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Old 02-20-2021, 03:23 AM   #1
Ben E Lou
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FOF 8.4 Released, and Major Annoucement From Jim

Front Office Football: A Windows PC Football Simulation

Quote:
February 20, 2021
Today marks 23 years since I was last employed. I’ve enjoyed creating Front Office Football and shepherding it through eight full versions and numerous large updates. I’ve learned to solve a wide variety of issues related to running a business. And now it’s time for something new.

This week, I began a job with a startup company. This is an exciting opportunity for me, one that will bring brand new challenges and use many of the skills I’ve built over the last 23 years.

The computer gaming industry has grown enormously during that time. When I started, computers simply weren’t big enough to support the development work of many programmers. A lot has changed since the ‘90s. About ten years ago, I started to feel I couldn’t work on the heart of Front Office Football as much as I desired because making the game prettier and maintaining a GUI took up too much time. I never did catch up in that regard.

I knew I needed to find a team willing to put together a new GUI and provide artwork and formal marketing if I wanted to continue developing this type of game. I thought I had found the right opportunity four years ago, but what looked perfect at first ended up not working out.

At that point, with three more years essentially lost, I had to decide whether to continue along that path or move in a new direction. An offer arrived, and it appealed to me in a way that seems suited for this stage in my career.

I am selling the Front Office Football code to this new company, where we will use it and algorithms based on its concepts to power some of the features in a new sports gaming venture. It took a while to finalize this offer and get the new team and its funding together. That is why I’ve had to remain quiet about it for the last few months.

We’re not ready to make any announcements about the project, so I’m going to keep my head down and not discuss it while we’re in the early development stages. When it’s time, we hope that it will appeal to many of you. The new project isn’t like anything you’ve seen before, and that’s a big part of why I’m excited to get started and use my experience to help shape it and become part of something cutting edge. It’s time to let go of the past.

What will happen to Front Office Football? Since I was waiting to get started on this new project, I decided to go ahead and create 2020 data files. Those have been added to Front Office Football Eight with a new update along with this announcement. No code, other than the few lines needed to support the 2020 starting option, has been changed since the last update. It wasn’t feasible to go back and add the new features I had created for FOF9 since that project was using very different data structures.

The Steam versions will remain on sale as they are, with no future updates or patches planned as I no longer own the code. The ViaTech versions (including the seriously outdated College Years) will no longer be available, though ViaTech still maintains its electronic licensing system. Nothing is ever certain, but I think it’s unlikely that there will ever be a new Front Office Football stand-alone game.

I enjoyed being part of this community, but this is the right move for me at this time. It’s an opportunity to reinvent myself and be part of a team that I think will shape future sports simulations.
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:37 AM   #2
Ben E Lou
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Version 8.4

Released February 20, 2021

- Added player and other data files for 2020 season
- Modified chooser, to allow start in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:40 AM   #3
molson
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I don't know what this all means, but I hope Jim has found a good landing spot, and I hope that leads to an awesome new football sim someday.

Also still annoyed that OOTP wasted so much of Jim's career and vision.
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:48 AM   #4
Ben E Lou
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One other note from the Solecismic site for clarity:

Quote:
I've now reached 23 years since founding Solecismic Software. This experience has given me the opportunity to enter a new phase of my career, officially "employed" for the first time since 1998. I am not working on a stand-alone computer game. At this time, our group is developing a new sports venture and we're not ready to discuss details.
So...an online game?
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:50 AM   #5
molson
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I feel like it's all over for sports text sims. It will continue to evolve into something I have no interest in. Thems the breaks of getting old I guess.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:26 AM   #6
Squirrel
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Oh well. Game had a good run.

Speaking from here in the UK where football manager is one of the biggest computer games out there, it remains astonishing that the US with its 300 million people stiill doesn't have a mainstream computer game about the NFL *and* college football together that plays a bit like FOF but looks like football manager.

I firmly believe that one day an entrepreneur will figure that out and be rewarded well for it. Maybe it's these guys that Jim is now working with.

