When Out of the Park Baseball 15 debuted the ability to play out games in 3D stadiums, Mike Silva found his calling and began creating historical 3D stadiums and sharing them with others. (You can find the complete list on our forum.) “I had always had a love for baseball stadiums and their unique appearances, as well as their effect on the sport,” he says.
Silva continues: “I began my sports gaming days with Microleague Baseball in the mid-80’s as a 10-year-old. I was completely sucked in at that point, but it only had one stadium. When Pure Stat Baseball came out, there was an optional stadium disk which I got as a birthday present and it opened me up to every MLB stadium in the league.
“I would always take graph paper as a kid and try to draw out many of the field layouts from the various stadiums. Being from Boston, Fenway had its obvious charms and I would draw the Green Monster and the unique shapes of the outfield every day.”
That experience paid off, he says, when OOTP 15 was released. Silva recalls: “I decided to try my hand at 3D modelling, which I had never done up to that point. I started out just searching the online community for existing models and then downloaded ones I found and attempted to make them compatible with the game. I eventually began creating fictional stadiums for my own league in OOTP. With each stadium, I became more and more comfortable with the tools and also became more and more addicted to creating stadiums.”
“An incredibly addictive process”
Silva uses Sketchup Make 2016 to create his stadiums. When OOTP 16 added all the Major League Baseball stadiums, Silva says that he began researching old stadiums and eventually found a website devoted to them. Armed with the details found there and his ever-improving Sketchup skills, he began creating historical stadiums, starting with San Francisco’s old Seals Stadium, which was home to two minor league teams as well as the San Francisco Giants, during their first two years in the city.
Silva says he scours the Internet “for images, articles, and anything I can find to give me the most clear picture I can get to begin my creation. I find it to be an incredibly addictive process, although it takes hours and hours to have a stadium ready to be imported into the game.”
He adds that he soon started taking requests from other members of the OOTP forum, repeating a process by which he “gets to know every nook and cranny of a stadium by studying image after image and reading stories about it.”
One of his proudest achievements was an historic version of Fenway Park. Silva says: “I was finally able to make a lifelike 3D drawing of the park I used to go to. Before the Green Monster seats and all of the advertisements on walls, I created most of the stadium from memory and did not need a single picture for a while.”
The “amazingly supportive” OOTP community
Silva says that he has created most of the historical stadiums that he can find enough information for. “There is a clamoring for more deadball era stadiums,” he notes, “but I can’t find much info by the way of good images to go by for most. I figure I may eventually try to wing it and estimate how some stadiums may have looked, but I would rather be accurate and get it right.”
His main project right now involves creating stadiums for Japan’s Nippon Baseball League, after which he says he “will do some requests and probably some smaller, minor-league type stadiums. There is the element of burnout after a while, so I am looking forward to taking a break and actually playing the game when I get free time, instead of firing up Sketchup.” He laughs.
Silva says that the OOTP community “has been amazingly supportive of the creations I have made. I recently attended an OOTP-sponsored meet-up near Fenway Park, where I actually met some OOTP players face-to-face. When I told them that I created most of those historical stadiums, it was fun to see the incredulous looks on their faces and then amazing to have people thank me for the work I have done. (I wouldn’t call it work.) That was a great experience.”
Playing out a baseball world the way he wants
Silva has been playing OOTP since version 3. He says he got into it “because I was searching for a great, customizable baseball game that was more stat-driven and allowed for greater team control than what was out there at the time. I wasn’t much for text-based games back then, but this game got me hooked.
“I joined the OOTP online community and have been a regular poster there since 2001. I think OOTP has one of the best communities online and that is another big reason that keeps me coming back.”
He adds: “My first modding contributions actually came in the form of logos and jerseys. I have created hundreds of jerseys and logos and some projects I have worked on are still stickied in the mods forum. I also became a member of the beta team. That really is an amazing group of people with some really dedicated players who love the game and want to see it perform as well as it can.”
Silva concludes: “This game has continued to grow every year and Markus and his team have shown a tireless commitment to this game and to the community, so how can I not keep coming back to try the new version every year and play out my baseball world the way I want?”