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kevin3

Suggestions to Improve the Tactical Interface

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I've been wanting to create a thread on this for a while, but I'm also interested to hear your own thoughts on what you would like to see added in/improved further.

First off, I think the decision to remove the old slider system was the right step going forward. The use of concepts and roles have improved the AI greatly in terms of in-game tactical decision making, and I'm sure this aspect will only improve in the future creating a tougher but more rewarding tactical battle. However, I don't think the benefits for the user have been quite the same as for the AI. The reasons I feel this are down to the ambiguity and misconception around certain mentalities/instructions and the inflexibility of editing certain roles. I don't like how settings like tempo, defensive line etc. are under the hood and are not made clear to the user when choosing between each mentality. If you consider the fact that there are 7 different mentalities and 5 possible options of defensive line/tempo/width/closing down for each mentality, it means that there are 35 possible mentality + team instruction combinations for each tactical setting with very little visual feedback as to what each of them is set to.

What I would like to see is the removal of mentalities in its current form and replaced with 4 phases of play - Attacking, Attacking Transition, Defending, Defensive Transition. Within each phase of play, I'd like to see the user be able to create their own preferred play-style e.g.

Attacking Phase :

· Passing Style - Short/Mixed/Direct/Long

· Mentality - Very Cautious/Cautious/Balanced/Risky/Very Risky

· Tempo - Very Slow/Slow/Balanced/Quick/Very Quick

· Width - Very Narrow/Narrow/Balanced/Wide/Very Wide

· Attack focus - Down Both Flanks/Through the Middle/Balanced/Down Left Flank/Down Right Flank

· Creative Freedom - Very Disciplined/Disciplined/Balanced/Expressive/Very Expressive

· Time-Wasting - Yes/No

Attacking Transition Phase :

· Transition style - Quick Counter/Retain Possession

Defensive Phase :

· Pressing Style - Full-press/Half-Press

· Defensive Line - Very Deep/Deep/Balanced/High/Very High

· Offside Trap - Yes/No

· Marking system - Zonal/Man

· Marking style - Loose/Tight

· Tackling - Light/Normal/Hard

Defensive Transition Phase :

· Transition style - Counter-Press/Retreat into Defensive Shape

There may be some additional options I've missed out on.

Mentalities could be altered for more specific play-styles like Possession, Counter-Attack, Long-Ball, Park the Bus, High Pressure, Kill Time etc as short-cuts. All tactical instructions for each play-style should be made visible and customisable as long as it fits within the play-style e.g. Allowed to edit tempo but not passing style for a possession play-style.

I realise this is similar to the old slider system except with a 5-point scale instead of 20-point scale, but imo this is a better way of creating tactics that is realistic where the user knows exactly what he's asking his players to do. The major problem with the old slider system was that you were given too much control over each setting. I doubt a real coach of any sport has 5% incremental control when communicating instructions with his players. It's more broader than that which I think the above idea replicates whilst still giving feedback to the user as to what each instruction is set to. With this approach, shouts will have to explain better what changes they are making to both team and individual player instructions, but I think this needs to be improved anyway.

The other major problem I have is with the inflexibility and vagueness of certain roles. For example, the role description of the Deep-lying Forward says it links midfield and attack, so why is there an Attack Duty available? The text descriptions between the support and attack duty DLF don't tell very much. For the support duty, it says "The DLF will largely bring team-mates into play before attacking the box from deep". For the attack duty, it says "The DLF will look to fashion chances for himself in addition to playing others in." Based on that alone, I'm not sure how I've asked him to perform differently.

I think to remove some of the uncertainty around the instructions carried out be each player role, I'd like to see the main behaviours listed as part of the role description. Something like this:

The main responsibilities of the support duty Deep Lying Forward are :

- Holds Position

- Holds Up Ball

- Tries Killer Balls Often

The main responsibilities of the defend duty Ball-Winning Midfielder are :

- Tackles Hard

- Holds Position

- Disciplined

- Short Passing Style

- High Pressing Style

- Rarely Runs With Ball

- Rarely Tries Killer Balls

The main responsibilities of the attack duty Trequartista are :

- Very Expressive

- Tries Killer Balls Often

- Low Pressing Style

- Roams from position

- Eases off Tackles

- Moves into Channels

I know that these instructions are communicated to the user in the game, but the way they are incorporated means you have to hover over each instruction to know whether or not it is included as a part of a role. I think the idea above allows the user to know much more quickly what each role does and explains clearly how the manager expects a player to perform each role.

When choosing between roles, I'd like to see Player Preferred Moves become more apparent because they can make or break how a player performs a certain role/duty. The game makes us aware of what the important attributes are for each role which is good, but not a player's PPMs which can be just as important. For example, you might not want a player with the PPMs of "Gets Forward Whenever Possible" and "Tries Killer Balls Often" as your defend duty CM, but how many users are aware of every single player's PPMs in their squad.

One role I'd like to see added in is the Central Winger, modelled by Angel Di Maria at the World Cup and also for Man Utd during the early stages of the current season. A player that defends narrow in central midfield, but stays very wide stretching play in the attacking phase and focuses upon getting crosses into the box.

