Strat-O-Matic Basketball New Features


          More Dynamic Fast Breaks and Swifter Computer Functions


By Glenn Guzzo

With a clear path to the hoop on a fast break, the ballhandler instead pulls up 25 feet from the basket and launches an uncontested three-point shot. You’ve seen it often in the NBA and that is one of the reasons teams keep setting league records for attempting three-pointers.

Now you will see it and may deploy it as strategy in Strat-O-Matic’s Windows basketball game when Version 2021 is released soon.

The optional league rule – a strategy available more often for high-frequency three-point shooters –is one of a dozen features in the forthcoming release, which, as always, will be necessary to play the most recent NBA season (2020-21).

Another improvement that mimics the NBA’s evolution is a rule that adds assists for great-passing Left Forwards and Centers on the fast break. This is an internal statistical calculation that rewards big men who run the court so well that they fit the description of the NBA’s transition to “position-less” basketball. The rule is an extension of the rule Strat-O-Matic introduced last year that improved the fast-break passing for such big men who play Left Forward or Center primarily, but who also have ratings at Right Forward.  With Version 2021, those players’ notebooks will display the improved passing column.

Many other improvements this year will make life easier for solo play and league play, from beginning to end:


  • Installing the game should be faster and smoother, with fewer security prompts. The new installer also backs up some often-edited files, such as play-by-play files.
  • League commissioners can make their rules and game options more secure with the improved Lock League function, preventing alteration.


  • You will have more control over the animation speed. An adjustable slider can speed things up or slow them down to match your preference. In addition, you can now adjust the speed of the player shooting animation independently from the speed of the ball movement.  Overall this results in a much improved animation experience.
  • The card-image display will do more than indicate the type of shot. Now it will remind you of the defense you are up against (e.g. Open Outside Shot vs. SAG).
  • You can pre-program your computer manager to put in your top scorers when your team is behind late in the game, instead of doing it manually each time.


  • When restoring a league, you will be warned about the ramifications of doing so (do you really want to overwrite an in-progress league?) and permit you to cancel the restore.
  • When removing season authorizations, you will have the huge time-saving option of doing so for some or all seasons simultaneously rather than one at a time. This has proved to be immensely popular for the SOM Windows Baseball game.

Here is a complete description of all the improvements in Version 2021:

  • What’s new in Version 2021


1) Allow Some 3-Pointers on Fastbreak – This optional League Rule will allow some three-pointers to be attempted on the fastbreak.  Increasingly NBA players are taking threes on the break when left wide-open, and using this option will allow for that.  In order to maintain statistical balance the option to take the 3-point shots on the fastbreak are limited.  This option will occur more often for frequent three-point shooters.  Since the defense is scrambling back to defend, all 3-point shots generated from the fastbreak are considered to be Open shots vs. the opposing team’s SAG defense column.  Recommendation for usage: For maximum statistical accuracy we recommend turning this option on for Season Replays from 2016-17 onward.

2) Animation Speed – Many people have experienced difficulties regulating the animation speed, especially when running on Windows 10.  This is a difficult problem to address as the system processing power, graphics cards, acceleration settings, etc. vary wildly from user to user.  We have adjusted the animation speed in the game to allow it to run faster.  We have also added a separate slider control to the Game Preferences dialog for adjusting the speed of the player shooting animation independent of the rest of the animations.  We are hopeful these changes will be beneficial to users who are having this trouble.  We also have a new Help Topic dedicated to Animation Problems with suggestions for making it work better on your machine.

3) Computer Manager – Down Late in Game – You can now specify one or more players to be brought into the game by the computer manager when your team is down late in the game.  This is great to use for non-starting players who can provide additional offensive punch when you are trying to come back from a late-game deficit.  For example, a 3-point specialist like JJ Redick could be defined to be brought into the game to help mount a comeback.

You designate a player to be brought into the game by specifying which position he is to play (1=PG, 2=SG, 3=SF, 4=PF, 5=C) in the PosDL column of the Player Profile tab of the Computer Manager dialog.  PosDL stands for “Position when Down Late in game”.  The computer manager decides when player(s) are to be brought into the game, which is dependent upon multiple factors including how many points you are down, how much time remains, and whether or not the sub is fatigued.  When the computer manager decides the time is right it will bring the player(s) you designate into the game, overriding the lineups defined on the Computer Coach Instructions tab.  Note that other factors impact the ability to make these substitutions including the number of timeouts remaining.  While this feature will provide you some level of control of the computer manager when staging a comeback remember that it cannot match the decision making capabilities of a human coach.

