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Jul
12

Saved Simulation Recovery: July & August

Author Brant    Category All, Saved Simulation Recovery     Tags

For the months of July and August, I am willing to manually recover and/or restore up to 50 saved seasons that meet one of the following three criteria:
1. The season was removed by the BrantSteele auto-deletion function.
2. The season uses BrantSteele images that no longer work due to a different URL caused by a server change.
3. The season uses images hosted off-site that no longer display. If this is the case, be specific, and upload your replacement images to a hosting service like imgur so that they last longer and they’re not stealing bandwidth from other sites.

I was able to recover all of the requested saved season codes for June, along with replacing the images of a season of Big Brother 7 for a user who didn’t include a return email address.

Keep reading for more details.

read more

Jul
9

Cast Photo Survey

Author Brant    Category All, Cast Photos     Tags

The database currently contains data for 6,572 cast photos. With a few exceptions, I edit and add these myself. I plan to keep adding a few each month, but if users want even more to be added, the only way is going to be with help from volunteers.

I have high standards when it comes to adding official cast photos. The majority of the time when users submit them, I don’t add them and I instead ask for the original images in the best quality possible so that I can make them myself using similar positioning and sizing that is as close as possible to the other cast photos on the site. There are some popular shows where it’s not possible to make them with my criteria because of the original images. I’ve made exceptions and used lower quality images for older shows like Endurance. For The Challenge, I added dark borders to avoid having to enlarge or place the head of a contestant in an inconsistent position. See what I mean here (Example 1) (Example 2).

I’m still not completely satisfied with the photos I’ve added. Over time, the faces have generally become larger than they were in the past. I’ve discussed the idea of recruiting volunteers with better skills to re-make the older cast photos and help add new ones that are even more consistent. A few users expressed interest early in the year, but I haven’t done any evaluations yet.

I’m curious how important the consistency standard of cast photos is to you. Would you just like to see more images, or would it ruin your simulation experience to wait for years to see your favorite show only for the photos to be a lower quality than the rest of the images on the site? I’m completely flexible, but I thought I’d open a survey to help decide what to do.

BrantSteele Cast Photo Survey

There are more surveys and evaluations coming to help improve, including one for specific casts to add later. Thank you for your feedback.

Jul
5

Frequently Asked Questions List

Author Brant    Category All, Misc.     Tags

I just replied to most of the Contact Form messages from the second half of June and noticed that many of the messages were similar, so I thought I’d post a list of plans and frequently asked questions/suggestions. If you can think of something else that I’m forgetting to add to the list, please post it in the comments. I’ll respond to the comment and add it to the list if it’s a common question. There are currently no timetables for any upcoming feature or update. This list will also be added to the Contact Form.

Simulator Updates Planned:
– Big Brother: Moving the Advanced Template to BrantSteele.com and adding saving
– Big Brother: Creating season 19 on BrantSteele.com
– Survivor: Fixing bugs, improving, finalizing, and adding saving for S33 & S34
– Survivor: Creating the Advanced Template on BrantSteele.com
– The Hunger Games: Adding custom number of tributes/districts
– Total Drama: Creating the remaining seasons

Simulator Updates Possible, Not Confirmed:
– Big Brother: Adding custom twists to the Advanced Template
– Big Brother: Moving the original seasons to BrantSteele.com
– Circle & Dog Eat Dog: Adding custom number of contestants
– Survivor: Creating the Australian Survivor 2016 season
– Survivor: Moving the original 32 seasons to BrantSteele.com
– The Challenge: Creating the remaining seasons
– The Hunger Games: Moving to BrantSteele.com
– The Hunger Games: Adding optional attributes

Future Simulators Possible, Not Confirmed:
– The Amazing Race (not an April Fools joke)
– Danganronpa
– I Love Money (not an April Fools joke)
– RuPaul’s Drag Race
– The Bachelor
– The Walking Dead/Zombie Apocalypse
– BrantSteele & users’ original concepts

Features Planned:
– Edit Cast: Adding logo lists to BrantSteele.com
– Random Cast: Bug Fixes & More Options on BrantSteele.com

Features Possible, Not Confirmed:
– Account saving for simulations, characters, and more
– Allowing text files to be imported/exported for easier season setup
– Image uploading

Features Not Coming:
– BrantSteele Mobile App
– BrantSteele Multiplayer Games

There will be additional blog posts for the July Saved Season Recovery, a cast photo survey, and a volunteer application to help manage the BrantSteele social media accounts soon.

Jul
2

July Cast Photo Overview

Author Brant    Category All, Cast Photos     Tags

Additions:
– Added 5-6 overall cast photos for each houseguest from Big Brother US season 19
– Added the new housemates from Big Brother UK season 18
– Added the competitors from The Challenge season 30
– Added the cast photos for Australian Survivor 2017

Fixes:
– Fixed Bad Girls All Star Battle cast photos not showing in .net Edit/Personal pages
– Corrected a few minor name and nickname mistakes

A list of all the shows containing cast photos can be found in the spreadsheet linked below.

Cast Photo Overview

This blog post will remain open for the month of July and is meant for cast photo discussion only.

Keep reading to see what is under consideration.

read more

Jun
28

BB19 Cast Photo Questions

Author Brant    Category All, Cast Photos     Tags

There were a few reports that the original cast photos for Big Brother 19 weren’t completely clear. I looked into this and found that the default down scaling settings in my image editing program were set as “smooth” but that “sharp” was also an option.

