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Is FM's match engine good enough to be taken so seriously?

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Dont get me wrong. I'm a big fan of the series. I've played it since CM93-94 and my fav part of the game is tactic.

I enjoy reading & watching tactical blogs, articles and vid clips and I also like to read negative comments about the ME.

The ME is flawed and will never perfect. That's the truth we all accept. But once in a while, something comes to my mind.

Is the ME good enough to be taken so seriously??

Are real life tactical knowledge/theories really applicable to the ME??

I dont mean to look down on those valuable and enjoyable resources from Tactical Gurus across the internet.

I just want to hear your thoughts

Best Regards,

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Hmm I think it's a mixed bag. 

 

There is an ITALIAN tactic maker who makes real life tactics in fm games. He seems to get them spot on BUT and here's the flip side I think the ME is limited to what tactics can be emulated... Gegen press or a proper 2011-2012 Barcelona. These just can't be nailed 100%

 

Ie getting Messi who is a natural wide play maker to hit 40 goals a season and make 20 odd assists from a wide right role because the AP role does not work as a goal scorer with sacrificing goals In another attack role. 

Edited by craigd84

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Put it that way. There's a lot of limitations, and some stuff isn't represented too well (collective pressing, some aspects of zonal defending etc. in particular), and AI struggles with a few stuff also imo. However, the idea that football think wouldn't be rewarded is nonsense, as it has been rewarded for ten years, and it's been basically all the same. In other words, matches like these are traditionally only possible if you either fail to translate football / team sport basics into the UI --- or are looking for "creative" means around them. Which is why nobody giving good advice on this would ever tell you any otherwise. The key to enjoyment/success thus is translating football into the UI, nothing more. Any temporary engine flaw is completely irrelevant, no less as no AI opponent is aware of them and would exploit them (they do, on occasion, if targeted defend them reasonable enough though, see above).

Fundamentally, football, as well as the match engine, is about creating and denying space. The means to create them and defend them are very comparable, despite the limitations. All sensible formations in the game can work. There is also several ways to success, similar to football. Don't buy into that and you're screwed.

Edited by Svenc

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Its age is really coming to daylight - the rules are limited and the actions of the Players way often do not fit the way i think they should act/react so i try to work around their actions to get a formation running i would like to play in real Football.

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In terms of a true simulation it can’t be taken seriously, a fact that I suspect PaulC would concede to be the case otherwise he’d be able to retire.

As a game engine for the most part it’s acceptable for the majority of FM’ers, whether you enjoy the ME experience tends to be a matter of how much your subconscious can ignore or compensate for the flaws.

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You can apply interpretations of real life football and systems but it's a million miles away from being a simulation.

The '' tactical gurus'' know the limited ME and every in game instruction and role inside out. 

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1 hour ago, Barside said:

As a game engine for the most part it’s acceptable for the majority of FM’ers, whether you enjoy the ME experience tends to be a matter of how much your subconscious can ignore or compensate for the flaws.

And then 9/10 FM'ers confuses the actual flaws for his lack of translating the most basic of team sports stuff into the game (can be a challenge mind) or doesn't understand them to begin with. Which may arguably be why the AI too still does stuff you would never see on a football pitch (let alone the in-game manager associated to it), which can further compromise the experience, depending how high your barside is. [If they'd make truly inspired decisions, these forums would be fun, though]. :D

I had to bring that up as some counter point, as the word "guru" oft implies a condescending nature of such requests -- when what's really rewarded at the current level of "simulation" has little to do with guru stuff as such, but team sports basics 101. So much evidence that a few players of this don't understand putting players behind the ball you may be harder to break down, or all players visibly all cutting into the same space is in real football only to be seen on school kid yards, etc. This is relevant to the topic though, how deeply does FM go as an actual simulation: What would happen if FM allowed you to modify pressing zones / patterns then? Players dropping deep whilst letting their sides press all over the pitch, for sure, reporting "broken engine" when that finishing, composure, technique 1 player finds pockets of space to exploit.

