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GpX Race Manager Tutorial

 

Introduction

Playing a Career

Additional features


 

 

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GpX Race Manager is a tool that allows to simulate off the game ambient, several managing aspects occuring during a racing season.

Some of the features are directly dedicated to the tracking and weighting of several statistics concerning the human player and/or all the drivers involved in the season. The analisys of these statistics just roughly tells how good or bad the season is going for the human player or compared to other drivers.

Also it is possible to use features which represent the scoring methods applied by some of the main racing series mostrly related to the assignment of extra points each race or the calculation of different methods to fill the standings. The program so, automatically schematize from race to race the related statistics in the specific way and show them with dedicated tables.

Another purpose of this tool is to manage, aside the simple collection of statistics, some aspects of the role-playing game, where the choises, the wanted/unwanted actions by the player and most of all, the targets gathered during the season, cause a reaction by the program in a specific direction with the generation of (un)predicted events. In the case of the Gpx Series the role-playing has its ultimate purpose, in the alteration, from race to race, of the performance file that rules the race outcoming. Like in real life, during the season every racing team will be subject to the research of new technical improvements to raise the grid, will have to cope with the different behaviours by the men inside and outside the box and of course there is the need for the human driver to achieve good results, aiming to sign up better contracts in the best teams, as cyclically other team may poll the teamís staff for more info.

 

Then itís due to make it clear the fact that this is not a target-tool, so the higher the driver goes, does not necessary means to be automaticlly signed up by the best team, as itís not sure that the best team will even contact us. as itís not sure otherwise that there will not be any contact at all. By the moment in which the season is, the program will react based on the driverís current situation and the unpredictable events generated around him. It will be the staff to indicate anyway how trustable each contact is leaving us in most of the cases the chance to decide. Another important clarification needs to be done about the drawing up of the contracts. The GpX series has not a managing structure inside, as it has not any limitations due to contracts or any team bonds. It simply accepts the carset loaded and put on track the drivers and teams listed on it. This means that itís up to the human player eventually Ďplay the careerí or simply choose manually the desired driver still with the contract details stated in the previous game done.

 

 


 

The program has not direct links with the game to import/export any data, which means that it can be installed anywhere just extracting the main folder and launching the executable.

Launching the program the very first times, it may happen to see it crashing to desktop returning unexpected errors or messages reporting about missing components. The program has been developed using the MS Visual basic which takes its components (*.ocx and *.dll) from the MSWindows library. The crash means that the version of MSWindows where the program is running doesnít have those components or they are there at different versions than the ones used to compile the program. In this case the thing to do is to look inside the folder Extras of the program. Inside there are several compressed files each one containing a specific file ocx or dll. Those files need to be extracted inside the folder

 

Ö/[Windows path]/System32/

 

In case the operating system is Windows98 the path is

 

Ö/[Windows path]/System/

 

This should solve the problem and let the program load correctly. Of course itís important to make a backup of the original files before to overwrite them with the new ones, in case there is the need to restore them back.

Another thing to care about before doing anything id to know which are the known limitations of the program to avoid unconveniences during the usage. Many of these limitations are related to the game structure itself and canít be bypassed easily.

In example, GpX may represent the data in different languages (italian, german, english, french, portuguese and spanish). This means that the same word can have very different length and as the program exports the data in a fixed structure it may conflict with other pieced of data. The presence of this issue then, mostly affect the length of the driversí name which must be limited inside a defined number of characters to prevent misfunctions. Here is the list of the possible maximum length a driverís name can have in each language:

 

- Italian: 23 characters ††††††††††† - Portuguese: 22 characters

- English: 23 characters ††††††††††† - German: 20 characters

- French: 23 characters †††††††††††† - Spanish: 22 characters


A problem brought by the game is the one affecting drivers with multiple names. The game consider first name only the first block of the name and leaves as surname all the rest. So it happens that a name like in example Juan Pablo Montoya is usually read by the game with Juan as first name and Pablo Montoya as surname. So itís always advisable to stick the multiple names into one block, like Juan-Pablo Montoya or Juan_Pablo Montoya to avoid unexpected issues.

An issue carried by this program is instead the sensibility to capital characters. So, names like Roberto Scandura and roberto scandura are read as different persons creating doble entries in the statistics. A little of attention is then required when typing names.

