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The Business of Video Games & The Software Development Process

by calbert anderson on 08/03/16

Software development can be somewhat of an ambiguous process at times. From coordinating developer activity, planning, to just keeping everyone on point with the overall objective. Add in trying to construct a complex product such as a football video game further complicates the process. This is why when I see people make what appear to be uniformed outlandish comments it really takes me a back. 

Some of these individuals are much too young to remember Madden’s original state when it released (go do your research). They are the “I want it now” generation. Who believes that you can just sprinkle fairy dust on something and Viola! You have a football game!

Well, I wish it were that simple. However, unfortunately, it’s not because as the cliché’ saying goes… if it were that easy everybody would be doing it. That is much the case with what we are building. We are not just building a football video game, we are building a culture. We are building history! And when you are trying to do something few will take on, the critics are bound to come out in droves to persecute and ridicule you for trying to enforce change. 

These are the same individuals that say they want change but do not support it so they scream from the rafters to the big developers like 2k to swoop in and save the day. What these individuals fail to realize is that gaming is in fact a business. And a big business at that! No different than oil, TV, the stock market etc. Businesses, especially large ones, make decisions based on Return on Investment (ROI) not the emotions of others. 

This is exactly why Madden will most likely never be the game some of you sim gamers want it to be. Because if it were, EA would lose a great deal of their base sales and market share, which doesn’t make their Board of Directors or their investors very happy.

So basically, this is a much bigger issue than just creating some complex AI and sim football. It’s a business!

Where we differ is we are playing to a much smaller audience and have no allegiances to a Board of Directors or investors. This provides us with the flexibility to alter our marketing strategies as well as our game content on the fly…in real-time! Without repercussions! 

Large companies are accountable to so many individuals everything must go through a lengthy approval process in order to make the minutest of moves. This is why I state over and over with conviction, that indie developers are the best hope for bringing sim football to those who want it. However, the more you continue to support the big developers with your dollars the more you will keep getting the product you’re getting. Because at the end of the day, if you keep fattening the cat, what incentive does he/she have to change?

The Foundation of our Football Video Game

by calbert anderson on 07/29/16

Just to keep all of you apprised as to what we are shooting for in our development efforts of this football video game. Conceptually, I want this to be more of like the old strategical football board games back in the day with 3D moveable graphics. Although the game will be controller based, we also want to make it very “coach” centric for those who enjoy using their minds versus their stick skills.

Personally, I enjoy playing both types of games but I especially enjoy the challenge of out thinking someone. The cerebral side of football is something that tends to get lost in football video games these days. You have individuals out there who continually use various exploits and “money” plays just so they can dominate others on/offline but when those same individuals play against someone that out thinks them, someone who plays football in a realistic manner, they abruptly disconnect or flat out quit. I know, I have played against these individuals, which is why I do not choose to play online anymore.

This is why our game will have only one skill level. I don’t really know how this will work out but we are going to try it. If it doesn’t work we can always change it. Besides, I do not have a board of directors or “suits” to relegate what I can and cannot do. That’s the beauty of indie development. No Restrictions! There are a whole lot of folks out there who are rooting against us. I’m well aware of that. Those are the individuals who say they want change but do not want to lose their cushy benefits with the big companies to enforce it.

We will in fact, enforce change even if it’s to a smaller audience. For to plan and start something and put action to it, is way better than to just think about something, never take action and/or attempt to bring it to fruition. We are already 12 months into our development cycle for this video game. A lot of people didn’t think we would make it this far! Well, we are still here and still grinding! Our football game will be a very different experience than anything on today’s or yesterday’s market as many of you will soon see. It’s not all about the customizations, animations or even gameplay. Although those things are the foundation of our game, it’s much bigger than that. Stay tuned.

Time Wasters

by calbert anderson on 07/26/16

Let’s talk a minute about time wasters. Time wasters are these individuals who hide behind ridiculous posts they make on Twitter and YouTube. These are the individuals that have never done anything or finished anything of meaning in life and their sole purpose is to discourage or influence others into sharing their thoughts. As I have taken on this journey to construct what I feel is a historical football video game, I have encountered many of these time wasters. When you respond to their comments they try and twist things to insinuate that you are taking things personal in order to try and shift everyone’s focus away from what the goal is...making a good playable simulation football game.

I challenge these time wasters to go and try and build a football video game themselves and stop complaining and pissing on everyone's parade! They do not bother me at all. However, for others that want something new, they are simply counter intuitive to meaningful progress.

These individuals continually spout off at the mouth about things they have very little information about and often do very little research about the subject matter they complain about. Maybe it’s because they are afraid to start something themselves in fear of not finishing it or failing at it. So they are the ones who continually harp on the negative side of things. We are making a video game folks not performing brain surgery! 

Let’s try and focus more on what good can come out of all of this rather than dwell on the negative side of things. We already know what we do not want. Aren’t you tired of complaining about it? What has that brought you so far?

Challenges in building a Viable Sports Video Game

by calbert anderson on 07/26/16

Building a sports video game especially a football video game is no easy task. It takes a great deal of research, commitment and stick-to-itiveness!  It is a process that is mostly trial and error because there are no software development roadmaps out there that guide you through the process for building a football video game or a sports video game in general. Mostly all of the software development tools on today’s market cater to 1st, third person shooters and kiddie games. This means most of the game assets, player models, animations etc. must be custom built.

In our case, 97% of our game assets, animations, player models, stadiums etc. are custom built. Assets such as these are a major part or "core" of any sports video game. People think you just sprinkle fairy dust over your development activities and...viola you have a football video game! It just doesn't work that way. People say just copy what 2k has done and you’re there! Well that’s not so simple either. Because the truth is even if you could copy the code verbatim from those games you still can’t just implement it into a new game engine like Unreal or Unity.

You pretty much have to build it from scratch and use what these compaies have done as a reference, which takes a great deal of time (like trying to copy a Piccaso painting). That's why when I see comments from people suggesting how we should do things, they need to try and build a video game like this then they will quickly find out how difficult the process really is... but if it were easy everyone would be doing it right? Many would rather complain about what they don't have rather than be a contributor to enforce change. Change is envitable and will occur weather you like it or not. The question is, will you be a contributor in enforcing change or will you be a complainer about it.

The Good Ole Days

by calbert anderson on 07/25/16

The good ole days. Ahh how we all continue to reminisce about how great things were when we had plenty of football games to choose from. It’s really funny and somewhat ironic how those now old games are considered by some to be masterpieces but when they were new they garnered the same type of criticism as the Madden series gets today! However, now this dated technology is somehow better than the tech we have today.

Well the truth is, if you so called “sim football” fans would have supported these titles when they were and on the rise, maybe you would have more than one choice today. So now you go back and relive the past. Seems like an oxymoron to me. The past is just that people…the past. It is not coming back so you should get over it and look to the future. You enforce change with your dollars not a bunch of talk and Roderick. You will continue to keep getting what you’re getting as long as you continue to support what you are supporting.