Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Shearer Serason 2: A Dreadful Start

Well Season 2 has started and we're on a desperate run in the league, as memory serves just four points from the first five, it looks very much like we'll be doing well to stay up. I've decided to just play a few matches a day as previously I've charged through games and the end of season has felt very flat.

Coming back to the performance we've actually played quite well in games but conceeded late on after failing to convert many chances, I think it's a case of trying to keep a cool head and as the performance is there the rtesults will come. It is worrying that in other competitions form is A1 but in the SFA Premier League (the only that really matters) it's poor. I've abandoned a few games in other competitions to try and correct this, I don't actually know if this does more harm than good but it really can't get much worse.

Meanwhile so far the youths have started well with victories in every FA game played although it's not top of priorities it's nice to see. There is a manager in Shearer who managed to sign a 15 year old on 40k a day and a fine player this £40k 15 year old looks, I did show him M'Vila and he told me that he was 'nothing special', only time will tell but here is M'Vila today:-

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Ze Podcast or Not............

I do have in mind a subject for the podcast but despite several dry runs I'm yet to hit form :) I suppose it is something I should just do and get it over with but soon maybe.......

Shearer Serason 2 Squad

GK - Iraizoz was a £150k Aq Fee Keeper with high stats in the commanding area etc. Well Known Rep and 27 ish. Has risen to £200+k Aq Fee and will be locked next season, great goalie.
DL - De Cler a spot buy Well Known Rep 30 years old. A dutch international and picked him up in auction for his Aq Fee £220k, too good to miss despite his age.
DC - Diakhate £275k 25 Year Old Well Known, had bid on loads of players like him in wage auction and a semi reasonable £20k a day.
DC - Torrejohn £100k+ was in starting squad 24 years old and will be locked to the team very safe and solid.
DR - Rodriguez £90k Aq Fee, currently weakest point in the team seriously considering a young 16 year old DR here. This is odd for me as U21 defenders I'm not keen on but Tetteh, the kid in question, certainly gets it done. For now we'll stick with this. Aggressive player but clearly wants to win.
ML - Gimenez Went all out for him early on (had to pay by installments) and went to High Profile in no time, really tricky winger that can also play up front. 29 so not long term but has impressed.
MC - Dudu has actually played for Brazil in real life and is pretty tasty very technical player.
MC - Parker another starter in Season 1 will hit 29 this season captain of team.
MR - Ashkan awesome footballer can also play up front and AMC. Can open it all up, £275k and already high profile at 22!
FC - Grafitie if we have a star this is him, powerful, quick, and likes to place shots. 30 this coming season and will go in £1 auction once season is over. A great early buy that I used every penny I had at the time to sign.
FC - Wendell, big season for Wendell, this one hopefully will go £200k+ and High Profile. A lot of his game is about pace and flair but I know from GW6 he becomes strong when this happens he turns from a nice young player into a goal machine.
Other players of note
Sub - M'Villa it's odd how you talk about kids with other managers and they can't see further than 3 stats. 16 years old was pleased when i bagged him on £300 a day (silly managers missed this one) quick, strong, aggressive, technical and determined. At 16 without an extended run in first team is £65k Aq Fee, if he carries on improving going to be HUGE!
Sub - Paulo Roberto Right Wing / Striker seriously considered starting with him and not Wendell as I can easily slot Ashkan into the striker role. In some ways Paulo is a better winger, will have to think about this.
Sub - Mutumbo At 17 still too young but an outstanding young DM.
Sub - Fidel Martinez AMC, whilst Dudu is predictable Fidel isn't, very random but sometimes puts on a show. At 19 some way off first team but will feature here and there.

The wage bill is under control at £140k area, have nice group of youth players right down to 15 year olds. The first thing on the agenda is going to be securing our spot in the Premier league if we hit form we could challenge for a UFFA spot.
My plan was to be fielding a team where every player could get into most premiership teams and this squad has that. I think other managers have the strategy that they'll get one superstar and a competitive team behind them. We've no £1m + Aq Fee players but a very solid and quite a mature squad.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Friday, 19 December 2008

1.1 Boring - But in a Good Way

We can now talk about 1.1, I won't get into great detail for that see FM Blog - A Moderators Life or Your FML both A1 blogs. Instead I thought I'd give me impressions from a playing point of view.

If you were to summarise 1.1 into a few words it would stadiums introduced and massive changes to finance system. My previous plan for starting in a Gameworld has always been sign a couple of decent players in a youth team, watch them play and replace the youngsters that can least cope with seniors. It means I don't need to sell anyone as I'd likely sign a youth team anyway.

I've always liked to sign players with a long term view so pretty much they should be Premiership standard, these players commonly costs £150k + so with the finance system I could maybe get one or two pre season and then maybe a couple more when the season started. Hopefully the youth can cover the rest of the positions and we move forward from there.

Although the income stream isn't that much different in 1.1 the signing of players has one important difference, you pay a one off 10x contract wage signing on fee to the player. So your £150k Aq Fee players with a £8k wage demand is going to cost you £220k, quite a chunk of cash! In fact it almost half's the rate at which you can bring more players in.

In 1.01 I'd start, get to know, the team identify a weakness find a target and bid, you'd then do the same process again. The games pace wasn't too bad.... In 1.1 you start, identify a weakness find a target and wait for money, and then wait some more.... It's much slower.

The real exciting stuff in 1.1 is stadiums, how exactly these will 'play' I have no idea. I don't think you need to focus on this area until you have a bigger team, really start of season two, the beta servers get reset so I've not yet got the point where their needed.

The result of these changes is that at the start of a Gameworld 1.1 is really slow and well.... boring. However is this such a bad thing? Moving Gameworlds and having to start again becomes as chore, nice desirable result!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Player Centric Tactics

Jordan and the gang have another podcast out, essential listening as usual.

The Jakswans are looking good for promotion to the premiership having risen to 2nd spot, it's possible that we could even secure the title although that looks unlikely. Currently we're half way through the SFA Non Premiership Cup Semi Final (first leg away drew 2-2), and oddly the various youth squads have been over performing, in the FA's competitions we could literally walk away with every single youth trophy.

I decided to run all these youth comps after reading that FA games help youths progress more so regardless of the result the SFA should have strong youth players coming through.

Had an interesting chat with a few managers who read my blog and stated it's like tactics don't matter..... My tactics are very simple, pretty much standard 4-4-2 my outlook on tactics as a whole has been 'player centric'. I like to play 4-4-2, I think it's nice to watch, is balanced and can be adapted easily into something else. Having watched now literally hundreds of games I came to the conclusion that in this formation the most critical position is the DM/MC.

When something breaks down it's more often the DM that is picking up the peices, if a ball is played to a winger and there is nothing on he turns and lays it back to the DM. He then looks to set something else up and move from there. Having a player that is weak in any area in this position is a recipe for disaster and this is this reason why we spent the bulk of our early cash on a mature Scott Parker.

Another example of 'player centric' tactics is the choice of subs or maybe switching players positions currently I have a young 19 year old striker Paulo Roberto who can play right wing and then I have the wonder boy Ashkan Dejagah who can play up front or right wing. Which player to play where is the cause of much pondering, the opposition, their formation, the scoreline, all factor.

Another player in my line up is a young AMC Fidel Martinez, too young for senior football and makes a lot of mistakes but has lots of flair and can occasionally open up a defence like no other, if we're chasing a game he'll often get to see action.

Oddly I seem to enjoy not so much getting it right but sometimes getting it wrong, there just seems to be endless depths in the match engine.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Mods Day out & Random Stuff

Well the mod meet went great, Sega / SI looked after us for a meeting in Kick Bar London. The theme was Sega wanting to drive the community aspect part of the game and to outline some plans. The 1.1 release notes are fairly comprehensive so no shocks there.

The big surprise is just how heavy the marketing campaign will be and the demographic they'll be after, Sega are doing both barrels so I'd expect around 100 new worlds, yes, 100, wow.

Some changes to how Gameworlds get released but full steam ahead otherwise and some news on how 1.1 will be applied to 1.01 not sure what we can reveal or not so best leave it there.

Everyone was pretty much as I expected the day did pass in a blur and didn't have chance to chat to everyone I wanted to but this isn't a moan just how good it was to meet so many. No sooner I had got there it felt like I was looking at my watch and thinking 'omg must get train'.

Podcast - I'm thinking of doing a podcast I have started one a few times but can't quite get on roll with it.

