Through the CAM hole

Heading towards Christmas in my first season of FIFA20’s Career Mode. Leeds United. Professional difficulty. On the PC platform. Mods installed.

How’s it going? Pretty bloody fantastic, is how it’s going.

I’m currently enjoying a consistent 9/10 per-sesssion experience across all sessions of FIFA20. I’d even say it’s at a 10/10 level, but that’d be getting silly (even though it’s pretty much the case). Because everyone knows that I can’t play FIFA, right?

Somehow though, I am playing FIFA. Everything else has receded into the background momentarily. I was (and still am) hip-deep in a great FM2019 career, but even that has been relegated to a supporting role for now. I haven’t played my probable Strategy Game Of All Time, XCOM2, at all for two weeks, the first time that’s happened in a long time. Death Stranding is still going, albeit at a reduced rate. (Death Stranding will never end. I think that’s the idea of it.)

Why is FIFA20 so great? Well, for well over a decade now FIFA has been good, at times verging on great, so it’s no real surprise that an edition in the series can close up the gap to the next level that takes it over the line for this diehard PES player. It’s important to remember that I’m playing a souped-up, modded version on PC. Would I be as enamoured of FIFA20 without the mods? Possibly, but I don’t know, and haven’t got the time to play vanilla and find out. I’m having too much of a good time trying to guide Leeds United into the Premier. The Championship table after 12 matches:

Modded FIFA20 on PC has great, slow, heavy gameplay, the stuff that I need at this time of my football gaming life.

And most importantly – the game allows the player to score great goals. Great, satisfying goals. Great, long-range, net-bursting goals…

One of the complaints I consistently had about PES2020 was its almost complete lack of inspiring goals. There was the odd one ‘allowed’, yes – a goal here or there that would have me grinning and shouting and fist-pumping in the non-masturbatory sense and all the rest of it. But fully 99% of all PES2020 goals were of the so-effing-what variety. Sad to say.

FIFA20 does the bread-and-butter goals as well, but it also does long-rangers, thumping headers, free kick routines, toe-pokes, instep swingers, laces rippers, the lot.

Whole weeks of real time would pass in PES2020 without me scoring a single goal worthy of posting on this blog.

Here’s a video of a few goals from my first full week on FIFA20 Career Mode. I didn’t come out with a video like the one below in 8 full seasons of Master League.

Regular readers will know how much I adore scoring from that ‘DMF hole’ about 30 yards out in front of goal. I might have to call it the CAM hole now I’m on FIFA. It’s been a few years since PES allowed scoring from that kind of position with any regularity.

Some might point out that there’s a few too many such ‘CAM hole’ goals on show above. That’s fine by me – I’m playing on Professional only, a middle difficulty level where the amount of space on the pitch and ability shown by opponents is scaled down accordingly. I would expect to be able to score a few goals like this, and I gleefully am scoring them. I’ll be moving up to World Class and perhaps beyond in due course, and I doubt they’ll be so freely available there.

I’m immersed in Career Mode. I almost can’t believe it myself. Bamford is adequate but not spectacular. Hernandez is great, a real gem, but he’s 34 and won’t be here forever. Phillips is a pony-tailed CDM worth every penny of the £16m that teams keep offering me for him (I refuse).

I only bought one player before the transfer window closed. I kept messing up negotiations for players I hadn’t Scouted. You have to Scout in Career Mode. Another layer of complexity.

I Scouted and bought Weimann, who got injured but has come back and started scoring. There’s Training to do. There are Youths to nurture (properly nurture, not simply play and watch develop).

For a FIFA game to come out of the blue at me in January of the football game year is almost without precedent.

I have to look back – way back – to the early PS3 days to find any comparable scenario to this. Back then, from FIFAs 08 to 10, I mixed it up quite a lot and spent whole months at a time playing Manager Mode, as the single-player career was then called.

This has been a long time coming back, but here it is.

