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Old 08-15-2017, 11:01 AM   #51
GoldenCrest Games
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Join Date: Jul 2016
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That didnít take as long as expected! Hereís the draft file Iím going to use for the season: (attached)

Some things youíll notice, and some things to watch for during the season
  1. The nicknames file is a little out there. 🙂 Weíll have to clean that up eventually.
  2. The ratings are a little weird when it comes to ďrealisticĒ players. Youíll see guys with speed that doesnít seem to match the positional skill, or strange combinations of positional skills. I didnít spend a ton of time making sure the generator created life-like players, because I want to see how the engine will react. I have one team (The Purples) that is going to try and pick engine-breaking players.
  3. Speed and power are still in their raw form. I havenít changed it over to the 1-100 point scale because Iím still figuring out the right balance and scale for those ratings. Itís just easier to do it while itís raw.


Other than that, itís time to get going! Iím going to really try to do a good job in the draft, so it might take some time. Weíll be using these teams for the next couple weeks (at least) so I want it to be effective.

This is so exciting!

🙂
Attached Files
File Type: xlsx draftFile.xlsx (20.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 08-15-2017, 03:46 PM   #52
GoldenCrest Games
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Hereís the final draft order, with team focus:

Yellows: 2-Way Balance
Blues: Offensive Specialists
Reds: Defensive Specialists
Greens: Itís me!
Pinks: Best Player Available
Purples: ďUniqueĒ Game Engine Breaking Players


First up in the draft are the Yellows. The Yellows narrowed the top players down to these:



Major Hecker seems to be the obvious choice due to him being near the top in 4 positions. However, heíll never play OL since heís the top QB, and heís pretty close to the slowest player in the draft. Willard Correia is the #2 WR and S, and is also one of the fastest players in the draft. The Yellows canít pass up that balanced potential, and select Willard Correia with the #1 overall.

Next up are the Blues.



The Blues have the field narrowed down to these 4. Again, Major Hecker seems to be a smart choice, but Donnie Jarmon is intriguing because heís the #1 WR by a wide margin, and heís the fastest player in the league. Nicky Tolliver is interesting because of the slim RB skill in the pool, but he doesnít really have a chance at the pick. Guillermo Faria is a dark-horse pick. Heís a respectable QB, but is a beast in the return game. The Blues stay true to their focus on offensive specialists and take Major Hecker to hold down the QB spot.

Next up, the Reds



The Reds are in a pretty good spot. They get the pick of the litter, when it comes to pure defensive talent. Want the best cover guy in the league? Take Sterling Healy. Want a ball-hawking safety? Take Arturo Aponte. Want the silky-smooth LB that can transition effortlessly to pass coverage? Simon Fishman is your man. Or do you want the beast on the d-line? Kirk Slade. How about a technician CB who can hit? Donnie Viera is the guy. You canít go wrong with any of these guys. In the end, the flexibility of Simon Fishman is too hard to pass up for a defensive minded coach.

Now weíre on the clock (Greens)

Honestly, I really wanted Fishman. grrrrÖÖ. What Iím looking for on my team are guys who keep my attention. I want guys that I can zero in on, and be invested in every play. That means high impact players, and in this game that means speed.



My top 6 are among the fastest players in the game. Donnie Jarmon leads the pack at the unquestioned #1 speedster at the WR position. Heíd be fun to watch. I just wish he were better on kick returns. Kenneth Urquhart is a beast at the KR position, but you canít take a KR with your #1 pickÖ. can you? I could go defenseÖ..but I wonít. 🙂 Itís obviously going to be Donnie Jarmon.

Now the Pinks are up



The Pinks are shopping for the BPA. By that, I mean the highest rated player in in any position, with speed and power factored in. There were 7 players on the interest list, but it really comes down to the top 5. I think itís a toss-up between the coverage skills from Aponte and Healy compared to the line dominance of Kirk Slade. After debating it over and over again, I decided the overall value of playing both sides, combined with tackling, is valuable so Rodrigo Millar becomes the close choice.

Last up for round 1, the Purples



Honestly, this one is easy. There are 2 potentially engine breaking talents on the board. The elite kick returner with few other skills, and the QB/KR with 81 scramble tendency!

Yeah, it has to be Guillermo Faria.

Round 2+, coming soon.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:48 AM   #53
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Coming back around to the Purples, to kick off round 2.



Looking for engine breaking talent again, Iím noticing some other guys I overlooked with the last pick. Kim Tudor has a little skill in a lot of positions, and has a potentially engine breaking combo of speed and power. Hong Langlois has the chance to break the OL logic with his skill and speed. Kim Tudor is too odd to pass up. The Purples can try him at multiple positions to see what happens.

The Pinks are in a good spot with their board.



All their guys from the last round are still available. The Pinks are a little more strict on the BPA philosophy this time, and take the dominant lineman Kirk Slade.

Greens are back on the clock.



This is a hard one. I still really want to pick the return specialist Urquhart, but it feels too early. I donít want to waste my first pick (Speedy WR) by not having any QB talent, but Thurber is another specialist player. Iíd be using my top 2 picks on 1-dimensional players. Tolliver could fill both the RB and 2nd DE spot, but heís not really high-end talent enough to justify the 2nd rounderÖ? I do really like Dick Klingerís (hehehe) balance and speed. Heíd be a nice LB, backup WR, and KR/ST player. I think heís going to be around for another round or two, though. Hong Langlois is intriguing because he can do a little bit of everything.

I Ďm going to bet the Reds and Yellows arenít going to take Thurber, allowing me to wait on the QB. I canít say the same for Dick Klinger (hehehe). If I take a QB with one of my next 2 picks, that leaves Dick Klinger (hehehe) for a potential 4th round pick. Heíll never make it that far. UGH, WHAT TO DO! I think my best course of action is to take the QB Rubin Thurber now, and evaluate Dick Klinger in the next round.

