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iPad: iOOTP Baseball 2012

03-27-2012, 09:50 AM
iOOTP Baseball 2012

Road to Release 2012 - Part 1!

As spring training winds down and Opening Day beckons, baseball fans everywhere question the moves made by major league General Managers. Hereís your chance to prove you know more than they do.

iOOTP Baseball 2012 is the follow-up to our successful first entry into the mobile market last year. This is the first of three Road to Release articles that will give you the inside scoop on whatís new in this version of the game, which is scheduled for release on April 5, 2012. Thatís right: youíll be able to get your hands on the game just as many teams are playing their Opening Day schedules, letting you see if your simulated season begins differently.
As last year, iOOTP will be $4.99, and it will be a Universal app, which means the iPad-optimized version is included at no extra charge. On the iPad, iOOTP takes advantage of the larger screen to display more information. And if you own multiple iOS devices, youíll only have to pay for the game once to play it on all of them.

Batter Up!

My name is Sebastian Palkowski and I'm the Lead Developer of iOOTP Baseball 2012. The game is based on the award-winning OOTP series, which will release its 13th version just one day after iOOTP is available on the App Store.

In iOOTP Baseball, you take over a ballclub as GM and Manager and try to take it to the top by winning the World Championship. To do this, you have an unlimited number of seasons and the tools to reach your goals are the same ones that real GMs and Managers have at their disposal: you can set your lineups, rotation and bullpen, sign Free Agents or release players you don't need anymore, draft new talents in the yearly Amateur Draft, trade with other teams, sign your own players to contract extensions, and move players between your Reserve List and the 25-man active roster.

You can play out all your games, making the call when to steal, put in a relief pitcher, move your fielders, and so forth, or you can concentrate on the GM side and let the CPU simulate your games.

iOOTP Baseball has so much content that I want to use this first article to give you an overview of what to expect from the game. If youíre an iOOTP and/or OOTP veteran, youíll still want to read on since Iíll be including screenshots that show off iOOTP 2012ís revamped interface. Road to Release articles two and three will focus on the new features.

The first choice you have to make is the type of game you want to play: "Major League" is probably the most important mode. It puts you right into the upcoming 2012 season, starting with the opener in Japan. You choose which team you want to take over and then itís up to you to make the right moves. As a diehard Red Sox fan myself, this year is a dream: Who should play shortstop? Who will fill in until Crawford comes back, and will he bounce back from last year? What about the new closer and will Daniel Bard be up to the task as a starter?

The above screen is always the starting point for you: you get all the important information about your team and can easily reach screens to change settings or find stuff like standings, schedules, and stats.
Each team has the real 25-man active roster and 10 top prospects available. We try to make the most accurate rosters as possible; ratings are based on season projections and edited by hand to include injuries and correct salaries. Note: we have to submit the game early to Apple, so the initial release will have correct rosters up to 3/25; however, we will issue a free update with Opening Day rosters shortly after release.

All players in iOOTP Baseball are detail-modeled with biographical data, morale, character ...

ratings for batting and base running ...

pitching ratings and ...

ratings for defense.

As you can see, all players in iOOTP Baseball are detail-rated on a number of levels. But what would baseball be without stats? Right, something would amiss since our game has plenty of them.

Each player has all the basic stats (plus a few advanced ones) you would expect from a baseball game. The best is: they get stored for every year he plays, so you can look up the stats for each year (and the totals) of your number one pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft after he retires 20 years later as a member of the Hall of Fame.

This year we added a history for season awards and a general player history:

But to get stats, a player has to play, and which players get to start is your decision. To manage your team you have a number of screens available. First the Lineup screen:

You can set your starting lineup against RHP, RHP with DH, LHP, and LHP with DH. That gives you total control over your lineup. But be careful: players expect certain roles on the team, so if your starting cleanup hitter is struggling, think twice before you move him down the chart -- he might get angry at you and even ask to be traded!

After you set your lineups it is time to manage your pitching. Like in real life, it is up to you if you want to go with a 4- or 5-man rotation and set up your bullpen accordingly. Maybe you have a good reliever you want to try in the rotation. Just give him some spot starts and see the results. Maybe that will let you save money for an expensive Free Agent and invest in a big bat.
Last but not least, you can give the CPU instructions to handle your roster in games if you don't want to manage every game:

The possibilities are endless, so don't miss your bus stop when you try to find the optimal settings.

One thing that makes iOOTP so unique is the world it creates. It builds up a world you can dive into, an alternate world that develops differently each time you play. As I mentioned earlier, players have morale and get unhappy if you play them wrong or, even worse, put them in reserve. However, nothing is more exciting than a nobody who comes in as an injury replacement and rocks at the plate just long enough to seal you a spot in the post-season.
To present you all this, iOOTP received one of the biggest News and Play-by-Play databases directly from its big brother, OOTP 13. It contains more than 50,000 lines of text it builds its news from, so you will not get the same news over and over again.

