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Old 07-30-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
Ben E Lou
Morgado's Favorite Forum Fascist
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Greensboro, NC
FOF7 July 30th Developer Chat Log

[19:30] BEN: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to FOFC's live Q&A session with Front Office Football developer Jim Gindin. Thanks for joining us.

[19:31] BEN: We've got a great turnout, definitely more people than I expected, and I would imagine that more will join us.

[19:31] BEN: First off, BIG thanks to Jim for taking time out of what I'm sure is a very busy development schedule to do this. I think you all should know that this wasn't something that I pushed him to do; he approached me about it.

[19:32] BEN: Our format is going to be a moderated chat this evening. That means that for the bulk of the evening, Jim and I will be the only people able to type anything that gets posted publicly.

[19:32] BEN: Our general schedule is as follows:
[19:32] BEN: 1. Jim will tell us a little about FOF7.
[19:32] BEN: 2. Jim will answer the pre-submitted questions.
[19:32] BEN: 3. As time permits, we'll take additional questions.

[19:33] BEN: When we get to the "additional questions" portion of the Q&A, you'll IM your questions to me (or send them via PM at FOFC) and I'll select as many of the best ones that I can to send to Jim.

[19:34] BEN: Just as an FYI ahead of time, please note that I will be largely ignoring feature requests disguised as questions. (i.e. "Will {insert your favorite feature request} be in the game?)

[19:34] BEN: OK. Enough from me. I'll turn it over to Jim. (I *think* I've given him speaking rights correctly. We'll find out in a moment, I guess.)
06[19:34] * @Ben_E_Lou steps away from podium

[19:35] SOLECISMIC: First, I'd like to thank Ben for compiling the list of questions and agreeing to moderate this chat. It's a lot of work. If I've missed anything, it's my fault, not Ben's.
[19:35] SOLECISMIC: And second, I'd like to thank all of you for taking the time to listen. It's nice to know there's still some interest out there in my work. It helps knowing I don't necessarily work in a vacuum.
[19:35] SOLECISMIC: I didn't answer all of the pre-submitted questions. I did this not to be evasive, but because I didn't want to be too repetitive.
[19:35] SOLECISMIC: I'll start with a brief overview of what will be new in FOF7 (Or Front Office Football Seven, or Front Office Football: The Seventh Edition, or maybe Front Office Football: Generations). This is not a very detailed overview, and since I'm not yet in alpha, details can change so I won't go too far into each feature.

[19:36] SOLECISMIC: 1. Convert WinHelp to HtmlHelp. Amazing that people started doing this in the late '90s.
[19:36] SOLECISMIC: (I guess SnowMan really liked WinHelp)

[19:37] SOLECISMIC: 2. Add data file for importing coach and coordinator names to new game. So far, it's either the file or random names for starting a new game.

[19:37] SOLECISMIC: 3. Combine coaching and scouting attributes into one staff type and implement this throughout the game. This is actually a massive piece of work. Scouts will disappear. Coaches will do all the work. Each team will have a head coach, two coordinators, an assistant coach (can be either defense or offense) and a strength coordinator. I'm still working on the responsibilities for each staff...
[19:37] SOLECISMIC: ...position, but most scouting will be from a combination of staff members.


[19:38] SOLECISMIC: 4. Replace bidding on coaches with a staff draft. Each year, you'll have a draft much like the amateur draft (only, thankfully, much quicker, as most teams will pass in most rounds). The first round will be for head coaches, the second round for offensive coordinators, etc. Before the draft, you will be able to extend staff members in their last contract season. During the draft, you may be...
[19:38] SOLECISMIC: ...able to "promote" staff members from other teams (i.e., you may be able to offer someone else's defensive coordinator, under contract, a role as your head coach). Draft order will be based on financial performance.


[19:38] SOLECISMIC: 5. Add/change attributes for staff members. The system will be less number-heavy - staff members who are good at development will be good at development for all positions. Same with scouting. Each staff member will have a "primary" position group. Maybe a little bonus there. So if your head coach was once a quarterback specialist, maybe your quarterbacks get a bonus during development or...
[19:38] SOLECISMIC: ...develop more quickly. I will note that there are attributes that won't be displayed or used during the game. This is for future development, if there is future development. These attributes are focused on play style. I just wanted to get my whole notebook in there while I was busy changing thousands of lines of code.


[19:39] SOLECISMIC: 6. Scouting algorithm changes. While the basic philosophy of scouting error remains the same, the details are changing, as multiple staff members will be involved.

[19:39] SOLECISMIC: 7. Positional experience changes. To better reflect the current state of the game, positional experience will be determined differently.

[19:40] SOLECISMIC: 8. Expansions to Red Flag players. More feedback is necessary. They will not forgive you if you cut them.

[19:40] SOLECISMIC: 9. New Game screen. Better implementation of eight-character rule for universe names. Better implementation of single-player/multi-player toggle. Remove difficulty levels. Add option to use real staff file.

[19:40] SOLECISMIC: 10. Change salary structures. Remove incentives and add roster bonuses. Limit contracts to five years. Rookies sign automatic contracts. Salary rules reflect new collective bargaining agreement.

[19:41] SOLECISMIC: 11. Game Film. Change stored data to include run and pass tendencies by down and distance, as well as personnel use, if possible. Add screen to "scout" opponents using this information.