Reds are up.



With the first round, the Reds took a dynamic LB/CB speedster. Adding another top-end CB would allow for defensive personnel flexibility. They could play Fishman at LB or CB, depending on the matchup. That sounds pretty sweet. The Reds take Donnie Viera.

Blues are next.



The Blues took superstar QB Hecker in the first. The top-end offensive talent isnít really there in the skill positions, but the top OL is still on the board. That seems like a good fit. The Blues take Ivory Callender

Last pick in the 2nd round, the Yellows



The Yellows have an easy pick here. The 2-way talent of German Cruse is too hard to pass up. Since they are picking back-to-back, the Yellows follow up with the guy who can play almost anywhere, Forrest Foltz.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:57 PM   #54
nilodor
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Really fun to see how this is coming along. Great work! Keep it up
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:07 PM   #55
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The Yellows took the well-rounded Forrest Foltz with their 3rd rounder (as seen at the end of the Round 2 post)

The Blues are on the clock again.



With their first 2 picks invested in the top QB and OL, it makes sense to continue to capitalize on the passing game, and take the speedy WR/RB Young Thurston

The Reds are up next.



This is an interesting pick for the Reds. They already have a star LB/CB and a 2nd star CB. They could build a formidable secondary by taking the star S Aponte or CB Healy. They could also start developing some defensive balance by taking some high end DL talent like Wicks or Flanagan. I donít think they could go wrong with any of these guys. In the end, I think Arturo Aponte is too elite to pass up.

Now the Greens are up!



I really want to take Dick Klinger (hehehe) with this pick, but heís just not talented enough. This really isnít that hard of a pick. Nicky Tolliver is by far the #1 RB in the draft. Even though I wasnít planning on having a running offense, you canít pass him up in the 3rd round. Besides, he could fill in as a 2nd DL/S, depending on how my roster ends up.

Now the Pinks.



The Pinks already have a LB/WR and DL. The top-end CB skill, combined with some ability to play on offense, makes Sterling Healy a great fit for the Pinks.

Now for the Purples back-to-back picks.



These are going to be easy picks. The pure speed of Hong Lanlois at the OL/DL position is going to be potentially engine breaking. They are going to use their 4th rounder on the lines also, and pair him up with Thanh Wicks.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:08 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilodor View Post
Really fun to see how this is coming along. Great work! Keep it up

Thanks! I appreciate knowing that someone (besides me) finds it interesting.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:28 AM   #57
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The Purples picked lineman Thanh Wicks at the beginning of the 4th round, as round 3 wrapped back around.(see round 3 post)

That puts the Pinks back on the clock.



BPA is getting a little harder now. I think it comes down to Galvan and Finn. Both are top talents at the OL position. Both can play a little defense and can tackle. I think the edge goes to Abraham Galvan due to his elite-level tackling.

Next up, the Greens!



I canít screw around anymore. I need to start paying attention to my defense. Luckily, Martindale is a top defensive talent with good speedÖ.so I obviously take my KR Kenneth Urquhart. 🙂

Reds are next.



The reds have dominated their secondary so far, but have nothing on the line. The top 3 DL prospects all would fit nicely. Matheny is a better pure defensive lineman, but the flexibility of Earl Flanagan is hard to pass up.

Blues are next



This is pretty sweet, for the Blues. They already have the top rated OL. The 2nd rated OL is actually their QB (Hecker). Now they get to draft the 3rd rated OL Art Finn and completely dominate the position. This is going to be one heck of an offense.

Now the Yellows get to go back to back.



Itís getting hard to find balanced players who still have talent. The Yellows go back to back here. It looks like Dario Simon is an easy pick for round 4, and then Derick Hutcherson would be a smart pick to start stacking the line with.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:25 AM   #58
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I finished up the draft this morning. Once we got past round 4, I found that I was running out of interesting per-player observations and just needed to power through the picks. Iíll post the full draft results pretty soonÖ.

I did have some observations that I want to get down before I forget. It was an interesting exercise, going through each player and team with focus and attention. You kind of lose perspective when all youíre doing is hammering out code every day. It was fun to look at everything as a game again.

Observations:
  • The teams that were focused on specialists were easy to draft for in the first 4-5 rounds. It makes intuitive sense to look at top-end talent in single categories. The balance focused teams were a lot harder in those rounds. It was hard to find the right balance between high-end talent and picking players who could fill multiple roles.
  • After around the 5th round, it flipped. The specialist teams got harder to draft for, and the balance teams got easier. The specialist teams had a TON of holes that needed to be filled with mediocre talent, and they had fewer roster spots to fill them with. By round 5, the balanced teams usually had 10-12 depth chart needs filled with 5 players. That allowed them to use the remaining 7 picks on any position they wanted. This flexibility made for some real value picks later on.
  • I had no real strategy for the Greens, other than picking interesting players. I ended up falling into old patterns of looking for the best player ratings, without regard for flexibility. I ended up paying for that later in the draft when I was picking poor talent just to fill depth chart needs.
  • 12 roster spots feels about right. For this draft, we could have gone down to 11 or 10 spots. Once injuries make it into the game, I think 12 will be the right number.
  • Iíll need to play with it more to be sure, but my early impressions of decision making is exactly what I want from the game. That tension between talent and flexibility, applied to limited roster spots, creates the difficult decisions Iím looking for. That was kind of fun.
  • I didnít put much emphasis on kickers because I donít really have a lot of kicker/punter skill implemented in the engine. Iím going to develop that as we go, and experiment with the different teams.
  • Something in the back of my mind was special teams. (not the KR, the actual special teamers) The Purples were the only team that picked guys specifically for special teams. Iím curious how big of an impact thatís going to make. Based on my previous testing, it could end up being a huge deal. Itís going to be fun to see what happens.

