Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's Finally Here! The Versus Sports Simulator for iPhone!!

Coming August 2013

After releasing the Versus Sports Simulator for Android in August 2012, the most common question I got was, "So when is the iPhone version coming out?".  Now, a career change and a couple hundred hours later, I'm happy to announce that the iPhone version is finally going to market this month.  And this time, I coded 100% of it myself, which means that new features and enhancements will be added regularly.

Before I get into the details of the app, I first want to thank my family for the tremendous sacrifices they've had to make to allow me time to deliver this app.  I could not have done it without their love and support.  And I also want to thank my co-workers from my "day job", who never stopped believing in me,  encouraging me, and sharing their ideas with me.  Moving back into a software engineering role after more than a decade in management was a tough decision and a humbling experience for me. But it turned out to be a very rewarding choice, and I've made some great new friends as a result.

So without further adieu, let's see what the Versus Sports Simulator is all about!

How the App Works

The Versus Sports Simulator uses an advanced mathematical algorithm (click here for a peek) to assign ratings to teams based on game outcomes.  These ratings are then used to rank the teams and make predictions about future games.  The "Simulator" feature allows users to simulate match-ups between any two teams and view the predicted final scores.

Team ratings and rankings are updated weekly during the regular and post season for each sport.   Game predictions and the Game Simulator are also updated weekly, based on the revised team ratings.  So predictions and simulator results are always fresh and up-to-date.

Each team is assigned three numeric ratings relative to their league (or division, in the case of College Football).  The ratings are Overall, Offensive, and Defensive.  Ratings are assigned on an academic scale of 60 to 99 (nobody's perfect).  Letter grades are also assigned to allow faster assessment of team ratings.

Available Features

Versus Sports Simulator covers 700+ College Football teams, 300+ College Basketball teams, and every NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL team.   The app's main features are available from the tab bar at the bottom of the screen.  Team, conference, and divisional rankings are available for free, as well as team "Report Cards" and game results. Subscriptions can be purchased for each sport to access premium content, which includes weekly game predictions and unlimited Game Simulator uses.

Predictions and the Game Simulator are available in a limited fashion without a subscription.  Subscriptions can be purchased from the App Store by clicking on the "Purchase Sports" menu option.

You must be connected to the internet to access any of the available features in the app.

Team Rankings

The Team Rankings page shows you the ordered ranking of teams within a given league.  You can search for a team by clicking the Search button in the upper right corner of the screen.  To view a team's "Report Card", simply tap the team you want to view.

Team Report Cards

Team "Report Cards" are available for free for every team in every league.  You can also access each team's game results by tapping anywhere on the Report Card.  Tapping on the results will return you to the Report Card.  Report Cards for any team can be shared freely on social media (Facebook, Twitter) by clicking the Share icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Conference/Divisional Rankings

Conference rankings are provided for College Football and College Basketball.  For all other sports, Divisional rankings are provided. These rankings depict the relative strength of each conference or division among the others in the league. For College Football, all Conferences are ranked together to give you a view into how the various divisions (FBS, FCS, D2, D3, and NAIA) relate to one another in terms of relative strength.

Paid Subscription Features


Game predictions are published weekly after the computer algorithm generates the revised team ratings.  Use the date slider at the top of the screen to scroll through the days of the week.  You can click the "drawer" at the bottom of each prediction box score to view more details about the prediction, such as predicted points spread and total points.  Without a paid subscription, only one prediction is available per sport per day.  If you purchase a subscription, every prediction for every scheduled game is made available to you for the duration of the subscription.

Game Simulator

The Game Simulator allows you to simulate match-ups between any two teams, regardless of whether or not the two teams are scheduled to play each other.  You can choose the home team or select a neutral venue. In all sports except MLB, the venue you choose will affect the predicted result.  The Game Simulator will predict the final score between the two teams and also show you a side-by-side comparison of each team's ratings, rankings, statistics, and superlatives.  In the case of college football, where there are multiple divisions that do not significantly overlap in game play, the numeric and letter ratings associated with each team will be displayed relative to each team's respective division (FBS, FCS, D2, D3, or NAIA).  

The number of teams you may use for game simulations is limited without a subscription.  When you purchase a subscription, every single team in every league will be unlocked and the number of simulations you can run is unlimited.  

Game Simulator results can be shared on social media (Facebook, Twitter) by clicking the Share icon in the top right corner of the screen.


