Games Design, Kevin Toms World Football Cup

Design Evolution- Kevin Toms World Football Cup

When I wrote Football Star* Manager, it was a new multi-platform games app that honoured the design of my original Football Manager game. When I wrote Kevin Toms World Football Cup, I took Football Star* Manager and evolved it into a World Cup game. Unlike when I first wrote multiple Football Manager games over a number of years, this time I am making a careful evolution. The consequence is that improvements I make for Kevin Toms World Football Cup can also be considered for future improvements to Football Star* Manager. For example, this pre-match strategy choice, which is part of Kevin Toms World Football Cup and is new:-


Picture 464

Both games are here

Football Manager, Football Team Coach, Games Design

Football Team Coach is on the App Store

It is there, at last! 🙂 For me, this is the start of a new game development. I am very happy that it is now out to the world :). If you watch the video you will get the sense of the retro feel and the link back to the original Football Manager, the million seller I wrote. This game is also completely written by myself alone. And, of course it is a lot of fun! 🙂

It is on the App Store here

Football Manager, Games Design, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

The Grindstone and I

So it is three years now
I’ve been writing this game
A big part of my life
And it won’t be in vain
It’s nearly complete now
Just a bit more work
It will be a battle
But I’ll get there yet
So will it be fun?
As good as before
Another FM
And never a bore
Well nobody knows this
Except maybe me
And I am so pushy
About what it should be
And it’s me that I’m pushing
To get it all right
And the time that is needed
Is just out of sight
So back to the grindstone
And maybe the lathe
To cut a good game out
And the project to save!


Games Design, Life, Thoughts, Philosophy

Seeing too many patterns!

I was working next to the Grand Place in Brussels. Must do some coding IN the Grand Place, it is such a great place. Everytime I enter that square I am stunned by the architecture and the way it all fits together. I was told by a Belgian expert-in-a-bar that the intricate architecture was deliberately put together that way. Hmmm is there an analogy there? Making a game is putting pieces together so that the whole adds up to more than the parts.

I gotta stop seeing analogies everywhere! 🙂


Addictive Games, Games Design, Money and Business, The 80s

Innovation in Concept and Games Design

People, including Miles Jacobson, kindly mentioned that in its day my Football Manager was innovative in concept and design. There was nothing else like it and it set a new direction and genre of games. I was unfettered by having to match what is popular, and trying to vary on that. Before smart phones came along and disrupted the games industry business models there was a lot of “playing safe” with designs. It’s understandable. If you are investing millions into a game development, then you want to be sure of a return on it. Whilst being radical in design will perhaps (that is the point, perhaps!) produce a better game, playing safe and cloning a current games model will at least guarantee that a percentage of the market will like it.
I didn’t have to play safe then and I don’t have to play safe now. I am not trying to copy anything else, I am just trying to produce something I am proud of, and to my own standards. It’s pretty damned healthy motivation actually! 🙂

Games Design, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, The 80s

Back to the future

Games Britannia was a real step into the past for me. There were lots of old C64s, Amstrads, Spectrums etc, playing the old games. And lots of people playing on them. Good to see. I have a few discussions with people, and one thing that crops up is that there is a similarity of those early 80s pioneering years of creating games and now. In particular, with iOS and Android, it is possible to create a game yourself, publish it yourself, and market it yourself. You are not blocked in any way from getting to market with whatever you want, or believe in as a product.
This is unquestionably true, the similarity. It is one of things I am taking advantage of with launching my new game.
The good thing is that this opening up of access to markets has unleashed creativity and innovation in games design.


Euro 2012, Fun, Games Design, Kevin Toms, The 80s

The “Delivery”. It happened in 1984..

It was a cold evening, the wind was howling outside. I was in England, trying to relax after the busy week. Then came the call, one of THOSE calls. I knew by the pause before he spoke who it was. He took his time. “Kevin, I have a job for you, but it must be finished by Monday!”. His voice always alarmed me a little. He was a very small man, a little over 4 feet 6, and with his small frame his voice was light, sometimes you could mistake it for a young child’s voice. But there was always a tension in his voice, an air of demand. It was like a child wanting to get his way, except this man was much more threatening than any child.

“Monday he said, at the latest!”. He described the job to me. I didn’t want to do it, and under time pressure too. I didn’t have a choice. I owed him. Something he never let me forget. And he took his payback, frequently. This time the job didn’t seem so bad. My weekend would be gone. But I could do this one.

So I made plans, thought it through. If I kept sharp, kept focused, I could set it up Saturday, and make the “delivery” on Sunday.

It was a tougher assignment than I thought. There were problems. Unexpected people “in the way”. But I “sidestepped” them. By late Saturday night the set up was in place. A good night’s sleep, Sunday was going to be a long day….

And so it was, this assignment was nothing more than a hard grind, laying low, my only focus to get the job done as painlessly as possible. It’s true, other people suffered. I kept away from some others, I didn’t want them to see me in this world, see what I really did.

By Sunday midnight, it was complete, I’d done the man’s bidding. I called. “Good” he said, with little appreciation in his voice. “You did good”.

Did I want to do good for this man? -Maybe one day I’ll have a choice….

– Well it wasn’t quite like that but I was reminded on Twitter that in 1984, I wrote a game for a computer magazine that was published as a listing. It was called

“European Championship Cup”.

I did write it over one weekend, under time pressure to deliver!! 🙂

You can see about it here, and

and try it online here!

Football Manager, Games, Games Design, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Life, Thoughts, Philosophy, Software Development and Delivery

Pushing for Promotion

Well this is an interesting time. I am closer than ever to finishing a game that has taking me a long, long time to write. In the process I have learned much. Plenty about the iPhone, plenty about what I am trying to achieve, and plenty about how best I write games. It’s been written in many different places and countries, in different environments. In different personal circumstances, and different amounts of pressure, problems, and ease in life.

I have become challenged, stressed, frustrated, philosophical, excited, happy and relaxed. – All along the way of writing this.

I have met, through social media, through this, some great people. And continue to.

Why am I a bit retrospective now? I am just about to take a short break, recharge my batteries, ready for the final run- the final push for promotion!

Football Manager, Games Design, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 61 – Feature full

I think I have it now, the feature set, there was something missing, I knew it, it frustrated me, it worked away in the background on me.

Necessity is the mother of invention they say, but in this case you have to create your own necessity! So what was missing was filled. Now I have a stack of work implementing, but it’s enjoyable.

“The game isn’t over until the final whistle”

Addictive Games, Games, Games Design, Software Star, The 80s

27 years ago: Software Star was good

It was always overshadowed by Football Manager, but I played it a year or two ago on emulator and it is a fun game still. I like some of the ideas I had in it. Here’s a bit of trivia, one person wrote to me that the game was immoral because you could be more successful by using Hype instead of Honesty. So it was encouraging people to be dishonest!! Is Hype dishonest? There is a question.

Software Star title screen... monitors!!