Talk Of The Terrace: Football Manager Interview

By Adam Smith on November 25th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Football Manager is an enormously complex simulation. On a global level, the game tracks thousands of careers, ambitions and relationships, and on any given match day, weather, morale, skills and individual personal issues can contribute to moments of brilliance or abject failure. Talking to Sports Interactive’s director Miles Jacobson, I found that the simulation model is even more elaborate in some areas than I’d expected. Read on to find out about the game’s expanding narrative engine, how climate change is forcing the team to update the code that generates weather patterns, why the ugliest aspects of football have no place in FM and how a non-contract player’s family situation might prevent him from playing for your club.

RPS: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you have a database of thousands of features to implement eventually. But do you have an overall vision of where the game is going to be in two or three years? Is there a shape that it’s taking?

Jacobson: I tend to work two versions ahead. It used to be three but it’s two now because we’re managing to fit in a lot more each year, so there’s always an overall vision for the game. Whether that’s a year of revolution or of evolution – I think, certainly, the revolution years are going to be less and less because there’s so much in the game already that we’d rather look at evolving certain large chunks of the game each year.

When you’re working on an annually iterative sports title that’s based on real life, it’s kind of difficult to turn around and say ‘the whole match engine is going to be 5d!’. We can’t change the rules like that. So once 3d went in, that was the year we had Che Guevara postcards going out for the year of revolution. We’re on to seemingly smaller changes now.

There are loads of changes in the game this year that are actually revolutionary but they’re not obvious when you first start playing the game. Things like Financial Fair Play, which changes the way you play the game. And something that you picked up on in your review, which I really enjoyed, was the personalities of players coming out in press conferences and the various interactions that are possible.

The underlying system of that is quite revolutionary. To the person playing the game, at first glance, it seems like an evolution. But as you get further into the game, you realise it’s a lot more powerful.
Basically, we look at all of the feedback we’re getting from different areas of the game and that will help us to steer it. While I know what I want to do for the next couple of years, that doesn’t mean it’s fixed. If an area that I believed was important to concentrate on doesn’t receive any feedback, positive or negative, then we need stats to back up if it’s even worth changing it.

That’s one of the things that we did with the press conferences in the game. We were under the impression that very few people were using the press conferences – lots of people say they find them boring – but we put a process in the game that tracks how many people are using it, provided they haven’t turned off Steam’s data collection. Off the back of that, we found out that 50% of the press conferences in the game were being attended by the manager. So we thought, if we improve that part of the game for those 50% of players, other people might also start to use it as well. That helps to steer the game.

RPS: With that kind of stat-tracking, I think you picked up on about 10% of players using Classic last year? Have there been any changes this year?

Jacobson: It was just under 10%. But to be honest, I haven’t looked yet this year. We concentrate so much on getting the game out. You also can’t learn too much from a couple of weeks of stats.

RPS: Yeah, I think a lot of people might try the full version, or Classic, and then switch later on anyhow. Find the one they’re comfortable with.

Jacobson: I tend to first look at the stats around the middle of January. There are a lot of people who get the game for Christmas. Last year we had 45,000 activations on Christmas Day, so we make sure we have tech support working then! We had very few enquiries last year though, which was good because it meant we could all get a little bit drunk (laughs).

Because we know that it’s a big game for gifting, it’s important to get stats from those people as well, rather than just the hardcore who buy it on the day of release. They’re the ones who tend to get the most immersed in the game but we need to know what people who are playing more casually are doing as well.

RPS: Just to go back to the emphasis on personal interaction and character-based instructions and conversations, that felt like a large change to me. Almost a different philosophical direction. It moves the game away from being about managing a machine and turns it toward a sort of simulation/RPG. It’s easy to see why people think the loss of sliders and precise settings might remove complexity – has it been a hard sell?

