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How to Play FM: A (Very) Short Guide to Understanding the Match Engine and Manager AI

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Match Engine Development

It is a regularly expressed forum opinion that the FM07 ME produced beautiful football. In contrast, FM08's ME seemed to be a major retrograde step in terms of the beauty and flow of the football. The release version of FM08 was the only time I was genuinely shocked with the ME quality compared to the previous version. However, I soon came to realise that despite it seeming a step backward, it did actually add in ugly, mistake ridden, broken play elements of the game, which were missing from 07.

In 07, it was possible for a PM to make over 150 successful passes in a match and for a TM to score 50 plus league goals in a season. As long as you had quality players in those positions, you would dominate. I actually stopped using a TM because it made the game too easy. What the 07 ME made obvious, especially for these roles, was how well the players were obeying tactical instructions. in the FM11 ME, player decision making is far more important, so you need a much better eye to see your instructions being carried out. In 07, they followed instructions like robots, in FM11, like people.

The FM07 ME was the last one in which a user could dominate structurally, i.e. as long as he had a logical mentality system and player roles, the tactical AI couldn't cope and was overpowered. Because of this, your team would play exactly how you prescribed. As long as you had a superior structural system, the AI couldn't do anything to stop your team playing in the manner you wanted.

Subsequent AIs and MEs have eroded this level of user advantage. In FM08, the tactical AI was robust enough to stop user structural systems dominating it without the user at least changing strategies. The alternative was to employ crazy arrow tactics that tricked the AI defence into marking the wrong players, which artificially and unrealistically opened up exploitable space. The removal of the arrows for the FM09 ME highlighted other weaknesses in the ME, notably the inability of the AI to defend the centre when it was overloaded by the opposition. As a result, there were a plethora of 'super' tactics appearing that simply channeled the ball down the centre. This fault continued throughout FM10 and early into FM11, although it was slowly being combated by the change in tactical logic in FM10 and by better defensive AI through FM10 and 11. In recent MEs, it has become almost impossible to overpower AI tactics down the centre.

The only major flaw remaining is corners, which are still scored on at too high a rate. However, back post or target goalkeeper routines no longer overly dominate, albeit at the slight cost of overall goals from corners increasing. The current ME has a few other issues which could still be tidied up to make it perfect, but none of which, in my opinion, come close to game breaking.

Current Issues

1: Defenders turning their back on the ball.

2: Defenders clearing the ball out for corners rather than into touch or down the pitch. Numerous times players bang the ball out behind them when it is perfectly possible to clear it to other areas.

3: Attackers freezing when wide of the goal and in the last 6 yards. Players don't know what to do in this position and tend to do very unrealistic things.

4: Back crosses are still a little overpowered. This is not too bad and only happens if you have a strong/quick and tall player coming in on the far post. For example, my MR scores a lot of far post headers from open play, but his jumping is 19. My AML (jumping 5) doesn't.

5: Central players with high vision not seeing the overlap. The FBs can get in really good wide positions in this ME, but are too often ignored when they get there.

6: Goalkeeper not commanding his box.

7: Direct free kicks being underpowered.

8: Pressing could be more aggressive, especially high up the pitch. However, I have seen my team, when fired up, press the ball all the way down the pitch from the edge of my own area, forcing a backpass to and wild clearance from the opposition goalkeeper.

The important thing is that none of these bugs, for me anyway, ruin the overall match experience. The variety of goal types and open play moves is breathtaking. There are no 'do this and score' routines in open play any more, largely because the defence of the centre and flanks has improved so much.

Managing Match Performances in FM11

In FM07, all you had to do was to produce a good base tactic and you'd dominate. Now you also have to ensure the squad is disciplined and motivated. You also need to make minor tactical adjustments (all can be done via shouts) to account for opposition formations, the weather, the pitch condition and the scoreline. For me, an inability to manage these aspects is what will make the game less fun, as you will never work out why you are winning or losing.

If you have well-disciplined, motivated players following a coherent tactical plan, it is still obvious that they are sticking to your tactics. The key difference is that the players won't robotically pass to the PM or TM if another obvious and much easier option is on. This means that if a PM is marked out of the game by the AI, the players use second options. Decision making is now logical and not robotic.

PPMs are a major difference, as they give players traits that might make them act differently than you'd expect from your tactical instructions. As a manager, you have to work out how to best combat/employ this. You can ask them to unlearn the trait, use specific player instructions to minimise its impact, use team instructions to do likewise, or decide to make it an integral part of your game plan. Some players may never fit in to your tactical system, so you either have to ship them off or change the system.

Motivation and respect are also key. If the players are motivated to play for you and respect your decisions, then they will follow instructions very closely. However, if there is low morale or you have lost the dressing room, players will not act in a disciplined manner. You then need to put other managerial skills into play outside of the tactical ones. If you want the players to follow your instructions to the letter, you need the dressing room to 100% respect you. This does require time and managers must recognise that a team is unlikely to produce highly polished football if there are multiple new signings or the manager has just taken over the club. Polished performance is something to work towards and not something one should automatically expect.

Understanding the AI's Strengths and Weaknesses

There have been two types of game-playing logic that have dominated the forums since FM06. One has focused on designing 'super-tactics 'that enable the user to press continue, safe in the knowledge that the AI cannot cope with the user tactic. People using this system never learn how the game works as man and media management become irrelevant if your tactic wins by default. These types of player tend to 'rant and rave' on the forums about cheating AI when the tactic they employ falls apart (commonly, they get the morale up pre-season, play open attractive football in good conditions, win, hit some bad weather, don't adjust and collapse). The second type of logic was based around the TT&F style of play, in which the user learned how to make logical tactical decisions and learned why and how they worked (NB TT&F was just one version of this type of play. There are a number of other systems of play that followed a similar mindset). In FM10, TT&F was incorporated into the game, as the Tactical Creator and in AI tactical logic. The AI is now capable of making far more sophisticated tactical decisions, which means it is able to stop the user team from playing how it wants.

As a result, the user also has to be more sophisticated. In order to impose his own game on the opposition, he needs to be able to manage the squad holistically. He must understand tactics well enough to prevent the opposition from playing and impose his own game in a variety of conditions, against multiple formations and playing styles and against squads of varying ability levels. This can involve using shouts systematically, employing logical opposition instructions (either to combat formation of player strengths/weaknesses), target marking, killing the crowd influence etc, etc. He must be able to keep his squad disciplined, confident and motivated. He must be able to rotate effectively so he doesn't have a squad full of jaded players. He must be able to buy the right players to fit into his tactical system or adapt his tactical thinking to the players at his disposal.

The user still has a number of advantages over the AI. The AI doesn't use opposition instructions to negate formation differences or player weaknesses, only against player strengths. The AI's target marking only focuses on the most creative players. The AI only has a limited number of shout strategies, which certainly haven't been fully integrated with manager types. The AI's squad building is still sub-standard.

The major issue is that too few of the user base appreciate all of this and certainly haven't grasped the holistic requirements of the game. Most of this is down to the documentation, which while technically adequate, is hopeless in terms of understanding game playing strategy. It, and the in-game hints and tips, is lagging behind AI and ME development, which leads to a knowledge gap between the product and the users. The richness of the game's technical excellence is not being extended into the game-playing experience for a significant number of users. It has got better in recent years, but is still a major issue. Until it is addressed, the kind of frustration that regularly expresses itself on the forums will continue, with the risk of it multiplying.

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Good post.

I have two major and one more minor problem with the match engine as it is currently.

1. Defenders doing odd things like you mention, turining away from the ball, randomly kicking the ball out for a corner when they have time to turn and clear properly etc.

2. Goalkeepers don't get involved as much as I'd like them too, evn when I use a sweeper keeper I very rarely see my defenders/central midfielders pass back to them in order to just keep the ball.

