Below is a Discussion of What We Mean by 'A Realistic Sim'
We are committed to continuing our policy of making Brushback Baseball as realistic as possible.
Much of the current simulation was built when we had to estimate what mature
player builds might look like. Given the estimates that were necessary, we are
extremely pleased that the initial simulation settings turned out to be highly
As the game has evolved, we have continued to refine the realism. Reading the
forums, however, we have come to realize that 'realism' and 'realistic simulation'
mean different things to different users.
Below we describe two points of view. Although users have positions slightly
different from these view points, the following two will help us illustrate
our point and explain our thinking.
Two Views of Realism
One point of view holds that for the sim to be considered realistic,
every stat in BB needs to have the same value that it does in current professional
baseball. As player builds change each season, simulation adjustments need to
be made each season in order to bring the BB stats back into close alignment
with professional stats. For example, if the 2010 strikeout leaders in professional
ball average 10 strikeouts per game and the season 6 BB leaders average 8, this
point of view holds that the BB simulation is not sufficiently realistic. An
season-end adjustment to the simulation would be expected in order to increase
the number of strikeouts by the best BB strikeout pitchers.
Advantages of the first point of view:
- Each season's simulations come as close to reproducing current professional
stats as is reasonably possible.
Disadvantages of the first point of view:
- Players that do 'too well' may be penalized. For example, if most agents
use training sessions and Player Points to improve power hitting (and spend
few resources on fielding), then offensive numbers will rise in BB and we
will be expected to change the game simulation for the next season to diminish
- These frequent tunings of the simulation engine will take time away from
adding new game features.
- Behavioral limits may need to be established to bring BB player and owner
behaviors into line with those of professional ball. For example
- Non-optional player build guides and quotas involving each type of player
could be necessary to enforce realistic builds.
- Required minimum and maximum values for stolen base attempts could be
necessary to enforce realistic player and mangerial behavior.
A second point of view holds that statistical averages vary from season
to season and trend with time. For example, strikeout rates have varied by 25%
over the last two decades. The following chart shows that runs per game (R/G)
have increased and decreased over the past 40 years (varying from 3.5 to 5.4
over this time).
(image from: Michael Bein).
The second point of view would say that this variety is part of the natural
ebb and flow of baseball (due to changing player abilities as well as changes
in team tactics) and accordingly accepts that stats in BB will also experience
a natural ebb and flow for the same reasons. This second point of view of realism
holds that as long as BB stats fall within the range of professional baseball
norms, the simulation is realistic.
Advantages of the second point of view:
- More time for game development.
- Players with excellent builds are not penalized.
- The natural ebb and flow of baseball is free to occur.
Disadvantages of the second point of view:
- A specific BB stat may not match the current values for
that stat in professional baseball. This is to say that professional ball might be
experiencing an ebb while BB is experiencing a flow.
At this stage of our development, we think the second position is the better
fit for Brushback Baseball.
Our standard is, we are willing to change the sim where ever results fall outside
of modern era baseball norms.
Consider a few examples where we consider that a change is necessary. During
the early seasons of BB, the home run rate exceeded the greatest home run rate
in professional baseball. We made adjustments, therefore, to bring the BB home
run rate back into historical norms.
We are in the process of evaluating whether the season 7 walk rate in BB is
similarly out of historic alignment.
And a zero percent error rate is obviously out of historical bounds and we
are working to add errors.
The FIP statistic is a derived statistic that we would not focus on. If we get statistics that represent the fundamental components of baseball correct, we expect that the derived stats will fall into proper historic ranges.
Why We Expect Greater Variation in BB Stat Values than in Professional Baseball
We expect more variation in BB stats than is seen in professional baseball
stats for the simple fact that there are no penalties in BB for attempting unconventional
builds and strategies.
If a BB owner or manager tries out an unconventional strategy (say attempting
steals way too often) and it fails, there is no consequence of significance.
The agents are likely to say something like 'we're behind you, but next season
tone it down some.' But, in professional baseball, there are consequences of
significance. If a professional manager tried an unconventional strategy that
backfired, he would likely be fired. If a player tried to steal unexpectedly
often during a season, he would increase his risk of injury.
If an agent builds a pitcher that has a 102 mph fastball, but little control
of the pitch, not much is risked. If the pitcher is not successful, he gets
retired, and another player is built. No big deal. If however, a professional
baseball prospect follows the same approach, he puts real money and fame at
In professional ball, the heavy penalties for unconventional behavior that
fails tends to put real limits on behavior.
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