Jacobson: Yeah, that’s why it wasn’t the number one thing on our press releases! If we turn round and say “we’ve got a new narrative system” most people aren’t going to give a crap until they see that in the long-term. It’s fair to say that this year is version one of what we want to do with that narrative system. If we’d had another three months there would have been a load more in there.

There were probably more cuts in that area of the game than in any other area, in terms of what we were able to do in the time that we had and what we wanted to do. A large chunk of the 350 features that I’ve mentioned that are down for FM 15 are in that area. That’s an area that will expand.

We’ve always had good AI in the game but this takes it to another level. We’ve always been known as a game that people become immersed in, a world that people escape into, and we always look for ways to make that more believable. A lot of the changes that occur in the game are due to that. If you look at the new tactics system – we’re getting a few complaints from the hardcore wanting to use the sliders – but that old system had no real connection to the reality of football.

You don’t get people talking in training, or at pre-match talks, saying ‘today I want you to be two notches higher in creativity’. They talk in the realms of player roles and player instructions. I’m very fortunate that as part of making the game I get to go to a lot of clubs at all levels of the game, visiting training sessions and post-training meetings were they’re setting up tactics for the weekend, and this is how people talk about the game. We want to add believability, which is really important when you’re making a simulation.

RPS: When you talk about trying to be more like real football, are there parts of the real world of football that you wish you could ignore? Like the increasing importance of agents in recent years. Could any of that hinder the enjoyment of the game?

Jacobson: Certain things around the financial model, definitely. Financial Fair Play has made us look at how things really work rather than how we’d like them to work. So this year you might start off with a transfer budget of half a million quid, and set out to make some free transfers. Then your budget is gone and the reason for that is that agent fees and other aspects still come out of the transfer budget.

RPS: Do people ever report things like that as a bug?

Jacobson: I’ve had quite a few people on Twitter asking why it’s happening and I explain it and they see that it makes sense. There were real life managers who failed to understand these things. They went out and signed a bunch of players and in January asked for another £7 million but they’d spent it all on wages and agent fees. That stuff comes out from talking to people inside football but it has made things a little bit more complicated for people who don’t have maths degrees.

RPS: There are other sides of football that you don’t simulate in the game – I’m thinking of the ugly side of the game, particularly incidents of racial abuse that do, within the rules of the various football authorities, have an effect on clubs as well as individuals. Are you quite happy that you can eliminate that from your parallel football world?

Jacobson: As far as racism and homophobia goes, we’ve been a big supporter of Kick It Out and have had their logo in the game for about 14 years. There are other aspects as well, such as hooliganism and match fixing, that are part of the game in real life that we don’t want in Football Manager. Even if we did want to include them, we couldn’t because there are legal ramifications.

It’s not something that I’d like to see in our game because it’s not something that I like to see in the real world. From that perspective, I’m quite glad that it doesn’t occur in our parallel universe. And it’s also perhaps a way that we can help to steer society a little bit. If we did ever have incidents of racism, hooliganism or homophobia in the game, the punishments would be a lot harsher than they are in real life because I believe they should be. But it’s probably good that all of it is kept away because you wouldn’t want your club banned from competition because of half a dozen idiots.

RPS: It’s something that interests me because when a simulation is so in-depth there are some things that are necessarily left behind and identifying those things can be informative.

Jacobson: There are some things that happen to regen players that can’t happen to real players. You’re more likely to have a regen who doesn’t show up for training because they’ve been out on the lash, or there’s a possibility of a referee being pushed over by a regen. We can have a bit of fun with things like that later on but the real negative elements don’t belong in our more utopian world.

RPS: One of the things that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a proper discussion of is the actual nitty-gritty of the match engine. A lot of games give direct feedback when something happens. An RPG might roll a dice for an attack and show the results. How many calculations are occurring during an FM match?

Jacobson: Millions upon millions (laughs). We’ve actually optimised a lot of it this year but the basic match engine code is a little bit like spaghetti. There’s so much stuff going on in there and it’s the only area of the game that we have to do speed tests for with each new version. One tiny change can upset the balance completely.