3. There is too much emphasis currently on lots of chances, commonly teams get 20-30 shots off in the top leagues which is rather disproportionate to real life. As a result there is a low conversion rate for strikers and people moan about it. Maybe if there was more of an emphasis on your players (especially central midfieders) just keeping the ball then this problem wouldnt occur so much. (This is purely based on my personal experiences in higher levell leagues, not sure how it works out at lower levels).

Generally I think the ME engine changes have been a very good thing for the game. Back in FM07 I found it very easy to just set up a tactic, buy the best players in the world and be done with it. Now I have to consider my own and my oppositions formation, form, motivation, key players, among other things. For me this makes it a much more fulfilling experience. The extra levels of detail make the game so much more realistic, not just in what happens on the pitch but in transfer policy also. Now I don't just consider how high a players attributes are but also if they will fit into my team as a player and an individual and then weigh up the cost accordingly.

I have to agree strongly with the last paragraph. There is a definate need for a more up to date manual explaining all aspects of management currently in the game.

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I have two major problems with the match engine these days and both have to do with defensive behavior.

1. Zonal marking: The behavior of defenders is sometimes odd as they seam to never really be aware of the opposition players position as long as they don't have the ball. In reality defenders will seek to shift the defensive line towards players that try to go out wide in order to exploit the space left by a FB going forward but in the game there is nothing to see of such behavior only when the player receives the ball the defenders react but then it's often too late.

2. Pressing: While in reality we can see a rise of teams like Dortmund who took the example of Barcelonas pressing style to heart and try to put pressure on players even before they recieve the ball not giving them a second to think where to pass and thus forcing a lot of errors. Even though pressing in FM11 works reasonably well if you have the players with the necessary work rate but most of the time you will only see one defender closing down one attacker at a time while it is impossible to press a player from multiple sides forcing him to either play backwards or go for a dribbling.

Apart from that it would be nice if not almost every keeper puts in a world class performance when they are playing against me but well I can live with that.

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I strongly agree with mojojojo and Flohrinho. Exactly what I noticed. :thup:

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My major concern in the last versions of the game is that, since farrows and barrows were taken off, I cannot find a proper way to manage players positions on the pitch without affecting their decision making: mentality affects those two aspects, but sometimes you want a player to drop deeper (decreasing mentality slider) but still playing with an attack-minded decisions making.....

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My major concern in the last versions of the game is that, since farrows and barrows were taken off, I cannot find a proper way to manage players positions on the pitch without affecting their decision making: mentality affects those two aspects, but sometimes you want a player to drop deeper (decreasing mentality slider) but still playing with an attack-minded decisions making.....

Is this a joke post?

Sorry if not but the translation of farrows and barrows in context with FM tactics makes no sense so maybe the meaning got lost in translation.

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Farrow=Forward arrows, barrow=backward arrows. See "removal of the arows" from the initial wwfan´s post....

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The major issue is that too few of the user base appreciate all of this and certainly haven't grasped the holistic requirements of the game. Most of this is down to the documentation, which while technically adequate, is hopeless in terms of understanding game playing strategy. It, and the in-game hints and tips, is lagging behind AI and ME development, which leads to a knowledge gap between the product and the users. The richness of the game's technical excellence is not being extended into the game-playing experience for a significant number of users. It has got better in recent years, but is still a major issue. Until it is addressed, the kind of frustration that regularly expresses itself on the forums will continue, with the risk of it multiplying.

This sums it up: playing FM11 demands more sophistication compared to playing CM3.

Please explain me why the manual from CM3 actually was better then the FM11 pamphlet...

Playing FM11 sometimes feels like landing a space shuttle using a 18th century steam engine instruction book.

"Hmm, good landing. Was I lucky or am I getting the hang of this?"

CRASSHHHHHH

"Ok, Luck it was"

Miles:

Just give Sfraser a big cheque and have him write the FM12 manual; I would actually pay more money for that book than I would pay for FM12.

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Miles:

Just give Sfraser a big cheque and have him write the FM12 manual; I would actually pay more money for that book than I would pay for FM12.

While, in theory, I like this idea and think it would be great, there's a good reason why they won't do it - nor improve their own documentation. The Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt surrounding the game is what makes it difficult. Remove that and more people start to understand the game and - for want of a better phrase - "get" it. This leads the game to be considered too easy by a majority, rather than a minority and the perceived sophistication of the AI is revealed as actually quite simplistic - in real-world terms, not in implementation terms. SI then have a problem: their game is considered too easy and they can't readily rectify that problem because of processing constraints and implementation limitations. They'd rather that people found that game very difficult (although not impregnable) and their AI was considered extremely powerful.

In the end, the AI makes very well reasoned but somewhat obvious logical choices in reaction to manifold inputs - before the game it will consider player selection, opposition strengths and weaknesses, weather, odds, etc. During game, it will react to major events - going a goal down, going a goal up, being reduced to ten men, playing against ten men, narrowly losing in the final ten minutes of a home game where they are considered strong favourites (all-out-attack), narrowly winning in the final ten minutes of an away game where they are considered huge underdogs (all-out defend). The AI is definitely a red herring in FM. It's a great bit of misdirection. The AI doesn't cheat, it doesn't have some secret back-door that it uses to beat you when it thinks you've won enough. No, the devil is in the details.

As cliche as it undoubtedly sounds, failure to plan is planning to fail. Too many FM users rush through a season and don't consider the depth of information that is being process each time they blithely click 'continue'. While their opposition takes this information into account - even in a rudimentary fashion compared to a real human brain - they don't. Thus, this small detail can be the difference between success and failure, three points and one point, a crucial away goal or a sickening home defeat to minnows. I'm not just spouting hollow platitudes here, I swear. I am pointing to the plethora of details that most players simply ignore and say they don't have time to consider. How many players look at their upcoming fixtures when the mail arrives informing them that six key first team players are going to be involved in utterly meaningless friendlies against the likes of Angola, Lichtenstein and San Marino. Oh, Mano Menezes wants to see how Lucas plays as a box-to-box midfielder over the course of 180 minutes in the space of four days against opponents he could probably get an 8.0 against when playing in goal? And, would you believe, three days before those games I have Man Utd away then, afterwards, I have the second leg of my CL quarter final where I hold a slender 1v0 away lead then I'm at home against 17th placed Burnley who - were I to look at their form - have actually won their last three away games. Yeah, you're going to have to put that little experiment on ice, Mano. A modicum of hyperbole, perhaps, but the point stands.

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While, in theory, I like this idea and think it would be great, there's a good reason why they won't do it - nor improve their own documentation. The Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt surrounding the game is what makes it difficult. Remove that and more people start to understand the game and - for want of a better phrase - "get" it. This leads the game to be considered too easy by a majority, rather than a minority and the perceived sophistication of the AI is revealed as actually quite simplistic - in real-world terms, not in implementation terms. SI then have a problem: their game is considered too easy and they can't readily rectify that problem because of processing constraints and implementation limitations. They'd rather that people found that game very difficult (although not impregnable) and their AI was considered extremely powerful.

I see your point.

However:

1. For me it's not a matter of easy vs. hard.

It's a matter of logical thought and processes vs. random results.

The growing gap between game options/content and instruction/presentation,has resulted (for a large part of the players) in either lucky results and the illusion of being a FM-mastermind (The "I found a massive tactic' poster) or unlucky and seemingly inconsistent results and the frustration of being a total FM-noob (The 'This game is bugged worse than...' poster.

2. I don't need/want a manual a la 'Do this, click that, change here and alter there and you'll win the CL with Dover in 5 years time'

I want a clear overview of what is possible and a better understanding of basis game mechanics and parameter interaction.

Don't know if that's possible, but at least they should give it a try; everthing will be better than the "manual" we have now.

