This will be a major patch for Franchise Hockey Manager 2014. With its release, the patch is set to take the game from the initial playable release in to a more immersed world of Hockey Simulation. FHM will continue to have a long road to escape the shadows of Eastside Hockey Manager as the best hockey simulator ever made, but the right steps are being taken.
Below you will find from Jeff Riddolls, Producer of Franchise Hockey Manager 2014, what is in store.
1.6.0 Patch Notes
This is by far the largest single update to FHM. We’ve replaced some major parts of the game, primarily training and scouting, with new systems that should allow more user input and generate better feedback. Four new leagues have been added, a wide variety of bug fixes and adjustments made, and the game’s overall stability improved.
We intend to do one more big patch like this (as well as smaller ones if urgent fixes are needed before or after either.) The primary focus of the next one will be the addition of a completely new match engine, with an accompanying tactical interface, to the game. For that reason, there are few changes to things directly related to game simulations in this patch – e.g., stats, lineup selection, tactics, and so on. It didn’t make much sense to make changes there when it’s all going to be replaced soon. Originally, we’d planned to release all the new changes together, but the match engine development was taking longer than everything else, so it made more sense to split it up and give you a patch with the things that have been completed.
1. New Training System
The game’s training mechanics and interface have been overhauled. The primary input the user has in training his players is still somewhat similar to the previous method: the choice of training focus. However, there is now much more feedback provided and training effectiveness depends on a broader array of factors.
There are eight focus categories to choose from, selectable by right-clicking on the player’s name. The attributes related to each category are:
Offensive Mental – Offensive Read, Getting Open, Screening
Offensive Skill – Passing, Puckhandling, Shooting Accuracy, Shooting Range
Defensive Mental – Defensive Read, Positioning, Shot Blocking
Defensive Skill – Faceoffs, Hitting, Pokechecking, Checking
Physical Non-Skating – Stamina, Strength, Fighting
Physical Skating – Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Speed
Goalie Mental – Positioning, Poke Check, Rebound, Puckhandling
Goalie Skill – Recovery, Reflexes, Skating, Passing
These are listed in training screen tooltips for easy reference. There are also two categories for mental ratings that are only used internally by game and can’t be selected as a training focus – you can’t deliberately train things like leadership and coachability. The six skater categories are not available to goalies, only skaters, and vice-versa for the two goalie categories. You’ll also notice Glove, Blocker, and Low Shots missing from the goalie categories; those are handled separately, evolving roughly in tandem with overall level of the goalie’s other attributes and maintaining, approximately, their relation to each other, so the goalie’s style tends to stay consistent.
You may switch between these categories as often as you wish, but it’s generally best to stick with one focus per month, to ensure the maximum chance of getting an attribute to improve. If you have a young team, though, with players who are improving rapidly, you may wish to move the focus around to try to get multiple attribute improvements.
The player’s chance of improvement is controlled by a points system, which isn’t displayed directly, but adds points to the player every day, the exact number depending on whether or not it was a game or practice day (each tends to be better at improving different attributes, so players in leagues with long schedules will tend to develop a little differently than those in ones with fewer games played) and various other factors:
-the training focus gets a large bonus
-whether the player is in a league appropriate for his skill level is considered – a player who’s much better than his competition won’t improve as quickly
-the player’s happiness is considered, an unhappy player is less likely to improve
-the player’s performance: playing well, as long as it’s against decent competition, will help the player improve (so a regular role on a top line or starting in goal can boost improvement chances)
-coaching: the player will get a bonus if he responds well to coaching and has a good coach available (“good” meaning one with a high rating in coaching the player’s position, or coaching prospects if the player is under 23); this bonus applies to all players contracted to a team, so it’s beneficial for an NHL-level team to employ a “consultant” type of coach who’s good with prospects so their young players on the farm or in junior can benefit.
-injuries may limit the player’s ability to train and/or participate in practice
-playing time: the more, the better, as long as the player isn’t overwhelmed by the level of competition
At the end of the month, if the total number of development points in a category is over the amount needed to increase an attribute, one is chosen for improvement. If not, the total for that category is reset to 0 for the start of the next month. You can get a rough idea of how the player’s development for the month is progresssing by looking at the new Training roster view on the Roster Screen. It gives you a color-coded circle to indicate how the player’s devleopment is progressing this month:
Red: No chance of an improvement, either because the player has reached his peak (all attribute categories have a hard cap) and cannot improve further, or severely inadequate training.
