Kick Off 2 diary

Talk about EVERYTHING related to Kick Off 1 + 2.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:11 pm

Kostas O wrote:Well a diary is pretty personal for us commenting on Dagh's thoughts. This thread should be locked for everybody else than him.
Apart from that....
KO like sex! That's why i enjoy mostly playing against Filippos. I am a KO monogamic like in my sex life 8)


Nono, all replies are welcome. I am also pretty much a KO monogamic, besides a bit of cheating with Rayge. But I hope one day to be an online KO polygamist :razzo:
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:34 pm

There is an element in KO2 that I would like to meditate over. It's hard to describe, but I will try. I dub this element the "melee".

Melee is about all the small battles for the ball where the question of possession is not yet clearly answered. Often, when talking about KO2, focus is put on more clear aspects, eg. attacking patterns. Like, in 424, you shoot diagonally from the defense to nr. 7, up the line to nr. 10, and then a diagonal cross to nr. 9. In this situation, the question of possession is self-evidently answered. Or you can put focus on clear defensive actions, like clearing headers, tackles, or interceptions, and aspects relating to that (mainly player switching).

You can talk about attacking styles, or about being strong in defense, where you are thinking about these clear issues.

Melee, on the other hand, are situations where you still fight to really control the ball. As it is, you often manage to interrupt the opponent, but you don't yet manage to take firm control of the ball yourself. For instance, the opponent may be dribbling and he makes a trap-stop. You have anticipated that and quickly run the ball away from the trapper. However, in your new run with the ball, you have no firm control, and you are yourself immediately blocked by another opponent player. It's all a little chaotic, and highly entertaining.

I think this melee part is an important, but perhaps somewhat overlooked, aspect of KO2. For one thing, it is clearly something that can be improved with practice and experience. You get to know better and better where the players in your tactic are placed, and when and how you should quickly call them into action to try and wrestle the ball away from the opponent. You can also improve your technique of "first touches and first dribbles", so that you can hope to achieve full control of the ball before the opponent can wrestle the ball away from you again. These are some pretty tough technical challenges, since the ball has varying height and position relative to your player (unlike completely controlled dribbling runs where you start with the ball dead on the ground and centered on your player - such dribbling runs are easier to "script").

Melee play is something that is hard to practice without a human opponent. There are crucial elements of feinting and reacting that can't really be practiced against the CPU.

Melee play is also something that can really elevate your satisfaction with your game. Sometimes you are just "in the zone", and you seem to win all battles for the ball, and to predict almost every time what your opponent is about to do, and how you can fool him. You are on top of the situation.

Perhaps this thing, being in the right melee zone, is something that can really decide games between roughly equally good players. I mean, it may not so much be whether you execute all your finishes with clinical precision, of if you hit all your defensive headers. You can fail here and STILL feel that you are in the zone.

I sense that the thing that really made Gianluca stand apart in in 2004-2005 was his high level of melee play. People have often described it as Gianluca being very good in defense, but I feel that pointing out the melee aspect is maybe a more appropriate or important way to describe things. Gianluca was able to take control of the ball so quickly that many melee battles were almost ended before the opponents had a chance to realize it. For instance, Gianluca had a technique of being in trap mode, and then as soon as he touched/intercepted the ball, he would pass it to another player and begin his controlled actions with that player instead (whereas often people who touch or intercept the ball don't achieve immediate full control).

For an example of some other very good melee action, I can think of the semi-finals between Marco and Mario in 2006.
Last edited by dnielsen on Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:45 pm

Related to that discussion of melee play, I find it worth it to point out that one thing that makes KO2 so entertaining is actually the defending part! A well timed interception run is pretty much as satisfying as a well timed shot on goal. And all these battles with feints and reactions really give the game almost infinite depth.

That this melee part works so well in KO2 is IMO related to the sophisticated ball control physics. In principle, you never control the ball completely (as long as you move anyway). And once you move with the ball, the degree of control and freedom of action is dictated by the ball's height, speed, and position relative to the player, so that the variety of situations and challenges is almost infinite. You can ALWAYS improve your skills here, there is simply no limit, practically speaking. If you think you have it all figured out, then just begin to think "what if...". What if, well, I made a tiny, tiny minute adjustment just here, what new options would I then have? What if...

