Chat Transcript with Tom Tippett
08/17/06 – Chat Excerpts (Tom Tippett)
#timz:: I'm sure we all feel a little bit apprehensive about possible changes in focus for the future
DMBTom:: I understand the apprehension, but I hope you'll be open to the possibility that this may in fact be a good thing.
DMBTom:: I would not have entered into this relationship if I didn't think it would lead to better things in the future.
#timz:: I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the very best
DMBTom:: Thanks for that
EricRJones:: I'm certainly open to the possibility, but I am - in all honesty - skeptical
#timz:: Love the game and hope this allows you more time for continued development
dmbluke:: I'm particularly excited that Tom can concentrate on the technical side
lowSKY64:: I'm soley a replayer
lowSKY64:: if it means we get 62-64 etc w/ line-ups faster
lowSKY64:: it's a great Thing!
DMBTom:: Eric, I understand the skepticism. I've been an employee of a company that was acquired, as has my wife, and I've seen these things go bad before. But some of them really do work out for the best, and we're going to do our level best to make sure this is one of those success stories.
#timz:: Tom, what can you tell us at this point about plans for the future?
#DMBJim:: From my perspective, I have just started here at DMB. Tom hired me to do the work described in the last newsletter and I have no reason to belive that work will not be done or abandoned. I know that Tom and Dayne are looking forward to improving the game and I am excited to be a part of that.
lowSKY64:: Tom - what wil be the most immediate impact for us from this?
DMBTom:: The most immediate impact is that I will soon be rid of a lot of administrative work that has kept me from doing the technical work that I really enjoy and really need to be doing.
ramsyanks:: so version 10 is still a reality?
DMBTom:: Yes, version 10 is a reality, though I'm not ready to talk in any detail about what it will include or when it will be ready to ship.
lowSKY64:: 9b seems close
#timz:: What additional resources does Simnasium add to the mix?
ldoggy:: Tom - must be tough with new people joining the chat, so I am sure you have answered or commented on quesitons like these. But general feeling I think is that old way staff spends 100% of time on the DMB 9, 10, etc product and this is no longer possible.
ldoggy:: but at same time, i think it a GREAT move for DMB to grow. Just don't want to see my favorite game of all time suffer
#JB50:: Tom, any insinuation of ethical impropriety on your part in taking this action is absurd. You of course have EVERY right to do what you wish with the business and product that YOU created. However, I have seen too many of these speeches from well-intended principals about how everything will be better, more resources, etc., and I have never seen ONE work out the way the principals said it would. I hope this case is the exception.
DMBTom:: Simnasium has some very strong web design capabilities that we can take advantage of. For example, while I'm not in a position to announce or commit to anything at this time, I always envisioned the creation of a place on the web where DMB gamers could find each other for NetPlay games, and that sort of thing would be right up the alley of the Simnasium programmers.
DMBTom:: JB, I hope this is the exception, too. I can't point you to any specific examples, but I've been in the software business since 1982, and I know there are success stories where a small company with expertise has been able to join forces with a larger company that can add missing pieces and take the product to a whole new level.
ldoggy:: JB50 - i think they can work out, but maybe not to the wishes of the 'original' community. I have no doubt that the product will have a wider audience reach and probably satisfy more users than they ar satisfying now
DMBTom:: Obviously, it's up to us to make it work. It's not just going to happen by itself.
ldoggy:: we'll be sure to keep our wishlists up to date!
dmbluke:: I want to stress that Simnasium already uses the DMB game engine.
#JB50:: Tom, let me take this opportunity to thank you personally for the many hours of enjoyment I've had with DMB. Recently I have my enjoyment of the game has diminished because there is not sufficient AI roster management. Either you use real life transactions and lineups, which has its own problems, or you do tedious manual work with the rosters. I do not have the time to do this any more. Do you envision anything being done on this front?
ldoggy:: Tom - also, I have tried simansium and as it is now the experience using DMB is so much better than simansium. I only used three teams, so i am sure i haven't given it a complete chance yet.
DMBTom:: JB, active roster management is very high on our to-do list, but as you can imagine, it's easier said than done, and I don't claim to have figured it all out yet.
#JB50:: Well at least the intent to address it is welcome news...thanks for the honest response.
dmbluke:: Simnasium leagues are comperable to DMB centralized leagues
ldoggy:: i know, i run a few centralized leagues and participate in some too.
dmbluke:: where a commissioner plays the games and posts results. Great for people with limited time.
DMBTom:: Idoggy ... I hope you and others will understand that Simnasium is just getting started. My first conversation with Dayne took place last April. We entered into a license agreement in August, they had a product ready for internal test in November, started beta testing in January, and went live in March. They showed me that they could get a lot of good work done in a hurry, and we have lots of ideas for new ways to enjoy DMB capabilities in web-based games.
lowSKY64:: I tried the freebee simnasium team and it was fun
#rowech:: Having been debating purchasing Diamond-Mind for a couple of weeks now, I've been amazed by how loyal customers are....what does this news mean for someone who is on the fence about purchasing?
ldoggy:: Also - luke/tom - every complaint is proof positive about how great the game is. All of us are hooked as you can see
#DMBJim:: And just today there was some posts under Net PLay Suggestions where a couple of gamers were talking about a centralized league site.
#JB50:: Tom, as long as the DMB experience is not compromised, the ability to find online opponents through the web will be a GREAT addition.
honus14:: For me, the best thing about DMB is the accessiblity of Tom, Luke, and now Jim - try calling SOM see if anybody gets on the phone with you at night to solve a router problem!
#JB50:: Tom, I have to admit that part of my concern about what will happen with DMB is colored by what has just happened with OOTP2006 after they were bought by SI. While I do not expect you to comment directly on that situation, is there anything you care to say about that TYPE of situation.
DMBTom:: rowech ... I honestly believe this is good news that should help you decide in favor of buying DMB, but I don't see this as a deciding factor by any means. I'd suggest buying the game, giving it a good workout, taking advantage of our free tech support to answer any questions. If you like it, keep it. If not, take advantage of our money-back guarantee. Less than 2% of new users take advantage of the guarantee, so I think the odds are very good that you'll be happy with your decision.
honus14:: I'm hoping nothing about that accessibility will change.
