Out Of The Park Baseball Hits A Home Run With Their Newest Release
By Scott Andes
The Dodgers are in the midst of one of their most prolific and historic winning streaks in franchise history. The first place club has won 32 of their last 39 games and 15 in a row on the road. Would you like to relive their exciting run? Would you like to manage the Dodgers to a pennant? Perhaps replay the historic 2013 season? Or maybe you would like to redo the 1988 season. Would you manage? Or maybe you just want to watch as the season unfolds before you? Now you can do all of those things and even more with the new Baseball management simulated game called OOTP or Out of The Park Baseball.
I have played a lot of these Baseball management games for the PC and let me tell you guys, this could be the best one yet. No joke here. This game is fantastic. It is so deeply rooted in detail, the options are endless. There is almost too many choices. Right now I have a season going where I am playing as the current 2013 Dodgers from scratch. I am going to replay the first half and see if I can avoid the slow start that the Dodgers had this year. OOTP allows me to do all of that and more. The graphically enhanced updated version just released can do so much more than your typical Baseball computer based game could do.
In this game you can be the general manager. (Ned Colletti eat your heart out), or you can even choose a special setting called Commissioner’s mode and watch it all unfold from above. There are almost too many options to choose from. The game looks and feels real. You can even control how your team plays. Hate to bunt? I know I do. Love to steal? Want to load your lineup with left handers? You can do all of that with OOTP as the new manager of your team. You can even create custom teams and leagues. You can play in a Japanese league, or as a Cuban national team. Or if that’s not your cup of tea, you can play as any minor league affiliation. The game has everything, complete rosters, historical leagues and teams, stats, and fictional players. The main site for OOTP comes with forums and support to help in case you have any questions or concerns. The game is very addicting so be warned. You can truly do it all with Out of The park Baseball.
There have been more than one version released. The new version 14 was just recently made available for download. Check out the press release listing some of the new features below.
April 15, 2013
OOTP Developments Ships Out of the Park Baseball 14
OOTP Developments today released Out of the Park Baseball 14, which goes further than any other baseball game on the market when putting players in the shoes of a major league General Manager or Commissioner. The $39.99 game runs on PC, Mac, and Linux and can be found here: http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/out-of-the-park-baseball/
“OOTP 14 takes a stellar product and makes it better,” Justin Jabs wrote in a preview at Baseblog.
Curt Schilling, likely Hall-of-Famer and former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Boston Red Sox, remains an avid OOTP fan, saying in an interview conducted for the OOTP web site: “There is no comparison to any sports sim I’ve ever played.” http://tinyurl.com/schillingootp
Schilling has been joined by pro wrestler Steve Corino, who said in an interview, “I never get tired of playing,” and by current Oakland A’s reliever Pat Neshek, who said, “This game has it all.”
Steve Corino interview: http://tinyurl.com/corinoootp
Pat Neshek interview: http://tinyurl.com/neshekootp14
“Baseball’s beauty lies in its complexity, and OOTP 14 immerses players even deeper in a sport that continues to captivate fans more than a century after its two primary leagues were founded,” said lead developer and lifelong baseball fan Markus Heinsohn.
OOTP Field View
OOTP 14 runs on the PC, Mac, and Linux operating systems and offers the following new features:
• 2013 major league teams and rosters, with player ratings officially based on Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system, which has proven to be the most accurate player stats projection system on the market.
• All levels of minor league rosters, with thousands of real players. OOTP 14 also includes more real June draft prospects than ever before, with hundreds of them featured this year.
• A completely recoded player origin system, with five different methods for players to enter the league: the First-Year Player Draft, with the option to tweak nationalities; International Amateur Top Prospects, who are usually 16 or 17 years old; Established International Free Agents, allowing GMs to discover their own Ichiro or Yu Darvish; International Scouting Discoveries; and Players From Independent Leagues.
• Recoded player creation algorithms that ensure more stable long-term simulations and more realistic player careers and stats output.
• A new fielding ratings development system that reflects the reality that players typically shift to the right side of the defensive spectrum as they age. For example, a highly talented shortstop may end up becoming a below-average corner outfielder during the waning years of his career.
