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rafa

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  1. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  2. Favourite
    rafa reacted to Foxy in Hello I'm Foxy   
    Inspired by @Taff I thought I would tell you something about myself.
    I live in an area of England called the Cotswolds in the county of Gloucestershire about 12 miles outside Cheltenham.
    I have a wife and an 11 year old daughter and we live in a little village in the countryside. I have always lived in the country and can't imagine living in a town or city and being happy. This is the kind of views I live with everyday.

    I work as Head Gardener at a large country house and enjoy being outside during the day even if the weather is sometimes rubbish.
    When I was growing up I didn't have a team I supported. Most people supported Man Utd  where i grew up but for some reason they never appealed to me. In 1998 I went to an Oxford Utd game with a mate from school. At the time we where in Division one (championship) and we beat Norwich 3-0. That was it I was hooked and Oxford became my team. I had a season ticket for a few years and went to fair few away games including a 7-0 defeat to Sunderland back when Sunderland where good (remember Kevin Phillips @samhardy) In the end life got in the way and I don't get to many games anymore but they are still my team.
    I have played CM/FM for about 20 years but only started playing FMM back in April and it is one of my main hobbies. I had never really shared my FM hobby with anyone beyond friends but back in January I decided to start a YouTube channel about FM and also played some FMM on there. I have since decided to stop YouTube as I simply have stopped enjoying doing the videos and I want to concentrate on enjoying playing FMM and writing for Vibe. One skill i did learn doing YouTube and still enjoy is creating graphics using a program similar to Photoshop. I have been lucky that @PriZe and @Taff have asked me to make graphics for them recently. I'm not the best you will ever see but I enjoy it and I'm getting better with each piece I do.
    I never enjoyed doing school work and if you told the 16 year old me that I wrote as a hobby I would have just laughed. I have Dyslexia and although it isn't a bad case it means I'm not a natural writer but since joining Vibe I have discovered that I really enjoy it and its thanks to @mcandrew003 for inviting me to try my hand at writing. I have meet some great people since joining Vibe including the guys mentioned above but also @Ashez @BatiGoal @danovic78 @scratch99 and many more who I have forgotten without meaning to. 
    Its the community we have here at Vibe that brings me back and enhances my enjoyment of the game.
  3. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from ManLikeRobbieBrady in Safe Football Streaming Sites   
    I'll not provide any guarantees on 'safe', but soccerstreams on reddit has a few very good links. 
  4. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from mcandrew003 in As Três Superestrelas - An International Challenge   
    Your Portuguese is a bit rusty mate!
    "Super" + "Estrelas"
  5. Favourite
    rafa reacted to Juvept in Raise my own coach badge   
    10 minutos after quote you, i won the Portuguese Cup and became SILVER BADGE AHAH
  6. Happy
    rafa reacted to Buzz JR in JACK THE GIANT SLAYER series ......   
    Once......!!!!!!
    Frst lost 3 - 1 
  7. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Juvept in Raise my own coach badge   
    I don’t know the answer to this one. Didn’t put much thought on this so far...
  8. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in What does influence reputation?   
    Haha, it's basically the same system since Championship Manager.
    There are a few hidden attributes: "Home Reputation", "Current Reputation" and "World Reputation"
    All these attributes can vary between 0-10000.
    Home Reputationis your reputation with teams of the same nationality as you. Current Reputation is the main in-game reputation and generally the most important one World Reputation I don't remember well. May be the reputation with other teams besides your nationality, or might be used to apply for National Jobs. Not very sure about this one. When you apply for jobs the game compares your rep with the club's rep - if yours is higher you may get the job (depending on other applicants rep as well). Which rep the game uses depends on your nationality and the club's nationality.
    When you start the game you can choose your initial rep. In Football Manager PC it used to be like this:
    International Footballer, "Home Reputation", 8000, "World Reputation", 4000 Professional Footballer, "Home Reputation", 6000, "World Reputation", 3000 Semi-Professional Footballer, "Home Reputation", 3250, "World Reputation", 1625 Sunday League Footballer, "Home Reputation", 1500, "World Reputation", 750 Current rep being the same as Home rep in these cases.
    These values fall into different categories in-game, from Unproven to World Class, depending on what country you currently or last played in.
