EA Sports NCAA Football 14 Gameplay Improvements - What it all means

Discussion in 'NCAA Football' started by Drifterbub, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Drifterbub
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    Drifterbub Learn to live above your circumcision

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    play_e_OhioStPhysics01jr_600.jpg


    By now most of you have probably heard or seen a few articles pop up regarding the gameplay improvements for EA Sports NCAA Football 14. I'm really excited to get into the details with you and discuss what it all means. If you haven't seen the articles by ESPN, Polygon or OperationSports.com, you should check them out as they all provide different perspectives. Also be sure to check out the newest videos on EA Sport's blog for a first look at gameplay. I'll kick this off by discussing some encompassing features and then break everything down later.

    *** Keep in mind that the capture from this video appears to be Alpha at best. Pretty rough.​

    "RTP/Infinity Engine 2.0"

    I want to start by clearing up any confusion or to those who are being pessimistic - EA simply did not just port over the physics from Madden 13 and call it done. A lot of work was done to rework this and has already been talked about in the aforementioned articles. While it's already been stated that a big focus was put on the ball carrier (and there was), there was a big focus to add some modifications that add a lot of NCAA flair (like actually using NCAA blocking rules instead of NFL, option game overhaul, read option overhaul, etc). Above all else, defense reacts to these things differently. From an overall gameplay perspective, my experience at the first community event was very refreshing.


    "Impact Engine"

    While most people will assume this simply means more big hits, that isn't exactly the case. This also plays a big factor into the new stiff arm mechanic. As Larry Richart explained already, the game used to simply 'roll a dice' in order to determine the outcome when a ball carrier attempted to use a stiff arm to break a eligible tackle animation (based on ratings). Now timing is a huge factor as the impact of a ball carriers arm is much less if it is already fully extended (hitting the button too early). Timing the button correctly will render the largest impact and create the maximum possible separation between the tackler and the ball carrier. That is, if the stiff arm is successful at all. From my hands-on with the game, this seemed to be very balanced. Even a well-timed stiff arm won't keep a charging linebacker from wrecking your world in the open field. I'll get into this a bit more later on.


    "Acceleration Burst Mechanic"

    Up until now, a player's acceleration has been somewhat linear. It's just a rating that dictates how quickly a player can get from his current velocity to his maximum speed. This new mechanic allows more of a burst to allow a player to explode in a direction. For a running back, this rewards patience running tosses or stretch plays. There were several times that I would string a play into let's say, the 5 hole only to explode back towards the center and against the grain of the defense to bust a play open for big yards. For wide receivers, the burst mechanic allows them to catch the ball on a screen or hitch and burst away from an incoming defender and into the open field.

    However, no one has really talked about what this means for a defender. During my time with the game, I spent a lot of time playing the linebacker positions and baiting a HB into a hole only to use the burst mechanic to meet him at the LOS. Safeties can use the burst to break on passes such as posts and get to the ball/receiver.

    I know some of you are worried about balance of this feature. And to that I present to you...

    "Fatigue Meter"
    Want to run toss plays with your HB all game and not spell him at all? Want to run go-routes or 9's all game with your speedy WR? Well, you better be ready for them to have their hands on their knees. For those of you who play FIFA, you will be somewhat familiar with the effects of holding down the sprint button all game (*everyone grabs their hamstrings in recollection*).
    I've been hammering for this feature ever since I joined the EA Sports Game Changer program as I feel that it is another important aspect of NCAA Football that we were simply missing. You guys who love the no-huddle and up-tempo offenses are going to be challenged with managing substitutions or risk getting the ball to a running back or wide receiver and him not having any gas left in the tank to take it anywhere up field. This will also force people to actually look at your substitution sliders in your coaching preferences.
    This will also effect some special team decisions. Not that it was a good idea before, but utilizing your star skill players for punt and kick returners will ultimately reduce their effectiveness as the workhorses for your offensive attack. Additionally, a guy with 99 SPD 99 ACL and 99 AGI may not be the best option as a kick returner if his stamina is only a 62. Sure, he breaks the field open more often than anyone else on your team, but you won't think as highly of him when he gets sucked up from behind every time as he starts to fatigue. Conversely, players with lower speeds but higher stamina ratings will be rewarded for sticking with a play and taking good angles as their efforts could end up paying off in the form of a touchdown saving tackle.
    It's also important to mention that as the game goes on and a player gets more fatigued that his acceleration burst mechanic becomes less effective. He also has a higher chance of fumbling or not recovering from a stumble. Speaking of which...

    "Stumble Mechanic"

    Personally, the new Stumble and Avoidance Mechanic really differentiate the running game from Madden 13's iteration. Essentially the stumble mechanic adds a layer of variability (yes, on TOP of what the physics engines have already done for tackling) to tackling while bringing a feeling of balance to a ball carrier. After a broken tackle, you can flick the right stick back to attempt to gain balance and continue to the run, or you can flick the stick forward to dive for a first down or avoid an incoming defender ready to take your head off. Madden 13's broken tackle animations were too long, and the stumble mechanic allows a user to abort out of those scripted animations to dictate a more favorable outcome.

