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Behold The Kickmen Development Diary #00004

Jul 272016

Jesus Christ I can’t believe I’m still making this damned game. It started as a fun little diversion and then people liked the look of it and had expectations and eugh pressure.

The end’s in sight, though. The game’s been through a few testers, who all went “yep, it’s a football sort of game. It’s fine, here’s what I liked and didn’t like” so I’ve popped through and addressed the concerns I agree with.

I’ve spent a lot of time getting the core gameplay polished up and feeling nice, and I think that’s there now; it’s moved away from single-button retro Sensi style to something a bit more complex. The reason is because it all felt very ‘surface level’ with a single button doing everything, like there was no skill behind what you were doing.

I reasoned that any game of skill, like football, is actually centred around its players making mistakes, and adding more moves and more complex controls to that made sense: the ability to fluff a tackle by pressing the wrong button, or pausing for a beat to remember what button is Dash adds so much texture to the core gameplay. Added to that are the new Sprint moves and Lob ability, meaning there’s plenty of options at every turn. Plenty of ways to do something wrong, or to do something brilliant and satisfying.

I mention this because people will hate it. The liberating thing about making a football game is I don’t reeeeeally care.

The last thing I need to do is the Story Mode, which sees you progressing through the ranks of the British Football League to win the World Cup. Enemy teams are now generating nicely (in an organic, random, Roguelike way), and the Story stuff is in-and-working but hasn’t been written yet. I’m looking forward to that. The big headache is how I’ll handle the Player’s team stat progression… something I’m leaving till last because it’s a nightmare to get right (I want the player to have agency over decisions, but the core game doesn’t really lend itself to in-depth squad management… so we’ll see how that all comes out in the wash).

Anyway: I’m considering Early Access to get it ‘right’, but hesitant to extend development indefinitely. Whatever happens hopefully it’ll be at least ostensibly done by the end of the summer. So sorry this is dragging on, I didn’t expect it to either but there you go.

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