Re: SWOS remake art & opinions wanted

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2 years 4 months ago #139448 by Playaveli

I also think "getting SWOS out there again" doesn't cut it anymore. Heck, the 360 XBLA version even updated the graphics but it still wasn't enough, it needed updated rosters, good bug testing, a working multiplayer, updated sounds, a better UI, etc. Hence why I think the only way forward is keeping the gameplay but creating everything else from scratch.


I kind of disagree.
XBLA was or rather is an awesome faithful port of the original, mixing PC DOS and Amiga version in a great way.

The only problem, and sadly the main reason why it's dead now:
- Online play is messed up. No headers and tackles work properly, no bug fixing.
- And, you couldn't play any kind of tournament or online league, just simple friendlies... and that only once, after each match you had to reconnect (how s*** is that?).

I agree totally, keep the gameplay as it is. But for me, even the menus still work brilliant.
It just needs a proper net code and a way to play the game modes online with or versus other people.

In my eyes, just going for Xbox360 release was a major mistake. A windows (or rather: Desktop PC) version would be much more appropriate for a game like SWOS.


@Hairfu:
Sociable Soccer had a Kickstarter aim of 300k, initially. Obviously, set too high on purpose just to check out the market. When it hit over 30k the KS campaign was cancelled and they started production.

30k was also the money you'd have to pay Codemasters to get the SWOS license!

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #139450 by Masakari
Replied by Masakari on topic Re: SWOS remake art & opinions wanted

I kind of disagree.
XBLA was or rather is an awesome faithful port of the original, mixing PC DOS and Amiga version in a great way.

The only problem, and sadly the main reason why it's dead now:
- Online play is messed up. No headers and tackles work properly, no bug fixing.
- And, you couldn't play any kind of tournament or online league, just simple friendlies... and that only once, after each match you had to reconnect (how s*** is that?).

I agree totally, keep the gameplay as it is. But for me, even the menus still work brilliant.
It just needs a proper net code and a way to play the game modes online with or versus other people.

In my eyes, just going for Xbox360 release was a major mistake. A windows (or rather: Desktop PC) version would be much more appropriate for a game like SWOS.

I love the XBLA version but even back then I never understood why they kept the old rosters, and I saw many comments saying the same. If you're gonna bother remaking the entire graphics of the game, keeping the original 10 year old rosters and clubs is very weird.

I agree though that it was crippled by the broken online components, and the baffling decision to not release it on Steam. Back then 360 / XBLA was starting to become the "hot thing" making small downloadable games popular and MS usually wanted some period of exclusivity for the games on the service. I suspect they didn't release on Steam a few months later because they didn't want to spend the money to fix it first.

I read Jon Hare's reasoning for not getting the SWOS license and I still think there's something else to it. You're gonna make a big fuss about a "spiritual successor" to Sensi... Sensi this, SWOS that... and not get the license for a measly 30k? I don't buy it.

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #139451 by Playaveli

I love the XBLA version but even back then I never understood why they kept the old rosters, and I saw many comments saying the same. If you're gonna bother remaking the entire graphics of the game, keeping the original 10 year old rosters and clubs is very weird.

I agree though that it was crippled by the broken online components, and the baffling decision to not release it on Steam. Back then 360 / XBLA was starting to become the "hot thing" making small downloadable games popular and MS usually wanted some period of exclusivity for the games on the service. I suspect they didn't release on Steam a few months later because they didn't want to spend the money to fix it first.

I read Jon Hare's reasoning for not getting the SWOS license and I still think there's something else to it. You're gonna make a big fuss about a "spiritual successor" to Sensi... Sensi this, SWOS that... and not get the license for a measly 30k? I don't buy it.


Rosters? Simple answer: Money!!
SWOS was a low-budget production. No way they would pay for the license for the current club's rosters (Sociable Soccer has fake names, too!).
As I said before, on a desktop PC release it would have been a child's play for the community to get the rosters updated and provide fans with it. But not on a locked up console like the Xbox. Wrong decision for long term success of a game! I repeat myself.

