~a la goal! (football/soccer sim)

#1

Hello Defold friends! I’d like to introduce a game I’ve been developing part-time since September. It’s called a la goal.

what is it?
a la goal is a football/soccer game with an emphasis on quick, refined gameplay. I love sports, but sports games are usually either too simple or too complex for my taste. a la goal is my attempt to find a good in-between point!

philosophy
I keep some of the strategy, tactical depth, and management/simulation features of big sports games, but casual-ize them so they aren’t so technical. For the actual match gameplay there are only 2 buttons – one to kick the ball, and one to change team tactics. The rest is handled by your players! I think it’s a fun, engaging mix between passively watching the match like Football Manager and having to position your players, pass, tackle, etc all on your own, like FIFA.

I took this approach in a previous game called bit ballers and it worked out well, so now I hope to bring the same philosophy to football/soccer.

progress
This is my first project with Defold. I chose it because it seems like the simplest and most performant choice for 2D games and the community here is so active. I also really like that the editor has such a small footprint instead of requiring multiple GBs to install. Defold and Lua have been a lot of fun to work with so far!

The basic match engine is essentially completed. I’m now working on the team management features and menu UI (with Druid!) I also have to make more teammate graphics. Hopefully I’ll be ready to release in February or March!

thank you!
If anyone has any feedback or questions I’m happy to answer! I like being part of this community, even if I’m not quite as pro as some others here :sweat_smile: Thanks for reading!

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#2

thats cool!

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#3

I’m not very interested in football as much as pixel art, but it looks absolutely amazing!

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#4

Wow, looks really cool :+1: (football fan here! -not “soccer” :smiling_imp:-)

Just out of curiosity, what about the metagame? Will you sign players, build your team (formation etc.), participate in leagues etc. ?

Note : looks like your previous game was not free-to-play, will you take the same approach for the football version?

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#5

Yay, that’s great! It reminds me a bit of Sensible Soccer for the Amiga. Man, I spent many hours playing that game.

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#6

Thanks everyone for your feedback! :blush:

@Karel thank you!! I hope the game might be fun to non-football fans, too!

@Ragetto,

Wow, looks really cool :+1: (football fan here! -not “soccer” :smiling_imp:-)

Thanks! What team do you support?

Just out of curiosity, what about the metagame? Will you sign players, build your team (formation etc.), participate in leagues etc. ?

There will be a metagame, yes! A key part of the game will be signing players to strengthen your team. At the start of the game your team is all basic players with no special skills. Based on what star players you choose to sign, and whether they have more offensive or defensive skills, will help determine what style your team plays in – attacking vs defensive, dribbling vs short passes, etc.

Right now there is only one formation (~433) but I might have a feature where you can choose to shift to a more defensive one during a match. There is also a ‘tactic’ that can be changed during matches to make the team play more physical, energetic, or creative.

I’m planning on having leagues and cup tournaments that your team will compete in!

Note : looks like your previous game was not free-to-play, will you take the same approach for the football version?

I haven’t decided for sure yet! I’d like to explore free-to-play if I can figure out something that makes sense with how the gameplay works. Retro Bowl has a pricing model I’ve been studying for some inspiration.

@britzl,

Yay, that’s great! It reminds me a bit of Sensible Soccer for the Amiga. Man, I spent many hours playing that game.

Thanks! I actually researched that game over the summer for insight into how to implement AI for a game like this. I wound up going for a different system, but there’s a great article about how they made it. It’s a really impressive game, but I’m so bad at it! :sweat_smile:

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#7

Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon, France)

Juninho is my favorite player ever :slight_smile: (like most 20-40 yo OL’s fans)


And you?

Sounds really cool, can’t wait to play it on my iPhone!

If you have a playable version in the next weeks/months, I’d gladly be a beta tester.

1 Like

#8

Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon, France)

I enjoyed OL’s Champions League run last year! The win against Manchester City was so exciting. I was really hoping for a OL-Leipzig final. Unfortunately I never got to watch Juninho play really, but I remember his crazy goal for Brazil against Japan at the 2006 World Cup. I’ll have to search him on YouTube.

I support Atlanta United. It’s a new team, though – only started in 2017. That’s fairly common in America though! Lots about the sport is different here (as you know I’m sure), but it’s still entertaining to watch the top teams. Hopefully this season (whenever it begins) will be better than last. Gabriel Heinze just became manager after De Boer left, so I’m excited to see how he does.

Thanks for your feedback and for offering to be a beta tester! I’ll keep that in mind :grinning:

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#9

The only place I have ever seen Soccer in Missouri is in Mexican restaurants on TV. Im sure people play it here. But the only sports you will hear about is Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs. Honestly though the athletic level of soccer players is mind blowing.

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#10

Hello all! Hope you’ve had a nice week. I’ve been working on many behind-the-scenes tasks, mainly relating to the metagame data structure and saving. I also started to build the menu UIs.

The menu UIs will be where you train your players, scout for new players, and view your schedule and results. This is always a big part of sports games, other than the most casual ones. With a la goal, I will have these features, but they will be incredibly simple. I don’t want players to be intimidated by these screens, and I don’t want them to be time-consuming either. The goal is to have all necessary features available on the same screen.

For the scouting screen, you have two scouts. After each match you get a few scout points. You can spend them to learn more about a player. You can also spend them to refresh the scout, if you want to look for a player with different skills instead. The basic scout finds okay players, and the super scout finds better but more expensive players. I think the super scout will probably be tied into monetization somehow — maybe through rewarded video or an IAP unlock.

