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.