If you feel you have reached your limit, then, well, just ask yourself that "what if" question, and you will soon get a new idea. Then you can give yourself the challenge of adopting this new action in your game. You may not end up stronger overall as a result of this, but you may. And you have the excitement of a NEW challenge. KO2 is infinite in this way.
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:57 pm

In continuation of that, I like to note that I think KO2 can be compared well to martial art disciplines. You have elements of feinting, of reacting, and you have elements of learning new actions, new styles, and perfecting the moves through practice.

I think that when discussions are about KO2, whether it should be for fun or for winning, something is missing. You can practice not because you badly want to win, but because the joy itself is in practicing. Just like in martial arts. You have zillions of people doing martial arts even though they have no chance of becoming world champ or MMA super star. They joy is in learning to control yourself, or, well, the actions on the pitch of KO2. Success is relative to where you were yesterday, not to where you are compared to somebody else.

As a footnote, there is the question of what to do when you have no human opponent to enjoy playing against. Tired of beating the CPU? Then why not go into the practice pitch and play without opponents? I like to think of this as KO2 freestyling. Just as in football. You can play 11 vs. 11, but there is also a lot of fun in freestyling, just you and the ball, trying to master new tricks. Put pitch walls up, set time to 2x20 minutes, and whack the ball around to your heart's content!
Torchiador
3000+ poster!
3000+ poster!
Posts: 3491
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 3:34 pm
Location: Kick Off House - Milano - Italy
Contact:

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby Torchiador » Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:27 pm

Back in Milan after 3 very good weeks. Island of Giglio was slightly better than my office... :cry:
It has been nice to read your diary!
I liked the part about the "melee".
Btw, I didn't know the meaning of "melee" but I already read it as "Melee Island" is the beginning of the whole story of Guybrush Threepwood and The Secret of Monkey Island... Now that I know the meaning , Melee Island has a fun sound!
Well, as you said, melee has got a very important part of the game and it is one of the thing that it is really hard to master, and probably you are right, it is impossible to practice it against CPU.
I think that a good example could be in our game 2 final. the key moment is around here: 5.30 of the video, 0.27 to half time.
I scored the 5-1 goal. the situation was really narrow, after my goal kick I had a vertical header, just after the header you were in a better position to control the ball so I make a very quick switch from Scott to Barber, touching the ball with Barber, then I tried to trap the ball at the first pace as you were enough far to avoid an undesired slide. you tacked me from behind and the ball went ahead. so I followed the ball but, you switched the defender and we had a challenge to get the ball. both of us knew that it was a risk to trap the ball as we were more or less at the same distance from the ball. at the moment that I understood you would got the ball, I avoided the direct challenge on the ball building a wall on the only one side that you could take (the left side, as you were coming from the right side) at that moment, Barber was so close to Cox that you couldn't trap the ball without to fall into an undesired slide. Barber was faster than Cox. you abandoned the line of the ball to attempt to clear your defence (I guess) as you were under the fire of Barber but it was to late, I got the ball winning also the challenge against Cox, then I scored one of my short parallel cross.
In 5 seconds we had at least 4 melee situations: 1) just after the header, 2)just after your tackle from behind that moved the ball towards your goal, 3)first challenge cox-barber, 4)second challenge barber-cox...
How many things happen in so little time?
Image
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:27 pm

Torchiador wrote:I think that a good example could be in our game 2 final. the key moment is around here: 5.30 of the video, 0.27 to half time.
I scored the 5-1 goal. the situation was really narrow, after my goal kick I had a vertical header, just after the header you were in a better position to control the ball so I make a very quick switch from Scott to Barber, touching the ball with Barber, then I tried to trap the ball at the first pace as you were enough far to avoid an undesired slide. you tacked me from behind and the ball went ahead. so I followed the ball but, you switched the defender and we had a challenge to get the ball. both of us knew that it was a risk to trap the ball as we were more or less at the same distance from the ball. at the moment that I understood you would got the ball, I avoided the direct challenge on the ball building a wall on the only one side that you could take (the left side, as you were coming from the right side) at that moment, Barber was so close to Cox that you couldn't trap the ball without to fall into an undesired slide. Barber was faster than Cox. you abandoned the line of the ball to attempt to clear your defence (I guess) as you were under the fire of Barber but it was to late, I got the ball winning also the challenge against Cox, then I scored one of my short parallel cross.
In 5 seconds we had at least 4 melee situations: 1) just after the header, 2)just after your tackle from behind that moved the ball towards your goal, 3)first challenge cox-barber, 4)second challenge barber-cox...
How many things happen in so little time?