During the dev-process they released some strange news update on their Codemasters forums. Just by the preview screenshot, you could see how they treated the game. Like a low-budget product, no caring about details. Best example, they couldn't even get the goal shadow graphics right... what a shame for company like Codemasters (you still see it in the game). But at the same time celebrating things like a train running below the pitch (WTF??). Idiotic and amateurish!

This might interest you: web.archive.org/web/20120712222106/http:...um-full-minions.html

(at the time of this topic, they still announced a Windows Vista release, publicly. In retrospective, that was just a lie to shut fans up!)

We played really hard on them. But well, in the end we were ignored. What else can you expect!

I think Jon was tired to mess with Codemasters. That's it.

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #139452 by HairFU
If it is about the 30k, I can Imagine that it could be possible to do it by crowdfunding. But as Masakari allready mentioned it would not make any sence to do it If there is no team behind the project that can work with the source code.
Serios question. Are there any real interessed in trying to get the source code? If yes. Are there anyone who can code and would work with the source code to make a new SWOS version?

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #139453 by Masakari
Replied by Masakari on topic Re: SWOS remake art & opinions wanted

Rosters? Simple answer: Money!!
SWOS was a low-budget production. No way they would pay for the license for the current club's rosters (Sociable Soccer has fake names, too!).
As I said before, on a desktop PC release it would have been a child's play for the community to get the rosters updated and provide fans with it. But not on a locked up console like the Xbox. Wrong decision for long term success of a game! I repeat myself.

During the dev-process they released some strange news update on their Codemasters forums. Just by the preview screenshot, you could see how they treated the game. Like a low-budget product, no caring about details. Best example, they couldn't even get the goal shadow graphics right... what a shame for company like Codemasters (you still see it in the game). But at the same time celebrating things like a train running below the pitch (WTF??). Idiotic and amateurish!

This might interest you: web.archive.org/web/20120712222106/http:...um-full-minions.html

(at the time of this topic, they still announced a Windows Vista release, publicly. In retrospective, that was just a lie to shut fans up!)

We played really hard on them. But well, in the end we were ignored. What else can you expect!

I think Jon was tired to mess with Codemasters. That's it.

Remaking the entire art for the game is more expensive than updating the player and team database. I'm not even talking about the official FIFPro license, just update them using fake names (and about this, read my PS below).

There was some weird stuff in there, I'm not sure if it's just promo artwork, mockups, or previous versions of the game, but there are images of the game with more shadow effects, different crowd sprites and additional elements not present in the released build.

Still reading that 27 page thread. EDIT: scratch that, I can't seem to get past page 1, I'm not entirely sure how wayback machine works.

Jon not wanting to deal with Codemasters might be right. I don't want to burn bridges so I'm gonna be politically correct and say they've made some debatable commercial decisions in the last 15 years.

PS: curiously, I've read some legal advice about the whole real names vs fake names and there's kind of a loophole there if you launch a game with fake names and then put out free opt-in DLC with the real names - it needs to be free and it can't be part of an official auto-update patch, it needs to be a package that a costumer clicks to download.
Of course, as with many other things, you might be legal but still get sued and have to defend yourself, hence even the threat of being sued is enough to dissuade people from doing that sort of stuff as it costs tons of money in legal fees. And at the end of the day it just depends on how "big" you are, there are plenty of football related games on mobile and PC using real names, but they're small scale and no one will bother suing them.

If it is about the 30k, I can Imagine that it could be possible to do it by crowdfunding. But as Masakari allready mentioned it would not make any sence to do it If there is no team behind the project that can work with the source code.
Serios question. Are there any real interessed in trying to get the source code? If yes. Are there anyone who can code and would work with the source code to make a new SWOS version?

I think there is undoubtedly interest, but it's gonna be a process... the first barrier is the license, 30k is a lot of money and then you need to see how you can leverage the source code into developing essentially a new game using some of it's components.

