Spreadsheet Manager 2006 Preview

Another Year, Another 80 Hours Lost To This Crap

The real money-maker, though, is the PC version. Unfortunately we weren't able to see any code running, instead being presented with a series of static screenshots, but these did show us some of the new features we can expect to see when the game hits retail. Of those that were being discussed (there are more features that are to be announced soon enough), one that immediately made me happy was a more refined training system. Anybody who has charted the progress of the series will recall that the training mechanics underwent a massive overhaul in CM4, and garnered praise and hate in equal measure, as it went from simplistic to - dare I say it - anal, meaning that if you wanted to get involved you needed to sort out the schedules for each day of the week, giving you 30+ different areas (each affecting certain areas of the players' development). It was quite daunting and meant that to get anywhere meant a lot of work. Well, FM2006 will bring back some simplicity. Slide-bars govern how much time is spent on a certain discipline, and the overall work-rate can be adjusted, so you can work players into the ground (at the risk of tiring and/or injuring players), or you can make it a more relaxing affair (and thereby slowing the rate of improvement). The key to the system, though, is that it's quick and easy to organise, whilst providing enough depth for those that wish to find it.

Another nifty feature is the ability to see where your star winger can actually play. Previous versions of the game have had 'hidden' positions that a player can slot into, but you would have to study them carefully to find them. Well, hunt no more, as a graphical representation will tell you where they can play, along with an indication of how well-suited to that position they are. Players' special moves (as it were) are now displayed, so if you have a striker that is good at long-range shooting, you can now tailor your team's tactics to attempt to engineer situations that will allow this trait to be exploited. It's a little detail, but enriches the experience and allows even more control of affairs.

Press interaction has also been improved, with more options dependant on the situation. And something that has been talked about before - manager contracts - is also in there. We were shown examples of the negotiations of such a contract, along with press reports from key players expressing delight or displeasure, depending on how they go.

Rowr. Bring it to me.
Hopefully the press interaction and manager mindgames are a little better thought out than the were in this past year's.

That'd be the hope. The only downside is that, given how the rest of the games in the CM4/FM series have turned out, this one won't be playable until January.