Welcome back to the Football Manager 2010 blog.
As I've mentioned a lot recently we've undertaken a bunch of usability studies for FM10 to try and make the game easier to use for both existing and new gamers alike. Part of this was how people start the game, and the areas that they get confused about, so what you'll see with FM2010 is an easier introduction to the game for new users, but also more advanced options for experienced ones.
We've always tried to give you, the people who play our games, as much control as possible to customise the game to play the way you want to. What we've always failed on in the past though is letting you know how your computer's performance might restrict what you can and can't do. With 50 playable leagues, and hundreds of playable divisions, there aren't many computers in the world which could handle playing all of these at the same time. Nor are there many computers which can handle the huge amount of data that would be in the game if you loaded all of the 400,000 players and staff that are in our database for FM2010 into the game.
So we've added in a simple benchmarking system, which measures your computers processing speed, hard drive speed and the amount of memory you have, plus how much of that processing speed and memory is not being used at the time of setting up a new game, and not only recommends a set up for you to get the maximum out of the game, but as you customise your settings, also lets you know how the changes you make will effect the game speed.
When you start a new game, there are also a few new things that you'll see straight away, and some of these also happen when you are employed in a new job further down the line.
One of these is that, if you've got a bit of money, your chairman may well give you permission to have a complete clear out of your backroom staff, without blocking any of the contract terminations, so that you can bring your own men in. A new manager will also be made aware of any pending transfers, so if the previous manager signed a player but he's not due to join until the next transfer window, you'll be told about it. You also get the option of having a friendly match against your reserves to really get to know your players better.
One of the first things that I do when I start a new game is go to my team settings. This is where you can set your assistant manager to do various tasks for you, such as looking after the reserve team or arranging and taking control of friendlies.
You will hopefully notice a new transfer option, which is regarding loaning of players. All of us who play the game a lot know how annoying it is to have to set loan options for players when offering them to other clubs, and here you can now set your default options for loans so that each time you offer out a player, it will use your own personal settings.
There is also an option there to set one of your scouts to automatically give match reports on any of the players that you have sent out on loan. Oh, and the option to set what the default offer to clubs asking price, loan asking price and loan wage percentage should be.
So now let's move on to the new Data Editor for this year's game. For many years we've provided an editor for our games that allowed you to change any player stats in the game, or club information, and move teams around divisions, and make these data updates available for download, or just keep them for yourself.
One thing that hasn't been possible with our editor before is to add your own leagues or competitions. With 50 countries playable leagues, FM10 covers a lot of world football. With over 400,000 players and staff in the database, we also have researched information from the vast majority of the world's players and staff.
There is, however, always room for more, and there have been many requests over the years for other countries leagues to be added to the game. Now we are passing the power to do that to the huge community that we have who follow the game and us as developers.
The new data editor allows you to not just update player info and club info, but also allows you to add countries' leagues to the game which we don't already cover, and add more levels and new competitions (like extra cup competitions) to existing leagues.
Also, rather than having to save out each database as a huge file, it only saves the changes that have been made to the data, meaning that database updates and newly created leagues are going to be much smaller files than people have been used to downloading. This also allows you to download and run multiple new competition and data updates at the same time, although if some information has been changed twice, it will take the last change made.
Now two videos on the Data Editor for you all, the first shows you how to set up a new league, and the second reveals how you can add levels to existing leagues as well in FM10.
To finish this week I'm going to deal with a handful of features that don't really fit into specific sections, but are still new for Football Manager 2010.
First up, a couple of changes in feeder clubs, which are the clubs that are affiliated to your own. We've improved the research process for these clubs over the last year, and any costs for the affiliation deals that we've been able to find are now read into the game from the database, so they should be more accurate than ever before.
When you have a feeder club in another country that is set to help with youth training, you might also find that some of the youth players from that club should turn up at your club by default, so, for example, if you had a youth affiliation with a club in Belgium, you're likely find some Belgian kids automatically coming into your youth squad when they are updated at the start of each season.
With Football Manager 2009, we introduced press conferences for the first time, and it's possible to ask your assistant to do them for you. However, there was no way to know whether your assistant would be any good at them, so there's now a media handling style for your staff, which will help you identify how a staff member will deal with press conferences.
A nice little touch in FM10 is that if you declare interest in a job, and then attend a match by the club where you have interest, much in real life the media focus will fall on you being there. It will also be noticed by the supporters and the board of your prospective new club (and your own!) so the reaction of the fans and board could help, or hinder, your chances of getting the job.
Another bow to the accuracy that we strive for in FM is that when stadiums have terracing and seating, but then host a match where only seating can be used (like an international fixture, or Champions League) the terracing will be shut or replaced with temporary seats, meaning a smaller potential crowd for that match, just like in real life.
Right - that's enough for this week. We're all working really hard at the studio at the moment with just a few short weeks until we're due to deliver the final game to SEGA. There'll be more details about exactly what we're working on next week!
All videos can be found on footballmanager.com