First, I need to say I don't know how much free reign I have. What I come up with for my first proposal may not be something Jon'd want me to implement. It's his game and I'm not going to try to force him to let me do something he doesn't want.
Second, I have a life, so I'll probably only be working on this an hour or two a day, at most. I have no schedule. I'm not on a deadline. Although I do have customers (you guys), I'm not working to meet some particular project milestone. The code will be done when it's done. I'm somewhat easy-going, so I'll take some good-natured ribbing along the lines of, "Are you done yet?" But I reserve the right to ignore you. (That includes /ignore.)
Thirdly, I don't know the languages and APIs Jon is using, so this isn't going to go as quickly as most of you wish.
That all being said, let's get to the meat of the discussion. I used to play a lot of D&D. As such, I have some very specific ideas of how a tournament should play out.
Imagine you're an adventurer. You see fliers at your local pub about a big tournament in that big town over the mountain range. You pack your bags and go. When you get there, you sign up, then wait around until they post the brackets. You scout the competition. You sharpen your weapons. You upgrade your magic wands. You practice your spells and your aim.
Finally, they post the list. Your first opponent is 'Frimble-dink the Unholy'. You've never heard of him. You try to find out where he's staying. You hang out around his hostel. Finally, someone points him out to you. You see this massive guy with a giant maul slung over his shoulder. You start to second-guess this whole thing. You continue watching him and he... stumbles and falls head-first into a mud puddle. You realize he's all muscle and no quick. You hatch out your strategy while you head to the arena.
In order to have this play out, I envision a two-part tournament. First round is the qualifier, second round is the actual tournament. So, in CB terms, you enter the tourney, start your char under whatever rules and BA limit exist, and then at the end of the week, you have the character that you'll play in the second round. I don't envision all characters from the first round going to the second. Perhaps only the top 25-50%.
In the second round, you'd be in brackets. The computer would randomly pair you up or perhaps even seed you based on score or something. You'd have to fight your opponent a set number of times. Perhaps seven. He'd have to fight you the same amount. The winner of the most matches would move on the next round. The loser would be out or perhaps go to the loser's bracket in double-elimination. There'd have to be a time limit on each round. Over each week there are fourteen 12-hour periods. That'd be enough for pretty much any tourney (unless CB grows to tens of thousands of users) and would give anyone enough of an awake period that they should be able to get on. If they can't, they forfeit. (If both players don't fight, I don't know what happens. I'll figure it out.)
Anyway, the tournament would play out like any other. The winner would get some big prize. Second and third place would probably get some, too. It would/should be possible that while one second round is going on, the first round for the next tournament is already running. That way, there'll be a tournament every week.
No tournament character will ever become a regular character. I haven't asked Jon about this, but I'm certain that's going to be a rule.
One of the big problem with tourneys (and I believe Jon's main reason for not including them before now) is they generate too much revenue. There is an economic component to the game and too much influx from external sources would wreak havoc. So, I believe that the money and items your tourney characters generate will not transfer out of the tournament. Only the prizes come out.
I want the BA use of tourney characters to be separate from that of regular characters. In other words, you'll be able to play both your tourney character and your regular character at the same time. I'm afraid that this will create too much strain for the server, though. If everyone plays in all the tourneys, there will be almost twice as many fights per day as there are now. Again, I don't know how Jon feels about this.
Money: Self-explanatory, I think.
Items: The winner could get a BoNE or Corn or somesuch. Again, self-explanatory.
BA: Now things get more interesting. Maybe the winner gets an allowance of an extra 1000 (more? less?) BA for his regular character.
Tourney items: Special items you can only get by winning a tourney. The possibilities here are boundless. We'll have to see what Jon lets me do.
I know that there are already people that are going to complain about not being able to transfer your money off your tourney char. But that's the beauty of separate BA. You don't have to give up working on your main character to participate in a tournament. You can do both.
I may (and this is a big if) be able to put in some wagering code. After the brackets are seeded, there might be an opportunity to do some betting, with the payouts coming from the losing bettors or the accumulated money of all the tourney characters. Ideally, this would be a wash, but there could be some fight-fixing and such going on which might occasionally cause excess money to enter the economy. I'll have to do some simulations to see how that might work out.
All right. That's a first draft of what I think. Now, what do you think? Like it? Don't like it? What would you like to see different? There are no FORS here, at least as far as I'm concerned. Sky's the limit. I'm not married to what I've written and if I see a good-enough suggestion, I'm more than willing to have my mind changed. It is, however, me doing the coding. So if the idea is uninteresting to me, it's unlikely to get done. Your job is to persuade me. Have at it.