We still putting points on the board in SFAQ2 and currently pro rata lead all the youth comps (not sure how long this will last though). The best manager in FM Live has to be Paul Wallace, this is his squad in a Gameworld that isn't three weeks old:-Wow that takes some doing!

Friday, 12 December 2008

New Podcast by the Martin White

Martin Pearson & Martin White, mods with great community skills have a site that I've not come across before and another Football Manager Live Podcast.

On the Bounce

A few real life dramas have taken time over the last few weeks but hopefully will have more time now to bring back updates as fast as before.

As expected form bounced quite strongly and we played a couple of FA games both 1-0 wins against FC Couch Potato, I felt sorry for their manager as although I could see he had assembled a very strong squad I could sense from the last few games our luck had turned. This was really underlined in the dying minutes of the second game with it at 0-0, the game was getting stretched and there were three clear cut chances in injury time, eventually though Paulo Roberto broke on the right chucked a dangerous looking cross in for Grafite under considerable pressure to power in.

We dropped a few points here and there (noticeably to Macduff FC who must be favourites for the title), the best result so far has been against Hurtlocker FC who pro-rata were in 2nd spot. With us in 3rd spot it was a little bit of a six pointer I felt a win would dictate the seasons theme i.e. chasing Premiership or Championship football for next season. We were coasting at 2-0 and despite a 89th minute consolation goal never looked like losing.

Although the various youth leagues are way down my list of priorities I managed to win back to back games against Inter, M'Villa was the star of the show throughout!

Monday, 8 December 2008

An End to Football Trader Live.

Back in October I posted Football Trader Live rant, if you read the SI forums it seems that Si are taking steps to move the game away from being so focused on this part of the game. It's a tricky one to call as although the beta servers get used their really quiet and you have to really play the game for a few seasons to get a feel for the changes. It's balance between curbing this path to success or killing it stone dead, it needs to be a viable strategy but not to the degree it is now.

When being a mod I've tried where possible to be proactive to new users helping them out as much as possible but you continue to see chats that start with 'This game sucks', only to look at the posters squad and see 40 very ordinary senior players. Some of them bought with cash that could have secured a few superstars. I've even private chatted with some and shortlisted players for them some really appreciate the help others 'don't tell me what to do'.

Grafite the most expensive signing thus far is having a ball with the gameworlds defences he really is a class apart and we're starting to dominate a lot of games. Experience says as long as the performance is there ignore the result, luck will turn and when it does a long good run will start, a clam head is needed.

Out of the SFA Cup, through to the next round of Non Premiership Cup and the Gameworld Cup. Form in the SFA Qualifying is still limping a bit. Once again Inter came away with 3 points despite us battering them for best part of 90 mins, two corner goals this time the difference between the teams. The corner exploit is frustrating but we'd have probably lost it anyway, you get those games where your dominant and just can't seem to score.

The burning question I still have is Gameworld longevity and become more convinced that I'm right with my solution of not allowing new subscribers into new gameworlds. New users find the game very hard and it's not a nice game to be losing in, a form of apprenticeship served in an established world ensures they don't go making mistakes in new ones.

If the current batch of gameworlds don't stay active for more than a few months the game is in the smelly stuff and I don't see any other viable solutions been touted.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Phew, Shearer Economy starts to Heat Up

The race has hotted up in Shearer for the £100k + Aq Fee players, it doesn't take long, the first few days you can secure players for their wage demand then the wages start climbing. Timing your move into this market and out of this market can be stressful. There still remains a good few of these players but clearly their going to go fast now. and often they'll be above wage demand.

A couple of days ago I went in for Augusto Fernadez (22 year old AMC / MR) wage demand £2k went for £10k, actually I know he rises sharply and was worth c.£8k a day. I watched a few more games and feel the Fidel Martinez a young 19yo is able to offer something at senior level, despite still having a young squad I have maturity throughout the team apart from up front. So my search switched to a striker, ideal would have been targetman type with a touch of pace high profile / high Aq Fee (so he has ability) and a bit of a handful. There wasn't anyone one the free agent list so I checked auctions, perfect, Meet Grafite!

The League campaign has fizzled rather than exploded we were unbeaten until we went down 3-0 to Inter at Home, mind we had more chances / possession and Nick uses the corner hack so I didn't think it suggested something inherently wrong in the team just one of those results.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Another Podcast

Another good FM Live podcast from the guys at FM Britian this time they got Sega's Rob aka FullMetalRacket. Jordan put him on the spot with regard to changing gameworlds or gameworlds dieing, 'well see how it goes' seems to be the response. Other than that Rob seemed really keen and I'm sure with guys like this in the background SI will have a massive hit on their hands.

The changes for 1.1 which are very public now do seem to make the start less exciting but when you think about you only see the advanced features of the game much later on so I think SI had an eye on the Gameworld dying issue in the design.

It's a bit of a grind testing it as it's being reset quite often (totally understandable) so you scout / secure a player and it's hardly exciting as he'll be a goner in less than a month.I don't think we're allowed to got into depth about 1.1 so best leave it there.

I have man flu so I'm not gonna say anymore, sleep!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Ashkan Dejagah Signs

Well watch the vid! Pace, Power, Technique and Desire, just how I like em!

The Youth Gamne and Stuff

From what I've seen thus far a LOT more managers are taking more interest in youth compared to Beta. I always felt that for the most part I invested in first team as a priority and then the youth game. I could never much see the point in spending £20k wages on a player so that in five seasons he's actually worth £20k a day. That's £3m, just as well go and buy a £3m player!

There are youths that appear that are bankers, clearly going to be great in a few seasons and they are worth more but once a Gameworld gets going the prices start climbing fast. I decided to get a working U17 team after two days as hopefully if there is just one star in there it's going to have been worth it. The bankers will be going for £10k a day in no time so jumping in early makes sense.

U17 need to be kept fit and it makes sense to be able to field a team at this level, some of the players won't pan out I'm sure but they'll help to keep players fit. You always get a few shocks as well!

One of the kids I do have high hopes for is M'Villa, he's not a banker but he has the basics in place, finishing, some technique, strength at 13 for a 16yo is impressive and with aggression and bravery he's not going to be afraid to use this feature of his game. Going to get stuck in this lad!

We won't really know for a few seasons but we'll have an idea how far he can go during this season, if it doesn't work out? Well £300 a day that's not much of a gamble, low risk high reward, what the youth side of the game should be about. Seems odd that managers with big wage bids on 16yo want to take big risks for what is then effectively low reward.

Well you would assume so as we're still to here decisive action about what SI plan to do to keep Gameworlds alive. I do have something of a bee in my bonnet at the moment about Gameworld length although SI have been absolutely brilliant in their support of the game but I'm starting to get the impression that they have the rabbit 'bright eyes syndrome' on this issue. In saying that SI are not a team you underestimate so I'm sure there will be some action way before it's too late.

Looking at the senior team we need maturity and reputation, I think many managers go for a few low rep players which are average ability and then one or two stars. My plan is to have six or seven above average players with a few very talented kids. The average ability is the same just I should have a wider spread of ability on the pitch.

The back four I'm pretty happy with although the goalie is a big question, he's a nice shot stopper but that's about it. So we've lined up a few targets with good influence, bit of rep and able to organise the defence. There are a few on the list but bid is now in for one.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Good to be back!

Well thus far all is well in Shearer, nice atmos, we're losing a lot (doh) and finding it hard having no money. It's great to be looking at 16yo's and think wow I might sign this kid and see him at 24!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Inter Retirement Blog

Nick has a blog up now well worth a read, Football Manager Live Blog Inter Retirement.

Another Podcast

FM Britian have released another podcast, once again it's the business, some good tactical points made. Link: Football Manager Live Podcast Episode 4 and a feature on using tactics in FM Live.

Shearer Launch

A smooth launch for the Gameworld even though from a personal point of view the wife demanded we go out, I had to do the school run, feed four kids, so a bit of a rush to cram in some time to FM Live helping and to pick a squad.

