Loving the FIFApocalypse

Football gaming in a slow-motion Apocalypse like this one is a bit different, isn’t it?

It’s a bit more difficult to get into the zone of immersion required. Oh, you do get there, eventually, into that zone where you’re deep into the game, fully involved and avid for more – but then you remember that the Apocalypse is happening, and think, ah. Yes. Shit.

Maybe part of the strangeness is that there’s no real-life football to provide counterpoint to our virtual action.

So FIFA (or PES, or Football Manager, or any of the surprisingly many skeevy Steam knockoffs thereof) are likely to be our only new football content for some months until normality resumes. Which will be sometime in September if we’re lucky, it seems.

I’m aware of all the reruns of old football that are available from various sources. Nah. I’ll watch the odd highlight from yesteryear, but it’s more a light snack than the main course of new, weekly football.

It does strangely turn out to be the case that football gaming without real-life football is oddly robbed of a little bit of its authority. It’s probably similar to the summertime slump that we all experience in football gaming habits. Perhaps the summertime slump isn’t just about fatigue at the end of a long footy gaming year. It’s also to do with having no real-life counterpart to provide context and contrast.

I’ve played two more great sessions of FIFA20 since last time with huge enjoyment. I’ve won about the same amount of games as I’ve drawn and lost. Something like W4 D3 L4.

And after a very long time, it feels like, I have scored another goal with Hernandez worth posting. I could put together an impressive highlights reel of goals scored by this player alone.

This match was against Manchester United, at home. I took the lead with this goal but the opposition were just too strong. They stormed back to beat me 3-1. This goal beat De Gea but nothing else did.

FIFA20 in general gameplay terms is still, incredibly, holding steady at a constant 9/10 per session. It really is a phenomenon.

Granted I’m on the PC platform with plenty of lovely mods, so it’s not quite the same game as the out of the box version. But having played quite a bit of vanilla whilst waiting for mod updates at various times, it’s not so different that it’s completely different, if you know what I mean. In short: it’s good in its own right.

Deulofeu is continuing to be a great goal-scroer. None of his goals are special in and of  themselves but his goal-scoring is absolutely vital. Up to 9 goals in 13 games now, which is a rate of return that almost certainly guarantees no relegation battle for me this season. I’m still hovering mid-table.

A little moan about FIFA20 right now would have to be about its most transparent method of scoreline management: hitting the post or bar. Woodwork is hit noticeably more often than you would reasonably expect.

Every football gamer is familiar with matches where you know pretty much straightaway that you’re not going to be allowed to score, or win.

In one match that I already felt instinctively I wasn’t going to be allowed to score a goal in, I hit the right post, the left post, and the bar at different points of the match. And finished without scoring at all. Two of those chances were certain goals, they had seemed.

If this kind of occurrence was a rarity then it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. hat’s football, etc. But FIFA20 does it too regularly for it to be anything other than this game’s method of scoreline management, i.e. preventing the human player from scoring too many or winning too many at different times, based on their overall status and progress in the game.

Every football game does this. And it has to do this – if I was the designer, I would do the same.

‘OK, people, if the player starts scoring more than a certain average, then we need to give him a game or two where he can’t score much, or at all. Can’t have anyone romping to the title in their first season after promotion. Come up with an algorithm that determines it relative to team strength, have him hit the post or bar or just miss completely, and put it in there.’

They had a conversation like that at EA and at Konami probably more than 20 years ago. We’ve experienced iterations on that algorithm in every single game since.

Updated: 3rd April 2020 — 12:44

40 Comments

  1. NG – I have created a set of new Leeds kits for you, in the linked zip file there are 2 kit mods, Home and Away, then Home & Alternate away, as Leeds do not have a third kit, you can mix and match between the two.

    New Kits:

    View post on imgur.com

    In the zip file there is also a Leeds Utd Banners Mod which I have created, which can be previewed in the below video

    I will work on the Eastpoint arena adboards next.

    Download Link:

    https://www.mediafire.com/file/4usxua42u5xo0mg/NG_Leeds_Kits_Banners.zip/file

  2. Paul – those kits are fantastic, the new Home one is very reminiscent of Leeds in the Panini sticker golden era… Thanks for all of this. Loving the ‘Not-Greg’s White Army’ banner too, which I hope is never taken out of context.

