This year’s edition of FIFA Manager game is now being worked out by Bright Future. Due to that we decided to ask Adrian Wahl and Gerald Köhler what kind of interesting features will we find in FIFA Manager 12 and what is the current progress of works. Have a nice read.
1. In which production phase is FIFA Manager 12 currently?
Gerald: We have finished all features but one. Most of the engineers are already fixing bugs and polishing the game.
2. “Your Feature” initiative won recognition among FIFA Manager community. Who is credited to be the father of this success? Can we expect that you will continue that idea in later game editions? Maybe you will expand this initiative by entrusting fans with developing bigger features?
Gerald: This was a team idea, and yes, it will continue. We are extremely happy with the results and will increase the available development time for the future. The idea is to have at least one engineer for the entire project on these features and to extend the number of polls. But it is important that our users understand that a “LAN mode” or a “new 3D match engine” are no features for a poll. Each one of these features would keep ALL of us busy for a whole year. That’s not the intention of the initiative.
3. How much will FIFA Manager 12 differ from the current edition? Could you briefly describe game areas where did you make the biggest changes/improvement?
Gerald: It differs a lot. The biggest change this year was that our development focus went back to Offline. The Online Mode will be still there and it will be extended by last year’s Premium features which are now for free, but all new features are for Offline. The main areas were the 3D match, the club facilities, finances, training, and the transfer market. In addition there are hundreds of smaller features and of course roughly 10 features from the “Your Feature!” initiative.
Another area we have improved is our Live Season service. This now also includes full database updates, this means you basically get such an update every week and you can always start with all the latest season data at any time you wish, which is pretty cool and has a great value for money. We support 10 leagues, of course also the 1st Polish division.
4. The next question regards 3D mode in FIFAM12. Are you going to change the match engine? Could you describe the changes/improvements in 3D match mode?
Gerald: Not at the moment. We want to show the 3D mode in action – of course before the release. There will be videos and finally you can check out the demo as well. In any case we had for the first a team of several people working exclusively on the 3D mode. So you can expect big progress.
5. Could you reveal one new feature in FIFA Manager 12, not mentioned officially so far? Nothing happens currently on the FIFA Manager scene, so such information will surely begin interesting discussion on the forum.
Gerald: Lately we finished a very interesting new feature. Players can now continue their career after their time as a player. You can now see their plans in the Player Info and also on the stats screen that displays the retiring players. Another nice addition are the club members. They generate income and there is also a nice new league stats screen on this subject. With a membership campaign you can win new members – but you should also do e.g. the right transfers.
6. What was your main goal when planning works on FIFA Manager 12?
Gerald: Our big objective was to truly have a “Community Year”. This means we have very carefully analysed what our users expect from us this year and we have tried to include as many of their wishes as possible into our schedule. Personally I think we have the best set of new features since many, many years and I am very proud of it.
7. Adrian, releasing the database update means a huge work to do. Were all of the researchers involved in that, the same as during works in production phase?
Adrian: The process of releasing a „big” database update like the winter transfer update is pretty similar to the work, we do in the production phase.
Lots of players need to be re-evaluated and compared to their season performance, additionally lots of transfers needs to be implemented. After collecting the data from our researchers we had more than two weeks to balance everything.
8. How is the current work on FIFA Manager 12 database progressing?
Adrian: In early July we´ll send out the new editor and the latest database to our researcher group. More than 70 people all over the world help us to deliver the most authentic database.
Then they have approx. one month to finalize league compositions and the first transfers and on August 5th they´ll send their first database to us.
Afterwards until late August only players and club details can be changed.
9. Could you tell us something about the new editor? Can we expect revolution or rather small changes/improvements such as new tools?
Adrian: There will be no revolution in our editor, the focus was on tools to decrease the numbers of errors in our database and to improve the level of quality. For example we re-coded the engine for duplicated players and now the editor is able to find out players that exist twice, although their names are spelled slightly different. Another great improvement is the option to enter more than one loan deal per year, this will help us to make the winter transfer update more realistic.
10. Could you share with us some info on database in FIFAM12? Is it going to be developed in respect of number of licenses or it will be the same as in the case of FIFA Manager 11?
Adrian: In FIFA MANAGER 12 we won´t have any new leagues, as FIFA didn´t sign a new league this year.
11. Who is the originator of ideas improving the editor? You or the Designing Team?
Adrian: I’m the one who is responsible for the editor design. I collect all ideas brought to me by the community or our researcher group, but I also have a list of hundreds of new possible features. At the end we have to make a list of the most important features and then the software engineers can start to implement the new features.
12. After changing rating and skill system, many people claim that levels of star players are still to high. Please, express your standpoint with respect to these objections.
Adrian: Well, in general most of the users liked our skill system. The plan was to make full usage of the range 1-99, and now Messi is 97, for our game it´s much easier to show Messi being top of the crop. I think this change was a big step for our game and I don´t think we´ll change the system.
13. Do you plan to develop competition scripts in FIFA Manager 12 in order to make it easier to create? FIFA Manager 11 introduced some difficulties in creating them.
Adrian: There are some ideas to improve the script files, but for FIFAM12 there wasn’t enough time to focus on that.