#rowech:: I worry about exactly what JB50 is saying...I watched a great game go to an unplayable one.
#JB50:: Tom, Luke, Jim, I absolutely echo the thanks for the outstanding support you give your products.
lowSKY64:: the best customer service in the hobby
ldoggy:: tom - re: simnasium using DMB engine. Can you comment on whether you feel the statistical output is the same (SImnasium vs DMB standalone). Are there differences between the two?
DMBTom:: JB, I wasn't aware that OOTP had been bought by SI. OOTP has been in and out of several relationships over the years, which suggests that most of them didn't work out. I'm not sure why that is, and I have to admit that I don't spend a lot of time worrying about that. I just try to focus on what I think we need to do to make thinks work for us and for our community.
#JB50:: I have to admit that part of the powerful appeal of OOTP2006 is twofold: the ability to have third party mods and the ability to import from the Lahman database. I know you guys depend on season disk sales to stay alive. Any thoughts on this subject?
#JB50:: Don't misunderstand, I am NOT AT ALL surreptitiously trying to boost OOTP. In fact, for historical gamers the new version has MAJOR problems.
DMBTom:: No, we don't depend on season disk sales to stay alive. We do believe that it's not possible to create accurate player ratings simply by applying formulas to the stats that are imported from a historical database.
#JB50:: Sorry for the wrong assumption. Thanks for the answer.
DMBTom:: We do charge for past seasons because we need to recover the cost of doing that research, but we don't make much money on our older seasons.
DMBTom:: Idoggy asked about the Simnasium versus DMB engine ... it's the same thing. Simnasium is using the version 9 engine as is. There are differences in the inputs to that engine, however ... different eras, teams, parks, players, etc.
#rowech:: My fears....1) Simnasium slowly makes many features for DMB pay to play instead of keeping it a computer game first and and an online game second. I wonder if you could tell us more of what Simnasium's vision for DMB is and perhaps more about the president of Simnasium.
dmbluke:: For those of you worrying about support, the first thing Dayne told me was to keep doing what I'm doing.
flyingpickle:: I was wondering the same things, rowech. Reading over the newsletter... it just all seemed a little vague to me. It seems like there are "changes" in the works, but what kinds of changes?
#JB50:: Forgive me for continuing on this line then, if you don't depend on season disks as a major part of your revenue source, is there any chance you will make it EASIER for third-party created players/teams/leagues to be imported on a large scale without so much manual work. If its a third party effort, you certainly aren't held responsible for the statistical results. People could take advantage of your game engine and take whatever results they got.
DMBTom:: Many of you play real-life seasons with a player pool that adds up to the league average. In Simnasium leagues, the composition of the player pool can be all over the map depending on the salary cap and the whims of the managers in the league. Some leagues will be heavy on offense, some will be all about pitching and defense, so the stats can vary, but the engine is the same.
ldoggy:: thanks tom. my few seasons it seemed like i was gettig some wacky results. player A in Simnasium would be a much different player than he is in DMB. But like you said, era's and player pool make all the difference
ldoggy:: i support JB's idea. To use players spanning multiple seasons is very costly righ tnow
Hemo2:: Tom, sorry for getting here late and asking what may already have been asked. The part about the newsletter that initially concerns me is Dayne saying that they can't guarantee every enhancement will be put into every product. I guess that means DMB vs. the online game? Regardless, my fear is that since Simnasium was Dayne's primary focus before this, it will continue to be his primary focus and the development of the DMB game will take back seat and they won't be as open to customer input as you were. I realize it's way too early to jump to any conclusions and you and the folks at DMB have always been great to your customers and there's no reason to doubt your commitment, but a few past products I've owned that were bought out kind of ruined the product, so I hope you understand my concern.
DMBTom:: The newsletter is vague about future plans for two reasons. First, while we wouldn't have done this if we didn't believe it would give us the opportunity to do great things, we've been part of Simnasium for only three days, so it's too early to say that we have a detailed road map in place. Second, I prefer not to announce new products or features before I've proved to myself that I know how to build it to an acceptable quality level, so I don't want to start talking about our ideas too soon.
#JB50:: Tom, that sounds eminently reasonable to me.
flyingpickle:: Thanks Tom
lowSKY64:: Tom, do you see Symnasium marketing the game differently than what has been done in the past - ads in periodicals stuff like that?
DMBTom:: I understand the concern about the DMB game taking a back seat to the online side, but I can assure you that Dayne and the rest of the Simnasium crew are open to customer input. I've got an inbasket full of emails with ideas that Simnasium has passed along from their customers.
#rowech:: I think this is the following is what I'm most worried about: Simnasium buys DMB to use their engine solely. Slowly, they continue to improve their website/game without working on DMB because all that's needed is the engine for them. Once the game stops being updated, now it's...pay $9.95 to play a season on our website.
RobertE13:: I guess my chief concern is backwards compatibility. I've got something like 50 DMB seasons, which is quite an investment from my point of view. It would be very disturbing to find out one day that they couldn't be used with version10
DMBTom:: Why would you assume they couldn't be used with version 10? Every release we've ever done has included a conversion feature that brings older seasons up to the new format. It would be stupid for us to make your investment in season disks obsolete.
ldoggy:: tom/luke/jim - thanks for giving us the forum to voice our concerns and the ability to have dialogue with the most important people in our gaming lives. have a good night
DMBTom:: As for new marketing ideas, I hope Simnasium comes up with some new ways to get the word out. We've been marketing the game in much the same way for many years, and we need some new ideas.
honus14:: Rowech, I'm still wondering about the other half of your question - to put it in "Butch Cassidy" terms, who ARE these guys? If we heard that DMB was bought by ESPN, that might mean one thing; if it was Microsoft, something else. But who is Simnasium, really?
#JB50:: Tom, I know the questions are coming fast. Any response on making it easier to import third party players on a large scale. If not, I understand.
