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 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 9 To Do List

Release 8 looks to have been a success thus far, but I am always looking to improve on the site and have come up with a new list of “To Dos” for Release 9 which I hope to complete by mid November.


Tweak to Avg Finish Chart on Racer Detail screen

Right now we look back 60 days and try to get the avg finish position and then start building the graph. Well with new clubs you won’t have 60 days worth of data, but you might still have enough data to show on the graph. This update will scale the graph based on how much data you have. As long as you have at least 4 result sets a graph will be drawn. The graph will only show up to 60 days worth of data starting from the date of your most recent race.


Prevent admins from accidentally adding same member multiple times and Prevent members from asking to join if they are already a member

I don’t know about all the other clubs but I run into issues with this all of the time. It would be nice to get a message saying that this member already exists in the club so that I don’t accidentally add them twice. Sometimes you just forget if you’ve added the new guys yet or not.


After series type has been selected(Teams, Multi-Class) allow admins to skip right to editing team/class members to save them a step in the process.

This issue was also brought up by me and I am finally deciding to address it. Right now when you have a Teams or Multi-class series, when you want to edit the members of the team/class you need to click through the Edit Series Type screen first. Although the ability to change the series type is needed, we don’t need to go through that step every time. After this update, if you have selected Teams or Multi-class as your series type, you will go straight to the edit team/class members screen and will have the option to change the series type from there if needed.


Add ability to highlight a racer on club leaderboard, so that when you toggle through the months/years it is easier to spot a specific racer.

This should prove to be useful. Racing Club Manager can’t provide ALL the reports a club could ever want, so being able to highlight a racer’s row in the leaderboards will help you find that racer when changing the date range of the leaderboards. Sometimes I like to see how one specific person has been evolving over the life of the club and this will help me do that quicker.


Although this seems like kind of a boring release, I do believe that it will help with the sites overall functionality and support the goal of being easy to use. A member of a club also had some suggestions that we will be implementing once we figure out the final requirements. That might push the release back further than mid November. If that’s the case then I will try to break up the releases and deploy anything I’ve already finished before starting things that might take a long time.

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.

Release 8 To Do List

Release 7 just went out today and it pleases me very much to be able to put out those updates and I think it adds a lot of value to the site. Release 8 isn’t going to be as spectacular, but it includes some stepping stones that will allow us to build a better advanced search.

In Release 8 I need to allow clubs to specify the platform on which the club is based. Games like Forza and Gran Turismo won’t have any options to choose from, but Project CARS and the Formula 1 games will.

Right now the advanced search is useful for finding a club that has an upcoming race, but if you are searching for a Project CARS race there is no way to filter by PC, XBOX One, or PS4 and there needs to be. Updating the advanced search is not going to happen as part of Release 8 but as part of Release 9. The advanced search is going to be completely overhauled and will take a while to complete.

Another addition for Release 8 is to show the game and platform on the club home page. I haven’t figured out the exact placement for this yet. I’ll provide screenshots when the release date approaches.

Release 8 will also allow clubs to apply penalty points to racers in each race. Right now clubs can give out bonus points, but not take any away. These points will be taken into account for series and race standings and in all leaderboards.

The last item for Release 8 is to add number of races attended to the series leaderboard on the series details page.

To recap, Release 8 will include:

  • # races attended column on series details leaderboard
  • support for penalty points per race
  • ability to specify the platform your club uses
  • show game and platform on club home page
  • show platform on club search and view all clubs(not advanced search, yet)

This is a fairly straight forward release and shouldn’t take too long to complete. I can’t give a hard release date yet, but I can estimate it should be ready before the end of August.

Thanks for reading and please share any feedback you have on the site. If you are ever clicking through the site and say to yourself, “I wish this site did this, it would be so much better,” then please contact me.

Release 7 Details

Release 7 is all about individual racer statistics. Until now we have had the leaderboards page and the racers pages, and they do provide some good data to pour over, but it doesn’t really let you evaluate a racer’s performance at-a-glance. The following post will detail all of the features of the new “Racer Detail” page.

The Racer Detail Page

racer_detail-winners circleHere is the racer detail page viewed in a dialog box. At the top left of the dialog you can see an icon with 4 arrows pointing outwards. Clicking that icon will break the page out of its dialog and open in a full web page. The full page view is good when studying the Average Finish chart which we will discuss later.

At the top of the page you can see the racer’s name or gamer ID and their status in the club they belong to.

