DMB News June 2003
Diamond Mind Email Newsletter
June 27, 2003
Written by Tom Tippett
Welcome to the third edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2003. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our website.
Topics for this issue:
All-time Greatest Players Disk now shipping
Updated 1989 Deluxe Past Season
Version 9 update
Diamond Mind weblog
Uninstalling and reinstalling DMB
We're happy to report that we have completed work on our All-time Greatest Players Disk.
This disk includes 32 teams and over 1100 players. Players were selected and rated based on their best series of consecutive peak years that met a minimum playing time threshold.
We went with peak years over full careers because some players began their careers very young and some held on through an extended decline period. By focusing on peak value, these great players stand out from the pack to a greater degree.
We chose consecutive years because mixing different parts of a player's career would overrate certain players who (a) ran like the wind and played great defense while they were young and (b) had their best offensive years after they had lost much of their speed and had moved to a less demanding defensive position.
We set the minimum playing time threshold quite high to reward players for sustained excellence and to make sure we didn't give too much value to players with one or two stellar seasons in a short career.
We leveled the playing field by rating player-seasons relative to the norms for that era and with adjustments for park effects. We had great fun using the Batting Register and Pitching Register reports to see how these players compare after making these era and park adjustments, and we think you will, too.
The players are organized into 32 teams that are closely aligned with big-league franchises. Some franchises had enough players to support two teams. Other franchises are too young to have accumulated a full and balanced roster, so we combined them.
During our testing, we autoplayed a number of seasons and found these teams to be remarkably balanced. Some are better than others, of course, but it was rare to see a team with a winning percentage over .600 or under .400. Most of the division races were hotly contested right through the season's final series.
As is the case with all Diamond Mind Baseball season disks, this product has everything you need -- a league with a schedule, team rosters, manager profiles, ballpark information, player stats and ratings -- to begin playing games and viewing reports right away.
Or, if you prefer, you can run a draft, make trades, restructure the league, change ballpark assignments, transfer players and teams to or from another DMB database, or tweak the manager profiles to set things up the way you like.
The list price of the All-time Greatest Players Disk is $29.95, but we're offering it at a special introductory price of $24.95.
We plan to release future updates to this disk. Those updates would include active players who have accumulated enough playing time to qualify, updated stats and ratings for active players who have added to their resumes, and possibly some new historical players.
Based on your feedback in the coming months, which you can submit via email or through the enhancement request form on our web site, we expect to learn more about how we can add value to this product in future updates. That feedback will allow us to assess the amount of work involved and to decide how often to release updates and how to price them. Registered owners will be able to order the updates at reduced prices.
For the 1989 Deluxe Past Season, we have added a complete set of player transactions (trades, disabled list moves, promotions, demotions, suspensions and more) and actual starting lineups for every game in the schedule. If you are a registered owner of this season disk, you may be eligible for free upgrades or special upgrade prices. (Season disk upgrade policies)
Tom Milne and Ron Gudykunst have released an updated version of their DMB Utilities Trilogy. Previous versions extracted tons of information from Diamond Mind Baseball boxscores. The latest release adds the ability to interpret scoresheets and compile situational breakdowns that go beyond those supported by boxscore information.
In the two months since we launched our new baseball blog, we've added dozens of pages of baseball analysis, and we've gotten loads of positive feedback. ESPN.com's Rob Neyer chose it as his BLOG of the Week.
In the past, we have included original baseball analysis in most of our newsletters, but we're putting that type of material in the blog for now, and will continue to do so through the end of the season. If you're interested and haven't already seen it, check it out.
In February, we created a version 9 page on our web site and described some of the features we're working on. Since then, we have made excellent progress on several of those features.
We're nearing completion on the new encyclopedia that will enable you to archive DMB seasons in a single database and generate a large number of reports, some that you've already seen, and some new ones such as a career register for players.
The encyclopedia was given a thorough test drive during our All-time Greatest Players project. We created a database of all real-life seasons back from 1871 to 2002 and used it as the basis for creating the era- and park-adjusted stats for the greatest players disk.
Note: This may lead some of you to wonder whether we're planning to release a real-life encyclopedia as a Diamond Mind product. We have no immediate plans to do so, but we haven't ruled it out, either. That will depend on whether we can line up the necessary licenses for the historical data and whether we can provide something of value that you cannot find in other products or web sites.
When we posted the enhancement list to the web site, we emphasized that it is a partial list. In the next few weeks, we'll be updating the version 9 page on the web site with some additional features that you'll see in that release.
One additional feature is the ability to interact a little more with reports that are displayed on the screen. If you double-click on a player or a game result, the game will display the corresponding player profile or the boxscore/scoresheet (if they were saved).
And as soon as we are ready to begin field testing and have set the target release date, we'll let you know through this newsletter and through our web site.
The response has been overwhelming, especially through the enhancement request form. Within the first 48 hours, we received 87 submissions containing a total of 116 individual feature requests. Since then, the pace has slowed a little, but the number of submissions is approaching the 400 mark. At this late stage in the version 9 project, it won't be possible for us to add too many of the new features you've been requesting, but we'll keep track of all of your ideas for future reference.
We've received many fewer suggestions through the play-by-play form, and we'd like to encourage you to submit more of your ideas. In particular, we'd love to see specific language that you think is appropriate for different parks. As you may already know, we're adding the ability to generate park-specific plays in version 9, and while we know all of the parks pretty well, we're certain that some of you know specific parks much better than we do. If you're one of those people and you're willing to spend a little time sharing that knowledge with us, your fellow DMB players will be that much better off.
One longtime commissioner of a DMB league recommended that we remind you about how the game handles players who are used at a position for which they are not rated, so here goes ...
The game automatically imposes penalties on the range and error rating for players at a position they are not rated for. The magnitude of the penalty depends on the similarity and relative difficulty of the new position and the other positions for which the player is rated.
The penalties are smallest when moving from a harder position to an easier one. For example, a CF can be moved to LF or RF without paying much of a price, and a SS can move to 2B or 3B without much of a problem. Moves in the other direction incur a higher penalty.
The penalties are also much larger when moving to a very different type of position. An outfielder moving to the infield will suffer a lot more than an outfielder moving from one outfield position to another. Catcher is a unique position, so moves to and from catcher are penalized more heavily than other moves.
Our goal with this approach has been to make it possible for DMB managers to move players to new positions in much the same way that real-life managers do. There are lots of real-life shortstops who get moved to third or second and center fielders who shift to a corner outfield spot. Less often, you'll see catchers moved to first and first basemen moved to left or right. We want the game to accommodate moves like that while making it much more difficult to get away with moving a right fielder to shortstop.
If you feel you need to uninstall and reinstall the game to solve a problem, you may want to check with us first. In many cases, we can help you solve that problem without having to go to the trouble to reinstall the game.
If you decide to uninstall the game, the best way is to use Windows Explorer or My Computer to open the folder where you installed the game, then double-click on the file called UNWISE.
When you reinstall the game, remember that your game CD may have been produced before some of our version 8 patches were made available. After installing from the CD, use the "About Diamond Mind Baseball" command to check the version.
If you're not already running version 8e, go to our web site and follow the instructions to download and install the 8e patch. Make sure the DMB game is not running when you install this patch.
Even if you are already running version 8e, remember to download the corrected play-by-play files from our web site. This correction must be made after the version 8e patch has been installed.