DMBTom:: Sorry, JB, I'm having trouble keeping up with the questions, and I think it would be best for me to focus on the implications of the Simnasium deal rather than talk about specific features for the game right now.
#JB50:: no problem
DMBTom:: Who is Simnasium? It's a startup that was launched last year, so they're still in the process of introducing themselves to the world. I like the people a lot, and I'm impressed with their passion for baseball and their knowledge of the game. A couple of their guys make me feel like a neophyte when it comes to historical players.
honus14:: A strong sense of baseball history is encouraging.
#rowech:: I hate to be a pessimist but with a possible $200 investment....now I'm even more concerned....what happens if Simnasium fails in 1-2 years? What happens to DMB then?
Hemo2:: Tom, in addition to my concern about priority of Simnasium over DMB, it's my understanding Simnasium is an online 'pay' style product. I've made my All Time Team Greats league for some time now. I've never forgotten the help you gave me a long time ago when I first created it. Will the change with Simnasium "close" DMB such that I won't be able to make my owner players and distribute a free season disk such as mine?
DMBTom:: Rowech, I really don't think Simnasium is going to fail, but history is full of examples where the original founder bought back the company at fire-sale prices and kept on going.
DMBTom:: in situations like that. But I'm going to do my best to make sure nobody's even thinking about that possibility in the future.
flyingpickle:: There's definitely ideas we've all had that I think would make DMB better, but... overall, it's just a great product. My point is
DMBTom:: Nobody at Simnasium has ever even hinted about removing any features or changing any of DMB's business policies.
flyingpickle:: I'm sure that DMB isn't going to do anything to jeopardize the things that make their game great - namely, the engine.
dzanr:: Tom - What is your official position in Simnasium? IOW - Are you on the Org Chart? And if so, where?
#rowech:: Tom...just that the internet is litered with blank pages when you go to them....a concern really...and I feel bad because I really don't know you guys like many do here so I'm trying to piece this together on a week's experience.
DMBTom:: Rowech, I hear you. I'm just hoping you'll understand that we're talking about my life's work here. I wouldn't risk that unless I was convinced it was the best way to go.
#JB50:: Tom, your life's work has produced the best in-game baseball engine on the planet. Your passion shows. And one thing I appreciate about it is that it's not needlessly cluttered.
DMBTom:: I'm really looking forward to having a larger team of people who can help implement our ideas. Until now, all of the design, programming and testing was done by Luke and I, and we both wear a lot of other hats as well. It's been getting hard for me to find time to run the company and find time to do important baseball research and stay up on the latest technology and development tools. I'm convinced I can accomplish much more by focusing on research and design and working with others who have the skills and current knowledge to execute those ideas.
honus14:: Gotta run, just want to say thanks for doing this!
DMBTom:: no problem, thanks for coming
Mike Hais:: Tom, I think it would help reassure the DMB community if you could specifically indicate what merging with Simnasium will do to strengthen the core DMB product.
purchasearea:: Forgive me if this has already been covered, but can you reveal at least some general areas in the game that will be enhanced?
dzanr:: Tom - I'l ask it a different way. What kind of decision-making authority do you have? Can you veto any decision that you feel is fundamentally detrimental to the game?
Hemo2:: Tom, I guess I'd have to say that DMB has a proven track record, but Simnasium doesn't. Thus, the unknown creates many questions in my mind. Will Simansium develop DMB with as much passion as their online pay game? Will they support DMB as well as we've gotten from you in the past? Will they listen to their customers input for improving DMB or will they move to 'nickel & dime' mode like SOM? Why would they product duplicate products - DMB vs. Online Simnasium? One of my favorite companies, Jasc, sold out to Corel and it has not turned out well, so of course that's the first thing I thought of after reading the newsletter. I'm "optimistically depressed" at the moment, but you have given us the best baseball game out there, so I hope all my questions turn into non issues and wish you much success.
#rowech:: Is there any possible way to have a similar chat like this with the Simnasium folks involved as well?
#JB50:: Gotta run, thanks Tom!
DMBTom:: Hemo, thanks for the good wishes. Here's how I see things. Some people will assume the worst. Some will assume the best. Some will take a wait and see attitude. We can't control any of that, so all we can do is hunker down, get the work done, and do our best to prove that we got it right in a world where others often don't.
DMBTom:: Rowech ... my guess is that there's a forum thread or a chat underway at www.simnasium.com right now, but I've been too busy here to check that out.
desabends:: Bottom line is: No one will care in the end if there's still a DMB 10 years down the road and improvements are still being made. We just don't want simnasium to come in a botch a great game.
purchasearea:: If this merger goes as described, could I assume that we may even see Tom and crew available more often for more such discussions?
Hemo2:: You've proven it in the past Tom, so I suspect you'll do it again. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but I fear Simnasium will view their online pay game as their primary cash cow and it's not a product I have any interest in. It's DMB or nothing with me, so I apologize for taking a somewhat dim view on this. I greatly appreciate your honesty and will gladly continue as a DMB customer as long as it continues to be sold.
DMBTom:: Sorry, dzanr, I wasn't trying to sidestep your question before, just busy with other ones. I don't have any formal decision-making authority within Simnasium, but I'm not the least bit concerned about that. I wanted to give up my management responsibilties so I could get back to doing what I'm best at, which is studying the game and designing things based on what I'm learning. In the year-plus in which I've worked with Simnasium as a partner, they've been terrific. They've asked for my input on everything that matters and they've taken my input to heart. 98% of the time they've gone with my recommendation, and the other 2% of the time they've had good reasons for going in another direction.
caminante1:: good luck with this Tom, if it means new versions are more frequent and better I am all for it! I trust your judgment.
dzanr:: Tom - I hear you. I've been a software developer by profession for over 20 years, and have turned down offers twice to go into management so that I could stay close to the things that got me interested in the first place.
dzanr:: My fear is that Simnasium could easily be sold sometime down the road, and the owners may not have that same kind of personal relationship w/ you. That is, your influence may not remain as strong as it is now. But I wish you the best of luck, and for now, will take a positive outlook on this, and look forward to bigger and better (and more timely) things from DMB in the future.
