A modest proposal

Discussion in 'Madden NFL Football' started by Rev Bolyard, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Rev Bolyard

    Rev Bolyard Walk On

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    Shaun Mason recently posted a thread about the 10 commandments of realism... and as I pondered what I might add to that list, I realized it would be best to create a new thread.

    In the attempt to create a more realistic football experience, perhaps we should look a bit deeper into how the general rating system has failed us a fans of video game football:

    My earliest memories of video game football were NFL '95 (Joe Montana on the cover with the Chiefs uniform) and Madden '95 both on the Sega Genesis. From that early time we were given "ratings" that determined how effective the virtual players would perform on their virtual field. While more and more ratings have been added throughout the years - I believe that they're being treated more like a character in a game of dungeons and dragons, and that football itself is being neglected.

    While a player is measured by his speed and strength in the most generic of terms as well as position related attributes (catching, pass blocking, returning)

    So we have a tackle with a high strength, low run block, high pass block. That's the only numbers that factor into his overall package with a lesser importance put on impact blocking and before this year footwork. Why is a poor run blocker? It could be becaues he isn't aggressive and doesn't look to finish his blocks. Is he slow out of his stance (maybe he played in the 2 point stance in college or high school)? Perhaps he has poor hand placement. Maybe he tends to lunge in his run blocks. He could just have poor lower body strength. I believe all of these things can be replicated mathmatically (and therefore can be programmed) providing a much more dynamic game than we've EVER seen before.

    Same goes for a outside linebacker playing in a 3-4. While you can attempt to duplicate 40 times or 3 cone drill, there's a certain ability the top edge rushers (see Demarcus Ware) have to bend their bodies while speed rushing so as to maintain a direct line to the QB while not sacrificing speed.

    Some corners are too high in their backpedal or have tight hips and can't turn.

    Not every offensive lineman can snap. Fewer can shotgun snap. EVEN fewer can long snap for special teams.

    Some players excel as "gunners" in special teams, running down the field... breaking through blocks and make tackles... but they don't have a specific role on the defense. Currently special teams studs are woefully underrated unless they're top returners.

    Madden took great strides to include some of the player tendencies they did last season (drops open passes, ect), but until MANY MANY more tendencies and ratings are added the games will continue to feel bland and static. I've seen several attempts through the years to "stretch" the ratings out as NBA Live once did, with only the very best players (maybe a few at each position) being rated 90 or above, but that's ruined recruiting/drafting and was really only good for a one year fix. Still, with those changes you began to experience a much different game that really became much more dynamic. A starting linebacker that's rated a 50 overall is a much bigger liability covering a slot receiver than that same journeyman player being rated a 75.

    Just some thoughts, and I have many more examples. What do the fine members of TSO think?
     
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  2. Drifterbub

    Drifterbub Help me hide a body?

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    I loved the addition of the trait system in Madden. If you have played FIFA 12+ you would see a very good system for distinguishing elite talent based on traits. I assume it's some sort of attribute boost or access to more animations, but adding traits such as Second Wind, Fancy Flicks, Power Header, Bicycle Kick, Long Throw-In, etc can drastically change the way a player interacts on the field.
     
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  3. Danthraxxx

    Danthraxxx Walk On

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    As I am getting more familiar with the FIFA players and gameplay I can attest to what Drifter said , FIFA as well as 2K have nice trait systems that really helps separate players and give them a unique feeling. I feel like our football games just don't have that yet , I like the madden trait system but it seems unclear how important the traits are & it feels hard to gauge if they have great value with some of them.

    Part of that is during the course of a FIFA or 2K game every player can touch he ball multiple times, during a football game it's possible not all of your skill position players would be "usered" or get involved much, let alone never controlling he offensive line.

    FWIW I think football as a whole is biased in its coverage towards sexy plays & sexy players. Meaning that highlights and tv footage in game focus on the ball down field and skill positions guys making plays rather than the subtle background of blocking assignments & all the details that really make things happen on the field. I have wondered if the blocking / line interactions have suffered in video games because of that ? The casual football video game fan may not care as much about those things as we do.