Based on the idea I mentioned earlier, the main responsibilities of the Central Winger would be :

- Crosses Ball Often

- Stays Wider

- Runs With Ball Often

- Runs Wide With Ball

Saying that, the inflexibility of certain roles means I'm forced into SI's interpretation of each role which could be completely different to mine. Roles such as Advanced Forward, False Nine and Trequartista all have "Dribble More" hard-coded as part of their role which I cannot change. No part of the description of any of these roles does it mention that they will constantly look to dribble past players.

An example of this problem was when I tried playing Wayne Rooney as an AML. As Rooney is a good creator, crosser and striker of a ball, I wanted to set him-up to cross the ball as often as possible from deep positions, to occasionally shoot from distance and to play killer-balls often. As Rooney isn't the quickest and can't dribble past many players, I wanted to instruct him to only run with the ball occasionally. Basically, I wanted to create a mixture of Playmaker/Winger/Inside Forward for Rooney that on previous FMs was quite easy to do, but is now impossible as no role in FM15 can re-create this from the AML position.

Another example was trying to play Juan Mata as a Wide Playmaker who comes inside and plays through-balls. However, the problem I found was that the support role plays too deep and the attack role has "Dribble More" hard-coded as part of the role - which isn't something I want Mata doing mainly because he lacks speed. This means that neither duty envisions how I want Juan Mata to play the Wide Playmaker role. However, if I was simply allowed more flexibility in editing on-ball instructions for each role and duty it would solve the problem, but I can't.

On a different note, I was thinking that individual player movement could be broken down into different phases of play depending on position, role and duty to give the user a better idea of how they will move without the ball.

Consider the options below for a central midfielder :

Movement during Build-up : Drops between centre backs/Comes deep to collect ball/Supports Play/Gets Further Forward

Additional Build-up Movement: Sticks to position/Roams from position

Movement in Final Third : Stays deep/Arrives late into Box/Gets into Opposition Area

Width Movement : Drifts inside(Only available for wide players)/Default/Hugs Touchline/Moves into channels

Movement during Attacking Transition : Stays back/Bursts Forward

Movement during Defensive Phase : Drops deeper/Default/Stays Forward (Only available for AM/ST positions)

One last thing on my mind is more free-kick options from different areas on the pitch. At the moment, it's just left and right. I'd like to see that expanded to include short/long free-kick takers as well as from wide crossing positions.

Well, I think that's everything I wanted to get off my chest! Feel free to share your own opinions/ideas on this topic, I'd love to hear them.

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This is an exceptional post. I whole heartedly agree about moving to the 4 phases of play and making it more obvious. As I've in the past, I'm not convinced many people even realise there are 4 phases of play. Hopefully I'll find time today to give this post the detailed reply it deserves.

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Great post.

Well done, sir.

It is a great post but will it be acted upon or ignored?

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It is a great post but will it be acted upon or ignored?

Let's stick to discussing the idea itself and nothing else. Not going to have such a good opening post derailed

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Let's stick to discussing the idea itself and nothing else. Not going to have such a good opening post derailed

Didin't mean to be negative, just when such a good idea comes up like this, hopefuly someone takes it on board to try to improve the game, that's all :)

On the free kick takers, I'd like to add the option of CB's taking the longer free kicks when it's near the halfway line, nothing worse than having one of you top players miles away from the action taking a free kick when he should be near or in the box.

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Didin't mean to be negative, just when such a good idea comes up like this, hopefuly someone takes it on board to try to improve the game, that's all :)

On the free kick takers, I'd like to add the option of CB's taking the longer free kicks when it's near the halfway line, nothing worse than having one of you top players miles away from the action taking a free kick when he should be near or in the box.

A lot of features that make it into the game will have had a genesis in someone on this board suggesting it. After all, SI are in the business of making a game primarily for the users, so as long as a user suggestion doesn't go against what they want for the game, then of course they take it on board. Just because they don't actively appear doesn't mean they aren't listening.

As for the OP, a very good, well-reasoned post that we don't really get enough of on here. I would like to see control down to that level, but having control over different phases of play always strikes me as something that will never make it into the game. They used to have it, yes, but that was back when the ME was nowhere near as sophisticated, and putting my cynical hat on, it probably didn't work in the way people thought it did - the beauty of a purely text based ME representation!

The rest I can't really disagree with, and there's some really good suggestions in there. But I would put this out there, and it's something I've always wondered about. Is SI's development of the tactical side stymied by the ME growing in complexity? I sometimes get the feeling that - and this isn't meant as a dig - SI don't really have any idea what the ME is doing some of the time. By that I mean, they can't easily reason that Input A will make Output B happen. When you've got that situation, the less complexity you put into the inputs (in this case, the tactics) then the more predictable the outputs will be. Rhetorical question of course, but I think it's an interesting point.

