Game Window

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DMB Game Window Layout

The game window brings together all of the tools you need to play games and all of the information you
need to make good tactical decisions during the game.

Version 11 Game Screen

At the top is the main menu for game play. We don't expect you'll use this menu very much, since just
about everything you'll need to do can be more easily accessed with the mouse and the keyboard. But it's
handy to have the menu there for commands you won't use all that often, such as printing (for boxscores
and scoresheets) and generating reports.

Directly beneath the menu bar is a series of four tabs. You can use these tabs to quickly move back
and forth between playing the game and viewing the boxscore, the scoresheet and the game log.

The boxscore can be displayed in one of two formats. This example shows the traditional newspaper-style
format:

Version 11 Box Score The scoresheet is a compact play-by-play account of a game that often fits on a single page. Each plate appearance has a unique code. The first time through the order is A, the second time is B, and so on. Together with the batting order position, you can identify any plate appearance quite easily. 

For example, C4 represents the fourth hitter on the third trip through the lineup.

At the bottom of the scoresheet (not shown), the pitcher summary uses this notation to indicate
when a pitcher entered and left the game. For example, if you see that a relief pitcher entered at
D7 and left after E4, you know that he faced the last three hitters in the lineup and then the first
four.

Version 11 game sheet The game log contains the information that appears in the scoresheet (plus the sequence of pitches 

for each plate appearance) but in a much more descriptive (though less compact) fashion:

Version 11 Game Log 

Now let's go through the elements of the main game view. In the upper-left corner, a tabbed window
shows the current lineups for both teams. As you move through the game, the batting team is
automatically displayed, but you can click on the other tab to view the defensive team's lineup at
any time. The lineup window also provides you with a mini-boxscore that shows the performance of
each player in this game.

 

Version 11 Game Lineups

Anyone who's watched a lot of baseball on television has probably seen the camera zoom in on
the lineup card that each manager keeps taped to the dugout wall. Managers use this card to keep
track of which players on the opposing team are still available to enter the game as pinch hitters,
pinch runners or defensive replacements. In the lower left corner of the game screen, we provide
you with a similar tool, one that shows all of the bench players for each team, with the left-handed
hitters in column one, the right-handed hitters in column two, and the switch hitters at the bottom.

Version 11 Bench card 

Before we settled on a design for the game window, we looked at a number of other computer
baseball games to see how tactics are entered. Almost all of them display a series of icons and ask
you to click on one or more of them to make your choices. We weren't crazy about that approach,
mostly because it's not easy to come up with icons that are easy to understand, easy to remember,
and make sense in a baseball context. (One game, for instance, used a police car to depict a steal
attempt.)

We chose to use words for three reasons. First, it makes it easier for first-time users to
understand the choices. Second, we plan to add more tactical options in future releases, and it's
easier to distinguish similar tactics (run and hit versus hit and run) with words than with pictures.
And it gives us a natural way to let you know which keys are used to enter the various commands from
the keyboard.

We've made sure that you can enter all commands from the keyboard. This is essential to maintaining
secrecy if you're playing head-to-head with someone who's sitting next to you.

After you have selected the tactics for a play, the game automatically brings the play-by-play tab
to the top so you can read the play result. You can control the speed with which these messages display
and the length of the pause at the completion of each play. If any baserunning or throwing decisions
are needed, colored buttons pop up in the play-by-play window, and you can click on those buttons
(or use the keyboard) to enter your decisions.

After the commentary has been displayed and a few moments pass (to give you time to read it), the
tactics tab automatically brings itself to the top so you can enter your decisions for the next play.
At any time until the next play begins, you can click on the Replay tab to read the commentary for
the last play, then click on the Tactics tab again when you are ready to initiate the next play.
(If you prefer, you can press the 'R' key for a replay and 'T' to get back to the tactics window.)

