Our Review of Out of the Park Baseball 14 It's all-encompassing and comprehensive. April 17th, 2013
“It’s not too often you hang an 8 on somebody,” said Terry Ryan earlier this week. Ryan was of course referring to the 2-8 scale scouts use to determine a player’s future impact.
Well, Mr. Ryan hasn’t yet played OOTP 14.
From the beginning it’s easy to see that this is an exhaustive, almost all-inclusive simulation that will appeal to the most hardcore of baseball gamers. I’m not a firm believer in comparing games to each other, whether it’s previous incarnations of the same game or a different game altogether, so don’t expect to see comparisons to OOTP 13 or OOTP 6.5, for what it’s worth.
I mention OOTP 6.5 because I’m an old-schooler who is still playing it, and quite frankly it is hard to believe the game has come this far. Right away you’re tasked with choosing unemployment, or from 17 different leagues ranging from Rookie ball to the major leagues. Just input a name, age (no limit, so you can be your own Billy Heywood if you want!), and you’re ready to go.
In fact, the menus could be a bit daunting for a newbie, which certainly can make ‘cannot be fired’ mode a preferable option until one finds themselves up-to-speed with the game.
From the main screen, click on your name and an utter cavalcade of options come up, as you navigate through your personal email, player and staffing shortlists, and an edit screen where you can -- at this risk of sacrilege -- play God and act as a manager of any other team (as long as you’re in commissioner mode). Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it’s all-encompassing and comprehensive.
Roll over to opening day, and the rosters are almost perfect. The Twins, for instance, come preloaded with injuries to Tim Wood, Scott Diamond, and Anthony Swarzak. All three players started the season on the DL. In fact, if it weren't for Eric Farris, Anthony Slama and Chris Herrmann, OOTP would have nailed the Twins opening day 25-man roster.
And honestly, it’s pretty difficult to expect perfection in this regard. Another incredible similarity is a game-listed payroll of $81,650,000. The Twins opening day payroll, via Baseball Prospectus, was $82,010,000. That is downright amazing. So too is the finances page, which lists the owner’s name, age, patience, and fiscal personality. For instance, Twins owner Jim Pohlad is listed as patient, and a penny-pincher. That seems to fit what the public feels about him.
All of this is customizable, too. If you prefer a less realistic experience, you can change the budget with which you’re afforded, your owners name, and even your home ballpark (complete with park factors!). Another neat function is that you can see player ratings based on your scout -- in the Twins case, real-life scouting director Deron Johnson -- or OSA, which is the OOTP Scouting Association. Like real-life, it is interesting to see how two different sides look at a player.
But now it’s time to hit the play button.
Single games can be simulated, or played through by using command keys to dictate how you want to work your strategy. This includes pitching around a guy, pitching to contact, hitting the batter intentionally, and pretty much anything else you can think of. And if you get tired of going batter by batter, you can skip to specific innings with one simple click. At the end of the game, you can even write a postgame recap if you have any sportswriter tendencies (which shows up in your email the next day, with all kinds of news and computer-generated press releases).
This isn’t a game for someone who wants to blow through it quickly, however. Indeed, one can simulate a day, week, month, or year at a time, but the game will frequently update the player on injury updates, such as activating a pitcher from the DL in Double-A, or something of the like. It could almost come across as annoying to someone trying to simulate to a specific day, like 5/7 when the draft list is published, or 7/1 when the international free agency period begins. In fact, in the first month I played, I had 15 players go on the DL in my organization, and had something like 10 or 12 email interruptions. Again, details details details!
In terms of in-game stuff, almost nothing seems off. The first trade proposal was from the Mariners, and featured Dustin Ackley for Byron Buxton and an organizational arm. Not a trade which would happen in real life, but a much more realistic jumping off point than I’ve seen in many other simulations (such as Scott Baker for Stephen Strasburg). The second was an odd one, as the A’s offered Hiroyuki Nakajima -- in the midst of a 56 OPS+ season -- for closer Glen Perkins (95 ERA+ at the time) and Buxton (108 OPS+ at Cedar Rapids, but a top prospect). The toughest part of determining the realism to me when it comes to trade offers is that nobody really knows what those look like in real life. Obviously they aren’t sent as jokes, and that last one sort of comes across that way, but all-told one weird trade offer doesn’t take away from the overall gaming experience for me.
