I think the beta is probably going to be later in September and possibly (hopefully very small possibly) later. I know people have been asking, so I wanted to post it here.
I've been working a lot on trying to make ratings and match ups on the field matter more in the results. So far I've been reworking a lot of the non-scrimmage plays, like kickoffs, punts, PATs, and such. I wasn't planning to work on special teams as much as I have, but when I started getting into them, it only made sense to treat them with as much respect as the scrimmage plays. I'm just now starting to work on the scrimmage plays and I'm going to spend a lot more time on the line play. It's probably one of the most important parts of the play and gets very little attention currently. I have a plan of attack on how the rushing and passing plays will break down, so it's just a matter of working on them and adjusting them when the plan doesn't work out. As I've said before, I can't entirely eliminate randomness from the game, but I really think with these changes we can at least see some reasonable results based on the ratings and hopefully give a little more information when a play result seems to be something unlikely to happen.
Some key focus points of the update:
1. Ratings and match ups and results
. I've posted in another thread www.whatifsports.com/forums/Posts.aspx
more information on how the ratings are being used in the updated engine. Essentially I want to create a more consistent definition of each rating while keeping the current importance intact as much as possible. The engine will break plays into smaller actions where the results and success of each of those actions can be more easily tied to ratings and match ups on the field. Another part of this is to hopefully define a clearer expectation of how teams and players actually match up against each other.
2. Better PBP
. This is highly dependent on #1. I'd like to have an expanded PBP option for a little more detail on what happened during a play. Also I'm removing any misleading text from PBP, like "play runs right" and such when there's no operational difference between running right or left. They are both treated as running outside, so the PBP will just say "player runs wide".
3. NO MORE NORMALIZATION OF RATINGS
. The engine is being rebuilt to expect the full 1-100 rating scale across the divisions, so there will be no need to normalize the ratings within a division.
4. Improvement to game plans
. Added formation settings for better control over specific break downs of what your players are expected to do for each play. Separating offensive and defensive settings so you can focus on one at a time. Keeping track of calls for each play in the playbook so the calls can breakdown closer to what you set. For instance, if you set a play to 50% run and 50% pass and that play is called 10 times in the game, we should see closer to 5 rushes and 5 passes. Won't always be exact, but closer than what it is now.
All of this is a VERY HUGE undertaking and will take LOTS of time to get it right. My hope is to get all of the plays, including scrimmage plays, in a rough state of breaking the plays down into each action that takes place during the play and getting the results where they are close to what we want, taking into account all the new ratings and match ups and such, by the end of AUGUST. Do some heavy internal testing to work out any kinks and get the advanced PBP in the engine during the first weeks of SEPTEMBER.
This should get us in the position to look at setting up beta sometime in late SEPTEMBER where we can further work on the play results and work out any kinks in the engine as well as get any feedback. ideally, I'd like the beta worlds to run for 3 seasons, but parts of those seasons might be fast forwarded as I also don't want beta to take 3 months.
I know this isn't as fast as many of us would like, but this is really turning into an engine rewrite for most purposes, and I really think it will be a much better game because of it. I'd rather take the time to get it right and get it out than repeat the 2.0 release. I know there are many frustrating results from the current game, but I ask you to hold in there just a little longer. There are many parts to the new engine that I haven't even mentioned, like reworking the penalty system so penalties are called more in relationship to what is happening on the field and the players on the field than just random chances of something being called. I'll also be looking to add as many new stats as we can, and when we get to beta, that will be the time to ask for any stats you are not seeing. We are rebuilding the engine, so I want to take advantage of this time to get at least the game simulation part of the game in a state where it is more fun to play and where we have more potential to improve it even more.
So, sorry it's been taking more than I originally said it would, but believe me I am spending a lot of time trying to make the engine better. There have been a few interruptions and a few times I had to change directions, but there has been progress and hopefully I can get to a point where I can share a little more. I'll definitely hold a Dev Chat when that happens.