Here is just one example:

That's it for the first article. I didn't even touch stuff like Trades, Signings, Drafts or the In-Game mode. We will tackle them with all the new stuff in the second article, which will be available later this week.

The last screenshot is a teaser for the next article; it even contains a hint for one new feature. Can you guess it?

If you are interested in iPhone/iPod screenshots: RtR - Part 1 iPod/iPhone
03-27-2012, 08:51 PM
In regards to the last screenshot, I would have to say that the addition of how many balls and strikes you have at the top of the screen would suggest you can control individual pitches by telling a pitcher when to throw a ball or when to throw a strike. Would I be correct?

Either way I can't wait for this! I'm eager to lead the 2012 Cardinals to a repeat in the World Series!
03-28-2012, 04:41 PM
Originally Posted by MooseMichaels View Post
In regards to the last screenshot, I would have to say that the addition of how many balls and strikes you have at the top of the screen would suggest you can control individual pitches by telling a pitcher when to throw a ball or when to throw a strike. Would I be correct?

Either way I can't wait for this! I'm eager to lead the 2012 Cardinals to a repeat in the World Series!
Very good eye! Yes, it is now possible to play a game in Pitch by Pitch mode, so you call every pitch. Nothing more exciting then a close game, you have a runner on base and it is time for some small ball with Pitch Outs, Stealing or a timely Hit & Run. You can switch between the two modes any time you want so it is up to you when to use it (or not).

OOTP Developments
04-01-2012, 03:13 PM
Welcome to part two of the Road to Release for iOOTP Baseball 2012. The major league season is now underway with the conclusion of the 2012 Season Opener games in Japan, and as we anticipate the start of the rest of the schedule, letís revisit iOOTP 2012. Before we dive in, you should know that the game was submitted to Apple last Monday, March 26, with a requested release date of April 5.

Last time, I ended with an in-game screenshot:

As some of you correctly noted, we added Balls & Strikes information on top of the screen. That wasnít just for cosmetic reasons because this year, you can play out your games in Pitch by Pitch mode! You can still choose At Bat mode, as in last yearís version, but now youíll be able to take more control over your team with the game on the line in the late innings.

Imagine this scenario: Bottom of the 9th inning, the game is tied with no outs and you need to win to make it to the Playoffs. Your first batter reaches on an infield single and now itís time for some small ball. Should you work the count and call for a Steal or maybe a Hit & Run? This year you have full control over what happens on both sides: on defense you can call for Pitch-Outs, bring your Infield in to defend against a run scoring, or walk the next batter to set up a possible double play.

As always, the result of each at-bat is presented with exciting Play by Play from our text database that has ten thousands of lines.

You decide which mode you want to use and this year you can alter all options any time during a game, so you can start in At Bat mode and switch to Pitch-By-Pitch when you want.

If you look closely on the above screenshot, you will notice another new feature in this yearís version: by popular demand, we added the Infield & Outfield alignment information to the Field View. Now you always know how to react to certain situations.

One more new feature for the In-Game mode is the ability to quick sim to certain innings (on the iPad you can chose every inning, but on the iPhone and iPod touch we only had space for two innings). That way you can quickly jump into the important parts of a game if you wish.

More Editing Options: Names, DH, Finances

In the last article, I showed you the new history screens in the 2012 edition, so now itís time for a few more new features.

One thing we heard over and over again was that people want the ability to edit league names.

As you can see, we added it for this year. Now you can edit the league name and the names of both sub-leagues, plus the corresponding abbreviations. Additionally, on the iPad you can name all divisions as you like. But thatís not all: maybe youíre an old school baseball fan and don't like the Designated Hitter rule. Now you can choose whether to use the DH. Itís a lot of fun to play the 2012 rosters with DH disabled in the AL and watch the pitchers hit for their money.

One more option we added to the league creation screen is the ability to turn off league finances. If you want to concentrate on the baseball part of the game and don't care about contracts, signings or team budgets, just turn them off.

All these edit functions are available in all three game modes, so you can use them not only for the 2012 game start but in your fictional setups and historical leagues too.

And speaking of historical seasons: Like last year, weíll release the game with 3 free historical leagues. This year, our forum members voted for 1995, 1969 and 1924.

1995 was the year after the strike wiped out the 1994 season, and it started late, with the Braves beating the Indians in a thrilling six-game championship.
1969 was not only the year the two leagues split into two divisions each and added league championships series to the playoffs, but it was also the season the Miracle Mets knocked off the heavily-favored Orioles.
1924 saw the Washington Senators beat the New York Giants in thrilling fashion in the championship, winning in extra innings in game seven to secure their first title.

Additionally, you can buy any other season from 1901 to 2011 as an In-App Purchase for $0.99 a season or in bundles of 10 seasons for $4.99. And we have great news for everyone who bought seasons and bundles last year: you can transfer them from the 2011 version to the new version, so you don't have to buy them twice! Even better, we added the original schedules to all historical seasons, so of course you get those too. Especially in early historical seasons, itís fun to disable finances to get a better feeling for the early years.