• A recoded scouting system and better player development tracking.
• More information in the Real-Time Simulation mode introduced in OOTP 13. Now players can view the current batter-pitcher matchup, past plays, win probability, and more.
• Improved AI trading, along with a “Not Interested in Player X” function that prevents the AI from repeatedly offering the same player. Many other aspects of the AI, including roster management and contract negotiation, have been improved too.
• An improved interface that includes a new graphical depth chart screen, a new playoff analysis screen, better depth charts and pitching staff control, a “Pitch to Contact” option when playing out games, and more.
• Many more added features, including a Free Agent Draft, Achievements, one-click joining of online leagues, many more storylines, and other enhancements.
OOTP 14 lets players run a major league team from top to bottom, setting lineups and pitching rotations, determining defensive and offensive strategies, and making dozens of game-time decisions, such as when to steal a base or employ a hit-and-run. A play-by-play text stream, combined with a visual representation of what’s happening on the field and such audio effects as the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd, make an OOTP game session feel like a radio broadcast.
Between games, players define scouting budgets, make trades, handle the amateur draft, scour the waiver wire, sign free agents, negotiate contract extensions, demote underperforming players to the minors and call up hot prospects, manage team finances, and more. Many tasks can be delegated to computer-controlled personnel, letting players focus on the aspects of baseball management that appeal to them most.
OOTP also features solo or online play, a historical mode featuring all seasons from 1871 through 2012, the ability to create custom leagues stocked with fictional players, a staggering set of league reports, and a realistic statistical engine based on modern baseball theory such as DIPS (Defense Independent Pitching Statistics).
Athletes perform in a consistent, realistic manner over ten, twenty, even fifty or more simulated years, letting players watch as their own Hall of Fame grows before their eyes. OOTP’s innovative FaceGen feature also allows players’ images to automatically change with age and when they switch teams.
OOTP 14 is available now for PC, Mac, and Linux with a $39.99 price tag. More information can be found at http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/out-of-the-park-baseball/
In addition, this year’s iOS version of Out of the Park Baseball, iOOTP Baseball 2013, continues to be well-received at the App Store since its release on April 4, 2013. “iOOTP 2013 is an easy recommendation for baseball lovers,” wrote Randy Dankievitch at Games Reviews.
iOOTP Baseball 2013 sells for $4.99 and can be found here:
About Out of the Park Developments
Out of the Park Developments is the developer of the award-winning OOTP series of baseball management simulations, Title Bout Championship Boxing, and Inside the Park Baseball, a role-playing game. German-based OOTP Developments was founded by Markus Heinsohn and Andreas Raht in 1999 and employs two people full-time and three part-time. OOTP Developments has consistently produced games that have met with critical acclaim, including winning Metacritic’s coveted “Game of the Year” for the 2007 edition of OOTP. Further information on the company and its games is available from the OOTP Developments website, www.ootpdevelopments.com
I recently sat down virtually with Brad Cook the game’s PR and Marketing manager. I had a number of questions for Brad, take a read as to what he has to say about OOTP, the latest features, how the game was created, and some of Brad’s favorite Baseball moments.
> What made you develop and create OOTP?
Markus Heinsohn created Out of the Park Baseball in the late 90s. He and Andreas Raht, who also works on the game, live in Germany, but Markus had a friend who went on a trip to Miami in 1991 and returned with a bat and glove. He and his friend started playing baseball, and Markus actually pitched for an amateur team for a while. (There is organized baseball in Germany, but obviously it’s on a much smaller scale than in the US.)
Markus spent much of the 90s playing baseball computer games too, but there were no management games that he liked, so in 1998 he decided to create his own. When he was finished with Out of the Park Baseball version 1 the following year, he thought he could make some money from it and offered it for sale. Fourteen years later, the series is still going strong: OOTP 14 came out this past April.
> How long did it take to create? How many hours of research?
