Enter the Future

Team technical and tactic analysis

Goal Tactics

The 4-4-2 formation in Goal is fine, but I find the other three formations
pretty poor. In the 5-3-2 formation, the sweeper occassionaly becomes a marker
and vice versa, and the full backs are very defensive. The 4-3-3 formation
suffers from a weak midfield and no team has used 4-2-4 since 1966.
Having reverse engineered several games in the past, I have often considered
designing a tactics editor for my favourite game, Goal, and the discovery of a
community of people as devoted to Goal as I am has given me the motivation I
This editor is something that I created very quickly, so it may not be perfect,
but it does allow you to amend the default sets of tactics or design new
tactics from scratch. It also includes tools for integrating your new tactics
onto the Goal program disk.
Of course, the ability to create your own tactics and formations opens all
sorts of possibilities for tournament games, because competitors can use their
own formations in the matches. The only problem is that Goal restricts the
number of tactics to 4 per disk, but multiple copies of Disk 1 could be made
to get around this.

How Goal represents tactics and formations:
Goal's method of storing the tactics is very flexible, and allows some very
exotic and fluid formations to be designed. The formations that come with Goal
don't really do justice to this. Basically, while the ball is in play there
are 12 "game states". These are when neither team has possession; when your
opponent has possession, and when each of your 10 outfield players has
possession. When the game is in one of these 12 states, the game divides the
pitch into a 3x4 grid and determines in which cell the ball is. Each of these
cells contains a "frame" which describes where every player should be
positined. For example, there is a "frame" when the opposition has the ball in
his own penalty area, and there is a "frame" when your player number 5 has the
ball on the right wing. There are also a set of frames for taking and
defending corners, kicking-off, and goal kicks. In total, there are 152 frames,
each of which contains the position for every outfield player.
The great thing about this method is that, with a bit of planning, you can
emulate almost any formation in world football. You can emulate Brazil by
having the full backs run into forward positions when either of the two
defensive midfielders have possession in front of their penalty area. Or the
Portuguese formation, where the three attacking midfielders alternate in front
of the two defensive midfielders. And, for the defensive minded, you could
emulate Norway's formation and get 10 people behind the ball as soon as the
opposition take possession. The bottom line is you can now make Goal play the
way you play football.

Using the Tactics editor:
My Tactics Editor works with the .tac files that are stored on Goal Disk 1. I
have included these with the program so that they can be experimented with
straight away. From the main menu, choose to "Edit Tactics File" and pick the
tactics file you want to view. The screen will change to show a representation
of the pitch on the right, and a list of the "games states" on the left.
Initially, the Pitch is divided into 12 sections, one of which will be
highlighted. The 10 counters on the pitch represent the position of the players
when the ball is in the highlighted area.
You can click on any area of the pitch to change the highlighted area, and you
will see the position of the players change. You can change the position of the
players by dragging them around the pitch.
You can undo any changes made to a frame by clicking "Restore Frame", and you
can save your changes back to the .tac file by clicking "Save Changes". A frame
can be copied by clicking on "Copy Frame" and can then be pasted as many times
as you like by clicking on "Paste Frame".
You will notice when designing corners, that the pitch is split down the
middle. This is to allow you to design different formations for corners taken
from the left and right. Notice also, that when taking corners you arrange
the players at the top of the screen.
The final four game states are all self explanatory. The "Defending Goal Kick"
game state is the formation that is used in the preview window when Goal
browses through the tactics.
If you are feeling ambitious, you can create a completely new tactics file
from scratch, by seleting "Create Tactics File" on the main menu. This creates
a new file in which each frame is blank and the players are arranged at the
bottom of the pitch ready to be positioned.

Working with ADF Files:
ADF files are the files used by WinUAE and other Amiga emulators. They contain
in one file an exact image of a single Amiga floppy disk. Although we
ultimately want to be able to play the new tactics on an Amiga, when designing
a new set of tactics it is much quicker to test them on the PC using an
emulator. The only version of Goal I could find on the net was a hacked
version. It is ideal for testing under the emulator, but when I build the final
version to run on the Amiga, I base it on my original copy of Goal disk 1.
The Tactics Editor contains two functions for working with ADF files. The first
function allows you to Extract one of the tactics files from the Goal disk and
save it onto your PC where it can be modified using the Editor. The second
function allows you to replace one of the existing files on the Goal disk with
your new tactics file. When inserting your new tactics file, you are given the
chance to give it a new name, because Goal limits the length of the tactics to
5 letters.
The Development Cycle:
Here's how I suggest you develop and test the tactics. The Amiga I used was
an A1200 with Hard Disk and 6mb of RAM. If you don't have at least 2mb of RAM
or a CrossDOS driver then it might be a bit tricky and I refer you to one of
the many sites that explain how to transfer files between PCs and Amigas:
1. Install a decent Amiga emulator for your PC, such as WinUAE.
2. Find the ADF files for Goal on the net. I have provided a link on my
3. Using the Editor, Extract the tactics file that you want to amend from
Goal1.ADF, perhaps also giving the .tac file a new name to represent the new
4. Design your new tactics.
5. Test the tactics by Inserting the .tac file back into the Goal1.ADF file.
I chose to override 4-4-2 because that is the formation that Aberdeen use,
and they are the first team selected when you start Goal.
6. Start your Amiga emulator and load Goal. Select a two player game, and
move around the pitch with the scanner magnified watching to make sure that
the players move where you want.
7. Go back to step 4 until you are happy with the tactics.
8. We are now ready to create a new Goal Disk 1 for the Amiga.
9. On the Amiga, insert Goal disk 1 and use "transdisk > ram:goal1.adf" to
build an image of the first Goal disk. You will need at least 2mb of RAM
to do this. If you have a second floppy disk, you could use that. I have
included a ZIP of my Goal disk 1 on the web.
10.Transfer the file to your PC, either by null-modem connection or by
compressing it onto a PC DOS disk (formatted 720k).
11.Once the ADF file is on the PC, Insert the your tactics file into it in the
normal way.
12.Transfer the ADF file back to the Amiga using the same method as in step 10.
13.Put a blank formatted floppy disk in DF0: and use
"transdisk -w ram:goal1.adf" to write a new version of Goal disk1.
14.Boot from you new Goal1 disk and the new tactics will be available.
This sounds like a nightmare, but if you are familiar with transferring files
and disks between the Amiga and the PC it is a straightforward operation.