HBD Updates (Sitestaff posts only) Topic

We released some engine updates this morning:

* Improved the logic for deciding to yank a pitcher by increasing the importance when there are bases loaded or runners on 2nd/3rd. Previously, we weighted a runner on 3rd the same as if the bases were loaded. This will result in pitchers being lifted more often when running into trouble but before allowing a run late in the game.

* When evaluating whether a pitcher should be lifted for a PH, we've broken down the minimum lead for a PH into early in the game and late in the game. The result is more pitchers hitting for themselves when they have a lead late in the game.

* Adjusted the logic for pinch-hitting for a pitcher in the 5th inning. Pitchers with close leads are now more likely to hit for themselves rather than be lifted for a PH.

* Expanded the logic for yanking a pitcher mid-inning when it's late in the game, team has the lead and multiple runners reach base. Previously, a pitcher wouldn't be considered for a yank until he allowed a run or reached his pitch count or if a specialist was available. Now, for example, a Setup A reliever could be considered to be yanked if other Setup A pitchers are available and he's given up a couple baserunners in the 8th with a 1-run lead.

* Improved the logic for determining whether a player is out/safe when trying to take a base (scoring from second on a single to RF, for example). We had been using managerial settings in the outcome factor when it should not have been, resulting in more players being thrown out. This primarily impacts slower runners who don't attempt to advance very much. For example, a slow runner on 2B will still hold up on most singles to right. However, when they do attempt, their success ratio should now be higher since they had already evaluated all the in-game situational factors.

* Increased the importance of defense when evaluating whether a team with the lead should pinch-hit for a position player late in a game. If the current player is significantly better than the replacement, the player may remain in the game rather than the superior pinch-hitter. Other factors are at play, but the defensive factor now carries more weight.

* Improved the logic for determining who covers 2B when the corner infielders are playing in. The SS now covers in just about every situation.

* Decreased the number of unsuccessful double play attempts by splitting some of them out into simple force outs at 1B. Previously, there were far too many out at 2B, runner beats the throw at 1B. Whether it does one over the other is based on the quality of the fielders, the batter's speed and the hit type and location.

* Increased the frequency of fielders (mostly 1B) saving errant throws. Range factor determines the likelihood.

* Removed the possibility of double plays at 2B while infielders are playing in since it's virtually impossible.
12/13/2007 1:29 PM
We put out a minor update this afternoon including the following changes:
  • Corrected a small loophole that allowed an owner to begin a trade with a franchsie in another world. The trade could never be accepted, but it could cause an owner's Trade Proposal page to not load properly.
  • Tightened up some links that allowed owners to begin trade proposals prior to budgets being set. This involved the Trade Chat and Trading Block pages.
  • Fixed a flaw that allowed an owner to negotiate a long-term contract with one of his/her players that was in an option year before deciding to accept/decline the option.
  • Corrected a bug that prevented owners from making playoff roster changes in between rounds of the playoffs if they happened to have lost 2 games in the first round. This stemmed from the change from the best of 3 to best of 5 first round playoff format.
  • Made some significant under-the-hood performance changes to our main display control used on the Free Agent Report, Trade Build Depth Chart and Waiver Wire page. This should prevent some owners running on slower connections from seeing the Page Error message when the page failed to load because it was loading too slowly.

We've scheduled our next developer chat. It'll be this Thursday (1/10/2008) from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST. You may enter questions anytime before or during the chat. For more details, click here.

1/7/2008 3:13 PM
Today's update involves 3 significant changes:
  1. Made some more under-the-hood changes to improve site performance. Cut down on the size of the pages so page loads should be faster across the board.
  2. Based on findings in the recent dev chat, we closed the loophole that was allowing owners to sign players to 1-year long term contracts despite them asking for longer deals.
  3. Also based on the dev chat and an ensuing forum thread, corrected a bug involving the player aging process. If a franchise's training budget was high enough and the player met certain conditions (age, makeup), certain players could actually see improvement during the aging process rather than see a plateau followed by a decline. The training budget should lengthen/shorten a player's plateau, not assist in a player's improvement beyond their peak age.

The two bugs have been in the game since the day we launched, so we are very happy to be closing them. Thank you very much to those who brought these issues to our attention.

