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Old 08-08-2011, 02:01 PM  
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Your Chance To Participate In A New Football Phenomenon (Sandbox Simulations)

I apologize if the mods think this is soliciting, and I guess it is, but at the same time it's beta testing a new product developed by long-time planeteers, and it's free.

cdcox and I have been developing a new football game for the thoughtful fan, where players build franchises and compete against each other. A description is below.

If you're interested, we're offering the game for free in Year 1 to Chiefsplanet members, with the goal of both giving the system a dry run and also hooking you like Phillip Morris. You can go to www.sandboxsimulations.com to sign up, and use the access code 6Lanier3.

Here's the overview:

Build and manage a full 53-player roster over multiple seasons, as an offseason activity to give you year-round football

Select your personnel to match your offensive and defensive scheme. Every position matters – even your blocking tight end.

Realistic and accurate simulations of league games based on head-to-head matchups against other teams in your league.


This is essentially a new concept in fantasy football that attempts to simulate as closely as possible the management of a real NFL franchise over a multi-year period. Unlike regular fantasy football, every position on the offense and defense contributes to your success or failure. On special teams, the punter, kicker, and kick returners matter.

In Sandbox Football you will build a team – an entire 53-man football team – via an initial draft, and will maintain it year after year in annual rookie drafts, trading periods, and free agency. You compete against teams in your league. In the first year of the game, before the start of the NFL season, you will build your roster by drafting veterans and rookies through separate drafts, and through trades with other teams in the league. Your roster is frozen at the beginning of the NFL season. During the real regular NFL season, you can focus on your traditional fantasy games and perhaps keep on eye on your Sandbox roster as our statistical models build the data on player performances. At the end of the regular NFL season, the Sandbox season begins. There will be 16 games in the season. In real time, the season will run about 8 weeks (2 alternate reality games per week).

Game outcomes will be simulated based on the performance of individual players during the just-completed NFL regular season. The simulations, developed by a PhD statistical expert, estimate how individual players will perform in the context of your alternate reality team competing head-to-head against other teams in the league and with the specific team that you have built. The simulations will consider the offensive and defensive schemes that you select. So you can build your roster to support a power running game or a high-flying passing attack. You can run a 3-4 or 4-3 base defense. You can run nickel formations or four-wide receiver sets. You can rotate your DL to keep them fresh.

The game is more about building a team than playing video games. So this isn't Madden, but you will have the ability to tweak your game plan to take the best advantage of your roster and the weaknesses of your opponent. Injuries are a factor in the game. If a player is unavailable during weeks 3 through 6 in the NFL, he is also unavailable during the same weeks in the alternate reality season. So roster depth matters. The game simulations are based on the most advanced statistics and the latest research regarding what matters in winning an NFL game. But, the outcomes of the games have a random component, just like real NFL games.

The calendar for the alternate reality league year will look something like this:
• Jan to Mid March: Alternate Reality regular season and playoffs.
• Mid-March to the beginning of NFL season: Roster building through trades, veteran draft (first year), free agent drafts (2nd year and beyond), and rookie draft.
• Beginning of NFL season to end of regular NFL season: Alternate reality league is dormant, but the NFL players are generating their performance stats for the up-coming AR league.
• Rinse and repeat.

Copyright Sandbox Simulations, all rights reserved.

We're still finalizing the cost structure, but this won't be an expensive game to play at all. It might range from a few bucks a year to $50 per year, depending on a few factors.

Year 1 will require a couple of days of drafting with rather high intensity, but we've got it set up where you can put your draft list together and do customized and automated drafting if you like.

So...go! Now! Time to get ready for the draft!




Note that we are still in beta testing, so things could change if we find problems in the system.


How Free Agency Works:

Free Agency will begin before the 2012 season after the rookie draft.

Our process is as follows for the 2012 season. In 2013 and beyond there will be minor changes as noted later.

