Nov 25

The Future of FML (part 1)

 

Today saw the release of the first of two “blogs” about the future of football manager live, tomorrow will see the second. As the information contained in these offical statements is going to have a big impact on the game and how it is played i thought it worthwhile reproducing the entire articles here, as opposed to just a link.

*Note: After the release of part 2 tomorrow the NDA signed by those who attended the FML Council will be void, and as such our own Gareth Millward will then be able to help fill in any blanks and express his own opinions about the future direction. Also next weeks Podcast with Jordan and Millie will feature an extensive interview with members of both Sports Interactive and Sega, if you have any questions you would like addressed then mail them to podcast@gameworldone.com by sunday.

As originally posted by Marc Duffy on the SI ForumsThe Future of FML (part 1)

If FML were a football team, then Sir Alex Ferguson might refer to the current period as “Squeaky Bum Time”. Over recent weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time researching the first year of Football Manager Live. We’ve been looking, in detail, into what’s gone wrong, where mistakes have been made, where we can improve and, most importantly, what we need to do now to fulfil the massive potential that we all believe Football Manager Live has.

Since launch, we’ve learnt many lessons about how Football Manager Live needs to be run in order to make it a successful online game so, over the next couple of days, we’ll tell you exactly how we aim to get there and as well as being as open and honest as possible about some of the issues we encountered. We’ll also be on the forums to answer your questions and we’ll also make an appearance on the GameworldOne Podcast.

The RoadMap

Whilst reading this, it’s important you don’t forget the roadmap. The changes we laid out in the summer blogs are all still on the radar: Youth Academies, reworking of the club reputation system, CPU Challenges, Reward Points and the 3D Match Engine are all still coming and we still have faith that they will go a long way to helping solve the age-old problem of not being able to compete late on in a gameworld as well as providing a lot more “to do” when you’re logged in.

The roadmap is an important tool for us and we’ll use it a lot more in the coming year. It sets out where we intend to take the game and it lets you know when major new features and changes are planned. It also helps ensure that we do manage to keep development constant and that new releases are made available every few months.

Cancellation survey

Each time someone cancels, they are asked to fill out a short survey. We review these regularly and collate them for internal distribution.

From launch to August 2009, the results were as follows (this is just the top six):
Need to devote too much time to be good – People on here all the time/not fair against hardcore/can’t play once a week to be successful.
Lack of things to do – Boring/ I want more to do/ repetitive/ I won everything now what?
Prefer FM – Don’t like online/no real teams/not realistic
Wanted to start again and no new world – I want to start again/new world please/
Frustration at losing – Why do I lose/win 2 games then lose 10 /ME is bad/too hard to win against AI
Empty GW – No one online/All my friends have left/ no one to play during the mornings

From August till 16th November
Empty GW – No one online/All my friends have left/ no one to play during the mornings
Financial reasons – Too expensive/Want it free/Can’t afford it
Need to devote too much time to be good – People on here all the time/not fair against the hardcore/ can’t play once a week to be successful
Prefer FM – Don’t like online/no real teams/not realistic
Lack of things to do – Boring/ I want more to do/ repetitive/ I won everything now what?
Multiple accounts – Had two accounts don’t use them anymore.

You can see that in the main the new data from the last few months is reflective of the mood in the forum. We realise the roadmap doesn’t go far enough and the stats don’t lie – we’ve decided to add the following:

Different flavours of gameworlds

One thing that we’ve realised over the last year is that people want to play Football Manager Live in many different ways and whilst we want to provide features that allow as many of these different types of manager to play together, this is often very difficult without being detrimental to one of the groups.

This is why we’re going to split the game into two different types of gameworlds.

Fantasy Players (newgen only)

This gameworld type will work essentially as they do now (with all the extra features from the roadmap of course!) and is aimed at the hardcore FML gamer/ MMO fan. The aim of the game is to take your club from poor beginnings and compete with managers from all over the globe in a variety of leagues and cups.

As you might have guessed from the title – there will be NO real players in this gameworld, so there’s no searching the internet for the list of latest wonderkids to help you find the best players. It’s about scouting for unknown youngsters and training them up into superstars. It’s about tactics, and outwitting the opposition on the pitch. And it’s about proving that you are the best at what you do.

We are also looking to increasing the capacity in these gameworlds so that there is both more competition and more people online. Although we’ve not got an exact number in mind we’d love to be able to have 1500 managers or more in these worlds.

Returning Stars

Whilst the Newgen gameworlds are great for the hardcore gamer, not everyone wants to play the long term, rags to riches game and, as such, we’re looking to provide another flavour of gameworld. This type of gameworld is more aimed at the football fan, rather than the football gamer and is based around real and famous players.

Whilst the underlying mechanic of the game will be very similar to what we have at the moment the emphasis on this type is more about playing long term with recognisable players

But, ‘what when these famous players retire?’ I hear you cry! Well that’s where the clever bit comes in.

In essence the heart of the new feature is that any player that retires in the game will be able to be brought back in. In the interests of fairness and making older gameworlds more attractive the top rated retired players will be reborn (at the age they are in real life not as a youth player) and allocated to teams in a seasonal draft based on how well a team is doing or how long they have been in the GW.

This means that the newest teams and the teams lowest ranked will be allocated the best players in the draft. This draft will allocate one player per club per season from the best players yet to return.

If you can imagine joining a GW in its 12th season where Wayne Rooney has just retired; as a new manager in this GW you are guaranteed to have one of the top draft allocations so there is a good chance you’ll get Rooney (or a similar equivalent).

You have a few options at this stage and around a season to decide what to do. You can:
a) Keep the option on your player and he’ll sign for your club at the end of the season
b) Trade the player for someone else’s pick (this can be for cash, players or a mixture of both).

As well as ensuring that new players have an immediate opportunity to sign a quality player, it will also help keep the transfer market alive by allowing a more radical flow of money from top teams to bottom teams. If a top team wants to buy Wayne Rooney from the new team then they can make an offer and, if accepted, the new team could have a budget of potentially millions to aid their assault on the gameworld. In turn, we hope that this will help revitalise the market for mid-range players due to the extra spending power that new teams in the gameworld may possess.

In addition to the draft system, any new manager or anyone restarting will have the option to include any player who retired prior to them joining an older gameworld. There is no limit on how many of these players you can bring back in (except for the normal financial constraints). The process is transparent – to a new user, it’s not even apparent they have had a career and retired. This additional system further ensures that you can start your team with familiar players.

This feature will be rolled out as part of 1.4 in January 2010 (those beta testers in Miller will get to see it this week).

The original post also includes a number of screenshots of how the draft system will be displayed in game. Tomorrow Part 2 will address the question that has been on everyone’s lips (fingertips) for some time now: What about the current gameworlds?

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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