Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Marching Onwards

Bygfoot Football Manager development has been resumed. *Cheers!* The latest unstable release is 2.1.1 and contains updates to the UI, the addition of a "luck" factor to make long term success more challenging, and new country definitions.

Bygfoot is a good game. I played version 2.0 a fair bit because I've always been partial to football management games. However, the UI is atrocious. It's clumsy, it does things you don't expect, it forces you to do things you should not have to. For example...

In football you tend to have a first team - that is, your 11 best players - with substitutes to cover that first team. So typically, assuming no injuries or tiredness, you always start with the same 11 players. This is by far the most common approach. However in Bygfoot when you make a substitution in a game, the "team change" is carried over past the game. This forces you to manually undo substitutions after every game. Being a management simulation, this makes the game more tedious than it should be.

Another example; in every single football management game I have ever played, hitting the "next match" button takes you to a screen where you verify your team selection before playing. It's the last thing you do - since just before the game you know who is fit to play etc. In Bygfoot, "next match" jumps straight into the match. If you forgot to undo a substitution, or just bought a new player and forgot to adjust your team sheet, or just got a player back from injury but did not check your team sheet, (there are a 100 cases where you need to check your team sheet) then too bad because the game has already started. So, since checking your team before a match is something you almost always want to do, why does the game not facilitate this need instead of presenting a situation of potential frustration?

Once a bit of intelligent thought is put into the UI then Bygfoot will be a very fun game. Now development has restarted, I am hopeful. :-)

Also seeing a new release recently is Secret Maryo Chronicles. This Maryo-clone is improving with each release although performance on my Windows machine is still appalling for a 2D game. I will try it at home on my Linux box later.

I tried the latest beta of Freeciv today. The SDL client looks neat but was sluggish and unstable, crashing very easily after 20 or so turns each time I tried it. The GTK2 client was much more stable but not as nice looking. Anyway, I'm guessing there's a long time before the final 2.1 release so hopefully the SDL client will improve because it looks much nicer than the GTK2 client. Again there were UI issues, but it's improving with each release. :-)

I wonder if there's anything more I can moan about today? Who made this cup of tea? It tastes horrible! Oh, wait, I made it. Oops!

Actually a quick request. I want to do an isometric FreeGamer logo as part of the ongoing farcical saga that is the redesign of this site. If anybody knows of a good isometric font that I can snaffle, or a good tutorial on creating isomtetric 3D text, please speak up!