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  • 3 weeks later...

For those who don't follow us on Facebook or Twitter, beta testing passes will start to go out over this weekend. Anyone who signed-up to test should expect something by next week. Unfortunately we can't be more specific as there's hundreds of emails to send out. Just keep an eye out on your inbox/spam folder for our email.

If you're not already signed-up to beta test, and want to be, you can pick up a pass once testing begins via our Twitter account; we have some spares that we are going to be giving out. You can do that here: www.twitter.com/supportsfm –– We may do this on Facebook too, here: www.facebook.com/supportsinteractive

There's more information on our new site about the project, as well as the opportunity to officially purchase Football Manager 2013 at a 25% discount. Our store will be releasing pre-ordered copies on the 19th of October, and if you buy via us we'll get some cash from the game-makers to help pay for the servers everyone will be abusing; so there's some good reasons to pre-order with us instead of Steam, etc. You can find all that here: www.supportsinteractive.com

Thanks again for your interest, hopefully you'll all think it's been worth the wait when you see it.

Game.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
When is the site looking to launch?

Sorry for the late reply.

We had to delay beta testing by a couple of weeks to fix some bugs we found with user accounts, et cetera. We have fixed 99% of the issues we were having and, hopefully, we will be proceeding with testing at some point next week (all going well with the remaining issues). We'll update people as soon as their access is available.

Currently, we're looking at a release in the following stages: First Wave beta, Second Wave beta, open beta (limited to x amount of users, pending a review). All going well, FW beta will be in at some point over the next 10-14 days; SW beta 7-14 days after that; open beta once we've made sure there are no problems with adding more users.

After the open beta we'll make the site available to everyone, but, we don't know when that'll be due to not knowing what may need doing. If you're not FW or SW beta, you can get open beta access by following our Twitter and Facebook page, where we'll be giving out access codes allowing people to create accounts; during open beta everyone will be able to view the site.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Christ, is this still not released? Just a tip: always better to release early and build from there. That's the beauty of web apps: you can upgrade and add features anytime. Better to start with three features and add 27 over the next year, than aiming for 30 features and not releasing the app until 12 months later. Releasing early means you'll have users and manageable amounts of bugs. With your ambitious approach you'll be stuck in beta periods for a long time.

Some good quotes and tips from 37Signals (the guys who built Basecamp and created Ruby on Rails):

"If you can't fit everything in within the time and budget allotted then don't expand the time and budget. Instead, pull back the scope. There's always time to add stuff later - later is eternal, now is fleeting. Launching something great that's a little smaller in scope than planned is better than launching something mediocre and full of holes because you had to hit some magical time, budget, and scope window."

"Throw in every decent idea that comes along and you'll just wind up with a half-assed version of your product. What you really want to do is build half a product that kicks ass. Take whatever you think your product should be and cut it in half. Start off with a lean, smart app and let it gain traction. Then you can add to the solid foundation you've built."

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Christ, is this still not released? Just a tip: always better to release early and build from there. That's the beauty of web apps: you can upgrade and add features anytime. Better to start with three features and add 27 over the next year, than aiming for 30 features and not releasing the app until 12 months later. Releasing early means you'll have users and manageable amounts of bugs. With your ambitious approach you'll be stuck in beta periods for a long time.

Some good quotes and tips from 37Signals (the guys who built Basecamp and created Ruby on Rails):

"If you can't fit everything in within the time and budget allotted then don't expand the time and budget. Instead, pull back the scope. There's always time to add stuff later - later is eternal, now is fleeting. Launching something great that's a little smaller in scope than planned is better than launching something mediocre and full of holes because you had to hit some magical time, budget, and scope window."

"Throw in every decent idea that comes along and you'll just wind up with a half-assed version of your product. What you really want to do is build half a product that kicks ass. Take whatever you think your product should be and cut it in half. Start off with a lean, smart app and let it gain traction. Then you can add to the solid foundation you've built."

Whilst I don't undervalue the opinion of people who've already done this to some degree, you have to understand that their perspective is not going to apply to every project. They've built software/apps for other people to develop custom sites on top of. We are building a social network. It's two completely different scenarios. There's a certain level of quality and functionality people expect with social media sites, and we have to meet that. On top of which, we also have to make our site FM orientated; so there's another host of features and areas we need to build as standard.

That's not to say we've handled everything perfectly. We haven't. We underestimated the work involved initially, set a date, were under enormous pressure to hit it and missed it by six months. That was last year. It goes without saying, we're guilty of being unrealistic and moving too quickly in letting people know about the site. But after missing FM12 we decided to build for FM13, and after multiple improvements during that time we're almost there –– with a far superior site than we'd ever have had otherwise.

All of that being said, we're not being unrealistic; we're not trying to create a perfect site. There's a lot we've not touched on yet, because as you've highlighted above, we have to accept some things aren't as important as releasing the site. But, we've taken exactly as long as we needed to in order to create the kind of site we felt we needed to. If we'd opened early on and had a buggy site people were beta testing, it'd have been a nightmare –– and I say that with experience because we've done that with about 50 people so far (after testing/building for 20 months) and it's been chaotic. I wouldn't like to think how bad it'd have been without the 20 months of design and development behind us.

I won't keep pushing my opinion the matter, it'll get boring. What I will say is, wait for the site to open in the next few days (First Wave beta testing) and you'll see why we've gone down the route of creating a polished site instead of a framework. Ask anyone who's seen the site (#SceneBeta on Twitter) and they'll tell you we've done the right thing taking our time with this.

