It’s a great life on the buses

Two sessions after getting my first penalty in PES2020, I got my second penalty in PES2020…

Same outcome as before. This time I didn’t take a sneaky peek at the aiming reticule (I insist upon calling it that; other naming conventions are available).

I went to the keeper’s left, my right, with a goodly amount of power, and using my best penalty-taker Lobato, as can be seen. And the keeper saved. To be fair, if he guesses the right way, he could hardly avoid saving it.

I see some chatter on the forums that penalties are suddenly more common – and that they’re mostly being saved, interestingly. Hmmm.

I’ve lost track of when PES2020 was last patched and what was supposed to be in the patch – not that this really matters to a PES community that routinely compiles its own fantastical patch notes.

But I’ve now got two penalties within a few matches of each other, after playing several hundred matches without getting a single one. I’m aware of the laws of statistics which say that, actually, this isn’t so remarkable. Randomness is random. But if I get a third penalty in the next session or two, I’ll be putting on the tinfoil hat and firmly believing in the reality of ‘secret patches’ along with the rest of them.

And if I missed that hypothetical third penalty, the interesting thing then would be: why (re-)introduce penalties to a football game and make so many of them missed? Balancing of course. Can’t have too many goals scored.

In the league I’m storming up the table, with top spot well within reach. Knowing the series and the Master League mode as I do, I regard the league title as mine to lose.

I’m playing on Top Player, remember. It does throw up the odd impossible match, which achieves its ends quite amusingly with mysteriously missed shots and wonder saves from the AI goalkeeper. A football game is an interactive scripted experience. Which I have always known, of course, but there is a thing called suspension of disbelief which is critical for immersion in any form of fictive media, which applies to video games as much as to any movie or book.

Here’s the table going into April in Season 8:

I think a title win here will be a fitting finale to this PS4 ML career.

Notice the lack of regular goal footage from me. Regular readers will be used to seeing me post a watchable goal or two in almost every post, year in, year out. Usually those goals are something long-rangey, but often they’re notable for other reasons too.

That simply doesn’t happen with PES2020. The goals of PES2020 might well be the dullest goals in PES history! There’s the odd ball-over-the-top smash into the net that gets the blood pumping, but goals like that aren’t replay-worthy either. Most goals are of the pass-pass-pass-pass-sidefoot-in-from-8-yards variety. Which is fine. I recognise the, uh, validity of that sort of thing…

Updated: 7th January 2020 — 11:45


  1. NG – I had 3 penalties in my 9 seasons on PES 20 on PS4, I’ve already had 2 in 5 matches in my fledgling Luton Town FIFA 20 CM on PC.

    Also, much like FKs were way too easy to score in PES, Penalties also have an unrealistically high save ratio, most noticeable in penalty shootouts where at least 3 of my 5 penalties are always saved, even with bang-on top corner powerful ones.

    Can you recall the file path where you saw and tweaked a supposed foul setting for FIFA in frosty?

  2. Paul – Frosty has a search string box where I looked for ‘referee’ and it led me to multiple possibles, all set to 1 or 3. I changed several to 10 at random and went to test, just to see if there was an effect but there wasn’t. That really was the extent of my tinkering back then. A certain deep game called Death Stranding came along. I’ve got some time off work at the end of the month and might jump back into Frosty then.

  3. Cheers, will have a look later see if i can unearth anything

  4. Paul – all the gameplay values are in there, along with mathematical formulae that I don’t understand.

    Have you tried the Vice City mod in GTAV? Not sure if you were a Vice City man back in 2002 or so, but I certainly was and I know that place as well as I know anywhere.

  5. I have seen the Vice City Mods on various websites, and I did play GTA Vice City back in the day, but am perfectly happy exploring GTA V’s Los Angeles map as I didnt play it a great deal when I had it before shipping it off to Turf I think it was?!

    Did you switch Frosty editor to legacy view? its a much simplified file tree and description.

  6. Paul– this is the Frosty Editor view I have right now — I just quickly opened it to show you the path to the ‘Referee Strictness’ settings:

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    You have to double-click the entry/entries in the lower box (the widely-circled one) to get the values, whatever they are, to show up in the main window. And those values can then be changed. I’ve only just spotted the ‘Referee Strictness With/Without Ball contact’ setting! I don’t believe I tweaked that one a few weeks ago when I tried it all out. Can’t right now as I’m busy and Origin would want to update and all sorts.