Another issue that may affect the program is when more than one team have the same name. The program mostly works comparing entries and performing the requested task so two teams called in example Ferrari could be intended as the same team in some features and different teams in others. The standing should work with no problem as the task of summing team points matches with the issue but the effect on all the othet features still needs to be tested and proved. Nothing corrupting the working of the program has been noticed so far.

 

 


 

The program works extracting the necessary data from the four txt files coming from the game. These files contain the final race result, the list of the fastest laps for each driver, the starting grid and the track records. These files can be obtained after a race is complete and the screen with the race sessions appears:

 

 

For each session itís necessary to print to file the table so itís important to set once and forever the necessary options to allow this procedure. Entering one of the four sessions, will be shown the options in which the results will be printed. The ones in the red circles need to be enabled. Next step is enter the Print setup:

 

 

This brings to the page where to set the printer, but in this case the option to select is the one in the red circle, no matter what printer is selected in the box. This enables the output as TXT files of the tables:

 

 

Once confirmed all and gone back to the race report page itís possible to save on file by clicking Print one by one the four sessions shown in the first picture above. Itís not important the destination path as the program will let browse for them, itís just convenient to choose a unique folder for all the files of that season for a quick location.

A good suggestion is always to save these txt for a while or until the season is over, in case it is necessary to reload the season.

 

 


 

To start playing a career itís supposed we have already a focus on the project. Not only for the current season to play but also on what to do next, in order to pack all the ideas avoiding troubles and errors as a big part of the managing is left to the choises of the player.

The program can be used in Database Mode and in Campaign mode.

The Database Mode is the custom mode that allows only to import races and consult the statistics. Every season will be stand-alone without any connection with each other, contract request or role-playing decision. This method also does not require any entry list, so itís all based on what the four TXT contain.

The Campaign Mode, which introduces all the extra features, requires thesettings to be initialized and an additional entry list. Indeed now itís needed to compile a list with all the teams and drivers involved soon or later in the season with the relative base performances. Only once this list has been created and checked for further bugs or modifications, it is possible to start to play the career by creating the season.

 

The performance values to include in the entry list donít need to be specific for a particular race but better be generic to represent the general value during that season by the real life driver. These values will be indeed tweaked during the season by the role-playing. Of course this list does not count all the driver that may enter later during the season. It is posible to swap drivers later.

 

 


 

To create an entry list we need to enter the Performance selector. In GpX we can play using only 11 teams so this tool allows to compile lists composed by 20 teams from where to choose the 11 that will go on track.

 

(Performance selector)

 

The performance selector is divided substantially in two parts. The editing area on the left side where to set all the entries and an output area on the right side that will show the result of the editing.

 

E

 

D

 

 

This is the editable area. Each one of the twenty teams is composed of a Team Name and an Engine Name. It is important to know that both fields must be filled because the engine brand will have its role too in the program. So in example, even if not a good looking, itís necessary that the combination Team-Engine is Ferrari-Ferrari. Also a relievant turn into the program is taken by the fact that more teams may share the same engine. For this reason itís good to give the same exact name to the engine for all the teams sharing it. In example we can have:

 

Ferrari-Ferrari

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Force India-Ferrari

Renault-Renault

Red Bull-Renault

 

For every team is also possible to choose the national flag and the tyres supplier by picking the related logos close to the name. For the drivers is only good to remind the rules about the caracters, but for a correct viewing by the game and the program itís advisable to donít use special characters or symbols. For the drivers itís possible to select the car numbers and pick a national flag. The rest of the fields are related to performance values. For the drivers itís needed to specify grip and ability range for both qualifying and race, while for the teams the values are related to engine power (BPH) for race and qualifying and the reliability (Failure chance). While typing these values the result of the change will be shown in the output area:

 

C

 

B

 

A

 

By clicking the labels QUALIFYING and RACE weíll see the percentages from the fastest driver in each session, like it happens with the Gp3Edit by Steven Young, in order to calculate in real time the effective gaps entered. The label OUTPUT instead will contain the preview of the performance file that weíll create selecting the 11 teams to use.

Using the Database Mode, this tool is not really vital as we can use as usual Gp3Edit. It could turn useful when we want to simulate a season with more than 11 teams and we desire to manage them all at the same time to select quickly which teams to use each race.

To add a new team over the 11 custom ones, we need first to enable the slot. In the column marked as ĎEí there is a check box got each extra slot. Once enabled the slot. The fields will be active to be compiled.

