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How to Commish E-mail
How to start and commish an Online League with OOTP (originally written for OOTP 6.5 but most everything applies to any version)

First of all, let it be known that there are hundreds of online leagues that start and fail every year. Why they fail is not a mystery and I hope to outline several issues that can bring down any league if not handled carefully.



So you want to start your own online league

Most of us have felt this urge from the moment we downloaded this great game and got an eyeful of its possibilities. However, one should realize that with all of those possibilities is the fact that time is involved and this is just one of the reasons some leagues fail. It’s often recommended that players get involved with an existing online league to better understand what is involved and to see things from a GM’s perspective. If you’ve been that route and think you are ready to take the plunge then let’s take a look at the planning and procedures for starting your league.


1.      Ask yourself “Why do I want to start my own league?” There are several good reasons but be sure that yours is one that will provide motivation to keep the league going long term.

2.      Ask yourself “How much time do I have to dedicate to my league each week?” Online leagues require lots of attention from their commissioners, even if there are co-commissioners to help. Be sure you can allocate at least 2 hours of your time per scheduled sim and another 10 to 20 minutes on days in between just to check your message boards and other miscellaneous duties. If you are unable to give this much time to your league, it’s probably best not to start one.

3.      Find a reputable web host that supports FTP(stands for file transfer protocol).Without FTP, you will be unable to import/export teams to and from the commissioner. More on that later. Make sure you have at least 200 Megabytes of disk space and around 2 Gigabytes of transfer or monthly bandwidth. These are the minimum requirements. If you have bigger plans for your league, another 100 or 200 MB of additional disk space will be more than enough for most leagues.

4.      O.k. you’ve registered for hosting. Now what? Well it’s time to create a website. If you are well learned in this area, you’ll enjoy this. If not? You have some choices. One choice is using a simple program like Microsoft Word to create a simple webpage for your league. If making websites, and number 3 above, has you worried, that’s where AllSimBaseball’s hosting plan can be your fast lane to getting it all done for you quickly and painlessly.

5.      If you haven’t already done so, create your league that you will use within the game itself and make a backup copy of the league file. Backing up your league cannot be over-emphasized! I’ll assume that anyone reading this will not need much more than this as far as creating their league. Below, we are going to create “Big Bad League”.



Setup for OOTP

1.      Now that you have a website host that supports FTP, login to your account and create two folders; “lgreports” and “exports” within the root(public) directory. More on these later.

2.      Go into the Online League Setup page of the game and input the settings for your league as follows and then test the settings:


FTP Server address: bigbadleague.com

Username: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Password: sJ3gySr3

HTML Exports Directory: /lgreports

Team Exports Directory: /exports

Port: 21

(Note: if the test fails, recheck your settings and try again)

3.      If your test was a success, congratulations!



League Reports

The purpose of this step is to get all the standings and team pages on your site so they are viewable to anyone, with or without the game.


1.        Create a folder where you want the game to store the league reports. Name this folder something easy like “Stats”.

2.        Go into the Online League Setup page of the game and click Destination Folder in the bottom left area. Browse and choose the folder, “Stats”, you created in step #1 above. Then click O.K.

3.        Click Generate Reports and wait until it finishes.

4.        Just to the right, click “Upload Report to FTP Server”. Go have some lunch while you wait. Depending on your internet connection, the size and the age of your league, this could take a long time.

5.        Once this finishes, go take a look on the site. In our example, the URL would be http://bigbadleague.com/lgreports . If you see the standings and all that good stuff, you’ve succeeded so far.



Zipping and uploading your league file

The purpose of this step is to share the league file with your league members so they can use their game to make changes to their teams and to browse the entire league through the game.


1.      Open the “Programs\Out of the Park Developments\OOTP6.5” folder and locate your league file. In our example it’s “bigbadleague.lg”. Right mouse click on the folder and select Send to and Compressed (zipped) Folder.
2.      When it finishes, you’ll find a duplicate “bigbadleague.lg” but it will have a zipper on it and it’s name will actually be “bigbadleague.lg.zip”. If so, you are doing great so far.

3.      Using an FTP program, input your FTP username and password like you did with the OOTP settings and connect to your site.

4.      Transfer your league file to the folder you created “exports”

5.      When it finishes. Test by typing into your web browser: http://bigbadleague.com/exports/bigbadleague.lg.zip . If you are prompted to begin download of a file, you’ve succeeded again.



