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 and the other is little more professional

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.

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


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?