Football Manager – Live!

Well, well, well. It’s a funny old world. There I was yesterday, completely in the doldrums, as dejected about the (frankly) piss-poor next-gen PES2008 as I’ve ever been and declaring myself down on all football games.

I spent the day mooching about on the computer. In mid-afternoon I was happy to receive a confirmation e-mail from Amazon telling me that my PSP copy of PES2008 has dispatched.

At least that’s something, I thought. I have high hopes for the PSP version of the game—maybe it’ll save my PES year. Something’s got to save it, because next-gen PES2008 might never see the inside of my PS3 again. Seriously.

So the approach of the PSP version was a bonus. I felt slightly cheered up, and then in the early evening I received another email:

fmliveinvite.jpg

About four months ago (not ‘recently’ as the mail claims) I put my name down to be a Beta tester on the forthcoming Football Manager Live. And then promptly forgot all about it. Until yesterday afternoon, when the above invitation landed in my inbox.

As well as the expected Terms & Conditions (please don’t ask me for a download link and a password), there was a pdf. guide. The first paragraph contains a very concise, in-a-nutshell description of what FM Live is:

fmlive-intro.jpg

I downloaded the client—a very quick download and a trouble-free installation. A couple more emails and secret passwords later, and I was playing. I was playing Football Manager Live!

fml-welcome.jpg

At the time of writing I’ve only spent about 40 minutes in the game. I plan to spend a lot more today and over the weekend.

That 40 minutes was long enough for me to set up a manager profile; choose a team and customise its name, appearance and home stadium; acquire a full 22-player squad; choose an initial formation and some basic tactics; and, of course, play a friendly game against another human opponent. (The full competitive season doesn’t get underway until next week.)

My human opponent was a Dutchman who, like me, had received his invitation email less than an hour previously. We sent our teams out onto the virtual pitch and watched the action. Attentive readers of this blog will know that the regular Football Manager game is a little too taxing for my PC and causes it to reboot at random. So I was worried how FM Live would perform, especially during the 2D matches. But the FM Live client seems to be a touch ‘lighter’—in terms of system resources used—than its bigger, older sibling.

I won my game and went back out into the game world lobby, which was rapidly filling up with new and excited players. Doubtless I was one of several hundred new Beta testers, most of whom would be discovering their invitation emails and logging on over the course of the evening.

Anybody who has played any recent version of Football Manager won’t have any trouble finding their way around the FM Live menus. Everything from the main game is in the online game. The tactics screens—for the team and for individual players—are exactly the same. Ditto the player transfer screen.

All in all I am very impressed. The FM Live interface is clean, intuitive, and compelling. You want to do more, discover more, see more. Unlike most MMOG experiences, the other players seem to be a sensible, mature lot. I’m not saying that I dislike the kids who inhabit most other MMOGs that I’ve played. Just that their brand of ‘OMFG u suk!’ interaction isn’t to my taste…

It was perhaps the most intriguing 40 minutes I’ve spent on an online game in a very long time. I’m looking forward to sampling some more of that world later today and over the weekend. And with a bit of luck my PSP version of PES2008 will turn up in today’s post. After being almost in the pit of despair yesterday, happy days are here again.

9 Comments

  1. Wish you luck, I signed up for the beta test but did a very poor job of explaining previous exp (done shed loads of testing in the past!) so I’m not suprised I didn’t get accepted, just wasn’t in the mood but knew I’d forget if I left it for another time.

  2. Paul – I don’t remember filling in a part about any past experience of Beta testing (almost none), although it was several months ago so I might’ve done so and forgotten it.

    FM Live is looking superb. I have to say the FM model translates very well into an online game. I’ve been playing it today and it just looks better and better.

    I won’t be going on about FM Live incessantly on the blog. I think I’ll talk about it next on Sunday and leave it there.

    Because… my PSP version of PES2008 has arrived. I’ll be talking about that tomorrow.

  3. I signed up for beta testing almost 2 years ago, probably more like alpha testing back then! I’ve just had a look at the website and now its just a very general sign up, which I’ve re-applied for.

    Have you played trophy manager, thats a pretty in-depth browser based football game, good fun too if you’ve got the time!

    I was very tempted to go get and a PSP and PES2008 but the loading times you mentioned of PES6 put me off, let me know if its any better on the new version!

  4. Paul – the loading times are much, much better. With PES6 if you wanted to play it on the bus it was best to load a match before you left the house and then pause it until you got on the bus, otherwise you’d spend most of the bus journey waiting for stuff to load (seriously)! Even then you’d often have to wait 20 or so agonising seconds for things to load in-game (cut scenes, substitutions, etc.).

    This year’s version is tons better. AND I only have an old PSP (got it on UK launch day in 2005) – I hear the newer PSPs have better UMD drives that load even faster.

    There’s no problem with loading times this year. Is the game itself any good? I think so at the moment, but I’ve only played about 5 games so far. Been busy with FM Live all day.

  5. Greg

    I got PSP version today also, I have the PSP lite and the games are quicker loading. I am impressed so far with PSP version of PES, I enjoyed playing PES6 on holiday recently.

    I am juggling PSP PES with Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (awesome game) which I can’t stop playing since buying it on Tuesday.

    Good luck with Football Manager, I had to stop playing that a few years ago. Way too addictive, I was throwing too many sick days at work.

  6. heraldo – I’ve updated my links, your new site is looking very nice indeed.

    Football Manager almost sucked me into its addictive world a couple of years ago. FM2005 I think it was—after a lot of struggle I got Coventry promoted to the the Premiership (as it was then) and started to attract some good players. I was really getting into it and—yes—starting to call into work sick after staying up very late. Then FM2006 came out and I abruptly jumped ship, deleted my FM2005 game, but then discovered that 2006 wouldn’t run reliably on my PC! A lucky escape.

    FM Live runs just fine on my PC…. and it’s a superb online game. They’re still at least a couple of months from release. Sign up for the Beta, you never know.

  7. hi Greg

    Thanks. I would like to sign up, but a couple of reasons I can’t (1) I own a mac, a PC game (2) It’s way too addictive mate, don’t think the good lady would be too happy, the amount of time I would spend on it.

  8. heraldo – I’ve got good/bad news for you, depending on your point of view – ***FM Live is MAC-compatible***… Be afraid.

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