Hi all (and Riz in particular). Some ideas I've had from playing and being involved with the editing side over at TBL forums (split into ideas for the current version of the game and for any subsequent games 'proper' if there's ever an 'EHM2').
Ideas for current version:
More customisable ice surfaces.
In the absence of 3D arenas having customised ice really helps give you the idea you're playing at home or in someone else's 'barn' for me.
I recently made a pack for the UK consisting of centre-ice logos and sponsor logos for the faceoff circles. However plenty of teams don't have adverts in the faceoff circles, so would be nice (and satisfy my OCD) to have other sectors of the ice available to place logos.
Logos linked to arena, not to team.
Linked to my above point: many teams (aside from the very top-level) share rinks with teams from the same city, or lower-league teams. As such it would help for the customised ice/logos to link to a specific arena, as opposed to a team. Currently, if teams share arenas, I have to copy the 'parent' team's logos and re-name them for the lower-league team that shares the rink (OCD again). Would allow us to make logo-packs smaller/more accurate.
'Special' competition-specific logos (for playoffs/European Finals/World Championships)
For the Champion's League final and World Championships the ice is usually marked up with special competition-specific logos. Again would be good if the game recognised a special game/competition and used a logo pack for that particular game. This can even apply to the NHL Playoffs, where the Stanley Cup logo usually makes an appearance under the ice for the participating teams.
Player/Head Coach role.
Again, lower down the leagues in the hockey world it is quite common to have a Player/Head Coach. Currently we only have Player/Coach as an option, which usually means a new Head-Coach is appointed by the AI early in the game. Would be nice (again from an editing perspective) to be able to accurately model this in-game, especially for lower-leagues where the budget isn't there to have a separate Head-Coach.
'Alt' colours activated.
They are in the database, would be really good to have 'Alt' colours pop up now and then if I'm playing as New York Rangers and taking on an Original-Six rival, or playing as MK Lightning in the EPL Playoffs.
Colour-changes in extra-config activatable by date.
Been playing with the extra-config file and seen it is possible to use it to change a team's colours. Unfortunately this only happens at the game start (and we can already change colours using Archi's editor anyway).
How I'd like to use it is specifically to change a team's colours on a certain date. In the English Premier League this season all teams used their 'dark' jerseys at home till Christmas, and then swapped to 'light' jerseys at home in the new year. Would be good to be able to mirror this in-game. Also for 'historic' databases (such as when the NHL changed from light to dark jerseys at home, or when a team has altered their colours).
Also be useful to specify certain colours to be used in certain competitions or against certain opponents (such as Rangers tending to play in Whites at home versus Philly).
Transfers in extra-config overwrite trade-AI.
I like editing, on Football Manager I've been known to spend hours editing future-transfers into a start-of-season database to mirror players that have moved throughout the season in real-life. Largely you can in the extra-config anyway but there are a few exceptions.
1. In the NHL the AI will cancel and 'future-transfers' you program in if you try to mimic real life trades.
2. In leagues with a fixed-limit on foreign (or 'import') players the AI will cancel any Future-transfer that places them over the limit (hence you can program future transfers for British players in the UK leagues, but not for imports).
I'd like for any future-transfers in the extra-config to in effect be 'hard-coded' at game start. In effect 'forcing' the game to accept them (as in Football Manager). This would allow us to apply a list of future-transfers to the start-of-season database (instead of producing a seperate database) to allow a Trade-deadline data-update. Actually it would allow a player to play through a season with all the transfers happening as in real life (if they wanted to).
U20 World Championship divisions and U18 World Championships
Again for 'lower league' GM's losing talented youngsters to age-group internationals can be a challenge, as can managing the youth teams and trying to develop youngsters internationally. Would be good for the full international groups to be included.
Would be good for the club's 'foreground' colour to show up on the player icon on the match view, as well as the background colour. In a lot of leagues it often turns into a boring procession of 'white dots' playing 'black dots'. Again without a 3D match engine a bit more variety in the player icons (as with the rinks) can really make it feel like you're playing different teams.