DMBTom:: There's no question that I'm giving up some control here. But that's exactly what I felt I needed to do. In the past, I've tried to control too much, and while that has given me a certain amount of creative freedom and has helped keep the company on a conservative course that gave us the best chance to survive for the long term, it has severely limited the size and scope of the things we could attempt, too. I enjoy watching "Inside the Actors Studio", and I've often found myself thinking that I've gone about this the wrong way. The movies I enjoy so much are the product of a large group of talented people who collaborate to do something much bigger and better than they could do on their own. That's what I hope to accomplish with this decision.
#rowech:: Tom....another major question that we all are going to have is.....can we TRUST simnasium.
DMBTom:: dzanr ... you're right, there are scenarios where the end state isn't what we all want it to be. This move introduces some risks that were not there before, but doing the same thing the same way for too long carries its own risks.
DMBTom:: Rowech ... all I can say is that I've put my life's work in their hands, and I can't think of a better way to demonstrate my trust in them.
purchasearea:: I would agree that this risk is probably worth it, considering the market share. After all, it's your life, your money invloved here, not ours. Can't fault you for doing what you feel is best.
DMBTom:: got it
dzanr:: Thanks for the feedback, Tom. Good luck. G'night.
#rowech:: Thankss DMB team for this...I can't say I'm gung ho but I rarely am about any decision I make when it comes to spending money. This is just another variable to consider although I guess there's nothing wrong with the game as is and if I get enjoyment from it after purchasing it, I'll always have it.
lowSKY64:: Gotta go - thanks Tom, Luke, Jim, and Pat for being here tonight to answer our questions about the big announcement. You guys know how much your game means to so many of us. All the best
purchasearea:: I noticed a mention of field testing of the 9b patch in the newsletter. May I ask what this would involve?
DMBTom:: Rowech ... even if I got hit by a bus tomorrow and there was no version 10, you'd still have version 9 and 100 season disks to enjoy ... those things aren't going to go away no matter what happens ... and if I did get hit by a bus tomorrow, this deal actually improves the chances that someone will pick up the pieces and carry on without me
#rowech:: agreed....thank you.
#timz:: Thanks a lot, Tom, and very best of luck with the new arrangement!
DMBTom:: Thanks, Tim.
SmokinBats:: I know i'm pretty excited about the new arrangement.... I'm hoping we'll be able to start seeing more and more season disks updated with the splits stats(mid 70s especially)....
#Old97:: Anyone queued the REM music yet?
DMBTom:: Smokin, when we hired Jim Wheeler a few months ago, it was with the idea that we could take on more season disk projects like that one. We've publicly committed to adding the 1901 to 1926 seasons and to accelerate the pace of upgrades to existing seasons. In fact, this is one of the first tangible benefits of the Simnasium relationship. Without the potential to deploy that work in both the DMB game and online, we would have had a very difficult time finding the revue to justify hiring Jim, so those projects would have remained on the back burner. Having said that, I'm not sure yet what sequence we'll tackle those projects. I'll be working that out in the next few weeks.
purchasearea:: Can we expect this merger to keep the cost of DMB products down?
DMBTom:: I have no reason to believe that anything will change in that area, but those aren't my decisions to make any more.
SmokinBats:: will this go the route of some games where you have to buy an update every year?
DMBTom:: I can't imagine we would ever do that.
purchasearea:: Maybe I missed it, but when does this merger go into effect, or has it already happened?
DMBTom:: It's done. The documents were signed on Monday.
SmokinBats:: cool... i think this is the best news about dmb in a long time.... maybe the only time i was happier was when 78-81 was released...
DMBTom:: I was pretty happy when 78-81 were released, too ... that project seemed to take forever.
SmokinBats:: if you did deluxe say 74-77 how long would that take?
purchasearea:: Wow. So I guess we will start seeing things move really fast within the company. I'll be looking forward to any enhancements that are forthcoming. This could be a really exciting few months coming up.
Phylville:: How big of a company is Simnasiusm? How many programmers would they have that would be dedicated to DMB?
DMBTom:: If I recall, 78-81 took about a year or so, partly because the people involved were doing other projects in parallel ... so it's hard to say how long it would take to do 74-77 now
SmokinBats:: would it be quicker because you already have the classic, or would it be starting over again?
purchasearea:: Will Mr. Wood still be involved with the play-by-play? I think he does fantastic work.
DMBTom:: Purchase ... I believe things will move faster, but I don't want to set your expectations too high, either
#Old97:: I noticed there was mention of Tom, Luke, Pat and Jim but didn't see Jack's name anywhere. Will we have a new play-by-play guy?
#Old97:: Purchase beat me to the SEND button!
DMBTom:: Smokin ... it would be starting over ... since we have access to play-by-play data for those years, we can use more advanced methods for rating the players, and I'd prefer to upgrade those seasons completely rather than just add the left/right splits and leave everything else for a future upgrade
DMBTom:: Jack's not going anywhere, as far as I know ... the only reason he hasn't been mentioned is that he works for us on a part-time consulting basis as opposed to being a full-time employee like the others
DMBTom:: I think Jack does fantastic work, too
DMBTom:: Someone asked how many programmers Simnasium would devote to this. I don't know the answer to that, but I can say that I don't think of it in those terms. I'm more interested in the specialized knowledge that Simnasium can bring to the table. They're very well connected within Silicon Valley, so they can find the right people for all kinds of different things we might want to do.
SmokinBats:: what immediate effects of the merger will we see(if any)?
CUBS06:: My concern is that Tom will no longer have control of DMB and that decisions about the future of it will be in the hands of a Board of Directors with a different vision than his.
DMBTom:: Smokin ... it's hard to say ... in the past three days, I've been happier and more productive than at any time in the past two years, but I don't know how or when the benefits will first appear to the outside world
#BulldogSID:: Tom, what is in this for Symnasium? What are they getting out of the deal?
