Strat-O-Matic Basketball New Features

STRAT-O-MATIC BASKETBALL 2018

By Glenn Guzzo

            Three-point shooting and fast breaks will be more exciting in Strat-O-Matic Basketball 2018, the most fully featured version of the Windows game yet.

Downloads to your inbox will be available any day. Then, whether you play computer basketball solo or competitively, with stock teams or drafted teams, you will enjoy more fun and realism, as well as ease of play.

With the three-pointer ever-more frequent in the NBA, Strat-O-Matic is giving that more emphasis in two ways.

First, you can set your computer manager to distribute shots for more statistical accuracy, or to maximize results in competitive play. Re-players may prefer the first option, which in fact is called Stock League Mode. It emphasizes accurate shot frequency. Draft League Mode is more ruthless – just win, Baby. While these settings affect all shot types, the CM will be on the lookout for three-point shooters in the three-minded NBA and mindful of which men on the court will take the “Any Player” shots.

Next, Strat-O-Matic is increasing the foul-frequency on three-point shots to better replicate overall foul frequency, which had declined in SOM play as more three-pointers were taken.

“The computer game engine has been improved so that it now utilizes the shooter’s outside foul-drawing capability to determine how often he gets fouled while taking three-point shots,” the Help File says.  “This will result in a much more realistic number of fouls being called on three-point attempts as well as a more accurate number of free-throw attempts for high-volume three-point shooters.”

Have a dazzling starting point guard, but a walk-don’t-run backup or injury replacement? Now you can program the computer manager for fast-break frequency with each man. Now you won’t be stuck with overly aggressive play for the pedestrian point guard, while maxing the excitement of your top playmaker.

The other improvements in Strat-O-Matic Basketball 2018 emphasize ease of play.

  • Free Cloud Hosting of league files, already part of other SOM Windows games released earlier this year, is ready for Strat-O-Matic Basketball, too. (You’re welcome, Commissioners.) See the notes below on how this makes life easier for the Commish and coaches.
  • When a technical foul occurs, the game will display the free-throw percentages of all players on the court, ending your guess-work or momentum-stalling research to decide who will take the shot
  • You can also filter the play-by-play to occur only in specific seasons – especially satisfying for rules (jump balls, shot clock, bonus foul-shooting, etc.) that changed during different eras of NBA play.
  • One more gift for those who didn’t love trying to read red scoreboard numbers. Now you can set them to appear in white.

As always, the latest version of Strat-O-Matic Basketball offers the latest data corrections, bug fixes and support for the latest NBA season, 2017-18.

Read on.

HERE IS A LIST OF THE NEW FEATURES IN THIS VERSION:

1) Free Cloud Hosting of League Files – Sharing files with other league members can be a hassle sometimes, so you may want to check out our free Cloud Hosting feature.  This feature makes it easier for you to transmit your computer coach and postgame files to the league commissioner.  And it makes running a league easier as some of the commissioner tasks are automated.

2) Computer Manager Shot Selection – A new league option has been added that directs the computer manager on how to handle shot selection.  Examples of what this setting influences include whether a player is going to shoot a three-pointer and which player is to receive ANY PLAYER shots.  Two settings are available – Stock League Mode and Draft League Mode.

 Stock League Mode is the default and it allows the computer manager to distribute shots based upon each player’s actual vs. replay FGA/48.  This provides greater statistical accuracy.  For example, this mode emulates what you might do when replaying a team’s season when you noticed that a particular player’s shot totals were getting to be too high or too low.  Say that a player was averaging too many field goal attempts per game, in that case you could avoid feeding ANY PLAYER shots to that player until his average FGA/48 normalized.

 Draft League Mode is the alternative mode and when you select this mode the computer manager will not refer to a player’s replay statistics at all when making it’s decision as to shot selection.  This mode might be preferable to draft league participants where statistical accuracy takes a back seat to the competitive nature of the league.  However, even when using Draft League Mode please be aware that each player’s actual FGA/48 is an important factor that is used by the computer manager to determine who gets to take the shot.

3) Computer Manager Point Guard Fastbreak Override – Draft League members will be happy to hear that you can now tell the computer manager whether or not it should fast break based upon which point guard is in the game.  This can be set on the Player Profiles tab of the Computer Manager screen under the PGFB column.  By setting this column to “1” it will always fast break when that player is playing the point.  By setting it to “2” it will never fast break when that player is playing the point.  If you leave the field set to its default value of “0” then the computer manager will refer to the “Offense” column of the Computer Coach Instructions tab as it always has.  This provides you more control over the computer manager’s decision in case of substitutions due to foul trouble or injury.

