March 3, 2008
FM-Britain has a reputation within the community as being one of, if not the best place to discuss and develop tactics. With this in mind we felt that it was only right that for our second community interview we talked with a tactician from another site. We eventually settled on Rashidi1 as our proposed interviewee and he was kind enough to agree to take part. For those of you who may not know Rashidi1 is a moderator on the SI Games forums and something of a tactical expert.
- You’re a moderator and prominent figure in the tactical area at SI, but for those who may not know of you, could you fill us in a little on just who Rashidi1 is?
Just a guy who’s been playing this game since the first edition, been through every match engine change and seen it develop. Along the way I’ve created tactics some more notorious than others. The nickname was taken from a Nigerian striker who blistered into international recognition when he scored Nigeria’s first ever goal in the 94 WC.
- Recently, the SI forums have developed a reputation for baiting, bitchiness and generally being an unpleasant place to post. This wasn’t always the case though, as a regular poster there why do you think they changed for the worse?
Well to be fair to SIG, you only find that happening in General Questions Forum. You also have to remember that there were only a few websites worth going to in the old days, the Dugout and SIG Forums. Back then as well internet penetration wasn’t as high as it is now. So with a higher membership there’s bound to a higher incidence of good and bad posts. Noise generally happens just before and after the launch of a new game, and you have to understand, there are tonnes of people out there who in all honesty (my view of course) are not using original software. Many of these members come on and lambast the game for needing patches. I for one encourage the use of patches since I do work in a region of the world where its almost impossible to buy a genuine copy.
The game has also evolved and for many of the older players the tactical interface has become more challenging. The game is definitely heading in the direction of a true simulation, and with that the difficulty level will increase, which is why SI have created FM Handheld and are working on FMLive.
- How would you assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the tactical areas at SI and FM-Britain?
A lot of work here comes from a select group of people in TTT, and they do have solid knowledge of the game. My times on FMB aren’t as often as I’d like so it would be hard to compare between the two. As the game grows older so do the players, and a new generation emerges. There are some in SIG and there are some here. We may not see as many of them on the main forums, but they do get invited to discuss the game’s direction with the game creators. And for that reason alone and because of the ease of interaction, SIG imho offers stronger tactical feedback, simply because there is more interaction with the developers. This may not be apparent on the main pages but it becomes very clear when you start entering the private forums.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the forums were to head in that direction with the impending forum changes.
- What was your motivation in joining FM-B’s TTT? To learn more, to help others or a mix of the two?
A mix of both I suppose, I’m never one to blow my own horn. I have my own approach to the game which to some extent is unique, in as far as FM2008 is concerned.
- Do you visit any other sites within the FM Community? If so, which ones and why?
I don’t really have the time, my work commitments are heavy, and modding SIG Forums is already taking a heavy toll, along with game testing.
- How do you feel about the general direction tactical design is going, in terms of the requirement to design multiple tactics or to understand how to tweak a tactic in-match?
I do think the direction of the game is good, its maturing and I fully expect more changes in the future. This may involve better default tactics and a better feedback system. The tactical side of the game needs improvement in areas of set-pieces and to some extent player movement. The biggest areas that need looking at aren’t the match engine AI, but the feedback system, training modules and the set-piece module.
- What do you feel are the major differences/common features of FFM and TT&F? Is it important/necessary to use on of these systematic approaches when building tactics?
In all honesty I have never felt that there is much difference between the two. My personal view is that the Rule of Two and all that stuff isn’t vital in the game. Richard’s approach and mine aren’t all the different. Where he decides to create 5 tactics, I create one. The difference lies in our approach. FFM is basic tactic building with the end goal being to just make simple in game tweaks, without having to switch tactics. TT&F has an approach which requires you to choose a tactic based on certain parameters. FFM tries to explain the strategy you should adopt when making a tactic. In all they aren’t very much different, where one talks about the building blocks, the other has the building blocks set up.
- Given that FFM and TT&F provide a conceptual framework for designing tactics and playing FM, how do you feel about the number of people who still insist ‘one tactic beats all and all you need are players’ is realistic and the continued demand for ‘super-tactics’? Is there any way these people can ever change, or is the game fundamentally moving away from that kind of audience?
The game has fundamentally moved away from that, I doubt if you will have a one tactic beat all situation, but you can have one tactic which is good, and all it needs is minor Opposition Instruction changes to make it work all the time. The 442 tactic is a good example. I have one version which I used and made some minor tweaks to it that handle formations that have AMCs, seems to work fine. The problem is that people still hanker for the day when all they needed was that one great tactic and then not have to make any tweaks. That day has long gone. They need to live with that.
- You obviously place a lot of importance on ‘tweaking’ – Do you feel an un-tweaked, single tactic could do well when used for each and every game? If so/not why?
