It's oh so quiet
We’re poised in the drop zone, hanging on by a thread, and nobody seems to care if we cling on by the skin of our teeth or tumble into oblivion.
I am the manager of Bury FC and the terrible results aren’t the worst thing about this season. The truly heartbreaking thing is the apparent demise of a small club and its generations-old local support base. If a last minute goal condemns a team to relegation and nobody is around to see the ball hit the net, does it even matter? In Football Manager [official site], they only sing when you’re winning.
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This game blew up
This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Company of Heroes [official site].
The Tiger tanks come rolling in, the artillery comes thundering down. Walls are blown wide open, buildings collapse on themselves. In Company of Heroes, the battlefield is ever-changing, munitions cutting into the map new opportunities for flanking and to be flanked. Confident pushes turn to disaster as the enemy punches through rear guards, and last-ditch defences are saved as the cavalry smashes through barricades. Company of Heroes is a deeply dynamic RTS, something that’s all down to:
THE MECHANIC: Destructible environments Read the rest of this entry »
Warhammer is changing
Lizards riding dinosaurs. Almighty spells crackling through the sky. A dragon swoops down from above and collides with a stegadon as elves are torn apart and consumed by carnosaurs at its feet. Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site] brings even more spectacle to the battlefield, particularly with its lizardmen armies, but the campaign is looking like the most exciting part of the game.
Strategy games have a habit of petering out as you move toward the endgame. Anyone who’s played Civ (including Civ V designer Jon Shafer) knows the tedium of pushing end turn to watch the numbers grow, as your inevitable crawl toward victory or defeat plays out in turn-based slow motion. That’s partly because so many victory conditions involve watching the correct resource pile up in sufficient quantity, or painting the entire map in a certain colour. Discovery is a thing of the past, diplomacy has run its course, and there is nothing new under the sun. Creative Assembly are looking to change that.
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Foxes are fair game once more
I’ve always said a manager should be judged on the trophies in the cabinet rather than their position in the league table. Give me the choice between finishing 17th in the Premier League but winning the League Cup and finishing 2nd but having no trophies to show for it, and I’ll go for the cup every time.
When I say I’ve always said that, I mean I’ve been saying it to the Leicester board repeatedly for the last couple of weeks. Our Football Manager 2017 League campaign is a dud; not a disaster but a damp squib. But we’re still in the Champions League and I calmly guided us to the semi-final of the FA Cup. Now it’s all on Pip. We’re going to do the double (and finish 15th in the League).
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Bringing va-va-voom to Leicester City
Ian Football’s long brown raincoat hides four people inside: Pip, Adam, Alec (who already took his turn) and me, Graham. It’s now my turn in our pass-the-save (or pass-and-save, geddit) playthrough. Our mission: take control of Premier League champions Leicester City in Football Manager Touch 2017 and perform better than they are in real life.
Where Alec has limited experience with football, I watch half a dozen matches every weekend. I haven’t spent much time with FM16 or 17, but I spent many thousands of hours playing previous iterations so that shouldn’t matter. I also read a lot of Football Manager fan fiction as a teenager, in which people would embellish after action reports with imagined details of their manager’s personal lives.
I thought about this as I kissed Mrs. Football goodbye on Wednesday morning, before climbing in my Renault Clio (the car of Footballs) and beginning the drive to work. I burped, detecting the taste of the Venky’s chicken (the meal of Footballs) I’d eaten the night before. Read the rest of this entry »
Four players, one manager
Two of us know far too much about football. Two of us know far too little. Together, we will create chaos for once-proud Premiership club Leicester City.
Here’s the deal. In Football Manager Touch 2017 (chosen over the full-fat version as it’ll move quicker), we take control of Leicester for the 2016-2017 season, which is effectively working just a few months behind what’s actually happening now. That being that Leicester won the title last year, but are having a hard time this year. You ain’t seen nothing yet, lads. Every quarter of a season, whoever’s in charge passes their savegame onto the next player. As we’re alternating between people who know what they’re doing and people who don’t, this is going to involve quite some degree of calamity and, hopefully, salvation.
It starts with me. Graham, Pip and Adam will follow. Adam has observed that if the club is not in the relegation zone when the save reaches him, he will consider it a great victory. Oh dear. Read the rest of this entry »
Lizards riding dinosaurs
I’m watching a lizard, riding a gargantuan dinosaur, beating the snot out of a dragon. A lizard, riding a lizard, fighting a lizard. And they’re surrounded by countless High Elves and Lizardmen, duking it out over an ancient ruin. A dinosaur carrying a solar cannon shoots the dragon and then goes berserk, trampling the pointy-eared archers who haven’t been flung aside. Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site] revels in the absurdity of it all.
The Lizardmen don’t seem like a faction that could have existed in the first game. They’re bolder and weirder – far away from the armies of the historical Total Wars. Warhammer 2, in general, feels like a significant departure from the tried and tested formula of the series. Read the rest of this entry »