Monthly Archives: November 2006

USM2 beta? yes is getting closer!

I don’t want to post any “official dates”, but today I’m working on player transfer, and next week I hope to have done the “end of season” adjustments (players retiring, new youth squad players appearing, possibility for the coach to change team, and so on).

I did a test run for the league – amazing, played 15 league weeks with instant match option, and took me about 1h, making everytime the formation adjustment. Each click takes about 2-3s of calculation time. I’m very proud of it, no more time wasted waiting for the CPU to calculate the match!! 😀

So what’s going on next? after I finish version 1.0, I plan to keep working on it – no pause at all. I’ll listen to player feedback to improve it with new features/additions, first of all the national cups and possibly the international ones. This undoubtly will be my most updated game ever 🙂

Sid Meier's Railroads

I’ve been playing (in my very little spare time while working on USM2!) the last game from Sid Meier’s, Railroads. At first my impression was very positive (well is still quite positive). But lately I found that the AI, which is in charge of moving the trains from one city to another, using the binaries you’ve placed, has some troubles 😀

I bet that from the programming point of view that part of the game must have been a real nightmare… figuring out what is the best path to take with algorithms must have been really hard to program for the (poor) coders of the game!

Apart for that the game rulez, as if Sid was a “quality guarantee”. Indeed of their latest games I’ve played (Pirates, Civilization IV) all of them are very good. Maybe a bit too much geared towards the “casual” market (like the annoying cutscenes of Pirates that I was skipping everytime after I saw them once!). Still, he is a real master of gameplay!

Yet another USM2 update…

Today I’ve been working on the load/save functions. For now I’ll just stick to .csv savefiles. That way I’ll be able to track bugs better than if I was using a normal binary save file. I thought the .csv format might be too slow, but actually, in debug mode (which is much slower than the final release mode) the game takes only 3-4 seconds to load/save a db with 25k players.

In any case I’ll let user change the size of database or which leagues to run in the game options. Also for now, as I already announced, no cups will be present in the initial v1.0 release. Of course as soon as v1.0 is on sale, I’ll start working on adding features in subsequent updates, which will be free for existing customers 🙂 This kind of games (sports managements) are really huge to make, so I guess I’ll never run out of new things to add!

In the meanwhile, take a look at my title screen!

universal soccer manager 2

USM2 match finished!

Yes I can proudly say that! The USM2 match engine (at least for version 1.0) is done! that means that still need some testing, but you can play a match and see:

  • scoring actions with multiple choices and different results based on your active player skills
  • events like penalties, free kicks
  • injuries and yellow/red cards
  • substitutions
  • set your general team strategy: type of attack, counterattack, offside play, type of defensive marking, etc
  • change speed of the match
  • see in realtime the ratings of players and their fitness value (fatigue) to choose better which one to substitute

So now what’s left for the version 1.0 ? the player transfers and the end of season events – promotion, relegation and such. Also I need to make the possibility for the player to change team during his career. So yes, there’s still quite some work left to do… 😐

Indie "marketing"

There was a recent thread on that saw Caspian complaining about the fact that he can’t find an indie “marketeer”. I want to write my 2 cents on that.

What is an indie marketeer? that’s the first question you have to ask. Because except for sending out a PR, what else you can actually do to promote your game that doesn’t require money? What other effective way to market it you have? My conclusion is: nothing.

Sure you can give it for free to bloggers – you can obtain some exposure but, nothing exceptional.

You can update the game and ad a level pack for example and try to resend the PR. But not every journalist would post twice about your game unless the expansion is something really big or innovative to catch their attention.

So what’s left? buying ads? requires money and so far everyone I talked to was “unsure” about the results (like playing a lottery and hoping to win). Trying to get a review from a big site? nope, if they want to review they’ll ask you. There’s no way you can “enforce” some well-known site to review any of your game if they’re not interested.

So what could really do an indie marketeer? mostly that’s left is very near to spamming 😀 that is, have a own blog about your game(s), post in game-related forums with links in your signature, and such. Nothing so special actually, that could guarantee you a good exposure, but at least you won’t be spending (ehm, actually wasting) money.
So really is a dead end. Like in real world, online business isn’t different. You can’t hope to get “exposure for free”. Portals spend huge amount of money in ads – you can see it in adwords and banners everywhere! Pavlina closed his games site. Probably he realized that there’s too much competition going around now in games, and you can’t just hope to live off 1-2 games earnings alone.
I think the only option for a small indie is just keep releasing new games, hoping that “one of them” becomes a huge hit. Everything else is going to cost money and “maybe” (depends how good actually you can track ads) give you unsure results…