Friday, 31 December 2010

Minecraft

Oh no I have got the Minecraft bug I caught it by accident. What a truly stunning game the graphics are awful the gameplay open ended, hours fly by like they did when I started playing games as a kid.

Best £10 I have spent this year!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Other Stuff, Poker mostly

Still on my extended break from FML although I keep an eye on the forums, you ever seen a car crash about to happen? You do not really want to look but somehow you can not turn away.

In other recreational computer type stuff I have been dabbling still with Need For Speed World, very casually the odd go of Trackmania which remains a dam fine game, the odd blast of Bejeweled Blitz and losing mostly on Betfair at Texas Hold Em Poker.

Poker it seems to me is mostly about patience but in any session seems to be produce moments of high drama. Case in point was an evening I played last Friday.

Over a few hours I lost, then won back what I lost, and then decided to leave, this was after all a fairly productive evening by my standards :) So there I was waiting for the big blind so I could refuse it when what is this, I get dealt a couple of Queens.

Bugger, you have to play that, of the ten on the table 8 folded but one guy raised. The flop game with pretty low cards and he raised again, I was convinced he also had a high pair given his raising before the flop.

Another card and another raise, I have to go with it, but what pair did he have. The River card arrives and it is an ace he goes all in.

You have less than ten seconds to make the call, I think he is bluffing there is no way he has 3 aces as he would have gone more earlier but is his pair better than two Queens.

Sod it I do not think it is, so I call.

Pair of Jacks, get in!

I play for pennies really so a cheap form of fun.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Swan Song Part 3

Ok October the Council and News of the reset and a long epic post pretty much repeating what I had said for the last 18months. However a reset, they would finally get this game nailed. Basic issues like the churn rate would be solved and everything would be rosey right?

Lets not be all doom and gloom the injury and new team rep systems being trialled in beta were a step forward.

The economy is important this dawned on me during the reset that one of the greatest issues facing FML is inflation. SI's management of this is just appaling here is how it has gone down:

  1. Pre Reset - I said Stadiums will kill the GW economies, SI said no.
  2. Reset - Teams incomes need to match the player database to control inflation, at reset income levels are such that GW's will experience Hyper Inflation. SI said no.
  3. Season 2 After Reset - Do something about inflation now it will be less painful than doing it in season 6. SI said no.
  4. Season 6 After Reset - Your proposals to change Aq Fee to the high Sign On Fee will crucify some economies second guessing the economy is too dangerous do not implement this change. SI said no.
  5. Season 7 After Reset - After some of the economies went into meltdown do not attempt to tweak income as you will never get it right. SI said no.
Now these changes are not minor tweaks to a game these are raw basic changes that change the game on a massive scale. Getting something like this wrong once is unforgivable, but FIVE TIMES, they have been wrong five times now (well four as they haven't yet implemented their latest botch up). The were wrong compared to me, AN AMATEUR.

I am going to cut this short, the real issue with FML is the Gameworlds die. With a bit of imagination you can create a rags to riches type game. This would have mass appeal if you get the numbers playing then everything else can fall into place and FML can go from strength to strength.

One day it will happen it is sad to see the game yet again fail. maybe there is life in it yet after all if you can get the numbers up it can limp on. However if you read my Practical SEO Walkthrough this was posted over a month ago.

To recap, one the big search terms for football manager is Online Football Manager. Now this is a very commercial term and I would suggest that if SI changed the title tag of the FML Homepage to contain this text as a Page Rank 5 site they would rank highly for it overnight.

Look even despite the marketing and the spikes Football Manager Live still does not hit those highs.

Swan Song Part 2

Jeez I am only at March 2009 I think FML reached on of its high points here with the launch in beta of the new tactics system. WWFan and Millie were instrumental in getting it in and it was the sort of upgrade, to my mind at least,where you used it once and then thought how on earth did we manage without it.

By April I had started to Org in beta the NFA and changed it to a ladder league system which I still think would be the best way to do FA's but we did at least get a slightly watered down version which still lives on in terms of the EFA.I think I would accept the blame or the credit for that one.

During that time I said this:-
If success or failure is say being in the top 100, of a thousand managers only 100 can be successful. So 900 will fail, so how can you possibly design a game where all 1000 are in the top 100, you can move the goalposts around a bit or even create new ones, ultimately though there has to be losers for there to be winners.

I'd say you'd fanny about on and on, going around in circles trying to make it fairer for everyone so every manager has a chance to be successful. If they were not successful they'd move on or give up.

Ultimately, bottom line, you can't design that game.

You can design a game where as long as managers follow some simple guidelines they can become a big club and become successful, enjoy their time in the sun as it were. Eventually though as many clubs progress you'd have to have a system in place to allow managers to move. Otherwise you become top heavy again.

So back to the thread if the game is minnows to giants or rags to riches why give new managers a boost? Then it becomes 'not quite rags' or 'a fairly average club to giants'.

So to labour the point, "Ultimately, bottom line, you can't design that game" SI are still trying though!

By May 2009 I was starting to get a little despondent, I was pitching the same storey and first got seriously stuck into things like inflation and the other topic that has been common to this blog, rags to riches.

June 2009 and does this sound like deja vu
There is now a very strong undercurrent of unrest on the forums and in Gameworlds the managers left are smarting a bit. Pretty much you enter a gameworld with a long term plan only as it comes to fruition to see the gameworld dead or dying, at the very best limping along.

Yet SI have said there is a plan, only they can't say what it is they have to 'get permission'. Scratching my head what would you need to get permission for, reading between the lines it's an SI idea that needs to get approved by Sega.
Now I read that SI are paying close attention to the situation in GWs and cannot say what they plan to do but hey they are listening. Does anyone have confidence in them now?

Well have a look at just one month later they announced their big plan!

There are a lot of complaints about GW activity, SI managed to keep these quiet during May / June as they were announcing something 'soon'. The announcement came in the form of free trials, that kept the mob at bay for a few weeks. I think there is a slow realisation that in fact trials are not going to do much so the posts are getting angry again now.

Some are a bit over the top and fairness SI / Sega have said this is top priority and they have plenty of ideas just nothing concrete yet. Taking my fanboy hat off this has been an issue since beta for at least a year. With the best will in the world having a few good ideas but nothing concrete is that good enough?

Eighteen months later and we are back in the same position, was this caused by 1.65 and bonkers increases in sign on fees or was it the more sensible wage demands. Actually Turk was already dying it started at 800 active managers (signed in last 7 days) and just six months later was 500 odd.

So the dying of Turk GW situation was not caused any economic meltdown or opening too many GWs. Its cause is more fundamental, it simply does not have enough appeal.

I will not quote it in full here but FML Fail it seems incredible but I do recall pitching a full on rags to riches idea and getting told it was lower league manager. Distinction between the two was lacking I think.

Onto September can you believe the game a year old the old jump FA's for easy games exploit is still running, still it was sorted after the reset but that was two years from beta to doing something about it. To underline that issue Rage Like T Bag post. To recap I joined Lofthouse in Season 8/9 to find the Qualifiers going on, after a fairly dismal first season for the second season I found myself in the third tier and due to FA jumpers that third tier was stronger than the top tier. You could not make it up!

The game had been out a full year now and my patience was wearing thin, I can see the posts changing from being optimistic and thinking that SI knew what they were doing, to suspecting they actually did not know what they were doing, actually they were making it up as they went along.

Ok Part Three Soon.

NFSW and Stuff

The Police bug is still there in NFSW it has been a while now, still enjoying the game though just bought a Subaru Impreza for £160k very nice except the Mazda RX7 I still own is quicker top end. The Maxda is fully kitted out and the Scoobie needs to be, so need cash so continuing to grind.

Still keep an eye on FML I notice that in Beta that if things go through you will be able to grind in there. Basically get players increase their rep and cash in, I know this makes it easier for top teams but at least a form of grinding will exist.

That is suitably vague news about a new beta feature.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Stuff, Work, FML, Need For Speed World

Although the administration drama with the company I work for looks set to slip into next week it is almost certain that the job has gone.

So I started today canvassing for work and it is far from doom and gloom, at a push I can get a job, it is just a debate on if it is the right job. Still a day of looking and to get an offer on the table is not bad going!

Anyway this is my gaming blog so let us not blabber on about that.

Still playing Need For Speed World although the bug where the Police disappeared still exists although restarting the game makes it go for the first chase. It is a full on arcade game.

Noted Jordan's comments on my massive post on the history of FML and I have commented that I felt it was a bit self indulgent but I am also considering that maybe it still made an interesting read and I could do with something to take my mind of how to sell my Adwords madskillz :)

Might bring that back and do the follow up as well.

Enjoyed the FML Radio which I missed at broadcast time but downloaded later, direct link to download, right click save as.

