Add-ons and Mods can give most games a little something extra. Football Manager 2020 is no different in that regard. FM20, and the whole Football Manager series, arguably gains a lot of it’s following and devoted players because of the depth and detail that already exists in the game. The stories and narratives that we add as players really flesh the game world for us and keep many of us coming back for more. That is just the vanilla game as well. There is plenty we can add and modify.
In this article I’ll be covering a range of add-on’s, mods and downloads that I’ve used or have had recommended to me that have really made a difference to my FM20 saves. Some of the are small, some are more involved, but they are all made by members of the community. Try them out and let us know your favourite on twitter @DictateTheGame. More importantly though let those creators know how much you appreciate their hard work.
There have always been a ton of face packs and graphics packs out there for past versions of FM. Packs that change the defaults or the shadow template into an actual image of your favourite real life player. But what about your newgens? What about your favourite youth player that goes onto become a cult hero at your club?
They got stuck with the default newgen faces that Football Manager generates. There have been ups and downs across the years when it comes to these faces but lets be honest here, there have been more downs. Sometimes it’s the uncanny valley that weirds us out, and sometimes they’re just not good. It can be a bit immersion breaking when your favourite player looks like a mannequin brought to life by some form of voodoo.
Some would say there has been a gradual decline in the quality of faces. Linked to the fact that these new faces are linked to the avatars or models used during the 3D game.
There is a solution. First of all there are some packs out there where you can replace the newgen faces with real photo’s. If you have a selection of faces and the right config file you can replace them all. There are some packs out there. An alternative though would be to use some of @Chilled_Moose ‘s faces that they have painstakingly created.
They look amazing, and there’s a huge range of faces. Enough to add a huge range of character to your teams. I’ve started selecting players because the look the part! Importantly though it adds depth, it gives you a face that you recognise rather than supress because it is so horrific. It might seem like a small touch but it adds to the immersion in my games.
For the isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic @Chilled_Moose released a pack you can use, or you can subscribe to their patreon here to gain access to even more images. There are even instructions on how to make sure the newgen faces are randomly assigned to your players.
Even if you don’t add a comprehensive range of faces like this you can still use real images and some graphics/config know-how to add faces for your favourite players. If you know your player’s unique ID number (you can switch this on in the game preferences) you can adapt a config file from an existing facepack without much effort. Be careful though, the more human your players look the more you might treat them like people – which makes them harder to drop!
Badges, Kits, and Logo Add-ons
Just like face packs you can find a huge range of graphics packs that add real team badges, logo’s, kits and competition logo’s. There was a fairly big kerfuffle at the start of FM20 when many graphics packs disapeared for copyright reasons, but they are still out there in certain places.
You might even have some from past versions of Football Manager, and if you do, then there’s good news. You don’t need completely new and fresh packs for FM20. So long as the club ID’s haven’t changed and the config files (the .xml file) point to the right ID numbers and folders they should still work. You can even ressurect some of the classics like the retro bottlecap badges for FM14 on FM Slovakia.
Immersion again. By adding these graphics you get rid of the boring defaults that act as a placeholder and give you something that keeps you stuck in your save. As you browse from club to club, competition to competition, you’ll see the correct badges, logo’s and even kits.
It is more than that. If you’ve not used custom graphics packs with badges, logo’s and even flags, you might not have noticed the added detail during your match day.
Excuse the self-promotion it’s just better for avoiding copyright issues – For my Tahiti save I have added custom graphics. Each team has a badge, and a home kit.
My new island nations have new flags, and the competitions all have their own logo’s.
During the game it really shines when the supported bring along their own flags and banners…
There’s something really special about banging in a 90th minute winner at the home end when that home end is decorated in your club’s colours AND badge.
You might not need to create your own kits, logo’s and badges but adding an already existing pack can really add something extra to the match day experience.
Not quite as sexy as awesome faces, badges, kits or in-game banners but still pretty integral to adding to the match day experience. FM20 has static ad boards by the side of the pitch, and animated boards. They come with default ads and occasional have targetted or seasonal ads.
But if you want to ad(board) some more depth you can download Rabcp’s FM20 adboard mod. This creates more boards, and adds nation and competition specific ad hoardings. Even some club specific ads are available.
Sometimes it is glamorous like at this Cardiff versus Arsenal game…
Sometimes it is not…
But they all make the stadiums feel a little less sterile and little more like a real place. The mod is really easy to insert into your game and I really recommend it.
Mods like skins are very much down to personal preference. I personally love the look of the Rensie Skin combined with some of my added logo’s and faces.
Some skins also add a lot more choice and customisation during the match day screens, letting you add more important details. Knowlege is power, so go the full Big Sam (or Phil Brown) and get more stats on your screen.
You can go the other way though, and reduce the attributes and numbers at your disposal. It might make Phil Brown sad but it’ll make any moneyball acolytes jump for joy. On wkdsoul’s site you can find some fantastic skins that remove all the attributes (at the request of Shrewnaldo) leaving you attribute-less or use bars instead.
Add(ing)-on value with Spreadsheets
From my past stats based articles, and some of what I’ve said on recent podcasts, it should come as no suprise that I love a good spreadsheet. I’ve got a couple of favourites and I think they are well worth your time. They might not add directly to the match day experience but they can improve your game and your save.
The FFM’s Attribute and DNA spreadsheets
Over on The Female Football Manager’s blog you can find a couple of really useful spreadsheets. A free version that lets you import you players attributes and work out who is best for which role, and a version you can access by making a small donation that lets you customise and add calculations for your team DNA.
There’s even an option to see who is best for the roles in your formation (by adding your formation/roles) or the option to enter a player name and get a quick reference sheet on what they are good at.
It is great for making you think about different roles and different players. It cuts straight to the attributes, and as a result the heart of your players. This spreadsheet can freshen up a squad and turn around a season. My Belfast Celtic team have gone from whipping boys to spirited relegation survivors after using this inspiring spreadsheet.
FMAthlete’s (and Pedroig’s) Training Planner
Every version of Football Manager see’s some changes to key areas of the game. Last year training got shown some love and was overhauled. As with every change though it takes some getting used to.
For FM19 FMAthlete created after a huge amount of work a spreadsheet that helped take some of the mystery out of training. A training planner to allow you more insight into the different types of session and the potential impact they had on attributes. It was really good for double checking what the sessions did, and for planning and improving your own schedule.
For FM20 it has been updated by Pedroig meaning you can start to really work out the kinks in your own training.
Mods for Match Camera’s
An honourable and belated mention for an amazing camera modification that works for FM19 and FM18. For those of you playing those versions still rejoice. This simple to add mod from Exius allows you to sit on the sidelines, or even in the stadium and follow the game as a spectator.
If you follow the steps you can add a camera you can move around to get a much more intimate and real world view of your matches. As with all mods use at your own risk, and make sure you back up any files before using. Great for if you want that real match experience – just stick the match on full, change the camera so you are sat in the home end and get a family member to supply you with a pie and bovril after 45 minutes.
Mods and Add-ons and your FM20 Experience
It’s not an exhaustive list. It’s my list. And these all make me love my game even more. There’s plenty out there in the community you can use to enhance your game. Considering the amount of hours we put into our Football Manager saves it seems daft not to maximise it.
I’ve not even mentioned custom databases like the MadScientist’s 06/07 DB, or the FMEditors level 10 (and beyond) DB or even DanFMDatabases level 10 (and WELL beyond) DB. All worth a download (and a donation) if you want a slightly different save.
Let us know what you like to add to your saves.
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