We hope you enjoy the improvements to the game. We feel all three should lead to a more enjoyable, realistic product.

1/16/2008 8:30 AM
Today's update includes a few noteworthy items.

First, we made some adjustments to the logic that determines stolen base success rates for individual players. The players at the upper end were being successful too often (upwards of 98% with over 75 attempts!). These upper tier players should come back down to Earth a bit.

Second, we made a change to the way players evaluate contract offers for long-term contracts and during the Re-signing stage of the free-agent process. You can now offer a player a contract for less years than he's demanding, but you'll have to make it for more money than he's asking in the longer deal.

For instance, if a player is asking for $6M per season over 4 years, he may now accept a contract for 1 year at a much steeper price than $6M. This does NOT come into play at all during the primary free-agent period. During that timeframe, free-agents who aren't receiving offers will lower their demands themselves.

We also put a cap on the age a player will accept a contract for. Previously, there was no cap and you could keep offering a player long-term deals regardless of age. Now, if a player is 42, for example, he won't be willing to accept a deal that keeps him playing at age 45.

We hope you enjoy the changes.
1/28/2008 12:19 PM
Today's Update Details:

  • Expanded the # of fielding coaches created in between seasons to prevent an occasional shortage.
  • Loosened some rating threshold checks for coachs when determining their demands. There were a few too many coaches not meeting the appropriate rating checks for hitting, pitching and/or fielding coaches at the big league level and, as a result, were looking for other roles. For example, some worlds were seeing a glut of coaches looking for bullpen coach roles when some of them could have been looking for pitching coach jobs.
  • Corrected a bug where a small group of coaches were not lowering their demands during the coach hiring phase when they should have been.
  • Improved the coach hiring process by adding an additional check for evaluating coach offers for AAA and MLB coaches. Up until 12 hours before the end of the coach negotiation period, AAA and MLB coaches must have had the same franchise be the top offer for 2 periods in a row before they'll consider signing. This was put in place to prevent the scenario where a franchise is a coach's top offer for 5 periods in a row, but then another franchise sweeps him away with his first offer. Now, early in the negotiation process, the other franchise will have an attempt to make another offer. Again, this is only for AAA and MLB coaches.
  • Improved the logic for filling empty coaching roles at the end of the coach negotiation process. The first attempt is to re-sign the coach from the previous season if he's still available. We continue to do this, but if it's obvious the coach is not a good fit for that role, he will not re-sign.
  • Improved the logic for players evaluating the exact same non big league offers. Up until this point, if two franchises offered a player the exact same minor league, minor league with invite or invite contract, he would always sign with the franchise that made the first offer. The player now evaluates the depth of the franchises and goes with the franchise where he has the best chance to reach the big leagues.
  • Corrected a bug involving International Prospects. Some players would occasionally react to a contract offer by saying they don't want to be booed out of the stadium or something similar. We have a check in place so players don't accept offers for way more than their quality level. We were inadvertantly comparing the offer with the prospect's current overall rating rather than his projected overall rating.
  • Corrected a financial bug involving players who signed long term contracts, were released during season A of that contract and then signed as a free-agent by a different club the following season during the same contract. The original franchise was not having the prorated portion of the league minimum subtracted, and the new franchise was not being held responsible for the prorated amount of the league minimum. We have fixed all existing cases.
  • Addded links to the official world blog or forum thread for each world to the World Center, Franchise Center and World Chat pages.
  • Added Blog pages to both the Player Profile and Franchise Profile pages. There's a new menu item along the of each profile page. The info in the copy-and-paste code is high level information and contains links to the profile pages. We didn't include current stats or record since these will change frequently and can always be accessed via the profile link.

There are some styling issues with some of the blog entries -- we'll be improving these tomorrow [FOLLOW_UP: These have been corrected!].

If your world has a blog and it's not been assigned, please let us know via customer support. 1 blog per world.

We hope you enjoy the improvements and additions.
2/14/2008 4:52 PM
We have an update planned to go out Monday morning and would like to share the details ahead of time. Most of these changes are the result of feedback we received during the recent dev chat, support tickets, forum posts, and playing the game ourselves.