Phylville:: Tom ... your newsletter states ... Simnasium is based in Silicon Valley, which means they have ready access to people and companies that have mastered new technologies and platforms that we would be learning from scratch ... what new technologies do you envision Simnasium bringing to the table?
corkywilliams:: Well, I have seen good mergers and bad mergers... And we have all put our trust in Tom for a lot of years. I have been using the DMB product since 1997. And I own everything they make. I am going into this half-full, instead of half-empty.
DMBTom:: Our recent AGP update is the direct result of the Simnasium relationship ... we added more players and were spurred to break some barriers (such as our previous decision to ignore pre-1894 players) because of our work with Simnasium
corkywilliams:: Because I am sure there are a lot of use going half empty right now. Congrats Tom on the sale and I look forward to upcoming releases of the game (as long as they are not web based and I have to pay to be in a league :) )
corkywilliams:: It is also impressive that all of the DMB folks are in the chat room right now. I think it speaks wonders for them and product. And if this frees up more time for Tom to spend expanding the product. Then I think it is great. I have always wanted Home and Away stats in the program... I even wrote an application to do it myself. I just want it easier in the program.
sposfan1:: Tom, just got home from a ballgame to this news. very surprised, but congratulations are in order for you and the gang at DMB. As long as this doesn't affect my postings, it's all good :) If you really feel more energized now all the better, hopefully you will have more time to work on the game itself instead of marketing and whatever.
SmokinBats:: I have to agree Corky.... this is the best news in a long time for me..... I've been around since they were with Pursue the Pennant, and have loved the games a long time...
corkywilliams:: Okay. I will stop chatting now... I seem to be hogging the bandwidth.
SmokinBats:: I think my first year was version 4 maybe... the one that the weather system came around on...
DMBTom:: Phylville ... that's a very good question, but I can't get too specific at this stage ... Simnasium is already very strong on the web development front, but I'll have to leave the rest up to your imagination for now.
DMBTom:: Smokin, if it was version 4, that would be 1992
#Saboda:: Tom, will this merger be beneficial to those of us who have no interest in being online or playing in a league?
CUBS06:: I'm afraid I have to run. Wish I could have had time to chat more but thanks to all of the DMB personnel for being available tonight. Good luck in your new venture.
#Saboda:: (Oh and congrats, by the way) : )
corkywilliams:: And to Luke... You have always been open and willing to help... So, since you are online... I just wanted to say Thanks...
corkywilliams:: And Pat... Thanks for always taking my orders... and sending me replacement disks when my system crashed.
dmbpat:: I'm always happy to take orders :-)
corkywilliams:: And Tom... For building a great game for the ground up... Makes me want to do it too. I have built some of the basic stuff, but still years away
CraigSca:: My apologies if this has already been asked - but what kind of creative control will Tom still have on the game?
Phylville:: My imagination ??? Okay .... I shall run amuck ..... Sega produces the Championship Manager Football game it has a 2D engine where the entire game unfolds on the pitch in animation ..... it is VERY impressive ... could we see a development such as this for DMB .... such as fielder movement and ball placement? This would be the most animation I would want.
CraigSca:: And...if he does have creative control, is it guaranteed contractually?
DMBTom:: Saboda ... I believe it will be beneficial to everyone, though it would be unrealistic to think that everyone is going to benefit equally. A few minutes ago, I talked about how this relationship has enabled us to commit to more past season projects.
DMBTom:: Craig ... I don't have any guarantees of creative control, but I didn't ask for any, either ... I've been working with the Simnasium people for more than a year, and they've always let me take the lead on all issues related to game design and player ratings
CraigSca:: What is your personal hope for the future? It's my understanding is that this merger will "lift" the management side from your shoulders. What are you hoping to do in the future with DMB?
DMBTom:: Phylville ... I can't say that animation is a high priority, though we're now in a much better position to consider such things ... Simnasium shares our desire to focus on realism, statistical accuracy, and strategy ... in fact, they were founded on the idea of building strategy-oriented games for people like us
SmokinBats:: my hunch is we'll see a lot of work on the season disks as that would benefit both the dmb crowd and the simmasium crowd....
CraigSca:: Oh - and you spoke before about wanting to create a career-based simulation. How does this effect that?
DMBTom:: Craig ... I can't tell you about specific projects I'm working on how or will be working on in the future, but I can say a few things ... one, I'll have more time to work on new ideas for both the DMB Windows game and Simnasium's online games ... two, I'll be able to spend more time thinking about what needs to be done and less time worrying about whether Luke and I actually know how to implement everything we'd like to do
CraigSca:: Ah ok. So the goal is to take DMB into the next millenium (for lack of a better term) utilzing Simnasium's development staff.
#Saboda:: Sounds great, Tom! Think this might enable Mac compatability?
corkywilliams:: Does this mean you are moving to Silicon Valley?
DMBTom:: Nope, I'm staying right here in Lexington, MA
CraigSca:: Is there anything contractually saying that Simnasium will continue to develop and release a Windows-based version of the game?
#Saboda:: (Though now that I think about it, we'll have Mac compatability anyway with their new OS that "does Windows". Sorry, I wasn't thinking.
SmokinBats:: will we see you doing the weblog again like you used to do???
#Saboda:: Are you smoking a big Macanudo right now?
corkywilliams:: The Mac that does windows is just via bootup and if you purchase a copy of windows. Really, it will run because the hardward is the same. But you will have to boot and reboot to change between windows and osx... But this is sort of off topic
DMBTom:: Smokin ... I'd be surprised if the blog is activated again any time soon ... one of the major goals of this deal is to increase the pace of product development by having someone else take over my administrative duties, so as much as I enjoyed doing the blog for those two years, it doesn't make sense for me to spend my time that way
DMBTom:: Saboda ... I don't even know what a Macanudo is <grin>
#timz:: You forget, Saboda: Tom is no longer a Captain of Industry. He's just a working stiff. No more Macanudos for him
DMBTom:: I was a captain of industry before? Wish someone had told me.
24carrots:: Does Simnasium have any current or potential interest in other sports, or just baseball?
pmoylan:: I didn't pay much attention to the first announcement of Simnasium. How do I check it out? Is it simnasium.com?
DMBTom:: Yes, Simnasium is planning to offer games for other sports, but nothing has been announced yet.