As cliche as it undoubtedly sounds, failure to plan is planning to fail. Too many FM users rush through a season and don't consider the depth of information that is being process each time they blithely click 'continue'. While their opposition takes this information into account - even in a rudimentary fashion compared to a real human brain - they don't. Thus, this small detail can be the difference between success and failure, three points and one point, a crucial away goal or a sickening home defeat to minnows. I'm not just spouting hollow platitudes here, I swear. I am pointing to the plethora of details that most players simply ignore and say they don't have time to consider. How many players look at their upcoming fixtures when the mail arrives informing them that six key first team players are going to be involved in utterly meaningless friendlies against the likes of Angola, Lichtenstein and San Marino. Oh, Mano Menezes wants to see how Lucas plays as a box-to-box midfielder over the course of 180 minutes in the space of four days against opponents he could probably get an 8.0 against when playing in goal? And, would you believe, three days before those games I have Man Utd away then, afterwards, I have the second leg of my CL quarter final where I hold a slender 1v0 away lead then I'm at home against 17th placed Burnley who - were I to look at their form - have actually won their last three away games. Yeah, you're going to have to put that little experiment on ice, Mano. A modicum of hyperbole, perhaps, but the point stands.

I agree and disagree :)

I agree that playing FM the trial and error method can be very rewarding and is in fact realistic.

However; FM is not my day time job (I wish...)

I personally don't have the time to start expirimental saves to see the effects of a training schedule of a 17yo Striker and then do this for every age range, position. And then also take into account the morale of the player in a new experiment.

Don't get me wrong; I love reading the stuff Sfraser posts. Very much so.

But I don't have the time (kids, wives, dogs) to do this kind of zealous gaming myself.

FM has become so time-intensive that it feels like work when you don't have a proper manual.

I don't want to speedgame a season each night, but I also don't want to feel as doing a postdoc on football management in my spare time.

There has to be a middle ground here, no?

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The middle ground is in reading posts from people like Cleon, wwfan, SFraser, etc. and utilizing the fact that they have put the leg work in to understand these concepts and to explain them to everyone else. So, you don't have to start experimental saves to fiddle around with settings and observe results - this has been done by others sometimes to great, great lengths. It is important to bear in mind that there have been many versions of FM and there will be many versions to come. Personally, each version has seen my FM education increase. Sadly, the difficulty of FM has concomitantly increased each year, so more things need be taken into account and more careful preparation needs to be made for each match. Similarly, more and more depth has been added to players so signing a bunch of very determined players with half decent key stats is no longer enough to ensure success. Back in FM2005, I was very much ahead of the curve and able to dominate leagues for years. By FM07 I was slipping slowly behind because I had got lazy. When FM08 arrived I was lightyears behind the game and have struggled every since. Only now - four versions later - am I fairly in tune with the mechanics of the game. For four years I've lagged behind FM's own development curve and suffered as a result, I'm now fitting together everything I have learnt from reading posts on this forum and learning from every match I play.

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The middle ground is in reading posts from people like Cleon, wwfan, SFraser, etc. and utilizing the fact that they have put the leg work in to understand these concepts and to explain them to everyone else. So, you don't have to start experimental saves to fiddle around with settings and observe results - this has been done by others sometimes to great, great lengths. It is important to bear in mind that there have been many versions of FM and there will be many versions to come
.

True: and I do that.

I was just saying; SI pay these guys so they can make an official manual of some sort and proivide this book with FM12.

Let's have all this knowledge that is now spread out over 1000's of forum posts and mould it into a FM syllabus.

Personally, each version has seen my FM education increase. Sadly, the difficulty of FM has concomitantly increased each year, so more things need be taken into account and more careful preparation needs to be made for each match. Similarly, more and more depth has been added to players so signing a bunch of very determined players with half decent key stats is no longer enough to ensure success. Back in FM2005, I was very much ahead of the curve and able to dominate leagues for years. By FM07 I was slipping slowly behind because I had got lazy. When FM08 arrived I was lightyears behind the game and have struggled every since. Only now - four versions later - am I fairly in tune with the mechanics of the game. For four years I've lagged behind FM's own development curve and suffered as a result, I'm now fitting together everything I have learnt from reading posts on this forum and learning from every match I play.

I can see where you are coming from. Similar experiences here...

But I feel I'm still behind the curve myself :)

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Farrow=Forward arrows, barrow=backward arrows. See "removal of the arows" from the initial wwfan´s post....

Ah sorry I missed that because the translation I looked up for farrow and barrow gave some very strange results when put in context with FM. ^^

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Wwfan, referring directly back to your original post I have to say your last paragraph sums the situation up nicely.

I have to go futher though, you often have used the phrase "sophisticated match engine" in the past, which I understand, but this is the same "sophistication" that stops an attacker shooting when he has an open goal, or results in an unhurried clearance for a corner when a throw in could easily have been preferred. I recall an FM09 match of mine where a keeper made two errors the like of which you only ever see on Christmas compilation DVD's - in the same match! It seems to me that each fix of one issue causes another and I do wonder if a year of ME tinkering with no new "features" introduced may be a good way to sort out what verges on being a mess.

Also, and this is opinion, the much officially denied "Super Keeper" issue is not a myth but as nearly every player can vouch for is very much an intrinsic part of the ME. Eiither that or there is a hidden shout called "shoot straight at keeper" which I cannot posisibly turn off! This last point is made after trying many different combinations of players/tactics/shouts/player instructions,and is not sour grapes - I seem to be doing OK as an FM Manager, but I feel the Super Keeper issue is a device designed to ensure that not every match is easily winnable. So now dear readers please shoot me......

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I play a modest amount compared to some (600hrs on FM10 and only 230 on FM11 so far), and can honestly say that I have never encounter a 'Super keeper' in an unrealistic context. Keeper having a good game yes, I have experienced this, but not unnaturally so.

If the game is tight and the keeper's had a good 1st half, saving a lot of my teams long shots. I find a 'Work ball into the box' shout gives me a more realistic chance of beating him.

In my opinion, a whole lot of these 'problems' and dare I say it 'bugs' are from not understanding or the user not being patient enough to think through the tactics required to beat the obstacles put in front of them. I'm not trying to be patronising with that statement either. As I have often come unstuck by certain obstacles for many many games at a time, so I empathies 100%.

I usually find, taking a step back, thinking about it logically and rationally, I come to some conclusion that it's either my tactics, or a key attribute is missing from what I am expecting the players to do. Most of the time I'm being unrealistic in my expectations of what my players can achieve and have to modify my tactics to suit. Keep it simple.

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be a good way to sort out what verges on being a mess.

The ME is not "verging on being a mess". Do you think I would watch every match in full match replay if it was even remotely close to being a mess? A good 90% to 95% maybe even as high as 99% of the ME is sound, more than sound even. You are picking up on a couple of obvious "wtf" moments that can be tweaked and not giving the rest of the ME it's fair dues.

Yes some clearances are not done well, crosses don't cause enough panic and disruption in defences, and goalkeepers can ping one-touch passes like Scholes in his pomp but the vast majority of the ME is excellent. I know this because I have done five seasons on full match replays. If the ME was remotely close to verging on a mess I wouldn't be arguing with you, you would be following my lead in complaining about it.

Also, and this is opinion, the much officially denied "Super Keeper" issue is not a myth but as nearly every player can vouch for is very much an intrinsic part of the ME. Eiither that or there is a hidden shout called "shoot straight at keeper" which I cannot posisibly turn off! This last point is made after trying many different combinations of players/tactics/shouts/player instructions,and is not sour grapes - I seem to be doing OK as an FM Manager, but I feel the Super Keeper issue is a device designed to ensure that not every match is easily winnable. So now dear readers please shoot me......

There are plenty of "devices" ingame to ensure that not every match is easilly winnable. Consistency, Important Matches, Motivation/Teamtalks/Pressure, radical formations, reactions to your reputation, weather, home team minor advantage. There is no need to use "superkeepers" because if you can overcome all of these realistic "devices" then you deserve your wins.

And shooting straight at goalkeepers does not equal "superkeepers" it equals shot mechanics. While there may be a "quick fix" in place to counter some defensive ME weaknesses by reducing goalscoring rates in certain positions it is equally true that shooting straight at goalkeepers is a product of player attributes.

