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intric8
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Earl Weaver Baseball

by intric8 Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:01 pm

Ranked near the top of many retro-gaming lists as one of the best baseball games of all-time, I had to get Earl Weaver Baseball in my collection at some stage. I've been on the hunt for a long time.

I finally got ahold of a copy for a very nominal price (score!). Granted, my copy has some scotch tape on it in a couple of places and a little bit of price-tag residue, but whatever. Other than that everything is in very fine shape. The vinyl 12" singles covers (they aren't really boxes) EA produced during that era for games are my favorite form factor for game packaging.

By the time this game shipped EA didn't have many more in their future. Shame, really. CD's would have worked in these just as well, if not better, than 3.5" disks as they often bulged and sometimes tore the cardboard when people inserted or removed the disks into the sleeve's hole.

Incidentally, I've been able to hunt down the Commissioner's Disk as well as a third-party created stats disk for 1988. I've actually reached out to Eddie Dombrower to see how feasible it is to create a stats disk for the 2016 AL and NL teams. I'll be stunned if that goes very far, but it never hurts to ask!
Attachments
ewb-front.jpg
Earl Weaver Baseball - front cover
ewb-inside.jpg
Earl Weaver Baseball - inside
ewb-back.jpg
Earl Weaver Baseball - back cover
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball - Eddie Dombrower Responds!

by intric8 Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:12 am

I wrote to Mr. Eddie Dombrower, creator of Earl Weaver Baseball, in the hopes he might know of a way to more easily convert, import and create new stats disks into the original EWB game he designed and created in 1987. He actually wrote me back quite promptly!

Eddie Dombrower on the stats disks:
Thanks so much for reaching out to me.. it's always a blast to hear from fans of this game which is so near and dear to my heart.

I think creating a stats disk is always a great idea, but I don't have a way to do it right now... probably the best thing is, as you mentioned, is for fans to do this.

If you're still playing on an Amiga, then the only option I'm aware of right now is to use the Commissioner's tools on the Amiga and hand enter the data (what a labor of love that would be).

If you're on a PC version, there are actually some import tools in the EWB II Commissioner's disk.

I'm not sure that I can be much more help at this time, but keep me posted on this.

Being a massive Cubs fan, my hope was to (somehow) create a custom stats disks for 2016 and import data for all of the NL and AL teams. It is indeed possible to create this data using the Commish's disk and tools, and I knew about that, but I was looking for a cheaper way. Like, some way that wouldn't take a couple of weeks... but, that still might be a fun side-task to do. I may just give it a go.

What I don't know is if I typed all of that data in by hand, would I be able to share it with anyone after the fact? I haven't used the Commissioner's Disk yet, but if it allows me to save custom data maybe I can share the Commish Disk like a stats disk? I don't know. If it was a one-time load... whew! No way.

I've also read that there are limits to the number of divisions you can create (4). I don't know if that applies to a single league, or both. Hopefully that limit only applies to one league. There is also a limit of 32 teams - but that's not a problem at all since we only have 30. Pretty forward thinking to have designed it that way.
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by Shot97 Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:43 am

Pretty cool! Still trying to find an '87 stat disk. That was a good Tiger's year and I always wanted that team + stats. It can be a bit ridiculous and arbitrary what some decide a players "abilities" are. I think Alan Trammell had a record year (as did many Tiger's) in '87. I believe he hit around 28 home runs that year and had like a .340 batting average along with quite a few stolen bases. I believe he got injured the next year and only 15 home runs with only a few stolen bases, still over a .300 average but all his skills were dropped for '88! I'm not playing some damn fantasy league where the only thing that matters is what the real player did last week; I want their potential thought of! The guy has some power and speed and because of a real life injury he's playing like it's 8 years later and he's on his last steps!

How do you judge that stuff? How do you not put bias into it? How much of the Cubs victory was about pure skill and how much of it was them fighting for over a hundred years of obscurity? I recall playing with some of the legends that were on the original game disk; someone like Bob Gibson was a sure fire way to win every single game because they gave his stats like 99; The pitch reaches everybody before they even have a chance to know what's coming! Babe Ruth? It's gone! Guaranteed! lol.

My father made heavy use of the commissioner disk, I can't for the life of me recall what the hell he was doing in it. I think the only thing I ever really did with it was alter the Amiga's built in voice phonics so it would say my name right! I changed Ty Cobb's name to mine; put him on the '87 Tiger's :D

I do recall needing to heavily utilize something in order to make that game more realistic. Of course it went down as one of the best baseball games of all time; well into the 90's... But it was not because of the one disk you got for the game. Playing various historical teams against one another does not make one of the best games of all time. It was the combination of the stat disks, commissioner disks, and your own league disks that accomplished all of this.

