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Thread: Suggestions for a revamped tactical system

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Suggestions for a revamped tactical system

    The mentality system in Football Manager is flawed as it does not translate into real life football management. It is also very vague as a concept and few people fully comprehend how it translates directly into the ME. However, I don't indent this post to spur yet another discussion about sliders/mentality/ME, although these threads can be interesting as well.

    I simply want to outline my suggestion for changes to the tactical side of the game. This has been inspired in part by discussions in other excellent threads regarding improving the UI, the tactical wizard being made by WWFan and Millie plus other threads since FM09 came out.

    Current State
    I feel at the moment the tactical system doesn't relate to real world football tactics. It's more akin to a computerized system of variables/functions in the ME translated into sliders and drop-down boxes in the User Interface. I suspect this is due to the fact that the AI has to play by the same rules as us, and despite the name Artificial Intelligence it's not intelligent in the same way as a human player. It feels like the AI has a set number of scenarios, variables and mathematical functions which is natural for a computer player but we as human managers can't operate in the same way.

    We need something that is inituitive and natural in plain English, well documented and understood, but still with the possibility to dig in and get very technical for people inclined that way.

    Assumptions about tactics in real life
    Before I put forward my suggestions I'd just like to make a quick list of a very basic (and possibly wrong/incomplete) list of what a real life standard manager would go through when deciding on a tactical framework for his team.
    The manager has to decide;
    1. on an overall attacking or defensive degree/mentality of play.
    2. on a formation. (4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-1-2-2-1, etc)
    3. on team (and individual) passing pattern.
    4. on individual movement*.
    5. on any "special" team or individual instructions such as using a play maker, inside wingers, counter attacking play and similar.
    * Forward runs, holding back/supporting play/pressing forwards, and closing down. I feel this translates to the theory behind defend/support/attack roles in TT&F. But I feel it should be changed into a more complete "Individual Movement/Mentality" concept.

    To be very blunt my only experience as a football player is amateur youth level and more recently 7s and 11-a-sides non-league play with a couple of pals for one of the worst areas of Glasgow. But still, I think anyone who's played football has some basic understanding about movement, passing and team mentality. It happens instinctively I believe, and this is where the tactical frame work fails to reflect reality. In FM09 you can micro-manage the movement and play of every single player on the pitch. You can tell a player to have 12 mentality, 10 passing and 15 closing down.

    As this is mostly common sense instinctive stuff I shouldn't need to create the following overview but I feel I have to as the ME seems unattached from real life tactical theory.

    BPA = Best Pass Available
    Cover Opposition = Man or Zonal marking but also depending on Closing Down setting.
    Move into space = For example you move into open space to make yourself availble for a pass or to draw an opposing player away from one of your team mate to give him space.

    Mentality in FM09: Movement/Positioning and Passing
    Here comes my big gripe, and the thing I really would like to see changed.
    The way mentality interacts with movement and passing.
    I firmly believe that if you're a football player your movement won't be dictated by your manager, but much more by the position that has been defined for you. As a defensive/holding midfielder you've been told to defend and support attacks more than you would initiate attacks and make forward runs. As a target man striker you know that you're supposed to win the ball, hold it up and bring other attacking team mates into play.

    A manager would never tell a player "I want 80% of you passes and movement to be defensive and 20% attacking". I honestly believe that every player will most of the time try to make the Best Pass Available. By BPA I mean not just the easiest pass but the pass he's most comfortable with. And the team mentality and his role/position will determine if this will be a defensive or attack minded pass. Think about it, if your MCa has the ball and he's in the middle of the centre circle looking for a pass it's all going to depend where his team mates are. If the team is ultra-defensive there just be a single striker up in the 15 year-box surrounded by 2 central defenders and all his other team mates are behind him. He can either smack it up field hoping that the striker wins the ball or he can make a safe pass backwards. Another option is to run with the ball obviously.
    The passes and movement you make are determined largely by your role and your team mentality, regardless if you have the ball or not.

    My Humble Suggestions
    So, finally after more than 4700 characters we can move on to my constructive suggestions for improving the tactical system.
    • Individual player mentality should be dropped. The player movement and passing pattern can be determined indirectly by team mentality and directly influenced by his role.
    • The excellent concept of player roles (defend/support/attack) should be fully embraced as an important part of individual player instructions, perhaps even be the most important individual instruction. I imagine every position having a natural role (eg, DC=defend DMC=support) but with the option to override them.
    • Individual passing instructions should be clarified. Perhaps even simplified to only have a drop-down menu with Short/Normal/Long options and no slider with ticks.
    • Leave Closing Down as it is, but clarify it! It should logically translate to whether or not a player will go outside his zonal/man marking, when your team doesn't have possession.
    • Drop Forward Run/Runs with ball and incorporate this into player roles as mentioned in point #2.
    • 6 Depending on the position of the player, certain tick boxes should be available with "templates" for specialized roles like holding midfielder (MCd), target man striker, sweeper, inside winger and similar. I think I saw this in the tactic wizard WWFan and Millie is working on so this is good.

    I hope I've been able to convey my suggestions clearly in this post and hopefully we can get a nice discussion going.
    All I'm looking for is a lot of clarification but also a bit of simplification without taking away the fun for tactic-lovers. Just bring it closer to have real life tactics are done and more enjoyable for everyone.

