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Q&A with Gotmadskillzson and PlaymakersPosted on October 5, 2011 at 02:51 PM.
GMS: Every day of the year. Working from home has its advantages. That plus I am a night owl who doesnít sleep a lot, so probably 8 to 10 hours a day on most days.
PM: Believe it or not I've been working on Historic Rosters for NCAA 11 for well over a year now....It's not that it takes a year but more because I like to really make sure each player is edited properly and teams are well put together. My biggest downfall with these types of rosters is my own drive for perfection.
What happened in NCAA 08/NCAA 09? How is that style of gameplay still impacting the game today?
GMS: In NCAA 08 a good number of people complained the defense was too hard. So with 09 and since then, the series has been offense heavy with wide open game play. That is probably why you see so many players with crazy high speed in the upper 90s.
What level do you tweak and test on in NCAA Football? Varsity, AA, Heisman? Why?
GMS: All 3, because if you donít you canít determine whether or not there is a clear visible pattern of the rating itself doing it or just the difficulty level.
PM: Varsity IMO gives the best results for testing ratings and seeing how they work on the field. I just feel as though that level in NCAA Football over the past few years has the been a very underrated level to play on. It gives the game an organic feel in which you tend to not feel cheated in any way by the CPU.....I don't sense the human or CPU players have any hidden speed boost or anything.
Slider tweaks vs Ratings changes? Your thoughts?
GMS: I am a ratings type of guy. Most people donít care for it because it takes a while to edit everybody in the game. The thing I donít like about sliders is that it is too general. Instead of actually fixing the problem, it just makes one thing more over powered then the other.
Take pass rush. You raise that and everybody can get through the line not just DEs. Where as ratings are more personal and individual. In NCAA 11 these were more responsive. NCAA 12 you have to max out some ratings just to get it to work.
PM: I'm a very hands on guy so really I enjoy the task of altering both sliders and ratings......I love to tweak sliders in order to get the stats i desire for a NCAA or NFL game. I tweak the ratings in order to capture the player tendencies on the field. So really i have to use both in order to enjoy the games each year.
Thoughts on using coaching profiles to enhance your tweaks
GMS: Coach profiles was a great addition. Surprised Madden doesnít have them. But once you get the ratings working CORRECTLY, I then like to go in and tweak the coach profiles to make a team either run more or pass more. Or how aggressive or passive they are on offense and defense. I must say they work pretty good.
How has Coach Mode helped you to test your changes?
GMS: Coach mode has been a HUGE help. Watching it from broadcast cam, you get to see more of the field. Plus being that you not controlling anybody far as movement goes, you get to see exactly how the CPU AI behaves.
So from playing this mode, I could easily see how the QB scrambles up the middle of the field 99% of the time and never outside of the offensive tackles. Nor do they roll out from pressure. Everything the QB does is in a straight line north, west, or east. There is no northwest, northeast, southwest or southeast movement. QBs donít spin away from pressure like QBs do in real life.
Just watching RBs run, they are the same way. They run straight forward with no use of their special moves at all. Many games I find myself yelling at the TV screen saying to myself if he would just stiff arm, juke or spin he would have went all the way.
On special teams, far as punts go, you can see how fast the gunners get down the field and how the returner runs straight forward. Instead of cutting it back to the opposite side of the field. I really wish EA would watch Travis Benjamin of Miami return punts this year. That way they will know they donít just run straight forward.
If EA just play ONE game on coach mode, they could see with their own eyes how flawed the CPU AI is when it comes to executing plays. How bad they are when it comes to blocking on option plays, WR/HB screens, toss sweeps. How bad they are in blocking on kick off returns and punt returns.
They will also see how the CPU defense cheats on all running plays. They donít respect formations at all. Coach mode can tell you a lot because your eyes and mind are free to just WATCH.
When you are playing the game, your eyes and brain is just focused on your player and what you are trying to do. You miss a whole lot that way. Which is why if somebody is standing behind you watching you play, they can say hey you didnít see that wide open guy over there, he was wide open.
Playing the game yourself, you get tunnel vision. With coach mode, you get to see the ENTIRE picture.
Explain the issues with EA's "Real Assignment AI". How did you find the fixes?
GMS: The issue with real assignment AI was in order for it to work, offensive linemen needed a certain awareness level in order to perform, along with a certain acceleration rating. I found the fix by reading the Real Assignment AI blog Mike Scantlebury wrote on EAís website over and over again. However they took that blog down.