OOTP14 In Game View
The draft is a tremendously detailed part of the game, diving into slot bonus baselines -- to make sure you don’t spend too much on your top picks -- as well the ability to negotiate bonuses, with compensation picks coming in for unsigned players just like in the big leagues. The international signing period -- like how the Twins signed Miguel Sano -- also has a cash cap in place, like real life, to keep you from overspending. If you do that, you will be penalized, ranging from less money available to fewer contracts you can offer.
Welcome to Draft Day
In essence, one would do well to bone up on the rule book before cracking open the game!
The rest of the game experience is as you’d expect. All-encompassing from the beginning, to the midsummer classic, to expanded rosters, to the postseason. And then it all starts again.
Good luck putting this one down.
*The customization up front (name, birth date, modes [commish mode, gm only, can’t be fired, start w/ team or unemployed])
*17 different leagues (4 Rookie Leagues, 2 short season A, 5 High-A, 3 AA, 2 AAA, ML)
*Velocity readings on individual pitches.
*The statistical interface is pretty much all-encompassing.
*The email system (scouting reports, news, and more)
*The financial system (complete with international spending limits, etc.)
* Intricacies (owners can pass away, international scouting and leagues, an incredible number of statistics including WAR, wOBA, and OPS+)
*Menus do run a *little* on the slow side.
*The interfacing is a little overwhelming/complicated.
* Trade proposals can -- at times -- be a little weird.
Overall, there's almost a cautionary tale to be had here: Buy it, you'll like it. But you might like it too much.
The game is whatever you make it. Literally. It can be as detailed or as simple as you wish, and if it's on your laptop, it can go with you wherever. That's incredible.
Customization It quite literally deserves an 11 here. There's almost nothing one couldn't change on this game if they felt like it.
Bradley Woodrum of Fangraphs said it best: "The game keeps itself fresh, constantly. Loved ones will be neglected."
Online The only drawback here might be finding enough people that are as into the game as you. Also, 40-man rosters and Rule-5 stuff can be extremely difficult to keep up with among mixed company. None of this is the game's fault, though.
Presentation The only thing that has to happen is to find a way to make the menus less busy, or maybe searchable. Still, after a short learning curve it gets easier. And harder, that is, to put the game down. Also: Online updates. Keep an eye out for them.
March 5, 2013 - It has arrived. After much anticipation in the simulation community, the release of Franchise Hockey Manager Beta Edition is available for purchase. The idea behind the beta release and not a full copy is so hockey sim community users help test and work out the kinks. All this needs to get sorted before an official release at the start of the 2014 National Hockey League season.
Copies have been selling quickly and the official link can be found here on General Manager Games. Purchase Here.
As per OOTP Developments, this is what can be expected
The tentative playable list for now is NHL, AHL, ECHL, KHL, DEL, Elitserien, SM-Liiga, WHL, OHL, QMJHL, and the top two levels in the UK. There are 3-4 other leagues that are fairly close, probably no more than a month or so away, and about 6 that will be longer-term projects (and that last group will grow). Of the playable leagues, the most at-risk ones are the CHL leagues; they're a package deal because of the Memorial Cup, but the player ratings in a couple of them may be a little more incomplete than the other playable leagues right now. I'd prefer to keep them playable, but if I look at them this weekend and decide one or more isn't in a useable state (or at least in one that I can get useable with a late night or two), they could get pulled temporarily.
What's playable is largely determined by the amount of work researchers have been able to get done. We're not excluding leagues because we think they're worse or less significant than the ones we have working right now; it's just a matter of getting the research complete enough.
