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Ballsy! World Cup 2020 is a wonderful throwback to Sensible Soccer

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Remember the classic Sensible World of Soccer or the original Sensible Soccer? Classics from the 90s and Ballsy! World Cup 2020 is a wonderful take on it. Note: key provided by the developer.

I have seriously fond memories of SWOS, playing endless hours on the Amiga a long time ago. Ballsy really does feel like it both mechanically and visually although naturally it's more modern and looks a lot cleaner. After originally releasing in October 2020, the developer decided to port it in December 2020 to Linux.

"Tired of these sluggish, scripted modern football games? Still like some physics momentum in your retro footy game? Search no longer! Ballsy! offers that fluent feel for flowing football fans. The European football, that is, so, not handegg. Though truth be told, the term 'soccer' was actually invented by the English, so it doesn't deserve all the hate it gets."

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A genuine surprise that it feels so great, if you've been after a simple pick up and play retro Football game, this is easily worth picking up. Play against AI, friends / family in local multiplayer and it also supports Steam Remote Play Together.

You can find Ballsy! World Cup 2020 on itch.io and Steam.

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16 comments
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mirv 23 Jan
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Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: mirvOlder games for older hardware that didn't vary, aimed at 640x480 at best, many with a 25fps target (hooked up to a tv rather than a dedicated monitor), 16bit graphics, limited or absolutely no networking, far more simplified audio, no multitasking worries, and with a much higher barrier to development entry compared to today (both economically and for required technical knowledge).
Still, they were a lot of fun.

Never said they weren't, just pointing out the incredible differences in hardware targets back then. Actually older games were often more fun I find, because they had to use gameplay to be fun rather than distract with "ooooh, shiny".

Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: mirvJust bear that in mind when comparing against modern games.

Let's take Ballsy! vs Sensible soccer.

GPU:
* Ballsy: Any modern GPU
* SS: Amiga OCS blitter was capable of almost 1k pixel per second, no 3D, the copper and that was it.
* Ratio: Almost a number bigger as you want
Also no shaders, no windowing subsystems to worry about, and far fewer pixels at a much reduced rate to be concerned with. You really can't compare them quite so easily.

Quoting: kokoko3kHD space:
* Ballsy: 200MB of Storage
* SS: 880KB of Storage
* Ratio: 225X
Textures alone will account for a lot of that space. Sure, some of it can probably be compressed, or procedural generated (the pitch itself is probably the most simple version of that) - but using a little more space can be more flexible, especially for an artist, and easier to test with and update. So textures alone (32bit vs 16bit, much larger resolution, applied in more areas) will almost certainly give more flexibility in what can be done.

Quoting: kokoko3kRAM:
* Ballsy: 512 MB of RAM
* SS: 512KB of RAM
* Ratio: 1000X

CPU:
* SS: 68000@7mhz: something around 2.5 MIPS
* Ballsy: 64bit processor... Intel Core2 Duo is over 20k MIPS
* Ratio: around 8000x
And also deal with a lot more. Seriously a lot more. On top of a fully-fledged OS, and without the benefit of knowing exactly the memory requirements (differing resolutions, number of players, what can be allocated by the OS and where, the list goes on). Of course there is some layering that the game developer can't do much about (graphics stacks for example, Vulkan showed how much slimmer they can be), which leads me to....

Quoting: kokoko3kAnd today if you read the system requirements for Ballsy, you can even easilly say "Wow, this game is very light!"

Yes it is, relatively. Could it be lighter? Sure, but that's why before I mentioned about barrier to game development entry. The demo scene people still produce incredible feats with 64kB. It also requires a lot more effort to get that done. This game is very light considering the technical knowledge required to get a game out the door.

It's simply an invalid comparison to try scale up some numbers when there are so many other factors to take into account.
kokoko3k 23 Jan
It is that the numbers are so big that i think the big part of the resources (maybe not vram) are sacrified in the name of the developers lazyness (abstraction layers).
mirv 23 Jan
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Quoting: kokoko3kIt is that the numbers are so big that i think the big part of the resources (maybe not vram) are sacrified in the name of the developers lazyness (abstraction layers).

I think you're being a little harsh on (game) developers there. Yes there are abstraction layers that can bloat (OpenGL is my favourite example, so I'll give it again) but you can't lay that at the feet of a game developer.

And I really can't stress enough that there is a point where there is no point in trying to make something more efficient, it's just not worth the time and effort.
kokoko3k 23 Jan
Mirv, i'm not blaming software developers, i'm not even speaking of games alone.
I'm saying that we can observe a system that rewards them to use inefficient tools built on inefficient tools.
It is true what you say: "it's just not worth the time and effort."
Still, i find it so unappealing, and sad.
F.Ultra 23 Jan
Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: F.Ultra
Quoting: kokoko3kWell judging from what i see, SWOS feels so much better...
I just played today via FS-UAE and my brand new quickshot 2 turbo hooked via an adaptor to the usb port ^_^
Also there is this: https://www.sensiblesoccer.de/swos-2020
but it seems Windows and Amiga only.