1. We will unveil the list of available free agents so you can check out the talent pool.

2. If you look in "Standings", you will see that you have a salary account value of $1,300. You will use this to sign your veterans to contracts, sign your rookies to contracts, and (in a competitive bidding process) sign free agents to contracts.

The cost of a contract is as follows for players already on your roster (both veterans and rookies).

$0 - 1 season contract
$10 - 2 season contract
$22 - 3 season contract
$37 - 4 season contract
$55 - 5 season contract
$76 - 6 season contract
$100 - 7 season contract

You will sign your existing players to contracts using an interface that we will unveil shortly. If your 53-man roster is set you can spend your $1,300 on your current roster. However, it may be worthwhile to hold some money back so you can compete for free agents.

3. The free agency period begins.

Bidding for free agents will be open and competitive. As players come available, teams will be allowed to sign them if they are the high bidder. The contract length is automatically calculated by rounding down the bid to the chart below.

Contract Length (Seasons) Salary Points Bid
1 0 to 9
2 10 to 21
3 22 to 36
4 37 to 54
5 55 to 75
6 76 to 99
7 100 or more

For example, if you submit the winning bid for a player at a price of 25 salary points, that player becomes yours under a 3-year contract. If you submit a bid for 35 points and win, it’s also a 3-year contract. If you submit a bid for 38 points, it’s a 4-year contract. If you submit a bid for 120 points, it’s a 7-year contract.

For the 2012 free agency period, we will enforce the 53-man rule. You will need to cut down to 53 players before the free agency period starts, and if you sign a player to go above 53, you will need to cut a player to stay within the roster limit. NOTE: DON'T CUT YET UNLESS YOU WANT TO. WE'RE STILL FINALIZING THE SYSTEM AND WANT TO BE SURE THAT THIS RULE WORKS IN 2012.

4. Ending Bidding and Ending Free Agency.

Bids on an individual player will begin once the first player places a bid. For the 2012 season that bid must be $1 or more. Bidding ends when the existing high bid had not been raised for 72 hours. At that point, the high-bid team is awarded the player under the contract terms described in Step 3.

The free agency period in 2012 will end once there have been no bids on any players for 72 hours.

5. Unused Salary Points

If you do not use all of your salary points in a given year, they will roll over from year to year. This is experimental and we'll have to see how it works. If it doesn't work, they'll expire each year, or maybe a portion of the points can roll over. Right now, assume they all roll over.

6. Salary Points and Roster Management

In the Sandbox system, salary points and the salary cap are used only for acquiring players. You will never have to track the number of salary points “on your roster” and you will never have to cut a player for salary cap reasons.

Additionally, you are not obligated to keep a player for the full length of his contract. You can cut him or trade him at any time. However, recognize that it’s a waste of salary points to cut or trade a player before the end of his contract. But it doesn't hamstring you going forward - it's just past money that you wasted.

7. Free Agency and Contract Length - Retaining Your Current Players

When a player reaches the end of their contract, they go back into the free agency pool and teams will bid for their services. You are eligible to bid on them to get them back, just like you can bid on any free agents.

There is one exception to the rule of free agents going into the free agency pool, as follows:

• At the end of the bidding process, you have the opportunity to re-sign your own players by outbidding the high bidder. Your bid must be the minimum points to increase their contract period by a year over the high bid. (Example: your player goes to free agency, and another team bids 50 points for him, which equates to a 4-year contract. You can keep the player by paying 55 points for him, which is the minimum amount for a 5-year contract.) If the high bidder offered a contract of 100 points or more (7-years), you can keep the player by bidding 10% more points than the high bid.

8. Free Agency and Trades

If you trade for a player, their contract length is a consideration. Trading for a player with 6 years left on his contract will give you his services for that amount of time (unless you cut him or trade him, or he retires). Trading for a player with 1 year left on his contract means that he’ll go back into the free agency pool at the end of the season. (Of course, you can still retain him via Step 7.)

