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Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Pitcher in Logo

Vol. IV, Issue #1 - January 2016

** Changing the Panel Images in the Main Screen,
an instructional article by
Chris McMurry **

(Here is a new article we received by Chris McMurry about the graphics images used
for the ballparks shown in the SOM Computer Baseball Game for Windows
on the main screen, in the three background panels which are dulled out.)

Comments from the Wolfman: 
We found Chris on Facebook (well you know Strat people are everywhere on the internet) and we thought his article about changing these ball park images in your game might be of interest for some of our members.  But first I asked Chris to write a little about himself, so you would know the guy who wrote this.)


Hey, Wolfman--

I've been playing Strat since 1970, when I first bought the 1969 selector set. Currently the only league I'm in is a Strat sim league called NADS - North American Dynasty Sim. Have been easing myself back into the game after a decade long hiatus. Particularly like the Hall of Fame set and will likely start my own draft league with it and the Heroes set at some point in the next 3 to 6 months.

As to why I came to write the article... Someone posted to one of the SOM Facebook groups about how they had changed the background on their computer game screen. They did not go into much detail as to how to truly go about doing that, however. I got intrigued, and with my work background in computer programming, I decided to dig into it a bit. Other people were asking how to do it, so I wrote up my notes.

My photo (below) was taken recently on Main Street at Walt Disney World. -- thanks


Changing the Background Images
in the Main Screen Panels

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Photo of Chris McMurry, article to change images on main screen of SOM windows game

This tutorial assumes you have SOM baseball loaded at the following location your hard drive:

C:\Strat-O-Matic Baseball\  (Editors Note: - it could also be at: C:\CDROMBB\)

If you have installed in a different place, you will obviously have to adjust the paths.

First, download the photos you want to use into a separate directory. Doesn't have to be under the Strat folder.

Next, make sure that the photos are in bitmap format (*.bmp). Most images you find online are going to be .JPG files. You cannot just rename the extension. This will crash the game. You have to convert the files to .BMP format.

Here's how you convert JPG to BMP:

1) Run the Windows Paint program.  (Editors Note: you can do this within any graphics program.)

2) Open the JPG file you want to convert.

3) Select File > Save As > BitMap

That's all you need to do. The program will create a new file that is now in the BMP format. This is what the SOM game needs.

The next issue is the size of the picture.

The 3 BMP files that the SOM game uses for the main screen are located in the C:\Strat-O-Matic Baseball\Data folder. They have the following filenames:




Note that you want the photos to be somewhere along the order of 420x500 pixels. You do not want it much smaller than that, because when you resize it you will lose resolution. If it is much larger that that you will need to resize it down to where you can use it for the game. In any case, you generally want the photo to be approximately square.

If you are saving a photo off of Google Images, you can place your mouse cursor over the image and it will display the size. For example, I am looking at a Joe DiMaggio photo and it displays a size of 768x432.

If you really love a photo like this, you can use it, but you will have to crop it down to a nearly square size, i.e. 420x500.

Let's look at the default/existing version of ListBox1.bmp.

The default picture is of "Coors Field". It is darkened (more on that below).  (Editor's Note: -  when you open up the game, this is the background image or field in the column labeled Leagues on the main window.)

1) Open that file in Windows Paint.

2) Select Resize.

3) Now select Resize by Pixels instead of by Percentage.

The program will show you the dimensions of the the existing/default pictures in pixels.

I just did that, and what I am seeing is this:

Horizontal: 640  ---  Vertical: 442

Note how this is nowhere near my 420x500px target.

There is something that you need to know about when it comes to pictures on the computer: they have something called an "aspect ratio".

This is how Wikipedia defines aspect ratio:

The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height. It is commonly expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, as in 16:9. For an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this same length unit, the height will be measured to be y units.

Why do I bring this up? Because you will likely need to adjust the sizes of the photos you want to use, and if you aren't aware of what you are looking for in terms of the aspect ratios, the resulting display of the picture on the SOM game screen may very well be skewed.

One thing I discovered in scoping this out: the default photo that the game uses (ListBox1.bmp) ends up getting skewed/squeezed in this very manner, at least on my laptop screen. The reason it doesn't look bad is because it has been darkened. (Again, more on the darkening below.)

Whether or not the skewing occurs is dependent on several things:

1) The dimensions of your monitor/screen make a big difference. If you are using a widescreen monitor and you maximize the game window, what you see will appear much different than if your monitor was of a more normal size.

2) The SOM game window does not have to be maximized. The edges can be dragged to create a window that is essentially any size you care to make it. The game will squeeze the photos as it needs to in order to fit them into the three frames.

So what do you do about this, pragmatically?

My recommendation is as follows (to prevent the skewing):

1) Set the game window the way you would normally use it. For me that is maximized.

2) Take a screen print of the game screen. Press the PrtScr button to do this.

3) Open up the Windows Paint program. Select File>New.

4) Press Ctrl-V to paste the print screen into Paint. You should see the game screen show up in Paint.

5) There are 3 frames on the game screen that you want to measure. They correspond to ListBox1.bmp, ListBox2.bmp, and ListBox3.bmp. We need their measurements in pixels.

6) Adjust the screen so that the frame you are targeting shows up fully in the Paint window. You are going to notate the exact pixel locations of the corners of the frame.

7) Place Paint's cursor/crosshair over the left hand corner of the frame.

8) Look down at the bottom left status bar in Paint. You should see two numbers separated by a comma and followed by a "px". This is the pixal location of the crosshair. 

When I do this I get this:  7,134px

Your reading will in all likelihood be different. That's OK. Write down.

