an idea which direction the actual value will go.
* Development, FIXED: Fixed a few bugs in the rating display in case there were no or almost no known concepts.
* Person, CHANGED: Experienced drivers and staff who are generated have a higher "lowest" value.
* General, CHANGED: Replaced Hotjar by Clarity.
* Facilities, FIXED: Costs are now correctly deducted again.
* Staff, NEW: Training. Each week each team can train 1 staff member. Whether the rating is improved depends on the motivation. A rating can improve from 0 to 5.
* Negotiations, CHANGED: Person rank shown behind person type.
* Person, CHANGED: Removed allow to talk clause.
* Person, NEW: Buy out clause. The buy out clause is the seasonal salary multiplied by either: 0 (no buy out), 0.25 (low), 1 (medium), 2.5 (high), 5 (extreme). A person may not want to agree with an offered buy out clause, and this could be a reason to block negotiations. How high the buy out needs to be for the person depends on his loyalty, power position, but mostly on his ambitious character rating. The more ambitious, the more likely he will want a low buy out. The pay out only needs to be paid if the start season is before or on the last season of the person's current team contract.
* Person, FIXED: In negotiations the reminder message would be shown as many times as there were teams negotiating.
* Person, FIXED: When the rest of the offer is not enough to circumvent a block, then the total progress is also set to 0%. Before only the sub total was set to 0%, but this had no effect.
* Person, NEW: The current week is now taken into account in generating whether someone wants to talk about a new contract. The idea is that by week 10 everyone has had the chance to think about it, unlike in the current system which is a fixed limit.
* Person, NEW: Ask to negotiate contract. Depending on the motivation of the person, this may be successful. The better the motivation, the more chance for the current team. The lower the motivation, the more chance for other teams.
* Person, FIXED: It could be that a person changes his mind on approachable, while this was not intended.
* Person, NEW: Added some explanations to some of the contract options.
* Person, NEW: Search tab on the job market now shows the motivation for persons who are not yet approachable.
* Person, CHANGED: Decision date is now more prominently shown.
* Person, FIXED: Unassigned persons were not recognized as being unassigned and therefore did not get the morale penalty.
* Person, FIXED: Only drivers now benefit from the resting stat in the morale calculation.
* Person, CHANGED: Morale modifiers visually changed so that they make more sense.
* Person, CHANGED: Morale changes are now visible to everyone, and not just the current team.
* Person, CHANGED: Morale team discipline now takes the professionalism into account. Very professional persons will expect a high team discipline, while non professionals will expect a low team discipline.
June 8, 2023 11:10 pm

Belgium Frank Van Laere Pitwall Administrator

Lokeren

270 races

1 championships

9 wins

29 podiums

Current team

Belgium Skylark Racing
Division 3.2

The following changes are planned to be introduced as well in this update:

* Person: automation check.
* Person: skill history
* Scouting: add tooltips to scouting skills so that it's clear what is what.
* Development: more information on reason of why upgrades fail (show stats)
* Research: Set minimum term when new concepts must be announced (week 8 for chassis for example)
* Development: design team rating make clear what the maximum is and how long it will take to get there
* Development: Finish and produce X parts
* General: bit.ly short url
June 8, 2023 11:12 pm

Portugal Nelson Alves

642 races

8 championships

33 wins

108 podiums

Current team

Portugal firespeed
Division 1

Frank, I praise your efforts on the staff side (badly needed), but I think that the supplier system is the single most urgent problem we have on competetiveness.

Yes, not being able to renovate staff was bad for the game. Having guys designing cars when they are 80 yrs old makes no sense.

But the tiered system for works teams makes the same teams win all the time. Works could be an advantage but maybe not that big, or we could have more balanced suppliers, less predictable from year to year

Just my 5 cents.

Nice to see you back
June 14, 2023 02:08 am

Deleted member

133 races

0 championships

0 wins

8 podiums

Current team

United Kingdom Holphiem Academy

I completely agree with Nelson, the staff system is hamstrung by staff going on for an eternity - The Top 200 Designers are all 70 and 80 year olds with no decline in ability and no desire to retire. Also plenty are happy to be hoovered up into junior positions. There are far, far too many staff, no wonder the interesting profiles haven't been discovered. I quite like the Academy idea, but is another opportunity for the rich to get richer as they will have the finance to max out the chances of good staff being regened.