The match engine team used to be two people and now it’s eight or nine, plus people on FMO working on engine optimisation. The amount of calculations isn’t quite infinite but it’s as close as you can get! We’re simulating every quarter of a second of football – it used to be an eighth but we’ve just changed the time splices down. Every quarter of a second, every movement of the ball and every movement of every player is calculated based on every other position, their stats and the status of the match.

I saw some interesting conversation about EA saying that with FIFA 14 on next-gen consoles, because of the extra power they can have multiple players jumping to challenge for a header. Now that hasn’t ever been a problem for us because we’re not on the console side of things. You can watch a ninety minute match in FM and apart from a few niggles that we’re working through, it does look like a real game of football. Lots of passing in midfield rather and reorganising of defensive shapes rather than just end to end stuff,. We have all of that going on.

RPS: I’ve been doing some bizarre experiments, making players with extreme stats, either 1 or 20 in odd things, and then throwing them into teams to see how they work. You can see their worst impulses pulling them around the pitch like the strings on a marionette.

Jacobson: I’m glad that you have done experiments like that! Some people argue that it doesn’t make a difference and that we rely on randomisation or predetermined results. But it’s all running real-time in front of your eyes and every tactical change will make a difference, even if it’s communicated badly to players who don’t have the motivation or football intelligence to implement it properly.

All of the freak things that can happen such as referee mistakes or injuries affect things as well obviously. And the opposition managers have their own artificial intelligence as well.

RPS: That’s a hard area to read but it seems to have improved quite a lot this year. It seems more reactive.

Jacobson: It was tweaked considerably. Managers and opposition scouts will learn about the formations you’re most likely to play and then try to counteract that. They’ll also try to make educated guesses as to which players will be filling each position. If you’re the favourites to win they’ll act differently.

RPS: Here are some slightly sillier questions, but they’re about the wider simulation and the integrity of the world. How do you work out things like the weather on match day? Do you have a database of regions and pull a seasonal figure from there?

Jacobson: We have weather patterns for every town and city in the world. So it’s based on longitude and latitude. Any place that has a football club, we have a specific weather pattern for that stadium. There are a bunch of patterns inside the game, which work seasonally, but we also look at altitude. So players in certain parts of Mexico, where the stadia are much higher, are affected by altitude much more, becoming tired during a game if they’re natural fitness is low.

All of that is taken into account. The weather patterns are being changed at the moment because that’s happening in the real world. They’ve been stagnant, in-game, for a few years, but with the changes in climate in certain places – later winters in the UK for instance – we have to mimic all of that stuff as well. It’s a huge system and it’s a side of the game that people will never see because we don’t allow it to be edited.

RPS: That’s more than I expected but I think it all goes back to how convincing the game is. People often don’t realise how much FM is recreating and how credible the simulation is. Small additions like regional referees and retiring officials add to that integrity.

Jacobson: One of my favourite little things is that referees will only officiate lower league games regionally. A referee from Southampton won’t travel to Carlisle for a non-league game. But that’s the same with non-contract players – if one has just left a club in London, he’s unlikely to join a team in the North of England because they’re not going to move their family across the country without the guarantee of a contract. So travelling to play would cost more than they’re earning from matches. Why would they do that? Those little touches make the game believable.

These are the things that attracted me to the series. I didn’t work on the first Championship Manager game and the big difference between what Champ Manager did and the other management games did is that they built a world. Some games would reset at the end of every season. You could have a team of five star players and when you got promoted, they were all two star players again. You had other games were other results were all the roll of a dice and there were no leagues outside your local league.

Champ Manager wanted to be a whole universe with everything running in the background. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t caught up with what we want to create yet. You’d need a NASA supercomputer to run every league in full detail effectively, but that’s what we’re striving to do. Those little touches are important to us and when we talk about 1,000 new features in each iteration, people might think some of them are so tiny, but they do make a difference. Not everyone realises how important that difference is when they just read the list.