    Plugging ‘foul’ and ‘fouls’ or any other thing in the game into that top circled Filter leads you right the the relevant values. I think you’ve watched the kit tutorial vid on YouTube where he demonstrates how to find any team’s kits etc using that Filter box, so you’re familiar with it already no doubt.

  7. Not me paul, you’ve sent me pes spares in the past but i only had GTA on the PS3 and my interest in the lead character in those games died with San Andreas -obnoxious little shit, followed by iv’s miserable git. I cex’d V and it’s three amigos very early.

    Been really surprised by Tomb Raider – I was really expecting more of the Indiana Jones come uncharterererered stuff. Old news for most I guess but it’s like a modern horror.

  8. Ahh must have been #1 or Abbeyhill then, that I sent my copy of GTA V to.

    Cheers NG – my only reservation with the above is that it isn’t the ref strictness thats an issue in FIFA, as I’ve had 2 penalties awarded to me in 5 matches, and a red card against me, its the fact that the AI players don’t tackle, ie they very rarely slide in or pull you back etc.

    Would need to find some type of ‘AI defensive aggression’ setting I think.
    I plan on having a look around later tonight, didnt get on the PC last night.

  9. Paul – that was just an example of how to drill down into the settings to find key variables that can then be changed. I have no idea what else is in there, nor under what name. A search for ‘aggression’ or similar might turn up The Settings.

    It was Shed you sent GTA5 to.

  10. Yeah I get that, will have a search later, still surprised theres no more in depth documentation floating around the web on frosty and fifa specific variables.

    Ahh yeah Shed, thats it, haven’t heard from him in a while, lets hope his shed didnt collapse under the heavy rain before xmas

  11. NG – had a tinkering sesh last night on the PC, found all the referee settings in frosty editor, under FIFA > Gameplay > Rules > Attribuals

    Lots of values in there, referee warning intensity, multipliers, thresholds etc, I created 2 mods, one which drastically increased the values and one which lowered the base values, and modified the splash loading screen for each so I had confirmation that when FIFA loads, it had loaded the correct mod.

    Only played a couple of matches on each so not a great control test, but would have expected to see some changes immediately if anything had changed, and I didn’t really.
    The first Mod, which raised all the values, if anything was less of a fouls rich match, I was seemingly able to tackle very physically without much consequence, so with that in mind the second mod lowered all the values, as a lot of them are ‘threshold’ based, my thinking being that a threshold is usually a measure by which an action is then triggered, so if the base ref_strictness_intensity_threshold value was 10.0, I lowered it to 3.0 thinking that referee foul decisions would be triggered more easily, but as mentioned, nothing really seemed to change.

    The problem is that with no understanding or documentation explaining what the settings are or what the values represent, it’s difficult to make an educated guess as to what they should be changed to in order to trigger a noticeable difference.

    I also found all the locations for adboards, Tv logo overlays etc, so plenty of bits to explore.

    Decided against doing a Luton Town Career Mode, really can’t be assed with the grind of lower league football, promotion etc, I want to take a ‘fallen giant’ back to greatness, just undecided whether it will be in the premier league, or a foreign league, maybe Italy, Spain, or Portugal, ideally one with a fair few proper stadiums.

    Not a Long shot by any true means but scored this last night whilst testing out some mod changes, was just nice to score something a bit different from the usual pass and go, tippy tappy goals of PES20.

  12. Lloyd – you are pretty expert with the old PA0 passing now. Some great intuitive flicks and through-balls on show there. I’m pleased if I pull off a standard A to B pass. Loved the Salah move and lob at 3:40-ish.

    Paul – with my own very limited testing that was my finding too. It was quite deflating to change what looked like a key value from low to high, or high to low, and see zero outcome on the pitch. Frosty is a fan-made thing and EA are never going to reveal their secrets to the public, particularly not when it comes to fouls. Did you ever get a Twitter reply to your inquiry about fouls? Has anyone ever?

