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Madden NFL 11 News Post


Check out the latest Madden NFL 11 blog, discussing gameflow and the strategy pad.

Quote:
"Ian Cummings here, taking some quick time out to talk to the community after the demo has been out for a few days. First off, one great bit of info has been the positive response around GameFlow. Based on our telemetry, 95% of games played have had GameFlow as the default style of playcalling. We do realize it is the default option, which can obviously help inflate those numbers, so more telling is that of every single play called in the demo, 80% of the offensive plays and 86% of defensive plays were chosen via GameFlow vs. the conventional way. This is very positive stuff for us, as we obviously weren't quite sure how the general public would react to such a drastic change to the way the game was played.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about the primary hot-button issue in the community with the release of our demo, the Strategy Pad. As we expected, this feature has caused quite a stir lately, so we wanted to provide some context as to why we tried to unify our pre-play controls to one location.

We realize that the Madden veterans have been using the old pre-play system for years, to the point where it had become second nature. Any longtime Madden gamer could probably change the route of 2 receivers, pinch slide protection, and keep a back into block within a second. Despite the comfort with the way things were, it often caused major confusion for someone new to the Madden franchise or really any gamer who isn't familiar with the controls. I've heard a few comments on Twitter to the effect of "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" Well, when we started looking at data, it was in fact broke. Based on the playtests we ran and more importantly telemetry we gathered from the online connected consoles, we saw some pretty major areas that needed improvement."

Read More - GameFlow and The Strategy Pad

Game: Madden NFL 11Reader Score: 6/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360Votes for game: 96 - View All
Madden NFL 11 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 04:38 PM
Awesome thanks Mr. Phil!
 
# 2 sb24 @ 07/30/10 04:40 PM
Damn websites being blocked while at work.
 
# 3 fossen @ 07/30/10 04:40 PM
That's a great, honest, and thoughtful look into the design process. There's an awful lot of data backing that up.

Now maybe the discussion at OS and elsewhere can move on to something else?
 
# 4 Glenn33 @ 07/30/10 04:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sb24
Damn websites being blocked while at work.
Just for you:

Quote:
Ian Cummings here, taking some quick time out to talk to the community after the demo has been out for a few days. First off, one great bit of info has been the positive response around GameFlow. Based on our telemetry, 95% of games played have had GameFlow as the default style of playcalling. We do realize it is the default option, which can obviously help inflate those numbers, so more telling is that of every single play called in the demo, 80% of the offensive plays and 86% of defensive plays were chosen via GameFlow vs. the conventional way. This is very positive stuff for us, as we obviously weren't quite sure how the general public would react to such a drastic change to the way the game was played.

Secondly, I wanted to talk about the primary hot-button issue in the community with the release of our demo, the Strategy Pad. As we expected, this feature has caused quite a stir lately, so we wanted to provide some context as to why we tried to unify our pre-play controls to one location.

We realize that the Madden veterans have been using the old pre-play system for years, to the point where it had become second nature. Any longtime Madden gamer could probably change the route of 2 receivers, pinch slide protection, and keep a back into block within a second. Despite the comfort with the way things were, it often caused major confusion for someone new to the Madden franchise or really any gamer who isn't familiar with the controls. I've heard a few comments on Twitter to the effect of "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" Well, when we started looking at data, it was in fact broke. Based on the playtests we ran and more importantly telemetry we gathered from the online connected consoles, we saw some pretty major areas that needed improvement:

1. A gamer on defense would often hit A (360) or X (PS3) to button through play call or pre-play, and in doing so, would get locked into the "hot route" state. Seeing that you are reading this blog, you probably are pretty experienced with Madden, and you're saying "well, that never happened to me". I'm with you...it didn't happen to me either. Well take this into account...did you know that over 2 BILLION defensive hot route context states were entered in Madden NFL 10? That's an average of more than 5 million per day. We discovered that of this number, more than 50% never called an actual hot route. So on more than 1 BILLION occasions, a gamer accidentally went into a pre-play contextual state that they didn't mean to. As a game designer, you just can't choose to ignore that..it's staggering. To be clear, it's not that we wanted to make pre-play controls easy enough for a caveman to use them, it's that we wanted to fix a system that punished gamers for just accidentally hitting the primary button on the controller.