Updated: 31st January 2020 — 11:52


  1. Beautiful, just beautiful !
    Some wonderfully taken goals there, and I love the feeling when you unleash a shot in FIFA, you can almost feel the thud and drive of it, unlike in PES where every effort followed a generic trajectory pace and power path and it was like, mehhhhh.

    Looks like this test Leeds Cm is here to stay, if you haven’t already get yourself the Live editor and change your managers appearance and name to one that suits.

  2. Paul – it is pretty fantastic right now. When the bottom has fallen out of FIFA in the past I’ve always known after the first few sessions that it woild. Not so here. All the mods make the difference of course. Quality of life, cosmetic, gameplay, all matter.

    My manager name is already not-Greg and his look is intended. That’s a me from a parallel universe aged 30 something. I’ll age him as the save progresses using that tool

  3. Ahhh didnt realise you’d set it up, thought it was AA Manager.
    I’m already looking forward to playing again, which will probably be sunday, after coming off the back of that extraordinary match the other night its a bummer to have to wait days to play again.

  4. From last thread….yes, and for some bizarre reason, even when all the evidence suggests otherwise, against all logic, I continue to press triangle. It’s a Brexit metaphor.

    Fm career is at the earlier stage than you suggest NG. The tactical assistance/info is much better than previously. I feel CM was a great ‘pick your formation and let the numbers pan out’ game, the mid year FMs introduce excessive options with no clear indication of what might work or negate another choice, and now they’ve made it just as option heavy but with that support for how you might go about it. Consequently, I’m working out which pegs I have for which holes and how I’m going to shape the side. Once that’s in place I’ll be off with limited input week to week. It’s very like madden et al – lots of set up, then just blast through with pig headed I’m not changing optimism.

  5. Paul – I’ve finished the script and tested it and it is fully working. All 3 GeForce in-game functions – Instant Replay, Screenshot, Record On/Off – are available vie the gamepad. Update GeForce drivers first as the screenshot capability mysteriously went AWOL until I updated. You never mentioned what your Record On/Off keybinding is, so I’ve left it at default (Alt+F9). You’ll be able to customise it to your liking. Here’s the script for the curious and Uncle Turf:

    If GetKeyState(“Joy5”){
    Send, {LAlt down}{r down}{r up}{LAlt up}

    If GetKeyState(“Joy5”){
    Send, {LAlt down}{F9 down}{F9 up}{LAlt up}

    If GetKeyState(“Joy9”){
    Send, {LAlt down}{s down}{s up}{LAlt up}

    I’ve sent you the goodies, but you or anyone can just copy the above into Notepad or similar, save as Filename.ahk, and run it with FIFA20 (or indeed any joypad-friendly game). You’ll need to install AutoHotkey first though. if you don’t want to install anything, I’ve made a standalone compiled .exe that I’ve also sent to you, which will work whether you have AutoHotkey installed or not.

    When I get a moment over the weekend I’ll post the script in all its forms somewhere and link to it permanently somehow.

    Uncle Turf – I was up and running pretty fast into the ‘pick the team, tweak the tactics, watch the matches’ zone (the best zone of FM, because it’s so like old-school CM). That whole business of spending hours to get to your first league match is a big no-no. Assign repsonsibility for everything to your staff (get them if you have to), and just zoom through to the season. You can worry about the minutiae of everything later. 2.5 seasons into my Start Unemployed adventure and I’ve left pretty much everything to staff and am playing it like a CM edition with a few frills, and it’s great.

  6. Many Thanks for this NG, Great Work, As soon as I get 5 mins will install and test it out and get back to you via email.

    And here’s a TV logo Overlays Pack for the EFL Championship/Generic

  7. ka-BOOOM. The FIFA20 Hernandez show continues. His first since his last one.

  8. Another cracking strike, seems that Hernandez has a might boot on him, might try and sign him for palace in my CM. Is he an actual DMF ? or CDM as in FIFA?
    I have Keyouté who plays there who has a similar cracking strike on him but he’s ageing now and stamina doesn’t last the full 90.

