Game Replay Among a Dozen Improvements to Windows Pro Football
By Glenn Guzzo
Fans get excited about sports events when they anticipate what could happen next. This matchup of team vs. team or player vs. player. The best option for the next play. The ball in the right hands – a guy who can make special plays instead of the guy who has no shot to do more than the minimum. The suspense of a dramatic finish.
Now Strat-O-Matic is heightening the anticipation of its gamers who play Strat-O-Matic Pro Football 2014. It will happen during play-calling with the Pass Rush Matchup feature, and even after games are done, through Game Replay.
Necessary to play the soon-to-be-released 2013, 1974 and 1956 NFL seasons, the new version of the Windows game has a dozen enhancements for solo players and leagues, and for conventional play, auto-play and NetPlay.
Game Replay, a popular feature already in Strat-O-Matic Windows baseball, is the showcase new feature for pro football. It’s especially attractive to review games that have been auto-played or played on a league member’s computer. But it can also be enjoyed as a way to savor special games, or to assist the memory when doing post-game write-ups.
For football, as the Help file explains, “The Game Replay draws a drive chart type animation to let you visualize play results.” Now you can see how the star of the game got his scores and yards and how the winning rally was accomplished.
When a play involves a pass rush, appreciate the new Pass Rush Matchup, which displays a dialog that shows who has the advantage on matchups from your Offensive and Defensive Rating Cards. The display involves up to six matchups. It shows Pass Rush ratings after adjustments have been made for blitzing linebackers, offensive and defensive formation chart adjustments, rule adjustments like employing the shot gun, etc. It shows blockers’ Pass Block ratings next to each opposing pass rusher. And it shows the percentage of time a sack will occur when a matchup is invoked by rule. This feature helps expose the underlying game engine more clearly, allowing you to make better in-game decisions.
While your game is in progress, admire the wisdom of your play-calling (or hold your head) with the improved Play Percentage Display. Now that info does not clear immediately after the "Snap the ball" button has been clicked, but remains on screen until the play finishes animating and/or the dice stop rolling on the screen. This is especially important while playing Netplay, as sometimes this information could be cleared too quickly by your opponent.
Other mid-game improvements involve variable sack yardage (more yards on long passes and fewer yards on shorter passes) and pass-interference yardage.
For those who love to play with cards and dice but want the computer to do the hours-saving stat keeping, a vastly improved Manual Dice Entry feature permits manual entries in 21 additional areas of the game, such as the Long Gain / Short Gain charts, variable punts and sacks, injuries and much more.
Finally, the computer-coach logic has been improved for run-keying and for spiking the ball.
AN EASY WAY TO ADD SUSPENSE
Ever run a cluster of auto-play games to complete a week or a season, but wanted to review special games without the spoiler of knowing who won and the new standings in advance? Welcome to the new Hide Standings and Game Scores option in League Manager.
From the Help file: “You could auto-play an entire season and then click the individual games in the calendar to reveal the outcome of your team’s games one-by-one instead of having their record and all the game scores displayed up front. Revealing the scores of games this way can be fun, and it allows excitement to grow as the season’s games are progressively revealed.”
For years now, it has become customary for Strat-O-Matic to answer requests from league commissioners to allow more and more customization for league preferences.
This time, a new Lock/Unlock League option in the League Menu allows the commissioner of the league to lock the league with a PIN code. This can be used to make sure all league members are playing by the same rules, because the commissioner can lock out certain game options.
Further, SOM has added support for the new Blogger API. And it has improved the Schedule Generator to produce partial results when circumstances require some manual entries – no longer will you have to start over if your schedule requirements have details the Generator cannot handle.
Here are all the features, bug fixes and data fixes listed in the Help file:
1) Game Replay – Experience an entire game replaying before your eyes with the exciting new Game Replay feature! The Game Replay draws a drive chart type animation to let you visualize play results. There are many ways to enjoy Game Replays. For instance, when you auto-play a season you miss out on the in-game excitement of great performances (like a 100-yard rushing game or a game-saving interception). With the Game Replay feature, you can now watch those games play out in detail. Additionally, if you are in an email league you now simply get your results by opening up a boxscore and reading it. No anticipation of the game-winning rally is experienced – it all hits you in the face. But with Game Replay your opponents can send you the files and you can watch the games play out experiencing the highs and lows of in-game drama! Finally, you may just feel like reliving some of your greatest Strat-O-Matic games, and with the Game Replay feature you can do just that. *NOT AVAILABLE IN THE LITE GAME*
2) Pass Rush Matchup – This feature displays a dialog that shows your Offensive and Defensive Rating Card pass rush matchups. This allows you to quickly see where each team has the advantage on the line of scrimmage when it comes to sacking the quarterback. Up to six defensive players are shown along with their Pass Rush rating and their adjusted rating (after adjustments have been made for blitzing linebackers, offensive and defensive formation chart adjustments, rule adjustments like employing the shot gun, etc.). The offensive blockers are shown next to each opposing pass rusher, and their Pass Block rating is displayed. Finally, the percentage of time a sack will occur when each particular matchup is invoked by rule is shown. That allows you to quickly see where your biggest advantages and disadvantages exist in this important aspect of the game. *NOT AVAILABLE IN THE LITE GAME*
3) Sack Yardage Adjustment – When using the Updated Sack Rule, the sack yardage will now reflect bigger losses for longer pass attempts and smaller losses for shorter pass attempts. See the Football Rules.PDF for more information.