I have two wingers that like to shoot. One is right footed on the right wing with the PPM "Shoots with Power" and the other is right footed playing on the left wing with the PPM "Places Shots". No prizes for guessing which player regularly finds the goalkeepers face and which player regularly finds the corners of the net.

I play a modest amount compared to some (600hrs on FM10 and only 230 on FM11 so far), and can honestly say that I have never encounter a 'Super keeper' in an unrealistic context. Keeper having a good game yes, I have experienced this, but not unnaturally so.

If the game is tight and the keeper's had a good 1st half, saving a lot of my teams long shots. I find a 'Work ball into the box' shout gives me a more realistic chance of beating him.

In my opinion, a whole lot of these 'problems' and dare I say it 'bugs' are from not understanding or the user not being patient enough to think through the tactics required to beat the obstacles put in front of them. I'm not trying to be patronising with that statement either. As I have often come unstuck by certain obstacles for many many games at a time, so I empathies 100%.

I usually find, taking a step back, thinking about it logically and rationally, I come to some conclusion that it's either my tactics, or a key attribute is missing from what I am expecting the players to do. Most of the time I'm being unrealistic in my expectations of what my players can achieve and have to modify my tactics to suit. Keep it simple.

Tactics are vastly over-rated. You cannot micromanage a rubbish striker to beat a great defender all else being equal. Where tactics matter is building a sound platform for your team, a general strategy for playing the opponent. It's a logical fallacy that is prevailant amongst FM players that each and every formation must have some "magic set of instructions" to make it perfect in attack and defence. The closest you can get to perfection tactically is to design tactics specifically for use against each opponent, to exploit their weaknesses and neutralise their strengths. It's still not some "objective" perfection that people seem to think exists in a random configuration of tactical instructions for X formation.

Players are by far the most crucial element of this game.

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The ME is not "verging on being a mess". Do you think I would watch every match in full match replay if it was even remotely close to being a mess? A good 90% to 95% maybe even as high as 99% of the ME is sound, more than sound even. You are picking up on a couple of obvious "wtf" moments that can be tweaked and not giving the rest of the ME it's fair dues.

Yes some clearances are not done well, crosses don't cause enough panic and disruption in defences, and goalkeepers can ping one-touch passes like Scholes in his pomp but the vast majority of the ME is excellent. I know this because I have done five seasons on full match replays. If the ME was remotely close to verging on a mess I wouldn't be arguing with you, you would be following my lead in complaining about it.

There are plenty of "devices" ingame to ensure that not every match is easilly winnable. Consistency, Important Matches, Motivation/Teamtalks/Pressure, radical formations, reactions to your reputation, weather, home team minor advantage. There is no need to use "superkeepers" because if you can overcome all of these realistic "devices" then you deserve your wins.

And shooting straight at goalkeepers does not equal "superkeepers" it equals shot mechanics. While there may be a "quick fix" in place to counter some defensive ME weaknesses by reducing goalscoring rates in certain positions it is equally true that shooting straight at goalkeepers is a product of player attributes.

I have two wingers that like to shoot. One is right footed on the right wing with the PPM "Shoots with Power" and the other is right footed playing on the left wing with the PPM "Places Shots". No prizes for guessing which player regularly finds the goalkeepers face and which player regularly finds the corners of the net.

Tactics are vastly over-rated. You cannot micromanage a rubbish striker to beat a great defender all else being equal. Where tactics matter is building a sound platform for your team, a general strategy for playing the opponent. It's a logical fallacy that is prevailant amongst FM players that each and every formation must have some "magic set of instructions" to make it perfect in attack and defence. The closest you can get to perfection tactically is to design tactics specifically for use against each opponent, to exploit their weaknesses and neutralise their strengths. It's still not some "objective" perfection that people seem to think exists in a random configuration of tactical instructions for X formation.

Players are by far the most crucial element of this game.

Fair comments, kind of. Actually the "mess" I referred to is not the quality of the ME but the apparant way each patch has knock on effects - a bug for example in 11.3 that was not apparant in 11.1 is the kind of mess to which I refer. All things considered I think the ME is very good. It is true I, and others, draw attention to match incidents that are uncommon, but these uncommon incidents seem a little too common to me. Im not convinced by the anti-Superkeeper arguement but I would be prepared to review my opinion possibly in due course, taking these principles into consideration for future matches. It is funny but as I sent that post the PPM thought crossed my mind (I dont pay enough attention to these). That said, I find it hard to believe that most of my players have PPM's that cause shots at keeper and the Oppo's mostly have PPM's that outfox my keeper - I will check that though. At least the oppo GK isnt man of the match in every game like CM00/01 (still a good game that mind!). I also find that my SC's when in a wide position are overly sucessful at crossing allbeit to no one in particular!, although I dont think I have ever scored a goal in such circumstances, at least I cannot recall one - again a stistical improbablity whatever tactic you use, within reason. Enjoying the game though, I want that to be known.

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Tactics are vastly over-rated. You cannot micromanage a rubbish striker to beat a great defender all else being equal. Where tactics matter is building a sound platform for your team, a general strategy for playing the opponent. It's a logical fallacy that is prevailant amongst FM players that each and every formation must have some "magic set of instructions" to make it perfect in attack and defence. The closest you can get to perfection tactically is to design tactics specifically for use against each opponent, to exploit their weaknesses and neutralise their strengths. It's still not some "objective" perfection that people seem to think exists in a random configuration of tactical instructions for X formation.

Players are by far the most crucial element of this game.

I agree the players are the crucial element. However, having read a lot of your posts on here, I hardly have to tell you that by watching the match and adjusting your starting strategy to suit the way the game is unfolding in the ME, you learn what tactical adjustments would yield some improvements.

What I was trying to say - badly I admit :) - was that game is hardly 'plug and play' anymore and you have to think on your feet, watch, learn and adapt to what the ME is telling you is the strengths and weaknesses of your current approach AND your players. Making improvements and informed decisions about what to change to improve. This could be in game i.e. going narrower/deeper/ and or standing off opponents are all valid options for seeing out a tight 1-0 win in the closing stages - or noticing that MC with 20 tackling, but 10 bravey and aggression really isn't doing as well as the one with 14 in each, and adapting your recruitment strategy to suit.

Now if only the AI did the same to a similar degree as the player the game would pretty much be perfect.

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SS - I think (and I'm sure the OP, wwfan will confirm) that the AI of the ME is evolving rapidly. It doesn't yet employ OIs and has a limited range of 'shouts', but it's still pretty smart - smart enough for numpties to cry about 'tactic-cracking'!

I entirely agree with SFraser's assertion that

It's a logical fallacy that is prevailant amongst FM players that each and every formation must have some "magic set of instructions" to make it perfect in attack and defence.
which is why I hate those 'download and plug in my supertactic' threads that have thankfully been removed to a place that I never need see them in this forum!

What I love is the balance between players and tactics. I manage in lower leagues where I don't have an Arab sugar daddy's check-book to plug gaps in my squad. I have to manage the limited resources I have, mould my youngsters as best I can and find tactics that minimise their weaknesses and exploit their strengths. I think the game has evolved to do this brilliantly, a few bugs notwithstanding.

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The ME is not "verging on being a mess". Do you think I would watch every match in full match replay if it was even remotely close to being a mess? A good 90% to 95% maybe even as high as 99% of the ME is sound, more than sound even. You are picking up on a couple of obvious "wtf" moments that can be tweaked and not giving the rest of the ME it's fair dues.

Yes some clearances are not done well, crosses don't cause enough panic and disruption in defences, and goalkeepers can ping one-touch passes like Scholes in his pomp but the vast majority of the ME is excellent. I know this because I have done five seasons on full match replays. If the ME was remotely close to verging on a mess I wouldn't be arguing with you, you would be following my lead in complaining about it.

You have to understand that most players don't watch full matches for several seasons and what is crystal clear for you might not be for someone else.

It is not clear to everyone that these are bugs as it is clear to wwfan,

1: Defenders turning their back on the ball.