But it's not a simple matter of inputing the names and inserting the stats... I don't think the stats mean a damn thing to the game; it's all about the attributes given to each player... How do you judge that today? Again; just because a guy only got 5 stolen bases does not mean he's slow. And since you're a Cubs fan how much of their victory do you put into the stats? If we let the game simulate itself do the Cubs end up winning every World Series? I think that's more than a few weeks worth of a job. I'm sure the player's association had quite a bit to do with those stat disks... maybe... Or maybe it was all Dombrower...
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by Shot97 Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:58 am

And I want to say what a classy move it was to give author credits to Earl Weaver himself; even though I'm pretty sure he was not doing that much to the game. Earl Weaver did not code computer games; Earl Weaver did not play computer games... lol.... I'm pretty sure his involvement was a series of interviews to get inside of his head; it's not like he was standing there giving them tips and play testing the thing. Of course that could have been a demand of some sort. Could have just been thrown there to sell a few more copies... But it seems to me like Dombrower was just a classy guy and felt those interviews deserved a credit.
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by Shot97 Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:02 am

And damn how I miss that beautiful original Electronic Arts name and logo! Before a sports game had to be released every single damn year as nothing more than a cash grab! The game is the same as it was last year; just let them buy a cheap stats disk! Remember everyone; they didn't shorten to EA until the success of Madden and the NHL series gave them the "brilliant" idea to repackage the exact same game every single year and sell it at full price. EA may still be around; but Electronic Arts has long been dead.
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by intric8 Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:11 am

Shot:
But it was not because of the one disk you got for the game. Playing various historical teams against one another does not make one of the best games of all time. It was the combination of the stat disks, commissioner disks, and your own league disks that accomplished all of this.
That's part of it. But I think a lot of the weight given to the game is more about how innovative it was - years ahead of its time. The camera angles, the unique stadiums, the arcade mode vs. manager mode. It's ridiculous how much new stuff it offered.

But it's not a simple matter of inputing the names and inserting the stats... I don't think the stats mean a damn thing to the game; it's all about the attributes given to each player...
I think that's a fair point. The attributes could be used to really skew things and taking a fan's bias into the equation... well. Not easy. I don't think you could ever get the balance perfect where the Cubs win every time. There were so many variables involved in the playoffs as well as the WS. And how does a game take injuries into account? It can't, really, which means so many different outcomes would occur.

I still think the Cubs would get there, and excruciating and amazing as the Dodgers and Giants matchups were. But in the end? Game 7? I mean, you couldn't write a story like that for a movie - it would get rejected as being too far fetched!

For me - Shot - for me personally, I think just having all of the names be right: Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Arrieta, etc. That would be fun enough right there. And if the player behaviors were close, I'd be fine with that. It wouldn't have to finish each year correctly. I don't see that as being remotely possible.

So - using the Commish Disk - 1) can I save those stats permanently and 2) would I be able to share that as a custom Commish Disk ADF? Or does it just load the data onto your current "session" and eliminate it after you've finished playing?
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by Shot97 Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:20 am

Well; I'm reaching for the memories here; but I don't believe the commissioner disk saved anything onto the disk itself. You'd want your own separate league disk that you made. You use the commissioner disk to make the disk. You could input one of your stat disks as the start of this; use the commissioner disk to change everything you could possibly want. Change the names, even make sure the Amiga says it right... Change their skin color, bating stance even... Change every years worth of stats. You can even attempt to make the new ballbarks; although that wouldn't matter for the Cubs! If I recall there are only 3 files in any league disk. Players.dat is one of them. There's one for the league name that would have the teams and stadiums perhaps? One other one there, maybe that's for the stats. Pretty sure it's just 3 files though. Blows your mind they could even charge 15 bucks for 3 files that don't come close to filling a disk. hahha.

So yes; I believe you can save those stats permanently; but it would be to your own disk. So you'd want to make a copy of that disk at the start of the season; then you can give that to whoever and they can play off just the Earl Weaver disk and that league disk. They would not require the commissioner disk.
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by intric8 Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:25 am

Awesome info - thanks!
You can even attempt to make the new ballbarks; although that wouldn't matter for the Cubs!
Well, I could add the giant scoreboard. :P And heck, back then they were still only day games. Although by 1988 they added the lights... kind of right on the cusp (although the game only shows day games IIRC).
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Re: Earl Weaver Baseball

by Shot97 Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:33 am

That reminds me of going to Tiger Stadium in Detroit at night with just lights everywhere. What was amazing about it in retrospect was that were all incandescent kind of lights. You'll never experience the lights the same way as you did with a type of light that offered the true full color spectrum. When they made Commerica Park; it might have breathtaking views of the city; but something nobody talks about it how they switched all the lights to the damn cold blue mercury crap lighting. Although, I don't know... I can't recall looking during the games; does Wrigley still have the original lights there? Tiger Stadium had them until the day it was destroyed, I imagine it would have cost a fortune to switch over the technologies. Nothing like that warm and pleasing glow from an incandescent light. Of course plenty of people bitched then about the lights, but they were better then than they are now! I need a hat in the night time now to keep those crappy lights out of my eyes!

I always wanted to ask Dombrower why exactly did he name Tiger Stadium Navin Field in the game? Or maybe I'm thinking of another baseball game... There was some baseball game I used to play that gave Tiger Stadium the name of either Navin field or Briggs Stadium, the stadiums first two names; even though it had been called Tiger Stadium since 1960. Weird. That might have been Sierra's Front Page Sports Baseball though. By the way; that's another all time great baseball game.
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