Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Schedule parameters introduction

 I know this may be like telling people who wonder how to build a house, 'this is a board, and this is a nail.'  But I think talking about some nuts and bolts (and mixing metaphors) is a good start.  I do want to get the basics out there and have people think about the factors that come into play when mapping out a schedule.  Plus I am still figuring out how I want to approach describing aspects of the creation process.

Everything that defines how to make a schedule can be considered parameters.  All the details in a request for a schedule, plus a variety of other details typically not specified are parameters.  Total number of games, numbers of games against division/league/interleague opponents, start/end dates, All-Star Break, and offday frequency are among the key parameters.

A well-defined schedule request includes specification of enough parameters to establish a good blueprint for constructing the schedule.  Most of the above-mentioned are critical.  Obviously without the number of games there is no way to know how to make a schedule.  Perhaps less obviously though the timeframe for the schedule is important.  There is a major difference between a 100 game schedule spanning 16 weeks versus spanning 26 weeks.  You can say build a house that looks like this, but you better also tell the size to make it.

Every possible detail need not be explicitly spelled out in a request.  Some parameters can be defined by other parameters.  For example, offday frequency is generally established by the number of games plus the start and end dates rather than being stated directly.

Some parameters I will take the liberty of defining myself if the request did not and there is an apparently obvious choice.  For a 162 game schedule, unless told otherwise I will assume it can be like modern MLB and span 26 weeks (including, if applicable, a half-week All-Star Break).

The better defined the parameters are, the clearer the blueprint is, and thus the more certain the instructions on how to build the schedule will be.  That is usually good, however it can also cause problems.  Parameters might be contradictary.  That can usually be fixed though.  A more difficult problem is when parameters are such that I do not see the schedule as being feasible to produce.  A complicated league structure with a very specific breakdown of games per opponent simply may not be possible to make, or at least in any reasonable amount of time.

In the future I plan to discuss how various parameters fit into my schedule creation process.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A take on making baseball schedules

My initial goal with this blog is to try to convey how I make schedules in the hopes that others may also be able to utilize my techniques and make schedules.

I came to start making baseball schedules for the Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) computer game in 2004 when version 6 allowed the importing of schedule files.  To this point making schedules for OOTP remains essentially my only activity as far as making schedules goes.  The focus here though is on the general process of creation of the schedules and not the final output into any particular format like the files OOTP can ingest.

I welcome any suggestions on what to do here.  I already have some ideas, and I make no promises about the amount of activity here, but I am open to reasonable ideas.