But with any blocking or any function period in the game, awareness level has always been key. So I knew from the beginning awareness was part of the problem. Then after watching instant replay of running plays over and over, changing the angle, I said to myself hmm, if they just had a better burst, they will make it to the hole before the RB.
PM: This was real simple make the players smarter on the field....I've been stressing awareness increases for years in NCAA Football. It's hard for players to execute assignments if they are running around on the field with awareness in the 40's, 50's or 60's for that matter. Awareness is the heart and soul of gameplay for those who choose to play against a competent CPU opponent.
Your thoughts on Awareness? QBs and Awareness?
GMS: Being that awareness is the CPU brain, it is the cornerstone of every position. Awareness have always been the brains of the player. The higher it is, the better they perform at their position. Seen it with my own eyes testing things out for the past many years I have been doing it.
When it comes to QBs, I have noticed any QB with an awareness below 80, they canít perform and run their offense at all. They basically are dumb and clueless when it is below 80. Same thing with offensive linemen. Awareness makes up the bulk of any player overall rating.
PM: Both games are just so much better when players have high awareness on the field. You can actually give a player avg physical ability in Madden and NCAA Football and they will still produce if they have very good awareness. We created a thread in NCAA 11 regarding how awareness effects Option QBs in NCAA Football...their decision making is just so much better with the football when they have a high awareness. It makes them more alert to their surroundings such as when to pitch the ball and when to keep it and run. I've never understood how EA expects an Option QB to operate an Option Offense with awareness in the 60's......I mean they wrote the code for the QBs they should know how awareness effects a QB's ability to read the defense and find the open man. Well why would it be any different for QBs running the Option attack it ties into their ability to read the defense?
What does THP and THA really do in the game?
GMS: Throw power has a direct effect on what passes the QB will attempt. Low throw power QBs will not throw over the middle a lot, instead they will look for outside passing plays more. Also low throw power passes the ball tend to have more an arc and hang in the air too long on long pass plays. Which results in more jump balls on streaks and deep outs, instead of catching it in stride.
Throw accuracy effects passing percentages during games you play and the likelihood of a pass being picked off.
Can you help explain why the CPU holds the ball and takes a sack so often, instead of throwing it away?
GMS: Awareness rating being too low more times than not will cause them to hold on to the ball. Over all though this games lacks a true throw the ball or force passes rating like Madden 12 has.
PM: Most likely because the Pass Coverage slider is too high and the QB doesn't have high enough awareness to locate the open WR before the pocket collapse. I don't think ever used a pass coverage slider above 50 in Madden or NCAA because the CPU AI QB's struggle to read the defense all to often. Until both games find away to make QB AI logic better it's always IMO better to lower the pass coverage and give the CPU a chance to read the defense.
What is fundamentally broken with the option game? Blocking, decision making, etc?
GMS: WRs, TEs, FBs donít block well enough. Then the guards take too long to get out in front of the ball carrier. But the WRs and TEs not blocking really kills any running play to the outside. The outside must be sealed off in order for it to work.
Then combine that with LBs and CBs reacting TOO FAST to the play. Anybody can see this. Call a running play to the outside. Watch the instant replay and look at the CB and LB on the side the play is going. They take off IMMEDIATELY to the ball carrier BEFORE they even get the ball.
Shouldnít be like that. Defenders need to react AFTER a ball carrier gets the ball. In NCAA 12 and Madden 12 they react as soon as the ball is snapped.
CPU defenders donít respect formations. You can call a fake punt run and the CPU defense will come out in a nickel defense. You can call a 5 wide QB blast play and the CPU will clog up the middle pre-snap LEAVING WRs UNCOVERED. You can hot route any player in the game and you watch that person defending him AUTOMATICALLY reposition themselves to cover that new route you just hot routed to!
PM: Poor AI awareness, poor run blocking logic not only from the the OL but from the skill players too.
Screen plays and WR blocking, why are the ratings not working out of the box?
GMS: Guards and Centers acceleration rating is too low and awareness is too low. Then WRs run block strength and run block footwork is too low. In order for WRs to block, they need at least a 75 rating in those two ratings.
PM: It's pretty simple because WRs are rated too poorly in blocking overall.
Talk about OL/DL interaction. What can be done to improve it?
