Saved Games tools

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rremedio
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Saved Games tools

Post by rremedio » 25.10.2012, 22:06

Hi there,

This post will be long... ](*,)

As I said on the other topic, I'm going to include some tools for saved games on the Slot Editor (which will have its name changed again for GP2 Race Master or GP2 Race Utilities, following RacerBG suggestion, unless a better name comes up). I'm creating another thread about it cause I think it would be less confusing if we can discuss the saved game tools separately.

I'm going very slowly with this becouse I'm not sure about all the features I should add (and how to interface them). I won't be able to upload big files for a while (home internet won't be available, only the crappy 3G), so there's no hurry.

First, let me give an overview about the saved games thing.

There are several features I wish GP2 had and several features GP2 has, but not how I'd like they were. Patching the game for those things is beyond my skills now, but some of them can be added or faked by hacking saved games. Few years ago, I asked Rene Smith if he had some information documented about GP2.exe and saved game files so I could try a little thing: decide pitstop strategy for each ccs. Rene was very kind to send me much more information than I could ever imagine and that information has been very useful to hack my saved games and a friend of mine who hosts a "manager" game in which each player manages a racing team (and races are run with ccs only) uses some of my tools so managers can decide car setups for their drivers, pitstop strategies and other things.

So lets talk about what we can do...

CC setups:

You can edit a general setup for all ccs using the track editor or Ale's CC cars setup Editor. But everytime you start a game session, GP2 changes the rear wing values for some things at random, adding 1, 0 or -1 to the rear wings of their cars. In theory, this is nice becouse in real racing the wing values always change between teams and drivers in every series, becouse of several reasons like driver preference, car limitations, different setup approachs, different engineerings, different data collecting proccess, etc, etc, etc...but in GP2 it is a problem sometimes becouse higher rear wing values = slower car. And it has much more impact in cc performance than random grip range, car bhp, etc...so you may sometimes see the top team of your carset, which has 10 or 20 more bhp than the others, underperforming at an oval track becouse of this. And it's random. It's nice and competely necessary to have random factors in game, specially racing games, but sometimes you want to make a historically accurate race and this thing will brake it.

Besides rear wings, there are other things which are not random but we can also set in the saved game and give individual values for each drivers. Editable CC setup parameters include wing values and gear values. These are much more useful for "manager" leagues than usual GP2 races.

CC Pitstop Strategy

Again, you can setup general lines with Track Editor or Ale's Pit&Lap Editor. But you can only change the % of cars which take each strategy and GP2 will sort everything out at random again. It's good becouse we are not supposed to know our opponents strategies, but I can't say how many time I've seen a fast cc being assigned with a strategy which would only work (in real life) for cars starting in the back of the grid. This is not realistic cause GP2 does not account for grid positions when assingning strategies.

Luckly, by editing the saved games, we can assign individual strategies for evey car.

Car Failures

We have the Car Failure Probability factor in GP2Edit. GP2 uses it to decide if a car will fail or not in the session. When the car will fail seems to be random as well as the failure type. Failure type in GP3 is related to the magic data and in GP2 there are some factors in the track file which seems to be related to it, but I couldn't really use it to have any control about the failure types (maybe it's one of the many things which were not finished at GP2 realease, like track banking and wet weather (no original GP2 track has banking, but its available in unfinished for in the Track Editor and there's no wet wheater too, but the wet sounds are there and you can hear them with GP2Edit).

Like everything else, it's good that failures are random, but more things should be taken in account: we see in F1 how some tracks are harder on some car parts than others. At some tracks you will see a lot of engine brakes, at others there will be punctures, brake problem at others, etc...

Sometimes, failures are very different between teamates (there's always that unlucky driver), and we should be able to simulate that too.

Limitations.

Most of the tools limitations come from the fact that saved games are...saved games. You must save the game, exit the session, use the tool and then load the game again. It's not as good as patch to GP2, but it's a workaround.

Some of the features can't be properly implemented for Quickraces becouse some of the random part is made at the race start and then it can't be undone. Rear wings can't be changed once the session starts. You can change pitstop strategies, but the fuel is already loaded. In fact you change change the amount of fuel loaded too, but it's trickier and I'm not sure I'll be able to put this in the editor (but maybe I can).