Thanks for the comment/quotes :thup:

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Whilst I don't undervalue the opinion of people who've already done this to some degree, you have to understand that their perspective is not going to apply to every project. They've built software/apps for other people to develop custom sites on top of. We are building a social network.

A web app is just code, which is what 37Signals are giving advice for. There's nothing magic about a social network in comparison to a social organisation app (like 37Signals' Basecamp app). It's all code, and the quotes are from their book on web app startups and how to best approach such a task, regardless of what the app is. I know it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know better, or that your product is somehow different...but trust me, it's not. 37Signals haven't just done it "to some degree", they've built many web apps and frameworks.

Wisdom: don't be afraid to accept it from those who know more than you do. ;)

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A web app is just code, which is what 37Signals are giving advice for. There's nothing magic about a social network in comparison to a social organisation app (like 37Signals' Basecamp app). It's all code, and the quotes are from their book on web app startups and how to best approach such a task, regardless of what the app is. I know it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know better, or that your product is somehow different...but trust me, it's not. 37Signals haven't just done it "to some degree", they've built many web apps and frameworks.

Wisdom: don't be afraid to accept it from those who know more than you do. ;)

To explain where we're at, as a site, we've got a platform that is very much on par with Facebook and Twitter, and has an incredible amount of unique and original Football Manager features on top of it. – And I seriously don't think you'll find anyone who will say that's not accurate. This isn't a social network in the sense that you have a profile and some Like buttons, some messaging tools and a friend system; it's all of Facebook + Twitter + Invision Power Board + Steam's community features + MSN + the FM equivalent to EA Sports' FIFA website thing they have –– if you break up our site and look at its features compared to various other social tools you may use.

The beauty of our site is in its understated simplicity; things just work and it's seamless. Because of that I don't think there's anyone who will ever truly comprehend the nature of what we've done with only a 2 man team and 5-6 hours per night for 18.5 consecutive months (and that's rounding down the amount of time we've invested on the site). For that reason, I find it difficult to agree that either yourself or 37Signals would be in a better position to judge something you've not interacted with and don't understand.

Yes, 37Signals have created very popular social platforms, but my point is this: They create a framework for a user to build upon; they are better off releasing early and expanding features. We have a social network which has a minimum requirement of numerous features. We also have a FM orientated site, which again, has a minimum requirement of numerous features. If we don't get those things in place to start with, the site doesn't do what it's supposed to. The crux of the point is: 37Signals will do what it's supposed to with a basic feature set, SI's basic feature set was far more expansive than 37Signals'.

Of course, all of that said, there are things we've done that we didn't need to do so soon, but they were quick and easy to do whilst we were at a certain point, so they were done. We're only a 2 man team, so this was always going to take time, but we're also methodical and have extremely high standards when it comes to the quality of everything we do – that has absolutely added to the timeframe. However, like I said before, wait and see what has taken so long. From that position you can actually compare the site to the time it's taken and have an informed opinion :thup:

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Having had access to the site for a few weeks now I can only back up what Game has said. Until you see and use the site you don't realise the magnitude of what he and Caleyjag have set out to do (and have very nearly done) here.

Whilst I agree it is frustrating for it to take such along time, once you've actually got on and used the site, it'll all seem worth it in my opinion. There really is that much to do and interact with. IT's all well and good you saying 'it's better to release small with bugs and build from there', but then look how annoyed people get when FM is released each year with the bugs it has had in the past.

All I'll say is wait until you've had a chance to use the place before you say they're doing it wrong :)

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SupportsInteractive has been a fantastic project and now that it is nearing proper completion it's clear that it is going to be a fantastic and solid part of the FM online community. There's a great deal to do that directly compliments playing FM which is a major selling point, I actually haven't fired up FM13 without opening up Supports in a browser tab.

Whether it has taken a long time or not is irrelevant now, it's here and it's looking and feeling bloomin' marvellous

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Thanks for the nice comments guys. Here's a notice from our Twitter account for anyone still waiting to test;

I can FINALLY confirm we've fixed all the bugs with sign-ups, and First Wave beta testing will be accessible from 8PM tomorrow. #SceneBeta
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Is it too late to sign up for the Beta?
Yes. People signed-up over a year ago to get their beta passes. We'll be giving some out on Twitter during open beta testing soon, though. We estimate that'll be 3-4 weeks, maybe longer. Not entirely sure until we complete the next few weeks of testing first :-)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally we're in a position to allow more beta requests. You can sign-up here: http://www.supportsinteractive.com/beta-access

Please note: It's first come, first served. And passes will only be sent once we've cleared the current crop of bugs reported. Thus far we've had 50 sign-ups in the last 30 minutes, so if you do want to get in any time soon, you should get your name down early on.

Thanks,

Game :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Is there a way to edit a previously blogged story? I didn't expect the site to automatically switch text to smilies and now I have a random emoticon in my story.

EDIT: Never mind, found it. But perhaps you could place an "edit" option on the Career Blog entry.

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No, purely because of broken links. We house all downloads on our server and on Amazon so we know that every download link will work. Linking externally would end up causing problems.

I understand the reasoning for you wanting an external link though.

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Any chance for the an "edit entry" when viewing your own blog/career updates? I often go back to add detail or correct mistakes that I find and the current way off navigating to the archived entries is a bit tedious.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

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