[19:41] SOLECISMIC: 12. Draft History. Add screen to show historic drafts from any year. This means all drafted players fall into the yearly stat dump, even if they never played a down.

[19:42] SOLECISMIC: 13. 2013 Player File. These player files are huge endeavors, by the way. Changes include replacing starts and games played last year with percentage of snaps played, as well as the new contract structure.

[19:42] SOLECISMIC: 14. Modifications for Player File Generator. Make it a Windows 8 app, HtmlHelp, FOF7 data format.

[19:42] SOLECISMIC: 15. Multi-Player Management. Add dumping of most game data into csv file (Ben is helping quite a bit with deciding what to dump). Add in-game ftp for uploading stage files. Add in-game ftp to download game files from commissioner. Add ability to view what's in a stage file, save it, load it, and delete entries (but not modify or reorder them).

[19:43] SOLECISMIC: 16. Remove playing time choices from game plans. This will all be endurance-based.


[19:43] SOLECISMIC: 17. Eliminate the summer league. NFL Europe is long gone.


[19:43] SOLECISMIC: 18. Streamline the screens controlling adjustments to the game plans. Too many choices, too little time.

[19:43] SOLECISMIC: 19. Ratings Tracking. Add fields to the yearly data dump showing your team's scouting impression of each player. Add a screen displaying this information.

[19:44] SOLECISMIC: 20. Quarterback Performance. Add screen showing yearly performance of all league quarterbacks, sortable on number of years experience.

[19:44] SOLECISMIC: 21. Fine tuning of automatic withdrawal of free agent offers. Automatic withdrawal checkboxes both if any other player signs or if any player at his position signs.

[19:44] SOLECISMIC: 22. Free Agency AI. A complete overhaul. I'd like a competitive AI.

[19:44] SOLECISMIC: 23. End of Game Time Management. Some fine-tuning, if possible. It got a lot better in the last patch, but it's still limited by a lack of knowing what happened on the last play.

[19:45] SOLECISMIC: 24. Limit Position Switching. Still based on weight, but you can't become a quarterback (not even if your last name isn't Tebow).

[19:45] SOLECISMIC: 25. Add Long-Snapper as dedicated special teams player. It's no longer done by players who do much of anything else, so keep them out of the game otherwise. I also wanted to make my Free Agency AI that much more difficult. This is one of those changes that seems small, but is guaranteed to produce lots of bugs.

[19:45] SOLECISMIC: 26. Add Timeline/Calendar to User Interface. Instead of just buttons at the top of the screen during specific stages, there's a window that's always on the screen that displays the stage along with a brief description of the stage. This will help a lot with new players, and will help experienced players remember what needs to be done.

[19:46] SOLECISMIC: 27. Other User Interface Improvements. It will look a little better, but still not like a real graphics artist got a hold of it or anything. It will remember screen position of menu windows.

[19:46] SOLECISMIC: 28. Major Internal Structural Changes. Unfortunately, these don't change the game's function. But the code was streamlined to make future development much easier. New development was becoming far too tedious.

[19:47] SOLECISMIC: There are a few other potential features, but they may not make the cut. At some point, I will just call out "alpha" and start making sure everything works so I can get to "beta" and embarrass myself when 100 new bugs are caught within 24 hours.

[19:49] BEN: Wow, Jim. Some great stuff in there!
[19:49] BEN: I say we go ahead and get to the questions.
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Last edited by Ben E Lou : 07-30-2013 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
Ben E Lou
Morgado's Favorite Forum Fascist
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Greensboro, NC
[19:49] SOLECISMIC: REQUIREMENTS/DISTRIBUTION/RELEASE/ETC
[19:49] SOLECISMIC: Q: What are the system requirements for FOF7?
[19:50] SOLECISMIC: Windows XP or later. A screen with a resolution of 1024x768 or above.

[19:50] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will the new version be available for MAC?
[19:50] SOLECISMIC: Steve Jobs was a great innovator, but he made it very difficult for college kids who loved programming to get into Apple programming. That's why it's so hard to find native MAC software. FOF is a Windows product for now. If you can get it working using Wine or another emulator, that's great.

[19:50] SOLECISMIC: Q: A number of users have reported significant problems with getting Viatech licenses restored in a timely fashion. Are you planning to use a different type of licensing?
[19:51] SOLECISMIC: I am frustrated by these reports. I am also frustrated by the continual installation problems caused by ViaTech's incompatibility with many anti-virus products. It makes up easily 90% of my customer service issues. I was told that the delays in customer service were temporary and a new version of eLicense was coming out to address the compatibility issues. Neither seems to be the case.
[19:51] SOLECISMIC: I really like ViaTech, but I can't in good faith to my customers release another product using their software unless both of these issues are addressed. If I can get FOF7 onto Steam, I will. I don't think that will happen. If I can't, and ViaTech isn't making these changes, I'm open to suggestions.

[19:52] SOLECISMIC: Q: If there are upgrades or add-ons to the game in the future, will these be in the form of download/extract patches?
[19:52] SOLECISMIC: I think that's likely.

[19:52] SOLECISMIC: Q: Is there anything we as a community can do to help you get the game on Steam?
[19:52] SOLECISMIC: I'm not sure. If there's someone who knows anyone at Steam who can help, that would be wonderful. Looking at what's out there, I really doubt if I throw it onto Greenlight myself that it will avoid the negative attention (as in, why are these graphics from the Stone Age?) that will kill the campaign.