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Reading this at work so I can't fully digest it atm but my first thoughts are that I could definitely be behind a move in this direction, it seems like it would go a long way towards addressing two common complaints with the current system (which is already a very impressive one, all things considered.) Those are presenting the user with better explanations of what the tactical choices available actually accomplish as well as giving a little more control over how the tactic is implemented 'on the field' - even if the increase control might just be perceived - what I mean is that it seems to me that a lot of this can already be accomplished in the TC it's just not well explained or easily accessible for the casual user.

It seems to me that some of this could be accomplished just by changing the presentation of options that are already in the TC, but even that wouldn't be a simple thing.

I also think forameuss is spot on with his post and it is hard for the average user to comprehend just how complex the match engine must be to work with, it is programmed to have a mind of its own 'in game' and any change of input could create a staggering number of possible outcomes - which is why you'll see the ME mods mention soak testing often. That doesn't mean that something like this can't happen, just that it would have to be part of a long term strategy/plan that fits with the companies vision of the game.

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The freekicks is something that i have been desperate for. I don't want Rickie Lambert taking a freekick 40 yards from goal and out wide. I do however want him taking it 25 yards from goal and central.

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Just popping in to say I like this idea. The current system is too "behind the scenes" and quite often it isn't very obvious what a change in role would have on a team.

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I would just like to echo everyone's comments so far and say well done on an excellent post. We don't see enough well thought out, non-moaning, threads on here. This is exactly the way to go about putting your thoughts and ideas across.

I completely agree with your idea and think it would be great if SI could implement it, or at least attempt to go in this direction.

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Cheers guys. I appreciate all the comments.

A lot of features that make it into the game will have had a genesis in someone on this board suggesting it. After all, SI are in the business of making a game primarily for the users, so as long as a user suggestion doesn't go against what they want for the game, then of course they take it on board. Just because they don't actively appear doesn't mean they aren't listening.

As for the OP, a very good, well-reasoned post that we don't really get enough of on here. I would like to see control down to that level, but having control over different phases of play always strikes me as something that will never make it into the game. They used to have it, yes, but that was back when the ME was nowhere near as sophisticated, and putting my cynical hat on, it probably didn't work in the way people thought it did - the beauty of a purely text based ME representation!

The rest I can't really disagree with, and there's some really good suggestions in there. But I would put this out there, and it's something I've always wondered about. Is SI's development of the tactical side stymied by the ME growing in complexity? I sometimes get the feeling that - and this isn't meant as a dig - SI don't really have any idea what the ME is doing some of the time. By that I mean, they can't easily reason that Input A will make Output B happen. When you've got that situation, the less complexity you put into the inputs (in this case, the tactics) then the more predictable the outputs will be. Rhetorical question of course, but I think it's an interesting point.

Mentality, I think, is the biggest obstacle from a purely text-based system working because mentality, especially in previous FMs, affected on-ball decision-making such as pass/shot selection, run timing and how much AM/ST positions would contribute towards defending. Using the old slider system, you had to combine mentality and forward runs to determine how you wanted your player to roughly perform in all the different phases of play, which wasn't ideal to say the least. The introduction of the TC and roles improved upon that, but if mentality were allowed to be altered based on differently phases of play, I can see a purely text-based system working.

One of the problems I'm having currently is regarding how my wide-midfielders move without the ball. I just can't get them to behave like I want no matter whether I try changing from support to attack duty or changing mentality. Basically, I want my wide-midfielders to stay very wide and high against the opposition full-backs during attacking build-up, but then to keep good width and not to be so eager to get into the box when we get into the final-third. The attack duty Wide Midfielder does the first part exactly how I want, but then becomes very advanced/narrow in the final-third and the support duty does the exact opposite. So players do behave differently in the ME based on role/duty in different phases, the TC just doesn't make it quite so clear how or make it editable enough.

Reading this at work so I can't fully digest it atm but my first thoughts are that I could definitely be behind a move in this direction, it seems like it would go a long way towards addressing two common complaints with the current system (which is already a very impressive one, all things considered.) Those are presenting the user with better explanations of what the tactical choices available actually accomplish as well as giving a little more control over how the tactic is implemented 'on the field' - even if the increase control might just be perceived - what I mean is that it seems to me that a lot of this can already be accomplished in the TC it's just not well explained or easily accessible for the casual user.

It seems to me that some of this could be accomplished just by changing the presentation of options that are already in the TC, but even that wouldn't be a simple thing.

I also think forameuss is spot on with his post and it is hard for the average user to comprehend just how complex the match engine must be to work with, it is programmed to have a mind of its own 'in game' and any change of input could create a staggering number of possible outcomes - which is why you'll see the ME mods mention soak testing often. That doesn't mean that something like this can't happen, just that it would have to be part of a long term strategy/plan that fits with the companies vision of the game.

I agree with these two points. I believe the tools exist within the ME, I just don't think they are fully realised or communicated as simply as possible to the user.