Team and league data is mostly finished; player data varies widely by league. There aren't a lot of specific attributes set in the database at the moment; instead, a template/target ability system is used to generate realistic attributes for the players. This is a deliberate decision on my part; I don't want a repeat of the EHM problem where huge numbers of players had very haphazard-looking collections of attributes because only a handful of them were actually completed. So the database work is being done in a way that prioritizes setting some basic parameters for the players first that will ensure a fairly realistic set of attributes (e.g., defensive centres get good defensive ratings, nobody has NHL-level speed but no acceleration at all, etc.), and then the fine details get filled in later. In most cases, that fine-tuning work is just beginning; some leagues are a little farther ahead in that regard.
Player histories outside the NHL are mainly nonexistent; I'm hoping we can reach an agreement with one of the big database sites to use their information, rather than going through the nightmare of entering it all manually.
The accuracy of rules implementation varies widely from league to league. Some things (e.g., the AHL developent rule) are approximated or abstracted right now, others (some of the more unique KHL roster rules) aren't implemented at all. It's a little too broad a topic to detail league-by-league, but we're trying to get things as realistic as possible within the constraints of the game (which includes the need to keep things fairly modular so customization remains possible, as opposed to doing a bunch of behind-the-scenes hardcoding.)
Rosters will be as up-to-date as we can get them for the playable leagues. The unplayable ones will range from accurate (where researchers are currently assigned) to about a year out of date (unassigned leagues, which are mainly low-level ones - the bottom end of the minors, Junior A, and leagues in most lesser European hockey powers.)
Non-playing staff aren't done as thoroughly as the players. In the best case, they exist and have the correct names; in the worst, they're not there at all and will be replaced by randomly-generated staff. Their undeveloped state is partly intentional - they can have a significant effect on player development, so for the moment we need dependably neutral values for them while we make sure the development model works properly.
The AI is OK at a few things right now, mediocre at many others, and just plain bad in places. It can choose lineups and build lines reasonably well and has a crude but effective grasp of tactics, but isn't that great at managing its roster. Not terrible, it just signs some strange contracts, tends to bungle the re-signing of its own players, and likes to collect and hoard starting goalies.
The trading AI in particular is very much a work in progress. We try different things, sometimes it gets better, sometimes it gets worse. It wasn't that awful a couple of weeks ago, but in the last few builds...well, on a scale of Mike Milbury to Sam Pollock, right now it's at Rejean Houle.
Very good in places, but there are still some issues; at the moment, scoring has been too low in the last few builds and we're trying to figure out why (as I write this, we think we've found the problem - an issue with mysteriously inflated goalie ratings - but haven't implemented and tested a fix yet.)
The nature of the ratings will lead to a few noticeable stats oddities; PIM distribution is one that comes to mind - the NHL and a couple of other leagues should be OK in this regard at the start of the game, but the solution (a specific attribute setting) will take a while to implement across the rest of the database.
Tracking of advanced stats (Corsi etc.) isn't incorporated yet ("real-time stats" - hits, takeaways, etc. - are, though.)
Placeholder graphics for team/league logos and player faces, of course. Hopefully there'll be some community solutions to that quickly. We've added a way to have team logos change over the years for historical play, but it doesn't appear to be working properly right now.
The look of the game won't be unfamiliar to anyone who's played OOTP. Functionally, there are aspects that have a ways to go: columns that don't sort right, screens that require too much clicking to arrange the right way, that sort of thing.
The in-game interface (where you can actually watch a game's play-by-play) is very rudimentary at the moment; the play-by-play text is being worked on but right now all you'll get is a short notice of whatever event (shot, turnover, goal, etc.) has just occurred. It also seems to have a couple of nasty crash bugs that can hit at the end of the game.
Stability and crash fixing are priorities this week, but we won't get everything fixed. Some testers are reporting a lot more instability than others, and we're still trying to figure out the reasons. For most people, it's possible to let the game run hands-off for multiple seasons without it crashing.