Edited by Svenc

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For the most part I would say that the ME currently are good enough to replicate football, but it lacks a bit in some areas. I posted a wish some time ago to one of the aspects I feel are lacking at the moment; transitional instructions. As I have stated, I think it's a very hard thing to implement, but for me that is the area of the ME that I feel are missing at the moment.

For most other parts I think the ME is a good simulation of how football work. Though I doubt it will come to a point of "perfection". Because if it did we as players would not stand a chance against a competent AI. I want to believe the illusion of me besting Mourinho, Klopp, and Conte, while I realize that I don't have the knowledge or comprehend the task of implementing it into something that works on the pitch.

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Knowledge of real life football certainly can help you in FM but it's not something you need to have to be succesful in the game. On the other hand, it can also be a stumbling block to you if one stubbornly tries to treat the game as RL instead of a game which it is.

Best thing in FM is though that just like IRL, there's plenty of ways to play winning football.

Edited by Seqw

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It's amazing that the ME is as good as it is. Football is a game where the number of possible outcomes in any given situation is very high.

Does a player pass, shoot, or hold up the ball?

If they pass, to whom do they pass and how exactly do they pass it? With which foot? With what timing?
Or if they shoot, is it with power or precision? Which side of the goal? What elevation? Where is the goalkeeper and which defenders are blocking potential shots?

Also, just look at the number of attributes each individual player has just to make them function in the ME environment. And there's 22 of them on the pitch, each making decisions, all of which are affected by the other 21 players' decisions.

Not to mention what the manager has told them to do.

Or what has happened in the run up to the game.

Football is actually a pretty crazy and ambitious thing to even attempt to model. Sure, the ME is not perfect, but you have to work within the boundaries provided. If you recognize that, then there's no issue.

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A couple of years ago, think it was just before the launch of FM16, a SI employee (possibly Miles) said that by 2020 watching a match in FM would look pretty much like watching football on tv.
They are running out of time it seems coz they still have a long way to go to reach that goal.

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Yes I heard that quote from Miles, I believe he was probably being a little ambitious there, however I think that Pingdinho has got it pretty much right, it will never be perfect as football is played by humans, FM is computer code.  I play with tactics that are pretty much in line with real football, I dont download any tactics, just go with my own knowledge and gut feeling and I get fairly realistic results   I also vary rarely look at any of the tactics gurus, as I think that maybe that would spoil the illusion.

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9 minutes ago, Tony Wright 747 said:

Yes I heard that quote from Miles, I believe he was probably being a little ambitious there, however I think that Pingdinho has got it pretty much right, it will never be perfect as football is played by humans, FM is computer code.  I play with tactics that are pretty much in line with real football, I dont download any tactics, just go with my own knowledge and gut feeling and I get fairly realistic results   I also vary rarely look at any of the tactics gurus, as I think that maybe that would spoil the illusion.

I also create my own and do quite well, but players who have issues with creating tactics should most definitely look at the guides. There are so many people in here complaining about AI cracking tactics, or biased ME or a truckload of other issues that most likely are caused by their tactics. "It's your tactics" is such a common answer in here I'm actually surprised when it cannot be used as the default answer. Hyperbole yes, but not by much...

Many of the threads by the gurus are often worded in a way that incorporates real life into FM to avoid spoiling the illusion. And many of the threads could, with a small rewrite to remove "FM-terms", be considered a basis for a real life tactical approach.

Edited by XaW

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35 minutes ago, XaW said:

I also create my own and do quite well, but players who have issues with creating tactics should most definitely look at the guides. There are so many people in here complaining about AI cracking tactics, or biased ME or a truckload of other issues that most likely are caused by their tactics. "It's your tactics" is such a common answer in here I'm actually surprised when it cannot be used as the default answer. Hyperbole yes, but not by much...