4) Improved 3-Point Foul System – A large increase in the number of three-point attempts in recent years has caused the number of fouls generated by the game engine to decline.  The computer game engine has been improved so that it now utilizes the shooter’s outside foul-drawing capability to determine how often he gets fouled while taking three-point shots.  This will result in a much more realistic number of fouls being called on three-point attempts as well as a more accurate number of free-throw attempts for high-volume three-point shooters.

5) Play-By-Play Year Filter – You can now filter play-by-play accounts so that they do not appear before a year that you specify.  This will allow you to create custom play-by-play that makes sense for any era of basketball.  An example is included in the baxter.fil play-by-play file as follows:

90 11111 020 Time for the toss…the team that controls will have possession to start the 4th quarter…@:YR1976

This play-by-play includes the Year Filter “@:YR1976” which indicates to the program that this should not be used for the seasons prior to 1976-77.  That was the season that the NBA changed the rule so that jump balls were not held at the start of each quarter.

6) Technical Fouls – When a technical foul is called the free throw percentages of the players on the court are now displayed to help you choose which player should take the foul shot.

7) Improved Support for Anti-Malware Security Software – Some DLLs that we distribute with our software were being incorrectly flagged by certain anti-malware security software as potentially dangerous.  These false positive detections were preventing our software from running properly, and that required our customers to define exceptions within their security software so that our games could run.   To mitigate these problems, we have replaced the affected DLLs with digitally signed versions.  This change should significantly lessen the chance of these DLLs being flagged as false positives by anti-malware software.  However, we cannot guarantee this will resolve the issue completely because false positive detections are common in the antivirus industry.

8) White Scoreboard Numbers – There is a new league option that causes the numbers displayed on the scoreboard to be white instead of red.  Some people have trouble reading the red numbers so this option has been added to enable them to see the score better.

9) Transaction Files – Thanks to gamer Karl Coleman new transaction files have been added for the following seasons:

 2017-18 NBA

 2001-02 NBA

10) New Seasons – Support for the 2017-18 season has been added to the program.

LIST OF BUG FIXES INCLUDED IN THIS VERSION:
1) No Three Pointers Attempted  – There was a bug that too often resulted in some high-volume three point shooters having no three-point attempts for an entire game.  This has been resolved whether you are using Stock League Mode or Draft League Mode for your “Computer Manager Shot Selection” league option setting (see above).

2) Wrong Team Name  – There was a bug where in rare situations the wrong team name would be displayed at various points in the program (for example, as a heading on a team report).

3) Netplay Hang –When using the Fastbreak at Coach’s Option rule Netplay would sometimes hang.  Code has been added to address this problem.

LIST OF DATA FIXES INCLUDED IN THIS VERSION:
Note: These data fixes cannot be used for seasons already in-progress.  You must reinstall a fresh copy of these rosters in order to see these changes.

1978-79 NBA Changes
Clemon Johnson, POR – Outside #5 and #6 s/b blank

1981-82 NBA Changes
Rory Sparrow, ATL – Inside #7 T should be an R
Campy Russell, NY – Outside #3 s/b O, 1-11, Outside #11 s/b blank

1988-89 NBA Changes
Derek Smith, PHI – Inside #5 BL should be an F(2)
Jeff Malone, WAS – Inside #8 R should be a blank

1998-99 NBA Changes
Chris Mills, GSW – Penetration column (#2 R, #9 BL, #12 X+F(1)) should read (#2 R, #3 F(2), #4 X,1-4, #5 O, #7 X, #9 BL, #10 O, #11 O,1-6, #12 X)
Jon Barry, SAC – Penetration column blank readings should be #3 F(2), #9 F(2), #11 F(2), and #12 F(2).  Inside Column blank readings should be #4 F(2) and #9 F(2)

2005-06 NBA Changes
Malik Allen, CHI – Fastbreak X-Column s/b 2-5,11

2006-07 NBA Changes
Bostjan Nachbar, NJN –  Fastbreak X-Column s/b 2-6, 10
Von Wafer, LAC – Added missing passing columns
Mile Ilic, NJ – Added missing passing columns

2007-08 NBA Changes
Michael Ruffin, MIL – Fastbreak X-Column s/b 2-4

Cloud Hosting of League Files

If you are a member of an E-Mail League then this feature may be very helpful to you.  It allows for easier sharing and distribution of files in play-by-mail leagues.

There is a menu item in the League Manager devoted to the Cloud Hosting feature.  The functions in the first block of menu items are for all league members.  The functions in the second block of menu items are reserved for the League Commissioner.

