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Old 17-Sep-2006, 16:45   #1
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FM 07 - SI Blog

Friday, September 15, 2006

FM2007 Blog part 8 - affiliate/feeder clubs
Current mood: naughty


Feeder clubs make their debut in Football Manager 2007. Another one of those features that's been requested many times over the years, the time was right to add them now, particularly with them no longer being just the domain of the larger clubs in real life.

There are lots of different types of affiliate clubs, and we've tried to get as many of these relationships in the game as possible, but it's up to your board to decide what type of relationship the club needs, if you one is needed at all.

I'm not going to give everything away here and now, because the feeder club module is an area where the customer (and you!) will keep finding new things over time due to the sheer amount of combinations possible, and some of the relationships are a lot rarer than others, but the general way they work is that you request a feeder club (or to be a fed club) from the "affiliates" section of the game (or from the board interaction screen) should your board be happy with having another relationship. These relationships can range from something as simple as being able to send players to clubs on loan (although these players still have the right to say no) and play the club in a friendly once a year, through to having a relationship with a club in a far flung country that might increase your global marketing presence. You can get first options at clubs, have different types of relationships around the world, and utilise your relationships with other managers by linking up with those that you have a good relationship with via manager interaction. You can even sign players who wouldn't normally get work permits (if needed) and farm them off to countries where the laws make it easier to get dual nationality.

Having feeder clubs is very useful, particularly to try out your new youth players from the new youth revamp in the game, or if you are a smaller club, giving these players their first chance to get first team football, and the possibility of getting more people through the door wanting to see the new young talent made available through your relationship with a top manager. Let alone the financial possibilities and potential new supporters that having a commercial link might bring.

Screenshots for all of this weeks blogs will be available at www.sigames.com at some point today (Friday).


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Thursday, September 14, 2006

FM2007 Blog part 7 - player interaction
Current mood: indescribable
Category: Games


Following on from the successful introduction of manager interaction with last years game, this year comes player interaction, and not just your own players, but players throughout the whole football world.

There's all sorts of things you can talk to players about, and it's different for different groups of players. You can talk to them both face-to-face, or through the media, and they do the same.

You can ask them to recommend players or staff to join the club, which might make it easier for them to settle in or get back into good form. You can ask them to help train a youngster, suggest that they go into coaching or management in the future, try and tap up players at other clubs through the media, talk to them about new contracts or answer all kinds of questions they might come up with. Warn them about resting so as to stop them from becoming unhappy (although, as with anything else in the game, the players personality and mood at the time will determine whether this make him more or less happy), comment on their form to give them a much needed morale boost or a kick up the fuss. Ask for tips on who might be a danger man or weak link for the forthcoming match, to give you the chance to unsettle them or make them complacent, or ask a senior member of the squad to have a team meeting when things are going wrong to try and sort out morale problems.

There can be negative or positive effects, and you might find strained relationships with other clubs and managers if you use it on their players too much, such as the refusal by that club dealing with you on transfers, or a backlash with them putting in bids for lots of your players. Every action has a consequence. But then the opposite can happen if you work it well, and you might be more likely for a player to join you on loan over other clubs due to the good relationships that you have.


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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Referees and Match Engine
Current mood: exhausted
Category: Games


Being a referee is a very hard job. If you get things right, it's expected, but if you get things wrong, it can cost a club millions of pounds. If a striker misses an easy chance, it's forgotten pretty quickly, but a penalty against you after a dive gets remembered for a very long time.

It just seemed appropriate, particularly with everything going on in the world of football at the moment, to have controversial decisions highlighted more in the game. Refs have made mistakes in our games before, but they haven't really been brought to the attention of the user in this way before.

But what can you do? We had a feature many many years ago where you could criticise the ref, but very little happened because of it. With post match interviews a part of the game and the real football world, it could be that one of your players complains about the decision in a post match interview. It could be that you're asked your opinion on the decision. Not just ones for your team, but against your team too.

Don't be too quick to complain though. You never know what the FA will throw your clubs way if you do. But then again, you could lose the faith of your players if you praise the refs too much when it's costing the team. Just be careful not to get a touchline ban as those will hurt you greatly, but I'll leave it to you to discover the full ramifications of that.