The devplan would be critical in a project like this, people would have to agree with a features list set in stone and commit to doing that without constant disagreements and feature creep burning development time. I say this because SWOS is such an unique taste, even in this forum there are people that think releasing the same 20 year game with just updated fake names would be enough, while others (like myself) think you need to keep the core gameplay and redo everything else around it to modern specifications, for example.

Also, you can't get crowdfunding for this without some of the original devs involved or a prototype/alpha demo that just blows people away, gamers aren't going to trust "random guy X" just because he licensed the IP. There was already enough distrust about Sociable and that even has Jon Hare as the face of the project.

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2 years 4 months ago #139455 by petarku
Replied by petarku on topic Re: SWOS remake art & opinions wanted


Remaking the entire art for the game is more expensive than updating the player and team database. I'm not even talking about the official FIFPro license, just update them using fake names (and about this, read my PS below).

There was some weird stuff in there, I'm not sure if it's just promo artwork, mockups, or previous versions of the game, but there are images of the game with more shadow effects, different crowd sprites and additional elements not present in the released build.

Still reading that 27 page thread. EDIT: scratch that, I can't seem to get past page 1, I'm not entirely sure how wayback machine works.

Jon not wanting to deal with Codemasters might be right. I don't want to burn bridges so I'm gonna be politically correct and say they've made some debatable commercial decisions in the last 15 years.

PS: curiously, I've read some legal advice about the whole real names vs fake names and there's kind of a loophole there if you launch a game with fake names and then put out free opt-in DLC with the real names - it needs to be free and it can't be part of an official auto-update patch, it needs to be a package that a costumer clicks to download.
Of course, as with many other things, you might be legal but still get sued and have to defend yourself, hence even the threat of being sued is enough to dissuade people from doing that sort of stuff as it costs tons of money in legal fees. And at the end of the day it just depends on how "big" you are, there are plenty of football related games on mobile and PC using real names, but they're small scale and no one will bother suing them.


I think there is undoubtedly interest, but it's gonna be a process... the first barrier is the license, 30k is a lot of money and then you need to see how you can leverage the source code into developing essentially a new game using some of it's components.

The devplan would be critical in a project like this, people would have to agree with a features list set in stone and commit to doing that without constant disagreements and feature creep burning development time. I say this because SWOS is such an unique taste, even in this forum there are people that think releasing the same 20 year game with just updated fake names would be enough, while others (like myself) think you need to keep the core gameplay and redo everything else around it to modern specifications, for example.

Also, you can't get crowdfunding for this without some of the original devs involved or a prototype/alpha demo that just blows people away, gamers aren't going to trust "random guy X" just because he licensed the IP. There was already enough distrust about Sociable and that even has Jon Hare as the face of the project.


I agree that having the developers team  that is passionate to take the source code and work on game is much bigger problem then to collect 30k to get the licence (just to clear up , i dont think 30k is little).
I dont think real names licence is the problem. Look how PES is doing it even on closer system then PC.
Community update would sort it out ..

this community can help a lot in advertising quality assurance and to attract the people to the remake. Look just on sociable soccer steam forums how many people want exactly swos remake with career and everything else that make this game special.  also if missing leagues would be added it could be really smart advertised as really world of soccer

you perfectly identified issue about product management in potential remake ...
As always in retro revival , you have percent of people that want exactly the same thing just on new machines (or just minimal changes).  if you want bigger adoption (more money) you need better graphics to attract people.
Someone need to be responsible to make those decisions and how you make nice bridge between having retro feeling and better graphic.



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2 years 4 months ago #139456 by HairFU
As an Idea for the game. Just make an option to switch between classic menu looking (and classic setting up and so on) and modern game menu. So everyone gets what he likes the most.