2: Defenders clearing the ball out for corners rather than into touch or down the pitch. Numerous times players bang the ball out behind them when it is perfectly possible to clear it to other areas.

3: Attackers freezing when wide of the goal and in the last 6 yards. Players don't know what to do in this position and tend to do very unrealistic things.

4: Back crosses are still a little overpowered. This is not too bad and only happens if you have a strong/quick and tall player coming in on the far post. For example, my MR scores a lot of far post headers from open play, but his jumping is 19. My AML (jumping 5) doesn't.

5: Central players with high vision not seeing the overlap. The FBs can get in really good wide positions in this ME, but are too often ignored when they get there.

6: Goalkeeper not commanding his box.

7: Direct free kicks being underpowered.

8: Pressing could be more aggressive, especially high up the pitch. However, I have seen my team, when fired up, press the ball all the way down the pitch from the edge of my own area, forcing a backpass to and wild clearance from the opposition goalkeeper.

especially as stuff that was working properly in FM10 now doesn't really work or doesn't work that well. I was struggling to understand why my full-backs aren't contributing to the level they used to and was pretty sure it had something to do with my setup.

I was pretty sure I didn't pick the right player to take my DFK as my team couldn't score from them and so on...

So, in a way, it is a mess for someone who doesn't watch full matches for an extensive period of time, which is most of the players. Something that worked well before doesn't work now and you have to figure out if it is a bug, your tactics, the player itself, motivation or something completely different with no or very little feedback from the devs or the game itself.

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I'm a quiet member of the forums, but occasionaly I say a few words. And now is that time.

I said it once and I'll say it again, FM it's a video game, but it's not just any video game. Is a simulation of real life football, that is getting better amd better each version. And, like in real life football, you can't just press continue all the time an hope to win everything. In a real life game you can't press continue or go on hollyday. You gotta watch the game, the moves you players are making, manage the squad. That's what we (I speak for myself obviously) want in the game. I micromanged a whole season in Australia (done it before, for 4 seasons in England lower leagues getting Bromley to League 1) and won the league with Goald Coast Utd with a team good enough to play for 9th or most 8th place. Did I watch the game in full? No, but watched most of the game to see what my players were doing and I watched replays, to see it again. It takes a long time, but the pleasure of being successful ingame, makes it worth it.

I may not have seen the bugs, but I don't care, I won. And the most important thing is to keep your players fit, motivated and try to correct what thei're doing wrong. For this you need to watch the game. Of course you also need to check your opponents threats and strengths so you can target them and gain an advantage. For all this you need time, and stugying. If you don't like, or you don't want to take that much effort into a video game, maybe FM is not for you.

I believe the game is going to keep evolving this way, getting closer to reallity. Obviously it won't be real I know, but I hope it keeps going the way it is going because I love it like this.

Cheers.

P.S.: Don't take this the wrong way and please don't be insulted. It's just my oppinion.

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So, in a way, it is a mess for someone who doesn't watch full matches for an extensive period of time, which is most of the players. Something that worked well before doesn't work now and you have to figure out if it is a bug, your tactics, the player itself, motivation or something completely different with no or very little feedback from the devs or the game itself.

99% of the time it's not a bug.

What you just described is the whole point of the game. While some people struggle to find out what prevented their team from playing perfect football, other people put together imperfect teams and watch a football match.

The devs are not going to give you feedback as to why your Right Back had a nightmare after getting an average of 8.0 in his last five games. If you want feedback then watch the match. That's what it is there for.

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people that buy the most indepth football simulator on the planet and then refuse to watch their football matches. You don't have to watch every match in your career like I do, but if you don't watch any then your problem is yourself.

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99% of the time it's not a bug.

What you just described is the whole point of the game. While some people struggle to find out what prevented their team from playing perfect football, other people put together imperfect teams and watch a football match.

The devs are not going to give you feedback as to why your Right Back had a nightmare after getting an average of 8.0 in his last five games. If you want feedback then watch the match. That's what it is there for.

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people that buy the most indepth football simulator on the planet and then refuse to watch their football matches. You don't have to watch every match in your career like I do, but if you don't watch any then your problem is yourself.

I can only speak for myself, but whenever I watch a whole match I get frustrated at the number of buggy player moves of the type wwfan and others have described. After 5 or 6 of the "defender kicking the ball out for a corner when he didnt need to bugs" (or similar) in a match I innevitably switch back to extended highlights mode, it masks the shortcomings of the ME. I do think the ME is good but not good enough for viewing the whole match in a realistic and acceptable way. There are only 2 things that have ever "bored" me about FM (and the SI CM's before) and they are: watching a full match & trawling though the shortlists & shortlisted player news items, the latter of which I have to see as a necessary evil.

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Must add that "the point of the game" should be to entertain - its a game!. In depth analysis is not for most people I would suggest, though if FM games develop so that anal statatians and casual gamers can both enjoy equally, then that would be great. For what its worth I think the game is just about right in that respect, my only real "issues" of concern are those previously posted.

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The game is what it is and you can either accept the advice to watch your matches in full match replay in order to iron out tactical problems or you can keep fumbling in the dark trying to guess what the problems are. It doesn't make any difference to people that offer advice. The advice is there, you either take it or you don't.

Speaking for myself I would prefer it if my defenders didn't kick the ball out of play at all. I would much rather that when they get a toe to the ball they send it towards the flanks where my battling winger can spring a counter-attack.

Because I went through the difficult time of setting up my team and ironing out my tactics and watching some none too great football in full match replays I have now produced a style of football at my club that I actually enjoy watching. It's not a question of being anal, it's an enjoyable way to spend time now I have my team playing fluid, creative attacking football. You battle at the start paying attention to detail to get things working and lo and behold you find things actually click together and the game is no longer an uphill struggle, it's a fun game.

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Must add that "the point of the game" should be to entertain - its a game!. In depth analysis is not for most people I would suggest, though if FM games develop so that anal statatians and casual gamers can both enjoy equally, then that would be great. For what its worth I think the game is just about right in that respect, my only real "issues" of concern are those previously posted.

Having studied Marketing I can tell you one thing. Products are not meant to please everybody. Every product has its target and FM target's the tacticians who love football mangement and all the little things in the game. Is more for the football geeks than it is to others. It's like every other game. I personally don't like racing games, but there's a lot of people who do. Not everyone like GTA, I love it. So, my point is you can't please everybody at all. FM target is becoming more and more specific. Casual gamers won't find it fun at all, unless they take the time to understand how the game works and know a little football. Obviously, I'm not part of SI team, although I'm looking for a job at the moment and if they want I'm open, but, from what I see, this is what I take of theyr approach to the market.

Cheers. And sorry for the offtopic.

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The game is what it is and you can either accept the advice to watch your matches in full match replay in order to iron out tactical problems or you can keep fumbling in the dark trying to guess what the problems are. It doesn't make any difference to people that offer advice. The advice is there, you either take it or you don't.

Speaking for myself I would prefer it if my defenders didn't kick the ball out of play at all. I would much rather that when they get a toe to the ball they send it towards the flanks where my battling winger can spring a counter-attack.

Because I went through the difficult time of setting up my team and ironing out my tactics and watching some none too great football in full match replays I have now produced a style of football at my club that I actually enjoy watching. It's not a question of being anal, it's an enjoyable way to spend time now I have my team playing fluid, creative attacking football. You battle at the start paying attention to detail to get things working and lo and behold you find things actually click together and the game is no longer an uphill struggle, it's a fun game.

I certainly agree that at the very least extended highlights mode is required to get the most out of the game, and actually I love being anal about tactics but not slider tweaking! The new tactical systems are a great help in this respect. Using my approach I am reasonable successful (West Ham 9th in League, doing better than Avram!). Without official SI guidance though a lot of advice in here is just opinion and often contradictory, thats the pity.

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SS - I think (and I'm sure the OP, wwfan will confirm) that the AI of the ME is evolving rapidly. It doesn't yet employ OIs and has a limited range of 'shouts', but it's still pretty smart - smart enough for numpties to cry about 'tactic-cracking'!