Many of the threads by the gurus are often worded in a way that incorporates real life into FM to avoid spoiling the illusion. And many of the threads could, with a small rewrite to remove "FM-terms", be considered a basis for a real life tactical approach.

cheers XaW.  It is interesting to see you are managing Marine, what version is that on?  I have just started a save on FM12 managing Marine, it's a bit of a poison chalice though 15 points off safety in national north with four months of the season left.  A challenge and a half or what

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7 minutes ago, Tony Wright 747 said:

cheers XaW.  It is interesting to see you are managing Marine, what version is that on?  I have just started a save on FM12 managing Marine, it's a bit of a poison chalice though 15 points off safety in national north with four months of the season left.  A challenge and a half or what

I'm playing on FM18. My latest update on this can be seen here. Currently in the Championship, but aiming for that Champions League trophy, though it's still some way of!

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4 hours ago, Seqw said:

Knowledge of real life football certainly can help you in FM but it's not something you need to have to be succesful in the game. On the other hand, it can also be a stumbling block to you if one stubbornly tries to treat the game as RL instead of a game which it is.

Best thing in FM is though that just like IRL, there's plenty of ways to play winning football.

I'm a bit more positive. I think that the match engine if good enough that if you create a tactic that would work in real life football, it will also work in FM. Sure, the engine is far from perfect, but if it was perfect then what chance would we ever have of winning anything...

Many of the ME flaws reported are such that I haven't even noticed them, so maybe ignorance is bliss :)

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I think so. When it was just the top down dot view, I always took this as vague representation of what was happening. I apply this philosophy to the 3d engine and I'm more than happy with it. 

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No, it's anly a fun game. A real professional soccer simulator (open to the public)  doesn't even exist

Edited by gerry58

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6 hours ago, Seqw said:

Knowledge of real life football certainly can help you in FM but it's not something you need to have to be succesful in the game. On the other hand, it can also be a stumbling block to you if one stubbornly tries to treat the game as RL instead of a game which it is.

Best thing in FM is though that just like IRL, there's plenty of ways to play winning football.

The highlighted part is definitely my problem.
Always been a tactical idiot when it comes to this game. Mostly because it clashes with my real life knowledge, as a player and coach.
Being an unorthodox coach it is next to impossible to employ my real life tactics and strategies into the game.
That's when stubbornness kicks in. I still keep on trying and it keeps throwing it back as a slap in my face.
Then i read a guide or 5 and i get even more confused due to said clashes.

It's an evil circle which i find hard to break :D

But as you say; just like IRL there are many "right ways" to play winning football.

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That's an interesting observation. I think the UI can be a struggle, but personally I find those that "suffer" the most struggle with aforementioned basics -- not merely universal to football, even. Sometimes that isn't generally for results though, but more about understanding them. In fact, I'd argue half the struggles on this come off such stuff aforementioned. The UI, as it is now, is a direct result of players not "thinking" football prior, but developing wild theories that individual slider noggings would have made the difference between a side playing like Barcelona or the Local Pub Team ca 10 pints each into the evening, when it was more like that it easily allowed you microtweaks that completely disconnected defenders from midfielders and midfielders from attackers, and and random micro jiggling could make it worse, rather than adressing the core issues on a "macro" logical level. E.g. jiggling with passing sliders etc. would only mean this much if there wasn't somebody sitting centrally in place to retain possession/control the middle of the pitch, or if the entire forward line was sprinting ahead of everybody (team sports basics 101). Some of that is still possible, and would better need the shape you encourage going forward to be visible in the UI some.

In some aspect it fails, and I have my concerns too as it is hard to translate some stuff (team shape!) to anything a manager may employ . In others though, it's pretty straight forward once you know where to start (formations, shapes, roles, duties). That said, the "thought" process still isn't as straight forward as it should be, and naturally, some stuff isn't at all implemented on an engine level too. Ai struggles also. There's a reason why the game throws interesting stats up, including City barely able to dominate possession, and that isn't merely down to engine limitations. But AI failing to really "implement" football as far as possible too. If approached that way, it replicates the general though process of a manager reasonably, on a basic level, and acknowledging the problem of communicating stuff through a computerish "UI", rather than actually on a (training) pitch. The reason this will never be a hardcore coaching sim is simply that the game would need to ship with a coaching manual else. It's still a simulation game catered to generally football fans, after all.

