Scripting and Saving

Solteldo celebrating

Only a couple of sessions and a handful of matches this week. Traditionally, mid-to-late April is doldrums time in PES. But this year – thanks to the late release, and then another delay while I made my mind up about PES2015 – April sees me at the height of my involvement with the game. I’m always itching to play more and longer sessions and advance my ML progress farther and farther. The PES equivalent of Pokemon’s ‘gotta catch ’em all’ tagline is ‘got to win ’em all’. PES2015 is proving most stubborn in refusing to cooperate.

I’d already had a terrible start to Season 9. Another attempt at playing on Superstar led to disaster, with one win from the opening nine or so matches. It left me at the foot of the table and seemingly out of the title race. I went back to Top Player with the title race seemingly already too much of a mountain to climb.

Ah, but Master League has always had this thing, where results above you will magically go your way just enough to allow you back into the mix.

I’ve been on a good run, and the teams at the top of the table haven’t. ‘Nuff said.

Below is the current table – as expected, the game has allowed me to catch up to the leaders. With over half the season remaining, I’ll certainly be challenging for the title come the end of it:

PES2015 Season 9 after 18

Just 6 points behind the leaders. The amusing thing with this ‘results matching’ is that we all put up with it. It’s all part of the show, the suspension of disbelief. Just as you can’t watch a film without pretending you don’t know that the characters are all actors reading lines from a script, you can’t play Master League (or PES, or any football game, or arguably any game at all) without pretending you don’t know that you’re also in the hands of a script.

A ‘sandbox’ football game without any off-field or on-field scripting would be interesting – but what would it consist of? Would it be worth playing? Would it keep bringing me back year after year for hundreds of hours at a time?

Elimination from the Champions League at the group stage was a blow this season, but I won my final fixture against Barcelona, at home, in style: 3-0. This meant I finished 3rd in the group table, and qualified for the Europa League Round of 32. Which I’m strangely excited about.

PES2015 season 9 Europa draw

I’ll be meeting up with Benfica, and the first leg is away, which I always prefer.

Finally today a little clip of some goalkeeping excellence.

It has often been said that in PES2015, they finally got goalkeepers more or less right, and this has been my experience over the seasons.

For most of my 9 seasons I’ve played with one keeper – the Regen Brad Friedel. I got him when he was 17, and he was solid from the outset, a fine shot-stopper in keeping with his real-life original. Here he is making a save that made me shout out when I watched it happen in real-time. It had looked such a certain goal otherwise:

Yep, you can say the classic ‘you’d expect him to save that’. But viewed in real-time, at full speed, it was a spectacular reaction save – the kind of save that keepers in PES2014, for example, were mysteriously not making.

Keepers have been PES’s Achilles’ heel for far too long, and they’re finally not, and that’s worth noting and celebrating.

26 Comments

  1. Ah scripting that wonderful term. As in life we go through 3 definitive stages. There are those early wonderful days where we are so engrosed by the ‘script’ that we get immersed in it all and find ourselves putting on suits etc.. for cup finals. Then the magic starts to fade and we see scripting as some kind of demon and we look out for it in every form and look for ways to fight against it. We pat ourselves on the back and think ourselves as being gifted and being able to read the script and patterns. This is where our nostalgia for those golden days come from as we long to be back in those early days. Then comes a 3rd stage where in fact you see how beautifull the script is and really appreciate the natrual balance and the work done to create a gaming experience. As NG will often point out it is us and not the games that have changed.

    As for goalkeepers they are the best I have seen in a PES game. For me the goalkeepers are best when you don’t notice them and you rarely do in the game but when you do take the time to look at the finer details again the individuality of goal keepers is superb. My only slight critism would be they punch everything from crosses/corners and would really like to be able to press one button to make the keeper attempt to catch the ball in the air. But that I can live without that.

  2. NG – not sure of your San Paulo style stadium but we dont have much scope for choice and that shadow thing onyour orig is grating.
    Agree with the keepers, before becoming a Bloodborne whore I witnessed 3! reaction saves one after the other by a Villa keeper. One the one hand it whiffed of wassive scripting on the other they were great saves.

    To Cambridge or Yharnam tonight?

  3. werd – that’s not my stadium. I was playing away at West Ham…

    Darryl – re. scripting in general, for me the mountain is definitely a mountain again.

    Keepers punching when they should catch is an annoyance, and is more than likely designed to maximise the ‘excitement’ for online, where everything is about keeping the game flowing and action happening. Everything dubious or outright bad that happens in football games is attributable to design changes deliberately made to cater for the online multiplayer market. I’m not even exaggerating for comic effect, but speaking the literal truth here. Online smells of poo.

  4. NG – totally agree as what happens on most of the occasions is the keeper punches it outside the box and in most cases it lands to a CPU player outside the box and is pinged back in. Just asking outloud is this what on line players want or is what the game designers think they want. Even if I was playing on line I would want those natrual momemts to slow things down, when the keeper catches the ball or a free kick takes place. On line play can be so frantic that you need this. I also like in games when you are leading in the closing minutes and your keeper catches the ball and you waste a bit of time and take some pressure out of the situation. This replicates football at its best.