Once all the entries have been set and we are happy of the result, we can save the list on a file and that file will be our entry list for the career mode.

 

 

The first two buttons on top (marked as ĎAí) allow to load and save the entry lists we create. Also, to save time when creating an entry list, at the beginning of the editing, we can import an existing performance file previously generated by the Gp3Edit or the one that came with the carset and complete it here with the extra teams. This operation can be done by clicking the first of the two buttons marked as ĎBí and browsing to find the file.

 

In case we want to create a peformance file from this entry list, we need to select 11 teams composing the allowed grid in GpX. In the left side, before each team name there is a button with a blue arrow (marked as ĎDí). Once the 11 teams are listed in the output table we need to click the second of the buttons marked as ĎBí, Type a name and the file will be ready for the use.

 

The Quick Edit feature (marked as ĎCí) just allows to apply increments to all the drivers or teams by the same amount.

Last optons, if we need to remove from the output list a team that we added previously, at the top of every entry there is a string saying ďDouble click here to remove this teamĒ. Making a double click on it and confirming will remove this team from the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the entry list is ready we can initialize the season:

 

(Season Editor)

 

If we want to play a career, the first thing to do is to create a database to store the details of the contract and have them available at any time.

 

 

Down the page there is the database editor. Here we can create the Campaign database that will contain the contract and the Career database that will collect the achievements of each driver. To create the archives itís only needed to insert a name and cleck the green arrow.

Now, to create the season itís needed to give it a name and select the number of races the season will have. The option below it allows to activate the Campagin Mode. Here itís possible to choose two ways to select a team. The Free contracts will leave us the freedom to choose any driver we want, only negotiating the contract. The Career Mode will enable only the negotation only with few teams that could be interessed in signing us. With a fresh made database weíll be allowed to seek only for a minor team to start our career, but the next time weíll have to seek for a seat we can aim to better teams if our previous season was positive. Then There is the option to hire the personal staff that we can consult cyclically to see our status. Last option is to select the database (and then the contract)which we want to use. Once everything is set we can create the season from the button on the top-right.

 

 

 

 

Created the season weíll be automatically redirected to the season settings, where to decide the rules of the season: which point system to use and the feature we want to apply to our season.

 

 

The point system involve three cases of assigment: the race standing, the grid position and the fastest laps.

There are series which have different structures with two or more races for the same event. Here is possible to assign a table to each of these races. The custom sheet is the one usually adopped by the single race events and is the only one filled but in case of multiple races, each one of the sheets involved needs to be filled. As the table or each table is complete, before to change sheet itís needed to export it into the program by saving the list with button close to it. In the Ďcustom tablesí list ther are some of the most common point systems of the major series already predetermited to the loading. Only need to be selected and exported.

Then there are the additional features to simulate the specific series. Each feature to be applied needs to be enabled, st with the necessary requirements and then applied with the related button.

 

- IRL System: this system allows to assign points to everyone even if retired. It will be condidered the position the driver has when retired. To activate this feature itís needed that all 22 positions have points to assign.

- ChampCar System: this system allows to assign a point to the driver that at the end of the race earned the highest number of positions than the starting grid. It contains also the chance to addign the point if the position requested are at least five or ten.

- Nascar system: this system, also known as Playoff system, splits the season in two parts: the regular season and the playoffs. All the races will be ran as usual and the points will be assigned as usual. The difference is that at the end of the regular season, the points earned by the first X drivers will be replaced by a custom set of points, which allows to only those X drivers to fight for the title.

- Touring system: this system allows to split the main standing into classes with their own point assigment and standings.

- Classic Formula 1: this feature allows to apply the rule used in the old Formula 1 seasons where at the end of the season of a certain number or races were counted for the main standings.

- A1Gp Mode: this feature changes the main standing to fit this particular racing series where teams are represented by nations.

- Prizes sharing: this feature allows to set a money jackpot for every race and share it between all the drivers.

 

Once all the settings are choosen, it needs only to patch the season by the big button to proceed to the next step. Itís important to know that as the season is patched it canít be changed anymore. The status of the settings in the right side of the page will tell how the features are set at that moment.

 

 

 

 

Patched the season settings, the next step is the negotiation of the contract. Weíll be automatically redirected to the the personam manager.