4) Variable Pass Interference Yardage – *PRO-GAME ONLY, NOT AVAILABLE FOR COLLEGE* – This new optional rule will vary the yardage on defensive pass interference calls. See the Football Rules.PDF document for more details.
5) Manual Dice Entry – *NOT AVAILABLE IN THE LITE GAME* Extensive work was done to improve the ability for you to enter in manual dice results. The ability to enter in manual dice results has been added to the following areas of the game:
- Onside Kickoff Chart
- Sack Reassignment Tables
- Long Gain Chart
- Short Gain Chart
- QB & Receiver Fumbles
- Interception Player and Return Chart
- Advancing Loose Ball Chart
- Fumble Team and Player recovery
- Updated Sack Rule Pass Chart (number ranging from 1 to 100)
- Sack Yards Lost
- QB Takes Knee (fumble check)
- QB Spike (fumble check)
- Dump Pass (all dice)
- Fake Punt/Kick Chart
- Blocked Kick/Punt Chart
- Coffin Corner Punt Yardage Adjustment dice & Ball Stays in Bounds (black die)
- Punting – Forced Bounced (white die) & Punt Bounce Chart
- Variable Length Field Goal Chart
- Shadow QB (white die)
- Injuries (position and number of games injured)
- Great Player Impact Rule (white die)
6) Lock/Unlock League – A League Menu Item has been added that allows the commissioner of the league to lock the league with a PIN code. When the league is locked certain functions are not available. CAUTION: If you lose your PIN code there is no way to restore the disabled functionality, so be very careful with this feature! Refer to League Menu Items for a list of functions that not available when the league is locked. *NOT AVAILABLE IN THE LITE GAME*
7) Computer Manager Spiking Logic – The computer manager logic regarding spiking the ball has been improved to be aware of more situations so that better decisions will be made.
8) Computer Manager Run Keying Logic – New code has been added to the computer manager logic to override the assigned defensive computer manager when it has called for a Run-Key on a Blocking Back who had no real-life rushing attempts. In this situation, the computer manager will continue to call for a Run defense but it will not key the Blocking Back.
9) Schedule Generator – Under a number of circumstances, a schedule can not be generated. Specific mixes of the number of teams, conferences, games to be played, in-division games, etc. can be impossible for the generator to work out. In past years, when a schedule could not be created, you had to manually enter in the entire schedule. A change has been made so that whenever possible, a partial schedule is now generated and an error message is displayed indicating that you need to manually check the schedule for accuracy. While you will need to manually finalize the schedule in these cases, this can still be a big time saver. For more information, see Important Schedule Generation Notes in Custom League with Stock Teams.
10) Hide Standings and Game Scores: This new League Manager Option will hide the league standings and final scores of games in the League Manager dialog. You might want to hide the scores to keep the element of surprise before you click on the game to view the boxscore. For example, you could auto-play an entire season and then click the individual games in the calendar to reveal the outcome of your team’s games one-by-one instead of having their record and all the game scores displayed up front. Revealing the scores of games this way can be fun, and it allows excitement to grow as the season’s games are progressively revealed.
11) Blogger Support Updated: Support has been added for the new Blogger API. IMPORTANT – You must read the note about setting up blogger in order to use this feature!
12) Play Percentage Display – This display has been changed so that it does not clear immediately after the "Snap the ball" button has been clicked. The percentages will continue to display on the screen until the play finishes animating and/or the dice stop rolling on the screen. This will give you more time to glance at the display to see how good your play calling was. This is especially important in Netplay leagues where the other player can click so quickly that you are not able to read the play percentage information.
13) Data Fixes – Thanks to Fred Bobberts and Mike Kane, we are including a number of data corrections with this year’s version. Please see the list below for complete details on which cards have been updated.
14) Support for New Seasons – Support for the 2013 NFL, 1956 NFL, AND 1974 NFL seasons has been added to the Pro game. Support for the 2013 season has been added to the College game.
HERE IS A LIST OF BUGS FIXED SINCE THE PREVIOUS VERSION:
1) When clicking certain players on the field, the Team notebook was being displayed instead of the player’s notebook.
2) Logic was added to the computer manager in Version 2013 that improved awareness of situations in overtime where punting the ball would result in a loss. Additional logic has been added that identifies other cases where this would be true.
3) The boxscore Scoring Play and Other Highlights section had the heading of "Poss" (for possession) but it should have said "Team" instead. The team shown in these sections is the team that scored or made the big play. This was confusing for plays like interceptions where the heading of "Poss" made it seem like the offensive team should have been listed. The heading now says "Team" and the defensive team continues to be shown for interceptions, as they are the team that made the big play.