Some greater supplier variance would be nice - basically the linear pathway on engines is an MCR works deal. Crystspeed having a technology breakthrough would really throw things around especially if the MCR deals are locked in for seasons. Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda, Renault have all had spells at the top and the bottom. As things stand you build up to the best supplier and the others become redundant as the hierarchy never changes.
June 15, 2023 02:58 pm

United Kingdom Stephen Atyeo

1066 races

28 championships

130 wins

354 podiums

Current team

United Kingdom SGA Racing
Division 1

The scouting changes will be interesting; I have been concentrating almost exclusively on scouting new talent for the last few seasons for the last few seasons but it's been fruitless so far - like finding a needle in a haystack. I've found a couple of people with potential but staff very rarely improve (I take screenshots of staff and compare them after a couple of seasons and there is nearly never any improvement) so I'm glad to see the ability to train staff is coming. One change I would really like to see is the option for "driver development" focus in testing weeks; not just setup and car development options. It would be nice if the head scout/coach provided regular updates on the improvement in drivers and staff levels in the news feed.

I am concerned the scout reports are often inaccurate with regards to potential. I have had drivers from youth levels until their mid-20s whose potential is 50-60, so I release them. Then someone else signs them and a few seasons later, an example being Paul Schlupp (who is now ranked 26) and, from my junior team, Michael Chávez Chepeda - who never showed the potential of the ability he has now and he raced for me for four seasons.

The quickest way to enable more staff movement is to ensure contracts are honoured and trigger immediate release clauses if contracts are breached. This applies to the position a member of staff is hired to (head versus junior) and the number of races they are contracted to attent. For example, if a staff member is contracted for 7 races and with six races to go they haven't been assigned then their contract should be automatically terminated. The team could effectively be sued for breach of contract, ensuring a financial penalty and deterant in hoarding staff.

I think the issue of teams sitting on established talent could be improved by limiting who junior teams can hire. I (and many others) have staff in my junior team who would be valuable to a div1 team. If there was a limit on the experience level of staff a junior team could hire (say 2/5) then more of the higher ranked names will be available. That's not to say a really good inexperienced staff member cannot be found, so there will still be some variance, but with top staff the junior teams are currently optimised operations and new div3 players struggle to compete. Obviously a staff member gains experience, when a threshold is reached the manager can be notified that staff member x has decided they need a new challenge and becomes immediately available for other teams to sign, regardless of contract. This, plus if junior teams can train staff more often than senior teams (as should be their job as junior teams), will help build the talent pool in the game.

I am not in favour of the buyout clause idea; it will only favour the richest players in a staff member can be bought out at anytime during their contract. If staff members will not be very lenent regarding having a buyout clause it is pointless having a "no buyout" option - what employee would choose not to have that option if teams are basically forced to accept contract demands.

I hope the "loyalty" stat plays a more significant part going forwards. Drivers (and going forwards staff members) who teams whose contracts have been honoured correctly and where teams have made investment in their training do deserve an element of loyalty. That doesn't mean a designer (for example) who is reaching a high skill level but is still a junior member of staff can't decide to leave and spread their wings, but there needs to be a balance rather than just a buyout free-for-all. There are real world examples - Ferarri offered Newey far more than he gets at Red Bull but he's happy there and stayed. Whereas Dan Fallows learnt from Newey but hit a ceiling of career progression at Red Bull, so moved to the head role at Aston Martin.

For staff maybe the "schedule" stat (I am not sure what it means or affects) could be replaced by "competetiveness", so staff who are not very competitive are happy staying in lower performing teams for the challenge (linked to motivation stat). Conversley, staff who are highly competitve might decide after a season or two the team cannot compete at a level they are happy with and want to leave. Maybe a thought for contracts is setting a first season goal; if a team fails to meet it the contract is weakened.


@ Nelson - interesting point on suppliers. I have had works contracts in the past and haven't noticed a performance difference/improvement - am I alone in this?
June 15, 2023 03:46 pm

Portugal Nelson Alves

642 races

8 championships

33 wins

108 podiums

Current team

Portugal firespeed
Division 1

I think more managers should weigh in on this.

