Strat-O-Matic Hockey 2014 New Features

Hockey 2014 Delivers More Drama and Tactics
By Glenn Guzzo
Strat-O-Matic Hockey gamers craved more drama when they relived their greatest games. Now they’ve got it. They wanted to be able to call a timeout to rest key skaters – just like real NHL coaches. Now they can. And because no one who plays Strat-O-Matic ever has enough stats, now they’ve got more.
Those and many more improvements are in the new-features list for the forthcoming Strat-O-Matic Hockey 2014 Windows game, which supports the newly offered NHL seasons: 2013-14, 1989-90 and 1954-55.
The first star of the new game is the dramatic way that Game Highlights will be displayed. It will work much like your DVR remote control, with a Play/Pause button, speed control, and a Next/Previous button – all allowing you to control how swiftly you navigate the play-by-play involved in goals and great saves. Click the Play button and, as the Help file tells us, “Each highlight is described using play-by-play, and pauses are experienced just before a great save or a goal is scored as a way of increasing anticipation and tension.” Click the Pause button and you have the option of resuming when ready or moving directly to the next highlight by clicking Next. (Note: To be perfectly clear, Game Highlights are textual descriptions of the action – not video highlights!)
It’s a compelling new way to relive memorable games and to find the turning points in league games played on an opponent’s computer.
Speaking of stars, the game now balances the Stars of the Game amongst goalies and skaters more equitably and does a better job of handling the three stars in tie games. This is one of several improvements in computer logic – some accomplished as new features, some as bug fixes. For instance, Draft-O-Matic will better recognize the value of goalies in shortened NHL seasons (a 30-game goalie from a 48-game season will have more value than a 30-game goalie from a full season). A bug fix will make the computer manager smarter about generating lines for stock teams.
Gamers will be smarter coaches, too, with such improvements as the ability to call a strategic timeout to rest fatigued skaters, and a display of more complete data when faced with a Shoot-Penetrate-Pass decision on optional Outside Shots. Now, gamers will see the offensive player’s tendency rating, his Breakaway/Penetration rating, and the primary defender’s name and defensive rating (the defensive rating actually will reflect the combined effect of the multiple defenders who could be involved when applying the Super Advanced Penetration Rule).
Because stats are as important to a Strat-O-Matic gamer’s life as air to breathe, new League Leader boards have six new categories — three new categories for skaters (Power Play Assists, Power Play Points, and Power Play Shots) and three more for goalies (Faceoffs Forced, Rebounds Allowed, Losses).
And in the category of Man vs. Machine, gamers will get the ever-higher degree of control they consistently demand, this time in the form of interacting with Auto Transactions (e.g. stopping auto-plays at each transaction to allow manual line changes) or opting out of the Windows game’s process to force more short-handed breakaways than the board game produces.
There’s more: Updated Blogger/Twitter support for when you just have to share, transaction files for the three new seasons, improved photo displays, improved handling of certain penalty situations and bug fixes involving time-of-goal displays.
Read all about it below:
1) View Game Highlights – Experience a game’s highlights replaying before your eyes with the exciting new View Game Highlights feature!  This feature displays the highlights from the Game Highlights Report in an exciting way.  It allows you to experience the highlights in more of a "real time" manner, allowing the game to unfold as told by the story of the highlights.  There are many ways to enjoy this feature.  For instance, when you autoplay a season you miss out on the in-game excitement of great performances (like a hat-trick or a goalie stopping a breakaway to preserve the victory).  With the View Game Highlights feature, you can now experience these things.  Additionally, if you are in an email league, you now simply get your results by opening up a Boxscore or Game Highlights Report and reading it.  No anticipation of the game-winning goal is experienced – it all just hits you in the face.  But with View Game Highlights, your opponents can send you the files and you can watch the highlights 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 View Game Highlights feature you can do just that. 
2) Automatic Generation of Computer Managers when using Auto Transactions – A new checkbox has been added to the League Options Lineup screen called "Stop Autoplay on Transaction."  This checkbox controls what happens after a transaction has been automatically made.  If the box is checked then Autoplay will be stopped after the transaction has been processed.  This will allow you to manually adjust the computer manager to handle the player moves.  However, if this checkbox is left unchecked then the game will automatically regenerate the computer manager for any team involved in a transaction.  This will allow Autoplay to continue on without any manual intervention.
3) Timeouts – Timeouts have been added when using the optional Skater Fatigue System.  Each team is allotted only one timeout per game, so use yours wisely!
4) Free Agency Transactions – Support for acquiring and dropping players from/to the FREE AGENTS pool has been added to the Automatic Transactions function. 
5) League Leaders – The League Leaders report now has six new categories. 
  • For Skaters, the following categories have been added: Power Play Assists, Power Play Points, and Power Play Shots
  • For Goalies, the following categories have been added: Faceoffs Forced, Rebounds Allowed, Losses