For championship and non-championship races it's easier, becouse initializations are made at the first Free Practice (and last through all qualifying seasons) and at the Warm Up (and last through the race).

Car failures are initialized at the begining of each session, but they can be changed anytime.

Features proposed:

Setup normalization: this is simple, you have the option to make sure all cc setups are the same. So performances and results will be much closer from what you expect, based on GP2Edit values.

Individual cc setups: this is useful for management leagues. You'll be able to change wings and gears for each car.

Better failure calculations: the ideia is to be able to load a file with probabilities for each driver and with probabilities for each failure type on that track (maybe each type for every team, every driver, etc...), so the editor makes the calculations and export them to the saved game.

Failure assignment: this may spoil much of the fun, but maybe someone would want to see Mansell's car failing at the last lap, so you'll be able to assign which cars will fail, the failure laps and how they will fail.

The same two failure features might be used in similar way to pitstop strategy. When making calculations. the editor will try to take the grip position and the tyre type in account.

So...do you have any suggestions or requests? I'd like to make this the most useful possible, so maybe other peoples opinions can improve my ideas.
"The Fox provides for himself. but God provides for the Lion" - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

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gp2hbsl
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by gp2hbsl » 26.10.2012, 09:58

I haven't any requests, but only this to say that you are doing a great job in 'servicing' good old GP2... =D>

Could the editor be used in Win7 64Bit or is DosBox preferred...?

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rremedio
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by rremedio » 26.10.2012, 14:54

The editor can be used in Win7 64bits without any problems. Until I can work with VB6 again it will be compatible with WinXP and above (with VB6 it would also be compatible with Win98).

The way you run GP2 (DosBox, VirtualPC, VDMS, etc) is not changed becouse of the editor.

Thank you for the compliment! Hopefully, the editor will be as useful as I wish [-o<
"The Fox provides for himself. but God provides for the Lion" - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

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eky78
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by eky78 » 26.10.2012, 16:54

Great project! as always...good luck for this job! It would be awesome!

another thing i have thought is the mistake rate...in your magic data we have it but again is random...instead it should be nice a rate for each driver...in this season i have in mind a few drivers that would have a very high value! ;)

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rremedio
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by rremedio » 26.10.2012, 17:43

eky78 wrote:Great project! as always...good luck for this job! It would be awesome!

another thing i have thought is the mistake rate...in your magic data we have it but again is random...instead it should be nice a rate for each driver...in this season i have in mind a few drivers that would have a very high value! ;)
I agree. But I haven't found yet anything related to the mistake rate in the saved games. Maybe GP2 calculates if there will be a mistake in realtime, when the cc approaches each corner. And becouse GP2 uses random seeds it would explain why after you save a game, the ccs always make mistakes at the same points if you load the file several times (random seeds make sure the same random values will be generated in the future).

But if there's direct data related to driver mistakes in the saved games (like there is for car failures), we will know someday.
"The Fox provides for himself. but God provides for the Lion" - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

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eky78
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by eky78 » 31.10.2012, 09:39

Ok! Obviously it was just an idea...

Aerond
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by Aerond » 24.01.2013, 14:32

I'd love to be able to change the CC Strategy as I run a management league... Could you please give me info on how to do this from savegames??

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rremedio
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by rremedio » 24.01.2013, 16:43

I don't know when I'll release the next version of my program (with will include that function). The function for dictating cc strategy is done and working, but I need to finish other things.

But, if you don't want to wait, I have an Excel sheet which uses VBA macros and some utilities from grandprix2.de to make the same thing. I've made it some years ago so a friend of mine could use it on his management league. It allows you to dictate individual strategies and car setups (only wings and gear ratios). It's a little buggy and messy, and limited compared to what the program will be able to do, but you may try it and maybe you'll find it useful.