    I don't have an answer for that problem, just my thoughts or 0.02$
     
  4. Rev Bolyard

    Rev Bolyard Walk On

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    I'll admit I haven't played any of the FIFA series, and the last soccer game I played was probably Mega Man Soccer on SNES. What you're describing from FIFA kind of sounds like what 2K basketball started this year, and to a much lesser extent - what Madden had done previously with "Road Grader" ect.

    I'm really talking about something deeper than that. Let's use Emmitt Smith. A Hall of Fame back, and unquestionably a top 5 at that position all time. However, how do you translate that with the current ratings offered? He certainly wasn't fast. While he made his living between the tackles, and broke hundreds of tackles, it wasn't for extraordinary agility or power... but balance. After Emmitt, Cowboy fans were treated to the short sad career of Troy Hambrick. A player who was bigger and faster than Emmitt and obvioulsy passed the eyeball test. However, he was probably the most uncoordinated back I've ever seen don the star. Just constantly off balance to the point he would often submit to arm tackles. It was almost as if he was closing his eyes once he hit the hole. Which brings me to my next thought... there's never been a true rating to dictate if a player was good at "finding" the hole. So many running plays now offer options for the player to take - especially the zone running schemes. For my money, no back was better a picking a hole than Emmitt. THAT'S what made him a legendary player. I know Madden now has a way of dictating whether a player tends to bounce runs to the outside or not, which is really a huge step. That's the kind of thing that led to the failure of Ron Dayne for instance. A huge man who wanted to play a small man's game. It has hampered Reggie Bush through the majority of his career.

    As we continue with the thought of the running back - what about something more abstract? What about a back's ability to run behind a fullback vs. an extra inline blocker? Why do some backs tend to struggle with that? Is there a certain security they feel when the fullback hits the hole before them to clear it out?

    Let's look at another rating from the reverse angle. Awareness. That word in itself brings to mind a hundred different things it should dictate. Does the back know the down and distance? Does he know the play? Does he know his correct assignment in pass protection? Does he know his routes on passing plays? Does he understand the current game situation (inside 2 minute warning, HAVE TO GET OUT OF BOUNDS!). To more immediate details like: did that Will linebacker blitz or is he going to blindside me as soon as I hit the hole? Does the runningback notice that every time the Sam backer steps forward and is leading with his right foot he's blitzing, but everytime he leads with his left he's merely bluffing.


    I think there is an infinite amount of depth to be unlocked and I'm not sure why more hasn't been in the almost 20 years console football game's have really been mainstream.
     
  5. Drifterbub

    Drifterbub Help me hide a body?

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    While I agree that there should be more ratings (especially in NCAA), I think there is a capacity issue where mathematically the game cannot run as many calculations as it would take to dictate most football situations similar to the examples you gave above. I can tell you that this is the exact reason why offensive v defensive line interaction is so rudimentary. With so many other things like presentation, audio, etc taking up valuable CPU capacity, we are beginning to reach the overload point of current gen hardware.

    I think the ideas you posted above are not new, but rather immediately unobtainable until game developers have the muscle to make those things happen without sacrificing other aspects of the game.
     
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  6. Rev Bolyard

    Rev Bolyard Walk On

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    I'll admit I know nothing about programming though I've read that they've struggled to fit anything more into the current games. Maybe what I'm imagining belongs in the next generation of consoles (which are right around the corner). I personally feel like we didn't see HUGE leaps forward from the last gen to this current one. Obviously graphics improved, and there were those great animations (even though most of them were locked in and stripped the user of control), but I don't know that Madden 2013 was light years ahead of Madden 2007 on XBox or NFL2k5. I wonder if EA is willing to add depth to their current game engine...
     
  7. Drifterbub

    Drifterbub Help me hide a body?

