During the first half of December, there is now a concrete plan in place to finish and release The Duel simulator. You can read further down this post for extensive details on its status and what remains to be completed. The second goal for the month is to finish the new Survivor algorithm contained in the Merge Template and release this algorithm inside the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X simulator. Typically, these seasons are released within 24 hours of the finale, and this is the hope, but it is not a guarantee since the Survivor finale’s date is currently unknown and because this simulator is going to be the first Survivor season running on a new system.
The Survivor Merge Template is currently being used to test the new Survivor algorithm, but it’s release date is still unknown and it is a possibility but not guaranteed for December. After simulators are released for The Duel and Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, there is a chance that development may begin later this month on an Australian Survivor and/or a Big Brother: Over the Top simulator. These will use components not included in any current BrantSteele.com simulator such as audience decisions in BB:OTT and the option to change settings weekly in Australian Survivor. These two simulators are not guaranteed to be finished this month, and there are no other simulators planned for this month.
This is a question posed for users, but would you rather see more frequent simulators released with less logic and detail, infrequent releases with extensive details, or a combination of the two? Keep reading for more details on how long it typically takes to make a simulator and see how this applies to the current work on The Duel. Your responses will help determine questions for an upcoming user survey that will help decide 2017 plans and scheduling methods.
12/5 Update: There has already been a change in plans. With the Survivor 33 finale airing next Wednesday, one week earlier than I expected, 100% focus needs to be put into the new Survivor algorithm to have this season released as close to on schedule as possible. More progress has been made on final challenges in The Duel, and that simulator should be released about a week after the Survivor 33 simulator.
A simulator is considered simple if it lacks logic. These can be programmed in as little as 2 days or as many as 12 days if they do not share common elements with existing simulators. The Hunger Games Simulator would be included in this category of simulator. Anything that involves user defined profiles, relationships, alliances, or other attributes is considered a logical simulator and not included in this category.
Most logical simulators begin their development as simple simulators with the logic added later. The below process describes the initial method for creating the Total Drama Island and Duel simulators, which are considered logical simulators with higher than ordinary levels of detail. The actual days and ordering varied slightly.
Day 1: The template is created for the new season and show combination with the core settings established.
Days 2-3: A simulation engine is created that runs from start to end of the season. No intelligent decision making is added, simply random decisions.
Days 4-5: Page displays are added that relate to the different parts of the simulation engine, and a navigation system is added that connects these pages. Sample for The Duel here
Days 6-7: Edit Cast & Random Cast are added for the season. Sample for The Duel here
Days 8-9: A statistics & summary page is added for the season. Sample for The Duel here
Days 10-11: A placements page is added for the season. Sample for The Duel here
Day 12: A voting chart is added for the season. Chart 1 and Chart 2
Following the release of Total Drama Island simulator in mid-August, work began on The Duel simulator. The first part of planning is always spending a few weeks researching the season by watching the episodes if they are available online. Both Jacob and I did this to obtain a better understanding of the season and what all was involved. Following the planning, the steps above were all completed for The Duel simulator prior to the release of the Big Brother 18 simulator on October 1st. The first two weeks of October were spent better incorporating logic into The Duel simulator and making three distinct event pages each episode. The first highlights the relationships and alliances, the second shows the events that occur, and the third is a new event description concept that shows alliances impacted by the losing dueler and what the duel winner does at the end of the episode after his or her victory. A reasoning system was also added that explains all of the selections made following the challenges and explains why the second person is selected to compete in each episode’s duel.
For the past month and a half, the one remaining part of The Duel simulator has been the challenges (and some bug fixes and finishing touches). These challenge have been the primary BrantSteele programming focus with some side focus being placed on keeping the new Survivor algorithm development on schedule. Since The Duel is a simulator based on challenges and dueling, significant emphasis has been put on making all aspects of these competitions logical and true to the show, including parts like when competitors get to choose the order that the other competitors compete. Some of these individual challenges take several days to make – longer than it took to make full other simulators. For instance, the episode 2 challenge Ring Toss is very complex, outputs to several hundred lines of text, and explains the entire elimination process of both groups.
As it stands today, 6 of the challenges have been completed and added to the simulator. Another 4 of the challenges have been outlined and are in the final stages of programming, 3 more have been outlined and are in the early stages of programming, and the rest are being prepared. In order to stay on a decent schedule, time limits have been placed on how much time to spend designing the final challenges, which may result in sacrificing a little logic. The result should still be a simulator containing the most detailed challenges in any simulator designed on BrantSteele so far. User feedback on these challenges will determine if it will be worthwhile to spend so much time designing complex challenges like this on a simulator again. As it stands right now, the upcoming Survivor 33 season and Merge Templates do not include detailed challenges to the extent of The Duel simulator or Total Drama Island. Similarly to The Duel simulator, the final weeks of the Total Drama Island simulator development were spent adding various degrees of logic to the competitions.
This post was made partially in response to all of the questions on the current status of The Duel simulator and other updates. Thanks to everyone for your patience.
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