Football Manager 2010 new features blog Day 23: Speed tests and Paulo Nutini

Translations of this material:

into Russian: FM2010 блог - день 23. Тесты производительности и Пауло Нутини. 94% translated in draft. Almost done, let's finish it!
Submitted for translation by Maurizio 06.10.2009 Published 8 years, 6 months ago.

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Hello everyone – I hope you all had lovely weekends.

For us at SI Towers it was a busy one to say the least. We’re on the final straight now for development of Football Manager 2010, and had certain deadlines to hit, which we have done.

These deadlines mean that a bunch of us have been at the studio or on call all weekend whilst the QA teams at Sports Interactive and SEGA try to break the game. Thankfully it was quite peaceful, but it’s a very strange feeling to have jetlag when I haven’t travelled anywhere, having gone to sleep at 6am each day this weekend (and not even with drink inside me….)

We are now at a stage called "release candidate one" with the game. This is the first version of the final master DVD of the game, and it is now over at SEGA for a period of lock down testing for a few of days, before it goes off to start the manufacturing process.

Normally there will be five or six release candidates as issues are found with the different versions of the game (we have six different DVD’s that have different languages on for different countries).

These issues are normally things like a missing language file on a DVD, or minor data errors, but could include anything, so it’s both great and frustrating for us to have a “lockdown” period where we’re not allowed to change anything code-wise unless something is found.

Typically, once this process starts, it takes a couple of weeks to complete until we’re officially “gold” (which means that gold master disc is in manufacturer) and if all goes normally, it would lead to the demo being released (as previously hinted at) two weeks before the games release.

Now that we’re at this stage, we’ll be working out what the system specifications for the game are (which, again, as previously hinted, are likely to be pretty close, if not identical, to FM2009) but we also do “speed tests” to see how the game runs, and whether our optimisations have worked.

When we do speed tests, they are done in a controlled environment, so we have one PC that is only allowed to be used for these tests. This same machine is used to do tests with previous version of the game, and then with the latest version, with exactly the same in game set up, which involves running a season with an unemployed manager.

Two different tests are done, one with full detail match engine, which means every match in the game is played through in full, and one with minimum detail, which means the matches are played through our quick match engine.

When you’re playing the game, you typically have a mixture of both, with any competition you are in played in the full match engine, and ones that you aren’t in played with the quick match engine, although this is completely configurable in the “detail level” section in the games preferences screen.

Anyway, onto the results…

Full match detail – a speed increase between Football Manager 2010 and Football Manager 2009 (fully patched) of 16%.

Quick match detail – a speed increase between Football Manager 2010 and Football Manager 2009 (fully patched) of 43.5%

So whilst I’m impressed with those, what do they mean to you when you’re playing the game?

I asked a couple of our Dream Team off-site testers how they felt about the speed this year.

Tim Pyke

“The speed in FM10 has had a nice optimization done to it since FM09. Not only is the actual processing speed faster but the UI is far more responsive.

"I have been running as general a game with 11 leagues over three nations with a couple of custom cups included (Anglo Scottish and Anglo Italian Cups anyone?) to do most of the beta testing on and it zips through very nicely.

"Even when leaving four nations running over a day to run a few holiday tests I will get through five or six seasons in a 12 hour stretch which gives me plenty of data to use.

"My data base size will always be custom with the standard large and a few additional selections included to bump up the player numbers. For my mid-range PC running a hyper-threading 3.2ghz P4 processor and 2.5gb RAM this is perfectly good for me.

"As a comparison with FM09, I would generally run the English league structure down to Blue Square North and South with only the standard large database loaded and a Saturday match day would take a few minutes to run through which I didn't mind.

"During the FM10 testing phase I have tried running English structure all the way down to Level 10 (Wessex League Division One and Sussex County League Division Two) thanks to the new editor.

"This is an increase from seven leagues to 46 and although the Saturday processing might be a minute or two longer I think for a six fold increase in leagues this is a tremendous improvement. With this improvement more players of the game will be able to increase the number of active leagues running if they wish without much difference in processing speed.”

Neil

“FM10 is running great. A lot quicker then 09 in my opinion and it also seem a lot more responsive. I’m currently playing with large database with English Premiership and Championship loaded then the top leagues from Russia, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Argentina and Portugal, and it runs great.”

Dean Ketley

“FM2010 is like Usain Bolt compared to FM2009 on my machine, it really does eat up the processing time so much so that I'm playing with four extra leagues compared with 09 and it still runs, I'd guess, at least 30% faster. Really have been impressed with the speed of the game throughout testing and can safely say your guys have done a tremendous job with this.

"The game is running with a large database (42000 players I think) with full detail in England and latter stages in Spain and Italy.”

Nick Mahiltz

“Speed is by far improved, what took 30 minutes to start a game takes less than 3 minutes. Responsiveness in the UI and match engine has dramatically improved, the optimisation is by far the best seen in the FM series.

"I’m using a Dual Core laptop with 2GB of ram, with all leagues in England, Scotland and Iceland and a large database, on full detail.”

Nik Reeves-McLaren

“The speed difference between FM2009 & FM2010 really is noticeable: FM2010 is more responsive, and processes more quickly. Starting a new game is also much faster.

"I’m running on a single core Pentium 4, with a custom database (large database but with every international player retained from every continent). It comes to a total of 31,000 players, whilst keeping the players selected relevant for my task as Blades manager!

"For most of my testing, I am running England (all the way down to Level 10) and Scotland (again, a custom editor file - implementing an 18-team per division pyramid down to the Juniors). Only two countries, but 58 divisions and a lot of extra cups!

"Even with 58 divisions running, I'm rarely left waiting for results to pour in.”

So there you go. Now last week, we had a special visitor at SI Towers, the one and only Paolo Nutini, who is well documented as being a big fan of the game. He had a day off whilst on tour, so came to see us and had a play around with FM2010, and did a little interview with us. You can watch it here (and turn your speakers up, as it’s not the most professionally recorded video in the world!)…

See you all tomorrow for another blog about FM2010 and it’s new features.

Cheers,

Miles