Football Drama: new trailer, inching closer to beta

We just published a new Football Drama trailer on Steam and Youtube.

In the last few months, we have improved Football Drama along several dimensions:

– Mechanics: The card element of the gameplay has been clarified and “card explanations” are always available. The “why” of success and failure of actions during matches is always available (as a big circle in the field) for more “technical” players, so adapting to more diverse styles of gameplay.

– Dialogues: More elements of the gameplay have become dialogues and hence have been expanded, like the “handshakegate” section and the press meetings. For all dialogues, we developed a set of tools for their direction (see this post: ) so that we added balloon styles, comic-styled layouts and even animations (see the I-Ching dialogue series).

– Matches: all parts of the matches have been improved with more animations and feedback. Goals have spectacular animations associated, cards rotate showing explanations… .

– Plot: the central part of the plot has been created, with several new dialogues and circumstances. All the plotting for and against the Thiefa League president (Septic Splatter) is in place.

What is missing is the bridge between the central part of the plot (around weeks 8-12 of the championship) and all the possible endings, some of which are ready and some not. Also we want to refine the opponent’ manager AI and personality, and make the recurring stages (like press meeting) less repetitive in contents. This is the last effort towards the game reaching beta stage which is hence quite close.

So add Football Drama to your Steam wishlist or subscribe to the release mail!

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Why Humans Love Football?

In this video, we bring you on a journey through football and its surrounding universe and stories. In a trip through novels, poems, movies we meditate and wonder about football’s nature.

This exploration is a way to explain why we believe that football is an interesting subject for a narrative game, which we are indeed developing (Football Drama).

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Football Drama: a playable version ready for Milan Games Week

Football Drama is a narrative / managerial game of Football currently in advanced development. We are presenting a playable version of the first part of the game at Milan Games Week (October 5-7, 2018) at the indie booth. For this event we completed development of many parts of the game, and released some supporting material and media. Some of the work done:

A new game play video – so that everyone can see the game at its current state of development, not just the Milan visitors:

T-shirts: we will bring our printed ones and also have a shop online:

Football Drama t-shirt

We updated our “Steam capsule”, see before and after:

Football Drama old capsule

New Football Drama capsule

Created paper cards and booth presentation:

Football Drama booth background

We have many new beautiful cards for the game, see this gallery.

We also set up an Instagram channel with Football Drama illustrations.

Football Drama Instagram

Soooo… add Football Drama to your Steam Wishlist or subscribe the release list!

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Football Drama: our first own game is coming!

A football game about poets & crooks

A football game with a real narrative? That navigates the composite universe of football, poetry, sweat, bad management and nonsense? Yes, it’s coming: called Football Drama, here is the “Choices” teaser:

And subscribe by mail or or follow on Discord or add to your Steam wishlist or follow on Twitter or subscribe on YouTube or… just forget it 😀

Will be playable on phones and desktops.

Curious how this game came about? Here is a long interview with its game designer.

Fossball Drama

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Presenting A Board-game On Platform Cooperativism

I’ve posted on Gamasutra the full story of creating Coops & Dragons, a board game on platform cooperativism which is free and available on Github.

I also published a “how to play “video:

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Paper Game Jam entry: Autumn Sprint

In this game a group of players has to build a tree and its ecological environment in autumn, through a series of one minute drawing sessions.

This is a really simple game that is playable with just papers, colors and a timer (in any form, analogical, smartphone, whatever can count a minute).

It has been designed for the first Paper Game Jam, held in the weekend of October 4th, 2014. The jam theme was “Autumn”.

Aim of the game is to build a five year old tree, representing autumn in the meantime. Game play is really simple: in turns (called “sprints”) of one minute, the players must create a minimal set of complete colored drawings so to grow the tree by one annual growth ring, four leaves and one special entity, typically a wood animal. If they make it in time, the tree can grow of one ring, otherwise it remains as it it. The game ends when the tree gets to five years old i.e. has five rings.


The crucial point in Autumn Sprint is being accurate and strict with the time and the drawing rules, so that you can make it in a minute but just so: this way I grant you that is great fun.

You will soon fin that a minute is really short, so you with your team must work in team efficiently (one of the several interesting feedback you get from this game).

This game is a constructive non directly competitive gam – but it’s actually a frantic race with time. Its get set up in minutes and a full game lasts about 10-15 minutes: the right time span for kids age 5-10 attention Sorriso. And in the end you also get a nice composition.

The game


Players: the game can be played by 2 to 5 players, one needs to be an adult. We tested one adult

Setting up

Setting up is very simple: you need to create some cards with just animals names that live in the woods (which may depend on the region you live in). We had porcupines, foxes, wild boards, generic“bird”, snails, squirrels; then you also need a set of color cards (like black green yellow orange brown).

You also need plenty of rectangular pieces of paper for the drawings and a set of 10 rectangular pieces of paper 10cm x 2 cm that will constitute the tree trunk.


You play in one minute sprints. Before starting the timer, the players must have their pieces of paper and colors ready.

Timer is started, and immediately one animal is picked at random and also one color; say “fox” and “yellow”.

In 1 minute the team must colour at least:
– two paper stripes (that will be used to thicken the tree ring, colours either yellow brown orange or black)
– four leaves
– the yellow fox
All drawings must have a completed outline and be fully colored inside.

If the team makes it, all drawings are added to the main composition: the stripes on the trunk sides (representing the yearly growth ring), some leaves on top, others on the ground, and the animal in the appropriate place., It the team didn’t make it, what has been produced in the minute is set aside, and a new turn begins.