GK:Hatuka - 19, nice stats not a known wonder kid but has been excellent so far. With the changes to finance will need to bring in a senior but much later.
DL: Gaal, early twenties very safe and solid one should be ok for the first couple of seasons, he's that young might be a stayer.
DC: J Matinez I looked and looked at 20 he's not going to be a free lock but can play LB and will do a job at senior level.
DC: M Rodriguez 23 I'm sure I had this guy in GW6 for a seaon and a right back then (also covers that position) very safe not going to turn in any match winning performances but also shouldn't cost me any which is what I think is required at the back.
DR: Tetteh 16, yes just 16 I've never heard of him and my filter turned him up very decent for his age, no, for his age, amazing but not going to be keeping him in first team.
ML: Albayrak 17, I really wanted to get Cedric who's a AML/FC but Nick from Inter already had bagged him, bit of flair / pace not bad technicals.
MC: F Martinez 18 didn't look all that from stats but when I did autopick got put in this position and can really turn it on.
MC: S Parker 28, well there you go a lump of cash went on this fella, 18 determination, massive workrate and pretty technical as well, a natural captain. Will almost certainly become a fixture over the coming seasons. I do imagine I'll only keep until 30/31.
MR: Doran 17, another kid this position needs looking at soon although done well so far.
FC: P Roberto 18 another flair player already bagged a senior hat trick, very nice.
FC: Wendell 19, a Jakswans legend! In three starts in Gameworlds this fella has featured. The thing I really like about him is that he starts with 15 pace and not much strength but in previous Gameworlds he gone on to quickly get a little faster and a LOT stronger.

Other highlights, as I write this I've just signed Torrejon a 22 year old DC, I've kind of figured out that 22 and 23yo's offer great value for a few reasons, one, youth teams don't want them and senior teams are after bigger names so it's quite uncompetitive. Two, their pretty much ready for first team football (assuming you pick the right player) and three, should still have plenty of fast development left to go. We'll see how that plays out.

Another is Mutumbo DM 17 years old he's a 'get it and give it' type under 17 but pretty well developed.

Looking back to GW6 I made mistakes ones I won't repeat (hopefully), it's important to keep the end game in sight and that for the first season is to try and secure Premiership football or at least put us in a position to get there in season 2. Spending thousands on kids isn't going to help achieve that goal despite really enjoying playing U17's.

I've a bid in for another 22yo and that'll mean till the season starts we're going to be very short of funds, it's then a case of trying to put together a U17 squad so I can enjoy that part of the game.

So there should be just two types of player purchase, senior players that will hold their position for two seasons or decent looking U17's.

Shopping list, maturity next, need to watch the team really, results are irrelevant at this stage I think I'll need a keeper, fairly happy with back four and naturally Scott Parker should be dandy, in fact I think I've five players that can play up front and either centre midfield or on the right wing, no cover on the left wing though....

Saturday, 22 November 2008

First FM Live Soundpack

I had a fiddle with sounds taking a popular FM08 soundpak and just copied over the files. If you find your match sounds in something like
\Application Data\Sports Interactive\Football Manager Live\fml_live_v1\add_ons\match_sounds

Then overwrite the files found then with the ones in this rar file, Link: FM Live Soundpack.

It's not quite great but not far off, surely the community could do better?

Friday, 21 November 2008

The Grip is Tightening

Starting to see SI tighten the grip now on managers moving around gameworlds. The way I think this will go is that come January you will not be able to join a new non-pro gameworld your choice will be:-
  1. Start in Pro Gameworld 
  2. Put two seasons into an old gameworld.

Beta 1.1

Finally we can talk about it as it's 'out', GW7 is so dead and my team is so murdered by activity rating I haven't really bothered logging in. Besides staduims don't work for some reason.

So many ways in which fianance has been changed, taxes, signing on fee's, slowing down of rep gain, money sinks for staduims I do think it's overkill but it's a beta.

Other than that 1.1 should leave you in no doubt in SI's desire and capability to vastly improve this game very quickly.

Finance Changes & Version 1.01

I won't cover the entire change to the finance system I will state just that there is a misconception ithat higher wages = more daily profit which is totally wrong!

Coming off this I'm not totally sure my starting strategy would change that much it sure will be interesting to see how it plays out in Shearer anyway.


I'll be moving this blog soon to wordpress, from what I've seen it's upteen more times more powerful than Googles effort. So in a few days Jakswans Football Manager Live Blog.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

A Bad Day

I feel sorry for SI not only do they go to great lengths to protect their product but the anti-piracy things in the game cause them a load of grief with genuine customers.

The worse part about it though strong anti-piracy measures do act like a red rag to a bull for the pirates. Within twenty four hours it appears to be cracked. PC gaming will die if this continues.

Still WOW has made Blizzard a lot of cash, so maybe FM Live is the way to go.

Fm Britian TTF09

Hadn't listened to the last ten minutes of the podcast and then noticed that there latest Tactical Theorems and Frameworks 09 was out! Grab it off the link below.

Football Manager Tactics Bible 2009

Rant Ranty Rant

This isn't talking about new features or anything and injuries are in Version 1.1 as they are in Version 1. The test GW is strictly for casual users if your a mod. Fair enough we're supposed to remain focused on the retail worlds.

So I set up to play casual, naturally with a load of kids keeping them fit is important so I join a load of comps so they'll be in tip top condition throughout my absence.

Naturally with my activity level dropping to 1.0 the injuries start going silly. The system is broke and I'm fed up of mentioning it.

Both Barrels
In fact I'm doing both barrels today, around six months ago there was a thread complaining about the number of trialists being used after the launch of GW8. I posted in that thread using the words 'exploit' another user posted a detailed guide on his starting strategy, 'use trialist to win comps' being the theme. Three monthes later there is a big rush to get some fixes in prior to release to close some of these exploits.

Phew, got that off my chest feel better now. Whilst this is a superb game with massive potential I'm not afriad to have a go about it and no one can call me a fan boy!

Get Sacked Podcast

I know the guys at FM Britain cover FM09 but it is the FM Live engine, there is some advanced tactical talk that could help no end so be sure to check out the latest Get Sacked Podcast.

Interesting idea

I had a plan to replace the match sounds found in C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Sports Interactive\Football Manager Live\fml_cluster1\add_ons\match_sounds with some I could find on fanchants.com. My skills with audio are somewhat limited though and although it works I couldn't blend them in.

Anyone out there good with Sound?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Starting Strategy

With the launch of the Fowler gameworld today that completes the first batch to go live. It's the only one with room! So they've managed to sell out the first batch. It's actually a good thing Fowler still has room as literally you can pay for the game and play straight away.

I've been thinking about my starting strategy and going back to GW6 I was very early to get an U17 team going. Although it's a trade off as you'll miss out on senior players it didn't half pay off at youth level later on. Once the gameworld gets going your 15/16yo's with 16 pace and 14 finishing go for upto £25k a day at the start these type of players I got for £200!

It's a dilemma for sure.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tactics: Quick and Dirty 4-5-1

4-5-1 is the new Narrow!

It used to be that narrow was the fashion in FM Live and most teams played it. I don't know why or when it fell out of fashion but 4-5-1 is now the popular choice. The BBC diagram actually give a good representation of how it can play with two midfielders making attacking runs.

High Defensive Line
You would have thought that a high defensiuve line works well here but it doesn't, my thinking was the danger is the through ball and with only one striker to aim for should be easy to cut out.

With their being five midfielders you'll lose the midfield battle if you take the fight there, it's simply a numbers game. Their players will have space and time to find the through ball. As the one striker is normally the star he has the intelligence / ability / raw pace and power to deliver the killer blow.

Another considertation is the wingers these will certainly also be looking for the ball over the top. A high line can work but check the striker he's fielding if there is a superstar with pace then forget a high line. If you take this option it's vital to play with a very flat back four ALL of the four should have Barrows (Backward Arrows).

Coming off the back of a 4-4-2 I tend to try a 4-4-1-1 changing a striker into an AMC so at least your now playing 4-5-1 of a sort. Once I get back playing and get the skills one of my more effective tactics can come into play. Basically it's two MC's with forward runs a deep line and counter attack. This tends to allow their midfield to pile forward but then catch them on the hop with a fast break.

To give you an idea of depth in the game I once played a team playing 4-1-0-4-1 which seemed like a dam silly formation to me. In fairness the guy had a heavily tweaked set up that relied totally on the DM, Xabi Alonso. His tactics were basically field him the ball and wait for him with his 20 passing to ping one of the AMC/AMR/AML, what a nightmare. The game then became about nailing Alonso, close him out of the game and they were doomed otherwise it was carnage.

I do hear complaints about 'there isn't enough to do' in FM Live here is another quick tip for you. You have AI rights to a game, click the team then look through his past results. Pick a game he lost badly, pick a game he won well, you now have a very quick idea of what to do and what not to do in your AI game.

Make sure you watch the games though what looks like a 4-4-2 might be a narrow / wide 4-4-2 or a 4-4-2 with a high line.