Right now Iím finishing up a few things, before we can kick this off.
  1. I have most of the stat recording implemented. I just need to make sure stats are being generated correctly.
  2. I need to create something to automatically update the computer depth charts. I donít want to have to do that manually. I probably should figure out a way to save/load depth charts, too.

Other than that, everything is ready to go!
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:53 PM   #59
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Auto-depth charts done!

I use a sort of ďbetter than replacementĒ style algorithm to determine depth charts, and it seems to work pretty well. There are some issues with overall positional value calculations, but itís a good start.

Hereís how the Greens roster worked out:

Offense



It looks like I locked down the QB/RB/WR trio fairly well. Jarmon is going to be a FREAK! Outside of that, my offense looks pretty bad. Iím not sure why Urquhart was listed as OL3 instead of Willette. (Iím sure it has something to do with the speed) I can adjust the positional value formula to fix that. The rest of the offensive depth chart looks ok, though.

Hereís the defense



One thing is for sure, Iím going to have a fast defense. The skill might not be there, but they can run! It looks like speed is getting used too heavily in depth chart generation here, too. My DL3 and DL4 should probably be flipped, but itís pretty close.

Hereís where I need to make my money, special teams.



Between Urquhart and Dick Klinger (hehehe) we need to do some damage in return game. I imagine the defense is going to give up a lot of TDs, so weíll need to strike back quickly. Iím also hoping the team speed will help on coverage, even if the skill sucks. Maybe Iíll move Dick Klinger (hehehe) to ST instead of KRÖ..

One thing Iíve noticed while working on the depth charts is that I donít really like how they look. Itís not easy enough to find the information quickly. Also, the colors (reds) are too distracting. Iím also noticing that I really want to see the secondary ratings. (tackling, scrambleÖ) Iím not going to fix it right now, but thatís going on the list to be addressed soon.

Iíll post the depth charts of the enemy team as they come up on the schedule. Hopefully that will help figure out whatís working and whatís not.

I just have to finish the stat recording, and we can get rolling!



Open Items List
  • Update depth chart screen for ease-of-use
  • Add secondary ratings to the depth chart
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:36 AM   #60
GoldenCrest Games
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Obscure code error of the day:

So I've been having a LOT of problems with my kickoffs since I updated the trajectory formulas. The math always worked out, and the target indicators always were at the right spot, but the ball rarely landed where it was supposed to and the KR never ran to the right spot.

To make things worse, it didn't happen every time.

WTF??

Today, I was messing with pass stats and I accidentally called the kickoff play.

"Well, might as well see what Urquhart has for me." so I ran the play.

Sure enough, the play bombed out again. Ball landed in the wrong spot and Urquhart ran the wrong way.



However, I noticed that the ball landed in the exact same spot as the last pass incompletion.

....

o..m..g.. When I updated my kick physics, I accidentally recorded the kickoff location with the passing variables. Urquhart didn't know where to go because the ball was being kicked to the last place I threw a ball. He was looking at the kick variables.

passLocation != kickLocation

ugh. Sometimes programming is maddening.
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Old 08-21-2017, 03:09 PM   #61
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Everything looks like itís ready to kick off the season! All the stats are in place and I havenít had any game-crashing bugs in over 50 plays. Itís go time!

Hereís the schedule to far:



Iíll fill in weeks 6-9 after week 5, when I know which team I want to experiment with. After everyone has played each other, weíll have a little championship game with the top 2.

I might try making videos of the games to look at later. Might be easier than trying to catch everything as I play. Weíll have to see how the workflow works out.

We should have the first game done today! (if everything works out)
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:49 PM   #62
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Iím really glad we finally got to the detailed playtesting phase, because Iím finding a LOT of things that need to be fixed. The first thing is that Iím not able to take video. Iím pretty sure itís because the game engine is still too heavy, and the screen recording killed my game. I was able to do video before, so this probably has to do with the latest AI updates.

That being said, it was still a success! We played the defensive dominant Reds. Hereís their depth chart:







Outside of the defense, they are pretty brutal.

I wanted the game to last about 15 minutes, so I set a timer and just played until it ran out. We ended up running 60 total plays. After trying to use the depth chart screen some more, it really needs more work (details in a later post)

First off, the Greens won 49-28!
  • Greens offensive plays: 14
  • Reds Offensive plays: 29
  • Special Teams plays: 17
The Reds had the ball a lot longer than we did, but that was largely due to the complete special teams domination we laid on them.

Offense:

Reds QB Earl Flanagan went an impressive 2/17 for 18 yds and 1 int. I say ďimpressiveĒ because our QB Rubin Thurber went 0/10. Some of that had to do with the weird throwing glitch, but most of it was because of the insane coverage the Reds put on us. I only had an open WR 2 times, and Thurber messed up the throw both times. On the other hand, Flanagan had a lot more open WRs. His problem was that he couldnít hit anything. His throws were almost always off.

On the ground, the Reds killed us. Reds RB Eusebio Jack killed us on 8 rushes for 197 yards and 4 TD. We just had no answer for him. Missed tackles are what doomed my defense. It seemed like every time Jack came around the corner, I was missing tackles and he just sprinted upfield. Our RB Nicky Tolliver never really got going and only ran 3 times for 2 yards. I probably should have kept trying, but I got lost in the passing gameÖ.

Defense:

Dick Klinger got the only Int of the game! woohoo!

Nicky Tolliver led the game with 4 sacks, followed by Reds Hai Matheny with 1. I would have thought the sack total to be higher on their end, but I guess my switch to max protection worked.

Special Teams:

Hereís where the game got out of hand. Urquhart was completely unstoppable. The Reds KR had 6 returns for 173 yards. That sounds pretty good until you see Urquhartís line

5 kick returns for 380 yards and 4 TD, 4 punt returns for 265 yards and 3 TD.

Yeah, he was that good.

