News about Front Office Football

I wanted to provide an update about my progress with Front Office Football.

Front Office Football Seven was released in mid-December of 2013. On a Friday the 13th, no less. While the game’s “spreadsheet” look has made it very difficult to get reviews, I’m happy that people are still enthusiastically playing – and we’re now 17 years after the first version was released.

Thanks to you, I received approval to put Front Office Football on Steam this February. As a result, 2015 will be our most successful year since the days when EA Sports was publishing the game.

Over the last few months, from comments I’ve made and the second artwork contest, I think it’s obvious that I’m working on a new version of Front Office Football.

This is by far the biggest version to date. I’ve redone huge portions of the game. Play-calling and game-planning are completely new, and bear almost no resemblance to the current game. I’d like a product where you can quickly and effectively make smart play calls in much the same way professional coordinators and coaches plan for games.

I had hoped to release this product (at the time, it was called Front Office Football 2016) around the start of November. However, that would have required hitting beta in early October. In mid-October, I was very close to having the product “feature-complete,” which many people call alpha. But it felt rushed. I wasn’t happy with how the new modules were integrating with the game engine, and I’m not convinced that the play-calling is quite “right” yet. There isn’t enough opportunity to deviate from a game plan that’s not working properly. Since you’ll call a game much like the AI will call a game, this is a fairly big deal.

I also did a lot of graphics work, mainly putting in a completely new menu system that will allow you to quickly get anywhere in the game once you’re familiar with it. Plus, I now use “modeless” windows in most places in the game. So if you want to compare player windows, you can. If you have screen space (even a second monitor) and want the statistics window up all the time, you can do that. However, I’m not convinced that’s ready for prime time yet, either. There’s something funky with how it works on Windows 10 – something I noticed with Up and Down the River’s modeless windows as well. So it’s probably something simple that I did wrong – I’ve spent far too much time looking for it.

It’s turning out that this new version is requiring more code work than any two previous versions.

Releasing a football game in December is not ideal. So I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would push FOF 2016 into, well, 2016. It will get done. I’m not sure when I’ll release it. My wife and I will be moving next year, so that will take up a lot of time. But I’m fairly certain the new game will be out by fall. Too much has been done (and really some very exciting work) not to eventually get it out there.

So, what about the here and now?

I want to have a 2015 game. I normally put out a new roster file and schedule every year – usually around this time of year. And I need a break from the insane new development schedule I was on.

So I’ve just started work on a 2015 roster file. I will add the 2015 schedule, tweak the coach file. I won’t be patching FOF 7, except for the new extra point rule.

This should be ready well before Christmas, though I won’t make any promises. I think it will help Steam sales to have a 2015 game out there. As always, updates will be completely free for existing customers. I will provide the update both for the ViaTech version and the Steam version.

Anyway, that’s the state of development right now. Again, I’m really excited about what’s going into the new version. I may well share a few screen shots at some point. In the meantime, maybe I’ll get a bit of a chance to relax and enjoy the current season.

Thanks again for all your support.