    But it’s a complicated piece of kit and there are thousands of settings to tweak and we don’t know how they all interact. For all we know there’s another setting (or entire set of settings) somewhere that act as ‘master’ settings for the settings that apparently don’t change much of anything. E.g. imagine you open up MS Word and it opens in a small window, but you really want it big, so you go and change the font-size to make it bigger – but it’s still in the small window. Whereas really what you want to do, and have to do, is toggle the Full Screen setting, i.e. the master setting that you really need. Clumsy analogy for the FIFA Frosty fouls quest but I’m sure you get my meaning. Somewhere in that mass of values….

    Another week or so and I’ll be able to join the search, on FIFA and on PES. If nothing else it fascinates me how the two companies are so clearly determined to prevent the user having any input whatsoever into fouls frequency.

    Nice belter of an in-off-the-post 20-yarder too.

  13. NG – Yeah was excited when I saw the values but pretty much expected nothing to change.

    There are definitely links and sub levels in Frosty and to the values that affect the game, for example, modding the camera angles, there is a set of values under Broadcasting > Presentation > Camera with associated zoom, offset, height, tracking, framing, speed etc values, changing these you’d think would change the camera, but on their own, they dont, there is yet another sublevel under Broadcasting > worlds > attributes > environments > per_stadia with yet another set of camera angles and settings in that relate each individual stadium, are the 2 sets linked? does changing the master set override the per stadium set? its all unknown and very much trial and error.

    I also think that for some of the settings, just making changes in the frosty editor aren’t enough, theres associated team maps, stadium maps, ini and LUA script files that need changes to make the frosty settings trigger.

    There seems to be a distinct few people around who know anything about this stuff, how they learnt of it is a mystery, but also why they keep it all schtum, as they sell their mods on sites like Patreon, I had a look and that FIFER guy, who pretty much just takes other peoples mods and amalgamates them into his own and releases them, is making $2,500 PER MONTH from subs on Patreon.

  14. Paul – I thought Fifer was the American one who releases free stuff (saw a YouTube vid of his and he’s a very young-sounding kid), and there’s another Paul figure who is the Patreon one? Regardless I know one of them had their posts removed from EvoWeb because of the Patreon thing.

    One of the modders managed to get FIFA to award a yellow card for each and every foul no matter how innocuous, so there are effective settings there somewhere.

    For me the most illuminating aspect of my own Frosty testing (a single evening about 6 weeks ago) was when I tried the yellow card thing as well, just to see if I could make an effective change. So in my test match I had to purposefully commit a foul against the AI, to pick up a yellow card and hopefully lots of them to prove the mod worked. But could I get near the AI to foul them?! NO. No matter how much I tried to slide-tackle and barge, the AI just eluded me all the time and it was about 30 mins of in-game time before I managed to foul anyone, despite that being my only intention from the off. Yet more proof of where fouls and free kicks fit into the hierarchy of values for modern football games. They really don’t like ’em.

  15. NG – yeah FIFER is the young kid, from what i understand, he doesnt do much modding himself, he pays other modders to do things for him and to include their mods in his own, he has a Patreon account, as does the Paul2k4 guy who released the CM realism Mod, and GFXMod who does all the turf textures etc also has one, it was him actually that makes the 2.5 grand a month.

    I changed the yellow and red card settings too and had the exact same issue you did, played as Liverpool vs Everton, nice beefy derby, tried to foul as much as I could, and couldn’t get near them to perform a foul, the game finished with something like 1 foul to me and 2 to them, and that was with me purposely trying to force fouls.

    Not knowing what the values mean is the main issue, Ref_intensity_Yellow_Card is set to say 0.75, what does that mean? is making the value 0.5 or 1.0 a massive change? is there another value somewhere that’s used as a multiplier for this value?
    Without someone who definitely knows explaining it all I cant really see how its useable.

  16. Frosty is interesting, but I can see how you could tweak for ever trying to work out the variable interaction. Some values look like they are a percentage, some a probability, and others possibly somewhere in between.

    Paul – As altering one value didn’t help, my first thought was that maybe the yellowcard settings only come into play when the referee_strictness_yellowcard_threshold has been exceeded. It is interesting to note that the warning, yellowcard and redcard thresholds are increasing values, so I would guess they act like range limits.

  17. Paul/Chris99 – exactly, it’s certain that besides all the seemingly obvious ‘INCREASE FOULS HERE!’ sorts of settings, they all depend upon other layers of variables that would have to be tweaked. E.g. we’d have to identify and change the underlying variable(s) that create the small % chance any player on either side will even get close enough to trigger the foul sensitivity in the first place.

