A few small things…

Posted by Scotsman on November 2, 2008 in Life |

It surprises me at times how I went so long without having a blog, and now I can’t imagine not having one.  I keep thinking of topics to write about, and have a list of about ten things I really need to cover.  That doesn’t even include my normal day to day ramblings here.  So expect a lot of content over the next few days.  For now we’ll just cover a few small things on my mind.

First of all, I am getting tired of this computer.  I had a ton of problems earlier this year with the onboard sound card, so I installed a new one in January or February I believe, and at the same time reformatted my computer.  I can’t remember if it happened right then or of it has just got worse, but right now my computer really sucks in that if I am listening to music, I can’t do anything else(like browse the web) without it skipping or stalling really bad.  So I’ve ordered some RAM from Newegg as I really need an extra GB on ehre anyway, then when that arrives I’ll do a reformat and cross my fingers that this fixes everything.  Otherwise I’ll try out a new sound card, and failing that just buy a whole new fucking system.

Today was the debut of the NBA Betting System.  It is similar to the WNBA system somewhat, and I ran it as a test last year privately and it did something sick like 30-12 over 2 months.  It started off well today predicting Bulls -8.5 and they covered by 10, so hopefully it continues to do well.  I’m planning on getting the NBA Betting tips site up tomorrow.

I was approached by someone wanting me to promote a poker site called “Swank Poker” today.  I decided to check out the poker room and I was quite surprised, as it is basically a mix of porn and poker.  For example – at other poker rooms, you earn points that you can spend at their store on merchandise, or ipods or whatever.  At swank poker?  You can buy memberships to porn sites, visits to BROTHELS and other sexual related stuff.  I looked at their affiliate program, and they state that for super-affiliates they offer “mind-blowing sex parties”.  That beats a free visit to Barcelona any day.  In all seriousness, this may be a huge failure or it may be the next big thing, but I am going to have a look into promoting it because in theory, they should attract a really fishy playerbase.  Plus if I send them lots of players I get to go to mind-blowing sex parties!!!  Awesome.

Finally, the Football Manager 2009 demo was released today.  Bit meh, here is my full thoughts on it:

Alright, I’ve played the game now solid for the past few hours, so rather bits and pieces I thought I’d give a full review of it so far.

The core of the game is the same as usual. It’s as good as you expect from an FM game, and it still has lots of problems ala an FM game. Media interaction is still as poor, and while press conferences are a fun addition, like MANY features in FM, they just feel so much like “fluff” and barely scratched the surface, and get a bit boring after awhile.

The one main new feature however where I AM impressed, is the feedback from your assistant manager during a match. It doesn’t get too in-depth, so doesn’t come across as a “trainer” or anything. Like your assistant manager basically points out things that as a manager in real life you would be able to notice, for example that there is a gap between your defensive line and midfield that the opposition may take advantage of, or that one of your players is making a lot of bad passes etc. These are also stats that you could find by looking through the actual stats etc, but it’s great to have a screen like this that basically “alerts” you to anything. Major, major thumbs up for this, and I think it’s one of the best features to be added to this series. It’s one of those things that we’ve been without for so long, and now it’s here you think “How did I exist without this?”.

Of course, the main issue is the 3D match engine. There’s a ton of posts and issues on the SI boards about this, and that it hampers the 2D engine, and people who were able to play FM 2008 can’t even play FM 2009 due to not good enough graphics card or whatever. I don’t know the full details of this as it works fine on mine so can’t really comment, but it IS a disappointment to see that there is a lot of complaints like that. Of course there is data issues – unfortunately there always is, however SI really need to figure out something about this. I’m not talking about “oh I think player XX should have 15 for finishing instead of 14”, I’m talking about things like Nacho Novo only having a 1 for finishing. This was something spotted by many players of the game after just minutes of actually loading up the game. Perhaps providing a datasheet or something on the boards of all players like a few days before datalock would help stop these glaring errors that really can ruin a game.

As for the 3D match engine itself? It has the potential to be phenomenal. Potential is the key word there. There are still a lot of issues that need to be worked out. I think that is to be expected, as even the 2D match engine had quite a few issues after all the patches in FM08. The match doesn’t “flow” as well as it should, players stand around often doing nothing, the issue of it flashing “goal” before the ball has even went over the line, to name just a few. I find a ton of shots hitting the woodwork. The “too many injuries” issue is back.

However the 3D engine is definitely a big step in the right direction. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling just watching a player in 3D do something in-game that they do in real life. It just gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling seeing things like that. There is going to be a lot of growing pains and frustration, but the 3D engine just adds a whole new aspect to FM. Of course what you gain in entertainment value you lose in tactical. There’s definitely a balance to be found though, and I think with more experience with the game I’ll be able to find that.

The FM series has went through a couple of major transitional phases in its time. For example, from 97/98 to CM 3. Or from 01/02 to CM4. This is another one of those big transitional phases. Even with patches, I doubt this game will run too smoothly, and I don’t think we’ll really reap the benefits of these changes until the next incarnation. This game needs a lot of polishing. Quite frankly, they is going to be a ton of people who hate this version of the game.

My honest opinion? Don’t buy it on release date. Play around with the demo, but that’s it. If, when the patches come out the game gets a lot more positive feedback, then look into buying it. But I think this is one that with all the potential issues, especially with the match engine, you’ll be able to skip, and get a much more rewarding experience playing the next game in the series.

In saying that, I’ll be buying it on release day, with one of the main reasons being to support SI in moving forward with a 3D engine, which was a very big risk. I already know going in that the managerial experience won’t be as fun as previous versions, but I’m willing to accept that mainly because despite the aforementioned issues, the 3D engine just has so many positives and makes it a joy watching matches.

I’ll be back later Sunday.  Current To Do List: 36.

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