Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Football Manager 2010 new features blog.
For those of you who are unaware of the Football Manager series, Sports Interactive, and myself, here's a little bit of history.
Sports Interactive are a UK games development studio that have been releasing football management games since 1992. We started working on the Football Manager series with SEGA in 2004, and have released 5 games in the series so far (FM2010 will be our 6th in the series) selling over 5 million copies worldwide so far.
I should also introduce myself. My name is Miles Jacobson, and I'm Studio Director at Sports Interactive. I manage the team here (there are 60 of us full time working on the game, with over 50 head researchers) and try and make sure all the bits fit together. Basically, if something is good, it's because we've got a great team here. If something is bad, blame me!
The premise of our games is to give you the chance to manage a football team, and do the things that a real life manager does, whether it be transfers, tactics, interacting with the players, sorting out training, press conferences, team talks, not going over budget, and, ultimately, winning the league. We all think that we can do better than our favourite club's real life manager - well, we give you the chance to find out! There are over 5,000 teams to play as from over 50 countries leagues so the choice and scope is huge.
One of the key parts of any football management game is the database, and ours is the largest in football, with over 390,000 players and staff from around the world independently rated in hundreds of different categories by people in local countries (we currently have more than 1,000 scouts around the world). We strive to model the whole football world as accurately as possible, and know that quite a few clubs around the world use our database, including Everton who officially use it as part of their scouting network.
Our database is well known for finding great young players before anyone outside their own club has heard of them, giving people who play our games a big advantage in showing off their football knowledge, as our game has spotted the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Vela, Tevez, Terry and Lampard well before they were names on the back pages of every newspaper.
Each year we release a new version of the game to celebrate the new season, and each year we strive for greater realism. We actually made an initial announcement about the new game a couple of weeks ago. What I'll be doing in my blogs is telling you all about the new features for Football Manager 2010 so you're all ready for when the game comes out at the end of October.
Today I can actually announce a brand new feature.... backroom advice. Now managers can get regular feedback from their backroom staff to get advice on every area of the running of the team, from tactics, player interaction, advice on signings and scouting.
The idea of the backroom advice part of the game is to ensure that the manager is better informed about what is going on at their team, and to get help with areas that they might be missing out on.
You can call a backroom meeting at any point, and your staff will bring up any things that they wish to discuss. Once a month, they will call a meeting, and you can attend, or decide not to. So it's not something you have to use, but we think you'll find it useful and easy to use. They'll also come to you requesting a meeting on your first day in the job, pre-season and pre-match.
For a start, when one of the backroom staff suggests something, there is a one click button to say that you want to use the advice. So, say one of your coaches recommends that one of your players game could benefit by being asked to learn how to play a simple passing game, there will be a button there for you to click, and the coach will do the rest. You won't have to go to the player's interaction screen and choose the option yourself.
There's a wealth of information that your backroom staff will come to you with. I'm not going to reveal everything here, as you'll have to play the demo and the game to find out the full extent, but the kind of things they come to you with are....
- Recommending set piece takers and potential captains.
- Tactical advice pointing out advantages and weaknesses that the opposition have over your team.
- Stats about your own team that will help you with your own tactics.
- Advice about transfer status and contracts of your own players.
- Recommendations about training for individual players.
- Youth development recommendations.
- Training improvements and drops.
- Squad weaknesses
- Best formation (based on the players at the club)
- And many, many more!
As with anything in our games, we try and make it as realistic as possible. There'd be little point adding in something like backroom advice if you were going to get perfect advice every time. Therefore, it's important to select your staff carefully in FM2010 if you want to be getting the best advice.
We've also made significant improvements to the assistant manager feedback in Football Manager 2010. Your assistant is there to give you advice in most areas of the game, just as they would do in real life, and we've expanded the areas that they'll be able to help you with this year.
As well as all the things that have gone into the backroom advice section, the assistant will also now give you feedback on players playing out of position, and whether they are likely to be capable of playing there. We've also added in feedback when players have poor motivation for a bunch of different reasons, like disliking the captain, the pressure of scouts coming to watch him, or even if he dislikes you, and your assistant manager will offer you suggestions on how to fix the problem.
We've improved the intelligence of assistant managers as well. Their scouting abilities will have to be very good now if you want them to give you the right advice on whether to sign a player. Your assistant will also help you with setting "opposition instructions" in the lead up to playing a match.
My next blog is going to be all about the match engine. We'll be looking at the improvements and additions for the 3d match view, improvements to the match engine itself, the all new match analysis feature and the new tactics creator.