Specter Chronicle 004: Digital Sports Are Coming

This website has been completely restarted due to a server issue and I did choose at that point to let quite a bit of the old stuff just… well… go away. So, anyone new to this site wouldn’t be aware that I’ve done little “digital sports” leagues on this website in the past. That’s what I’ll be talking about in this column, as well as which digital sports will be coming to Emerald Specter.com.

What Are Digital Sports?

Digital sports are what I call a simulation of a sport without a video representation of any kind. The simulation is basically a spreadsheet running the tough stuff and spitting out the results while I run the league and publish it all somewhere. That place, well, it’s here, on this website.

I’ve run both soccer and American football on this site in the past, not that you can see the archives, but they’ve both been done. The American football one was more talk about how the spreadsheet did what it did and was about four seasons worth of simulations that I was intending to turn into a more fleshed out league… and that never happened. Soccer was done with more of the fleshed out intent from the get go but I think I went too big too early and then I petered out.

The idea behind “digital sports,” though, isn’t just to simulate something that is already in existence… sure, soccer is out there in a myriad of forms as is American football. What I wanted to accomplish was to simulate the sports as accurately as possible for refining the spreadsheet.

In case you don’t know, I love spreadsheets.

Digital sports are fictional “players” playing these fictionalized sports. The simulations are of real sports but the players are all fictional. That is digital sports.

How Will This Remain Sustainable?

Unlike last time, I am planning ahead.

First and foremost, the spreadsheet needs to be able to accomplish the task it was created to accomplish. If the sheet is designed to simulate a sport then the sheet needs to simulate that sport as accurately as possible.

Next, the league needs to be like a real league in that it should begin like a real league: in a sustainable fashion. In the case of soccer, for example, don’t start with 20 teams, start with eight or ten and expand in future seasons. If it’s an MMA league, don’t begin with seven weight classes, start with one and build up from there (again, expansion as time goes on).

Then create all the logos and pages for the information to be stored for these leagues and teams. Yes, I design logos, too. In fact, I’ve been designing them for the better part of 15 years… because the visual aspect of promoting these digital sports will be important moving forward.

Finally, talk about what is going on with the digital sports. I intend on starting a podcast specifically for this aspect of the website. Digital Sports Weekly (DSW)? Whatever I call it, that’s what the show will be for and it will cover every one of the sports that will be running on this website.

Which Digital Sports Are Coming?

I’ve hinted at a few of them in this column already but I wanted to give you all something more firm than just allusions. So, without dragging this out any longer, let’s make the announcement.

The first sport coming is stock car racing. I’ve spent a long time building a racing simulation spreadsheet and although it’s only my “version 1” of the spreadsheet, I want to start using it to simulate a racing league. This simulator was built with the intention to emulate NASCAR Cup races, so that is the idea with this league. There will be a full field of digital drivers, teams, and so on but there won’t be 36 races in season one.

Next in line is sumo! There is a game called Road to Yokozuna that is played on Discord that is great fun and they’ve figured out the best way I’ve seen to simulate the sport. Their version is run with Discord bots, but what I’ll be doing is taking their basic version and doing some spreadsheet magic to make a similar version to simulate sumo in the same basic manner, but with some jiggery pokery added on. Unlike Japanese sumo, it’ll be multi-gender and will start with just a top division before expanding from there.

Up next is soccer, where a new take on the previous versions of the league are going to be coming. I haven’t determined how many teams to begin the league with yet but I do know that the league will be multi-gender in makeup. There are a few spreadsheets I’ve got made up for this, one for simulating the games, one for managing the league, and one for scheduling the season. All of these are complicated and when I put them together the spreadsheet barely moves, so I broke them apart. I’m working on them but this is definitely coming.

Finally, at least for the initial roll out, is mixed martial arts. I’ve built not one, not two, not three, but FOUR mixed martial arts simulator spreadsheets in the past and all of them were good… but none of them did enough to simulate MMA accurately. I could get some of them to do good stand up simulation and another good ground simulation but transitioning as well as having the spreadsheet make good choices was too much. Using the Road to Yokozuna as a guide, however, I’ve got high hopes to have something that will be interesting to see in action.

When Will We See This Stuff?

Nothing is coming before 2023, I can tell you that. I have a couple of tracks to finish for the racing league as well as programming a couple of tracks for the season, then I can run the simulations and get the logos going for the racing league.

After that, it’s just a matter of getting spreadsheets done and going for the other sports and they’ll come, too.

Ideally, I’ll have a sport running nearly at all times on this site (ie if racing is done, MMA will be going… if sumo is done, soccer can be on, etc).

Let’s hope I can get this stuff sooner rather than later.