Highlights, Patch, Screenshots, Transfers, Video

Bold New Beginnings

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Season 4 is underway, with a return to the Premier League. Firstly, EA have released update 1.05 for FIFA 19, there has been mixed views on the forums and even regular commenter Darryl has expressed concerns over it, my initial reaction is that I love it.
You can view the superbly detailed patch notes here: EA Pitch Notes, but in general, EA have adjusted how players react when blocking shots, defending, and increased the unpredictability of 50/50 confrontations, and also increased the fatigue suffered by players when playing a constant pressing game, in my opinion its a great update.

Admittedly the speed of the game has increased a tad but for me, not in a bad way, the game still has a considered pace, and fluctuates during the match depending on the situation, but it is definitely faster.
It is also worth noting that I am using the Operation Sports Slider set 5, which adjusts a few values to balance the game out, and for me, FIFA 19 is playing the best it ever has with these settings.

Now, on to the important stuff, season 4.
It started with a pre-season tournament held in Mexico, The Champions Invitational Cup, I was up against Benfica from Portugal, Monterrey from Mexico, and Athletic Bilbao from Spain, I lost a close game vs Bilbao 2-1, with new signing Spinazzola grabbing a debut goal, followed up by a thumping 4-0 win over Monterrey, with Suarez opening the scoring for his debut goal, and then another narrow 1-0 defeat against Benfica.

The short video clip below shows the goals, preceded by a great bit of crowd detail, these things, little touches, attention to match day atmosphere really make games ‘pop’ in FIFA 19 and add to the experience greatly.

A bit of pre-season squad business to sort out, I had been scouting for a good rated, promising young RB to provide cover for first choice Carrascá, and found him in Spurs 24yr old 74 rated Kyle Walker-Peters, who had a £2.8 million release clause, which I activated, and duly signed to a 5 year deal, then I was notified of my first choice LB Gurreiro being head hunted:

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Liverpool wanted him, and were prepared to activate his £30 million release clause, I really like that the game informed me and gave me the opportunity to then offer my player a new lucrative contract in order to persuade him to stay:

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I offered him a new contract and upped his wages to £58k a week, an increase of £10k, plus a £1.2million signing on fee, which Gurreiro accepted, he’s staying! Money well spent.

Next up was the opening day of the Premier League, away to Southampton, who dicked me 3-0, the scoreline flattered them, it was a very tight, close game, with the Saints leading 1-0 most of the match, they then got 2 late goals on the counter, a disappointing start, there’s always that hope and air of expectation when starting a new season, especially following a promotion season, but the class gap was evident.
That was followed up a home tie against Burnley, these are the types of games I am looking to take points from, and duly did so with a well oiled 2-0 win, goals from Muto and Spinazzola again grabbing us the points, Muto was only in due to a broken metatarsal in training leading to a 5 week lay-off for CF Josh King.

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Below is a short video showing Joe Hart performing heroics in-goal for me, he’s been a revelation between the sticks since singing last summer, and has kept us in games on many occasions

Finally here’s a video showing the 2 goals from the win against Burnley.
Mondays post will feature an Interview with Trees new star signing Luis Suarez, in the match day programme.

32 thoughts on “Bold New Beginnings”

  1. Paul – I was watching your pre-season exploits at 1am last night when your newly uploaded vids popped up in my YouTube recommended list 🙂 Set phasers to Private! And question, why is there an asterisk* after all your vid titles?

    Suarez’s movement and finishing already looks distinctive. Hard to judge how your season will go based on the start but if you get mid-table you’ll be happy with that.

    And EA have finally hit the game with the dreaded Balancing Patch have they… I’m starting to think Konami’s October patch slightly worsened that game too (raised speed, lowered difficulty, fewer fouls). Why do they do this, every year? The simple answer is ‘market forces’ and we would do the same in their shoes.

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  2. NG – I usually do set the videos to private, and schedule them to come live just before the post does, but as it was late and I was tired, I didn’t bother.

    The asterisk is in the video title because when you use the PS4’s ShareFactory software to rename the project it automatically puts the * there, and I just couldn’t be bothered to go through and remove them.

    I wouldn’t say the latest patch was a game balancing one, the changes it made were very good, and subtle, but improves the game tenfold.
    I play the game with the speed setting on ‘Slow’ anyway, and the OS liders reduce sprint speed to 40 for each team, so doesn’t feel nowhere near as arcadey or fast or ping-pong as someone who may play on default and normal speed. I’m very happy with how it plays.