I entirely agree with SFraser's assertion that which is why I hate those 'download and plug in my supertactic' threads that have thankfully been removed to a place that I never need see them in this forum!

What I love is the balance between players and tactics. I manage in lower leagues where I don't have an Arab sugar daddy's check-book to plug gaps in my squad. I have to manage the limited resources I have, mould my youngsters as best I can and find tactics that minimise their weaknesses and exploit their strengths. I think the game has evolved to do this brilliantly, a few bugs notwithstanding.

I'm relatively happy that the current ME doesn't have any open play exploits remaining, with wide and central play being perfectly balanced. You can no longer focus on one knowing it will result in a win. Consequently, AI managers can actually play on a pretty level playing field. They will have an advantage over users who aren't dynamic, be on par with those who employ basic OIs and shouts, but remain lacking when facing a user with a creative, holistic system of dynamic match strategies.

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Match Engine Development

There have been two types of game-playing logic that have dominated the forums since FM06. One has focused on designing 'super-tactics 'that enable the user to press continue, safe in the knowledge that the AI cannot cope with the user tactic. People using this system never learn how the game works as man and media management become irrelevant if your tactic wins by default. These types of player tend to 'rant and rave' on the forums about cheating AI when the tactic they employ falls apart (commonly, they get the morale up pre-season, play open attractive football in good conditions, win, hit some bad weather, don't adjust and collapse). The second type of logic was based around the TT&F style of play, in which the user learned how to make logical tactical decisions and learned why and how they worked (NB TT&F was just one version of this type of play. There are a number of other systems of play that followed a similar mindset). In FM10, TT&F was incorporated into the game, as the Tactical Creator and in AI tactical logic. The AI is now capable of making far more sophisticated tactical decisions, which means it is able to stop the user team from playing how it wants.

As a result, the user also has to be more sophisticated. In order to impose his own game on the opposition, he needs to be able to manage the squad holistically. He must understand tactics well enough to prevent the opposition from playing and impose his own game in a variety of conditions, against multiple formations and playing styles and against squads of varying ability levels. This can involve using shouts systematically, employing logical opposition instructions (either to combat formation of player strengths/weaknesses), target marking, killing the crowd influence etc, etc. He must be able to keep his squad disciplined, confident and motivated. He must be able to rotate effectively so he doesn't have a squad full of jaded players. He must be able to buy the right players to fit into his tactical system or adapt his tactical thinking to the players at his disposal.

wwwfan you are absolutely wrong. the second category of players are making completely video game based decisions not footballing ones. for anyone here to make logical footballing decisions they have to watch every single minute of every single game. imagine a manger who watches only the highlights of a game, can he make sound decisions, absolutely not.

just accept the fact that users have to abandon all footballing logic and admit this is a video game and users must play by its rules, not footballing ones. btw the me is a really poor simulation of football. especially when it comes to individual skills. not that tactics are any better.

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sorry mate but you are wrong,games are won AND lost by the tactical decisions you(not you but fm gamers in general) do or in most cases dont make during a game,There are plenty of visual hints/tips to make you aware of your shortcomings during a match.i take my last game against against Birmingham(away),they started like a house on fire so i gave it 20 mins to see if we would be able to impose our game(i'm man utd) but we were struggling a bit(maybe 1st game of the season syndrome).i went in to the analysis tab and scrolled through all the info available and at the "average positions" tab,after 20 mins Birmingham were playing a very high line,so i countered by playing more direct and pass into space,by half-time we were 2-0 up.

i'm no tactical expert but i like to think that tactically i made a couple of decisions that disrupted Birmingham which led to my victory.Plus i only watch extended highlights of the ME.

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wwwfan you are absolutely wrong. the second category of players are making completely video game based decisions not footballing ones. for anyone here to make logical footballing decisions they have to watch every single minute of every single game.

More people around here do that than you realise.

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I must agree with SFraser and axehan 1. You are wrong. In FM games are won by tactical decisions, on and ff matches, press conferences, good player morale and a few other factors. Not randomly. And, taking my own example, depending on the match, I only watch extended highlights or even key. But I do keep an eye on the analysis tool and other things.

I must say it pays off. If you are playing this like you play FIFA or PES, you're playing it the wrong way. At least that's what I think. And this is the best football management simulation out there.

Cheers.

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who said random decisions? i said decisions based on video game tactics not real life tactical decisions. these are the people who are generally good at video games know the rules of fm2011 and decide on what to do based on that. also maybe 1 person out of 100000 probably plays a full season in full match mode. if this was indeed a simulation everyone here would finish relegated because they don't watch the full game, imagine ferguson only watching bits and pieces and making decisions based on that lol.

as it is the me is a very poor representation of real football, especially player skill. that's why you see so many people complain when a player with long shots 3 scores a scorcher.

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also maybe 1 person out of 100000 probably plays a full season in full match mode.

So that must make me the 1 then .... :D

or maybe it's SFraser

or maybe ........

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who said random decisions? i said decisions based on video game tactics not real life tactical decisions. these are the people who are generally good at video games know the rules of fm2011 and decide on what to do based on that. also maybe 1 person out of 100000 probably plays a full season in full match mode. if this was indeed a simulation everyone here would finish relegated because they don't watch the full game, imagine ferguson only watching bits and pieces and making decisions based on that lol.

as it is the me is a very poor representation of real football, especially player skill. that's why you see so many people complain when a player with long shots 3 scores a scorcher.

Ah, the man who thought 'free role' meant 'run towards the ball like a headless chicken'. I wondered where you got to.

If you want to throw some numbers around, let's talk about the 1,000,000 downloads of TT&F over the years. The translation of it into Spanish, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Danish, Dutch, French, Russian, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Swedish and German. The development of the Tactical Creator through the tactical principles laid out in TT&F, which resulted in more player roles and the introduction of shouts. All of that relates to people and SI wanting the games to play out like real football matches where realistic tactical decisions make an obvious difference.

Is it perfect? No, of course not, but it is how an increasing number of people play. TT&F has been going since FM06. If you have embraced its theories, you will not have needed to change your basic structures once in any ME since FM06. There is no need to tweak sliders here and there to 'break' the ME because you understand how your decisions influence the match, and get better and knowing when and why to make them. You certainly do not need to watch every second of every match. The first set of decisions is made at the beginning of the match, when you decide how to play against the formation and in the conditions (would be ideal if this happened in the changing room, not on the pitch, but there you go). From then on in, you are reacting to what you see on the pitch and the scoreline. You do not need to watch every second to do that.

The 'video game decision makers' have traditionally tried to break the ME with their super tactics, by tweaking things into shapes the ME cannot cope with. Diablo was the most famous example. The current ME seems to have finally stopped that type of tactic being possible and AI teams are actually punishing such formations as the virtual players are making far better use of the spaces they leave. Previously, wide space wasn't used well, so you could choke the centre and defend well. Likewise, the gap between the DCs meant that if you hit a lot of TBs to forward running players, eventually you'd create a chance. Both of these methods relied on ME holes, not on good tactical understanding. Now the AI uses wide and deep space better and the DCs defend the centre, a lot of players have been struggling to deal with the shift in mindset (notably in FML). They concede to the Long Shot 3 player because they have left him alone in space so he has a realistic chance of hitting the target, which is the result of having developed an ME breaking tactic and not understanding real life tactics. It is their fault, not the ME's.

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please don;t post quotes out of context like a bad newspaper, if you want to bring up previous arguments post the thread in its entirety.

dont say that you theorems are based on real football, are you a real manager, which club do you manage, do you posses a uefa license? if not you are not qualified to make theorems about real football.

just because si games and the community agree with your theorems doesn't mean they are based on real football. in fact i am very disappointed at the direction si games is taking this game.

they should hire one or two real managers or instructors who test for the uefa licenses to help with this game. even si games are not qualified to make a football sim, after all they are only fans.

however with the budget they have now they can afford to bring in some real experts, not rely on random people on their forums to come up with the tactical expertise.

you have just studied this video game and are very good at it, but don't say that your decisions are based on real football, because the engine as it is cannot replicate real football.

also this is only a video game because a user can win without having to watch a single minute of the game, why don't managers do this in real life? that shows that this is a video game not a simulation.