The other important thing with tactics is to remember it isn't the bottom line, luck, form, and the players all play their part, don't get cut up about it just always remember your just tipping the odds slightly in your favour.

Oh and took don't take my word as gospel as I feel out of my dpeth with tactics sometimes, these hopefully will just start you thinking.

LongTime & Free SEO Tips

Well I'm somewhat out of the loop these days until Shearer goes live. Can't talk about 1.1 and it's very early days for that anyway. Still hasn't stopped me reading the forums and keeping my ear to the ground.

Might make a couple of posts today as I feel a bit ranty and as much as I try I might do the pyramid thing again, lol.

Anyway firt up new podcast from Fm Britian and this time it was fellow mod Nik and his featured blog A Moderators Life, direct link to the show: FML Podcast Episode 2.

Whilst I'm here I thought I'd do some SEO tips for some budding bloggers. If your going to link other sites make sure you do it in the format as I've done above, the anchor text should be what the link is about. So in the link 'FML Podcast Episode 2' it doesn't just show the URL as anchor text but what that link is about.

To see the importance of anchor text type 'click here' into google. See what comes top, Adobe, yet that page doesn't have a title of click here or say click here anywhere on the page. However other sites linking to that page link it thus:- Click Here to get Adobe Reader.

That's how Google works, it reads backlinks to pages and rates the page to be about what the anchor text says.

£70 an hour that's my normal rate, so if you read that you owe me, a £1million player in FM Live will do!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Gameworld Life

Something that Jordan said in the Podcast was that maybe SI could limit the number of spaces to new users, my initial reaction to this was the Sega accountants would be horrified. Thinking about it though, unless they keep the gameworlds active then the loyal customer base will fade away so it does actually make good commercial sense.

I think Si have almost got this nailed with the advanced gameworlds idea. Assuming every user in an advanced gameworld has some skills going into it then it makes going into an old gameworld much more attractive. You do a few months in there and then join a later advanced gameworld having done your 'apprenticeship' in an old one.

Si have announced some changes to the finance system which slows down progression so leaving a gameworld where your established means your going to have to do it all again.

It needs some fine tuning, I don't now, maybe a two months for the price of two if you join Gameworld X. They could even offer existing customers a reduced price second account...

Whatever happens it's pretty clear that Si have a few tricks up their sleeve to sort it.

Oh and another thing! Say you have a gameworld with only 500 managers and one with 1000, well logically it would much easier to establish yourself in a lower populated gameworld. I mean 1000 managers all wanting to sign Ronaldo compared to 500 has to be easier! So naturally the lesser populated gameworlds would become much more attractive.

In fact assuming SI remain committed to a Gameworld once it starts then if today your in a gameworld with only a few managers in, your laughing!

OK, nobody join Shearer :)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Tactics Quick and Dirty for FM Live

With my Gameworld Shearer not starting for what feels like an age there won't be much to comment on over the next few weeks in terms of FM Live. There are some big changes in 1.01 but not had the ok to discuss (some are quite dramatic). So in the meantime I'd thought I'd do amateur tactics.

If know FM Britain have some great tactics and some plans to produce some extensive guides but these my quick and dirty tips. How I tend to deal with them in game and why it probably goes horribly wrong. Today playing against 4-4-2.

I normally play 4-4-2 myself and it's a very common formation. I haven't quite worked out why I struggle so much against it. The default tactics has one central midfielder staying back (Backward Arrow = Barrow) and the other going foward (Farrow). One of the issues I have with it is that the defensive midfielder stays either left or right so the formation is a sucker for an AMC coming through the middle.

So generally against this I'll turn turn the MC with Barrow into a DM and the MC with Farrow into an AMC. maybe pushing up the defensive line. Seems to work well against a 4-4-2.

The DM or Defensive Midfielder seems to see a lot of the ball, mainly as he's often the one in the most space. So to that end I tend to spend a lot of my budget on a decent DM these days.

The 4-4-2 often relies on wing play to get goals and in GW6 I had Sergio Ramos ,a right back or Central Defender, if the opposition had a very good left winger I'd switch Ramos to the right back position. So it's nice to have solid Centre Backs which can double up in this position.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Get Sacked Podcast

I had the honor of making a guest appearance on Jordan Coopers Get Sacked Podcast. Hope my Welsh accent wasn't too over the top. It'll be appearing here.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

How Injuries Work in FM Live

Here is how injuries work, a player can be injured for X number of days, these range from one day to a few weeks. The number of injuries that you get depends on your activity rating, the less activity the more likely you are to experience an injury. This is in order that a highly active player in theory gets the same proportion of injuries as an inactive one.
Play in Spurts? Tough!
A few problems what if you play the game in spurts? Say you play once a week you log on to play twenty / thirty games maybe. Well unlikely that'll you'll be doing that as low activity rating means the 'activity system' will pillage your squad like a bunch of vikings on drugs. After a few games unless you want to watch your reserves playing you just as well log off.

The 'activity system' has been known to throw the odd wobble, at one point everyone started with an activity rating of one so everyone got a load of injuries, at one point I saw a user with something like 30 injuries. So it's not exactly on the money.
A Simpler System
A much simpler system would to have looked at squad read % of players injured and then set probability from there, don't really know why that would not have worked.

The second issue, say you have Pato and Sergio Ramos in your team, clearly stars of the show well say their both injured, you going to play that important cup game then? Crazy that the game actually encourages you to log off or to not play games.
I'm not advocating a football game without Injuries
I'm not advocating a football game without injuries but as the only really important games are FA games why not have it so that only FA games count in terms of injuries. Why not have it so that players are injured for X number of FA games. The close season counts as three / four FA games.

A system that's fair to everyone and actually encourages you to play.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Transfer Gameworlds

There are some updated vids of the 3D match engine (I'd guess these are very close to, if not actually retail) and they are much better, I suppose when you take into account the match engine behind the game and the 3d combined it has no equal.

Also news today that SI will allow users to transfer into gameworlds but only after that gameworld has hit the end of Season One. There is an exception some Gameworlds will be tagged as 'Advanced' you'll be allowed to move into these from the start and with skills in tact.

I guess if they throttle the release of gameworlds (don't have too many) then they can make the Gameworlds last a little longer.

It was my intention to play a long term game much like I did in Gameworld 6 e.g. youth team and slowly progress. Also I'm assuming stadiums will work where you effectively invest in the future will take money away from you short term and pay it back long term.

The Beta Gameworlds have all died from the bottom up, i.e. high activity levels in the top 100, less in the next 100 and so on. I can't see this changing in retail, also consider the managers that ignored youth in Gameworld 6, by the end of season six had there been an option to move then boy they'd have gone big time.

What would have been left would have been a collection of former youth teams. I'm guessing that a fair proportion of managers don't want to play in a world filled with regens so I'm going to guess there will be a population that will do 3/6 month stints in gameworlds and then move onto a new one.

The scary part, in six seasons in Gameworld 6 we saw around 3000 beta managers chucked into it over it's lifetime, at the end only 300 actives remained. I know people will argue Beta etc but a 10% retention rate is pretty dam low. If you treble it it means there would be only 300 left in a 1000 size gameworld.

With the beta there are three other considerations, (1) you couldn't transfer out of the gameworld, (2) you didn't have a choice which gameworld you joined and (3) running short of numbers? Easy we have thousands waiting to beta test the game. So I'd hazard a guess that they'd be lucky to keep the retention rate at 10% over six months.

I think it if you just treated the game as three / six month stints it's works out fine but if your expecting to stay in a gameworld for ten / twenty seasons currently I can't see it happening.

Unless there is a pyramid but we're not talking about that anymore :)

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Football Manager 2009 3D Engine Really this time

Here is the link for the video.

Well I was wrong about the Betaworlds with the official announcement that they all go down on Monday, apart from Gw24 which stays open for a little longer. I had started to get attached to the GW22 squad and it did look like we were about to put a run together. In one full season we did have one minor honor in the XEFA U21 Cup so at least we didn't come away empty handed.

As far as I know we still are not allowed to discuss 1.0.1 which I'm not allowed to talk about (started to write something more there but stopped myself). As I write every server has gone down and with less than a week to the first commercial server going live doesn't bode well.

I've been keeping an eye out for FM09 and the demo is out Sunday ish. The big news is the 3D match engine which looking at the video looks functional. Can't quite understand why it's taken them so long to produce that though I did notice there was a leaked video of Championship Manager in 3D around April so maybe it was a case of something they had to do.

It's pretty low quality but this is it.