Depends on the goal. If your goal is to win every match then no. If your goal is to do well and meet your board objectives, you can. In the latter case, you will lose a few games, but you may not overachieve. Getting your squad to perform at a higher level requires you to tweak your tactic every now and then. For now my tweaks are confined to making changes to Opposition Instructions or to Specific Manmarking.
- Would you welcome more detail to the tactical instruction and match engine? For instance, reverting to the Wibble/Wobble system or adding new player instructions (for example the ability to instruct players to run at full-backs who may have already been booked).
Wimbo is going to make the game way too easy, and shouldn’t be allowed back. For now if someone can understand the arrows well, he will come close to replicated wimbo. There is a new for more player instructions in the game, but the area they should focus on is specific team instructions, such as getting a DC to take a goal kick, or electing never to allow GK to take free-kicks, or to have a different variety of set-pieces. The example you mention about the fullback can be achieved in the game right now without too much effort.
-What do you see as the biggest flaw in the current match engine and tactical instruction set?
At this point in time, the set-piece routines need to be expanded upon, a manager should be given more options, and these should be tighter integration to the training module. At the end of the day you’re never going to please everyone. Everytime people complain that its too hard to score, I’m usually one of the few who complain otherwise. You’re never going to please everyone. For example, someone online played against me and I managed to pull his DC’s apart and scored 7 goals. He complained that the ME was bugged, I asked him to replay the match and this time told him to make a slight change to his tactic. I couldn’t score as many the second time around. Morale of the story..the game isn’t hard, people make it hard.
- Is the slider system an adequate and effective way of conveying instructions from a user to his team? For example, how much difference can one actually detect between a couple of clicks on the passing slider?
It is. The problem is that everyone has forgotten to think about the slider in terms of descriptions. Nowadays everyone seems to be obsessed with the “1 click difference”. There isn’t much. In terms of mentality definitely not, in terms of Defensive line, just look at your fullbacks to determine where you dline should be. Within the descriptive band is where you finetune your tactic and instructions. I’m happy for those who have heeded my advice and believed in a simpler approach to the game, but there will always be that group that lives for obsessions.
- How do you see the relationship between FM-Live and FM developing? Will FM-L influence (or even dominate) FM in terms of tactical development or are the two games too different for that scenario to ever develop?
FM-Live will be a fantastic experience, the tactical nuances between the two will be a challenge and there will of course be some influence onto Football Manager. The games are essentially very different, but the match engine is the same. Anyone who thinks he is a demi-god in FM2008 will get a reality check in FML, because you’re now playing an unpredictable human. And its a heck of a lot of fun.
I don’t ever think that FML will come to dominate FM2008, because these are essentially two different games. They should both be fun to play too.
- Richard (wwfan) admits he sucks at FML because he won’t switch away from a 4-4-2 or use the ‘cheat’ corner routine. His argument is that playing the 4-4-2 allows him to more easily perceive engine flaws when coming up against the weird and wacky FML formations. Do you play FML to bug-test or to win, or both? Also, is Richard just making a bad excuse for failing at FML?
I do test FML, I enjoy it a lot as you’re playing against humans who tend to have more attacking tactics. Its not difficult to find success with the game, the challenge is keeping abreast with the match engine changes which threw me off and landed me in a relegation fight, after winning promotion the season before. Something my ego can’t handle. Well in that season I was actually bug testing, tossing in a myriad of formations to see how they would fare. The thing many people fail to understand is that some of these weird formations are grounded in good logic. I have one which has 5 all out attacking players and 5 defensive players. It creates a lot of chances, and there is another one that has 2 at the back 3 in midfield and 5 in attack, which has seen me pull back from 4 goal deficits. Tactics in FML change ALL THE TIME. Its more challenging and a heck of a lot more fun. What people need to understand is that FML is all about playing with people. People are unpredictable so you need to be quick on your feet which isn’t easy. I just don’t think Richard wants to go out and make those weird formations
- Should Capello have given Beckham his 100th cap against Switzerland? Will he manage to join the 100 cap club?
Capello is the manager and it was a friendly. He’s under no pressure as the manager to justify his actions, I would think that Beckham may get that elusive 100 cap but he’s going to have to raise his game a lot more. If he doesn’t his nickname will be Mr 99.
- Are you the kind of FM manager who would take the sympathetic approach and allow a player like Beckham to reach the 100 milestone? Or are you more ruthless, casting aside those who have done a job for you but may be past their best now?
I’m ruthless. I have no room for sentiment unless the player has had an extraordinary career with me. I once managed a non-league side and got them promoted in successive seasons. We had a defender called James Curtis, who was an ever present in the side. By the time we got to the premiership he wasn’t as far as he used to be (think Hyppia), but he could still get an 8. I kept him in the side and let him play in the champions league. Incidentally I’m not a Beckham fan as you can tell by now.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Rashidi for taking the time to answer our questions, especially given the depth he went into.