#Saboda:: In all seriousness, Tom, I totally trust you and your instincts and hope I like this change better than the DH.
DMBTom:: I like the DH, so I'm not sure how to respond to that.
BiggieCohen:: How will ProQuest being made unavailable to SABR users effect the release of past seasons?
SmokinBats:: will we see some other sports games from DMB?
#Saboda:: Oh no!
Phylville:: Tom ... your pre-season projected team standings must have taken a considerable amount of time. Will you continue to do these? Or is this time now going to be spent on game development?
#Shonn71:: I think I know what the topic of the night is, but can I ask a question about the AGP disk?
DMBTom:: I don't see DMB expanding beyond baseball for the foreseeable future ... we have plenty of baseball projects to keep us busy for years
CraigSca:: Where do you want the game to be? You obviously did this to increase the amount of time you can spend on new ideas. What new ideas are you looking to bring to DMB - and which one of these was most frustrating to you because you had to manage the business-side as well?
DMBTom:: Phyl ... yes the preseason projections do take a lot of time ... it's one of my favorite projects every year, so I'm going to do my best to find time to keep doing it, but there's no question that it does take time away from working on the game
DMBTom:: Yes, you can ask about the AGP disk
#Shonn71:: Thanks. Of the 1760 players on it, what is the approx % breakdown of hitters vs. pitchers?
DMBTom:: Craig ... I'll mention a lot of things I'd like to see in the game as long as you understand that I'm not making any promises or putting any timetables on anything ... agreed?
DMBTom:: off the top of my head, I'd guess that it's 55% hitters, 45% pitchers
corkywilliams:: Oooo.... Come on... Promises... I heart promises
CraigSca:: Sure - no time tables. I'd just like to understand your vision... Hope you don't mind if I salivate, however
#Shonn71:: Sounds good. Thanks!
sposfan1:: I can be quiet and listen too! it's hard, but I can
SmokinBats:: I can be quiet too
DMBTom:: ok, here goes, in no particular order ... computer GM to make roster decisions during a replay season ... out of town scoreboard ... lots and lots of splits ... a better way for NetPlay opponents to find each other and get hooked up ... spectators for NetPlay games ... expanded manager profiles to give you more control over tactics and player usage ... general improvements to the user interface ... better user interface for making trades ... more park-specific play-by-play ... HTML boxscores, scoresheets, and game logs ...
DMBTom:: I'm not done, just catching my breath
#Saboda:: Wow, those all sound fabulous! I'll be happy even if just a few of those happen!
BiggieCohen:: Remember, Elan, you promised to keep quiet.
CraigSca:: And they'll be in the game when?
CraigSca:: Great stuff, Tom
pmoylan:: I'm told Holmeed will come back if you put in graphics.
#DMBJim:: While Tom catches his breath, the AGP disk has 752 pitchers, 994 batters, and 14 dual rated players
sposfan1:: pmoylan... lol, get back to the braves bullpen
pmoylan:: Am I still in the organizatin?
#Shonn71:: Awesome. Thanks for the info Jim. I havent bought it yet, but I'm already setting up my draft league
DMBTom:: ... more schedule templates ... more real-life transaction types (e.g. military leave) ... more intelligent computer manager ... better insight into baserunning and throwing decisions ... faster computer drafting ... better user interface for signing free agents
sposfan1:: ok, please excuse me, I have to go change my underwear now. this will all be in the 9b patch right? <G>
BiggieCohen:: The nice thing about your list Tom is there is something for everyone. Draft leagues. Replay leagues. Solo gamers. Netplay gamers.
CraigSca:: It's interesting that a lot of these features seem to have nothing to do with a web-based game. That's great news.
DMBTom:: I can't look at any part of the product without seeing ten ways we can make it better, but I'm also interested in improving some things that don't make for good marketing copy. For example, I could spend a year making the computer manager smarter and we'd end up with a very short list of features to list on the version 10 brochure, but that might be more important to many of you than twenty other features.
sposfan1:: 2 serious questions, one not really for me, there's been someone I've been working on to convince them to try DMB, he's posted on the forums and others and I've exchanged a ton of emails with him. He was just about to buy and now is a bit worried about "I had pretty much decided to buy DMB. Have spent basically all day picking seasons I would want and then BOOM. Just very fearful after watching OOTP. Worry this group bought this to force DMB players to pay them per season played instead of having things forever
CraigSca:: Yeah, that was rowech, right? He was just here.
sposfan1:: Also, and this one is more for me, do you think the $5 upgrade policy, will continue to be honoured (see, canadian spelling!), otherwise I have an order for tomorrow am.
SmokinBats:: excellent question sposfan
#Saboda:: I suspect you're right, Tom, most of your fans are much more into quality than quantity, feature-wise. It's DM's quality that sets it apart from its competitors.
pmoylan:: Sposfan, what mean by "pay them per season played instead of having things forever." Once you buy the disk, you have it, right?
CraigSca:: Actually, the part I love is that Tom doesn't putz around and put unproven fluff in the game. Everything in there is statistically-based. For empirical guys like myself, that's very important.
sposfan1:: I think he means that it would turn into an online game only. I pretty much assured him it wouldn't I can't see it going in that direction, but what the heck do I know
BoydsOfSummer:: just promise there will be a new season every year and all the old ones will become deluxe. Hell,I'll play V9 or 10 for the rest of me life.
corkywilliams:: Yeah, I could go without graphics for the rest of the my life. I enjoy the imagination side of the game, much more than the view of the game.
sposfan1:: corky, amen brothah!
CraigSca:: I'm happy with V9, but I'd love a V10, 11, etc...and for business reasons, I'm sure Tom would like that as well
BiggieCohen:: Me, too. That and Jack's PBP is what drives me to play.
DMBTom:: Please keep in mind that Simnasium is currently offering one way to play online, but that's far from the only way that DMB features can be packaged for online play. To me, the net is a natural place for a game like ours because it helps you find people to play with, either in a league or just for a few ad hoc games, and if done right, it can provide access to the game for people with all kinds of computers and other devices that can be connected to the net.