Markus and Andreas put many hours into each version of the game – I’m not sure even they really keep track of the amount, but it’s a lot. Markus has a keen baseball mind, so he’s always looking for features to put in the game that will make it feel even more like you’ve stepped into the role of a real GM. Even after each version of the game comes out, he releases updates that fix bugs as well as introduce new features. Andreas helps him and typically handles all the programming for the online part of the game.
We also have a team of dedicated researchers who put many hours into roster updates every year, ensuring the rosters reflect the real ones on Opening Day, all the way down through the minor leagues. They also ensure the historical information for every player is accurate – again, I’m not sure even they can estimate how many hours they put in, but it’s a lot. We have many dedicated players who serve as Beta testers and researchers, and many of them participate in our forums, where they offer suggestions to make the game better. Markus listens to every suggestion and does his best to implement them – when he can’t, it’s usually because of programming complexities.
> What made you decide to put in the feature to play a historical season?
Baseball fans love their history, so historical play has been an integral part of OOTP since the early days. Historical play allows you to right the wrongs of the past, ensuring that your favorite team’s destiny is much different from what happened in real life. It’s also a great way to indulge in “What if?” scenarios, such as obvious ones like: “What if the Red Sox didn’t sell off Babe Ruth and most of their other great players to finance Broadway plays?” OOTP even lets you imagine what might happen if your team had a chance to draft some of history’s superstars, or how today’s greats might have fared if they played in the past.
OOTP 14 includes every MLB season dating back to 1871, so you can visit any point in history you can want and play forward from there, eventually catching up to the present day.
> Can people play as their favorite team? Explain the commissioner mode.
Yes, you can run any team you want, even a minor league one. Some people enjoy taking over a minor league team and working their way to the majors, just like real managers do. They don’t even mind if they get fired and have to start over (you can turn off that option, if you want). There’s also a “Play as GM only” checkbox, if you’d prefer to let the computer handle game-time decisions, like when to steal or put on the hit-and-run, while you focus on overseeing the organization.
Commissioner mode is a “god mode” that lets you watch your baseball world evolve without taking the reins of any particular team, although you can jump in any time you want and take control of any club. Commissioner mode also opens up many editing options, so you can change players’ ratings, unretire players, put players in the Hall of Fame who you feel should be there, and much more. OOTP also has many options for changing the financials, slanting the stats more toward pitching or hitting, and modifying other aspects of your baseball world. Some people love to tinker with the inner workings of their baseball worlds while others are content to play with the default settings – the great thing about OOTP is you can play it any way you want.
> One of the other features of the game is that you can hold an international draft. Can players draft someone like a Yasiel Puig?
Yes, you can set up a draft that includes players from other countries, so someone like Puig could end up in the draft. You can also ask your scouts to focus on certain countries as part of their jobs, and they can uncover players with a lot of potential, or even established players in other leagues who are ready for the majors, like Yu Darvish or Ichiro in real life. OOTP 14 adds a new player development complex where you can place young (16- and 17-year-old) players after you sign them, so they can improve their skills and hopefully jump into your minor league system within a couple of years. You can hire and fire scouts in the game, and they have their own ability ratings too, so hiring better scouts can yield better results, like in real life.
Incidentally, Puig is in the game (see the attached screenshot). He starts the season in AA ball, as in real life, but Dodger fans can bring him up to the majors and see if he performs in line with reality. Next year, his ratings will be readjusted to reflect this year’s stats – assuming he keeps up his torrid pace, he’ll be very highly rated in next year’s game.
And regarding drafts in the game: OOTP has the June and Rule 5 drafts, and each year we include a couple hundred of the top real life prospects in the June draft, so you’ll have a shot at many of the same players that teams are able to draft each year.
> I’ve noticed the game has some international flavor. You can play using a Japanese, Taiwan, or Cuban league season schedule, among other countries. When did you decide to add this in?
Because baseball is very popular in those countries, so we wanted to reflect that in the game. Our goal is to publish a game that is as close to reality as possible.
> What is your favorite MLB team?
Markus is a big Red Sox fan. Andreas isn’t a big baseball guy, but Sebastian Palkowski, who works on our mobile game, is a big Red Sox fan too.