Get a Forum

You are going to need a forum for your league. There are free web-based forums available but most come with some limits and restrictions that could interrupt the league schedule should those limits be reached. If you can, install forum software yourself on your website. No ads, no restrictions and no limits in this case.


Building your website


This is an area which will not be covered in any detail in this tutorial. There are a plethora of software available for website building and you can even make some simple pages using Microsoft Word. With Word be sure to include hyperlinks for your league file, your league reports and your league forum. The rest of the layout is really up to you.



Fill your league

However you decide to fill your league is up to you. The OOTP boards is a great place to find new GM’s but be sure that you’ve got everything squared away before posting for openings as new members generally are very eager for the first season to start. The longer they wait, the more that interest wanes. Set up a schedule that is easily accessible on your website and stick to it. Be sure to set up team passwords for each team and give them to the new GM’s when you give them the team. Also, don’t forget to set a Commish Password in the Online League Setup page of the game.



Your league’s first sim

The moment you’ve been waiting for…Opening Day! There is a checklist that every commissioner must use and I’ll outline it below. You should always keep a real pen and notebook handy. Go out and buy a good one and mark it “Big Bad League Commissioner’s notebook”.


1.      Start up the game

2.      Go to Online League Setup

3.      Click “Import all teams from FTP server”

4.      Go to your league forums and check for any trades and process them.

5.      Check the forums for any waivers/DFA and make sure they match in the game

6.      Check your email in case this is how GM’s are sending you team instructions or lineup changes.

7.      Process any extension offers sent to you by GM’s. Send PM’s or email in cases where players refuse.

8.      Double check that you haven’t missed anything.

9.      Simulate the games

10.  Go to your league forums and check for and process any trades or free agent signings.

11.  Go into the Online League Setup page of the game.

12.  Click Generate Reports and wait until it finishes.

13.  Just to the right, click “Upload Report to FTP Server”. Go have some lunch while you wait. Depending on your internet connection, the size and the age of your league, this could take a long time.

14.  Make a backup of your league file then Zip and upload it.

15.  Update your website to show the current league date with any pertinent information.




Recipe for success

  • Be realistic and set a sim schedule that you know you can maintain
  • Be punctual. Never miss a sim without giving notice to your league members
  • Keep your league rules simple, accessible and changeable. If a rule needs tweaking, tweak it.
  • Empower your GM’s. The fewer authority figures in the league, the better. Let GM’s police each other. It’s a great way to see how rules are working and whether they need changing. Empowering means that the league members vote on all changes as well. This instills a lot of enthusiasm and trust in your league
  • Along with the above, have a league “Trade Veto” rule allowing 2 or 3 GM’s to veto trades. This places the responsibility on the GM’s to deny bad trades, not the commish.
  • Stop calling it “My League”. Refer to it as “Our League”. Become a 1/30th owner of the league. This gives the entire group responsibility for league success.
  • Treat complaints not as complaints, but as opportunities to improve the league. Bring the issues to the forums for opinions by the league members. Get a consensus on a solution and move on.
  • Keep an eye on GM activity and don’t let teams sail without a captain too long.
  • Remember that you are human and mistakes will happen. Own up to them honestly and look for a solution should a problem arise due to a commish error.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Let the league know what’s going on!
  • Get a good reputation. If you’ve been in some online leagues before, chances are you are somewhat known by the OOTP community. Hopefully you’re known for the good qualities you have which will go a long way for you.



Recipe for Failure

  • Missing sims or any other neglect by the commissioner. Nobody likes a flake commish.
  • Making mistakes regularly, costing teams valuable players or money
  • Lack of communication. GM’s hate when they are left out of the loop on something and commissioners hate when GM’s don’t respond to PM’s and email.
  • Corrupted league file. The whole league, down the drain because you didn’t backup the file.
  • An overly authoritative commissioner
  • An unknowledgeable commissioner
  • An inconsistent commissioner.
  • Too many complicated rules. Sad, but true…people hate to read. They want to play.
  • Disorganization. When GM’s (and you) can’t, or don’t, find important things on the forums or website, it can cause misunderstandings that can get frustrating.
  • Cheating. If you are cheating, it will be found eventually and your league members will slowly start bringing their complaints to the OOTP boards where it really gets ugly…or entertaining, depending on who’s reading. If you want to win that badly, play solo against the A.I. People hate wasting time playing with a cheat. This is the death sentence for the league.
 

Extras for OOTP

Extras for OOTP

Previous Versions

Old Versions of OOTP

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