Below that we have 3 dark blue boxes, Series Won, Races Won, and Attendance.

racer_detail-series wonSeries Won will show how many series this racer has won, rapidbushnell has never won a series 😦 In parenthesis you can see what the series winning percentage is. If rapidbushnell had won 5 series out of 10 that he attended, the percentage would be 50%.

racer_detail-races won

Races Won is the same as Series Won, but showing data for individual races. rapidbushnell has won 2 races, which is only 2% of all the races he has attended.

racer_detail-attendance

The Attendance box is divided by Series and Races. Shown here, rapidbushnell attended at least 1 race in 23 distinct series held by this club, which is 85% of all series this club had scheduled. rapidbushnell has attended 85 races, which is 67% of all races ever held by this club. These numbers do not take into account races or series that are scheduled but have not yet been completed.

Graphs

racer_detail-winners circle detailThe Winners Circle pie graph allows anyone to see how often this racer gets Gold, Silver, Bronze, DNF, and Non-Podium finishes. The large dark blue slice above represents the non-podium finishes. The tiny black slice represents DNFs. Each slice in the graph can be clicked and a list of races will populate in the table on the left. You can click into any of those races and see the full results of that race and the series standings up to that point. This graph really highlights the at-a-glance evaluation that we are striving for with this release. You can immediately  tell that rapidbushnell rarely podiums, but consistently finishes races to completion.

racer_detail-avg fin chart

The Average Finish line graph shows the change in the racer’s overall average finish position after each race. The Y-axis shows the range of finish positions that this racer falls within. On average rapidbushnell finishes between 5th and 6th place, but closer to 6th. The X-axis shows the date MM/DD of each race and the actual position achieved. While studying this graph you can see that before his race on 6/1 his average finish position was around 5.85 and that on 6/1 he finished in 9th place which brought his average up to 5.9. This graph currently only looks at the past 60 days, but we have plans to expand the capabilities of this graph in the near future. Although rapidbushnell doesn’t finish low enough to really affect this graph in a major way, you can at-a-glance see where he is most likely to finish during a given race.

The racer detail page is built so that we can add new graphs when we find that they could be useful, or upon request. Thank you for reading this post and I hope it helps explain some things if they weren’t obvious. If you have further questions or suggestions just leave a comment or contact us: rcm@racingclubmanager.com

Release 4 Endurance Support

Release 4 is finally out and I got all of the details for the changes that are included and there are quite a few.

Manage Races Screen

manage_races

This screen shot of the updated Manage Races Screen is divided by a yellow vertical line.

On the left side I circled the 2 sections of interest. The larger circle shows two expanded drop-down lists. One list shows options for “Time” and “Distance”. If you choose Time, you get to specify how many hours and minutes the race should last. In the other drop-down list labeled “Results” you get to specify if the results should record how many laps, kilometers, meters, miles, or feet each racer competed during the race’s time span. The smaller circle on the left side of the screen shot shows where you record each racer’s distance and just left of the circle is a new field Best Lap.

On the right side of the screenshot you can see what it looks like if you choose Distance for race length. You cannot see it in this screen shot, but if you were to choose Distance for length of race, you would be able to record the Best Lap and Overall Time for each racer in the results table.

Race Details Screen

race_details_both

The race details screen now reflects the length of race in the header of the page. The left screen is 20 Laps and the right is a 1 hour 30 minute timed race.

Both sides show columns for Best Lap, while the Distance race shows a column for Overall time and the Timed race shows a column for Distance traveled.

Another small detail you may have noticed is the presence of the 2 buttons just below the orange Results bar. The button on the left, when clicked, will show you the results for this race. The button on the right will show you the series standings after this race. This page needed the horizontal space because of the new columns, so this is the current solution. This may evolve over time.

Leaderboard Screen

leaderboard

I was able to add a new stat to the Leaderboard screen. Podium % shows you how often a racer finishes 3rd or better within the given leaderboard parameters. This screenshot shows just February 2015, but could be expanded to show all of 2015 or any other month a race result had been recorded. If you have a lot of results recorded over the course of a year, you would be able to see if a racer’s podium % was getting better, worse or staying about the same.

Racers Screen

racers_screen

The Racers screen is like a leaderboard for the entire lifespan of the club, so it is a good place to determine overall podium % and another new stat called “Rival.” Rival shows you which other racer finishes 1 spot ahead of you the most. In the screenshot the first racer “Buddy7085” has a rival “B1G5TIG”. Imagine that B1G5TIG has finished just ahead of Buddy7085 on 6 races so far and other racers have only done it 3 or 4 times. Since B1G5TIG has done it the most he becomes the rival. The club I race with finds this stat really fun because it gives you someone to try your hardest against in-race. Whether you are trying to get rid of your current rival or trying to stay as someone else’s I feel like this is the first time an online statistic has impacted in-game play in a meaningful way, at least for our club.

I am really excited to be able to deliver these new enhancements and hopefully it adds to your game play experience. I will be prioritizing what small updates should go out next and also what bigger features should make it into Release 5. I will let everyone know as soon as I figure it out.

Thanks for reading!