[19:52] SOLECISMIC: Q: Can I pre-order this game?
[19:53] SOLECISMIC: I've never done this before, and I'd like to avoid it. Since I don't know how it will be published, I can't consider that at this time.

[19:53] SOLECISMIC: GENERAL JIM QUESTIONS
[19:53] SOLECISMIC: Q: You've resisted giving even projected/hoped release dates in the past. Why the change this year?
[19:53] SOLECISMIC: General Jim is in a constant state of evolution. Right now, I think I need a good kick in the ass more than anything. I'm just not the machine I was for the first several years of Solecismic activity.
{Ben Edit. Cute, General Jim....}

[19:54] SOLECISMIC: Q: Do you consider FOF7 more of a "one-off" type of development project, or do you feel that this may be part of a new cycle of FOF/TCY development?
[19:54] SOLECISMIC: There's a lot more I'd like to do if FOF7 is a success and I can indulge myself by continuing to develop games.

[19:54] SOLECISMIC: Q: As a developer, what change or enhancement are you most excited about in the latest iteration of your game?
[19:54] SOLECISMIC: If I can pull it off, a genuinely competitive AI for managing a team roster would get me very excited about the game.

[19:54] SOLECISMIC: Q: What feature that you couldnt get into fof2k7 are you most excited about including in fof7?
[19:54] SOLECISMIC: I've never liked staff hiring. Turning it into a draft, while not realistic, is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I think it solves the problem of bidding without a real budget and adds structure to the game.

[19:55] SOLECISMIC: Q: It's been 6 years since a new release, and at times there were doubts you'd ever make another FOF game. what brought you back?
[19:55] SOLECISMIC: I've written a couple of posts about what stopped me in my tracks five years ago (when FOF 2009 development was underway). It took a while to reinvent myself. Then I wanted to see if I could move into board game development (seems that I can't). I think this was the next logical progression. I've never stopped studying professional football, and there's just so much I want to do. FOF is...
[19:55] SOLECISMIC: ...simply the best way to present that.

[19:55] SOLECISMIC: GENERAL/MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS
[19:56] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will there be any new options for game startups, such as the option popular in many text sims to simulate multiple seasons with one click to pre-sim for "history" before taking over a team?
[19:56] SOLECISMIC: That's on the possible list. I try to avoid discussion that involves competitors because I think the market works best if we all develop independently. Which means there might well be common functions I don't include, and functions I do include that no one else considers.
[19:56] SOLECISMIC: I use a "hidden" function in the game to generate multiple seasons in order to stress-test the game. Putting a UI in front of it and exposing that is a possibility, but I do tend to avoid functions that aren't intuitive to a game.

[19:56] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will TCY imports still be supported, and if so, will there be any changes to those algorithms?
[19:56] SOLECISMIC: Yes, they'll still be supported, but TCY is quite old, so there's no sense spending development time on it unless I make a new TCY.

[19:57] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will the current CSV files be used to create rosters, or has a new system been put in place? Will the current historical rosters and draft classes be usable for FOF7?
[19:57] SOLECISMIC: There are slight changes to the csv structure. It will be quite easy to make those changes and rebuild the player files (the player file generator has been revised to support the new format).

[19:57] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will there be any customization options with regard to league structure, such as conference/division setup, number of teams, season length, playoff format, expansion?
[19:57] SOLECISMIC: There won't be (ducking and hiding for the next several minutes....)
[19:57] SOLECISMIC: To do this right, it would take up an entire development cycle on its own. I don't think that would be a good business decision.

[19:58] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will AI changes are planned that might make the single player experience more challenging?
[19:58] SOLECISMIC: If it's not more challenging when I'm done, I need to rethink whether I belong in this profession. This is a major development focus for FOF7.

[19:58] SOLECISMIC: Q: The NFL has changed a lot since the last FoF release. Amongst others, passing has become more important relative to rushing. Tight Ends are more important in the passing game than before. Scrambling/rushing ability is now far more important for QBs. The distinction between Defensive Ends and Outside Linebackers has been somewhat blurred. Do you intend to capture any or all of these modern...
[19:58] SOLECISMIC: ...developments in the new version?

[19:58] SOLECISMIC: I'm always looking at this data. And these changes are very real and important. You saw some changes in 6.4. I don't think I can get everything right, mostly because of how personnel matchups work, but the last thing I do before I release a product is run dozens of seasons and fine-tune the statistical output. Changes to tight ends constituted one of the biggest adjustments in the 6.3-6.4 period.

[19:58] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will you work on AI's drafting logic and will we see a improved draft day?
[19:59] SOLECISMIC: I'm not sure. It's on the list to check, but it's not a serious concern at present other than not enough checks in place to prevent drafting a player who may really stand out, but you should be happy with the guy you drafted last year.

[19:59] SOLECISMIC: Q: Are you making design decisions in this version to give the user more information, less information, or about the same amount, perhaps in a different way? As an example, will the interview process be tweaked to give more specific information on a player, eliminated entirely, or maintained at the general "underrated/overrated/hard to tell" level of detail?
[19:59] SOLECISMIC: I am considering eliminating the rookie interview process, because no one has yet to ask me to give teams more interviews. At the very least, I hope to reduce interviews.