GMS: OL/DL interaction seems to be too scripted. Way too much mirroring goes on to the point you always see 2 or 3 players on the line performing the same animation at the same time. Des need to generate a push rush and get up the field way better. With default rosters in both NCAA 12 and Madden 12, the DTs get more sacks then the Des. This is backwards. And also more agile DEs need to cut to the inside of the Offensive tackle sometimes. As it stands now, they always take an outside shoulder approach, when in real life, they take an inside shoulder approach sometimes too just to throw the OT off balance and not be so predictable with their pass rushing technique.
What EA needs to do is motion capture a full 11 on 11 game, running different passing plays and running plays. That way everything would have a more natural look and flow to it. Being the studio is located in the heart of Florida, I am pretty sure they have no shortage of willing ex college football players or even pro players that wouldnít mind giving up a week of their time to help improve the game that most of them grew up playing.
PM: I really don't know since I'm not a game programmer.....but I think what would help is for them to develop a engine that takes away suction blocking entirely. Even if things are more animation controlled I could live with that being a replication of better OL vs DL interaction. You know, more animations of players pushing and shoving back and forth with each other as opposed to being suctioned right into a block it looks like a struggle to disengage most of the time.
Agility and Speed ratings, why do they matter so much for OL, especially on pulling plays?
GMS: Well you left out the most important rating for OL, which is acceleration. Guards and centers need high acceleration in order to get out in front of the ball carrier. That was the main problem with the running game on default rosters.
You really seen it on option plays, toss sweeps, runs from the shotgun and HB screens. Guards got out so slow, it made the play take too long to develop, which resulted in it being blown up most of the time when the CPU tried to run it.
People need to realize, most OL linemen had acceleration in the 70s and 80s. Compared to DL having it in the 80s and 90s. So you tell me who is going to get there 1st. Common sense really, cause and effect.
PM: Actually within that first 5 yards for the OL the acceleration rating is crucial it helps them to get up to max speed quicker. So when they are lead blocking or pulling you want them to be able to get out in space as an escort for the RB's. The agility is nice because it allows them to adjust or cut or turn more efficiently to pick up defenders....One thing i would like for EA is to do is to spend more time utilizing these ratings as opposed to the strength ratings especially for the Option teams and Service Academy teams....you know make the OL rely more on finesse style blocking instead of brute force. Strength is good, but strength doesn't help the footwork of pulling linemen.
Block footwork vs Block strength? Impact Blocking?
GMS: Footwork determines how much push they get. Strength determines how well they can hold that block. Impact block is kind of a blocking awareness in the open field. As in they will block the CORRECT guy.
How did you come to the idea of reducing OTs strength to Fix DE pass rush? What tweaks allow the CPU DEs to use "special moves" (swims, etc)?
GMS: Well the strength rating of Pass block strength and run block strength always determined how long that blocker can HOLD their block. To me that was always the problem with offensive tackles in NCAA and Madden.
Couple of years ago EA developers programmed the game to form the perfect pocket. The problem with that was it was AUTOMATIC. It never did take in account the defenders rating at all. By lowering it to the low 20s, it prevented that automatic pocket from forming all the day, that long drawn animation of the 2 players pushing off against each other in a semi circle around the QB playing patty cake.
That patty cake animation always drove me nuts. I have always been about the Xís and Oís. I watch a lot of instant replays, watching all aspects of the game. I always noticed with high pass block strength, that even if the DE was way faster and initially ran passed by the OT, they would get turned around and sucked back into the OT just for that perfect pocket animation to play out.
Far as special moves for DE, the only one that works when the CPU is controlling them is power moves. Finesse moves rating doesnít work at all when the CPU is controlling the person. All that DE will do is spin back and forth, but never WIN against the OT. That in itself is totally unrealistic.
PM: I personally don't reduce strength down that much because I think you can utilize sliders to get a good pass rush. I like to edit pass rushing DEs and OLBs to have high Finesse move ratings. Then when you combine those adjusted ratings with the pass rush slider being set high it triggers more of the finesse moves you might not see during gameplay when the slider itself is set to default.
You see in NCAA and Madden there are ratings that you don't get to fully see on display unless you modify some sliders. I would love to see a EA football game perform entirely on ratings. But the truth of the matter is both Madden and NCAA football have ratings that aren't useful unless sliders are utilized.
Talk about the pursuit ratings in NCAA 11/12 and what they really do? Many people aren't aware that they affect OFFENSE as well as defense.
GMS: Pursuit rating is more of a hustle rating then anything. On offense if given to an offensive lineman or WR that player will make blocks all the way down the field.
