04:58 AM - January 31, 2014 by Francis Cole
It's official. Beyond the Sideline Football will beta in about a year and arrive for PC, Mac and Linux in 2015.
Below are the features, as revealed yesterday, along with a Q&A posted at the OOTPdevelopments Forums.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
-Francis Cole, Lead Developer
- A realistic modern day American football experience with all current rules and regulations.
- All 32 real American football teams with their real players and current rosters.
- A realistic 2D game engine that represents all the action on the field, with the ability to call plays and watch them unfold, complete with the roar of the crowd and other sound effects.
- You dictate the action on the field: Set depth charts and develop strategies around your preferred style of play.
- FaceGen support allows realistic images of all players.
- A complete box score for every game played in the league during its history, so you can always look back on thrilling victories and agonizing defeats.
- The ability to sim decades into the future and watch teams' fortunes rise and fall as dynasties emerge, crumble, and eventually renew themselves.
- You call the shots from the front office: Participate in the draft for your team every spring; trade players; and negotiate contracts with draft picks and free agents.
- All of the (non-playable) Division I colleges as well as many more, with real players, so you can draft the next crop of superstars every year.
- A living, breathing world full of news articles from around the league and a message system that lets you field offers from other GMs and hear what your players have to say.
- Complete histories, including stats, transactions, injuries, and contracts, for all players who have participated in a training camp during the past decade.
- Nearly 50 tracked stats, allowing you to go beyond the usual numbers and dig deep into players' performance.
- Each player features a Health Scan that lets you quickly assess their current situation by showing you which areas of their body are hurt, which areas are okay, and which ones are worn.
- Customization options, including the ability to change team names, the number of teams, the league structure, the league's country, and a variety of settings.
- Many benefits from utilizing the OOTP code base, like the user-friendly interface, online league support, HTML output, customizable text database and much more!
A: When it is fully tested and ready. We expect the game to hit Beta about a year from now and we are currently aiming for a release sometime in 2015.
Q: Will it feature real teams and players?
A: Yes! Just like OOTP and FHM, BTS will have real teams and players, along with real career stats. In fact, every player who has stepped foot onto a pro-American Football training camp during the past decade will be in the game, with their full history included (stats, transactions, injuries, and contract details).
Q: Football players get dinged up a lot, with a sore hand here or a bruised ankle there. How will you represent that in the game?
A: We will use what we call a Health Scan: It will be a full body image of a player with colors that will indicate which areas are fully healthy, worn down, and injured.
Q: Will it feature functional leagues?
A: Yes, but the amount of customization will not be the same as in OOTP. BTS will be primarily designed to 100% mirror the real life league and rules. Realism is the primary goal for BTS.
Q: Will historical leagues be supported?
A: Not in the first version, but we hope to add them in a future version.
Q: How about college teams?
A: College teams will be part of the game database (this is where the players for the upcoming draft will start out), but they cannot be controlled yet. However, we expect they will be playable in a future version.
Q: How does the game relate to OOTP?
A: BTS shares the OOTP code base, so the interface will look similar and certain features will be carried over, like FaceGen, online league support, HTML output, and so forth.
Q: Online leagues? How will those work?
A: The same way they do in OOTP: GMs set up their teams' depth charts and strategy settings and then export their files to the commissioner, who consolidates all of them into his copy of the game and simulates the action. Then he exports the results and everyone imports that file into their games. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Q: How about FaceGen?
A: That will also operate the same way it does in OOTP, except players will likely wear helmets without face guards, rather than baseball caps. However, they will age over time, like they do in OOTP.
Q: Will BTS have play-calling?
A: Yes. Users will be able to play out games and will be able to call all their teams' plays, but they can also leave play-calling to their coaching staff.
Q: If play-calling is turned over to the coaching staff, will there be strategy settings like in OOTP?
A: Yes. We have not yet determined how detailed they will be.
Q: Will I be able to design my own plays?
A: No. That is something that we hope to add to a future version of the game.
Q: Will teams have their own playbooks?
A: No. All teams will operate from the same playbook, but their play-calling will be based on their roster strengths as well as what their coaches prefer. For example, teams that are pass-heavy in real life will do the same thing in the game because they will have highly rated QBs as well as coaches who prefer aerial assaults. (And just like in real life, when a new coach takes over, the team's approach will likely change.)
Q: How many stats will BTS track?
A: We expect to have about 50 stats in the game, possibly more. We will track everything you see in real life.
Q: What sort of game engine is it, purely statistical?
A: No, it is a 2D/3D engine (which has been in development for years) with a 2D representation.
Q: A Brit doing a football game? That's almost as bad as a German doing a baseball game.
A: Francis is an avid football fan who has followed the sport for decades. In fact, he previously programmed a football simulation engine for his college degree. He also has worked at Sports Interactive on their hugely popular Football Manager soccer game, so he has years of experience working on professional products. He understands the sport and knows what a good management game needs.
Q: Okay, this game sounds awesome. Take my money now!
A: Wow, we really appreciate your enthusiasm, but we're not taking pre-orders yet. Keep an eye on this forum (there's an option to subscribe to it) and sign up for our newsletter. Both places will feature all the details when the pre-orders start.