    "Avoidance Mechanic"

    I guess the best way to explain this is to reference the game Assassin's Creed and how a user can 'swim' or otherwise avoid bystanders/objects while on the run. One of my biggest complaints with Madden 13's running game was having to manually avoid my own blockers in fear that I will get "Sanchez'd" and end up on the ground without ever being touched by a defender. That changes this year as ball carriers will put their hand out, hop-step and side-step to avoid blockers and make their way up field.

    What most people miss with the announcement of this feature is what it means for the defense. Linebackers will no longer get lost in the crowd and will use the same mechanics to avoid defenders in front of them taking on blocks. Combined with the new blocking logic, this makes every run play a chess match between backs and linebackers.

    "Targeting Mechanic"

    If you are like me, you are sick of "swerving" (when a user just goes back and forth on the stick, rendering your defenders helpless as they fly by the ball carrier as if they were looking at the ground) and there is finally an answer to this too often used tactic in online play. A newly tuned "locomotion system" and the new physics engine really do a lot to combat this as it focuses a lot more on planting of the feet. However, a new targeting mechanic allows defenders to make the final lunge towards the ball carrier to account for the last second evasive maneuvers. However, this requires manual manipulation of the sticks to accomplish. Thankfully, the windows to engage the tackle animations were tightened in order to get rid of the dive-bomb tackling techniques often used where a defender can just blindly charge in a direction and make a tough tackle in space.

    Defenders will now break down when coming head-on with a ball carrier. Users can use the dive button to lunge at the ball carrier to account for any last second change of direction. This mechanic also seemed to help the issue where a defender would blow by a receiver who was being directed by a catch animation.

    "Blocking Logic"

    I know, we've heard it before. However, I think there are some interesting changes that are coming this year that will provide some significant improvements:

    - Screen plays
    As it was explained to us, the NCAA Football and Madden series have always used the same blocking rule definitions within the game. Obviously in real life, this is far from the case. So the gameplay team went in added things like the ability for offensive players to block downfield on screen plays. Previously the blockers would gather in front of the receiver and behind the LOS and then decide who to block once the pass was caught. In NCAA Football 14, you will see slot WRs, TEs and pulling offensive linemen actively attack defenders beyond the LOS while the ball is in the air. Bubble screens and quick screens took on a whole new meaning after being very frustrating to use in NCAA 13 (and every iteration of NCAA that bubble screens were previously included. Let's be frank, they never worked properly). While it does a lot for the screen games, it also opens up the short passing game, something which has been very vanilla up until now.

    - Options/Running game
    Everyone has their complaints with blocking logic. The flaws were especially apparent in the option game. Blockers consistently let the wrong defenders come free and often resulted in situations where you were going to lose yards regardless of the option taken. Richart's comments on reworking all of the option plays are true. Since the offensive line knows who to turn free and who to read, they can easily decide on where the 2nd level block is and get to it. EA took this to another level by adding in-game indicators that highlight the players that your offensive line will turn free and the players that you will need to read. It's a nice learning tool for users new to option plays (or new to running them properly).


    That's it for now. I'll hopefully be able to gather more thoughts as the information becomes public knowledge.

    You can follow Drifterbub on twitter: http:www.twitter.com/Drifterbub
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  2. PAgamer07
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    PAgamer07 We're the ship without a storm

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    Great recap man. Looking forward to the other additions. My only disappointment is that resources have been wasted on Ultimate Team mode. It is what it is, and it's a money maker, but like others have mentioned there are higher priorities at this point in the game cycle.
  3. PIG BOMB
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    PIG BOMB 4 Star Recruit

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    Super stuff!!
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  4. Shaun Mason
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    Shaun Mason Keepin' it 1hunnah.

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    Keep in mind, as much as I hate UT, it isn't the same resources.
  5. Drifterbub
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    Drifterbub Learn to live above your circumcision

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    I'm right along with you.

    I may or may not have give some death threats if this mode takes any sort of precedent with the resources dedicated to dynasty and gameplay.
  6. iPhoenix
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    iPhoenix 1 Star Recruit

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    Great write-up. Really like how everything doesn't just affect the offense and specifically the ballcarrier because according to a LOT of comments (EDIT: on YouTube, social media and such), people are thinking the run game will be overpowered.

    I do want to add something though. In ESPN's preview, it mentioned personnel-based playcalling. I don't know if it would be considered a gameplay improvement but as someone who does play online a lot, I think it's a much needed addition. From ESPN:


    I am wondering how this affects teams with players like "Oregon HB #6" who can play multiple positions.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
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  7. droid43
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    droid43 2 Star Recruit

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    I'm assuming that the user would have to order the depth chart in a certain way. Perhaps having HB #6 as #1 HB and #2 or #3 WR on the depth chart. Subbing in the next HB on the depth chart may allow HB #6 to go to receiver. Or the user may just have to stick with the right stick packages (assuming they are still there with this new addition) in order to accomplish this.
  8. Drifterbub
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    Drifterbub Learn to live above your circumcision

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    Right, I believe it's based on depth chart placement.
  9. Big_FN_Deal
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    Big_FN_Deal 2 Star Recruit

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    Nice write up sir, good to get some specifics. I read in that Barner interview that teams have more differential in their playstyle, I think he specifically mentioned Oregon's up tempo pace being unique from other teams spread offense. Can you elaborate on this or not now?

