Sunday, 30 November 2008

Beta worlds

Sorry it's been a bit quiet folks - I've been busy getting my new side, 'Now Is The Time' going in the beta world, but I'm still awaiting confirmation that I'm allowed to discuss what I see in there...

I don't want to risk saying something I shouldn't, but once I get approval, which I'm sure I will - I'll be back with all my comment on the features coming your way in version 1.1.

I approved a comment tonight from an angry poster claiming that all mods are cheats as we can see finances etc. Not true, my friend - every time we check on something, we have to give a reason, which gets logged. Could a mod cheat? Yes, of course. But it would be spotted quite quickly. We've had a mod cheat in the past - they aren't a mod any more.

Part of what I can't discuss covers a lot of balancing issues with regards to a new world, to even out the imbalance between beta testers (including mods, though we have so little time to play) and new beginners... Hopefully there will be more on that soon...

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Updated media file v2 out now!


You can download it from here.

I'm just testing a new media update - version 2 already! I've more than doubled the number of journalists (281 now!), and there are a huge number of media sources now - this with many thanks to Nick OGS, the Man Utd researcher for SI, who'd also been working on a media addon and kindly agreed that we should merge our efforts.

Once it's done testing, and Nick has had a chance to look at it as well, I'll get it uploaded and put the link up here!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

English Media File for FM2009

Well, version 1.1 of my labour of love is up and running, and you can download it here. It adds more media sources, and some real journalist names - gives a bit more meaning to those press conferences!

Anyway - I hope you like it. For best effect, you should be running ALL the English leagues - and if you do not select them for a game, you should disable these two files in Preferences. You'll need to start a new game for the tweaks to take effect as well...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Simulation bigamy

My dearest FML,

I have a confession to make, and there's no easy way to say this, so I'm just going to get it out. I've been cheating on you. I've been spending my time toying with your cousin, exploring the new options that it offers me. I feel terrible, especially as I've just found out I'm supposed to be moderating in GW24.

I just can't help myself; I've met your other cousins over the past few years, and been able to hold back, to resist their charms, but alas, this year I could not hold back, my heart and mind have been conquered by this new love.

If you can forgive, I know we can rebuild our love, and I can grow to be the strong moderator you so desire. I will come back to you, FML!

Nik the Mod,

OK, so that came out a bit weirder than I was expecting, and I feel slightly soiled now. Hmm. Anyway, Football Manager 2009 came out last Friday, and it's a simply stunning game. The new 3D match engine is fantastic, and with the huge release day patch installed, it's an extremely polished experience.

There have been some grumbles as ever, and a small (but vocal) minority have struggled to get the game running - I really hope they stick at it and get to play, because the game is SI's best ever effort. They still need to add the custom squad views from FML though... one for FM2010, eh lads?

I'm busy beavering away on an edt file that will add in journalist names and some more UK-based media sources - I should be able to get that out tomorrow night, so I will report back when I'm done. Check this thread out on the SI Games forums as well, for progress reports and download links for other new media packs for FM2009!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Manual

One thing I've completely overlooked so far on the blog is the official online FML Guide, which will serve as the manual for the game. It's currently still in a beta phase, but is already extremely comprehensive, and graphics/formatting will be added/improved soon.

It's the culmination of a lot of hard work by several guys: Alex Harris (Ex-Sega), Rob Barns-Graham (Sega), David Hill, Cyderman, lilrob, Matt Pritchard and Trevor 1973, and I think it's fair to say that they've done a terrific job - especially great to see a few of the community guys getting involved. I had thought to help out as well, but didn't have the time, and I'm not sure I could've matched the standard of work these guys have managed to produce.

As the manual is still in the beta phase, you can report back here on the official SI Games forum if you find anything that can be improved.

That reminds me also that Matt Pritchard, who runs the Aston Portsmouth FC blog, has stepped down from his position as a mod for personal reasons. It's been a real privilege for me to see Matt, formerly of Gameworld 4, develop and grow into a really terrific mod, so I'm sad to see him depart and I hope he comes back in the future. Hopefully he will still have time to play FML and to keep blogging, but maybe it's time to grab those Aston Portsmouth souvenirs just in case!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Smooth launch so far...

So we've now got 5 Gameworlds, I think, live and being actively played and paid for, which delights me no end. Each one seems to be getting smoother, with very few issues overall.

Probably 90% of the issues that have been encountered are system faults which have been highlighted, or exacerbated, by the actions of the user signing up. Note: I'm not saying that it's the user's fault! But one of the most regular causes seems to have involved people who have made multiple changes to their account details or who are already changing gameworld - usually because they feel they've under-performed in their old world, or missed out on a key player, etc.

