Version 2021.09.01.0705 of Basketball GM finally supports the play-in tournament. The play-in tournament is the weird pre-playoffs thing the NBA recently added, where the last two seeds in each conference are determined by a tournament involving the 7th through 10th best teams in the conference. First, the 7/8 and 9/10 teams play. The winner of the 7/8 game becomes the 7 seed in the real playoffs. Then the loser of the 7/8 game plays the winner of the 9/10 game for the final playoff spot.
It works the same way in BBGM, just generalized to all league types. So if you have only 4 teams per conference making the playoffs, then the play-in tournament will be between the 3-6 seeds. And if you set the playoffs to not be determined by conference, there will just be one play-in bracket to determine the bottom 2 overall playoff teams.
What does it look like in the game?
I just added three new playoff settings in version 2021.08.14.1172. The first two in this screenshot have been there for a while, but the last three are new.
How exactly do they work?
You may have noticed a funny thing about the number of three pointers that certain players take. There was a hard cutoff at about 35 in the 3 point rating. Slightly above that cutoff and players would take a few three pointers per game. Slightly below and players would take none. This has never made any sense.
It was particularly annoying for players barely above the cutoff, since they are bad three point shooters, so you don't actually want them taking a bunch of threes. That puts you in a situation where you may be hoping a player's three point rating does not improve, so they can stay below the cutoff rather than chucking up a bunch of inefficient shots.
Now, finally, that hard cutoff is gone. The number of three point shots is now continuous. Players with ratings from 35-45 will shoot fewer three pointers (most noticeable towards the lower end of that range), and players with ratings below 35 will shoot more. Not a lot, but more than the 0 they shot previously.
Some people may think a better solution would be a more fundamental change in how shot selection works, and they might be right. The advantage of what I did here is that it's a quick little fix that mostly leaves the game alone, except to address this one annoying issue.
The new player mood system introduced last year is working pretty well overall, but there are some small issues with it. One is related to a mood bonus given to players on rookie contracts, where it says "Eager to sign first non-rookie contract" and gives a big +8 bonus. This gives BBGM something like the NBA's restricted free agency, because it results in your drafted players being less likely to refuse to re-sign. (For FBGM and ZGMH, it only applies if you diasble the hard cap setting.)
Some people have noticed that the bonus was not correctly applied for some real players in historical leagues. Why? Because it was kind of hacky code. It identified "rookie contract" by comparing a player's draft year, the expiration year of their contract, and the length of a default rookie contract for their draft round.
This works fine for random players, since their rookie contracts all are generated by the game and all follow that same formula for length. But it's a bit tricky for real players leagues, or for custom league files, because they may have different length rookie contracts.
Today I have changed how rookie contracts are stored in the game. There is now an explicit
rookie flag in the contract, so a player contract looks like this internally if it is a rookie contract:
There are now 50 different built-in teams. But when starting a new random players league, you always get the same 30, unless you manually select some other teams.
Now in version 2021.07.11.0740, there is an easy way to randomize the teams in your league, and it's pretty cool how it works. Thank you nicidob for the idea!
Access it by clicking "Customize" next to the list of teams when creating a new random players league:
New feature in version 2021.05.31.0967 - players can now play through minor injuries.
You can control what your team does with these new sliders on the roster page:
Over at zengm.com it says:
Simulation games need depth, but they need the right amount of depth with a UI to help you make sense of it. We seek to avoid mandatory micromanagement as much as possible. Video games should be fun, not tedious.
One area where my games have failed in that regard is finances. Finances can be optimized through micromanagement, and that sucks. Today one area of finance micromanagement has been removed: ticket prices.
There's a few new things related to the built-in teams:
8 new teams. Some are now in default leagues, others are available as expansion teams or when customizing a league.
3 old teams moved to new cities, to better fit their team names and make way for some of the new teams.
3 old teams got new logos.
Most teams now have a more compact secondary/small logo that is used in places where there is not much space. For some teams, their old logo is now their small logo.
This update is only for Football GM and ZenGM Hockey. I didn't do it yet for Basketball GM because position matters much less in basketball, so whatever minimal gain might be achieved from this new feature would not be worth the risk of changing the AI.
But for football and hockey, it's very important for the AI to know that you can only play one quarterback/goalie at a time, so it doesn't make much sense to sign 2 (or more!) to big contracts.
Previously this was somewhat of a problem, because AI roster moves were made by looking at how good a player was, regardless of the current roster. (Okay, that's not quite true, there was some ad hoc code to make it not do completely crazy things, but it didn't work that well.)
As an example, I simmed 100 seasons in Football GM to see how often a top 10 QB in the league spent a season as a backup. That happened for 77 seasons before this update. But after this update, it happened for only 18 seasons. That's a pretty decent improvement, I think.
But how does it work?
This is about the trade finding algorithm, not the trade AI itself. There are no changes to which trades will be accepted or rejected. But there are some changes to the algorithm powering the trading block, AI-AI trades, and the "What would make this deal work?" button.
The end result of these changes is that the AI is more upfront and consistent. It gives you its best proposal right away, rather than trying to be cute and maybe sometimes not tell you right away. And when you spam that "What would make this deal work?" button, it will keep giving you the same answer unless something has changed.
I think it feels a lot more reasonable this way, and I hope you agree. Read on for all the details.