Kaizen- Continuous Improvement of a game

I work on developing Football Star Manager, from experience, and also with a development philosophy. Based on Kaizen, the Japanese continuous improvement approach used famously by car manufacturers.

I know plenty about Agile development, having led Agile software development teams and trained and mentored in the approach. It converges on Kaizen in my view. One of the things about Agile is frequent small improvements, and plenty of support systems to make that work.

When I have told people I will regularly update the game, and I do, what I am really talking about is continually improving it, in small steps. Players who have had the game a long time will know this, and it has been commented on.

There is an associated piece which can be difficult, and that is to maintain the robustness of the game, when making so many small changes. So far I have succeeded with that.

So the Kaizen, the continuous improvements to the game, will continue, as it is a basic philosophy of software development for me.

Picture 25



Graphics, Football Star Manager V1.2.0 and all that..


Here’s a shot I made a long time back when I was thinking about the rewrite. I decided to create a new version of the original game which started on the ZX81 and TRS80 format. The game is really being enjoyed by lots of people. It does not have the graphics, similar to the photos, but that is not a permanent decision.

Firstly many versions of Football Manager, my original game, NEVER had graphics, Acorn Electron, Commodore Plus 4, Vic 20 for example. And the players were very happy. The “Stick men”.. “3D”.. graphics shown here were an add on I made when I adapted the game to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum late in 1982. The original game was launched in January 1982.

Football Star Manager will go through a similar evolution! 🙂

I am going to add an option to have match highlights but it will be an option, not everybody thinks it is better so everyone will have a choice!

Before I start on that I have version 1.2.0 in progress which will be ready in a few weeks and has a few good changes.


What is this 99 to Continue?

Zx81 and Spectrum Football Manager had 99 to Continue? What was that? Well to choose the player you were picking you typed his number:


.. or typed 99 to continue? Where did I get that from? Well obviously it was not a number of one of the players, but why 99? Well it was actually from my experience programming mainframe computers. From 99 representing generic 2 digit fields.

The thing is, people remember it with affection as an oddity of the game, and I got asked to include it as a feature, so I did in the Version 1.05 release. A truly unusual feature to add! 🙂

(OK to be fair you don’t need to type 99, to continue 🙂


The game is created, great!

There is a deep satisfaction in creating Football Star Manager for me. It comes from having recaptured what made the original Football Manager so successful, the gameplay and how it all works together.
I deliberately left all graphics out of the game, even the opening screen is text..
Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 8.20.41 AM

I said I revitalised the game and I did. It was rewritten from scratch for mobiles. There’s something else. It is a game base for me. Having done this I can enhance the game and build more. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing Football Star Manager and gave up a lot of my spare time to do so. The fact that you are playing it and clearly enjoying it much plus 5 star reviews just makes it more worthwhile!

To get Football Star Manager if you don’t already have it:




How I bankrupted Torquay, by a hair’s breadth

I test the outer reaches of Football Star Manager, doing things like playing recklessly to see what happens. Ok that is my excuse for getting into Division 2 with Torquay 124 million in debt…


The credit maximum in Division 2 is 125 million so this was risky. I had sold a lot of players to cut costs and that meant defeats on the pitch. I was close to relegation….


1 game to go and only 1 point above the relegation zone. Relegation would be bankruptcy as in Division 3 the maximum debt to avoid bankruptcy is only 50 million! My next match watch against Palace…


A reasonable chance of winning, especially at home, and …


Scraped through on an early goal! And I needed it because Southend won!..


Survival! Dreams of end of season bonuses and a fresh start in the new season..


Finances, well..


But I was safe, or so I thought, the season had not ended, there were outstanding cup matches to clear…


Aargh, another week to pay for…


I did not make it, I was fired!!!






Football Star Manager – getting Torquay to the top.

I bought Toms, he looked good, and I liked his name..



But he was not cheap. He helped get me to 2nd with 3 games to go.



And I won well..



And won again.




And it all came down to the last match.



And I had a good team





And I lost! Now I was sweating on the other results..





But they went my way, phew! Promotion!



And a healthy financial end to the season filled out by a good cup run.


Now for Division 3, next step..


Football Star Manager Android AND iOS

Just a few days ago, I launched Football Star Manager, my re-creation of the original 1982 Football Manager, onto Android devices in beta. I am happy to say many people are playing and enjoying the game. So now the game is in both major formats. It’s taken over a year to get to this, but it has truly been enjoyable to develop. Maybe that’s why the game is fun too.

It seems to have recaptured what made the original game so popular. It also simple to learn and play, and fast to play, it does not take long for things to happen

Here is how this recreation began, when I started writing it a year ago…


To play, people join my mailing list on http://bit.ly/ktmail