On defense, if you lower it to the 30s, you will notice that defender canít change directions as fast and actually slow down, slipping and overall donít give a 100% effort to make a play. Give it to a RB, that runner runs harder and smarter.
PM: Pursuit is self explanatory it's the players ability to pursue the ball....the problem is lots of guys have great pursuit and that tends to take away the ability of the human or CPU players to pull off those Barry Sanders types of runs where you can reverse field occasionally.
Also, for those who tend to see a lot of turnovers turn into TDs, that is directly tied into offensive player pursuit.....you see most people tend to think the pursuit rating only effects defenders but it effects the offensive players ability to pursue the ball after a turnover.
How different/similar are ratings like pursuit in NCAA/Madden?
GMS: Ratings in Madden and sliders too are way more effective and responsive. Even though in Madden 12 their ratings arenít as responsive like it was in Madden 11, but it is still more responsive then NCAA 12.
Over the years in the NCAA series one had to raise a rating pretty high or pretty low just to see a visual difference. Same way with the sliders.
General thoughts on ratings in NCAA Football and any differences in Madden?
GMS: General ratings need to be more way more responsive and trigger certain animations and AI run path logic.
40 to 49 Ė You stick to the designed run path of the play as it is drawn
50-59 Ė You attempt to try something but do it at the last minute
60 -69 Ė You attempt one thing differently, like change the running lane but pick the wrong one.
70-79 Ė You attempt two things differently, use your best move to beat the defender
80-89 Ė You are aware of your surroundings, you attempt many things differently throughout the run that gives you the best chance of getting into the end zone
90-99 Ė You become a legend and master of your skill set. You use your whole arsenal of skills to break down the defender and get around him. The whole field is your playground.
The biggest difference between Madden and NCAA is the running game. Ball carriers in Madden run with a purpose. They are more fluid, use their special moves and always trying to get a TD on every play.
Ball carriers in NCAA run too stiff and too upright. They have no sense of urgency and concede to the tackle way too much. They donít know how to beat beat a defender during 1 on 1 situations.
How far would you ideally stretch ratings (if you would) if you were in charge?
GMS: I would stretch it as far as the horizon, seriously. Football videogame players, the casuals anyway always complain it being too many ratings, it would over complicate things. However to that answer, I will always counter with look at the NBA 2K model.
Before NBA 2K stretched their ratings, it use to play just like the Madden and NCAA series. Everybody played the same, there was no visual differences between players and positions. Every team basically played the same.
But look at how many ratings NBA 2K has now. They have every aspect of every type of player movement rated. They even broke it down to how often a player uses a certain move, which side he likes to drive to whether it is left or right, how well he can dribble with his off hand, how many touches he gets, etc.
And now that game plays more like the real thing. You canít put a center at PG and try to do crossovers and stuff with him, his ball handling rating is so low he will lose the ball.
Madden and NCAA need to be like that. Currently there is no visual difference between players. An offensive linemen or defensive linemen can catch the ball as good as a WR. A linebacker can run just as good as a RB. Heck even a RB has the same throwing animation as a QB.
What are your feelings on player styles and traits (Balanced, Scrambler, Run Stopper, Pass Rusher)? How would you expand/tweak it (if you would)?
GMS: Overall I like them if they PLAY to what they say they are. I would expand upon it like Madden 12 has and [do] even more.
Like the following:
Outside runner/Inside runner
Block punts/FGs Ė This would be a coachís trait with a scale 0 to 100
Uses HB/WR screens Ė Another coachís trait
Zones/Man Ė Another coachís trait
Fights for extra yards
Fights for Catches
Make sideline catches
Then over all I would add different running animations for different positions, different throwing animations, QB stances, different ball carrying animation, different catch animation.
PM: Let me go on record and state that I love the new DPP installed in Madden 12......it's not perfect but i can tell players actually have more realistic tendencies now. In NCAA Football to be honest it doesn't really matter if player is labeled as a scrambler or Run Stopper because even though the tendency might reflect what type of player he is the actual ratings dictate his style of play. But the problem is all to often EA's default ratings don't seem to make much sense out of the box....
For example a small speedy WR can often be found with strength ratings that might equal or surpass that of a big physical possession type of WR. It is not uncommon to see smaller players with big players attributes mainly because I think the ratings in NCAA Football are often just random ratings kicked out by the engine and it doesn't really take height or weight into consideration much at all.