I think I've mentioned this before but I liked the single player series before it went and tried to simulate man management and human interaction. So FM09 doesn't really excite me and when the announce new features like you can relay the turf at the ground it's reminds me that I do like football games but don't have anorak that's quite as big as that.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Future of the Beta Worlds

I put an Under 17 team in a senior ranked tourny and they duly got slapped, rank then 200. Coming off this though we did back to back games against African Chiefs, currently 2nd in Championship and ranked 36th overall and duly came away with the six points.

It was 1-1 away from home until Cedric sliced a perfect pass to Bendtner in the 93rd minute.

I suppose now speculation turns to the Beta worlds ending. I don't know anything so this is why I'm speculating. Whilst we have 1.0.1 on the way it seems to me that you'd have to have a good few betaworlds ready to receive it.

I mean you wouldn't want to call it complete and then slap it on top of a Live gameworld in the hope that patching an existing gameworld would work. There is also a danger that a bug occurs say in season 6 which you won't know about until you get there, so a betaworld that leads live gameworlds by a few seasons would make sense.

So I suspect in some way a few Betaworlds will continue to exist after the first gameworld goes live. We'll have to see. I also think it's odd the forums are not filled with hundreds of users from countries that can't get the game, so they must have told something that makes them happy.

The other big issue is keeping gameworlds full of active users. To be fair to SI despite all their problems their appetite to not only get the game off the ground, but to continue to tweak at it with some of the best game designers around, well the appetite just doesn't seem to fade. So you have to have confidence in them even if I'm out of non radical ideas to solve it.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Football Manager 2009 Video

I found this the other day, thought it was fake until right at the end of the clip:-

Weird I guess it must be fake but I've played FIFA's and Pro Evo's but can't place the match engine. It doesn't look like the FM09 vid shown briefly in the promo vids...

Season Two: Beta Gameworld Howe

Stop Ranting
I've decided to stop ranting about pyramids, lengths of seasons etc. I've been on about it ever since I saw the game so thought I'd try to be more upbeat about things. As a beta tester you should be active in giving your thoughts and opinions good or bad but I'm boring myself going on and on about it now.

Signs of a Grim Season
Got slapped about in my first game of the season 3-0 to a team ranked 350+, when I looked he should have been ranked 150th with the streaking mechanic not being in the game I think we were just unlucky to meet a team on form. Ov has posted that the rank / reputation / form correlation is definitely not in the game so that theory is out of the window.

I did have hopes of a promotion campaign but on this showing it's not probable. Still at least I can't get relegated with us being in the Championship A, the bottom of a very shallow pyramid (omg I can't stop myself!, lol).

Youth Glory...?
We managed to win the U21 Cup last season and I'm hopeful we can put a strong showing in this seasons youth campaigns. With Tafer we should be a threat at U19 level and at U21 level Bendtner / Kabore are 21 so at the peak of their powers.

The Jakswans 3 Point Solution

Straw Poll
It seems to me asking around around (I admit this is a straw poll) that a lot of FM08 players fall into three categories:-

1) I'll edit the database and win everything with Man Utd
2) I'll take over Torquay and lead them over 20 seasons to European glory
3) I'll play as Blackburn / Torquay finish 10th every season and just experience the game and enjoy it for that

I'm not for one second saying there is a right way to play it but those three category's roughly cover the appeal. You could be a little bit of one and two or three and one but the mates I know in real life generally fall into one of those category's.

From my straw poll most enjoy taking Swansea to European glory, the area, size of club, etc makes it attractive and possible.

They all love FM and will be buying FM09. The all love the idea of FM Live yet when they get there they end up disappointed. In the beta invites I got five mates (actually three were mates of mates) and the all played it to varying degree's.

The first to pack in was Brian who is type (1). When I asked him he went off on a rant, didn't like this or that, I just felt the bottom line was he liked to escape to with FM and Fm Live wasn't going to allow him to do it.

The other guys were types (2) and type (3)'s sort of middle of the road between the two and they liked it, but in the GW6 crash were on holiday and never got their beta places back. They didn't rave about it but they enjoyed it.

Now I'd hazard a guess that type (1)'s are a lost cause to FM Live it's never going to work out, in fact I'd so far as to say they'd actually be quite passionate in their dislike of the game. Type (3)'s now their the boy's who'll suck it up and type (2)'s in between.

The Football Manager Political Compass
How about that, a political compass for Football Manager! (1)'s are the right, (2)'s are middle and (3)'s are the lefties.

How bizarre is it that Si design a MMORPG that is designed to appeal to the left, if it was me I'd design it for the middle. Aim for the middle even if you miss and hit the left you've still hit something, right?

Let's throw another crazy thing out there, MMORPG wow no piracy worries and if you get it right you've got them hooked, it's bound to be a commercial success. The biggest one is WOW, I've not played it but it seems to me the games design is that you start level 1 and end up level 60, if your good you'll get level 60 fast if not slow. Progress, you will and once you start you won't want to stop.

So base Fm Live on that principle, lets have five levels and unless your brain dead you can easy make level 3, so effectively three levels. Lets design it that it's actually quite hard to be level 4 and really hard to be level 5, in fact lets design it so that unless your really really good or really really patient you'll never get to level 5.

It's a drag
Also lets design it so that the progression, such as it is, is so slow it's barely noticeable. I mean lets make it take six months or even longer.

In WOW terms everyone starts at level 30 and the chances are in six monthes you'll still be level 30 in fact there is a decent chance you'll be level 20. If WOW were deisgned like this chances are it would have failed.

Was there a meeting in Si towers at some point where these ideas were tossed around and this was put forward and someone chipped up 'lets think outside the box'. Hey, your aiming for the box!

Ok next blog I may look at problems and solutions.

Friday, 24 October 2008


Some days ago Wendell got laid off with an injury 7/8 days I thought fair enough I haven't really go that much cover so dipped into wage auctions to find some. Then Bendtner got ruled out for a few days, well it's the close season and I do have a kid that isn't too desperate. Seasons starts all back fit apart from Wendell (still 3 days on him).

Today Bendtner and the kid are out for three days so four days before their 100%. Now is the time to have a short break from FM Live! It feels a bit lame but who honestly wants to watch a trialist and a 16 year old try to play at senior level.

Ohh just logged on and that striker I bought as cover, out for three days as well.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Football Manager Live: Delayed

From the SI forums:-
Hi Everyone.

We're sending all pre-order customers an email today and updating the website with this information.

Here it is first, as promised.

Due to recent issues discovered in the beta, specifically those found in the recent Stress Test, we have revised our game world launch schedule. Due to a few last minute game changes, we have decided to delay the launch slightly and open gameworlds at a slightly slower pace. The dates and times for the gameworld launches are now as follows.

Nov 4th-- Cantona 2:00pm

Nov 6th -- Clough 1:00pm

Nov 7th -- Saunders 12:00pm

Nov 10th -- Fernandez 11:00am

Nov 11th -- Lineker 3:00pm

Nov 12th -- Fowler 12:30pm

Nov 24th --Shearer 11:00am

Nov 26th Blissett 4:00pm

Nov 28th Keane 2:00pm

December -- Butcher

December-- St John

December-- Jackett

December-- Toms

December --Sharp

To those of you in the delayed worlds, we do have capacity to host you in the worlds launching in November. Please feel free to use the forum areas to chat about which world your communities should move to and we'll help you find the right home.
From this website August:-
The way that Si have chosen to announce the release is pretty clever. If the game isn’t up to scratch in October they can just either slow down the release by only giving the green light to a handful of Gameworlds and slowly work towards more until their full public release in February 2009.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Another Dead World

Mass influx of players
For what it’s worth, and I don’t think it is worth much now, a fairly active close season has seen no less than six players have arrived with an Aq Fee of £80k or over. That’s more than half a team! Still only 300 ish active managers left in the gameworld from a starting 1200. So no great shakes really.

I think the best bit of business was Appiah sold him for £800k and brought Neville in for £220k. Which was a bit of a gamble, Neville last season only managed to pull a 6.64 Av Rating but I did a bit of goggling and found a BBC thread where Everton fans were saying he much he sucked in the middle of the pitch and was more of a right back.

I checked he played in the middle for his team last season so we’ll have to see how he pans out in his natural position. Made him captain as well.

Still can’t write about 1.0.1 it’s great but I can’t write about it. Which is a pity as with all the whines and groans in the main forum at the moment the game could do with a boost.

