So I’ve just been to France for the European Championships. I was in Nice and I saw Sweden lose to Belgium and go out in the group stage. We (I’m Swedish) really sucked against Ireland, played okay defensively against Italy and showed how we can play against Belgium despite losing 0-1. But really the start of our campaign was so weak we got what we deserved.
Picture and Preview
Before I left for France we released a new picture and linked to a preview of the game from Glasgow.
Mark those words from previewer David Cameron (don’t let the name scare you off). We hope to have similar quotes to thrive on as we go to Gamescom between the 17-21 of August.
So what’s going on at the office in Helsinki?
Jon was there last week and work on the basic game functions continue. There’s gonna be a Player Avatar Career mode where you pick a team and try to get that team to the ranking top. On the way you’ll unlock different goodies that help you out. Besides that we are in a month of sending out builds to publishers. We got some pretty good response and also we got a new mode which is in line with how the current gaming arena is changing right now. Expect an announcement about that soon.
There’s also the final from Glasgow where Declan Mcshane took a fine win to become the youngest winner from our European tour so far.
Expect some new announcements about the game and future events to come soon.
And as always. Stay Sociable /Your CM Gustav
It’s been almost a month since I wrote on this blog, I apologize for that. The FB and Twitter have been the places I’ve been most active since it’s easier when you’re on a travelling foot. I didn’t continue to report from Day 2 and 3 at Nordic Game but we did have an exciting tournament on the last day. In general the event in Malmö was more of a business event where you build interesting relationships and check out the latest tech available and what could work with your product. That said it didn’t mean people were not interested in playing Sociable Soccer. They really were and when the tournament started we easily had 16 people taking part, most of them game programming students volunteering at the event as hosts. Here’s a clip…
And off course you need to see the finals.
Here’s a photo of me and the winner Alexander Rooth. You can also see Jon Hare trying to point himself into the picture.
So this morning I packed down some gear and took the train to Malmö from my hometown Helsingborg. I met up with Jon at the event in Malmö and we unpacked everything and got great help from the staff at Nordic Game. They were fantastic, big shout out for them. Also big thanks to the event organizers and Jakob Riis who saved our asses for this event!
Anyhow, we got everything running and people started playing the game and then giving their opinions. Some had never played a football game, others had played a lot of FIFA, and some were retro fans of Sensible Soccer. People generally love the game, which our survey shows and will show you when we publish it here. You can see a gameplay video from day one here with Jon finishing off one guy with a 3-0 win. Another victory for the dev team against the public! *haha*
Also you have to see this and read the comments on reddit.
Blackpool lies on the north west coast of England. A 1h10m ride from Manchester. The city is known as a tourist resort in the summer when brits from all over the country travel there to get some sunny time. End of April isn’t exactly summer time but the weather was still surprisingly nice the two first days of the trip.
Anyhow, I was in Blackpool to show our game for the first time ever to the public. I was a bit nervous of how it would be received, mainly because I had never played the game with working goalkeepers before. As it turned out the goalkeepers did their job pretty well. They’re still not 100% ready but I think people already at this level appreciated how things were looking.
Our tagline “Sport has never been so much fun” is what this game is all about. It’s what we are aiming for. Compared to PES and FIFA, which I see as more or less detailed simulation of football, our game aims to be an arcade game that captures all the beautiful moments in football with a wink.
The first day of the event was mainly introducing players to the game. People got it pretty quickly but there was some trouble in understanding how to select 2 players on the select teams screen. You have to mark the team, press the button to select that team, and then player two select his team and presses the button. Then you go down to the 2p option and press the button to start. In FIFA/PES you just have to select the team and then it forces you to wait for the 2nd player to select his team and then you’re both confirmed to start with another press on the button. Anyhow this is just a detail, and there was a bug when side scrolling with L1 and R1 to other team screens also. These will be fixed, or may have been already.
Then it was time to play the game. You feel it pretty quickly, the ball control, the passing, tackling, it’s the same as before. Shooting is a bit changed because of the 360 degrees, and so is movement. Actually this part should not be described by me, rather by someone who has played the game and can give a more neutral comment on it. Here comes a few.
“I had an absolute blast playing this with a mate and also being in the tournament Sunday. Game is excellent. It just feels ‘right’ in a similar way to how Sensi/SWOS do. Only minor drawback was the odd glitchy goal, but for a game that’s not out for 6+ months that can be forgiven. Oh yeah, and Jon was as friendly, charming and entertaining as ever. :-D”
“Had a go at the Blackpool play expo yesterday. Not into soccer games as a rule but me and the lad had a great time playing this (I think it was his favourite part of the day). Had a real old school feel to me”
“The game is incredible. Takes me back to my Amiga days. It was only 50% done too.”
