Starters Orders 5 new features.

Starters Orders 5 is now available!

PC SPEC: SO5 requires more video ram and system ram than SO4 and put’s a little more strain on the video hardware. If you had problems running SO4 then it is unlikely SO5 will work. A demo will be released as usual so you can evaluate the game before purchasing.

Starters Orders 5 builds on the previous game by adding a number of new features and improvements. An all new game mode that includes AI owners will offer new challenges. AI and scheduling improvements along with a new set of UK Schedules (create by Mike Gaffney) give the games realism a massive boost. The race sequence while based on the SO4 offering has a number of enhancements including bigger stands (with many designed to resemble their real life counterparts), improved perspective, better simulation of undulations, joystick jockey options and new wider screen modes so the player can see more of the action. The silks engine has been improved and there are now 100 variations available (up from 20 in so4). In addition the player can modify basic RGB values to create something more individual if required (without colouring the pants, face and hands!). Modified horse animations give the impressions of more effort on the horses part and now fast jumps, unseated riders, non-starters are included.

There are around 25% more horses in the game and the entire horse name database is 50% bigger. A number of new courses have been added and there are new race categories including Hunter chases, Listed Handicap, Juvenile Handicaps, Novice Handicaps and Novice Hurdles.

Field sizes are now up to 40 (to accommodate the National) and declarations can include up to 10 reserves. A number of horse model and behavior improvements have been added and a new HORSE STATS page is available. To accommodate the new schedule there can be up to three feature meetings per day and if required up to eight races in a single meeting.

There is a big increase in Stable add-on’s and the players stable is represented by a custom image on the main Home menu and the Stable menu that changes as the Stable is developed as add-on’s and extra stables are purchased.

Some of the images can be enlarged by clicking.

New features/Improvements (in no particular order):