In particular the rectangles are added to the tree trunk making it thicker, as in the picture.

You will get frantic, exciting one minutes, and the resulting drawings are really great at times.

In out testing we had an external judge to validate the correctness of the drawings.


I thank Matteo Nesci (9 year old) and Maia Polsinelli (9 year old) for enthusiastically testing the game.

Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d 2D, HTML5, serious games.

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Urban life and happiness: People in Love

People in Love is a game about building cities where people can fall in love. Cities that are not inhabited highways, nor tools for economical and racial segregation.

We hope that by playing this game some beliefs and doubts will start inhabiting the wonderful mental life of our players:

Our cities are malleable. They can change. And all of us can play a part in that change. (From The Happy City)

People in Love concept art

People in Love is a kind of Sim City where you are the people living in the city instead of the architect. Nobody up to now asked the Sim City inhabitants what they thought about their own city planning, and about the planners: its time to do that! It is a game that tries to indirectly talk about a quite serious matter, while being structured as pure mobile entertainment.

People in Love is produced by Daniele Giardini and myself (Pietro Polsinelli), and will be first played on smart-phones. Here I present the project idea and current status; playable alphas here (currently only for desktop browsers).


The game idea came to my mind walking around Rome a warm spring evening. I was there just for two days for the Codemotion conference (where I talked about games & storytelling), and when I reached a wide street with Roman ruins (yes, not uncommon in Rome…), the ruins where inhabited by people talking, kissing, smoking, embracing in the warmth of the evening. Happy people.

At about the same time I started reading The Happy City, a book loaded with ideas about  understanding and improving our own communities. The author was initially inspired by two Colombian politicians Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa, who did so much to improve their town, Bogotà.

“An advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport,”  Enrique Peñalosa

The majority of cities will be built in the next decades in developing countries, so what we set now as standards will have a great impact on the future. So why not use games to express in an accessible way this complex problem? Town planning and building is so common in games!

But we didn’t want to simply play as the God / architect: as Antanas Mockus showed so well, quality of life means quality of life for all, not just for a happy few. Consider the beautiful and participative architecture of Bjarke Ingels:

Turn surreal dreams into inhabitable space

To me the core problem of brilliant innovative architecture like that of Bjarke Ingels’ BIG group is limited reach. The hope there could be the power of examples?

Another different danger is the idea of urban intervention as building a smart city, a set of ideas pushed by corporations for grabbing public money; ideas not chosen by people, and benefiting (if anyone) a thin layer of the population.

As I’ve been experimenting recently, videogames are so entrenched in the life of young people that videogames can flip their role from way of isolating yourself to way to socialize and communicate, specifically in my experience to get to talk about experiences of psychological or physical violence.  Games with their immense reach can and should be used as media for new ideas.

What you do in People in Love is not playing the part of the architect god: you manage a protest movement concerned about urban space usage. There are today no taboos to what we let cars and concrete do to our urban lives: maybe its time to build some. Let’s start reclaiming space and changing its usage!

The game support changing existing urban structure, not just creating new “perfect” space. One should also consider that in all urban interventions there is always the danger that the newly qualified zones become valuable and hence inaccessible to those these were supposed to benefit.

From Sprawl Repair.

The city should be an inclusive space, not a transit area for cars.

In a fair city, 8 and 80 year old can go around safely and independently.

Something strange in this image: pedestrians and bicycles in a proper road and cars in the dust?

The game


This kind of game should reach the widest possible audience. So we want it first to be available on smartphones, and to be playable by all. It should somehow fascinate and adapt to non hard core players habits. It should also be compatible with our non existent budget, so be technically simple and with minimalistic graphics.

From these requirements we did a game design that is based on a single kind of input – tapping – which does everything: send demonstrators to buildings, make them more excited, send them to different buildings. The graphic style is a quite refined pixel art, with two families of buildings, the bad and the good. The very simple model should also hint to our being aware of its limits.

These requirements made us put together simple atoms, but the resulting universe is combinatorially rich and resulting game play is complex; the towns are procedurally generated and hence every play is different, the actors involved – town council, the evil builders and the activists – generate many actions and counter actions.

People in Love is in development, and very rough prototypes are already available.

Here is alpha 3, here is alpha 4: play them! (Currently only for desktop browsers.)


People in Love Alpha 5Next alpha is going to bring some deep revisions: activists will be introduced as characters, news will be animated, and the game will start with a first very simple city block to be improved in order to introduce ways to play.

The plan for the final game has a few stable features, and many floating ideas. Levels will model diverse city structures, in order to make people familiar with different cases. We will also build models of existing town zones; one surely will be Pyongyang.

Enter Pyongyang from JT Singh.

Game Over

Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d 2D, HTML5, serious games.

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Introducing Genio: Play the Renaissance

This is an unusual post for Design a Game: instead of writing / talking about technologies and games done by others, this time it is the curator and the maintainer of this blog that are releasing a project, Genio:

Genio is a fun approach to history, science and ideas. A videogame, 3D models and toys about Renaissance engineering, art and power.

A detailed presentation of the project is here:

The project will go live on Kickstarter on the 25th of March. Hope you will help us!

Four videos

We have produced four videos presenting the project in different ways.

Kickstarter page & video

Genio on Kickstarter

Genio’s Kickstarter page is live with a preview and with a presentation video. Check it out here.



How do you play

An in depth interview

Help us do it!

Hope you will back our idea: the tried to make meaningful and rich rewards, for a project that makes sense. A pledge on the 25th is the best way to help us. Thanks!

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