Itís really fun to watch Urquhart bob and weave through the middle of the defense, but come on! Thatís a little too much. There are a few obvious things that need to get tightened up here. The first is defensive pursuit angles. That was really the biggest problem. If the defense would have tried harder to get in front of Urquhart, it would have made a huge difference. Also, missed tackles are a plague on the league. Itís bad enough that guys miss so many, but when they miss a tackle they get in the way of other tacklers. Urquhartís uncanny talent for finding holes makes missed tacklers turn into extra blockers.

I kept a log of observations and things that need to get worked on. Here are the new items:
  1. Something happened to blitzing. For some reason, blitzers are stopping at the LOS. This has never happened before, so I must have recently done something to break it. That kind of sucks, because I designed an all-out blitz play I wanted to test this game.
  2. I really need more plays. I have 4 passing plays, 3 rushing plays, and 5 defensive plays. Thatís just not enough to really push the game engine. Iíll try to knock some more out before the next game.
  3. My kickoff and punt camera are terrible. Iím using the Unity Standard Asset ďSmooth FollowĒ for the camera controller, and itís terrible when itís following the ball in the air. That needs to get fixed before I start doing video. Too embarrassingÖ.
  4. Missed tackles are a mess. Players miss far too many tackles. As if thatís not bad enough, after missing a tackle, they get in the way of everyone else trying to make a tackle. That usually leads to huge offensive plays.
  5. Defensive pursuit angles need more work. They actually arenít too bad, except for the players that are already ahead of the ball carrier. Too many times, the defender doesnít try to cut off the runner. They just wait for the runner to pass and then give chase.
  6. Speed pass rushers are INSANE! It might just be because of the match-up this game, but itís something to watch. For this game, it was really hard to mount a decent offense because of the pass rush.
  7. Every once in a while, weíd go through a stretch where passes were way off the mark. Iíd see 4 or 5 passes in a row that werenít even close to the right spot. So far off, it doesnít seem right. Iíll have to peek in that code and make sure everything is ok.

Now for the good stuff!
  1. Returner AI is nearly perfect. When the returners have the ball, itís like they are playing on a different level. Silky-smooth and great field awareness. The way Urquhart picks his way through traffic is crazy. So much fun to watch. The difference between Urquhart and an average returner is also apparent, but not ďweirdĒ. It just looks natural.
  2. I created a play with extra pass blocking help from the WR and RB. It worked far better than Iíd hoped! I found myself using max protect a lot towards the end of the game to get more time to pass, and it usually worked.

Hereís the updated list.

To be attempted before the next game
  • Blitzing
  • Add new plays
  • Passing investigation
  • Defensive pursuit angle
  • Missed tackles

For later:
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • Keep an eye on speed rushing
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:43 AM   #63
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I finished up the updates I wanted to get done post-week1, and weíre ready to head into week 2.

Here is the list from Week 1:

To be attempted before the next game
  • Blitzing
  • Add new plays
  • Passing investigation
  • Defensive pursuit angle
  • Missed tackles

For later:
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • Keep an eye on speed rushing

Blitzing is fixed now. It was a pretty simple fix, and Iím surprised I didnít catch this sooner. The problem goes way back to when I created the master AI controller. I never updated the blitz AI to work with the new controller.

Passing has been fixed. The problem here wasnít the passing formulas, but how the WR velocity was being calculated. Once I made that calculation more stable, it started working again.

Missed tackles (and tackling in general) has been significantly upgraded. I changed how we calculate missed tackles, to bring in back into a more realistic range. I also put some extra features into the system that turns off collisions for players who miss tackles, so they donít block other players. Itís a little bit of a hack, but it will do until I put the final missed tackle animation in there.

Defensive pursuit angle has been fixed. I really struggled with this one, until I changed how I was thinking about it. Originally I was thinking in terms of the wolf and the rabbit. The rabbit runs around, trying to avoid the wolf who wants to eat him. The wolf doesnít run straight at the rabbit, he tries to anticipate the rabbit and cut him off. Thatís what I wanted for the defensive pursuit angles. Unfortunately, itís really hard to figure out the math, and the equations I was generating were complicated, and were going to slow down the engine even more. I was trying to solve too much of the problem all at once. All I needed was to solve the intercept point for a single AI cycle. I donít necessarily need to anticipate what the rabbit might do in future cycles.

So instead of the wolf chasing the rabbit, I thought in terms of simply giving the wolf a shotgun. Now all the wolf needs to do is know how fast the rabbit is going, what direction, the distance between them, and how fast his pellets go. He just aims for the point where the rabbit and the pellets will intersect. Now if you do this calculation each AI cycle, any speed/direction/position changes for either the wolf or rabbit will automatically be adjusted for. This also takes care of that final close-range calculation to actually hit the rabbit, because the distance is so small that youíre essentially putting the barrel of the shotgun right on the rabbit. [end metaphor]

I can also eliminate all the other pursuit AIs, and just use one!

I didnít get any new plays added yet, but enough stuff has been updated that we can move on to week 2.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:40 PM   #64
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Next up, the Yellows!







The game overall was much better than week 1. It started to feel a little more realistic. That being said, I found a whole bunch of new stuff to fix.

First, the resultsÖ

The Greens topped the Yellows 49-21. Again, we played for roughly 15 minutes, and ran 60 plays.

Offense:


Thurber had a much better day passing with 1/3 for 58 yds and 1 TD. 🙂

We leaned a lot more on the running game this time, as Tolliver had 8 rushes for 249 yds and 4TD!

The Yellows QB Rosas kind of sucks, but he has 2 nice WRs. He was able to go 4/8 for 91 yds, 1 TD and 1 INT. Not too badÖ

RB Beaulieu did not have a good day. 14 rushes for 18 yds.

Defense:


The Yellows did an ok job getting to Thurber. Rosas and Foltz both had 2 sacks.

