There is a hidden gem to every edition of Football Manager, and one that most people are probably too afraid to dive into a check out. It comes free with the game every year, and hides away in the tools part of your Steam Library. Of course, I’m talking about the pre-game Editor, and it can change your experience with the game entirely.
Within Football Manager these days, you have a Create a Club mode, which is fine, but somewhat limits you to what you can do. You can now also buy an in-game editor from SI through Steam. I’ve never used it, and don’t intend to, I can do everything I want, and more, with the pre-game Editor. I do miss the days of playing Championship Manager 3 and downloading a free in-game editor to make some basic tweaks to club finances or player attributes, but my tastes are for more extravagant changes these days.
I’ve often gone into the pre-game Editor to make minor tweaks to some club settings. When playing the 2015 game, I edited the database to add Cardiff Metropolitan University to the Welsh Premier League and gave them a bit of cash and a reputation boost so they could take the fight to The New Saints. I didn’t do too much else, trying to keep the game as pure as possible.
This year though, I have gone all-in with the Editor. My first attempts were to add the next layer of Welsh football below the Premier League, the regional divisions of the Cymru Alliance and Welsh Football League Division 1 and to change the average attendances of clubs in the Welsh Premier to be more realistic (well, I only brought attendances up, I didn’t knock them down). This seemed to go okay within the game itself, but I wanted more. With my next visit to the Editor, I managed to add the next few layers of Welsh football to the game, adding clubs like Clwb Pel Droed Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Football Club. Testing things out with a season on holiday revealed that fixtures for the second season weren’t loading for all of the new divisions I had added. I fear this is because I missed something in the advanced rules section of the Editor which governs how regional divisions work.
I returned to the Editor, this time, intent on changing things up to a greater degree. I ripped the current complicated Welsh Pyramid to pieces, and created a new structure with teams spread across eight playable leagues, no longer divided on regional borders, but teams placed in leagues according to their default in-game reputation. Play-offs were introduced in the three divisions below the Welsh Premier, and the Cups were tweaked to ensure all the clubs could take part in some form of cup competition.
I changed the settings for my Cardiff Met team so they aren’t stuck as being Always Amateur for the entire game. I didn’t want to make things too easy when starting a career with them, so avoided making them professional with a decent amount of money in the bank. Playing with Cardiff Met with my custom database is still going to require some skill and patience to drag them into Europe, let alone to challenge for the title. As is required in a poor league, attendances have been raised to real life levels and prize money has been changed – after editing, the league winner gets £50,000, a far cry from the near £25m Leicester received for winning the English Premier League last year
It isn’t perfect, in the version of the database I am using at the moment, there is no three letter name for the First, Second or Third Divisions which makes it hard to identify where you opponents play when fixtures are made for Cup competitions. There are currently big gaps in league fixtures from February onwards, a problem I could rectify with a winter break or by adding a mid-season split for championship and relegation conferences. Other issues have also arisen during my first season of play, the Welsh Cup and Welsh League Cup finals take place on the same day by default. Not too good if someone gets to the finals of both competitions!
Despite these niggles, playing around with the database for the game has been great fun, and is set to provide me with a welcome new challenge to my usual Welsh league journey. I’ll be making more tweaks as time goes on, but for now you can check out a usable (though far from perfect) version of my custom database on Steam Workshop. Keep the problems in mind, and please share any feedback.
For those of you don’t want to play in Wales, get digging around in the Editor or check out the SI Games Editor’s Hideaway for some great other custom databases.