Color Schemes

In Sports Management Games (as well as some other genres of games), one of the most frequent difference of opinion amongst players concerns the color scheme of the User Interface (UI).

Some prefer lighter colors, while others prefer a much darker style (often because the find light colors hard to look at for a long period of time).  While the first version of Football GM will not feature a completely ‘skinnable’ (customizable) UI, it was still felt the UI should cater to uses who prefer either color style.

The “Light Theme” is the default theme in Football GM, and will be used in the vast majority of the screenshots and videos this blog will show.

Player Search using the "Light Theme"

Player Search using the “Light Theme”

However, using the “Options” menu on the home screen, the player can easily switch to a “Dark Theme” if they prefer.

Player Search using the "Dark Theme"

Player Search using the “Dark Theme”

Changing the Color Scheme

Changing the Color Scheme

Below are some comparisons of the two themes.

Cap Information using the "Light Theme"

Cap Information using the “Light Theme”

Cap Information using the "Dark Theme"

Cap Information using the “Dark Theme”

In a game using the "Light Theme"

Standings using the “Light Theme”

Standings using the "Dark Theme"

Standings using the “Dark Theme”

In a game using the "Light Theme"

In a game using the “Light Theme”

In a game using the "Dark Theme"

In a game using the “Dark Theme”

In the future, if the demand is sufficient even more color schemes can be added, with the eventual goal being that players can customize the graphics themselves at some point.

Feel free to leave any questions/comments!

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Realism vs “Fun”

One big challenge for any game in the Sports Management genre is deciding where to draw the line between trying to be as realistic as possible, and trying to make the game fun for the user.

Two key areas in Football GM were identified in which the plethora of real-life rules could confuse users to the point where they would not find the realism a positive aspect.

  • Roster Rules
  • Contract Details

Roster Rules

One of the main concerns about the real-life roster rules was the amount of designations teams can apply to players. Designations range from the “Physically Unable to Perform” list, the “Injured Reserve-Designated for Return” list to the “Reserve/Military” List.

It was decided from a very early stage that the amount of different lists would need to be curtailed.

Football GM features only one Injured Reserve list (IR) with one player per season allowed to come off it.

Players on IR

Players on IR

A player is eligible to be put on IR if the length of the injury is at least 42 days (6 weeks).

Another simplification is off-season roster rules.  For example, Future Contracts which are a staple of early year signings in real life are gone, all in the effort to make the experience more enjoyable for the user (it was felt that having to keep track of players who were due to join your team later in the year added little to the experience – in Football GM the players are signed straight away)

Contract Details

One of the features which may confuse users the most is the cap and contract rules. While the real rules have tried to be adhered to as much as possible a few things have been simplified.

The most striking aspect of contracts which has been simplified are bonus’.

In real life a player’s contract may (and likely will) include bonus’  for things ranging from number of rushing yards, to a workout bonus (if he attends off season workouts). These bonus’ are then generally split into “likely to be earned” and “not likely to be earned”, each having a different effect on the cap number.

In Football GM, in an effort to help the user keep track of the cap numbers, all these different type of bonus’ have been merged into one*; A yearly Roster Bonus. If a player is on the roster on the date his bonus is due, he will get  the money.

Upcoming dates for when Player's Bonus' are due.

Upcoming dates for when Player’s Bonus’ are due.

The home screen will display all important upcoming dates so the user will know when these bonus’ are due.

On each player’s contract panel, Football GM will try and explain to the user what the terms of a contract mean, and explain any rules.

Explanation of rules (in a early stage of development)

Explanation of rules (in a early stage of development)

Releasing Mark Sanchez?

Releasing Mark Sanchez?

The texts in the explanations will be looked at on  a regular basis – as well as if there is a need to explain any other rules –  as there is a thin line between not providing enough information to the user and annoying the user by swamping them with too much explanation.

*From the point of view of the Data, all real life bonuses deemed “likely to be earned” have been merged into the roster bonus. This way it is felt that Football GM still keeps the realistic contract/cap amounts, while being able to get rid of all the other bonuses.

Want to see a future article about something in particular? Feel free to leave us a comment below!

Data

Player History

(The following article applies to real life history. i.e. What players did before the game starts)

One aspect of Sports Management games I am most passionate about is the amount of player history available to the user. I feel games with little/no player history seem less “complete” than those with player history.

While I acknowledge that to a few users, the player history may never be noticed not appreciated, I still felt it was vital part of Football GM, and as such it was a key design goal from the start.

Types of Data

Within Football GM, player history is divided into three categories:

  • Stats History – The stats the player has produced throughout his career up to the start point of the game.
  • Transaction History – Every transaction the player has been involved in.
  • Injury history – The player’s past injuries.

Statistical History

The Statistical history of every player was already accounted for as it is vital for the attribute generation of the players (as detailed in this post).

Currently only pro regular season historical stats are in the Football GM Database, though eventually I plan for pre/post season, as well as College history.

Player stats are accessible in a few ways. On the league screen you are available to view league stats back to the year 2000. These stats are sortable by any column the user wishes.

Stats from the 2003 season sorted by rushing yards.

Stats from the 2003 season sorted by rushing yards.

Stats from the 2010 season sorted by passing attempts.

Stats from the 2010 season sorted by passing attempts.

Stats from the 2000 season sorted by total tackles.

Stats from the 2000 season sorted by tackles.

As well as the league view, the user is able to go to any team they wish, and view the stats just for that team, again the stats are sortable if the user wishes.

Passing stats from the 2006 New York Jets

Passing stats from the 2006 Jets

Defensive stats from the 2006 Ravens

Defensive stats from the 2006 Ravens

As well as viewing stats from a league/team perspective, the user is also able to click on any player they see, and view the individual stats for that player.

Mark Sanchez's career stats.

Mark Sanchez’s career stats.

Transaction History

As well as Statistical history, Football GM contains complete transaction history currently back to the year 2003 (though once again I plan to expand this at a later date).
The format transactions are viewable in, is similar to the way Stats are shown.

On a league-wide scale, transactions can be filtered by month/year.

League transactions from 2012

League transactions from 2012

League transactions from April 2009

League transactions from April 2009

Transactions can also be viewed from a team perspective, again filtered by month/year

Jets transactions from April 2008

Jets transactions from April 2008

And of course a player’s own transactions are available from the player profile.

Dorin Dickerson's career transcations

Dorin Dickerson’s career transactions

Injury History

As well as statistical and transaction history, Football GM also contains an injury history for each player. History of injuries for player’s are significantly harder to research compared with the other types of history, and so – currently – is not as complete as I wish. Almost every injury which occurred in-season from 2000, though this doesn’t include all training camp injuries, and doesn’t include pre-draft history. I aim to fix this in the future.

The history Football GM does have however, is collated to form a player’s individual health map. This map is used to help calculate player’s future injuries – for example a player with a history of knee injuries is more likely to have future knee injuries.

The health map is also useful to the user when evaluating players. For example a running back may have the desired attributes you are looking for in a starter, but if his injury history is bad you may not wish to hand him a large contract.

Player's Health

Player’s Health

The health map also takes into account the history of a player. A running back who has been overused in the early part of his career, will likely be a larger health risk than a RB who has used sparingly.

Player's Health

Player’s Health

Feel free to leave any questions/comments.