There's another viable style of playing, which is exposing any inherent ME/AI flaw, but it's not the one "officially" supported, naturally, as it's always relied on flaws to exist. That's why you've still that observation going around that the logical would work worse than the illogical, as back to back promotions with no effort made on the team development front much are still possible this way only. If the goals primarily come through defensive exploits, the player quality doesn't hugely matter much. Deliberately putting flaws in is likely not an option though -- rather, bringing the core sim closer to football (which has always ben the aim long-term, which hopefully won't stop, no less for the aforementioned flaws/not yet implemented things). A major rewrite a few years back had badly exposed "gibberish" tactics that would never work in football before too, and generally game busting or experimental tactics are prone to all kind of random oddities, all depending on what a specific opposition does. On FM17 it was popular to funnel all play through the middle. In real football, every team would pack that middle and sit back and force to long shots galore easily. The FM  Ai isn't clever enough for that. But some of its formation/approaches did just that, kaboom, the aforementioned 40+ shots no goal scenario was created.

Edited by Svenc

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No is the short answer. The long answer would be you can never just never replicate certain players movement and tactical systems in FM. Example you can never truely replicate Pep's Man city or total footbal of Ajax or even Barcelona 2011. Certain style of play and certain player movements you can't replicate because the roles FM have doesn't allow this movement to be possible.

 

In FM what you do is that you try to copy philosophy or you look at a certain aspect of this and implement it. So if i wanted to replicate's pep's man city or Sarri's napoli i would look for the very basic which would be : Keeping Possession, Quick transition and utilizing movement to create space to score lots of goals.  Those basic principles FM can replicate. 

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48 minutes ago, Amarante said:

In FM what you do is that you try to copy philosophy or you look at a certain aspect of this and implement it. So if i wanted to replicate's pep's man city or Sarri's napoli i would look for the very basic which would be : Keeping Possession, Quick transition and utilizing movement to create space to score lots of goals.  Those basic principles FM can replicate. 


Pretty much. Then again, if AI can't do that (and it struggles), I'd be rather interested long-term in a) AI development that would bring things up to that level. B) focusing on the general match dynamicism instead. Football tactics aren't merely about systems on a micro-level, but also strategic in-game decisions. There's on occasion evidence that the AI does weird stuff here too. It's one of the core reasons why I don't go looking into the tactical community anymore. All that stuff you see up there would let you run circles around the AI. [The oft expressed notion that you would need be member of a tactical community or require a tactical bible to find any success on this is nonsensical -- it's oft expressed by players who are used to finding instant miracle success and consistency typically connected to exploity stuff who aren't used to more "realistic" ups and downs, as such has always drawn player quality moot -- see above.] To me FM on a tactical level is primarily about: a) letting a side play the football I want it to play (as far as possible. b) in-game on occasion making a few adjustments that would increase the likelyhood of taking the points (turning a loss into a draw, a draw into a win by implementing measures to seeing out tight leads, or getting back into a game after a goal down). There's also something to be said about the inherent strengths and weakness of formations, and all that, but that's extra points.

As long as the AI isn't able to "think" holisitically to approach such systems anyway, I'd prefer the focus to be on what's there and expand it a few. Without a balance there it'd be like playing chess against a chimp either way (on the odd occasion the chimp may spring up magic by random chance -- but 99.99% of the time he would struggle with the abstract). Speaking about the abstract, the ME (hopefully) getting more robust and "realistic" long-term could help the AI to compete a few all itself. At the current level of defenging there's always a few defensive holes in there that require some "watching" -- as suich, simple ploys such as letting a forward man-marking the deepest opposition midfielder can gain you an edge on the day. Similar though, at the moment some AI overload tactics may be a tad too effective due to a certain kind of overload weakness as of FM18 (theory). Long-term such stuff may disappear all itself when the ME has implemented a few more fundamentals (proper collision between players, some more physical aspects of defending, "proper" zonal defending as units, etc.) May take a while though as the milestones are farther and farther apart. If all you start out with is a text commentary simulation, any 2d sim is a massively, massively next-generation jump. Then you code in AI that plays different tactics and makes "realistic" in-match decisions. If you then expand that to 90 minutes full when games typically do 2x6 minutes of back to back dribble fests. Then you go 3d...