So this was some of the reactions to the gameplay, and also one visitor made a video preview. Check this out 1:29!
After games I also asked people if they wanted to take our survey about the game. It has 6 questions in it and is very fast and you have the chance of winning a price. The price will be that you get to be a player in the game. So if you get the chance to be part of a survey in the future. TAKE IT!
After the event had shut down on Saturday we played a few more games between the crew and I even got a new update late at night for the game from our lead programmer to fix some of the swearing on splash screens and some more tweaks in gameplay. Really cool to be able to have an update coming through like that over night. Would be impossible at for example Gamescom where everything has to be verified weeks before it goes on display.
Sunday was Tournament Day, and also Jon arrived at 3:30 to have a speech about his career in game development. Very appreciated, and after that we asked everyone to join us for the final 16. We had some problem with the organization at that point and the call for contestants in the big hall didn’t reach out at the right time. 16 players joined though and two even missed out which I really regret informing them about.
After a draw which included pen, paper and scissor we had a playoff. Classic. The tournament started. We have yet to introduce extra time and penalties and a few games went to a 2nd game. What’s great about Sociable Soccer and Jon’s other games is that they are only 3 min long. You really have to perform from the start, and it’s over quick if you don’t concentrate. Two contestants were really at top of their game and made the final, Darren Browne and Pete Sutcliffe. Darren who I had been talking to before (great lad) then won that final 2-0 and became the first player ever to win an official tournament in Sociable Soccer. Big congratulations! Congratulate him and ask him about the game on Twitter @kingmonkey25.
Thanks to all participants.
Our next stop will be Malmö between the 18th and 20th of May.
We got a great week ahead and we want you all to follow us and discover the game. The people visiting Play EXPO Blackpool 30th of April – 1st of May, will be hands on with the game and will hopefully give you an insight into what it really feels like by sharing videos and commenting online. Me and Jon will be collecting the players feedback right there which will prove invaluable for the coming months of development. For you guys who are not able to join us at Blackpool (the unlucky majority), we really want your opinions on the videos coming from the show. There will also be a promotional video coming (no time estimate) which will introduce the goalkeepers and a few other additions.
Goalkeepers were our fans biggest concern game play wise since the latest video and so we’re happy to say they now react like they should. Lead programmer Jouni describes how they have now become better between the posts, “Slow rolling balls and kicks from midfield are no longer ways to score.” that’s reassuring because we saw goals where the keeper did absolutely nothing in some situations, Jouni goes on, “Once we show a few goalpost hits and a crab walking, jumping goalie in the next video, I think we’re going to make some people happy.”
So to sum up, our European Tour begins Saturday and besides the high probability of fan uploaded videos we are going to release a video featuring goalkeepers soon.
Stay Sociable People!
Follow us on Twitter and FB if you haven’t already.
If you guys were active on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook you’ve already seen our video on goal nets. I remember when I was back at my former job, that a lot of fans asked me about the goal nets and they always brought up another game called Football Kingdom and how they looked in it. The feeling fans want is that the net moves realistically with a nice ripple effect to it.
So when I arrived in Helsinki and for the first time set foot in the office I thought to myself, let’s start with something easy. After having introduced myself to the team, I asked Jouni, “How does net physics work?”, and I wasn’t even expecting them to work, but they did and Jouni showed me. This was even before I had tried the game out so it was the first time I saw a 3D element in the game. It looked colorful and realistic and I was impressed.
There’s another reason why I posted this video now and it is mainly because we are working on Goalkeepers at the moment. Since I don’t have any footage of that (yet), I thought it was nice to post something that relates to them. I can also tell you that, since last week, post and bar physics have also been introduced. That means that in the videos you’ve seen of gameplay so far, you either shot within or outside the goal, or inside or above the bar. 😀
It’s official. Our game is going to be shown at the PLAY Expo event in Blackpool on the 30th of April and the 1st of May. You’ll be able to play it just for fun and also be part of a tournament for 32 contestants on both days. The game will be played with X-box controllers wired to PC:s.
The tagline is “Get SOCIABLE with SENSIBLE Jon”. So if you’re in the surroundings don’t miss this opportunity to have a great day of gaming (there will be lots of games on show) and where you can meet SENSIBLE Jon and maybe even his companion SOCIABLE Gus (me, haha).