The match engine has had another year or work from the match team, which includes Paul Collyer and Ray Houghton, and has taken another leap forward. It was already the most accurate replication of football in any simulation, and now it's gone one louder, with lots more match events, improved commentary and is just generally even more lifelike.

There are also some nice new touches, like players warming up on the touchlines, pre-match team talks and more intuitive half time and post match team talks. Match time in the tactics screen, score display in full screen mode (and if you haven't tried this before, it's well worth it – just press Alt+F11 to toggle unless you've changed the shortcut), and lots of other bits and bobs.

Tactically, there's something new too. A pre and during match "opposition team instructions" screen, which allows you to easily highlight players to close down, mark tighter, show onto his wrong foot or tackle harder, so as well as the individual player instructions for your own team, you have them for the opposition too.


As always, a full round up of this weeks blogs will be made available on Friday at www.sigames.com along with a plethora of screenshots.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

FM new features blog - part 5 of many
Current mood: stressed


Today blogs is about the youth revamp that is coming in Football Manager 2007. A full round up of this weeks blog, with screenshots, will appear on Friday at our website at www.sigames.com

Youth Revamp

Youth teams in Football Manager and Sports Interactive titles have been very well served over the years by a system called "regens". This was, basically, the regeneration of players as they retired, and had evolved massively over the years to the point where it couldn't be taken any further. But it still wasn't perfect.

So, out go "regens". And in comes a whole new system of youth player generation, and database stability. It's internal codename is "Fred" because if it had a more descriptive name it would give far too many trade secrets away, but what it means is a lot more youth players in the game and a system much more akin to that of real life, using real life rules, so youth teams at active clubs should always be well populated with players. Just like real life, only a small proportion of these players will "make it" into top players, with many dropping down the leagues into non-league obscurity, but each year your youth team (if your club has one) will be topped up with new players and if you don't have what we deem "enough" at the starting point of the game, you'll be given more in the first couple of days of the game starting.

Obviously, as with everything in our games, all areas of the game are linked, so if you have poor youth facilities, you will be less likely to find the next world superstar, but that doesn't mean that you can't, just that it's less likely. Some years you might get a whole heap of potential first team players, some you might get none, but the stability of the database over the long term stays the same, so you shouldn't find that in 2020 players in the third division are better than the international players of today.

We've also used real world contract rules to ensure that you can offer players "pre-contracts" to try and save your players being snapped up for next to nothing by bigger clubs as has happened on previous games. As long as you're on the ball and keeping a close eye on your youngster or, if you trust them enough, letting one of your staff looking after the youth contracts, you should never lose a potential superstar for nothing again.

It's also important that you nurture your young talent to get the best out of them. And to do this, you need to interact with the players, but there's more info on that coming on Thursday!

Cheers

Miles


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Monday, September 11, 2006

FM2007 Blog part 4 of many - the boardroom
Current mood: busy


Today's new features blog deals with the boardroom, and is the first of 5 new features blogs this week – a full round up, with screenshots, will also appear on our website at www.sigames.com on Friday.



THE BOARDROOM



The relationship between a manager and the board at a club is very important, and your link between the football and commercial world, and whereas some games in the genre decide to give you the option to set hot dog prices (which, let's be honest, has about as much to do with the job of being a football manager as forcing the user to cut the grass and painting the lines on the pitch before each match), this is an area that we leave to the chairman and chief executive.


However, a true manager still wants to know what's going on, and help influence it in some ways, whilst the board take a lot more care over their clubs now.



As well as the previously mentioned limiting of staff (not just scouts, but coaches too), if someone offers a transfer offer too good to be true, the board may well accept over your head. They also might limit the amount of wages you can offer a player who they haven't heard of.



They are nicer in other areas though. If they are running out of cash, losing interest in the club or realise it's too big a job for them, they might now invite people to make offers for the club, which could lead to a takeover. Different clubs will get offers from different groups, ranging from supporters clubs through to massive investment from abroad, so you could find your transfer budget tripled overnight, or the same shoestring budgets with more enthusiastic help from the board. Different chairmen have different personalities, of course, so some might not be happy with mid table obscurity, but it brings different challenges to the game. Or even end up with the new board giving you the sack as they appoint their own manager!



