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Making FIFA Street in the FIFA engine's image

"It's something we get no credit for."

FIFA Street was made using the lauded FIFA engine by former developers of the main FIFA series - a process that was harder than you might think.

The FIFA Street team, part of EA Sports' EA Canada studio, spent a year converting the FIFA engine so it would work as a tightly focused skills and tricks game.

It implemented a new dribbling system that means you're always facing towards goal, and a new standing ball control mechanic that allows you to root your player to the spot.

Creative director Gary Paterson, who played a crucial role in FIFA's late 2000s resurgence, believes that a lot of people think the team had an easy ride because it had the FIFA engine to play with - but they're wrong.

"People think, the layman - not saying that in an insulting way - that it's easy," he told Eurogamer.

"You just turn it on and put it in the five-a-side. But it's not easy. When we re-wrote the FIFA engine for PS3 and Xbox 360 back in 2006, it was written in the right way. Part of the reason for the re-write was so we could architect it the correct way. So in that regard the engine was made to be modified.

"But by the same token there were so many changes we had to make to just to get it to work. From the start we had to send all the different types of information to the game to set it up for all different game types. Then all the different systems in the game have to understand about that different game type, from the rules to the goalkeeper."

The changes that had to be made to the goalkeepers in particular presented a challenge.

"The goalkeeper uses the different size of goals, the different shape of penalty area and size of penalty area, and even some of his behaviours have to change because of that, because you don't behave the same way in a small goal as you do to a large goal," Paterson explained.

"And the ball bouncing off the wall - if he's going to try and control the ball and it's bouncing off the wall, or if he's going to control the ball into the wall or if he's going to dribble into the wall.

"When the ball bounces off the wall the goalie understands it. He can't just dive to show effort if the ball is going to miss the goal, because then it hits the back of the wall and hits him in the back of the head then goes in.

"No, he has to realise it's going to go wide, turn to the wall and get the ball back off the wall."

Even something as simple as having the goal off of the wall presented problems, Paterson revealed. Players and the ball would often get stuck running around the side of it.

He continued: "It's something we get no credit for. People think, it's the FIFA engine, they're just using the FIFA engine, and that was easy, they're so lazy. It was actually a lot of work."

But still, Paterson admits if the team had started from scratch with a new engine it would have had a much tougher job.

"It turned out to be a lot of work just to get the engine to work on the new technology, but it was still easier than it could have been if we didn't have the right technology.

"Yeah, it was challenging, but it was worth it."

FIFA Street launches on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next month.

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