Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Tue, 4 May 2010
Subject: Art of Soccer
Art of Soccer is a new sports strategy game that we started work on in May 2009.
Early in 2009 we were invited to pitch some of our concepts ideas to a company offering funding for new, original video games. We put together single-page pitches for about ten of the ideas we'd been talking about in our weekly meet-up / game design sessions, and Art of Soccer was the one they liked the most.
The one they wanted to fund.
So, we stopped work on Magnetic Billiards - which was almost complete but which wasn't being funded - and worked on Art of Soccer full time until early 2010.
Art of Soccer was one of the ideas that we almost didn't bother writing up for the pitch meeting. Not because we didn't rate it - we do - but because we thought nobody would ever go for it.
It's a completey new approach to a football game - or to any sports game for that matter - and we're used to nobody (especially publishers or people paying us money) being interested in completely new approaches. Minor variations of previous hit games is usually the way to get a pitch accepted.
We were delighted! We were really excited about the idea, but never thought we'd get the chance to work on it. Now we had the opportunity to bring the idea to life.
We developed a playable prototype, and it was one of the hardest jobs we've ever done. There were some really difficult problems to solve, in terms of interface and UI, and the underlying code and AI, and we had to do some of the hardest thinking we've ever had to do in game development.
The funding dried up in March 2010.
We were probably about 50% of the way through getting the playable prototype finished. The game was working and playing, and all the hardest problems had been solved, but it wasn't quite ready to show the work. We needed to iterate for a while, to improve the UI and make the game more fun and more balanced. We also needed to get the game looking good, as all our work so far was about functionality and game mechanics, with not much effort put into visuals and presentation.
We were left with a 50% finished prototype of a new game that we were really excited about, and which we thought has a ton of potential, but which wasn't in a very presentable or pitchable state as we'd focused on the mechanics instead of visuals.
We also had no income, but we had Magnetic Billiards, a 90% finished prototype which we were equally excited about. We decided that the best thing for us to do would be to return to Magnetic Billiards and get that finished and released, before coming back to Art of Soccer with hopefully some income from Magnetic Billiards sales to fund further development.