Update: Live Race Flags

This is not Release 12, however this is a substantial update that deserves it’s own post. I have been working with Forza Touring Association on implementing a Live Race Flags system. Basically this means that if you are racing, an admin will be throwing out caution flags that will update in about a second for everyone that is viewing the race flags screen on Racing Club Manager site. Racers can have their phones set up in view of their TV screen or have the page up on their computer screen if it is in view of their racing rig, and everyone will know to ease up at essentially the same time. Now let’s see how you can use race flags and where to go on the site to see everything…

Admins

Admins can get to the screen that allows you to set flags for a race by opening the options menu and clicking “Flags.” If this screen doesn’t look familiar to you, this is the screen where you setup scheduling and enter results for a race. I included an information button on the menu for users that may not read this and are wondering what this means for them.

flags-admin-access

After you click the “Flags” menu option you will redirect to the Admin Flags screen. Right now Racing Club Manager supports 5 flags. From left to right: Warmup, Green, Yellow, Red, Finish. By clicking a flag color, it changes what your racers are going to see. I know that most flag admins are probably going to be racing as well, so I added some keyboard controls to hopefully make someone’s life a little easier. A club can have as many people controlling the flags as they wish, but you have to have an admin account with permission(0 or 1) in order to have access to this screen. This screen could be a little more presentable, but I went with function over form for now.

admin-flags

Racers

Racers can easily get to the screen that shows them what flag is currently active. I do stress though that if you are on a mobile phone, make sure your WIFI is on and that your screen won’t dim or lock during the race or else you won’t see the flags. I mention WIFI because we are making a server request every 1000 milliseconds to check what the current flag is and that could eat up a lot of data. I wouldn’t worry about it if your ISP data caps your home line, but for mobile plans the data allowances and overages are sometimes outrageous. Just a fair warning 🙂

You can get to the Live Flags screen on your club home page near the “Next Race” area.

club-home-flags

You can also get there by viewing the Race Details screen for any race.

race-details

This is what you will see on the Live Flags screen… I didn’t include the normal site navigation here so that the flag takes up more room on the screen, just use the back button on your browser to get out of Live Flags. In this example, we are in warmup.

racer-flags

Club Slug Update

I also pushed out an update that allows your club members to easily see what your club slug is. Now on the club home page next to the game and platform you will see the short URL for the club. In this example RDUX has a short URL “clbmgr.com/RDUX” but you could also use “racingclubmanager.com/RDUX”

club-home-slug

That’s it for now, let me know what you think of this update or if you plan on using Live Race Flags. Don’t worry I haven’t forgot about or stopped working on Release 12, just needed to get this out there. Thanks for reading!

Release 12 Reveal

DCM-preview

BIG NEWS EVERYONE! At the request of a potential user I have started a proof of concept for a drifting bracket. Note that the image above is a Work In Progress and the styles, colors, logos are not yet final and a lot of things can happen between now and release. As always I will keep everyone updated as this project inches closer to being done. I can tell you that this WILL NOT be a new site to visit and it will be integrated into Racing Club Manager one way or another.

The proof of concept I was working on was to see if I could generate a bracket that aligned correctly on the screen, and if I was able to fill it with data and get data out of it. I have achieved those goals with the proof and decided to let everyone in on my work.

The idea is to let clubs manage members like their racing counter-parts already do, but to let them generate brackets to let them hold drift tournaments. Tournaments can be varying sizes.(2,4,8,16,32) Drifting doesn’t have as many data points as racing but I am going to try and collect as many as I can think of and this is where the community can help me. Is there anything I should be capturing besides points per round and car used? I will already have the concept of teams. Should I allow seeding or just let you guys fill out the brackets however you want? Should there be championship scoring, like points for advancing a round that is scaled so that if a higher seed beats a lower seed they are rewarded? Let me know!

There are a lot of features to consider and I really want the help of the drifting community that would use this expansion to weigh in. Obviously the more features we add, the longer it is going to take to build and test. On the other hand if I leave out a feature from the start and add it in later, take seeding for example, then earlier versions of a bracket won’t have those same data points as newer versions. Aggregate data is easier to add down the road. As long as the data points are there from the start I can always expand on what data I provide over time. Aggregate data being: average points per round, or the average number of rounds a member was able to participate in per tournament.

This release, or expansion if you rather, has a lot of potential and I am very excited about continuing to develop it. Let me know what you think!

Release 11 Details

Release 11 has wrapped up its coding phase and is now moving into testing. I am ahead of schedule by 2 whole weeks, so I’m going to publish on Wednesday March 30th instead of April 8th. The two major features I announced were not as monstrous as I thought they could be and that’s always a good thing. Below are some screenshots and more detailed descriptions of all the changes I made for this release.