Our Cloud Hosting feature is free.  It allows you to exchange your league files using built-in menu items instead of having to manually post or e-mail the files to your commissioner.  Your commissioner will also benefit as parts of his regular tasks are also automated.  In summary, the Cloud Hosting feature is less error prone and faster and easier to use when compared to manually exchanging files.

To use the Cloud Hosting feature follow these procedures which have been designed to mimic the manual procedures already that are used and already in place in many leagues:

INITIAL LEAGUE SETUP

Commissioner League Creation

  Commissioner creates a new league and populates it with teams and players.

  Commissioner uses the Create Cloud Storage for League menu item to create a new league folder on the server.  This function provides him with the League Number and the League Access Code.

  Commissioner uses the Upload League to Cloud  menu item to upload the League Backup File

League Members Download the League and Claim a Team or Teams

  Commissioner notifies league members of the League Number and League Access Code.

  User utilizes the Download League from Cloud  menu item to download the League.

  For each team the user owns he uses the Claim Team menu item to claim that team

Users Upload their Team Game Plans For Each Game

  User utilizes the Download League from Cloud menu item to download the latest League

  Users edit the Computer Manager to make appropriate changes as needed vs. a particular opponent

  User utilizes the Push Game Plan menu item to upload the game plan for a particular game

After all Coach Files have been updated the Commissioner imports them and then re-publishes the League 

  Commissioner uses the Manage League in Cloud  menu item to confirm that all Game Plans have been uploaded

  Commissioner performs all league maintenance such as importing the postgame files, making player trades and releasing players to free agent pool

  Commissioner uses the Upload League to Cloud  menu item to upload the latest League Backup File

  Commissioner uses the Manage League in Cloud menu item to update the League Status.  For example, he might set it to  “Ready to play block #2”.

Users Play their games for the current “Block” 

  User utilizes the View League Status menu item to display the current league status – he must wait until the Commissioner has indicated the current block of games is ready for download.

  User utilizes the Download League from Cloud menu item to download the latest League

  User utilizes Pull Game Plan for each game that he is about to play

  User plays his block of games in the normal fashion

  User utilizes the Push Game Result Files menu item to upload the Game Files for all games played during that block (Note: some leagues play their road games instead of their home games – if you participate in such a league please be aware that the road team must be selected before pushing the postgame files).

MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES

Online League Maintenance

  Commissioner uses the Manage League in Cloud  menu item to manage and maintain the hosted league

Server Maintenance

  Leagues should be purged automatically after a specific time period (perhaps a year) – notify commissioner via email before purging.

Here is a list of the available Cloud related menu items:
CLOUD MENU ITEMS – FOR ALL LEAGUE MEMBERS
View League Status –  View status of the Online Cloud Storage for the selected league.

Download League from Cloud –  Download the league your commissioner has uploaded

Claim Team –  Claim the selected team from the cloud hosted league.  If so desired, you may claim multiple teams in a league.  You may also claim teams from different leagues, so that you can participate in more than one Play-By-Mail league at a time.

Push Game Plan –  Push your team’s Game Plan to the cloud so it can be downloaded by your opponent .

Pull Game Plan –  Pull a Game Plan posted by your opponent to be used for your upcoming game.

Push Game Result Files –  Push the results of games played on your computer to the cloud so that they can be imported by your Commissioner into the league. The game files will be uploaded (Note: some leagues play their road games instead of their home games – if you participate in such a league please be aware that the road team must be selected before pushing the postgame files).

CLOUD MENU ITEMS – FOR ALL COMMISSIONERS ONLY
Create Cloud Storage for League – THIS IS A COMMISSIONER ONLY FUNCTION.  Creates storage to store this league in the cloud.  This function should only be used once per league.  You can be the commissioner of multiple leagues on your machine.

Upload League to Cloud – THIS IS A COMMISSIONER ONLY FUNCTION.  Uploads the latest version of the League to the Cloud so that other league members can download it.

Manage League in Cloud – THIS IS A COMMISSIONER ONLY FUNCTION.  Allows the commissioner to perform league maintenance such as changing the league status message or deleting the league.  It also displays pertinent information such as the status of each team (claimed or unclaimed), and a list of files uploaded by league members.

Pull Game Result Files – THIS IS A COMMISSIONER ONLY FUNCTION.  This grabs the Game Result files from the cloud and allows the commissioner to import them into the league.  This should be used when preparing each block of games so that you have all of the latest stats imported before you post the league for your league members.

Note on Availability of Service
Since Internet Services like this free cloud hosting service are sometimes not available we have designed this feature so that you can still process your league files the original way if the service is down or becomes unavailable.  Note that while we will do everything possible to keep the service free and available we cannot guarantee this as we purchase this service from other providers.

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