    I will post a vid in comments here later today of the kits & banners in place. A full match maybe.

  3. NG – Great stuff, I had a mini-bit of a match using Leeds at the Eastpoint with the kits and banners in place and it did all look very nice must admit.

    I had a quick look and Eastpoint arena uses the generic set of adboards, FIFA.com, FIFA20, EA Sports Twitch, Youtube etc, so will mod a couple of these and change them to a Pes Chronicles themed one.

    As the new kits I’ve made are Adidas, you can also use RDBM to reassign the Adidas Adboard to the Eastpoint arena, replacing one of the generic ones, if you so wish, does look nice, adds an extra bit of authenticity to matches.

    Glad you liked the banners.

  4. Paul – I’m pleased with the overall feel of a Leeds in FIFA20, I think me with Leeds and you with Palace are playing with the right sort of level of team for the kind of experience we both want. My Cambridge save was (and is) interesting, but it’s a marathon. Starting with a Barca or a Liverpool is a 100m. Leeds/Palace/that sort of team is more like a 1500m, just right for now.

  5. NG – Definitely, I’ve never played a ML or CM with a ‘big team’, as PES converts, we are used to and embrace the long haul slog, using a lesser team in FIFA gives you that same challenge, taking a Liverpool, or Barca, or Juventus, is kinda ointless to me, how do you build? wheres the challenge, its like starting CIV or XCOM with unlimited turns and resources, or COD with immunity, may appeal to some, but not for me.

    The most enjoyable campaigns I’ve had have been PES 11 where I didn’t win a single trophy, and recent FIFA’s using the likes of Notts Forest, Newcastle, Palace, so much more rewarding taking a so-so team and trying to build them up into world beaters, thats the appeal.

  6. It all feels a bit like how the old folk described the phoney war to me. I’m getting bored rather than worried, simply because it’s a bit of a way from my house to the beach/a woods/something other than my neighbourhood. I’m at that ‘what harm can I do if I drive 10 miles’ stage, at which point the obvious answer is if everyone did… one thing I can confirm from twitter photos is the quality of turf in the uk is going to be astonishing. It’s one of the tasks that people have been allowed to continue without the problem of anyone actually using it.

    I pressed the button on cm01/02 with Hartlepool. Blimey it’s tricky getting used to the lack of options now. There’s a middle ground somewhere but that’s probably the time that they ballsed up the series. I’m resisting existing knowledge by only looking at players I turn up in scouting, playing against or as part of searches when I receive offers. Otherwise I’d be creating an identical team to half the folk out there playing – the wonderkids of this era are as well known as yer Schwarz, Sibon and the like.

  7. Paul – in FIFA there is definitely a sweet spot between a Defaults-style start with a Cambridge and a ridiculous Barca-style start. Probably every club between, say, the top 6 of League One to the bottom 14 of the Premier League is in that Goldilocks zone. I’m starting to wonder if we’ll see any new football games this year at all, real or virtual, so FIFA20 might run and run until FIFA22.

    Uncle Turf – phoney war exactly, watch out for the initiation of hostilities when the first major country imposes martial law. Most likely Italy and most likely soon. The balcony singers and flag-wavers are very much ‘first week of the Proms’ in quarantine terms. Martial law in a country that looks much like ours triggers all kinds of things here. Instant second wave of panic buying, I think, and that could lead to proper argy-bargying.

    As long as the lights stay on, the water keeps coming from the taps, and you can look out and see a bus going by and people taking strolls, all will be well. Did you ever read The Road? Best post-apocalyptic book ever (forget the film).

    Re. CM0102 I’ve never dabbled with Moukoko & co. either. I always picked up Taribo West on a free to begin with. Done that yet?

    And the ultimate CM0102 experience in 2020 would have to be applying the squads update and the transfer window fix. That would neatly resolve the Moukoko question.

  8. Paul – Those kits are stunning. Dare I say better than your Palace ones?

  9. Hitting the woodwork is definitely a thing in Fifa 18 and 19 too. Totally unnecessary in terms of keeping scorelines down in my case as I average around one goal for and one against per game. I could do with a few more goals both for and against…mainly for:).

