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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 74- Better bugs

Better bugs? Like clean cockroaches? No, I was just being brief. The UI upgrade I am doing is paying off. It’s getting easier to use. That’s important. It’s also highlighting some weak edges. I made some changes that mean a screen is re-entered from different points. There’s a timer running on it. And now everything gets out of sync. But, this bug will make the whole thing better(aha) because of what I have found. – More robust, more logical in its flow, so its worth it. A “better” bug. 🙂

Screen shot.. what??
Football Manager, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Kevin Toms

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 73 – UI pieces

OK so I am improving the UI. It’s going well, a bug or two to fix, but basically it already functions in a better way. It’s a bit of a reconstruction as it turns out, but shouldn’t take too long. I am going to try and get to the standard of being able to show a screenshot or two. I am not a graphic designer so this might be uphill!! 🙂

Play is saved…
Football Manager, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Kevin Toms, Life, Thoughts, Philosophy

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 72 – Mine, all mine!

I was reflecting on this as I close in on completion, every line, every piece of code, every design element of this game was created by myself alone. This is like the original Spectrum Football Manager that was so successful for so long. Now, at this stage, there are some things I could call on others for, things that may add some polish or final touches that are better than the things I can do myself. But, I am also thinking that I won’t do that, that I will continue to do it all myself right to release.

This puts me in the position of a singer songwriter who plays all of the instruments on his album. He may not be the best drummer but he plays the drums. There is something good about this and I think it is what I will do. It’s been a lot to create this game, it doesn’t have to be perfect, I just have to be happy myself with what I put out.

Here’s a picture of Spectrum Football Manager. There is something a little strange in the corner there.. (Not me!)

48k! What’s that in the corner? 🙂
Football Manager, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Kevin Toms

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 68 – The run in

The run to the Premiership title has been fascinating, Mancini vs. Ferguson. I am on my own run-in to completion. It took a few days after my break to get back to momentum but now I am. It’s about function, yes, getting more pieces working as planned, step by step, but mostly now, it’s about the gameplay. The focus, the priority from now, is entertainment. I have to spend the time available on tasks that boost the entertainment, that is the priority strategy.

I’ll be asked how long more to go, and I won’t give a commitment of course. There is no point in disappointing people. This is creative work, and it doesn’t always work to a schedule.

But I like what I am producing, I like what is there.


Football Manager, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Kevin Toms, Software Development and Delivery

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 64 – New and important

OK, I have been working hard on this new piece. A friend of mine is a designer and he tells me part way through a project he generally makes a big unplanned change, that makes it much better. And he agonises over whether he should.

I did, but I knew I needed to make the change, I worked on it, built the design, the algorithms, the intelligence, and now it’s nearly all in. And I can step back and say yes, it’s a big improvement.

Like all these things, it doesn’t come out of nothing. – The game I had already built gave the inspiration and told me what to improve.

This is the problem with trying to hit a deadline. I just added to the scope of the work. But it’s done now. I still have the same deadline I was working to, only now it’s not an easy deadline, like I thought it was before!! 🙂

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

30 years ago Football Manager- did I go too far?

Did I go too far, putting my pictures on the covers and in the ads? I know what I believed and still believe. I believe that creating games is just as much an art form as creating music or writing books. And with those two things, because people like the style of the authors, their identity is published with the book, and often photos, especially with music. So I did the same.

Football Manager ZX81 packaging


Why wasn’t it widely done? Partly because the games writers at that time didn’t see that. Jeff Minter et al were exceptions. And, later, when corporate interests took over, they wanted to keep some of the writers quiet, under control. If those guys knew their worth they might leave, or ask for more money. In my case I was self publishing so I made the decisions.

As I used to say, if I like U2, I don’t care what label they are on, I just care that the new music is from U2. Imagine a world of music where it’s “New Rock Music 52” from Virgin, instead of U2’s latest, not so good.

Football Manager from the early 80s

So did I go too far? I don’t think so, although I was breaking new ground making many mistakes. Tell you something though, when I did that, as a person I was very shy, not confident at all.

(This one wasn’t my decision):

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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 60 – Features

Features were important from the beginning, if you look at the original ad,

Football Manager the first advert

straight off, I am listing features. This time around, which by the way is the fifth substantial football management game I have written, I am trying to be minimalist. For two reasons, 1. to finish the game more quickly, and 2. to focus the games design process on what is really essential.

But, I did add a couple of things last week, that I decided were essential to first release. So I was concerned that I had pushed the finish date back. However, the good news is I am implementing them faster than I expected so, it shouldn’t be too bad. I have a good code base of tools and data structures I have created, so it sped things up. 🙂

Football Manager, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Kevin Toms, Software Development and Delivery

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 59 – Writing it everywhere

I was coding on the train this morning, it made me think of where I have written this game. By release, it will have been created on trains, buses, planes, in bars, restaurants, coffee shops, homes, offices, even shopping malls. – Also over a span of 18,000 kilometres, multiple cities, towns, countries and continents.

It will be well traveled!! 🙂

Image from the game


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

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
<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
<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

<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
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
<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
<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
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 :)>

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.