#Shonn71:: I have one future request. Please promise not to hire Bill Bavasi (soon to be unemployed) to do player rating evaluations.
CraigSca:: That's a good point, Tom. I just hope that one will be able to buy a license and not be nickeled and dimed. At least make that an option.
dmbluke:: Simnasium just announced that it will give DMB customers a free team credit. Send Pat (firstname.lastname@example.org) an email if you're interested.
sposfan1:: Tom, I realize that and personally have no problem, the more people that play DMB the better, I think that he's more worried that the entire game including the engine will only be available online and will require a yearly fee to continue playing.
BiggieCohen:: My main concern is being able to play without being hooked up to the Net.
sposfan1:: Biggie, i think that's his other big worry
CraigSca:: oh, btw - I'd love an import of CSV file feature. That way I can "create" my own fictional leagues for "play" in DMB. How's that for a tangent?
BoydsOfSummer:: could make running leagues easier and better down the road but as of now I have no interest in what simnasium offers
sposfan1:: I'd love to see the ability to port dmb to a pda... it'd then stand for: Personal Dmb Apparatus
CraigSca:: Personally, I play DMB to be taken back in time - not for competitive reasons. There's a certain comfort in replaying the game as you remember it as an adolescent. There's a certain joy in trotting out Glenn Gulliver as my 3B for the '82 Orioles.
pmoylan:: Yeah, I'm a solo player - after being on this board, I have no desire to play ball with your guys! :-) Seriously, I would pay a yearly fee in lieu of purchasing season disks and upgrades, assuming the price was reasonable. Also, I wouldn't mind playing solo on line instead of downloading software on my computer. Either way works fine for me, but I understand Biggie's concern.
DMBTom:: I can honestly say that nobody at Simnasium has ever suggested any changes in our pricing model. But let's run with this idea for a moment anyway, just for grins. If you're a typical DMB customer today, you spend $29.95 on an upgrade every 2-3 years, you buy our annual season disk for $29.95, and you buy some past seasons from time to time. Let's say you spend an average of $60 per year on those products. Suppose, hypothetically, all of DMB's features and our entire season disk catalog was offered online for an annual subscription of $49.95. For that price, you'd get access to everything we do and your game would always have the latest features and bug fixes because you'd be running the server copy. You'd be spending less than you are now and getting access to a wider variety of seasons. Just to be clear, this is a hypothetical that I've never discussed this with Simnasium or anyone else, but if this option were available, why would this be a bad thing?
pmoylan:: Tom - Exactly what I meant. This is clearly the way things are going and it makes sense - you save all those costs on disks, mailing etc.
corkywilliams:: Well, honestly Tom, because the Simnasium display doesn't have everything to offer. I would probably continue to build off the version 9 than pay a $50 subscription fee. This would also require all of the people in my league (over 40) to then purcahse the $50 subscription.
CraigSca:: My only concern is that would require an active internet connection, correct?
CraigSca:: I love playing DMB on business trips, and an active connection is not always feasible.
CraigSca:: Otherwise I'd have no problem with it.
corkywilliams:: Since my league is centralized... Versus other running it. I can give DMB statistics and fun to everyone in my league... Without them having to pay anything.
sposfan1:: I don't know off the top of me head whether it's good or bad. the difference would be that when I buy the game disks, I always have the game, no matter what, if I buy the subscription, i then have the game for that year only. If I don't renew, I have nothing
sposfan1:: Kinda like leasing a car vs buying it
pmoylan:: I don't think he's suggesting a transition to this. It would be an option.
CraigSca:: There's a secure feeling in having the disk or files on your PC.
sposfan1:: if it were an option that's something totally different,
corkywilliams:: Right. I to spos point. I can play 1982 100 times from 2006 until 2010, but in an online model... I can play one season... Not to say that will not change.
corkywilliams:: But it does make an interesting point.
corkywilliams:: Sorry. I fibbed. I only have 39 owners in my league
DMBTom:: Craig, I agree. We're not yet at the point where everyone is always connected no matter where they are, so it doesn't make sense to make this the only way to play the game.
relic52:: Tom. I compile seasons. I enjoy putting together consecutive series' of years - for instance 1942-1944 - DMB is as much hobby and a living baseball encyclopedia to me.
BiggieCohen:: My concern is like Elans. I'd rather own given the option. If something were to happen to DMB or if I were disatisfied with the online product I'd be left with nothing. The way things are now I still have whjat I have bought int the past and what I plan to buy in the future.
DMBTom:: Corky ... you're right, you can do things with the DMB game that are not available in Simnasium's current model ... but what if you could go online and play the 1982 season 100 times, or play against the computer manager, and run your own computer draft, and so on?
BiggieCohen:: You can put it on the board...YES!
SmokinBats:: thought some might be interesting in the simmasium message board
corkywilliams:: Right... Agreed. But I could only do that as long as I was playing the active subscription. Right now (and I am probably the exception to the rule) but since I own all of the seasons, I can combine (1932 with 1968) which I do.
DMBTom:: I'm not saying that an online model is better than a PC model ... both have their strengths, and that's why our working assumption is that Simnasium and Diamond Mind will continue to provide multiple options
sposfan1:: It's not just the active connection, though that's obviously a major sticking point, it's the fact that if I buy a DMB season, I HAVE the disk, i can install, uninstall, whatever, to my hearts content. I can stop playing DMB for 2 years ( yeah right) and then go back to it and I still have the disk, All for the same $30, I do realize we're talking hypothetically here though!
corkywilliams:: Right... But I guess that brings up something interesting... Will DMB continue to use the name DMB? Or will disks that are setn out now be called Simnasium?
corkywilliams:: When I start up the application... will I be starting Simnasium 9b?
sposfan1:: corky... LOL
#Saboda:: I bet it stays DMB, everyone knows that's the gold standard
corkywilliams:: And right... everything is hypothetical
corkywilliams:: I mean I work in an online world. I code and develop all day. That is all I do.