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I agree with:

The rest I can't really disagree with, and there's some really good suggestions in there. But I would put this out there, and it's something I've always wondered about. Is SI's development of the tactical side stymied by the ME growing in complexity? I sometimes get the feeling that - and this isn't meant as a dig - SI don't really have any idea what the ME is doing some of the time. By that I mean, they can't easily reason that Input A will make Output B happen. When you've got that situation, the less complexity you put into the inputs (in this case, the tactics) then the more predictable the outputs will be. Rhetorical question of course, but I think it's an interesting point.

I would dig even deeper and start with formations: what do they really represent? A common opinion here is that formations show the "defensive shape" of your team. German researches, among others, think that RL formations such as 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 are best represented in the game as 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-1-1 (or even 4-2-2-1-1). Let me tell you, I started playing 4-2-2-1-1 with my Fulham team and I definitely understand their point of view. However, what happens with all those players who clearly are AM R/L? e.g. Thomas Müller: SI created a role following Müller's own words: "I am a Raumdeuter". But that role can only be used for AM R/L and, in the game, Bayern plays 4-1-4-1... Am I the only one to see the contradiction here?

Also, imagine a wingerless formation, such as 4-4-2 diamond narrow (formerly known as 4-1-2-1-2) vs a classic 4-4-2. Imagine the fullback in the 4-4-2 gets forward: who's going to keep an eye on him? A central midfielder? And who's going to cover the hole left by the midfielder, the attacking midfielder? Not necessarily, I'd say. But the point is that these shifts, these kinds of "lateral" and "diagonal" movements are not visible when you pick a formation, and assign roles and duties. Therefore, formations cannot be "this is where your players will be in the defensive phase", it's not simple as that, but on the other hand you have no tool to "see" or decide where your players are going to be in the defensive phase... This is left to the ME.

In the end, everything starts with the database: as long as AI Managers have "preferred formations" and players are "defined" by their positions it'll be very hard to simulate realistic, unpredictable, tactics-based football matches.

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I would love to be able to set instructions on that granular of a level. The more understanding and control, the better IMO; and can't have enough.

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I would dig even deeper and start with formations: what do they really represent? A common opinion here is that formations show the "defensive shape" of your team. German researches, among others, think that RL formations such as 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 are best represented in the game as 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-1-1 (or even 4-2-2-1-1). Let me tell you, I started playing 4-2-2-1-1 with my Fulham team and I definitely understand their point of view. However, what happens with all those players who clearly are AM R/L? e.g. Thomas Müller: SI created a role following Müller's own words: "I am a Raumdeuter". But that role can only be used for AM R/L and, in the game, Bayern plays 4-1-4-1... Am I the only one to see the contradiction here?

The media tend to describe a RL 4-3-3 based on the attacking phase and the average positions rather than how it defends. Most modern 4-3-3s become 4-1-4-1 in the defensive phase which is best represented in FM by using a 4-1-4-1 and using attack duty wide players.

Regarding Thomas Muller, I think you make a good point. He probably does more defensive work in RL than his FM role does. However, support duty AM L/R do a lot more work in the defensive phase than in previous FMs.

Also, imagine a wingerless formation, such as 4-4-2 diamond narrow (formerly known as 4-1-2-1-2) vs a classic 4-4-2. Imagine the fullback in the 4-4-2 gets forward: who's going to keep an eye on him? A central midfielder? And who's going to cover the hole left by the midfielder, the attacking midfielder? Not necessarily, I'd say. But the point is that these shifts, these kinds of "lateral" and "diagonal" movements are not visible when you pick a formation, and assign roles and duties. Therefore, formations cannot be "this is where your players will be in the defensive phase", it's not simple as that, but on the other hand you have no tool to "see" or decide where your players are going to be in the defensive phase... This is left to the ME.

In the end, everything starts with the database: as long as AI Managers have "preferred formations" and players are "defined" by their positions it'll be very hard to simulate realistic, unpredictable, tactics-based football matches.

I can see your point in that the only way to see how your team defends is from watching the ME during live play or from a real understanding of football. Maybe the introduction of a training ground and being allowed to prepare and develop attacking and defensive patterns based on the tactics and formation selected could really aid the user in spotting potential problems rather than finding out mid-match.

Something like Pep Guardiola is doing in this video

(At least, that's what I think he's doing as I don't understand any German :))

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I would like to see an end of all pre-defined player roles within the game.

For instance if I put a player in central midfield I would like to tailor his instructions for the role I envisage him playing within the team and not simply be stuck with the predefined role that comes closest.

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I would like to see an end of all pre-defined player roles within the game.

For instance if I put a player in central midfield I would like to tailor his instructions for the role I envisage him playing within the team and not simply be stuck with the predefined role that comes closest.

That sounds indentical the old slider system which AFAIK is never going to return.

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This is an exceptional post. I whole heartedly agree about moving to the 4 phases of play and making it more obvious. As I've in the past, I'm not convinced many people even realise there are 4 phases of play. Hopefully I'll find time today to give this post the detailed reply it deserves.

The current mode needs to remain as a 'streamlined' option for those who don't give a hoot about tactics though.

Maybe a tick box for 'advanced' settings and if you don't click it you're stuck with the defaults as is at the moment?

