FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN, SECOND EDITION

Game Structure

The main gameplay mode in a sports game is match play, simulating the sport itself as it is played. Players can usually pause the game, which normally brings up a menu permitting them to substitute athletes, change the camera view, perform other sorts of coaching tasks, and sometimes adjust the AI. Players can also save the game for later or abandon it.

Outside of match play, most of the game's modes relate to other aspects of the sport: studying the athletes' ratings and performance statistics, hiring and trading them, deciding who the starting athletes will be, and following the sport's match or tournament schedule on a calendar. The screen layouts tend to reflect the book­keeping nature of these activities, often resembling tables or graphs.

image197Player Roles

The player's role is most commonly that of an athlete, but in a team sport, that doesn't mean just one particular athlete. The player's focus of control usually fol­lows the action rather than being tied to a single individual. Thus, the player's role shifts rapidly, especially if some athletes play specialized positions such as catcher or goalie.

The player may sometimes elect to play as the coach, again a role found chiefly in team sports. The coach selects the starting athletes for the team, sets offensive and defensive strategies, and makes athlete substitutions during the match. See Figure 16.1 for an example. The player usually switches to the coach role during timeouts or other pauses in the action.

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Finally, there's the role of general manager of the team. The general manager hires and fires athletes, trying to recruit the best athletes within the limitations of the budget. In a game that allows it, the manager also tries to build up the team over a period of years, improving its standing in the league.

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