  5. NG – moved to the Olympic Stadium already then?

  6. Six games to go until the end of season five and I’m on my best run on Superstar level. Just beat Man Utd away and Spurs at home. Mainly teams in the bottom half left to play as I chase 7th and an unlikely Euro spot. We’ll see if the scripting gods are in my favour if what n-G says is true.

  7. Rocket from the script in my game, the treble is on. 6 point lead in the league, champions league quarter final, and fa cup final.

    I could still lose all three but if it hadn’t been for Sydney United it would be the quintuple opportunity. I’m a bit nervous to get on with it to be honest.

  8. Had a really good session this morning and am now 2nd with a 3 point cussion at the mid December point. With 4/5 of next games at home I need to make these count as my place is a bit of a fortress. Much prefer the balance of top player and more emphasis is on the tactics.

  9. I got on with it and won the treble, well chuffed. Now to try it again on 1 bar passing which may involve a step down to top player if the previous experiment is anything to go by. So it’s encouraging to read about others’ positive experiences on TP.

    I’ve been wondering whether anybody else has developed other pes customs away from difficulty modifying the game and their editing quirks. I often check out the opposing team and manager before each game so much so I’m building a portfolio of knowledge on the managers although I’m not sure it makes much difference once I get down to button mashing. I also rarely change the squad numbers, only if it gets silly but I like having the 16 year old prospect with number 9 on his back. He’ll probably never get a game or go out on loan and lose the prestigious shirt.

    So, do you have any other customs with the game? Has pes 2015 introduced new ones?

    it’s a real shame the transfer market is a wrong ‘un. Otherwise I’d have this pes up there with the best. I like John Shed’s house rules on that front but I’d be tempted to include scouted players if it got a bit hardcore.

  10. Cook – the transfer system is way too easy to acquire good players easily. I am only in season 3 but have a decent sqaud now and my expected earnings is now at the 18 million mark as I have not exactly splashed the cash as I am holding off till I get in the prem. Something wrong in the fact that I could now purchase a top class player if I wanted too. I will start doing once I feel that I am an established top flight club. I don’t have any real quirks as such. What I did notice is that one of the regular commentators on the forums has started editing all the players stats from the Football Manager database and says that it really changes the balance of the game for better. That is something I may look at for the future but have loads I want to achieve with my current set up first.

  11. Darryl – you’re correct of course. I don’t have to exploit the transfer market but I just can’t help myself. I’m like a kid in the sweet shop

  12. Darryl – I downloaded an option file once where a guy had done just that, converting all the stats to match Football Manager. It was fantastically balanced, but it was quite late into the game’s life cycle. I just don’t know if I could wait that long for one to be relased after the games launch. I like to get my ML underway asap. No such problems on next gen this year!

    I’m glad you’re all having such good spells in master league. I’m in a bit of a quagmire with Juventus and dropping to two-bar. I’m beginning to really notice the difference, but I’m not blaming it for not picking up results. There’s a lovely balance to the game right now, I’m really needing to work hard to compete. I just don’t have the squad I used to, and it will take a bit of time, of course.

  13. From 2009 onwards I always played patched versions with ‘proper’ names and stats. I don’t know if it changed the game from vanilla, but it always added to my enjoyment.

  14. Cook – I’ve been playing 1-bar from the start and find it a very well-balanced setting. Top Player too. I think this year’s Superstar is off the scale in difficulty terms and am only aware of Lloyd among the commenters here playing it on 0-bar.

    The transfer market is a worry, but I’ve at least found it does take time to accumulate enough cash to get the top players. Which reminds me of something that I don’t believe has been resolved satisfactorily: the fact that there are so few really top players in this ML world. It’s as if we all chose to look away whistling. Just a handful of 90+ OVR players after 8 seasons? Something doesn’t feel right about that. It’s got to be a universal glitch. If it is, then it’s one with a happy outcome perhaps, because the game remains compelling without the legions of 110 OVR superstars that we saw in previous editions.

    But for that wrinkle, and the lack of fouls of course, I’d say this was one of the best-ever PESes too. IT does remind me a lot of PES5. Ah but that game disciplined you to play a certain way thanks to its hyper-sensitive fouling mechanic, the polar opposite of PES2015’s.

  15. Darryl – I played PES2013 on PC for a bit with altered stats and results were superb. A similar thing on PES2015 would have to be PC though as I’m afraid there’s still no way of getting a comprehensive amount of data imported to the PS4 version. I know who you mean on the forums – Klashman on EvoWeb – and he’s a PC player.

    You might be surprised when you go shopping just how little your £18m gets you. Maybe just one good player, and he’ll have to be young and relatively undeveloped for you to afford the transfer fee and his wages too. By the time season 5-6 rolled around, the players I wanted were all £40m transfers and £8m wages. So yes, it’s a flaw that if you’ve got the cash you can sign pretty much anyone. But can you get the cash…

  16. NG – indeed it is him and it would be a personal long term project as I would do everything myself. But that is for another place and another time when I am finished with this career and I have a long way to go yet. Currently 1 point clear in 2nd. Had at one point a 6 point gap. Note to myself, I know full well playing while tired is not a good idea but still did so last night and this led to sprint clamping and trying to force things. Anyway put things right with 3 straight home wins this morning. 18 gagames left.

