Some of you may want to just alter some basic things like a particular player's crossing attribute or the capacity of a stadium. On the other hand, others may want to get a bit more involved and create their own team from scratch, or really get stuck in and create their own competition (European Super League anyone?). The sky really is the limit when it comes to editing the mountain of data that comes with FM. Unfortunately, I can't possibly cover every possible combination and permutation, however once you get used to the editor and how it works you'll soon discover that although the fields that you can edit are numerous, the principle remains virtually the same.
The first and most important thing that you need is.... what did you shout out there? the editor? well, yes, that is pretty crucial... but it's worthless without your ideas. What you really need first is to decide what you want to do. For this example, I want a scenario which allows me to show a number of different parts of the editor. My scenario is therefore this.... I'm a billionaire who makes Bill Gates look like a pauper. I've retired from my international 'widget' manufacturing business and am in need of a new challenge. Being a fan of Newcastle United, I am utterly appalled at the way the club has been mismanaged in recent years so I phone Mike Ashley and ask him how much he wants for his toy. WHAT? No sale!!! At any price?? Oooooo that makes me mad!! Right, I'll show him. I'll create my own alternative Newcastle club and fund it to the top. AFC Wimbledon, FC United, it's been done with decent success before but with my gigantic bank balance we can really shake the foundations of English football, AND I’m arrogant enough to believe that I’m the best manager for the team too.
So, I'm going to create a new club, put it into the bottom of the English league structure, build it a new stadium, give birth to a new Chairman (not literally), set up the finances, and the fun part.... create a new set of strips! I might be easily pleased but I love creating strips, hehe.
***Getting The Editor***
If you already have the editor installed, give this bit a miss. For the rest of you, there's a clear and concise sticky at the top of the editor sub forum that tells you what to do. Basically :
- Log into Steam
- Select the 'View' menu
- Select the 'Tools' sub menu
- Right click on 'Football Manager 2012 Editor'
- Select 'Install Game'
- Click the 'Next' button, then the 'Next' button again and then 'Finish'
Voila! It's now installing in the background.
***Running the Editor***
Once it's installed, there should be a shortcut on your desktop. It's a grey version of the FM12 icon. Fire her up! Don't be alarmed if nothing happens for a few seconds, it does tend to take a little while to load up, even on high end machines.
Usually when you're about to edit data type stuff it's a good idea to backup the original database. However, those clever folks at SI have come up with a system of incremental xml update files. That basically means that you NEVER actually change anything on the database itself, so there's no need to back anything up. Instead, you can create as many of the edit xml files as you like then pick and choose which ones to apply to the database whenever you start a new game (certain common sense caveats apply, e.g. files that contain conflicting edits can’t possibly BOTH work at the same time). Anyway, don't worry about that now - we'll get onto loading the edit files into a new game much later.
Right, so the editor is up and running. The first thing we need to do is make sure the basic settings are ok. The default ones should be fine, but if you want to check/fiddle then here is a quick checklist :
- Drop down the 'Settings' menu from the menu bar in the top left hand side.
- Check that 'Currency' is set as you require it. I'm in Scotland so I set it to 'UK Pound Sterling'.
- Check that 'Language' is set as you require it. As SI hasn’t yet put in an 'English (Scottish dialect, ken)' option, I leave it at 'English'.
- Display Mode is next. This should have defaulted to your current desktop resolution but feel free to set it as you wish.
- Maximum Records For Search. I would strongly recommend that you leave this at 500 until you're confident with the Editor. There may well be times when you want more than 500 records returned, and you can change it here, but be warned that 'Unlimited' WILL hit your system hard if you do vague searches, you may want to have a fire extinguisher handy. Just kidding.
- The 'Compress Editor Data Files' option can be toggled on or off. Personally, I have this switched off. If you're doing BIG edits then the Editor may advise you to switch this on when you save the file. Once again, common sense should prevail :-)
- The final option is 'Save Backup File'. Leave this ON. When you are editing, you should be saving your work often. This option will mean that the previous save will NOT be overwritten, but will instead be renamed with the suffix 'bak'. Very sensible.