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That sounds indentical the old slider system which AFAIK is never going to return.

NO! no sliders please.

What I mean is the opportunity to be able to pick any player instruction I deem appropriate.

For eg. If I play with a CM (d) I might want him to dribble more, but I currently can't as that option is "unavailable for the role and duty selected".

I feel hampered by these restrictions, let me place the player in centre midfield and then give a set of instructions based on how I want him to play. Who cares if I give him contradictory instructions?

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I would like to expand on the Attacking transition and Attacking phases.

The way I see it there are three attacking phases;

* The initial attack (i.e when a player makes the decision to move the ball forward from a deeper position - that is, not retaining possession) - the intial movements of forwards and advanced midfielders are carried out in this phase, and the initial attack is then carried out until its end.

* That end is divided into two possibilities - a finish, or a decision to not finish. In the latter case, the ball carrier waits for support from attacking defenders or support midfielders or forwards, and therefore pass the ball either backwards or sideways in a bid to continue the attack. This "secondary attack phase" also end in two possibilities; a finish, or the decision not to finish.

* In the latter case, all forward movement has stopped and the opposition is organized and in their defensive positions. This does not mean that the attack is over, though. It is now time for all your players that have finished their runs to attempt finding space, often by backtracking a bit, to drag defenders out of position. This is the "tertiary attack phase". You more or less start again, often by passing to your central defenders or a holding midfielder, and the normal procedure is basically to pass back and forth, left and right in a "Handball" fashion - in an attempt to pry open the parked bus.

As it is now, we recreate all these by the use of defensive-minded Strategies aided by team instructions such as Retain Possession, Pass Shorter and Work Ball into Box. However, this should not be necessary! If there are no viable passing options because the forwards have been marked out of the game, so that your Attack-duty Winger on an Attacking Team Mentality is wondering what to do, trying to cross, shoot or dribble anyways should be a bad decision (only made by players with low Decisions and Team Work)! You should not have to instruct Retain Possession and all the other patience-inducing team instructions to make him correctly choose a pass backwards or sideways. If you truly were so desperate to create chances that you want him to make that cross, dribble or shot regardless of how low-percentage those choices are, you should rather have to add team instructions such as "Route One", "Much Higher Tempo" and "Take More Risks" etc.

Those team instructions should be reserved for special cases.

I feel that the OP addresses the unintuitiveness of the Team Mentality UI quite nicely, but I would like to be able to make sure that the team gets to the "tertiary attacking phase" without me specifically ordering them to skip the secondary one (which is what Retain Possession does). Maybe this could be achieved by reversing the decision-making priorities of all players to be more on the safe side rather than the (in my opinion) stressed-out side that I perceive the FM15 ME to be.

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I would like to see an end of all pre-defined player roles within the game.

For instance if I put a player in central midfield I would like to tailor his instructions for the role I envisage him playing within the team and not simply be stuck with the predefined role that comes closest.

I think you have to consider how roles can create a much stronger AI in terms of squad building and tactical decision-making. Roles can allow AI managers to have the own unique identity which wasn't as possible before hand using the old sliders. However, I do agree that in some cases roles could be more customisable and hopefully that improves in the future, but you don't want to create a situation where the user has an unfair advantage over the AI.

The current mode needs to remain as a 'streamlined' option for those who don't give a hoot about tactics though.

Maybe a tick box for 'advanced' settings and if you don't click it you're stuck with the defaults as is at the moment?

I agree. I would keep pre-sets in the game as tactical shortcuts, but make them more specific like Possession, Counter-Attack, Park the Bus etc that will have pre-defined settings for all of the 4 phases. If you want to edit the default settings or if you want to create your own play-style then that's where you can access the more advanced settings.

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The current mode needs to remain as a 'streamlined' option for those who don't give a hoot about tactics though.

Maybe a tick box for 'advanced' settings and if you don't click it you're stuck with the defaults as is at the moment?

You need to know the fundamentals at least though. Even with a streamlined mode, you'd still have to understand there being 4 phases, or you're basically playing with one arm behind your back. Presets might be an alternative

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With more options, there is the possibility of both deeper gameplay but also complexities. I think one of the best things SI can do to help players understand how the new Tactic Interface work would be to provide examples in the tutorial. Perhaps 5 classic teams where SI can reproduce as an example for players to study. Since they already know how those teams play, seeing how it translates into the new tactical interface, they might have a better understanding of how it works.

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With more options, there is the possibility of both deeper gameplay but also complexities. I think one of the best things SI can do to help players understand how the new Tactic Interface work would be to provide examples in the tutorial. Perhaps 5 classic teams where SI can reproduce as an example for players to study. Since they already know how those teams play, seeing how it translates into the new tactical interface, they might have a better understanding of how it works.

I kind of suggested that some time ago. While I still believe it's a good idea, there is no guaranteed, unique, bullet-proof way to translate real life tactics into the FM tactical interface. Of course you can't play Tiki Taka Style with Barnet just because you use the "SI-approved version of the Tiki Taka", but chances are you'll have the exact same issues with Bayern, Barcelona or the Spanish National Team. And even if you can now, what will happen with the next ME version? And the one after that?

