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Old 09-25-2007, 09:10 AM   #1
battists
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Post Important News! / Newsletters 1 and 2 (new!)

Hi everyone!

Well, a few days ago we started sending out our first newsletter in a long time, with big news about a split between OOTP and SEGA. Unfortunately, we've been having some problems with the vendor who sends our newsletters, and only about half of the newsletters have gone out to date. We're working through this issue, so don't be surprised if you haven't gotten it yet, or if it shows up in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, in case you haven't gotten the e-mail, and are lurking on the forums, here's a link to the first newsletter.

On top of this, today we are releasing a second newsletter. As you can imagine, it probably won't reach your in-box for several more days at least, but we've been bursting with news to share, so we're going to go ahead and post the content here. So, enjoy a little light reading today at work, and post back with your thoughts!

Steve Battisti



<HR>

Hi everyone! Sorry for the frequent e-mails, but we have had a lot of changes in the past few days, and wanted to keep sharing it with you. Don't worry, we don't have enough time to send you newsletters every few days year-round! So, after this message, we'll go back to somewhat more infrequent mailings.

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we (OOTP Developments) are now on our own again. That means a lot of change for us, as we go back to being a very small operation. Fortunately, it won't mean much change for you guys. However, developing, testing, marketing, and supporting a game is a lot of work, too much for two people, even with all of the great volunteer support we get. Which brings us to our first piece of news for today:

Steve Battisti joins OOTP Developments
We're pleased to announce that Steve Battisti ("battists") has joined OOTP Developments. Unless you've avoided the forums completely, you know who Steve is. Steve originally got involved with us in 2006, when he offered to help write a manual for the game, and was one of the beta testers. We were very impressed with the quality and volume of his work, and very importantly to us, he seemed to do a great job of getting along with the community too.

Steve did a ridiculous amount of work for OOTPB 2007, especially for a volunteer. He managed the entire beta testing process, wrote the manual, developed the in-game help system with Andreas, managed the creation of in-game text, wrote and recorded tutorials, managed our bug tracking system, and more, all while remaining pleasant and great to work with. Together with Marc Duffy, he essentially managed all of the work that allowed Markus and Andreas to focus on coding features and fixing bugs.

Going forward, Steve will do much of the same stuff, as well as taking over some of the responsibilities that Marc Duffy handled. Steve will still only be with us part-time, but maybe we can change that if we hit a home run with the next version! So, welcome, Steve!

Development of OOTP 9 begins
With the split from SEGA/SI, we are returning to our old naming convention. So, the next version of the game will be called "OOTP 9". As you saw in the last newsletter, we'll be wrapping up collection of suggestions for the next version on Friday, September 28th. This marks the beginning of the development cycle for OOTP 9. We already have some great new ideas, and some changes to our development process that we think will continue to make OOTP better and better. We don't expect OOTP 9 to be wildly different from OOTP Baseball 2007. That is, we won't be scrapping the interface or anything like that. As with OOTP Baseball 2007, expect OOTP 9 to contain many nice new features, some improvements to the interface, and a bunch of smaller improvements to baseball play and the stability of the game. FaceGen will remain in the game, and we're determined to make a "real roster" set a success next year. However, an actual MLB license is unlikely to happen, because it would probably result in a big price increase and some significant restrictions on the game that we're not willing to accept. We're really looking forward to getting started!

OOTP Developments to release "OOTP 8"
As part of the split with SEGA, SEGA still owns the rights to OOTPB 2007. However, we are also allowed to release our own version of the game. As a result, we will be releasing "OOTP 8" shortly. OOTP 8 will be the exact same game as OOTP Baseball 2007, just branded with our company name, and sold through our web site and shareware sites. It will have no impact on those of you who already own the game, but will provide some extra sales for us during the transition back to a small company. A few notes about OOTP 8 that might help clarify things:
  • OOTP 8 and OOTP Baseball 2007 will be completely compatible. That is, you can share leagues between the two versions, and online league owners can have a mix of OOTP 8 and OOTP Baseball 2007.
  • There is no need for owners of OOTP Baseball 2007 to purchase OOTP 8. They are the same game.
  • OOTP 8 will be released patched up to the final patch version (patch #3), which will be released shortly. Unless some major crisis crops up, we do not plan any patches for OOTP 8.
OOTP Online
Possibly the biggest news for today is that we are currently designing a new game, based on OOTP, called "OOTP Online". OOTP Online will be a subscription-based online league version of OOTP, that will be marketed towards fantasy baseball players. OOTP Online would use the OOTP engine for simulating, but would be competely hosted, and would be largely automated. OOTP Online would not replace OOTP 9, nor would it eliminate support for online leagues in OOTP 9. Some of the planned features for OOTP Online include:
  • A web-based front end where GMs can submit transaction changes even when away from their PCs
  • A "lite" OOTP client that would receive a "changes-only" file from the server each sim, eliminating large file downloads.
  • An integrated message board within the lite client, so that GMs can access the league message board from within the game
  • An integrated chat program within the lite client, so that GMs can chat with each other
  • A points-based subscription system where leagues could win points that could be used to pay for subsequent seasons, etc.
  • Support for historical leagues, something that has never really been present in the fantasy baseball world.
There is no release date for OOTP Online as of yet, but it will be after OOTP 9. We're very excited about this, and really feel it can help bring OOTP to a completely new audience.