That's a great example. It's a situation from that game that was instantly etched into my mind (unlike most ofther stuff that went on, my mind seems to have blocked it out). It was perhaps a key moment in that game.

The thing is that I realized that there would be plenty of stuff I wouldn't know about in the WC. For instance, I wouldn't know how to best react in some situations in defense, and I might not know the best procedures in header battles. But these are what can be called known unknowns. I might witness something unknown, but I would know in advance that there was something in that situation I didn't know yet, so I wouldn't be surprised.

However, here I encountered what Rumsfeld would call an unknown unknown. Something I didn't know I didn't know. The key moment is when I made the slight adjustment with Cox. I couldn't trap, and I couldn't turn unless I adjusted relative to the ball path. So I adjusted slightly down in order to be able to turn upwards. Then "the plan" was to either "push" my way through your Barber, or whack it up, or get a throwin, or something like that. However, you made a brillian counteraction in reaction to my adjustment, since my adjustment gave you just enough space to run in front of me. You made a quick and perfectly measured half circle ahead of my Cox so that you ended up with control of the ball and a free path to the goal.

That action was a shock to me. "At least I was sure to get a throw-in?" was my instinctive perception of the situation. I was just not prepared to see such a delicate way to wrestle the ball away from me.

Then you finished with a type of lateral cross close to goal that you are a master in. I think this situation might have been a huge blow to my confidence and nervous system. It was a type of occurance that I badly didn't want to happen, and now it did, anyway, leaving me two goals down on aggregate score, totally changing the momentum from the first game, and this in just one half.
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:24 am

I sometimes like the idea of interested people in the KOA creating a "Kick Off 2.5". The idea would be to preserve the ball control physics 100%, but to allow people a free hand to rethink and tweak various aspects of the game (for instance, slides, headers, keeper behaviour, tactics, etc.). With a Kick Off 2.5, people who are curious about figuring out how to possibly create an even better game than Kick Off 2 could focus their efforts fully without having to worry about offsetting people whose main concern is to play and preserve KO2 proper. [I know that Final Whistle, KO2002, and other versions could be interpreted as Kick Off 2.5, but I sense we could do a better job. Problem with Final Whistle was bad implementation of various ideas, problem with KO2002 might have been a too radical departure from KO2 proper].

So, sometimes the mind is wandering about specific mechanics in KO2 and how they might be rethought. One such mechanic is the "second closest player" mechanic:

When you control a player, the player among your computer controlled players who are closest to the ball will run towards the ball, departing from his position otherwise dictated by the tactic. Furthermore, this 2nd player will not count for players available for proper passes. That is, even if you make a pass to the right, and the 2nd closest player is directly in the line to the right, your controlled player will nevertheless pick a pass to another player somewhere in the area to the right of him. This mechanic can often trick you into making another pass than you actually expected, until you learn to master the mechanic anyway so as to know what to expect.

Now, one could consider how to tweak this mechanic in a Kick Off 2.5. You could either:

1) Stop treating the 2nd closest player in any special way entirely.
2) Only make sure that passes to the 2nd closest player are available (but this just means that the normally activated pass becomes UNavailable, so it is give some, take some).

However, I think that the radical solution 1, the "pure, logical" solution, would remove one another important feature of KO2. First, let's wonder why Dino Dini created this 2nd closest player concept in the first place. My guess is that it is some kind of ad hoc programmer hack implemented to fix something like, if a CPU player falls over, another player should be available nearby to challenge the human. Then, why would he make passes to this player unavailable? Maybe the 2nd player ended up in his own category, so it is only a programming artifact, or maybe Dino Dini had an idea about passes being something that should spread the play wide, or maybe that a short pass to 2nd closest player would be picked too often and disrupt passing play. Generally, I sense that he landed on some typical KO2 quick and tricky logic that made also this aspect of the game work without serious flaws.