That being said, the Greens defense totally dominated the Yellows line. Tolliver and Sturgeon both had 2 sacks, and Dick Klinger led the whole defense with 7 tackles, 1 int, and 4 sacks. Heís turning out to be a game changer.

Special Teams:

It was a good day for Urquhart again, but the recent changes tamed him a little. His final line was 2 KR for 78 yds, 4 PR for 165 yds and 2 TD. Still impressive, but not quite to the level of week 1.

Notes

I focused a lot more on the running game this time, and there are a lot of things to work on. Overall, it looks like blocking might be a bit too effective. At the start of the game, the DL isnít getting off the ball very well and sometimes the OL blasts the guy back 5 yards. (not every time, though) However, the rest of the defense is actually attacking too quickly, and is getting sucked into the line too easily. If the RB breaks the run outside, heís usually gone for a TD. We need a little more balance there. Iím also seeing that sometimes the runner gets Ďstuckí behind the line if he breaks a tackle in the backfield. He pauses for a split second too long, and usually gets swarmed. I need the RB to be a lot more fluid in his running.

Kick returns are much better, but need more work. Itís weird when the KR/PR is catching the ball. Itís leading to some odd running behavior, if they donít catch the ball cleanly. I donít know what one has to do with another, but it needs to get cleaned up. Iím also noticing that the pursuit angles are much better, but the defenders are waiting too long to make the adjustments. I need to them to start cutting the returner off at least 10 yards earlier than they are. (I think this has to do with the scanning range of the defenders. Easy fix)

Overall, the passing game is working better. I was happy to see that the Yellows WR Simon was able to make a play, even though heís really slow. I guess itís not all speed after all. The passes are starting to look like they are far too slow, though. You can really see it on slant plays. The WR will be wide open on a quick-slant, but then 2 defenders will be there when the ball finally gets to the spot. Iím pretty sure this is why the passing game is suffering so much.

The other reason the passing game sucks, is pass rush. Itís clearly a problem that speed rushers are killing the OL. I donít want to artificially slow down players, but I need to find a solution. Itís just not right that you can drop any fast guy into a pass rushing spot, and dominate the line.

Anyway, lots to work on!

Now for the good stuff:

2 games in a row without a single crash or error! WOOHOO!!!!

To be attempted before the next game
  • Check DL on running plays. Why do they get blown up?
  • Figure out why the RB stops in the backfield after a missed tackle
  • Adjust the defense diving into the line on running plays
  • Fix the kick return catching glitch
  • Adjust the special teams scanning range
  • Speed up the velocity of passes
  • Adjust the pocket time to allow for quicker passes and more QB scrambles
  • Add a couple more max protect pass plays

For later:
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • Figure out a solution to speed rushing (without artificially lowering speeds)
  • Figure out what to do about blocks being too effective. (guys not breaking free of blocks)
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Old 09-02-2017, 11:06 AM   #65
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Here's the pre-week 3 list:

To be attempted before the next game
  • Check DL on running plays. Why do they get blown up?
  • Figure out why the RB stops in the backfield after a missed tackle
  • Adjust the defense diving into the line on running plays
  • Fix the kick return catching glitch
  • Adjust the special teams scanning range
  • Speed up the velocity of passes
  • Adjust the pocket time to allow for quicker passes and more QB scrambles
  • Add a couple more max protect pass plays

For later:
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • Figure out a solution to speed rushing (without artificially lowering speeds)
  • Figure out what to do about blocks being too effective. (guys not breaking free of blocks)


I got cracking on the list, and then ended up spending 3 days lost down the rabbit hole. It started off innocently enough. I knocked out the special teams scanning range issue in a few minutes. As I was testing that, I got really sick of the ridiculous hang-time for punts and kickoffs. So I started messing with the kick power and aim point. Seems simple enough...

type...type...type..

No, that doesn't look right. Now the kicks are getting to the spot too quickly..... maybe if I adjust the ball physics, just a little bit...

*enters the rabbit hole*

3 days later I've completely scrapped my kicking and punting physics, and replaced them with cannon ballistics scripts. (modified to control kick height) Since I was messing around with ball physics, I also thought it would be groovy to scrap all my QB passing scripts, and replace them with more ballistics scripts that have been modified to adjust throw height/speed and take into account running receivers.

*emerges into daylight, and marvels at the sun*

I didn't plan on fixing all this now, but I did. It makes a huge impact on gameplay, too! QBs don't seem so helpless now. The ball comes out with zip, and the passes scale the height appropriately for the throw. Let's hope pass completion gets above 10%....

Now that the QBs look like they know what they are doing, I can't just have them getting sacked every other play. I also don't want to mess with speed/power at all. The solution I came up with is pancakes.

OL and DL have a chance to pancake eachother now. The idea is an answer to the situation where you'd put your fastest player at DE and just out-speed the OL. Power isn't really a good answer, since it's really just there for pushing physics. Fast guys won't get pushed by slower guys very often. Let's say I want to put Urquhart at DE, what things would stop me? .... ... I wouldn't do it if he got pushed all over, but that's not going to happen on pass plays. The pass blocking equivalent of pushing a DE around, is smacking him to the ground -> pancake. If I know there's a good chance the OL is just going to flatten Urquhart, I probably won't put him at DE. He's not doing any good if he's laying on the ground. I'd be better off putting a slower guy who at least has a chance of staying in the play.

The same idea works the other way, too. Even though there's a speed advantage for the DL, I'm finding that skilled non-speed DL are getting stopped regularly by bad OL. I think the pancake method would address this issue, too. I can't put Urquhart at OL to stop fast DE, because he might get smacked down and run over by a skilled slower DL.

Initial testing seems like it's the right way to go. I'll need to monitor and adjust the frequency of pancakes, but it seems pretty good so far.

