The idea of the game

Mystify Soccer is a free to play football manager simulator. Managers in the game manage teams in league and cup competitions against each other in an attempt to be successful. This is done by selecting the best possible team (and tactics) from the squad of players available to them. The squad can be improved or weakened depending on the managers other decisions like training, transfer deals and youth scouting. On top of this, the manager must also look after the finances of the team, making sure their squad improvements are made using the available funds.

Mystify Soccer is not 'Fantasy Football'. Nothing in the game is based on anything that happens in real life. Team names and some player names are taken from their real life namesakes but nothing else is. If a team or player is great in real life, it doesn't mean that the team or player will be great within the game.

The software behind the game

Behind the game is a SQL server database storing all the information needed for the game to work (players, managers, teams, etc.). This web site links to the database so that all submissions entered by managers (team selections, transfer deals etc.) can be stored.

Results are decided with the help of a 'game engine' which has been programmed specifically for Mystify Soccer using Visual This program links to the SQL server database so that it can retrieve the managers choices and simulate the matches being played. It also controls other parts of the game including the transferring of players and management of team finances.

The history of the game

Mystify Soccer was started around 1997 with just one division of 16 teams and a manual calculation of results. However, managers for the teams were found quickly enough to start several more divisions throughout the first game season. By the time the season had ended there were two divisions of 16 teams, one division of twelve teams and, bizarrely, four divisions of four teams. Also by the end of the season, the result calculations had been computerised. This meant that more teams could be started for the second season and a full 6 division 'English' league was formed.

Season 3 began with a couple of Italian divisions being added to go alongside the English league and season four saw the biggest increase so far. Dutch, German, Scottish, Spanish, French & Portuguese leagues were created and the Italian league gained two extra divisions putting the total number of teams up to 400. Season five just had a third tier added to the Spanish league and then season 6 saw Belgium and Romania added to the list of countries with leagues in the game. This is then how it has stayed (with 528 teams) until now.

Previous web sites

The first web site for the game was a basic site - it had a black background and most of the text was white (because that was cool in the 1990s?). Players submitted team selections and other choices using forms on the web site and the data was e-mailed to the game master. Then, after the matches had taken place, league tables, squad listings and other variable data was created by the 'game engine' as flat HTML files and uploaded to the server.

Web site number two was an experimental one with no true format as the front, menu and information pages were all very different in look. The biggest improvement came with web site number 3 which was set up for the third season (with just English and Italian leagues). This had a pale dark blue background and was a lot more dynamic than the previous 2 sites. The data submitted by forms on the web site was actually written straight to a MS Access database. However, some after match data was still manually uploaded by the game master.

This site again only lasted one season and was changed slightly to accommodate more countries into the game. The shade of background changed to a lighter blue and there were one or two changes in terms of layout but nothing too major in comparison to the previous upgrades. It was this season that the database was also upgraded to SQL server from MS Access. This web site then stayed for several years and was finally upgraded to the current format in 2006. By this time it was starting to look very dated and needed overhauling to make the best use of the latest web technologies.

Ten years later, the same problem occurred. The Internet had moved on and more devices than ever were accessing web sites, including Mystify Soccer, meaning that the website was very difficult to use for alot of users.

This meant that work was needed to be done to the website so that it could be used on a larger range of screen sizes. Rather than 're-inventing the wheel' and writing something from scratch, Bootstrap was chosen as the basis for the new site (as that was built for mobile devices first) and work began.

This new website was done in stages and the outer structure (header, footer & menu) of the site was implemented on the 3rd March 2017. The individual pages were then converted to be just as mobile friendly over the next few months.

Future updates include the development of an API that means some of the pages can have their usability immproved even further.

The screen shot below shows the way the website looked before it was made more mobile friendly;