Phil, I agree on the suppliers. Maybe the system could be like the parts system, where once in a while they get reseted. And, then any one of them could get massively different ratings, while, perhaps converging a bit over the seasons until a new reset. That could be a start. I could even see potential to have teams coalitions on engine development, it would be fun, but perhaps too political and too ambitious. Let s keep it simple

Stephen, I really think there is a big difference between works and normal. But perhaps other managers could contribute to this discussion
June 19, 2023 03:54 pm

United Kingdom Adam Wolf

Feltwell

742 races

4 championships

25 wins

103 podiums

Current team

United Kingdom Wolf GP
Division 2.2

@ Stephen I agree that the Scouting would be interesting ( yes i'm probably one of the people that poaches the younger staff members and develop) . Scouting is an area where if you invest/ focus in this it does pay off but it takes a long while to show the benefit of it.

The issue with junior teams sounds like a good solution ( and would also help to promote talent)

One question is would the new buyout clauses create wage inflation?

With the idea of competitiveness stat -> surely this would be the same as ambition?


Regarding suppliers:

The whole system being changed like the part system sounds a good idea. Could skilled engineers get a bit of a performance out of a specific supplier part ( e.g. engineer has a speciality in brakes and get a slight performance boost out out brakes) ( or if you are really wild build your own engine, high risk, high cost but can be rewarding?)
June 21, 2023 10:42 pm

United Kingdom Stephen Atyeo

1066 races

28 championships

130 wins

354 podiums

Current team

United Kingdom SGA Racing
Division 1

@ Adam Interesting question about wage inflation, one would assume that with an existing contract the "power position" would be very high and therefore the person would demand much higher wages. So yes, inflation is likely. It might end up with some of the best people being affordable to junior teams, as things stand.

Staff don't have an ambition stat, as far as I can see anyway. Only drivers have it.

The only other thing I'd say about scouting is it would be nice to have the points value with the rest on the page header. As it is if I don't keep checking the scouting page I hit the maximum and lose out.

Suppliers are an interesting topic. If there is performance difference between works and customer status that should be removed, with "partner" status going altogether. In F1 power unit manufacturers have to provide the same spec to all their teams. The incentive to become a works team could therefore be development driven; a works team has the ability to develop and improve the engine, which in turn benefits that supplier's customer teams. This could be done with an "engine dyno" option in "facilities", meaning a team would have to compromise another area (if their facility spots are full) to be able to embark on an engine development programme. Potentially teams could start their own new engine programme. There could also be an option in testing weeks for "engine development".

There are pros and cons though; the cons being added complexity to the game, albeit more likely established managers are most likely to do it so, by knowing the game well already, are better placed to cope with it. The pros are potentially closing the gaps between the engines, ultimately leading to convergence and greater competition. Someone prepared to embark on a long term project can pick the worst engine, sign a works contract, and invest to bring it up to the top - the benefit being paying far less for the engine and having a long term contract.

I only mention engine as brakes and tyres are currently a single supplier, which I think is good anyway. However the same principle could be applied to tyres. From past F1 tyre wars the result was a huge amount of on track testing.
June 22, 2023 12:05 pm

Portugal Nelson Alves

642 races

8 championships

33 wins

108 podiums

Current team

Portugal firespeed
Division 1

I agree with a lot of what you guys said.

I would just add that:

i) Scouting should be much simpler. Part of the hassle is how hard it was to scout, now with the points it has improved, but still, it has become too complicated with all the nuances for potential and stats. To be honest I really never fully understood the system, and I have been here for a long time, have discussed it with Diogo Rebelo on our long talks about the game and we never got to a good conclusion on this topic.

ii) Suppliers: I believe that in F1, right now, the biggest advantage of being a works team is the financial help and the fit to the chassis that you have from the knowledge of the engine, probably also the Gearbox and other related parts - correct me if I'm wrong. Therefore, I would say that there should be a fine-tuning stat for the chassis on the engine, and works teams shouldn't have much trouble with that. Additionally, there should be up and comers engine suppliers that shuffle things from season to season. Another feature, not very F1-like but still interesting, could be players allying to help financially (or it could be a points system) to support one engine supplier to get better in the future.

iii) Staff: I would love to have staff evolve meaningfully from being in a JUnior position around better staff. A bit like Adrian Newey when he was with Harvey Postlethwaite. Or his early years at Leyton House. We could invest points for them to evolve faster if they are around great leaders. Maybe we could go back to the time when we choose which designer was leading the project for a part, and if he was still lacking stats, the likelihood of having setbacks was bigger, but on the other hand he could develop really fast. In 2 seasons or so you could develop a good designer just by giving him some projects.
June 25, 2023 03:11 am

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