Now that I've gotten out of the rabbit hole, I can knock out some of the smaller items on the list and move on to Week 3!

To be attempted before the next game
  • [DONE] Check DL on running plays. Why do they get blown up?
  • [DONE] Figure out why the RB stops in the backfield after a missed tackle
  • [DONE] Adjust the defense diving into the line on running plays
  • Fix the kick return catching glitch
  • [DONE] Adjust the special teams scanning range
  • [DONE] Speed up the velocity of passes
  • [DONE] Adjust the pocket time to allow for quicker passes and more QB scrambles
  • [DONE] Add a couple more max protect pass plays

For later:
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • [DONE] Figure out a solution to speed rushing (without artificially lowering speeds)
  • Figure out what to do about blocks being too effective. (guys not breaking free of blocks)
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:47 PM   #66
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Week 3: Greens vs Purples.

Hereís the Purples team:






If you remember the draft, the Purples were trying to break the game engine with their selections. It was nice to see that nothing out of the ordinary happened during the game! No crashes, bugs, or weird glitches!

Now, for the game itselfÖ.

This was a tight one, which I actually thought Iíd lost. I donít get to see the score until after my 15 minute timer goes off because I donít have an in-game interface for that stuff yet. (We won 42-35 in 76 plays) RB Tudor absolutely dominated. He started slow, but then was unstoppable as he went for 262 yds and 4 TD on 22 carries. After the first 2 possessions, I wrote a note in my log to take a look at inside running plays because they seemed like they never worked. I ran a few more inside running plays, to try and see what was going onÖ 16 yards, 12 yards, 8 yards, 20 yards and the Purples are at the 2. Next play up the middle ->TD.

O.M.G.

To be clear, it wasnít all Tudor. The inside blocking was insane. The strength of the Purples OL was making massive holes, even when I ran a 3 DL front. I just couldnít stop it.

Unfortunately for the Purples, that was it. They had no passing game and no return game at all.

We had a much better offense this time. Thurber threw 6/14 for 270 and 4 TD, 1Int. MUCH better than the previous 2 games. His speedy target Jarmon finally got to break free from coverage and make some plays. 5 rec for 198 yds and 3 TD (plus 2 drops)

Tolliver couldnít match Tudor and only managed 52 yds on 9 carries. 🙁

The other thing you might remember about the Purples is that they were the only team that drafted for special teams coverage. It made a difference. Urquhartís line really suffered, considering how many opportunities he got.

5 KR for 183 yds and 1 TD, 3 PR for 31 yds.

Yikes!

Urquhart had 8 chances and only housed 1???

Now for the notes:
  1. I need to have an in-game interface for down/dis and score. Itís such a pain to have to pause to look it up.
  2. Pancakes need to get tracked in the stats
  3. QB scrambling still isnít right. The Purples QB only scrambled once. He should have been running all over. I need to revamp how that works.
  4. There are way too many dropped passes. It might be a combination of the formulas, or the player ratings being too low. Either way, there are far too many open passes dropped.
  5. Iím also noticing that almost every scoring play comes from someone breaking free and running 20+ yards. That makes sense, given that weíre playing with 8 on a side, but maybe it means we should shorten the field. Itís starting to feel like the last 20 yards on each end of the field are just there for breakaways.
  6. I added 2 more max protect pass plays, and they worked out nicely. Now I need to add a few more running plays to mix it up.

Thatís it for Week 3! It went really well, and is starting to feel like a football game.



To be attempted before the next game
  • Fix the kick return catching glitch
  • Really look into the QB scrambling system
  • Dig into the dropped passes
  • Track pancakes
  • In-game interface for down/dis/score
  • Add more running plays

For later:
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • Figure out what to do about blocks being too effective. (guys not breaking free of blocks)
  • Look at shrinking the field size to reduce the breakaway running time.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:50 PM   #67
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Home alone this weekend, so hopefully a lot of progress!
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:27 PM   #68
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Something weird is happening. The game is going too fastÖ?

To be more specific, thereís too much progress each frame. Iíve been investigating the incomplete pass problem, and itís not a ratings or formula problem. The problem is the ball. Itís moving too fast.



Hereís a good example. The QB just threw the ball from the upper left of the picture. In the next shot, you can see itís been a few frames, and the ball is nearing the pass location. (the yellow spot)




You wouldnít expect to try to make the catch yet. I would imagine thatís going to be the next frame or 2.

WellÖÖ..



Thatís the next frame. Heís already missed his chance.

Something is going on here, and I donít really know what. I have a feeling it wasnít happening before, but the engine was in such sad shape that itís impossible to know. Somehow I need to slow the ball down without giving the defense too much reaction time.

I have to slow it down, without slowing it down.

sheesh.

I have a few ideas, but no clue if they will work.
  1. I could try to reduce the movement per frame. Keep the frame rate, but have everything travel less distance per frame. Basically slow the whole game down. That doesnít sound like a great idea, but itís possible.
  2. Slow the ball down. Iíd have to do something about player spacing and reaction time. This feels like a trap, though. It probably would fundamentally change the game, which is just starting to feel pretty good.
  3. Change how passes are caught. Right now, catch attempts are done in the player AI. Thatís not the fastest thing in the world. Maybe if I can take catching out of the AI and put it in a collision system, thereís some opportunity there to doÖ..something? I donít even know what this would look like. Something having to do with colliders or triggers.
  4. Use some predetermination system to decide if anyone is going to catch the ball, before it gets there. Then Iíd just need to auto-assign the ball to the player when he reaches the intersection point. Feels like cheating, though.

This is going to take some thought. I really have no idea whatís the right thing to do here.
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Old 09-03-2017, 12:49 PM   #69
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Before I get to the game, I think I solved the pass catching issue. I basically reduced the pass velocity a little bit, and compensated by reducing the gravity. Since I only use gravity for ball flight trajectory, thereís not other impact on the game. By messing around with this for a while, I found that itís really the gravity that was causing the issue. The ball was falling to the ground too fast near the end of its flight, causing the player AI to miss the catch opportunity, and causing a ton of incomplete passes that had nothing to do with player ratings.