Speed-wise, it's similar to OOTP, probably a little slower if you had the same number of teams and leagues running. It's not ever going to be a game where you can run a season in 30 seconds and build yourself a 30-year league history while you have lunch, but as a general rule you'll be looking at minutes to run a hands-off season, not hours. Historical mode in particular flies by, since game only has to deal with the NHL (Right now, leagues can't be turned off in modern mode; all the playable ones are active, which tends to slow things down. We'll try to make them selectable soon so you can pare your game down to just a league or two being playable.) The first version of the beta will be one of the slowest ones you'll see; it should get better from there.
No Mac beta version to start with; sorry, there are just too many other things to be done right now. We still want to have one, and will let you know when we have more news on that front.
Lots to talk about here. First off, Historical mode isn't going to have a great deal of flexibility in its setup to begin with. That'll improve as we go along, but to start with the setup options will be limited.
For the players, you'll have to let player ratings be recalculated annually (rather than using the same player development model used in the modern mode); players will always retire at the correct time (after their last real-life active season in organized hockey) rather than having the option of letting them choose their own time to retire; and the draft is giving us enough problems right now that it may be taken out pending repairs if we can't get it straightened out by the weekend (which would only leave you the options of either having players assigned to their historical teams automatically, or appearing as free agents.) The draft problems extend to expansion drafts; at the moment, expansion teams have to fill out their rosters with free agents.
As with the modern mode, it won't be possible to set up a fictional league at the moment. You may be able to change some team names, but that will likely cause problems unless you change absolutely nothing but the name.
Inclusion of the WHA is still undecided, but at this point it's probably not going to happen by Monday. Very soon, though, I hope. (And the WHA players will all be available, regardless.)
Right now, the database has ratings for every player who was active in 1947, and every player who debuted in the NHL and WHA between then and 1978-79 (I'm actually partly done with 79-80 and I think I can squeeze in another year or two before Monday if there are no fires for me to put out elsewhere.) So you can get three decades of play in if you start right at the beginning. You could probably play a little into the 80's, but the player supply will dry up. I'm hoping to add at least a couple of new years per week during the beta.
No historical coaching/management staff yet, and don't think there will be in this year's game. That said, I've been thinking about how to handle that lately and it seems like a good longer-term possibility. No historical arenas yet, either; that should be coming in this version, but the modern ones (or randomly-generated ones, in some cases) are used right now.
All dollar figures in historical years will be in 2013 US$. We'll switch over to the OOTP method of historically-correct figures eventually, but right now it's better to have a single frame of reference for testing - it makes it a lot easier to evaluate the contracts the AI is offering, for example, if it's all in modern amounts.
I'm reasonably happy with the way the historical aging/development model seems to be working, but it hasn't had a lot of testing. Having more people looking at it will definitely be useful.
There appear to be some significant issues with the AI's roster handling in historical games; Malte's trying to get those under control right now. There's a weird tendency for the AI to not offer its best players new contracts when their old ones run out and just leave them on their protected lists, where they own the rights but the guy can't play.
We've had to shut off a lot of the league customization features for the sake of short-term stability. They'll come back, but for now you'll largely be limited to playing the preset leagues in their default format. Obviously, we want to make it a lot less restrictive, but that needs to be handled in a controlled way rather than throwing it all in at once and then trying to untangle the problems that result.
No functionality at all at the moment, and I can't make any promises yet about a timeline for when it'll happen; that'll depend on what the workload looks like in the coming months - it's going to need a big, dedicated chunk of time to do properly.
Same story. Not in now, we want to add it but can't say for sure when it's coming.
Here are the most recent screenprints from the beta release.
