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sporadicsmiles

The African Extension - Adding football to Africa

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I wanted to find out what the general interest level in the current project I am working on is in the community. A few years back, perhaps in FM17, I released a file where I had started to properly curate the database for Africa. This project fell to the side at the time, but I have picked it back up in FM19, and the first iteration should be reaching completion very soon.

Essentially, I wanted to go beyond just adding leagues but leaving the database untouched for African nations. The default database is, well, a mess in terms of the players. This is why I decided I wanted to go beyond the typical files you see unlocking leagues around the world (not that I have anything against his). So in addition to creating leagues with real life leagues including rules, I have also overhauled completely the rosters of every side playing in those leagues. This is a phenomenal amount of work, because (understandably) many of the rosters are incorrect, and there are a lot of players that need to be added. By the weekened, I hope to have finished this process for the major north African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Morroco and Tunisia). All the top divisions in these nations will have the correct players, on their correct contracts (for the most part). I have also tried to prune the free agents in these countries by actually retiring the older players, adding free agents to teams if they actually have teams, etc. Real managers are also included. I want to create something that I can keep up to date in future versions (in principle the hardest work is the first edit for each nation, afterwards there should never be so many players to add). I aim to continue to expand this database to cover as many nations as I can (and that I can find good info for all teams).

I wanted to do this mostly because I feel that Africa is hugely under-represented in FM both in terms of leagues and the effort that goes in to the database. Africa is one of the hotbeds of football talent, and I think it would be nice to be able to play there properly. I was just wondering what the community interest to this sort of thing was. How many people care that they would be playing with correct players, rather than just downloading a mega pack with all leagues activated (something I will likely never be able to achieve)? I will release this anyway, but I was just curious if people have a desire for this, and how many other people out there are like me in this regard. I find it fun that I have graduated from producing a load of fantasy leagues in my younger days to making something as real as possible.

Thoughts and comments welcome.

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To be honest I'd say the database is a mess because there's a lack of people interested in the African leagues. That goes both for players in the game still on the books of teams even though they left 5 years ago. And clubs that are defunct still exist as lower league teams, etc etc.  I have noticed the same thing and have personally been doing some things. I tend to drift away from Africa into other regions and my pet project which is the Swedish lower leagues but the interest is still there. Anyway, I definitely think you should release the file(s). 

 

In addition it's my opinion that if you have better sources than Transfermarkt thanks to speaking local languages or just being long time curious I think you should make yourself visible to the head researchers. I'm sure you know there's a Data forum. Do comment on things you know there. I'm 100% confident there is a huge lack of researchers for these regions. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Fredrik said:

To be honest I'd say the database is a mess because there's a lack of people interested in the African leagues. That goes both for players in the game still on the books of teams even though they left 5 years ago. And clubs that are defunct still exist as lower league teams, etc etc.  I have noticed the same thing and have personally been doing some things. I tend to drift away from Africa into other regions and my pet project which is the Swedish lower leagues but the interest is still there. Anyway, I definitely think you should release the file(s). 

 

In addition it's my opinion that if you have better sources than Transfermarkt thanks to speaking local languages or just being long time curious I think you should make yourself visible to the head researchers. I'm sure you know there's a Data forum. Do comment on things you know there. I'm 100% confident there is a huge lack of researchers for these regions.

Yeah I totally understand why the database is not up-to-date. It is impossible to keep it up-to-date for every single team. I got sucked in to the cleaning up process. While I know this sort of project is never going to be as popular as lower league European things, there is probably a niche (maybe a niche of me!).

I do try to use as wide a variety of sources as possible, although Transfermarkt is pretty useful. One of the reasons I am starting (more or less) with the French speaking part of Africa is that I speak French, so I can easily look at regional and local content. I shall definitely consider sharing this on the data forums as well, well the African researcher. I am reluctant, however, since this something I do as a hobby. I'd kinda like to keep it that way, which would make me reluctant to involve myself directly in such things. Anyway, it is an idea I never considered before.

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As someone who'd much rather play with real players and staff than regens and outdated teams - at least at the start of games - this project of yours is something I fully support. The main reason why I don't play in Africa (as well as the Caribbean and Oceania) is the outdated database, so having a proper update would increase my interest substantially. 

 

Edited by uhhhmigraine

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You have my full support. I also offer myself to help out if you need me to.

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On 10/02/2019 at 09:15, Kanwulf said:

You have my full support. I also offer myself to help out if you need me to.

At the moment, there is not really two people's worth of work. I am just slowly plodding through a labour of love. Thank you for the offer of course, it is appreciated. If you know of any useful football resources, that would be great though. I am trying to use as many sources as possible to avoid over-reliance on transfermarkt (by the way, anybody who can tell me just how reliable this is? At least in terms of squad rosters).

