Commish's Dev Blog #4: Starting, not Finished

by Cameron Irvine

So the new progression system launched, we opened our first season on the 4K23 SFL mod and we produced the first 13 games of the season. So what?

People still have questions about the new systems, no one knows a meta and some owners, coaches, general managers and players may make mistakes along the way. So what?

I say that to say that we're not finished, we're just getting started. Week 1 at a Convention in a way is like a Week 0. We don't have our stats teams, we don't have anyone in the studio, we don't have Monday night primetime matchups. There's still hundreds of textures to adjust, thousands to enhance, data to collect and improvements across the board to be made ... like always.

At 14 years old, I was recording play-by-play to random APF simulations and would play them for my mom. She would give me a look like, 'that's nice son' and I could sense her hesitation to call it the best thing she's ever heard. I'd say, 'don't worry, I can make it better.' At 16 years old, I had an old website where I posted final scores to Blitz: The League games that I had played on my own and posted the final scores. I didn't think anyone cared, until I stopped posting the results and someone left a comment asking where the updates were because they had been following along with the league. I said, 'I didn't realize anyone cared, I'll make it better.'

At 18 years old, I introduced the concept of owning teams in the league and opened up 56 slots. All teams filled and were ready for the season that didn't feature any video, only recorded audio of games. We didn't make it past week one. I said, 'We're going to regroup, and I'm going to make this better.'

For most of the hundreds of SFL participants and thousands of SFL fans, most are not used to such dramatic on-the-field SFL change, such dramatic presentation differences in gameplay, such drastic changes to progression - the last time major changes were made was over five years ago and the last game change was over 10 years ago.

But while it may be new to many, it's not new to me and to me, it's no different than any other time I vowed to make things better. It always gets better, through the growing pains, through the noise and the overreactions, through the panic of the fear of unknown and the fear of change ... the fear of failure.

In just a few months, we've transformed the league. In just a week, we've fixed some back-end processes. In just a few days, we'll play more games and the league will keep going, because we never stop working to make things better. For some, it may not feel better in the moments of transition, but look at our history, look at the track record. From where I sit, I wouldn't bet against this desire that has burned in me for nearly 20 years and burns in many around the SFL.

So what can you expect in Week 2?

  • Studio updates are back, keeping you up to date on all the SFL action around the league throughout the day and in the block.
  • Live stats are back, with more player stats to keep you up-to-date on players and storylines throughout the game.
  • This Week in the SFL returns with Cameron Irvine and now Mike O'Neal to break down all the action from the weekend ahead of the primetime Monday Night Spectacular. Paul Sarp returns as analyst for the game. The dynamic duo of Chris Curtis and Tyler Falk are back for select Halftime and Postgame evenings.

What can you expect in Week 3?

  • By this point, all the fans should have SFL gear in all stadiums and any semblance of the old game should be eradicated. 

To those who doubt the improvements, give it longer than one game or one week. See the adjustments the league makes in the off-season as it takes on new projects like custom nameplates and face scans in the game to improve immersion and has a full season of data to make educated decisions ... to make the SFL better. 

That's what it's always been about, after all.