[19:59] SOLECISMIC: Q: Will the league playing style evolve with time or is it more set to mimic the current state of the NFL? (For more clarity, will we see things like teams or the league as a whole moving from being heavy rushing, deep pass oriented to short, quick passes instead of runs, to option based attacks, etc.)
[19:59] SOLECISMIC: This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I don't know, though. If it can be done without seeming hokey, it will get in there.
[20:00] SOLECISMIC: (I have eliminated quite a few "will this be included" questions because I don't like saying "no" too many times. I apologize if your question wasn't answered.)

[20:00] SOLECISMIC: Q: You mentioned that the football board game you designed will have an impact on game-planning in FOF. Can you elaborate on what this means, and how game-planning will change (even if the changes aren't related to the board game?)
[20:00] SOLECISMIC: Early in the FOF 2009 development cycle, I visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame and had the opportunity to spend some time in the archives. I focused on game-planning documents and playbooks. After that trip, I spent a lot of time coming up with a design that reflected how NFL coaches approach game planning.
[20:00] SOLECISMIC: This was the basis of the board game, though what I'd like to do is far more complex. If there is an FOF8, this is pretty much the only development item on the list. The first piece - the changes to how staff is implemented - is finished.

[20:01] SOLECISMIC: Q: Any thought about aligning the pass distances screen for gameplanning with the ratings/ranges for QBs? Are they different intentionally?
[20:01] SOLECISMIC: Yes, this is intentionally different to ensure a smoother implementation of throwing ratings.

[20:01] SOLECISMIC: Q: How will conversions of MP leagues work, and will SP leagues have a conversion option?
[20:01] SOLECISMIC: A month or so after release, I will ask MP commissioners interested in conversion to send me their league files at the year-end stage. I will convert those files and send them back. Once per established league. There will not be a conversion utility for single-player universe files.

[20:01] SOLECISMIC: Q: You've mentioned here at FOFC that you agree with the assessment of many that WRs are too overvalued in the current version of FOF. For FOF7, is it safe to assume that this will be addressed?
[20:02] SOLECISMIC: Yes, it's on the priority one list.

[20:02] SOLECISMIC: Q: You've done a lot of writing at Football Frontier about research you've done on Quarterback performance. How has that data influenced your design of the new game?
[20:02] SOLECISMIC: Primarily, it has helped me understand that the development curve varies considerably between positions. Quarterbacks don't develop like we intuitively expect them to develop. If there's anything I've done that I think would help an NFL front office, it's the data mining I've done using quarterback performance.

[20:02] SOLECISMIC: Q: now that the new cba has basically standardized signing draft picks, will contracts be automatically assigned to rookies based on when they were drafted? or will all rookie deals still need to be negotiated? (and will the new 4 year deal, 5th year team option for 1st round picks be in the game?)
[20:02] SOLECISMIC: Yes, that change has been made. I won't be implementing the team-option or top-performance clauses, as they make roster management more complex than I'd like to expose at this time. Year five is an interesting case, as players rarely receive a true restricted free agent contract requiring compensation, but the restricted free agency rules often drive second contracts.

[20:03] SOLECISMIC: ... and now back to Ben...
[20:04] BEN: Jim, thanks so much for taking time to do that
[20:04] BEN: Now to the crowd; go ahead and submit your questions. I have a few already...

[20:05] SOLECISMIC: Q: You said the new staff draft order is based on financial performance. Since winning teams tend to perform better financially, are you concerned that giving successful teams a better crack at good coaches hurts competitive balance?
[20:07] SOLECISMIC: It's said that in the NFL, teams run in cycles. It's remarkable how often teams reach the playoffs, and the playoffs are only open to 12 of 32 teams. What Buffalo and Oakland have accomplished is truly rare. So I see the amateur draft as more of an equalizer.

[20:08] SOLECISMIC: Q: You mention that balancing the impact of WR is a major priority. As a mostly MP player, I see the limits stretched often. It ends up with a "one system wins" setup. Will the balancing include an attempt to make it so that, for instance, you can win in MP with a run-first team on a consistent basis if built properly?
[20:09] SOLECISMIC: There's plenty of discussion about other systems. I don't think there's one magic bullet - though the disparity between the value of WRs with big-play ability and how they value themselves creates a problem.

[20:10] SOLECISMIC: Q: Since finances are being used for staff draft order, may we assume they will be of increased importance in other parts of the game? Will the fiancial system be revamped in any meaningful way?
[20:10] SOLECISMIC: Meaningful is a difficult word to define, but, yes, finances will be examined again.

[20:12] SOLECISMIC: Q: Are you able to elaborate on positional experience changes?
[20:13] SOLECISMIC: One piece that I felt was essential to the game all the way back in version 1 was developing a realistic career arc for players. When do they reach their peaks? This needs to be re-examined.

[20:13] SOLECISMIC: Q: What in the way the current game works is outdated with regard to the current state of the game?
[20:14] SOLECISMIC: Definitely contracts. Everything has changed, really. This is no small piece of work. I also think the passing game has been emphasized so much these days that I need to do more to tune defensive expectations.

[20:14] SOLECISMIC: Q: Do you think you will join a MP league after you've released the game?
[20:15] SOLECISMIC: No. That was the worst decision I've made in 15 years, joining an MP league. I did learn from the experience, but if I ever do it again, it will be anonymously.