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #139460 by Masakari
Replied by Masakari on topic Re: SWOS remake art & opinions wanted

you perfectly identified issue about product management in potential remake ...
As always in retro revival , you have percent of people that want exactly the same thing just on new machines (or just minimal changes).  if you want bigger adoption (more money) you need better graphics to attract people.
Someone need to be responsible to make those decisions and how you make nice bridge between having retro feeling and better graphic.

There should be a balance and respect / reverence for the original material, but like you correctly pointed out, if you want commercial success you need updated specs in many areas, including graphics. It really makes me feel old (I'm 38) when I think that kids entering college were born in 2000 (!!!) and probably have no idea what an Amiga or Sensi is. They were 6yo when Sensi 2006 came out and 7yo when the XBLA version was released, and both of those flopped. A big chunk of the market grew up on FIFA and PES, not Kickoff and Sensi.

That's the uphill battle this franchise is fighting and one of my biggest worries. It's also the first thing execs and investors will think of. It's been so long now that with each passing year a successful SWOS revival gets more and more unlikely. It's disappearing from culture, both gamer and general, with each new generation.

It's not a lost cause but you need to appeal to the remaining hardcore fanbase, nostalgic gamers that don't play anymore, and also expose it to lots of new people that didn't grow up with 90s interfaces and stuff like that - hence why IMO the entire game aside from the gameplay needs to be redesigned.

@HairFU: it's an unnecessary burden for a dev team to have to develop and maintain 2 different UI sets, specially when you would have additional features (for example in Career) that weren't present in the original game. It's not doable. You should make a new UI that invokes and is inspired by SWOS, of course, I'm not talking about turning it into Football Manager spreadsheets.

There's plenty of interesting articles and studies out there regarding UX design, like The Aesthetic-Usability Effect and the Mass Effect: Massive Interface Fail series. Fascinating insight into best practices of interface design.

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #139462 by lemonheadiv

If it is about the 30k, I can Imagine that it could be possible to do it by crowdfunding. But as Masakari allready mentioned it would not make any sence to do it If there is no team behind the project that can work with the source code.


Are we sure that 30k = licence + source code? We have no use for the licence alone.

Knowing Codemasters, I can’t help but thinking of this scenario: two well known developers ask for the SWOS licence. One (let's say LizardCube, who just made a Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap remake) wants to use the source code to make a proper remake of SWOS. The other (let's say Zynga) just needs the licence to make a crappy mobile game. Maybe I'm pessimistic, but I think I know what Codemasters would be keen on producing…

Anyway, we could try to assemble a dev team in order to contact Codemasters and see if we can reach an agreement. We need some credentials though, a vertical slice, or members of Sensible Software working with us (I'll get back to that later).
Let's assume there’s a way to get the source code, or that, in case we’re not allowed to use it, we can reverse engineer it and create our new soccer game, the first question we’d need to ask ourselves is: who are we working for? In other words, what is our target audience?

If you ask me, the answer is a SWOS made by the fans, for the fans. And by “fans” I mean longtime players like our community members, people who have invested enough time in the game to understand the depth and the unquestionable value of its gameplay.
If you do this then you don’t even need to worry about the UI (it may look outdated but it still serves its purpose well) or updated rosters (a non-problem, since users can update all the data they want). You just have to do justice to a timeless classic and bring it to run natively on modern systems.

With a little more effort, XBLA SWOS could have succeded in doing this. Its main problem was that it was just a (poorly marketed) lazy port with broken netplay, and zero post-launch support. Having the old roster with fake names didn’t hurt the game nearly as much as this.
Sure, the dev team would have needed to modify, or better yet, rewrite the source code to get around some of its limitations. As it stands, ball physics are altered as you change resolution, and the game can’t run at the same speed at different refresh rates. And, of course, no netplay. :)
I guess they weren’t given the time (or the money, or both) to choose that kind of approach, so they focused on cosmetic changes to the pitches/stadiums instead. At least they supported the 16:9 ratio, so we were able to see more of the pitch, but that’s the only “worthy” improvement that comes to my mind right now.
Oh, let’s not forget that: “SWOS is the first Xbox Live Arcade game to feature online ads. Massive Inc (owned by Microsoft) has supplied the code to enable banner ads.”