They got some real community guys on there, the two Martin's and Nick Megs, all legendary FML blokes. I think the classic exchange was:-

'What are you wearing?'
'Errr my Swindon kit'

Class!

Monday, 29 November 2010

What Next

I think I am a casual gamer these days, around March of this year I started buying domains and they are now earning a respectable sum.

The company I work for is going into administration so will need to focus on this and getting some freelance work over the next few days.

I have two personal blogs one is a ranty type thing where I just whitter on www.jakswan.co.uk and the other is little more professional www.markphillipsit.co.uk.

FML All Done

FML and I have decided to split it is not going to be a messy break up we have just grown apart :) I had done a long post looking back at the history of the blog which I enjoyed doing but descended into what was a long whine.

Overall I think the game has got massive potential and wish SI and the subscribers the best of luck in the future.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Swan Song!

Aye time has come to depart from FML not a hissy fit kind of way I think I can stand tall and say I gave some decent constructive criticism, it may have been harsh but it was always constructive.

Overall I have enjoyed the experience even if it go immensely frustrating at the end. So a little recap of the last two years of this blog. Lets us travel back in time to March 2008 in which I was rambling on:-
There is one big feature I'd like to see and that is to allow a Manager to hand over his club to another Manager (not my idea originally saw it on forum). I played lots of different CM/FM games and I enjoyed taking a non-league team to a higher level, managing a high profile team or returning the glory days to a club. After a while it became 'job done' and you'd want to start again or move on. You could limit it so that only the original Manager could change the team name. This would add a lot of longevity to the game.
Ha!

More of the same in March 2008 when I started to wibble on about the pyramid structure in Broken Dreams:-
The game has a very flat Pyramid structure, the gameworld is broken down into Federations, each federation has a 'Premier League' and then up to four feeder 'Division One's'. The difference in money between a top team and bottom is no where near as pronounced as in the real world. You could afford to put together a decent outfit and challenge all but the very top clubs very early on. I think potential football managers is a bit like Driving, ask anyone, Are you a good driver? More importantly ask any man and I bet you get very few negatives.
Hey that is a full two years ahead of the FA's getting sorted out, two years! Moving on to April 2008:-
I don't know if I'd just started I'd have honestly stuck with the game..

This is a massive problem facing FM Live if you ask me. I've already covered it previously but how many will play if their in the bottom 300?
Well it would appear not many, with GW6 launching in March by May I was posting that GW6 was on it's last legs.
It's surprising how quick a GW goes into decline. Every season so far we've had a fresh influx of managers to replace the idle ones. SI have to get new Gameworlds up and are not bringing in fresh faces this close season. Combine this with five or six previously very active managers leaving, the close season, and the Gameworld feels it's on the floor.
Said this in a recent podcast and blog, there are lots of numbers in FML, JP, Wage Demands, Inflation, Transfer Values but the biggest most important number is the number leaving.

At the time I raised this I was told 'it is beta will be different when people are paying for it'. If you cannot give a game away for free then you have issues.

By July I was whining about form or morale which prompted me to write this:-
  • Bad form if you have it then would like to be able to see it on the pitch not see my team dominate X number of games then be unlucky. Although my team is having bad form currently and not playing so good so would much prefer that!
  • Would like to be told I have it, dressing room morale seems unlinked to it. A simple message before the game along the lines ‘the team isn’t confident today due to having a lack of experience in the squad’
  • Wage Auction enforced 50% sell on, end of contract wage auction has 40-50% sell on clause, should prevent bidding to sell.
  • Injuries are turned up to be realistic but only for official games. So if you get into UFFA then you have a real life dilemma of having strength in depth. This is stickie injuries from games they still work exactly the same way. Competitions have ‘Injury Realism field’ and FA’s must run their senior leagues with this set to realistic. There are teams in GW6 with 14 players!
Two Years early! Onto August :-
However looking back at GW6 (these figures are pulled from memory) then we’ve had around 3000 users in the last six months and only around 300 remain active.

A retention rate of 10% doesn’t bode well so I’ve two concerns from this. First, if you play a long term game with a youth policy you could quite easily be playing in an empty gameworld in a few short months. Second, are there enough potential customers who’ll get the bug and keep playing.
Ohh that big question again that is prior to the games release. Just prior to retail release October 2008

Numerous posts repeating myself massive concern on how SI will keep the GW's full. Posed the question to them directly, no reply, silence.

Again December 2008:-
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.
Jeez when I read this stuff back it is a wonder I have not gone long before this. Was not always right though in January 2009 I said:-
SI have always seeked and appreciated feedback from the community but you can be left in no doubt SI have a vision for the game which won't be changed no matter how many toys fly out of the pram.
There was no vision they were making it up as they went.

Have to have a chuckle though Big Stadium Warning this change is going to be massive. I was told by an SI employee I was being dramatic, did it have a massive impact, ohh yes it did. Also see Deflation huge.

By February I was having a go at SI for this crazy new policy of new GW being open to only new subscribers it was so bloody obvious that was flawed.
SI now have a new subscriber only policy to new gameworlds, 'omg hold the phone' I bet there are a good few old pros literally salivating at the prospect. So it's not really going to be a newbie only gameworld, then the actual newbies who for quite genuine reasons would like to move to a new gameworld WON'T BE ABLE TO!

Good grief.
Just going to take a breath here and move on through the blog history more tomorrow. However around February I seem to recall posting in beta, mod (I was a mod then) and suscriber forums that opening too many worlds was a big no go.

This is February, by October and November I was proved right with the reset being announced and in SI's own words 'we opened too many worlds'. I seem to recall a podcast around that time and Sega marketing guru saying 'it was not a diaster'.

I beg to differ, by SI's own admittance the very future of the game was called into question.

If you read back over the blog you will see I have gone from coming up with ideas, being positive and supportive to slowly over time losing all faith in the direction the game is taking.

Today a comment was made to which it was the final straw the sentiment was that users who were critical of the game should cease playing. I'm a tough old bird and it is water of a ducks back however it is obvious that the points I put forward are treated with contempt.

Contempt is too strong a word but bottom line they do not want me beta testing from that comment I suspect they just want managers who are going to say 'great job SI'.

I will rap this up tomorrow as I stated in the opening I am not leaving in a hissy fit more a sense of frustration with the potential of the game not being realised.

I do sincerely wish SI, the current subscribers, the game overall a great future and I still harbour hopes that one day it will become massive.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Who the Frick is Jakswan anyway

Ahh just gone off on one in Beta at another crazy scheme to fix the economy cannot say what the details are obviously, but again I am at odds with what seems like much of the beta community and SI's ideas.

When I started this blog I felt a bit of a prat having a go after all this is SI, these guys are my heroes but I have come to the conclusion, as I have posted several times that SI are like ID games.

ID invented First Person Shooters and they are the most intelligent 3d engine game designers around. What FPS games dominate that market today? Halo, Call of Duty, Half Life variants, and how many of those games did ID software make? ZERO.

The reason for this is that as clever as ID are they just can not do the gameplay. Totally convinced that SI fall into this category, the FM franchise is legendary the database is wonderful, the match engine unparalleled and at their ability to create a football simulation they are untouchable.

The game though is user driven, they make the simulation the user creates the game in the provided simulation.

So to the title, who am I to criticise?

Top Football Simulations created by Jakswan = Zero
Top Football Simulations created by SI = Years and years of success

Top Football MMO's bolloxed up by Jakswan = Zero
Top Football MMO's bolloxed up by SI = One

So it is a draw! (tongue in cheek there)

I'm not saying I could design the game, what the heck does a online marketing geek know about games but I do feel quite qualified to have a pop.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

FML The Dazed Boxer

Been right through it these last two weeks so thoughts of FM are on the back burner. The forums are ravaged currently with a load of negativity as 1.6 starts to bite. I stand by the wage increases unless they are bugged (but don't think they are) but the signing fee's are crippling the economy now and still can not see logic in them being as high as they are.

Still it is not my ball and who really gives a monkeys if I am proven right again :) Actually I would quite like to be proven wrong as the game would be in good hands.

Back to the forums though they are naturally filled with stammering logic, e.g. youth wages are high lets create Youth Academies, but, that is not why youth wages were high.

So you end up there is not much money in the GW let us pour more in, ohh it is too much let us take it blah blah.

Beta though now looks quite good I am a bit puzzled by the expectations though, e.g. SI say after 1.7 they will promote the game but I do not see 1.7 as deal maker.

After January bit of a change of direction career wise so I best get back to fretting about that.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Need For Speed World V5 Bugged

Ha, other cars pop up then instantly disappear so it is pretty bugged sadly. Still enjoying though especially for the price, extra - actually been fixed now.

FML think recent changes to beta mean it is mostly decent stuff there although I think the changes to nations and youth academies is dreadful, but we will not know if this is going to work out for the best or worst for some time.

