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Old 08-22-2013, 09:21 PM   #1
JeffR
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Game Systems: Custom Mode

One of OOTP’s hallmarks is the ability to create rich fictional worlds with unique settings, and FHM will offer that, too - albeit in a more limited form in the beginning. With the game still at an early stage of evolution, allowing complete freedom of setup is a little too ambitious at the moment - and we also need to consider that custom leagues will have to be playable in the upcoming multiplayer mode. Having to account for wild league setups would make getting multiplayer a lot more complicated, and we understand that a lot of people are waiting anxiously for it. We'll be able to get a little more adventurous with custom mode after we get things working properly there.

I'll admit that I don't normally play custom setups (at least with modern leagues) in OOTP, so going in I was a little bit in the dark about what people who use this mode wanted to see. But I've since had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people who play that way (our trip to New York and meeting people in-person at the meet-and-greet was particularly useful), so I think I now have a better perspective on where to go with this mode, even if the place we start from is a long way from there.

I'll comment on the various aspects of custom play in the order they appear during league setup, so you can follow along in-game if you've already bought it. Note that what I'm talking about may not match exactly what you see, since I'm looking at a later build than the current release version and also know what changes are about to be made.

When you create a fictional league in FHM, you’ll have several predefined league structures to choose from. We had hoped to allow complete freedom in setting up league, conference, divisional structures, and schedule lengths, but that's something that's fallen firmly into the "too many complications for now" category. So we're going to offer as many predefined structures as we can, using ones that we already know don't create any problems.

The basic format of custom leagues will, for this version, always be a top-level league accompanied by a minor league, replacing the NHL and AHL. Eventually, we'd like to allow different levels of custom league, but that would be a major project that we're not going to have time to tackle this year. The rest of the hockey world will continue to operate as it normally does (note that this isn't currently active in the most recently released update), so you'll get a regular supply of players from lower levels.

You'll have the option of choosing to use real players, or fictional ones; either way, the league will start with a draft of the available players to fill team rosters.

Once your league structure is chosen, you can decide where to locate your league. Note that the "region" setting is optional, and is mainly intended for multinational leagues. The game will initially populate your league with random teams, but change them as you wish, as well as changing league, conference, and division names. You're free to relocate the teams to whatever nation and city you want, even outside the specified Country/Region for your league, but be aware that doing so may create some problems with the out-of-area team's ability to scout the rest of the league and complicate any rules restricting the number of foreign players.

Drafts setups are fairly flexible. The player database should be able to provide a more-than-adequate player pool unless you get specify a very, very narrow group of draft-eligible players. Note that if you want players to be able to play immediately after being drafted, the minimum draft age needs to match the minimum contract age set later in the setup process.

The trade frequency setting controls the trading behaviour of the AI-run teams in the league; as a rule of thumb, set it to approximately the number of trades you want to see on the league's trading deadline day if your league had 30 teams.

Extremely high or low numbers in the game engine settings could lead to game-breaking issues like excessive penalties keeping the teams from putting enough players on the ice, so we recommend keeping those settings somewhat close to reality.

A salary cap, if it's activated (by entering its amount in the Salary Cap field), will operate in approximately the same manner as the one currently used by the NHL. Most of the remaining league and roster rules are self-explanatory; the "Min. Prospects Needed" and "Prospects Max Age" settings force teams to use a certain number of players that age or younger, allowing a situation like the KHL's development rules to be reflected.

Contract rules are also pretty straightforward; the free agency rules, if turned on, will operate in a manner similar to current NHL rules. "The 2-Week Buyout" option allows you to instantly buy out a player's contract for the cost of two weeks' wages, a common system in some European leagues.

There are a few contraints on the game rules to prevent game-breaking situations (periods hundreds of minutes long, one skater on the ice, and so on), but you have some room to experiment. Wins will always have to be worth at least one point, and regulation losses always zero, to prevent situations that would break the league standings

There are currently no safeguards to make sure playoff setups are suitable for the league structure, but we'll add some basic ones to prevent situations like an 8-team playoff being specifed for a 6-team league. Exercise care with the rest day settings, as you could prevent the league from finishing its championship by forcing the schedule past the start of the new season on July 1. The 'Participants' settings determine how the league identifies which teams make the playoffs; 'Matchups' settings are use to decide which teams meet each other.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:50 PM   #2
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haha, somehow I knew Orioles would be the first one reading this one!


Is there a custom start date or do we need to start in 2013?
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffR View Post
Once your league structure is chosen, you can decide where to locate your league ... The game will initially populate your league with random teams, but change them as you wish, as well as changing league, conference, and division names.
How are alignments handled? That is, are cities assigned to divisions randomly? Or are cities at least placed into divisions on some geographical basis? On a related note, how is the alignment handled in the associated minor league? Does it simply echo the parent league's setup?


Something to think about for future versions of FHM is streamlining the fictional league creation process. By selecting league member cities randomly (or even notionally on the basis of population size) the results can be less than realistic, thus forcing the user to go straight in and make manual edits to get something more reasonable; this is even more the case if there is no geography applied to the divisional and/or conference structures. This is not an optimal situation. (OOTP generally faces similar issues in its fictional league creation process.)

One of my long-time goals has been to find a way to create more realistic looking leagues during OOTP's league creation process. This involves knowing the typical sizes, alignments, and schedule lengths for leagues in different time periods, the general format of any playoffs, how the number, size, and structure of minor leagues compare to the parent league, and lastly the distribution of cities typically found in leagues. I'm currently working on a system to take real-world baseball league data and turn it into the basis for league creation. The league-level research is pretty much already done; the city portion is underway but will take awhile to complete.