    The game will always feel faster in principle when you play with and against better players who can turn and move quicker.

    EA are seemingly sticking to their guns with the simulation route, as the patch focused on things like how efficient COM players are at stretching to make shot blocks, and defensive positioning, plus also midfield space, rather than boots and tattoos and other things.

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  3. Paul – doing the Private thing is a pain as you can’t then put the post to bed, scheduled etc., you have to go in and paste the Public link when you move the vid to Public. I’ve got a vid uploaded right now with an interesting event in it that I want to save as a surprise, so even if I write the post today I’ll have to mess about with it tomorrow, and that is a pain.

    Never noticed my Sharefactory leaving an asterisk and I use it for all vids? I tab down to the box before uploading and manually change the default title to the one I want though. You’re probably naming it another way and it’s doing the asterisk thing.

    Incidentally re. Sharefactory, I discovered its TimeShift feature this week (slow down and speed up), and its pan/zoom feature, and it’s pretty good. Not desktop software quality but great for a console.

    I have to say after a while now that I’m more impressed with Career Mode than the looks of FIFA19. Vids don’t fill me with desire to play it. But vids never really do showcase the general gameplay of a football game of course. E.g. I took a look at that TrueBrits vids of the ‘total realism’ mod for ‘the other game’ and was not impressed.

    Have you ever thought about getting into the PC side of FIFA? I know you’ll say you don’t need it with all the comforts of EA’s licenses and presentation, but there’s the gameplay possibilities. And dare I say it, the modding of Career Mode to make it more, uh, fantasy-based if that’s your thing.

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  4. Ng – If you upload a video from PS4 to Youtube and set it as private, then go into youtube and go to the creator studio section, you can schedule a youtube video to ‘become live’ at a certain date/time just like you can withy WP posts, but there’s also an option to ‘get shareable link’ – if you grab this link and paste it into your WP post, then it will display fine, once the video becomes live, i’ve used this method many times seamlessly.

    And Yes, I renamed the video inside sharefactory when you start a project, it gives you an option to rename the project, this name then gets used as the upload to Youtube name, but with an asterisk suffixed.

    The look of a game is all down to personal preference, I feel the same when watching vids of PES 19, to me it looks dull, bland, washed out, just drab and dreary, and the generic feel of every match, doesn’t add any excitement to games, lack of presentation etc.
    At least when I’m playing FIFA there is commentary hyping up the occasion, intelligently commenting on key players and events, updating me of critical scores during the match, players reacting appropriately,and of course actual trophies in the game, which is what the very essence and core of a footy game is all about – Playing to win trophies, when there isn’t even a trophy in sight it makes it feel pointless and like every match is just one friendly after another.

    Wife offered to buy me a souped up to the max gaming PC for xmas, I declined, with the OS sliders ands FIFA’s superb presentation, I don’t need to mod it up, and I begrudge paying a thousand pounds just to play a half finished game that Konami can’t be bothered with.

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  5. Paul – a PC is great for its own sake, not just the footy gaming. £600 would get you an upper-mid-spec machine that you could upgrade yourself in years to come. Who knows what the coming years will bring in footy gaming? We’ve been predicting the end of single-player for a while now but it will come one year, and when it does, it’ll likely be the PC that saves the day.

    Your mention of trophies gives me an idea…. lulz

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  6. NG – I did consider it, had a quad core i7 4.6GHZ, 32GB RAM, 6GB GFX Card, dual SSD machine priced up at £1200 which she said was fine, but I literally would never ever use it for anything, other than to play a modded PES, so seemed a waste of money.

    If you need me to send you a pic of what a trophy looks like just shout, I know you PES guys have never seen one before.

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  7. Paul – sounds like an interesting year ahead. I too updated the new slider set last night and had my best session by far. The only difference is that I have pass error for both teams set to 55. This is something I have done with any sliders this year as I need the values for the CPU and myself to be the same as otherwise it would dilute my sense of achievement on World Class. This shouldn’t hide the fact you need the community sliders to address the balance. I can say without them it didn’t play very well.

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  8. Darryl – I too have pass error ser to equal
    Disagree about base game not playing well, it plays well, is just enhanced by the sliders as it gives it more unpredictability and realism.

