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Madden 2010 News Post

The latest Madden NFL 10 blog is online. This week it's all about creating the 'sim-style' gameplay.

Quote:
"From the very beginning of the year, we've tried to make clear our vision for Madden - one of authenticity, realism, & simulation (aka 'sim'). There is no doubt that we all want to turn this game into the most realistic version of Madden in history. This week I wanted to touch on some of the changes we've made (and struggles we've had) while trying to achieve this goal for Madden NFL 10."

Game: Madden NFL 10Reader Score: 7.5/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / Wii / Xbox 360Votes for game: 76 - View All
Madden NFL 10 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 StevieTheD @ 03/09/09 04:59 PM
It's here!

For those at work:

To be sure not to steal the luster from EA's site, the below came from http://insideblog.easports.com/archi...en-nfl-10.aspx

Be sure to visit there and check out Ian's sweet photo.

Quote:
..(and the challenges in making it fun for the masses)
From the very beginning of the year, we've tried to make clear our vision for Madden - one of authenticity, realism, & simulation (aka 'sim'). There is no doubt that we all want to turn this game into the most realistic version of Madden in history. This week I wanted to touch on some of the changes we've made (and struggles we've had) while trying to achieve this goal for Madden NFL 10. There are quite a few categories


-- Inconsistent Animation Speeds --
Over the course of the years, Madden has increased the speed of specific animations (and sets of animations) here and there across many areas. Typically, these are put in place to fix small bugs like times where maybe a handoff won't match up, or a situation where maybe the user doesn't have enough control. However, these small little changes can actually manifest upon themselves and actually cause pretty big issues in the game. VERY early in the cycle (like August) we committed to remove all these arbitrary speed alterations for Madden NFL 10, and truly fix the root issues that they were put in place to handle. As an example of a speed alteration gone wrong, below is a video showcasing exactly WHY the fullback dive is so effective...see below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbwkH...layer_embedded

You'll notice that because the FB doesn't have a proper initial move animation, so in order for the handoff to work correctly the QB has to turn around at warp speed. This in turn makes it so the FB is already at the LOS before many players on the defensive side have even gotten out of their stances. The Madden 10 version shows how a simple fix (like a new initial move for the FB) can make this play into much less of an exploit and into a more realistic representation of the play. I can hear the tournament players everywhere cursing my name.

Another great example of how a relatively small speed alteration can blow up into a bigger issue is the speed of the QB drop-back. The QB drop was initially sped up because he was getting 'sucked' into sacks too easily if he took a normal dropback speed. This has been discussed often on the forums...though only the QB drop is altered to play faster, if the QB is set up too quickly, the timing of the routes cease to have as much importance, the blockers can't correctly form a pocket around you (since the DL are barely out of their stances while the QB is already set), and the passing game now has turned into a very unrealistic representation of the real sport. Well thanks our new blending technology (more details here, here), and all the time spent tuning the tolerances/distances for sack animations to trigger, we no longer have to worry about speeding the QB up to successfully get a play off. Here's a good comparison video of old vs. new:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jWQo...layer_embedded

It was an easy enough design decision within our team that all of those alterations had to go. The good thing with us all getting on the team early and being so far out in front of this...we were able to set everything back to zero and then fix any issues that arose with all the time we had in the cycle. In summary...
How Consistent Animation Speeds Affect Gameplay: Visual +15, Exploits -22, Realism +10


After removing all of these and finding some success in the way the game played, we figured we would go a bit bigger than just a few animation changes...so next we looked at pass speed and overall game speed.


-- Pass Speed --
Pass speed was something that was actually quite a bit over the top in previous years...did you know a typical bullet pass exceeded 77 mph in our game?! In Madden NFL 09, not only did every QB throw a similar bullet pass in mph regardless of their rating, but also every QB also threw "mini-punts" instead of touch passes (even on short and intermediate routes) due to the high speed of the ball upon release. Realistically, we can all agree that Brett Favre in his prime probably had the most zip on his passes, and he's been clocked around 65-70 mph (from what I saw on ESPN). So we brought the max mph down to 70 mph (for a 99 Throw Power guy in perfect weather), and also brought the minimum speed down as well so we could scale down the 'curve' of how the ratings affect the pass. Now for Madden NFL 10 you will see much more obvious disparity between throw power ratings, and also you will see much more "touch" on passes on shorter routes instead of record-setting hang time on lobs (see below).