Part two will follow later this week, with a conversation about open world games and Football Manager’s possible influence outside the management genre, as well as Blur, music fanzines and modding.

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47 Comments »

  1. It's not me it's you says:

    I don’t enjoy this game but I really do enjoy reading about it (it’s weirdly similar to Eve in that way).

    Also: “…becoming tired during a game if they’re natural fitness is low.”

  2. Ernesto25 says:

    I Just wish they would fix the match engine and get rid of 3D. Theres alot to like in this game but there is also so much that makes my mind boggle the versions 3/4 years ago interface was better than this one’s for example. I love alot about the game but still the AI takes biscuit making bids 1 mil lower a players value who just had an excellent season. the match engine still feels biased at times and has flaws not bugs flaws such as the keeper will run the ball out in his hands and get sent off at least once a season and many right back nutmegged my keeper by dribbling unmarked and not under any pressure. but the real issue is set peices which still feel like a lottery defending them which is a shame because i really like the tactics this year.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I guess back when it was text (and flashing text for goals! But the flag is up! He was offside…), the simplicity of the communication between the simulation and the player meant you weren’t likely to get truly odd stuff happening. It just wasn’t part of the simulation, and because you weren’t really seeing the game it didn’t matter, your imagination filled the blanks in with those ludicrous goals and surprising sendings-off.

      My first few seasons with the 2D match engine had several similar bizarre outcomes, it seemed like that extra layer of simulation and visualization meant that there was a small chance of mystifying behavior in any match. Those 50 yard goals because of particularly strong winds, goalkeepers rushing miles out of goal, that sort of thing.

      I guess with the move to the 3D engine they only increased the likelihood of weirdness (I haven’t played with the 3D engine much). Perhaps since they are unlikley to move away from the 3D engine now, they’ll improve it over the years. I may still revert to 2D or text-only though.

      • Ernesto25 says:

        I try 3d for a while but 2d is still as bad but its not as bad as the last match engine. Things like set pieces form knowhere (with no build up play just showing a goal) do me in for years as it feels like the game has cheated especially when i have the highlights set to comprehensive. it the smae with clearances and defending sometimes when your defenders tackle. The opposition 3 times to get the ball back It just takes me out of the experience. I never seen the point in text only and although i like the engine more in this years version the accompanying text is poor. it barely tells you if you were offside leaving goals disallowed for no reason at all. My favourite line is “there only one outcome here!” as i never seen a goal go in when the commentator says that.

        Also me and miles need a word about what a clear cut chance is ;).

      • HidingCat says:

        My favourite bit of weirdness in FM13: Goalkeeper catches ball, everyone runs back upfield, he inexplicably drops it, opposition striker charges the ball from 20 yards out, kicks it in the net. Goalkeeper remains motionless the entire time. I’ve seen it happen twice: Once against me, once for me. Really weird!

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Did you see Hugo Lloris against City the other day?

          Does anybody actually know whether there is any difference in the simulation when watching in 3D or 2D or just text?? I had always assumed the 3D was just a different visualization of the same simulation. So some of the representations might look clumsy or weird but it’s mostly down to the limitations in the animation.

          • MartinWisse says:

            Yeah, in my experience, a lot of the things in 3d mode that are blamed on the match engine are actually bad animation. Fouls for example are horrible: the player being fouled just stands there, moving on the spot, the fouler kicks and suddenly the foulee is on the grond.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Sometimes when players seem to glide or moonwalk around the ball, or seem to be in possession of the ball although they’re not quite in contact with it (and defenders appear not to close them down) or when one player kicks the ball past another apparently with great ease, it can get pretty frustrating.

            You don’t see much physical competition for the ball. Although it’s clear very often from the stats that strength agility and determination are sometimes having a bigger impact on a battle between players than dribbling pace and technique – all that you actually see is dribbling and passing and the odd tackle. So it looks like things are happening for no apparent reason, or against all logic. That’s because you can’t rely on what you see to tell you what’s going on.

