Posts tagged "Player Names"

Better support for customization of player names, countries, and colleges

Basketball GM has long supported customizing the names and countries of randomly generated players, which is useful for people making custom league files. For instance, if you want to simulate a league in France, it makes sense to mostly generate French players.

The problem with this feature was that it kind of sucked. The file format was confusing and required a lot of repetitive work. Basically it was designed to make my life easy, rather than making it easy to use. That's the opposite of how I normally try to operate.

Today I have finally rectified the situation. There is a new format for customizing randomly-generated player names and countries. Don't worry, all your old league files will continue to work like normal. But in the future you'll be able to use the new format, which is both easier and more powerful. Here is the documentation.


More realistic player names, including international players!

Previously, player names in Basketball GM were generated based on a list of name frequencies in the US in 1990 published by the US Census Bureau. In some ways this was awesome - it was a huge list of names, so there was a lot of variety. However the US population in 1990 does not exactly correspond to global basketball talent. There should be more African American names and there should be international names from basketball-loving countries.

I never fixed this problem because there wasn't any data I could find that was nearly as good as the census data I used previously. But now I think I have a better solution: DraftExpress. DraftExpress is a website about the NBA draft. It has player profiles for basically every NBA prospect in recent history, even fringe guys like minor college players and roleplayers in overseas leagues. That's a pretty good sample of the distribution of basketball talent, right? Maybe not perfect, but probably good enough to be better than the previous names list.

So I used my trusty wget to scrape, and then I wrote a script to parse names and countries for all players in their database. After a little work to clean up the data (splitting names into first and last names while handling extra spaces like Nando De Colo; fixing typos in country names), I filtered the list of countries to get rid of those with less than 5 names because they would just become too repetitive. So sorry Suriname, you and your 2 names are gone. That left me with 28,377 names from 85 countries. To generate a player, the game randomly picks a country and then randomly picks first and last names from that country.

Particularly cool things about the new names:

  1. No more leagues dominated entirely by people with mid 20th century white names.
  2. Increased realism, as you see a good number of players from expected countries like Spain, Lithuania, etc.
  3. Every now and then, you'll have a Brazilian player with no last name (like Nene and many soccer stars).
  4. Rarely, there will be players from tiny countries. Like if you play 5000 seasons you might see an Icelandic dude named Elvar Vilhjalmsson dominating shit, how cool will that be?

This is live now, even in existing leagues new draft prospects will be generated with this new naming method. And you can see the countries of all the players in your league by going to the Player Ratings page.

Customize random player names

By default, Basketball GM uses random American names taken from the US Census. However if you’re making a custom league file designed to represent a basketball league in another country, it is annoying when the new players generated in your league all have names like "John Smith".

Now, when creating a League File, you have the ability to define the list of names used for randomly generated players. For more info, check out the documentation.