  10. NG – that’s exactly what I mean, taribo west came up in a search so he’s ‘fair game’ but he wants 6 grand and Hartlepool can only stretch to 2. If I’d picked a bigger club I could simply hoover up all the cherno sambas I liked.

  11. rhymes450 — but that’s exactly what scoreline management is — artificially hobbling you and restricting your goal-scoring is how a football game keeps you ‘rubber-banded’ to the overall scope of the mode you’re playing. In FIFA in recent years a prominent method of restricting you is with that greater-than-realistic % chance of hitting the woodwork. It fulfils a function on two levels the macro and the micro. On the macro level across a season you get more draws and defeats than you otherwise would get if the post/bar-hitting thing didn’t exist. On the micro level it keeps individual matches competitive and ‘exciting’ until the end, no matter how much you might be on top. E.g. I just played Salford away in the FA Cup and was all over them but still only 1-0 up heading into the last 10 minutes, thanks to the post and bar once more. Got clean through yet again for a gilt-edged chance, did everything right — post again. Salford sweep upfield for a dramatic late equaliser to force the replay. A cast-iron scoreline managed match. PES has its own more general versions of this, including the woodwork thing (it prefers to simply have you miss/GK save). We go along with the director behind the scenes because we do have some control. I could, and should, have prevented the Salford equaliser. The point is that I’d had 3x woodwork strikes prior that had kept the score in the position where I could concede a dramatic late equaliser, and did.

  12. Paul’s new kits in action, only wrinkle is they don’t show up in the pre-match mini-preview window as they do in your screenshot earlier (I’m not bothered about this btw Paul, kits are wonderful):

  13. NG – something strange is afoot. Its impossible that the minikits dont show up as it’s the exact same mod I applied and showed in my video earlier, nothing different.
    Did you go in and delete the mod data folder from origin > Fifa first before applying the kits mod?
    Must always delete this folder before applying any new mods.

  14. Chris99 – not sure how you class one teams kits as ‘better than another’s’. Each kit is individual to that team.

    I liked the Leeds kits I created for NG, IMO they look very good, but also I created them just using the existing kit as a base. Same colours. Same sponsor. Classic plain stripes, just a different manufacturer in Adidas.

    Palace kits use a new colourway, totally bespoke design, new manufacturer, new sponsor, 3 individual kits, 4 Inc. GK, custom adboards representing sponsor and manufacturer and home kit promo with proper year, it all ties in, I’m very happy with my palace kits, more so than the Leeds ones.

  15. Paul – I’ll admit the kit preference is purely personal. All I can say to justify it is that the Leeds first kit looked more Leedsy to me than the Palace one looked Palacey. Maybe it’s that both clubs have had several iconic kits in their club colours and subconsciously I’m looking at them and trying to find a similarity to one of them. In the end though if you design the kits for your team, yours is the opinion that matters.

  16. Reaallllyyy want to play Fifa.

  17. Complete get your point Chris99 – and I agree, the Leeds kits look Leedsy, the palace kits are different from what you’d expect palace to have, which is exactly what I was going for, its nice to be able to mix it up.

    NG – PES Chronicles ball Mod should you wish to use it, it replaces the yellow Nike Merlin ball.

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/zzzkwio3xtb3snw/PES_Chronicles_Ball.fbmod/file

  18. Rafas Evil Beard

    Hi all, i’ve been following the extended Fifa deviation with great interest and I’m really intrigued to try the modded version for myself. Am i right in thinking i just need the Fifer Mod and away I go? Can i use the mod with a digital version of the game, rather than a physical disc copy do you know?

  19. Cm 01/02 flies compared with FM. And yet there isn’t quite enough – the lack of instant response to contract offers, it’s like you post them your offer. The very limited tactical choices – was it really just about signing the best players? The very basic stats from which to identify which players fit the system. I see why they enhanced all that. CM is closer to a football manager game on the spectrum than football manager as we know it now. They just took it too far. I’ll do a season with Hartlepool and review.

    Walked to our local park today – a very large place with bowling greens, lake, wedding venue etc. Must have passed 30 folk or so during the entire time. But more importantly we saw 4 rats. Never seen one there. It’s all going to go very James Herbert.