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  9. Great post Paul. I have to say there is one thing about the crowd scenes that always strikes me as just plain lazy. There are far too few individuals in the crowd, and it always ends up looking like an identical siblings convention. This is immediately noticeable in your clip with the grey haired twin sisters who for some reason could only get seats one in front of the other.

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  10. Haha That did make me chuckle Chris.
    Crowds in sports games are always a bit generic, a bit of a copy n paste job.

    Look at PES, FIFA, NBA, NHL, Madden, The Show, even 2K games, WWE etc, the crowds are duplicated, and you can understand why, the devs aren’t going to spend time and computing bandwidth individually drawing, rendering and animating 40,000 individual characters, so they make a chunk and copy and paste it around the ground.
    As it doesn’t affect the game in any way, its the one thing where a lack of attention to detail can be overlooked.

    It was still a very nice moment though playing a tournament in Mexico at the Azteca stadium, and seeing that mexican wave happen as they ran over to take a corner, along with the ticker tape and streamers laying on the pitch, flares, and late evening lighting as you’d see in a south American stadium, adding to the atmoshere of the match.

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  11. Paul – I was meaning after some of the updates. I think the vanilla game on default settings was a lovely game. The current patch with slider updates has a very similar feel.

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  12. @Paul, may a ask you how many minutes of half you playing with OS sliders? I’m just wondering if it would work to use them sliders with 5mins half. And i guess I will start a new save soon, with World Class this time, as Legendary seems to be a big cheat of CPU on the top tier leagues.

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  13. The drama continues and boy does this game offer it in bucket loads. I had 5 games left last night with myself in 8th just 1 point behind the play-offs. Two wins and two draws saw me climb into 5th place going into the final game. Only 6 teams played on the final day as the rest played the day before. My opponents were Blackburn who were only 1 point behind. As all the other teams had played thier games around me I felt a sense of relief on the final day, knowing I would be OK for a spot even if I lost. But it then a panic wave shot though me. I was on the same points as Cardiff in 6th place, who had the same goal difference as myself but I had scored more. This meant if I lost to Blackburn I would then drop to 7th as my goal difference would be worse. Imagine losing out that way. More panic. Thankfully the game itself was a bit more straightforward as I ran out 2-0 winners having scored twice in the first 10 minutes.

    So next up Brentford in the play-offs who are a very good side. There is going to be more twists and turns to come.

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  14. Abbes – those OS sports sliders are designed for a longer half length. I suppose it is a matter of taste. I personally prefer 8 minute halves as 10 minutes takes to long and is a bit much over a long career. I think Paul is a 6 minute man (ooh, Matron!). However, I find this year that the game rewards patient play. If you are losing it still gives you time to stay calm and get yourself back into the match. So for me 8 minutes provides a good balance and works well with those sliders.

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  15. Darryl – sounding truly epic, and so weird and encouraging to see you so deeply immersed in any game.

    Paul/Chris99 – re. the crowd cut-and-paste, it’s an area they don’t need to spend time and money on so they don’t, but imagine if they did… In the future when much game development is largely handed off to AI, they’ll have more than enough time and resources to create, from scratch, the type of crowd you see at a real-life match.

    My ‘favourite’ real-life crowd phenomenon is when a player scores in front of the opposing team’s fans, and roughly seven of those fans all rise up and perform the same ‘get orf’ arm gesture accompanied by a volley of abuse. When in the crowd myself I was always fascinated to hear those people making a little speech along the lines of ‘get away from this area of the ground and stop feeling happy about scoring, you scoundrel’, as if the player could hear them, which they couldn’t. An AI that replicates that surely is not too far off.

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  16. Crwd NPC’s are not something devs care too much about, and they don’t really need to.
    You don’t see them in any detail for 99% of the match, resources, and bandwidth is better utilised in other areas, plus the devs would never include crowd gestures or chants which could be potentially offensive such as aggressive arm gestures or shouts.

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  17. Paul – PC modding world strikes again! In the imagined (and feared) future where all footy game development is wholly online multiplayer focused, and single-player is abandoned, it will be the PC that saves us.

    The creative AI of which I spoke will be available to all. We’re unlikely ever to be overthrown by human-level conscious AI. Instead, it’ll just do literally everything else. You could tell it ‘Jarvis [not the PES one], create a mod for FIFA 29 that will replicate the thuggish offensiveness of a real-life football crowd’ and your home AI will say ‘at once, master’, and then probably seconds later, you’ll be good to go. I’m not even exaggerating, this is the future that is coming.

