thank you *very much* for one of most encouraging and simply astonishing comments I got about Natural Soccer so far!
The FB post you made is simply amazing! Thank you *very* much! Oh, by the way, could you send me the link to it? Did you get any feedback to it so far?
I am *very* pleased that you find Natural Soccer "doing it right" even compared to FIFA. Honestly, as much as I respect and like both PES/FIFA as soccer simulations, I just think they sacrifice quite a lot of pure gameplay fun for such a high degree of realism... which is okay: if you look for great presentation and ultra high realism, never even bother trying out Natural Soccer and pick FIFA or PES. But if you, on the other hand, are looking for a lot of fun - go for Natural Soccer ;-)
It's those small but crucial gameplay designs that set my "david" game apart from those "goliath" ones. While these two are fighting every year who gets more realistic and the better graphics, Natural Soccer *really* concentrates on what matters most in my opinion: FUN :-) ! I am constantly arguing about what to add to the game and what to not. Being far from all-knowing, I *love* to argue (as we both already did) and get feedback but have a rather strong opinion about what *adds* fun to the game and what adds *realism* to the game while sacrificing fun. So it's rather simple: if the feature sacrifices fun, it won't get it, no matter how close to reality it is :-) - at least not as a default; maybe optional.
One example, you already mentioned, is the offside rule. Let's have a look at that one: in real soccer it only exists so that no attacker will just "sit and wait" in front of the opponent's goal, waiting for a long pass - it is just crucial there. But it also is a source of *very* frustrating moments. Frustration is not fun, so no offside rule for Natural Soccer ;-) - it actually also is just not necessary: the auto-player-switch will always switch to a different player as soon as you are trying to sneak to far away up to the opponent's goal and the CPU will run back into a non-offside position. Now take, for example, the ever-requested manual player switching: if I put it in, I would have to look for a solution for that offside problem as it suddenly becomes an issue again - the player could just run towards the goal and do said "sit and wait". So no "manual player switching" w/o offside rule. But with the offside rule, frustration sneaks in, less fun, less "natural". So you can see that I am actually *really* carefully planning what to add and how to do it. I *am* actually working on the offside rule as it becomes also necessary for the planned "play as a single field player" mode (no switching at all), but I guess you get the picture how hard it actually is to actually make a game fun to play and balance it - so I am very, very pleased you agree with me on the missed passes and such.
Again, missed passes, are nothing but "random" - it's not YOU - the player - who is in control. That's just not "natural". If you are good with the gamepad, or better than the one you play against, there is just no sense in putting in this randomness as it's just not "natural". So, as I am working on player skills, I am very carefully thinking about how to do it right. So far, something like "shooting" is quite easy: the higher that skill, the stronger/more dangerous the shot - there is no frustrating randomness in there. The same goes for "banana power". The higher that skill, the more the ball will bend. Again, it will only be a subtle amount, so that you won't get surprised when bending a shot and am not sure which player you are controlling. Too much power would make a perfectly good shot miss the target - guess what - "frustration creep" again :-). So, what to do about a "passing" skill? I will definitely not add inaccuracy based on that skill for the reasons you mentioned - or at least - as always - make individual player skills optional for friendlies.
Phewww.... I'm starting brainstorming here :-)
So before drifting too far away: THANKS FOR YOUR GREAT FEEDBACK!
P.S.: You mentioned things like volleys and bicycle kicks: I think those are actually *fun* and are just not yet in there as I only have so much time :-} Oh, and don't forget about diving headers - they are also on my TODO list :-)