Dumbatter is the founder of the online game, Basketball GM, BBGM, which you will be able to learn about more in this article. He has made the game as well as expanded on the franchise. You can find links to the discord server, reddit, twitter, and the BBGM game at the bottom of the article.

Q: What inspired you to make BBGM?
A: Back like 20 years ago, I was a fan of a sports sim game called Baseball Mogul. As basketball grew to be my favorite sport, I wanted something similar, but it just didn’t exist. NBA 2k had a GM mode, but I never liked it much.

Q: How much time would you say you have spent working on the game? And what helped you never quit?
A: I have no idea. A lot of time. Started working on it in 2008. It’s never been my full-time job, but I’m sure I averaged at least 1 hr/day since then, maybe more.

Q: What would you say is your favorite part of the community surrounding the game?
A: The feedback I get… if I mess something up, I get high quality bug reports right away. And so many good ideas in the game now came from the community.

Q: How would you explain the game to someone to never heard of it in just 2 sentences?
A: Basketball GM lets you do everything involved in running a basketball team. Make trades, sign players, draft prospects, and try to build a dynasty.

Q: What would you say BBGM will look like in a year from now? What changes or improvements do you think could be made?
A: It’ll still fundamentally be the same game. And I’m really bad at planning. But I think the two biggest areas for improvement are… 1. fine-tuning existing parts of the game, such as improving the AI to make it feel more realistic and less easy to exploit. 2. adding more customization features to let power users do even more than they already can.

Q: Do you ever think there will ever be a competitive league for BBGM? There are many smaller ones but would you ever consider starting an official league sponsored by the game?
A: Honestly I never thought of that before this question. It’s an interesting idea. Probably I would need better multiplayer support in the game first, so the entire multiplayer experience could happen within the game.

Q: What tactics have you used to find the best ways to improve the game?
A: A combination of trusting my intuition and listening to users. I think my intuition generally has been pretty good about game design (basically, don’t add too much confusing micromanagement) but at times users have correctly persuaded me to add valuable features that I don’t personally care about that much (like jersey numbers).

Q: I know you have also made FBGM, a similar version of BBGM but for football. Is there a future in which the game expands to more than just those 2 sports?
A: Definitely. Not quite sure when or which sports though.

Q: Have you ever sat down and played your own game? If so, how do you play? Do you have a certain type of style you like to play with?
A: I do play it sometimes. It’s still fun. I still find myself getting attached to players. I remember the saddest moment I had in BBGM, probably a few years ago now… I had an aging former star who had played his whole career for me but never won a championship. I built up a young team around him, and we were a contender even though he had declined to the point of just being a role player. We made the finals. Game 7. Out of nowhere, my old guy gets a triple-double (his season averages were nowhere close) but we still lost. He retired immediately after. Must have been too frustrating for him, to have such a great game at his age and still come up short. He must have felt hopeless after that. 

I wrote the code that decides if a player retires or not. I know it’s just based on age, ratings, and regular season stats. But I can’t help but tell those stories in my mind. And I think that’s the appeal of sports simulation games for a lot of people. 

Q: Would you ever consider having BBGM and its affiliates become a full-time job?
A: Yeah, especially if it continues to grow, at some point I will really have no other choice!

Game Links:

Basketball GM Discord: https://discord.gg/caPFuM9
Basketball GM Twitter: https://twitter.com/basketball_gm?s=20
Basketball GM Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/BasketballGM/
Basketball GM Link: https://basketball-gm.com/

By Myst