Anyway best of luck to Jim who has given us all a hobby that some of us have kept up for decades, and the foundation of a community too

Last edited by Squirrel : 02-20-2021 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:37 AM   #7
tzach
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i'm excited about what the future will bring for jim's engine. it seems to me that integrating that to a modern platform (web based and/or mobile) is the way to go, probably combined to college, drafting and multi-player experiences at scale. at least this is what i would do if i owned a startup in this sector.



realistically i wouldn't expect any portability of the current computer-based careers, but jim has done good to this community so who knows.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:40 AM   #8
tzach
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and i agree with squirrel, i could see some of us playing this for another decade


v8.2 remains the best engine for modern football that has been made, and one can do a lot with that
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:46 AM   #9
Ben E Lou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzach View Post
realistically i wouldn't expect any portability of the current computer-based careers
Agreed. Not expecting this.
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Old 02-20-2021, 05:41 AM   #10
Alf
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Happy free Jim day. Nice to hear from him. Wishing this opportunity rejuvenates him and re ignite FOF next Gen.

I still think there is a place for a FM like franchise for US football.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:23 AM   #11
ezlee2
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Congrats Jim. I hate to see the end of this game that has meant so much to all of us over the years, but I wish you the best on your endeavors and I appreciate your efforts and tens of thousands of hours that you provided enjoyment.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:49 AM   #12
Kodos
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Congratulations on the new opportunity, Jim. And thank you for all the fun you’ve given this community over the past couple of decades.


—————————————

My wild-eyed guess or hope: Jim is a part of EA Sports College Football. I realize this is unlikely...
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Old 02-20-2021, 07:12 AM   #13
A-Husker-4-Life
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Thanks Jim for all the years of FOF fun.

It appears Jim is taking FOF in a new direction.

I hope Jim lands on his feet but this doesn't sound good for all us MP players/commissions, I hope i'm wrong.
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Old 02-20-2021, 07:26 AM   #14
Edward64
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Jim - congrats, good luck & thank you for the many hours of entertainment. Looking forward to the next great thing.
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Old 02-20-2021, 07:44 AM   #15
QuikSand
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Hopeful that Jim himself finds a rewarding landing spot with this, and that Jim's talents continue to yield much more entertainment and challenge for me and those who share my interests.
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Old 02-20-2021, 08:53 AM   #16
PilotMan
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Echoing what everyone has said. It sounds like he's excited about the future, and there's a respect for everything he's done and been through. I think it's a very natural progression and I really don't think there was much optimism when OOTP fell through. I don't know that he really understands just how this game, genre, and all the connections that I've made in life are all tied together. Much respect and appreciation for all the years of effort and best wishes on future endeavors.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:16 AM   #17
Pyser
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So sad to see it end. Thanks for the ride and the community, Jim. Congrats on a great run and finding a new venture.

I hope this new path results in a phone based football game. And I hope mp leagues stick around somehow too.
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Old 02-20-2021, 10:20 AM   #18
Dutch
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Thanks for all you accomplished and all the entertainment you provided. Keep on rockin. I have no idea what is happening next but I can guess it's a football on-line simulation of some sort and I'm very excited about the prospects of that endeavour. Basically, my gut feeling is there is more goodness to come. We will see! (Just don't make it some god awful Pay2Win game, Jim...)

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Old 02-20-2021, 10:48 AM   #19
MIJB#19
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Thanks for the fun game (and series), Jim!
Good luck in your new chapter in the business.
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Old 02-20-2021, 11:07 AM   #20
triplykely
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Hard to believe how young I was when I found this game originally and how old I am still enjoying it. Best of luck to Jim and the new startup, those algorithms are what I’ve always felt were Jim’s/FOFs edge over every other sports sim I’ve seen. Curious what they’re up to and look forward to hearing more.
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Old 02-20-2021, 11:25 AM   #21
Maple Leafs
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Thanks for everything, Jim. Wishing you nothing but success and happiness on your new path.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:01 PM   #22
OldGiants
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Congratulations Jim!


And many thanks for the update.



I look forward to your success and prosperity, and know I'll enjoy your new endeavors as much as the past.
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Old 02-20-2021, 01:04 PM   #23
Super Ugly
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Thanks for the great games, Jim. They've been a big part of my life over the past twenty years. I wish you the very best, and I look forward to learning more about this new venture.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:18 PM   #24
kingnebwsu
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Congrats on everything Jim. Sorry FOF9 didn't work out but I hope that this startup creates something we can all enjoy.

I remember playing FOF2 so many years ago and even though I don't play text sims as much as i used to I continued to buy FOF to support everything you've done.