Of course you can also try to cater to the younger audiences and present the classic SWOS gameplay with a “modern” UI and new, flashy retro visuals. I just don’t know what their reaction will be once they get out of the menus and start playing. I can think of “OMG, just one button?”, and “Do I actually need to spend time to get good at this thing?”. Or maybe they will appreciate the depth of the gameplay, who knows.
I’m just saying the UI isn’t the first thing I’d bother with if I had the source code. First, I'd try to get rid of the code’s limitations and port it to modern systems, for the people who have been playing the game online for all these years.
Then, you can easily build on that first re-release, revamp the UI, and even start working on the gameplay. Maybe add some modifiers at first, like:
- injuries: random (original gameplay) or depending on the "predisposition for injuries" skill (remixed gameplay)
- stamina: endless (original gameplay) or determined by the "fitness" skill (remixed gameplay)

Codemasters just don’t care, I think we all get this. But I also think Jon Hare doesn’t care that much either.
Sociable was born to target a wider audience thus potentially making some good money (I understand that money is important, don’t get me wrong). Jon also said they want to create a new series of sports game, so I don’t know if they will polish the soccer game first or start working on a new sport...
I assume a proper modern version of SWOS was not believed to be as profitable (compare the number of people playing SWOS competitively with the number of casual gamers playing on their smartphone...). Otherwise Jon may have asked for much less money on kickstarter, in order to deliver a proper SWOS remake.
And I can understand some distrust around Sociable. Asking for 300k, which is quite a big sum in comparison to other kickstarter projects, and then going on to develop the game with no crowdfunding at all wasn’t exactly the best move to begin with. Also, it didn't help that in 4 months there were no updates to a game that was in little more than alpha state when it was released in early access.

Back to Jon Hare and Sensible Software members, why don’t we ever mention Chris Chapman who was the lead programmer and certainly knows more about the code than Jon? If we want to present ourselves in a credible manner to Codemasters it could be crucial to get him and Stoo Cambridge, as well as Jon Hare, on board.

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2 years 4 months ago #139463 by petarku
Replied by petarku on topic Re: SWOS remake art & opinions wanted

If it is about the 30k, I can Imagine that it could be possible to do it by crowdfunding. But as Masakari allready mentioned it would not make any sence to do it If there is no team behind the project that can work with the source code.


Are we sure that 30k = licence + source code? We have no use for the license alone.

Knowing Codemasters, I can’t help but thinking of this scenario: two well known developers ask for the SWOS license. One (let's day LizardCube, who just made a Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap remake) wants to use the source code to make a proper remake of SWOS. The other (let's say Zynga) just needs the license to make a crappy mobile game. Maybe I'm pessimistic, but I think I know what Codemasters would be keen on producing…

Anyway, we could try to assemble a dev team in order to contact Codemasters and see if we can reach an agreement. We need some credentials though, a vertical slice, or members of Sensible Software working with us (I'll get back to that later).
Let's assume there’s a way to get the source code, or that, in case we’re not allowed to use it, we can reverse engineer it and create our new soccer game, the first question we’d need to ask ourselves is: who are we working for? In other words, what is our target audience?

If you ask me, the answer is a SWOS made by the fans, for the fans. And by “fans” I mean longtime players like our community members, people who have invested enough time in the game to understand the depth and the unquestionable value of its gameplay.
If you do this then you don’t even need to worry about the UI (it may look outdated but it still serves its purpose well) or updated rosters (a non-problem, since users can update all the data they want). You just have to do justice to a timeless classic and bring it to run natively on modern systems.

