Dan Paul Smith

Interface and visualisation developer.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Interface evolution - Football Manager

This is what will hopefully be the first in many posts on a particular evolving interface - an interface that people use, offline or online. I'm not quite sure what I aim to be talking about, but they'll basically be to express my thoughts and share my observations on what I think are interesting interfaces.


I've never played Football Manager, but I have a number of friends that do - some of them being almost computer illiterate. But after a friend posted a work-in-progress screenshot of the Football Manager 2012 interface, I realised that each of them become accustomed to a certain interface for a year - and they *use* this interface like no other - the speed they click buttons at is depressing. This is an addictive game and players will reluctantly admit it's a part of their life - I've experienced the same with another game - the situation you find yourself in as a result of the addiction can leave you questioning yourself, your worth and being for a decade. I'll probably save this for another post.

Aside from the interfaces, Football Manager is an interesting game to talk about - specifically how game events map to real life events, and how the game developers have it's 'story board' written for them every year for free by the football sector.

A note worth adding about my analysis of the Football Manager interfaces; I've never played the game and don't have an understanding of the game dynamics - so my thoughts will be strictly limited to visual and spacial observations regarding to how information is designed and conveyed - so this is more for the design and user experience lot, this is not in any way a preview of the game.

So the first thing to say about FM is that it's got one serious interface - it's a data cockpit. The latest interface of the new edition of the game, "FM 2012" - is the result of tweaking an interface for seven years with an enormous amount of money and hard work put behind it. It's impressive.

So let's go back to 2005, when I was 17 - and very much into gaming. Unfortunately for Sega, I had already been won over by a different game by that time and so Football Manager never found it's way into my life.


2005 feels similar to a phase I went through when I first got the hang of basic web development styles (or Cascading Style Sheets - CSS). As soon as you're able to round the corners of boxes, add drop shadows and add gradients - you tend to apply one or more of these styles to nearly every element on the screen - just because you can.

Images courtesy of www.totalvideogames.com and www.gamershell.com.


Images courtesy of Eurogamer.net.



Images courtesy of www.gamershell.com.


Images courtesy of www.gamershell.com.


Images courtesy of www.gamershell.com.


Images courtesy of www.eurogamer.net.


Images courtesy of Eurogamer: http://www.eurogamer.net/gallery.php?game_id=15854&article_id=1388656

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