There are loads of threads from new beta testers saying that AI rocks, there is a correlation between form and rank, i.e. a bad run is now due. Sadly it is killing their interest in the game.

Have quite a few out injured whilst the top teams continue with 16 players and get by just fine, doh. Wendell is out for over a week which is a real pain.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Selling the Same Story

ones that want to play FM09 as Man United and win everything are NEVER going to like FM Live anyway.
I know I do bang on about things but on the 18th March I said the game needs a deeper pyramid structure. The eventual game model I have in mind is a simple one top teams gets £350k a day bottom teams £20k a day at least HALF of which comes from the FA’s league.

Get promoted massive boost in income, I think they’ve underestimated how many players would actually enjoy playing from the bottom. The thing is the ones that want to play FM09 as Man United and win everything are NEVER going to like FM Live anyway.

One problem, I know how I’d implement this in a mature gameworld I’d offer free opening months to users and run 2000 user Gameworlds. It’s an easy sell keeps established users busy and offers a demo of the game. The problem is how do you start an empty gameworld.

I think I’d look at allowing established managers from other Gameworlds to start as a 3 star club and just move forward from there. With the bulk of the money coming from being in the premiership / UFFA games by season two the staus quo would then be set.

So what problems would this solve, well for one, progression, it moves away from Fantasy Football and becomes more FM like. It creates proper levels with in the game so 2000 users can compete against each on their own level so will be winning more. Finally it makes it more like football!

Currently in the game nothing really matters so you get relegated from the Premiership of your FA the difference that is going to make to your income is next to nothing. Where is the drama of that killer deadly important game!

Managers will always leave even from the top and that leaves doors open for the newcomers to move up it may be slow or fast depends how good you are.

Finally to get rid of the ‘nothing to do’ the seasons should be a lot shorter.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Football Manager Live: Youth Guide

Shotgun or Sniper Rifle I would say these are two approaches to youth in FM. The Sniper is to have a budget of around £50k a day spot the big regens and pay them as much as £8k a day.

There isn't a right way to do this but my way is shotgun. So I'd still have a budget of £50k a day but for around 30 players.

I think it's important to keep in focus the end game, the end game isn't to win youth competitions although doing this is nice but to produce talent for the first team.

Set up a filter for free agents, Under 17 generally I look for players with a good physicals / high determination / workrate and then technicals which are high in the right area. Example: A defender with tackling of 3 isn't going to work (actually if his concentration, marking and strength are good he might work out but you have to mindful of selling the player)

Bear in mind that a kid who is slow at 16 isn't going to winning 100 metre olpimic medals at 22. So you get a squad together and start playing games, YOU HAVE TO WATCH I have seen the match engine give players a 5 yet they've been a right handful up front or maybe just haven't seen much of the ball.

I find you learn more when losing, who wants to win, does that young superstar go missing when the chips are down or does he really shine then?

The end game as I said is about producing a first team so if a 16yo is better than a 19yo then let the 19yo go. It's a good idea to get to know other FM Live Youth Managers as you can do a cheap deal but agree a high sell on. Trust is key as a low fee with a high sell can allow a manager to do a swap in the process screwing you on the sell on.

Finally, I might have made this point before there are great players in the database and there are the players that are right for your team, finally there are players that are great, right for your team and can be obtained at the right price. Right Player Right Price ALWAYS!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bendtner - A Horrible Mistake

At the time £2.5m was a lot but the transfer market has since picked up and think I read it well. At first he was terrible but morale having seen three first teamers go and a high profile player come in was bound to have a bump.

Now he starts to show his class and Wendell, wow. Upto 7th in Youth and way down in Seniors but results are slowly turning. Badly need some rep and a right winger but sadly no money so not many options.

As a mod I'm in the new Beta Gameworld but not sure if I can talk about it so Shhhhh.

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Shuffle

As I’ve done before I decided to shuffle the deck a little at the end of this season. With us hovering mid table and bouncing between 100th and 200th in the rankings it was a case of what’s the worst that can happen. So we were not going to be damaging any title / promotion aspirations so went a bit early.

I never really liked 5-3-2 it’s boring and the one player that caused the 5-3-2 formation was Balzaretti, even then he’s wasn’t playing as Wing Back Left but Wing Back Right due to Rau not being able to occupy that role.

He’s a great player no doubt about it but on the right he tends to cut in where on the left he’s more likely to play the winger role. Not high rep either despite his £350k Aq Fee.

Jorge an AMC frustrated me as well, a typical AMC often brilliant and often rubbish with Bostock and Kabore also able to play that role he was going as well.

Katongo was one of my early mistakes, not that he’s a bad player, as he does add a lot to the team but not in an early gameworld where every last penny should be going into saving for players who are free agents, his £5k wage could have been spent better elsewhere.

All told nearly £2m transfer fund. Now logic told me to get a striker and an AMR, maybe also look to get rid of Appiah, thing is with football logic often goes out of the window and somehow I managed to talk myself into making a bid for Bentender.

I hoping someone comes in to top the bid as he’s not the right player at all and with wage auctions round the corner I could get much better value. If it does go through I think the effect will be that we’ll win games 3-0 and lose games 3-0 before it would have 1-0 / 1-0.

The kids now have broken into the youth top 10, whoop and we’ve made the final of the XEFA U21 Cup so we’re at least runners up in one FA trophy.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Mid Table

It's a little hard to get all fired up about FM Live at the minute for two reasons; one basically the current incarnation of the Jakswans will be dead in a few weeks time and two we're pretty ordinary and heading for a mid table final league placing and flirting with a place in the top 100.

My crazy theory about rep, rank and fluctuations in form seem to holding up well. We've hit the top 100 and that's too high so down we go. The upshot though is that kids would give you a roller coaster ride so it's not unrealistic.

The kids I've assembled seem to be holding out well and apart from a run of games in an U17 AI comp where we failed to submit a team due to suspensions / injuries would now be ranked around the top 10 at youth level.

Still the single biggest concern I have about the game now is how SI propose to keep these live gameworlds full, I'm sure they'll get it sorted somehow.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

I Suck at Football Trader Live

Well a bit dramatic I'm certainly not very good, the bottom line with the game when all is said and done is it's about trading or timing your finances to perfection.

Assuming everyone auto selected their team at the start and assuming I had average luck with that team so in terms of ability I was ranked 500. From there speculation on the effects that various parts of the game have:-

  • Tactics Effect +-100 Positions - would get you ranked 400, I'm ok with tactics so I think I'd be able to get ranked 450.
  • Scouting Effect +-100 Positions - You would pick up some low budget players and there is an ability to spot them by playing games (stats don't tell you everything).
  • Financial Planning +-100 Positions - If you know how the game works you can time those signings better.
  • Trading +-500 Positions - I've been checking transfers as a mod and simply this is the end game. If you have the players Scouting, Tactics, everything else is irrelevant.
Which explains my ending up where I've ended up in the top 200, I hate selling players slap £1 auction, end of, I really can't be arsed to try and sell them. If you saw some teams just a few weeks in in GW Howe it would make you eyes bleed..... all achieved as they sold players worth £50k for £250k over and over again.

Actually if you took my skills overall I think getting Top 100 is a bit of a result but I do like going youth so the money pumped into this area does cost me quite a lot of rank.

Still I wish I was good at trading, no, correction I wish I wanted to be good at this part of the game, but I do want to play Football MANAGER Live and not Football TRADER Live. Which brings me back to making FM Live in what you want it to be. Despite not being a great trader can I sustain a top 200 position with a very decent youth team....

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Messing About with Vids

We've been ordinary thus far in the Howe Gameworld and there isn't really much to show as a vid. I picked this as we were very lucky to get the result. The home leg was 0-0 and really they should have got a couple of goals at least.

We were down 1-0 to a first half goal and we were pushing hard for the goal that would take us through on away goals. I thought the moment had gone though as this was right at the death.

1-0 to the Jakswans 1-0 to the Jaaakswannnns 1-0….

Actually results have changed somewhat since then but we did pick up a couple of good wins 1-0 in the KOTM tourney. We slipped out of the Gameworld cup to Jordon Coopers Get Sacked FC, a team ranked 24th (ish), an extra time goal and it could have gone either way.

Then we had a minor bad run going down 2-0 to a team at the foot of the XEFA League table it didn’t worry me too much as it was just one of those games. Then we lost again 3-2 but we were 2-0 down so some spirit shown there.

I got to thinking the two 1-0 wins Wendell was injured and Katongo was playing. So I decided to start with him for the next league game, a 5-0 win away from home to team that were 6th sure stopped me in my tracks.