  • New, more varied and bigger stadiums. Many stadiums accurately modelled (Over 40 new custom stadium images).
  • Racecourse crowd improvements.
  • HDTV(720p) Screen mode (1280×720).
  • Mega wide-screen mode (1600 x 768). Not scaled so allows wide field of view for race sequence.
  • Loose Horses (jumps) / unseated riders. Horses that have unseated their rider and continued racing may affect the race in a couple of ways:
    Loose horses may hamper or bump other horses.
    Occasionally a horse may benefit from having a lead from a loose horse.
  • More jumping variation. Jumping speed now varies more. Horses may now gain ground in the air with a fast jump.
  • Jockeys have option of encouraging a fast jump at a risk of a mistake or fall. Horses fast jumping ability is related to jumping ability and a number of other factors.
  • Screen tilting/rotation used to improve simulation of undulations.
  • Additional horse animations for variation in effort. Horses will also ‘stretch’ out more with effort.
  • All horses now have potential to lose confidence (but all are not afflicted by this condition). corrected if horse wins.
  • Reliable lineage.
  • Improved menu navigation.
  • General improvements to horse model.
  • More detailed stats available for horses (possibly not in all game modes).
  • Data optimisations for save files.
  • Fields of up to 40 runners (for the National!).
  • Reserves possible for handicaps. Up to a total of 50 horses declared for a single race.
  • Schedules. Possible to specify ‘M’ for medium field sizes.
  • Group penalties. G2: g1 win = 6lb, g2 win = 3lb. G3: g1 win = 9lb, g2 win = 6lb, g3 win = 3lb. (no more place penalties).
  • Listed race penalties. G2: g1 win = 12lb, g2 win = 9lb. g3 win = 6lb, listed win = 3lb. (no more place penalties).
  • New Handicap race categories added: 0-65 hcp, 0-75 hcp, 0-85 hcp, 0-95 hcp, 0-105 hcp, 0-115 hcp, 0-125 hcp, 0-130 hcp, 0-135 hcp.
  • New Handicap races added: Listed Hcp, Juvenile Hcp and Novice Hcp.
  • Hunter Chase race category added (HUNT). February to May. Open to horses that have not placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a Grade 1 or 2 chase, and all horses carry 12-0 (11-7 for mares).
  • Novice Hurdles race category added (JUV = Juvenile, N = Novice, NOVH = Novice Handicap).
  • Standard meeting 6 races. feature meetings up to eight races.
  • Juvenile Handicaps added (JUVH).
  • UK Lingfield turf course added.
  • UK jumps courses added: Bangor, Carlisle, Cartmell, Catterick, Fakenham, Folkestone, Hereford, Hexam, Leicester, Ludlow, Musselburgh, Perth, Plumpton, Sedgefield,
    Stratford, Taunton, Towcester, Worcester, Southwell
  • French flat courses added: Deauville and Maisons Laffitte.
  • French jumps course added: Auteuile.
  • Kyoto,Nakayama and Hanshin courses added (Japan).
  • Improvement in ‘prep’ races code resulting in more realistic AI trainers race entry.
  • UK Schedules and assistance by Mike Gaffney.
  • Now up to three feature race meetings per day (if required).
  • Over 50% increase in horse names database.
  • 25% increase for horses current in the game at any one time (now 4000).
  • NEWS REEL added to stable menu and all sub menus (turn off or adjust speed in FINANCE menu).
  • Max flat rating now 140.
  • Turning audio commentary OFF now reverts to generic muffled commentary.
  • Excitable (over the top) horses may not enter stalls.
  • Horses may not wish to leave the stalls.
  • Horses may develop breathing problems and run below form. Head lad feedback and/or jockey feedback will indicate a problem. An operation usually corrects but in rare circumstances can cause other problems. AI trainers horses that have had operations are reported in the daily news reel. Players can have a op performed from the horse data screen.
  • Players must enter their horses for foreign races at least two weeks prior to racing.
  • Horse withdrawals on morning of race allowed. Single bets are refunded and multiple bets adjusted (bets are carried). (To withdraw click DECLARATIONS and then select horse and then select the race from the drop down list and click WITHDRAW).
  • Non player dynamic betting before races. Prices may fluctuate irrespective of player bets. There are a number of time slots before the race –
    – Advance a time slot by clicking the TIME ADVANCE button. Market movers may be reported on race menu.
  • Option to put horses ‘out to grass’. This can help revitalize a horse that may have completely lost interest (rare, but clues to this condition are given in the head lad feedback and races). It is also useful for removing horses from your main stable list that you may not want to run for a while. Resting horses still count towards the maximum horses in training limit. Horses ‘out to grass’ effectively vanish from the game until the next season. They can only be viewed via the FIELD menu option.
  • End of season retirement AI mods.
  • Field size mods.More realism.
  • More stable add-on’s.
  • Custom Stable image (on Trainer menu and Stable menu) that changes as stable add-on’s are purchased and stables are extended.
  • End of day auction now includes only selling and claiming race winners. Separate weekly auction for all others. Weekly auction indicated by icon next to TODAY’S MEETINGS on stable menu.
  • Course ground variations (usually due to bad ground) are now visible on the racecourse.
  • Jockey AI improvements. More aware of other horses making finish moves. Better at avoiding pockets etc.
  • Race sequence finish. Relative horse movement no longer stops at the finishing post. (eg. A fast finishing second place may well pass the winner after the post).
  • Simpler way of adding your portrait (to replace default trainer portrait). Add jpg to location ‘gfx\portraits\trainers’.
  • Tables with ‘Next Declaration’ column can be sorted in date order.
  • Easier access to saves/exports. Now stored in LIBRARIES > DOCUMENTS (access via explorer DOCUMENTS shortcut).
  • End of race leader cam re-introduced. Must be activated in OPTIONS and ENABLE ZOOM must also be on.
  • More silks available (now 30 individual silk designs and 70 colour variations making a total of 100 silks available). Player 1 silks are not used by AI players.
  • Improved custom RGB silks modifier. You can now change the RGB value of the silks without affecting the rest of the jockey image (pants, face and hands!).
  • F1 and F2 keys toggle full screen and windowed mode (outside of the race screen).
  • Trainer data file can now contain silks reference and jockey retainer reference for realism.
  • Owner data file can contain silks reference for realism.
  • Most data files not encrypted for easy editing.
  • Option to set jockey retainer auto horse booking on/off.
  • Introduction audio commentary added on race day menu.
  • Jockey mode tweaked and improved and Joystick/Game pad option added (which improves control greatly). No longer have to set ‘pre-tactics’ at start. Joystick/Game-pad must be plugged in before starting the game. The first time the joystick/game-pad is used go the the options page and press ‘C’ to configure. Switch between simple and complex jockey mode in the OPTIONS. Simple mode results in the player having to press the ACTION button to jump.
  • Better trainer horse retirement AI. Very high quality horses have a much higher chance of going to stud etc.
    In addition to the current TRAINER/OWNER game mode there is now a TRAINER game mode that includes AI owners and gives the game play a completely new emphasis:
    The Trainer no longer owns horses in the stable and no longer buys horses from auctions. The Trainer must build up his reputation by winning races in order to attract owners.
  • Jumps apprentices added.
  • Alternative animations (horses and jockeys) option added to OPTIONS. Thomas Pulford SO4 graphics graphics included. Currently there is no horse stretch anim and reduced silks. This may or may not change before release.
  • Full HD screen mode. Give more height and width to screens improving menu layouts. Not confirmed yet.
  • Preferred distance horse model improvements.
  • Additional top horse categories at season end (horse champs categories now on separate screen).
  • Sort (by flat horse or jumper) option added (Combined flat jumps schedules only) on Stable menu, trainer menu and decs menu.
  • New Injury model. Horse displays symptoms. The player may then decide if a Vet’s Diagnosis is required which may reveal more details. Possible career ending injuries. Virus’s may spread. Quarantine stable add-on available.
  • Jockey shout-out option (must be enabled). Player may influence how early or late their jockey challenges.
  • In game Live news. Simple news items can be displayed on the main menu such as news on game updates etc.
  • DAY BY DAY PLAY game option. A more unusual addition this one. Play the game where the game date is linked to the real date. Check my blog for more info on this.
  • Bank loans. Player may take out a bank loan (amount available depends on the status of the players stable).
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Multiple game modes

Also available:

Greyhound Manager
Starters Orders iPad
Horse racing world