Here are the questions and answers with Andrew Spencer, internationall soccer creator.Totally 11 questions.
1) Did you programmed IS alone? Did you need help for other programmers, or did you everything on your own?
I programmed it on my own and did the graphics / animation.
2) How long it took to create that game ? What were biggest problems/challenges to create that game?
It took about a year to create. The biggest challenge was to make the computer
opponent good enough to be difficult to beat. Set pieces like throw-ins also presented some problems.
3) How old you were then ( game published 1983?) and how old are you now? Are you from England?
I was 23 then and I'm 47 now, and yes I am from England.
4) Can you tell me any special tricks about IS ? I have learnt on my own some tricks, for example how to lift ball on your head and so on.
I don't know any tricks really - not even how to lift the ball onto your head.
The ability to run down the field with the ball bouncing on the head was an
accident of programming, but I was pleased because people found it funny.
5) Can you tell about players who hasn’t got ball, is it there someway how you can control them or are they just walking randomly all around?
The players who haven't got the ball are basically random, but they try to
follow the flow of play, so that if you run forward with the ball, they tend to
go forward too. I think they also try to intercept passes that you make from
the controlled player. Apart from that, the players without the ball just try
to keep fairly evenly spread out. This is partly so they get some space so
that you can pass to them, but it is also because it caused problems with the
graphics on the Commodore-64 if too many players got in the same place.
6) Do you know very good players of IS and do you play that game a lot? Has anyone else IS freak contacted you and asked these same questions? I would like to meet other IS players and discuss about this game. I have played that game with one Spanish friend. He had somekind of KAILLERA tools and software. We played against each other at Internet. He wasn’t able to get one single draw from me. I really liked to find other IS friends.
I am sorry to say that I don't know anyone who still plays IS and it is a long time since I played the game myself. I played it so much while I was
programming it that I became a bit tired of looking at it. In fact when I
closed my eyes I could still see little football players running around and by the time the game was completed, I definitely needed a break from it!
7) Is it possible to create VERY VERY difficult computer opponent? About 10 times stronger than usual level 9 is. As I told,my record is 14-0 against level 9, and it would be nice to had challange on that game.
When I made the game I tried to make the computer opponent as difficult as possible without cheating (i.e. the computer can only do what a human player can do) and this became level 9. The other levels were made by making the computer 'think' less quickly and sometimes do the wrong thing. As I said earlier the computer AI was the hardest part to do and I couldn't really make anything stronger than level 9.
About kick strength of ball. Is it there somekind of “aftertouch” by controlling ball? Sometimes I think I can do higher kick and sometimes I can´t. And sometimes I think I can kick ball to fly stronger, if I kick it exactly same time when I turn right or turn left. Its hard to explain, but I mean any kind of after touch.
There is no actual after-touch programmed into the game, but I think you are right in saying that it is possible to get the ball to go further by turning
while you are kicking it. This was an accident of the way that I made the
players kick the ball.
9) Do the colours have playing strong difference? There are 6 different colour at game, and I have played hundreds of tournaments with different colours. Believe or not, I got my tournament results at watching lots of demo games. I tried solve out, which colour is the best.
The colour of the team makes no difference to the play (except some colours areeasier to see!). There is an advantage to playing left-to-right (orright-to-left, I can't remember which) which was caused by a slight bug in the program.
10) About other versions of IS. There are Soccer 2, Voelbal, Mondiano86 etc. At those versions you can change player colours, and do instant replays. Have you programmed those or have you just given rights to other programmers to make those extra things?
The only soccer game I made was Commodore International Soccer and I also did International Basketball. I based IS on a soccer game I saw in a shop, running on an 'Intellivision' console. Other people based later soccer games on mine,adding their own improvements but I didn't get any royalties for any of thoselater games.
11) I have done BBA –exam at information management, and I have done little bit programming with Visual Basic and Java.Actually I´m weak programmer, but I know basics. Is it possible to learn programming game of IS? Would you allow to touch to that game code? Do programmers need special tools and software to do different versions of IS? New ideas could be like raising computer difficulty or making overtime when you tie at IS. Im not seriously interested to make new versions of that game, but Im very interested of this game.
IS was written in Assembly Language which is not really used in game
programming nowadays because it is very fiddly to use. It would be easier tomake a new soccer game in Java (or C++, or C) but it would still require a lotof work.
Here was our interview,and I gave special thanks to Andrew Spencer!
*** Original Internationall Soccer master ***