Monday, July 22, 2013

Gridiron Solitaire #64: Back in Gear

We were in Detroit all last week for goalie camp (Eli 11.11 had a big week in his young life, which I'll tell you about tomorrow), and it's hard to get much work done when you're at an ice rink for eight hours a day. However, I did mange to plough through a few things.

First, I was able to sim through an entire 30-year franchise, which I haven't done for months. And I managed to crash the offseason mini-game twice, much to my surprise (fixed now).

I noticed several things about the team stats immediately. First, passing stats, on average, were about 20 yards too high for each team compared to NFL averages. I know, it's a card game, but there's no reason not to have realistic stats. So I ran tests and figured out that if I just increased the initial pass defense rating of each team by one point, the stats would correspond to NFL averages very well.

The second thing I noticed, which will take longer to fix, is that over time, offensive stats tend to inflate (by about 10% over the course of a 30-year franchise). I had created a system where ratings auto-corrected over time if the league total of ratings got too high. It's not enough to just measure ratings, though--I need to measure against stats as well, so that if offensive stats get too far out of line, I influence the chances of defensive ratings improving versus offense ratings. That's on the list, now, although it's not at the top yet.

On top is resolution.

Since the beginning, I've loved that WPF applications let you dynamically resize windows so that all controls scale to the correct size automatically. The problem, though, is that if you change the aspect ratio when you resize the window, controls may wind up being too close/too far apart, or text may no longer be centered in a scoreboard field, etc.

I'm to the point where it's driving me crazy, so what's going to happen is that when the user first starts the game, it will display at the optimal resolution (fullscreen for 16x9 monitors, windowed for everyone else). The window can't be resized, and if it's a 4x3 monitor, it can't go fullscreen, either. If the user goes into the options menu, they can select from five different resolutions (which will be different from user to user and depends on the current desktop resolution). All that information gets written to the option file so that the next time the game is started, that resolution is used (unless the desktop resolution makes that resolution unusable). It's going to take a few days to put in, but that will end my graphics sizing issues permanently.

There will be a small celebration.

The cut scene (for the first time a user starts the game) is finished now, too--at least, the video part is finished. Fredrik did a wonderful job of creating images and transitioning between them, and visually, it looks very neat.

I also have a somewhat amusing script. And I know exactly how I want it to sound (like a newsreel announcer's voice from the 1940s). I can even read the script with just the right emphasis.

What I can't do, though, is sound like a newsreel announcer, damn it. So the audio right now sounds like ass.

I can't do it this week, because I'm drowning while I try to catch up from being gone for nine days, but next Monday, I'm going to put out a casting call to you guys for a "newsreel announcer" voice.

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