Hey guys, this is my first post, and I wanted to share a little bit about what I’m working on. We’re in the early prototyping-and-testing phase of a “Soccer GM” game, in which the goal is to build a team by buying and selling players and choosing tactics suited to the strengths and weaknesses of the players you’ve got. Rather than simulate the intricacies of a single game of soccer, we’re interested in simulating lots of games, so we can play through whole seasons.

Now, one of the first things that we realized we were going to need for this is a boatload of fictional players. Each player would need a name, and a unique collection of attributes. (We’re also toying with the idea of individual personalities.) At first, we were making these by hand, but this quickly became tedious. But! I work as a software engineer at my day job, and with a little bit of programming, I was able to speed up the process – I generate a random name, pick a random set of attributes and a random personality.

Here’s a sample of the output:

Ramon Neal (W)

  0  |  0  |  0 
  0  | (1) | 2 (1)
  1  |  0  |  0 
Easy Going

Edgar Lopez (FB)

  0  |  0  |  1 
  0  | (1) |  0 
 (1) |  0  |  1 

Cesar Graham (W)

  0  |  0  |  0 
  1  |  0  |  0 
 (1) | (1) | (1) 
Easy Going

Kent Hart (AM)

  1  |  0  |  0 
 (1) |  0  |  0 
  0  |  0  | (1) 

I won’t get into what all the numbers mean, except to say that for now, they’re our abstraction of player attributes. We’re still playing around with how many attributes to use (nine is probably too many) and how to display it as intuitively as possible (some kind of iconography is probably better than numbers written in Courier font). We’ll probably keep tweaking those details for a while – which is precisely why it’s so handy to automate the process of generating these player cards. I can generate a few hundred new players in a fraction of a second, which means that when we make those tweaks, we don’t have to sit and write up a pile of new cards just to test it out again! Right now, I’m working on extending this to use PDFBox to actually generate player cards as PDFs, with some prototype artwork so it looks a little better than plain text.

On a tangentially-related note, we invested in a proper paper cutter. I’m irrationally fond of it. 😀

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