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Football Manager 2010 Skinning Guide Part 1: The Basics

This is a simple guide to help people start skinning with Football Manager 2010.

Before you start you will need a few things:

- A Copy of FM2010 with the latest patch installed, as the latest patch may have updated/changed some of the files you may need.

- The Resource Archiver Tool, that was installed with the game.

- A Text Editor – Notepad is fine, however I’d recommend a program like Notepad++ or a web editor such as Kompozer – these have colour-coded code and line numbers that make it easier to edit the larger xml files.

- Graphics Software – whilst Photoshop is popular it is expensive, free alternatives if you don’t already have a graphics program, are Paint.net (upgraded version of MSPaint), or The GIMP (open source alternative to Photoshop, but not all that user friendly), among others – if you do need to use Photoshop you can download a 30 day trial from adobe’s site. Basically the program needs to be able to handle transparent png files.

First you need to extract the fmf archives. This is done by using the Resource Tool that was installed with FM10 and this will be located in:

\Football Manager 2010\tools\resource archiver

If you have not used the archive tool before I recommend reading the user guide that was installed with it and is located in the above folder.

Now extract each of the fmf files from the below locations, into an easy to find folder that is not within the install or User Data folder for FM10:

\Football Manager 2010\data
\Football Manager 2010\data\updates\update-***\data

Where *** is the patch number, so far we are on 1030, I also recommend when extracting the patch files to overwrite the original unpatched files, as they are more up-to-date and saves you using old files that may have errors in them. Also if you have applied each of the patches you only need to extract the files from the latest patch as each patch includes the files from previous patches, so if you have both an update-101 folder and an update-103 folder you only need to extract the files from the update-103 folder in addition to the normal data location.

So now that you have extracted all the fmf files we can start making your first skin.

If you look inside the folder that you have extracted the fmf files to, you should see a skins folder. Open this and there will be several sub-folders, these are the default FM10 skins that come with the game.

Now what we are going to do to set up your first skin is copy the fm2010 folder from the skins folder to the skins folder in your User Data folder which is by default:

\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2010\skins
(If you don’t have a skins folder just create a new folder and call it skins).

The first bit of skinning we are going to do is to rename the fm2010 skin – you can pick your skin name now or just use a placeholder, for this example I will call the skin test2010.

So first you rename the fm2010 folder test2010 – avoiding spaces, caps and any fancy formatting.

Next open the folder called test2010 and you will notice four folders (classes, graphics, panels and settings) and an xml file called fm2010.xml.

Now rename the fm2010.xml to test2010.xml – the name of this xml file needs to match exactly the folder name.

Finally open the test2010.xml file in your chosen xml editor and what we are interested in is this code:

<!-- skin details -->
<string id="name" value="FM 2010[COMMENT: skin for FM 2010]"/>
<string id="author" value="Sports Interactive"/>
<string id="description" value="Default Skin"/>
<string id="version" value="1.0"/>
<flags id="parent" value="fm2010-widgets"/>

The <!-- --> tags denote comments, anything within these tags are not read by the game and act as hints/comments for you. (the text will appear green in Notepad++)

The first line tells the game what to call your skin in game, so change "FM 2010[COMMENT: skin for FM 2010]" to "Test Skin 2010"

The next line is where you put your name/nickname, then you can put in a short description of your skin, so for this skin put This is a Test Skin. Then the final option is a version number, when you release a finished skin it is generally good to start at version 1.0, then go up as you revise, but this isn’t important.

The last line was introduced in FM09:

<flags id="parent" value="fm2010-widgets"/>

What this does is it tells the game where to look next if it cannot find the file it wants in the folders for this skin – so in this example if your skin doesn't have the file the game wants it will look in the fm2010-widgets skins' folders first, it will then look in the parent skin folders for that skin, then that's parent until it's either found the file or ran out of parent skins, once it has ran out of parent skins to look at it will then look in the other folders within your User Data Folder, then the User Data Folder in your Shared Documents before looking in the other default fmf files.

What this means is if you are not going to edit a file you do not need to include it with your skin, and if you put a file in your User Data folder and the game won’t read it, it means the game is reading the file from one of the skins folders.

The final option to edit in that file is this one:

<string id="required_version" value="10.0.0" />

This setting tells the game what patch version a user has to have to be able to use the skin, for FM2010 you only really need to change this value if you are making a skin with the tree menu as due to the changes the old tree menu won't work unless you have at least patch 10.2 installed so in this case you will want to change the code to:

<string id="required_version" value="10.2.0" />

If you have followed the above instructions the fm2010.xml file should look like this:

<!-- skin details -->
<string id="name" value="Test Skin 2010"/>
<string id="author" value="michaeltmurrayuk"/>
<string id="description" value="This is a Test Skin"/>
<string id="version" value="1.0"/>
<flags id="parent" value="fm2010-widgets"/>

In FM2010 there is one more step you need to take before finishing your first skin, if you go into the settings folder you will see a file called fm2010 settings.xml now like the fm2010.xml and fm2010 folder this file needs it's name changing to match your skin so it needs to be called '<SKIN_NAME> settings.xml' so in this example rename it to test2010 settings.xml.

Now to get the skin into the game, load the game and go to the Preferences -> Display & Sound Menu, untick 'Use Skin Cache' and tick 'Always Reload Skin on Confirm' then click confirm, after the current skin has reloaded, go back into the Preferences -> Display & Sound Menu and you should be able to select the Test 2010 Skin in the drop down menu.

And there you go you have just made your first FM10 skin.

Now to edit the appearance of your skin you need to either edit the existing files for the skin, or if the file isn't in the folders for your skin copy the files you want to edit from their location in the extracted folders to the same folder for your skin.

So for example if you wanted to change the coding for the foot of the Test 2010 Skin you've just made, you’d edit the footer.xml file located in the test2010/panels folder.

Whilst to edit the graphic for the footer you’d copy the graphics from:

***\skins\fm2010-widgets\graphics\interface\footer

To:

Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2010\skins\test2010\graphics\interface\footer
(Creating the extra folders if need be).

And then open and edit the copied graphics in your chosen graphics program.

Yes locating the files to edit can be a bit of a challenge with FM10, but they will all be located somewhere within the files that you extracted at the start.