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


Still waiting for transfer to GW4 so feeling a bit neglected at the minute, I'm sure they'll do it soon.

In the meantime we've had numerous Stress tests most of which have lagged out and in work I can only briefly log in and have only the odd few seconds to nose about.

The night before last I was home and it was 6pm and the stress test was working. OMG amazing I thought we should have an hour of this. I made myself a coffee and settled down to scout the database for a squad. Great, nearly a month with no FM and finally an hour to have a go at it again.

I looked at two players signed them provisionally 'connection to server lost'. went on forum, stress test over. *&%^ !**!

Just waiting is getting annoying so I won't be updating until I'm back online.

In the meantime thought I'd have a look at potential competition and really the only thing that comes remotely close is CM Online. The rest look worse than rubbish. So Trackmania and Team Fortress 2 it is then!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

My mate won't buy FM Live

Odd really he’s decent at the game, loves football and plays Fm08 a lot.

First of all his reason, ‘it’s shit’, I wasn’t going to leave it there. I reminded him that he enjoyed some games immensely; he was bouncing around the sales office one dinner time.

‘Yeah but other managers pay too much for players’, well if their paying too much they’ll become uncompetitive I argued. We went on for a while, round and round, discussing the merits of the transfer auction system and wage auctions.

‘I just find it too annoying’, he said as if that was the real deal breaker. Good point I thought as I had also seen the look on his face when he lost a game to a 91st minute goal.

Surely though you have to have lows to have highs, I mean as a Swans supporter I know a lot about this, lol. I mean if you didn’t care about losing then you wouldn’t enjoy winning so much.

‘Maybe but I just hate losing too much’ he closed with.

This guy from Bridgend supports Liverpool, I don’t think he’s even been to Liverpool!

So there you go if you’re from Doncaster and support Doncaster maybe FM Live will appeal if you’re from Doncaster and support Man Utd then don’t bother.

Eesh I wish they'd get my account transferred to GW4 now I'm really bored.

Inter Retirement Manager Interview

Nick Megarity manager of Inter Retirement lead his team to almost legendary status in GW6 as he was regarded as having the best youth set-up in the gameworld. As GW6 was dead and a new world was waiting I caught up with him for a chat.

So Nick I suppose you've played the CM / Fm series a lot but a lot of your players were regens how did you scout players what made you buy the youth players that lead you to No.1?

I tried to sign players that had the basic skills for the position in which they played 2.5* upto 5* I wasn’t worried too much about the potential rating.

So who was your best buy?
My Best buy has to be Alen Kardec who I picked up at the end of season 1 on a wage auction for roughly 40k & went on to be my 1st ever world class player

Which player will you remember most fondly and why?
Diego Sanchez a player that was in my senior side at 18 & could play in numerous positions

A lot of potential managers seem to tire of FM Live quickly what makes the game so addictive for you?
I’ve played some variation of the game since championship manager was 1st released on the good old Amiga. So was already a fan but the thing that really draws me in is the friends I have made in game, with whom I’ve had plenty of laughs

What results/games do you remember most vividly?
My 1st stand out moment was an aefa cup semi towards the end of season 2 ,I had been drawn against Paul McCarthy’s Shenanigans who at the time where romping away with the aefa premier division
The game started quite evenly balanced then my moment came 25 ins in penalty & up stepped my peno king matouko (dc) bang 1-0 managed to hang on JUST till full time for an undeserved victory it took me 10 minutes to calm down after that one!

Losing in the UFFA CWC final to Sassine in Season 4 was a bad day 2-0 down by half time changed to 433 & scored a consolation but didn’t perform well at all that day

Winning the UFFA Youth world cup in season 5 was a good day even though it was only on penalty's in a game I totally dominated against Intergalacticos

I don’t want to remember the UFFA Psycho Youth Cup
3x losing finalists (GRRR) (hey I seem to recall the Jakswans bagging two of them finals)

for 3 seasons i did dominate the XFA feds Youth competitions

If you could sign any youth player excluding your own who would it be?
Diaz A GK from a Side I can't remember best gk I had (albeit on loan) (Diaz = Jakswans legend)

Salih claims the title of undisputed youth champion of GW6 yet he won no UFFA titles, your thoughts?

