Kick Off 2 diary

Talk about EVERYTHING related to Kick Off 1 + 2.

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Kostas O
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby Kostas O » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:10 am

dnielsen wrote:
Kostas O wrote:It looks like you were using plastic or wind, is that correct?


Sacrilege! I am not quite sure if you mean the logos goal, or in the video I just made, but it was normal pitch and no wind in both instances. The juggling goals were made with NOPBD -- they are also possible, but tougher, with PBD (the ball has less dribbling speed).

I meant the one with Logos. The ball bounces some kind peculiar. Perhaps it was the video. :?
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:09 am

Kostas O wrote:
dnielsen wrote:
Kostas O wrote:It looks like you were using plastic or wind, is that correct?


Sacrilege! I am not quite sure if you mean the logos goal, or in the video I just made, but it was normal pitch and no wind in both instances. The juggling goals were made with NOPBD -- they are also possible, but tougher, with PBD (the ball has less dribbling speed).

I meant the one with Logos. The ball bounces some kind peculiar. Perhaps it was the video. :?


Blame Rayge :wink:
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:17 pm

In the discussions in the July rankings thread, Robert posted something that has had me thinking:

The key thing is application. With application, a player who on first appearances seems quite average (like Steve Evil or John Greenaway), suddenly starts to get better, and better, at an unstoppable and frankly upsetting rate, until they are beating you and there's no way back.


Robert's post here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=15503&start=13#p251238

So I would like to meditate a bit over this concept of application, or something like it.

Let's compare to music. We can identify 3 levels of engagement with a known song:

1) Recognizing it when hearing it.
2) Singing or humming along when hearing it.
3) Singing it on your own without accompaniment.

We may be able to do all of it, or maybe just 1+2, or maybe just 1.

Now let's try to apply this to Kick Off 2.

1) In the first level, we just recognize an action when we see it. It can for instance be a walk of shame, or a header on a cross. We can say that we "understand" the action, but I think that recognize is actually a better word (indeed, in general, I think that "recognizing" in a broad sense is probably the best mental explanation of what it means to "understand" something). We may not be able to perform a walk of shame or a well-timed header ourselves, but the actions are no surprises to us. We have seen them before already and we will identify them when we see them again according to our own internal categories.

2) Now, the next level is being able to "react" to situations and perform the action, just like singing along when a tune is played. If we end up in a situation where a walk of shame is possible, we may be able to sing along and carry it out.

3) The final level is being able to concert the whole action. We start from scratch, and then we perform the full song on our own. We are not "reacting" to a particular situation/tune, rather, we are orchestrating the situation/tune ourselves.

Let's go into deep meditation on this. First, about the first level of engagement, recognizing a song/Kick Off 2 action:

OK, while Kick Off 2 is infinite in its depth, it is also restricted to limited playing field, and limited optional actions. This may lead us to say that "we have seen it all". We may even turn cynical and say "nothing new here, move along" and lose interest in the game. OK, first thing to say, obviously nobody has seen it all, as we can still discover and understand/recognize many new things about the game. But even then, I think such a notion is kinda besides the point. The question to ask ourselves is whether we are music listeners, or music performers. Of course, we are both, but the performing part is to me essential to what is fun about KO2. Compare to the comparison of Kick Off 2 to martial arts. It's fine and dandy if we can recognize an action, but learning to master it ourselves is another big part of the fun, IMHO. If not, we reduce ourselves to mere music listeners, and then it's obvious that we will lose interest in grasping the joystick/instrument. (And while we say all this, it should be noted that there is a lot of room in KO2 for jazzing, so it's certainly not just a question of learning scripted martial art moves or the same old melodies without variation.)

The next really interesting meditation subject are the nuances between level 2 and 3. It even goes right to the heart of one of the many things that makes KO2 such a great game.