KHL standings in mid-season:
Contract screen for Ryan O'Reilly, showing his new deal:
I know some of you are old enough to remember baseball in the 70's -
The Big Red Machine - With Rose, Bench and Morgan, The swinging A's who dominated the AL in 71,72, 73, 74 with Bando, Campenaris, Rudi and REGGIE. How about the Orioles who went back to back World Series apperances in 69 and 70 with Robinson Brooks and Frank) an Boog Powell
How about Nolan Ryan and his no-hitters. The Pirates with Stargell, Clemente, Sanguillen and the Giants with Mays, McCovey, Marichal and Bobby Bonds
Now some of you are younger and may not have seen these guys play but it was one of the greatest periods in baseball history (IMHO)
The sad thing about running a "historic" league is that you already know what the player has done IRL and the aggravation grows when you run these leagues and players do not perform as they did in real life. This is where RBL comes in. I have no desire to try and be "historically accurate" I am proposing a "What If" -
We can throw records and facts out the window and play with a new sense of "Historic" remaking. Who says that Pete Rose has to get 3000+ hits - Maybe he has a terrible career and Minnie Miniso actually ends up being a hall of famer. That is the fun part I am trying to propose to interested parties....
You manage these stars (draft the future) and you decide what happens - Sound interesting - Sign up.
In February of 2012, NOBA had one of the most fascinating inaugural seasons in OOTP 12. NOBA offered a fast paced five sim a week league that is realistic, competitively balanced, and immersed in transactions and activity. NOBA experienced simulation experiences that captivated GMs in and outside of the league. The wait list was long, the competition was fierce, the fingernails were chewed.
In 2013, the NOBA commissioner unexpectedly left the league leaving it to run without any direction or supervision. After lengthy conversations and requests for a capable commissioner, NOBA suffered the first ever OOTP online league lockout. GMs put their heads together in an attempt to rediscover the lore and greatness of NOBA and to find “that guy” to take it to the next level of online leagues. Insert Joe Colosimo.
Joe, an original NOBA GM, took over a once highly regarded league and reinvented NOBA, introducing OOTP online leaguers to NOBA 2.0. Along with Tony Cepparulo, Joe and the other managers recaptured the original NOBA greatness and then blazed a trail to uncharted territory in online leagues. With a diligent application process, a steady eye on transactions and activity, a constantly yammering group chat on AIM, and constant communication NOBA 2.0 has once again reached the upper echelon of OOTP online leagues.
Our general managers are a colorful mix of sarcasm, savvy, dazzling wit, creative trading, and constant out of the box thinking. This blend of gentleman is what keeps NOBA on the forefront of OOTP. They appreciate the thrill of savoring every moment of the league. Need assistance regarding the game? Fire off your question and wait for multiple answers from all angles. When Joe declares “sim time” on the group chat page on AIM you can almost hear the GM’s bounce with giddy anticipation. They respect the agony of going 2-5 and relish their victories with each sim. In NOBA, you earn the right to gleefully mock those you beat, and eat multiple slices of humble pie when your “The Trade of all Trades” goes awry. NOBA is all knowing.
Currently we are in the midst of the 2016 season where the standings reflect that only a few are out of the running. To give you an idea about the competitive balance in the league, the past four World Series Champions have been the San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Angels. We are in the final phase of having a brand new glistening web site where the functions are limitless. Want to post a column about how your team is flat out awesome? The forum is there for you to post away...and be replied to. NOBA is bowing up and the time to get in is now. There are a few open spots that will be filled shortly and the teams available are the defensive minded Tampa Bay Rays, prospect loaded Houston Astros, prospect loaded Toronto Blue Jays, and the rebuilding Oakland A’s.
It takes more than just a rapid simulation schedule though to thrive. What makes NOBA so special? Take a look for yourself
• Brand new website with chat room capabilities
• AIM Chat room where GM’s talk trade and trash
• Steady communication about what’s going on and coming up within NOBA
• All-Star and HOF voting
• A commissioner who is available, active, and adapts to what the league needs
• Complete GM Freedom. Flourish by YOUR abilities, struggle by YOUR mistakes.
• GM’s who will help a novice OOTP onliner get accustomed to how the league works.