Once I fixed that up, I fired up the game against the Pinks.





Score: Greens win 56-7 with 79 plays.

Frankly, the Pinks are atrocious. The offense has a little success running to the right, because my DE2 is terrible. Other than that, they couldnít do a thing on offense or special teams. Their defense was fairly stout, except for trying to contain WR1 Jarmon. Heís just on another level. 6 receptions on 6 targets for 169 and a TD. Jarmon also took an Int back for a TD.

The Pinks special teams coverage is flat out embarrassing. Urquhart had 1 KR for 90 and a TD, followed by 3 PR for 74 yds before I took him out. He almost housed all 3 PR, but the last guy caught him. I put Sturgeon in and he managed 2 PR for 169 and 2 TD, despite being rated 28 in KR.

Youíd think that KR and PR are broken by the stats, but nobody else seems to be able to get solid returns on the Greens. Iíll start looking at the blocking and coverage over the next few games, to see what the difference is. It canít just be returner speed. (maybe overall team speed?)

With the newly implemented pancakes, the current pancake leader is DE1 Acker with 12. He dominated the LT of the Pinks every play, which is why they had to run right exclusively.

Notes:

Iím starting to feel like the top end speed is a little too fast. Guys who run in the 410+ range for speed are looking a little out of place. Itís hard to describe, but it doesnít look quite right. Iíll have to start taking note of the weird looking speed for future adjustments.

The QB reading for open WRs is off. If they have the time, the QB almost always correctly identifies a wide open WR. Itís the guys in traffic that often get thrown to when they shouldnít.

Huge plays are starting to annoy me. Nothing looks out of place during the play, but Iím getting frustrated with every scoring play being a 20+ gain. Iím wondering if my defense AI is too aggressive. Itís like one missed tackle and the guy is gone. I should see if thereís a way to be a little more conservative.

Eventually Iím going to have to tighten up how I control the game situation. Now that Iím paying attention, Iím seeing there is too much chance of going ďoff scriptĒ and making the game flow weird. (like calling kickoff on 2nd and short)

The list:

To be attempted before the next game
  • QB reading the openness of WRs update
  • Address huge gain plays somehow. (more conservative defense?)
  • Fix the kick return catching glitch
  • [DONE] Really look into the QB scrambling system
  • [DONE] Dig into the dropped passes
  • [DONE] Track pancakes
  • In-game interface for down/dis/score
  • [DONE] Add more running plays

For later:
  • Start to narrow down what the right top-end speed limit is
  • Figure out why the Greens special teams rock so much and everyone else sucks
  • Tighten up game situation control
  • Depth chart refresh
  • New camera control
  • Figure out what to do about blocks being too effective. (guys not breaking free of blocks)
  • Look at shrinking the field size to reduce the breakaway running time.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:58 AM   #70
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For the final regular season Greens game, we take on the Blues






The Blues drafted for offense, and they look scary! I just made major updates to how the QB sees open WRs, so taking on Major Hecker should be interestingÖ

It wasnít. 🙁

We ended up winning 63-21 in 70 plays. It was really a QB show, however. That was kind of cool to see. Our QB Thurber went 5/11 for 304 and 4 TD while Hecker went 6/15 for 179 and 2 TD. Both QB were seeing the open guy and making great decisions the whole game. The only reason the stat lines werenít doubled, was because of dropped passes. Thatís really starting to become a plague on the season. In this game, thereís no excuse for dropped passes. Hecker is starting an 81 and 79 at WR1 and WR2. Dropped passes shouldnít happen for open WRs that good. Thatís something that needs to get fixed.

Hecker also had a hard time with DE pressure. (Much harder than Thurber) Hecker has the best OL in the league, so he shouldnít have had a problem at all. In fact, the Blues OL should have been killing me all game. I did a decent job of getting to the QB and I bottled up the running game pretty well. I should have been getting my ó handed to me.

It really comes down to speed. Speed is killing everything else right now. My DE speed is too much for the OL to handle. My blitzing LB speed canít be adjusted for either. In fact, thatís also why my special teams is so dominant. This game I made a point of not watching Urquhart (dominate again) but instead watched the special teams coverage and blocking. I also swapped out all my good ST players for speed, to test my theory. We dominated again, while the Blues struggled. Speed is the difference. My blockers get to almost every block, almost every time. If you look at the field from high, itís often set up perfectly with a green blocker on every blue guy. All Urquhart needs to do is weave his way through the traffic. Even if my blockers are getting pushed around, they hold their blocks.

Thatís another thing about speed, fast blockers stay in front of the slower defensive guys. The Blues blockers that successfully make a block, will often lose their guy eventually. The faster Greens defender can break free or run around the block to make the tackle. Thatís what I see on special teams, and I think itís what is happening on offense. Even if the OL makes a block, my DL speed can adjust. Pancakes help a little, but itís not fundamentally fixing the problem.

Re-reading all that, I make it sound like speed ruins the game. Thatís not necessarily true. Honestly, thereís nothing wrong with this game being 80% about speed. I actually like the idea that thereís a real difference between fast and slow guys. Thatís one thing I hate about Madden, NCAA football, and NBA 2Kn. Thereís just not a meaningful difference between speed ratings. The problem in this game is that I need to find a better way to handle that speed difference. I canít have OLs getting killed by crappy DL, or have ineffective ST players. Skill has to also mean something.

I went into the Blues game planning to take on the defense AI for my next batch of games. Now, Iím not so sure. The Blues struggles with low-skilled high-speed players exposed a flaw that probably needs to be corrected before I spend a ton of time in the defensive AI. Iíll stick with the Blues for the next round of games, and try to address the speed/skill imbalance.

