Football Manager, Software Development and Delivery

The Story of the Football Manager painting

I posted a photo of the Football Manager painting used for the original inlay cover of Football Manager in 1982. A lot of you enjoyed the nostalgia of seeing the painting, and I thought it would be good to write about how it was created.
At the time the game had only 2 colour printed inlays.
I went to W.H. Smith head office in London to talk about them stocking the game. The buyer insisted I had to add full colour inlays to the game. I agreed to this. At the time I had no car, and was still doing a full time day job. I contacted a local printers in Bletchley, Milton Keynes where I lived. To go to see the printers about creating this inlay, I had to take two hour lunch breaks and head in by bus and back. I had an image in mind for the cover, the F.A.Cup, combined with player action in front of it. So I described that to the artist and he produced it. I was uncertain on choice of colour so two were created, one with the gold FA Cup, as in the photo, and one with a silver version. I still like the gold best.
So the artist produced it. It was combined with the text and the full colour Football Manager inlay came into being. Then I could get the whole thing duplicated for stocking in W.H. Smiths.
Interestingly in the first couple of months the game was stocked in W.H. Smith, the sales were much more than my then annual salary, and for the first time I could think about giving up my day job!!
The painting
Football Manager original painting for cover
Football Manager original painting for cover
The inlays
Football Manager inlays 2 colours and full colour
Football Manager inlays 2 colours and full colour
Software Development and Delivery

Successful projects, failed projects

I have to admit the game is getting less time at the moment because I am flat out with my work on the SDK for Philips Hue. Now, Philips Hue is a successful project, great technology, great software.

I have done a lot of business software over many years. Most products have come on to the market, my average is good for software development. However, that is not true of the industry in general. It is reported in studies that less than 10% of software projects come in on time and on budget, and 70% of projects fail. The bigger the project, the more likely the failure, and I have seen that in practice, with one of the worst ones involving over 100 main developers.

So keep it small, keep it mean, keep it lean is best.


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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 87 – Errors are boring

Well not really, I am doing another revamp of the error handling. Sometimes I get brilliant ideas, well that’s what I think they are at the time lol! With the error handling I created a sophisticated flexible system that will elegantly handle errors in the code and produce valuable information. (<–Warning, smelly cow droppings alert!)

I thought I had produced simplicity and elegance:

But in fact I had produced this:


.. And I have been re-engineering it back to simplicity regularly since!

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, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Software Development and Delivery

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 67 – 70 yards to the goal

It’s a long way but it is still possible to score (see my Facebook). I am just trying to complete the second last big chunk of function. Maybe I am at 70 minutes not 70 yards? A lot of this piece is working, just gotta fix up some points. Then it’s the final big chunk, (80 minutes?), then I guess I go into extra time 🙂

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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 66 – Functional Completion

– That is my next milestone. Not far off now, the game will have all of the main functionality I want in it. All of the components that I will build with to make the gameplay right. It’s good to be close to this.

Then a new phase will start, a phase with many repeated iterations. Each iteration will either fix a bug or improve the fun in the game. I am looking forward to this phase. The programmer in me will be working, working to clear bugs and refine how it works.

Also working will be the games designer in me. The person that knows what is needed, what next step to take, what change or tweak will make it better. This is the advantage of making it all yourself, you can do that, and I do, all the way through development. And I don’t have to try and explain the concepts, I just create them. 🙂


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

My iPhone/iPad Football Manager type game 65 – 90% for testing

So I am filling out the functionality in the game, adding in the extra pieces that I want in there. I like it more and more. I calculated that I am just under 90% ready for testing.

There is a lot of code written, when I look at it. Sometimes I look at code, that works, and cannot remember writing it. Some of it is ready for the future, and some of it needs toughening up a bit. It’s written in Objective-C for iOS, but I have some experience of Android too, so I look at it and think what is involved in converting it to Android later. The main problem with Android when I get to it is going to be platform fragmentation. – Something that Apple have successfully minimised.

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!! 🙂

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

30 years on from Football Manager – quiet right now.

I am quiet right now, not blogging much, not communicating much. I am head down on code, lots to implement, and packing as much as I can into the time available. I guess I am in a self-imposed crunch period. It’s going well, and the results of what I do during this will have a big impact on the game itself, and how soon it hits the market.

So, I am quiet for a while, but still busy..