Addictive Games, Football Manager, Kevin Toms, Software Development and Delivery, The 80s

30 years ago- my comments on Football Manager instructions

Football Manager Spectrum Player List

So I was looking at the instructions, they were pretty good I thought, and it prompted me to make my own comments on them, for a bit of light hearted insight!

 

 

 

 

 

Football Manager: instructions

INLAY CARD TEXT
There are three main parts to the game. On first loading, the
game will start at part 1. When restoring a previously saved
game it will restart at part 2. The following notes will guide
you through the various parts of the game.

<Nice and clear so far>

Part 1 – Starting the game
a) When your name is requested, type your full name as team
manager.
<Full name, middle name too?>

b) No matter which team you choose to manage, you will start in
Division 4. If your favourite isn’t in the 64 included, choose
any as you will be able to change the name later on.
<I don’t care who you are, you start in Division 4!>

c) Start at the beginner’s level and progress as you become more
skillful.
<Some people never progressed, by choice>

d) You may have noticed (h=copy) in the bottom right of the
screen. When this is displayed, entering h will give a hard copy
of what is on screen on your ZX printer. DO NOT use this option
unless you have a printer connected.
<Why did I choose h? Hard copy, that’s a dumb choice>

Part 2 – The main game
This consists of five phases.
<Parts break into Phases, .. structure!!>

Phase 1 – Optional actions
a) Sell or list players – a list of players in your squad is
displayed. See “Important notes – Player attributes”. If you now
select a player to be sold, a team will make you an offer for
him. Note that if you refuse the offer there is a risk that
interested clubs will no longer want to buy him. You will see
why!

<Sell, or list, such a range of choice>

b) Obtain a loan – You may increase your bank loan up to your
credit limit as follows:

Your division Credit limit
1 1 000 000
2 750 000
3 500 000
4 250 000
<You gotta climb the divisions to make the money… it were cheap in them days, aye>
c) Change team or player names – first you have the option to
change team names. If taken, the teams are displayed by
division. You may change any team names including your own.
Take care not to duplicate an existing team name. Colour control
codes may be included to give your team name a colour. This is
done by pressing CAPS SHIFT and SYMBOL SHIFT together to give an
E cursor, then pressing CAPS SHIFT and one of the number keys
0,1,2,3,4,5 to set the colour (black to green) shown above the
keys, then typing the team name.

<Setting the colour with shift keys, this was all pretty technical>

Next you have the option to change player names. If taken, you
can type your own choice of player names or perhaps even make
yourself player/manager!
<Put yourself in the game, it was ahead of its time..>
d) Saving the game – to save the game to be continued at a later
time, take the KEEP option. Now prepare your tape recorder to
record on a blank tape and press any key to commence saving.
After about three and a quarter minutes the computer will ask you
if you want to play some more. Type yes to continue where you
left off or no to stop the game.
<Aaah, saving on to tape, you could HEAR the game>
Phase 2 – Playing a match
a) Team attributes.
Energy, Morale, Defence, Midfield and Attack have a minimum value
of 1 and maximum 20. They are calculated as follows:

Energy is the average energy rating of all the players picked
to play in your team.
Morale is 10 at the start of the season and increases when you
win and decreases when you lose.
Defence is the total skill rating of all the defenders picked
to play in your team.
Midfield is the total skill rating of all the midfielders
picked to play in your team.
Attack is the total skill rating of all the attackers picked
to play in your team.
<A nice range of stats, but no too much>
b) You may select your team – see “Important notes – Player
attributes”.
c) The match highlights are shown in 3D graphics. The home
team always plays from left to right and you play in the colours
you chose at the start of the game. The team with the best
attributes will often win, but there is always a chance of shock
results or giant killings, just like real football.
<Well, 3D is a bit of a stretch, but for its time, I would say, yes>
Phase 3 – Result of match
Note that your home gate money increases when you win and
decreases when you lose. Your away gate money depends on the
quality of your opponents.
<That’s true!>

Phase 4 – Weekly bills
a) Wage bill – the higher your division and the greater the total
skill of your players, the higher the wage bill.
b) Loan interest – is 1%% of your outstanding bank loan.
c) Weekly balance – is the profit or loss for the week.
<Simple finances, but they had an impact on you>

Phase 5 – The transfer market
a) You are given the option of bidding for a player. The more
you bid in relation to his value, the more chance you have of
purchasing him. If your bid fails, the value of the player will
increase.
<Made you work for it>

b) If the “No players for sale” message appears, you will have
to sell one of your squad in order to regain access to the
transfer market.
<Keeping those big squads down>

The five phases are repeated until 15 league matches and all your
FA Cup matches have been played. Then the game moves to Part 3.
<Hmmm I liked that>

Part 3 – End of season
a) The final league table is printed.
b) Your league success money, which is in relation to how high
you are up in the league, is allocated to you and displayed.
c) The top three teams are promoted, and the bottom three are
relegated from your division.
d) A new managerial rating is calculated for you depending on
your success so far.
e) New skill and Energy ratings are generated for all your
players.
<Ooooh some people didn’t like this one, but it maintained the challenge in the game>
f) The new season starts at Part 2.

Important Notes
Restoring a saved game.
a) Load the program from your tape using LOAD “”. The program
will restart at Part 2.