Clearly, there are a small number of issues that the support and dev teams at SI and Sega will be keen to resolve, but probably 95% of sign-ups are going through successfully, and hopefully all those who have got in so far (which should be getting on for around 5000 people!) are enjoying the game. Does anyone have some initial thoughts or comments that they'd like to share here?

It would be remiss of me also not to mention while I'm on this subject an excellent post by JordanC over at the SI forums. Jordan was my host when I appeared as the special guest in his 'Get Sacked' podcast. Anyway, I'd really recommend that anyone in, or about to join, one of the new gameworlds casts an eye over Jordan's thoughts there.

I speak!

Exciting news readers - I was invited to be the guest this week on the Get Sacked podcast, the weekly dose of news, notes and strategical insight into the universe of Football Manager Live. The show covers all the latest developments in FML, happenings in and around the gameworlds, how-to tips and the featured community blog of the week, answering listener submitted questions - strategy, tactics, opinions and issues on the minds of FM Live managers.

The Topics of Discussion:
  • The differences between Beta and Live GWs - a moderators viewpoint.
  • FML support and the influx of tickets at the launch of a gameworld.
  • Short-term mentality problems and outcry to switch GWs this early in release.
  • Overview of Federations: What happens if the FA you'd like is full?
  • FM Live's main strength - the community and spirit of good-natured competition
You can hear my dulcit tones here - check it out!

In other news today, it's really great to see more and more FML Blogs popping up as the game goes live to paying customers across (most of) the world. I've updated the blogroll with 11 new blogs (some newer than others!), so get down there to the right and check them out!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Daily Income changes to come to FML

One of the more controversial issues in recent times in FML has been the ability of some teams to rake in huge amounts of money whilst having a tiny, often rubbish, squad. The idea is that they pay, for example, £20k in wages per day, and still get income on the normal £100k-£300k per day scale based on team reputation.

This is clearly a bit of an exploit, as it allows them to stockpile millions of pounds per month whilst not actually playing the game 'properly'.

Of course, fiscal prudence should be rewarded, but the most important thing surely is that the game is played competitively by people trying to win games and enjoy themselves. So I was pleased to see discussion today of the changes being trialled in the test world, GW24 (Haynes).

I'm going to quote posts made in the beta forum by FullMetalRacket and the FML god, Ov Collyer...
If (wages + 10%) < 100k then income ranges from (wages+10%) up to 300k depending on reputation
If (wages + 10%) >= 100k, then income ranges from 100k to 300k depending on reputation.

So, if you had wages 20k, then your possible daily incomes would range from 22k minimum, up to 300k maximum, according to your reputation (so a rep of 1 * would bring in 22k, a rep of 5 * would bring in 300k)

If you had wages of 120k, then your possible daily incomes would range from 100k to 300k, according to your reputation (so a rep of 1 * would bring in 100k, a rep of 5 * would bring in 300k)
So this new system doesn't stop people from making money, but limits the potential 'damage' that can be done. More importantly, it still allows and encourages people to go the youth route, but...
Daily income is kind of an approximate representation of your club's sponsorship, merchandising, and (until stadiums are in-place) match day income.

A club built on players of a very low wage isn't very appealing, and so shouldn't generate so much of the above income - unless it still performs successfully despite being built on a shoestring. This change reflects this.

Importantly, this stops a situation where a team can sign players of a total of say, 20k in wages, and rake in an 80k a day profit, which isn't realistic, or good for the GW...i.e. why should a user be able to effectively do nothing apart from play the minimum number of matches to stay ranked, and make more per day than someone playing the game "properly."?

I know some people will say they are using the above loophole to go the "youth route" - my answer to them, is the money you make by going the youth route, as in real-life, should come from selling your youths in the future.
So thanks to Ov in particular for some terrific posts explaining and justifying the move. Now we just need to convince SI that teams need to have at least a minimum number of players!

This move with daily income, with other methods that are incoming, should also help stabilise a gameworld's economy in its formative days, which can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Go Go Go!

Well, at last - it's action stations! Football Manager Live has launched.

The first world launches tonight, and I'm sure the team at SI will be delighted to finally see their work open to the general public.

There are still plenty of places to be grabbed in these early gameworlds, so if you've not ordered the game and taken your chance to join one of the best, and most active, communities on the web... well, what are you waiting for? Get signed up!

Over the coming days I will be trying to make time for all things FML - including a bit of a revamp here on the blog and some more actual writing. I'm doing a big interview soon as well, so make sure to check back for details soon!

One last confession before I head off - I've been cheating on FML. I've not only made time recently for Civ 4: Colonization, but I've also been dallying with Fallout 3 and the Football Manager 2009 demo. And they're all chuffing excellent, especially FM09 - so check it out too!