Soccer Gaming Catch-All

I've put about 6 hours into the beta so far, and I think they've made some solid improvements to the game. It's certainly still a beta, however, as I'm seeing some weird issues here and there. Apparently, they've identified and fixed more than 400 issues since it went wide on Wednesday.

The two most obvious improvements in my mind are to the tactics editor and the inbox.

First, they've done away with sliders in the tactics editor. No more wondering if you should push a slider two clicks toward more Width or one more click up on Tempo. Everything is dictated now by player roles/duties and instructions, which are basically an expanded set of shouts. What's really nice is that you can set these instructions for the whole team, by position and/or by player. So, for example, if you have two players who rotate in the same position, you can set different instructions for each and don't have to repeat that process whenever you sub one into a game.

The other big improvement is that they have not only expanded the amount of information you see in mail items, but they have also incorporated basic actions related to these items right into the inbox view. So, if your scout sends you a message about a few players they recommend, you can now both see more information about those players and add them to a shortlist or make an offer right from the message. This includes press conferences, which are now conducted completely in the inbox message view. It saves a ton of clicking around and really streamlines the gameplay.

In general, there's a lot of polish in the UI, with more information being shown and more intuitive ways of getting at it. Obviously, in just 6 hours I haven't seen everything, but it feels like a nice upgrade.

You skipped FM 13, I gather? The tactics editor was already streamlined last year.

dejanzie wrote:

You skipped FM 13, I gather? The tactics editor was already streamlined last year.

Nope, played plenty of FM 13. The removal of the sliders is new to FM 14.

There has been a complete redesign of how tactics are created, selected and implemented with player roles and team strategies becoming even more prominent, definable roles for players for multiple positions, new player roles and instructions and improvements to rival managers’ AI so that they’ll adapt their tactics more readily over time.
B Dog wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

You skipped FM 13, I gather? The tactics editor was already streamlined last year.

Nope, played plenty of FM 13. The removal of the sliders is new to FM 14.

There has been a complete redesign of how tactics are created, selected and implemented with player roles and team strategies becoming even more prominent, definable roles for players for multiple positions, new player roles and instructions and improvements to rival managers’ AI so that they’ll adapt their tactics more readily over time.

I see! They just moved more in the player role direction. Sorry for doubting your expertise

No apology necessary—it's definitely a continuation of last year's streamlining.

I'm not going to buy it anyway, but that makes me unhappy - I felt that introduction of player roles was somewhat limiting in regards to tactic creation from the very beginning, so streamlining everything even more sounds like robbing you of options to be creative.

Are there any sliders remaining at all?

UCRC wrote:

I'm not going to buy it anyway, but that makes me unhappy - I felt that introduction of player roles was somewhat limiting in regards to tactic creation from the very beginning, so streamlining everything even more sounds like robbing you of options to be creative.

Are there any sliders remaining at all?

There are no sliders whatsoever. But I actually think the tactics editor still offers quite a few options and opportunities to create unique and specific tactics, it's just that your tools to do that now are roles, duties and instructions, not sliders. The streamlining is about simplifying the tools, not reducing the complexity. I also think that, as opposed to ticking sliders a spot or two, it's more immersive and realistic to tell a player, "I want you in a Ball Winning Midfielder role, supporting the attack. Exploit the middle whenever you can and try to work the ball into the box, and on defense, close down early."

B Dog wrote:
UCRC wrote:

I'm not going to buy it anyway, but that makes me unhappy - I felt that introduction of player roles was somewhat limiting in regards to tactic creation from the very beginning, so streamlining everything even more sounds like robbing you of options to be creative.

Are there any sliders remaining at all?

There are no sliders whatsoever. But I actually think the tactics editor still offers quite a few options and opportunities to create unique and specific tactics, it's just that your tools to do that now are roles, duties and instructions, not sliders. The streamlining is about simplifying the tools, not reducing the complexity. I also think that, as opposed to ticking sliders a spot or two, it's more immersive and realistic to tell a player, "I want you in a Ball Winning Midfielder role, supporting the attack. Exploit the middle whenever you can and try to work the ball into the box, and on defense, close down early."

What? more realistic than telling a player 4/5ths width!!!!!

I haven't played in ages but sounds like a positive move IMO. The opposite would be to let you be more precise with the sliders which would be just more unrealistic as to what an actual manager can do.

That said I hope they improved the versatility of players especially ones generated. It would get frustrating in later games that every player generated was pretty much a one role player and seemingly impossible to diversify.

If your going to take the sliders away it would be nice to have more players that are serviceable in multiple positions so you can still change your formations mid game. As it stands if you put out some of the formations/substitutions that are happening in real life they would epically explode in FM IMO.

I was against removal of sliders because all that role system did was obfuscate actual workings of game engine - I bet that underlying logic/AI is still based on same slider system it ever was, and if it is, they didn't remove the sliders... they just provided a bunch of presets.

So, ideally, I'd like to see a player role system but with new match engine.

I guess it's whether you like 'pretending' to be a manager, or if you want to play the gaming system.

A real manager doesn't have sliders, only instructions. But he also doesn't have a page of attributes per player... so it can never really be removed from a gaming system (or, a colourful spreadsheet, as someone once described it) I always think I would like it to feel more real and unknown, but the outcome is just frustration. So, without trying the even-less-sliders approach of this year, I'm not entirely sure if I like the idea or not.

If it is the same underlying mechanic in the game engine, perhaps they could make it optional?