In Kick Off 2, there is a LOT of reacting going on. The action is frantic, and it's really hard to control the ball. We constantly have to react to rather unique and unexpected situations. The situations are unique because KO2 is such a fine-grained game so that there are a lot of possible states, and the states in turn become unique due to this.

With regard to KO2 being fine-grained, there is in particular the element of KO2 being discrete in some sense. The ball doesn't stick to our feet, but is tapped ahead of us, so we can't always just turn exactly when we want to and thus easily slide into standard scripted moves (ala Sensible). For this reason, having the ball just a few pixels above than in another situation may make our options quite different. (And furthermore, being positioned relative to the ball just a few pixels differently also leads to new sets of options, so it becomes big N times big N = infinity.) I think this is something really unique to KO2 compared to other footy games.

So, the fundamental mental state of KO2 is one of a lot of reacting. When we play KO2, we are provoked to go into reacting mode. We "sing along", as in level 2. If we dribble towards the penalty area and end up being able to trap the ball in a position just right for a walk of shame, we may "react" to that and perform the walk of shame.

Another illuminating example may be a dribble down the line with Barrett. We tap-tap-tap and end up somewhere besides the penalty box. Depending on the final position where we decide to trap and look for our next move, our (re-)actions may differ. The key thing to realize here is the nuance between merely reacting, or orchestrating our full attack. If we just tap-tap-tap, stop, and react, we sing along. However, it IS possible to do more than this. We can make small adjustments in our running path with Barrett in order to try and control ourselves where we are going to trap the ball. This is where we begin to orchestrate rather than react. Then, once we begin to contemplate our options in this way, we can suck in a lot more information about the evolving situation and try to play out tunes that fit the situation as it occurs with regard to the placement of defenders and attackers awaiting our pass in the box.

No matter how practiced we are with orchestrating our attacks, we will always be in a mix of level 2 and 3 when playing KO2. But there is a lot of depth in our gameplay to develop by aiming to orchestrate rather than react. It also depends on "being in the zone". Having a surplus of mental energy. Yet another example: We are dribbling with Barber towards the box, a little to the right side. Now, one culmination of such a run may be a by-line run where we manipulate the keeper behind the goal-line, as in goal #30 in the goal scoring tutorial (5:55 in):



Or in the 2008 German Championship final between Frank and Oliver (1:05 in):



When you are entering the zone where such a run becomes feasible, you can realize it sooner or later. Or you may realize it, but not fine-tune your action. However, if we just run straight ahead, we will many, many times see the ball gain too much height, so that we can't make the final turn, or so that the keeper is enticed to remain in goal due to the ball height. So, it is very often "necessary" to make a few fine-tuned adjustments in our running path, as in, for instance, just a very brief waiting move (like, moving diagonally with our player for just a split second between two taps).

Now, in this example, we begin to realize the importance of orchestrating rather than reacting. The sooner we can realize that we are about to end up in a "run for the byline and manipulate keeper behind byline", the sooner we can begin to make preparations for that move, in terms of adjusting the timing of our run.

We see that there really is a lot of grey zone between level 2 and 3. We are never merely reacting, and we are never merely planning. We can develop the planning element in our play, but it also depends a lot on us "being in the zone". Almost as if we have taken a drug so that we see things more clearly from far away.

Now, I would like to end this meditation with some practical advice that I had in mind before embarking on the post. Let's take the diagonal curled shots as an example (goal 2-5 in the tutorial). These shots really depend on us being in a sweet spot for them. So, when will we realize that we are in these sweet spots?

Let's look at the levels again:

Level 1 is recognizing such a shot when we see it.
Level 2 is reacting once we are in the sweet spot for such a shot.
Level 3 is realizing in advance that the shot is about to be possible, and then adjust our movement so that we can conclude the attack with such a shot.

We may think that level 2 is "good enough" for us. But the point I would like to make is that even then, practicing things in level 3 mode helps us a lot also in level 2, even if level 3 play is not always feasible in full-fledged two-player games.