Your thoughts on the speed ratings in NCAA 11/12 and Madden
GMS: For years speed has always been over blown in NCAA and Madden. Sure it might look cool to the casual crowd to see their favorite player with 99 speed, but it is total unrealistic. This problem is magnified by 100 because in the NCAA series, way too many players have speed in the high 90s. Makes the game look like you playing with a bunch of track stars.
Speed need to be more common sense and logical according to their weight, position, player style. Makes no sense to be seeing a 250 pound power back with 90 speed. Nor does it make sense to be seeing almost every WR and CB with 96 speed.
Speed rating to be more spread out by position.
WR and CBs Ė 84 to 93
Offensive/defensive linemen Ė 50 to 77, with DEs having the higher end of the scale
Running backs and Full Backs Ė 70 to 93, with speed backs having the higher end
TEs and Safeties Ė 70 to 93
QBs Ė 60 to 93
PM: [Speed is] OVERRATED OVERRATED OVERRATED!
I was telling another forum member here at OS about a week ago that when Marion Barber was 1st rated in Madden 06 his speed, acceleration and agility ratings were all 87 overall. By Madden 09 the same Marion Barber had maxed out at 92, 95 and 94 overall in those same 3 ratings and that is just one example of why I said EA's speed ratings are way OVERRATED!
Which one should mean more, speed or acceleration? Where does agility come in regarding SPD/ACC?
GMS: Acceleration hands down. There is a difference between being FAST and being QUICK. Barry Sanders wasnít fast, he was quick. Same thing with Mike Vick, he really isnít fast, he is just quick.
And for the non-football followers, I will use some NBA examples.
Derrick Rose, Iverson, Chris PaulÖ they arenít fast, they are just quick.
Quick people have a great initial burst of movement when it comes to changing direction. Their quickness is what makes them able to fake people out and blow by them when they change directions.
People who are fast on the other hand, have what I call cheetah speed. They run fast in a straight line. For those who donít know, cheetahs canít run fast when they change directions, which is why their prey runs in a zig zag. Fast people are the same way, in a straight line they are deadly, ask them to change directions, not so much.
Agility should be more of a balance rating then anything. In the sense if you arenít agile, you have to slow down and really lean into your turns. Where as a high agility player can change directions at top speed.
PM: Everyone loves speed so naturally most people will say speed is more important. A guy like Jerry Rice didn't rely on speed so I'd say acceleration can be just as deadly. I love the idea i read on one of EA's most recent blogs where Acceleration should be tied into awareness to help duplicate the speed of the game for high IQ players compared to low IQ players. You know a LB with great Play Recognition skills and high awareness should react to the play and ball quicker than a guy with low awareness. Acceleration could be modified much better using that approach. It doesn't mean a fast LB can't still make plays it just means if his awareness isn't high he doesn't react to plays as quickly.
Getting the CPU ball carrier to use special moves, jukes, spins, etc? Why don't they use the whole field?
GMS: That is a good question. In reality they should. Remember the vision cone? The higher the awareness the more of field of view that QB saw. So a QB like Tom Brady, vision cone took up the whole field from one sideline to the next. Ball carrier vision should be the same way just like vision cone, only without the visual cone of course. For some reason in NCAA 12 CPU ball carriers donít use their special moves. It is a crying shame honestly.
Talk about how the break tackle, juke, elusiveness, truck, stiff-arm, ball carrier vision, etc are all related, and how they differ in NCAA 11/12? How do they work together?
GMS: When the CPU is controlling the runner Ė break tackle, elusiveness, truck serves as the same function. And that function is that they can break tackles AND truck over you. I put break tackle and truck at 0 and had elusiveness at 99 and this 180 pound RB ran directly over this 260 pound linebacker that had 92 tackle and 94 hit power.
As far as juke, stiff arm and spinÖÖ when it comes to NCAA 12, the CPU donít use those moves at all. Which results in all ball carriers looking the same and running the same. They donít ever try to juke anybody, spin on anybody or stiff arm anybody. Last year in NCAA 11, if you rated it high enough, what ever was highest, the CPU RB would use it.
Ball carrier division simply makes the ball carrier go to the hole where the play suppose to be run to. Even this is flawed because ball carriers donít see the entire field. Instead they only see half of the field and that half is the side where they receive the ball on and the direction the play was designed to run.
When in reality high ball carrier vision SHOULD have meant they see the entire field and run to the open space where there are no defenders blocking your path. But this year the CPU RB is hell bent on trying to run over everybody as though they are Jim Brown.
