Online versions of sports managers have been increasing in popularity in recent months. Although they will never be able to benefit being a member of Steam, they have the potential for very large user communities. This can lead to very fun multi-player experiences and often the games themselves may even be free.
One of the most recent games to come around is Game Plan Hockey Manager. GM Games has agreed to participate in the growth of the support and user discussion around Game Plan Hockey Manager. The game’s creator, Anders Granberg has a strong web development background and a passion for making a great hockey experience. The combination of understanding web user interfaces and back-end development experience of the game engine will make this a project that many should keep an eye on.
Here is an excerpt from Anders’ blog on the approach he took in creating this game:
- Stats. I love stats and can browse hockey databases for hours and hours. Most online hockey manager games that I’ve tried didn’t have a lot of stats, and if they did they didn’t play as important role in the game as I wanted.
- Realsim. I often missed that feeling of realism when I played a manager game, specially online. That made me tire quickly and most likely logout and never come back. With ”realistic feeling” I don´t mean the use of real player and team names. It was never an issue that I couldn’t play with my favourite team Ottawa Senators and sign Sidney Crosby to the team. What I´m looking for is much more subtle. I want to get the feeling that there is real persons behind the all the numbers and facts. I missed a game where the psychological values played an equal part to all the numbers.
- Details. Most manager games either lacked details or it quickly became obvious that the player details didn’t matter. Therefore I thought that if I should make my own game one day every detail shown in the game should matter, at least in some way.
- Game play. Who likes a random result? I often got the feeling that the game results was somewhat random. One game you lost the next game you won. It made me doubt that games wasn’t even played, just randomised results. I wanted to make sure that, in my future game, games actually was played shift by shift. The players on ice that instance should actually face each other, skill vs skill, tactic vs tactic.
More can be read about his approach here: http://www.gameplanhockey.com/blog/why-another-hockey-manager-game
Below GM Games caught up with Anders Granberg to ask him a few questions of our own:
Where do you see the game evolving?
It would be easy to answer something like, I want the game to be the biggest game out there or I want to have 1 million registered users. But that’s not what I had in mind when I first started creating the prototype more than a year ago. I wanted to create a manager game that focused on the things that I loved about a great manager game. Things that I actually found very hard to find in most games out there. I wanted stats to be detailed, realistic and a big part of the game. I wanted to get the feeling that there was realsim behind player ratings and interactions. I wanted more than just a few ratings on the players and I wanted every detail to matter, everything from height/weight to contract happiness. Not least, I wanted games between teams to actually be simulated shift by shift with every little detail in play.
So this is what I want to continue developing. One little bit at the time. I have so many ideas for new features but my first goal is to get the game out of the “prototype status” and to feel comfortable to release a stable version 1.0
Do you have plans to move beyond the default leagues?
Yes, I’ve always had plans for creating two sets of game worlds with different league styles. The current style can best be described as European influenced with team promotions and relegations. But I want to create another type of game world with more North American influenced leagues with affiliation teams, trades, drafts and so on.
What games inspired you?
I’ve played manager games, mostly football (soccer) manager games, since the late 80’s, then on my Commodore 64 machine. I was hooked right from the start. It has been really exciting to see the games evolve in more than 25 years. Games today includes more and more graphics and video but I must say that I’d always preferred the text based games.
The first great hockey game I tried was NHL 93 to SEGA. This was not a manager game but I remember to been blown away by the feeling to be able to play with a real NHL team and create my own lineup. It took until I tried Risto Remes early version of Eastside Hockey Manager before I found a hockey manager game that I really liked.
How much effort do you see yourself putting in to this game?
This is actually a tough question to answer. The last year and a half I’ve put in several hours a week – every week. Being on my own it’s hard to find time for every feature or great idea you have. That’s why I’ve decided to first put out a prototype and let people try it out and provide feedback on what they think. So far the reception of the game have been much better than I’d anticipated. Many people out there have provided great feedback, suggestions and feature requests. For that I’m truly grateful. But to be honest, to put in even more effort I need to find a way to finance my hours and maybe in the long run create a whole team that can take the game to the next level. That sure would be a dream come true.
We thank Anders for speaking with us.
His game can be found here: http://gmgames.org/game-plan-hockey-manager/>
You can speak directly with him at our forums, here: http://forums.gmgames.org/forum/280-game-plan-hockey-manager/