Next up, let's load up the base data:
- Drop the 'File' menu down in the top left hand side.
- The first option that isn't greyed out is 'Load Database...', so hit that. A progress bar will appear and the data will load up.
***Saving Your Edits To An XML File***
I would recommend that you do this straightaway.
- Drop the 'File' menu down in the top left hand side.
- Select 'Save Editor Data As ...'
- Leave the folder location alone. If you change the location, then FM will NOT spot the file when you start a new game.
- Name your edit file and hit 'Save'. I'll call mine NewcastleCity.
- Click 'OK' on the resultant message box.
From now on, you can either overwrite the file by selecting 'Save Editor Data' (remember the old file will be renamed to a .bak file in case you mess things up), or you can be really careful by saving the file with an incremental number at the end of the name every now and again using the process above.
***Searching Within The Database***
You should now see that the left hand side of the Editor window looks as above. You'll soon pick up how it works. Let's do a few searches to see how it works.
Example of searching for England's Newcastle United.
- Almost halfway down that left hand side you'll see 'Database' in big, slightly blueish writing. Beneath that is a list of data areas that you can search within. Check that 'Clubs' is highlighted in red.
- To the right of this section, you should see :
- Enter 'Newcastle United' into the text area and hit Enter.
- The search should return three results. It's fairly obvious which is the one we're after as it says 'England' in the Nation column, however let's try customising the filter to try it out.
- Just to the left of where we typed 'Newcastle United' is a big grey 'Filter' button. Click this and you'll see that three options appear.
- Select 'Customise...'
- Now you can edit your search filter. Click 'Add Condition' and select 'Nation'. The principle is exactly the same as searching inside the game, so you should be used to it.
- Enter 'England' into text area. It should now look as below.
- Click 'OK'. And, as if by magic, the club we're looking for appears.
- Double click the resultant record and the ‘Details’ for Newcastle United appear.
As I've said, searches and filtering in the editor all use a similar principle to searches within the game itself. Easy stuff.
One final thing. You may notice that the left hand side of the Editor has now changed to reflect the fact that a club's details are being shown. We now see that 'Details' is selected in red and under it are things like 'Stadium', 'Finances', Competitions' etc. Pretty much the same as in game, the Editor is splitting the data held into areas of interest. If you select 'Stadium' then you'll see that the stadium information appears and is sub divided into four different tabs of fields on the right hand side. That's basically how navigation works in the Editor. Once you get used to the way of navigating around, then you'll find that all data is found, retrieved and displayed in much the same way.
***Creating Newcastle City***
Adding a new club, here we go! Ok, we need to get back to the club section of the main database, so :
- Underneath the 'File' menu in the very top left, you'll see a grey panel entitled ‘Menu’ with ‘File’, ‘Database’ and ‘Newcastle’ listed in that order. This is our 'top down' view of the data. We need the Database level so click Database.
- You'll now see that we're right back to where we started our search example above. In the lower half of the left hand side of the screen we should see that 'Clubs' is once again highlighted in red, if not click it now.
- Now look in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. You'll see four buttons 'Add', 'Edit', 'Duplicate', and 'Remove'. We want to create a brand new club so click 'Add'.
- The Editor has created a brand new club record for us, but we still have to add all the information about that club. Now the process is to go through each data area listed on the left and each sub tab, filling out relevant information. At first, a lot of the fields will be self explanatory but some will be a bit confusing. A good idea is to search for other clubs that already exist and have a look at what those clever data hamsters at SI have done. If that doesn't help then have a look for existing info on this forum, failing that ... ask! The first time that I was stumped by a data field years ago, I posted a question on the forum concerning potential rating and a bloke called Collyer (can't remember if it was Paul or Olly, a couple of teaboys at SI Towers I'm told) replied with a very helpful answer. Seriously though, what other major games publisher do you know where you can post on the forum and get the owner/managing director or someone similar replying??? <doff>hat</doff>
Anyway, back on topic.... I can't possibly go through every individual field here, there's waaay too many, so I've screenshotted (screenshotted? Is that a word…. Well, it is now) each of the screens edited and placed them in this folder.