Let's say that we are eager students of the game and want to deliberately carry out a specific goal in practice mode. We kick off, and we begin our run for a diagonal curled shot. And then we fail... We try again, but we fail again. And again. We then try and try, and after a few tries, we begin to develop a sense of what went wrong. "Hmm, ok, that path was a bit too much to the left." After a litttle while, we have the shot down. When we are on the right path, we are keenly aware of it. We develop this sense much more effectively exactly because we have the move in mind, and we see the differences depending on the ball path. We are not reacting, rather, we are planning.

But! Because we develop our senses in this way, we also become much more keenly aware of the presence of the sweet spot situations in more random two-player play. Ultimately, we will most times "react" to these situations with a curled shot exactly when it is appropriate. We will not overlook it, and we will not try it when inappropriate.

Also, and most importantly, the practice from the practice pitch provokes us to learn techniques that allow us to fine-tune our dribbling paths so that we can manipulate the game, rather than react to it. We will eventually begin to see the curled diagonal shot as a finish to a fine-tuned move that starts 10 meters out of the box rather than an option that we just react to while in the box.

This whole discussion also relates to the "what if..." question that I recommended in an earlier post in this thread. The "what if..." question is ultimately about expanding our options, with a view to planning and manipulating events as we are made able to from these new options.

I don't know if there is some final point to be made. But I think that realizing and exploring the differences between level 2 and level 3 thinking is an interesting way for all of us to try and enhance our approach to Kick Off 2. (Add a second player to the equation, and we once again spin off to infinity within the blink of the eye... :P )
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby gdh82 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:35 pm

Another excellent, thoughtful post. The recognition/reaction/creation anology made much sense. It impresses me that despite reaching the levels you have, Dagh, your continue to have a fascination with the great game! 8) This is inspiring! I like your philosophy that there's always new ways to look at situations, new things to vary in our gameplay. For me this goes against the idea that we all reach some kind of ceiling where we can advance no more. Of course I'm realistic about how much I can achieve but I think its a far better outlook to think there's always new and different approaches to KO2 we can all try out. :)
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:45 pm

So far, I have been at 5 KOA tournaments, in 5 different countries :P. Denmark, Greece, England, Italy, and Sweden. Austria would have been a nice 6/6. Anyway, it is not inconceivable that I can go 7/7 next year with visits to Germany and Norway, but sooner or later I guess I will have to play twice in the same country :razzo:.

I guess the 2009 season is over for me, and I can now eat freely and put on weight before the cold, hard training starts again after Christmas. Looking back, I would of course have little to complain about for 2009:

I played in 3 tournaments, Luton, Milan and Lund, winning two, and coming second in Milan.
Win/draw/loss count was 49-0-2, with losses to Sandro in Luton (7-8) and Gianni in Milan (6-8).
Goal score for the year was 457-110, giving an average of 8.97-2.16.
I played against 38 different opponents. Repeat opponents were Thorsten (4), Volker (3), John (3), Gianni (2), Panayotis (2), Alessandro V (2), Regis (2), Jacob (2), and Torgny (2).

It will be interesting to see what 2010 will bring. First of all, I hope we can entice more people to come and play online. After that, I hope there will be many good challenges for me with a lot of players improving and trying to topple the top-10 and the result-wise top-2. The fight for breaking the top-10 has been really intense this year (with more to come in Voitsberg), and it is likely to result in a broader attack on the top-2 also. I think I will like the challenge of trying to figure out ways to stay ahead of the chasing pack. If nothing else, I can always try Lockout and Lob... :P :P :P
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby Torchiador » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:24 pm

dnielsen wrote:Win/draw/loss count was 49-0-2, with losses to Sandro in Luton (7-8) and Gianni in Milan (6-8).

It seems that is some trouble with the Torchio Bros...
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Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby Abyss » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:06 pm

That's true. If you could somehow bomb a friendy appartment in Milan, nothing would stand against you in the known Kick Off universe!

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