[20:16] SOLECISMIC: Q: If interviews are removed, would there be any other tools that we could gain to get a window into rookies?
[20:17] SOLECISMIC: Probably not. Right now, the complaint is that once you've played a lot of FOF, you know too much about rookies as it is. This might help with balance as well.

[20:17] SOLECISMIC: Q: With the increased focus on staff, will there be any indicator to make it more clear what impact the staff has? I'm not sure I have a concrete example - but for instance maybe that the coach called a good play, or a bad play?
[20:18] SOLECISMIC: There will be better documentation of staff responsibilities. I'm not a big fan of text in the play descriptions, as it gets very, very repetitive.

[20:18] SOLECISMIC: Q: New types of statistical evaluation have become popular in baseball and basketball, but football lags a bit behind. Of the advanced metrics currently being used in football, which ones do you think have the most value, and have you incorporated it (or others) into FOF7?
[20:21] SOLECISMIC: The big difference between football and basketball/baseball is the dependence on the other ten players on your team. Basketball analysts swear that points scored per touch is constant, no matter who your teammates are. Baseball is nine people essentially in nine vacuums. So evaluation is quite subjective. I like to look at participation logs. After that, it's really hard to guess what to do...
[20:21] SOLECISMIC: ...next. My quarterback work is meaningful only in a macro sense.

[20:22] SOLECISMIC: (just a reminder to submit questions to Ben - I'm typing too fast to have IM windows open)

[20:23] SOLECISMIC: Q: Would you ever give consideration to doing team chemistry differently for a future version? Perhaps something more temperament/personality-based that would be a bit more random and less tedious for those that don't want to build zodiac spreadsheets?
[20:25] SOLECISMIC: Zodiacs are an attempt to keep it as simple as possible. The idea being that this is a way to encapsulate personality (notice there is definitely not an even personal attribute distribution amongst the different signs) in a way people can grasp. The problem is that astrology is silly and really has nothing to do with football. I think it's better to keep the spreadsheets for now, or simply...
[20:25] SOLECISMIC: ...start a new universe without chemistry.

[20:26] SOLECISMIC: Q: On limiting position switching, you mention that you can't become a QB. Are any other new limitations going to be added to position switching?
[20:26] SOLECISMIC: I haven't made that decision yet. It's possible I'll eliminate OL/DL switches.

[20:27] SOLECISMIC: Q: For those of us who let the AI pick our game plans, do different staff members choose different game plans currently, and if not, will they in FOF7 (or beyond)?
[20:27] SOLECISMIC: No, they don't, and won't in FOF7. Beyond... it's probable.

[20:29] BEN: We are out of questions. Last call.

[20:30] SOLECISMIC: Q: "With the additional file output (csv, whatever the format is) - will there be any work on the html portion, or will the output files attempt to support existing sites designed by leagues?"
[20:32] SOLECISMIC: I'm not a web designer. So I think it's best to leave html alone for now. It does a fair basic job, and was never intended to be more than that. Since I'm exporting what Ben (and a couple of other commissioners) have recommended, I think it will be very useful for leagues.

[20:33] SOLECISMIC: Q: If you have a feature or tweak and see that it will benefit MP a lot but hurt SP, do you implement it? Which takes precedence?
[20:34] SOLECISMIC: I've yet to see anything that would fall into that category. For me, it's all about the simulation itself. A better simulation serves both MP and SP. New features, of course, can benefit one and not the other (AI for roster management, for example). I don't really give one side precedence, though. It's more what I think the game needs than anything.

[20:35] SOLECISMIC: Q: How does it feel having a quite large internet forum devoted to something you created over 14 years ago? Does it make you feel good, or is it just a lot of pressure and headache?
[20:36] SOLECISMIC: I think it's great. If no one was interested, then it would be more than indulgent to keep working on this game.

[20:37] BEN: I believe that's all for the evening. Jim, thanks again so much for your willingness to do this, and thanks again to all of you for being here and submitting questions.
[20:38] SOLECISMIC: Thanks, Ben, for running the show. And thanks to everyone for showing up. It's a lot of fun to do these. I hope to do another once the game is out there.
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Last edited by Ben E Lou : 07-30-2013 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:57 PM   #3
Julio Riddols
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Bryson Shitty, NC
Progress, man. Love it.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:59 PM   #4
Suicane75
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: NJ
Lack of customization pretty much kills it for me. Not blown away by anything else either if I'm being honest.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:01 PM   #5
wade moore
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Join Date: May 2001
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There are a number of items in the feature list that I think will be great additions/tweaks to the game.

The chat was great. Nice to get this much info this early. I suspect there will be a lot of discussion and nitpicking on the specifics, but I think Jim is moving in the right direction for improving the game overall.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:07 PM   #6
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Lack of customization pretty much kills it for me. Not blown away by anything else either if I'm being honest.

Really don't see allowing for different numbers of teams in the league as being interesting to enough people to merit the structural costs. I mean, it'd be nice...but there are a lot of considerations that would go into a game that can support any number of different conference/division/team count arrangements.