Shouldnít be this way at all. Ball carriers should play more to their style, whether it is power back or speed back. Some examples:
Power back Ė Should use their stiff arm move A LOT, run straight ahead and try to run people over.
Speed back Ė Should be way more shifty. Should use their spin, juke moves a lot. If their ball carrier vision is high enough, be more prone to cut back to the opposite side of the field.
Over all this game and Madden lacks what the ball carrier should do on a 1 on 1 situation. They are clueless and simply run directly into the tackler. When in reality they should be trying to break down that defender and try to GET AROUND HIM, not THROUGH HIM.
Which brings me to the elusiveness rating. Elusive means to avoid. However the way it works in NCAA and Madden, they donít ever try to avoid defenders. That in itself is seriously flawed. A runner with high elusiveness rating should be running like Barry Sanders, bouncing around and changing directions constantly because they are trying to AVOID being tackled by defenders.
PM: Because of the issues with NCAA 12 this year I haven't really dived into those ratings as much. But in NCAA 11 i felt those ratings all worked pretty darn good if you were willing to use them to create different tendencies amongst the RBs. The Break Tackle rating really wasn't important during actual gameplay....the Trucking and Elusiveness rating determined for the most part a players ability or likelihood to break a tackle during gameplay. The Stiff arm effectiveness is kinda tied into a players strength rating basically a guy can have 90 stiff arm and only 60 strength and he won't get much success out of that move. Ball carrier vision is IMO the #1 rating in NCAA Football for a CPU controlled RB.....most people think it's speed and acceleration but I've created hundreds of RBs who have very avg speed and acceleration yet their ball carrier vision rating allows them to produce because they can read the openings created by their OL for running lanes.
Talk about using ratings to trigger rarely seen animations.
GMS: Lowering route running, you will see the WR stumble a lot more when they come off a DB jam. And in bad weather, they are more prone to slipping on sharp cuts. Pretty cool to see.
Lowering the hit power for CBs also result in more take out the legs type of tackles instead of the over blown tackle up high tackles. Raising special catch rating you will see more 1 handed catches, toe dragging type of catches.
PM: Well there seems to be a point between 89-90 where some ratings will trigger animations during gameplay right out the box while others will be virtually non existent unless you boost up a specific slider. A guy with 90 SPC rating can be seen making some fantastic catches right out of the box where as a guy with 60 SPC rating won't tend to use that rating as much unless you start increasing the WR catch slider. Now i have also noticed that if you lower the QB slider making the QB actually throw more passes off target you'll see WR Catch animations trigger that way as well.
CBs, LBs, and Safeties, how have you been able to use ratings changes to reduce the "psychic ability" and stop them from cutting and warping to cover the field?
GMS: Simply by lowering their acceleration rating 5 points lower than their speed rating. Lowering their agility rating to as low as it could go without changing their tendency. And finally lowering their pursuit rating to the 80-85.
More importantly, I lowered the extremely high play recognition rating. Once that rating gets in the high 90s, bad things happen.
PM: Agility, Agility and Agility.....that's the one rating which reduces the warping effect big time. A lower agility means that a player actually has to take steps to get to a certain spot on the field. DBs and LBs with high agility tend to glide or skate as some might call it to the ball that is because they aren't required to take actual steps on the field to reach point A from point B. Interesting enough when i used to do extensive player edits on EA's NBA Live series the agility ratings worked basically the same way as you see in their football games.
Not to get off topic but when you lowered a players agility rating in the basketball games you would actually see that player dribble and take steps while in the dribbling motion. Somehow a lower agility rating makes it appear that players are grounded more often and weight seems to be more of a factor.
Regarding DB mirroring; how does Play Recognition and Man/Zone ratings apply here?
GMS: PRC basically cause them to run your route as though they are the WR. Once PRC is over 90 they stay step for step with you. Man coverage rating does the same thing.
How do you view "Super LBs", especially jumping?
GMS: Well last year their jump rating was too high. But over all I view it more as the ball trajectory on short to medium length passes are too flat and come across more as a straight direct line.
PM: This is only a problem out of the box......I don't really have a problem with Super LBs once I lower their jump ratings. Believe it or not that is really all you have to do is lower the jump ratings down. If you wanted to get rid of the problem entirely you could just create a scale in which no LB would exceed a jump rating higher than 40
How does the press/release ratings affect big plays?
GMS: By default, press rating was too low for too many defenders. Which resulted in too many WRs running unchecked full speed down the field. Basically meant too many WRs got open a little bit too quickly, too often.
