SquareNet is my game based on the sport of netball. As you can guess from the name, it is far from being able to be described as a simulations. I imagine the rules of netball are different from the rules of my game, and the playstyle is far from different.

The game is playable in your browser and requires having the keyboard. The controls are controls that I’ve had a strong urge to use for quite a while now – far before I considered producing this blog – and I consider their use in this game as a very strong proof of concept. However the controls also make it a core element for way it doesn’t work as a simulation. Your team is mostly static. They move only if you make them move. One element of stress is ensuring that two of your team pass to each other thus keeping possession while moving a third into position. Having to keep all three cogs turning makes it less a sport-sim more a simple strategy show.

Other elements that make this a unique experience that cannot really be replicated by the real world is comparative speed. In this game a single blocking opponent is quite a difficult obstacle to get pass and really slows you down when trying to get provincial players to the perfect spot. The ball also goes at a constant speed, the same speed as the opponents can run – indeed one AI used to follow the ball perfectly when he passed it – something far easier accomplished in a game.

The game had been broadly done for some time now. However, it didn’t quite click. It was too tight and squabbling*. I had many big ideas on how to fix this, but it was a couple of little stuff that occurred when playing it for the 100th time that solved it for me. Putting those enforced spaces between places meant that ball always appeared when passed, and changing the chasing AI mentioned before kept more of the field in use. I liked it before. It feels perfect to me, now.

*Not literally of course


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