    Seeing the innards of FIFA, via Frosty, splayed open on a laboratory table, increases the respect I have for the complexity of a football game. The straightforward single-value settings are intimidating enough, but then you’ve got all the factorial-like ones as well that change their value depending on input from other values, which probably also depend on yet other variables, in ever-increasing exponential complexity and fine-grained-ness. No real wonder that annual sports games makers are content to recycle code from one iteration to the next. They sort of have to.

    All that said, the potential reward for me is so enticing that I’m going to roll up my sleeves and really spend some time with Frosty and FIFA on the PC, when my PC era rolls around. Which should only be next week now. I’ll be playing a PES OG Defaults ML on the one hand (with the Holland Hard family of gameplay mods), but doing some FIFA modding and testing on the side, and talking about both on the blog.

  18. Chris/NG – What you’ve both said about the levels and escalating thresholds triggering other values etc is all a certainty, its just knowing what affects what, and currently we don’t.

    When you have 22 individual entities running around a pitch, all with their own stats and as a result, own virtual personality and values to adhere by, its going to be very complex under the hood, programming AI is hard enough without having to do it 22 times, along with a ball and make them all rely/impact on eachother, we are probably a little too harsh on game devs when something doesn’t work, seeing the inner workings gives you a greater respect for what they do.

    I’m currently trying my hand at designing a FIFA kit from scratch, I’ve seen the YT videos about changing sponsors etc on the front of an existing kit, which is simple enough really, but I am going all out, and designing a brand new texture, with its associated bump maps and embroidery mesh’s, want to see if i can get it into the game complete with mini kit preview for the kit selection screens.

    Think I may try a ‘Rebuild AC Milan’ CM in FIFA 20, playing a few friendlies last night testing mods, and using the GFXMod kit textures and shaders pack, Sky Sports Scoreboard overlay and PaulVK24 realism Mod, the game looked and played superbly, with EA’s own pretty superb presentation, a modded FIFA 20 CM is quite exciting.

    Will look forward to your own FIFA tweakings on here NG.

  19. As the warning, yellow and red thresholds are about 30, 60 and 85 (can’t quite see the last one) try altering them to 1, 2 and 3 and see how long it takes you to get sent off.

  20. I said I would go up to TP if I won something….. I have 3 chances of this in the next three games. Arsenal in FA Cup Final, Bayern in Europa League Final and beat Newcastle in final game to win the League. Boom!!

  21. Lloyd – Possible treble on, good luck !!

    Chris – I tried high and low numbers but didnt make any difference, further tweaking and testing definitely required.

    Only had an hour last night but have now created a new broadcast camera for FIFA 20, quite versatile in that you can replicate PES’s stadium cam style, or bring it lower down and zoom in more for a more authentic tv broadcast feel, much nicer than the default.
    Also created a shader mod, enhancing vibrancy, contrast, LOD, lighting and colour palette to give a deeper more lush realistic looking turf, the added sharpness means you see more of the pitch texture and dirt etc too.

  22. Paul – next week I’ll be interested in trying any mods you create. Closing in on my last session on the PS4, cannot wait to be done with it on this platform. 8 seasons is everything it has to offer I think.

    Lloyd – I tried PA0 for a while inspired by your example, but I’d spent too long on PA1 by then. Platform move will be a refresh for me.

  23. NG – definitely, will drop you an email. And ditto.

    The game play camera mod is on a per stadia basis so I plan to go through the Serie A teams, find which stadium is assigned to each of them as not all the italian stadiums are in the game, then find their stadium ID’s, and make the mod for each stadium, then package it into an all in one mod, for Serie A.

    Will do the same for the other major leagues too, for any european games etc.

    Plan to start a Serie A CM with Milan, using the following mods:

    My ShaderFX Mod
    My Broadcast Cam Mod
    FIFER’s CM Realism Mod
    Frosty Scoreboards Mod.
    Custom AC Milan Kits

    Its all quite amusing that I was looking forward to the PC modding to pimp up PES, but didn’t realise there was quite a healthy modding scene for FIFA, or that it was even possible.
    After 9 solid ML seasons on the PS4, I don’t have any appetite left for even more on the PC.

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