Working with a passionate community is probably one of the hardest things ever. When your target audience is football fans, they are both predictable and loyal. There are no problems to model user expectations but they are hard to manage.
The football community loves everything about football, knows everything about football, gets easily both engaged and disappointed, and hates to be baffled. Football fans know everything (at least they think so) about tactics, formations, players, field grass, coaches’ decisions and so on. Moreover, they are ready to discuss any aspect of the game for hours and measure swords with friends.
Apples and Oranges
Fans like the question “what if..?”
- it had not been raining so badly?
- Gareth Bale had scored that goal?
- Higuaín had been substituted 20 minutes earlier?
- lots of other things—just let the imagination go wild.
This is why fantasy football leagues are highly popular competitive games. Fantasy football is a chance to prove theory with practice. However, success in fantasy football depends on various factors we call knowledge and experience, not just on luck or prophecy. Beating others in fantasy tournaments will quickly show how brilliant someone’s ideas are.
Fantasy football is a mix of a sport manager, a betting office and a poker tournament. Nevertheless, a fantasy football tournament does not look like any of that.
A gamer becomes a team manager, but unlike the sport manager, the team consists of real football players. Gamers choose players who they think will do their best and get points based on their achievements in actual games (e.g. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals and got a yellow card in the Champions League 1/8 Final against FC Schalke 04; therefore, gamers who picked him up get +250 for the goals and –20 for the card).
Unlike betting, fantasy football lasts as long as a real football tournament lasts (e.g. Copa América 2015). Gamers do not win or lose everything immediately in one game just by surrendering the temptation to win a little bit more.
Both poker and fantasy football are games with unpredictable information, so gamers are always dealing with uncertainty. But in fantasy football, gamers are the ones who define (i.e. get control over) the squad and not just accept what they get and go bluffing.
How to create a fantasy sports website?
About our fantasy football league’s newest projects and their issues
Fantasy leagues do not make a revolution in gaming; this is a type of betting competition. It has a basic structure and modules we can use to create any betting service (e.g. a broker’s board).
Indeed, fantasy football has its issues with reference to its aims and its target audience. Therefore, we start from our expertise of existing modules and reuse code to shorten the time needed to make the development cost-effective. We spend time on customization, design, integration of third party resources, testing, and adjustment.
Here, we list the core topics which challenge fantasy football game development and their respective fantasy sports solutions:
|quick response||to deliver high-performance stable service we use:
Yii2 framework as a backbone
|cheating||Some (not a complete list) actions against cheating:
calculations only on tde server (back-end) side;
tde back-end and front-end of tde system are separated while users have no access to tde back-end;
‘close’ time which is managed only by tde administrator;
no updating instruments;
|social integration||tde service has its own Facebook page, Vimeo and Twitter accounts.|
|personalization||Players are greeted witd personalized letters, they can pick up avatars, etc.|
|translation||tde website has Spanish, English and Portuguese versions.|
Fantasy football features and technologies
Mock-ups: for the fantasy football services, our designer created mock-ups of all pages and sent them to the customer for approval.
Administration panel: the aim is to create a service that the customer would manage on their own. Therefore, we developed an easy-to-tune administration panel so that any responsible person can use it to set up rules, manage winnings, and close the squads at a certain point in time to any changes to prevent cheating.
Back-end: LAMP, Yii2 framework
Third party services integration: for quick, reliable match data delivery (i.e. trustworthy calculations), we integrated Data Factory statistics feed based on customers’ recommendations.
PayPal is integrated into fantasy football services to manage accounts’ funds and pay out winnings.
To remain mobile friendly, we utilize responsive design technology that looks excellent on both desktop and mobile devices.
Surprisingly, testing is available only during the football matches, usually once or twice a week. After that, we have to wait until the next match day to improve changes.
Fantasy football is catchy and, to be honest, costs time. Tournament participation requires regular changes in the virtual squad to compete with other gamers. But assuming that regular championships last about 9 months, this would not be a big deal for those who live the game.