            You’ve got an extremely sophisticated match engine trying to simulate what really happens in football in a way which also results in realistic match stats, and an extremely limited visual representation trying to keep up with it.

            It worked brilliantly when it was just text because the way you imagined what was happening was closer to how real football looks – and you read the stats to see how your players were playing. The same can even be said for the 2D view because most of what was happening was still left largely to the imagination. The problem with the 3D realistic representation is that it discourages creative interpretation as you expect more and more that what you’re seeing is the same thing as what you’re getting. You end up relying on what you see your players doing as a way to try to assess their performance It doesn’t surprise me at all that people have a better time watching the 2D.

    • battles_atlas says:

      I wish they’d make 3D look like its a game coming out in 2013. I prefer to use it over 2D, but it does look awful.

      My real bugbear currently, and interesting that it comes up in the interview as something they specifically model, is the weather. I play a short passing game, and have noticed with my current game that as far as FM is concerned Britain has a rainy season that lasts from November to March. Literally 80% of my games are forecast to rain during this period. The weather here maybe shit, but its not that shit. And it ruins my preferred tactic.

  3. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Wait, what’s this foo…. Oh, you mean “foot-to-ball”

    Appears to be an entirely serious article about a football sim… Are you Strategy Informer in disguise?

  4. Didden says:

    For me, this has been the best FM in years. I was actually very upset last year and felt like I’d wasted my money, the game was trying to do to many things, and several of those things overlapped. This year its much better thought out and great.

    Moving forward, I’d like to be able to get a better feel for my players personalities and increase interaction there.

    And to fix the existing issues in the match engine, and continue to move that forward. Better dribbling and players ‘bumping’ and jostling each other more realistically would be great.

    • Didden says:

      Another long standing issue I have is one of training. The only way to see if a player is basically getting worse, is at the end of the month, when his stats go down… ohhh how I hate that. I sort of feel disconnected from the training in that sense. I prefer the simplicity of how its been done this year, but more feedback before games on who has been training well that week, should be much more visible – things like these dictate exactly how real managers pick their sides.

  5. Lemming says:

    What, no question demanding an explanation of where the women’s leagues are? I guess they must be already in there then.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Or indeed, a better way of putting it would be “I think more effort should be made to include women’s leagues, and I would like RPS to ask next time.”

      (And I agree, although my awareness of sporting issues is virtually nil, so I haven’t given it much thought).

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      The energy would be better spent encouraging more girls to play football… Oh wait, that’s what they do. http://www.sigames.com/football/

      • Bull0 says:

        Are you talking about sponsoring two players or did I miss something? That’s not really an expenditure of energy so much as an expenditure of cash. It’s arguable what impact it has, but it’s a nice gesture.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Indeed, and the stuff they do and have done at Wimbledon, that website only really scratches the surface of.

          Having women’s leagues in the game would obviously be a massive job in terms of research but it isn’t like SI haven’t got the infrastructure in place to do so. Without meaning to cast aspersions in either direction, there are probably at least as many people interested in the Women’s Premier League or the Frauen-Bundesliga as there are in some of the very minor mens leagues from smaller nations that are already in FM and it’s not exactly going to require major changes to the game engine to accommodate them.

          Although, of course, they’d have to put bows on all the players, and perhaps on the ball too.

          So, actually thinking about it, it seems like something that should inevitably happen. I’ve often wondered about a women’s football game and how one would be received – ever since I played with one of the custom teams in Sensible Soccer where the players all had girls names. It just seems as though it would probably end up being marketed on its style over its substance because after all the only difference between it and other football games would be the appearance of the players.

      • DodgyG33za says:

        You won’t get any professional womens sport to equal mens until women turn up to watch it. Or unless you tailor it to men as in the despicable US Lingerie Football League.

        From what I have seen the women tend to play a more technical and less physical game than the men, which makes for more flowing football, but less moments to get the blood going. But then I have only seen a handful of games so not really a representative sample.

