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Free thoughts – 1
Written by  Bart6qx - Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:15  |  Add new comment

I wonder what the next year’s FIFA Manager edition will bring us. The game producers have already disclose first news concerning the plans of modifying some features in FIFA Manager 12. On the other hand EA decided to close down servers enabling to play Online mode in 2009 edition. De facto this mode we won’t see in FIFA Manager 12. Thus you can draw conclusions, an Online mode was one big misunderstanding and in my opinion this mode stole the time which needed to be spent on working out the Offline mode. I fondly go back to the years of the game glory, it was then released as Total Club Manager. I will remind for all people who don’t remember those times that the game edition from 2004 was considered to be the leader on football management games market. So what has happened for these few years? Every year FIFA Manager becomes much more boring game, deprived of realism, and what’s worse new features which should enrich the game, causes lots of problems and have a negative impact on other features functionality. I don’t know if the problem lies in lack of development of studio responsible for producing this game or in decisions made by Electronic Arts. The fact is that this game series decreases every year. I will skip issues related to marketing campaign and support for fans not using German localization, and I will focus on what FIFA Manager offers to us, however there is unfortunately not much to write.

Let’s start from the game database, because the producers’ approach towards this element has neither part nor lot in realism. Looking at quality level of the current database, I am under the impression that no one from people responsible for the game, checks it at the moment of receiving the database from people working on it. I understand the fact of keeping a certain level of particular competitions due to marketing reason, but bugs as regards clubs being part of particular league shouldn’t have happened and only maximum few hours are enough to check the researchers’ work in terms of club correctness. So where is the famous German reliability? Obviously this question doesn’t concern the work on domestic, German competitions, which are worked out to the smallest details. Is that really true that FIFA Manager sales on German market are much higher than in all of other countries? Even if that’s true, no one from people responsible for producing and promoting this game hit on an idea that this state of affairs follows from studio’s pathological approach towards non-German countries. Why competitive manager games can have high quality database, why FIFA Manager fansites are able to release high quality database updates and finally why Bright Future studio has serious problems with this game element?

To follow this scent, we face a problem with communication between the studio and fansites. Every year lots of fansites send a feedback including ideas, propositions and list of detected bugs. And how has the fulfillment of this ideas looked like for recent five years? Everyone who have played at least two recent game editions exactly knows how this has looked like. And now a question, what have the producers been doing within these few month if practically nothing has changed for the better in this game? And what’s more we have such paradoxes as improved 3D mode with tragic text mode at the same time, and in a similar situation when we had a good text mode which was going hand in hand with a terrible 3D mode. Maybe it would be a good idea to suspend FIFA Manager release for two years which could lead this game to an acceptable level of quality. Everyone who has looked deeply into the structure of this game, have noticed a big mess in files. The first impression is that someone has compiled the whole contents in a hurry not paying attention to the fact if the game should include elements from such games as: Need for Speed or UEFA Champions League 2005. Are these files really necessary for the correct FIFA Manager working? If yes, I think it’s high time to take up rebuilding this game in terms of that, because we will have to soon pay for two DVD’s which will include only 3GB of data related to FIFA Manager, while the rest will constitute unnecessary stuff. It’s impossible to create a good game without cleaning up unnecessary rubbish. Maybe that’s the reason why we cannot wait for eliminating never-ending bugs. Game producers have introduced a new feature for fans allowing to add club flags, however this option hasn’t worked for two years. Producers have also introduced the possibility of adding club kits and this option hasn’t worked correctly for three years, there are still bugs concerning the colouring of names and numbers and displaying the textures in database editor. This second problem resulted from solving by producers a different problem, that is the situation when kits in FIFA Manager 09 were working correctly only in case of several dozen of clubs which were included in a group of clubs with ID numbers assigned by producers. Although people with advanced knowledge in game editing were able to solve this problem, it was a mission impossible for the beginners. In response to fans remarks, BF studio decided to change a default path for fan kits, and despite these kits work in the game, they are not visible in database editor. There are much more such lesser or greater nuances which are also related to graphics issues. Bugs concerning problems with displaying, crashes or hanging the game are of everyday occurrence. After one year of break we again have problems with loading saved games in FIFA Manager 11. That’s why in respect of number of bugs, FIFA Manager consolidates its position with every subsequent release

Decrease of the game quality translates directly into the weakening of world fans community. Not long ago fansites in such countries as Spain, Italy, Greece were beating records of popularity and were considered as the best on this field. Now, as a leader is considered the service, which paradoxically is not most popular in domestic country but in other European countries. So what has happened with the world scene and what are the reasons for its systematic dieing out. Like I have mentioned, the problem lies in poor quality of the game, producers approach towards cooperation with non-German fansites and in specific of patches released for this game.