Currently, I have finished Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. I am now working my way through Ghana. I am resurrecting an old editor file, and these were the 5 nations I did previously. So once I have Ghana finished, I will likely release what I have and keep working on it. Then, to anyone who uses it, some feedback would be nice. Duplicate players are a potential issues, and I have not checked the finances of the leagues for long time periods to make sure they are stable and realistic.

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1 hour ago, sporadicsmiles said:

At the moment, there is not really two people's worth of work. I am just slowly plodding through a labour of love. Thank you for the offer of course, it is appreciated. If you know of any useful football resources, that would be great though. I am trying to use as many sources as possible to avoid over-reliance on transfermarkt (by the way, anybody who can tell me just how reliable this is? At least in terms of squad rosters).

Currently, I have finished Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. I am now working my way through Ghana. I am resurrecting an old editor file, and these were the 5 nations I did previously. So once I have Ghana finished, I will likely release what I have and keep working on it. Then, to anyone who uses it, some feedback would be nice. Duplicate players are a potential issues, and I have not checked the finances of the leagues for long time periods to make sure they are stable and realistic.

Transfermarkt is ok, but it is important to see when the player joined the club he is listed as being contracted to on there. Chances are (although not always the case) they have moved on if they moved to the club over two seasons ago.

To check who they play for now, you could always try and type their name and club into google and see if there are any recent news articles that confirm where he plays, such as a match report etc.

I know that some countries have good news sites or football specific sites that can help. Such as Zambia (http://zambianfootball.co.zm/ http://www.zambianfootball.news/ http://www.fazfootball.com/) and some countries have good facebook pages that can be helpful such as Rwanda (https://www.facebook.com/groups/247482408639668/ https://www.facebook.com/rwafootball/?__tn__=%2Cdk%2CP-R&eid=ARCAC0nPMfAyea5Us5lJcWkWe8Xujge6WptBHJwbXc_utU6iLKzZ0EbqCkvjcCysbbQNPk7IGvnM8WIK)

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14 hours ago, Kanwulf said:

Transfermarkt is ok, but it is important to see when the player joined the club he is listed as being contracted to on there. Chances are (although not always the case) they have moved on if they moved to the club over two seasons ago.

To check who they play for now, you could always try and type their name and club into google and see if there are any recent news articles that confirm where he plays, such as a match report etc.

I know that some countries have good news sites or football specific sites that can help. Such as Zambia (http://zambianfootball.co.zm/ http://www.zambianfootball.news/ http://www.fazfootball.com/) and some countries have good facebook pages that can be helpful such as Rwanda (https://www.facebook.com/groups/247482408639668/ https://www.facebook.com/rwafootball/?__tn__=%2Cdk%2CP-R&eid=ARCAC0nPMfAyea5Us5lJcWkWe8Xujge6WptBHJwbXc_utU6iLKzZ0EbqCkvjcCysbbQNPk7IGvnM8WIK)

I have been checking most players in google as well, especially if they have no date for when they joined. Although it depends on the league I have found. Ghana, for instance, has almost no contract information. Then again, while I am aiming for as realistic as possible, I also am quite happy to just have a reasonable roster, even if slightly outdated. Filling with players is better than an entirely regen roster in almost all cases, and weeding out the 41 year olds who never got tidied up from the database helps too. I have been assigning random CA and PA to the players who have no details as well, based on the average of the players who are at a given club. This should give balanced teams where the relative strength of each side is close to real life. Of course, there is a random element to this, and it is entirely unrealistic. I do not really have the time nor the motivation to properly assign CA and PA to players, but I also do not want to leave it blank. In effect leaving CA and PA blank is the same as assigning values myself, since the game also assigns values when you start a new game, based on the team/league/country strength. I do not know how that particular bit of code works, though, so I prefer to do it myself. For me, getting the age and positions (plus info on height, footedness, etc) is much more important. I also have not been adding history (yet, that might be something I do at a later date) to the players. So again, I will never reach the level of accuracy of the leagues included in the game, but it is not really the goal. I want leagues which feel and play like real life leagues as much as anything. I do not feel you get this when you just add leagues and pay no attention to the teams (no disrespect to those who do such things).

Thanks for the links as well, any resource is good. Ghana has some good football news sites as well, which can help confirm transfers. Often they have match reports with squad lists, which is so wonderfully useful.

Currently, I plan to finish Ghana up (the last nation I already started previously). Then I will probably release what I have onto the internet, let people play with it, while I continue to add more leagues. I want to get some nations in each region; North Africa is pretty detailed now, I will focus on West Africa next, then see where I go next. It all depends on the information I can find. If this all gathers some momentum after being released, I may look to expand and bring some other people on board (although curating multiple editor files into one complete whole used to be a nightmare, I do not know if this improved).

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I'm completely with you on the issue of CA/Pa. I do something similar myself, when creating players that aren't already in the games databases. If there is appearance data online for them then I will base my CA/PA predictions on that, though.

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