The youth squad beta is over

Bubbles, FC Sunnyvale Developer 6 August 2020, 11:01

The day has finally come where youth squads have become a regular part of the game.

Senior squads now have room for 22 players, like in the "old days" (20 without premium), and anyone with premium can create a youth squad.

In addition, all players now use the new mood system. If you didn't participate in the beta, remember to have a look at your players' mood page, which is an important tool to help you deal with moods.

For the rest of the year we have a number of smaller jobs on our to-do list.

Below are some of the things we will be working on for the rest of the year (not necessarily in that order):

Balancing youth squads and mood

My impression is that we have struck a pretty good balance. The actual mood loss is approximately the same as before, but it's a little harder to keep the players happy because we've removed the old trick of giving them 1 minute on the pitch to satisfy them.

You're not meant to be able to have 42 players, all at maximum mood and 100% energy all while winning all of your matches. You're not supposed to be able to do everything all at the same time, and you need to prioritise - otherwise the game would be trivially easy.

When considering balancing, it is also important to remember that you're not playing against the computer, but against other managers. So if a certain aspect of the game gets harder, then it also gets harder for your competitors. Likewise, if we make part of the game trivially easy for you, then it will also be trivially easy for your competitors - and then you've gained nothing.

A more important consideration is probably whether there is something about the balance that causes too much administration and repetitive work - that's not fun either.

So now all of you managers need some time to gather experience with youth squads and the new mood system as an integral part of the game, and then we will continuously assess whether something needs adjusting.

Updating the manual

The manual has become very outdated and there is a lot of information which is incorrect because the game has changed since it was written.

Therefore, I will soon start updating and expanding the manual..

Implementation of the ad-free subscription

COVID-19 has also had a major impact on Virtual Manager because advertising revenue has dropped dramatically. Businesses around the world are simply spending far less money on advertising these days. Revenue has actually fallen so much that if I had not spent all the time I did last year on reducing our fixed costs, then right now we would be running a deficit.

This makes it even more urgent that we become less dependent on advertising, and implement the advertising-free subscription, which I have talked about before.

Cleaning up the bug system so we can use it regularly again

The bug system has become a mess and we have not used it for a long time.

Of course, that doesn't mean that bugs have not been fixed, but simply that we have received the reports via other channels: the forum, our crew, the support system, our automatic error logging, and from our bug moderator.

But obviously, it would be better if we get all error reporting gathered in one place once again, but that requires that we get it cleaned up.

Many of the issues that have lingered in the bug system for a long time are typically errors that only a single manager has experienced and that cannot be recreated or found any evidence of in the system. That kind of thing is practically impossible to figure out. When we encounter that kind of report, in the future we will have more focus on adding more logging of various incidents so that we have proper, tangible information available if something similar is reported again.

Splitting up the "Play style" tactics setting

When we made the new match simulator, several of the old settings were grouped together as "package deals" under the "Play style" setting. I didn't like it then, nor do I now. For what if, for example, you want to your players to make long passes and long finishes at the same time? The tactics editore doesn't allow you to do that today.

Therefore, I will look at removing "Play style" and instead adding separate settings for things like how wide to play, how long the passes should be, and from how far away the players will try to finish.

I don't actually think it will be a huge task, because all these players behavior adjustments already exist in the simulator: they are just gathered in package solutions depending on which "Play style" is chosen.

At the same time, I will also make sure that each tactic setting is accurately explained, either in the manual or possible directly in the tactics editor.

Further upgrades to our underlying software and preparation for mobile friendly design

Since last year, we have upgraded our underlying software on several occasions, and have come a long way.

Before we start working on the mobile-friendly design, I would like us to be 100% up to date, so that we have a good foundation to work on. We'll probably start working on that this fall.