The Field Hockey Game
An Interview with Project Manager Simon Buckley
As a player of field hockey, it is always interesting when there are new developments in and around the sport. Recently while browsing Facebook I came across a page named “The Field Hockey Game”. After a quick look at the pages content, I realised what exactly I had happily stumbled upon; someone was FINALLY attempting to bring the sport into the gaming arena, which frankly is pretty long overdue if you ask fans of the game! I was very excited about what I had found, and despite the fact that the game had not yet begun its core development and was at the initial point of preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign, I decided that I would have a chat to someone behind the game to see what it was all about. I was pleased to receive a response from Simon Buckley, the Project Manager behind the game, who agreed to answer some questions for me.
Would you like to introduce yourself and your role on the development team?
“Hi, my name is Simon Buckley and I am one of the founding members of the team and my role is the Project Manager of team.”
So what made you guys decide to create this game, and why now?
“This is actually my second attempt; my first was some years ago. I worked with a studio in an attempt to create a field hockey game based on the Half-life 2 engine but the studio broke up and I was left with little option but to stop.
Kickstarter inspired me to take it up again last Summer on Facebook. Over the past 12 months our main competitors have teamed up with us (this is why we have 2 pages and 2 twitter accounts) and the team has grown to 8 members from the UK, Ireland and Australia. We are now all working really hard to bring it all together for what will hopefully be a successful Kickstarter campaign in September.”
What can fans of the sport and gamers in general expect from your game?
“We will be aiming to emulate the successes and failures of the popular sports franchise games out there. Ultimately we want it to be as realistic as possible whilst keeping it fun for everyone. We want drag-flicks and aerials passes we want penalty flicks and penalty goal competitions.”
What made you pick the name “The Field Hockey Game”?
At the moment we are talking with the FIH but to be honest I think they want to see what we can do before deciding whether or not to team up with us. I don’t blame them but without their permission we couldn’t exactly call it the Field Hockey World Cup 2014 so we went for a “this can’t get us in trouble name” which we can rebrand later if we need too (for positive reasons of course)
What are your main hopes for the game?
“That is fun and that not just field hockey players will play it because it is that fun to play. If a few of those people look into playing it for real at a local club then even better. We want to capture the speed and skill of the sport, we want to make it realistic as possible and hopefully our motion capture data will ensure it looks as real as it can.”
Do you have any worries or fears about developing the game?
“That the finished product it isn’t fun to play, that after playing it for 10 minutes that I will be bored. I think our biggest challenge will be the action in the D. Ice Hockey you have what 4-5 players crowded around the goal, in field hockey there could be 10+ and you’ve got to shoot then follow-up the rebound… it’s going to be tough but we are up for the challenge.”
Your KickStarter campaign is fast approaching now, how are you feeling about it?
“Nervous, to make our overall goal of approximately $550,000 we will need to generate $13 a minute. Will we be sat there at 9pm on Friday the 6th of September with $0. I’m in charge of the trailer and I need to start putting all my ideas together and start finalising the material. Ben is working hard with Alec and Chris to make some prototype sequences. We have just got our Level of Detail models for the Jamie Dwyer and Goalkeeper models to go in the sequence so there is lots to do between now and this time next month.”
What can backers look forward to in terms of rewards on KickStarter?
“We have teamed up with some great brands we have some generic FHG T’s from Uber hockey and custom designs from Akuma & Zoti which are all available on the higher reward brackets. At the low end we will be running a backer only forum to which you can get access for backing us £5 or above. A copy of the game (a pre-order if you will) will cost you £25. We are also offering some early bird rewards and discounted amounts but you’ll have to hit the campaign page on September the 6th at 8pm GMT to find out what they are. At the higher end we are offering a select few the opportunity to be a motion capture model and to have their “skills” included into the game.”
What has been your favourite part of the process so far?
“Probably seeing the pictures of the Kookaburra Squad in our shirts and the Black Sticks at the World Hockey League back in July. Hopefully Georgie Twigg will be taking some pictures of her and the England ladies later this month. It’s a great feeling to know what we are doing is interesting to the big names in our sport, it’s a huge boost.”
Finally, you are clearly a big fan of field hockey, so what is your own history in the sport?
I have played field hockey since I was 10, I’m now 30. I haven’t played at a high level but you don’t need to if you love playing the sport, I just hope one of my daughters takes it up and enjoys playing it as much as I do.
I am extremely excited about the prospect of a field hockey game finally being developed, and based on the support which the concept alone has received on social networks and the game’s own website so are many others. I will be straight on top of the Kickstarter campaign launch to support the game on September 6th, and will continue to follow the game’s development very closely into the future!
I would like to thank Simon for taking the time to answer my questions, and hope to stay in contact with him as the game progresses along its path of creation.
The Field Hockey Game Kickstarter Campaign Launches on Friday 6th September 2013!
You Tube: www.youtube.com/thefieldhockeygame