How It Affects Gameplay: Disparity between QB's +10, Touch Passes + 22, Realism +10





-- Overall Game Speed --
After all of above changes were made, we all really were enjoying the way the game started to feel. It was much more realistic...and gave off a much less 'frantic' feel (if that makes sense). We had one more big area to tackle though - and that was GLOBAL game speed. While playing Madden NFL 09, often times you may have felt like the result of the play was "scripted"...everything happened so fast that it was often very difficult to have an influence on the outcome of the play. On running plays, holes closed up immediately. On passing plays, defensive backs came out of nowhere to deflect a pass. For Madden NFL Madden 10 we knew that we all preferred a slower game - one that felt more 'sim' and more realistic. But this is often a hotly contested topic. This poll proves that people never can seem to agree on game speed. So what did we do? Well first we decided to decrease the game speed by 5% overall. As subtle as that change to game speed may sound, it has drastically improved the overall control of the game. It is definitely easier to identify the hole created by the offensive line. Scanning the field as routes develop make it easier to keep passes out of harm's way. But we know that not everyone wants that style, so we also included a GAME SPEED SLIDER. Finally right? J
How Game Speed Changes (+ a Slider) Affects Gameplay: Control +7, Realism +10, Customization +7




-- Ratings Changes --
After Donny re-rated every player in the speed rating, and we had tuned our speed curves to truly make our game showcase the differences between the players, we were feeling pretty damn good. Being that speed was our biggest concern though, we wanted to check our sanity and tested some different player ratings and how fast each player (in a specific rating range) ran 40 yards in our game. These results will probably surprise you...they sure did us:




D'oh! Looks like we went a little too far! I think we can all agree that we won't be seeing too many folks running a 7.8 second 40 yard dash (video game developers might have those times, but not NFL athletes). This immediately brings to light the very real clash that can exist between fun and realism in sports games. We thought we were dead on - we thought the game felt great, was fun to play, and was really showcasing the differences between players. But when you look at the numbers, it obviously this proves that doing something that you feel makes the game more fun to play can differ quite greatly from a full realistic simulation. So what do we do? Well, first, we can't break our mantra...again, we're all for realism and authenticity in Madden NFL 10. But also we realize that we're making a game for millions of people, most of which are focused on a fun yet competitive experience, and many of them could probably care less about realistic 40 times. So what's our solution? Read on...

Within minutes of seeing these results, we knew right away that we needed to be able to tune the "speed difference" independently, and tune it per skill level. So our engineers built a nice system for us where we can compress this range however much we see fit, and also set the defaults for each skill level as well. You will see below that a good way to make Pro and Rookie difficulties a little easier is to spreads the ranges of speeds out, while on All-Pro / All-Madden we want to emulate real life as much as possible. We want you to boot up and say hello to Sundays in the NFL.

These numbers are very subject to change, but here's an example of the speed ranges based on the skill level:



NOTE: To be ultra clear, this is NOT the scale we use to determine the speed rating of a player! This showcases how fast a player runs 40 yards currently in our game based on the rating that he is given. Donny determines the actual speed ratings of the players based on many different factors...not just the 40 time of a player.

We also realized that you, the loyal Madden gamer, may not agree with these numbers. Many may believe that speeds should always be a constant, and difficulty should be handled in other ways (I sort of straddle that line myself). But to address everyone's concerns, we just went ahead and exposed our tuning values into a "speed differential" slider into gameplay settings. If you want to play on Pro mode but want all of the players to have more realistic speeds, you can do so. If you want to play on All-Madden but want the really fast players to truly feel faster than everyone else, you can do that as well. That way hopefully everyone can be happy.
How Realistic Player Speeds Affect Gameplay: Overall Gameplay + 10



So, that's it for this week! Whew.