Salih's side was hard to beat in my early stages on the youth side of things, but once I built my squads I pushed him out of top spot on the rankings not bad when I was running u21,u19 & u17 sides to his u21

He only competed in 1 UFFA season because he kept changing feds during pre-season but in the 1 he did compete in I beat him in the final as I’ve already mentioned earlier in this interview

So the release date approaches I assume it’ll be a strong youth set-up for you?
I’m thinking of retail doing seniors & starting up with just an u17 side which all being well will give me plenty of time to get those training skills learnt so that once there 20/21 they will be well developed & ready to kick some arse & let me dominate from then on in.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

GW4 it is, and GW’s 14 and 15 don’t start

Whoop I’m in GW4, well not actually in but the paperwork is being done on the transfer. So now instead of waiting for GW14 to start I’m now waiting to transfer, gah out of the frying pan….I though it would be simple and quick but apparently not.

SI have announced that GW14 won’t be released the middle of this week but sometime next week. I’m not surprised although a little concerned about October as a release date looms.

With serious withdrawal symptoms I bought FM2008, it was only £9.99. I haven’t really played CM / FM since the Amiga days, I’ve bought it since and played demos but I never really got the bug. I remember why….

The game tries to simulate man management and with these being a highly complex thing to do in real life just fails miserably to come close. An example would be Roberto Martinez, now Martinez is a very clever man and knows football inside out.

I’ve watched Martinez though on the touchline he stands there arms folded the total opposite of most other managers. Other managers stomp up and down and shout and scream to try and get his team to play the way he wants. Martinez calls a player over and tells them what he wants done, it’s all very calm. He nods towards the bench and signals for a sub to start warming up or to summon his assistant over.

He is obeyed period, he must have charisma to command that sort of obedience. How on earth can you hope to simulate that with a mouse click to select ‘encourage team’? I’d much prefer if this side of the game wasn’t in FM at all. In FM Live it isn’t, the interaction is with other managers and with them being real people simulation isn’t needed.

In other news the first hint at FM2009 promises a 3D match engine, there is a video on YouTube which lasts 7mins and there was around 5 seconds of a 3D match engine. My main thing is can we have this in FM Live PLEASE!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

New Podcast and GW14... Well maybe not

Chief Mod, Richard Tebbutt (not sure of his exact title) made a call for mods in an older gameworld and desperate to get back I found myself with my hand aloft. My thinking is that there are two sides to my time in FM Live the game and the modding. I know (ish) the game but I’m still green on modding.

We’ll see if I get picked.

As expected it looks doubtful that the new gameworlds will be up Tuesday / Wednesday as of yet there is no feedback coming from SI. However they promised to look after the chaps that lost their worlds so I’m sure it won’t be long.

Slightly more worrying is the stress test that we had today. As I’ve said they are miles more fun then before but sadly things lag like heck till it gets unplayable. I spent 30 minutes logged in and spent two minutes actually doing something.

I say it’s worrying as GW14 / 15 has a lot of active managers that could make a stress test look like a walk in the park.

Jordan and Co from Getsacked have another podcast out and they do an awesome job. This week (hopes it’s every week now guys!) they discuss the price of FM Live and towards the end of the podcast Jordan did paint a potentially grim picture.

His thinking was that really the retention rate come release would be quite the same as in Beta. Furthermore whilst in Beta you always had an influx of new beta testers but once you were paying for the game you would not want to join an old world.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Gameworld 14

Si are taking a step in the direction of stress testing in the new Gameworlds. Five Gameworlds were lost in their crash but they are only creating a two to replace.

I think Tuesday was touted as being opening day but this being FM Live I’m expecting a small delay maybe Wednesday or Thursday.

I think the idea is that the 2000 odd joining will be super active and thus we’ll do a mini stress test. Personally I can see the server crashing or at least becoming unplayable but it’ll help SI focus on the issues that cause this so it’s not all bad.

Assuming we get to play for any length of time and are not just waiting for the next patch that’ll sort it out (seem to have been waiting fir that for six months now) then I’ve been considering the strat to employ at the start.

There is an exploit of trialing players but it doesn’t really do it for me so I think I’ll do what I did last time and go for the slow burn.

I think many will just go guns a blazing as in theory it’ll only last a month, but even that proves to be true I shall want to approach like it’s the full version.

I need to spend a lot of time learning the mod tools and how to mod although I suspect a lot of common sense should be used. Mmmm that's me buggered then :)