Editable League Structures
Would really like to see a historic database for the Heineken British League back in the early '90's (3 divisions with Promotion/Relegation and the finals at Wembley Arena). I know that more editable leagues is something that's being looked at and this would be good if we could replace leagues in certain countries with ones that match the old structures).
Ideas for subsequent versions:
Dynamic League/Team reputation
It would be good to have certain things affect a league or a teams reputation in the database, for instance winning a World Championship or a good run for an underdog in the Olympics or winning at a Continental competition in Europe. This could add value to long-term gameplay, with perhaps the KHL approaching a true rival-status for the NHL, or certain Nations becoming more of a powerhouse leading to an increase in popularity for the sport in that nation and perhaps leading to better quality new-gens/regens in the player-pool.
Would love to see expansion teams feature in the game, or in leagues that are 'closed' with no promotion/relegation have existing teams invited to join. This would give the game enhanced re-playability and provide an ever-changing game-world to give the player new challenges.
For instance you could be mid-dynasty with an NHL team assiduously built over several years only to find it threatened by an expansion-draft.
You could be dominating in the Swedish league and invited to join the KHL.
Toiling away in the lower-reaches of the British Leagues with a team of amatures/semi-pro's and asked to join the Elite League.
This could all be dictated by various factors like league and team reputation, as well as a random element so that certain circumstances don't always dictate the same outcome.
Especially if the game is to continue without licences then there shouldn't be any legal issues to doing this. Have it as a selectable option at game start-up and anyone who want's to play with strictly accurate teams and structures can be kept happy too. Would open the game up to 'Bottom to the Top' challenges as well? Maybe the NHL would even expand into Europe?
Training and Tactics
I really like the new training and tactic interfaces in Football Manager, they just seem much more intuitive than sliders/training intensities. I'd especially like to see more 'individual' training and training to different depending on whether you're an NHL side or a Semi-Pro team practicing a couple of nights a week.
For Training: Have different training focusses, have players be able to train different roles and show us what attributes a certain type of training will focus on.
For Tactics: Have it much more explanatory as to what certain settings make your players do. Appreciate that the game is based on 'old' FM builds with sliders, but I find it so much easier in modern FM to set my team up to play how I want them to. Whether that way of playing is particularly effective is another thing!
This would also help new players who maybe don't have the knowledge of Hockey yet to adapt to the game.
Linked to the above point have player roles (which are already in the database) actually be selectable. You might have a Power-Forward with a good shot who you actually want to play as more of a sniper, you might have a certain game where instead of playing as a Pointman you want both your defencemen to be more conservative and play with 2 defensive D-men against the oppositions top line.
You might have a NHL 3rd-line Grinder who drops down the leagues to play in Britain or Australia who suddenly finds himself the most skilful player on the team! So while he's 'naturally' a Grinder you'll play him as a Power-Forward or in a Finesse role.
I know you can do all this with sliders and personal instructions, but again it works really well in the most-recent FM's and if we ever get a new-build of EHM it would make sense to build on that.
Finally a personal request to Riz: I'm a massive MK Lightning fan (in the English Premier League) and we've been invited to join the top league (British Elite) in the 2017/2018 season. Would love it if in the next 'build' of EHM the Elite League expansion was included. The Elite League will grow to 12 teams (with a new London team playing out of Wembley expected to be the 12th). I know it's a long shot, but I know expansion teams for the MLS were included in a recent version and would be really cool if the league re-alignment could make it in.
Doing it for the 2016/2017 iteration of the data (if we're getting one) will be difficult as all the details aren't likely to be known till the end of that season. But you could have MK Lightning and a London team (London Emperors is the name that keeps floating around) join the Elite League (with Belfast switching conferences to keep it balanced).
To replace MKL you could have a new team playing out of the Leeds rink that's being built (though there's even more conjecture as to what the EPL will look like next year let alone the year after.
So yeah...really just me wanting to mastermind my team's debut in the Elite League. I know it's a long shot and there's plenty more to do with the game before then but you don't ask then you don't get