The video above has now been released on Youtube, FB and Instagram. It shows us playing our first office cup. All teams, roughly 1000 were available for selection and in the first cup we went with National Teams. Armenia (Jon) managed to win that one vs Jouni’s Finland.
In the second cup we took club teams and the video shows that final. Among the teams chosen were Liverpool, Marseille, Celtic and Norwich. Jon again, very much in form this evening, won that one too turning the scores from 0-2 to 5-2.
Then came the custom teams. As you’ll see in the pic a bit further down I managed to totally revamp my game. In the first match I played our lead artist Amar. I trashed him 10-0 and I felt terrible. The 10-0 result also prompted a bug in the game in which the game couldn’t print both numbers as the scores were shown. Jouni later tried to simulate the bug but only reached 9.
I apologized to Amar but felt this kind of force building up, like I had broken through and that it would take a lot to stop me now. My advantage came from me anticipating the next move of my opponent and planning my moves before that, just like in real football. First thing is of course to have a good first touch and so what led to this advantage I think I had in those last games (which I won comfortably) was that I managed a fast passing game with quite quick directional moves dribbling wise. In that final I beat Jouni 8 springrolls to 2 shish kebabs. We then went for hamburgers and beer, totally ignoring our teams.
It was a great and fun cup and although there is still not any goalkeepers to talk about you can see that there is a real and competitive game in development. I’ll detail some improvements since February in the next post.
As always. Stay Sociable.
Participating in the cup was Jon Hare (Game Designer), Jouni Mannonen (Lead Programmer) and Amar Djouad (Lead Artist) and myself (your CM damn it!). We were also joined by Antti Svenn from Grand Cru and Henri Dammert, expert on retro games and game music. Thanks to you all and a special thanks to Antti for providing the refreshments ;D
About two weeks ago I asked what football feeling and what football moments you’d like to replicated in a game. I sorted out the answers from both Facebook and Twitter and this is some of what I got so far.
1) Crowd atmosphere – The feeling that the crowd is involved in the game you are playing. That they react with applauds when something good is going on, like a string of passes, or boo when someone puts in a horrible tackle. Also that when you do a fine build up that the crowd noise level increases with the shooting chance.
I remember when I was at the World Cup 2006 at the Olympia Stadion. It was my first World Cup game, Brazil vs Croatia. Me and my friend we heard the noise at a distance, the samba drums, the crowd chanting players names and the speaker announcing the players. We were a little bit late after having a pair of beers. We came to our gate, and then we took a step out and saw the whole arena. Green, yellow, blue, red and white. An ocean of different colors for each teams supporters. My jaw dropped, as a first World Cup experience it was amazing. It seemed like the world was a happy place at that moment. The wave went through the stadium. The beer tasted better than ever. That feeling. Anyhow. That was a big stadium. Small stadiums are also important, for small teams.
2) Stadiums – Big or small, they both got their charm. It’s great to be part of that 40.000 crowd when your favorite big club or country plays. But then you also have that local team stuck in the lower divisions (or smaller leagues) with, lets say, 5000-15000 in attendance. The stadium is much smaller, the noise level lower, you can hear everything a bit clearer. The pitch is more torn up because the groundsman works part time. Those kind of things.
3) The one touch game – So you manage to put 5 passes together, a good mix of both normal straight passes and passes with the after touch, the crowd goes weeeehhh, weeehhhh, weeehhh. And then the long through ball to unnamed player, who shots. GOOAAAAL. One touch passing (in Jon’s games) has always been that mix of using the after touch and not using it to trick slide tackling defenders.
Like I’ve said earlier. The passing is what I felt instantly as I played Sociable Soccer for the first time. It’s gonna have that classic feeling. Don’t worry.
So that was some of the things that people want the most. Of course I’ll discuss these with the team and I think at least number 1 is possible to some extent. Stadiums are a lot more tricky cause they need lots of time and individual care to make special. I’ll get back to you soon after I meet the team in Helsinki on Thursday-Friday.
Our sociable man Jon Hare has been visiting the Game Developers Conference 2016 (GDC16) in San Francisco for the last couple of days. For many game developers the GDC is probably the first event of the year and the biggest place to show their game to other colleagues in the business. It’s a place where you look for inspiration, learn about the new tech stuff, and get feedback on your early-in-development product.
On the pic Jon can be seen with Dave Nottingham, an old friend who was part of the team that published SWOS at Warner back in the 90’s.
We’ll have more news from the GDC and about the game soon.