Eastside Hockey Manager (EHM) 2007

Legacy Management Games
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Exclusive: Risto Remes (EHM) joins GM Games in conversation

Exclusive: Risto Remes (EHM) joins GM Games in conversation

As GM Games continues to highlight the evolution of sports management games, there are certainly those who must be recognized for their contributions to where we are today. We plan over the next little while to compile exclusive conversations with influential people in the sports simulation industry.

One of these integral people happen to be Risto Remes of Sports Interactive Games (SI Games). Here is a bit of background about who he is to those not familiar with him.

Risto is originally from Finland and holds title of Senior Software Engineer at Sports Interactive. Home of the world famous Football Manager series. He has worked on every Football Manager product since Championship Manager 03/04. Prior to working with and at SI Games, Risto was the creator of a hockey simulator that would be known as Eastside Hockey Manager or EHM .

EHM started off as independent freeware that became so successful and advanced that it caught the eyes of the programmers at Sports Interactive. Between 2002 and 2007, Risto was able to leverage SI Games and some of their proprietary code to advance the 2D game engine to new heights.

Eastside Hockey Manager was a leap forward in hockey simulation and over time became one of the finest sports simulation algorithms ever produced. So much so that GM Games has enshrined Eastside Hockey Manager 2007 to the GM Games Hall of Fame Classics.

User communities such a The Blue Line, FHockey, Thebreakaway all grew at a rapid rate and continue to have thriving user communities. Then, everything changed.

The decision was made between SEGA, Sports Interactive, Risto, to stop the investment in EHM due to a lack of game sales. SI Games claims piracy was the leading reason. Users claim the marketing campaign and product name attributed to the overall downfall. In the end, too much of SI Games’ code lived in EHM and thus the franchise has been shelved ever since.

Exclusive conversation with Risto Remes as of February 2015.

 

I have (Chris V @ GM Games) remained in communication with Risto. Telling him about the flagship leagues we have put together to bring hockey sim realism to new heights. He has always been interested to know why the 2005 version has been the most popular for these reasons. Those conversations aside, we setup a formal conversation with him to find out how he’s been and there is even a very interesting footnote he leaves us with.

 

[GM Games]

Thanks for taking some time in your schedule to chat. Tell us a bit about your role now with SI Games?

[Risto Remes]

Since 2006, I’ve been working on the Football Manager project, initially working on finances and player progression and various other areas. Nowadays I’m mainly working on newgens, player progression, training, team talks and attendances with some other bits here and there.

 

[GM Games] 

How rewarding was the Eastside Hockey Manager series to you?

[Risto Remes]

Making the three EHM games with SI was very rewarding. Working full time on a project that started out as a hobby project on the side of my studies was like a dream come true, especially as the football management games made by Sports Interactive had been the original inspiration to my own projects.

 

[GM Games]

What did EHM help bring to SI Games in terms of engine improvements or strategy?

[Risto Remes]

Having two different projects like the hockey game and the football game helped by feeding new ideas into both projects as some aspects of the games were approached from different angles in the two projects. Obviously coming to SI to work on EHM originally helped massively with that project as we benefitted from the management game code base and other technology already established at SI.

 

[GM Games]

What are your thoughts on the hockey simulations being made today on different platforms?

[Risto Remes]

It’s nice to see hockey games coming along on different platforms. I tend to play a bit on my mobile or tablet occasionally and we obviously have Football Manager Handheld for the mobile platforms at SI. I think sports management games in general are well suited for the mobile platform as something to play whilst on the train or on the bus.

 

[GM Games]

Now, the question we all want asked lol. Do you believe that the Steam platform has potential to revive the hockey series? Perhaps even re-branding from ‘Eastside’ to a generic title?

[Risto Remes]

I like Steam as a platform for distributing and playing games and it has worked well for us at SI for the Football Manager series. I’ve always maintained that I want to bring EHM back some day when the time is right and Steam would be something to obviously look into if that time comes.

 

[GM Games]

Wow. We’ll let those reading here interpret that last answer on their own. Maybe expect a busier e-mailbox 🙂 Are there any sports you enjoy or games you would consider making in your free time?

[Risto Remes]

I still play floorball competitively in Finland and follow both football and hockey actively. I’ve been asked to do a Floorball Manager game occasionally but I haven’t seriously considered that so far…

 

[GM Games] 

Thank you again for joining us. Finally, what are your thoughts on the website General Manager (GM) Games?

[Risto Remes]

I think internet communities are vital to smaller games, especially sports management games that don’t maybe get the mainstream coverage like the big sports games. Sites like GM Games are good for finding out about similar manager games in different sports and meeting other people enthusiastic about the genre.

 

[GM Games]

And that concludes the broadcast.

 

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Chris Valius
My name is Chris and I am the of Director of General Manager (GM) Games. I have been following sports simulator algorithms from my childhood. It initially started out by pressing simulate on 'Baseball Simulator 1.000' and having excessive rental fees on games like 'Baseball Stars' on NES. It evolved in to playing countless seasons of Tecmo Super Bowl without even playing a snap. Wayne Gretzky Hockey on PC/Mac allowed for the first 2D game-play to be watched in conjunction with being a GM. As time progressed, Baseball Mogul, and the original OOTP grew and the CM series of Soccer games took everything to the next level. With that in mind, it has been my mission statement to find those with the same passion for this genre and share the incredible intelligent accomplishments of those making these algorithms for the pleasure of our amusement. I want to help all the indie developers and bring the immersion and realism of these games to the next level.