9. Future Years

In future years, the process will be identical to that shown above, with the following exceptions.

a. Because you will have a lot of veteran players under contract, you won't need $1,300. You'll get a new annual allotment of signing dollars. We're still working on the exact amount, but it looks like it'll be between $500 and $600.

b. In the 2012 season, we will introduce all free agents at once to catch up. In the 2013 season and beyond, the free agency period will occur during the actual NFL season. We will sprinkle the free agents in one division at a time over the course of the season. (The divisions may be randomly selected or we may release a calendar. It doesn't matter that much.) This system should be interesting because some free agents will come available early in the season when you don't know their performance for the year - greater risk, greater reward - while other free agents will come available later in the season when you know what their performance will be, but so does everyone else.

c. In the 2013 season and beyond, you will be able to retain more than 53 players through the rookie draft and the main free agency period. You will then have a cutdown period to get to 53 and we will have a final free agency period where you can sign any players who have been cut. In that final period you will have to enforce a 53-man roster, so if you sign a player you have to cut one.

10. When you think about the schedule in 2013 and beyond, it will go like this:

a. Sandbox season goes from February through April.
b. Rookie draft in May. No 53-man limit.
c. Free agency from (likely) September through December, with free agents sprinkled in throughout that period.
d. January. Roster cuts to 53.
e. Late January. Final free agency period to flesh out rosters and sign players cut in Step d.
f. New Sandbox season begins.


Last edited by Rain Man; 05-27-2013 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:32 PM   #2896
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So remember how slow the draft board was last year? You'd hit an arrow to move a player up a notch and then have to wait like a minute to do another move? That's what I was fixing. Now you can drag and drop the sortable list and zoom things on and off your draft board.

I built a prototype that I finished up around thanksgiving and thought it would be easy to implement. Well, doing it in the fully operational site proved more complicated. When I finally got something to test it was taking 2 minutes to render the page in the browser. Just not right. I finally cracked that nut by modifying the source code for one of the widgets I was using.

Then, once I had it all working in the browser, the AJAX requests were taking like 25 seconds to process in the server. So if you refreshed the page before they were finished, some of the moves would get lost. Not to mention it would crush our server with a lot of people moving things around at the same time. No good. Frustration level mounting.

So last night I finally figured out how to do it the right way. Today I had to rewrite the whole scheme so I was only passing a few players back to the server instead of the whole list of 1500. Got stuck on one stupid bug, but once that was squished it all came together beautifully.

I'll implement the lock check box tomorrow (I have a working prototype) and then check to make sure I didn't foobar any of the other functionality with the new AJAX code. If that works I have a few more issues to clean up and we should be ready to go with the drafts.

How many free agent draft rounds do folks think we should have?
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:34 PM   #2897
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:49 PM   #2898
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:57 PM   #2899
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6-8 rounds for FA.
I guess it would depend on the number of guys that made it through to FA. Take the number, divide by 26 and there's your number.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:44 PM   #2900
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With the free agents, it seems like a team could conceivably drop every player and draft free agents, so our ceiling would be 53x26 = 1,328 free agents. Wouldn't the free agent pool just be every player who was on an NFL roster during the season? (I recognize that our timing is a bit off, so I'm proposing that for the moment.)
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:23 PM   #2901
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With the free agents, it seems like a team could conceivably drop every player and draft free agents, so our ceiling would be 53x26 = 1,328 free agents. Wouldn't the free agent pool just be every player who was on an NFL roster during the season? (I recognize that our timing is a bit off, so I'm proposing that for the moment.)
That was my thought - FA is just the guys that were on NFL rosters and aren't presently on Sandbox rosters.

I'd guess that's around 6-8 rounds of players.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:30 PM   #2902
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We'll probably have a team you can take over. I'll PM you when we get close to starting.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:39 PM   #2903
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Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
With the free agents, it seems like a team could conceivably drop every player and draft free agents, so our ceiling would be 53x26 = 1,328 free agents. Wouldn't the free agent pool just be every player who was on an NFL roster during the season? (I recognize that our timing is a bit off, so I'm proposing that for the moment.)
Basically, yes (excepting for players already on Sandbox rosters). I'll email you about some of the details.