Orange: Very little chance of an improvement. A change in focus early in the month might reverse the situation, but later in the month it’s likely a lost cause.
Yellow: Some chance of an improvement. Unlikely to improve if the player is left to his own devices, but a change in circumstances and/or focus could get it into the green zone.
Green: Probable improvement. Not guaranteed to increase an attribute (particularly if there are multiple greens for a player), but highly likely.
Additionally, there are three columns in this view that provide specific warnings if a player’s development is being hindered by three factors: “U” if he’s unhappy, “C” if he’s too good for his competition, and “T” if the teaching skills of his coaches are too inadequate to help him significantly. If one or more of these situations applies to the player, a red X will appear in the appropriate column(s).
Important note: Movement between rosters is disruptive to training. Players only retain the points they accumulated with their current team this month, there is no carryover from other teams he may have been with during the month. So consider that when deciding whether or not to shuffle players betwen your main roster and a farm team.
When an attribute category is selected for improvement, one of its attributes is semi-randomly selected as the one to increase. There are some modifiers to this to reduce the likelihood of improvements in certain attributes that should be slower to improve, to limit the possibility of attributes increasing beyond 20 (in most cases, an attribute at 20 will only increase about 10% of the time it’s selected, otherwise a different attribute will increase instead), and to keep certain attributes in a sensible relationship with each other. You will receive a monthly note from your staff that will describe which players appear to have improved and in which areas.
Instead of a training focus category, a new position to train can be selected instead (which sacrifices the development point bonus to training); skaters cannot be trained to be goalies and vice-versa.
Position learning points (which, like development points, aren’t displayed directly) start at 0 for all positions and are tracked continuously (not resetting at the end of the month.) When they reach 100, the position rating in question improves by 1 and the points are reset to 0. The player gets a certain number of points based on minutes played at that position in a game and the number of practice days he spends with learning that position as his focus. If a position rating reaches 20, that becomes the new primary position and the previous 20-rated position is reduced to 19.
Levelling-Off Period and Decline:
The improvement of attributes in the “Skill” categories will stop, for most players, at an age somewhere past the Player Peak Age setting (visible in the Setup/Options Screen, and currently set to 25.) The exact timing is variable, the probability of the levelling-off increasing as the player gets older. Forwards (generally) level off sooner than defencemen, who level off sooner than goalies.
The player’s (hidden) Aging attribute heavily influences the exact point at which the player levels off, and is itself subject to increases or decreases based on events in the player’s career – injuries, for example, may reduce it, leading to an earlier end to improvements.
The levelling-off of attributes in the “Physical” categories operates the same way as with Skill attributes, but uses the Physical Peak Age (currently 24) as a base, instead, and there is no positional differentiation.
Physical attribute decline is more variable than skill decline; it’s initiated via a random check involving his age and aging attributes. The checks begin a few years after the levelling-off period starts.
Attributes in the “Mental” categories will typically continue to improve until a variable date determined by a calculation involving the Aging and Physical Peak Age numbers.
Once the player stops improving, a few years later (the exact amoung again being based on his Aging attribute, with some degree of randomness) he’ll enter his decline. At that point, attributes will begin to decrease. Once a decline has started, each affected attribute category gets a monthly check to see if a rating in it has declined. The attribute that decline is chosen semi-randomly (there are some safeguards to prevent certain mental attributes from declining, and to limit the ability of some attributes to stay high through sheer luck of the draw when everything else is going downhill.) Any declines will be noted in your monthly training report.
Note that physical, skill, and mental levelling-off and decline are timed independently of each other, so a player may still be improving in some areas while his development is frozen or declining in others.
There is a new retirement check that increases the odds of a player retiring if he’s declined significantly past the highest ability level he achieved. Previously, very good players were hanging around much too long, moving down through lower-level leagues until they finally couldn’t get a job anymore. This will still happen occasionally, but it’ll be much more rare now.