One of the most requested features on the forums over the last couple of years has been that of stadium moves. As we try to model stadiums as accurately as we are allowed, many are set to not being able to be expanded due to a lack of available planning permission, just like in real life, so there were occasions when mighty FM managers took their clubs from obscurity to the top division to find that they couldn't get any more fans into the ground. Now, if you've got enough money in the bank, or if the board are confident of paying off any debts that are taken on via the increased amount of fans in the stadium, they will build a new shiny ground for the team to move into.



You can also request relationships with feeder clubs, but that's a whole new section in itself, and we'll save that one for Friday I think…


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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Football Manager 2007 new features blog part 3 of many
Current mood: sleepy


Today's blog is going to deal with the new scouting module



Scouting was an area identified for a major overhaul for Football Manager 2007 by both the users of our forums and the FM dev team. Whilst completely functional before, it wasnt that much fun, and tended to give you information that you already new about, so the team known as media corner decided to completely revamp it.



Whereas previously youd scout a player once, and could set up scout searches for different areas in the world to find out info on players, you now have to scout players multiple times to reveal all of their information, which is presented to you both as a simple star rating system, but also a scout report card which adds more info each time you scout until full. And this isnt just the info that youd see as numbers like scouting in our previous games, but adds information that is normally hidden to the user too, such as personality info, their current happiness at the club, the kind of fee youd need to pay to get them, and whether they are likely to join you and stay with you in the long term, or see you as a stop gap club.



On top of this, its not just about looking at the numbers and providing the information. Whilst having a set figure for player potential is imperative for other areas of the game and, in particular, long term balancing of the database, no one can ever truly predict just how good or bad a footballer will become in the future, so the new scouting system takes this into account, offering a much more realistic outlook on the footballing world through the eyes of scouts and the media.



Scouts also have knowledge bases now. A scout with a good knowledge of an area will complete scouting missions in that area quicker, as they have already built up a good network of people to help them out. It also makes for a fun mini-game of trying to have complete world wide knowledge!



Scouting the next opposition is also radically improved, with much more feedback, and information about likely tactics that will be used against you using a tactics analyser to try and work out what tactic they will use against you, as well as their normal in game tactic.



Whilst only your scouts can go on missions (and you can set up multiple missions at any one time to keep them really busy), you can also ask any member of your staff to check out individual players, rather than just your scouts, to get an ever clearer view of whether you should be signing a player or not.



Oh, and theres no cheating allowed on the knowledge mini-game. No longer can you just take on 30 scouts and cheat your way to the top. In Football Manager 2007, your Chairman will only let you have a certain amount of staff to help you. And if you dont have much money in the bank, they might also block you from scouting certain countries that they simply cant afford to send your scouts out to.



At some point this afternoon, a round up of this weeks blogs, and lots of screenshots for the features spoken about will appear on our website at www.sigames.com



CAN I PLEASE REQUEST THAT YOU ONLY MAKE COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ABOUT THIS BLOG. IF YOU HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE GAME, PLEASE POST THEM ON OUR WEBSITE FORUMS AT WWW.SIGAMES.COM


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Football Manager 2007 features blog pt 2 of many
Current mood: impressed


Balancing between new features and the speed of the game is really important so for those that do have speedy computers, more sections of the game are now multi core optimised and hyper-threaded. For those that have older machines, the "detail level" option in option menu is a good place to go all levels of matches are now configurable to play out with the full match engine (with visible highlights) or the quick match engine (without visible highlights). So you can now have more leagues active in the game, so more jobs to get across the world, without it slowing down the game much at all, or just keep using the same amount of leagues as in previous SI games, working with the other optimisations to actually speed the game up considerably, despite the 100+ new features. We have tried to cater for those with both the latest machines and those with older ones, and obviously the older the technology, the slower the machine will be with higher detail settings, so its nice and easy to tune the speed of the game to what youre happy with on your PC or Mac, much like you can with detail settings in FPS games.

Other new features in the user friendly area include lots of extra stats being displayed inside the game, particularly in news items, to give more info to the user, better feedback from your assistant manager, agents recommending positions for exchanging players in transfer deals and the option to back up saved games before a new one saves.