Wrap-up
What else? Well, the final patch for OOTP Baseball 2007 is nearing completion. It should definitely be out within the next three weeks or so. It will have a few very tiny new features and a number of fixes, many of which are for very small and rare bugs. We're very excited about the recent changes, and the addition of Steve to the team. We're really looking forward to the next year!

Thanks very much for all of your support!

The OOTP Developments Team
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:21 AM   #2
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Congrats to Steve on becoming part of the team. I hope it goes well for you.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:24 AM   #3
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Congrats on the new post Steve. I think everybody on here knows how much effort you have put into OOTP the last couple of years.

This online game sounds intriguing - has it been influenced by FM08 Live or whatever it is SI called it?

Going back to the manual, I think I suggested this last year, but a wiki-style manual could be a good way to go (I'm not sure if you can't output such a thing to pdf) but it would give people the chance to update it if they can word something better or if they can do something a different way.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:26 AM   #4
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No kidding, about time they start paying you for the amazing amount of work you do for them.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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Big congratulations, Steve!!

I'm really interested in finding out more about how Markus, you and Andreas plan to go about creating "OOTP Online". If I can be of any assistance with getting this launched, please let me know.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:43 AM   #6
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Congratulations to Steve. We can't say enough about the incredible work you've done for this game.
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:54 AM   #7
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OOTPOnline could be promising. It's an idea I've thought would be bright for text sims to do for a while, so it'll be interesting to see how that developers down the line.
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:05 AM   #8
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Good luck, Steve. It's nice to know that you are "official." Heck, it's nice to know that you're around!
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:51 AM   #9
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Way to go Steve, good luck with the new job !!! also a great idea by Markus and Andreas. Hey you guys have already hit a homerun with 2007, I think the future really looks bright here with OOTP9 starting development soon and OOTP online, thats a great idea, can't wait to see all of this come to life. These are truly some exciting times. Good luck to all involved in these indeavors.
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:58 AM   #10
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Congrats Steve. Having you around will definitely help OOTP have a bright future.
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:03 AM   #11
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Congrats Steve!
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:30 AM   #12
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Congratulations, Steve!!! To use a baseball analogy: hiring you is like signing Ryan Howard as a free agent. Heavy hitter! Big time production! Great move!
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:39 AM   #13
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Congrats Steve!
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:04 PM   #14
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This is great news. Congratulations Steve. You've certainly been an 5 star player for OOTP.
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timlowery View Post
This is great news. Congratulations Steve. You've certainly been an 5 star player for OOTP.
With 6-star potential!
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:26 PM   #16
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congrats Steve! See all the slave work pays off in the end.
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:53 PM   #17
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So not to be the pisser on this big bowl of Cheerios, but will the development of OOTP Online take away from the development of OOTP 9 and the implementation of fixes from OOTP 8?
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:01 PM   #18
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Steve, whatever they are paying you, it's not enough. Congrats, and thank for all of the effort you've put in thus far.
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:06 PM   #19
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First off, thanks for all of the kudos, I really appreciate it, and will continue to hopefully deserve such kind thoughts!

Regarding this ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by phenom View Post
So not to be the pisser on this big bowl of Cheerios, but will the development of OOTP Online take away from the development of OOTP 9 and the implementation of fixes from OOTP 8?
Well, a definite "no change" regarding OOTP 8 / OOTP Baseball 2007, because that patch is like 96% done. In fact, it might have been out this week, if it weren't for some people being out of the office that we need. So, we're really hoping to wrap that up shortly. (REALLY)

We've said it before, but unless there is some sort of crisis (like a bug crops up that causes massive, widespread crashing), this will be the last patch for this version of the game, so OOTP 8 / OOTP Baseball 2007 shouldn't be affected at all by OOTP 9 or OOTP Online.

Regarding OOTP9, well, I think it will have some impact. After all, it's a very small team, and now you're talking about developing two separate products. That said, the engine for OOTP Online will be OOTP 9, so OOTP Online will actually be a much smaller task than developing a completely separate game, and it's also an initiative that has more things that non-Markus people can work on, such as building a web front end for the online game, and fleshing out the business model.

In reality, there has to be some truth to the notion that OOTP Online will take some time away that would otherwise be spent on OOTP 9. If we had 50 people, that might not be true. But with 2 developers and an "everything else" guy like me, I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

That said, OOTP 9 is going to be great in its' own right, not just OOTP 8 with a new sticker on it. As with 2007, OOTP 9 will have new features and improvements, and we fully expect it to be worth moving to the new game. But, that's still a long way away.

On top of this, I think that all three of us have learned a lot about effective development and business processes over the past 3 years. In that sense, I expect things like the beta process to be growing ever more efficient. We had such a great team last year, many of those people will be back, and in a better position to take leadership roles in testing and so forth.

So, overall, I feel confident that both OOTP 9 and OOTP Online are things to look forward to!

[/speech]

Last edited by battists; 09-25-2007 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 09-25-2007, 02:36 PM   #20
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fair enough, and congrats.

However, I wasn't talking about the upcoming patch, unless of course the upcoming patch renders the game acceptably flawless. I'm talking about from that patch until OOTP9. I know I don't get here much anymore, but people I talk to have had in-depth concerns with the performance of the game, especially some of the AI decision-making. I'd hate to trade something like proper bunting AI for online fantasy fantasy baseball.
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