In summary:

Removal of arbitrary animation speed alterations; solve bugs the 'right' way
All new QB drop animations
Lowered pass speeds globally, fixed "moon ball" trajectory
Lowered global game speed + added game speed slider
New slider for "speed difference" to squish or expand the range of speeds among all players; used the ratings ranges for player speeds
Next week we will continue this topic a little deeper and talk about a topic that is very important to our team - player locomotion, momentum, direction changes, and turn rates. These aspects are CORE to making a realistic football game, and they also can easily make your game feel way too sluggish or way too twitchy if implemented incorrectly. I'm hoping to also talk about 'suction' in interactions and 'warping' on catches in that blog as well, but those areas are still very much in progress in development so I may wait a while.

In the meantime, we'd love to hear your feedback. Feel free to post in the comments and let us know what you think.


- Ian Cummings
Lead Designer, Madden NFL 10
 
# 2 Obelysk @ 03/09/09 05:00 PM
Can you post a preview for those of us who are still at work "working" but the site is restricted.
 
# 3 Cryolemon @ 03/09/09 05:06 PM
Looks good. The QB drop back looks loads better.
 
# 4 tonynyy @ 03/09/09 05:06 PM
Dude, AWESOME!!!
 
# 5 RGiles36 @ 03/09/09 05:09 PM
Great stuff!! I thought the content in this blog would be weak this week, but I wasn't let down by a long shot.
 
# 6 eaglesfan27 @ 03/09/09 05:10 PM
*faint* These changes all sound on the money. If all of these blog ideas (not just this week but previous weeks) are implemented as described, I believe this will be the best Madden in a very long time if not forever.
 
# 7 streamline @ 03/09/09 05:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obelysk
Can you post a preview for those of us who are still at work "working" but the site is restricted.
Here is a brief summary

In summary:

Removal of arbitrary animation speed alterations; solve bugs the 'right' way
All new QB drop animations
Lowered pass speeds globally, fixed "moon ball" trajectory
Lowered global game speed + added game speed slider
New slider for "speed difference" to squish or expand the range of speeds among all players; used the ratings ranges for player speeds
 
# 8 dano562003 @ 03/09/09 05:12 PM
Ian, thanks for doing this for everyone really appreciate it.
 
# 9 rhombic21 @ 03/09/09 05:13 PM
Good stuff, Ian. Since you have done so in the past, can you find out which of these new changes are incorporated into NCAA? Thanks.
 
# 10 Got The Goods @ 03/09/09 05:15 PM
Unbelievable, this game can be great as long as you follow through and finish.
 
# 11 SteelerSpartan @ 03/09/09 05:15 PM
Sliders, Sliders, and more Sliders!!


Seriously the more functional Sliders there are will help out a ton


Great batch of info

and another for touch passes
 
# 12 CM Hooe @ 03/09/09 05:17 PM
THANK YOU FOR THE GAME SPEED SLIDER.

Now I won't have to struggle to keep up with the game.
 
# 13 KingsRock91 @ 03/09/09 05:18 PM
Awesome blog Ian. Great stuff.
 
# 14 dman1976 @ 03/09/09 05:18 PM
Hmmm, very promising.
 
# 15 Obelysk @ 03/09/09 05:18 PM
Thanks for adding that stuff so this poor bastard can read!!! lol WOW that sounds freaking amazing, but what I want to hear is about an actual pocket when passing other wise this is GREAT news!!!
 
# 16 dman1976 @ 03/09/09 05:21 PM
-22 exploits - about time.
 
# 17 SteelerSpartan @ 03/09/09 05:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obelysk
Thanks for adding that stuff so this poor bastard can read!!! lol WOW that sounds freaking amazing, but what I want to hear is about an actual pocket when passing other wise this is GREAT news!!!

Something tells me we won't be hearing any thing about Pockets and OL/DL interaction until the end....Either people will be bursting with joy that day or this place burn and fade into the abyss........praying for the former
 
# 18 g2thecore @ 03/09/09 05:24 PM
Ian for president! Seriously every week keeps getting better and better. That QB drop back animation looks lightyears better than any previous Madden! I'm so excited for the speed differential slider addition.

Great job guys!
 
# 19 Kevin26385 @ 03/09/09 05:25 PM
Is the image of Brady Madden 09 or Madden 10?
 
# 20 Hotlanta @ 03/09/09 05:26 PM
Great read and very interesting. I'm gonna make use of the game speed slider that's for sure lol.

Woot! No more Moon Ball trajectory

Really looking forward on next weeks blog. The mention of momentum has be intrigued.
 

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