The change in staffing, embracing of utilities, and contracts...it sounds like a very well designed game will be getting some good dedication and fine-tuning from the very best

Hm, I may have missed it, but I don't think this was asked -- anyone know how long Jim has been actively developing FOF7? If it's recent, it seems like it's going to end up coming out very fast. Probably can expect some delays.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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i dont have a lot of faith in profitable teams having first crack at drafting a coaching staff. i dont love a draft idea in general.

id also have liked a more definitive "bpr was broken and will be fixed", but we'll see in game play how that works out.

that said, still excited overall
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:11 PM   #8
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Hm, I may have missed it, but I don't think this was asked -- anyone know how long Jim has been actively developing FOF7? If it's recent, it seems like it's going to end up coming out very fast. Probably can expect some delays.
He mentioned twice in the chat (and has referenced previously here at FOFC) that he was working on FOF2009. I think it's safe to assume that some of that work is applicable to this version.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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dola: big thanks to ben and jim for making that happen!
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:14 PM   #10
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Was hoping for something to get excited about, but nothing there for me. I am sure this will appeal to FOF die hards though.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:14 PM   #11
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The change in staffing, embracing of utilities, and contracts...it sounds like a very well designed game will be getting some good dedication and fine-tuning from the very best

That's what was a bit of a downer for me, though. It feels a bit more like a patch to me. Don't get me wrong, I love the FOF games, have played them a long time and will buy this one on day one and support Jim. I'll probably enjoy the game just fine too. I guess I was just hoping for more?

edit: when I say patch I don't mean to belittle the work involved with it and it certainly would be a significant patch to be sure.

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Old 07-30-2013, 08:15 PM   #12
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I personally think the coach draft will be a great way to add some gamesmanship. Right now, I *think* people don't even target certain people's coaches out of being too nice/respectful. If you are on the clock...the best coach is the best coach.

To be clear, I understand it's "gamey" but I gave up on this being an NFL simulation a long time ago and am generally okay with gaming up certain aspects. I mean, if we are gonna have the extra stages, might as well make them entertaining.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:20 PM   #13
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Question about the data for FOF MP leagues.

I currently use gstelmack's extractor (to create) and dbupdate (to do weekly updates)...will we have the basic functionality with FOF7 or will we need to go back to the gstelmack well for additional support?
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:22 PM   #14
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Lack of customization pretty much kills it for me. Not blown away by anything else either if I'm being honest.

Frankly, this. I'll still get it if the AI is genuinely smarter about team-building than it was in FOF2K7 (the back-to-back drafting of elite QBs in particular drove me insane), but overall there just isn't much here for me personally.

Now a TCY 2, on the other hand...
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:25 PM   #15
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Must buy for me, as with all of Jim's sports games. However, I was selfishly hoping my question about development would have led to a "yes" on an eventual TCY 2. Either way, I'm in.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #16
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Frankly, this. I'll still get it if the AI is genuinely smarter about team-building than it was in FOF2K7 (the back-to-back drafting of elite QBs in particular drove me insane), but overall there just isn't much here for me personally.

Now a TCY 2, on the other hand...

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Old 07-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #17
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Unfortunately, I have to join the crowd who gives this a big meh. Lack of customization in league sizes and financial setup makes it a good (make that a very good) NFL simulator, but due to FM and other such text sims out there, I want more than just a NFL simulator.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:38 PM   #18
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Makes me wish Jim would strike up a deal with SI - Jim provides the engine and his general expertise, and let the SI crew build a world around it.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:40 PM   #19
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To be fair, he did say this is at a very early stage in development. Some of those features we want to see may or may not make it into the final game, and I'm sure Jim has plans for future releases to add some of the stuff we have been requesting in the "What needs to change" threads. The coach draft is not going to be that big of a deal with the ability to poach other teams coordinators and the ability to extend your own coaches before their contracts expire.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:40 PM   #20
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Slightly underwhelmed, but based off the value I got out of the last version and the ones before that. Must buy.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:41 PM   #21
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I personally think the coach draft will be a great way to add some gamesmanship. Right now, I *think* people don't even target certain people's coaches out of being too nice/respectful. If you are on the clock...the best coach is the best coach.

To be clear, I understand it's "gamey" but I gave up on this being an NFL simulation a long time ago and am generally okay with gaming up certain aspects. I mean, if we are gonna have the extra stages, might as well make them entertaining.

Maye for a MP environment yes, but in a SP environment it just seems...weird.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #22
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I'm with DaddyTargo, the "draft" seems to take the financial element away from the game. If he was going to do anything with in realm of something to do with a draft, I would have said to include AI trading during the draft.

Honestly, I'm I agree with the others, it's a rather big meh.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #23
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Maye for a MP environment yes, but in a SP environment it just seems...weird.

True.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:56 PM   #24
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I'd like to add more whining about not offering customized league structures. The toughest part of running an MP is keeping 32 knuckleheads on board. I'd love to have the option to run, say, a 16-team league.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:03 PM   #25
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As a SP guy, this version doesn't look like it's for me...but I'm sure many will get a lot of enjoyment out of this and I wish Jim the best.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:06 PM   #26
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Sounds like a sound evolution of a game from a sole game designer. Count me in.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:13 PM   #27
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As a SP guy, this version doesn't look like it's for me...but I'm sure many will get a lot of enjoyment out of this and I wish Jim the best.

If the A.I. is as improved as he wants it to be, you'd be doing yourself a disservice. To me, the biggest change in the game will be that. It would totally revitalize SP play IMO.

