This Could Be You wrote:As you may notice, this is a fatal flaw (one of many, really) of my Virtual BTCC series, which I've attempted to solve by gradually attempting to reduce funds (the "Gold Sinks" method, as you put it), but this has had the opposite effect so while teams like CVR, Maxtreme and AFM (who all went backrupt in 2009) look like they'll make it into 2011 due to shrewd management, while Honda Team Dynamics, WSR and Triple Eight look sketchy to say the least, and are in massive debt.
While I think you're a little hard on your own series, it's clear you understand the problem, entirely
I've pondered this with my own series for quite a while, now. If I had to start another series from scratch, I'd figure this bit out first...
A major stumbling block with this issue, is that there is no incentive for someone dissolve their team in a virtual series, where as there are many reasons why an owner may do that in real life (retiring, selling the team for a profit, etc.). I had considered 'rewards' that could be granted to team owners who willing dissolve their teams, such as giving them 'priority status' (ahead of everyone else) in the queue to join the series (which would be rather unfair), or even sending them actual money in the post!
Sometimes, if the manager of a team wishes to leave the series - and the team they manage should historically be gone by now (e.g. the Simtek team) - then the series organizer may simply choose not to select a new manager for that team and let it disappear from the championship; however, this could be considered 'selectivity' on the part of the series organizer, since - if the team were a successful one (e.g. the McLaren team) they would insist on another user taking over the team, for the sake of realism.
I think it could be argued that we series organizers are too generous with sponsorship, perhaps? A great deal of of teams, in real life, go under because they simply have no available credit nor income, but there is always ample sponsorship and wealthy pay-drivers in virtual series'.
This issue seems to be exacerbated by all major expenditure (i.e. the type of expenditure that forces bankruptcy) being deducted at the start
of each season, which does not mirror reality at all, since a team's expenses are typically paid on monthly or per-race basis in real life. Because the only costs to a team are upgrades - which are fundamentally optional - it's effectively impossible for a team that has completed its initial car construction and signing of drivers, sponsors and suppliers, to go bankrupt mid-season.
One way I thought of solving the issue, was by implementing a 'merge teams' functionality, but it has the problem of necessitating one player to give-up their team, when neither may wish to.
'Surprise' costs, such as a team's headquarters burning down and having to pay for a new one, etc could sink a team. However, the team cannot suffer any kind of surprise event that affects only the cars
, since any team with a stable balance would be able to (in real life) build further cars.
'Elbow grease' - in the form of creative thinking - alone can solve this problem, but finding methods of amicably kicking teams out of a series is very difficult; some examples from real life might be, er... er~...:
- The Toleman team being unable to compete in 1985, due to making enemies of all remaining tyre suppliers, after Michelin pulled-out.
- Vic Lee getting his hatless butt thrown in the slammer, twice, for smuggling bags of flour to Holland.
- ... I can't think of any more...
It could also be argued, that, it's preferable to take an aggressive approach and just kick people out when it's time for their team to go, and the annoyance felt by that person is a victim of the enjoyment of the group (the end justifying the means).