Some (more) thoughts on a football game

It’s World Cup year. As a football lover I love the world cup finals. This year we are in Brazil, the home of traditionally the most exciting team in the world. Brazil are generally the neutrals favourites and have, in years gone by, come to epitomise a free flowing style of football that is both easy on the eye and extremely effective at opening up the opposition’s defence.

I’ve thought about making a football game before but have never really settled on a design that suits the nature of the touchscreens that I target.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a game in which the player controls an attacking player with the sole goal of dodging oncoming defenders.
For as long as he has his finger on the screen the player is controlling the movement of the player. It’s all about timing. When an approaching defender looks as though he is about to slide in the player must lift his finger off the screen. This triggers a jump from his on-screen attacker.
If the jump is well timed the play continues until the attacker reaches the edge of the box.

Now it’s about position. As the player steps on to the edge of the 18 yard box the game automatically shoots. But it’s not over yet, the player just has the keeper to beat. To maintain the momentum I don’t want to completely stop the action for the player to place his shot. Instead I’m going to give him as long as he has earned!
For each well timed jump to avoid the defenders the player earns valuable time. Also, to distract the player in to changing direction during his run toward goal I will drop bonuses on to the pitch. The more the player collects the longer he has to aim his shot at the goal.

After each attack it’s the turn of the opposition to attack. But I’m not interested in displaying that. For that I’ll roll a dice and present whether or not they scored to the player. I want to get right back in to the attacking phase so that the player is primarily concerned with scoring goals.

I think I could probably take this design forward in to an initial concept with some crude graphics.

Initial thoughts on an HTML5 football (soccer) game

I’m looking at producing a football (soccer) game for my next project. Looking around at the world of football in computer games is a pretty interesting exercise.
Thanks to sites like YouTube it’s not so difficult to perform quick comparisons between games from a variety of different platforms.

See for yourself what I found over a coffee break earlier today.

World Cup 90 Sega Megadrive

Versus Net Soccer Konami Arcade

Cyberball Not sure which platform – cool portrait view

American Football game – cool portrait view

Beautifully presented N64 J-league game

Excellent execution. Non-fluid game.

Neo Geo. Say no more. Beautifully presented.

I included some of the non-Soccer games to highlight their presentation. I typically like to produce games in a portrait orientation so the Cyberball game was particularly interesting to me.

As a huge fan of football myself I can say that the thrills of the game are in the attacks. The faster and more precise the counter-attacks in a game the more thrilling it is for the spectator.
I want to build a game that captures the very best parts of a football match. To that end I may well ditch the standard approach for making such a game in favour of purely concentrating on the arcade thrills of attacking football.

Throw-ins, corner kicks, offside.. they’re all pretty dull to an arcade gamer.

One idea that I’ve had is to start each as a set piece where the player has to defend a free kick. If the attacking team scores then the set piece is reset and the player must defend again.
If the set piece breaks down and the ball goes out then the stage is reset and again the player must defend.
If however the set piece fails and the player obtains possession then the thrill of the counter attack ensues.

I like simple controls so initially my thoughts are to tap left, centre or right on the screen to direct the goalkeeper when in defensive mode.
In counter-attack mode the AI for the advancing players will be handled by the code such that the player simply taps the screen to pass the ball. The theory is that the player taps ANYWHERE on the screen and the code will select the nearest team mate to pass to.
Once the team player with the ball moves beyond the overlaid 20 – 25 yard line he automatically shoots.

This is very much a dumbed down approach but it currently works for me to think like this.
I’m a huge fan of simple controls and simple execution.