It would also benefit MP, because then you wouldn't have to keep 32 owners on board at all times because the A.I. will be able to competently build and manage a team.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:24 PM   #28
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Very underwhelming. Sounds like he has to spend a ton of time making the roster and changing contracts which makes absolutely no sense that it can't be outsourced.

Guess he is "hopeful" the AI will be better. If it is (things like not every team being in salary cap hell five years after you start the game) it will be worth a look. Best of luck to him.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:35 PM   #29
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First post here in years. Good luck to Jim on his new game. I don't play text games anymore so we'll see if this will be enough to get me back into the genre.

I totally laughed when I saw "dola" in an earlier post. Ah, memories...
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:38 PM   #30
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Makes me wish Jim would strike up a deal with SI - Jim provides the engine and his general expertise, and let the SI crew build a world around it.

I feel like SI games still require too much wading to get to information though. I think OOTP got worse after the initial merger and never recovered from it. I think the same thing would happen to FOF.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:53 PM   #31
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I feel like SI games still require too much wading to get to information though. I think OOTP got worse after the initial merger and never recovered from it. I think the same thing would happen to FOF.

different strokes for different folks. i find most non-SI games lack the depth that I've come to crave at this point (although some are making strides towards incorporating it).
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:04 PM   #32
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Two major comments from me:

1). Very excited for a new edition of FOF and I hope, like many here, that it turns into something more. I will be purchasing the latest FOF immediately upon release! Thanks Jim!

2). There are a few things that I would really, really covet. One is a changeable league (with expansion option, changing playoff structure, etc). Two is a real overhaul of contracts and introduce clauses and other aspects that reflect the reality of dealing with mega million dollar deals that happen all of the time. I want escalator clauses, no trade clauses, roster bonuses, and more. I want to be able to move future money into this year to eat up that 2 mill I have under the cap by converting someone;s future salary into a bonus payment now. (happens a lot in the NFL). I want both unlikely incentives and likely ones. This is a GM sim first and foremost, and yet I feel that that contract aspect is very light on that. So I miss options for shifting the league structure and a real fleshing out of the contract system.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:06 PM   #33
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i dont have a lot of faith in profitable teams having first crack at drafting a coaching staff. i dont love a draft idea in general.

id also have liked a more definitive "bpr was broken and will be fixed", but we'll see in game play how that works out.

that said, still excited overall


Aat first, I thought the ide aof a coach draft was hinky. Then he explained it, and I dug it as I thought about it. The team with the most money (often teh winners) gets first dibs, which is virtually identical to real life. Teams like the Patriots can get their pick of the litter for Offensive Coordinator or Strength and Training coach, you know?
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:12 PM   #34
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The draft for coaches sounds like a necessary evil for the multiplayer mode and a very silly idea for the single player.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:14 PM   #35
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I also am very disappointed in the lack of customization. Like I said before, I will probably end up buying it but I am underwhelmed. Things like position switches, long snappers, red flags, chemistry and MP are all almost completely off my radar when I play. I like the changes to the coaches and their new function and will have to see how the coach draft plays out. Obviously AI improvements are nice and a fix to the WR problem is great.

This is just my personal opinion, but this quote from Jim was disappointing:

"That's on the possible list. I try to avoid discussion that involves competitors because I think the market works best if we all develop independently. Which means there might well be common functions I don't include, and functions I do include that no one else considers."

There is not a whole lot of competition he needs to worry about when it comes to pro football text sims, but there are plenty of other text sims where the developers have come up with great functions that could and should be borrowed/built upon. There is nothing wrong with both coming up with your own unique functions and also keeping up with the strides the industry has made.

JG took a lot of time off and the genre has moved on without him. Now he is jumping back in and it feels like he is way behind the curve.

Perhaps I am asking for too much, too soon....I wish him the best and a successful release of course!
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:26 PM   #36
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I'm IN, better AI for SP sold me.

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Old 07-30-2013, 10:54 PM   #37
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Seems like a lot of people feel negatively about the direction Gindin is taking with the game, but I like what he's doing. Seems like he's cleaning up the game a lot (love the proposed changes to staff!), and I'm sure a lot of people will LOVE to have those gameplanning screens neater and more streamlined. That was a big one for me, personally.

Customizable leagues and what not would be NICE, but I really care more about all the stuff he's working on more. If he makes the AI better and playing SP is actually fun again, that would be amazing. I haven't played SP for years.

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Old 07-30-2013, 10:57 PM   #38
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I feel like SI games still require too much wading to get to information though. I think OOTP got worse after the initial merger and never recovered from it. I think the same thing would happen to FOF.
I'm generally in this camp as well. I've tried to get into FM but my dislike of soccer and the complexity of the game just makes it to daunting to play as a casual gamer. I think OOTP has generally made good strides after initially becoming too complex of coming back to the pack. I know some will say that that FM and OOTP are just like being a GM -- but most of being a GM is mind-numbingly boring.

I've always enjoyed Jim's approach better. Could there be a bit more flash and immersion? Sure. But I'd a nice engine over a rear spoiler and racing stripes any day.

If there is one thing I don't get it's the customization factor. To me, football doesn't have the historical factor that a sport like baseball does to justify what OOTP does. At one point I could have named all 25 members of the '27 Yankees, but I doubt anyone could name two members of the '29 Packers. The current NFL format of 32 teams is absolutely perfect right now, which is a big reason why the NFL doesn't want to change it.

