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Old 03-17-2019, 02:51 PM   #1
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Black Squirrels FOF 2001, redux, is this some sort of joke?

My favorite dynasty thread here of all time was playing a FOF 2001 game, with a long list of constraints designed to keep things interesting.

Here's a link from the end of the series of threads:
House Arrest Black Squirrels

...and here's a search pulling up the lot of them, I think. I seem to have written endlessly about this thing. I was a pretty different person back then.

So...

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Old 03-17-2019, 02:52 PM   #2
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
..I recently was digging for some old work files on a laptop from years ago. Bot all the way back to 2002-3, but around ten years ago... it was sitting in my basement. Battery not really working, but as long as it's plugged in it semi-works.

And lo and behold, I find the icon for FOF 2001 on there. Hmmmm. Good times. Worth a whirl?
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
It opens. I have a vague recollection of getting my license worked out some time long after the game had basically come and gone, but while Digital River was still a thing.

If the words "Digital River" give you an odd, or even pleasurable, sensation... then this non-dynasty is for you.

I've been fiddling with the game, but by far the most interesting part of this has been the walk down memory lane. Rediscovering quirky crap from this game that I literally played the ever loving hell out of back in the day, long before multi-player, before save-able gameplans, and all that rot.
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:57 PM   #4
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Turns out, from the last time I messed with this game, I have a career saved right at the time of a league expansion.

Pause there.

League expansion? That's a thing? In Front Office Football? I thought it was impossible to program... we've been assured that is not a thing.

Oh yeah, that's a thing. The NFL's SIX divisions were really just dying to break out, and in the first cycle of expansion (in this career) we added on teams from Los Angeles and... Colorado Springs.

This script just writes itself from here.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:03 PM   #5
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
So, the game. Back in the day, after being immersed deeply for some time, I ended up pretty firmly on the side of "the user interface does not matter." Lots of people hated it. I was basically indifferent.

Now, my perspective is... the user interface was just terrible.

Yeah, recall way back when, this was when Jim G collaborated with EA Sports for this game. It was, whispers at the time, going to be distributed in the box with the Madden game, and so forth. Something sent that awry (I honestly don't recall how that fell apart) but the game featured "graphics and design" by an outfit known as Gigawatt Studios. It was more flashy in some ways that the stuff we have ever seen from Jim G and Solecismic per se, but the menu system was poorly thought out, clumsy, and awful. Many places you had to click on very tiny sliders to access things -- made much worse in a modern-resolution monitor where the entire game is now squeezed into a box roughly 6x4 inches. It's a nightmare.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:23 PM   #6
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Fun side story here... some might recall these fun times.

Jim had announced that the new game was going to be a partnership effort with EA Sports, and the company had posted a website as a placeholder for the forthcoming game. One random day, a few of us diehards wandered to the site, and the purchase option had been enabled. I pulled out my CC, entered in my payment information, and downloaded the game for $30 or whatever it cost.

I opened it up, and started fiddling around... posting a thread at FOF Central (sadly, this was at a predecessor site to this one, all this content is lost I'm fairly sure) about what I had found on day one with the new game. Lots of feature that were new and exciting. It was a fun day.

I had a work commitment that afternoon, as I recall, and I had to head out to a meeting or something. So, my notes stopped.

Well... it turns out all hell broke loose during my walk-away time. Seems that EA had only posted the purchasing options as a "test" and didn't mean to release the game. By the time I had gotten re-plugged in a few hours later, the FOF board was on fire with EA henchmen accusing fans of "stealing" their game.

To be clear, I was among them. Stealing the game. Because I, you know, PAID FOR IT ON THEIR WEBSITE WHERE IT SAID PAY FOR IT HERE.

I cannot do this chapter of the story justice. It was crazy and sideways.

By the time I got home (this was pre-cell phone, recall) I had a message on my home phone from Barry Dorf of EA. He was asking me, fairly sternly, to unlicense the software that I had illegally downloaded. I think over the course of the day, my online absence (which had nothing to do with FOF) had become a matter of some suspicion, EA thought I was up to something I guess. I think only a handful of people bought and downloaded the game, and I was the last one they had not been able to reach. I suspect I was just at a boring meeting or some sort, not off selling FOF secrets to the East Germans or whatnot.

Anyway, I got back in touch with Barry Dorf, told him I understood where they were coming from, and agreed to un-license the game. I did. He pledged that I would get my download code for the game for free when it was officially released (just a week or so later, IIRC), and he offered me a free copy of any other EA game. I passed on the latter offer, correctly sensing that this was going to represent the end of my relationship with EA in pretty much any form. He did make good on the free download, though. Oddly, my registration code was an easy-to-remember phrase, rather than the usual XGR45WR43WE8 or whetever... thus enabling me to get the game back up and running in 2009 or whenever I last dug up this dusty laptop. Fun twist.

Things remained hot on these forums for some time after that. Some guy screen-named STIX was dispatched by EA (I think) to work things out, that did not go well. (People have mis-remembered his screen name as STYX or styx, but I'm 100% certain it was STIX) I don't recall all the details from there... Tony Wyss was a player in this mix, too, and at least another unsavory character here or there. Blackadar from this site was, I think, the forum moderator here (predecessor site) at the time, and got embroiled into some of the mess, too... some of those details are eluding me here. I think aggression from EA ultimately resulted in the migration away from the old site and to this one.

In the event any other old-timers remember more details, I'd welcome them being corrected or filled-in here.

So, my quick foray into software piracy involved me buying a game online, and apparently firing the shot heard round the FOF world.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:09 AM   #7
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
So, I've already played through the heart of the career, and this isn't going to be that sort of dynasty thread.

I took over an empty roster, plucked a bunch of pond scum through the dispersal draft, and then got the 1.1 pick in the draft, and took a stud QB. So, too easy -- building around that guy was fish in a barrel.

Rather, I plan to focus on stuff coming back to me playing this game for the first time in many years. Stuff I generally recalled, but didn't have in the fore until now...
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:14 AM   #8
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Great example: In this game, free agents clearly get "slotted" by their expectations, and the signal/noise ratio is just awful in its determination of what players are worth what sort of contracts.

frex: fill-in rookie RB finishes his rookie season rated maybe 15/20, got around 20 carries for 50 yards, but he made my roster legal, so that's fine... now this guy is demanding a new contract for $3m/yr -- basically the exact same contract for another 6th year guy coming off a 1,200 yard season

This happens all the time. Low-end starters play a couple of years, and then DEMAND to be paid only a lick below the very best at their position. So, i can't/won't re-sign them, and they just go unclaimed, then they sign for 1yr minsal deals at the AI-fills-rosters stage. It's frustrating as hell. And it makes it really, really hard to build up a lot of cohesion... keeping non-stars was just financially impossible in this game.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:25 PM   #9
Chas in Cinti
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Man, thanks for that shot down memory lane... I fondly recall the many machinations of this board and all the stories... Man how I despised that interface; and was always dumbfounded how you, who used it more than anyone I could expect, never had the issues others did...
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