    Closing Points
    I have a lot of respect for the people behind TT&F and I feel SI is making a good decision getting WWFan and Millie involved in creating a tactic wizard. But I just don't agree with how the ME works around mentality and some other concepts I've mentioned. It can be so much more transparent and initiutive by making a few focused changes.
    Sadly, I strongly doubt any of this could happen for FM10 as it would most likely require too much of the ME code to be redesigned and rewritten. Perhaps for FM11 or FM12?
    Now please discuss and don't be shy to chip in with your two cents or tell me if you think I'm wrong!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a revamped tactical system

    I understand the desire to have some sort of tactical overhaul, and fully support any initiatives. But I quickly found your post to be rather complicated - more so than the current system - but that may be down to me rather than your idea. However, your summary does make for an easier read.

    Quote Originally Posted by the--dud View Post
    My Humble Suggestions
    So, finally after more than 4700 characters we can move on to my constructive suggestions for improving the tactical system.
    • Individual player mentality should be dropped. The player movement and passing pattern can be determined indirectly by team mentality and directly influenced by his role.
    • The excellent concept of player roles (defend/support/attack) should be fully embraced as an important part of individual player instructions, perhaps even be the most important individual instruction. I imagine every position having a natural role (eg, DC=defend DMC=support) but with the option to override them.
    • Individual passing instructions should be clarified. Perhaps even simplified to only have a drop-down menu with Short/Normal/Long options and no slider with ticks.
    • Leave Closing Down as it is, but clarify it! It should logically translate to whether or not a player will go outside his zonal/man marking, when your team doesn't have possession.
    • Drop Forward Run/Runs with ball and incorporate this into player roles as mentioned in point #2.
    • 6 Depending on the position of the player, certain tick boxes should be available with "templates" for specialized roles like holding midfielder (MCd), target man striker, sweeper, inside winger and similar. I think I saw this in the tactic wizard WWFan and Millie is working on so this is good.
    Individual player mentality should be dropped.
    Have to say absolutely not on this one. It's essential - I don't think an arrow plus team mentality is sufficient. May be okay for U11s but if I want my DMC to operate as an MC or specifically a DMC his instructions will be very different from his fellow MC.

    player roles (defend/support/attack) should be fully embraced
    I think the sliders already do this fairly intuitively. What IS very confusing is the mentality thing. People say mentality shouldn't affect position on the pitch, but I disagree. An MC with an attacking mentality is of course going to run forward more often, but if they have forward runs set to "rare" they are more likely to try killer passes more often. I had always assumed this to be the case, but can understand why it's confusing.

    The table you post is far more confusing IMO. It may relate more to real life, but I think gamers will spend even MORE time setting tactics, which is a major concern for a number of posters.

    Individual passing instructions should be clarified.
    Yes, I have thought this for a while. Although a drop-down box is essentially the same as a slider. I would like to keep the slider/drop-down box and perhaps add a couple of tick boxes under the passing instruction, such as "try killer through balls" and "shoot from distance" which will do away with a number of other sliders that continue to frustrate many gamers.

    Drop Forward Run/Runs with ball
    Again, I think this is essential to a successful tactic, both in FM and real life. To tell Ronaldo to "run with ball often" against weak oposition is a good tactic. But if he's getting kicked off the ball and booted in the air and the ref does nothing, you'd say to NOT run with ball so often, forcing him to pass and move.

    "templates" for specialized roles
    Yes, this would certainly be helpful. A list of defaults, but customisable too so you can save your own.

    I especially like your "BPA = Best Pass Available" option which would tie in very nicely to a defensive tactic such as when you are protecting a slender lead. Would also work well for individual instructions, such as when you have a slightly weaker player covering for a more experienced player.

    Overall, I think you have some good ideas in there, but to rely more heavily on team instructions will result in far more complainer than happy people. When protecting a slender lead, for example, you may wish to have one player in particular play a more specific role.

    The other flaw, from what I can understand, is that you are proposing to replace one detailed system with another detailed system, largely replacing sliders and numbers with tables and words. This might be simpler when you are a bigger team with the best players in the world, but when it's Leeds vs Grimsby on a cold, sleet-streaked night, I think you'll struggle.

    I only use 5 settings on the sliders, equating to:

    Minimum
    Low
    Medium/mixed/normal
    High
    Maximum

    These have served me well and on the whole fairly intuitive. I just think it's clarification that's required rather than simplification. A refresh of the user interface so you do feel more like you are managing a club rather than a set of numbers and calculations. Drop down boxes with simple words to replace sliders might help, although I'm not 100% sure it would please everyone.

    Well done on the post, too - thought out and constructive. Now why can't more people post like this?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Suggestions for a revamped tactical system

    backpackant: Cheers for your feedback
    Just to clarify some things, I never meant to have tables in the game, the image I posted was only to clarify...

    And about mentality and forward runs/runs with ball:
    What I can imagine is that these would be "baked into" the defend/support/attack roles, but I suppose if you never read TT&F it's not so obvious. In TT&F a player with defend role will have rare forward runs, support mixed and attack often.
    But as I was saying, I feel that these roles should be expanded so they mean more, for instance a player with an attack role will push forward more and make attacking passes if possible. Similar stuff to this.
    So you'd still have players making runs with ball and forward runs into space, obviously you don't want ten static outfield players not moving at all ;)

    But cheers for the comments, hopefully that clear up a wee bit!

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