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2017 BrantSteele Community Survey

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On the fifth poll of 2017, 59% of voters preferred to see ads on only the non-simulator pages. If ads are ever implemented, this is how they will first be tested for effectiveness. Thanks to the other suggestions in the comments as well. They are being evaluated.

Now, there is a more detailed survey for the community features including social media and account integration in the simulators. You can answer the 2017 BrantSteele Community Survey on Google Forms. If you want to voice your opinion on community features from 2016 or for 2017, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard. Responses will strongly be taken into account to determine the extent of the community features for this upcoming year. Thanks to anyone who contributes.

There will be more upcoming surveys later in the month, but the next two posts will likely focus on finishing and releasing the final versions of the Survivor 33 and The Duel simulators.


2017 Poll #5: Ads on Pages?

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On the fourth poll of 2017, 90% of users approved a possible plan to spend the next several months focusing on a customizable/interactive Survivor template and completing the seasons of Total Drama. The numbers were similar in a Twitter poll. This plan is now being evaluated to see if its feasible.

Also, thank you again to everyone who volunteered to help. My hopes are to progress more rapidly through simulator development with the help of volunteer efforts in addition to expanding and improving the website. I sent responses to every application, and now I’m trying to come up with the most efficient system without having any users’ tasks overlap and wasting anyone’s time. Please don’t take offense if anyone does a task that you were hoping to do. The goal is to improve the site as much as possible, and I would like to avoid the volunteer system leading to conflicts or dissension among the users generous enough to put their time into helping the site.

Now, a far more boring fifth poll has been created. What would your opinion be on having simple (not video or malware-related) ads placed on the BrantSteele websites to cover server costs? Are they acceptable on the simulator pages? On the non-simulator pages? Nowhere? If you have any other ideas that are alternates to ads that cover the server costs, please suggest them. Donations are always a possibility but will probably be avoided to prevent any possible legal ramifications. Right now, the server is stable, but the hard drive keeps filling, and it would be nice to upgrade a few different components and have some more breathing room. Gradually simulators are being redesigned to support smaller save sizes as well.

The next poll/survey will be posted in a few days and will be an actual survey reviewing the 2016 community features and asking what you would like to see in 2017. If you want to post any thoughts on that below, they will be taken into account to help set up the next survey.


Survivor 33 Demo Updated

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The demo of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X has been updated to version #2.

Notable Changes in Version #2:

– Vote By Vote Display: Redesigned to address plurality issue with the old system.
– Multiple revotes can occur if deadlock (same number of targets tied for consecutive votes) is not reached. This can lead to some very unusual scenarios.
– Idol Improvements: Immunity idols and legacy advantage should be played and blundered more realistically based on logic and statistics.
– Medevacs and quits have been implemented. Update: The probabilities for these have been reduced.

A few parts still need improved in version #3 including better voting (incorporating targets and alliances better, adding split votes, adding reasoning) and better final tribal council logic and display.

The Survivor tribal council system is always very complex. Since this is a new version of Survivor code, there are many issues that require testing and correcting. If you find any scenarios that trigger bugs, it would be appreciated if you could report them. Thank you.


New 2017 Plan Poll

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On the second poll of 2017, it was fairly close between the top two results, but develop more sophisticated versions of existing simulators led with 44% of the votes. Completing the rest of the seasons of Total Drama and The Challenge was not far behind with 39% of the votes. The poll options were too general, so a third poll was created to gauge interest between more specific options. On the new poll, the customizable/interactive Survivor template was the clear favorite with 49% of the vote over 24% of the vote for the rest of the Total Drama seasons.

Based on these new results, a fourth poll has been created. Along with regular Big Brother and Survivor simulator releases, would you approve a February to July schedule focusing primarily on a customizable/interactive Survivor Template along with the rest of the Total Drama seasons?

January would consist of finalizing Survivor 33 and The Duel, releasing Big Brother Over The Top and Australian Survivor 2016, and touching up The Big Brother Future Templates and Hunger Games Simulator. Additionally more internal reorganization would be done in an effort to best utilize the efforts of volunteers to have more timely releases. There would be at least one demo of the Survivor Template each month with the Total Drama seasons being released as each one would be completed.

Please post your thoughts here on that hypothetical schedule. Deciding future plans isn’t as simple as picking the top result of a poll, but it is all factored into account. Your feedback is appreciated.

The next version of the new Survivor algorithm will be posted tonight in the Survivor 33 simulator, but it may be late. This weekend, the Volunteer Applications sent so far will be reviewed, and responses will be sent with follow-up questions.


The Challenge: The Duel Simulator Demo

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The Challenge: The Duel simulator has been released in Demo form.

Some of the challenges are completed and have been added with full details while the challenges that are in progress have been disabled and replaced with generic challenge text. This simulator uses full logic, but the reasoning descriptions were replaced with generic reasoning text because they need to be improved. A full release should occur this month. Some of the recent challenges were not tested very thoroughly, so any user feedback, testing, and bug reports would be appreciated. Thank you.

The next blog entry should be posted on Friday night with the second version of the Survivor 33 algorithm.


2017 Poll & Other Plans

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Thank you to those of you who have applied for volunteer positions so far. There have been some strong applications, but I haven’t had a chance to respond to them quite yet. In the first 2017 poll, Big Brother Over The Top led Australian Survivor 2016 with 58% of votes from 227 users. Both of these simulators are intended to be created this month while other plans are finalized, along with finishing the The Challenge: The Duel and Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. There will be another post with a demo of The Duel later in the night.