2. New Scouting Sytem
The scouting system has been completely replaced with a much more interactive one. Players still have an inherent consensus about their abilities, representing the general opinion of the hockey world towards them, which has to be corrected (assuming it’s wrong) by scouting. Player abilities and potentials are now displayed with a scouting qualifier, ranging from A to E. A-scouted players have been scouted to the maximum possible level, correcting the errors in their assessment by as much as the skill of your scout will allow. E-level scouting means the player hasn’t been seen by your staff at all, and you’re just going on what you’ve heard from other sources. The D- through B- levels indicate increasing levels of scouting; each week a scout spends watching a player raises his scouting level by one letter category and corrects the inherent error a little more.
Scouting levels will decline over time – it’s not set to a specific length of time, but the longer you go without watching a player, the more of a chance his scouting level will decline. If that happens, you’ll need to have someone scout him again to refresh your report and raise his level back to what it was.
Players belonging to your own team will always be advanced to the maximum scouting level when joining you (which may lead to surprise changes in their perceived ability, if your previous evaluation was wrong); additionally, anyone that plays in a game against you has their scouting level increased by one.
Scouts can be assigned either by right-clicking on a player name to scout that specific player, or by right-clicking on the scout’s name in the Scouting screen. The latter brings up a new scouting assignment screen, with a large variety of options, broken down into three sections:
The top section determines the broad target for the scout. He can be assigned to a region, a specific league, a specific team, your shortlist (he’ll only scout players you’ve actually listed there), or to the free agent pool (the free agent pool tends to be small during the season, when scouting occurs, in normal mode so this is primarily useful in historical mode, when there will be many more players available but no other leagues to scout.) Scouts have a fixed number of players they can watch in a week, dependent on their skill, their team’s resources, and whether or not the scout is in his ‘home’ territory. Regions and leagues that will get the ‘home’ bonus for that particular scout are displayed in red.
The middle section adds qualifiers to narrow the search. The scout’s targets can be restricted by a range of birth years, their positions, their draft eligibility (not necessarily for your own league’s draft, you can set it to another league’s if desired), a range of abilities and/or potentials, and “foreign” status in your league. The final two options, Ability/Potential and Quality/Quantity, are particularly important: these determine the way in which a scout approaches his task. Ability will use the scout’s “Evaluate Ability” rating and is primarily useful when scouting players whose current level of play is the priority (trade or free agent targets, for example.) Potential uses the “Evaluate Potential” rating, and is better used for long-term targets, such as potential draft picks.
Quality vs. Quantity determines who goes on the scout’s target list for a given week. Choosing Quality will make him start with the best players in his current target (subject to the other qualifiers), and then scout them repeatedly until they’re all at the A-level before moving on to the next group of players. This ensures the best players get reviewed thoroughly. Quantity takes a much more broad approach: it finds the players in the target group with the lowest scouting level, and attempts to raise them all to a higher level before moving on to that level and doing the same, until the scout’s time runs out or they’re all at A-level. It’s more useful if you’ve narrowed your target list down using the other qualifiers and want to make sure everyone on it gets looked at.
The final section of the assignment screen determines the length of the scout’s trip, and the frequency of his reports to you. Every time he emails a report, there’ll be an option to respond by reassigning him to a new set of instructions; you can also manually recall and reassign him at any time via the team scouting screen.
The Scouting tab on the player screen now provides much more detail. E-level scouted players will have a blank report, but anyone at a higher level will get a detailed description of the player, as well as a reminder of when he was scouted last. The report is broken down into six sections. The Personality section gives you some hints about his hidden ratings; Current Role tells you what type of player he is (if you own a similar one to compare him to) and how he fits into the league he’s currently playing in; Strengths and Weaknesses describe his best and worst skills; Ability tells you how good he is right now, relative to one of your players and your league in general; and Potential tells you if he’s likely to improve, and, if so, what kind of skill level you can eventually expect out of him.
When you are unemployed, you will always see players from the “general consensus” viewpoint, with no scouting correction, and will not be able to read scouting reports.
3. New Staff/Personnel System
The way the game handles GM and Head Coach GM hiring and firing has received significant changes. The frequency and timing of firings should be a lot more realistic now. End-of-season firings will still come without much warning; the computer will evaluate the GM’s recent performance based on a variety of factors and make a change if it doesn’t like the direction the team is going in. In-season firings, however, will work a little differently – when the team is in serious trouble, underachieving and in a slump, the GM and/or coach’s job has a chance of becoming in jeopardy. If that happens, there’ll be a news item announcing that he’s in trouble. From that point on, every subsequent loss will bring the chance of a firing, until it either happens or the team manages to win a couple of games in a row, ending the jeopardy status (for the moment.)