I’ve been a Phillies fan since I was a kid. You can imagine that all three of us were pretty thrilled when we discovered a couple of years ago that Curt Schilling is a big fan of our game – we’ve traded several emails with him since then, and he has written posts on our forum about playing the game. (He prefers fictional, which is when you have the game generate a unique baseball world full of imaginary teams and players.)
> What is your favorite MLB moment?
My Dad used to take me to a lot of Phillies games in the early 80s, when I was a kid, and someone told him where you could hang out after games to get autographs. We used to stand there with other diehard fans, and I got autographs from many players, including Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Tug McGraw, Kent Tekulve, and many others. In ’83, I got to attend Game 4 of the NLCS, when the Phillies beat the Dodgers to go to the World Series, and I was at Games 3 and 4 of the World Series that year. It was a bummer that they lost the Series, but it was a thrill to be there.
> Who is your favorite MLB player currently?
Roy Halladay, because of his single-minded work ethic and dedication. His no-hitter and perfect game for the Phils were amazing, but I think my favorite Halladay moment may actually be when Matt Holliday hit that 3-run home run off him in Game 1 of the NLDS a couple of years ago, simply because I knew he would shrug it off, bear down, and keep pitching. That’s exactly what he did, and the Phils came back to win. Too bad they lost the series, but Halladay is a guy who will give everything he has to his team, and I admire that.
> Does OOTP support a mobile version?
Yes, iOOTP Baseball 2013, which runs on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It’s just $4.99 in the App Store – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iootp-baseball-2013/id597133395?mt=8
iOOTP includes the HD version for free, so you’ll get more information on the screen when you play it on an iPad. It’s a much more scaled down version of the game – for example, there’s no online play, no full minor leagues (just a static minor league roster; players you draft improve while there, but they don’t accumulate minor league stats like in OOTP), the strategy settings are much simpler, there’s no commissioner mode, and so forth. In addition, only three historical seasons are included free – the rest are in-app purchases, but as you play forward through history, real players will appear in the draft, assuming you own the seasons when they debuted.
As pro wrestler and OOTP fan Steve Corino says, iOOTP is an appetizer compared to the full meal that’s OOTP.
iOOTP first came out in 2011, so the 2013 edition is the third one we’ve put out. Like with OOTP, we’re always adding new features to iOOTP and improving it from one year to the next. The game uses the same rosters and ratings as OOTP, so it’s in sync with its big brother. You just don’t get full minor league rosters – we only include the top minor league players for each team.
> Another cool feature of the game is to be able to play online against or people. What do you think of playing online with a community?
I think it’s great. We have many amazing online leagues full of dedicated players who put a lot into their teams. There’s a lot of creativity in our online leagues too – many of them are fictional universes with detailed back stories and unique histories. I once talked to an online league participant who said he was still devastated by a career-ending injury that a star player suffered in spring training one year – he was a fictional player, but he had amazing ratings and had put up incredible stats, so it was like having Babe Ruth lost forever in 1928, or the way Lou Gehrig had his career cut short in real life.
If you want to read about that player, it’s detailed in this article about the Montgomery Brewster World Baseball Association, which I wrote for our site:
(Yes, the inspiration for it came from the movie “Brewster’s Millions” – that’s all explained in the article.)
Articles I’ve written about other OOTPers, including Schilling, Corino, current A’s reliever Pat Neshek, and others, can be found here:
> The historical data, and many other aspects of the game are very detailed. How long did it take for you to gather all of the historical player data?
The short answer: A long time. 🙂 As with the other development questions, unfortunately I can’t give you a number of hours, but our dedicated roster team is responsible for all that historical player data, and they do an excellent job every year pulling it together. Last year we introduced full historical information for all minor league players too, and we’ve continued that this year.
Yasiel Puig’s player profile in OOTP
Thank you Brad for all of your responses. You can download and purchase a copy of OOTP online at any time here. The game supports all versions of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. Make sure to follow OOTP on Twitter here, and they have a Facebook Page as well.
OOTP has a hit a home run , literally and figuratively. Catch the action and download a copy today! And in case you were wondering, yes you can have Yasiel Puig on your roster.