Have a great weekend, everyone! :smile:

7 Likes

#11

Hi all, and happy Friday! I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, but I’ve been working hard on a la goal nonetheless!

First things first: I’ll be starting a beta test of a la goal next week! If you’re interested, you can sign up here:
a la goal! – beta tester signup :soccer:

Since my last post, I’ve been working on artwork including some new player graphics and designing all the various trophies that players can win. Check it out:
a-la-goal-trophies

Inspired by @Pkeod’s recent thread I was also thinking about ASO and if a la goal is the best name for the game, or if gotta goal might be better. I like a la goal better aesthetically, but wonder if gotta goal might be easier to find via search. Any thoughts?
a-la-goal-names

I’ve also been busy fine-tuning the match engine and in-game economy. I’ve released several iOS games in the past, but this is my first time diving into free-to-play game design, even though I play lots of free-to-play gaimes.

I watched a great GDC talk called It’s About Time that helped me understand how to design a F2P progression system. So, I’ve added “sponsors” that will sponsor your club and give you reward money. The sponsor relationship gets stronger as time goes on – similar to how these partnerships work in real life!

That’s all from me for now. Have a good weekend, all! :grin:

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#12

Generally if you are investing heavily into the game you want to be able to get the exact .com for it as well. alagoal .com is available it seems like but gottagoal .com is not. IMO you should trust your instincts and go with “a la goal” and get the .com of it ASAP (do not delay) (namesilo is a good registrar). If you have search problems after don’t be afraid to change the name of your game even after it’s live especially if it’s early on.

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#13

Good points, thanks for your feedback! I had that domain on my to-do list – registered it now. :sweat_smile:

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#14

I’m a big fan of the type of sports game you describe in the middle between simplistic and advanced, and hold Sensible Soccer as the jewel in the genre. Your game looks really fun and the only feedback I have regarding your gameplay video is that you really should add a shadow to the ball to allow a sense of height, right now it is hard for the eye to follow the ball trajectory.

Keep up the good work!

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#15

Hi Johan, that’s a really good idea to help with the height perception! I’ll add a shadow to the ball. Thanks!

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#16

alagoal-sponsors

Happy Friday all! Time for quick a la goal update.

My plan was to start the public beta today, and I was rushing a lot this week to get everything ready for it. I was really unhappy with the way the training system was working once I revamped the game economy, though.

Thanks to lots of playtesting and some helpful feedback, I arrived at some better formulas yesterday, so I am pushing back the beta to next week so I can get them implemented and tested!

:sunny: This also gives you more time to sign up for the beta if you haven’t already – just click the image above!

I also designed a bunch of logos for sponsors that will give you money after matches. You can see some of them in the press conference graphic above! It was important to me for these to be representative of the business industries and regions that sponsor modern football clubs. I had fun designing them!

Sorry to disappoint if anyone was looking forward to the beta version. I know the delay will be worth it though! Have a great weekend all. :partying_face: :soccer:

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#17

Hello all! Hope you’ve had a good week – Friday is here! :partying_face: I’ve been busy polishing many aspects of a la goal for the beta test, which begins today! Check your email in the next couple hours for beta access links.

:sunflower: If you’d like access to the beta, please sign up here! I’d love any feedback you can provide!

I made icons for player skills this week, inspired by the ability icons in one of my favorite games, Splatoon. They make the menus more fun than just plain text. Here’s a look at a few:

What’s next? I have several more gameplay features I’d still like to add and some small glitches to be fixed. The main feature I’d like to add before launch is some kind of ‘club prestige’ system that will rank how powerful your team is. This weekend I also plan on adding the IAP and advertising frameworks.

a la goal will be releasing in March, so there is still much more to do! I’m very excited to be approaching launch, though, and can’t wait to see how the game is received by football fans everywhere.

Have a great weekend all! :soccer:

edit: it’s been a couple years since I’ve run an Android beta, and I didn’t remember there being a review period in the past. The Android beta is still in review so it will be a bit delayed, hopefully not too long!

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#18

Hello everyone! It’s Friday and I’m feeling great, hope you are as well!

I made lots of progress this week and hope to continue strong into the weekend. I can confidently say that a la goal will be releasing on March 29! :partying_face:

I’ve created a short preview video for a la goal which you can check out below:

There was no new beta build, and I wound up not getting to sort out the Android beta yet, because of a bad game-breaking bug I discovered. It was related to my promotion and relegation logic. Sometimes when the player was promoted or relegated, the game would crash as soon as the new year began.

Lots of print() statements later I determined that occasionally the new year’s league wouldn’t have enough teams in it, so my schedule generation algorithm would crash since it expected a certain number of teams to be present. It took several frustrating hours to figure out why this was happening – it was an ‘edge case’ logic error on my part, resulting when the same opponent gets promoted with you one year and then relegated with you the next. Luckily all is well now! :sweat_smile:

I also managed to add in the ball shadow that @Johan suggested, and it really makes everything look better! You can see it in the video above.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a good day! :soccer:

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#19

You need to setup an e-mail newsletter list signup on your site (mailjet or sendfox are free) and include that link in your promo to tell people to sign up and be notified of your launch. I’ll post your trailer in a few mobile game Discord servers but without a newsletter signup you’re losing out on launch potential.

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#20

Thanks for the tip @Pkeod ! I appreciate the advice, marketing is something I’m not very experienced with. I’ll set that up right now!

1 Like