Overall 1.7 is one step backwards but two forwards, reading the forums though it would seem like FML needs to be taking leaps not steps.

Next few weeks and my work-life is going to change but I guess that would bore the socks off everyone. Still buying domains and now doing nicely!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

FML Three things in 1.7

Cannot say what they are exactly but so far my thoughts are, one is good, one I am neutral, one is massively bad.

Moving on Need For Speed World the graphics are not exactly cutting edge they are from NFS of a few years back, the multi player part is ok, it is very arcadey but it is great fun.

Seems the most fun way to level up is to taunt the police then get away, the more damage you cause the more police cars you manage to wreck, the greater the rewards. It is a cartoon style of mass violence and carnage, totally over the top but so far I keep going back for more.

If I could get my son of the XBOX for more than ten minutes I would consider buying the latest Need For Speed as reviews of that look amazing.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Need for Speed World

I tried Black Ops and it nearly killed my laptop, I would get 5fps at times. Not to fault the game it's no exactly a high spec PC so I've been scratching around looking for something to play.

It's like I've got an itch to play something with lots of action, I doubt the latest Need for Speed will run but then I stumbled upon Need for Speed World. It's an arcade game so forget sim type driving but I did have some fun with it and runs fine on my laptop.

Version 5 coming out soon, my main gripe currently is not being able to configure a controller, which is a bit of a deal breaker but I shall keep an eye on this one.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

What the Heck is Potential anyway

It's no secret that potential is getting an overhaul in 1.7 exactly what to I can't say however it did get me thinking what is potential.

I appreciate it needs to be in the game otherwise the database would be raging out of control however in reality it doesn't exist does it?

A player potential in reality is:-
Potential = Players Personality + (Raw Ability/Age) + Physical Stats + Genetics
In the real world some things are subjective, ability... is Gerrard better than Torres as a player, perhaps you can measure technical skills but using those skills under pressure, the footballing brain not so much. Physical stats you can measure, personality is subjective.

Players like Platt, Ian Wright obviously got overlooked never happens in FM.

Over SI's history they have captured this subjectiveness by hiding the stats so why did they start to reveal PA. It's a very gamey feature that should remain hidden, in both FM and FML.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Taking Stock

My last post was tongue of cheek and from reading beta forums none of those gameplay elements will be in the game in the foreseeable future. None of those features really seem that exciting and one makes the game much worse.

Only my opinion though however I did have the opinion that the game wasn't ready 2 years ago as Beta GW's were in perpetual decline. Everyone said 'it will be different when managers are paying for it' but of course that wasn't true.

I also was of the opinion that opening new worlds during the first year of live was a recipe for disaster and I point to the reset. A disaster is strong language but no amount of spin will convince me otherwise.

After the reset the beta forums livened up and I started by trying to talk about this issue, 'why are GW's dying', and 'FML can't sustain the numbers', even Jordan;s podcast the marketing guru from Sega 'we need to make the game more sticky'.

Were any changes meant to impact this though? I suppose returning stars but was that the issue... I've long stated that one issue is massive inflation, your starting £500k on the day a GW opens compared to £500k in season 5 clearly isn't the same.

However I don't think it has really been inflation as enemy number one. I think the issue is that for most managers they are destined to be a lower league manager or simulation manager. Even if your a Premiership team are that many happy with doing a Fulham and being one of the also rans?

I think SI even said that there isn't that many that want to be playing this type of game.

Again though this is my opinion and subjective, my record of creating games is zero so am I the person to criticise?

If I said Alex Ferguson is a rubbish manager you would point to his trophy cabinet, if SI could claim 50,000 subs then case closed.

I still like the game once they sort out these silly massive fees to sign players I will get another sub but I am under no illusions that the GW I enter will be doing a slow death.

On a more positive note:

Cardiff 0 v 1 Swansea

GET IN!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

FM Live 2012 A Day in the Life

It's November 2012 and what a whirlwind years it been. I started in the old GW Ramos under the new Golden Start rule and one of my mates, Fred started there as well.

We both decided as a side project that we would help each make India a stronger footballing nation during our time in Ramos so we both built YA's and I took control of the U21's whilst he headed up the seniors.

The first few seasons were hard but got some respite by the news that Fred managed to do have a very good couple of seasons at International level slightly boosting our YA's.

In our third season with a maturing youth team backed up by a few bargain players we earned promotion back to back in season 4 and 5. At U21 International Level we scraped in the finals! Fred almost made it at Senior level.

By season 9 after a few promotions we got to the Premier League another manager joined our Indian project and now heads up the U19 squad and we're sure in the next three seasons or so I think we can get on squad to the International Finals.

Now a lot of teams that were in the Premiership have moved to other GW's with the benefit of a Golden Start so we're in the hunt for titles as my squad hit their peak.

A lot has changed in the last year there is much more to do with Internationals taking up a lot of time scouting players and liaising with other managers that have Indians in their squads.

It's been a great year with a great story but in the next few seasons I think I'm going to start it all over again. We've taken India and our club as far as it can go.

SI have problems though, there are 50,000 subscribers for the game with a long waiting list and they're struggling to fit them all in!

Following Logic of The New Sign On System

So now players cost loads more than they did I was looking for a substitute type MC in Coppell. I've a few bob so I'd splash out on a HHN or World Famous if one popped up.

Otherwise I'd settle for a sub just to tide me over so look at this fella:-
Pretty mundane not really worth much as a new team maybe borderline first team as a Premiership team on the bench.

To Sign this player at £5k wage it will cost £750k!

So just then trying to follow the knock on effects of this. Transfer Auctions more desirable I suppose but your at the mercy of the GW. Youths offer much more value if you can create your own sub like the player in the picture from your YA then he's worth a lot more.

This doesn't do any favours to new teams but that's the way it goes I guess.

Friday, 5 November 2010

New Podcast

Just half edited the next podcast and it's quite a good one I think with both Martin and Nick being extremely knowledgeable guests.

Thom during the cast said the game is more rounded now and I think he's right although my major beef with it currently is that SI may have inadvertently made it very easy for top teams.

I'd go so far as to say if I had my way I'd drop Signing On Fee to previous Aq Fee levels and remove any compensation to teams losing players in wage auctions. Wage Auctions need to be a risk if their not a risk then it destroys that game mechanic.

Wait and see isn't a tactic that appeals an awful lot, I was almost ready to pay for another sub but seeing the current price of players is too much of a worry so I'll wait and see :)

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Lord of the Rings Yuck

I've no doubt it's a dam good game but for me the Wizards and all that just don't do it. I'd quite like to play a MMOFPS with some PvE stuff but RPG doesn't do it for me at all.

I'm almost tempted to do an FPS game but I'm concerned by the feeling I had from Quake after I returned to that game many years later. Somehow the levels felt haunted, probably from memories of past battles, mind I was totally hardcore when I first played FPS online.

However I think I'd get that feeling from Quake3 or TFC (less hardcore), it's still there to be played but you know it'll never be quite the same and that has just a touch of sadness.

FML news - we just recorded a podcast with the usual gang and modding legends Martin White and Nick Megs. I think we managed to be upbeat despite my moaning. Do appreciate the mods do a lot and I got a sense of what they contribute.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

LOTRO Maybe get into that?

Noticed that today LOTRO have gone free and I'm currently downloading what looks to be a 10Gb file, jeez. I've steered clear of the wizards, elfs, and goblins as it really doesn't appeal but there must be something in this gametype that I've missed so giving that a roll.

FML: Accounts now closed in Live, just Beta, read about new changes coming in, thought I'd try and post positive even though I wasn't convinced about the changes but lets try and be upbeat I thought.

However a few other beta testers also showed concern so I then did a long negative post, hopefully constructive. I think trying to upbeat isn't any good at all. To be beta test you should say what you think?

So read about two new changes coming in 1.7, one I think is bonkers and worse thing ever the other I'm not convinced about.

Previously I wouldn't be so down on it all as I'd be thinking that SI had a big plan up their sleeve so it'll all work out in the end. After two years though this has never happened so I'm not terribly hopeful.

Me and FML have had a good run lets be fair, it has been my main game for a long time and if SI keep at it one day it'll sell bucketloads, for now though I'm looking for something else to play.

LOTRO maybe?

Friday, 29 October 2010

FML Concepts

I've added a page outlining exactly what I would do as of now to fix FML. When I say fix lets say broaden it's appeal.

FML Game Concept

It won't happen but at least it's out there. I'm becoming more and more convinced that SI need a popcap type of personality to get this game where it needs to be.

Plants V's Zombies has pretty average graphics is very silly but it is a great game.

End of An Era

Well that's it then, two subs have expired and whilst I'm not leaving the game as I'll be beta testing as long as SI want me about it still seems odd to not have a paid subscription.