 Ability to drop specific races from calculating final series results

admin_races_UI

The admin screen for adding and editing series and races has changed a bit. I made the font slightly larger which is better for any mobile users. Still not perfect, I know, but better.

I removed those ambiguous buttons for deleting and editing the post race write-up. Mostly, I removed the buttons because I couldn’t find one that meant “exclude” that wouldn’t be confused for remove, delete or cancel. Also, I think this looks cleaner.

Each time you expand a race node, you will see the save icon and the options icon. Clicking the options icon allows you to exclude a race from being calculated in a series, delete this race from the series or you can edit the pre/post race write-up. You can hide the options menu by clicking the icon again or just leave it up and it will follow you around when you click on other race nodes. In a future release I will do the same options menu at the series node level.

race_detail_excluded

When a race gets excluded from a series, your members will see this message if they bring up the race details screen. All of the data for that race will still show but when you view series standings the results from this race will not be calculated into the leaderboard.

series_details_excluded

Alternatively, on the series details screen your members will see a little warning icon next to any races that have been excluded. If they get curious and click the icon a dialog will pop up explaining that the results from that race will not be calculated into the series leaderboard.

Please, keep in mind that when you exclude a race we do not treat it like the race never happened. If you view your average finish position or your monthly/yearly standings, etc. you will still see all of the excluded races calculated into those statistics.

Series List Screen Overhaul

I made a point to overhaul the series list screen because it was really slow to load and really not mobile friendly. Now I only show the name of the series and when the next race is. I do this inside big blue boxes, perfect for mobile users.

series_tab

Now, all of the active and inactive series show at the same time and it loads very quickly. The ordering of the boxes is different now too. A series with a race that is coming up soon will be ordered ahead of other series that have races further out. Your most recently races inactive series will show ahead of series that have been long forgotten. This design also leaves open the possibility of someday using images in place of the blocks. I do not know if or when I will implement that, but this at least sets the foundation.

Stretch Items

default_club_btn

Since I had some extra time, I worked on some little things that have always bugged me. Above is a screenshot from the club home page. The checkbox from the “before” side was hideous and was near impossible to click on mobile with my fat finger. I fixed it by using that bug green button. When on a club home page that is not your default it will appear red with the text: “Not My Default”. Clicking the red button will make this club your default and turn the button green.

I don’t have a screenshot for this but on the admin series/races screen when you would save a race, we would automatically reload all of the series nodes, but it would not expand and show the race node you were recently editing. Now it does! Just a minor convenience for the admins.

I use larger font sizes in the menus so that navigation will be slightly easier on mobile users. In addition, I shortened the text on the admin menus so that the larger font sizes would not stretch the menu too wide.


 

So that’s what I worked on over the past couple of weeks and it is almost ready to be published. I’d like to thank @jacall11 for suggesting the change where we can exclude races from a series. I know it will be a useful addition for clubs other than one he is associated with and I always appreciate feedback that benefits lots of potential users.

I will probably tease what I’m going to work on next after this release gets published so stay tuned on twitter and facebook AND DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE LIVERY CONTEST FOR A CHANCE TO WIN $10 USD. Currently as of this writing there are 6 weeks left in the contest and no entries, so go paint me something and submit it.

Release 11 To Do List

Release 10 was successful and so now we look to Release 11 which is based around a user requested feature. Let’s dive in!

  • Ability to drop specific races from calculating final series results

As an admin you will be able to toggle each race on/off. If turned off those results will not be calculated into the series results leaderboard. Messages will be displayed to users that view the results of these races, notifying them that the results will not be counted.

This is an easy change but affects a lot of screens throughout the site and will take a significant amount of time to complete.

  • Overhaul Series screen

I really hate the current series screen and it takes too long to load with the data that is shown.

I haven’t fully figured out what the end result will be, but I’m thinking tiles or some sort of large block that is mobile friendly.

Turnaround is typically a month so you can expect this release to be publish around April 8th. Obviously if I finish early or run into any trouble I’ll keep everyone updated on twitter.

Also, I am working on another Racing Club Manager livery contest and will have a blog post about that soon. CASH PRIZE! stay tuned everyone.

Release 10 Details

I know, I know…. it’s been over 2 months since my last release. I’d like to try and churn them out every month depending on the complexity of the change but my time has been divided a lot. Well Release 10 is ready to deploy, just finishing up some testing now.