All the best and I'll be keeping an eye out for your future endeavors!
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:52 PM   #25
SackAttack
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Echoing the sentiments. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.
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Old 02-20-2021, 06:59 PM   #26
james17
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I really don't know what to say except 'it's game over' for football sims with Jim's latest announcement. I have nothing but understanding and respect for Jim in how he handled the OOTP betrayal and all of its fallout. He's a very dignified and responsible person. And talented too. I wish him nothing but great success in his new venture though it sounds like it won't be something I'll really get into. Can't say why I think that other than it's just another, and final, nail in the further development of the American sport sim model.


I'll probably check back here for a few more times just to see what's being said but long term I won't be back.


FOF and Jim had a great run and provided me with endless hours of pleasure. My hat is off to Jim.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:06 PM   #27
mac88
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Well I can't wait to see what's next for Jim. He worked his tail off for years creating one of my favorite games ever. Cheers to that man. Best of luck in whatever you decide to do.

I don't see myself quitting this game any time soon thats for damn sure. Cheers
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:10 AM   #28
Hammer
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I can only echo the sentiments. Thanks so much for what you have done Jim. All those free updates were just awesome. Sad to see the direction, but totally understand. Good luck with the new project.
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Old 02-22-2021, 02:01 AM   #29
MrBigglesworth
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Wow, I feel like I've grown up with this series (ok, well, I got the first game as a freshman in college!). Very sad announcement, even if its all for the best and understandable.

Good luck Jim, and congratulations.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:06 AM   #30
Mota
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It has been a few years since I have actually played the game, I was really hoping for the new partnership to help turn the great bones that make up FOF into a product that is more relevant today, but Jim really got screwed on that deal. Every time he's looked outside (EA back in the day), it's never worked out, so I don't blame him for moving in a different direction at this point.
Most importantly I am thankful for this community that got formed because of the game. 20 years later, there's still a bunch of people that come here every day to talk about all kinds of things. I can't say that about any other game that I have played.
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Old 02-22-2021, 08:00 AM   #31
naran
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Havent been in the game for nearly as long as some people, but amazing game and amazing run from Jim. A special game that I'll certainly still be playing many years in the future. Best of luck to ya in your new adventures Jim.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:43 PM   #32
Subby
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Jim -

On the off chance you read this forum, I just wanted to send my heartfelt congratulations for your latest success. FOF has provided me with hundreds (thousands?) of hours of entertainment, and it wouldn't have been possible without you having the courage to leave the security of your full time job to strike out on your own, all those years ago.

Godspeed!
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:25 PM   #33
Vince, Pt. II
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Thanks for everything Jim! I wish you nothing but success in this and all future endeavors.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:34 PM   #34
BradS
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The new project isnít like anything youíve seen before, and thatís a big part of why Iím excited to get started and use my experience to help shape it and become part of something cutting edge.

Hmm...just for giggles anyone want to take a stab at what this is.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:39 PM   #35
Swaggs
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As I mentioned in the other thread, I think it must be really hard to be a one-man team maintaining a passion project for 20+ years, so I have nothing but respect for what heís built/created and kept alive virtually all by himself. There had to be an endgame, at some point. I think (hope) Jim blending in with a small team of developers gives him some new hope, ideas, motivation, and support.

Whatever the new project is, if it has some level of sports and/or business simulation, Iím in (provided itís on a platform I own or Will own). My dream is expanding out the universe so we can jump between college and professional teams. Maybe even high school, Arena, and Canadian league. That would be cutting edge to me.
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Old 02-25-2021, 05:40 PM   #36
MizzouRah
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Location: Troy, Mo
Thank you Jim, I've enjoyed many hours with FOF and TCY and I'm happy for you and your next adventure, wishing you the best of luck!!!
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:29 AM   #37
Atomic Spud
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Thank you Jim, for entertainment to me that could be counted in months instead of hours, and that existed in both good times and bad throughout most of my adult life. Your passion project means a lot to a lot of people, and I hope your... un-retirement(?)... is everything you want it to be.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:30 AM   #38
nilodor
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I had really hoped this would get released also not on steam since I don't have a machine that can run steam right now... Sad news in a way, I hope that Jim finds something with this new company that brings him joy.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:55 PM   #39
Young Drachma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilodor View Post
I had really hoped this would get released also not on steam since I don't have a machine that can run steam right now... Sad news in a way, I hope that Jim finds something with this neYw company that brings him joy.