6) Don’t Force Shorthanded Skating Breakaway – This new Max Rule overrides the Computer Game Adjustments and forces a true random number to be used when skating while shorthanded.  This will result in lower shorthanded goals than were scored in real life (due to the way the game is restructured for computer play).  However, many customers have requested that this option be added.

7) Outside Decision – The Outside Decision dialog now displays more information to help you to decide if you wish to penetrate. Now listed is the offensive player’s tendency rating, his Breakaway/Penetration rating, and the primary defender’s name and defensive rating.  Note that the percentages listed are an amalgam of the primary player’s defensive rating and the defensemen’s defensive ratings (as described in the Super Advanced Penetration Rule).
8) Stars of Game – The Stars of Game calculations have been improved to better reflect the star selection for tie games.  Also logic has been added to try to balance the stars amongst goalies and skaters more equitably.
9) Player Picture Display – Following a goal, the goal-scorer’s picture will remain displayed on the scoreboard.  Previously, the goaltender’s picture was being displayed whether or not he made a save or allowed the goal to be scored.
10) Draft-O-Matic – Draft-O-Matic has been improved to better support strike-shortened seasons.  More logic has been added to choose goalies at appropriate points in the draft given the fewer number of games that each team (and goalie) played during those years.  Note that the "Games per team" field on the Update League dialog contains the number of games that will be used for these computations.  
11) Blogger & Twitter 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!  The Twitter access code was also completely rewritten to support Twitter’s new API.
12) Transaction Files – Transaction files for the following seasons have been included with this year’s version: 1954-55, 1989-90, and 2013-14.
13) Support for New Seasons – Support for the 1954-55, 1989-90, and 2013-14 seasons has been added to the game.
1) Game Highlights Report – Some of the results in this report were displaying the wrong team name for the player who recorded a highlight.
2) Outside Decision – The percentages on the Outside Decision dialog were not showing correctly when utilizing the Alternate Penetration System.
3) Coincidental Plus 2 Minute Penalty – If there is coincidental plus 2-minute penalty, then the team receiving the penalty needs to have another player on the ice serve the extra two minute penalty.  If the team that received the penalty had 4 men on the ice then when the dialog appeared to select another player to serve the penalty the center position was not greyed out even though there was nobody at the position.
4) Power Play Goal Times – Sometimes power-play goals were shown being scored after the power play ended (according to the game clock).  This was due to calculation differences between the game clock and the power play timing mechanism. 
5) Goal Scoring Times – Sometimes two goals where shown in the boxscore as being scored at the same time.
6) Overtime Losses in Team-vs-Team Stats – The team-vs-team records on the Team Notebook and Team Stats pages were not counting OT losses correctly. The game was counting OT or shootout losses as both a regulation-time loss and an OT loss.
7) Spurious Loose Puck – When a delayed penalty was called during a full-strength situation and the shot resulted in a "lose puck to any D" the game was treating this situation as if it was a loose puck.
8) Wrong Number of Players – On rare occasions the game would not have the correct number of players on the ice at the start of a power play.
9) Extra Skater order not followed – In the computer manager, you can order your preference for the Extra Skater when a goalie is pulled.  However, a bug existed in previous versions where the list was not properly followed in all circumstances. 
10) Computer Manager Lines for Stock Teams – When running the computer manager-generation feature for stock teams, some high-scoring players were not being placed properly on the top lines.
11) Pending Penalties – When a penalty was pending against a short-handed team and a goal was scored, both the in-progress penalty and the pending penalty were both cancelled by the goal in some circumstances.  Only the in-progress penalty should be cancelled in such a case.
12) Deflection Goals – The scoreboard was not showing the player picture of the goal scorer for goals that were scored off of deflections.
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.
1) 2012-13 Dallas – Cristopher Nilstorp’s name was spelled incorrectly.
2) 1984-85 Boston – Center Doug Kostynski was not on roster.
3) 2005 Hall of Fame rosters have been renamed to All Time Greats.