    So starting the game as a Sunday League footballer would give you an unproven rep in England, but maybe a regional or national rep in Wales. It is important to know that, as a National rep in England is worth way more in game terms than a National rep in, let's say, Ireland.
    The rep changes a little bit for every game you play, even friendlies. The amount it changes depends on what are your odds of winning and the importance of the game. If you are predicted to win, you will probably lose a bit of rep if you draw.
    Match odds are calculated by using the club's rep, current form and home advantage. So you can notice that if you get a crappy club and keep winning, the odds will slowly start shifting more your way.
    The rep change is also normally distributed, so a 1-0 win will give you less rep than a 6-0 win. The more the result diverges from the predicted result, the more rep is affected.
    In the PC version, matches played while on holiday (managed by the assman) do not affect your rep. I am unsure about the FMM version.
    A great way to increase your rep is to take over a national team, specially smaller countries with great players.
    But the biggest rep changes comes from rep bonuses:
    Getting your team promoted, possibly qualifying for European cups as well Winning the league Either winning or losing a cup or tournament final (Winning gets you about twice the amount of rep as losing) Winning Manager of the month or Manager of the year. (Not that much, but every bit helps) Those are worth hundreds of points in your rep attribute. And the better the league/competition, the more points it is worth.
  9. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in What does influence reputation?   
    Haha, it's basically the same system since Championship Manager.
    There are a few hidden attributes: "Home Reputation", "Current Reputation" and "World Reputation"
    All these attributes can vary between 0-10000.
    Home Reputationis your reputation with teams of the same nationality as you. Current Reputation is the main in-game reputation and generally the most important one World Reputation I don't remember well. May be the reputation with other teams besides your nationality, or might be used to apply for National Jobs. Not very sure about this one. When you apply for jobs the game compares your rep with the club's rep - if yours is higher you may get the job (depending on other applicants rep as well). Which rep the game uses depends on your nationality and the club's nationality.
    When you start the game you can choose your initial rep. In Football Manager PC it used to be like this:
    International Footballer, "Home Reputation", 8000, "World Reputation", 4000 Professional Footballer, "Home Reputation", 6000, "World Reputation", 3000 Semi-Professional Footballer, "Home Reputation", 3250, "World Reputation", 1625 Sunday League Footballer, "Home Reputation", 1500, "World Reputation", 750 Current rep being the same as Home rep in these cases.
    These values fall into different categories in-game, from Unproven to World Class, depending on what country you currently or last played in.
    So starting the game as a Sunday League footballer would give you an unproven rep in England, but maybe a regional or national rep in Wales. It is important to know that, as a National rep in England is worth way more in game terms than a National rep in, let's say, Ireland.
    The rep changes a little bit for every game you play, even friendlies. The amount it changes depends on what are your odds of winning and the importance of the game. If you are predicted to win, you will probably lose a bit of rep if you draw.
    Match odds are calculated by using the club's rep, current form and home advantage. So you can notice that if you get a crappy club and keep winning, the odds will slowly start shifting more your way.
    The rep change is also normally distributed, so a 1-0 win will give you less rep than a 6-0 win. The more the result diverges from the predicted result, the more rep is affected.
    In the PC version, matches played while on holiday (managed by the assman) do not affect your rep. I am unsure about the FMM version.
    A great way to increase your rep is to take over a national team, specially smaller countries with great players.
    But the biggest rep changes comes from rep bonuses:
    Getting your team promoted, possibly qualifying for European cups as well Winning the league Either winning or losing a cup or tournament final (Winning gets you about twice the amount of rep as losing) Winning Manager of the month or Manager of the year. (Not that much, but every bit helps) Those are worth hundreds of points in your rep attribute. And the better the league/competition, the more points it is worth.
  10. Funny
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in Indonesia league   
    No problems mate, will do! 
  11. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in The Vibe Community Tactic 2018 - Final Tactic   
    AF AF W W   AP AP IWB IWB   CD CD   SK  
    Motivation:
    -  Sweeper Keeper as I have a feeling that the defence line will be high
    - CDs as it is already very attacking
    - IWBs cover APs forward runs
    - Wingers keep width and don't overlap with strikers
    - Advanced Forward works with everyone
     
