a new directive to train the great champions

Rebound Capital Games is a small French development team specialized in the creation of sports titles, best known in the world of mobile devices. Last year, the transalpine boys had quietly published a Football Manager simulation, here the Football Manager 2022 review, in which you find yourself running a tennis academy and discovering new talent. Parallel to the start of the 2022 edition of Roland Garros Rebound, comes Tennis Manager 2022, an ambitious follow-up that we will soon publish the review.

we had the opportunity to chat with Augustin Pluchetthe CEO of Rebound, who told us about the innovations implemented in the new chapter and especially about the arrival to the team of Patrick Mouratoglou, one of the gurus of world tennis, as well as the former coach of Serena Williams (He is currently the coach of Simona Halep, former world number in the WTA ranking). A special thanks to tennis coach Michele “Mitch” Ballarati.

At the academy with Patrick

Everyeye.it: How did you come up with the idea of ​​involving players like Patrick Mouratoglou in Tennis Manager 2022? Because of his famous Academy?

Agustin Pluchet: I met Patrick at a WTA Tour event while working on a deal with Serena Williams on another project. When we started working on a simulation as Tennis Manager, the first person we thought of was him. president of the “Mouratoglou AcademyLocated in the heart of the French Riviera, sports commentator for Eurosport, the French coach of Greek origin is undoubtedly one of the most influential tennis coaches in the world.

Not only for his successes with Serena but also for those obtained with other professionals on the ATP/WTA circuit (Marcos Baghdatis, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Grigor Dimitrov to name the most famous). Patrick is considered one of the most important figures in the world. and many of the champions of the new generation come from his academy, think of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Coco Gauf or Holger Rune.

The first time I visited the academy I realized that it was exactly what I had always envisioned for a Tennis Manager simulation. The best players to train, adequate facilities, a highly trained staff, as well as the use of the most modern technologies to shape future champions on and off the field. Tennis is a sport with a strong strategic component and is focused on both the individual (as a human being) and the athlete. Put yourself in the shoes of an academy director (even a tennis club), grow your business, manage more players and have a full staff… it was really what I was looking for in our management game.

Everyeye.it: What role did Patrick play in the development of Tennis Master 2022?

access point: Patrick has given us access to his Academy so that we can meet his staff, study the facilities and learn all aspects of his management. So how to help players progress technically, physically and mentally, what training programs to follow, how to plan the tournament schedule, etc. All of this is an integral part of the managerial experience proposed by Tennis Manager.

Patrick then shared his tennis knowledge to help our game designers and engineers develop different styles of gameplay and in the elaboration of tactical plans to make games between players more realistic and credible.

The match simulation in TM 2022 is probably one of the most complex and realistic in the field of video games. Our team has accumulated considerable experience during these five years of development. By partnering with one of the best tennis coaches on tour and some of the most respected stats experts in the sport, we have the ability to simulate highly realistic ATP and WTA rankings.

Everyeye.it: Is Patrick a fan of video games? What is the most fascinating aspect of a simulation like Tennis Manager?

access point: Patrick often plays sports simulation., especially with Tennis Manager Mobile. From the beginning he understood that the video game was a great platform to promote tennis and he was captivated by the idea of ​​showing the “behind the scenes” of the “creation of champions” (this is what he calls his work “from the dream”). “). Appreciated our simulation/statistical approach ed and was very impressed and interested in the potential of our player database.

A simulation experience

Everyeye.it: According to Patrick, what is the key aspect of managing/training professional players? Did the development team manage to implement this in Tennis Manager 2022?

access point: For our coach there are two aspects to take into account. First, the details. It is important to dissect and analyze every detail. From this point of view, Tennis Manager tries to offer a deep gaming experience, on and off the court. Each player also needs a personalized approach.

You cannot speak and train two champions like Serena Williams or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the same way. This aspect was also reproduced in TM 2022: tennis players are different from each other, as well as their goals, which can change according to age, career, playing styles and of course their potential. In short, it is possible to shape all aspects of a tennis player’s game and the decisions we make will have perceptible effects in this regard.

