Opportunities for Creative Play

As sports games are essentially simulations, they offer fewer opportunities for creative play than other genres. However, several do exist:

■ Athlete and team creation. You may give the players the opportunity to create teams of their own, either by choosing athletes from the existing database or by entering new athletes with all their attributes (see Figure 16.2). This will allow players to create dream teams or famous teams from the past. If you want to pre­vent them from creating unbeatable teams, you can require that the sum of all the attributes of all the athletes on the team must not go over a certain limit. (Strange though it sounds, once players know they can create unbeatable teams or unbeat­able play strategies, they lose some respect for the game.)

■ Strategy design. Players greatly enjoy setting up their own strategies, adjusting how the athletes will behave and what roles they will play in a team sport. You will have to work closely with the programmers, who implement the game's strategy and AI to determine what parameters the player can change. One risk of allowing the players to design their own strategy is that they may hit upon some combina­tion that the game AI is completely unable to beat, regardless of the circumstances.

Allowing the players to design their own strategies will require the development team to do a lot more testing in order to prevent this.

■ Playing field design. Most sports rigidly define the shape of the field. However, in a few cases (baseball, cricket), the boundaries of the field may be variable. You can allow the player to edit the shape of the playing field or import new playing fields made in other tools.

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