  • Due to some variance in the hiring and career path of hitting and base coaches from world to world, we will now create a few new 1B and 3B coaches during each world's season rollover.
  • When MLB hitting coaches are still looking for a job but all 32 franchises have hired their hitting coach, these hitting coaches will now look for 1B or 3B coach openings before immeditely looking for a AAA hitting coach job. This will only apply to those coaches with solid enough baserunning IQ ratings.
  • As an alternative for viewing your teams' recent games across all your worlds, we have added a "Your Games" feature to the Franchise Center. If you go a full day without checking your game results, you can now use this feature to read the play-by-play of your last 5 games without knowing the result ahead of time.
  • The order of players on the Player Settings page is now ordered by position, pitcher role and then last name.
  • Player bats/throws indicator is now shown on the Trade Build page.
  • The Prospect Report page is now fully sortable.

The next 3 changes are more substantial, so I'll go into each with more detail.

Spring Training Player Development
We have made a change to the player development cycle that occurs during or at the end of spring training. Players that see significant action during spring training will now have a higher likelihood of seeing increased player development. We had this in place previously, but we have increased the impact to make spring training more meaningful. You won't notice a dramatic increase, but, on average and in the long haul, you'll notice the importance of playing time in spring training. And if players at the big league level don't get enough playing time, you may see some regression. It's also important to note that players not on the spring training roster can still see player development during this time because they are continuing to work out and practice, just outside of a franchise's primary spring training. They just won't develop as much as the players getting playing time in spring training.

Defensive Replacement Hierarchy Usage
We've made a modification to how the defensive hierarchy works. For most of you, you won't even notice this.

When the manager looks for defensive replacements, he will scan the hierarchy for the desired position. Starting at the top of the hierarchy, as soon as he finds an available player, that player will enter as the def rep. If he continues down the chart and encounters the current player in the game, he will realize no def rep is needed.

For example, let's say Derek Jeter is the current shortstop in the game. In the team's defensive hierarchy, Adam Everett is listed #1 at SS, then Angel Berroa at #2, then Derek Jeter at #3 and then Alex Gonzalez at #4. It's the 8th inning and time for a def replacement. The manager scans the chart and sees that Everett has already been used as a PH. He then notices that Berroa is available. He'll use Berroa as the def rep at SS even though Berroa is an inferior defensive SS compared to Jeter.

Taking that example a different way, let's say that Everett and Berroa had both been used. The manger then moves down the hierarchy and notices that the #3 def rep is Jeter who is the current player. He then determines no def rep is necessary even though the #4 player is superior to Jeter defensively.

Put another way, the manger now follows the def rep hierarchy exactly how it's configured.

Minor League Options and ML Years
The final change deals with how a player's minor league options and big league service time is handled. We reviewed the recent collective bargaining agreement and are making our rules consistent. Most users will also not notice this change at all.

A player needs 172 days of service to register a year of ML service time. If he appears in less than that, this count is rolled over to the next season. The change that is being put in place is that if a player is on optional assignment (assigned to a minor league team) for less than 20 days during a season, that amount is part of the ML service time.

For instance, a player on the 40-man roster begins the season in the minors. He spends 15 days at the AAA level but is then promoted. He remains on the big league team for the rest of the season and racks up 160 days of ML service. When the world rolls over, he has 160 + 15 days which gives him enough for a year of service time.

This change also impacts how minor league options are tracked. Once a player is added to the 40-man roster, his option clock starts ticking and he will consume an option that season. Any future season in which he spends a day or more on optional assignment in which his days aren't considered part of his big league service time (example above), he will burn an option year.

These option years then impact the flexibility of the GM once the player reaches the big leagues.

There's another rule regarding options that is NOT currently in place and is NOT part of this update. If a player is out of options, he must clear waivers before being assigned to a minor league club. We currently allow a player without options to have his minor league contract renewed without clearing waivers. We may address this in the future, but we are NOT doing it now.

We continue to build a significant list of future improvements and feature additions. Still at the top is an Advanced Roster Moves mode, but it is a significant change and we haven't had the time yet to implement it.

We hope you enjoy these changes. We view them as valuable improvements to the game.

If anyone has any questions regarding these update notes, please post in a separate forum thread. Please try to keep all questions in one thread and try to focus on these issues only.

3/6/2008 1:06 PM
The update detailed in the previous post is now in place.