Talk about the problems with Special Teams? Can it be fixed? How?
GMS: Special teams have always been a huge problem with NCAA and Madden series. Several problems with it to be honest. I will break down each one.
1. They donít block for the returner. Whether it be on kick offs or punts.
2. FGs and Punts are automatic. CPU donít ever block a punt or FG attempt. Heck they donít ever really try to. Totally unrealistic for a football game to make it through a whole season and not have 1 punt or FG blocked, ESPECIALLY in college. Every weekend in real life there always around 5 or 6 blocks that Saturday.
3. On returns, the returner himself runs straight ahead in a straight line. They donít ever use their special moves to try to get around defenders, instead they run directly into the tacklers. They also donít ever cut back across the field to the open side.
In real life how many times have we all seen Travis Benjamin, Marquis Haze, etc, anybody with high speed cut all the way across to the open side of the field ? They do it all the time.
Blocking can be fixed, because as you are aware of, I fixed it simply by raising the blocking skills of everybody on the return team. Works very well on kick offs.
On punt returns however, there is another problem. That problem is that both gunners on the end make it down the field way too fast REGARDLESS of their speed rating. Seems to be automatic programmed into the game the gunners get down there fast or something. Also one of the linemen on the kicking team on the edge, ALWAYS come off the line unblocked.
Therefore every time the punter receives the ball, he has 3 tacklers within 5 yards of him.
PM: To their credit this year it is possible to block FGs and Punts in both games now. In fact I've had much better success this year than any other in returning kicks as well. But if I were to improve one thing it would be the blocking ratings of the special teams players. From studying EA's ratings over the years they tend to assign blocking ratings anywhere from 15 to 40 for most players who you would see playing on special teams. Well those low ratings actually hurt the return game because players can't sustain blocks long enough for the return man to make a play or get upfield.
The IMPACT BLOCK RATING is also tied into a players ability to make open field blocks.
I would like to see EA either increase the blocking ratings across the boards for special teams players or include a separate set of sliders that focus on other aspects of special teams play like Run Blocking.
This year people seem to have taken more notice of your changes, but you've been doing this for a while. Why do you think folks are so slow to recognize the changes that are possible and unwilling to implement them?
GMS: Human nature, people hate change and more importantly people donít like to work for things. Just the sheer size of 120 teams instantly turn people off. They say OMG I donít have that kind of time. When in reality we all waited 2 months for the patch did we not ? Grant it I been doing it personally since the Playstation One days in the 1990s. Been sharing it online with GameFaqs since 2000, even shared it on EAís own forums from 1998-2011.
Matter of fact, I 1st came up with my screen name Gotmadskillzson on EAís own forum back in 1998. Last few years though OS has been my primary home. Been sharing my ideas on OS for the past few years.
But you know people kind of look at my screen name and say who is this kid and what makes him think he knows what stuff do more than the developers do. That in itself I find funny because I am 32 years old.
I think what made it different this year was Ben Haumiuler saying my screen name 3 times during a UStream event back in April and mentioning me forever talking about the lack of scrambling QBs in NCAA games.
So that kind of put my name out there and made people pay attention to what I write more and WILLING to try it out. And like anything else in life, all it takes is one person to like it and the word of mouth travels.
PM: I will admit editing ratings is a pain and depending on how many teams/players your willing to commit to it could takes weeks or even a few months. That is why i don't think you'll find very many people willing to take on that task. The problem is if you wait for EA to fix some issues with gameplay that ratings could resolve, you'll probably have to wait until the next version of the game is released.
Skillz, talk a little about your recent discovery of the Break Tackle, Elusiveness, and Truck rating for CPU Running Backs? Spin, Stiff Arm, Juke too? You say that the RB AI has changed from NCAA 11 and NCAA 12. How?
GMS: When it comes to the CPU RB Ė break tackle, elusiveness and trucking mean the same thing and causes the same animation logic to trigger. Which is if any one of the 3 is high they will try to run you over and truck you.
In NCAA 11, even though they didnít use their special moves effectively most of the time, they still juked, spun and stiff armed. In NCAA 12 they donít. They all run like mindless robots straight forward directly into tacklers.
Playmakers, can you speak a little about your work on the "Alumni" Rosters for NCAA/Madden?