  20. @Uncle Turf, as an addict of CM/FM, playing since CM3, I would strongly recommend FMTouch version instead of full fat – unless you’re true masochist with plenty of time on hand to play and tweak with all this content. FMT cuts off basically all the fill ups and leaves you with the game in a good old CM form. In FMT I can easily play whole season in 6hours or so. For example, I am now in 2033/34 season managing Dorking – 13 season in and I got them from Vanarama South/North to Championship and now battling for promotion to Premier League. In fat FM that would probably take me about half a year to get that far.

  21. Uncle Turf – I second abbes’ recommendation of FM Touch 2020, which you have got as part of your purchase of FM20. Never was a mode more strangely named, as it is NOTHING to do with touchscreen interfaces as such, which I assumed it must have. The only reason I passed it over in favour of full fat in FM19 is because I wanted after all these years to finally get back into a ‘proper’ FM.

    Rafas Evil Beard – correct on both fronts, FIFER is all you need and it works with either type of copy, digital and physical. I’m an Origin subscriber and my copy is digital.

    Paul – brilliant again and thanks, nive vid preview too – can almost see my face in that sparkling resolution! #pcmasterrace P.s. did you ever crack the case open and fit your new SSD? If you haven’t because you’re wary of the job, it really is not much more tricky than changing a lightbulb, and unless you got a very weird case the non-transparent side should just slide off, revealing all the wires.

    Re. the mini-kits not showing, you played in Ex mode, I’m in CM, I assume that’s why they’ve not showed up for me? I’ll test in Ex mode and report back. I always delete Mod Data folder as a matter of course before making any changes in my Frosty mod practice. It’s like washing of hands, just good hygiene.

    Lloyd – I had to pop back into work today to take my ‘not working from home’ turn and coud feel the pain, got another few shifts coming up through the coming week. I do resent missing out on all the stay at home stuff as it would suit my character and predilections to a T. I was made for it and I don’t get to do it. My first real sighting of the empty city streets was weird. I think secure well-paid jobs will be very valuable at the end of this, so, got to grit our teeth and do it. Looking forward to my next mini-work-from-home stint though.

  22. Thank you both, I have never even pressed the touch button – assuming, as you rightly said, that it was something for the tablet generation.

  23. @Uncle Turf, before FMTouch, name of this mode was FMClassic, they changed that when they implemented cross-platform option between pc and tablets/phones. Which I actually recommend to switch off when creating a new game, as it put limit to just 3 leagues. With that option off you can play as many as your PC can handle, plus you can freely add/remove them anytime in a middle of the game. It’s seriously good old way of play, pretty sure you’ll like it.

  24. The talk of SSDs made me want to mention my new laptop which, after an initial wifi hiccup, is serving me well as I work from home. It is still pleasing to have a home PC boot in about 3 seconds.

    Also my lad ran out of space on the PS4 this week after downloading a free CoD. Apparently you can plug in an external SSD as the game installation drive. Has anyone here done that?

  25. Ah, right Abbes – I have played classic. Didn’t quite work for me either. I’ll check out the new version thanks, before I get too deep in Cobh ramblers. It’s pretty clear I can never take them too far, they are locked down in a circle of ‘only in ireland’ for everything.

    Chris99 – I have had one for a couple of years to handle all the Lego games. Got it from pc world I think, simply slots into one of the USB slots. You can then transfer game installs, saves, etc across from the PS4, or back again. I keep it as mini turf stuff, with mine being on the machine. NG will probably tell you to buy two so you can back up the save of your save as we don’t take enough care over these things…blah blah…like your health and safety obsessed uncle….(he’s right of course).

  26. NG – The minkits have nothing to do with career or exhibition, they show up regardless, as per my preview video they showed for me, so it makes absolutely NO SENSE THEY DONT SHOW FOR YOU, UNLESS YOU HAVE ANOTHER MOD RUNNING THAT HAS HIGHER PRIVILEGES THAT ALSO CHANGES THOSE SAME LEGACY FILES WITHION FROSTY.

    Apologies for the caps lock, I couldn’t be assed to go back and re-write the comment.

    No – not ordered the SSD yet because of the current situation, but am all up for fitting it when it arrives, cant be that hard, plug and play.