The next user poll is the following question: Which of these plans would you most prefer to see do in 2017?

OPTION A: – Create the rest of the seasons for The Challenge and Total Drama.
OPTION B: – Create simulators for new shows or original concepts.
OPTION C: – Develop more sophisticated versions (custom templates, interactive features, better logic) of existing simulators.

You can answer the poll here and discuss your answer in the comments. For example, which simulators or new concepts would you most like to see? Which current simulators do you most want to be improved? Many of you have sent contact messages and posted comments with your suggestions, but this is the best place to discuss them. Feel free to comment on other users’ suggestions. These comments and polls are intended to gauge user interest, but more detailed discussions and surveys will be the deciding factor in 2017 plans.

Yesterday, the server’s hard drive was close to 100% full, so there were some performance and saving issues in the simulators. Enough space was cleared to prevent this problem for a few more days. On Sunday, saved seasons of The Hunger Games Simulator that have not been marked with Keep Longer will start being removed after 30 days rather than 60. This is the same deletion policy that the other simulators have.

The BrantSteele Blog was also updated to a new version of WordPress. Please report if you see any issues. Thank you!

Update: A new poll with more specific potential plan options was added.


New Year’s Update

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Happy New Year!

I added the BrantSteele Survivor Simulator Blog in August 2013 to better gather feedback from users. Because of this user feedback, The Big Brother Simulator was created and the simulators and community features have expanded far beyond anything I ever expected. 2016 was a challenging year spent creating a new architecture for future simulators on to help improve efficiency and cut costs, and it was a far slower year than anyone would have liked. Although all user contact messages and Blog comments were read, most of them had to be ignored because there was not time to respond or take action or there were other plans in place.

My goal for 2017 is to put the future of BrantSteele largely back into the hands of users and find ways to add the community and simulator features that are most desired, within reasonable scope. The only way this will be possible is with the help of volunteers in a wide variety of categories including CSS & HTML Specialists, Image Editors, Programmers, Reality TV Experts, Researchers & Organizers, and Writers and Translators. A volunteer does not immediately assume a staff position, but he or she could eventually. Volunteers will not be paid, since the BrantSteele simulators and community features do not make any form of money. If you understand the conditions and are interested in applying, please send a message using the Contact Form with the subject Volunteer Application. Make sure to include what position(s) you are interested in, your BrantSteele Blog or Subreddit usernames if you have them, and samples of your skills. Volunteer applications will be closed at some point in January, and follow-up messages will be sent. I also greatly appreciate anyone who takes the time to apply. Update: Volunteer applications are now closed and are being reviewed.

Since it’s taking so long, I will touch up and release what is currently done on the The Challenge: The Duel simulator on Tuesday night. The second version of the algorithm and display is very close to being finished for the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X simulator as well. Until a team of testers is in place, simulators will be released in demo forms for the near future and gradually touched up afterwards.

Current plans for January include these two simulators, along with likely designing and releasing Australian Survivor 2016 and Big Brother: Over The Top. Which one do you want to see first? Answer the poll here, which will be the first of many surveys throughout the month.

Comments are currently closed but will open on Tuesday with the demo of The Duel simulator.


Survivor 33 Simulator Demo Released

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The Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X season template is complete. This uses the new Survivor algorithm, which is still missing some computational and display components and is borrowing some of these functions from existing simulators until the new code is fully ready. Most notably tribal council is in an overly simplistic form, although logical decision making is still occurring. Because this season was previously announced to be released 24 hours after the finale, it is being published in an unfinished ‘demo’ state.

Please report any issues that you see with this current version. Bugs are expected, and I’ll be closely monitoring reports to make adjustments while the new algorithm is being finished.

This season is expected to be released in a more final form in a few days along with a full release of The Duel simulator.

Bugs Fixed as of 11:45 PM EST on 12/16/16:
– Correct player is now eliminated at pre-merge tribal councils.
– Legacy Advantage is now used by the correct player.
– Three tribe immunity challenges now show both tribal winners.
– Weak players are now targeted more frequently pre-merge, with threats targeted more frequently post-merge.
– Added initial Placements page.
– Correct reward sharing now occurs in final six immunity challenge.
– Random mode no longer divides by gender.

Coming Very Soon:
– Better tribal councils (functions and displays) and idol playing
– Improved event & targeting scenarios
– Statistics, and summary pages


December Plans

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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 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.

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November Plans & Saved Season Details

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There have been numerous requests for different simulators, but the primary agenda for November is to release a simulator for The Duel as soon as possible. This is still under active development.

The secondary focus for a new simulator is the previously announced Survivor Merge Template. Development for this started almost a year ago, and the Total Drama Island simulator uses a simplified version of its algorithm. The Merge Template’s purpose is to add more intelligence and flexibility to Survivor and allow it to expand to new forms with future updates. Once this template is completed, all future Survivor seasons will be released on using the new Survivor algorithm.

A simulator for Australian Survivor 3 is under consideration, but it is not on the November plans. The same applies for Big Brother: Over the Top and many other potential simulators and concepts. There will be another post on December 1st outlining plans for December and any possible changes or additions, but there are currently no simulators under development besides The Duel and The Merge Template.

There are however bug fixes and improvements being made to existing simulators. One goal is to copy The Hunger Games Simulator to and run it with the improved structure, but this idea is still under evaluation. New cast photos and community posts could occur as well at any time.

Keep reading to learn more about the saved season removal process.

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