Edited by Svenc

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9 minutes ago, Svenc said:

Long-term such stuff may disappear all itself when the ME has implemented a few more fundamentals (proper collision between players, some more physical aspects of defending, "proper" zonal defending as units, etc.) May take a while though as the milestones are farther and farther apart. If all you start out with is a text commentary simulation, any 2d sim is a massively, massively next-generation jump

I read somewhere the the ME is set to change in 2020 or somewhere around there. At this point, this ME is old and you can only change so much and tweak so much. A newer ME i believe is that is needed. If a foundation wasn't built to put a skyscraper on it no matter how many improvements you make you can only put a house but when you create a new foundation with the possibilities of creating a skyscraper then you can start building. 

When we have a new ME from core level I believe things will be different and how we look at tactics and roles in FM will be vastly different. 

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26 minutes ago, Amarante said:

When we have a new ME from core level I believe things will be different and how we look at tactics and roles in FM will be vastly different. 

Will be interesting. So far AFAIK FM has been done development in a modular fashion, that is core modules have been rewritten (which also applies to the match code). However, ME will only mean this much if AI doesn't play a bit catching-up. The AI to me struggles with the options that are currently supported by the game (see also the statistics thread here in GD). How would it cope with added stuff? To me it's in good hands though, as CM/FM in particular in terms of match day simulation have traditionally set all the benchmarks, and SI have enough football contacts. There's nothing that has come closer to approaching "management" on a simulation game level, despite all. So it's all a bit relative. Would I advice anybody to use FM to predict the EPL final table? No. Could it be used in management courses? In aspects (outside of the match and inside). However, as a serious simulation it naturally falls flat the very moment it is possible to simply exploit it anyway (which also wouldn't make it a very good game for competitive multiplayer -- actual manager to manager interactions, the leader boards are thus gimmicky too). Then again, football shouldn't be taken too serious full-stop, if you ask me. :D Will be watching with interest, as that first ever 90 minutes match I witnessed when firing up my first ever FM demo is still a gaming relevation to me. As long as the game is sold to "general football fans" or advertised as "win trophies with any side in the world", it will naturally always be primarily a bedroom gaffer's fantasy (same as all management games), despite it's more authentic trappings. It's a simulation, but also primarily a gaming/power fantasy.

Edited by Svenc

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What FM does really well is the scouting database where they have the most detailed football database you can ever find. I hope for one day where FM can allow you to incorporate real life tactics and the AI gives you challenges that you would expect in real life

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1 hour ago, Amarante said:

No is the short answer. The long answer would be you can never just never replicate certain players movement and tactical systems in FM. Example you can never truely replicate Pep's Man city or total footbal of Ajax or even Barcelona 2011. Certain style of play and certain player movements you can't replicate because the roles FM have doesn't allow this movement to be possible.

 

In FM what you do is that you try to copy philosophy or you look at a certain aspect of this and implement it. So if i wanted to replicate's pep's man city or Sarri's napoli i would look for the very basic which would be : Keeping Possession, Quick transition and utilizing movement to create space to score lots of goals.  Those basic principles FM can replicate. 

 

Players movement? There is no real 'players movement' , i play text only and  the match engine is of course the same

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4 minutes ago, gerry58 said:

 

Players movement? There is no real 'players movement' , i play text only and  the match engine is of course the same


There totally is, defensively and offensively. Which are parts of the current engine's limitations, which have been part of the limitation before (before a comparably recent rewrite, forwards off the ball could regularly run straight through their markers, which made pace players king of all). Whether you tend to watch it is your choice, naturally...

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