14. When creating the database, do you work on it in the editor only or do you also use other tools?
Adrian: We only work with the official editor that is also released with the game. I think this tool is really useful and good to handle. The idea by working with the official editor is to make this part of the game as good as possible.
As you can imagine we have to work the whole day with this tool and because of that we really want to make as cool as possible.
15. It’s been now 7 years since the FIFA Manager series was perceived by the experts as the best game in football manager genre. Why since that time the development of this game has gone in a completely different direction, becoming the game focused more on economical aspects at the cost of coaching/tactics issues?
Gerald: I don’t think this is correct. There might be some vocal “experts” in the forums who say this – but in fact the economical aspects didn’t play a major role in previous years. Features like “Fan Assets” or a realistic sponsor system had to wait until this year to finally get implemented. What I have to admit is that there were certain parts of the game which were simplified for various reasons – and this didn’t work out in every case – e.g. for the training. That’s why you can now plan individual training sessions again – as you could do in the past. I think it’s also a nice little touch here that you can now test the players on trial not only in training but also in friendly matches.
16. We have already known that this year we will finally see “refreshed” features connected with expanding club infrastructure. Can we also expect improved stadium editor which hasn’t been improved since implementing this feature?
Gerald: No, the stadium editor wasn’t extended. But there is now a new way to improve the stadium which is linked to the club facilities. This is something many people will like very much. But I cannot talk about this right now, because there will be a video on the club facilities in a few months.
17. A big advantage of FIFA Manager is the ability to edit this game. Unfortunately some of features such as adding kits, fan flags or additional sponsors, don’t work correctly. So the question is: can we expect a revolution in these areas in order to make editing easier for fans?
Gerald: If there are bugs, we’ll fix them. I’ve heard you are part of the Beta test team again, so it’s your chance to report the bugs in detail and we’ll then have a close look. But we will stay within the limits of the Workbench document. What’s not included there is not intended to work from our side, there might be legal restrictions or technical problems.
18. Database editor is a great tool however it has some limitations, for example the limitation of adding clubs. That’s why we would like to know if BF studio plans to change or completely lift the limits?
Adrian: For FIFAM12 we decided not to change any limitations. There are only a few and I guess you mean the number of possible clubs in lower league of the Polish league system. I´ll try to keep the idea in mind to fix it for next year.
19. Taking into an account the popularity of browser manager games, do you think that resigning from the Online mode is a good decision?
Gerald: The Online Mode is still in the game and not abandoned. But it is a very special type of game – a playing experience for 1-8 players and not a football MMO. Our main problem was that most people didn’t even try the mode a single time so far. Maybe this changes this season, otherwise we probably have to find a different solution.
20. What kind of fansites’ activities do you especially miss (We mean what kind of activities should be undertaken by fansites in your opinion)? What kind of fansites’ activities were especially helpful when creating FIFA Manager/TCM series and which of them caused most of problems?
Gerald: For us it is always helpful if the fansites ask us before they try something new. Sometimes they try things that put them in the danger of getting legal problems with other people. This is when we have to stop them. Especially helpful is the additional content they create and offer – and also of course their help for players with questions.
21. For some time BF studio tries to strengthen relations with game fans, the number of implemented this year fans’ features is an example of that. Do you plan to extend the cooperation with fansites which will surely contribute to developing this game? We mean creating the tools which will constantly be monitoring opinions regarding particular game elements, reporting bugs found by fans and also analyzing fans’ expectations towards the game. Constant reports from all over the world will surely be much more effective than periodic actions of collecting information.
Gerald: We are still very open, but many fansites are very passive and you are a very positive exception here. It doesn’t help to complain somewhere. It’s much better to contact us and to tell us as detailed as possible about the problem. As soon as a bug is in our database it will sooner or later get fixed.
We would also like to release more editors for special parts of the game, but our experience in the past was a bit disappointing. It has been always a lot more work than you would expect to release such an internal tool (translations, user friendliness etc.) and then only very few people actually used it. Examples were the old media and text mode editors.
22. How would you describe (using one sentence) impressions which are waiting for the fans after releasing FIFA Manager 12?
Gerald: A game that has so many little new objectives that you can’t stop playing before you have completed them all.
Adrian: I already played lots hours our new game and I can really say it´s the best Manager we ever produced.
FIFA MANGER 12 includes several new features and also the wishes of our great community, the fans will love this year’s game.
23. This year, our service will be celebrating its third birthday. We would like to know if you are following FIFAM.info development, if yes, how would you rate three years of our activity? What in your opinion is our biggest advantage and what we should improve?
Gerald: Your interviews are always very extensive. 🙂 Also I like that you always respond quickly when I have a question about the Polish language! We are looking forward working with you in the coming years and thank you for all your support!
Adrian: Although I´m really busy sometimes, I take time to check out our fanpages.
I really love that you translate our official news from English into Polish; that really helps all of us to keep everyone in Poland updated about FIFA MANAGER. Thank you guys for your support and all the best for the future.
We would like to thank Gerald and Adrian for this interview and Soeren as well for his help. We would like to also thank Robert and Bartek for sent questions.
Interview conducted by Lukas Tomczyk and Kily.
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