But back to the modern times and a few more details about the game for people who don't know OOTP. One task for you as GM is to trade for other players. You can put your own player on the trading block and wait for offers or you can actively search for possible targets. Then itís time for negotiations with the other team.

Especially with the trading deadline around the corner, it becomes a busy time as you try to land that last piece for a successful playoff run without giving up to many prospects.

But thatís not all: Your own players want to sign new contracts too, so you have to decide if you want to give your aging star player a long-term contract or try to lowball him.

But don't play too hard if you really want to sign a player to a new contract or youíll see this:

That's it for part two. Part three will go into more details for fictional leagues and the new features we added in that mode, plus more information about drafting, fantasy drafts, offseason, Game Center, and all the little things we added.

By the way, just today someone asked on our board if it is possible to rename Playoff round names. It isn't because to be honest, I never thought about it. I will add that in one of the updates we will release after the game comes out, so if you have ideas or wishes, just ask here or come to our forum, where weíll be happy to talk about it.
04-03-2012, 03:49 PM
Good news: iOOTP Baseball 2012 made it through the Apple review process and will be available in the App store as planed on Thursday, 4/5.

OOTP Developments
04-04-2012, 10:36 AM
Today is Opening Day in the Major Leagues with defending champion St. Louis visiting the Marlins. Most other teams are preparing for their Season Openers a day later, and weíre in prep mode too, with iOOTP Baseball 2012 scheduled for Release Day on Thursday. The wait is almost over, baseball fans!

Before I start the last part of this year's Road to Release articles, I want to talk about the 2012 roster set in the release version (1.0.0): we had to submit the game to Apple on March 26th in order to get it reviewed in time for an April 5th release, so the 2012 rosters are not as of Opening Day but as of March 25th. We will submit an Opening Day roster update to Apple two or three days after release. Of course as always, the update will be free.

Now hereís a quick rundown of more new features, a few small additions, and a look at the future for possible new features in one of the updates we will release during the baseball season.

Back to the mode selection screen:

Up until now we only talked about the Major League 2012 game, which is most likely the most played game mode, but iOOTP Baseball is more than just that. For one, you can chose any season from 1901 through 2011 and recreate history as often as you wish. Thatís where it comes in handy that you can disable finances, so playing early years becomes much more realistic.
The third mode, fictional play, need a little explanation.

As you can see, we added another league setup to chose from, bringing the total to four. You select the one you want to play with and then the game creates a random world with fictional teams and players. So a possible league setup could look like this:

Every time you create a new fictional game you get a completely new world that you will fill with its own history over the years. In this mode you can really shine as GM because you can't judge players by name; you really have to pay attention to stats and ratings.

To get the most fun from this mode, I recommend using the Inaugural Draft option, which is a draft where every GM picks his team from all available players.

Will you use your first round pick to get an ace starter who only will be available every 5th day but could make the difference in the playoffs, or will you chose a brilliant defensive shortstop or a power hitter? Here you can build your team from the ground up to your liking. The Inaugural Draft is available for all three game modes, so you can use it with the 2012 major league rosters too. What would you do if you could assemble a team from todayís major league players?

Another new feature this year for fictional leagues is the ability to choose a starting year. Last year, your fictional universe was always created with data from 2011 but now you can choose any year back to 1901 (you can even choose years before 1901, when the AL didnít even exist). The start year affects all aspects of the game: the generated stats (home runs were much less common in the early years), finances, strategies, and ballparks.

Wow, a 5-Star Leftfielder earning $5200 per year. Hopefully the cost of living is in line with that in this universe.

As you can see in the screenshots, we changed the graphical interface so itís in line with the PC/Mac version. Along the way, we added a few smaller additions like the Defense Alignment display on the In-Game Screen and the ability to change In-Game Options during the game.

We added a "Randomize Nickname" button to the Team Select screen during game creation, so just hit it 2 or 3 times to see how it works. I added a "Game Notes" section to the boxscores ...

... and, finally, we added a few more Leaderboards to Game Center to bring the number up to 8: each game mode has its own leaderboard plus the All-Time board (all separate for iPhone/iPod and for iPad).

I'm missing a few of the smaller additions, but thatís because beta testers requested them during testing and they never got noted, so just play the new version to uncover them.

Finally, as promised, hereís a small look into the future: like last year, we will support the game with minor and major updates throughout the year. The first update, as mentioned earlier, will have the 2012 Opening Day rosters, a Screen Lock fix (it took too long so we had to move it to the first update), and a few minor bug fixes (mostly cosmetic stuff).

After that, we will prepare the first major update. A player development report is one of the things Iím currently considering, but I have a long wish list, so there will be more than that. If you have any suggestions, please let us know on the forum.

Long term, we want to implement true Retina Display support.

I hope all of you will have as much fun playing iOOTP Baseball 2012 as we had developing it. We would love to hear from you here or on our board.