Out of the Park Baseball has always attempted to be all things to all baseball text simmers. Want to replay past seasons, start a modern-day franchise or join an online league? It is all possible, and more, with Out of the Park (OOTP). OOTP 11 will soon be released, and it looks like the latest version will make the OOTP experience even more immersive.
OOTP Baseball is a text sim that puts you in control of a baseball franchise. The main feature of OOTP is the ability to customize the game how you want to play it. Whether you are into historical, modern-day, fictional or online play, OOTP lets you set your league’s rules, era, alignment, financial settings and so on to your liking. OOTP is generally acknowledged as one of the most in-depth text sims ever created. This makes the game difficult to summarize in a single paragraph, so let us just move right into the preview.
Improvements To Historical Play
I am very excited about the enhancements to historical play. OOTP 11 will feature a replay mode, which optimizes imported historical leagues for more accurate single-season replays. Historical players will receive more accurate and true-to-real-life ratings when initially imported, which will also mean better historical career play. OOTP 11 also has a feature that allows you to compare statistics and results compiled in your season to what actually happened during the corresponding season in real life.
Finally, historical defensive ratings have been improved, actual uniform numbers will import correctly, and an option was added to have players miss certain seasons according to their history (think Ted Williams missing time due to military service). These improvements sound even better once you consider the fact that OOTP does not require you to purchase season disks.
Fans of small-market teams know that even the MLB Amateur Draft can be a budget-busting venture. New in OOTP will be bonus demands for drafted players. Teams will have to consider whether they can afford to draft that top prospect who is demanding a huge signing bonus. Once the Draft is finished, you move into rookie negotiations where recommended salary slots are listed. Will your top pick agree to a contract in his recommended slot or can you possibly get him for less? Of course, there is always the chance he thinks he is worth more than the slot recommendation, which could lead to a tough negotiation. If you are unable to sign your top picks, you will get compensation picks in the following year’s Draft.
Contract negations with your major-league players have also been improved. Players will provide counter offers instead of simply accepting or rejecting what you offer them. Other improvements include team owners with unique personalities, team budgets and improvements to how the AI manages free-agent signings.
Finances in OOTP can sometimes make you scratch your head. In OOTP X, there was an issue where every team had huge deficits after a couple years when playing with the default major-league rosters and settings. It looks like the development team has attempted to make financials more true to life in OOTP 11. Let us hope that also results in less head scratching.
Recoded Fielding Engine
In real life, general managers are now using innovative defensive statistics and measurements to better evaluate defense. These same tools will be available to you in OOTP 11. Developers have added statistics such as zone rating, fielding efficiency and team fielding efficiency to better re-create the impact defense has on each ball in play and to help you better evaluate your team’s defensive strengths and weaknesses.
The pitching system was overhauled in OOTP X and the improvements were well-received by the community. The improved pitching will seem that much better with a recoded fielding engine and more tools and measurements to more accurately gauge how your defense impacts your pitching staff and overall run prevention.
What Else Is New?
Other improvements include a player-comparison tool for side-by-side comparisons of any two players throughout the history of baseball. Want to know even more about a player? OOTP 11 will generate a list of comparable players, even breaking the comp list down by age if requested.
No longer will it require multiple mouse clicks/drags to send a group of players to the minors. A mass-select tool will make transactions involving multiple players more user-friendly. There is also a new manager notes and reminders tool and expanded screens for league standings and team stats.
Rounding out the list of improvements is a 2010 roster set, advanced stats like OPS+ and ERA+ and the return of user control over base runners while playing out games.
There is not one new feature that immediately stands out and grabs your attention in OOTP 11, but the overall improvements throughout several areas of the game add up to make this version as highly anticipated as any other.
"Unlike last year, when there was a major overhaul of the pitching system, this year's version doesn't have one giant change," OOTP Developments team member Steve Battisti said. "As a result, I don't think there is one thing that blows me away. Instead, I think the totality of all of the changes together just make the game that much more enjoyable, no matter what kind of player you are."
OOTP 11 is scheduled for release in April. To learn more about the game and pre-order for a 25 percent discount, visit OOTP Developments.