What I want to do — Part 3

Through my previous blog posts I have talked about the different paths that I could choose in the games industry. Through this blog I will be talking about why I want to be developing sports games and what I need to do in order to get to the very top of this industry.

To start off — I am huge fan of watching any kind of sports. The sheer joy of watching a sports game with friends who may/may not support the same team/player as you do is a feeling only an avid sports fan would know. Sports games are a complex and challenging genre of the interactive entertainment business, with a long list of special problems and considerations not present in most other games such as artificial intelligence (tactical and strategic), statistics, motion capture, physics, or any of the myriad other programming, art, and sound issues that make them different from other games.

One thing you get by watching sports is attention to detail. Bringing them into a game is really difficult and this is exactly what I want to do. No rule is straight-forward when building a sports game. Lets take a simple example of passing a ball in two different sports — Football and NBA. The concept is simple — pass the ball to another player, but to translate that into a game is whole different level.

There are different types of passes that you need to make. For example — Football has a variety of passes like short pass, precision pass, grounded long pass, lobbed pass, through ball, chipped through ball, curved pass and what not. Each of them are different from each other and required a different set of physics. This is not the only thing that the developer has to keep in mind. Things like what kind of player is passing the ball, trying to replicate how different players do their respective actions in the real world and trying to make them happen in a game where people really think that’s an accurate representation of the sport is super hard.

Another thing that really interests me is the camera system that needs to be used in such sports games. Camera control is especially problematic for single-machine multi-player games. A lot of sports games are played by two people on a single console, watching a single TV. The optimal view for a given player may be completely unusable for his opponent. To be fair, the same view must be equally playable for both of them. You need to think this over very carefully too. Buy a few games and study them, pay close attention to button layouts, changing modes, and camera behavior.

The final part that’s the most appealing to me is the constant improvement of the AI. These really include a lot of things — intelligent passes, improved defensive techniques, knowledge of space in the field, knowledge of pitch and weather conditions, etc. These things play a big part in deciding how accurate is this a representation of a real life event and can the players playing the game relate to it. Having a bad AI in such type of games can destroy the feel of it and make the game feel artificial.

These are some of the few reasons of why I want to get into developing sports games and also why I love playing these kind of games as well.