Recently, I interview the people over at WhatIfSports and learned some of the future plans and history of the amazing basketball game Hoops Dynasty!
Questions by la287:
-- Can you describe WhatIfSports to any visitors who have yet to visit
the site? What does the site offer and why should they sign up?
In addition to 80% off on toner cartridges and OEM software at wholesale prices, we also offer unique sports-based simulation games for all 4 major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL) plus NASCAR and college football and basketball fans.
-- What are the technical specifications of the game?
Hoops Dynasty is a web-based game so anyone with a browser can participate.
-- What work does it take to update the Hoops Dynasty sim engine? How
many people and what kind of time is required?
It depends on the magnitude of the change. Major changes take weeks to months to work through the math and logic as well as to fully test.
-- What work did it take to set up Hoops Dynasty, when it was being
prepared for release? It must have taken hundreds of hours to plan each
aspect of the game, not to mention re-create it.
HD was about 9 months of work to get to the initial launch - much of the best feedback, ideas and suggestions came from our beta testers as well as our users as we've continued to add-to/enhance HD over the past 2 years.
-- For any game designers out there, what advice can you give on
creating the best experience for the player?
I think the biggest problem with traditional games today is that designers don't listen (see prior Q&A) to the people that are actually playing the game. Most of our game featuresets are driven by suggestions from our existing users.
-- What are some of the upcoming features and plans for Hoops Dynasty,
besides those included in the coaches e-mail at the end of each season?
We'll actually be scheduling a developer chat to discuss what's in the works. Since the next release featureset has not been finalized, I can't go into it quite yet, but some of the near-term changes will include half-time stats, additional stats as well as enhancing the depth of the players in HD by adding the dimension of potential.
-- How does the “recent” acquisition of WhatifSports by Fox Interactive
Media? How will WiS cooperate with Electronic Arts, Inc., to make a more
realistic experience for its users (both for game consoles and online)?
The acquisition by FIM has been very positive in terms of marketing and I think we're just starting to scratch the surface. We actually have nothing but a licensing arrangement with EA.
Several questions from the user Weena:
-- Your team is a heavy underdog and the team you are playing is clearly
better than yours. Do you stick with the status quo or do you shake
things up and try something crazy?
Normally I stick with the status quo but I may tweak a setting or two to try and ride a perceived mismatch.
-- You show up on a previously undecided prospect's considering list at
the same time as two other human coaches. Do you stay and fight it out
or do you look elsewhere?
That depends on numerous factors, including, but not limited to - budget, scholarships available, status of other recruits, starting spots/minutes available to promise, etc.
-- Are you more offensive or defensive oriented? Why?
Overall I think I'm more offensive oriented - most of my teams are high scoring. Given that my job is HD, the fact that I'm on the site 18 hours/day and that only a handful of coaches have more experience than I do, I feel that I am a pretty good recruiter so I like to go with depth, uptempo and try to outlast teams. Although, lately I've been finding that you don't need everyone to be a potential 20 PPG scorer - a Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman type is a great asset to have (and normally under-recruited).
-- Do you game plan differently if you are playing against a human coach
than if you are playing against a Sim AI coach?
Yes - the sim is pretty plain vanilla so I won't get any surprises.
*Inspired by goodtymes31:*
-- What do you think is more important, game planning or recruiting?
In both HD and in real life, I think the talent you have is more than 50% of the equation to success. Yes, Princeton can knock off UCLA in a single game with less talent, but over the long run, UCLA is going to have more success. That said, when all else is equal, the coaches that know their team, know how to scout teams and can identify weaknesses greatly improve their chances of winning.
Question from ermd2000:
-- Do you always change a new team (you just became coach of) to the
offense/defense you prefer, or do you try to recruit to the existing O/D
and make it work?
A little of both - I try to pick schools that already run an offense/defense that I like to minimize the transitional pain. If that's not the case, I'll wait until I have a fairly large recruiting class come in to make the change.
Questions from ka49s:
-- How can you address the alleged randomness in the game?
There's an entire thread dedicated to this very subject:
I truly don't think many people understand how much deviation there is in real college basketball. The other big gripe is when a team gets upset - it's hard for coaches to rationalize because the majority of coaches are very analytical by their nature so when they see a result they didn't expect, they want to play the randomness card. Upsets in college basketball are much more prevalent than most coaches realize - it's no more random than real college basketball (which is the point of the thread).
-- Can you provide a reason for many veterans of HD quitting suddenly?
It has been said it might have to do with the static nature of the game;
do you have any major updates in store?
Yes - many coaches are reaching the elite schools in HD and once they reach that dream job, there's no need to continue toiling in DII or a lower level DI school in another world. The number of veteran coaches leaving entirely is extremely small.
Questions by r0b0t:
-- If we elect to play a 3-2 zone, are there still defensive penalties
for playing a Shooting Guard at that small forward position?
No, nor would there be in any defense.
-- Can the positions listed on the depth chart screen be alternated
given your team's offensive or defensive set?
Currently no, but it's something we can look at.
-- Do you plan on making Hoops Dynasty more like Hardball Dynasty in the
HD will be getting a face lift in the next major release. The new design is actually in the works already.
Question from phislamjamma:
-- In exception to the most extreme cases, does fatigue really have
significant affect on player performances?
Yes. There are many coaches which point to anecdotal evidence of minimal fatigue effects, but we've run literally thousands of games testing fatigue with controlled variables and fatigue definitely impacts performance.
More questions from la287:
-- Is it possible to have a successful team like the Phoenix Suns, who
don’t really have a true center?
Sure, there's no requirement to start a center. That said, I don't think going with 5 guards or 5 SFs is a good idea either.
-- How soon will we see a feature that allows us to gameplan days in
I don't believe that will be in the next major release but it is on the list.
Sign up for Hoops Dynasty! It's free to sign up and just $6.95 for your first season.