Any areas/tabs that are NOT in this folder means that I have NOT touched them (for example, ‘stadium - supporter bans’, give them a chance! we haven't even built a stadium for them to riot inside yet). There’s also a rar file there containing all the screenshots.
A few points :
New sub records
For instance, the stadium & the chairman. To add a new stadium/person, the principle is the same as we went through earlier for the club. Let's quickly add a new stadium as an example.
- Underneath the 'File' menu in the very top left, you'll see a grey panel entitled Menu. Click 'Database' in this panel.
- From the Database menu that appears below this, select 'Stadiums'
- Click the 'Add' button in the bottom right hand side
- Enter the relevant details (see the screenshots for an example)
- Now your stadium is available for selection on your new club :-)
When you're using a few entities that you've searched for as examples, you'll be constantly switching between them to see what data they've got. How do you easily switch without searching from scratch? Easy, see that dropdown on the left hand side with a 'Clear' button next to it? If you select that, you will see a drop down containing recently loaded data items. Just select the appropriate one to switch across to it.
In my example of Newcastle City, I've invested a total of £3 billion of my enormous fortune into the club. £500 million of that is available for the building of the new stadium and for paying off council officials....errrr I mean securing planning permission. The architects tell me that they propose that we don't build a 125,000 all seater stadium with retractable roof from the outset, as this might be overkill for our first few seasons climbing out of non league football. So we can build a nice 25,000 seater stadium with room to expand when it's required. The initial cost is £150 million. This leaves £350 million for the club's bank account with the remaining £2.5 billion invested to generate future income. So, how do I show this in game?? I create a 25,000 all seater stadium on the town moor (see latitude and longitude on the stadium screenshot) with an expansion capacity of 125,000. The £2.5 billion, I've estimated will generate a nice annual income for the club of £130,000,000. If you look at the 'Other Income' tab of the clubs finances, you can see that I've added an item with 'Income Type' of 'Other Income' and an amount of £260,000,000. Hmmm hang on a minute, that's double the annual income isn't it? Yep, trial, error and experience have shown me that the best way to get a lump sum paid into the finances every year is to set it up so that it's across two years and the game will then pay half each year. I tried it as a single payment, but it wouldn't renew for some reason. If anyone has a better way of achieving this idea then please let me know!! :-) Finally, I set the bank balance to £350 million, BUT it no longer allows you to do this if your club has a low stature/no sugar daddy. I like a lowish stature, because I want to build it up over time, and I don't set a sugar daddy because I like to manually set the payments into the club. Even if you set the balance to something like £100 million (as I’ve done), you'll notice that when you start the new game, you won't have anything like that amount. That's because the game overrides your balance with an amount befitting a club of your stature. Soooo, I sort this out by starting the game and then using a save game editor such as the excellent Bracasoft one (Hi Ruci!) to set the initial bank balance. After that, the income payment that I’ve set up kicks in, and it all takes care of itself.
This is a hot topic at the moment. I heard Howard Wilkinson on the radio the other week advocating the use of Spain style feeder teams in England. In my example, I've added Berwick Rangers as an affiliated club and then made them into my B team. This means that instead of a reserve side, I use Berwick Rangers. I've boosted the stats of Berwick’s training facilities, and improved the stadium a bit to indicate that I've pumped a bit of money in as part of the deal to buy them out. The first time I tried this, Berwick went bust! This was because I was putting highly paid players in their ranks, and they couldn't afford the wages. So now, I put £5 million a year into the club as part of the deal to offset the wage costs.
This is a new page of fields that's appeared in the FM12 editor. As such I'm not 100% sure exactly how they affect the game but I'm pretty sure that they'll just follow some common sense rules. I'll discuss them here but please remember that at the moment i have NO official explanation and therefore this is pure speculation on my part. It would be great if an SI data hamster was to pop in and give a thumbs up or thumbs down at some point, but as we know they are very busy running around on their wheels at the moment given that the game came out last week.
There are only five fields here. Loyalty, passion, patience, affluence and temperament. It's fairly obvious what each one refers to, but what we're interested in is what effect will putting in different values have in the actual game. As always, when I come across a new field I have a look at some examples. I've put a small table together of a few club's values below.