As an aside, is the 3D match engine any better than last year? I tend to go back down to 2D, purely because the 3D representation is about as bad a representation of a football match as I've ever seen. It's horrible, janky, and in no way compares to the movement of a real football match. It irritates me to the point that I'd rather just watch blobs and invent what actually happens in my head.

The match engine looks nicer, but I'm not sure it provides significantly more realistic-looking football. Too early to tell. It's still a beta and I've definitely seen a few oddities in the match engine.

UCRC, you may be correct—using the shouts/instructions in the tactics editor may simply be a new interface for what the sliders were doing. Obviously, I don't know what's going on under the hood, but logic would dictate that telling your team to play wide using an instruction is having the same impact as ticking a slider toward Wide. I still like the change, though, as it feels more intuitive to me. As omnipherous said, the old tactics editor got to the point where it felt like you were trying to game a system as opposed to manage a group of players.

B Dog wrote:

UCRC, you may be correct—using the shouts/instructions in the tactics editor may simply be a new interface for what the sliders were doing.

That was the case up until last year.

B Dog wrote:

logic would dictate that telling your team to play wide using an instruction is having the same impact as ticking a slider toward Wide.

Which is the thing here. They replaced "width" slider with "+5 to width" button, thus reducing your options while retaining underlying system.

Like I'm saying, I wasn't fan of the sliders in the first place, but if they are going to switch to another paradigm ("I'm a manager now, not a person moving sliders") they should have re-built the match engine from ground up. Because my quibbles with it were always not enough variety of tools available to us* to create tactics you wanted to see, and they only made it worse.

*Case in point here: those 20-page discussions on SI forums crica 2009-2010 of people trying to recreate total football, proper libero role or real tiki-taka in game.

The FM 14 beta has been updated to version 14.1, which I assume will be the release version due Thursday. The demo is now also available on Steam—per usual, it's six months of game time for those that want to try out the new version.

B Dog wrote:

The FM 14 beta has been updated to version 14.1, which I assume will be the release version due Thursday. The demo is now also available on Steam—per usual, it's six months of game time for those that want to try out the new version.

Sticks fingers in ears "this year I'm giving it a miss, this year I'm giving it a miss, this year....".

Downloads demo.

I think I'll remain strong this season, just like I was in the last one... but there's at least one gargantuan FM binge left in me, I know it. Maybe next year.

A few minutes into 14, and the damn thing CTD'd on me.

On the other hand, the new match engine looks fabulous.

Going through archive of old gaming screenshots:

IMAGE(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1272142/monaco/real.png)

Had some memorable moments with this game. Worth 250 hours of my life every year? Hard to say, but, maaaan, hell of a ride. Hell of a ride.

Getting really nostalgic here

UCRC wrote:

Going through archive of old gaming screenshots:

IMAGE(https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1272142/monaco/real.png)

Had some memorable moments with this game. Worth 250 hours of my life every year? Hard to say, but, maaaan, hell of a ride. Hell of a ride.

Getting really nostalgic here ;)

I'm -this- close to digging up screenshots from my 2034 World Cup run, but I think I've subjected you all to them more than once before. Easily the best narrative I've experienced playing games and the 2D match engine did a perfect job showing it.

Hooo-boy. I got PES 2013 from GameFly today, and I can't remember disliking a game out of the box like that in some time.

So my Blackburn side was on a 8-game unbeaten run and top of the league when the latest Football Manager patch came out with significant changes to the match engine.

You all know what happened next: 8-game winless streak. Same players, same tactics. Oh, FM, you cruel mistress.

Two more things about PES:

1.) "Nessun Dorma" as your game-opening music is getting WAY too far up your own butts guys. Was "O Fortuna" too expensive?

2.) saying the Giuseppe Meazza and the San Siro count as two separate stadiums is a honkin' load of BS.

Prederick wrote:

Hooo-boy. I got PES 2013 from GameFly today, and I can't remember disliking a game out of the box like that in some time.

Played it for few hours once. It has potential but it's so different from all other football games that I don't know how would person make a switch from years of FIFA to this.

Also, those player faces are funny.

Holy cow the FM14 interface is miles ahead of FM12. Everything's so snappy and quick.

Must stay strong.

UCRC wrote:

Must stay strong.

Signs up for the 'I'm not buying FM14' support group.

"Hi everyone, my name's Dave and I'm not buying FM14 because...."

Because if you only buy it every second year, the changes are double and actually worth it!

So that's where I've being going wrong...since this version

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/32/Championship_Manager_Coverart.png)

I've never played Football Manager, I've only played FIFA Manager. I've heard that FIFA is not making any more, so I might have to make the switch in a couple of years, as I tend to play them for a couple of years before looking for an update.

I've only tried a few Fifa Manager version, and not for a few years, but I always felt they were... really lacking. It was more like normal FIFA, but without the option to actually play the games. The player stats felt light and predictable. Granted, Football Manager has been getting steadily more complex, and less approachable unless you have plenty of time to dedicate to it, but they have introduced a 'lite' mode (I forget the name) that removes a lot of the overly complex things - fine tuned training schedules etc. I've not tried it yet, and as I'm on an every-two-years cycle, I'll probably not be giving it a try until FM2015 arrives.

While I enjoyed the stadium building aspects of FIFA Manager from a gaming perspective, it's not exactly the job of a Manager to decide what changes to make to a stadium..

FIFA Manager has a lot more than stadium managing. In fact, I don't even do that. You can actually hire staff to manage certain parts of your club that you don't want to directly manage yourself. Maybe in a few years as I said, I'll probably have to pick up Football Manager and see what it is for myself.