I'll write instructions in English later, if I find some free time today (if not, I'll do it tomorrow or in the weekend) and post it here, cause the instructions are in Portuguese for now.
"The Fox provides for himself. but God provides for the Lion" - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

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Aerond
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by Aerond » 26.01.2013, 03:18

I'm not particularly in a hurry, as I'm three races to finish the current season; I'm doing one race a week; and then I can expect more or less one month in between seasons, so it'd be cool to add it as a feature for next season. But anyway, wouldn't mind take a look at the instructions; I'm spanish and portuguese should be readable to me.

I also need some help with tyre wear; I need a bit more info about how to edit it and how to control the wear CC cars have; and also to know if there's any chance to control CC cars probability of crashing.

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rremedio
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Re: Saved Games tools

Post by rremedio » 26.01.2013, 14:38

Aerond wrote:I'm not particularly in a hurry, as I'm three races to finish the current season; I'm doing one race a week; and then I can expect more or less one month in between seasons, so it'd be cool to add it as a feature for next season. But anyway, wouldn't mind take a look at the instructions; I'm spanish and portuguese should be readable to me.

I also need some help with tyre wear; I need a bit more info about how to edit it and how to control the wear CC cars have; and also to know if there's any chance to control CC cars probability of crashing.
With GP2 Slots and Tyre Editor you will be able to change the rate of crashing for each slot. I don't know about any way of doing this for individual cars,

To control the wear (for all cars) you will need the same program, plus GP2 Track Editor and HOF2Lap.

With Track Editor (edit -> cc car setup -> Tyres) you'll select the tyre type used on the track.

With GP2 Slots and Tyre Editor you may change the grip and wear for each tyre type.

With HOF2Lap you can check how grip is decreasing lap by lap. This part is optional. You may want to check this post to know how to log cc data and display grips from HOF2Lap.

If you don't want to mess with the Slots and Tyres editor, you may use original GP2 tyre types only. You just need to know that tyre type A is the hardest and D is the softer.

Now about the Excel sheet. Here is the link to download. File emerson.txt has a message with Portuguese instructions I've written to my friend. And here are some instructions in English:

Installation:
1 - Enable macros in Excel;
2 - Extract all the files to your gpsaves folder;
3 - Open racemanager.xls;

racemanager.xls info
1 - Fill the info with your carset data (driver names and numbers). Driver names are not used by the sheet to export data, but make it easier for you to find the fields you want to edit. If you have a driver with number #0, set his number in the Excel sheet to #1 (car numbers go into the "Número" column). This is very important!

2 - In the column "Pits" you put the number of pitstops scheduled for each driver;

3 - In the columns "Pit1(%)", "Pit2(%)" and "Pit3(%)" you put the laps scheduled for the pits in % of the total race laps. You may use the "Calculadora" to roughly approximate the values (Total = total number of laps / Volta = lap you want o pit / % = value to put on the table for that lap);

4 - In the columns Asa D and Asa T you will put Front Wing values and Rear Wing Values;

5 - In the columns 1 to 6 you'll put the gear rate values;

6 - In the grey field alongside "arquivo" you must type the filename for your saved game;

7 - The "Exportar" button exports data to your saved game. Usually you'll have to click "OK" two times, for two messages which will appear.

How to use this thing.
1 - Start a championship or non-championship race;

2 - Go to the first free practice, then go back to the weekend menu;

3 - Save the game;

4 - Quit the race;

5 - Fill the excel sheet with the data you want (for now, only car setups are relevant). Don't forget the filename!

6 - Export the data;

7 - Load the saved game into GP2;

Now you have setup the car setups for all drivers to use in the qualifying. You can make both qualifyings. When you finish the qualys, GP2 will reset all data, so you'll have to patch the saved game again.

8 - Go to warmup;

9 - Go back to the weekend menu;

10 - Save the game;

11 - Quit the race;

12 - Export the data again from the excel sheet;

13 - Load the game into the GP2.

Done! Now all the ccs are ready to race with the setups and pit strategies you want. At least, I hope so. My friends is being using successfully this for 1 or 2 years. If you don't want to deal with car setups, you may copy the setup from the track file in the Track Editor for all cars, fill the sheet and start at step 8.

I hope I covered everything, but if you have any problems, just tell me.
"The Fox provides for himself. but God provides for the Lion" - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake

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