BiggieCohen:: Tom, might I ask you a question unrelated to the news from the E-letter?
corkywilliams:: Heck, I have written close to 500,000 lines of code for hofl.com and I will still keep on writing because that is also part that I enjoy about DMB. Is the way that you can manipulate the reprts to get what you want.
DMBTom:: spos ... I couldn't agree more ... I'm a consumer of many products, too, so I understand the buyer's side of this question ... one thing I take pride in is that I've always approached decisions about DMB's products, policies, and prices from the consumer's point of view ... it would be hypocritical for me to behave one way as a consumer and run DMB in a way that would make me not want to be a customer of my own business
BiggieCohen:: It might be my imagination, but teams that are pitching heavy like the 2005 White Sox, 67 White Sox and others have difficulty repeating their real-life success. Is there anything in the offing that would help low scoring teams better replicate their records?
sposfan1:: wow... he called me spos! :) Tom, that's the way I figured you'd see it, and you're answer is pretty much almost word for word what I wrote Rowech.
DMBTom:: I fully expect the Diamond Mind name will live on ... Simnasium is a new company and wants to benefit from the reputation we've earned, so they want to use the Diamond Mind name
corkywilliams:: Thanks Tom.
DMBTom:: Biggie ... there's no bias against low-scoring teams ... we just hate the White Sox
SmokinBats:: will we have 9b to go along with the 2006 season disk you think?
DMBTom:: just kidding, of course
pmoylan:: I assume then Simnasium will be the web site, with games such as DMB on the site?
DMBTom:: I'll be disapointed if 9b isn't in your hands by the end of September
sposfan1:: I just want to say thank you very much to Tom, Luke, Pat and Jim for taking part in this, I think I speak for everyone when we say we really appreciate your time right now
BiggieCohen:: *sigh* I knew there was a cospiracy. I wish Skunkle were here to read it.
corkywilliams:: Ha, Tom that bring up a good point... I have always wondered if there were just guys that you didn't like... That no matter what their stats were... If you just made them stink
corkywilliams:: Like if you have a pure hatred for Joe Morgan (Like a lot of people do) then I always just wonder if Joe Morgan might not perform to statistical accuracy because Tom didn't want it to happen
DMBTom:: oddly enough, I can't think of too many guys I don't like ... but there are guys I do like, and they're usually the guys who play really good defense, do all of the little things well, play smart and are underrated by the national media
sposfan1:: I would hope to heck I look better than she does!
DMBTom:: actually, Joe Morgan was my favorite player for a few years
sposfan1:: Corky, have you ever seen
corkywilliams:: Oh, there are a few that I dont like... But you always have to give it up for the scrappy guys that play the game right... Even if they are not for your home team
sposfan1:: firejoemorgan.blogspot.com actually
relic52:: Frank Robinson has always underperformed in ATGP 1 - even traded to the O's - hundreds of replays...
DMBTom:: interesting ... not sure why that would be the case
corkywilliams:: Yeah... Heck... I had Joe Morgan as my leadoff hitter for years... Even though he wasn't very nice to me when I met him
sposfan1:: Joe was a great great ballplayer, but as great as he was on the field he's just as putrid talking about the game
corkywilliams:: It is what we do for stats.
SmokinBats:: Robinson for me has always been a stud... Just finished 56 draft league and he hit 38 homers and drove in 120 runs...
#timz:: Maybe he wanted to bat cleanup?
corkywilliams:: I think that is how a lot of people feel about Joe... Loved the way he played the game... Find it hard to digest when he is on the TV.
CraigSca:: Tom - have you ever thought about adding day-to-day injuries to the game, rather than just the standard "out for X days"?
sposfan1:: I wonder if that's what Frank dreams about when he falls asleep in the dugout these days
relic52:: This is All-time Greatest Players...
DMBTom:: when you say he underperformed, I assume you mean he underperformed more than everyone else ... I would expect everyone to underperform when facing that caliber of opposition every game
sposfan1:: It's funny because Joe was the exact type of ballplayer he disdains today.
hph44:: just want to say that i enjoy your game and hope that your merger brings nothing but the best
DMBTom:: thanks very much
sposfan1:: uhoh Robert's here, better get my thesaurus
#Shonn71:: I remember earlier this year when the Phillies had an 8 game winning streak. Joe said it was because they were "playing good baseball". Thanks for the insight, Joe
DMBTom:: I'm going to have to leave soon ... I have to get up and take the garbage out in about six hours
corkywilliams:: That is classic Joe Morgan
relic52:: Spos - Robby's quote on Astacio's 2 hit shutout... "You've seen signs of it, parts of it, it just clicked tonight." - Apparently Frank missed it... Zzzzzzz
corkywilliams:: Tom, thanks for staying up with us and chatting about the future. I am sure we all appreciate that...
corkywilliams:: I know I do.
SmokinBats:: it'll be interesting to see what the game looks like this time next year....
relic52:: Tom. Regarding FR in ATGP - I'm not kidding - makes no sense.
sposfan1:: From baseball prospectus about Joe We usually don't talk about announcers in this space, because for the most part, they don't merit much discussion. There's a lot of mediocrity in the field, and since we usually watch the game in tandem with MLB.com's Gamecast, sometimes the announcers are completely superfluous to the televised baseball experience. Try watching a game with the mute button on--you might be surprised to learn that the thing you miss most is the crowd noise.
sposfan1:: Morgan goes on a rant about why this is a good idea--it's a confusing flurry of verbiage about how Maddux wasn't brought in to be the Dodgers' "horse," he used to be a horse but he isn't a horse anymore, and you wouldn't want him thinking that you want him to be a horse when that's someone else's job, and Jason Schmidt, now he is the Giants' horse, so that's different&
sposfan1:: Huh? Maddux threw 68 pitches. Morgan knows this, if he's been listening to his announcing partner, Jon Miller, who has mentioned Maddux's low pitch count repeatedly. Where does that fit in with all of Morgan's equine metaphors? Does asking a guy to pitch the ninth inning, even if he hasn't yet thrown 70 pitches, makes him a horse?
DMBTom:: Bye everyone ... thanks for your support all these years ... we'll do our best to continue earning it in the future