Version 11 Play by Play 

In the lower middle portion of the screen is a ballpark diagram that shows the current state of
the game. We have created scale drawings that show the size and shape of each of the parks in use
today and many historical parks, and we also provide a pair of generic diagrams (one for natural grass
and one for artificial turf) that you can use with old-time parks and any parks you create yourself.
Over time, we will continued to add diagrams for older stadiums and make them available for free
download from our web site.

NOTE: We experimented with displaying
ballpark photos, either in a portion of the game window (as shown above) or as a backdrop that
filled the entire game window. We decided that both of those approaches would reduce the usefulness
of this game screen. In a lot of ballpark photos, much of the space is taken up with seats and sky.
In many cases, the playing field fills only about a third of the image, and the infield is smaller
still. Many, if not most, photos don't provide enough territory in the infield upon which to display
the names and ratings of the fielders and the baserunners.

Our goal has always been to provide you with as much information as we can to
help you make your tactical decisions during the game. We concluded that ballpark drawings, done
to scale and with a consistent viewpoint (directly overhead), provided the best combination of
giving you a feel for the size and shape of the park and providing enough room (in the right
places) to display the information you need.

Nevertheless, if you have access to ballpark photos and wish to use them in
place of our scale diagrams, you can do so. If those photos are in JPEG format, or if you can
use a paint or photo editing program to convert them into JPEG format, you can copy them into
DMB's parks folder and use them for your games.

Overlaying the ballpark diagram are several windows that provide important information. In
the upper-left corner is the ball-strike count and the number of outs. The wall distances and
heights are shown in the upper middle. The number of pitches and strikes thrown by the current
pitcher is in the upper right corner. The box in the upper right below the pitch count shows the
tactics chosen for this play (making sure not to give away anything that should remain secret).
The lower left picture shows the current pitcher, while the lower right picture shows the current
hitter (if you have picture files properly loaded).  And, of course, the fielders, baserunners
and hitter are also shown in the appropriate places, along with their most relevant ratings.

 

Version 11 park screen 

In the upper-right corner of the main game view is a tabbed window that displays important
information about the current hitter -- his performance in this game, in the Diamond Mind season
to date, and in real life. You can click on the #2 and #3 tabs to see the same information for
the next two hitters as well. As a defensive manager, this gives you an easy way to evaluate the upcoming hitters as you think about changing pitchers.

 

Version 11 Batter Card

Finally, the box in the lower-right corner shows you some important information about the
current pitcher, including his performance in the current game, season to date, and real life.

 

Version 11 pitcher card 

Even with all of this information on the game window, sometimes you want to know even more
about a certain player or players. You're never more than a couple of mouse clicks away from
a full-screen stats and ratings display for any player. Double-clicking on any player -- in
the lineup window, the bench window, the park diagram, or the batter/pitcher boxes -- displays
the Player Profile window for the selected player.

Version 11 PP 

The title bar of the player profile shows the full name of the player with his age, primary
position, and batting and throwing hands.

Just below that is a toolbar that allows you to cycle through a list of players, choose
whether show the player's stats for this team or his combined stats for all teams he has
played for, and choose whether to display statistics from the regular season, the divisional
series, or some other category.

The profile is divided into four sections -- batting, pitching, fielding and status -- that
can be chosen by clicking on the tabs across the top. Within the batting and pitching sections
are a tabbed window with several pages of overall stats, two grids showing the player's performance
versus left- and right-handed opponents, and a box with the player's ratings.

Summing up

When we were designing the game window, we wanted to make it easy for you to see what you need
to see without moving your eyes all over the place. So the tactics selection buttons are near
the center of the display, and the play-by-play commentary appears in the same location. As a
result, you don't need to move your eyes to see the outcome of the play after selecting your tactics.

A glance to the left lets you size up the current batting order, and a quick look to the right
provides more information on the current hitter. And the scoreboard, ball-strike count, pitch counts,
and baserunners are also a short distance from where your eyes are focused most of the time.

We believe this is the best way to give you the information you need to make good decisions as
the game progresses.

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  • Jim Wheeler