The youth team is going ok effectively it’s an Under19 side so it sometimes gets pushed about. One DC though was really costing us and a horrendous performance in a game we were winning 3-0 and lost due to his silly mistakes and my patience with him was over. Hlanze was duly listed in auction £1 starting bid.

In his defence he is only 18 but when a young 16 year old does the same job it does not bode well for a guy two years his senior. I should have a complete Under17 squad by tonight.

Friday, 3 October 2008

FM Live - Lack of Depth

I’ve seen this criticism levelled at FM Live recently so I thought I do a ‘hands on’.

I really dropped a few clangers at the start of this gameworld. At least four players I could have got the same calibre of player for less daily wage, my guess is around £20k a day and in the early days of a gameworld this is a lot of money.

Then chucking bids in left right and centre I missed out on virtually every player I wanted to sign. However I did manage to grab two good players on relatively cheap wages, namely Balzoretti and Kabore.

As you can see Balzoretti is a wing back and I was playing a 4-4-2, as a left back he’s great but for the money he wasn’t in the game much. So do a I try to trade him for someone else?

Also my midfield was already very strong and although Kabore can play on the win he’s not really a winger.

The obvious solution was to move to a 5-3-2, after a few games it was ok but it wasn’t really happening. The very first thing I noticed that Wellington as the central of the three DC’s was useless, switching him with Braafheld was much better, made sense really as Braafheld is the senior guy.

Having joined the gameworld without any tactics skills I really wanted to turn Balzoretti into forward runs / runs with ball but this isn’t an option without the skills. Another issue is Jorge, nice player an AMC really and a flair player but not one for central midfield.

So eventually 532 Version 2:-

This seems to work ok, it’s hard to break down and good going forward. In FM Live you need a lot of games to know if something is working and then you have to consider is it really working or have we got good form or the other team bad form and vice versa.

Finally another consideration at the moment is a Wing Back Right, Fabio on trial is great going forward but a total liability defensively. Again much consideration on the players available to buy which I haven’t seen any etc but you have to keep your eyes open.

So there you go that’s one squad normally in a game I have five teams Senior U21 U19 U18 U17.

One thing I’ve noticed of late is that I think we’re over ranked (112th and low rep players) but I’m yet to experience the horrendous runs of form of GW6. I wonder if Si have tweaked this just a little bit.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Clever Stuff from SI

A must read is the new Development Blog that SI have up. When I first saw this I thought frankly it sounded cheesy and just, well, rubbish. Then I got to thinking…

I see where their going with this, you can create a stadium that attracts different types of fans. A stadium with corporate facilities will attract corporate fans and a rough and ready jobby, hey maybe even terracing, (it’s not banned worldwide) would attract a bunch of yobs.

Then you have a dilemma the corporate fans kick in a load of cash but the yobs create a hostile environment making your home advantage count more. They are adding are a lot of depth with this as the yobs will love the ‘do or die’ type player and the corporates want to be entertained so will be pulled in by flair and big names.

Naturally the right player at the right club would be fired up more as he would identify with the club and he would become more of an icon. Eventually he could become a ‘free lock’.

So your club now has a chance to develop lot of character, it’s really clever stuff.

I’ve always felt that the match sounds are ok but could be a bit more charismatic and they could do a lot in this area with this update. Drums, restrained applause, chants from the nut jobs.

FM has never been a graphical game but I do wonder how their going to do stadiums, can’t wait to find out though.

Franco - The legend returns

Actually Franco was never a legend I signed him in GW6 aged 32 or 33 and for one season he did a grand job as a target man. He was rarely sensational but functional. Strapped for cash I was looking for a mature big man and when I saw his name I thought I'd grab him. He's done well since no rep to speak off but still his form should be solid at this age.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Boring Boring Jakswans

Well I’ve come to the conclusion that what I really really like about FM isn’t actually winning games so much but what I actually like is finding players. I just love watching a game and arms folded (Martinez style) picking out the ones staying or going.

I think that’s why I like the youth side of the game so much, punt £200 a day and look for a few gems. There is nothing like seeing them a few months later seeing them go on the rampage.

This Gameworld has raging BMF (beta mode fever) players are going for insane amounts and whilst I’m under no illusions as to the length of time we’ll spend in this gameworld I just didn’t get a case of it myself.

This GW is becoming a learning curve for me I really slapped my starting team together and it’s neither a youth team or a senior team. I was already fairly crippled with a couple of mediocre players on £7k wages.

With FA money in hand I was on the look out for players to spice up the squad and everyone was going for silly money. In the end it was bid, lose auction, next. One I got was a £350k Aq Fee Left back who hasn’t any decent rep (I didn’t check), doh.

One glint of good fortune though was a young kid with an Aq Fee of £160k and I got him for £5k a day.

It’s funny as now the Jakswans are more or less in the same position they were at the start of GW6 a competitive side with not much zip.

Still as before there are some silver linings, Wellington a DC is very solid and Wendell despite missing a lot of easy goals has bags of flair.

I don't know if something has changed but I'm yet to hit a really bad run, those games where the odds of you winning are say 2-1 but as you watch the game you slowly realise really the odds are actually 50-1.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Season One: Flat?

We've had a few injuries at youth level which has seen us go a bit flat and a run of bad form at senior level.

Sadly with no money there hasn't been an awful lot I could have done to sort the situation.

In saying that we've now brought in Teddy Richert in Goal. He's not a player with a huge rep but his stats look ok.

The season starts tonight and I will have a little cash to spend but I'm yet to look at anyone that has that WOW factor.

We're shaping up to finish way out the running for a Premiership place and even if we get close to that it's going to take a week or so before it gets exciting.

So that's where we are at the moment heading for mid table mediocrity. Although I keep pitching in I could easily log in two hours a week until the end of the season.

Friday, 19 September 2008

WENDELL Comes Home!

So here they are the starting line up for GW22:-

GK - Belec young kid has good stats for a kid so far pretty solid but will possibly need to look at this during Season One.
DL – Mathues has been dreadful so far still only young at 18 need to look at this soon.
DC – Braafhied plays for FC Twente been great so far 25 still young can play left back as well so gives me options.
DC - Wellington great find already 7+ rating so nice and solid only 19 years old.
DR – not too shabby another kid though but has a great name, only 17.
ML – Cedric ropey start but seems to have settled only 16 and getting 7+
MC – Jorge (I spent most of my starting money in central midfield) has a bit of rep £14k Wage demand plays for Las Palmas in real life.
MC – Appiah captain of Ghana in real life and captain here very strong and solid. (not shown due to injury)
MR – Pimpong! What a great name looks good on paper and has had moments but we’ll see how he goes.
FC – Wendell (yes Wendell) I needed a striker, filtered a trial list by average rating top of the list came this kid. It’s an emotional decision as in a few games he’s been largely absent as I knew he would be at 19. I should have signed a 27 yo old pro but it’s Wendell a Jakswans GW6 legend.
FC – Katongo three goals in seven games isn’t bad but hasn’t made my mouth drop wide open yet

The wage bill is WAY too high and honestly if I wasn’t modding I’d start again but it should be a short run in this Gameworld and modding should be the focus so I’m going to grind through it.

So far results have been fairly good though currently on an eight match unbeaten run.

The start of a gameworld is very slow though with everyone finding their feet also I’m a bit under the cosh having only one weeks worth of skills and I should have six months. Still if we can do ok then this should bode well for beta.

Actually with the gameworld brimming with old pros at FM Live we’ll do well to get top 200.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Don’t try and second guess SI

I had done a major wibble speculating on what SI would do in the short term exploring the possibility that they would likely open up another Gameworld prior to retail.

The stress tests don’t emulate what users do as they auto-select, but when it’s real they query the database lots, so they would need to do another proper test of the games release. Bottom line was that plans were all ready in place and the Jakswans will be leaving GW14 for GW22 tomorrow night.

My cousins Wales Utd now has come on leaps and bounds in GW15 and I fully expect him to challenge for a Premier League position if he stays focused. At the very least he’ll be glad not to have me sitting on his shoulder telling him what to do.

I’m actually not overly bothered about my team in this Gameworld but do want to get to grips with modding. Primarily I view the role as trying to encourage members of the gameworld into the community and making the gameworld I’m in a fun place to be.

However I think we have millions of mods so I can watch more experienced mods for a bit.