I guess I could just make it 53 rounds and people can stop drafting once they are satisfied with their line up. I don't view the free agent draft will have that much talent after the first round or so, but since it has two years worth of emerging talent, perhaps I am wrong.

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Old 01-01-2013, 08:27 PM   #2904
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Wait, what?

We have to draft totally NEW TEAMS?
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:39 PM   #2905
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Wait, what?

We have to draft totally NEW TEAMS?
No. You'll keep anyone you want to keep.

The free agent draft is just for players currently not on one of the other rosters in the league and not one of the players selected in the 2012 NFL rookie draft. Some teams have relatively few keepers and might turn over half their roster and need more than a few rounds to fill their needs. I edited my reply to Rain Man to clarify.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:27 AM   #2906
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No. You'll keep anyone you want to keep.

The free agent draft is just for players currently not on one of the other rosters in the league and not one of the players selected in the 2012 NFL rookie draft. Some teams have relatively few keepers and might turn over half their roster and need more than a few rounds to fill their needs. I edited my reply to Rain Man to clarify.
This is nice.

Do you have an idea of when we'll have to pare down our rosters to 53?
That seems to be the next best pool of talent to draw from for backups and ST types.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:06 PM   #2907
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This is nice.

Do you have an idea of when we'll have to pare down our rosters to 53?
That seems to be the next best pool of talent to draw from for backups and ST types.
cdcox will have final say over this from a standpoint of practicality and programming, but which do you think is better from a gaming standpoint?


1. You do your rookie draft, and then pare down to 53 to start with, and then in the free agent draft you drop a player every time you pick a player up. This means that if you drop a guy, he goes into the pool for other players to pick up starting from that point forward.

2. You do your rookie draft, and then pare down to 53 to start with, and then drop as many more as you want, knowing that you'll then be able to draft free agents until you hit 53 again. (You can re-draft guys that you drop if you subsequently decide that they're better.)

I kind of like System #1 better, but there's a minor chance of grousing if I pick 22nd out of 24 and drop a QB that everyone wants, and the guy with the 23rd pick gets the first shot at him.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:36 PM   #2908
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cdcox will have final say over this from a standpoint of practicality and programming, but which do you think is better from a gaming standpoint?


1. You do your rookie draft, and then pare down to 53 to start with, and then in the free agent draft you drop a player every time you pick a player up. This means that if you drop a guy, he goes into the pool for other players to pick up starting from that point forward.

2. You do your rookie draft, and then pare down to 53 to start with, and then drop as many more as you want, knowing that you'll then be able to draft free agents until you hit 53 again. (You can re-draft guys that you drop if you subsequently decide that they're better.)

I kind of like System #1 better, but there's a minor chance of grousing if I pick 22nd out of 24 and drop a QB that everyone wants, and the guy with the 23rd pick gets the first shot at him.
I think I would be a fan of #2.
I'd like to know who is available in the FA draft before I start making picks.
It seems like in the first scenario a player I would like to pick up could be exposed one pick after me every single round. That would suck from a game perspective.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:25 AM   #2909
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:48 AM   #2910
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Cool. Thanks for the input.

There will likely be another twist to free agency that we're still working on. It'll be designed to keep players active during the Sandbox offseason (which is the ongoing NFL system). It'll let people pick up free agents during the year as various backups and role players explode onto the scene (you know, like how Donald Stephenson and Ropati Pitoitua and Brandon Siler exploded onto the scene late in the year).
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In the final seven games of the 2013 season, the Chiefs averaged 34.6 points per game, scored 38 points or more 4 times, and went 2-5. The NFL has ruined the sport.
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Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.Rain Man is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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