9) Move the crosshair to the lower right corner of the frame. Write down the numbers you see on the status bar. My numbers:  426, 633px

10) Calculate the height of the frame. To do this:

- Subtract the upper left hand corner's first number from the lower right hand corner's first number. That gives you the width.

- Subtract the upper left hand corner's second number from the lower right hand corner's second number. That gives you the height.

Just remember:

1st number minus 1st number

2nd number minus 2nd number

And you want to be subtracting the smaller number from the larger one. To wit:

426-7 = 419 width  /  633-134 = 499 height

So the exact dimensions of the first frame are 419x499. That is what I want the photo's dimensions to be.

Note that these dimensions are very different that the dimensions of the default photo. The default photo is definitely getting squeezed, at least the way it appears on my screen when I maximize the game window.

11) Do frame 2. I get:    439, 134px   and   857, 633px

Note that both the 134px and the 633px are the same as for the first frame. This is because although you are moving the crosshairs across the screen, you are not changing the height of where they are located.

Calculating the width and height:

1st number minus 1st number:    857-439 = 418px in height

2nd number minus 2nd number:  633-134 = 499px in width

Same as the first frame. And just a glance at the screen tells me that the 3rd frame is the same size.

So I just saved you the trouble of calculating your 2nd and 3rd frames. They are the same as the 1st frame.

For me, that is 418x499.

12) Now I want to say something about the darkening of the photo. If you look at the 3 photos that SOM uses as defaults for the game screen, they are all darkened. Why?

Because if you use a light colored photo, then the text on the screen will be unreadable. It uses a white colored font and unless the background is dark, you will have trouble reading the leagues/teams/players (which depends on which frame).

This is the area I am most unfamiliar with--how to best darken a photo. I welcome input from others on how to do this. I can make a stab at it playing around with the colors and the brightness and contrast. But I so far I haven't been able to get it the way I really like.

13) Resizing your photo.

A. Resize the photo so that either height or the width is exactly the same as "your number". I would use the one which you have to adjust the least.

B. Crop the photo so that you adjust the photo down to the height/width that you need. Once you have cropped it, save the new version. I have been saving mine with the dimensions in the filename. E.g.:

Joe DiMaggio hitting.418x499.bmp

C. Here's how you crop in Paint:

a) Open the file you want to work on.

b) Select the Home tab.

c) Click on the Select button.

d) Choose "Rectangular Selection".

e) Use your mouse to select the area that you want to be included in the new version of the photo.

f) Click on "Crop", which is next to the Select button.

g) Save the file.

14) Once you have resized the photo (remember, you are doing this in a separate directory from C:\Strat-O-Matic Baseball\), change folders over to the C:\Strat-O-Matic Baseball\ folder in Windows Explorer.

a) Rename the default ListBox1.bmp file to ListBox1.default.bmp.

b) Go back to your other directory and copy the photo you want to use. Copy it into C:\Strat-O-Matic Baseball\.

c) Now rename it to ListBox1.bmp.

15) Start the game. You should see your new photo show up in the 1st frame of the main game screen.

16) Repeat the process for the other two frames, except use ListBox2.bmp and ListBox3.bmp for them.


If you do not like what you have done, you can shut down the game and rename ListBox1.bmp to ListBox1.JoeDiMaggio.bmp (or whatever), then rename ListBox1.default.bmp back to ListBox1.bmp. Then restart the game and you'll be back to the original screen.

That's it. I welcome input, especially about the darkening of the photos so that the white text shows up well on them. I pretty much dashed this off, so it may contain typos, etc.  You can contact me with your feedback or if you have any questions at my email at: eldaveer@gmail.com

Chris McMurry

(NOTES from the Wolfman:  We thank Chris for being a part of our January issue and allowing us to share his article with our members.  As our readers can see, there are so many angles and aspects to SOM Baseball, especially how you can personalize the look and feel of the computer game. Good job Chris!!)


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Contained inside this exciting issue of Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter:
(to view the various interviews, articles, columns and special sections click on the links {underlined}
and this will take you to the appropriate webpage)


  ARTICLE by MARC PELLETIER, another well known and successful strat baseball gamer in the on-line version of the baseball game shares with us his system to evaluate positional players for the 20XX leagues on the newly renamed Baseball 365.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his column sharing various perspectives on the new and exciting new service SOM has announced called Baseball Daily (fully described in the SOM Baseball World News Page). Also speaks about the draft feature within the windows computer game version and about the USBN Youtube video channel.

  INTERVIEW with MATT EDDY, writer and editor at Baseball America, specializing in MLB Prospects plus discusses the league he plays in as well.

  INTERVIEW with PETE NELSON, our good friend and supporter, the advisor to the Council for the Strat Tournament Players Club returns and discuss his 4th champion at their supreme tournament known as the "Worlds" held in Pittsburgh the middle of January.

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" puts out a call to commissioners of various Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered on the internet and shares the stories and experiences from another baseball league (one he was investigating to possibly join). This is a continuation of a new section of our newsletter that will continue for the rest of this year, so if you would like to share about your baseball league in our newsletter, send Wolfman a private email.

INTERVIEW with ROB STRICKER, BIGS, P-V (Two Leagues, one is Netplay, one is Computer)


  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO , editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares with the complete details of all the new announcement Strat-o-matic made in January about the new products and services they are releasing ranging from the new Baseball Ratings Book (printed or digital) to the renaming and updating of the on-line game now called Baseball 365 to the new service called Baseball Daily to play the 2016 MLB Season to the new features in the 2016 version of the Windows Computer Game.

  RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites
that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the principle to work together and help promote each other.

  BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history.  We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.


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Wolfman Shapiro
Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

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