        But surely not to hard to get a few womens leagues into a game as big and complex as this.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Yes this is the thing that worries me, that if and when we do see a womens football game, it would be about exploitation.

        • Gap Gen says:

          I suppose what you’re proposing is a kind of Catch-22, where women won’t get into football because it’s seen as a men’s sport, and it’s seen as a men’s sport because fewer women are into it. Merging the leagues into a unisex league could be interesting, but I suppose there are biological/physical limits where the best women will usually be worse than the best men at a lot of sports.

          It’s the same with a lot of things, though – comic book fans sometimes complain of being ghettoised, but as it is if you wander into a comic book store it’s hard to find things that aren’t all spandex and muscles – not that this stuff doesn’t exist, but the market has wrapped itself around its audience and in turn makes it more difficult for a wider audience to get in (perhaps doesn’t help that the industry is driven by giant profit-focused companies). I only say this because if you walk into a French comic book store the selection on display is usually far more diverse, but then the culture of comics in the French-speaking world is different and perhaps unique.

    • Kasper says:

      The main problem with including women’s leagues is that they would be totally isolated from the existing FM world and wouldn’t interact with it in any sustantial way.

      From a gameplay and world-building perspective it would make as much sense as including cricket leagues; men’s and women’s football are in essence two different and very separate sports.

      • SpecialSoup says:

        This is the main problem – Women’s football and Men’s football are essentially two very seperate worlds with little to no interaction between them.

        I’m sure it’s on SI’s mind, but as the article states there’s a constant backlog of features to be added to the game and only a year between each edition to add them in.

        The community makes a huge amount of valued content in the form of super leagues and rags to riches scenarios and with the new advanced editing tools a woman’s league would appear to be possible this year. I just doubt there’s enough demand for it to be high on either the community or SI’s priority list when it comes to making content.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Schoolboy football would be interesting. Each season you essentially have a new squad, with the exception of maybe a few kids who were good enough to make the first team at a younger age. You would get more extreme games as your kids could follow only the simplest tactics and there could be huge differences in ability and physical development depending on how lucky you were. This could of course feed in to the rest of the game as the ultimate source of the regens.

          Maybe you could start off as a young primary school PE teacher (promising career as a player cut short by a cruel injury – or just never made the grade) who can lead his team to cup glory, then win a scholarship to get his coaching badges and truly rise up the managerial ranks from the very bottom. Maybe you can even be hired as a coach, or assistant manager and play the game from that perspective for a few seasons, a kind of RPG mode almost.

  6. dsch says:

    The removal of sliders is based on (or, at least, is sold on) the philosophically naive assumption that the old slider system interposes an artificially abstracted layer between the player and ‘real football concepts’ and that getting rid of sliders and using ‘real football language’ will make the player engage with ‘real football concepts’ directly. The problem is, of course, that the match engine is still based on exactly the same abstractions as before, except now, you’ve interposed yet another layer in between the player and the game, an abstraction in language of the previous abstraction in numbers. Even this would be fine if you think that language can convey precise definitions, but of course, that is exactly what language does not do, so all you’ve done is made the same game as before, except now the player has no idea (by design!) what is going on. And even this last might have been acceptable if they made an effort to spell out clearly how they are defining each ‘real football concept’ they’re using, but of course they haven’t even managed that.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      The bottom line is surely that most people just weren’t using the sliders, or if they were, they were unsatisfied with the results they got. I know I have completely stopped using them in FM13. The player roles and team orders seem to be much more important these days and it’s unclear how the sliders even interact with these (nevermind how they interact with eachother.) One reason why I’m a fan of restricted and more focused tactical options, is that it makes the AI tighter, which improves the quality of the game overall.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        It’s not like in Europa Universalis where having the army maintenance slider at 50% means the army is going to be at half morale and cost half the money. Wanting sliders for passing length, pressing, running with the ball, etc is a bit like wanting to have a separate joystick for each of your character’s knees in a platformer when what you really need are controls for moving left and right and jumping.

