December 10, 2010

BMM11 Behind The Scenes: Best Laid Plans

By Daniel

I began preliminary work for Basenotes March Madness 2011 today, a paper sketch that I always seem to need to do before designing a website or a database. I’ll be designing both in this case, but the core of the game will of course be on Basenotes. The site I’m building will host the nomination and voting process to select what fragrances make the cut, and will also manage the bracket challenge, where users attempt to predict the outcome of each game. At the end of a day’s games, I simply give the website the final results for the day and it records it, and gives me the code for the next day’s events.

What’s the website look like now? This. But believe it or not, the hard work is nearly over, the actual construction of the website is a pretty simple process having done work with databases for so long.

I’m still spotty on a lot of details, but I can tell you several major changes from prior years events:

– There will be two concurrent tournaments, men’s and women’s. I didn’t run a women’s tournament the first year because I was uncertain as to the popularity of the event, and the second year because I didn’t feel I’d have time to do both because of the amount of manual work involved. The tournaments won’t be segregated by gender, men can vote on the women’s contests and vice versa. The only difference is the brackets themselves will be quite different.

– Instead of the prediction contest’s old scoring system, where each game in round 1 was worth 1 point, then doubling in value for each round, users will be able to bet varying amounts for each game. Essentially each round’s old point values will be multiplied by 10. A round 1 game is worth 10 points, but a user can bet as few as 5 points or as many as 80 points on any given game, but their total for the round must equal 320. Successful bets pay 1:1. This will let people go with their gut a bit more, it encourages riskier play and also lets people hedge their bets on toss-up matches. I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

rd gms pts min max total
r1 32 10 5 80 320
r2 16 20 5 80 320
r3 8 40 10 120 320
r4 4 80 40 160 320
r5 2 160 80 240 320
r6 1 320 320 320 320

– I’m introducing new AI to complement The Zeitgeist. He surprised me last year, but I believe the dataset was large enough that an AI that picked with the majority on every game that ended up precisely in the middle of the field is telling. I’m introducing 4 new algorithms to see if there’s an underlying correlation between an observable metric and the voting results. Where The Zeitgeist gets his data from the submissions, three of the four AIs will get their data from the fragrances themselves. The last AI is a control, a voter that selects totally at random. I’m also getting my dad, who knows precious little about the industry (he knew of two of the entries last year), and have him fill out a bracket.

That’s the bulk of the outward-facing changes that I can announce right now. I have one other rather large issue, sponsorship, that I want to run by Grant. I’d love to see Luckyscent or someone have a prize for the winners of the contest. I can’t promise anything at the moment, but I’ll provide more information as I can.