Oh, and lets not forget the basic and advanced set up modes for starting a new game and adding a manager, with easy to use wizards for those who get confused by any kind of menu. Or the ability to take screenshots just by pressing one of the function keys they save into your saved game directory (check out the "shortcuts" option in the preferences screen, which can be found in the option menu to see which button is assigned, and lets you completely configure keyboard shortcuts)

The database editor is also easier and quicker to use for those who like to edit such things. Weve added multiple database support into the game, so theres no need to wipe over older databases, meaning that if you try an unofficial update to the game and it doesnt work, you can easily switch back to the original database. Or choose to start a new game with data from the first transfer window, or the second window when we release our official data update around February time.

For those who play network games, theres been some optimisation made to make the experience easier, also the addition of screen remembering, which means that having the "continue game timeout" option which stops you from being kicked out of making transfer bids and return to screens that you dont want to be on.

Theres more things for advanced users, with new advanced game modes, including the possibility of the ultimate challenge, with random team selection where the computer chooses which team you should manage as well as the ability to have dual nationalities, just like the players inside the game.

But my personal favourite for both old and new users alike is the addition of the capability to select multiple players and perform multiple actions on said players, much like you would do with any software you use day to day. Want to get rid of your youth squad? Easy, just select the first player, then the bottom one whilst holding down shift, and they will all select. Right clicking on the mouse then gives you the multiple action options. You can use this on virtually all screens, so it makes it a lot easier to do scout searches, as well as managing your squad, managing player searches and the like.

More will follow in the next couple of days.

PLEASE KEEP COMMENTS ONLY TO QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR BLOG AND THE FEATURES THEREIN - ALL QUESTIONS ABOUT FM2006, FEATURE REQUESTS OR OTHER QUESTIONS SHOULD BE POSTED ON OUR FORUMS AT WWW.SIGAMES.COM


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Monday, September 04, 2006

New features and improvements for Football Manager 2007 (part 1 of many!)
Current mood: mischievous




Football Manager 2007 is evolution, rather than revolution, however, a lot of the new features are revolutionary not just for the game, but for the whole genre. And there are a lot of them



The most amount of new features weve had in one of our games was the 40 in last years Football Manager 2006. This year, there are over 100! I gave up counting at 106, and the dev team keep putting other new things into the game whilst playing and noticing ways to improve it, particularly based around the user friendly mantra thats been a big part of the development process this year. We have had many comments about our game being overwhelming, and seeing features being lost in the mass of screens, so whilst weve added more to the game than ever before, weve also made it so that its easier to use, navigate, control and all options should be more obvious to the user. You can still ignore things if you want to, and still get your assistant manager to help out with some of the more advanced and complicated features, but at least they are easy to spot if you do want the full football management experience.



Now, Im not going to ruin everything by just giving a list of all of the myriad of new features in the game and a brief description because, well, I dont want to ruin the game for when you start playing it J. So what Im going to do over the next 4 weeks is go through a few of the new ideas inside the game, well, quite a few actually, with the blogs on myspace and a round up with screenshots on sigames.com at the end of each week. The other features will be for you to discover for yourselves



So, wheres a good place to start? One of the internal mantras for this years game has been user friendly, user friendly, user friendly. Weve seen with our PSP game that making the game easier to use is a good thing, although obviously our PC (not forgetting Mac and the new format, Intel Mac or even the Xbox 360 version) the game is a lot more in-depth, and there is no interest from us to dumb down the game. So weve worked very hard to keep everything, and more, but present it better to the user.



USER FRIENDLY



The main starting point for this was with the user interface team and the way that the new skin was designed and works. Adding in icons that were used on the Xbox 360 game was the first thing done, and the dialogue boxes and polygon graphical player stat view from that version too, but these soon got expanded upon to include a vidi printer (currently dubbed Football Manager Live!which shows news and other important info, with the ticker bar now showing interesting stats about active leagues.



There are also hints & tips throughout the game, but rather than just a handful, weve got over 300. This should suit both the new users and advanced users, and tell them about things that they can do in game, and how to do them, along with the updated tutorial which has been worked on by the team at footballmanager.net. The hints and tips have come from a variety of different people to ensure that all peoples style of play is covered, and even Ive learnt things about the game that I didnt know before.