Although due to *gasp* a bug the accounts remain active, sigh.

It does seem that it's moved away from casual friendly recently and this does tempt me back but it's not quite enough. If Internationals come back I'd defo go back to paying.

In all honesty I do feel like I'm getting half a game for free as Coppell is very close to retail in many ways. However I did feel like I was paying for half a game for the last year or more so I guess it all evens out in the end :)

I think truthfully that they should only allow beta testers in if they have a paid for sub as clearly there are some in beta that are just there to play.

One thing I can't be accused of is not giving feedback, they might not like the feedback but they get it just the same :)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

1.65 Changes

1.65 From a long way

I've a very limited connection on board this ship Oasis of the Seas (biggest cruise ship in the world) but I've been reading the forums and 1.65 sounds like a complete and utter disaster.

In Coppell we had it for a week or so prior to it going live and I did have some questions about the new signing on fee thing. Didn’t really have chance to give feedback.

If you thought 1.65 was bad wait till you see what their planning for 1.7, a few beta testers have already given feedback along the lines of 'omg this is bad'.

If you look back at previous reactions to patches if there is a mild resentment to it at beta level the ones paying for the game will go ballistic.

Morale Changes - I welcome this if it's more transparent seems a bug has crept in where extreme morale is experienced very easily.
Team Talks - These either have a massive impact on performance or make so little difference you just as well not use them.
Sign On Fee - It's easier to understand, say what? Easier to understand.... baffled, I can't honestly see what was wrong with Aq Fee really although big lumps of cash leaving the GW is welcome. So I'm neutral on this one although just changing the name of Aq Fee would have been easier.
Wage Demands - Totally agree with this.
New ME - Not around to test but it can't be a disaster for everyone.

All things together seems logical that the old teams based on super youths would suffer adversely in this patch. Then would then get bad morale so experience a double whammy.

These same teams would have lower than average rep which would correct itself quickly and it's another downer for them as wage demands rise quickly.

So I'm not really surprised at all the negativity personally my main gripe is with the sign on fee change. Mainly because it involves trying to code something that tries to second guess the market value of a player.

It's not a deal breaker though, none of the things are, and with rising wage demands a mass of cash will leave the GW.

For my money had the left Aq fee unchanged, taken PA/CA out of the equation and just relied on rep, the market would have corrected itself with rising wage demands.

Now what I suspect will happen is that SI might have overdone it so then try to undue it find they've gone too far and constantly end up adjusting things in an effort to control the economy.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Plants v Zombies

Only just got this what a game no wonder it's won so many awards. Come on Popcap! Android needs it, why the heck are you supporting the silly iPhone it's old news.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Nice things

So I promised to say a few nice things about SI in the interests of balance and to try and stop being a grumpy old fart, so here goes.

Their still batting, the reset was a knock-back and the game could have gone but SI do have a hunger to get it right they could have thrown in the towel so credit where credit is due.

The do engage with the community and if you come up with constructive criticism they will often respond directly to the concern.

The database remains the best and combined with the ME the game can still capture something of the essence of football.

FML if your new to it there is a lot to learn so £5 isn't too shabby if you put a good ten hours a week in.

They will admit their mistakes and hold their hands up.

So see it's not all bad, I suppose on balance I'm overly critical but your not going to get something done by saying well done over and over.

Nice to Tom going strong on his Soapbox Blog was disappointed that he said he'd had enough.

From Tuesday I'm off for three weeks, when I travel sometimes I post even more as chilling out by the pool typing something is a type of chilled out reflection I find oddly relaxing.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I'm a Grumpy old Fart

I do wonder if I'm too critical of Si sometimes it is exactly like following them like you would a football team, I desperately want them to make FML a success.

It seems these days my default position is moaning but if you think something is wrong then what else am I to do other then call it like I see it.

Read about a proposed change in Beta which I can't fully talk about and found myself criticising it, not so much the change but the need for change, mmm rambling.

Anyway seeking balance I'm going going to write something nice about SI and FML next update.

Once I've recovered from a trip to Ireland and the Google European Headquarters, in which it emerged that Google should be causing Microsoft to start filling their pants.

Will blog about that on Android Phone blogs, even recorded one presentation it was so scary. I think what makes it more scary is that Google don't talk aggressive it's only when you listen properly to what their saying and see how dominant they will become.

Friday, 1 October 2010

FIFA11 & New Podcast

Although I've admired FIFA's improvements since 09 I have haven't really played it as the PC version was using an outdated 3d engine.

With FIFA11 though the PC version has now caught up and I know this is cheesy but omg I'm having some fun.

The 'Be a Pro' mod I've created a FML like wonderkid with bags of pace and play as a striker.

It can be a bit repetitive but I spend the game (if picked) looking for space and then looking for the ball over the top. In the Championship this season I've begged 26 goals in 30 games.

On getting into the Premiership (turned down offers from Villareal and a few others) it feels tougher but still good fun.

We have done a new podcast which should be out soon.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

More Changes to FML

Hardly inspiring but badly need was my reaction to the Wage Demand changes on the official FML Blog. Just how much money this will suck out of the GW remains to be seen.

Still it's a step in the right direction. Just seen a player for £22m in Turk I think the manager that sold him has a turnover of players of around £35m in the last month however this is hardly news now it's just the way it is.

There is little use going over SI's mistakes again just as well try and focus on the way forward. Overall I find myself just logging in checking youths, check skills, repair stadium and logging out. In Turk we're very much a mid table Premiership team and the only way to move up a gear is to slip into trading mode which isn't really that appealing to me, feels a bit dirty.

If I were SI I'd now focus on getting money out of the GW as fast as possible (which the wage changes should do as long as they don't fiddle with anything else) and then add something new like Internationals.

I'd log in then just chasing Reward Points and using that to secure an International Job for the next season. At least it would be something new and fresh to get into. To be honest if they did do it I suspect SI would announce it, someone would complain about something like injuries it would then get changed, watered down and once more a prime example of the classic:-
Camel = Horse designed by committee
We're doing a new podcast on Wednesday (won't be out for a week or so after that) I was thinking about doing a rant of the week on my todd as well. Is is easier to speak then to type?

The other change of course is the team talk thing, I'm very suspicious of this, SI have long championed the casual gamer and this seems to be a move in the opposite direction? I suspect it's another watered down feature.

i really don't want to focus on that too much as for me in FM it got to be very old very fast clicking the same old things over and over.  

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Chris Moyles Prima Donna

So he hasn't been paid yet it's featured heavily on the BBC news website. It's unprofessional, I'd pay him and tell him to pack his bags.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Civ 5 Demo Download

I'm a fan of Civ5 and after downloading the demo Civilization 5 (although I think they should call it Civilisation 5) is now on my buy list will defo be getting this when it comes out. It even runs pretty well on my laptop although I didn't get enough into the gameto really test the lag when a lot is going on.

Early thoughts are I like the new animations, seems to be a little new user friendly and they seem to have done that without taking anything anyway.

Seems to quite a bit of depth on where your units are positioned now and there is a lot of feedback from Civ 5 reviews that it's not simply a case of build millions of units and charging forward.

Anyway demo is out on Steam and can't see anywhere else to get it currently, not that I've a huge objection to Steam anyway.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Yeah Get In

I must say it's hugely refreshing to see the recent announcements and gives us hope that FML is here to stay. Reading about FM Online it could mean that this project ends up actually benefiting FML as you can clearly see new resources are coming in and some of those resources could be shared.

I'm a little nervous about team talks and morale controls as these are big factors in how well or not your team does. If they make a big difference then their not casual manager friendly if they don't make a difference then why put them in.

I've kind of drifted into casual manager mode myself recently so it's a selfish concern really. However I'd be more than happy to stay online if I actually think it's going to be worth the time.

The podcast seemed to have been listened to quite a few times and although it maybe lacks the polish of Jordan's it's at least something, besides we can improve as time moves on.

Back on the SI announcements I'd be interested in more of a top level SI view on things, e.g. where do they want the game to be in five years time and how do they propose to get there.

Mmmmm I've fanboi'd this post so must resolve to resume normal ranty service soon:)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Finally a Podcast

Well I'm not sure if anyone will like it but a lot of things are discussed. I don't think we hold back but at the same time it's a constructive chat I think.

FML Soapbox Podcast

Big shout to Rik and Thom who both did loads to get this out.

More Podcast News

Podcast is soon! Tuesday is Monday ish, we're just trying to figure out a host for it. Been busy of late on websites, I had a little flurry recently buying various domains and a few have proved to be quite good for advertisers.

