Football Superstars was a third-person football MMO which largely flew under the radar, which is a shame for such an excellent and unique football game. It ran continuously from around 2008 – 2020, undergoing a change of ownership around 2014. It is easily my most played game ever with Steam showing around 6000 hours of play and I also played many hours outside of Steam. It was originally developed by Monumental and published by CyberSports (now defunct). The IP is now owned by Coli Games who ran the game from 2014 and who are now reportedly developing a new version using Unity. Coli Games also developed a spin-off browser-based game called Striker Superstars which has also now been shut down.
Once Football Superstars died, my thoughts turned to how challenging it would be to develop a similar game using a modern game engine such as Unity or Unreal. I am much more familiar with Unity than Unreal so I opted for the former.
To make it a little different from the original Football Superstars I decided to base the game on the lesser-known football variation called Futsal, though the engine should be able to adapt to any style of football. It will also be offline only as creating an online game is whole different ball game (pun intended). I will also just be using free assets and tools to create the basics of the game, though I will certainly need to create some basic models and textures myself. These can always be updated later if the game works as intended.
The first stage was to establish the basic technology of a footballer controlling the ball. I created a Futsal Arena in Blender and imported it into Unity. The footballer is a free football character taken from the excellent Mixamo website. This is also the source of the idle, running and kicking animations. I modified the running animation slightly for dribbling using Blender’s animation tools.
Here is a video of my first efforts.