It’s time for the second in the Whats Wrong With… series. The first one, on Replay Theatre, went over pretty well, and I’m hoping that you guys continue to throw ideas for improvements around in the comments, but what I didn’t address properly, was the idea behind this series of posts.
We had a lot of new introductions in FIFA 11, UT on the Web, Creation Centre, Replay Theatre, Custom Audio, and so on and I thought it would be a good idea to look at each part, one by one, and as well as put my own opinions out there, gain an understanding of what the FSB community liked about the new features and what they want to change.
Under the microscope this week is Creation Centre, the web based customisation tool.
Creation Centre is something I spent a fair bit of time with in the run up to release. It was a good move on EA’s part to give people who had pre-ordered FIFA 11 early access to the app, allowing them to start building their squads and players so that by the time the game hit the streets we already had teams like the FSB EPL XI from our very own Dave Bryant, and Starbucks FC from self proclaimed blogging extraordinaire Lee Meadowcroft.
To figure out what changes need to be implemented, we need to look at what people are currently using CC for. At the time of writing, these were the Top Ten most downloaded players:
Dean Windass (14339 downloads), Diego Maradonna (9551), Zinedine Zidane (7664), Roberto Carlos (4272), Pele (3816), Johan Cruyff (3628), Peter Schmeichel (3449), Dennis Bergkamp (3016), Jay-Jay Okocha (2907) and Alan Shearer (2437).
And the most downloaded teams are…
BYA Boosting team (which google tells me is used for boosting your VP accomplishments and has 25529 downloads), Shakhtar Donetsk (21379), Real Madrid 2002 XI (17371), AC Milan All Stars (12704), Dynamo Kyiv (12232).
So far, so obvious. People are largely using CC to create players and teams that they otherwise couldn’t get into the game. It’s almost certainly what was at the forefront of EA’s mind whilst developing it. Which makes it such a shame that the most downloaded players tab looks like this:
Is there really any resemblance between these player models and the players they are supposed to represent?
There are only 30 different faces across the 4 available skintones to choose from, which is nowhere near enough, especially considering that these models aren’t customisable beyond changing the eye colour, of which there are 4, and choosing from 1 of 6 facial hair styles. There are 42 hairstyles to choose from which is a reasonable amount (Yes I did die a little inside when I typed that, but it’s actually relevant to this topic), but only 6 colours.
Other negatives on the player creation side, there is no full body preview for your players and there is seemingly no penalty for assigning all traits, with the exception of the negative traits. Also, for some reason the weak foot attribute has been missed out, although all of the other customisable attributes have made it in.
There is a good level of customisation from an accessories point of view, the kit style and tapes etc are all editable, but let down by the same problem as many other parts of CC, the colour palette. There desperately needs to be some sort of colour picker (thanks to Glen Cooley for getting me the correct terminology, much to the amusement of others) so that you can tune the colours used on accessories and hair, as well as a separate one for customising skin tones.
Moving on to the other side of Creation Centre and Create a Team, some immediate gripes are the 15 character limit on stadium names, especially considering the word stadium takes up nearly half of that. Only 29 of the 53 FIFA 11 Stadiums can be assigned to your team, I genuinely can’t figure out why they wouldn’t make all of the stadiums on the disk assignable, and you can’t search by overall when looking for players to add to your squad.
There is a very limited choice of crests, Which you can’t customise beyond changing the primary and secondary colour. I appreciate that allowing full customisation of crests would no doubt end in tears (or phallic club badges, or both), but Black Ops found a good way to combat and chastise people who abused the customisation. Everyone has different ideas of what is and isn’t offensive, add a report button and let people who are offended make a complaint.
The inclusion of generic commentary names (Rovers, Athletic, etc) is an excellent choice, as well as including all of the other team names but for the most part, the editable options just seem a bit hit and miss, EA have gone to the trouble of including all of the available commentary names yet not included all of the stadiums, and I can’t really see why. Another miss is that you can’t transfer existing players or your VP into CC teams, even for offline play.
Sharing teams is easy enough, you can generate a direct link or post directly to *hack* Facebook. The obvious inclusion when the app is updated is Twitter support. Bookmarking and downloading teams/players is straightforward, I can’t really see any need to improve on that.
Overall, I feel that CC is still under cooked. It’s got huge potential for spawning a huge wave of great UGC and there are no doubt tonnes of people who would spend hours finely tuning settings to properly recreate legends from days gone by or recreate their Sunday league team, they just need the tools to do so.
As always, we want your opinion. Use the comments to air your ideas or issues regarding CC.