  17. Season five has come to an end with Brighton finishing 10th and way short of the Euro place I was chasing. Two wins, two draws and a defeat in the last six games left me a good 10 points behind Newcastle in 7th.

    Overall a thoroughly enjoyable season on Superstar. Goals are still hard to come by and I think I need to try and keep two up front to try and pose more of a threat. I’ve been using a flowing 451/433 but poor old Kike has looked rather isolated up front. He finished my top scorer with 10.

    A little break now before some team building. A new strike force and a LB are top of my shopping list.

  18. John – I have two sets of tactics I am quite happy with. I have a traditional 4-4-2 with all out defence/aggressive and a 4-2-3-1 with front line pressure/conservative. I tweak these each match dependent on the opposotion. I have yet to come up with a 3rd tactic I am happy with but am considering a 4-5-1 with the midfield all stretched out as a stifling tactic. Did try a 3-5-2 but with little success.

  19. Darryl – ahhh sprint-clamping, one of my favourite PES topics. Like nose-picking, it’s something we all do but pretend we don’t. I sprint-clamp too much, outright abuse it at times, but I’m also at times capable of focusing, completely laying off it, and using it either not at all or only the ‘right’ way.

    In PES2015 the right use of R1 is more important than ever. One of the echoes of previous PESes is in how quickly you run out of space, a la PES2011, get closed down, lose the ball.

    This year, under normal, non-sprinting conditions you get a pretty generous 2-3 seconds or so to feel comfortable with the ball and look around for the next pass or whatever, before a CPU player is ‘on’ you. Squeezing R1 all the time reduces that ‘individual window of secure possession’ to about 1-1.5 seconds per player. I haven’t actually tested this scientifically, but the figures are something like that.

    There’s then a tipping point during misuse of R1 where you never quite have comfortable possession while sprinting with the ball all the time, and the CPU will easily take it/intercept it, leading to more sprint-clampy efforts to retrieve the ball, leading to frustration. (I often wonder if Paul’s problem with the game stemmed from this sprint-frustration phenomenon. He once remarked that he tried to play too direct, which indicates rushing, which indicates sprint-clampiness.)

    Shed – sounds like a classic tailing-off, which the ML league macro-script will also allow to happen if you don’t get the results yourself. With two draws and a defeat even the most generous ML results matching won’t allow you back in – thankfully.

    It’s nearly time for me to make another attempt at Superstar.

  20. Back from my fishing holiday in Spain and I’m itching to play Pro Evo tonight. Superstar and 0-bar will be interesting after a 9 day break.

    Had a fantastic time and haven’t read a newspaper, watched any tv or even been on the Internet. Had 5 PB’s out there, what a thoroughly enjoyable break.

  21. Another battling series of games. A stuffing at the hands of AC Milan, a decent win against Napoli, a loss to Grasshopper Zurich in the CL (who?) partly down to me pausing right when they were cutting in to the box, and a draw that should have been a win against table topping Emopli (yes, really.) This season is keeping me on my toes, that’s for sure. I may have jumped the gun when heaping praise on some of my regens early on, though. They’ve very much been found out.

    Not convinced by Drogba. He’s no Toni.

  22. Lloyd – someone from work here went away for a week in a monastery in a remote part of Scotland and was saying how good it was to be able to un-plug herself from society for a while. I think I would be quite happy working in a lighthouse.

    NG – I think you are correct about Paul’s playing style and this direct approach is what led him to have problems in the end with Fifa 14. Interestingly I was reading your old comments from PES 2008 about playing a defensive game and keeping your defensive shape as well as leaving off the sprint button leads to creating more chances for yourself when you get the ball back. Of course this is true of most footy games but more so I have found with this one.

  23. Lloyd – welcome back to the fray, and what is a PB?

    Tommy – the game loves Drogba. He’ll be in the Best XI of all competitions every year if you play him regularly enough, no matter what he does. He is a great player in the game, but nowhere near great enough for the kind of profile that the game seems to think he has. Wait till you see tomorrow’s post and what he’s done next.

  24. NG – personal best.

  25. nG – Don’t get me wrong, I know the talents there somewhere, he just tends to go missing for games at a time. When he’s up for it, he’s great, but he’s in danger of getting dropped for regen Sebastian Abreu.

    My problem at the moment is more down to me, so it is unfair to blame the big Ivorian. I’m tinkering with formations constantly at the moment, trying to combat these tricky Serie A formations. Trying to play Totti in a central deep SS role as he’s the life blood of my team, and keeping things narrow in general, although my players will always end up out wide!? More research needed. Things are improving, albeit slowly.

  26. What a difference a day makes!

    My team has suddenly just clicked, I think the teamwork stats have just hit optimum levels. My ranged long balls are starting to find their targets again in devastating fashion. The new Drogba that is S. Abreu has just gone glowing, and responded with a first-half hattrick. Then 3 more went supernova, Pandev bagging 2 hatties in 2 games.

    PES.

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