Two years ago it was possible to modify most of the game elements with lesser of greater problems, but now access to considerable number of parameters has been limited under the pretext of causing bugs. The result is that bugs caused by fans’ modifications are still worrying the game, additionally we have received another bugs, which in the past were eliminated by these “faulty” fans’ modification, but now no one from producers works on eliminating them. Moreover this year we have got bugs related to competition scripts (new function principles have been introduced) and now to create a database including many leagues is practically impossible. Well, now few words about how that all translate into resigning from running fan services. That’s not a secret that maintenance of service equipped with solid technical resources is a really expensive passion. Unfortunately the specific of created patches requires from services’ owners keeping bigger and bigger server spaces. Pictures of players, stadiums, cities, fan chants etc. requires at least several dozen of MB of free space, which as regards single edition of FIFA Manager creates the base seized up to several dozen of GB of patches which are downloaded by thousands of game fans. Costs of such undertaking are really significant and it’s very difficult to develop constantly without a sponsor help. Someone may suggest to place files on free host servers, however you should know that in such case other services will be redirecting to files avoiding the websites which are the authors of such files and such situation will automatically deprive these websites of users. Thus, the best solution is to have own technical resources and files protection against direct downloads. However, like I mentioned it earlier, such action leads to higher costs and superiority of economic aspects over the hobby.
 
What to do in a situation where we have a poor game and weak community? In my opinion drastic measures shall be undertaken, this game needs one/two year break in releasing and the game engine should be thoroughly reconstructed. Moreover there should be an active cooperation with fansite representatives and what’s most important game producers should try to implement ideas coming from fansites. I also think that the studio should work out a few years’ plan related to the concept, functionality and directions of development of its product. Now this game offers us a little bit of tactics, economic aspects and private life. Economic aspects have practically come to a standstill since few editions ago and is now so trivial as first platform games. The private life as it stands also makes no sense and the best solution so far coming from producers is the option to disable this feature in a game. As regards tactics options, it looks very poorly in comparison to competitive games. Features available in this game area even cannot be called as tactics. The situation looks much better in team management, however in this area interesting ideas loses with the lack of work out and particular elements development.
 
So how to judge FIFA Manager, is that product so poor that it’s waste of time to play it? You have to answer this question by yourself, cause it’s up to your spare time you can spent on playing FIFA Manager. Undoubtedly game produced by Bright Future studio will stole few hours from your life because the game have a glimmer of potential. The problem is that the pace of development for recent years has been definitely too small and currently this game is intended mainly for beginners or “retired” players who have own family and unlimited working time. Game produced by BF presents many interesting ideas, if producers would properly develop them we would have a game which would be followed by other producers, unfortunately BF studio doesn’t contribute fully to development of particular game features or is unable to manage with that due to permanent generating new bugs caused by changes.

Well, nothing remains except to wait and count on miracle. Currently producers have just started works on FIFA Manager 12, although this year’s game edition is still unplayable, even after installing two official patches. Will the next year’s edition rise EA game to the top of football manager games hierarchy? The chances of such revolution are counted per mill, however there is still a hope for a breath of freshness and for laying foundation for its further development.

Last modified on Saturday, 22 January 2011 15:02
Bart6qx
Author: Bart6qx
I have started to act on the Polish FIFA Manager scene since 2006. Two years later together with Piterson and Lukasvista hit upon an idea to open our own FIFA Manager service, which has started to operate in August 2008 and operate to the present day.
Author profile:
  • Date of Birth:
    11-10-1983
  • Favorite club:
    Legia Warszawa
  • Favourite player:
    Artek Boruc
  • Favorite coach:
    Jan Urban
  • Favorite version of FIFA Manager:
    FIFA Manager 11
  • City:
    Strzegom
  • Country:
    Polska
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