That's why I don't think soak tests are that useful. Single matches are much more important both in terms of realism and in terms of gameplay.

I’d rather see Barcelona play like Barcelona instead of an even more accurate goals/match ratio.

I played against Bayern and Barcelona I don't know how many times, and I rarely felt they were just too good for my team. I rarely felt that their managers and their best players could make a real difference. In fact, sometimes I felt I was robbed: a free kick from Bernat, a 30 yards screamer from Javi Martinez, an header from Mascherano… In the end, perhaps I deserved to win/draw/lose, but the way I won/drew/lost was frustrating and disappointing. I vividly remember a match I played: Man Utd 6 - Fulham 3 (I was Fulham). Ok they're a great team and my tactics were far too attacking, but why did they switch to 3-3-4 at half time? They were already leading 3-0! And why did RvP play as central defender? It was just too weird...

(If you are wondering why I’m turning a discussion about the tactical interface into a discussion about the AI and the ME, it’s because it takes two to tango. And it takes a ballroom, too) ;)

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I kind of suggested that some time ago. While I still believe it's a good idea, there is no guaranteed, unique, bullet-proof way to translate real life tactics into the FM tactical interface. Of course you can't play Tiki Taka Style with Barnet just because you use the "SI-approved version of the Tiki Taka", but chances are you'll have the exact same issues with Bayern, Barcelona or the Spanish National Team. And even if you can now, what will happen with the next ME version? And the one after that?

That's why I don't think soak tests are that useful. Single matches are much more important both in terms of realism and in terms of gameplay.

I’d rather see Barcelona play like Barcelona instead of an even more accurate goals/match ratio.

I played against Bayern and Barcelona I don't know how many times, and I rarely felt they were just too good for my team. I rarely felt that their managers and their best players could make a real difference. In fact, sometimes I felt I was robbed: a free kick from Bernat, a 30 yards screamer from Javi Martinez, an header from Mascherano… In the end, perhaps I deserved to win/draw/lose, but the way I won/drew/lost was frustrating and disappointing. I vividly remember a match I played: Man Utd 6 - Fulham 3 (I was Fulham). Ok they're a great team and my tactics were far too attacking, but why did they switch to 3-3-4 at half time? They were already leading 3-0! And why did RvP play as central defender? It was just too weird...

(If you are wondering why I’m turning a discussion about the tactical interface into a discussion about the AI and the ME, it’s because it takes two to tango. And it takes a ballroom, too) ;)

Keep the discussion to the interface only. It is unfair to derail the OPs thread, if you want to talk in detail about the ME and AI then create your own thread. Thanks

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As someone who has previously been rather vocal about the ambiguous, confusing and even misleading nature of the current interface, I believe the OP is an excellent one. There is absolutely no reason the roles couldn't be broken down to explain exactly what they include, and doing so will only provide clarity as to what they do.

I believe the "phases of play" suggestion is also a good one, providing much more accessibility in terms of letting people tell their team what they want them to try and do. As others have mentioned, having presets for these is also an important point, as not everyone will want to tinker with every aspect for every phase of play, but the concept as a whole is a smart one.

Good stuff, OP.

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Havent bought FM15 so I will comment on FM14. Major issue I am having is getting my wingers to transition quicker into defence. When we lose the ball, my wingers just stand on the wing and dont drop back nowhere near as quick as I would like them too. The AI starts their counter attack, and my wingers (and striker to a lesser extent), just jog back to the halfway line and slowly get back to their defensive position. However my main issue being that they are far too slow to transition. I have tried various mentalities and team rigidness, but results always the same. Relatively frustrating. Off the ball shape needs to be improved in terms of the human manager having way more control in this tactical component

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Havent bought FM15 so I will comment on FM14. Major issue I am having is getting my wingers to transition quicker into defence. When we lose the ball, my wingers just stand on the wing and dont drop back nowhere near as quick as I would like them too. The AI starts their counter attack, and my wingers (and striker to a lesser extent), just jog back to the halfway line and slowly get back to their defensive position. However my main issue being that they are far too slow to transition. I have tried various mentalities and team rigidness, but results always the same. Relatively frustrating. Off the ball shape needs to be improved in terms of the human manager having way more control in this tactical component
This area was radically overhauled for FM15, given the right mental attributes & tactical instructions attacking players are much better at tracking back to help out during defensive phases of play.

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I think you have to consider how roles can create a much stronger AI in terms of squad building and tactical decision-making. Roles can allow AI managers to have the own unique identity which wasn't as possible before hand using the old sliders. However, I do agree that in some cases roles could be more customisable and hopefully that improves in the future, but you don't want to create a situation where the user has an unfair advantage over the AI.

