Monday, February 25, 2013

Gridiron Solitaire #44: Finally!

I know I talked about finishing the offseason last week, but after three fortunately productive days in a row last week, now it actually is finished (or at 95%+). There's also a full name database for cards now (40 for each ranking).

First off, there was a happy accident on the ratings buttons last night. Fredrik revised some of the button images for me with different poses, because the cards for that rating now match the button image. He forgot that I had some labels on the button, though, so he made the images larger. Take a look at the screen, temporarily with buttons of both sizes:

The larger buttons look so much better that I decided to move the "Current" text and keep the buttons, so Fredrik redid the other two in the new style. I can still fit in the name of the rating at the top.

The ratings text will be in the bottom left, because every button has space there. And instead of a 1-10 rating (which was only temporary, because I don't use that scale anywhere else in the game), I'm going to use A-F (which is what's used on the New League screen). So you'll see a button with a big player image and one letter in the lower left to indicate the current rating. That's a much cleaner look, and it requires less reading (I know, that sounds stupid when I'm only talking about one word--"current", but anything that can be grasped without having to think about it is a good thing).

Second screen, after you select a rating:

Two big changes on this screen since last week. First, instead of six cards per rating, there are only three. Second, instead of having the same ratings range each season, ratings for each card are randomly generated now. It was just too predictable previously (as John Harwood very concisely pointed out), and this makes for more budget juggling and risk taking decisions.

One more image, and it's the outcome screen, after you've finalized your purchase choices:

Fredrik's working on a revised accountant image for this screen (where he's watching the draft after an exhausting day of crunching numbers), but otherwise, it's essentially finished. There's a reveal where the stamp for each card is shown in turn, so you know whether the card went bust.

Balance-wise, I'm having good results with the bottom-tier teams, which is all I've tested yet. It's possible to take a poor team and get them into playoff contention reliably after 5 years or so (simming only), but there's certainly no way to dominate. I'm going to try a top team next and see if it's possible to control the league (hopefully not).

Oh, and by the way, the revised letter ratings aren't shown on these cards yet, either, so there will be a letter instead of a number where in the "New Rating" area.

I also forgot to mention that there are now "ultra-rare" cards. There's only a 1% chance of drawing one, but it grants a +5 bonus to a rating (if it doesn't bust), and it's only as costly as a +2 card. So it's quite a thrill (to me, anyway), when one pops up.

This turned out to be a slog, but I think it's far more interesting than the old offseason, and it feels much more faithful to football in general. So now that it's essentially done, I can forgot the teeth grinding that went with it over the last month.

Plus, major functionality is done now. I'm not making any more big changes to anything. Going forward, there's a focus on polish and refinement, but I'm not yanking out major engine parts.

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