February 2nd, 2013, 03:05 PM
Open source sports management games
This is my first post and I would like to share a couple of ideas for management games.
I used to be a programmer that turned into a sysadmin that finally turned into a network admin that turned into a senior systems architect that turned into upper management and business strategy that retired with stock cash, and finally came back from retirement to open my own business.
My business handles network and connectivity infrastructure, mostly for emerging markets, and it eats 80% of my time. So, I don't have time to code anymore.
I love sports management games. But, that is a market that is kinda under-explored. Big game industry players don't like to move on that, and EA keeps most of the good licenses, and sit on top of them to let them, basically, rot.
Open source crowd-based development can be a good alternative for sports management games.
Basically, because the most successful closed source management game reflects directly the power of its own community of users.
Who would play SEGA-SI's Football Manager without the community-created logo, faces, leagues, teams, graphics, stats packs?
That is a pretty boring game when it goes barebone.
But, crowd-voluntary-based community development makes that franchise the success it is.
I was thinking about a community-crowd based initiative, like a forum, a social network, or something like that, or all of that put together, or just use what we have (Devshed is here, Facebook is there anyways, and so on). And unleash this crowd-development force to create a open source "franchise" of management games.
That can even get money to be shared within the community (put real adboards in the game interface, and make money with advertisement, for example). But, the main idea, is to have fun and create management games that are open and fun to play.
Graphics and 3D shouldn't be the main concern. The closed source games from the big industry players take care of that.
I think community-crowd based development should focus on the A.I. part of the game.
A.I. must be smart. And, these days, A.I. can be programmed with Lua, Python or whatever scripting language you think of.
Also, there are some open source gaming A.I.s sitting around, that can be used as a base for development.
A simple interface like some of the already existent, though abandoned or almost-abandoned, open source sports management projects, shall be good enough, if it gets more and varied options than they have right now.
Bygfoot comes to my mind. It is a very small team effort, and it lacks more business-side soccer stuff (besides a graphic 2d/almost-3d match interface, and a 2d/almost-3d stadium builder, for example), but it stands out when you think of open source sports management games.
When I talk about 2d/almost-3d graphic interfaces, I am thinking of very simple, yet good looking, ones like the ones old Eat the Whistle had.
If we get those 2d/almost-3d interfaces for displaying matches and training, and also related activities like press conferences, and locker-room talks, that would be awesome.
If we get the press-conferences/locker-room talks to be graphically displayed whilst interactive/rpg-like, we would have something that no other sports management software has.
Also, 2d/almost-3d stadium, training grounds, office buildings editors/builders can bring something else to those games.
If we get that building process to also influence how the A.I. handle the game that can be another plus.
(for instance, If you want to build a stadium, you may have a couple of available areas you can buy displayed on a citywide map. Those areas will be located, or not, close to public transportation hubs, other sports venues, dilapidated or ascending neighborhoods. Those areas will also have stats, like population, income levels, well-being and crime indexes, popularity of your club there, popularity of other clubs also, and such. So, to decide where to build your new stadium, or training center, or fan complex, or office complex, you would have to take in consideration not only your available budget, but also all of those other factors that would influence your club financial and sports performance in the future, and could prove to be a good bet or a terrible decision, that could cost your job as club director.)
This also, game needs to have engagement levels. Coach, Coordinator, Main Coach, Manager, Director. And you should be able to progress through those from the lowest to the highest level, or not. You may just want to be a Defense coordinator for the rest of your life, and the only thing you have to worry about is the way your defense plays. You won't have to worry about training camps, whole team strategy, and the business decisions. Or you will want to be a Director, and will influence directly how your coaches make your team play (overriding their decisions, even), and also will have to worry about stadium maintenance and construction, fan attendance, marketing and sponsorship deals, player and coach salaries and contracts, the League board, your club board, and so on.
A closed source game needs to sell, and to sell is to deal with stupidity (Einstein said the stupid will always prevail, basically because of a simple math-related reason...)
That is the main reason why a closed source game cannot have it all, cannot dedicate itself to build a crazy strong A.I. for both the match/game part of the simulation, and the business side of it.
Stupid people like stupid things. That is they way it works, and that is why we mostly sell stupid stuff.
But an open source game can have it all.
As we don't need a high end, processor demanding 3d interface, we can have simple GUIs, and simple 2d/almost-3d match, training, press conference, locker-room talk simulation displays, and 2d/almost-3d stadium, office, training camp builders, and focus straight on the reach, power and smartness of the business and match A.I.s.
Think of it: go to a draft against A.I.s and have them forfeit draft picks to pick up the right players for their teams? Or go into the European soccer season market window and have to fight A.I. to buy that wonderkid that can solve your team problem? Or having A.I. directors calling the immigration to get your Caribbean pitcher, with a shadowy immigration status, deported right before that play-off game?
See, good games are made of good awesome A.I. It is simple like that.
One last thing. With community-crowd based effort we could have updated databases for all existing sports teams in the damn world. Think about Trinidad local soccer league? I know someone that knows someone that knows someone that is a soccer fan there, and knows everything about the players, the teams, the coaches, the referees, and the local tournaments.
We can have complete stats, with fake names, obviously, because of the licensing thing, for all the sports teams in the world. And constantly updated through that same community-crowd based effort.
These are some of my ideas. I have many more to share, but this has became a too-fat huge humongous post already, and most people won't read it to the end.
But, the main thing is: who is down to it? Who wants to begin to build that crowd-community based development effort to build the best A.I. sports management simulation games?
Hope there is someone out there.
Thanks and sorry for this huge post.