Jul 06

Player Progression – Part 2


This week we continue looking at the processes which affect player progression, initially with a look at coaching skills and how they affect progress and then we’ll move onto any outstanding areas that haven’t been covered so far. Again I have used the extensive forum posts from coder Rob Cooper for the technical aspects. For those that have come late to this guide, part one can be found here.

Coaching skills. Basically as described in the FML manual each level of each skill adds a 5% boost to player development. The total achievable boost through skills is 100%. Coaching Level 5 will add 25%, for youth players (age 21 or less) Youth Coaching level 5 will add an additional 25% (First Team Coaching relates to senior players over 21). From there it begins to be broken down by categories and then individual skills, so Physical, Mental, or Technical Coaching Level 5 would add a further 25% boost to all physical attributes in that category, and then each attribute has a skill that can be learnt to level 5, providing the final 25%. Natural Fitness, Determination and Eccentricity (GK) have no skill categories and cannot be boosted (or improved).

Important to note here that learning a skill will not provide any improvement for a player in that particular area, all they do is boost whatever improvement the player receives through other factors. So at this stage it is not possible to directly affect a player’s progression in a specific area, neither will the position a player is used in have any direct effect on which attributes are improved. Although this is an area that is likely to be implemented in the future, it is not available at this point in FML.

The next area to look at is how that boost actually works. Although the attributes on the player profile are displayed in a range of 1-20 these are not what actually get used in any relevant calculations. Under the hood a players attributes actually range from 1-10,000 this gives a greater degree of accuracy to all calculations, and it’s these figures which are directly affected by any progression and subsequent boost. So an increase in a player’s attribute of 200 points, with a 25% coaching boost becomes 250 points. In the scheme of 10,000 points per attribute this can be quite small, but in order to reflect a degree of change on the profile arrows are used to indicate an increase (or decrease) in the attribute.
Prior to 1.2 this created a lot of confusion as arrows were either up (green) or down (red), so even a very small change in a player’s ability would be indicated the same as a major one. 1.2 attempts to reduce some of the panic caused through this by (re)introducing diagonal arrows to reflect the minor changes, leaving the straight up and down arrows to indicate larger changes. Important to remember here that it’s the number behind the scenes that is used for calculations so a player might drop from 19 in one attribute to 18, a seemingly big change, but under the hood it may simply be a drop of 20 or 30 points out of 10,000 (if the player was on the cusp). In this way some very minor changes may still be reflected by a big change, but it’s the number under the hood which is used by the match engine so try not to panic.

Coaching reports are worth a quick mention here, if your player has progressed in terms of CA (current ability) improvements over the last 7 days (3 months game time), then an automated report mail will be triggered, these can be different based on different areas of progression or different amounts. A player might be recommended for the senior team one week (because he is progressing very well) but if that progression reduces significantly at senior level you may get a follow up mail the next week recommending against senior football. In this way the mail can be used to assist you in determining the best level to play that player. Remember player ratings are affected by overall team performance, so if your senior side is very weak the player may be better off in the youth team (where he’ll get a higher average), although 6.9 in seniors is better than 7.0 in youth but 6.2 isn’t. There is no direct data at this point to suggest what the actual cut off is in terms of senior vs youth benefits, something for you to work on. A final note on coaching reports, these are generated based on the prior 7 days development irrespective of whether the player was at your club or another for all or part of that time.

Player reputation is based on the level of matches they are playing more so than just performances, so a player kept in the lower level youth teams will not necessarily have a good reputation (or subsequently high Acquisition Fee) even though he may be progressing well. Don’t be concerned by this, once he starts playing at a higher level his reputation (and value) will jump quite quickly, important to note here this can also affect the wage level demanded.

Players that don’t progress, some players will start out with an ability that is very close to their potential, many of them may be ‘first team’ ready at a very young age, but with little room for improvement they may never take the next step into being a truly great player. Equally some players (for a number of reasons) may not have progressed as well as they could of at an early age, they will still have a good chance of achieving their potential but the older they get the more unlikely this becomes. If a player still has a long way to go at the age of 23 then it’s unlikely he’ll get to his potential, but players never stop developing. Even the stars will experience a degree of attribute bouncing throughout there careers, with some attributes dropping whilst others rise. Of course as mentioned last week, ambition and professionalism are very important, and if a player lacks in these areas they will fail to ‘train’ consistently and be very unlikely to ever reach their potential no matter how good a manager you may be.

Another interesting point on average ratings, be aware the rating is more important than the level they play at, so a high rating in youth is better than a low rating in seniors, but a high rating in seniors is better than an equal rating in youth. Also the expected rating changes with the age of the player, so a 15yr old averaging 7.0 will progress better than an 18yr old averaging 7.0 in the same team.

Nationality factors, a players nationality will have an impact on initial attributes. It does not affect the speed that they may progress nor their overall potential, but it is a factor in which areas their higher ‘birth’ attributes will be in.

Avoid the green boots, play them at a level that suits their ability, and brush up on those skills. Remember time and age are factors, players will progress but how fast that happens is the main area you can affect, thus giving them their best chance to progress to their full potential. Current (or actual) ability can never exceed potential and once they get there attributes may change still, but some will go up and others down to maintain the overall ability score.

A couple of quick items to look for in future updates, player preferred moves, position played affecting which attributes are more likely to increase, player average rating also tied into team rating (so the better players in a poor team will still improve well), average ratings for position also factored in (so payers like goal keepers who traditionally get lower ratings would benefit more), more detailed coaching reports giving greater indication of what’s going on behind the scenes, the ability to request coaching reports for a particular player (detail may be subject to level of coaching skills), tooltips on the arrows to give a more accurate reflection of the amount of change.

These are at this stage ‘possible’ developments and not guaranteed but we can always hope. No doubt Rob will have other ideas for the future and hopefully we’ll see some of these with the introduction of scouting camps and training facilities which are definitely on the planning board.

Just to close this out, and to give you all some more ‘light reading’ a quick reference to how attribute points (potential) are spent. This is done the same as in FM where players receive ‘free points’ in non critical areas and spend points in others based on the positions they can play in (so yes that 5star potential player that can play every position will probably be very average after all). This is not an area I am going to go into in detail, if someone else wants to then we’d be happy to post their article on the website. But I’ve dug up a couple of threads from the Sports Interactive FM forums for those that want to learn more.

Further Reading:
Current Ability and Attributes Research

FM2009 free attributes?

Once again I hope you all gain some benefit from this and if you have any further questions, or an area you think could do with more coverage, then leave a comment or send an email through the website and I will get back to you with whatever I can dig up.

Mark Burton

Written By Mark Burton
A moderator since May 2008 in a number of beta worlds and now GW Fowler, he strives to highlight the community aspects of FML and inform new & experienced users about future game development.
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  • Excellent article as always. Coaching and player progression is often debated with in GWs and this gives us a good base to understand it a bit better.

    Everyday is a school day, cheers

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