Creating Ballpark Image Files

Make Your Own DMB Park Image

Did you know that you can use your own park images in Diamond Mind Baseball? All you have to do is make sure the image file is in JPEG format, has the extension .jpg, and resides in DMB's parks folder.

There are lots of photo editing and graphics programs that support the JPEG format, so if you have images in other formats (bitmaps or GIFs, perhaps) and you have access to one of these programs, you can load the image and save it as a JPEG file. Before saving it, you can crop it or modify it in other ways to make it work well in the context of our game window.

Why scale drawings?

We have taken great pains to ensure that all of our park images are drawn to scale, with certain landmarks (like home plate) in the same place on every park image. This approach was adopted for three reasons:

- to give us the option of displaying the location of the batted ball in a future release, and to be able to do so with more precision. There are other baseball games on the market that use animation to show the path of a batted ball, and we find it very disconcerting when the play-by-play commentary says the ball was caught on the warning track but the animation shows the ball landing ten rows into the bleachers. If and when we add some sort of graphical indication of where the ball is, we want to be able to do that with precision.

- to enable us to superimpose the fielder and baserunner boxes, knowing that they'll end up in the right places relative to the field.

- so you can see the difference between the large and small parks. This doesn't matter too much if you're playing games from a modern season, because the dimensions don't vary all that much from one stadium to another these days. But if you create a scale drawing of the larger parks from the 1920s, it will be clear just how much parks have shrunk over time.

Figure 1-Yankee Stadium (1937)

Specifications

To make this work, we have adopted standards for all of the park images we have produced, and we encourage you to use a similar approach if you create or edit your own park images.

Each image is 600 x 600 pixels with a scale of 1 pixel per foot. That's large enough for the largest historical ballparks without wasting a lot of space for today's smaller parks (which use about 75% of the space).

Home plate is centered horizontally and placed 80 pixels from the bottom of the image, thereby allowing us to have up to 80 feet of foul territory behind home plate and to leave room for parks as large as 520 feet to straightaway center field. These dimensions will accommodate almost every park used since 1901. The bases are placed at the same pixel locations on each park image.

Third base is 240 pixels from the left edge and 141 pixels from the bottom. First base is 240 pixels from the right edge and 141 pixels from the bottom. The pitching rubber is centered horizontally and 140 pixels from the bottom. Second base is centered horizontally and 207 pixels from the bottom.

It is necessary to draw the plate, bases, rubber, foul lines, and warning tracks larger than life. According to the official rule book, the bases are 15 inches square. That would be one pixel at our scale, which means that they would be almost invisible. So we had to magnify these things in our drawings while taking care to place them in the correct locations.

Stretching and shrinking

Diamond Mind Baseball adapts to the various resolutions and window sizes you might choose for your computer. For example, if you resize the game window, it automatically stretches or shrinks the park image to fit the space available. If you follow our advice and work with images that are drawn to scale (or in the case of photos, cropped to be as close to those dimensions as possible) and drawn at 600 x 600 pixels, you'll get good results for a wide variety of window sizes and resolutions.

Batter, runner and fielder locations

In version 8, the boxes displaying the names and ratings of the batter, runners, and fielders are placed in fixed locations that are computed by the game based on your monitor's resolution, the window size, and our knowledge of where the bases appear on images that conform with our specs.

When things are drawn to scale, the infield comprises a relatively small percentage of the playing field while serving as the backdrop for almost all of the player names that are superimposed upon it. If the bases are loaded, you've got six defensive players, three runners and a batter clustered in and around the infield. As a result, we positioned the boxes for the infielders a little bit deeper than they would normally play and the runners at first and third a little more into foul territory than they would normally be.

This approach works very well when you are using scale drawings like the ones we provide. However, if you're using a park photograph instead, chances are it won't match our specifications, and some of those boxes may not appear exactly where you'd like them for that photo. (By the way, many photos include portions of the stands or the skyline, leaving less space for the playing field and making the infield even smaller than it is on our diagrams.)