This is the most read website I've got yet I earn nothing off it but a site www.mexicanpinefurniture.co.uk attracts those looking for mexican pine furniture funnily enough, so a bit of discussion on the subject a few reviews and a dribble of money comes in. It is a dribble not giving up my day job:)

However a lot of dribbles and it's not too shabby so I'm currently upto around 30 odd domains and every time I add one it's a small increase. My latest are Top Android Phone and Andriod phones, yes I know that's spelt wrong but it is still a viable search term, Android owns iPhone it's the new Betamax / VHS debate.

I digress, gaming, not too much happening on the FM Live front I keep looking at the forums for at least a snippet of what the future might hold but SI remain tight lipped and what news there is it is beta and can't really discuss that too much. Not that I'm in the happening GW anyway.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Big Spending Spree

Had a massive tax bill looming in Turk so a £4m Aq Fee DC popped up stuck him on biggest wage I've ever paid £120k+. Had made some huge bids in Voller but the market is massively inflated so dropped £120k wage on a Household name and £3m on the highest Aq Fee left back I could find.

Due to what can only be a bug my steady mid table Turk team was coasting along with wages of £100k ish so it's not even stretching my finances there and of course Voller isn't an issue as the sub is out in October.

Thinking of extending Turk not sure yet it seems a bit more relaxed than Voller which seems full of huge ego's.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Lunatic Wages

As Rik said in his comment I think the guy who signed him was leaving which got me thinking I'm a letting my sub go in Voller as SI won't move me.

So ohhh errrrr lets have some wage auction fun, just as well use every penny to get a team together for the next season. Normally I'm really tight in wage auctions but if there is no tomorrow lets blow the lot!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Erm oh errr ok I'm speechless.

I just don't know what to say:)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Oh Noes The Podcast has been SI'd

We recorded the podcast but found it bug filled, so we fixed it but then we found the fix actually had more bugs than the original. So we finally fixed it and then tweaked it to but the tweaks, well, they were just plain simple bugged.

So we're announcing that we will have an announcement about the podcast unless we have change of heart on the nature of the podcast. However we will announce that in due course.

Rest assured we're really really doing something, we don't know what yet but whatever it is we're really really sincere about it all.

Back to Swansea speak, it's recorded, I've edited and sent to Rik, it's not a commercial production so I think it's good to go.

Should be out by Monday. Gameworld plus will be hosting.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

More Trading


Done this as a result of a Beta discussion., extent of trading in FML Live.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Not the News from Beta

I think if I was a non beta tester or even a beta tester not reading the forums you could be easily be forgiven that SI were pretty much ready to wash their hands of FML.

However there is a lot of changes in beta yet if you read SI's official posts the next update looks a bit bland and vague. On the face of it some big changes to youth academies and some obscure reference to Market Value.

These changes seem to hit beta out of the blue as well. Whilst I can't say what the changes are it does seem that SI have changed tact a little. Their off designing the game but not really keeping the community up to date with their thought process.

So is this a good thing?

It's not a good thing as if you were a normal punter as you could quite easily come to the conclusion that they had lost interest and end up walking. So maybe a bit of PR along the lines of 'this is what we're planning on doing but it's not up for debate'.

In a way I think it is a good thing, all too often they've half done something in an attempt to keep everyone happy, at least using this method it should give FML strong direction. If it's the right direction remains to be seen.

There are lots of numbers in FML the big number though is the amount of managers that start and then don't come back. I'm hoping that they have this in their sites and know exactly how their going to get it heading the right direction.

I'm hopeful but not at all confident. It's a bit like supporting Swansea following SI you know they can do it but more often than not they seem to fuck it up:)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Rich

Just thought I'd try to further highlight the issue of cash with my Turk team (or Tmaz for Rik :) ).
As you can see a whopping tax bill is due and I've got quite a few academies on the go, they have already pumped out enough to keep the first team pretty much shored up for the next few seasons so I have a massive amount of cash still floating around.

You might think well £100k wages underachievers...

Ok we're not setting the world on fire but pretty consistent Tottenham like performance in the top tier.

I never trade players that's a sleazy part of the game if you ask me:p So it's just pure keeping wages low and reaping the inflated rewards.

I think I might have glossed over Youth Academies as well I've always said they were a cost based lottery system and the part that I've ignored is cost based.

It's not like the UK lottery where you chances of winning are 1 in 14million, its more like 1 in 100. A rich man can buy 100 tickets a poor one cannot and of course if you've been playing for five weeks or fifty weeks your chances of winning go up a lot.

Back to the team I should be battling wage demands now but players that have been doing ok in the Premier League are still asking for very low wages. As it is I'm throwing money at youth academies like it's pocket change. Needs a fix FAST!

I see Turk is now getting a little inactive managers signed in last seven days is under 600 now. I'm assuming there are still quite a few on long subs like me as well.

If you have chance fill in the poll on the right I'm going to do something with the data, I know it's a straw poll but still.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Jobsworth and the New ME

Well Jobsworth might be a bit harsh, here is my thinking I've two subs both run until October, I might keep Turk open but Voller zero chance.

So I got to thinking I wonder what these real players database's will be like as a new manager coming into an old world. I thought I'd get the Voller account transferred so I wrote to support. Hey it gives me some value for money and heck I might even stick around!

Reply: Sorry we don't do that any more. buy another sub.

Me: LOL  errr no thanks.

The GW's are all full so I guess their not overly bothered about saving one account which is understandable.

The new ME has been in beta for a while now and as I far as I can tell according to my Bio page I have one of the best teams in the Division.

Although this team, is a proper mature team is still gets owned by a team of youth with less ability. I think the Coppell ME is lagging behind Miller so this might have been fixed .

The Dressing Room is Superb and all players are superb morale yet despite being one of the best in the league on paper and already Quarter Finalists in the Cup they sit in a relegation space.

Competition form but that doesn't exist... So erm lottery I guess.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

A New Podcast

Keep an eye on Gameworld Plus for a new podcast featuring Rik of GW plus and Thom from Los Elephants.

I don't know how it's going to come out by I felt it was a pretty balanced discussion on 1.7 and general FML stuff.

In other news I've asked to move the Voller account into a real database world for two reasons, one, just to see how that plays out a few seasons in and two, of the two live accounts I might keep one going and it would be the Turk one so with a few months left just as well get some more experience.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

FML & Mass Quitting

It's a sad day to see so much negativity on the forums and even T-Bag is packing his bags. I've haven't always agreed with T-Bag heck it would be nuts if we all agreed all the time but his blog was always entertaining and will be missed from the now shrinking scene.

FM Live remains the type of game I want to play I think I'm a little more forgiving than T Bag, I really don't mind losing as long as I can reconcile the defeat with some sort of footballing reality (my major moment came when I saw a 17yo tuck a seasoned 31yo up for 90 minutes).

I think from the looks of it PaulC has this in mind for the future of the ME so I can see it getting sorted. As I've said I'm not expecting perfection as everyone has a different idea of what perfection would be. Sadly a lot of forums posts are 'my team wins = perfect'.

What I can't see getting sorted quickly enough is the other issues in the game. It's all the more annoying as SI seemed to have turtled up and don't seem to be talking about it anymore.

Maybe we, the community, have got too much rage and they've turtled up.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

FML Stuff

Only a few months left on my subs in retail worlds. The Voller team I flogged the lot had £15m in the bank and thought lets go nuts in wage auction. Ho hum seems that my definition of nuts is some way off what the economy is doing.

£15m is now worth £1.5m when the GW opened so I got a few oldies to just idle the remaining time out. In Turk squad looks ok and should survive another Premiership season.

Coppell the team is doing ok in the Championship which is a little unexciting. Subs wise I'm not renewing there is an outside chance of staying on in Turk but it is a very remote chance.

I did spot a team in Turk with a wage bill of £733k so erm yes the economy is just fried. Seems his tactic is to buy in wage auction and then sell once the sell on clause has passed.

The sell on is designed to discourage this sort of behaviour but with inflation the wages are nothing compared to what you can get for fairly ordinary players. See I almost did a post without mentioning inflation.

On that note I bought a £650k Aq Fee Dc for £8m in Voller, I was drunk at the time it seemed like a good idea. Just as well spend it with subs being over in a few months.

Turk team my MR who's also DR is getting on a bit at 33 and has lost some pace so think I'll play him as DR now and got a High Profile MR.

Other than that I can see on the forums that mainly SI seem to be in 'rabbit headlight mode' they did this with DYM comps. It was an issue so first is do nothing, then think about doing something, then half do something, then finally make a decision and put it into effect.

I think this is worrying if you have a clear idea of the direction you want the game to go and steer it there. If you have no idea on direction you'll bumble around for ages before doing anything.

The economy is broken, £700k wages case in point, what's being done?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Starcraft 2 Has taken me

By taking the back off my laptop, propping it up 1/2" off the table with a fan running full pelt into the back of it then it seems to run Stracraft 2 stable.

The game is hardcore I didn't really appreciate how much. Blizzard seemed to have that intention as well, there is no unit that does everything but everything has a counter.