I'm thinking the basic system I have in mind for OOTP ought to be adaptable for use in a future version of FHM. It'd mostly be a matter of getting the research done to have the base reference information from which the league creation results would be drawn. The goal is to have fictionally created leagues more reflective of the actual starting year the user chooses, with the idea being that the more realistic the game-generated fictional league is, the less a user needs to immediately do in order to get a realistic starting point. (The user would of course always be free to depart from reality if they wish to make something wholly unique.)

Feel free to ask me questions about this. I hadn't thought about applying this idea to hockey, but my impression is it ought to work just as well for hockey as it does baseball (at least for North America at any rate; Europe might be more of a challenge).
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:55 AM   #4
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Well sorry but I don't see a point in preventing user to create a North American high profile league starting this year with no playoffs, no draft, no salary cap and with for example 5 small cities far away from each other.

It's a fictional mode, it doesn't have to be real or probable.

Or do I understand your post wrong?
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:17 AM   #5
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Will we be able to re-construct NHL teams(move players manually one by one with the player editor) to a fictional league?

Will the real players only be from the current season or will we be able to use any real player from any league (NHL or WHA)from any season?

Last edited by Orioles1966; 08-23-2013 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:33 AM   #6
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As I've said a few times, the worry is that by starting with a very limited fictional system it will be hard in the future to change it to a less limited one without rewriting the whole thing.
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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"The rest of the hockey world will continue to operate as it normally does (note that this isn't currently active in the most recently released update), so you'll get a regular supply of players from lower levels."

So in other words, the ECHL/Allsvenskan/Extraliga/CHL/Bantams etc. will be there, but only as player generators, a la EHM? Will they also serve as repositories for non-junior players who can't make a team in the custom league?

Also, will the schedules themselves be editable (in either custom or regular mode), or will they be constrained to whatever the game produces?
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:10 PM   #8
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I'm curious about which players we'll be able to use as well. I'd also like to know if we'll be able to hold expansions (and drafts) whenever we like.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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I'm curious about which players we'll be able to use as well. I'd also like to know if we'll be able to hold expansions (and drafts) whenever we like.
Even a limited expansion is better than no expansion(that goes for fictional and non-fictional leagues).
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:42 PM   #10
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As I've said a few times, the worry is that by starting with a very limited fictional system it will be hard in the future to change it to a less limited one without rewriting the whole thing.
Many of the flexibility/customisation options are already there - we use them all for the real-life leagues whilst we're researching. It's just that there have to be error checks when enabling these things for fictional leagues otherwise users would be encountering frequent crashes when they try a combination of settings that doesn't work.

New rules/settings have been added to the game throughout the development. So I can't imagine there being a problem adding future rules/settings, subject to ironing out bugs and adding error checks.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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Well sorry but I don't see a point in preventing user to create a North American high profile league starting this year with no playoffs, no draft, no salary cap and with for example 5 small cities far away from each other.

It's a fictional mode, it doesn't have to be real or probable.
No, the user is not prevented from doing anything.

Rather, it's about a fictional league creation system which creates plausible leagues. That is, while it's a fictional league, it at least looks like something which might have conceivably existed. It feels like something real even though not actually something which existed. This is, I think, a far better approach than simply dumping in random data, which will almost certain generate a league which looks wholly implausible. This system is intended for users who want a fictional league but don't have in mind any specific ideas about what they want to create, they just want to quickly dive into a game-created fictional league.

For those users who want to create a specific fictional league scenario they have in mind, they should be able to go immediately into an 'advanced' mode where they can start building their league from scratch. It's a needless duplication of effort for the game to fill in data for a fictional league when the user is only going to change all that anyway. Save the user some keystrokes and give them a blank slate to start with in this case.

In any case, this is something for FHM 2. But I thought it worth mentioning now.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #12
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Many of the flexibility/customisation options are already there - we use them all for the real-life leagues whilst we're researching. It's just that there have to be error checks when enabling these things for fictional leagues otherwise users would be encountering frequent crashes when they try a combination of settings that doesn't work.

New rules/settings have been added to the game throughout the development. So I can't imagine there being a problem adding future rules/settings, subject to ironing out bugs and adding error checks.
Makes sense. I was thinking more of the fact that a fictional league has to replace the NHL for example.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Le Grande Orange View Post
No, the user is not prevented from doing anything.

Rather, it's about a fictional league creation system which creates plausible leagues. That is, while it's a fictional league, it at least looks like something which might have conceivably existed. It feels like something real even though not actually something which existed. This is, I think, a far better approach than simply dumping in random data, which will almost certain generate a league which looks wholly implausible. This system is intended for users who want a fictional league but don't have in mind any specific ideas about what they want to create, they just want to quickly dive into a game-created fictional league.

For those users who want to create a specific fictional league scenario they have in mind, they should be able to go immediately into an 'advanced' mode where they can start building their league from scratch. It's a needless duplication of effort for the game to fill in data for a fictional league when the user is only going to change all that anyway. Save the user some keystrokes and give them a blank slate to start with in this case.

In any case, this is something for FHM 2. But I thought it worth mentioning now.
If you don't want to prevent user from any unreal scenario then I understand and agree. But it's nowhere near the top priority (at least in my opinion and yours probably too).
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:49 PM   #14
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Even a limited expansion is better than no expansion(that goes for fictional and non-fictional leagues).
Yes, I'm curious about expansion too. I wouldn't want to start out with a 16 team league if there's no ability to expand from there.

I'm excited that you guys listened to the fans and put a Custom League in. I know it'll be far from perfect or OOTP style in this first iteration but I'm glad it's there for you to build off of.
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:05 PM   #15
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custom

In case this has not already been brought up...When setting up a custom league the system seems to allow you limit ages ie a junior league filled with players 16 to 19. It also appears to limit the number of foreigners that populate the league.

Neither of these two functions work. Will a fix be put in soon?

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