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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

‘OOTP Baseball:’ How a German programmer created the deepest baseball sim ever made

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When Heinsohn was a computer science student at the University of Hamburg, he and a few friends would stay up late, drinking beer, crunching chips and watching weekly MLB games broadcast in Germany. He fell in love with the Atlanta Braves, admired Greg Maddux’s command and Ryan Klesko’s swagger.

Trying to replicate it all, he forked out a bundle of money to order a copy of Diamond Mind, an early computer descendant of tabletop games like Strat-O-Matic. He had it shipped from the U.S. to Hamburg on a 3.5-inch wide floppy disc. He had also played rudimentary baseball games such as “Hardball III” and “Hardball IV.” He was usually underwhelmed. He craved more depth, like the soccer simulations he grew up playing in Germany.

“The statistics were terrible,” Heinsohn said. “When you were simulating a season you would have pitchers with a 0.30 ERA and hitters hitting like 80 home runs.”

By this point, Heinsohn’s coding abilities had grown. He enjoyed the challenge.

“For me, it was like playing with Legos, but more advanced,” he said.

And one day, in October of 1997, an idea popped in his head. What if he tried to create his own baseball game, one where you could generate new draft classes, trade players, sign free agents, customize everything and play into the infinite future?

That’s how the best baseball sim ever made was born.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2023 at 11:25 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: ootp, video games



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