The top level menu that shows up in Madden NFL 10 when you first hit A (360) or X (PS3) on defense.

2. Along with the accidental defensive hot route was getting trapped in states without a consistent way of exiting. A gamer, again presumably looking to skip through play call and preplay would hit the A button, and end up in the "defensive hot route" state. Nearly 100% of everyone's first instinct would be to hit B / Circle to exit out of this intimidating new menu. Unfortunately, in this state, the B button didn't exit, it actually picked a different receiver to assign man coverage to, which dug you deeper into this context. At this point, still the only way to cancel is RB / R1, and B / Circle doesn't do anything different. Worse yet, moving the left stick in any direction would change the assignment of your player, typically with the gamer often having no idea what was happening.

3. Another common experience was getting stuck in a state on offense that didn't allow you to snap the ball. This could be any state from hot routes to slide protection. We tracked well over 2 million instances of delay of game penalties being called while a pre-play menu was up. Assuming that even half of these were because the gamer was "lost" and couldn't snap (and not actually trying to rush out an extra adjustment), we've still got a major problem there.

4. Lastly, there was no way to easily communicate that A/X would bring up your hot routes, Y/Triangle would bring up coverage audibles, etc without a big piece of intrusive UI that had to always be displayed. Furthermore, there was no structure to the button commands in the pre-play controls, which made it harder for a newcomer to memorize which hot route, shift or audible uses a face button, versus a trigger, bumper, or directional pad command.

So the decision was made to relocate our controls to the directional pad in order to unify the commands. We moved them to this one consistent location where the B button was (nearly always) a consistent way to exit, and to a location that couldn't accidentally be pressed by an inexperienced gamer. This change was not made to alienate you, the hardcore fan. As you can see above, the data was staggering and forced us to consider major changes, and we knew all year that getting fans to re-train their brain would definitely take some time. With all that being said though, we gave our hardcore fans the benefit of the doubt thinking that it would be easy for them to learn this new system with a little practice.

We do believe that this change is for the better, and that in the long run it delivers a much more positive experience to the gamers that are willing to try and adapt. Due to the overwhelming feedback however, we will be providing the old-style button commands as an option that can be enabled. We are currently targeting this change to be released around the first week of the NFL season as it will take some time to get through third party approvals. So now that it's out of the way, let's all try to sit back and have some fun with Madden NFL 11...after all, football season is almost here!
 
# 5 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 04:44 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian's Blog on Stratpad
Due to the overwhelming feedback however, we will be providing the old-style button commands as an option that can be enabled. We are currently targeting this change to be released around the first week of the NFL season as it will take some time to get through third party approvals. So now that it's out of the way, let's all try to sit back and have some fun with Madden NFL 11...after all, football season is almost here!
Ok, so it's over! Maybe?
 
# 6 JayInSaratoga @ 07/30/10 04:45 PM
Phil

I don't know if you'll be reading responses on this thread, but if you do catch this, I feel there is a bug in play-art display, in that it is very tough to read the path for the pass rushers on defensive plays if you are colorblind.

The red or orange that you use shows up as almost invisible to me. I've reported this issue in past versions of Madden, but it's never been that big of a deal, because the play art was very clear on the play selection screen. With the introduction of Gameflow (which I think is otherwise awesome) it is very difficult to figure out who is blitzing, since I dont see the play art square from the play menu.
 
# 7 nccomicfan @ 07/30/10 04:46 PM
I just want to know why this change was kept so quiet that when the demo dropped all hell broke loose
 
# 8 iAM-IncReDiBLe- @ 07/30/10 04:47 PM
Good now maybe everyone can stop complaining about this even tho it was never that big of a deal anyways. I will use the strategy pad since it makes sense an is incredible easy to use.
 
# 9 Outkizast @ 07/30/10 04:48 PM
Personally I think it takes less time to memorize how to get out of an audible you "accidentally" got into than it does to memorize this new way to make audibles with the strategy pad. Actually I bet there will be an even MORE staggering amount of numbers with more delay of games and people in the middle of making an audibe when the ball is snapped (for defense) with the strategy pad than the previous way.