The first update is the tabbed design on the Series Details screen. In Release 9 I added this feature for team enabled series which allowed drivers that aren’t on a team to be included in the results and to have their own tab in the results. In that release I only added the functionality to the Race Details screen and now it’s coming to the Series Details.

tabbed_series_detail

Another update in this release is to the Edit Series Type dialog. This dialog is where you select whether the series can use teams or contains more than 1 class of car. The dialog used to have a drop-down menu which is terrible for mobile users. Now that I’ve implemented these big buttons, mobile users will find it friendlier. Also when you click a button it automatically saves the type, thus eliminating an unneeded step in the process.

edit_series_type

The last new feature in this release is related to the editing of points templates. Right now when you add a custom points template, save it, and close the dialog the template that is set for the series you are editing is visually cleared. That would make it so you could not pass validation on save of the series, until a points template was selected. That worked fine but it was not the best solution. Now with Release 10 when you add/edit a points template and close the dialog, the site will ask you if you want to use the template you just added/edited in the series you are editing. If you choose the yes response then the template will be set for that series and visually will be selected for you. I don’t think anyone had problems with this or at least nobody ever vocalized it but I knew I needed to improve that workflow. Spoiler Alert: a future release will include being able to set a default points template so when you create a new series the template will already be set for you.

I wanted to jam some more of these little tweaks into this release but I was already dragging it out too long. A feature request from a user came in and I decided it was important enough to cinch up this release and start working on the request. I’ll have another post soon after this release is published detailing what I’m working on for release 11.

As always, thanks so much for reading these posts and using the site.

Release 9 Details

Release 9 is finally ready to be deployed. Here is a rundown of the features/updates we are pushing out.

 

Team Enabled Series Output

rr-prv

This change was suggested by Corn Wolf Gaming and it’s a good one. For series that use teams, there are now 3 tabs in the results output.

  • Individuals – This view is your basic race results table. Shows everyone in the position they finished.
  • Privateers – This is the new view. Everyone that was in the race but is not on a team will show here.
  • Teams – Here we list the teams that were in this race and how many points were earned by tallying each racer’s points that are on said team.

Besides the addition of the Privateers view, this was always available on the race results screen. Now it is displayed in a tabbed menu instead of shown all at the same time, which was clunky.

 

Leaderboard Highlighting

leader-highlight

This change was something I thought up. After each month of racing I write up a summary and list some stats that aren’t compiled already by the web site. I like to go through the leaderboard and see a racer’s progress month to month. Since racer’s typically finish in a different spot each month it was difficult to make the comparison’s because I had to look hard to find where that racer was on each view. Now with just a click we highlight a specific racer’s row and when you change your leaderboard filter’s that racer stays highlighted as long as they are on the board for that view. Click the row again to make the highlight disappear. Simple change, potentially big impact for stat nerds like me.

 

Duplicate Member Prevention

This is one of those boring updates. All I added was a check to see if the racer already exists as part of your club before they can send a request to join. I ran into this issue a lot when Forza 6 came out. I created a new club for FM6 then added all of the club members I thought would be getting the game. Then a few of them put in a request to join the club even though I already added them. Not a huge problem, but one that I thought I could eliminate.

 

I didn’t have a chance to code an update I talked about in my post “Release 9 To Do List.” It was a feature that would cut down on the number of clicks between setting the type of a series(Teams/Multi-Class) and actually adding racers to their teams or classes. I’ll pick it up again for release 10.

 

Thanks for reading!

Release 8 Details

Hello all, it has been quite a while since I released a site update. In this blog post I am going to show some screen shots and take you through the details of Release 8.

The first thing to take notice of is the new login screen. I made it bigger to accommodate mobile users. it’s not often that I login on my phone, usually to review a join request, but this new UI should make it a little bit less annoying. new-login

The biggest focus of this release was to allow clubs to assign a platform so that people who are looking for a club to race with will know if you are on PC, Playstation or XBOX. Below you’ll see the Admin Club Profile screen where you can now assign a platform. The choices are PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, XBOX 360, XBOX One. As part of the release I am auto-assigning a platform where a game only exists on one platform. Forza Horizon 2 and Project CARS clubs will have to log in and assign it on their own since those games exist on multiple platforms.

club-profile-admin

Below, you can see some screen shots where I have implemented showing the platform your club uses. To save space on the screen I decided to use icons instead of text.

club-profile-platform club-search-platform view-all-clubs-platform

The second focus of this release was allowing clubs to record penalty points per race. Penalty points can be recorded when filling out the results for a race. Now, if there is a major incident or rules violation clubs can specify a number of points to remove from a player for a given race. In favor of full disclosure I encourage clubs to include why the penalty points were given in the post-race write-up.

In addition to the platform and penalty points changes there were updates made to leaderboards. I added a column that shows the number of races attended to the main club leaderboard and the leaderboards on the series detail screen. Since I am showing the final number of points a racer received in a series, it made sense to show how many races it took for the racer to get there.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and if you ever have questions, comments, or suggestions on ways to improve the site, contact me any time on any of the social media platforms and I will get back to you as soon as possible.