In all my experience of playing FM, one of my favourite of all the innovations has been the edit nickname feature, which allows you to set a custom name for any player in the game. In my opinion this is a seriously underused feature that can enhance gameplay, track player details, assist with tactics and also help you to plan for the future, especially if you are picking up a save after leaving it for a while. In this blog I am going to outline some suggested uses, including my own examples and end with a short list of pros and cons.
What is the nickname feature and how do I access it?
Not sure which series this started in (it had it when I resumed playing in FM13 after a long layoff after kids/IRL post Champ. Man) but if you right click any player or go to his menu under ‘overview’ you can choose to edit his nickname. You will then be given a box where you can enter the nickname, which will appear everywhere the player’s name features in FM.
Why use it and what are the benefits?
You can use it because, in my humble opinion, it can help you develop a more cohesive strategy based on the features of that exact player which of course leads to more chance of winning games. This is something that has worked brilliantly for me in the past when playing several saves at a time that are hard to keep track of. I first stumbled upon it when playing the ipad FMtouch version where you couldn’t always see the player information on any given view because the screen is so small (the tactics screen is a good example, where the formation view takes up 2/3 of the screen) and that is a prime reason. Namely, no matter what the view you use when switching between training or squad views etc the name/nickname always remains the same, meaning you can transfer coded information about that player to any view in the game.
The benefits (apart from calling your players comedy names just for the hell of it) are that you can use it to give players acronyms based on their roles or development that immediately gives you information about them at a glance, no matter how long it is since you last loaded up the save. What is more, because it is based on their name it is in every screen, no matter what view you have setup. Let me show you what I mean with these sample uses:
Example #1: to indicate a player’s best role
So you’re in that tricky second season, the board expect more and you have splashed the cash. You’ve now got 34 first teamers, 23 u18s and 18 u23s (you get the idea).
Each of those players has, of course, a best position and role, including the odd player that you are retraining for a new position. On top of that, you have a set vision of your starting 11, together with rotations and youth you are trying to bring through. But as we all know it is easy to forget who is who with so many different personalities and roles and this is where the first example comes in. By renaming a player with an acronym of his role and hierarchy you can see in 1 second where he stands in your starting order as soon as you turn on the game, whatever the view. Here’s an example that I have used many times for pick up and leave saves:
Player’s original name: Jose Gallardo, who is a 27 year old first-choice right-sided attacking midfielder
Player’s new nickname: AMR1 Gallardo or AMR1 Jose Gallardo
The result of this is that from any screen I can see exactly what he does and where he lies in the hierarchy. How I act on that information is up to me but at least it gives me his details in a more concise form. Of course this hierarchy numbering can be extended to a rotation player who might be named AMR2 etc. as far down as you like. In other words it condenses a lot of information into a very short space.
Example #2: to help with youth development
This is another use of the technique which I find very helpful during youth intakes or when you have a lot of youth dev. going on in general leading to bigger youth squads.
To put it simply, just adding a small y at the start of the previous method lets you know that this player is under 24 years (my choice, you can choose a different age if you like) and is therefore still developing as a player. So, to take the example from above, you would just add a small y in front of AMR1 Gallardo if he was a youth player, so in other words yAMR1 Gallardo.
I have found that the big advantage of this is that I can combine all squads into a single tactics view in order to decide which youth players to give game time to. It also helps on the tactics screen mid-game, which doesn’t show a player’s age, so again you can see at a glance how old he is. Here is an example of this being used in my current Newton Heath squad, in which I have placed their ages alongside so you understand what I mean (if you’ve not seen my Newton Heath resurrected blog it is here):
As you can see, apart from Josh Dawodu and Paul Field they are all labelled with the number 3 because their ability is low, but the higher numbers for Dawodu and Field reminds me that I need to choose them either for development purposes or just because they are better than my first-teamers.
In addition I have recently found a new use for it in tutoring, where the limitations of the FM views mean I can’t always easily see if a player is being tutored. This came about because I am using a ‘dad and lad’ policy in my Newton Heath save with about 10 or more players being tutored at a time. The problem with this is that when it comes to loaning them out, the player status tab for ‘TUT’ is often hidden under injuries or similar tabs. To solve this problem I use a ‘TUT’ acronym at the start of the name, for both the tutor and the player – here is an example:
Example #3: to help integrate new players
As we all know, the perfect way to introduce a new signing is by a careful, slow introduction to the first team until they have gelled; are embedded in the team ethos and are quite naturally working their way up the dynamics ladder (thanks for that, SI). In reality though let’s be honest in that most of us bang them in on day one, expect them to be a messiah and then wonder why we lose five games on the bounce. Whichever way you approach it, this final method can help. In perhaps the simplest of all these suggestions all you need to do for the first few weeks is to put ‘NEW’ in front of their name and you will know the score e.g. Diego Maradona would become NEW Diego Maradona.
Appendix: moderation is the key
This whole method may seem a bit out there for some of you, especially as it is not mentioned anywhere else in the FM community. I’m guessing that it’s either because nobody has ever thought about it or because it could spoil your immersion in the realistic feel of the game. However it is worth thinking about so long as it is used in moderation, which I have found is the key to making it work. For example, here is my team at the start of a save, vs 5 months later after new signings:
As you can see, by the time I have got to know all my regular players the acronyms have gone, meaning the game is back to normal apart from those new signings, which works for me.
In terms of success, I have found it to be a very useful tool that has helped to guide me to a Copa Libertadores in FM15 with Pumas in Mexico (all Mexican clubs left the competition the following year) and a 13 club journeyman Champions League win with Everton in FM16 (I skipped FM17 to continue the 18 month save). It is also proving to be successful again in my new Heathens Resurrected save, where I have been promoted against the odds in the second season and am now 10th (again against the odds) halfway through the current League One schedule.
The big conclusion: the pros and cons
So all that said, what are the good and bad points of using this method? Here are my opinions on them so you can decide for yourself:
- Is an at-a-glance way to learn a lot about a player
- Is versatile, can be adapted to meet your needs (would love to hear your versions)
- Gives you information in many different views
- Is excellent for either multiple saves or resuming saves you’ve not played for weeks or months
- Involves a bit of work initially
- Can lead to long ridiculous names if unchecked (I tend to use just one acronym but it could lead to something as daft as NEWyAMR1TUT Bob Smith)
- Can spoil immersion in the game (I never keep them all season, just until I get to know the player usually)
- Is not suited to YT’ing or blogging as again it can spoil the immersion (though LokiDoki does use it to good effect for some of the funnier names)
With all this in mind, I hope it has given you something to think about that you may be able to use to whatever degree of OCD-ness . I am a great believer in us all being able to play the game as we want to and this is just another thing to consider. Please let me know your thoughts, would love to hear them.