    Is the fatigue bar/meter visual on the field at all times or hidden and accessible through panning out/in the play call screen?

    Lastly, did you notice the CPU controlled players utilize moves, avoid contact, like a User controlled player would. For example, are CPU KR/PR trying to avoid being tackled, running as if they are aware, like a User on the stick.
  10. TryHardNation
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    TryHardNation Texas Gang or Die

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    Is it possible to land collisions like that if the very beginning of trailer?
    Also,
    Do jukes feel different as more of a "shaking the defender" as opposed to having 1 cut and not stringing jukes together? Did they remove the hop juke?

    Thanks
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  11. Shaun Mason
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    Shaun Mason Keepin' it 1hunnah.

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    They have new technology that allows them to create better AI (sorry for being vague, but I'm not sure how much detail I can give). The end result (where it is applied) is vastly different than previous iterations.
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  12. Big_FN_Deal
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    Big_FN_Deal 2 Star Recruit

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    That's cool and I imagine that has something to do with the new "real AI" tech, mentioned in one of the many write ups released today. It all sounds promising, will be interesting to see how it all pans out.
  13. Shaun Mason
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    Shaun Mason Keepin' it 1hunnah.

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    I'll be honest, out of everything I've seen (and I'm NDA'd for both NCAA and Madden), the AI tool is the one I think is the most important and has the most long term potential.
  14. TryHardNation
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    TryHardNation Texas Gang or Die

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    I heard some mention of the AI learning from what they succeed on and don't.
  15. Shaun Mason
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    Shaun Mason Keepin' it 1hunnah.

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    Oh?
  16. TryHardNation
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    TryHardNation Texas Gang or Die

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    I don't know, I thought I heard something about it in the IGN interview with Ben. I have no idea, I may be hallucinations from happiness.
  17. Big_FN_Deal
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    Big_FN_Deal 2 Star Recruit

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    Nah, you are right about it but it was mentioned in this write up.

    http://www.polygon.com/2013/4/3/4177270/ncaa-football-14-preview-gameplay

    "The running game isn't the only part of NCAA 14's gameplay that's being worked on. Tiburon is implementing a feature it calls "real AI," which Haumiller said comes from EA Canada's FIFA Soccer and NHL franchises. It plays out as "teaching the AI how to run the option the right way through repetition," said Haumiller, explaining that the CPU will learn to run and mix up plays "like a human does." The computer will also be much better at running the ball and defending against your running game, according to Haumiller."
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  18. Big_FN_Deal
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    Big_FN_Deal 2 Star Recruit

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    I keep reading about the stumble mechanic, my question is, does the push forward of the stick to get down to avoid big hits, also act as a reach for extra yards? So if our player is stumbling or being tackled near a first down or the goal line/pylon, can that theoretically be used to reach the ball out for the extra yardage?

    I have many questions but I'll ask just one more for now. Do repeated hits have any effect a players stamina and fatigue?
  19. Timpegoose
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    Timpegoose 5 Star Recruit

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    I apologize if you guys answered this in chatbox earlier, I was in and out all day. Is the fatigue going to be progressive throughout the season, or does it reset each game?
  20. Danthraxxx
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    Danthraxxx 5 Star Recruit

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    Also regarding fatigue , I would hope bigger players fatigue more. FIFA has limitations on player size so not sure how that 170lb players stamina should relate to the 285lb defensive end.
  21. ch46647
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    ch46647 1 Star Recruit

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    One quick question for you guys.. I was hoping that locomotion would get a complete re-write. It sounds like they added foot planting for the ball carrier. Does this footplanting include all
    players on the field? It just doesnt make sense to only include it for the ball carrier..

    Also, I know you cant answer this, but I was also hoping for a complete overhaul to OL/DL interaction. (Including a ton of new animations) Sounds like they are just focusing on trying to fix the
    AI.
  22. Drifterbub
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    Drifterbub Learn to live above your circumcision

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    The stumble mechanic wasn't 100% integrated when I was there. Maybe HackGolfer can clear that one up.

    Hits, acceleration bursts, broke tackles, etc all effect your fatigue. So the more tackles you break, the more it goes down and the less likely you are to run continuously.
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  23. TryHardNation
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    TryHardNation Texas Gang or Die

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    Is EA done with gameplay news? Just wondering because last year each playbook came with a 1-2 hour stream and multiple blogs direct from EA. the only write up of EA's that I've seen is the one saying release date and when the playbooks are and such.
  24. Drifterbub
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    Drifterbub Learn to live above your circumcision

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    I doubt they are done.
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  25. TryHardNation
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    TryHardNation Texas Gang or Die

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    :) Also I'm becoming a premium member soon!
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