      • dsch says:

        The problem with the new tactics system is that you a) know that the match engine runs on the old sliders (width, tempo, defensive line, time wasting, etc.), and b) have absolutely no idea what you are choosing. Suppose you can see in the match engine that your team is snatching at chances and trying to force the issue too much so you want to increase time wasting a bit to tell them to slow down and look for options, there’s no way to do that. The SI-mouthpieces on the official forum will say “Of course you can still do that; just change over to the ‘counter’ preset”, but the problem is the ‘counter’ preset also changes a host of other things, not just team settings, but also individual settings like mentality and creative freedom and so on. So in the end, you just feel like you are floating in space, tactics-wise. It’s just bad game design.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Yes but how do you know the engine still runs on the old sliders in the same way? Isn’t this the perfect opportunity to streamline that part of the engine? Now instead of having to balance 10 possible things, each with 10 possible values maybe it’s only 5 things with three possible settings each? Plus you can reduce the opportunities and the paths for moving from one state to the other. Streamlining the engine helps performance, automated testing, balancing, building of the AI and helps mitigate quirky exploits from gamey behavior that isn’t very much like the game you’re supposed to be simulating (like the “magic formations” from the good old days of CM – almost every version had one!) considering what the game – and thus the player – can gain, I don’t call this kind of thing a dumbing down. Maybe it’s sacrificing a little bit of chaos for a better simulation?

    • Dugular says:

      You could always make your own football management sim. I mean, it was quite obvious from this interview that it only does about five calculations no more complex than (x + y = z). How in the world could they not get it all pefect?

      I’d even suggest that when you create your own football management sim (Which will be a resounding success by the way!), that you make sure it appeals to 100% of its buyers. Can’t be hard, really.

      I’m really looking foward to it! What’s it going to be called?

  7. Gap Gen says:

    Imagine my disappointment when I realised that this article wasn’t about someone called Terrance Football.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Not sure I really can, was it crushing? Closer reading is advised next time to avoid disappointment. I don’t blame you though, because of the lack of a foot-to-ball tag I got half way through the article before I even understood what sport this was about.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Imagine harder. Close your eyes. You’re on a train. You’re surrounded by people who also don’t want to be there. You have a head cold. Outside, it’s cloudy. A bear is eating you. No, wait, dial it back. Rein in your imagination. You’re the boss here. You’re flipping through websites on your phone. The bear is back, and it- no, wait. The bear isn’t there. Rein it in. You scroll down, and the bear ok this is going horribly wrong, abandon imagination abandon imagination.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Is a head cold like the king of colds that teaches the other colds how to be? I guess they need some sort of coaching otherwise they wouldn’t be able to adapt to new immunities every season. That’s a management sim I want to play!

          • Gap Gen says:

            I guess you could play Pandemic, or whatever it’s called.

            And yes, that is exactly what a head cold is. Or no, ‘s not.

          • BooleanBob says:

            If you think a head cold is bad, you should be thankful you don’t get foot colds. I’m running out of shoes that don’t audibly squelch when I walk in them.

          • Gap Gen says:

            But surely if your feet run and your nose smells, all is fine?

  8. El_MUERkO says:

    I’ve not gotten 2014, 2013′s 3d match engine was a mess they never fixed, according to the forums 2014 isn’t much better, I’ll skip this year.

  9. MartinWisse says:

    What I would love, love, love to see Football Manager improved in is the interconnectivity of the world it simulates, so that e.g. you don’t get asked questions about whether a player will be in a game when he’s not eligible to play in it, or the game understands that if you’re both leading a team and a country, you’re not visiting a Plymouth U19 game in your capacity as the Columbia coach.

    I want the press conferences to be more responsive to how the game went, that when we’ve scraped out a 0-1 win against a much weaker opponent, the journalists don’t just gush about my striker’s goal but actually ask me about how we underachieved.

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