The Pro players (apparently there are proper pro players earning a living playing Starcraft 1) have an APM of 200 odd (I assume this is actions per minute). I'm still blindly stabbing around at 10 APM, so a n00b of the highest order.

It's erm quite big in Korea:-



The single player though is pretty dam fine, best game I've played for a few years anyway. It's strange most of it so far has been easy, certainly feel as if I was going to be successful, however there is always something you could have done better.

As these missions are pleasant to play through I'd be quite happy to start again. The are essentially pretty basic, it's built massive army and attack. This in itself is fun but there are some twists and somehow Blizzard have stopped it being boring.

Enjoy watching some you-tube multi-player stuff as well, there really is a massive community in this game.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Positive Post - My FML fix list

Well I must say I'm a little encouraged by the ME from Coppell experiance, young players seem to flap and my 32yo AMC seems to be playing like err a well experianced 32yo. Remains to be seen if it's fixed but I suspect it's better at least.

The ME failing is what was the final straw for me. As this is a little improved lets roll back myself to being a little more positive.

So lets look at my main issues are try to react to those:-

1) There isn't enough to do, it's so boring, get a nice youth prospect he'll be great in six months. This is a game and not 1980's play by mail.
International's as per my International Concept would fix this. It adds another game effectively. I'm not a coder but it mostly uses exisiting modules and wouldn't take much to code.

If you started it as a Beta feature with no injuries and no impact to player rep then it's almost completetly isolated from the main game so has no major long term effects on the GW.

The reworking of YA's was a bad choice for 1.7, if it in anyway has long term effects on the GW which this does then it's going to need to be tested for 6/7 months on a beta server to know if it's unblanced in anyway.

If it doesn't get that time then it's a risk putting it into live, I think FML needs to 'connect' with the community again with some good news.

2) The ME moved so far away from reality that it's no longer football.
It's got better, I know Paul C has a tricky job because anything can happen in football and it often does, then everyone has a hard luck story to tell.

The one thing that FM or CM in it's day has always had is players are subejctive. What I mean by this is that there is something in a black box which you can't see which makes them better or worse players. I suppose this is hidden stats and the game still has that magic to it.

It lost it for a while but hopefully it's back on track.

3) Inflation is so rampant that it has made money relatively worthless effectively what killed FMLv1 is now ruining FMLv2. This impacts EVERY area of the game from new users, how much players cost, how important prize money is, etc etc.

This should have been addressed in Season 2, it was clearly going wrong then. This has massive ramifications in the game, not least it turns it into Football Trader Live, blah blah, I've gone on and on how bad this is.

So what to do, well the wage multipliers are not coming in fast enough. I've a solid Prem team in Turk and I'm extending contracts on 25yo with no increase at all!

Max contracts to one season for a start and get multipliers kicking in faster.
Bring back the old overdraft rules.
Increase profit tax.

These are just a few things off the top of my head but at least ackonowledge it's a massive problem and then start sucking money out of the GW.

Ovberall SI with regards to this issue need to proactive not reactive.

4) By their own admission FMLv1 was killed by SI's mis-management.

Ok lessons learnt strict GW opening policy is now effective.

5) When new features are introduced they are bug infested.
6) More often than not the fixes for the bugs introduce more bugs often with worse effects than the first bug.

OK FML has failed and with just a few thousand subs you can't sustain a massive coding team. Baby steps would be better, as I've said earlier the YA being re worked needs a lot of testing Internationals doesn't.

7) Pathetic Marketing, type 'online football management game' into google no per per click advertising no attempts made to get to the top of the organic listings. These are terms that would cost pennies!

I'd give SI my time for nothing, chuck £250 a month into a google account and start getting some traffic to FML website. Last time I used Facebook per per click it was very cheap around 5 - 10p a click and and you can target a very accurate demographics.

Lets get the community to post up some backlinks to the site using anchor text like Fantasy Football game and Online Football Management.

Not going to got into a massive SEO rant but it's not hard to get a lot of this traffic for nothing.

8) 3d Match Engine that would look cool if it was 1999
Well it's a bolted on feature to an existing ME so you can;t expect too much.

9) Reward Points, half arsed, half-baked idea, pathetic.

International Management feature makes ample use of this.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

ph34r my l33t skillz in FML?

I hardly log in so gawd knows what this was about but one manager from Voller sent this extract to the mailing list:-

'so take it like a man and get used to looking up when you want to see my name'.

Good grief I don't know what FML is but I do know in multiplayer gaming it's a nothing game, I think more play Barbie online. I wonder if they p0wn:)

Spent loads of time recently watching some pro videos of Starcraft and it does kind of bring FM Live into perspective.

Anyway from what I've seen of the new ME in Coppell it looks ok to me, still get that 'loaded dice' feeling (I was 1-0 down to a much better team and got a dodgy 30yearder to win in the 93rd minute) but football is a bit like that.

When we have lost it's been to a team of proper grown up players.

Stayed for longer than my usual five seconds in Turk the other day to see some teams with very scary wages bills. Wondered how they were able to afford but looking at their transfer history shows some great deals for them.

Football Trader Live lives! That's one good thing about inflation is that you can trade to the top, I guess that is what SI intended... unless they dropped one? Nah must have done that on purpose :p

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The New ME & Last Update Too Harsh

Someone did say I was too harsh on SI recently, in my defence this is a company that I felt almost tricked me into subbing for the game. That might be me putting a spin on it, but fact remains when I asked for a refund the reply was blunt.

If the refund had been given and I was just beta testing I'd have cut them some slack but I'm not a charity and I stand by my stance that as a commercial game the progress has been dire.

I'm also not buying that the lack of new features in 1.7 and FM On-line is coincidence.

Anyway the new build of the ME has arrived in Coppell and I took it for a spin. First game lost 4-1 at home now you may think I'm going to whine about this but that's not the case. This was a team full of solid mature players and were definitely underachieving in the old ME build.

My £600k Aq Fee 19yo Left Back had a few moments of madness, good! Meanwhile my slower ageing 32yo AMC seems to have a positive effect.

Next game it's on of these teams full of 19yo, they had one 31yo but out injured, looking at biography their on of these fast progressing teams, 0-0 not really realistic but take my bad form into account not so bad.

I'm thinking form isn't with me although this remains a mystery as players are mostly superb and Dressing room says Very Good and we've gone long records of WWWWWWW this season. Another thing that needs fixing methinks.

Next game with my team 17.1 ability v 16.1 ability then 3-0 down at home in 19 minutes, same team that got me to 4th in league is now falling apart to 19th team.

Despite all this the ME might well be working fine my main issue was on a macro level.

So if I look at the three results with a 17.1 team I lose 4-1, 4-1 and draw 0-0. Interesting is that the draw comes against an all youth team. The other two sides are worse but at least their proper senior players.

Good!

Next game mostly young under 26 so not youth but lying 4th, drew2-2 away.

Overall it's a Macro level thing for me and I think I've caught underachieving teams and I've got BF the 0-0 makes sense anyway.

FML could get a little better, ok with all of the issues it's not going to be enough for me to re sub but at least I think I can get some value out of my remaining time.

Starcraft 2 is very intriguing I've watched a load of shoutcasts on youtube and can see why it appeals to the pro-gamer. Sadly my laptop crash's a lot so playing on-line for me isn't viable currently.

If I can find close competitive games (even though I suck) I might get into it.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Starcraft 2 Downloading the Game

I wish this was on steam and on not on yet another software system.

I missed Starcraft One at the time for two reasons, the first, I was a quake whore and secondly, at that I thought I didn't like RTS.

A few years after Stacraft I got into Command and Conquer so my view changed on RTS. I've had a lot of fun with Zero Hour and Battle For Middle Earth and even Company of Heroes. I'm awful at RTS but still enjoy the games.

My outside view of it is that it looks dated but clearly the original must have been some game. Will see once it finishes, come on Battle.net!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Great News FM Online is being made!

However not for us for the Koreans, doh.

Not only do I feel screwed over after SI refused to give me money back on pre-paid subs as I felt like a paying beta tester. I now learn that my beta testing time which has cost me best part of £200 is now going to be put to use in another market quite possibly making the game that FML Live should have been in the first place.

I'm simply thrilled!

For an encore all current subscribers should bend over as we've been taken every other way.

Good news though this will only benefit FM Live though as no resources will be moved to produce this game but instead only new resources will be used. Yeah right, I know what that looks and smells like, shovel it somewhere else. We've seen what's planned for 1.7 pretty much a patch for a bugged feature.

