Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gridiron Solitaire #97: The Struggle To The Death To Add Kickoffs

You just wouldn't think adding kickoffs would be so difficult. I wouldn't, anyway.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Adding anything, and making it truly complete, pulls on a lot of threads in the main game code. Adding something anywhere else is not so difficult, but there are so many moving parts in the main game code that it always winds up being much more complex than I expected. Plus I've learned something important: every time you make some kind of special little run-around to get something to work, even if it's just one or two lines of code, it will bite you in the ass later. Every time.

In spite of all this grief, though, kickoffs are working now, with two missing items:
1) there are no returns for TD yet. Instead, those returns are coded at 99 yards.
2) there are no turnovers on returns. I'm very much on the fence about this, because they do happen in real football, but it would be the only time the user really has no control over their occurrence (because he/she has press the Big Play button in every other case to create the possibility of a turnover). So in a conceptual sense, that's a difficult decision.

Fredrik whipped up some very nice images. First, the kick:

Then, the return, and I think this is a fantastic image:

I like those bigger images so much that I'm wondering if there's any other situation where the format could be useful. I've thought about doing it for punts (incorporating most of the existing text events in the text box), or even adding images for big events (like touchdowns, which adds an issue with the referee image).

What I do know, though, at the very core level, is that those images pop, and they create a new source of energy for the visual presentation.

The gameplay balancing for 1.3 is almost done and ready for testing. With kickoff returns and a different feel to offense, this is a different game now. It has a much higher fidelity to real football (good), but it's going to force people to make adjustments in how they play (which they will hopefully see as a reasonable outcome of the game becoming more realistic).

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