  27. NG – An idea….. have you updated FIFA to the latest update, the one that came out on 31st March, and downloaded the FIFER CM 2.1 HOTFIX?

  28. Paul – I did update as soon as I saw that FIFER had pushed out his hotfix. (I left my two quid Patreon running as the content he’s producing is well worth it for now. Probably deactivate after this month though.)

    I’ll have a fiddle with the Mod order in Frosty later on, but your kits mod was the most privileged on the list when Idid the whole Delete Mod Data/Reapply all mods thing. The one at the bottom of the list is the one with most privileges, right?

    Uncle Turf/Chris99 – a secondary backup save isn’t required if you have PS+ as there is a great cloud save option there. Sadly I have cancelled my PS+ and – when I use the PS4, which won’t be often – I will have to manually back up saves to a USB stick plugged into the PS4, which I recommend everyone should do. Always have a backup. Might only need it once every few years, or never, but better to have than not have.

    Uncle Turf – I hit that wall with BK Avarta too. I’ve taken them as far as I can go, is what I’m thinking – the real FM-heads can take any team from any level in any league and win titles, Champions Leagues etc. See this FM2019 series where a decent YouTuber (i.e. not one of the shouty ‘Hi Guys!’ crayzeee YouTubers) using a custom database starts his own made-up team from something like the 11th tier of English football.

  29. NG – Thats the reason then. Minikits are legacy files, these get broken everytime theres an EA update, actual kits are not legacy files so they’re fine, just the minikits used on the kit selection screen.

    I haven’t updated yet thats why they work on mine.
    Plan to update later, so when I have I will redo the mod and the minikits will show fine for you then.

  30. Paul – cheers, and I can report that FIFER’s hotfix is working as well as ever. Just after I applied it (but before trying your kits) I played out probably my best FIFA20 match so far and one of my best all-time football game matches ever, probably, Leeds vs Man City at Elland Road. I’m putting together an MOTD-style highlights package of that match for tomorrow’s post.

    Cheers for the updated mod.

  31. Great stuff.look forward to seeing it!
    well get the re-mod over to you later.

  32. Did I ever post this? It popped up on my feed just now and I’m not sure if I did. I think I did mention the sound diaries once. Anyhow, perfect for a soundtrack to play through say pes5…

    https://www.thisishighfieldroad.net/

  33. League 2 play off final against Bradford tonight. Exciting times!!!

  34. Uncle Turf — you did post that before. If/when I ever circle back to a PES that can be Option Filed/modded to include such a soundtrack, it’ll be very useful indeed. I think I will eventually. I’ll be very surprised and pleased if we get any regular football games this September (or even if we get September), so FIFA20 is free to expand like a flower all summer long if need be.

    Lloyd — no pressure but you face a hell of a long slog through the longest season in football gaming if you miss out there. I had to go and look up the leasing.com trophy.

  35. good luck Lloyd, in fairness a season in League 1 is just as long as one in League 2 so don’t get discouraged by not-Greg ramping up the pressure! What’s been your approach to squad-building so far – youth team or searching the transfer market?

  36. abbeyhill – no, my pressure-piling remark holds good – Lloyd would be repeating the season again. It being the same length as the league above would be immaterial. It’s having to go over the same ground all over again that would be the pain in the proverbial. No pressure Lloyd.

  37. Is it the old Johnson Paint Trophy? That used to be the killer for me in the lower leagues. A poor squad, too many league matches, the two usual domestic trophies, plus another one which you would probably have a good run in.

  38. Paul – many thanks, will add later. I already added the ball mod and will have a screenie up at 12 (or just after – running a bit late again as I’m having long lie-ins during the Apocalypse, another thing they don’t show in the movies).

    Chris99 – it is the latest incarnation of the Checkatrade Trophy which I assume was in turn the Johnson Paint.

  39. NG – good stuff, look forward to todays post.
    Haven’t forgotten about a PES Chronicles adboard, tried a few but they’re tricky for Leeds as Leeds dont have an entry in RDBM, so can’t assign other adboards to them, and only use generic adboards, which are much harder to edit.

    Will keep playing around with them until i create one which i feel is worthy to send you.

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