Player Attributes
When players are listed, several details are shown.
a) Defender, Midfield player or Attacker – is indicated by an
inverse video D, M or A respectively in the far left hand column.
b) Player’s name
c) Player’s number – used when selecting the player for various
purposes.
d) Skill rating – highest is 5, lowest is 1.
e) Energy – in the range 1 to 20. The energy rating of each
player reduces by one for each match he plays in. It will
increase by 10 if he does not play in a match. Part of the skill
of the game is in resting the right players to increase their
energy without doing too much harm to the skill ratings of the
complete team.
f) Value in – relates directly to the skill rating of the player
and the division your team is in.
g) Picked to play, Injured, Available for selection – indicated
by p,i and yellow space respectively in the far right-hand
column. NB: Injured players cannot be selected to play.
<Nice and helpful :)>
<99 TO CONTINUE>

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Addictive Games, Football Manager, Kevin Toms, The 80s

30 years ago- Football Manager packaging – why the picture (beard!)?

Football Manager ZX81 packaging

This packaging was designed by me for when the game was accepted  into WH Smith for sale. The picture of the cup with the two players  around it came out of my imagination as did the Addictive logo with the lightning bolt and the choice of red and yellow. I chose the typeface for “Football Manager” and just to finish it off I put my picture on the cover. (Lol!)

Although putting my picture on as author of the game was novel in games I didn’t see it that way. It’s common to put the author on music and books because there is a recognised style of work and the publisher is less important than the creatives making the product.

I saw games as the same, and I think only corporate control of creatives has made it less common in games.

Addictive Games, Football Manager, The 80s

30 years ago – BBC Football Manager in the making

The BBC micro had an interesting difference. Not enough memory for Football Manager except in mode 7 Teletext mode. But the only graphics in mode 7 of use were characters made of 2 by 3 block pixels. Many Teletext images were made out of these blocky characters. But on the BBC, to create the match action, that was all there was to work with. I was proud of designing players out of this that when they moved across the screen still looked like running footballers despite the low resolution. The image doesn’t fully show it but those who had the BBC micro version will remember!

Football Manager BBC match action!!

 

Addictive Games, Football Manager, Games Design, Software Development and Delivery, The 80s

30 Years ago Football Manager- weaving the gameplay

Not easy to describe this. But it was important. Important to making it work, to making it succeed. I decided the setting, the football league, 4 divisions, plus a knockout cup, the FA Cup. I decided on what attributes your players would have. I decided what you could control. Then I pieced together the game balance. The balance between randomness and control, between complexity and ease of use. Various moving(mathematically) components interacting, finding the way to make it fun and easy but give the game plenty or range, so it did not repeat, was never predictable. And then it had to fit within the programming environment I had, and the small amount of memory.

It took a year to make.

Addictive Games, Football Manager, Games Design, Software Development and Delivery, The 80s

30 years ago Football Manager – making stick men footballers!

30 years ago, the ZX81 game was doing well, the TRS80 Football Manager not so much. Then Sinclair came out with the Spectrum. So, I spent a busy couple of months enhancing the game. And one of the things I decided to do was add goal mouth action. So I got busy designing animated footballers on a 3D view of the football pitch. These footballers were stick men graphics, but they worked:

I built intelligence into their behaviour. It was simple but effective. Within the limitations, there was an infinite variety of things that could happen, so it kept the excitement, the uncertainty during the match.

Stick men graphics I created for Spectrum Football Manage
Addictive Games, Football Manager, Games Design, Kevin Toms, Software Development and Delivery, Software development tools, The 80s

30 years ago – I wrote Football Manager

So I launched it on to the market in January 1982. But before that of course, I wrote it. I bought a Video Genie to write it on. The Video Genie was a Tandy TRS80 clone.

The computer Football Manager was written on.

It was cheaper, but still expensive for me at the time. But, I believed that I would be successful with the game. Overall it was about a year of writing the game.

The game had its roots in many board game versions I had written, but at this time I was a professional computer programmer by day, so I knew what I was doing on the Video Genie. I chose to use the built in Basic because it was much better suited to a strategy game than the limitations of Assembler.

Just before going to launch, the ZX81 came out, and I realised the potential market it was creating with its low price, so I converted the game to run on the ZX81 too.

Football Manager was converted by me to run on this

That, was a very worthwhile decision!! – The sales on the ZX81 proved to be 100 times what they were on the TRS80/Video Genie. If I had only launched on that, the whole thing would not have got off the ground as I would have lost money on every advert placed.

So the ZX81 was critical to the early success.

More on the ZX81

More on the Video Genie

Addictive Games, Football Manager, Games Design, Kevin Toms, The 80s

30 YEARS SINCE I LAUNCHED FOOTBALL MANAGER

It’s worth putting that headline in caps. It was January 1982 that the first advert for Football Manager (my original game) appeared on the newstands in Computer and Video Games magazine.  30 years on, that foundation game has grown into a genre of computer games. My original game was very playable, and very popular, spending years high in the Gallup charts of the time. I still hear regularly from people who loved and still love playing it. I am proud of what I created.

I believe I can still write good enjoyable games and soon I will be launching a new Football Manager type game for the iPhone.

The first ever advert for Football Manager by Kevin Toms
The first ever advert for Football Manager by Kevin Toms

I thought it would be nice to do 2 things, show a copy of the original ad-

And to highlight a link to the pdf of the magazine here.

The magazine is the February 1982 issue but it was published in January 1982, so that is the first advert for Football Manager, 30 years ago. A life changing moment for me! 🙂