 

 

Here weíll be asked to load the entry list we previously made to proceed and then will be performed the investigation for the available seats. Now itís possible to negotiate the contract to find the right compromise between years and salary. We can anyway delay the offering to try other seats but soon the team may decline our requests delaying too much.

 

 

Once signed the contrat itís done. Weíll be redirected to the staff briefing just to have an introduction but we can return to the main page.

 

 

 

 

Once the seat has been taken itís time to initialize the Paddock. We need now to visit the Race Page where we find a button in the top right of the page that will take us in the Paddock Area. We canít import the races until the Paddock wonít be initialized.

 

 

 

This is the Paddock Area. Here weíll have the overall view of the season with the status of all the teams and drivers.

By changing the sheet well see all the performance data listed for each driver and team and all the main info about the teams. At this points the thing to do is to finetune the performance.

 

 

As we can see, in this feature, the old combination of GRIP+RANGE has been replace by a combination

 

MIN + GRIP + MAX

 

In example, given a certain base grip in qualifying to a driver, in example our alias Johnatan Palmer: 15250, Weíllknow that is ability is somewhere between (15250-41) and (15250+27). Making a comparison with another driver we know that in example Stefano Modena has a similar base grip but his ranges are different so:

 

Johnatan Palmer:Least: 15209††††† Base: 15250†††††† Top: 15277

Stefano Modena:†† Least: 15060††††† Base: 15200†††††† Top: 15364

 

This can be seen as Stefano Modena can reach an higher Top performance than Palmer when in the lucky race, but at the same way can perform much worse than Palmer could do. Here come the upgrades. If during the season Stefano Modena gets an update that helps to Ďincrease the concentrationí he can cut by a certan amount the MIN range, moving his least performance somewhere closer to Palmer or even better, reaching the zero point that will increase directly the base skill.

The same concept works for the engine power and the reliability. When more cars may have the same base engine or reliability value they can perform differently by the ranges their package can reach. And the upgrades may vary these factors causing different scenarios, like having a very fast car with a poor reliability and a very solid car with no major power but constancy to finish races...

To save time from fixing manually one by one all the values the program assigns anycase a random value starting from the original ability range that can be changed. It is also possible to see the same values by each team. Clicking the name of the team in the ĎGeneralí sheet it will appear the team overview for a better idea of the team status. Making changes in the performance values to see how they influence the bars, itís necessary to refresh the bars clicking the button in the bottom-left of the page.

 

 

The coloured bars represent rouglhy how the teams can perform. The yellow bar is the strenght of the team at the start of the season and the red/green bars are the least and top performance the ceam can reach. The black bar represent the reliability, The longer those bars are the better the behavior is. When a car gets an upgrade a blue segment will appear aside the yellow bar. Its length indicates the amount of update and the combination yellow+ble roughly gives the actual strength.

At this point we need to decide the settings for the Paddock Area. They are all related to the amout and frequency of each update. The optionabout extended entry lists allows to perform a simulated session, in case there are more than 11 teams in the season, to decide the teams to knock out (discussed later):

 

 

Once all itís decided, itís possible to save and return to the main page. Itís important to know that once saved the Paddock Area, the values and the setting canít be touched anymore. It will be the program itself to manage all. Now itís all ready to start the real season.

Just for a statistic matter, everytime a team gets an update in a certain area it will be stored and the status of the car can be seen by clicking the grey tools icon near the bars of the team:

 

 

The other feature included is the Pre-Qualifying simulation. If there are more than 11 teams in the season, to decide who will run the next race, the program may perform a simulated session to knock out the slowest teams. In this case the upgrades are vital as a team who stayed out frequently can now hope to pass the session. Itís needed to assign some base info like the type of track, a base laptime and the attitude of the drivers that applies error chances and time loss:

 

 

 

 

 

Once saved the Paddock Area we are redirected to the Main Page. Now the season can really start.

The procedure is the same for every race. We need to get a performance file to use inside GpX and then, after the race, import the results here to advance in the season. From the Race Page we need to enter the Paddock Area each time. This time the save button has been replaced by the button to click to evaluate the new performance. The only things we have do now is to choose the nation of the next race. It is indeed important for the drivers and teams that will race in their home race. Of course we can also decide about the Pre-Qualification as said before, otherwise we can choose manually the 11 teams that will play. When all itís ready, a click in the button and the new performance will be ready inside the TEXT folder of the program. Weíll be informed by a message about the teams which got updates for that race and then we are free to check the feature here or to go to race. The complete list of the upgrades will be available in the Storyboard.

