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Football Manager Live

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Miles Jacobson, Managing Director of developers Sports Interactive, gives you a clearer idea of what to expect from Football Manager Live...


What is Football Manager Live?


It's a massively multiplayer football management game, using the Football Manager match engine. The main game has been written from the ground up, whilst it utilises some of the features from its older brother.


Imagine a cross between Football Manager, fantasy sports and an auction room and you'll get the basic idea.


Up to 1,000 managers can play against each other to try and be the No 1 manager in their particular gameworld. There will be many gameworlds and the exact number of players in each will be subject to balancing - we'll be working on that during the first stage of the beta-testing process.


Who is making the game?


The game is being led by Oliver Collyer, co-founder of Sports Interactive, who - having left the studio a few years ago to go travelling - came back with the idea of making a mainstream, massively multiplayer football management game.


When will it be released?


It is currently due for release in March 2008. We are announcing the game now so we are able to have a long beta-test phase, having been in alpha-test phase since last Autumn.


What do I need to play FML?


Use of a PC or a Mac and an internet connection.


It's likely that we'll look at other platforms in the future.


What type of internet connection and speed is recommended to enable the game to run smoothly?


Any broadband connection should be fine - we haven't tested the game on older modem connections yet, but will do so during beta testing.


Why has SI decided to make a separate massively multiplayer game?


There are lots of reasons - initially it was because Oliver Collyer (co-founder of Sports Interactive) wanted to make the game, having got back from travelling with a creative itch. As development has continued, we've looked into the area a lot and believe there to be a big hole in the market, which we intend to fill.


On top of this, there are many people who have played our games over the years that have felt the hardcore nature of the series is too much for them, or they simply didn't have the time to play the game anymore as circumstances for them had changed. With Football Manager Live, people will have the opportunity to play as often, or as little, as they want.


How much will it cost to play?


We have not finalised the business model yet. However, we see the game as a money-saving device - it is likely to cost the price of a few pints per month to play, but because people will be staying in more often to play the game they will save money in the long run!


What methods of payment will be available?


The plan is to accept every major credit and debit card, alongside a number of other payment platforms for those that do not have cards.


What languages will it be in?


Initially, the game will only be available in English. Over the coming years it will be released in as many languages as possible. It's not just about translating the game itself, which is easy; it's also about adding local support for each language we add. We're being sensible and will be trying to walk before we can run.


What happens when everyone wants to be one particular team, like Watford or Everton?


No-one will be able to be Watford or Everton. You don't play as a set real-world team; you make your own team and pick a squad, much like a fantasy sports game.


How do you choose your initial squad?


All players in the database have wage demands and you have a set wage budget at the start, so you pick your players according to that budget. The whole FML database is available to you when you start the game, although once a player joins a team in a gameworld they are no longer available to everyone else. In that way we can stop multiple teams having the same players.


What happens when all the best players are taken up? Doesn't that mean new users joining a gameworld are disadvantaged?


Not really. Because there are so many players available in the database and users start with relatively small wage budgets, it means that all the best players can't be snapped up immediately. And while we don't want to go into too many details now, we have an effective system in place to ensure that there are still good players available for all.


Is there a transfer system?


As manager, you have the ability to buy and sell players as well as loan them out to other teams. With all transfer auctions, the selling team selects a minimum price they would accept for the player, along with an instant-buy amount. They also select an end date for the auction and other teams are then free to make bids right up 'til the auction ends.


With free transfers and general wage auctions, teams bid for players and the one who offers them the most wages per day gets the players.


With all transfer activity, you need to ensure that you remain within the constraints of your club finances and beware of gazumping.


How does the league table work with 1,000 teams in each gameworld?


In the main gameworld rankings, it's not a case of three points for a win; you are awarded points for winning (or losing points for losing) based on a lot of different factors including, but not limited to, the position of the two teams, whether the game has been played home or away and the size of the win. There are all sorts of clever bits in there to ensure that teams that play hundreds of games a month don't get a "levelling" advantage over those that play a couple of games a day, so it's possible for any team to do well, not just those that play the most games.


Do all of the teams have to play one another?


No, not at all. You can play friendlies against any team who happens to be online, or you can join or set up competitions.


How do competitions work?


For the most part, competitions will be user generated. They are very easy to set up, with lots of parameters available. You can have cup or league competitions, or a combination of the two, set how many points for a win (those points are separate to actual rankings points) and also define what rank of team can enter said competitions. There are deadlines by when each match has to be played to ensure that the competitions don't go on for ever.


There may well be some official organised competitions inside the gameworld too, but if there are any, they will be optional.


When can matches be played?


24 hours a day, seven days a week! With competitions, there are deadlines to play the fixtures, but that doesn't mean you have to play them at those times - as long as you've played them by the deadline, all is good.


The only limit to when a match can be played is whether there are other users online in your gameworld at the same time as you.


What happens if I don't see my competition opponent online by the deadline for the match to be played?


This is taken care of, but it's not something we want to announce publicly yet.


Can I challenge my friends to matches?


If you are in the same gameworld, then yes, you can. And if you aren't in the same gameworld, it will be easy to move into another one, although you'll need to pick your squad again.


Once in the same gameworld, you can play against them day and night.

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No one else think it could be good for laugh?


I think there could be a problem of people getting bored and making a new team every couple of weeks though.

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