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The Match Engine

In the main pitch area we watch the highlights from the game with players represented by moving coloured dots which can be played at three speeds, fast being the preference of most users. Below the pitch is a bar which serves two functions, firstly it shows the balance of play on a sliding scale which indicates which team has the most possession and secondly, when a highlight is playing a text commentary of the segment is displayed in this area. Bullet points on important incidents and chat between managers takes place at the right of the screen (as with most text windows in the game, items such as player name are clickable and take us to the relevant screen such as player profile) and surrounding the pitch and chat area we have various tabs which allow us to impact the game. We can for example go into the statistics screen to view how well the teams are shaping up or the tactics and subs screen to make changes to the squad which take effect at the next break in play (Fouls, corners, throw-ins, goal kicks, goals or half time).

Match Statistics

Tactics and Subs Screen

Who wins and looses each game is essentially decided by numerous factors which are calculated by the match servers and are based on aspects such as tactics, player skills and rating for the particular game. Therefore it is possible to impact the flow of the game considerably with the changes made. Changing formation when it is clear from the highlights that your team is being over-run by their opponents or substituting players who are not performing to their normal level  all have a visible impact on how the match plays out.

Not going so well? Time for the transfer market.

No manager is perfect and in the initial squad we are as likely to get duds so the transfer market is an area where we can begin to rectify the mistakes and build a better team.

There are two main ways to search for players. The first is to use the search field in the top right of the screen to locate an individual. This makes it easy to locate players known to us in the real world, browse their profile and make a bid. In addition to this it is also possible to display a list of all available players within the game and then tailor the screen to our needs.

For example, entering the “All Players” screen and then filtering the list on “Technical” and “Midfielders” displays the technical attributes of all midfielders which we can then sort by skill. So if we wish to buy a quality defensive midfielder we can search by that position or by the tackling skill where those individuals with a level of 20 are displayed at the top of the list and then the quality descends as we move down through the pages.

Sort by skill

Sort by price

Auctions also take place within the game world and come in two forms, the first is wage auctions and these usually take place in situations where players are nearing the end of their contract. As we stated earlier, each player is signed on a seasonal basis with the maximum length of a deal being 2 seasons. It is possible to contract protect five squad members at any time which means they have their contract automatically renewed when it expires but for all other players they enter the wage auction stage where anyone can bid for the player. The team entering the highest wage signs the player and an acquisition fee is paid to the club who held his contract. This is one of the core principles that ensures a turnover of players within the game.

Transfer Auctions are initiated by managers and at any time it is possible to transfer list an individual at which point we specify a starting bid, length of auction and instant buy amount. If another manager chooses to instant buy the auction is ended for that price but if this does not happen the highest bidder signs the player at the end of the bidding process.

There are two other aspects to the signing process which are also worth noting. The first is that we are able to save players in a shortlist as we search. With so many on show it makes finding a player who we located earlier much easier with the additional benefit that if something happens to that player such as injury or a bid from another team a news update is delivered to our game inbox giving details. The second aspect is that players in each team can have auto reject and auto accept figures set. So if another manager decides they wish to buy our player when they select the option to make an offer they are told the conditions set by us. This saves any time wasting from players who think sending a bid of £500 for Kaka is reasonable.

Set automatic responses

Make a bid A Narrative Essay Closing thoughts and overall experience
There are not many online games which can say they have been through 16 years of development but that is essentially the case with Football Manager Live. Since the creation of the original Championship Manager in 1992 each subsequent release has been an enhancement or refinement to the original core principles of the game and Football Manager Live is the latest.

Because of this constant development of the series Football Manager Live is about as well rounded an experience as we are likely to find at the launch of a mass multiplayer game. That is not to say there are no problems with the pre-release code, in the time since we began testing there we have seen our fair share of problems from players who remained contracted, even after their team was deleted to catastrophic game world crashes and extreme lag. Sports Interactive and Sega have been learning throughout the development and in recent builds it is much easier to see a near finished product and we feel happier knowing that the disaster recovery process for game worlds has been thoroughly tested and refined.

There are two areas where we have to reserve judgement on the game until we test the final code later this month and that is the lag experienced at the launch of our most recent game world and the overall balance of the match engine and how it creates results. On the lag front our last launch experience was painful as the system struggled to cope with hundreds of managers auto selecting their teams and then the subsequent releasing and signing of individuals. In the end we had to sign out of the game and return later when the servers had died down to build our squad.

In terms of balance our main concern is results which appear to be quite random on some rare occasions. A prime example occurred with our most recent team when we had gone on a 10 game unbeaten run and were fast climbing the world rankings and leagues only to be beaten by a team ranked 300 or so places below us. A team who then went on to continue losing regularly in their subsequent games. It can be argued that our team had an off day/match where as the opponents were on their top form but given the gulf in ranking and the form before and after it is occasions like this where it is hard to see where the defeat has come from and it just does not feel right.

What we are happy to report is that the Football Manager Live community is a friendly place and at the time of writing we have not experienced any negativity from other managers, a swear filter is also in place to protect younger players.

In this preview we have tried to cover the main aspects of the Football Manager Live experience but it should be clear that the scope to become completely immersed in the game is huge. There is so much depth should you have time to explore it but equally it is just as fun to play if only dipping in and out of to play league games.

In early November we will give our full opinion on the final game code and experience so remember to check back then. In the mean time the first game worlds go live at the end of October 2008 and pre-orders are open at Phd Thesis On Migration Various payment packages are available as are payment methods such as credit card and PayPal.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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