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EA Denies That Scripting, DDA or Momentum Exist in FIFA

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FIFA 21

EA Denies That Scripting, DDA or Momentum Exist in FIFA

The FIFA Direct Twitter handle went on a tweet onslaught a couple days ago to coincide with the media posting their own initial FIFA 21 gameplay impressions. If you missed those impressions, Joel posted his hands-on FIFA 21 beta thoughts, and we also got the gameplay Pitch Notes from the FIFA developers so there’s a lot of new info out there. The tweets from EA were all in response to Twitter users asking questions in a Q&A format. Perhaps the most noteworthy thing for me was EA being clear and direct in saying there will not be any FIFA 21 DDA, handicapping or built-in momentum in the game — nor has there ever been any DDA in FIFA.

FIFA 21 DDA, Momentum, Scripting, Handicapping Not A Thing, According To EA

You can see the entire Twitter exchange by clicking on the tweet thread below.

For those unaware, DDA stands for dynamic difficulty adjustment. This is something EA has had to deny before, and even if they have to deny it 100 more times, they should continue to be forceful about it. Whether you believe in scripting in sports video games probably depends on the video game. Scripting has certainly existed before in sports games, but too often developers don’t try to dispel these sorts of notions, which allows them to fester and take on lives of their own.

The DDA in FIFA has received more buzz than some others because of the speculation surrounding mysterious patents, and it ties into one of the long-standing FIFA memes, which is the belief that a low-rated team will suddenly become magically good while your highly rated team becomes a potato in online matches.

Every game has these fan-driven conspiracies, some of which are more feasible than others. Is Showdown in MLB The Show actually on veteran difficulty? Well, whatever “veteran” difficulty that is you play on in Showdown mode, it’s probably not the same difficulty level that you experience in a normal game of The Show due to the badges and such that exist within it. Is there a “comeback code” in Madden or Show where the AI suddenly gets way better?

The list goes on and on, but transparency is the key here so the more developers engage with these rumors the better.

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Short Players Vs. Tall Players

Beyond the discussion around DDA and the like, the next aspect that caught my eye had to do with player size and how that coincides with strength on the ball.

I found this answer a little unsatisfying. It’s good to hear that certain attributes will be weighted more to mean more, but it doesn’t quite directly answer the idea that short/compact players generally were better on the ball than the larger/stronger players. Now, I can infer that the focus on attributes means the shorter players won’t be better on the ball by default, but this answer was a little “political” in terms of beating around the bush.

AI Defense And AI Shot Blocks

The final aspect I want to call out here are two tweets relating to AI defense and AI blocking.

Parking the bus was very popular in FIFA 20 for a couple reasons, and one reason related to the AI defenders being very good at blocking shots. This is another semi-good answer in that there is an explanation that the range is larger now for user-controlled defenders, but it doesn’t flatly say AI players have been nerfed in some conceivable manner on this end.

The other aspect here has to do with AI defenders and how good they are in FIFA. On the whole, this is always tricky for EA to balance because it stinks when the AI defenders are useless and never take the ball even when it’s obvious they could. However, then it’s also a bummer when you can just “off ball” and let the AI handle defending the ball in one-on-one situations — or you just play support as you send a soft double at the ball.

It seems like EA is perhaps leaning more towards rewarding user control over those who rely on the AI, but I don’t think the AI defense itself was overly strong this past cycle. Again, it more had to do with the power of parking the bus and being able to mostly contain players rather than the AI defenders themselves being super-powered. In conjunction with it being quite difficult to score from outside the box and off set pieces, meant you really had to get deep inside the 18-yard box at times to finish with confidence.

Lastly, with the renewed attention on making runs off the ball and having more skill moves on the ball for FIFA 21, humans probably will need competent AI defenders to survive since you can’t both off-ball and mark man if both components are strong on offense this year.

There is even more to the Q&A if you want to scope it out, but on the whole, it was good to see the FIFA devs use the FIFA Direct handle in this manner. The handle has been hit or miss at times, but more front-facing responses like we got here are something I hope to see more often.