Apparently I've hit a wall on the number of images I'm allowed to show, so you'll need to open this in a new browser if you want to look at it whilst we discuss the fields.
The first thing we see is that the American data hamster is probably hibernating. WAKE UP and stop leaving your club's values at default! Let's ignore the two American clubs from now on, as they are purely an example of leaving the fields at 10 if you don't know what to set them to.
Ok, let's have a look at each field and SPECULATE on what effect it might have.
We can see that this tends to be around the 15 mark on our example clubs with Millwall a touch lower and Accrington Stanley a touch higher. I'm guessing that this might be a contributing factor in :
Attendances during a bad run, or after relegation.
Season ticket sales after a poor season, or after relegation.
A minor influence on 'Fan Confidence'. The confidence is less likely to nosedive if they are loyal, but I would think that patience is more important in this regard.
Attendances could be boosted with high passion. This might even override a low affluence setting to some degree. If people in a poor area love their football, then they'll save the money and go to the game even if it's expensive.
Big home matches, local derby games, cup games etc. The players confidence will be boosted by their passionate fans getting behind them.
Looking at the examples, we can see that (according to the database) Chelsea fans have their hearts surgically removed at birth, whilst Accrington Stanley and FC United fans love their clubs more than life itself.
The obvious one here is that a low patience will mean that fan confidence in you will disappear quickly if you go on a run of defeats.
During matches, if a particular player(s) or the team are not performing, the fans may start to get on their backs and make them less confident and more nervous if they have low patience.
A high patience will obviously have the opposite effects.
Another glance at the table above tells us that Accrington fans will give the manager all the time in the world to build a team and find success, whilst Millwall fans will be calling for your head after a short run of defeats.
Money, money, money. How much disposable income is there in your club's catchment area?
High affluence means that fans will be willing to pay a high ticket price and merchandising and corporate income will be high.
Low affluence will negatively affect shirt sales and wll lower season ticket sales and attendances at less important matches.
As stated before, a high passion may well offset the negative effects of a low affluence rating.
Once again, the examples give us an indication of this. Chck out the amount that Chelsea and Arsenal fans pay for season ticket prices, it's astronomical.
Interesting one this. Until I drew up the chart of examples, I had assumed that a high temperament rating would mean that you fans had a good temperament, ie were less likely to start a fight over a spilt pint outside the ground. However, it's clearly the other way round. Millwall fans have been given a rating of three with Chelsea on five. Oh dear. Well, they do have a certain reputation. Barcelona and Arsenal on the other hand appear to have fans who are quite happy to buy a round of drinks for the opposition fans after the game. Bravo!
So, a low rating means that your fans might go on a rampage after a defeat, causing possible fines or fan bans for the club. If your fans carry cards with the name of your club on followed by the word "headhunters", then you may want to put a rating of under five in.
I added Newcastle City to the Blue Square Bet North division. However, this means that we have too many teams in that division. I’ve rectified this by arbitrarily removing another team. There were a few teams that looked to be on the verge of bankruptcy so I chose one of them.
***Starting a Game***
We've battered the Editor with our data and saved it away. Now the fruits of our endeavour are ripe for plucking. Start up FM12. After clicking 'Start New Game', you'll get a 'Choose Database' screen. At the bottom of that screen is 'Editor Data Files'. It should say '1 enabled (1 in total)'. If it says 0 then you've probably saved the XML file to a location other than the default location and you'll need to move it. On the other hand, if you've been a busy little data hamster and created multiple xml files, then tick the 'Change' option and you'll be able to select which of the Editor data files you want to use for this particular game.
And that's it for now. The Editor essentially turns FM into a sandbox management game. You can create totally new scenarios and the only limit is your imagination. Rangers and Celtic move into the English Premier League? Try it! Dagenham and Redbridge get a billionaire sugar daddy? Try it! All new London Utd start in the Premier League with the worlds best players? Try it! East Stirlingshire get undersoil heating? Try.... errr well maybe not.
Even if nobody ever reads this, or does read it and thinks it’s garbage then at least I’ve had a play with all the BB code tags, so I’m happy hehe.