Yeah it's a bit strange that a game from 2021 with all the advanced in cpu+gpu power still is more sluggish than a game from 1992 running on a 14Mhz machine with 2MB RAM...
I think Sensible soccer required just 7mhz and 512kb of ram when running from the floppy drive :)
Playing with word meanings, 'strange' is not right unfortunately, quite the opposite, indeed.
It is fairly typical in the whole computer and operating systems development history started when pc-ibm took over the amiga and the "let's optimize software that can run on actual hardware" paradigm switched to "You've to buy new hardware to run my software"...
So that today, to read a bunch of kilobytes of text out of the web before growing old, you need a bunch of gigaherts and a bunch of gigabytes of ram ^.^.
Sadly, not strange at all :/

Yeah you are right, memory told me that SS required a A1200 but I see now that they released both a ECS and a AGA version that explains it, everybody at our local computer club played Sensi on the A1200:s that we had there.
F.Ultra 24 Jan
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: mirvOlder games for older hardware that didn't vary, aimed at 640x480 at best, many with a 25fps target (hooked up to a tv rather than a dedicated monitor), 16bit graphics, limited or absolutely no networking, far more simplified audio, no multitasking worries, and with a much higher barrier to development entry compared to today (both economically and for required technical knowledge).
Still, they were a lot of fun.

Never said they weren't, just pointing out the incredible differences in hardware targets back then. Actually older games were often more fun I find, because they had to use gameplay to be fun rather than distract with "ooooh, shiny".

Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: mirvJust bear that in mind when comparing against modern games.

Let's take Ballsy! vs Sensible soccer.

GPU:
* Ballsy: Any modern GPU
* SS: Amiga OCS blitter was capable of almost 1k pixel per second, no 3D, the copper and that was it.
* Ratio: Almost a number bigger as you want
Also no shaders, no windowing subsystems to worry about, and far fewer pixels at a much reduced rate to be concerned with. You really can't compare them quite so easily.

Quoting: kokoko3kHD space:
* Ballsy: 200MB of Storage
* SS: 880KB of Storage
* Ratio: 225X
Textures alone will account for a lot of that space. Sure, some of it can probably be compressed, or procedural generated (the pitch itself is probably the most simple version of that) - but using a little more space can be more flexible, especially for an artist, and easier to test with and update. So textures alone (32bit vs 16bit, much larger resolution, applied in more areas) will almost certainly give more flexibility in what can be done.

Quoting: kokoko3kRAM:
* Ballsy: 512 MB of RAM
* SS: 512KB of RAM
* Ratio: 1000X

CPU:
* SS: 68000@7mhz: something around 2.5 MIPS
* Ballsy: 64bit processor... Intel Core2 Duo is over 20k MIPS
* Ratio: around 8000x
And also deal with a lot more. Seriously a lot more. On top of a fully-fledged OS, and without the benefit of knowing exactly the memory requirements (differing resolutions, number of players, what can be allocated by the OS and where, the list goes on). Of course there is some layering that the game developer can't do much about (graphics stacks for example, Vulkan showed how much slimmer they can be), which leads me to....

Quoting: kokoko3kAnd today if you read the system requirements for Ballsy, you can even easilly say "Wow, this game is very light!"

Yes it is, relatively. Could it be lighter? Sure, but that's why before I mentioned about barrier to game development entry. The demo scene people still produce incredible feats with 64kB. It also requires a lot more effort to get that done. This game is very light considering the technical knowledge required to get a game out the door.

It's simply an invalid comparison to try scale up some numbers when there are so many other factors to take into account.

Sensi on the Amiga was 50fps (remember that the discussion is that it was less sluggish, not more) also the pixel format on the Amiga was orders of magnitude more resource intensive to work with since you had bitplanes and not chunky pixels as you have on PC.

Also remember that you can play Sensi in a emulator on a modern pc with far better performance that was available back then on real hw, and then the emulator is afflicted by all of the things that you list that a modern system have to cope with except for the single issue of resolution.

Sensi was a 320x256 game with 32 colors, so 5 bitplanes. Not sure if the game used all 32 colors though but the display mode supported 32 colors. So each frame was 51200 bytes. A modern 1920x1080 game have what, 16 bits per pixel? So 4147200 bytes per frame which is only 81 times more bytes per frame (and in a much easier chunky format vs handling bitplanes).

The A500 could move memory at 7MiB per second (no caches) to chipmem (where all the graphics are), my "modern" Ryzen 1600x can move around 5800 times that and my RX480 can move around 37000 times that.

But I don't think that Ballsy is thousands of times slower than Sensi due to incompetence, I think that it's by design.
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