Fútbol, as a sport, thrives on its intricacies – from the fluid movements of players on the field to the strategic decisions made by coaches. It's a dynamic and ever-evolving spectacle.
In the realm of fútbol simulations, an ongoing debate rages on: should we keep things simple or embrace the full complexity of the beautiful game? While the allure of simplification may offer a deeper understanding and predictive power, we firmly believe that embracing the inherent complexity of the sport is essential for creating an engaging, enjoyable, and rich fútbol manager experience.
The simulation we're building aspires to mirror this intricate dance. It acknowledges that matches are influenced by countless variables, both on and off the field – player skills, team tactics, weather conditions, and even crowd behavior all play a part in shaping the outcome of a match.
While our work is still in its initial phases, we're eager to share the fundamental mechanics with you, providing insight into the direction we're heading and opportunities for you to shape the future of MetaSoccer!
For us, a fútbol match is a sequence of moments in time (steps) where up to 22 players and a referee make decisions based on the information they have available.
These decisions are coded into our simulation, and they essentially affect the state of the players and the ball. Every time the clock ticks one step, all the players on the field have to perform one of these actions:
The action to be performed is determined by a set of heuristics we have coded. There are multiple heuristics today, and we are constantly adding more to make the players more "intelligent" and the simulation more realistic. We even have plans to experiment with an AI model! (Imagine that – an AI that knows how to play fútbol !
Listing all these heuristics is not only tedious but also meaningless for three main reasons: 1) they will change frequently as MetaSoccer is developed, 2) as a manager, you can't control the heuristics (for now); instead you control the chances of these actions happening and the odds of them being executed perfectly, and 3) discovering them is part of becoming the mister! Listing them would only take the fun out of the game!
Nevertheless, I invite you to consider the following scenarios as an illustration of this intricate dance:
The result of these actions hinges on the player's skills. Naturally, a player with higher speed will traverse the field faster than a slower counterpart. Likewise, a player with greater shot power will propel the ball at a higher velocity when taking a shot than an opponent with less power.
Sharing all the mathematical details is unnecessary for the same reasons mentioned earlier. However, in this instance, it's crucial to grasp which skills are involved in various actions, so you, as a manager, are empowered to strategize your playstyle and lineup effectively.
* Bravery and Punching (GK) are not being used. We will start using Bravery after implementing the concept of Moral. We have no plans on adding Punching in the short term (We’ll get there, eventually).
** Fitness affects the rate at which a player loses energy. Fatigued players exhibit a slightly lower performance compared to fresh players.
*** Positioning, Reflexes (GK), and Vision play integral roles in the heuristics used to determine the player's actions and when computing the best pass target.
On the other hand, the referee, instead of making decisions that affect their own state, makes decisions that change the game mode and overall state of the players. There are seven different game modes:
Similarly to players, in which game mode should be the match is decided based on a set of heuristics we’ve coded into our simulator. Consider the following scenarios as an illustration:
The outcome of a match is a series of snapshots (pictures of the state of the players and the ball) determined by the decisions of the players and the referee. Scoring a goal depends on your players choosing a series of actions in which their execution surpasses that of the opponents. There is no concept of winning battles or zones. It's all about making the right decisions and executing them in the best possible way, much like in real life.
As you can see, winning at MetaSoccer is, much like winning in real-life fútbol, a combination of both art and science. Naturally, there's no way to guarantee victory, but it's more about managing risk and increasing the odds of your team executing well when making decisions. In other words, ensuring that you have the best players, that they perform at their maximum capacity, and that you develop strategies to exploit your opponents' strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day, it's a game of outsmarting them all.
I invite you to play and uncover all the mysteries behind the next-gen fútbol manager game.
Abrazo de gol,
Many thanks to Cipone (x2), FansDelFootball, LucasG89, and Paujo for their contributions to this article.