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    I think you can only notice by going back and playing Madden 2007. NCAA Football prior to '11 are now unplayable. It's bad.

    And RTP is something that could not have been fathomed on previous gen consoles. Just not enough muscle back then. And forget just raw processing power, disc space was a huge issue on the last-gen consoles with things like DVD-HD and Blu-ray giving us a lot more information on the retail disc. This is not to mention the better support structure capability with the internet-ready consoles of the current gen.
     
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  8. Big_FN_Deal

    Big_FN_Deal Walk On

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    Good thread Rev, Amen, I couldn't agree more. I think the player differential you are referring to and what many of us desperately want to see in Madden, is a not a matter of ratings, traits, etc but deals with lacking animations. It would be easier for me to copy and paste the work others have done but I don't want to break any rules so I will try to summarize, in my own words.

    Everything you described in the OP comes down to different techniques for different positions and body types, as well as different skill levels within those techniques. The issue with Madden is, they could add all the ratings and traits they want but if they are not linked and accompanied by a robust tiered animation system, players will have different ratings/traits but limited variance in performance. So if a LB with a 30 TKL has access to the exact same tackle animations as a LB with 99 TKL, the only difference is the result, the latter having more missed tackles than the former.

    From what I understand, it is this type of tiered animation deep system that allows 2k to achieve so much player differential.
     
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  9. Rev Bolyard

    Rev Bolyard Walk On

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    Again, I'd be interested in going deeper into why those tackle ratings are different. Is the first linebacker you mentioned just an unwilling tackler? Does he tackle with his head down? Does he lunge? Does he fail to wrap up? He he an arm tackler? I think these are things that can certainly be reflected in Madden in the future. Some players are notorious for some of those things. For the draft you would get a college player's combine results as well as a scouting report.

    "Player X is a willings hitter, but tends to avoid linemen. Struggles to get off blocks once engaged. Limited lateral ability. Does a good job of reading the quartback's eyes, but a step slow in coverage. High cut and tight hips. Can hit like a missle, but doesn't change directions well. Special teams potential."

    Now that same player could have a VARIETY of combine numbers, but likely struggled in the 3 cone. Now 10 different TSO members could read that report and come up with 10 different opinions of where that kind of player should go in the draft, and what role they could fill on their team. It allows you to draft players that fit in your team and your system instead of attempting to just grab the highest rated player (which is still the most effective way to fill your team in any iteration of Madden/NCAA)
     
  10. Big_FN_Deal

    Big_FN_Deal Walk On

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    I am a little confused as to what you are asking or referring to. Are you saying you want that depth in-game to help gamers decide what players best fit what their playstyle, asking if EA Tiburon factors these things into ratings, both, or something different?

    My point is that having all those things spelled out means nothing without actually having the animations in-game to represent them. It would be an empty make believe scouting report because no player could actually exhibit those things on the field. When in-game players are capable of performing various actions differently due to more animations, then descriptors like you are referring to can be attached.

    I hope you see what I am saying because I am not against more ratings and traits but first they need tiered animations to better utilize those currently in-game.
     
  11. Drifterbub

    Drifterbub Help me hide a body?

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    You boys and your lack of avatars (default)... Making me read your user name to know who is replying to what... lol
     
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  12. Rev Bolyard

    Rev Bolyard Walk On

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    I was speaking more towards the user being a simulated GM of his/her team. So with my thoughts and proposals, along with your ideas of having a tiered animation system - you have not only the freedom to draft those undersized speed rushers for your wide-9 defensive front, but for the first time it's actually viable.

    And alot of this involves correct player sizing which I know TSO helped EA with last year in regards to NCAA. It's not viable for a 6'1 225 defensive end to play a defensive end position in a 3-4 defense, but if that is the best player at his position (let's say a 79 overall), it's unfair that a human user has to sacrifice realism and recruit that player vs. recruiting a good DT, and moving him to DE where he may lose 10 overall points.
     
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