Now so this post isn't taken in isolation here is my current list of issues with FML:-

  • 1) There isn't enough to do, it's so boring, get a nice youth prospect he'll be great in six months. This is a game and not 1980's play by mail.
  • 2) The ME moved so far away from reality that it's no longer football.
  • 3) Inflation is so rampant that it has made money relatively worthless effectively what killed FMLv1 is now ruining FMLv2. This impacts EVERY area of the game from new users, how much players cost, how important prize money is, etc etc.
  • 4) By their own admission FMLv1 was killed by SI's mis-management
  • 5) When new features are introduced they are bug infested.
  • 6) More often than not the fixes for the bugs introduce more bugs often with worse effects than the first bug.
  • 7) Pathetic Marketing, type 'online football management game' into google no per per click advertising no attempts made to get to the top of the organic listings. These are terms that would cost pennies!
  • 8) 3d Match Engine that would look cool if it was 1999
  • 9) Reward Points, half arsed, half-baked idea, pathetic.
Not really sure why I'm still posting about FML as I'd like to move on, however I'm still dam annoyed at trying to cancel with four months left on two subs and wanting a £40 refund.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

FML A New Hope

Read the beta forums today and we're not allowed to say what is happening but reading news there are plans to fix the ME!

I posted in the forums yesterday that there are many issues with the game but a ME that produces results or league tables that make sense would pull me back into the game. I might not renew both subs but I'd at least keep one going.

This new ME is not in Coppell yet though, otherwise I'd give it a right blast. It seems SI are at least on the same wave length now. Strange really that I'm reading the changelog and thinking 'yeah sounds great' but on the main forum you see a more defensive stance from SI.

Read the FML Development Blog and thought I'd post up a snapshot reaction.

Youth Academies and the future…
Ok I really don't understand why this is getting so much attention when there are bigger fish to fry.
1. Make the academy system completely transparent – No more having to guess when your allocation is going to arrive, you’ll get a full quota at the same time, every season.
2. No more having to pay the deadwood in your side – Academy players will no longer be receiving a wage until they graduate.
3. No more random ‘academy seasons’ – Academies will come in line with the gameworld seasons, with all players graduating and joining your teams at the same point every season. This will allow you to properly set up your youth teams for the forthcoming seasons.
Ok that's a bit better can see the logic behind doing it. Not paying Academy players, mmmm seems to me the more money leaves the GW the better with inflation being the way it is.

1 No more upkeep fees – Let’s make at least one academy a good thing for you guys to have, upkeep fees removed.
2 Get those players on the free list – If we remove the running costs, we can’t give you absolutely everything. So instead we could limit the amount of players you can allow to graduate to your full squad by introducing a new pre-contract system. You could be allowed to select 25% of your current allocation (per academy) to graduate. You could then pay a fee for additional pre-contract slots (up to a maximum of 50% of your allocation) to retain more players. All the rest would then graduate onto the free list, where everyone can bid on them in wage auctions.
3 Make the players younger – Academy players could be made even younger, with proper progression, a new look and even realistic height growth spurts! So that these younger players would have some where to play, we’d introduce a new under 15’s tier.
4 Improve progression – Hugely important of course – We’d need to make sure that these younger players, as well as the older ones, progress correctly. We plan to put a lot of work into the progression system, with players starting at a lot lower level and lots of interesting variations.
5 Make the YA’s more exciting – This may be controversial, but any players under 15 would not be able to identified using judging potential. We could even change the way these players’ attributes are displayed to add a new dimension to bringing through those young superstars!

I quite like, something more to do I suppose so does help a little. Depends if there is truly anything to gain. So would there be a 'tell' so if I watched a U15 squad play would I gain from spotting a youth with maybe great hidden stats.

I guess what I'm saying if youths are coming in the GW so far away from the finished article then without JP you'd have no way of knowing at all.

How does it work in real life, plenty of kids can run fast, plenty with bags of technique what your after is winners. I'm sure you could spot that at 15 so hopefully the system will seek to mirror that part of the youth game.

My son is now 14 at 10 you'd say he'd never be a sprinter but at 13.1/2 he's got some kick when running. At 15 you could say with some accuracy how fast he'd be, how good technically he could become but attitude.... Needs to play games to see how he reacts.

Maybe that's what they should do just hide mental stats at under 15, although they have to matter in the ME, oh we're back to that again.

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Perfect Hand

I was playing on Facebook got dealt an Ace and a 3. The flop produced two aces, I was holding off betting only raising a little thinking someone must have another Ace.

By the time we get to the river card three of us are left in. The river card is another Ace. There I was thinking 'omg' and the guy before me goes all in on the bluff.

Like a loon I'm still thinking well he might have an Ace then it dawned on me how many Aces are there? Only four three are out and I've got one, doh!

Needless to say I called his bluff with some confidence!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

FML Again and formation rant

Well I popped into the various GW's no surprise the Voller team was doing so badly without a goalie:) Other than that Turk team seems ok in Premier League and the Coppell team seemed to have got promoted.

Was thinking about the dominance of 4-3-3 and was reading that someone had written that crossing was useless which got me thinking. I don't think crossing is that unrealistic so why do teams play with wingers in real life. It seems to me that teams in FML are able to keep the ball in the danger area to an unrealistic level.

In other words teams use the wings in real life because that's where there is space, you don't see real  teams play keep ball in the danger area (10yds around the penalty area) like you do in FML.

I guess what I'm saying is that in real life possession is lost in this danger area and in FML it's far too easy to keep hold of the ball. So then playing narrow and overloading this area is unrealistically fruitful.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Back From Hols

Another cruise done this time aboard the Azura I did buy a domain off the cuff to review cruises see the cruise critic. It's a crafty domain that one:)

Anyway gaming wise I had a blast at Betfair Texas Hold Em for proper cash before I left and joined a high buy table (well for me anyway I'm such a cheapskate) and quickly doubled my money. Then I got nervous and joined a cheaper table only to find I lost mostly what I won, I was working my way through a bottle of rum at the time so I blame that.

Main differance between that and Facebook is no one idles so it's much quicker. Often you see players on Facebook time out and leave the table. So when it's real money everyone's attention is on the game. 

Quick blast of Bejweled Blitz, I see one of the FML guys is getting far too good at that now!

Can't see me pulling another 450k in a few days anyway.

Now must dash to catch up on FML so will probably be back later to moan about that:)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A New Fad Poker, Texas Hold em

Thought I'd give this a try as it's so popular. I watched a few youtube vids to figure out how to play it and thought I'd ease myself into via the Facebook Texas Hold Em free game.

So far yeah it's good whilst I get the game there are some things I still don't get and you sure do need to have played it a lot to get used to it all. A few times I thought I had 'the nuts' only to find there was something I hadn't thought of. Seems weird that two days ago terms like 'the flop', 'river card' and 'big blind' were all foreign and now know what they mean.

Making mistakes with pretend money is a fairly chilled experience. I'm sort of idling in it a fair bit mostly folding but enjoying trying to call what hands users are playing with.

Doesn't cost anything and it's interesting trying out new things.

I haven't really bothered with the XBOX much as although the RROD cotton wool bud repair works fine the old XBOX's had DVD drive issues as well and sadly this is one of them.

Still playing the odd game of FIFA online and Bejweled Blitz which are both good for a quick blast. FML I have finally broken the habit of logging in although having paid £40 up front for a game I no longer play is galling, such is life.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

EA Sports gunning for SI's Market

Eurogamer posted up an article where Koehler Executive Producer of FIFA Manager states

"Football Manager is the main game in the UK, but FIFA Manager has around 95 per cent market share in Germany,"
Interesting, he had some things to say about FML
"Football Manager Live is probably the best you can do with a classic approach to the game for a limited number of people. There is very tough competition between the players and for every game you must have a loser, and they get very frustrated,"

Later on he goes on to say that he's impressed with the numbers playing browser type games.

From a personal point of view I last played FIFA Manager a few years ago and it seemed to be treading the same path as Football Manager giving me too much to do. I just want to play a Football Management game where I can finish a season in a few hours.

Personally I like the rags to riches theme so things that fit into this would be creating a stadium, building up youth etc. I don't want press conferences or to be doing match talks that means I have a drop down box saying 'try harder'. I wish the developers would focus more on a better Match Engine with proper stadiums like the old Classic USM.

It's a hard balance between Sim and Arcade.

Still going to keep an eye on FIFA Manager might be time to try this franchise again.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Another Right Back in Tier 3

This is my right back in Coppell we're currently struggling away in Tier 3.


Now compare him to the 19yo I posed a few days back.

I mean come on!

On Live Any Good?

I'm intrigued by On Live, for those that don't know it's a gaming service where top games are run on a server so all your PC has to capable of is running video.

I've a laptop which can't really handle 3d and there is no way I can ever play an FPS without a mouse and keyboard.

I've read a few reviews though and I'm reading choppy frame rates and 150ms ping, so competitive FPS gaming isn't doable. Still Mass Effect 2 and Assassins Creed 2 I'd like to have a blast of.