You could use a virtual machine like Shadow or some other cloud gaming service to run Steam and then play that way. It's an extra step and not necessarily free/cheap, but it's an option.
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Old 02-28-2021, 02:42 AM   #40
Room413
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Location: Binghamton, NY
Jim, first of all, let me wish you the best with this new endeavor. Also, let me thank you for many hours of enjoyment the game has provided me.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:48 AM   #41
echolodge
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Thank you Jim for your labor of love: FOF. I've been playing sports sim games for many years, and your game is the best, most realistic and immersive. What it lacks in eye popping graphics, it makes up for it in the simulation and realistic results. I was super excited when the venture with OOTP was announced and even after it crumbled, I kept checking almost every day for some update on the development of FOF9. I hope FOF8 is accessible for years to come. I also hope someone will be able to duplicate the quality of your game together with an updated user interface and graphics. I don't think OOTP understood what kind of market there would be for such a product.
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:02 AM   #42
BC Bob
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I agree with all of those who have enjoyed FOF for many years, thought it was far better than any other football sim, and were hoping for a FOF9, but now wish Jim all the success in his new venture. Anyway, there is now something available in the App store that may very well be the company to whom Jim sold the code and for whom he is working. The company is Games 2rk and the game is "Ultimate Pro Football GM." My son found it a month or so ago. Before Jim's announcement, my son had been commenting to me about how similar many of its features are to FOF. It's a free game and while there are some in game purchases available, you can play the game for many years without needing to buy any of them. I'm guessing that this game is FOF Mobile!! And the reviews are great so Jim (if he is involved) and the company may have a hit on their hands.
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Old 03-03-2021, 07:47 PM   #43
NawlinsFan
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I do agree with everyone that I owe hours of enjoyment and frustration to Jim and wish him all the best with this new venture and anything else that may come up.

I do have to admit though that a part of me is pissed. I think everyone would agree that with the right development process FOF would have been the mirror of the OOTP world in the football universe and would/could have been a dominate force in a hungry market for years to come. I am just frustrated at what could have been and feel that it was an opportunity missed.
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Old 03-04-2021, 02:34 PM   #44
lbforlb
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Peoples points about OOTP are right on and I agree aside from the fact that I still play OOTP it is a great game after all. but I also find it pathetic that for all the popularity of the NFL there isn't an NFL sim out there worthy of playing long term outside of the once relevant FOF (GUI wise anyway).it is cray that OOTP has a hockey sim before an NFL sim....HOCKEY!! I understand they are Germany but damn, Hockey??? SOMEBODY SAVE THE NFL SIM PLEASE!!!!! Wolverine is trying hard but it isn't there yet its got a few more iterations to go,
Shout out to Jim FOF is Still the gold standard football sim engine!!!Good luck dude.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:19 AM   #45
Tasan
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Location: Houston, or there about
I don't post here at all anymore, just lurk and read some. I just want to say thank you to Jim for 20 years of entertainment and friendships and lots of fun. I'm excited to see what the next thing is, and I hope you keep in contact with this community to bring them to whatever it is.
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Old 03-13-2021, 02:18 PM   #46
NawlinsFan
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Things to make you wonder:

Sounds like something Jim would jump at, especially with it being supported by the NFL.

NFL and Skillz Sign Multi-Year Gaming Agreement - Skillz: Competitive Mobile Games Platform & Software

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/...-mobile-esport

Last edited by NawlinsFan : 03-13-2021 at 02:22 PM. Reason: none
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Old 03-21-2021, 09:01 PM   #47
dave1927p
n00b
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
seeing as how we are starting to see changes with many sport sim developers now, my guess is that it was purchased so they can create a mode similar to "perfect teams" and these gambling card games. Seems to be a money maker now which is concerning for sport career sim fans

Last edited by dave1927p : 03-21-2021 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 03-31-2021, 02:55 PM   #48
sachmo71
The boy who cried Trout
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: TX
good luck jim
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:13 PM   #49
b1gd51
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben E Lou View Post
I am selling the Front Office Football code to this new company, where we will use it and algorithms based on its concepts to power some of the features in a new sports gaming venture.

[ ... ]

Itís an opportunity to reinvent myself and be part of a team that I think will shape future sports simulations.

Why is everyone acting like this is necessarily a bad thing?

We have no details on who he sold the code to or what said company plans to do w/ it. His simulation code is superior to every single football "sim" on the market and w/ the right team in place, we could very well see a console game that could rival Madden. It's not out of the realm of possibility right now.

I love FOF as much as anyone and will endlessly root for its success... but if we truly love FOF, then do we not at least owe it to Jim to at least trust his vision for the future?
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