 

(Race Page)

 

As the race is done and the TXT files exported letís go to the Race Page, where the IMPORT button is now unlocked.

 

 

All we need to do is to select the flag of the nation where we raced and browse to find the TXT files. The confirming the import weíll have the results displaced inside the proper fields. If during the season settings we selected the feature to use jackpots, before to import we can select what jackpot to assign to this race. The option Random Jackpot will assign automatically a money amount but it can be disabled and apply the jackpot manually.

 

 

As the race has been imported we can compile the additional informations to manage the track records, info related to the driving helps used, what kind of race it has been to assign the proper point system, which weather we found, the level we raced on and reply to the three post-race questions. These are important as part of the role-playing as our attitude will cause each time some reactions.

Clicking on the button with the push-pin itís possible to enter a race review or any kind of text to annotate any comment about the race. Once all is set, we can patch the season with the race. The button to patch is the last in the group marked as ĎAí. The one in the middle needs to load later any race imported. Patching the season with the new race will start a mandatory path through the features, so we canít escape or close the program. This because itís important to load those pages to update other parts of the season. Indeed weíll be redirected automatically to the statistics page, and from there we can go only to the staff briefing. From that moment we are free to do what we want and consult the features as we wish. Also the procedure to import a race will be reset so entering again the race page, weíll see again the button to enter the Paddock Area and the cycle restarts for race two and so on.

 

 

 

 

After imported the race weíve been redirected to the Statistics Page:

 

(Statistics Page)

 

Here weíll see the stndings and the options to switch all the additional features.

 

 

This is the control panel for the standings. The standings can be seen in split screen drivers/teams or separately. Each option shows the related standing while the three report buttons, open the specific overview where itís possible to list all the achievements for drivers and teams and additional defining stuff.

 

 

On the right sise of the page are listed all the additional features. In the first group we can enter the calendar of the races done or see the charts to compare drivers. In the second group are listed the features we applied in the season settings. Some will be always available, others will tutn on only when itís their time.

We can visit the Statistics Page each time want but if we are in the process to import a race, only the button to go to the staff briefing is available.

 

 

 

 

Last step of the importing process is to role-play inside the Staff Brieing Area:

 

(Statistics Page)

 

In this area weíll meet our staff and the team staff. Each one will report us about our performances in the season for every specific area. Some of them may request us to react to their report. Itís mportant to know that some actions can be done only at the first time when importing the race. Meaning that if we leave the briefing and re-join, we wonít find anymore the contracts proposals pending a decision, but we have to wait the next briefing.

The season indeed has been divided into months, where a month is roughly the interval of two races (supposing a duty of a race every 15 days). So the proper Staff briefing will take place every two races. But the staff will be still available until the new month starts. These are some examples of the staff reports:

 

 

 

 

In the first case, weíve been proposed a contract. This means that we canít leave the page until a decision is taken. The contractor proposes three option; see the contract details, delay the offerinf by 1 month or reject the offering.

If we choose to see the details, weíll see what they offer and decide if to signup or no. In case we want to delay the offering, the proposal will pop up next time weíll perform the briefing after other 2 races. Of course rejecting a contract may have bad consequences in the relations with that team for a while.

 

 

 

 

When a season ends, itís possible to store the driversí achievement in a database to have an overall view on what the drivers got in their career. First of all we need to add the new season in the database and upgrade the careers. In the statistics page we need to enter in the Drivers Report, then from the menu of the available season select the desired database to and click on Upgrade Database.

 

 

The database can be consulted from the archive area of the program.

 

(Database)

 

Here we only need to load the specific Database and select the driver we want to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Flags editor)

 

This tools allows to change the flags and logod of drivers and teams or the tracks used:

 

 

Once choosen the proper sheet, to edit any flag we have to double click the wanted item and select the new flag. Then save the changes. Every sheet must be saved separately when edited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Hall of fame)†††††††††††††† (Hall of fame editor)

 

This tool allows to store by specific series the drivers and teams that win their seasons. It is divided in two parts: an editor to add the new entries and an area for the viewing.

 

 

There are two methods to add a new entry. By the manually method we need to fill all the fields with the needed data, while by the automati method we can load directly from an ended season the data.