Add to that the introduction of player bios, photos, club bios, logos and other important information to news items, that should certainly save a few mouse clicks. Easier positioning, naming of icons and options, plus the addition of quick links (icons), as well as the Flexion skin being the best looking and easiest skin to use on a Sports Interactive game to date.



The snapshot screen has been massively under-utilised since its introduction, so weve made this appear more often, added more options to be displayed and also made it user configurable, so its a great way to see the info that you want to see, all on one screen. Add to this customisable bookmarks and keyboard shortcuts, and were giving power to you to make it easier for you to navigate.



Part 2 of the "interface" new features will follow in a couple of days....



Miles
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Old 17-Sep-2006, 16:48   #2
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Looks good - plenty of new screenshots to look at too:

http://downloads.sigames.com/download/fm2007_3.zip
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Old 17-Sep-2006, 17:04   #3
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Screenshots good. Long essay-style blog bad!

Argh - the download speeds slow for others, too?

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Old 17-Sep-2006, 18:04   #4
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Some awesome features that should hopefully make the new game a joy to play.

What I really want to see is full media interaction, not just the typical 5 generic responses to the odd question to you from the media.
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Old 17-Sep-2006, 18:34   #5
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Anyone know the release date ?

I had a quick look on the si website the other day but couldn't find anything.
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Old 17-Sep-2006, 19:01   #6
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http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/1012...7/Product.html

20th of October, says Play.com
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Old 18-Sep-2006, 00:41   #7
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Thats an estimate. SI say they dont know yet, just "november".
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Old 18-Sep-2006, 12:59   #8
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I heard it was nearer Christmas, as they want to iron everything out.
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Old 18-Sep-2006, 13:53   #9
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It's usually around november time so that seems like a good estimate.
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 18:19   #10
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Amazon says 27th Oct. I've preordered it from there anyway.
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 18:32   #11
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The demo will probably be out for then, with the game Nov/Dec time.

SI are still testing the game.
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 21:34   #12
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SI have just released this blog.

Quote:
demo will be released next weekend on Saturday night/Sunday morning UK time at midnight, and, again, if this all goes to plan, the game will be released in the UK and in as many other territories as possible on October 20th.
some more info

Quote:
I have just confirmed the same information with our partner for the demo, the News of the World (for those who don't know the paper, it's the biggest selling Sunday tabloid paper), and it will appear in the newspaper along with a first look of the final packshot in the paper that comes out tomorrow (Sunday). The packshot will hopefully be available on Sigames.com on Monday - I am still awaiting the final file myself!

The demo will be available in 2 versions.

The vanilla version will include the English and Scottish quickstarts, and English language only, with limited assets (logo's and player pictures etc). This will be available from the News Of The World's website in conjunction with Play.com, to try and maximise the bandwidth available. The link to this will, of course, be on sigames.com when it's released at midnight.

The strawberry version will include extra quickstarts, and extra languages (to be confirmed), with more assets. This will be available initially as a torrent only, also at midnight, from www.sigames.com. For those that don't know about torrent technology, we will release a guide towards the end of the week, with some suggestions of free torrent downloading software to download.

The reason for taking the route we have this year is simple - it's very frustrating for people to struggle when downloading a demo, and our bandwidth just cannot handle all of the traffic that happens when the FM demo becomes available, which leads to frustration of people not even being able to get on the website because the server dies. This way we are hoping that the website stays up, and everyone can get the demo in a timely fashion. It also means that people can set the download up when they go to bed on Saturday night, and should be ready to play on Sunday when they wake up.

We fully expect mirrors to be available on Sunday too, but we will mainly be reliant on websites who have staff working at weekends for this to happen, with the exception of sites like rapidshare who we will upload to on Sunday morning when we should have time (as Saturday is going to be rather busy getting the files made, verified, tested, torrented etc).
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 22:16   #13
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So the demo is in the paper tomorrow.... ?

Going to be on net before next weekend then isn't it.
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 22:25   #14
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the fiinal screenies will be in the paper tomorrow.

With the demo next weekend
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 22:39   #15
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\o/ - good spot aird.
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Old 23-Sep-2006, 22:49   #16
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hmmmm time to try and get a few days off work!!
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