Monday, November 28, 2016

Motorsport Manager Magic

Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything on here. Indeed, in that time the following have happened:
  • Cubs won the World Series
  • Blue Jays have been back to the playoffs
  • All Blacks have lost a match
  • Michael Phelps has proven to actually be human in a pool
  • Kyle Busch can join Brad Keselowski towards the end of their careers by trying to win the Truck title to be the first to complete the NASCAR championship sweep (unless Dillon wins the Cup title, then that idea is thrown in the rubbish)
  • Canadian NHL teams royally sucked and all seven missed the playoffs
But those are neither here nor there, this post is about my current gaming love; Motorsport Manager. The gist is that you're the new boss of an openwheel team and you have full control over the following:
  • Hiring of drivers (2 for the team and a reserve/test driver). Every driver has different stats and traits which can change over the course of the year (for example; 'dodgy neck' reduces the fitness to 0 for however many weeks) and you need to scout heavily to reveal how good or bad the drivers in the game are unless you want to take a stab in the dark with someone (not really recommended).
  • Hiring of race mechanics (1 for each main driver). The longer you keep driver/mechanic together, the closer the range of getting the right setup at the track becomes.
  • Hiring of lead designer. Each designer has different traits which help with the design (some are better at developing aero parts, others with improving the engine, that sort of thing)...however, some traits do put the car at risk with scrutineering. You can avoid detection of illegal parts sometimes, other times you get caught and you lose that part as well as getting fined.
  • Signing sponsors who offer you upfront payments, per race payments, race-peformance payments and sometimes a combination.
  • Developing your team HQ (better factory, better design center, tour building for marketing, test rack, etc).
I could go on and on about it, but suffice to say, I haven't been this interested in a racing manager-type game since Europress' effort back in the mid 90's. I went with the ultimate challenge by going with the lowest ranked team in tier 3 (10 teams in this series); Predator Racing.

They had no money, a very basic HQ site, one decent driver...and that's about it. Given the financial state of the team, I decided to go with my character as someone with that type of background since it gives you a small discount when building stuff; you can be an ex-driver (improves driver morale), ex-mechanic (improves parts design/building), political guru (gives you more voting power when discussing the rules for the next season) or a complete stranger (no perks whatsoever).

I've just started my fifth year with the team and feeling I'm making pretty good progress in the Constructors' title: 10th, 9th, 7th and 7th. I've been chewing through my race winnings pretty quickly with parts development (want a shiny new, and much better, engine? That'll be $1.5 mill please...oh, and then you need another one so one driver doesn't get screwed over and be really annoyed with you, but you can't build anything until the current engine is finished being made).

The highlight for me so far was a very surprising win in year 4. It was the second time in the year we raced at Milan and the first one went rather badly as our engine sucked so I wasn't expecting much second time was won on a glorious strategy call to one of my drivers midway through the first stint to save fuel and eek it out to avoid stopping an extra time. Sadly, I couldn't do the same with the other driver as I had put a little less fuel in at the start to avoid double stacking...she ended up with a top 10 though which was a bonus.

My goals for this season are; finish 7th at worst (hopefully higher), keep improving the car and not go into debt. I did that in season 4 after I built a weather center for the HQ and was putting the highest amount I could away each race for the design of the following seasons' car (I did eventually get it back under control and had about $4.5 million by the end of the season before getting my prize money). This year we're in much better shape with money (over $13 mill to start with), preseason went well with neither driver having mechanical gremlins. I will probably upgrade the design center to be level 2 midway through the season (that'll be $8 million and will take 20 weeks to finish).

I am loving the complexity of it so far and it has been pretty much the only thing I've been doing on the weekends since it was released. It will have you want to rip your hair out one minute, then be dancing around the next when things go just your way *laugh*