4) When the offense took a holding penalty on their own 1-yard line and the defense accepted the penalty then a safety should have occurred. However after it had been accepted, the safety did not show up on the scoreboard and the ball was being shown as being on the zero yard line. This has been fixed.
5) The Ball Possession and Drive Chart was incorrectly listing the How Ball Obtained as "Fumble" if the offense punted, the defensive returner fumbled the return, and his team recovered the ball. In this situation, it now lists "Punt" under the How Ball Obtained column.
6) The Highlights section of the boxscore would sometimes list the last two plays of a half happening at 0:00 when the first play should have been listed as showing 0:01 seconds remaining in the half.
7) The Game Story would sometimes say something like "Baltimore out-rushed 0 167 to 81 yards" where "0" should have been the winning team’s name. This has been fixed.
8) If you had "Use Actual Team Interception Returns" toggled off and "Use Historical Team Pace" toggle on the real-life pace was not being used.
9) Sending the "%" character in the Netplay chat area on the bottom of the game screen was causing crashes. The "%" character will be changed to "-" to prevent this from happening.
10) The Overusage and Injury charts were using the Tight End section when determining results for Split Ends instead of the appropriate Wide Receiver section.
11) The 2-Minute warning was not being issued in overtime for Pro games.
12) The Team Notebook Special section that displays Actual Team Interception Returns had a bug where a return of zero yards with a fumble was displaying as a Touchdown.
13) If you had the Actual Team Interception Returns option turned off the team’s actual interception table was still showing in the Notebook, which could cause confusion during game play. This has been fixed so that the default team interception table is shown when this rule is not being used.
14) When using the Great Player Impact rule, if you had a great play that resulted in the defender intercepting a pass which would have been a Long Gain, the interception was not occurring at the proper spot on the field.
15) Individual safety statistics, as displayed in the Report Writer’s Players Scoring (Non-Kicking) report, were not always being recorded properly on QB sacks in the endzone.
16) The League Manager tabs for college football were still displaying the old football division names ("1A" and "1AA"). This has been changed so that for seasons 2006 and later the tabs now say "FBS" and "FCS".
17) The Encyclopedia had a bug where running backs who had receptions in some years and not other years were not having all of their individual seasons being displayed in the Player Register.
PRO DATA FIXES IN THIS VERSION:
You will need to reinstall all of the following seasons that you are using:
2012 SEASON FIXED:
Nate Collins, Chicago – Should be DT instead of DB
Shea McClellin, Chicago, DE – Defense rating s/b 0
Orlando Scandrick, Dallas, has been added as a Cornerback sub rated 4 on defense
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, end run keyed column #5 s/b f/-7
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco, end run keyed column #5 s/b f/-4
Alex Smith, San Francisco, end run keyed column #5 s/b f/-6
Sam Bradford, St. Louis, end run keyed column #5 s/b f/-9
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay, end run keyed column #5 s/b f/-7
Robert Griffin III, Washington, end run keyed column #5 s/b f/-9
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo, must run column #9 s/b f/+1, must run column #12 s/b -4
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo, linebuck right column #9 s/b F0,2-7,linebuck wrong column #9 s/b F+1,2-6
Tyler Thigpen, Buffalo, linebuck right column #9 s/b F0,2-7,linebuck wrong column #9 s/b F+1,2-6
Peyton Manning, Denver, linebuck wrong column #2 s/b +10
Brock Osweiler, Denver, linebuck right column #9 s/b F0, 2-5
Donald Brown, Indianapolis, off tackle right column #6 s/b 0,#7 s/b +2, #10 s/b +1
New Orleans Advanced Long Pass 1 Man column, #12 s/b +31
Cleveland Advanced Long Pass 0 Man column, #3 s/b LG 2-5,12 x, 6-11
Bruce Gradkowski, Cincinnati, Short Pass Wrong roll of 9 split s/b 2-4,12
1983 USFL SEASON FIXED:
Changed Greg Ellis (LA) to Ricky Ellis
1991 SEASON FIXED:
Removed Jason Buck, defensive lineman, Cincinnati
Added Skip McClendon, defensive lineman, Cincinnati
1989 SEASON FIXED:
Removed extra and incorrect Carlos Carson instance, WR, Kansas City
(Carson finished with and remains on the Philadelphia roster)
Removed extra and incorrect Tom Ramsey instance, QB, Indianapolis
(Ramsey played with and remains on the New England roster)
1971 SEASON FIXED:
Added Herman Weaver, P, Detroit (Note: The punter rating for Charlie Weaver continues to exist to support in-progress seasons)
Greg Landry, QB Detroit, corrected flat pass, double teamed
Ike Hill, WR, Buffalo, longest gain s/b 26* (corrected card and stat line)
Added missing dots to receivers, running backs, and QBs
1969 SEASON FIXED:
Craig Morton, Dallas, Long Pass Right #4 s/b Long Gain
Craig Morton, Dallas, Long Pass 2-tmd #12 s/b +31
All Time Franchise Fixed:
Roger Staubach, Dallas, Long Pass Wrong roll of 11 split s/b 2-4