With a little more effort, XBLA SWOS could have succeded in doing this. Its main problem was that it was just a (poorly marketed) lazy port with broken netplay, and zero post-launch support. Having the old roster with fake names didn’t hurt the game nearly as much as this.
Sure, the dev team would have needed to modify, or better yet, rewrite the source code to get around some of its limitations. As it stands, ball physics are altered as you change resolution, and the game can’t run at the same speed at different refresh rates. And, of course, no netplay. :)
I guess they weren’t given the time (or the money, or both) to choose that kind of approach, so they focused on cosmetic changes to the pitches/stadiums instead. At least they supported the 16:9 ratio, so we were able to see more of the pitch, but that’s the only “worthy” improvement that comes to my mind right now.
Oh, let’s not forget that: “SWOS is the first Xbox Live Arcade game to feature online ads. Massive Inc (owned by Microsoft) has supplied the code to enable banner ads.”

Of course you can also try to cater to the younger audiences and present the classic SWOS gameplay with a “modern” UI and new, flashy retro visuals. I just don’t know what their reaction will be once they get out of the menus and start playing. I can think of “OMG, just one button?”, and “Do I actually need to spend time to get good at this thing?”. Or maybe they will appreciate the depth of the gameplay, who knows.
I’m just saying the UI isn’t the first thing I’d bother with if I had the source code. First, I'd try to get rid of the code’s limitations and port it to modern systems, for the people who have been playing the game competitively for all these years.
Then, you can easily build on that first re-release, revamp the UI, and even start working on the gameplay. Maybe add some modifiers at first, like:
- injuries: random (original gameplay) or depending on the "predisposition for injuries" skill (remixed gameplay)
- stamina: endless (original gameplay) or determined by the "fitness" skill (remixed gameplay)

Codemasters just don’t care, I think we all get this. But I also think Jon Hare doesn’t care that much either.
Sociable was born to target a wider audience thus potentially making some good money (I understand that money is important, don’t get me wrong). Jon also said they want to create a new series of sports game, so I don’t know if they will polish the soccer game first or start working on a new sport...
I assume a proper modern version of SWOS was not believed to be as profitable (compare the number of people playing SWOS competitively with the number of casual gamers playing on their smartphone...). Otherwise Jon may have asked for much less money on kickstarter, in order to deliver a proper SWOS remake.
And I can understand some distrust around Sociable. Asking for 300k, which is quite a big sum in comparison to other kickstarter projects, and then going on to develop the game with no crowdfunding at all wasn’t exactly the best move to begin with. Also, it didn't help that in 4 months there were no updates to a game that was in little more than alpha state when it was released in early access.

Back to Jon Hare and Sensible Software members, why don’t we ever mention Chris Chapman who was the lead programmer and certainly knows more about the code than Jon? If we want to present ourselves in a credible manner to Codemasters it could be crucial to get him and Stoo Cambridge, as well as Jon Hare, on board.


do we have some indication about source code for swos xbla ? is it just wrapper around amiga code with checks for achievements and network play (faulty one) as they didnt change to much there?
although goalkeepers are acting differently then on amiga and you curling the shots is different , so i am not sure what and how they tweaked original code ,
I would be surprised if xbla devs didnt treat gameplay as black box and just wrap some kind of emulator around it. If someone was planning to contact original xbla developers would be interesting to get more details about it.


if it is same old code from amiga , it could be hard to get dev team that have knowledge in old programming language to understand and improve development as i understand everyone here agree that we shouldnt mess with the core mechanics of the swos ..

so if you have old code that very few new devs understand , and you want to go on multi platforms (to make money ) it is very hard thing to do with swos.
i suspect this might be the one of the reason why John didnt want to take the licence , but wanted to start from scratch.
they are unity engine in sociable soccer which is very easy to port to any of the platforms .so more platforms more adoption..  plus you have a lot of new devs that are familiar with unity engine ...



sociable soccer situation is very strange - for example John Hare didnt tweet or give any update about that game for months.  Team expanded , moved to new premises and they did zero releases on the game which is in early access and should be updated on regular basics as that is the purpose of early access. 

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