  12. Funny
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in Indonesia league   
    No problems mate, will do! 
  13. Funny
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in Indonesia league   
    No problems mate, will do! 
  14. Funny
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in Indonesia league   
    No problems mate, will do! 
  15. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from samhardy in Most positions for 1 player?   
    Rings a bell, but I don’t remember for sure... getting old 😅
    EDIT: yes, here he is!
     
  16. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Baddar in Players adaptation to train new positions   
    It goes up to natural (light green)
  17. Shocked
    rafa got a reaction from Modestep in Most positions for 1 player?   
    That's a regen that was in my Man Utd team from 2027/28. He was originally a left winger, but I retrained him to play in all those positions  He is now 34, and I sold him to Fulham 4 seasons ago. He was a cracking jack of all trades.
    EDIT: He was actually in my Wolves team before, at least since 2023/24. Somehow it is not showing in his history page anymore. So I had him in Wolves, I moved to Man Utd and bought him and then I moved to Bologna and got him again. Sold when he was 30.



  18. Happy
    rafa got a reaction from Dhxn in What's more important- Players or Tactics?   
    Short answer: players.
    Not so long answer: you will definitely have more success with a standard tactic and awesome players than with the “best” tactic and average players.
    Long answer: to really outperform odds and be “unbeatable” there is no magic formula. A great tactic will be not so great with the wrong players, the best players will perform poorly in the wrong setup. To consistently perform well you need the players, a suitable tactic and ability to tweak it according to the match circumstances.
  19. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  20. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  21. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  22. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  23. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  24. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

  25. Favourite
    rafa got a reaction from Foxy in How the AI thinks   
    Groundhog Day Experiments, First Article
    Introduction
    Have you kids watched Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray?

    It's a really good movie! The plot revolves around this guy, who starts re-living the same day, over and over again. You should definitely watch it if you can!
    This concept can be applied to FMM18 as well. Normally, it's called cheating - reloading a save, specially when things don't go your way
    However, it is a very powerful tool to use when trying to understand the game. To answer many what if questions:
    What if I had used a Control Mentality instead of Attacking, would I have won the game? What if my player was not sent-off? What if I had picked Agüero instead of Gabriel Jesus? You get the drill.
    Still, replaying the game one time will not necessarily give you all the answers you want. There's a lot of random outcomes in each game, and even if you play the same tactic, with the same players, you will get a different outcome most of the time.
    How do I know that? Well, By playing the same game ten times over!
    Why to play the same game over and over again?
    My initial idea was testing a specific tactical formation against another specific tactical formation. The question I wanted to answer was "If I play this opponent who uses an Attacking 4-2-3-1, is there an optimal tactic to counter it? However, I never got to answer this question...
    But keep reading - I discovered other things! After playing a few games, I got answers to questions I was not asking. For example:
    How the AI behaves depending on the match circumstances? How predictable the AI is? Is there any logic for the AI tactical decision in game? How much variation in the game stats are there after playing the same game using the very same tactic? Sounds quite interesting, right? (I hope so!)
    The setup
    Manager: Unknown reputation, no badges Loaded leagues: English Premier only The team: Almighty Bournemouth Other: Holiday through pre-season, until the 10th of August. The Groundhog Day
    Actually, 3 days!
    Groundhog start: 10th of May Groundhog end: 12th of May, after match Opponent: Leicester, away. First game of the league season. Odds: Leicester 1.18, Bournemouth 4.0 - "A difficult test" Tactics
    Bournemouth
    Always the same tactic - a flat 4-4-2 (G, FB, CD, CD, FB, W, CM, CM, W, TM, P) Balanced/Normal Mentality, Width, Tempo and Creative Freedom Balanced/Normal Defence, Pressing, Tackling - No time wasting nor offside trap. No special options, Mixed passing, distribution and focus. Mostly the same players (selected by the assistant)  
    Starting 11 - Bournemouth GK G Federici (10 games) DR FB Francis (9 games) / Smith (1 game) DL FB Daniels (10 games) DC (R) CD Aké (9 games) / Cook (1 game) DC (L) CD Cook (9 games) / Francis (1 game) MR W Fraser (10 games) ML W Pugh (10 games) MC (R) CM Gosling (10 games) MC (L) CM Surman (10 games) FC (R) P Defoe (7 games) / King (3 games) FC (L) TM Wilson (10 games)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Leicester
    The AI was quite consistent - always the same tactic, always the same players.
    Always the same tactic - a 4-2-3-1 (G, FB, LD, CD, FB, BWM, BBM, IF, SS, IF, P) Always the same players Always started with Attacking Mentality, Balanced Width and Balanced Creative Freedom. Started 2 games using Slow Tempo, 8 games Normal Tempo. Not possible to see the other options (Defence, Attack)   
    Starting 11 - Leicester GK G Schmeichel (10 games) DR FB Amartey (10 games) - Accomplished Aptitude DL FB Fuchs (10 games) DC (R) CD Morgan (10 games) DC (L) LD Huth (10 games) MC (R) BBM King (10 games) MC (L) BWM Silva (10 games) AMR IF Mahrez (10 games) AML IF Gray (10 games) AMC SS Okazaki (10 games) FC P Vardy (10 games)  
    Results (Finally...)
    All that said, I have not looked into individual player's performance - sorry! That would be soooo much work. Read: maybe another time
    Overall winner:
    Leicester: 4 games Draw: 1 game Bournemouth: 5 games Analysis: Overall, not a bad showing for Bournemouth. Given the odds of a Bournemouth win were 4.00 - which converts to a 25% probability of winning - a 40% winning ratio would mean that the bookies would lose some money overall
    Average goals:
    Leicester: 2,2 Bournemouth: 2,3 Analysis: Quite a high-scoring affair in general, to be understood in more detail soon!
    Possession:
    Bournemouth: Min: 45% Max: 59% Avg: 49% Analysis: A 14% variation from the worst to best, highly dependent on the game circumstances. Overall, a 49% average.
    Shots/Shots on Target:
    Leicester: Min: 8 / 4 Max: 19 / 9 Avg: 11,7 / 5,6 Bournemouth Min: 5 / 2 Max: 18 / 8 Avg: 10,8 / 5,5 Analysis: Also, a large variation depending on each game, even though the same tactic was used by each team every time. Points to highly circumstantial in-game events.
    Chances:
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 3 Avg: 1,2 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 2 Avg: 1 Analysis: I never quite understood how chances are calculated in game, so I can't read much into this.
    Successful Passes (%)
    Leicester: Min: 66% Max: 79% Avg: 73,5% Bournemouth Min: 64% Max: 77% Avg: 73% Analysis: A 13% variation from worst to best in both teams, with roughly the same players. Is that a lot? Leave your opinion below
    Successful Crosses (%)
    Leicester: Min: 11% Max: 31% Avg: 20,4% Bournemouth Min: 7% Max: 37% Avg: 22,3% Analysis: The crossing data is a bit more interesting than the passes. It makes you believe that Bournemouth is slightly better at crossing, but it also shows way more variation game-by-game. It may vary more than passes due to the fact that there are fewer crosses each game.
    Successful Tackles (%)
    Leicester: Min: 78% Max: 91% Avg: 84,4% Bournemouth Min: 80% Max: 100% Avg: 92,4% Analysis: Anyone know how this correlates with real-world data? It seems to be very high in my opinion! Actually, Bournemouth went to games without missing a single tackle! Impressive!

