Why I Made This Game
As I mentioned before, World Boxing Manager is a heavily upgraded re-imagining of a game I made years ago called Kickboxing Manager.
So why revisit a five-year-old game rather than making a new one from scratch?
I originally created Kickboxing Manager because, at the time, I was heavily into kickboxing, moreso than either boxing or MMA. I was a huge fan of simulation games like Football Manager
and Front Office Football, and I stumbled along a then-recently released MMA simulator called World of Mixed Martial Arts 3. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and realized that there were no
such games for kickboxing. Being a Computer Science student at the time, I decided to make my own version of the game simply so one would exist.
The IndieDB page for Kickboxing Manager
Fast forward over a year later, and I released Kickboxing Manager to the public. To my surprise, more than half a dozen or so people played it and enjoyed it.
As of this writing, the game currently has six 10/10 reviews on IndieDB, and has been downloaded hundreds of times.
However, despite the moderate succcess of the game, there were several things I felt were wrong with Kickboxing Manager that I never got to address due to life getting in the way.
Without getting into too much detail, I now have a steady job which leaves ample free time to work on my own projects, and I figured the best way to re-introduce myself to
game dev was to finally address all the niggling problems I had with Kickboxing Manager.
The Demise of K-1
Unfortunately, since the release of Kickboxing Manager, the premier kickboxing organization in the world (K-1), has largely disappeared from the radar, and took with it both
my interest in kickboxing and my motivation for creating a kickboxing game. However, my love for combat sports simply migrated to the world of boxing rather than kickboxing,
and it was to this sport that I began to turn my gaze. I noticed that, while boxing manager games did exist (Title Bout Championship Boxing and Universal Boxing Manager,
to name a few), there hadn't been one released in a long time. Additionally, many of them contained the same problems that I wanted to address with Kickboxing Manager.
Thus, the seed for World Boxing Manager was born.
Too Many Numbers!
The old fighter information screen in Kickboxing Manager
As you can see from the above picture, fighters in Kickboxing Manager had an ungodly number of stats to deal with. It was my original intention to create a "deep" simulator, which meant LOTS of
numbers. However, it became a common complaint from users that it was simply all too much to keep track of, and that matchups against fighters based on stats felt meaningless. It was also a huge
headache to balance all the stats out as the developer, for each of the stats in the image above are, in fact, comprised of several stats which are then aggregated into a single one for display
(ie. "Jab" is comprised of "Jab Power", "Jab Speed", and "Jab Technique"). This resulted in over one HUNDRED individual attributes, most of which had very little effect on anything (honestly, I don't
even remember what most of the stats even do).
Furthermore, stats were ranked on a scale of 1-100. This meant that a fighter whose stats were mostly in the 20's and 30's literally had a 0% chance of even getting past the first round against
a fighter whose stats were in the 70's or 80's. Such a large disparity would nullify any kind of stylistic mismatch or tactical blunder. This had the effect of making many matches completely
deterministic, removing any need for planning or strategy at all.
a) Many of the stats didn't actually DO all that much or have a noticeable effect on anything.
b) It was virtually impossible to keep track of training progress on all of them (more on this later)
c) Strategies and matchups actually WERE meaningless.
and d) The match engine simply wasn't very balanced at all.
The fighter information screen in World Boxing Manager
Going into World Boxing Manager, one of my goals was to reduce the number and scale of stats for the sake of both myself and the players. Besides making it easier to balance and debug,
having fewer stats would make it easier to understand how fighters matched up with one another, thus facilitating some strategy when choosing matchups.
Tying the stats to a lower scale of 1-20 meant that fighters would always have some chance against a superior opponent, both because the difference in stats could no longer be overwhelmingly
large and because weaknesses in some stats could be overcome by strength in others. As a result of simplifying the fighter stats, a lot of fat is trimmed and it becomes easier to train a specific
type of fighter without having to juggle tons of irrelevant information.
The stat overload also extended into the player avatar him/herself.
The old manager information screen in Kickboxing Manager
Creating a manager in Kickboxing Manager meant allocating a certain amount of experience points to the manager's own attributes, most of which involved training boosts. In theory, this
seemed like an extra layer of strategy - the player could customize his or her own manager avatar and develop a distinct play style. In practice, however, it became yet more unnecessary complexity.
Having fighter training tied to manager stats not only diluted the effect of gym upgrades, it also railroaded the player into training the same type of fighter. After all, if the player avatar
possessed extreme Offense attributes, it would be a waste to train any other type. One of the changes I knew I wanted to make going into World Boxing Manager was to make the player approach
the training of each fighter differently based on what type of fighter he was, instead of having half a dozen fighters all using the same style with the same core attributes.
There were also special managerial stats such as Scouting, which obfuscated some stats when viewing non-player fighters, or Intuition, which increased the detail of the "Notes" that could be seen
when viewing Students. They were all meant to add difficulty to the game, but ended up feeling like an artificial way of doing so. For instance, obfuscating stats was annoying and simply detached the
player from the matchmaking process by making it seem as if choosing the right opponent didn't matter. The "Notes" were simply wordy versions of Fighter Traits, which weren't particularly clear and
didn't affect gameplay anyhow. Thus, I chose to simply get rid of them so as to reduce the amount of numbers that the player had to keep track of.
The new gym information screen in World Boxing Manager, merged with the manager information screen
In World Boxing Manager, the only manager stat that matters is the manager's reputation, which determines what calibre of students will arrive at the gym. Rather than having the player drown in
endless stats, he or she is free to focus on developing the fighters via the use of clever matchmaking, well-planned training camps, and shrewd marketing. I'm hoping this change reduces pointless
and poorly-balanced minmaxing and encourages the player to think about choices rather than simply pumping needless numbers.
This feature was intended to cover all of the major changes between Kickboxing Manager and World Boxing Manager, but it's starting to get long, so I'll have to break it up a bit. If you're interested
so far, however, feel free to visit my Greenlight page and upvote the game. Every vote counts!