OK, my main point, finally: This "2nd closest player" feature makes the melee battles a lot more intense and frantic! Without it, a lot of melee battles might simply be of the form "1-1, one player wins first challenge and gains full control". But instead, with the feature in place, there are always "a bunch" of players active around the ball. In particular, you can have the 2nd closest player (the one you don't control) run at the ball and then you will change control to that player once he touches the ball. This mechanic thus makes the melee battles almost infinitely more varied and challenging, I guess. (One thing to notice is that when you change control to a "2nd" player as a consequence of him running into the ball on his own, then it seems like his "first touch" on the ball is different than when you run into the ball on your own, so that the ball's placement relative to your player is different -- one example of the extra variety provided, and of one of the countless aspects to learn to master in the area of melee play (in particular, one important thing to master is which direction to direct your joystick in when a cpu-controlled player of yours is about to run into the ball -- some directions may be better for achieving quick control than others due to the ball's path before the touch)).

I think this feature may simply be another example of Dino Dini being led by God's hand while writing KO2 (or Dino Dini being deity himself).
User avatar
alkis21
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 15014
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Athens, Greece
Contact:

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby alkis21 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:37 am

I wouldn't be interested in it to be honest. I would definitely prefer a MANAGER game with the KO2 gameplay intact, a tough AI and lots of options.
Remember, remember, the 4th and the 3rd of November
Image
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:45 am

PS. I realize that I should point out that I did not mean to belittle KO2002 in anyway. It was probably a great first attempt (I haven't tried it!) to be superceded by a super KO2004 which was only terminated due to contractual reasons. I guess my point is that what I would personally ALSO like to see is exactly a KO 2.5 (besides modern games "similar to KO2"). A game that builds directly upon KO2 instead of from scratch.
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:49 am

alkis21 wrote:I wouldn't be interested in it to be honest. I would definitely prefer a MANAGER game with the KO2 gameplay intact, a tough AI and lots of options.


Some of our disagreement could come down to terminology. I mean, if you make a new, tough AI (I guess you mean game AI and not manager AI!?), then we are in my terminology working towards a Kick Off 2.5. However, I recognize that one may not be too interested in rethinking too many aspects of KO2, but only a few crucial ones so as to make a great KO2 based manager game.

Anyway, we have a great outlet for these manager wishes: KO2PC!
User avatar
alkis21
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 15014
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Athens, Greece
Contact:

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby alkis21 » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:59 am

Thanks to the recent hard disk patches, I spent a lot of time lately playing Player Manager (again) and Return to Europe (for the first time in too many years). The latter was a pleasant surprise in terms of difficulty; I had forgotten how difficult it was. I mean I still beat the Amiga rather comfortably, but with scores like 4-1 and 5-2 instead of 18-0. But I can't enjoy it as much as Kick Off 2 because the differences are too great. I like the overhead kicks but the aftertouch is completely altered (which also affects lobbing, chipping and shooting). I learned to appreciate the FW goalkeeper; every goal I score feels great and different. I tried loading KO2CV for a couple of matches yesterday and I was shocked of how my game had been affected. They're really two different games.

So what I'm getting at is yeah, I'd love a new Kick Off but I'd only want the Amiga to change.
Remember, remember, the 4th and the 3rd of November
Image
User avatar
dnielsen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 691
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 9:19 pm
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby dnielsen » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:30 am

This thread must be the ultimative "Beginner's guide" to KO2 tactics:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9386

Now we just wait for Tripod to update his treatise with info about the extra tactics (Falcon, Lockout, Balanced, Blitz). :P
User avatar
Steve Camber
Mad! 7000+ poster!
Mad! 7000+ poster!
Posts: 7528
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, England
Contact:

Re: Kick Off 2 diary

Postby Steve Camber » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:45 am

Furthermore, this 2nd player will not count for players available for proper passes.

I've just spent 10 minutes looking for this in the code, but I can't see it! A table is generated for the closest player in all 8 directions, and when you choose a direction to pass the ball, this table is referred to. No mention of the "2nd player" being discounted. Another mystery to solve when I get the time :wink:
--
SteveC - Kick Off engineer - Ranked somewhere waaaay down the list
18 Dec 2003 - "One day I'm going to disassemble the 68000 code, and find out exactly what's going on in there!! "

Ask me about online KO2 :)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest