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NCAA 11 Dev Chat: Locomotion Summary + New Mascot 
Posted on April 14, 2010 at 07:04 PM.


EA’s developers hosted a live chat today on the topic of locomotion. A complete transcript is below, with the developer answers in bold.


3:59

[Comment From XxDaMole00xX]
So what mades you guys decide that now was the time to put in a feature like locomotion into the game?
4:00
NCAA Football Dev Team:
We pretty much reached the limit of what our old tech would let us do. It became pretty clear that if we wanted to innovate we were going to have to make a pretty big investment. One of our focus’s this year is core football gameplay. Locomotion is about as core as it gets.


4:01

[Comment From BigBlue]
IE: In NCAA 10 if I break free up the sideline and the backside safety/corner has an angle on me, trying to cut back underneath the pursuit just results in a loss of yardage because the pursuit can change direction so fast and make the tackle. In real life, the pursuit’s momentum carries it past the ball carrier. Is this true in NCAA 11 with Locomotion?

4:02

[Comment From EA_Russ_Kiniry]
Hey Guys Russ here as well.

4:02
NCAA Football Dev Team:
That was definitely one of the reasons we wanted to make momentum matter more. Cutting back and using a player’s momentum against him is something that you see all the time (and is pretty rewarding as a user). Things like the pursuit rating and agility will affect how successful you are.

4:03

[Comment From Anton32]
it seems apparent through the blog that Locomotion will be a big feature for this years addition of NCAA Football, in saying that, will locomotion also have an effect on the Defensive backs as well as the Skilled postion players or as a whole each player of the team?

4:04
NCAA Football Dev Team:
It affects everyone on the field according to their ratings (when they aren’t in a block, tackle, pass, catch, etc). That is one of the reasons we knew the investment we made would be worth it.

4:05

[Comment From matthew]
so now that locomotion is in, does that mean the gameplay will be slowed down?

4:06
NCAA Football Dev Team:
Good question. We all felt that NCAA was way too twitchy last cycle, however, one of our biggest goals with the switch was to make sure the game was still responsive. The question I always ask when people are trying it out for the first time is “Could you make your players go where you wanted them to?” So far the feedback has been very positive.

4:07

[Comment From |x| woolf |x|]
How much of a factor does weight play when it comes to momentum?

4:10

NCAA Football Dev Team:
The turn rates of players (and their ability to keep speed through turns) is driven off of the agility rating. I could easily scale the effect based on weight as well, but our ratings guys preferred to have finer control. What you will see is bigger guys will have lower agility ratings compared to littler guys. It gives the roster guys more control over how players play on the field. Note that momentum in locomotion refers only to turn rates and how players keep their speed through turns. Momentum in tackling will definitely still be driven heavily off of player weight.

4:10

[Comment From dp_agent009]
Will you guys be releasing any more locomotion videos in the near future?

4:10

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Actually every video we put out with game-play will have the new locomotion, you can’t play the game anymore with out seeing it.

4:10

[Comment From Historic Game Rosters]
Will the locomotion go into affect diagonally ask well as straight up and down the field?

4:11

NCAA Football Dev Team:
yeah, it includes sidestepping and backpedaling as well.

4:11

[Comment From Cody Sparks]
does locomotion allow for different player running styles? Will power backs run differently than speed backs?

4:13

NCAA Football Dev Team:
We have a few different loco sets to use based on players size and position (linemen, bruiser type guys, and agile guys). Now that we have the system in place, moving forward to next year and beyond I expect to add more variety. Within each running style, the differences in agility, acceleration, and speed make players feel very different.

4:13

[Comment From Joeboyjr55]
in wat way will locomotion have on the speed on the game

4:15

NCAA Football Dev Team:
The players actually have higher top speeds this year than last year (based on real life data). It takes them longer to get to those top speeds however so you really only see guys hit 100% speed after 30 to 50 yards (based on their acceleration ratings) I think the game feels very similar speed wise, just not twitchy. We’ve added a game speed slider so that you can tune it to your liking however.

4:16

[Comment From ChrisNeeLovesBeer]
Will we see this Locomotion system in line interactions and tackling? Or just in free/independent movements by players?

4:16

NCAA Football Dev Team:
It only affects free movement. Player interactions use a different system.

4:17

[Comment From OneEighth]
Since Locomotion how many animations are new and how many were you able to port over if any?

4:18

NCAA Football Dev Team:
The basic running animations are all brand new, as are the hundreds of direction changes we put into the game. You can really see a big difference in the variety of a player’s stride over a long run because of it. For some of the lower priority locomotions that players are only in for a short time (qb running with his hand out for a handoff for example) we ported the old data into the new system.

4:19

[Comment From hova 57]
how much has the locomotion tech changed how the game is programmed

4:21

NCAA Football Dev Team:
It gives the engineers a lot more control over where they can get the ai players move to. Somethng an end user won’t really experience directly other than through seeing better behavior is the ability to tell a player “I need you to get to this spot at this time, facing this direction, and moving this speed when you get there”. The system figures out how to get him there. In the old system there was a lot more iteration on making all those things happen while looking right.

4:21

[Comment From Notice O]
Does locomation add more realism to the run game? ex: Cutback lanes, slowing down to wait on blocking then accelerating away from defender, just the ability to creat like a real RB

4:21

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
From what I’ve been playing with so far these are two great examples of what happens in the game (cut backs and using acceleration). There have been many runs where you see a hole on the back side of the play and when you make the move to go there the defenders now can’t stop on a dime and cut back to stop you. So what you see is poor defenders basically over pursuing the play side and huge runs on cut backs. It really is one of the funnest things with locomotion I’ve seen.

4:22

[Comment From LSU is the GOAT]
How does locomotion look when running the option? Did you implement new animations for option or port the old?

4:24

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Our layering technology allows us to reuse the longer run cycles and layer over the option ball holding animations. In the past situations like a player holding the ball, option running, stiffarming, etc.. were all different animations. Now they can all take advantage of the longer run cycles by using layers to make changes to the way they look on the upper body. It allows for a much more consistent feel and keeps us from having to tune all of those situations separately.

4:24

[Comment From umfan20]
is pro-tak going to be the same as madden’s or is it going to be updated and improved?

4:24

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
The gang tackles we are using this year really just trigger at way better times. The guys took a good amount of time to tune the system and try and ensure that they look more nature and occur when they should.

4:25

[Comment From tim]
Is Accelleration more important this year than speed in the game?

4:26

NCAA Football Dev Team:
I’d say they are about equal now. Agility is big too since it lets you keep your speed up as you are weaving through traffic.

4:26

[Comment From |x| woolf |x|]
Will locomotion actually cause a person to trip if they attempt to switch directions too quickly?

4:27

NCAA Football Dev Team:
We decided that a trip and fall was too much of a penalty. They will have to plant to stop their momementum and then accelerate back up to speed which means you have to do it in the right situations or you’ll let a guy trailing you catch up to make the tackle.

4:27

[Comment From Ryan Burnsides Jr.]
How will fast, elusive backs play in comparison to bigger, bruising backs? Which one has the advantage over the other? When a RB is rated good in both truck/elusiveness (90 in each), how does that work?

4:28

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Lol, thanks for asking son. You definitely need to keep your big backs moving north and south. I’m from Big Ten country so I prefer the big guys who can fall foward more.

4:29

[Comment From hova 57]
so this helps program elements of the game that may have looked bad or out of place in past installments

4:30

NCAA Football Dev Team:
It helps there and also makes it so we can have more momentum and acceleration and have the players still behave appropriately. Since the game was tuned before around a locomotion engine that didn’t really penalize you for changing direction and didn’t have much acceleration, a lot of the AI needed to be retuned. The ability for the system to take into account how quickly each player can turn and accelerate based on their ratings made that a lot easier to do.

4:31

[Comment From Roy4423]
Will locomotion require a whole new learning curve? I can’t imagine playing MLB and have him falling all over the place.

4:31

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
It changes the way players move no doubt about that, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying you’ll need to relearn everything to play the game. The biggest change you’ll notice on defense is you need to be wary of a player cutting back on you, if you don’t take into account your angles it can be painful on defense. But it feels natural and looks great.

4:32

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Like I said before, having your player go where you want him to go is a big deal. There are quite a few guys on the team who play as the LB exclusively on defense and they are pretty happy with the way it feels.

4:32

[Comment From Romo9winz ]
So your saying now we will be able to see Barry Sanders type runs? WOW!

4:33

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Ha! Yeah I’ve had some sick runs with guys having 95+ speed/acceleration/agility.

4:33

[Comment From Jonesy]
Will locomotion keep players from players from looking stiff as they have in the past?

4:34

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Absolutely. Players lean as they turn, they lean while they accelerate, and our layering lets us give the ballcarrier cool ambient behaviors while keeping you in full control (put his arm out as he approaches a blocker, swats at defenders arms as he runs by them, etc)

4:34

[Comment From monkey]
can you touch on how you balanced realism with keeping the game fun in regards to locomotion

4:36

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Fun is always the first priority. We are pretty confident that the system we have implemented will keep you in control while improving the look from last year.

4:36

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Great question. It’s always a balance, but the plus side of things like locomotion is it’s one of those features that does both in my opinion. Now players feel like they should and it is still a lot of fun to run the ball.

4:36

[Comment From Roggie2499]
How much of a bonus will locomotion be to those teams who have a power guy and a speed guy (like North Carolina)?

4:38

NCAA Football Dev Team:
I wouldn’t say that locmotion gives teams like that a direct bonus, but a team like that will be harder to defend because the two running styles will be so different between the two backs.

4:39

[Comment From Pokes404]
Does locomotion affect the OL in any way? For example, will offensive linemen with higher acceleration and agility ratings be able to get out of their stance faster while pass blocking, or get a better jump off the line when run blocking?

4:39

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Just based on how Acceleration changes how quickly players get to top speed, it has a huge impact on linemen. More so on pulling and lead blockers.

4:39

[Comment From pitt fan1]
will running qbs become too effective this year with locomotion?

4:40

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Defensive linemen with good acceleration are better at stopping mobile QBs. Last year since speed was all powerful, fast quarterbacks could get away from defensive linemen too easily. It’s definitely on our radar as a potential problem and we are making sure that there are counters for mobile QBs (telling your ends to contain, assigning a spy, etc)

4:42

[Comment From JBHuskers]
I’ll second that Russ on the gang tackles….they definitely occured naturally and didn’t seem to excessive in the build we played at Community Day.

4:42

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Yeah I really like the way they look.

4:42

[Comment From Agfan4life]
Will you notice locomotion on special teams? I can see it affecting punt returns.

4:43

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Yeah, there are more opportunities for cutbacks on kick returns and turnovers. Being out in open space is where you notice it the most.

4:43

[Comment From Warrrr Eagle! Hey! ]
Some running backs (ex Pittsburgh’s RB) have a rare combination of both speed and power. Even though he is a powerful guy will locomotion cause a misrepresentation of backs of his style because he isn’t very big?

4:44

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Guys like that are going to be just as powerful in the game as they are in real life. Having the ability to decide to run around or over a defender really makes them versatile weapons.

4:44

[Comment From Agfan4life]
Has locomotion been implemented for all positions? It would be fun to try this with a linebacker.

4:44

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Locomotion changes all player movement, it’s not an isolated thing.

4:44

[Comment From LetsGoEers]
what effect will locomotion have on spread offenses who utilize the read option?

4:44

NCAA Football Dev Team:
You’ll see a more natural flow by the defense which will allow you to make reads appropriately.

4:45

[Comment From James]
So on sports science they said Ndamukong Suh over 20 yards was faster than Tony Romo. You’re saying that elite defensive linemen can track down fast quarterbacks that might have blazing speed but take a while to get to that top gear?

4:47

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Yes, there is a really good example we have here of players with low Speed and high Acceleration racing a player with the opposite (high Speed, low Acceleration). And it works exactly like you would expect, the high Acceleration guy jumps out to a lead and then gets caught over time.

4:47

[Comment From Legend killer]
Will a 89 speed CB have more trouble trouble going agaist 99 speed WR?