Staff hiring has been adjusted to better emulate real hiring patterns: some of the time, teams will simply decide to promote from within, in which case they’ll fill the job vacancy with an appropriate member of the current staff. If they don’t, they’ll shortlist five candidates, the highest-reputation ones that make sense for their level (i.e., no NHL coaches showing up in the Federal League) and have appropriate resumes (e.g. not choosing unemployed assistant coaches for GM jobs, and favouring nationalities from the country or countries where their league is based.) The team will then choose from within those five, based on their reputation, recent job status, and a random element.
Hiring directly from other teams’ staff is possible in the offseason, but will be limited to hiring from teams in lower-level leagues and staff that will be getting a promotion within the same level of league (e.g., one NHL team hiring another’s assistant as its head coach.) Human GM’s will be at a slight advantage in the hiring process, but you won’t be getting badgered with job offers from lower-level teams; computer teams will avoid you while you’re employed in a better league. Unemployed human GM’s will get an additional advantage beyond that.
Important note: the reputation you set for yourself at the start of the game will affect what kind of offers you get. If you choose “Greenhorn” and then start as unemployed, don’t expect offers from the NHL (you’ll probably need to be in the top 3-4 levels to get those.) This is the only effect of that reputation choice – it doesn’t increase or decrease difficulty in any other way.
Unclicking the “Exit Auto-Play when you receive a personal message” box in the manager settings will result in the game not being interrupted when you get a job offer. This is useful if you want to advance the game for a while without interruption, but be aware that job offers made to you must be answered the same day or are considered rejected. So if you autoplay for a month and then find an offer that’s a few days old, it’s too late (although you may be able to reapply for the job if it’s still open.) If you start unemployed, you’ll usually have at least one job offer at the start of the game.
The Owner/Board Confidence emails and status screen have been integrated into the new hiring and firing system, the information given in them should give you a fairly accurate picture of where you stand (at least during the season – offseason firings may be a little more abrupt.)
Generation of new staff has been adjusted, mainly to give them lower starting reputations and limiting the full 1-20 range of attributes to coaches in the major hockey countries – smaller countries get a more restricted range. Staff reputation improvement will now be driven mainly by the ability to stay employed – as long as a GM/coach/scout keeps their job, their reputation will tend to go up (but not beyond a level governed by the quality of the league they’re currently in.) New staff will also only generate as scouts or assistant coaches – getting the “Head Coach” or “GM” role requires being hired for that position by someone.
GM and Coaching W-L-T histories are now shown on the staff member’s record. Data entry for these is a work in progress, the research takes a while because there isn’t any comprehensive source for these records – it requires a lot of digging through various sources to piece them together, especially at lower levels.
While making these changes, it became apparent that the non-playing personnel are still modeled in a fairly clumsy way. We improved that situation quite a bit, but that realization is probably going to drive some major changes in this area in the second version of FHM, hopefully to the point where staff and their development and careers are modeled in a way comparable to the treatment players get.
4. New Leagues
We’ve added four new playable leagues:
Swiss Nationalliga A (top-level Swiss league)
Asia League Ice Hockey (Japan, South Korea, and China, our first league outside of Europe and North America)
Federal Hockey League (Northeastern US-based low-level minor league)
Suomi-Sarja (Finnish third level)
The first three can be selected independently, but the Suomi-Sarja requires the two higher-level Finnish leagues to be playable as well. The Asian league tends to run a little low on players in later (15+ years from the start) seasons – not to the point of being unplayable, but somewhat noticeable. It’s a problem common to the French and Norwegian playable leagues, caused by the lack of a proper second-level league (or leagues in Asia’s case, they need Korean, Japanese, and Chinese leagues) below it. We’ll be rectifying that in the future, but it’ll take a while to get the data added, so it won’t happen until the next patch.
5. Miscellaneous Major Changes
Blind Mode: This is a new setup option that will disable the ability to view attributes directly. If this is activated, the user’s ability to evalutate players is limited to seeing only the vaguer skill indicators (each comprised of multiple attributes) on the player profile, the text descriptions he finds in the scouting reports, and whatever he can glean from statistics. This should be a little more challenging than being able to see precise numbers for everyone.