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also this is only a video game because a user can win without having to watch a single minute of the game, why don't managers do this in real life? that shows that this is a video game not a simulation.

I believe Ferguson did that against Crawley as he was away scouting Valencia at the time.

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please don;t post quotes out of context like a bad newspaper, if you want to bring up previous arguments post the thread in its entirety.

dont say that you theorems are based on real football, are you a real manager, which club do you manage, do you posses a uefa license? if not you are not qualified to make theorems about real football.

just because si games and the community agree with your theorems doesn't mean they are based on real football. in fact i am very disappointed at the direction si games is taking this game.

they should hire one or two real managers or instructors who test for the uefa licenses to help with this game. even si games are not qualified to make a football sim, after all they are only fans.

however with the budget they have now they can afford to bring in some real experts, not rely on random people on their forums to come up with the tactical expertise.

you have just studied this video game and are very good at it, but don't say that your decisions are based on real football, because the engine as it is cannot replicate real football.

also this is only a video game because a user can win without having to watch a single minute of the game, why don't managers do this in real life? that shows that this is a video game not a simulation.

Knowledge is driven forward by a combination of theory and practice. Any argument that only practitioners are qualified to make contributions to knowledge is simply wrong. Theory works by overviewing all the current known information about a practice and either synthesising it into a coherent form or discovering a gap in the knowledge and exploring / filling it. Practitioners tend not to produce theory, they are just used to comment on how well the theory captures practice.

TT&F was a synthesis of forum knowledge about FM, which was combined with knowledge about real life football taken from a plethora of coaching manuals and books about tactics. During its implementation it was reworked and then shown to a number of professional coaches / footballers who, while suggesting some improvement, accepted it as being a very realistic control methodology. It is not pure theory with no contributions from practitioners, but a document produced by two professional researchers (one a researcher of management) that was then presented to two different types of practitioners, footballers/coaches and experts in producing football management simulations, who all considered it as a useful tool in practice. That is pretty much a textbook pathway of how knowledge is created and used in the real world.

Out of interest, what direction do you want the game to move in? Why is its current direction upsetting you? What about real football is the game and ME missing? Whereas I'm used to being attacked for my contributions, I have never understood what those attacking me visualise the alternative as being. You want it to be less of a simulation and more of an arcade game? You want it to be easier? You want the ME to react to a very different set of tactical instructions? You want a perfect ME which 100% replicates real life football movement and wont be happy until you get it?

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dont say that you theorems are based on real football, are you a real manager, which club do you manage, do you posses a uefa license? if not you are not qualified to make theorems about real football.

Did he said that ?

I read Understanding the AI's Strengths and Weaknesses

It's seems clear ...

About UEFA Licence, it's like car licence, i'm not sure to get it, provide the knowledges, or the génius to feel a step beyond and break out the clash.

Everybodies knows its a game, why do you attempt lawpursuit like screaming wolf about pretend, WWFan, seems never had ? Or i miss something ?

It's just one of a rarely person provid interesting things and process to help us to play it with fun, with less odds and blind projection. In this way, i guess you'll found better clients all around here.

And anyway, if he love to disguise himself in drag queen like josé mourinho costum under the moonlight, or with a alcooholic red nose like Fergusson, it's his own private life ! We are not judge. It's not interesting us. Is that you suppose Terry ... And so what ?

:rolleyes:

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Considering it is a game FM is remarkably accurate, we are talking HOI levels of accurate in simulation.

Now anyone that plays HOI knows it is far from a perfect simulation of warfare, but it's good enough to really get the relevant issues across and "trick" people into thinking they are commanding a vast and complex war.

Both HOI and FM share a similar problem, that is ease of access to the game before players are able to appreciate what it is, so that they can then afterwards appreciate what it is not. Alot of this criticism gets mixed up or considered to be the same criticism. It's not.

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Both HOI and FM share a similar problem, that is ease of access to the game before players are able to appreciate what it is, so that they can then afterwards appreciate what it is not. A lot of this criticism gets mixed up or considered to be the same criticism. It's not.

Well said. I think the biggest weakness in FM is the explicit accessibility to what each part of it does / how it works. While a good number of forum regulars have grasped it and contribute towards explaining it, the game is now so complex that many users fail to appreciate its subtleties and depths. Much of the criticism of FM, and forum contributors for that matter, is coming from a completely different direction. Because the various users involved play the game so differently, it is often impossible to have a civilised and thought provoking conversation between them.

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Great post wwfan

First of all, thanks for your costant effort during all these years.

One question:

Is the AI team performance influenced by the skill of AI team managers?

If yes, raising some of these skill (for example "motivating" or "tactital knowledge", team play on the pitch should improve and in general the game should be more challenging..

Or not?

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I've not got much time to elaborate, as I'm in the middle of doing a lot of work related paperwork at the moment, but the biggest issues with FM are in the eyes of the individual, with many varied opinions.

My own thoughts are that to me, this is a simulation more than a game. Much in the same vein that something like MS Flight Simulator is a simulator, more so than a game. What you do with that simulator, is entirely up to you. You can make it as "realistic" as you want. You can use "super" tactics to achieve next to impossible results or use Rio Ferdinand as a solo striker, even look to find weakness in the AI and ME to exploit in FM, you can loop the loop and do stunts with a Boeing 757, or land it on top of a skyscraper in MS Flight Simulator... it's entirely up to you what you do with it.

Both these simulators have their flaws in realism and logic, for sure. There's elements that aren't realistic, but although both will strive to overcome their weak points, they are and always will be simulators... never the real thing.

There's entirely nothing wrong with anyone's preferred approach to what they do, or don't do, with FM... so long as they enjoy doing what they're doing. As a strategic simulation of football and match strategies, I think FM improves every year. Let's not forget, the real game of football, certainly at the highest levels, moves forward each year as well. Managers and coaches introduce new tactical ideas, new players with different skills arrive on the scene, offering coaches different abilities to formulate tactical ideas around. FM has to keep apace with this, though its biggest single flaw is the fact that it is a simulation and not the real thing. Such is why there are certain styles of play which are exceptionally difficult to emulate with any measure of success.

My suggestion is that those who prefer something purely "gamey", rather than something that attempts to simulate as best possible, football management and tactical strategies, then they might be best served looking at alternative "games". That said though, even when viewing FM purely as a "game", it's actually a lot simpler to play and get to grips with, than many give it credit for. It can take a little time to understand some of the "game" mechanics, but that's no different to playing a RTS game, where your strategies and level of success improve with practice and understanding.

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First of all, just for laughs...

1: Defenders turning their back on the ball.

2: Defenders clearing the ball out for corners rather than into touch or down the pitch. Numerous times players bang the ball out behind them when it is perfectly possible to clear it to other areas.

Two words...

Rio and Ferdinand. ;)

Understanding the AI's Strengths and Weaknesses

There have been two types of game-playing logic that have dominated the forums since FM06. One has focused on designing 'super-tactics 'that enable the user to press continue, safe in the knowledge that the AI cannot cope with the user tactic. People using this system never learn how the game works as man and media management become irrelevant if your tactic wins by default. These types of player tend to 'rant and rave' on the forums about cheating AI when the tactic they employ falls apart (commonly, they get the morale up pre-season, play open attractive football in good conditions, win, hit some bad weather, don't adjust and collapse). The second type of logic was based around the TT&F style of play, in which the user learned how to make logical tactical decisions and learned why and how they worked (NB TT&F was just one version of this type of play. There are a number of other systems of play that followed a similar mindset). In FM10, TT&F was incorporated into the game, as the Tactical Creator and in AI tactical logic. The AI is now capable of making far more sophisticated tactical decisions, which means it is able to stop the user team from playing how it wants.