4:48

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Depends on their acceleration ratings. A 90 speed, 99 acceleration guy can keep up with a 99 speed 90 acceleration guy for around 40 yards. We are still fine tuning the curves, but making those lower speed, higher accel corners perform more realistically on the field was one of our goals.

4:48

[Comment From Romo9winz]
So locomotion causes you to play your position right and not say run across the formation toward the sideline at full speed with your LB all the time, cause now you have to worry about the cut back..

4:49

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Yeah like I talked about earlier you really have to pay attention to things just like this more. It works both ways though, you can’t sprint out the side line with a RB and cut back on a dime either. So really you have to plan your runs a little as well and/or have a great running back.

4:49

[Comment From SoJabbaC]
how will the locomotions affect the Recivers

4:51

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Quick possession guys and shiftier guys who are better after the catch but don’t have blazing speed will be valuable in the right situations. You won’t want to just start your fastest receivers without regard to acceleration and agility like before.

4:51

[Comment From hova 57]
big questions on OS . is the catching tool used in madden in ncaa?

4:51

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Yes, we are using it to improve NCAA catching as well.

4:52

[Comment From KMart2180]
Will the Defensive AI be smart enough now to contain some of these cutback runs? Or is this gonna be a high scoring affair?

4:54

NCAA Football Dev Team:
It’s very tunable. Players with better pursuit ratings will defend better against the cutback.

4:55

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
For example some teams with lower defensive ratings have given up huge runs when I’m playing the game… however a top notch defense still will make plays in the back field.

4:55

NCAA Football Dev Team:
We aren’t seeing shootouts in the games we are playing against each other now. When the system first went in at the beginning of the cycle before we had retuned the ai however…


4:55

[Comment From blake]
you said that the acceleration allows you to weave through traffic so is the acceleration going to sorta be the ‘twitchiness’?

4:57

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Agility is the rating that lets you keep your speed while turning. A low agility guy with high acceleration will have to slow down more to make the turns,but can get back up to top speed quicker. A high agility guy with low acceleration won’t have to slow down to maintain the same speed. As you can see different combinations of ratings can allow players to be effective in ways that match the style of player they are.

4:59

[Comment From Matt]
WILL LOCOMOTION LOOK LIKE THIS?? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ANSWER THIS ONE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48s440hNS4o

4:59

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Yes.

5:00

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
I can’t say it better then that.

5:00

NCAA Football Dev Team:
Thanks for all your questions guys, it was a lot of fun talking to you.

5:00

EA_Russ_Kiniry:
Great chat everyone, lots of really good questions. Keep checking the site and forums for more information.

Chat Summary: In addition to many finer details and explanations about locomotion, the team did reveal that there will be a game speed slider this year, a welcome addition for those who have felt that the game played too fast in past editions. They also revealed that the catch de-bugging tool confirmed to be used in Madden 11 is being used to improve receiver awareness of sidelines, the endzone, and first down markers leading to improved, more realistic catch animations.



In addition to the chat, EA revealed today that Kansas’ mascot, Jay, will be in NCAA 11. Jay is the ninth mascot to be confirmed to be added to NCAA 11 .


School: Kansas
Mascot: Jay
The term “Jayhawk” was coined in 1848 and combines two birds – the blue jay (a noisy, quarrelsome thing known to rob other nests) and the sparrow hawk (a stealthy hunter). After the Civil War, Jayhawks became synonymous with the impassioned people who made Kansas a Free State. In 1886, the bird appeared in a cheer – the Rock Chalk chant. The first version of the mascot was drawn in 1912 and was transformed over time into the smiling Jayhawk that remains today.

What do you think of these additions to NCAA? Let us know in the forum!
Comments
# 1 BroMontana82 @ Apr 14
that's awesome man, i didn't even know about this until i saw you had it up as a blog. good stuff and i think the chat summary was the best part where some things i was looking for were confirmed.
 
# 2 rspencer86 @ Apr 15
Awesome stuff until I saw that picture of the Jayhawk, which made me throw up in my mouth.
 
# 3 Lava @ Apr 15
I feel you...at least it wasn't a Missouri Tiger. :P
 
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