So in order for the AI not to be handicapped your suggesting the current system stays in which you the user is being handicapped! The current roles are far to generic we need to have the option to do custom roles. And i dont care if that brakes the AI rofl its a game and i wana play it like one. Not to mention some roles wont even do what they are supposed to ( like Libero)

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So in order for the AI not to be handicapped your suggesting the current system stays in which you the user is being handicapped! The current roles are far to generic we need to have the option to do custom roles. And i dont care if that brakes the AI rofl its a game and i wana play it like one. Not to mention some roles wont even do what they are supposed to ( like Libero)

What roles are you trying to create that you feel you're handicapped from doing so? In the OP, I mentioned a few that could be more customisable, but generally I feel you can edit roles to get players to perform like you want them to. The libero not working as it's supposed to would be a ME issue rather than with the interface.

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This area was radically overhauled for FM15, given the right mental attributes & tactical instructions attacking players are much better at tracking back to help out during defensive phases of play.

Cheers Bars :) Good to know it was worked on. Hope SI press on to further improve the ME

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I've resurrected this thread because I have a few more things I'd like to see added in.

  • I'd like to be able to use the shout "Play through defence" as an opposite to "Run through defence". I'm not sure why this was taking out whilst the other was kept in. The same scenario with "Pass to feet" as "Pass into Space" is still an available option.
  • Be able to change individual player's creative freedom, instead of just a team instruction.

To expand further on some of the points in the OP, here's what I'd like to see available in terms of attacking and defensive pre-sets. Words highlighted in red indicate the default settings, which are open to interpretation.

Offensive Phase

Style of Play : Possession

Passing Style: Short

Mentality: Very Cautious/Cautious/Balanced

Tempo: Very Slow/Slow/Balanced/Quick/Very Quick

Width: Very Narrow/Narrow/Balanced/Wide/Very Wide

Attack Focus: Balanced/Through the middle/Down both Flanks/Down Right Flank/Down Left flank

Creative Freedom: Very Disciplined/Disciplined/Balanced/Expressive/Very Expressive

Style of Play : Direct

Passing Style: Direct

Mentality: Balanced/Risky/Very Risky

Tempo: Balanced/Quick/Very Quick

Width: Very Narrow/Narrow/Balanced/Wide/Very Wide

Attack Focus: Balanced/Through the middle/Down Both Flanks/Down Right Flank/Down Left flank

Creative Freedom: Very Disciplined/Disciplined/Balanced/Expressive/Very Expressive

Style of Play: Balanced

Passing Style: Balanced

Mentality: Balanced

Tempo: Balanced

Width: Very Narrow/Narrow/Balanced/Wide/Very Wide

Attack Focus: Balanced/Through the middle/Down Both Flanks/Down Right Flank/Down Left flank

Creative Freedom: Very Disciplined/Disciplined/Balanced/Expressive/Very Expressive

Style of Play: Long Ball

Passing Style: Long

Mentality: Balanced/Risky/Very Risky

Tempo: Balanced/Quick/Very Quick

Width: Very Narrow/Narrow/Balanced

Attack Focus: Balanced/Through the middle

Creative Freedom: Very Disciplined/Disciplined/Balanced/Expressive/Very Expressive

Style of Play: Waste Time

Passing Style: Balanced

Mentality: Very Cautious

Tempo: Very Slow

Width: Very Narrow

Attack Focus: Down Both Flanks

Creative Freedom: Very Disciplined

In this play style, there is no preference in passing style except for trying to choose the safest pass possible. Players are encouraged to take the ball to the opposition's corner flag to waste time and are expected to stick rigidly to this game-plan and avoid improvisation.

Defensive Phase

Style of Play: High Pressure

Pressing Style: Full Pressing

Defensive Line: Balanced/High/Very High

Offside Trap: Yes/No

Marking System: Zonal

Marking Style: Tight/Loose

Tackling Style: Light/Normal/Hard

Focus Attacks: Channel Out Wide/Channel Infield/No preference

Style of Play: Midfield Pressure

Pressing Style: Middle-Third Pressing

Defensive Line: Very Deep/Deep/Balanced/High/Very High

Offside Trap: Yes/No

Marking System: Zonal

Marking Style: Tight/Loose

Tackling Style: Light/Normal/Hard

Focus Attacks: Channel Out Wide/Channel Infield/No preference

Style of Play : Low Pressure

Pressing Style: Half Pressing

Defensive Line: Very Deep/Deep/Balanced

Offside Trap: Yes/No

Marking System: Zonal

Marking Style: Tight/Loose

Tackling Style: Light/Normal/Hard

Focus Attacks: Channel Out Wide/Channel Infield/No preference

If you have some spare time, I recommend reading these two articles on pressing.

http://www.soccerpilot.com/tactic/articles/soccer-tactic-types-of-pressing.html - This one gives a brief description on the different pressing types.

http://livelifeunited.com/part-2-van-gaals-defensive-organisation-variations-players/ - This one describes midfield pressing in detail.

Moving on to individual player movement, here's what some of the roles could look like when you break down their movement into different phases.