    Move that bloody mouse pointer off screen!!! ;-0

  9. paul – again it’s weird how I never see the mouse pointer AT ALL (genuinely, not at all) until it’s pointed out to me, and then it’s amazing how I could have failed to see it when it’s right there next to the player and ball, or even on them. Will certainly move it away. It keeps appearing because I often Alt-Tab out to do something on the computer. FIFA20 masks the pointer otherwise.

    I turned my PS4 on this morning to cancel my PS+ autorenew. The free games just aren’t worth it (don’t think I’ve ever played one for more than 30 minutes), I don’t play online, and the cloud save won’t be needed if the PC platform switch holds as it’s seeming to. It’s also more beneficial for me not to be on the PS4 whilst in bed late nights, and read instead.

    Hernandez is an RM/CAM and has the best shooting stats of any player on the team, most gratifyingly as we all know what FIFA is traditionally criticised for from the PES side of the divide. I’ve tried multiple long-rangers with multiple players and the weaker shooters just can’t do what Hernandez is. He is 34 going on 35 in-game now though, so he’d only be good for a season or two. I’m shopping in January for a replacement already. I think the Leeds save will continue, I know all the players now.

  10. I maybe fully on Fifa soon with the odd dabbling of Death Stranding here and there. I can tell from the game map that the story side is coming to a conclusion. I wanted to finish the story first before fully commiting to Fifa once more. I am about 14 games into my first season with Portsmouth. But going back to Death Stranding I don’t think I will ever experience a game like it again. The missions are so rich and diverse in variety of what you have to overcome in a wide range of terrain. The whole package is a wonder of so many elements that are cleverly intertwined. I won’t give anything away but there was a small time in the game where I wondered if the elements of the game that made it special had gone. I longed a little bit for those early hardchore moments, where it was just you on your own with very little to aid you. Then the locations you encounter are so wild and remote that you are taken back there again. Easily the best game I have ever played and nothing comes even close.

  11. Darryl – I might be a bit behind you now as I’m still some way off the story side, which I’ve been deliberately putting off so I can just wander around doing my own thing. I’ve had Football Manager and FIFA take over in recent weeks with DS as my only game-game. At the moment DS is in my top 5 and I’m waiting for the end to give it its final position. ICO is the most like it, which I think you played a bit of. Also Skyrim! I mean the parts where you’re ignoring the quests and sub-quests and sub-sub-quests and are just wandering around. The difference being that DS wants you to just be there, alone, in the world.

  12. NG – it is worth pushing on with story just for the fact the locations become even more isolated. No never played ICO but remember a lot of discussion on here about the game. Maybe one for the list? Difficult to imagine a game after DS though.

  13. Darryl/NG/Anyone else playing FIFA – I have created a section on the forums over on FIFAFX for madding your best/most enjoyable goals or highlights clips

  14. Just finished season one, and already got myself some new kits for the new season, posted images/video on FIFAFX.

  15. Paul – I’m working on a new sidebar thing for the PC era and will post a prominent link to the FIFAFX forum there – and I saw your kit vid late last night, thought I was hallucinating (it was 2am-ish) as I’d temporarily forgotten about custom kits in FIFA!

  16. Ahhh – I was up late too, didn’t want to start season 2 until I’d sussed the kits out and got new ones.
    So much more fiddly than PES kits whereby you had one flat PNG file for the whole kit, with FIFA kits you have 3 files per kit, Shirt, Socks, Shorts, then you have an additional 2 files for each of those, _coeff file which gives the kit the embroidered look, and the _normal file which is a 3d bump map file which makes the badges and print etc look embossed, then the _color file which is the actual shirt/shorts/socks design, so 9 files for one kits, so 27 files all in for GK, Home and away, its a time consuming process.

    Then you need to create separate images for use on the mini-kit selection screen, so far I only did the Home Kit, will get round to Away and GK when I have time.

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