    Successful Headers (%)
    Leicester: Min: 46% Max: 76% Avg: 64,8% Bournemouth Min: 33% Max: 63% Avg: 44,2% Analysis: Now it is obvious that Leicester is much better on the high balls. The game analysis duly noted that Bournemouth strikers struggled to win aerial duels in 6 of the 10 games. Big variation from game to game, but overall consistent with the players' heading ability.
     
    Offsides
    Leicester: Min: 0 Max: 6 Avg: 3,3 Bournemouth Min: 0 Max: 5 Avg: 2,1 Analysis: Leicester tends to be offside more often. Can't pinpoint a definite reason: it could be the style of play or the attacking mentality.
     
    Committed Fouls
    Leicester: Min: 4 Max: 13 Avg: 10 Bournemouth Min: 8 Max: 16 Avg: 11,7 Analysis: Bournemouth plays rougher - they have to. May indicate worse players at tackling.
     
    Yellow / Red Cards
    Leicester: Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 1,9 / 0,1 Bournemouth Min: 0 / 0 Max: 4 / 1 Avg: 2,0 / 0,1 Analysis: Very balanced between teams, not much to read here.
     
    What have we learned so far?
    Well, the game seems pretty random, no? 4 wins from home, 5 from away in 10 games where the setup was almost identical. A lot of the stats had quite big differences from game to game, and both teams seemed quite equivalent in a lot of things (except tackling and heading). So does it mean that whatever we do, it will not really affect the outcome? Is there any point in playing this?
    Calm down José, the most interesting stuff comes soon!
    We are definitely missing something - that's why I give you the Detailed game-to-game Analysis!
     
