Thursday, February 28, 2013

Real Minor League Stats (Baseball Mogul)

For Baseball Mogul 2014, we have added over 1 million lines of minor league batting, pitching, fielding and catching data, going back to the 1880s.

Click for larger image
The above screen shot shows Jurickson Profar, the Ranger's #1 prospect. The Baseball Mogul AI thinks he should be in their starting lineup on Opening Day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Baseball Mogul 2014: Fixing The Game (Part 2 of 2)

As mentioned last week, we have been reworking the General Manager AI so that computer-controlled teams are much more intelligent when it comes to trades and roster management. This also means that the computer-controlled teams won't have to "cheat" on high difficulty levels just to provide a challenge. But the other weakness that gets abused is the player rating system.

Player Ratings

One solution to the problem of accurate player ratings is to make them less accurate. This works, but leads to some really dumb results, like your scouts telling you that Ubaldo Jiminez has a "95" Control rating.

The other option is to simply turn ratings off. Baseball Mogul lets you do this, and it's actually a good option in my opinion. After all, the game is much more realistic when you turn off the ability to see player ratings. Nobody in Major League Baseball has a crystal ball regarding player abilities. You can't just give your scouts more money and magically gain access to the "true" ability level of every player in baseball. If a GM could view the Strat-O-Matic cards for every single player in his organization, the job of talent assessment would be pretty boring.

Strat-O-Matic Cards

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Submarine Pitcher!

New for Baseball Mogul 2014:

When you have an underarm pitcher on your staff, he will actually throw underhand. A minor change, but very cool.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baseball Mogul 2014: Team Colors

(Click for larger version)
Just posting a screenshot of the new Uniform Designer for Baseball Mogul 2014 (Release Date: March 22nd, 2013).

As you can see, you can specify the color of various parts of the home and away uniform. Each of those buttons is a "color picker" that lets you choose any color in the spectrum. You can even assign pinstripe colors (or choose no pinstripes).

Each team has 4 alternate uniforms, and the option to choose which days of the week (if any) they are used. Mogul currently loads the 2013 uniforms (and any official alternate uniforms) automatically. A database of uniforms for the last 110 years will be included with the final version.

These uniforms are used for all the batter and pitcher animations, and combined with the correct skin color for the player in question.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The One-Ton Offensive Line?

The NFL is getting out of hand. You can't play on the line of scrimmage unless you top 350 pounds. It's making the game less fun to watch and less fun to play. And leading to more injuries. But the worst part is that high school kids around the country think they need to weigh that much for a shot at playing in Division I in college -- and to have ANY shot at playing in the pros. And the sad fact is that they are right.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baseball Mogul 2014: Fixing The Game (Part 1 of 2)

Baseball Mogul 2013 is too easy.

There, I said it.

It's possible to take control of a mediocre team during Spring Training and turn it into a playoff team before Opening Day. You go to the Trading Block and offer up some minor leaguers, until you can get a good player at every position. If you keep pestering the computer-controlled teams, you can eventually find a lopsided trade in your favor.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Baseball Mogul 2014: New Uniforms

A very cool feature this year is new animations for the batter and pitcher. I realize that Baseball Mogul isn't about cutting-edge graphics. But it was pretty annoying that every single batter and pitcher was a white guy with bad posture and a dark blue helmet.

Old Animations
In case you were wondering, the old batter animation (and pitcher animation) was me. Filmed in my backyard, with a giant green tarp used as a green screen. There was snow on the ground.

So, this year features a new animation system, with the ability to change uniform colors and skin colors.

Examples of New Animations
The cool thing is that this feature is being added by an artist and another programmer, with very little effort on my part. So I get to keep working on the meat of the game.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Skin Color Project

Over the years, I have heard baseball researchers ask if there was a "race database" somewhere.

For example. the National League was better than the American League throughout the 1960s and 1970s. From 1960 to 1982, the National League won 23 All-Star Games. The American League only won 2.

I would surmise that the National League dominated because they integrated more quickly, adding the best black players to their teams while a number of American League teams (most notably, the Red Sox) continued to stay all-white.

But I haven't seen data supporting that theory. That's because we have stats going back to the 1870s, but we don't have a database of racial/ethnic categorization. One reason is that every time it comes up, it becomes clear that "race" is a cultural phenomenon, not a scientific one. For example, President Obama is (at least) half-white and yet we call him the first "black" president.

So, forget "race". I'm working on a skin color database, ranking everyone from 1-9 like so: