Football Manager, Games Design

Simple versus Complicated Football Manager games

Which is best? I’d like to know what you think? My own view is it’s not whether the game is complicated, it’s where the complication is. It’s alright to build a game with complex software as long as the user isn’t exposed to that. A car is simple to drive even though there is sophisticated engineering underneath.  All that engineering is hidden and controls- steering, accelerator, brake, are standardised.

Games can be simple to drive too, but that doesn’t mean they are simple engineering. Creating simple to drive but fun, might be hard, but it is the right thing to aim for.

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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager game 53-Let me explain…

No! It’s damn near impossible to explain what I am doing. I try, then it all starts to sound very abstract… Programming is linear, you have a problem, you solve it. It’s just a case of working out how to do it, and then solving any bugs you have created. You can’t be precise because not everything works as expected but you can estimate.

But, creating a good game that’s different, that’s not linear at all. You just move towards it, and sometimes, just sometimes, you can picture it, see how it’s going to be. Those are good times, and I got one of those on Sunday.

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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager game 51 – Two types of code

I have realised that there are two types of code I write with this game:

Type 1- the problem is defined, I have to work out how to program it, knowing what I want to achieve. It’s possible to estimate roughly how long it will take.

Type 2-code subject to games design. I know roughly what to write. I do that, then change it, tune it, modify to get the best fun, and the best control. Maybe I’ll simplify the original idea. – This can go on for ages, but it is worth it!!

Games Design, Life, Thoughts, Philosophy

Concentration on Design

What’s the best place to work? – The most concentrated and productive? For some people it’s a quiet room. I have known developers who could only work at night, because then it was quiet and no distraction. Bad habit though, more suited to vampires, sleeping during the day, no sunlight, skin going pale…

Myself, it’s coffee shops. I like to work with my laptop in a place where there are people milling around. I like people around, life.

It has led to some odd situations though, caused by people thinking I was looking at them when all I could see were the pictures in my head, the pictures of whatever I was working on and thinking about at the time, but my eyes were looking at them!

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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager game 49 – Game Mechanics

It’s maybe the most important part of writing the game. The game mechanics are the tools given to the player and how they operate within the game. I spend a lot of time on this. Usually I have a vision of what will be good. Then I implement it. That is followed by a combination of excitement at which parts really worked and disappointment at the parts that don’t. Next comes trying to understand why some things aren’t working, and trying to work out if there are changes that will make it good.

All of this is steered by one aim, to be entertaining.

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

Games design again

I was doing a bit of games design and it got me thinking a bit about what it is. All very abstract. I was looking at the mechanisms I have and decided they are good, but they don’t clearly show the player the right information. So I started to think how to solve it. To do that, I am visualising in 3d in my head and at the same time thinking about what information is enough, how to display it, how to control it etc.

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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager game 48- Features

Rampant featuritis, that’s what we used to call it. If afflicts games just as much as the word processor (Word) that was being referred to when I first heard that term. You have a new version coming out so it has to add value. How about some new features? Trouble is after a while all you have created is complexity instead of added value.
Well I am working on this iPhone game alone, so I don’t have an abundance of time or resources. But, I still have to think, I have to think about what is really, really needed to make the game work.