But anyways that's all irrelevant now as we will have the option for the old way to make audibles. Thanks! Now I won't get too confused when switching between NCAA and Madden.
 
# 10 Brandwin @ 07/30/10 04:49 PM
Glad they are going back to the old way. Now everyone who hated the strategy pad, can go back to the other version.
 
# 11 dbkaeoz33 @ 07/30/10 04:49 PM
I think the strat pad is a nice new change and something different for the Madden vets like myself. I think it wouldn't be as bad if we didnt have to click a direction to get into the strat pad options. It causes confusion because before the play starts you have to hit a direction just to bring up the options and then after you do one adjustment you no longer have to hit the extra button because the options are already up. So it makes it harder to memorize the pre-snap combos and we end up doing adjustments we don't want because of the limited time we have and the longer period it takes to do pre-snap adjustments now.

My opinion for the fix is to just get rid of having to press a directional button just to open up the options... It would save time and cause less confusion.
 
# 12 woody2goody @ 07/30/10 04:51 PM
All that is sound reasoning. I'm a bit surprised that both methods aren't optional, but there you go.

I think the underlying problem is that the CPU snaps the ball very quickly most of the time, which doesn't give you a chance for adjustments.

I won't get into it any more than that really.
 
# 13 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 04:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbkaeoz33

My opinion for the fix is to just get rid of having to press a directional button just to open up the options... It would save time and cause less confusion.
I'd like that too, but then would people incorrectly bring up the wrong adjustment sub-menu? I would definitely personally like not having to "activate" it
 
# 14 Glenn33 @ 07/30/10 04:56 PM
The issue is and always has been about options. Something so fundamentally tied to gameplay for most vets should not be taken away altogether. I can understand the teams reasoning based on the argument they presented - but I just think they failed to realize the importance of this issue mentally with the die hards. Kind of like Coca Cola's decision to go with a new formula - that didn't work out to well either.

I am happy again. Thanks Madden team - maybe you are not so bad after all
 
# 15 Meast21Forever @ 07/30/10 04:56 PM
It's strange how Ian mentioned that there'd be no way to display all the controls without some intrusive GUI, but in NCAA 11, they easily solved that issue by making it so the user can hide it with one button press. If they need it, it's there. If not, it's not. Pretty simple. I hate the strat pad and also hate that I'll have to use it for the first few weeks until this gets update.
 
# 16 AndyP @ 07/30/10 04:59 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meast21Forever
It's strange how Ian mentioned that there'd be no way to display all the controls without some intrusive GUI, but in NCAA 11, they easily solved that issue by making it so the user can hide it with one button press. If they need it, it's there. If not, it's not. Pretty simple. I hate the strat pad and also hate that I'll have to use it for the first few weeks until this gets update.
But there will be an update, so there's good news heh....
 
# 17 ryan36 @ 07/30/10 05:02 PM
This shows 2 encouraging things....1) They're listening 2)they really DO know how people are using the game
 
# 18 ZoneKIller @ 07/30/10 05:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meast21Forever
It's strange how Ian mentioned that there'd be no way to display all the controls without some intrusive GUI, but in NCAA 11, they easily solved that issue by making it so the user can hide it with one button press. If they need it, it's there. If not, it's not. Pretty simple. I hate the strat pad and also hate that I'll have to use it for the first few weeks until this gets update.
No you dont.Wait till the update comes out to purchase it.YOu can probably find it cheaper too.

Since I found out we couldnt change teams mid-franchise I've decided to wait and purchase it used.That way when ever I do get it ,The old controls will be there.

Besides NCAA is banging!
 
# 19 rooney8 @ 07/30/10 05:05 PM
Thanks for the post Phil and the blog Ian.
It seems like nearly every improvment to the game is based off data from online consoles. So only online gamers are shaping Madden?
 
# 20 jWILL253 @ 07/30/10 05:05 PM
Good. The old style is being patched through. Now, we can stop all the complaining about the small, albeit unnecessary change.

Just wish they would do the same thing for QB Vision, though...
 

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