• GM’s who will be active and offer assistance
• 90% export rate for each sim...that equates to constant activity
NOBA is the league for those who want to go head on into a challenge with a smile on their face. It’s fun when you’re in first place. It’s frustrating when your small market owner wont open up his wallet in January. It’s hair-pullingly infuriating when teams over pay for a player “because they can”. It’s painfully glorious when you come out of nowhere to earn the Wild Card in September, only to lose in the LCS. NOBA has everything for every GM. I’d tell you more but I have to get back to my team..the Yankees just outbid me on a 38 year old watermelon tossing free agent pitcher because they knew I needed one for my playoff push..damn you Evil Empire.
“National Online Baseball Association (NOBA) is a league that delivers fast results. At five sims per week, each progressing seven days, you’ll quickly discover how well or adverse your decisions have fared. Commissioner Joe Colosimo regularly communicates important in-game events, he is always available to listen to GMs’ concerns, and is continuously looking toward improving the league. In all of the leagues that I’ve been a part of, I highly recommend joining NOBA.” Kuruna (Padres GM)
"NOBA was the first online league I joined. All the GM's were very accepting and patient with my being a novice at this. Joe, the commissioner, was patient and very helpful in getting me up to speed. Now that I have a full season under my belt, I could not imagine being in a better or more enjoyable league. The GM's are entertaining, helpful, energetic, and most importantly quite active.The sims are fast paced, timely, and the commissioner does a great job of communicating all things NOBA to the league. No way I'm giving up my chair at this round table anytime soon." JJ Parker
OOTP online league rookie.
Lords of the Realm Series CONSTITUTION:
The Lords of the Realm Series was established to create a challenging and fun baseball league experience for using the OOTP 13 baseball simulation game. The fundamental premise behind this series is that to be successful the player (acting as the GM) must operate his/her franchise as a successful business (e.g. consistently turn a profit) while at the same time producing winning results on the field. The Lords of the Realm Series will be a severe test by creating strict limits financially under which a successful GM must field and maintain a highly competitive squad. The competition will be from other equally talented GMs. Each league in the Lords of the Realm Series may operate under slightly different baseball worlds, but the requirement to bring success to the field while maintaining a viable business will be constant.
The Baseball Association League is built off the historical start to professional baseball. In the latter part of the 19th century, the National Association, National League, and American Association all started operations. The premise here is that the 16 teams that started out (no more than 1 team per city) and became professional baseball.
The Baseball Association League is the first of the Lords of the realm series and is set up to be a challenging and fun league at the GM level. While you can manage yourself, the league is set up to compete at the GM level. The league will have 16 teams, 8 teams will make the playoffs each season. No expansion is planned. Each GM will control what type of scout you want, hire the manager to get the most out of his team, hire coaches, determine scouting and player development strategies for the organization, and make player moves. The league will use the historical/fictional managers developed by Robert McGraw. These managers have the strategy settings pre-set. Thus you will want to hire a manager that fits the style of player you envision for the franchise. Individual managing/overriding the manager settings is allowed but not recommended. Squad, lineup and pitching settings are still done by the GM. The financial parameters each GM will have to manage will be very tight. To consistently succeed you must be better than your peers at both on and off field performance (e.g. win titles and make profits).
The league uses historical teams at the start of baseball, with fictional players and a set of historical players. The historical players used had to be in the majors for at least 4 years (no cup of coffee guys). Historical players will always start at 18 years of age (e.g. using the Spritze HS database). The historical players will come in at a rate of about 25% to the fictional players. Historical players arrive randomly.
February 17, 2013 - GM Games, a simulation game review website founded in 2011 dedicated to quality reporting and reviews of the simulation genre, is branching out in its second phase of the website's growth; the hosting only the best simulation leagues running today. In this pursuit, GM Games is thrilled to announce a new partnership with what we believe is the best baseball, if not the best simulation league in operation - MLB Pro.