    Game to game Analysis
    If you're still here, you are in for a treat! I have followed closely the tactical changes in the AI throughout every game, so let's check it out!
    Groundhog day 1: Leicester 0 - 3 Bournemouth
    After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload After Bournemouth scored the 3rd goal, Leicester changed mentality to Contain and width to Narrow in order to avoid further embarrassment Groundhog day 2: Leicester 1 - 2 Bournemouth
    Leicester started the game with a Slow tempo. Rather odd. After Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester changed mentality to Overload and the tempo to Normal During the game, the inside forwards (Mahrez and Gray) swapped positions for roughly 10-15 minutes. Fancy strategy there. Groundhog day 3: Leicester 4 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, after Bournemouth scored the first goal on the first minutes of the game, Leicester mentality changed to Overload Bournemouth was down to 10 men (CM was sent off, no tactical changes) After scoring the third goal, Leicester changed mentality to Control, width to Narrow and tempo to Slow in order to administer the advantage. After the minute 65, the mentality was further decreased to Balanced. Groundhog day 4: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    No goal from Bournemouth in the first minutes, but Leicester changed the mentality to overload in minute 10. Strongest team on the paper, needs to score. After scoring 1-0, Leicester changed mentality to Balanced and width to Narrow to administer the advantage. Bournemouth scored, 1-1. Leicester returned to an Overload mentality and Balanced width in order to try to score. It worked, game is now 2-1. Balanced mentality and Narrow width. In the end of the game, Leicester scored again. 3-1, Contain, Narrow and Slow to slowly wait for the final whistle. Groundhog day 5: Leicester 2 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice (0-2), no changes in Leicester mentality. After scoring twice (2-2) in minute 70, Leicester decreases mentality to Control - still attacking, but with more caution Bournemouth scored a third 2-3, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 2-4. Groundhog day 6: Leicester 3 - 5 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Bournemouth scored twice, Leicester pegged one back, Bournemouth scored again. (2-3) After scoring again (3-3) in minute 65, Leicester decreases mentality to Attacking - still attacking, but with a tad bit more caution Bournemouth scored a fourth 3-4, Leicester went Overload again. Game over: 3-5. Groundhog day 7: Leicester 3 - 4 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Yeah! Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored (1-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring again (2-1) - administer advantage. Overload mentality, Balanced width after Bournemouth scored another (2-2) - minute 54. That backfired, as Bournemouth scored twice and won the game 3-4. Groundhog day 8: Leicester 3 - 1 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after Bournemouth scored on minute 6 (0-1) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after turning the score around (2-1) - minute 44. Contain after minute 85, game was already 3-1. Groundhog day 9: Leicester 2 - 2 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Mahrez-Gray swap strategy used again! Loving it! Bournemouth took the lead twice (0-1, 1-1, 1-2) Leicester got the draw on minute 92 (2-2), changed mentality to Contain to guarantee the late draw. Groundhog day 10: Leicester 1 - 0 Bournemouth
    Again, Overload after 10 minutes (0-0) Balanced mentality, Narrow width after scoring (1-0) - minute 44. Control, Balanced width on minute 58. Perhaps chasing a second goal? Balanced mentality after minute 69 - maintain advantage Contain, Narrow after receiving a red card. 10 men Leicester. Played a strikerless formation after left back got sent out. Kept the victory. Wow, that was a lot to take in, wasn't it. So, what have we learnt:
    How the AI thinks (TL/DR):
    The AI is more clever than I expected. It changes it's playing style to respond to in-game events. Leicester had the advantage on paper, much stronger team. Always started Attacking. Leicester always changed mentality to Overload if suffering a goal, or whenever the clock hit the 10 minute mark. Leicester often changed the playing style to Balanced if leading, sometimes accompanied with a Narrow width. When losing badly (first game), AI changes mentality to Contain in order to avoid embarrassment - if the clock is too close to 90 minutes. Twice the AI started playing with a Slow tempo. It can also change the tempo to slow in the end of a winning game. AI also uses Control and Attacking when the game is a draw or it has a one goal lead if it thinks there is enough time to get another goal. AI got very nervous after the red card - strikerless, Contain, riding the lead to the end AI also uses Contain in end-games when winning. End notes
    That was much longer than I planned
    I hope this can help you all to realise that the AI is not a static machine. It reacts to the game, and so should you. Don't be afraid to use Counter when the AI get desperate, or to even resort to Contain to maintain a lead.
    The AI is not as predictable as I thought, the Mahrez-Gray swap was quite cool to witness! And it has nuances to its decisions, just like a real footie manager.
    I hope the read was enjoyable and that it gives whoever is reading this many ideas and a new view of the game we all love
    Thanks and it is nice to be back!
     

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