I get that people would like to play historic seasons and take over expansion teams. That was admittedly a favorite feature of mine of early FOF versions. But I don't feel like it's omission means I'm missing anything.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:07 PM   #39
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I would've assumed a significant plurality of players, both in SP and in MP, play this game for the real NFL teams. And different league numbers would make sense for MP leagues unable to support a sensible number of teams (which is something I hope the AI makes easier, anyway)....so it's kind of a super niche demographic, no? Maybe the vocal-ness outweighs the actual %, or maybe I'm wrong...
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:11 PM   #40
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I like the concept of a better AI for SP as far as team management, and it would never factor for me to be able to customize the league since I want an experience as close to the real thing as I can get on my PC.

I am there on day one getting the new version.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:28 PM   #41
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Thanks for doing the chat, Jim. Very excited and will buy it as soon as you put it up for sale.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:41 AM   #42
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I'm generally in this camp as well. I've tried to get into FM but my dislike of soccer and the complexity of the game just makes it to daunting to play as a casual gamer. I think OOTP has generally made good strides after initially becoming too complex of coming back to the pack. I know some will say that that FM and OOTP are just like being a GM -- but most of being a GM is mind-numbingly boring.

I've always enjoyed Jim's approach better. Could there be a bit more flash and immersion? Sure. But I'd a nice engine over a rear spoiler and racing stripes any day.

If there is one thing I don't get it's the customization factor. To me, football doesn't have the historical factor that a sport like baseball does to justify what OOTP does. At one point I could have named all 25 members of the '27 Yankees, but I doubt anyone could name two members of the '29 Packers. The current NFL format of 32 teams is absolutely perfect right now, which is a big reason why the NFL doesn't want to change it.

I get that people would like to play historic seasons and take over expansion teams. That was admittedly a favorite feature of mine of early FOF versions. But I don't feel like it's omission means I'm missing anything.

What Markus and Marc have done is amazing. Sometimes I wish I had tried to grow the company early when I had momentum. Get an artist on staff, get a little programming support. But their leadership and energy is unusual, and their talent obvious. Plus, they're both good people, and I'm happy for their success.

I don't know if I have an advantage in being the only person at Solecismic, but I think it gives me the opportunity to spend time researching when I should be programming. I can throw different ideas out there. On the downside, I'm 15 years out and still not where I want to be.

Custom league sizes just don't fit where I envision the product. If it were an easy add, I'd probably do it. It is not a highly-requested feature, but those who request it are passionate about it and I think that affects perception of the product. Of course, so does the lack of custom graphics. I'm fairly stubborn about not wanting to sacrifice any screen space that could be filled with numbers, but the game could be much better looking anyway. Art is very expensive.

I worry that the NFL will expand and I'll have to look at this again. Though not as much as I worry about the 18-game expansion.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:42 AM   #43
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I guess its inevitable that when you wait this long for something, unless it is absolutely mind-blowing some people will be disappointed.

What is OOTP by the way?
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:18 AM   #44
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I'm in to support Jim, but I'm not super excited about another NFL game. I would rather see TCY2 built and hopefully my financial support here goes towards that and not another card game.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:18 AM   #45
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I guess its inevitable that when you wait this long for something, unless it is absolutely mind-blowing some people will be disappointed.

What is OOTP by the way?

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Old 07-31-2013, 01:53 AM   #46
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Day one purchase. Really excited about a new FOF.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:22 AM   #47
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Im in the same boat with a lot of guys in the sentiment that this is an evolution, not a revolution. Sadly, from what i gather, Jim will look at the sales of this product when thinking about continuing.

The thing is, and i mean no offense whatsoever, is that the user interface is bad beyond acceptable. That will be the absolute biggest problem with a Steam Greenlight campaign, when you have to sell your product based on a description and screenshots.

For us, who've played it for years, we become blind to the UI. It's absolutely the same for Jim. When you've used it and looked at it for long enough, you become sanitized to it. The reality is, Jim has probably lost at least a third of FOF sales in the last few versions becouse of the horrendeus UI. It has, and will, turn gamers away.

If a steam greenlight campaign is to be done, there's no point in doing it until significant work has been done on the UI. I'd argue that outside of the core fans on this forum, all these listed changes are fine and dandy, but the market will not respond in large to a game which - in all honestly - looks and works like its from the 90's.

Just all in all, the UI and UX are by far the most important aspects in making this product popular outside of us core fans.

Edit: forgot to mention - if you tell the current generation of gamers that they'll need to use FTP to play multiplayer, thats not going to cut it.

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Old 07-31-2013, 02:34 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by MrBug708 View Post

Urgh, baseball. Guess I'll have to wait until they make a football game.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:56 AM   #49
Prinzar
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Join Date: Oct 2011
How does the NFL licence work with the game? I think I read that EA renewed their exclusive rights to use NFL player names.
Its obviously something that can be customised, but is there a workaround out of the box?

The draft process is my concern. I think we will have better AI management of the teams for drafting, but how does this translate to a MP utility? Do we draft online built into the game?
Requiring an external draft utility risks losing the improved draft logic for AI teams doesn't it?
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:32 AM   #50
isaccoubaldi
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Great news. I like the direction of the new project. Thanks Jim. And thanks Ben for the organization.
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