Then I looked at their prices, ho ho not today thank you!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

FML Is there Hope?

I was thinking there was hope so started formatting a post looking at these overpowered youths.

I was in Turk and you know what it's bazonkas

I really suspect that youth as such ain't the issue but a combination of things. I think it goes like this. Youth v Senior.

1) We're much worse than this team (according to rep) so will be well up for game.
2) As we're super fast runners and jumpers we'll use athletics to beat them, in other words take full advantage of a weak Match Engine.
3) Senior team loses

So it's not youths developing too fast if that were true then their CA would reflected in Biography and their Aq Fee would rise.

Now I do know that in Beta a change was made to how players gain rep (players don't gain rep in lower leagues) but a change must have been made to the ME otherwise lower tier teams would get spanked silly.

In old FML given how important rep used to be in the ME (you'd be inconsistent without it) then it has adversely affected these super athletic youth teams. The Match Engine was always weak in how it was over reliant on physicals (see T Bag's blog).

So in summary one thing was changed then it had a knock on affect.

As I say I was going to do a long post to demonstrate this and started looking:-



I'm just speechless, ok 7.56 in Div.1 so it's not Premier League but I had a tier 3 in Coppell (which is near the bottom despite being best CA).

The Match Engine was never perfect but it USED to produce ranks where they made sense now I have no idea.

So is there hope.... I did allude to the fact that SI didn't seem to care which maybe was unfair but in my eyes the game has turned into a joke. I mean I'm trying to be constructive but what can you say.

So maybe Si do care but they don't seem think it's that bad so, no, I don't hold out much hope. I suppose if you forget football and play the ME as is you could enjoy it but to be honest the economy is bolloxed and the game is so slow it's dreadfully boring.

Sadly I'm stuck with a pre-paid sub for a while yet.

Monday, 5 July 2010

FIFA Online - The Story so Far

I don't know quite how this is going to play out but so far it does have that 'just one more go' feel to it.

Last Three results
W 4-2
D 0-0
L 0-1

First Game Swansea 4 v 2 Darlington
Often the goals are samey in FIFA but give you an idea the 4-2 we went 3-0 up and it does seem that there is rubber banding in place. The first two goals I scored were as a result of ball played into space and neatly tucked away in the bottom corner.

The third goal came off a corner their goalie flapped at it and my DC chested it and volley it home. The fourth goal was from a low cross played into the space and my striker slammed it home of the volley.

Second Game Blackpool 0 v 0 Swansea
Typical messy 0-0 didn't create much neither did they.

Third Game Leicester 1 v 0 Swansea
Had a few chances to win the game but got mugged, our corner they broke and through ball puts their striker for a 1v1 in the 90th minute.



Some features are very gamey:-



Overall though I like the games, I haven't found any exploits yet and even if I did as it's not so much PVP but PVE I don't think I'd use them anyway.

I'm a bit concerned about the levelling system where the opposition gets harder the higher the rank you get not the league your in.

I tried World Cup mode mainly to see how Messi played and wow what a difference can turn on a six pence and is quick with the ball as well.

So think I'll play till I can get some players like him:)

FML: Multiplayer online football management simulation game?

Tried to get me money back:-

Thank you for contacting FML Support.

Before purchasing a subscription the Terms and Conditions must be accepted upon commence of the contract. ... Ticket Closed
let me translate:
We've got your money hahaha.


DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE
1. The Service is a massively multiplayer online football management simulation game provided by SEGA which allows you to interact with and play against other online users.


Football management simulation, I don't know what football you watch but it ain't in FML now.

Legally correct? Maybe. Ethically correct? No.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

More FIFA Online

Although it's somewhat cheesy I've played this a fair bit now. It's odd you play single player through the leagues but can play V's other managers. The Co Op mode seems to be the real focus though.

The difficulty setting is dynamic dependent upon how good or bad you do. Overall I think I'll stick with this for a while. The price is right, free!

Reading EA's faq they reckon they have 17,000 sign ups playing the open beta which isn't too shabby for a game that hasn't had much marketing thrown at it.

The control system is I think decent although I seem to lose the plot in defence a few times. When I first started it was a breeze I was winning games easy but then I started to get some proper results.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Told Ya: Argentina Fold

Well there you go didn't I say there was nothing wrong as such with the England National Team.

At least England gave Germany a game, came back from 2-0 down, Argentina were totally outclassed.

FIFA Online Beta - Snapshot Review

After my last post

Blogger Alin Vlad said...

Have you tried Fifa Online Beta? It's free for the moment and open beta.


Good shout, thought I'd have to have a dabble with this.



I was intrigued by the control system more than anything and after five minutes I was passing the ball in a natural way. It's odd actually because you don't really pass to feet in football but to space and in this is a doddle to do that.

Sadly it's one of those games that causes my laptop to shut down (a fault of the laptop not the game) but from the five minutes I definitely want to give it more time.

By the looks of it you kind of play single player (taking over Swansea saw me playing AI championship games) but I'm assuming the transfer system is with other managers and of course have the option to play other managers.

Looks really promising. the graphics are awful compared to say XBOX360 FIFA10 but still for a free game, wow.

Expect some more on this!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Oh Yeah now this is football

My son had an old Xbox 360 in the attic which had three red ringed, or RROD. A few goggle searches later and two cotton wool buds it was fixed.

So I downloaded FIFA 10 demo to have a proper play, my word how things have moved on, I can see this being almost perfect come FIFA 11 when they introduce player personality's.

The Be a Pro mode is very appealing with almost everyone I've spoken to liking the sound of it. Your a player and potentially manager Apparently you can create you own team in the full game and have a few mates also playing.

I also got strangely addicted to PGR4 and the bikes don't know if it was a quick fad thing or I might get into that a lot more. That game is a bit old now though.

Seems no matter what I do my laptop crashes in Trackmania,. I keep thinking it's fixed but then at a random interval it reminds me it's not by the laptop rebooting.

I have Assassins Creed 2 to try so going to give that a blast.

FML for the first time in almost two years I'm not checking the forum or logging in I felt I carried a candle for the game but I think we're done now. So maybe it's time to go to money claim online.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

FML: Logged On and Off

Ohh I've loads of cash in Voller I could spend it on better players but the story so far is sign better players do worse sell better players do better.

So erm maybe I should buy a 17yo who can jump and run and play Soccerball (I like that!) anyway repair stadium. check skill. check fitness of players, log off. It only takes two minutes I'm simply not bothering with playing soccerball I never paid £5 a month for that!

Sub still has time to run so more whining due. Actually logged onto the forums and saw that PaulC is getting stuck into feedback a lot of managers had posted up examples of players.

To my eyes shocking examples of how bad the ME, not to SI it seems who for my money are paying lip service to it. Well, their bad examples if you follow football if you play soccerball then nothing wrong at all.

Finally got Trackmania sorted my laptop crashes under Xp but it's dual booted and runs ok in Vista (gawd I feel like I've sold out suggesting that Vista is better at something).

Anyway it's a cracking game for twenty minutes at a time.

I'm saving for an XBOX360 as FIFA11 is starting to look scarily good, my mate who's a Pro Evo fanboy has gone from writing FIFA off totally to conceding that he plays it now. It's like he's admiting to cross dressing or something:)

Anyway look how deep their going!

Monday, 28 June 2010

England Fans are awful

Another World Cup and the worst thing about the England national team are the media and the fans that act like sheep when it all goes wrong.

From what I saw England came up against a decent German team and went down 2-0 due to some bad defending and good German play.

Bravely they had a right go to get back into the game but eventually chasing the game the got caught on the counter.

It all stems from the fact the fans believe their better than they actually are. Don't get me wrong their a decent national side but could you honestly compare them to Brazil or Spain?

The worst part is when it goes wrong the press seem to be rubbing their hands with glee, 'lets all have a witch hunt' is the war cry.

Rooney was right 'nice to see your own fans booing' he tried his best he just isn't good enough to be able to carry the entire team.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

World Cup Comes alive.

Dam will be away on Sunday in Legoland, ffs. World Cup has come alive this last week with some cracking games.

Tough one on Sunday for England though.

Looked around for other games to play and I've still got nothing:(

I logged on to Voller maybe 1.6 has fixed my team but gawd only knows, I can see my 15.3 rep team is still getting beat regular by much worse teams.

I just have no idea what to do, I tried signing better players over the last four seasons and that made a good team worse:) One is £2.75m Aq Fee, how can a team play worse with a Messi like player in a team. Doh, not a 17yo super athlete = no good it seems.

Perhaps it's realistic in some weird way I don't know I was drifting from the game anyway and it having no bearing on what I consider to be football doesn't help:)

Still playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook a lot, it's great for a spare ten minutes or so. Hey I even fired up GL Quake yesterday!