As a result, the user also has to be more sophisticated. In order to impose his own game on the opposition, he needs to be able to manage the squad holistically. He must understand tactics well enough to prevent the opposition from playing and impose his own game in a variety of conditions, against multiple formations and playing styles and against squads of varying ability levels. This can involve using shouts systematically, employing logical opposition instructions (either to combat formation of player strengths/weaknesses), target marking, killing the crowd influence etc, etc. He must be able to keep his squad disciplined, confident and motivated. He must be able to rotate effectively so he doesn't have a squad full of jaded players. He must be able to buy the right players to fit into his tactical system or adapt his tactical thinking to the players at his disposal.

The user still has a number of advantages over the AI. The AI doesn't use opposition instructions to negate formation differences or player weaknesses, only against player strengths. The AI's target marking only focuses on the most creative players. The AI only has a limited number of shout strategies, which certainly haven't been fully integrated with manager types. The AI's squad building is still sub-standard.

The major issue is that too few of the user base appreciate all of this and certainly haven't grasped the holistic requirements of the game. Most of this is down to the documentation, which while technically adequate, is hopeless in terms of understanding game playing strategy. It, and the in-game hints and tips, is lagging behind AI and ME development, which leads to a knowledge gap between the product and the users. The richness of the game's technical excellence is not being extended into the game-playing experience for a significant number of users. It has got better in recent years, but is still a major issue. Until it is addressed, the kind of frustration that regularly expresses itself on the forums will continue, with the risk of it multiplying.

You know, one of the things I still bang on about in threads, is observation. A great many people still post about mid-season slumps in form. That their previously unbeatable team, playing high-quality football, has suddenly nose-dived in form around the mid-way point in the season. When I've spoken to people, it's nine times out of ten because they've not taken something so simple as weather conditions into account.

Many things that impact adversely affect performance, can most of the time have a perfectly logical reason and cause behind them. Poor weather and pitch conditions being a primary example of something that contributes towards a good footballing side, struggling to play as well as the might on a good pitch in good weather conditions. A good passing side for example, will always perform better in good conditions, whereas on a boggy pitch in the pouring rain, on a cold night in the middle of January... they'll have to adapt to the conditions, or likely face an uphill struggle.

The thing is, all the information, statistics, advice from staff, are there at our disposal. It's up to us how we choose to use that information, or indeed, ignore it.

I'm no "tactical genius" and have never claimed as such. But I am very observant and use all the tools at my disposal, provided by FM itself. The pleasure I get from FM, is that when I build a tactic and a squad, it's a little like putting the pieces of a jigsaw together. I know what the finished picture should look like, but it's finding the right pieces to put in the right places that's the challenge. Sometimes it comes together pretty quickly, sometimes it takes a few seasons. All the while, I know I'm on the right track, because I'm methodical, observe the information in front of me and utilise it as best I can.

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You know, one of the things I still bang on about in threads, is observation. A great many people still post about mid-season slumps in form. That their previously unbeatable team, playing high-quality football, has suddenly nose-dived in form around the mid-way point in the season. When I've spoken to people, it's nine times out of ten because they've not taken something so simple as weather conditions into account.

Absolutely don't want to reduce the effects of weather. But your describe is certainly more the fact of a lack of Natural fitness management, and ignored its process, about out of performance and injury, after numerous matchs . Rotate squad, statute related, totaly despite by majority of users.

Effectivly, how talking about tactical deprive, when the team rules under major attritions factors ?

Just for illustrate this thing, it's typical :

Well said. I think the biggest weakness in FM is the explicit accessibility to what each part of it does / how it works.

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Knowledge is driven forward by a combination of theory and practice. Any argument that only practitioners are qualified to make contributions to knowledge is simply wrong. Theory works by overviewing all the current known information about a practice and either synthesising it into a coherent form or discovering a gap in the knowledge and exploring / filling it. Practitioners tend not to produce theory, they are just used to comment on how well the theory captures practice.

TT&F was a synthesis of forum knowledge about FM, which was combined with knowledge about real life football taken from a plethora of coaching manuals and books about tactics. During its implementation it was reworked and then shown to a number of professional coaches / footballers who, while suggesting some improvement, accepted it as being a very realistic control methodology. It is not pure theory with no contributions from practitioners, but a document produced by two professional researchers (one a researcher of management) that was then presented to two different types of practitioners, footballers/coaches and experts in producing football management simulations, who all considered it as a useful tool in practice. That is pretty much a textbook pathway of how knowledge is created and used in the real world.

Out of interest, what direction do you want the game to move in? Why is its current direction upsetting you? What about real football is the game and ME missing? Whereas I'm used to being attacked for my contributions, I have never understood what those attacking me visualise the alternative as being. You want it to be less of a simulation and more of an arcade game? You want it to be easier? You want the ME to react to a very different set of tactical instructions? You want a perfect ME which 100% replicates real life football movement and wont be happy until you get it?

I would like Si games to take the game in the direction of asking qualified people on how football is played, how tactics are build and how a club is run. As it is they are asking a couple of video gamers like you, Cleon or Sfraser. Every other simulation game goes to the source, not its fans. Whenever a flying sim is being developed, the makers of the game go and research the plane and ask the pilots and technicians involved with creating the plane to help them develop an accurate simulation of the plane and flying it. It would be absurd for them to ask some flying sim fans to help them develop the game as they wouldn't be qualified to do so.

This is what SI games is doing with football manager. A fan of football has no idea how the mechanics of real football work. They have not taken part in a training session they don't understand what goes into building a football team, or what goes into training a player, they cant analyze a match because they don't know what it means to play professional football.

SI games then should ask qualified people in helping them develop this game, there are many people qualified coaches and managers willing to help. If i was in charge of developing this game i would seek help from a few different coaches from England Europe and South America to understand the ideology of each way of playing.

So the logical decisions you are talking about earlier are video gaming decisions, not footballing ones. The most absurd part of this game is the training, that is where teams are build where tactics are created, where players learn how to play in the way you want them to play and how to play with each other, it is by far the most important tool a manager has, and it doesn't even exist in the FM.

This is the direction i want FM to go because after all I love this game, and all the people here criticizing it also do, if we didn't we wouldn't take the time to make our opinions known, we would just stop playing it altogether.

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you read what i said but you did not understand it, wwfan said the rest of the people make decisions based on logic, the context of logic in this case being football.

this is very common of fanboys, if there is a conversation going on they butt in and start picking at what people say.

as for the uefa license it is very much indicative of how knowledgeable you are, do not compare it to your run of the mill car license but compare it to the fia superlicense (formula 1).

it shows that you have put in the time to learn how real football works.

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It seems you didn't read the post you were replying to very well. TT&F and the TC were produced / designed by two professional researchers (one a professional management researcher) and then fed through a network of professional coaches, ex-footballers and football simulation experts, who, while critiquing a few bits and pieces, generally viewed it as being a highly realistic method of presenting real life football tactical concepts in a virtual environment.

You actually had three levels of professionals involved in its implementation, university researchers, professional sportsmen and professional developers. The first group overviewer, collected, collated and presented theory, the second group analysed it from the perspective of practice, both as a theoretical idea and, after it was developed, as a practical tool, and the third group turned into into a game element. How is that problematic? Do you want the university researchers taken out of the process so that the ex footballers / coaches produce the theory? Would that make it better theory, that they produced it rather than analysed it? Or would perhaps the theory never be produced at all as they are unqualified to do the kind of theoretical work required? Should, indeed, the ex-footballers produce the code as it would be 'purer' then?

For the record, neither Cleon nor SFraser were involved in any way with TT&F or the TC, so leave them out of your criticism.

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Must admit that I didn't know those 3 levels were involved in the creation of the TC.

wwfan, I hope that you don't allow the vociferous but minority of baiters to get under your skin. Please always remember that there are a great many of us who deeply appreciate the fantastic work that you have done in making this game so enjoyable.

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