Dec 14

Football Manager Live: Cannibal or Cannibalised?


Well regarded for his thoughtful editorials Levo has played and written about Football Manager for over 10 years now. His own site FM Pundit is aimed at keeping up-to-date with the current trends within the community. Discussing the way we play the game, guides, tactics and general opinions about a game that breeds such passion and devotion, this is his first guest article for

Football Manager Live has recently celebrated it’s first Birthday, while the recent Football Manager 2010 release was a mark of the 17th edition to SI Games football management simulations. Football Manager 2010 was released to critical acclaim from both the media and the Football Manager community. But has Football Manager Live (instead of being a cannibal or being cannibalised) actually been a source for a lot of Football Manager’s success this year?

Live testing

Now one of the things that has dogged Football Manager releases in the past has often been an unplayable game from off the shelf release, bugs within the games usually would take the release of around 3 patches before the game was hailed as the best ever Football Manager of its time. This is never an ideal situation for any company, but for a game that has to be released every year adding each time to the complexities of the last it is a tough ask to get a bug free game out first time.

But with Football Manager Live and Football Manager sharing so many similarities, the MMO has become a live testing arena for the match engine builds that will inevitably find their way into the Football Manager game as well as being enjoyed by the Football Manager Live players.

This is much more important than just throwing FM Live players a match engine to iron out the problems, but the ability to work with potentially thousands of match engine users over the course of many years means that the Football Manager AI can itself become more complex and challenging. This is because now it is easier to analyse how users react to changes to other real users. This is obviously something that Football Manager has tried to develop over the years, the sense of realism, if a match engine can start acting much more like a human would do, this now becomes more of a game of chess rather then an attempt to exploit a computer, which I feel is beginning to show in Football Manager 2010 as discussed in my article FM2010: Is it set too difficult?

Helping the Manager

Players of Football Manager Live and Football Manager 2010 play each of the games for different reasons. MMO players tend to enjoy the social aspect of playing humans in their games, the challenge that creates by the unpredictability of what another human could do next. Where as Football Manager 2010 players are looking for much more of the traditional gaming and fantasy aspect of taking control of their favourite sides in a way that can be picked up, put down and restarted anytime they like.

But one thing that I think the Football Manager Live community has the potential of doing is teaching the Football Manager community how to improve their own tactical knowledge. Playing week in, week out against human player’s means that a grip on tactics can be much more of an advantage, the example is here at where I will regularly check out any tactical guides posted by Mille as I know these can be easily implemented to my own Football Manager game.

In conclusion I thank you Football Manager Live players because this year we are seeing features such as the tactics creator and potential match engines that will be used across the two titles, this coupled with SI games own efforts to better test the game has resulted in the best out of the box release of Football Manager so far and a game superior to its predecessor

Football Manager is not about to cannibalise Football Manager Live, but the symbiotic nature of the two will only improve both titles for us all to enjoy as each of the two groups of gamers search for two separate experiences from the same topic of football management simulation within a market big enough that both can succeed and prosper from each other.

Written By Thomas Levin
Well known throughout the Football Manager Community, Thomas “Levo” Levin has been a long time contributor to various FM sites and now runs his own site over at FM Pundit
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  • myronshipp

    HI all
    very interesting article, I was puzzled by the line playing like a human rather than trying to exploit flaws in a computer program, I thought whats the point? its a computer game, if you win by an exploit who are you kidding? I want to play like I am coaching a real team and make my decisions as I would at a real game, the thought of looking for an exploit has never occurred to me.

  • What I meant by this is that Football Manager Live gives SI games away of analyse how real people react within the match engine against other people, how tactics are built and how each other will try and out wit each other, just the data collected could make the FM AI react more human like, its a thought, it might not be entirely possible to translate these into the game though.

    But I must agree approach FM to exploit the match engines faults is something that people would do naturally, its what we would do to any human tactic, but if SI Games learn from the human players maybe they can make the AI match engine less predictable and be able to react to our own changes a little better. This would make things more organic and less likely to find people looking for exploits in the match engine.

    The FM match engine is becoming better and better each build and exploits do become obsolete in the end, I am just thinking of things such as the corner trick etc...

    But in summary, analysing real players could improve the organic feel of the match engine

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