MLB Pro is a baseball simulation league that runs on the Out of the Park engine and will serve as our flagship league in the pursuit of expanding our stable of cutting edge leagues, as well as raise the bar for new leagues being formed in the entire sports simulation community. Most notable is the ESPN style website created to handle journalistic content from all General Managers.
MLB Pro was created in June of 2012 with a single overarching mission: create the most immersive simulation league and through that, come as close to replicating the real general manager experience short of earning a paycheck. It does this in many ways but the most of all is it is the only league to sim one day, every single day, replicating the MLB schedule and the MLB pace. General managers live and die by every day instead of blazing through the season in a few months and only caring about the result of the season.
MLB Pro is so much more than a unique sim schedule and that is the reason why we are so proud to have it as our flagship league. MLB Pro also has the most supplementary material of any league. Twitter is used extensively, from a league account to a trade rumors feed, not to mention most of the teams operating their own Twitter accounts. MLB Pro Radio is the umbrella of radio shows about the league, from 'The John Comey Show' who keeps you up to date on news of the league, to the 'Jabs' Game of the Week' with play-by-play by Justin Jabs. MLB Pro also has beat writers for every division and a league for of GM who write articles about their teams. The league also watches all of the games live through OOTP's real-time sim feature.
MLB Pro has also incorporated the Nippon Japanese Baseball League. General Managers on the waiting list are given a team in Nippon and they compete against the rest of the waiting list, fighting to have the best record when the next team in the MLB opens up. While they do this, they spend the time getting comfortable with the league and its members, writing articles, and joining in the festivities like any other general manager. Nippon is no second-tier system here.
"The staff at MLB Pro and it's General Managers provided the perfect playground to make a cutting edge website to best simulate a SportsCenter ESPN themed website. We feel this next level of league management adds a dimension and fun factor that is unparalled in the baseball simulation community. More importantly we bring a great group of managers to our community and forums that will help continue to make GM Games the destination to read about and talk sports simulation.", said Chris Valius, Web Admin and Founder of General Manager Games.
Commissioner Andrew Sowders of MLB Pro says "MLB Pro is a labor of love and anyone who shows the same passion and aspiration is going to have my attention. Chris not only has that passion for GM Games but shares the same vision for MLB Pro and sees the franchise it is and can be. Chris understands what makes a good simulation league, the potential they possess, and I couldn't imagine a more perfect home for MLB Pro or any other league."
MLB Pro is the finest league going and a magnificant ambassador for OOTP is and what it can be. GM Games could not be happier about our partnership. We have no doubt it will be a beneficial one for all parties.
About GMgames.org - Founded in 2011, GM Games is a game review organization oriented to non-arcade sports games. Our visitors are a community with the dream of becoming a 'Sports General Manager'. GM Games is inclusive of all team sports that require a successful General Manager to shape the direction towards a championship franchise. General Manager based games have been created on multiple platforms that simulate reality with a role playing experience. GM Games is inclusive and encourages growth of all developments and companies designing games to best simulate this reality experience. With GM Games - there is no longer the confusion to find reputable reviews at a website oriented towards arcade console gaming. GMgames.org is the source for Game News, Discussion, Developer Blogs, Online League News and building your General Manager reputation on our social network.
January 25, 2013 - Out of the Park Developments has announced that Out of the Park Baseball 14 will be released in early April, and can be pre-ordered now. A pre-order before February 15th will save $5. Starting February 16th the price becomes the regular $39.99, but you still get the game 3 days early on a pre-order.
2013 roster set, which features up-to-date Opening Day rosters for all major league teams but also thousands of individually-rated players for all minor leagues and hundreds of players from the 2013 first-year player draft class. Major league player ratings are officially based on Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection system.
Completely Recoded Player Origin System
Completely recoded player origin to make your league's development much more realistic. There are now 5 different ways new players enter the league, and each one can be customized for the number of created players and their nationalities:
The First-Year Player Draft: By default, players in the draft pool are now from the USA, Canada or Puerto Rico. However, the nationality can be tweaked in great detail and can also include a set percentage of random nationalities. That also applies to the following optional player entry methods.
