Dev Diary #9 Punts and Special Teams


NewSim Dev
Big Ten
  • Three-Time Playoff Participant
  • Two-Time DFL Division Winner
CFB Career
Penn State
Hello Coaches!

Welcome to another Dev Diary for NewSim on SimFBA!

So more progress has been made, with the implementation of Punts! I don't have any screenshots this time since I haven't really had the time to take any, but you can check out the dev general channel in the discord if you'd like to see these plays in action.

Basically, Punting has a few stages (FYI this does not include fakes. Those will probably be implemented after and Alpha/Beta):
  1. The snap
  2. Blocking to give the punter time to punt
  3. Either a blocked punt or the punter gets the ball off (let's not worry about if the punter stops trying to punt).
  4. How far the punt was.
  5. Whether there was a touchback/fair catch/ball rolling out of bounds.
  6. If there was a return:
    1. How well did the blocks go
    2. How far was the ball returned.
Ok, that's a bit more than a "few". It was a bit difficult, but that is why punting was chosen first. It is the most complicated special teams play. Once this one was taken care of, the rest would be a bit easier.

To try to simplify this into terms that matter for coaches, here is what is taken into account for a punt play:
  1. The blockers for your punt need to have a decent amount of pass blocking, speed and agility to give the punter time, while also having decent speed, tackling, and agility as well for tackling the returner.
  2. Long snappers only worry about their throw accuracy rating. And even then it only contributes a little bit to the time a punt takes (the worse the score, the longer the punt will take and higher the likelihood it gets blocked. Also, we have not implemented the ball going over the punter's head yet, and might not for a while). Much more important for the longsnapper is tackling, speed and agility because they are likely one of the first people down the field to try to tackle the returner.
  3. Gunners need to be very speedy and agile with decent tackling.
  4. Punters are where the most nuance comes in. In simple terms: punt power is how far the punt will go, and punt accuracy will reduce that distance to try to get the ball inside the 20. So a more powerful but inaccurate punter can flip field position if you are stuck on your own 20, but probably won't get many punts inside the 20 while at the opponent's 45. On the flip side, accurate punters without much leg won't be able to launch the punt very far, but can get the ball closer to the goaline than their power counterparts. Obviously, the best punters will be balanced punters that progress very well and can do both, but that will be rare.
  5. Returners can't muff punts just yet, but will in the future. For now, catching ability does not affect a returner's fielding ability, but again, will in the future. The most important thing for returners right now is speed, carrying and agility.
  6. For now, the Gun Stoppers and Linebackers on the return team blocker the Gunners and Longsnapper. This is where most of the return blocking comes from and therefore these players should have a good combination of speed, agility, and strength.
  7. All the other players on the punt return team are mostly focused with trying to cause pressure on the punter. Their blocking is less important to the initial return distance. These players should have good ratings in pass rush, speed, and agility.
So when you guys are setting your depth charts (hopefully in the next few months!!), you can use this information to help you make some decisions.

As for further special teams, right now I am working on Kickoffs and then will work on FGs/XPs. Once those are done, then my focus will shift to a game manager that actually controls the play selection, and stat tracking of the game. Then, the final piece will be the part of the program that puts the players from your depth chart into the plays for the simulation.

We are getting there, guys!

Until next time,