As a reminder, any world that was in the regular season at the time of the update (3/10/2008 AM) will not be impacted by the ML Years portion of the update. That is, any minor league days under 20 days will not count towards ML service days for the current season.

Minor league days will be counted going forward for all worlds so if a player who has less than 3 options racks up 20 or more days in the minors for the season, an option will be used. So, if a team is at game 100 of the minor league season, the player's next game will be tracked as minor league day #1 moving forward so it's not retroactive for the season.
3/10/2008 9:44 AM
Today's Update:

  • Improved the logic for the "Other" PH hiearchy recommendations to better incorporate fielding skill. That is, your best def rep has a less likely change to be your top PH option in this category so he can be used later for def purposes.
  • The minimum Prospect Payroll budget on the Set Budget page has been changed from $5M to $6M to be consistent with the minimum throughout the rest of the game.
  • The logic for tiebreakers in determining the Amateur Draft order has been changed, so that the tiebreaker winner (as described in the Playoff Brackets help page) now receives the lower draft pick order since they were deemed the "better" team the previous season.
  • Corrected a bug where adding a player to the playoff roster cound result in two players at the same position or batting slot in the lineup.
  • Made the player name references links in the coach advice correspondence.
  • Fixed a loophole involving player contracts. There were a few instances where owners signed players to big league contracts without a salary for any season, only a bonus meeting or exceeding demands.
  • Improved the engine logic involving double switches and player rest following a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
  • Improved the logic for deciding to PH for a Tandem B starting pitcher in relief.
  • Improved the logic so that def reps or player rest can occur following a double switch involving a PH/PR. Previously, if a double switch occurred involving a PH/PR, then def rep / rest would not occur.
  • Added a link to the Trade Needs page to initiate a trade.
4/14/2008 2:00 PM
Today's Update:

  • The Player Statistics and Team Statistics page are now opened up so you can view previous seasons.
  • The Franchise Profile Statistics page also lets you view previous season's statistics
  • The Commissioner's Note on the main World Office page will now contain the status of a world's batch run. It is updated when the cycle starts and when it ends
  • Made a couple minor modifications to player aging. Training budget now plays a slightly larger role in preventing age related rating drops for the raw rating categories (speed, range, arm strength, power, velocity).
  • Improved the Free Agent report so that the search criteria majors/minors now pertains to the actual type of contract being demanded during the current season (as opposed to previous level).
  • The player profile now contains big league service time. If you hover over the ML Years value, you'll see the days listed.
  • Adjusted the stolen base attempt ratios. They have been brought down to a more realistic level. The perfect baserunner will now attempt 130 steals over a season instead of the astronomical values being seen in some worlds today.
  • Players that retire and become coaches will now be eligible in the rehiring stage.
  • Improved the logic to determine a coach's outlook. Coaches that want to move up a level or move to a more significant role will now provide the former club with the first crack at rehiring them before testing the market.
  • Corrected a bug involving trade formation where the query string could be hacked and players from different franchises were included in trade offers. These trades could never go through, but now they can't be built either.

We hope everyone enjoys the update. There's some great stuff in there. Thanks to those users who made some of the suggestions.
5/22/2008 3:40 PM
Minor Update this morning:

  • When evaluating waiver claims after the transaction deadline and when a player is set to be automatically pulled back, franchises no longer need to meet the financial requirements to take on the player since he won't actually be added to the team. This is signficant because the franchise awarded the claim can work out a trade for this player.
  • Corrected the bug that resulted in the Home Run Derby not being played every now and again
  • Closed a bug related to initiating a trade from the Trade Needs page
  • Corrected a display bug for a franchise's waiver wire rank if two teams tied for the top spot after the first month of the season. It was showing 0 instead of 1.
  • Changed some beind the scenes code when a world rolls over to cut down on page load slowness (and time outs) during the time worlds roll over. This was seen during 10 minute windows around 9:45 AM EST and 9:45 PM EST each day.
  • Slightly increased the # of AAA and MLB caliber players available in each season's amateur draft class.

