Football Manager is an immensely popular game, and for many users a challenging exercise of translating what they know of football into a sequence of in-game instructions that can hopefully produce the kind of football they like. So content creators emerged to help and entertain. I am referring to the world wide web of content creators like myself, Golden FM and the rest.
Back in the day of the “commentary only play-mode” it was actually very easy. The game was so easy, too easy in fact, that many lamented the lack of a challenge. Over the years, it became more challenging and finally around 2008 with the advent of FMLive, the need to create a tactical creator emerged. You see by then the game had moved past being simple. The goal of the tactical creator was simple, make the game intuitive. Make it feel like you’re a manager on the sidelines giving those instructions – go wide, drop deep, stay tight.
Initially I was opposed to it. Yes, I had a hand in giving birth to it, a few of us outside SI towers were consulted on the creation of the little tactical creator. I was quite skeptical, believing that it would actually make it more challenging, because we now had one shout that could change a whole set of sliders and individual instructions. The goal was to remove the sliders. For some, the challenge of knowing what happens under the hood would be too great. I took some convincing, a good friend of mine reminded me of how difficult the game could be for the new. The shouts would be easier to understand than notches on a slider. I agreed and helped translate a host of tactical templates I had used to make tactics on the fly into the creator. Over the years, my involvement decreased, the tactical creator has grown, new roles have emerged and if anyone has noticed my videos, I hardly use those new roles. There’s no need, we made sure the generic ones were good enough.
One thing that’s impossible to do, is to do a manual that explains EVERY facet of the game. It’s a huge task, and I doubt the manual will be anything less than 100 pages of an A4 sized book. There is an online manual that’s adequate, but how many of you have read the manual? So how do people get to grips to the game? We have the forums at SI, and we have a host of content creators who either use the written word or run youtube channels. How long can these independent content creators last? And how do people even begin to know where they should be going? SI’s affiliate program has kinda gone into hibernation as far as I can tell. SI’s hands are tied as well. They can’t go around endorsing sites clearly when people are using protected properties – eg. the German Bundesliga or images of clubs and logos. It’s absolutely difficult. Tifo.site has done some good, but still…
Content creators need a way to monetize their work, some work hard to provide content that can help others play the game more effectively, while there are groups who do stuff to entertain. Lets call these people FM Infotainment Specialists. Half of the good ones will probably disappear in 5 years. It takes around 1 million views for a channel to generate even US300. Enough maybe to cover the costs of hosting the channel on a good server. Some will continue out of the goodness of their own hearts, but I doubt many will last. We always lose good ones every year.
So this is the dilemma we face, continue, stop or try something different? With FM17 around the corner, I am having to make some hard decisions on how I want to proceed. I will continue to help people understand the tactical engine and I believe that outside of SI there are very few people who know it as well as I do, but I need to make a decision on how to proceed. Patreon is a good idea, but even then, have you seen how much people have contributed to Golden FM?. To date I think GoldenFM stands at 0. So if the 20k odd subs out there decide that his content is worth it, please support Paul.
So consider this the next time you read someone’s blog or find yourself entertained on a youtube channel. How can you support that content creator? Or are you ambivalent towards his contribution, for if you are, then more and more are going to turn our lights off. Some will stay, and keep the lights on, but I plan to consider carefully on my direction.