Here’s something a bit different from me. With the Football Manager 2016 season winding down to a close, I have decided to post a string of reviews for my favorite skins and graphics from FM16.
First up is Ultimate 10 for FM16. I wouldn’t say this is my go-to skin that has seen the most gameplay use from me, as I prefer to just use the default skin for the most part, but this one is solid and does get more use than others.
The Ultimate 10 skin by Edd_17 is specially optimized for 1366×768 resolution screens, so it’s an excellent choice for those of you running on a laptop (like yours truly) who doesn’t have a 1080p monitor for some of the more popular skins that are optimised to those displays.
I’ve got no particular system in my head of how a review of this kind should be handled, so for this one and until I come up with a better system, I’m kinda just wingin’ it and showing an images of each the default screen and the re-skinned version to compare the viewing experience and point out what I like and dislike about the skin compared to the standard view.
I want to point out explicitly that I’m running a laptop with a 1366×768 resolution monitor, and I’ve got the screen in preferences zoomed out to 85%, because that’s just my personal preference for scale. If you run a different resolution and scaling, results may vary.
As you can see above, Ultimate 10 introduces many cosmetic changes to the screen, and we’ll start with the Inbox that you’ll spend most of your time staring at. Icons are completely different on the side, having a bit more “pop” for lack of a better word, though unlike some skins, they look similar enough to what they previously were that you don’t have to wonder what button goes to precisely where when you’re not able to read the icons from memory and have the text hidden, which is my preference.
The header on top of the page shows the team logo faded into the team colors, something I find to be a nice, subtle touch to give the page something to look at. The news headers have a gradient behind them, another nice touch to make it stand out from the yellow bar with the manager’s name and look visually more interesting than the text.
The last cosmetic change, that is common to all of the pages I’ll show, which you’ll see as the most obvious one, is the background. Like most popular skins, you can change the background by clicking the little plus icon underneath the continue bar, pulling up a new drop-down window where you can change the background image and the opacity of the screen. Click on each of the backgrounds on top of the screen to change the background image to whatever you like, and you can click the “Standard” word in the bottom to change the opacity of the shader in front of the image from anywhere from 10% to completely opaque, which the default being 40%. Click in any of the dead space between the opacity level and the background selector to close out that menu.
If you’re familiar with user-created skins, this isn’t any new information to you, of course.
The reviews of the next sections will probably be smaller, as I had to take so much time to cover the common aspects like the icons and background. These sections will cover differences unique to the pages.
The squad screen looks roughly the same, with the only real difference being the morale arrows replaced with smiley faces. I think it’s quite silly, personally, but they fit the theme of the icons at least, and it’s something different and a bit more unique about this skin than others.
My one criticism of this screen, and it’s something that isn’t fixed by changing the zoom, is that the competition section at the bottom of the screen, is completely smashed down with the text from those two lines laying on top of each other creating an eyesore.
The next screens are the player profile screen and the staff screen.
In addition to the fancy script for the player names, they both are reorganized, showing loads of important information all in one convenient place, ranging from the standard information on the left to the player reports on the far right. I want to point out aren’t shown at all if you’re at the full 100% zoom, with the screen’s information ending at the field showing his positions for players and at the personality information for staff, though it’s done by design, because there’s no information hanging in unappealing places from a glitch or anything. If you’re at standard zoom, you get all the information you need to get by, but at my preferred 85% zoom, the smaller text and windows enables more to be shown. These sections are customizable, via the drop arrows at the right of each section, though I personally am pleased with the layout as-is.
Competitions screen looks just as good as the old version, but it doesn’t have anything particularly different or special about it. It gets the job done, nonetheless.
The Schedule looks good, showing friendlies in green and cup matches in other colors, enabling you to differentiate between competitions at a glance.
Stadium pictures are from a graphics pack, not from the skin by default, and I’ll cover my favorite graphics packs and why I like them in future reviews. I say this so that you don’t think I’m failing to mention information.
Last segment I’ll cover in this review are the string of screens leading upto and in a match. The preview window looks good, it shows the appropriate information, shows the teams playing that day, and it has a fancy ticket graphic, though that’s par for the course with the popular user-created skins.
Tactics menu isn’t drastically changed from default, though it does have actual jerseys instead of the block boxes on the pitch, and that’s something I really like. I’ve absolutely hated the big blocks that SI plops down on the pitch, and the jerseys are just aesthetically more pleasing to look at.
Preview screen is brilliant, showing the two team logos, the media prediction, and team information running down columns below the logos. I’m quite pleased with the look of it compared to the old SI screen.
As the next window shows, there are three customizable information panels between match highlights, all of which can be changed around to show whatever you want them showing.
The match screen itself is for the most part standard. We’ve got the team names on their backgrounds, which looks good, we’ve got the Sky Sports watermark in the top-right, which also looks good, although I personally don’t care for company watermarks and logos on my screen, as it creates clutter.
The one thing I completely dislike is that the Sky logo in the bottom left, rather than being near the edge, is protruding significantly into the screen. I’m not sure if it’s a bug because I’m at 85% zoom-out, or if that’s the case with it, but it’s a really blatant eyesore and a distraction, and I can’t help but focus on this foreign object that I don’t like anyway sticking out into the screen like that.
Overall, the Ultimate 10 skin is a pretty stylish skin, and it does an excellent job of being visually unique while enabling the easy access of pertinent information on each screen. It’s not perfect, and it does have a few minor bugs, as I’ve pointed out, but they are bugs that don’t necessarily detract from the experience of using the skin. I think this skin will get a pretty comfortable 8/10 from me.
Here’s a slideshow to review the images I’ve already uploaded, as well as a couple that I took but didn’t share in the main review.