This setting can be used for any team, stock league or draft league.  However, the PosDL is a custom setting that must be manually defined.  It is not included with the default computer managers nor is it set by the Generate Computer Manager function.

4) Card Image – The Card Image display now indicates the opposing team defensive card when the dice are rolling.  For example, instead of just saying “Open Outside Shot” it might display something like “Open Outside Shot vs. SAG”.  This will remind you which defensive column on the team’s card is being used for this shot.

5) Lock League Improved – The Lock League feature now locks down certain items on the League Options dialog.  Some Game Options and all of the Rules are locked from being updated if the league has been locked by the commissioner.

6) Installer – A new installer is being used which provides the following benefits:

  • Unlike the previous one, this installer can be digitally signed which should result in less trouble with security software and better ongoing support.
  • The new installer automatically backs up certain program files that users often edit to the Support\Backup folder.  For example, if you alter the default play-by-play text file that we distribute with the game then it will be backed up.  Please be aware that not all files are backed up.  You should always backup files that you edit to an external drive or the cloud.  However, this backup is provided as a fail-safe for certain commonly altered files that we distribute with the game.
  • Finally, the new installer works a bit faster than the previous one (which will be especially noticeable on slower machines).

    7) Authorization System– An easier system to remove authorization codes for seasons has been added.  It is similar to the system used by our baseball game.  Now when you select the menu item to “Remove Season Authorization” a dialog appears showing all the season you have installed.  You can multi-select which items to remove then click “Remove” and it will then bring up a transfer dialog for each product pre-filled with your product authorization code.  This feature will make transferring your codes to another computer much easier.

    8) Restore League Warning Message – If the Restore Leaguefunction determines that the league already exists it will now issue a warning and allow you to cancel the restore to prevent overwriting the league.

    9) Notebook support for “Fastbreak passing rule for primary Left Forwards and Centers” – Last year we introduced the Fastbreak passing rule for primary Left Forwards and Centers rule to improve realism.  With this year’s release we have updated the player notebook to display the alternate readings for those players who qualify.  Note that the fastbreak passing column is never used for players positioned at Left Forward or Center during the game.  Therefore there is no need to know what these player’s fastbreak passing column looks like if they are positioned at either of those positions.  But if such a player is rated to play Right Forward or guard and he is positioned there then the fastbreak passing column now displayed in the notebook is the one that the game will use to determine the results of a fastbreak pass by him.

    10) Fastbreak Assists for primary Left Forwards and Centers  – As the game continues to evolve towards position-less basketball, there are more big men (Power Forwards and Centers) that are adept at running the break and setting up their teammates with passes.  This release adds a new computer game rule that adds assists for great-passing Left Forwards and Centers when on the Fastbreak.  The extra assists are determined internally by random numbers, using the player’s assist/minute ratio along with other factors to determine whether a fastbreak assist will be credited to the LF or C.

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

  • 2020-21 NBA

    12) New Season – Support for the 2020-21 has been added to the program.

    1) Model League – When using the Model Leaguefunction to model a 2018-19 season using the 2019-20 FULL season Draft League team defense cards were not being assigned properly (if they were being used for the original 2018-19 season).

    2) Scoreboard – On screens that are defined as 120 DPI the bottom of the scoreboard  was being cut-off by the court.  This problem has been resolved.  However, we highly recommend the use of Alternate Scaling with such monitors as that will scale the text on the screen to better fit the available dialog space.

    3) Play-by-Play – At times the wrong player name was being mentioned in a play-by-play account relating to playing safe.  For instance, the game might have said something like “and JIMMY BUTLER scores because LEBRON JAMES didn’t want to pick up the foul” when it was really another player who was playing safe instead of Lebron.

    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.

    2019-20 NBA Changes
    Transaction File: Gary Payton was shown as “Gary Payton II” in the transaction file causing his transactions to fail.

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