    But in the here and now, yes, no developer worth its salt is going to spend precious weeks on doing more than creating a few standard crowd members and pasting them around the ground.

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  18. I think your prediction of Speech-to-AI based instant mods for games is way further off than the next 10 years

    Imagine the possibilities though.

    Have you seen the film ‘Ready Player One’ ?.

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  19. It’s not like EA could afford to hire a graphic artist to do just that job is it? If the reason if hardware resources, then the point will come where every individual many not be unique, but there are far more people types to clone.

    Whether you could call the AI you refer to creative, is an interesting discussion point. Like the planet generation in No Man’s Sky, there may be a very large number of possibilities but it is easy to see that it is just an algorithm running to a set of pseudo-random parameters.

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  20. Chris99 – obviously the more detail and individualism in games the better but members of the crowd which you rarely see looking similar is not featuring highly on my Bug-bear list tbh.

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  21. I quite agree. My point is that the fact the crowd is highly repetitive and often two dimensional is always obvious when there is a crowd scene. No more than a week’s effort, but I agree it is less important than ensuring every player has a generated face, or being able to play for more than 15 seasons, or being able to design a manager avatar.

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  22. All Valid points, being able to customise a managers avatar should a basic option in FIFA, as should being able to play beyond 15 seasons.

    I guess though at least in FIFA your manager appears as a proper entity, on the sidelines, and is shown during the detailed transfer and contracts negotiations scenes, and during matches when you score important goals.
    I’d take that over PES whereby you only ever see your custom made manager in the cutscene when you first start ML and he’s sat behind a desk with a generic looking ball and a piece of text that announces you as manager.

    As for the 15 seasons, I have never ever played more than that in any game, PES 2011 was the most at 14 seasons. So wouldn’t affect me.
    There’s so much to do between matches in FIFA that an hour and half long session may only see you play 2 or 3 10 min matches, what with the setting up global scouting networks, interacting with players, dealing with contract negotiations, creating team sheets and tactics, reading the news hub about whats going on all over the virtual football world, training and developing players, setting up youth scouting etc.
    This means it can take a month to get through a season (depending on your amount of play time obviously) so 15 seasons would take up the entire year.

    In PES, as there’s nothing of any note to do within ML, apart from pick the team and play, you can race through the seasons so could easily go past the 15, so it needs to have unlimited, which it does of course.

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  23. Yesss!!! Congrats Darryl. You must be well pleased !!!!
    Premier league next season? Look forward to playing in all those real stadiums against quality teams !!!

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  24. Cheers Paul.

    Absolutely thrilled as it was a really tough ask to pull back from 13th, especially when teams around me seemed to keep winning as well. The final was a tense affair as Bournemouth are a good side. I dominated the early exchanges but as the game went on they became more of a threat and in the second half I was hanging in there a bit. In the 68th minute I scored a scrambled goal from a corner. At this point corners where my only threat, so I had tweaked the tactic on the corner before to have more men up for corners. Small percentages again.

    Yes can’t wait for the Premership and have a decent side with a boost of 4 new players from contract expiring players to come. Will be interesting to see how we both compare. As for the 15 season conversation I agree with everything you say. It has already felt a long journey to get where I am. I am averaging about 2 weeks or less per season but thar is at the sacrifice of everything around me. So in months to come if anyone spots me begging on the streets they can ask me if it was worth it.

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  25. Well what a start to life in the Premership. First of all I changed the camera to Broadcast to make the most of the stadium presentation and then welcomed some of my new players. I instantly felt more relaxed as I knew I had a squad good enough for promotion from the Championship, but with it came the weight of expectation. In the Premership I don’t have those kind of anxieties (yet) and can play with the shackles off. First of all Swansea at home who came up with me and won 2-0. Then came my biggest test so far and won 2-0 at Arsenal. Last up Everton at home, which I also won 1-0. I have invested in a world class keeper, which has made a difference. For now I am just enjoying the moment of being top for the first time in my FIFA history. When your smiling……

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  26. Darryl – That sounds like a genuine promotion team experience. I’ll be interested to hear how you are doing after 8 games, as the honeymoon period tends to wobbling by then. Good luck.

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  27. Sorry for the delay on the new post guys, have been away all weekend with the wife, and had no playing time at all, so no material for the new post, I probably won’t get to play until Wednesday night now, so the next new post will up at 10am on Thursday as per usual schedule.

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