Everyeye.it: What is the most difficult aspect to simulate in a tennis management simulation?

access point: Definitely the simulation of the game. To recreate the decision-making process that leads a virtual tennis player to make certain choices on the court, we have calculated an almost infinite number of possibilities. The execution of a given shot takes into account a number of variables (height, physique, technical characteristics, styles of play, specific behaviors, tactical plans) and parameters such as the surface, the strengths/weaknesses of the opponents, the confidence and the advice that as a coach we give our player to adopt a certain strategy.

It is something surprisingly complex that allows us to visually recreate the movements and behaviors of players on a tennis court. Not only that: we also need to take into account stats/parameters like ball speed, first serve percentage, number of aces, unforced errors and more. This applies not only to the ATP and WTA Tour, but also to the ITF (Junior Tour) for players under the age of eighteen.

Everyeye.it: Football Manager also bases its success on official licenses: what can we expect from TM in the future?

access point: Our goal is to have more and more players as the series grows. This takes a lot of time: in tennis it is necessary to negotiate the rights individually with the tennis players. Not to mention the budget. Our first priority in these first few chapters of TM has been gameplay – fans are looking for new features rather than actual player names. And we know that many of them like to have fun with fictitious names, while others are happy to use community created content. That said, we were able to achieve something like 300 official licenses.

We have players of all ranks, nationalities and genders, including some of the best players like Gael Monfils or some future stars like Lorenzo Musetti or Holger Rune, just to name a few (we introduce them as “wonderkids” in the trailers). These guys are thrilled to have their own alter ego in the game and to be discovered in the game (just like in Football Manager). Football Manager and FIFA are highly appreciated by new generations of players and have contributed to the success of football on a global scale: Tennis Manager is leading the way and we are at the beginning of a new chapter for the world of tennis.

Everyeye.it: Even the scout idea seems “inspired” by Football Manager…

access point: Let’s just say it’s not just a quirk of the Sports Interactive series. Our goal is to recreate the most realistic tennis experience possible. We have our own Data Hub (where we analyze the statistics and data of the official Tours) that is complemented by the information added by our coaches, data analysts and scouts.

As for the comparison with Football Manager, we have a lot in common: the depth of the game, the match simulation and the player database are what I consider to be the main pillars of our simulation and they are also the strong point of Sports Interactive. Serie. .

Everyeye.it: Taking a look at the rankings related to the WTA and ATP simulations, the results obtained are quite credible. How does AI work?

access point: The entire “world” of Tennis Manager simulates virtually thousands of matches using AI and machine learning, updating the rankings every week. Statistically, if thousands of races are simulated, it is very likely that the best player will always be in first place but the results can change and will never be the same. As in reality but with a difference: here the player is the protagonist, you can create your story and put your signature in the log book.

Everyeye.it: One of the secrets of Football Manager is its community: how do you plan to develop that of Tennis Manager?

access point: Building a strong and loyal community takes time. Football Manager built it in 30 years: we have just celebrated our first anniversary. Our strategy is to continually engage our community in the product and focus on collaboration. The TM22 roadmap was based on feedback from our users, both in Steam reviews and interactions on our Discord channel.

We will continue with this approach. We also have the support of the best streamers and professional tennis players.: they are of great help to publicize our product. And maybe one day we will find the right partner to accelerate…

The improvements compared to the past.

Everyeye.it: In the first Tennis Manager, the management part was too simplified, as was the interaction between player and manager. Have they been improved?

access point: In fact, we have done a lot of work on these two aspects using user feedback. For example, we redesigned the interaction between coach and player before the game, increasing its impact compared to what we saw in TM21; in the management part, on the other hand, players will have new management tools available, including a new monitoring function, which will allow a 360 degree control of the academy.

We’ve also added several new screens to present more player career data or match stats, and worked on the simulation infrastructure for even more detail.

Everyeye.it: Finally, what improvements have been made to the game engine?

access point: The AI ​​has been refined to reproduce as closely as possible the behavior of tennis players on the court (from movements to ball trajectories). To make the games more realistic, new animations, textures, atmospheric effects have been added. and interventions were also made in the lighting system. In general, the matches seem more fluid and realistic in Tennis Manager 2022.

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