International Amateur Top Prospects (optional): These players are typically 16-to-17-years-old who have a reputation of being top talents. They appear as free agents in a new special international section of the league transaction screen and most likely will demand contracts with high signing bonuses (another new feature). You can customize the number of these players who will be created each year.
Established International Free Agents (optional): These players are typically from Japan, South Korea, Cuba, Taiwan and Mexico and are between 22 and 32 years old. They typically have slightly below average major league talent, but there will be the occasional star player, like Yu Darvish, Ichiro, or Aroldis Chapman.
International Scouting Discoveries (optional): Your team's scouts constantly evaluate the international leagues as they seek young, raw, and unknown talent. The success of your head scout is determined by the scouting budget, the quality of your scout, and his assigned regions. When your head scout discovers a player who he feels may have a shot at becoming a pro, that player is automatically assigned to your team's new international complex. Players in the international complex may remain there until their 20th birthdays, after which they will have to be assigned to a minor league team or released.
Players from Independent Leagues (optional): You may also have your head scout look for talent in hidden independent leagues. These players are typically from the league home nation, but once in a while an international talent may be discovered here too. Independent league players are typically in their early-to-mid-20s and usually only have an outside shot at becoming borderline major league players. However, there may be the occasional feel-good success story.
Recoded Player Creation Algorithms
Recoded OOTP's complex player creation routines. This ensures more stable long-term simulations and more realistic player careers and stats output.
New Fielding Ratings Development System
In real life, young players usually start out playing positions that demand a certain grade of athleticism. However, as players mature, they often grow out of these so-called skill positions (such as shortstop, catcher, or center field) and have to shift to the right side of the defensive spectrum. This is now properly modeled in the OOTP player development engine. For example, if you draft that talented 18-year-old 6'3" 175 lb shortstop, you may end up with a below-average 230 lb corner outfielder eventually.
Recoded Scouting System
Recoded the way OOTP evaluates players, both for the OOTP Scouting Agency ("OSA") and your head scout. For example, players with several years of pro experience are now better scouted than in previous versions, and the OSA is more accurate overall, providing a valid second opinion on players. There are also players who are vastly overrated or underrated by almost all scouts, resulting in more late-round surprises.
Better Player Development Tracking
OOTP now properly tracks the development of your players and offers several ways to analyze the data. You receive monthly player development updates from your head scout (or the OSA, if scouts are disabled), who highlights the most important changes, such as when a pitcher in the lower minor leagues learns a new pitch and improves his prospect status.
Expanded Real-Time Simulation Experience
Adding an expanded view on a single game that is currently in progress. This new view shows you the most important facts of the selected game, like the current batter-pitcher matchup, past plays, basic box scores, win probability, and so forth.
Added a screen that keeps track of all the trades in the history of the league, with a detailed look at the involved players' salaries, overall ratings, prospect rankings, and so forth. OOTP 14 also adds a "Not interested in Player X" function that prevents the AI from repeatedly offering a certain player to you.
On top of these headline features, we are tweaking and improving other areas of the game too, such as:
- Improved interface
- Better player evaluation AI
- Roster AI recoding, resulting in better managing of minor leagues and the 40-man roster
- Better contract negotiation AI
- Improved depth charts and pitching staff control, i.e. list your preferred pinch-hitters, pinch-runners and "LOOGY"-Pitcher.
- New graphical depth chart screen
-Improved league strategy settings; i.e., define the number of starting pitchers, relief pitchers, and position players carried by the AI teams, split by DH and non-DH sub-leagues.
- Smarter in-game AI
- Improved in-game control, including "Pitch to Contact" option and better stealing control in one-pitch mode
- Much more storylines
- Improved play-by-play commentary
- One-click joining of online leagues
- New playoff series analysis screen
GM Games will be following the release of OOTP14 very closely. Brandon Warne, our lead Baseball writer is eager to bring you his take.