OOTP 13 - The Road To Release, Part 5:
Storylines - Interactive Narratives Drive OOTP 13

Storylines have been a major part of OOTP since version 11, and they've received a major revamp in OOTP 13. All of us love to follow baseball's on- and off-field drama, so Storylines let you do the same in your league, with the added bonus that now they're interactive. (If Storylines aren't your thing, you can easily turn them off.)

Storylines - An Introduction

Launched in OOTP 11 and now further refined in OOTP 13, Storylines give immersive depth to the algorithm-based world of news in the OOTP Universe. They provide a way for OOTP to create either simple or complex series of stories that can have deeply meaningful impacts on players and their teams throughout the game.

Let's get started with a little back story: As with most things in OOTP, Storylines were conceived as a way to add flowing, non-game-engine-generated narratives to OOTP leagues. Storylines started as a simple concept that became more complex once work began adding the feature to the game, mostly due to the fact that it has to tie into one of (if not the most) powerful and complex game engines out there.

Now more than just off-field injuries

In past releases of OOTP, Storylines were mainly focused on the area of off-field injuries. Have you seen a note that a player was hurt changing the tires on his car? Or maybe that he missed a few games after shocking himself? Well, those were Storylines. There were, however, numerous non-injury-related stories present too. Maybe you read about a player who made a TV commercial selling cars. Or a dispute over a player's age that was causing some controversy. Those were Storylines too. And if you liked those, you'll like what's in store for OOTP 13.

We've expanded the number of Storylines in the game, not only in content, but also reaching further beyond off-field injuries. Storylines involving players' habits off the field, such as driving an RV to the stadium parking lot, might just appear in your league. You might also read about managers making TV appearances on late night TV, or even players caught doing things they probably shouldn't have been doing. All types of interesting, creative and sometimes funny stories are waiting to be told in OOTP 13.

OOTP 13 Adds Interactive Storylines!

While past versions of the Storyline Engine left the content and outcome of the Storyline in the hands of OOTP authors, OOTP 13 adds a new dimension to this exciting feature, Interactive Storylines. These are storylines that ask YOU to decide the final outcome of the story. For example: Say you have Carlos Zambrano on your team (for which I'm sorry). Now let's say as the season has progressed you've been reading an ever-evolving Storyline where Big Z has been becoming increasingly hostile to his teammates, his manager, and the team's fans. After several on-field outbursts, his growing lack of anger control results in a dugout confrontation between himself and his current battery mate. It's at this point that the Storyline will ask you, the user, to select from one of four disciplinary options:

  • Do nothing: let Big Z be Big Z
  • Suspend him
  • Trade him
  • Drop him like a bad habit

What will you decide? And more importantly, what effects will your decision have on Big Z and your club as a whole? Only you will know, because the power to choose the outcome will now be in YOUR hands! How cool is that?

The OOTP development team has also added new features to Storylines to help the authoring team present more random types of Storylines articles, resulting in even more kinds of immersive stories for your favorite OOTP players.

Have you ever wondered how Storylines work?

Storylines are run in the game by the Storyline Engine. This works in conjunction with the Game Engine, which powers the sim at the heart of the game, to trigger the execution of these narratives. The Storyline content itself is created and stored using a proprietary XML-based format. Want to know the specs of this format? No problem: there's a public Google Doc that documents the specifications of the format.

Each individual Storyline is made up of one or more individual news articles. These articles contain the subject and text content you see in the game. They also contain connections to one or more other articles and can be chained together into complex and far-reaching "trees" of articles that can span days, months or even years within the game. The possibilities of where article begin, venture to, and eventually end are limitless. Copious options allow storyline authors to custom-tune their articles to appear under very broad or very specific conditions.

Getting Involved

If you think you have a great idea for a Storyline and you have a little bit of technical savvy in your blood, the OOTP Storylines XML Specification is a starting point for understanding the structure of the Storyline XML format used by the engine to generate Storylines in the game. You can add to the default_storylines XML document that ships with OOTP 13 or you can create your own custom XML file and import it into the game!

Storylines have been an ever-growing and evolving feature of the game and will really help bring your OOTP league to an even greater depth of immersion with OOTP 13.

OTP 13 puts a host of new tools, a redesigned user interface and countless functional improvements under your control so you can mold and shape your mega-million-dollar major league franchise or small market independent start-up to its maximum potential. The game is truly yours for the making. Come play it your way!

Out of the Park Baseball 13 - The Grand Slam of Baseball Sims! Pre-order your copy before the official release on April 9, 2012. Pre-order today and receive your copy on April 6, 2012!

The OOTP Developments Team

Click to Pre-Order OOTP 13 for PC Windows and Mac OS X

Click here to Pre-Order OOTP 13 for Linux

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