First of all, *thank you* to the ySoccer team, and *congratulations* for getting from the beta to yS14! This is really starting to look like a worthy 21st century successor of SWOS. My respect for your efforts.
welcome and thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed feedback. It's very appreciated by us and also very important in order to improve the game.
I would like to list some of the things I like, but I also have criticism, because in the current state, I feel that yS14 is actually not really playable, and that is a bit frustrating because it looks nearly there.
It's good to hear that after a lot of efforts we're nearly there
** SOME HIGHLIGHTS **
* Nice balance between SWOS nostalgia and updated looks. It really feels in many good ways like playing SWOS, but if you compare the details, yS14 has the polish you'd expect of a modern game.
* No crashes or weird bugs (on my system).
* Friendly. I like things like the background picture of the footballing kids instead of ridiculously expensive football stars; or the billboards on the pitch that show 'against doping' and 'Amnesty International' instead of big-brand advertisements. If only real football were like that!
* Advanced replay system. Cool.
* Fog looks good.
I haven't tried the tactics editor yet...
** WHAT COULD BE BETTER **
(On Linux Mint 15 Xfce 32-bit)
* I use an attached screen with a bigger resolution than that of my computer's screen. But yS14 takes the low computer's screen resolution as the maximum resolution for the match screen. (Although the menu screen uses the available resolution of the attached monitor).
It's difficult to have an automatic resolution detection that works perfectly on every systems and configurations.
In the next version, it'll be possible to override the automatic configuration with a manual configuration.
* If the menu screen is positioned in the centre of the monitor, and I start a match, the match screen always pops up in a corner of the monitor. So I always have to drag it to the center, which is a bit annoying. It would be nice if the centre of the match screen was located at the centre of the menu screen by default (unless it does not fit the monitor then).
I'll investigate on this.
TEAM A.I. & CONTROL
* I think currently the biggest problem is team A.I. This shows clearly if you let two computer teams play against each other. In SWOS, this was actually interesting to watch. In yS14, it is not. The players only play the ball right down the middle of the field, with minor deviations. It is as if they have absolutely no strategy of playing the ball to the left or right to make use of all of the field.
* Related to the above, it seems like players hardly move from their positions to create opportunities. But this is how a match works in real life: players run away from their position to create openings where the ball can be played; and they run to a new position when it is really necessary. In yS14 this does not seem to happen. For instance, when the other team is attacking, and manage to pass my central defender, you would expect my wing defenders to have already started moving towards the goal zone, so they can defend as well. In yS14 this does not happen. They just stay in the wings, and do not get the 'ball focus'. So the attacker can shoot straight at the goal! This is very different in SWOS: there the computer continually moves the players to sensible positions, so the human can make use of them once the ball gets near them.
Honestly, it's the first real AI
. In the beta versions, the AI was a mere single function (about 60 lines of code).
Now it's a state machine with 12 different states (passing, kicking, etc.) and it's about 600 lines of code.
Clearly it's still very raw, but with the new structure it'll be much easier to improve, and your observations will be very useful for this.
* I like the idea that the ball is not 'glued to the feet' of the player. Ideally, the human player needs to use skill to keep the ball. However, it is not clear at all *how* to do this. All one can do is *hope* that the ball will not roll away when changing running direction. That is not skill, it is a lottery.
Like Sensible Soccer, you're supposed to give away the ball as soon as possible. It's possible to keep it a little longer by NOT running in the same direction (having a player with high skill also helps).
But as you have commented below, there's a problem in the fact that passing it's still too difficult.
* It seems too difficult to catch a ball. Often, my player will run at a ball, but misses it by a few pixels, and then totally loses the opportunity. I play with the keyboard arrow keys, and it just seems too fiddly to get it just right quickly enough. I think it would be better if the human player were assisted slightly, so that if I run towars the ball but am a few pixels off, the computer adjust my running path slightly, so I don't miss the ball in a stupid way. The challenge should be in football related things (tactics etc.), not in fighting the keyboard.
One of the ideas for next versions is to have two or three levels of difficulty. Easiness of catching the ball is a good candidate to be linked to the level.
Also, I wonder if this may be related with the players being smaller with high resolutions. Do you find it easier to catch the ball using the new zoom option?
* You can take the ball from an opponent without tackling, just by running near him. But this also feels like a lottery. If I get the ball, nice. If not, there is nothing at all I can do, or have done, so it feels silly. Especially with the added problem of the players not taking sensible positions (e.g. the defenders not moving in to help), this gives a very helpless feeling.
It's a crucial aspect, and it needs much work. Also, the scenario will be greatly influenced by the adding of fouls.
* For passing, I like the idea that the human player should use skill to direct the ball with aftertouch, rather than that the ball 'magically' chooses the right angle to reach the teammate. But because the players do not position themselves sensibly (see above), and because the ball may miss the receiving player by a few pixels (see above), it becomes very difficult for the human player to pass accurately and usefully. Again, some behind-the-scenes assistance may improve things. I have the impression that some assistance *is* already implemented, because it seems that *sometimes* the ball deviates in an 'assisted' way. But not at all enough.
There's a angle correction, the value depending on the passing skill of the player.
But I agree with you that passing still feels too difficult.
I am probably an average SWOS player: in SWOS, I will usually win with a top team against a lower-ranked team, and sometimes I win with a lower-ranked team against a top team. In yS14, it is almost impossible to win *any* match against the computer because of the combination of the above issues. My ball posession is usually 25%-30%, and getting to the point of shooting at the goal is almost impossible. Even when I play with a customized best possible team against a worst possible team, it is still very difficult to win. Of course, that is not fun.
I agree, the computer's possession it's now too high.
And obviously you're right: if it's too difficult, it's not fun (and too easy is boring).
A good balance is one of the Sensible Soccer's longevity factors.
* For a more realistic atmosphere, it would be nice to have celebration animations for the winning team at the end of the match.
* The amount/duration of celebration animations should adapt to the situation. When a team is for example 0-5 behind with the match almost over, and they score a goal, and the teams are similar (e.g. top national teams) they should not seem very happy. In the real world, players will be quite dejected by that 0-5 score, and making it 1-5 won't make them super happy. Elements that could come into play to determine how much celebration there should be, are:
(1) current score (how much behind or leading is the scoring team?)
(2) timing of the goal (early or late in the match?)
(3) is the goal an equalizer?
(4) is the goal one goal away from an equalizer?
(5) how many goals in a row has the team had?
(6) how many goals has the player had?
(7) how good are the teams theoretically? (An amateur team will be very happy to score a goal making it 1-5 against the world champions!! The world champions will not care much if they score a 6th goal against the amateur team.)
(8) how 'tense' is the match, if it is in a tournament/cup/league? (More happiness for finals than semifinals; more happiness for decisive matches than matches that leave open other possibilities; etc.)
Nice, I will add this to the todo list
* When playing on a white coloured pitch, the number indicator that shows which player is active should not be white! It's very hard to see.
and this too
SOME MORE STUFF...
* Of course, things like fouls, penalties etc. would be nice, but these are planned... Take your time :^)
The next steps will be likely among these:
- a porting to mobile platforms
- a new database format with additional features
- saving of competitions
- fouls / penalties
Grazie a te!