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  1. Our eyes don't lie. EA, on the other hand, does. We all see these occurrences repeatedly happen. No amount of yelling by them will achieve anything until the occurrences stop happening in-game. And the fact that they went the route of denying instead of fixing the problem has convinced me to once again not buy a FIFA game for the 6th or 7th consecutive year. I'll try it when it hits EA Access.
    While it is a denial, it did come with an explanation. Whether or not you believe it is fair enough, but RNG is in these games either way, which is going to lead to random results, which thus results in theories existing.
    I don't think any true DDA exists, for the record. I just think FIFA has quite a bit of randomness with so many AI players out there, and we're always going to remember when we were screwed by randomness and not the countless other times we were not -- so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts if you're prone to go down that path.
    This actually blows my mind. I have believed for a long time that scripting/momentum/whatever is something that needs to exist in the current state of AI programming or we would be back in the Sega Genesis days of going undefeated in single player games. I also believe the RNG aspect to an extent  but to come out and adamantly deny its existence is honestly crazy.
    I feel like the argument usually devolves into semantics as any one term for it can somewhat be disputed but I have zero doubt it's there , whatever you want to call it. RNG says to me a bad pass might happen or an errant shot. Here is the definition I found:
    Random Number Generator (RNG) is a mathematical construct, either computational or as a hardware device that is designed to generate a random set of numbers that should not display any distinguishable patterns in their appearance or generation, hence the word random.*Jul 7, 2019
    The part that sticks out is "that should not see any distinguishable pattern".  Explaining what most of us see in FIFA with this definition just doesn't work for me.  I routinely have games playing as Man U where my players simply cant pass or shoot all game and I'm playing against a relegation level team that is playing like Barca on top form. If that's not DDA or momentum I honestly dont know what it is but it sure isnt a "random event"
    Again I'm not saying this in frustration or anger as like I said, it feels necessary given the limitations of AI programming, but to forcefully deny it or this RNG explanation actually discourages me from believing the dev's know what they are talking about. 
    The perception is the experience in gaming.  So if something is so widespread that it's a general perception, then it's the general experience, whether EA likes it or not.
    And if it's not supposed to be the general experience, then it needs to be corrected.  Maybe there really is no causative code, but there certainly seems to be no preventive code, given how widespread the perception/experience seems to be.
    You must understand them. Imagine: you got a product that banging from year to year, and some people (the minority) are saying that it is something wrong with game, and other 80% are playing it and they are happy. I am sure, that EA can make FIFA 20(For example) the best simulator of this era, but they don`t need it because who`ll want to buy next part with a hope that some buges are fixed? That is about business, not stupidity of developers
    LoadStar81
    The perception is the experience in gaming.* So if something is so widespread that it's a general perception, then it's the general experience, whether EA likes it or not.
    And if it's not supposed to be the general experience, then it needs to be corrected.* Maybe there really is no causative code, but there certainly seems to be no preventive code, given how widespread the perception/experience seems to be.

    Exactly this. There is a widespread perception, and I'm sure anyone who has played against AI has felt certain about a pattern of behavior that seems to disingenuously favor the AI in some circumstances.
    If it's not scripting or DDA in a technical sense, the issue remains and should be identified by the devs--unless it's an intended design choice for gameplay.
    CujoMatty
    The part that sticks out is "that should not see any distinguishable pattern".* Explaining what most of us see in FIFA with this definition just doesn't work for me.* I routinely have games playing as Man U where my players simply cant pass or shoot all game and I'm playing against a relegation level team that is playing like Barca on top form. If that's not DDA or momentum I honestly dont know what it is but it sure isnt a "random event"

    This part right here. "that should not see any distinguishable pattern"
    We all see the pattern and that's the real problem. I think a vast majority would be okay with RNG or "scripting" if we couldn't see the pattern. It's like the RNG present in FIFA is limited to a few "random" scenarios instead of multiple instances throughout a game being random based on certain criteria. All video games are pulling the strings to engineer the experience in a certain way. It's only a problem when you are painfully aware that things are being manipulated.
    LoadStar81
    The perception is the experience in gaming.* So if something is so widespread that it's a general perception, then it's the general experience, whether EA likes it or not.
    And if it's not supposed to be the general experience, then it needs to be corrected.* Maybe there really is no causative code, but there certainly seems to be no preventive code, given how widespread the perception/experience seems to be.

    Yeah, I think this is a fair reply. I simply mean I think a lot of people overestimate how "smart" or "sinister" these companies are being with the "code" of the game. RNG is just naturally in all these games due to all the elements that smash against each other. Again, I don't think there's any real DDA as the true cause for people creating the theories because it would be dumb for EA to lie about something like that and would serve no good purpose if it's upsetting everyone anyway. It's just a game that isn't "good enough" right now to create an experience that doesn't lead to frustrations at certain times, which thus leads to these conspiracies.
    But, again, I don't deny people can feel like the game is out to get them, that's a song as old as time for pretty much every sports game.
    ChaseB
    Yeah, I think this is a fair reply. I simply mean I think a lot of people overestimate how "smart" or "sinister" these companies are being with the "code" of the game. RNG is just naturally in all these games due to all the elements that smash against each other. Again, I don't think there's any real DDA as the true cause for people creating the theories because it would be dumb for EA to lie about something like that and would serve no good purpose if it's upsetting everyone anyway. It's just a game that isn't "good enough" right now to create an experience that doesn't lead to frustrations at certain times, which thus leads to these conspiracies.
    But, again, I don't deny people can feel like the game is out to get them, that's a song as old as time for pretty much every sports game.

    The problem is, there are plenty of modders that have played with the game's code on a deep enough level to change AI behavior, and they've all acknowledged that DDA is a thing.
    At this point, I would prefer more honesty about it from EA, even if they changed nothing else about the game going forward.

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