Weekly game predictions and unlimited game simulations will be available by subscription only.  Both "30-Day Premium" and "Season Pass" subscriptions will be available for each sport via in-app purchase from the App Store.

Thank you for taking a first look at the Versus Sports Simulator for iPhone.  Indeed, I've got some great things planned for the future of the app.  I need a vacation first, though, and then I plan to start working on the next set of features.


iOS Programming: Steve Pugh,
UI Design: Wren Lanier, Bramble

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

North Carolina - 2012 Projected Results

Iowa State - 2012 Projected Results

Centre - 2012 Projected Results

UCLA - 2012 Projected Results

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oregon - 2012 Projected Results

Sunday, August 26, 2012

NFL 2012 Preseason Rankings Released

Today I published my preseason rankings for the upcoming NFL season.  The NFL Dashboard is the best place to view the preseason rankings and stop in each week for updates.  If you like to go a little deeper and take a look at offensive and defensive rankings, along with historical rankings, you can go to the NFL Rankings page.  Predictions for the first week of games can be found for free on my NFL Predictions page on Facebook (fans only!) or they can be viewed on the Versus Sports Simulator application for Android, available exclusively on Google Play for a one time fee of just $2.99.

My NFL rankings, statistics, predictions, and the Versus Game Simulator will be updated every Tuesday morning throughout the regular and post season.

A Word about Preseason Rankings

The NFL preseason rankings are based on historical rankings and a minimal amount of knowledge of team changes during the off-season.  They are simply a starting point for team rankings during the regular season, since zero or few games have been played, and they are slowly dampened out as the season progresses.  By the time we get to Week 8, the preseason rankings will be removed completely and all rankings and predictions from that point forward will be based 100% on games played in 2012.  It's important to note that one team ranked higher than another team does not necessarily imply that my algorithm would predict the first team to defeat the second one.  Also, it is noteworthy that the preseason rankings are not influenced in any way by the outcome of any of the preseason games.

Offensive and Defensive Rankings

Offensive and defensive rankings are simply the ordered ranking of the respective offensive and defensive ratings.  The offensive and defensive ratings themselves are not published on any public medium, but they are used exclusively for game predictions.  They are also the "special sauce" behind the Versus Sports Simulator, which allows you to simulate action between any two teams, regardless of whether or not those teams are scheduled to meet during the season.

Offensive and defensive ratings do not collectively depict the overall rating or ranking of a team.  They indicate a team's potential to score or deny points during a game, but they do not imply the team's ability (or inability) to win a certain number of games. The best example of this is the Denver Broncos in 2011-2012.  At 9-9, the team was ranked 11th (out of 32 teams) in my power rankings, despite the fact that they were ranked 25th and 26th in offense and defense.  This is because Denver somehow was able to win games *despite* their offensive and defensive woes.  Some may refer to this as the "Tebow Effect".

As more and more games are played throughout the season, the offensive and defensive ratings (and hence, the predictions) will become slighty more accurate.  During the 2011-2012 season, the Adjusted Vegas Line correctly picked the winner 65% of the time (record of 175-92) and the algorithm finished the season at 63% (record of 170-97).  That's a difference of only 5 games.  And keep in mind, the Adjusted Vegas Line factors in player injuries, coaching changes, weather, and all sorts of other factors that my computer algorithm has no possible way of knowing.  That said, a 63% accuracy rate is relatively good!

The "Versus Sports Simulator" Android App

Since all my ratings and rankings are updated weekly, the Versus Sports Simulator will predict a slightly different outcome each week.  In the screen shot to the right, I have simulated the first game of the season between the Giants and Cowboys.  Additional team statistics are available by scrolling vertically on the app.  Also, as you can see at the bottom of the Android screen, the simulator not only predicts the outcome, but also the margin of victory and the total points scored.  It is important to note that these numbers are computed by a computer algorithm and not by Vegas oddsmakers.  They should be used for entertainment purposes only, and not for wagering.

The fun part about the app is using the "Game Simulator" feature to project what the outcome would be between any two teams (not just the ones scheduled to play each other).  The simulator factors in home field advantage, allowing you to see how the outcomes might change depending on the venue.  Pretty cool, huh?  The "Versus Sports Simulator" is available for download from Google Play.  You can also view more screenshots on the Versus home page.

Enjoy the preseason rankings and the football season!!