PM: I'm a huge fan of old school football players from the 90's.....Guys like Rocket Ismail, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Tommie Frazier etc. I love to recreate them in NCAA Football every year. This year I'm actually expanding my Classic Rosters to the Madden series for the 1st time. I think the new DPP/Player traits is really what got me excited to finally create All-Teams in Madden.
Imagine watching Randall Cunningham run around on the field resembling the real life tendencies of Randall Cunningham. I didn't think any of the previous versions of Madden allowed that type of player detail. Madden 12 finally gives me the Ratings tools to recreate hundreds of legends the way they should be represented on the field in signature style play.
Anything else that either of you would like to expand on, or talk about?
GMS: Many things, thanks for asking. EA need to motion capture 11 on 11 football play inside of their massive studio. If they do that, things will look more natural. They need to mo-cap 3 different players at the following positions:
This way it will be more variety of running styles and passing styles animations.
Special teams kicking need to be not so automatic. There need to be blocked punts and blocked FGs. Should be some bad snaps on punts and shotgun formations. Some bad holds on FG attempts.
Pass interference need to be CALLED for offense and defense. Big hits need to be toned down in Madden and NCAA. The development team overdosed on big hits this year. Not EVERY tackle need to be a big hit. Big hits are RARE in real life.
Commentary needs a HUGE over haul. It needs to be more personal and more relevant to what is actually going on during the game. And if you playing dynasty mode, they should be talking about how good or bad you and a star player has been playing this year. There should be a pre-game show, halftime show and post game show. If you are the head coach, you should be able to hire and fire your coordinators.
Uniforms need to be getting more dirty then they are, heck white uniforms donít get dirty at all. WRs need to FIGHT for the ball and ATTACK the ball when it is up in the air. They are way too passive.
Players themselves need to show more emotions and they need to TALK. Like say something like come on man I canít believe you missed that block, Iím getting creamed back here. Players need to get tired more too. Players rarely ever get tired in this game. That in itself takes away the purpose of pounding the rock all game long.
EA development wise, need an assistant producer whose sole purpose is to make sure the CPU AI behaves correctly. They need to be playing nothing but coach mode for they can see all the flaws in the CPU AI logic. Making sure all aspects of game play is working properly. Which includes making all the different offenses WORK. Such as spread, option, air raid, pistol, pro, one back.
I mean honestly as a "techie" I am sad to see the option offense and spread attack perform so badly in the NCAA series. Playing against Oregon or Georgia Tech is gut wrenching. In real life both of those are high powered offenses. Georgia Tech is putting up massive running yards and points this year. Now tell me, in NCAA 12 do they do that? Not even close.
What this game lacks is a 1 on 1 try to break down the defender program. When the CPU AI gets on a 1 on 1 situation, they don't know how to react. Now this may sound "techie" and go over some you all heads, but I am a "techie" so bare with me with my philosophy.
In a 1 on 1 situation, the CPU ball carrier should do the following:
- Check their speed/acceleration rating and that of the defender in front of them.
- IF they are faster, they should cut to the inside of the field or cut to the outside OR cut clearly across the field to the opposite sideline.
- IF they are around the same speed, check their stiff arm, juke and spin rating.
- Defender coming from an angle from their side, attempt a stiff arm or spin move, which ever has the highest rating.
- Defender coming directly from the front, juke or spin, which ever rating is higher. Unless they are a power back, then they should just lower their shoulder and try to truck them.
QUARTERBACKS SHOULD DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Look at the primary WR, then secondary, then look to the flats for a HB or FB to pass to.
- Pressure coming from the left, roll to the right.
- Pressure from the right, roll to the left.
- Pressure from up the middle SPIN AWAY THEN scramble to the left or right OUTSIDE of that side Offensive Tackle.
CPU OFFENSE MUST DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Get the ball to their PLAYMAKERS and All Americans. The offense need to flow through them. Makes no sense how the playmaker of the team get no passes thrown his way but the scrub of the team does.
- Adjust to blitzes and the same defense being called over and over.
- Use motion to determine what kind of defense the defense is in.
- Adjust their strategy and play calling to WHO IS ON THE FIELD.
- If the star RB isn't in the game, CPU offense shouldn't be still calling 90% running plays with a scrub RB!
PM: Nope just wish EA would get their act together and fix my beloved NBA Live series.....believe it or not before i started working on their football game ratings I used to spend countless hours altering their basketball gameplay through ratings!
Operation Sports Writer
BORN: September 5, 1981 (31)
JOINED: Jul 21, 2002 (10 years, 307 days ago)
HOME: Mount Airy, NC
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