Poacher - Attack

Build-up Support: Looks to Beat Offside Trap

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position

Final Third Support: Gets into Box

Lateral Movement: Stays Central

Attacking Transition Support: Bursts Forward

Defensive Support: Stays Forward

Wide Playmaker - Support/Attack

Build-up Support: Comes deep to collect ball/Supports Play

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position/Roams from position

Final Third Support: Arrives late into Box

Lateral Movement: Drifts inside

Attacking Transition Support: Bursts Forward

Defensive Support: Default

Half Back - Defend

Build-up Support: Drops between Centre Backs

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position

Final Third Support: Stays Deep

Lateral Movement: Stays Central

Attacking Transition Support: Stays Back

Defensive Phase: Default

Roaming Playmaker - Support

Build-up Support: Comes deep to collect ball

Build-up Movement: Roams from position

Final Third Support: Arrives late into box

Lateral Movement: Stays Central

Attacking Transition Support: Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Default

Trequartista - Attack

Build-up Support: Comes deep to collect ball

Build-up Movement: Roams from position

Final Third Support: Arrives late into box

Lateral Movement: Moves into Channels

Attacking Transition Support: Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Stays Forward

Target Man - Attack

Build-up Support: Leads the line

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position

Final Third Support: Gets into Box

Lateral Movement: Stays Central

Attacking Transition Support: Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Stays Forward

Full Back - Defend/Support/Attack

Build-up Support: Stays back/Supports Play/Gets Further Forward

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position

Final Third Support: Stays Deep/Arrives late into Box

Lateral Movement: Default/Hugs Touchline

Attacking Transition Support: Stays Back/Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Default

Libero - Attack

Build-up Support: Steps into Midfield

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position/Roams from position

Final Third Support: Arrives late into Box

Lateral Movement: Stays Central

Attacking Transition Support: Stays Back/Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Default

Enganche- Attack

Build-up Support: Comes Deep to Collect Ball

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position

Final Third Support: Stays Deep/Arrives late into Box

Lateral Movement: Stays Central

Attacking Transition Support: Stays Back/Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Drops Deeper/Stays Forward

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One thing I think you are missing from this in the defensive sets is closing down. For me its the one instruction whose descripton/showcasing needs changing because it changes with the mentalities. Either it should not change as the mentality changes (my preference), and/or it needs a much better description, than more or less closing down (ie more or less closing down to what?). It needs to be showing whether Team Instruction default is a High/Medium/Low Press, then in the player instruction

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Excellent thread, kevin3. There are lots of great ideas here, and I would personally love to see more separation between attacking and defensive tactical options.

Just to be a bit nit-picky, I would prefer to see the basic defensive set-up described in terms of high/medium/low block (as opposed to defensive line and high/medium/low pressure) with the style described as pressing/mixed/containment. The terms "high pressure" and "low pressure" can be a bit misleading since, technically, all defences rely on "high pressure" just in different parts of the pitch. As the article you posted shows, there are coaches who use "high pressure" interchangeably with a "full/attacking zone pressing," but it's not considered the most precise/efficient way of putting it.

There's a good article here that explains this better than I can: http://www.kysoccer.net/assets/948/15/The_Reality_of_High_Pressure_Defending.pdf

I think it's also important to draw a clear distinction between the concept of pressure and the concept of pressing. All teams will pressure (have one or two defenders close down), but not all teams will press (have the entire team collectively compress space towards the ball). Namely, in a containment style defence, the team typically won't press, they will hold shape and fall back towards goal, but at some point, they have to have one or two players apply high pressure to prevent a shot on goal.

In any case, this is a fantastic thread and, hopefully, we'll see many of these ideas implemented in future versions.

One thing I think you are missing from this in the defensive sets is closing down. For me its the one instruction whose descripton/showcasing needs changing because it changes with the mentalities. Either it should not change as the mentality changes (my preference), and/or it needs a much better description, than more or less closing down (ie more or less closing down to what?). It needs to be showing whether Team Instruction default is a High/Medium/Low Press, then in the player instruction

It's very important that d-line and closing down are tied together, and this could be relatively easily conveyed to the player with a graphic indicating the manager's ideal line of restraint (where the defence has been instructed to retreat) and ideal line of confrontation (where high pressure defending kicks into gear). If done well, this would show the player where:

(a) The ball is expected to be won.

(b) Whether the midfield will invite attacks to come onto them or whether they will step out to pressure attackers closer to the forward line.

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Nice points guys. The main thing I feel is making it clearer how a team defends, as currently, I think it's too abstract.

On a different topic, I've got another role suggestion - Box-to-Box Target Man (think Marouane Fellaini).

A target man type player that plays from the AMC or CM position and helps out in the defensive phase. In attack, he uses his strength and aerial presence to be a nuisance in advanced attacking areas.

The main responsibilities of the Box-to-Box Target Man:

- Runs With Ball Rarely

- Holds up Ball

Build-up Support: Gets Further Forward

Build-up Movement: Sticks to position/Roams from Position

Final Third Support: Gets into Box

Lateral Movement: Stays Central/Moves into Channels

Attacking Transition Support: Bursts forward

Defensive Support: Default

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