Before I make additional sets of cast photos, I want to see whether you prefer the “smooth” or the “sharp” version of the images. The setting has to be set as one or the other and doesn’t allow for percentages of each.

These are the current Smooth Images.

These are the proposed Sharp Images.

Which do you like better?

Also, I have links to several other versions of cast photos, but most of these are thumbnails from CBS Press Express and Twitter, which are both reduced from the quality of the originals. If you have any links to high quality versions of the alternate photos, they would be appreciated. Thank you.

Update: The sharp cast photos have replaced the original smooth photos. It may take time for these to replace the previously cached images. The original set has also been updated to reflect a twist in the premiere. The zigzag photos have also been added. A few more sets of this cast may still be added.

Update 2: A 3rd and 4th set of cast photos have been added. At least one more will be added soon.

Jun
21

Maintenance Notice, Update: Completed

Author Brant    Category All, Misc.     Tags

In less than 12 hours from this post, at 3:00 AM EST, there will be approximately 15 to 60 minutes of maintenance for the BrantSteele.net server that will result in downtime.

Be careful starting new simulations around this time.

Update: The night’s maintenance may extend to the BrantSteele.com server for a shorter period of time. Saving may be unavailable for the .com seasons.

Update 2: Maintenance completed to both servers, resulting in about 10 minutes of downtime for each. Please report any errors or performance changes you notice.

Jun
19

Big Brother 19 Cast Photos Added

Author Brant    Category All, Cast Photos     Tags

Today’s cast photos from Big Brother 19 (US version) have been added as options to use in all of the simulators.

Please report any errors or alternate versions here if you wish for these to be posted. Thank you.

Jun
16

Big Brother Bug Fixes & June Plans

Author Brant    Category All, Updates     Tags

As is the case with most Big Brother seasons, the Big Brother Canada 5 season took longer to program than expected and slowed down plans for the Survivor updates. Both the Big Brother: Over the Top and Big Brother: Canada 5 simulators have now been completed and finalized. The following bugs were corrected with both the BBOTT and BBCAN5 simulators today.

BBOTT:
– Fixed an issue with the voting chart not showing the HoH’s vote in the Co-HoH week in the event of a tie
– Fixed the week numbers showing incorrectly on the pages in BBOTT

BBCAN5:
– Fixed the No Logic bug where week 4 nominations all appeared the same
– Fixed the bug where a nominee occasionally didn’t use the veto on himself or herself at final four

The focus shifts to improving and finalizing the Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X and Survivor Game Changers simulators, along with some much needed internal improvements for The Hunger Games Simulator.

According to a recent survey, 36% of users prefer the old style of Survivor simulators over the style used in the recent two seasons. The goal with new simulators is to keep the existing experience and improve on it, and that’s too high of a percentage of users not liking the changes to be acceptable. Adjustments are coming to provide support for those users, to fix bugs, to add features, and to make them even more intelligent and realistic. Some of these changes are already incorporated into the latest Big Brother simulators and other test templates, and others have yet to be completed. One of my goals for the rest of the month is to bring these changes together and set a better baseline for the upcoming Survivor Advanced Template.

The Hunger Games Simulator still receives the most traffic out of any simulator, so some internal restructuring will be done to make it more server friendly. If the restructuring is successful, then more customization with a higher number of districts and tributes will be added. There will be a few minutes of downtime this upcoming week, announced in advanced, on the .net server to begin these changes.

Thanks for your patience. Sometimes updates are slow, but the goal is to keep making better simulators. All feedback is appreciated, and I’ll also be taking a much closer look at the Twitter and Subreddit to see how these can be better managed before the end of the month.

Jun
12

Big Brother Canada 5 Simulator Released

Author Brant    Category All, Updates     Tags

After about a month of work, the Big Brother Canada 5 simulator has been released.

This includes the ability to make audience decisions and change settings each week. There is also a voting chart.

Please report any bugs that you see, and any general feedback on the season is appreciated. This season uses a similar template to Big Brother: Over the Top, and a few bugs were identified and corrected in that season while making this one. @brandon deserves significant credit for the planning of this season, the voting chart, and the testing. Without his help, this would have taken longer to release and would have had a much higher number of bugs.

Once any errors are resolved, saving will be added to finalize this season. Certain text descriptions, Have Not competitions, and tasks may also be improved with more detail.

Update: The reported bugs in comments have been fixed, and saving has been added.

Jun
10

Saved Simulation Recovery: June

Author Brant    Category All, Saved Simulation Recovery     Tags

For the month of June, I am willing to manually recover and/or restore up to 50 saved seasons that meet one of the following three criteria:
1. The season was removed by the BrantSteele auto-deletion function.
2. The season uses BrantSteele images that no longer work due to a different URL caused by a server change.
3. The season uses images hosted off-site that no longer display. If this is the case, be specific, and upload your replacement images to a hosting service like imgur so that they last longer and they’re not stealing bandwidth from other sites.

I was able to most of the requested saved season codes for May. I am working with the other users to collect more information to help identify and locate the deleted the seasons. Every detail you can provide helps.

Keep reading for more details. A cast photo update is coming soon, followed by a simulator update.

read more

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