Had an idea for a new FA which is a long way down the road but thought I just as well pitch it:-

The Cut Throat FA
Yes we know that normally FA’s like to spread their money about but this FA is all about pumping our UFFA qualifiers with cash.
Conservative with a big whopping C.
Half of our cash will be given out as daily income but ONLY UFFA qualifiers will get prize money.
It adds an extra dimension to your choice of FA if our members are lowly ranked then you could come in and steal the show. If we’ve a load of High Rep teams then the prizes will be huge.
It’s an idea might not have legs but we’ll test the water in retail season 3.

With servers becoming stable and bugs being nailed it looks as if October is now a realistic target for release. My time as a beta tester has been great, I know I’ve moaned about the game but I don’t think Si wanted bland ‘cool’ and hope I’ve somewhere along the line given something back.

The main concern with release is keeping the Gameworlds alive as the drop out rate is appalling. I suspect by the time that gets to be an issue we could see test teams coming in for introductory offer or maybe even a free trial.

It’s not so much what the game is but it’s potential I think the first thing on Si’s list should be themed worlds. One week seasons, regens only, that sort of thing, it doesn’t seem as if current architecture can support this we’ll see.

Actually keener to be a beta tester than to actually play the full game!

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Jakswans are reborn

Yeah! We had the ok to create a temp team Saturday night as long we restarted Monday morning. Wow it was great, although my starting team was dire I nicked four trialists and it started to do much better.

Only played seven or eight games but already was starting to get attached to players, it wasn’t a glorious start as we only won once but still I enjoyed it all the same. We're dead again now though incredibly still waiting for the move to GW4.

It looks like my cousin might be coming back as Aruna Dindane started to perform (I knew he couldn’t be that bad) it was all capped off by a wonder goal where he got the ball wide left beat four players and slapped it home. He was suitably impressed.

I'm gutted in a way as I've been quite impressed with my recent work with his team and think he's got a very solid foundation to move forward with.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Random FM Live Stuff

Sadly I’m not in the new Gameworlds I’m actually not in GW4 either I’m lost. What I thought was a win – win has turned out to be a lose – lose. There I was, hand aloft when the call went out for volunteers. An old gameworld is hard work but I thought well it gets me mod experience and I wanted to show willing and maybe I’d get back into the game sooner.

Si gain as they needed mods in GW4 so I thought they are bound to look after us so it was win – win. Turns out we were pretty much an afterthought and what I did wasn’t that much appreciated so lessen learnt. Actually that sounds harsher than it's meant, I understand we'd be low priority with the game just a month from release.

In the meantime my cousin is in GW15 and with me on his shoulder have guided his every move. Sadly their now rubbish, oops, and he’s talking about packing it in so I’m kind of caretaker manager there at the minute.

I’ve been told either he comes back or Wales United will have to restart and leave so I’m frantically trying to make them better.

I said to him that Aruna Dindane was bound to be great with a few Premiership clubs touting £10m for him, turns out he wasn’t. Oops again!

I have to report that apart from the megalag in the first few hours the game now is lag free and uptime A1.

Somewhere on the forums one of the SI guys said something like ‘without giving the game away…..’ Made me think actually that this is half the fun trying to figure out how it all works and hangs together.

I mean maybe I’m wrong about rep and Fm Live being 50-60% a trading game that’s the game! Bottom line I enjoy picking up players and watching them and taking the gamble if my judgement is right or wrong.

In that FM Live is A1 and now stable as could be. Roll on the Retail!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

How to cheat in Football Manager Live

Cheating in Football Manager live! What’s that you say it must be a definitive guide to the players in Football Manager Live. Actually it’s neither it’s a simple hot tip but I bet it got your attention!

I’ll start with a quick tip that might encourage you to read through this. Captains, what makes a decent captain, influence, determination, aggression, ability, all are important but one of the most important stats is hidden away in FM and that’s player reputation.

To view reputation click your squad then customise view and tick the box reputation. Ok so back to your captain say you have Messi and a few top names but their not captain material their world famous players and you can and pick a low reputation captain, well their not going to follow him are they?

So you need a captain that has all the classic stats and a reputation that’s in line with the rest of your squad. If you make your first star player the captain type then your pretty safe.

Reputation Reputation Reputation

The first, and often the last, mistake many make when approaching FM Live is that their going to Wenger it. So what their going to do is to find the players that offer tremendous value, everyone knows Rooney is awesome but he’s going to cost a lot of money to get and cost a lot in wages. I’ll find a player who’s undervalued and achieve pretty much the same thing the thinking goes.

The rank of a team in a Gameworld is always consistent with the reputation of the players that it has. I have looked a lot and the only slight variations in this are teams with very old squads.

You may argue that’s the way it should be, but then that dispels the Wenger approach. I mean come on despite thousands of Football Manager addicts playing the game no one is able to successfully Wenger it.

No one has come up with the tactic, no one has formed a team from unknowns or put together a stunning youth team that gets around this ranking system. Initially I thought this was a fair deal but when you take stock for a while this is actually quite odd.

How this is done is quite surprising but I’ve done a few experiments over the six months I was in GW6 and had this theory and with it every result didn’t surprise me anymore. I stopped pulling my hair out (I’m pretty bald enough as is!) and it did make the game a lot less frustrating if a little less satisfying.

The tool used is form

Form in football is an important commodity Barnsley’s run in the FA Cup is a typical example of a team overachieving. With there being no way of interacting with the team it’s hard to see how SI could have coded this feature into the game. Random? Not likely.

The best way to describe this is an example. In Season 5 in GW6 I sold four or five players with reputations of High Profile through to World Famous. I put them in auction for seven days but immediately moved them out of the first team to try and establish where I would need to strengthen.

The answer was none, how odd, maybe the defence and although we were marginally worse playing kids the difference wasn’t that great. Eventually the players went and things carried on, a few days later though form took a dive.

The run of results was horrific we went from being ranked 40th to being ranked 180th, how odd though was it that actually according to player reputation that’s where we should have been ranked. After that the team played as it had and maybe we lost a little more but generally we played as I think we should have played.

A few days later I signed a few high profile players (World Famous etc) and oddly I had a great run of form to see us ranked in the top 50 again. After that things settled and we stayed around there.

I’m not having a go at the game; I mean how the heck were SI supposed to do it. The purist might argue it should be eleven men verses eleven men etc and it does kill the scouts dream or the tacticians dream. That’s not strictly true though in between the runs of form then the game is ‘pure’.

It’s at these times that your tactics or scouting ability gets a good test. To my taste it does favour the trader too much but its early days for FM Live and SI will put a lot into the game I’m sure.

The result though if you’ve done a good job in these areas is that you’ll tend to bounce. As your form will be neutral at times you scouting ability and / or tactics will drive you up the rankings and eventually you’ll over achieve and a bad run will kick in.

The conclusion you may draw is that you’ll consider the game totally erratic and maybe throw the towel in but as long you understand the dynamics of it all sanity can return.

It does puzzle me that the reputation variable is hidden away on the player pages and you have to customise a view to see it. Still there is a hot tip and why it’s so important.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Spore is great and FM Live doesn’t look like its October

Well my boy thinks Spore is awesome I’ve tried it myself and I must say it’s a very solid game. Maxis made it so no doubt this is going to be their next franchise I think they’ve milked the sims enough. It’s nice to see him at least discuss the merits of an omnivore rather than an AK47!

I was hoping to have been moved to GW4 by now but oddly the FM Live servers are suffering a major outage by the looks of things. October is just three weeks away so looks doubtful we’ll see a version of the full retail on the 1st October.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Spore What the heck is that!

Been reading about this a bit recently and it seems to be taking the gaming world by storm. 87 is a fine score from Metacritic, Spore on Metacritic.

Looks a nice game for my kids will report back soon with thoughts.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Last night I dreamt I went to..

Team Fortress 2 again, had a few beers and although I was mildy merry and it was a bit blurry. I never really had a deep passion for TF2 just an on - off affair :) so it wasn't be like going back to Battlefield 2 or Quake 3.

The game hasn't changed much and it's still as crazy as it ever was. I haven't quite got the 'twitch' or a competitive PC these days but it was enjoyable all the same.

I do wonder sometimes that I should play these types of games for a long as I could even though I'm just shy of 40 I still think I've got some of the old raw mad skillz knocking around.

Still the game I miss the most is what I regard as my 'war years' :P and Battlefield 2, being a good fighter pilot. There was nothing quite like creeping up on another pilot switching to missles, waiting for good tone and boom!

The best video though is the first one on putfile:-
Jakswans Fighter Pilot Vid