Player height and weight can now increase as players age. Height improvements are based on data from the US Center for Disease Control, creating realistic increases in younger players that slow and stop as they reach their late teens. The maximum theoretical height is 7 feet, but you’re unlikely to ever see someone that tall in the game, it’s literally a one in a billion chance. Weight can continue to increase after height increases end, until the player has peaked physically, and then may increase a little again at the end of the player’s career, putting on extra pounds as he declines. Additionally, there’s now a closer relationship between size and strength in newly-generated players.
National talent pools have been adjusted a little, primarily to lower the odds of a good player emerging from outside the traditional hockey powers. We were getting a few too many of those popping up in the draft. It’s also much more rare for a player in a lesser hockey power to be overrated by scouts, since they’re developing in relative obscurity.
Player contract demands are now increased somewhat if they’ve played well in recent seasons. This primarily applies to guys who’ve been getting a lot of points, and goalies who’ve started frequently.
Major Junior (CHL, OHL, and QMJHL) teams now have farm “teams” rather than a reserve list – they aren’t actual teams, but rather generic regional Junior B leagues that are shared between 3-4 nearby junior teams. Limitations on the number of contracts major junior teams can sign have also been reduced to more accurately reflect the number of players the teams typically use in a season. Finally, negotiation has been removed from junior contracts – every player gets a contract worth $3000 annually, and the contract duration always runs through the end of the player’s overage season (but they can still be released prior to that.) That’s helped considerably in maintaining the long-term roster quality in those leagues – it’s no longer dropping off significantly after a few years.
Playable teams will now have a much easier time signing players away from amateur teams. The exact scope of this varies from league-to-league, but in general it’s a lot easier, for example, for a Finnish team to acquire junior-aged Finns and players in low-level leagues like II- and III-divisioona.
The text for news items has been modified significantly and should have more variety now, and a few old typos and grammatical and formatting errors have been removed.
The database has been updated as of the end of the NHL trade deadline on March 5. This will be the latest date for the “current” version of the startup; we’ll continue to work on and improve the data and include those changes in future patches, but real-life player moves happening after March 5 won’t be included (with some leagues at or near the end of their seasons while others have months to go, the database would become very chaotic if we tried to do otherwise.)
AI-run teams now have a pseudo-training camp in early September where they assess their roster, sign players whose rights they own (and occasionally free agents) that might improve their lineup, and cut very poor players that have found their way onto their roster. They also check the free agent market more frequently during the season. The net effect is that AI teams, particularly at high levels, are much more efficient at maintaining (and improving) the quality level of their lineups.
There is now a startup option to select metric units instead of imperial for player height and weight.
Teams can now have more than two affiliations, allowing ECHL-AHL relationships (among others) to be fully modeled.
The NHL salary cap now moves to the projected $70.1 million in 2014-15, and fluctuates slightly every year after that, generally moving up slightly. This isn’t tied to revenues, the game’s financial system isn’t quite developed well enough yet to model that.
6. Bug Fixes and Minor Adjustments
Transactions, Contracts, and Rosters:
-AI teams now hold some cap space in reserve during an ongoing negotiation, rather than using it all up by signing other players before the negotiation is completed
-players will now refuse to sign long-term contracts if the salary involved is close to the league minimum, and will only sign very long-term (5+ years) if the salary is well above the league average
-NHL star-caliber players who sign overseas will generally only sign short-term deals
-entry-level contracts now have appropriate age restrictions on their use
-proper number of players with the “college” junior preference now generated
-AI teams will no longer occasionally frequently keep 9 defencemen active on a 23-man roster
-emergency tryout signings now limited to low-quality players (relative to league strength)
-players will now reject contracts from leagues with a standard of play significantly lower than their talent level
-AI teams now change their player training priorities regularly, and use the full range of options
-players with experience playing on another continent will now always consider offers to return there, rather than possibly rejecting any overseas moves
-age limits in junior leagues no longer occasionally being ignored
-certain leagues should no longer ignore foreign player limits
-extreme roster sizes in low-level UK leagues corrected
-slightly lowered contracts demands of players with above-average skills (relative to their league)
-increased contract demands for players who’ve performed well in recent seasons
-goalie coaches less likely to be hired as head coaches
-staff salary scale adjusted for some leagues
-custom leagues should now get appropriate staff budgets
-players should no longer occasionally sign new contracts while having multiple years left on their current one