Good luck in all your worlds!
6/19/2008 8:32 AM
Great update for today, mostly dealing with the engine:

  • Corrected a flaw in the logic for stolen base attempts. After the previous revision, there was basically an unintentional shut down of players trying to attempt steals below a certain skillset.
  • Improved the logic for determining errors. There had been a noticeable decrease in errors over the last 6 months. We pinpointed and corrected this flaw.
  • Added the potential for errors on sac bunts and bunting for base hits.
  • Improved the sac bunt logic to include the baserunner's speed and baserunning ratings as factors in the success rate.
  • Adjusted the weighting of the infielder's arm strength and arm accuracy in the logic for great plays (+ plays)
  • Added errors where 1B drop throws from other infielders
  • Improved the logic for catcher errors. Historically, we've had far too few errors by catchers. This should increase moving forward.
  • Improved the logic for the defense conceding runs when leading, infield not playing in, and groundballs hit to the SS or 3B late in the game. This will cut down on the # of ill concieved attempts at the plate.
  • Improved the logic for runners taking the extra base when 2 out. With runners off on contact, their rate of advancement needed to be higher.
  • Added logic for runners being able to be doubled off on bad bunt attempts (popups and lineouts).
  • Improved decision logic for outfielders not throwing home and allowing the trailing runners to advance when late in the game and with a lead.
  • Corrected a display error in IE for the prospect negotiations page.

All updates are active immediately with today's PM cycle.

We've also added a statistical snapshot page so everyone can track how the engine is playing out across all worlds (we so something similar in SimLeague Baseball). We'll work it into the interface eventually, but you can get to it here until then: Hardball Dynasty Statistical Snapshot Page. This page helps us track trends, pinpoint problems, etc. It also helps illustrate that what you see in your world(s) may not be consistent with all the other worlds. Please note that all the data is the sum of both teams in a game.

We hope you enjoy this page and the update. We consider it a very significant improvement to the engine.

6/27/2008 11:32 AM
Today's Update:

  • Improved the distribution logic of errors for 1B.
  • Corrected a bug involving non-bunt infield singles. Up until this time, speedy hitters were not seeing their proper share of infield singles -- they were always outfield singles instead.

We have also temporarily disabled the ability to create private worlds. There have been a handful of worlds waiting to roll over for an extended period, so we wanted to shift focus to filling these worlds up rather than creating new ones.

We will start coding the changes for the Advanced Roster Moves mode within the next 3-4 weeks.

8/29/2008 10:02 AM
We have a favor to ask all our users that maintain a blog for Hardball Dynasty -- could you please include the 3 text links for HBD from our affiliates page within your blog?

It will help with our search engine traffic which should result in more new customers willing to try the game.

Thanks so much for your help!
9/11/2008 3:36 PM
It has been awhile since we have made improvements at a regular pace and I'm pleased to let you all know that we have several updates in the queue that are strictly focusing on improving the game. These updates will be rolled out every other week for the next 6 weeks. As always thanks to everyone in advance for their suggestions!

Today's Update:

  • You can now set your own auto-rest recommendations for starting pitchers, relievers (excluding mopup pitchers), and position players via the management console! Simply head on over to the management console and set the values in the drop downs, click the save button, go to the player settings pages, click "Show Recs" and you will see your values applied. This should be a huge time saver for you guys.
  • Position players and pitchers are now available in one display on the waiver wire page.
  • Clear all functionality has been added to the defensive replacement hierarchy, player rest hierarchy, and the pinch hitting hierarchy.
  • Trades that have been proposed to you are now visible in the world office.
  • We have added an indicator to the franchise profile that will tell you when the MLB AI has been turned on for a franchise.
  • The Arbitration Report page will now automatically insert commas in the "Team Offer" text field.
  • Player name is now included in the confirmation window on the Options Report page so you can better identify which player you just clicked on.
  • We closed a loophole that allowed you to view projected ratings when you shouldn't have been able to via the arbitration report page.

Stay tuned, we have a lot more coming in the next several weeks. We hope you all enjoy it!
9/22/2008 11:33 AM
It appears as though we have had an improvement that has snuck its way out the door. It was supposed to go out in the next release, but hey we'll put something else in its place.

So without further ado:

The Free Agent Targets are no longer constrained. You may now add at will and for the entire season.

Please note that the salaries are incorrect right now, that has been fixed and will be going out in a build shortly.
9/22/2008 2:55 PM
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