-league rights to players should now terminate properly once the player becomes too old for the league
-teams should no longer re-hire staff they just fired
-user should no longer be told he’s reached the contract limit before he actually does
Player and Staff Ratings, Development, and Performance:
-bug fixed that resulted in injury proneness ratings being largely irrelevant to the injury frequency
-negative ability scores no longer possible
-potential should no longer be lower than ability in some cases
-generated players now get a broader range of mental stats
-initial scouting error now generated with a more realistic spread, fewer players will get extreme numbers
-goalie recovery system adjusted slightly to increase the frequency of starts by the backup (in the appropriate era, and not in the playoffs)
-database settings for some staff no longer overwritten during startup
-“?” characters in some names fixed, was caused by an unusable special character in one of the name files
-random name generation files expanded
-chance of elite player generation outside the traditional hockey powers reduced
-NHL teams now get accelerated responses to their offers during the first two weeks of free agency, giving them a bit of an edge over other leagues and moving signings closer to the start of the free agency period
-SHL relegation fixed
-NHL teams should no longer be sending under-20 players whose major junior rights are owned to the AHL
-increased likelihood of elite European juniors wanting to play Major Junior or college hockey in North America
-AHL teams no longer signing KHL players in mid-season
-players from the former USSR nations are now selectable in the CHL Import Draft
-promotion candidates from nonplayable leagues should now be varied, instead of always using the same ones
-Liiga players no longer occasionally getting contracts far in excess of the normal salary structure
-excess number of minimum-level salaries at startup in some leagues fixed
-transfers should no longer become impossible after the first season in the EPIHL
News, History, and Related Issues:
-criteria for several awards changed significantly to get more reasonable results; rookie of the year is still not implemented yet, but will likely come in the next patch
-data errors in league histories corrected
-stats generated for non-playable leagues now include icetime, including special teams time
-presets file updated to correct starting injuries
-milestone watch now only shows players currently active (or out with injuries) in the league
-goals-against leaders fixed
-occasional crash when only one alternate captain is selected fixed
-playoff-related crashes in certain leagues fixed
-end-of-year (June 30-July 1) crashes fixed
-March 25 crash fixed
-saves with corrupted names.dat files appear to function properly after the game version is updated, although we recommend against continuing them for stability reasons
-crash after editing league rules fixed
-occasional crashes when making trade offers fixed
-game should no longer crash during 1999 draft in historical mode
-crashes when clicking on some player names in trade screen fixed
-re-offering a trade after the deadline should no longer result in a crash (or be possible)
-crash when looking at protected list using the training view fixed
-second-season crash when trying to buy players as a Liiga team fixed
-“Last 4” display on the player screen should no longer omit the current season
-various misspellings and typos fixed
-switched certain spellings from American usage to the proper Canadian English versions any self-respecting hockey game should use
-user can no longer force acceptance of rejected contract offers by changing years and offer amount after the rejection
-CHL Import Draft now displayed properly in league histories (instead of repeating the bantam/midget draft)
-option to limit search by talent range added to filter
-calculation of Conditioning display attribute now correctly uses Injury Proneness rating, it previously had it backwards
-“Season” leaderboards in league histories now display the correct leader list the same way the Career boards do
-broken streak display in league standings screen fixed
-“days lost to injury” stat for teams should now reset properly at the start of a new season
-amount of money offered in a transfer should now be able to be reduced using the arrow buttons
-manager news subscription setting should now be able to be selected/unselected properly
7. An Important Note on Editing
We’re finding that allowing certain things to be edited “on the fly” during the season via commissioner mode changing a player’s team, altering contract data, making large changes to ratings or other vital player data, etc.) are causing a large percentage of the crashes reported to us. For that reason, in the next patch we’re going to be switching to a system that only permits that sort of editing in a narrow annual window, likely on the first day (July 1) of a new season, so the game can properly respond to major data changes in a controlled way. At the moment, this is only partly implemented, and the current editing tools may cause issues with some of the new systems, since those were developed in anticipation of the new editing system. So for the time being, please be aware that using commissioner mode to make changes while the season is in progress carries a substantial risk of creating long-term issues, including unrecoverable crashes, in your savegame. So we strongly recommend that you save your game under a new name (Game Menu – Save Game As…) before undertaking any editing. That way, if something goes wrong, you can always return to the original unedited save.
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