My list of items to get fixed is getting pretty nit-picky, too. Iím keeping a trello list instead of trying to log it in the blog. (itís public if anyone is interested regen3 trello) Iíve been thinking of what needs to get fixed, in terms of how Iíd draft a team if I were starting a league. It might seem weird, but it helpís me see the state of the engine at any moment in time. When I look back on these posts, it might be a better way to measure progress.

Hereís how it works. If I were to draft a team today, what would I look at and how would I draft?

Draft Strategy
  • Round 1: Pick Urquhart. (Sort all players by speed, and pick the top skilled KR/PR)
  • Round 2: Sort all players by QB skill, and pick the fastest one near the top
  • Rounds 3-5: Sort all players by speed and start drafting the highest skill at WR or RB until I had 2 WR and 1 RB.
  • Rounds 6-12: Draft the highest speed available until I fill out the roster. Disregard positional skill completely.


A couple of other items that weíve been tracking. A 15 minute (70 play) game feels a little short. I think weíre going to need at least 100 plays. Iíll start going 100 plays, and see how that feels. Also, top end speed (450) is definitely too fast and the low end speed (150) is definitely too slow. Iíll keep tracking to zero in on the right range, but as of today it looks like 200-425.
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:37 AM   #71
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This is another one of those ďI might want to look back and see why I made these decisionsĒ kind of posts. (I have a poor memory)

Pass blocking has been a huge pain in the butt. The Greens team is a perfect example of why itís not only ďoffĒ, but completely broken. I simply have too much team speed, almost no defensive skill, and Iím able to dominate the line against the Blues. That just shouldnít happen.

I spent a lot of the last 2 daysí worth of keyboard time trying out different ways of fixing the problem. Pancakes was an option I implemented last week, but itís already annoying me. I hate seeing players get run over constantly. It doesnít seem like football anymore. I lowered the pancakes down to a realistically rare level, but the blocking problem remains.

My first attempt was to implement decision making time into pass rushing again. The theory was that pass rushers would take bad angles and run themselves out of position, allowing the OL to maintain proper blocking position. It really didnít work. The fast DEs would run out of position, but they are so fast that it often left them with an easy path to run past the OL. Even if it wasnít perfect, it was often good enough to get the QB. Not only that, but it just looked weird.

The second attempt was to increase the blocking (collider) range of skilled OL. That kind of worked, but the DL were often able to adjust and slip the blocks to get around. In the end, it really didnít change anything.

I also tried making massive power increases with both of the first options, but it made no difference. Power only seems to show up in run blocking and special teams.

So that made me rethink how I was handling pass blocking. All I really want is for blocks to matter, and for the skill of the blocker to be more important than speed. After all, most great OL are going to be slower than great CB/WR/RB.

So I came up with a block engagement system. Hereís how it would work. When an OL is blocking a DL, they are put into the block engagement system. While in that system, the normal ratings donít apply. Thereís an adjustment in this system that takes into account blocker and defender skill, and moves the effective ratings around to model the way it should work. Ex: The Blues 100 OL would engage with DL Tolliver whoís rated around 40. While those guys are battling, the Blues guyís skill would nullify Tolliverís speed and it would look as if Tolliver was a 200 speed guy instead of a 400 speed guy. (throw in per-play randomness to keep it interesting) If Tolliver broke away from the block, heíd automatically be back at peak ratings performance again.

Itís kind of cheating, but not really. 🙂

I ran a bunch of tests between the Greens and Blues, to try it out. The Greens have a poor OL and a fast DL. The Blues have an insane OL and some ok DL. When the Greens had the ball, nothing was dramatically different. I ran 10 long pass plays and got sacked on around half of them. Thatís expected from my team. I have no OL skill at all. When the Blues had the ball, I ran 10 pass plays and had 0 sacks! Not only were there no sacks, but there wasnít really any pressure at all. The game felt right, and the players didnítí look weird either. It just looked like the speedy DL were getting handled by better OL.

Nice! I think I got it! I might want to add this into the special teams blocking, too. It might fix that problem as well.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:40 AM   #72
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Made a bunch of updates to the engine over the last few days:
  • Zone defense a little more conservative in coverage
  • Man defense a little more conservative in coverage
  • Man and Zone defenders don't react immediately to running plays. Reaction time based on skill
  • Defenders don't dive into the line to get at the RB. They try to move laterally until there's a path to get at the RB
  • Block engagement system implemented for pass blocking and run blocking
  • Special teams coverage improved
  • Dropped passes reduced to a more realistic level
  • Missed tackles dropped to a realistic level
  • Pancakes reduced to a non-annoying level
  • Defenders don't try to cover receivers that pass block

With all the new updates, I thought it was a good time to run a couple of the Blues games. Just sit back and play, to see what pops up.

Week 6: Blues vs Reds
Blues win 42-14
The good:
The good part of the game is that there were a lot fewer huge plays. Over the whole game, we only had 3 30+ yard plays. One KR, one pass, and one run. That's a pretty big step. The pass blocking was legit, too. The Blues OL did a great job against the Reds. They got a couple sacks, but overall I was pleased. I also started picking up on a few things I hadn't noticed before. In the running game, teams are having a lot more success against Man defense. When the defense switches to Zone, they usually have an easy time holding the RB to small gains. However, zone defense is getting beat in the passing game pretty regularly. Man defense is having much more success defending the pass. Not good or bad, just interesting.

Now for the bad:
The Reds offense was embarrassing. I get that they were a defense first team, but no team should look that bad on offense. 90% of the plays were either no gain or less than 3 yards. Come on, the Blues don't have a stellar defense. The Reds should have been able to get something going.
Also, kick returns still are still a little overpowered. Not all are going for TDs, but I can tell that Urquhart would have housed at least 4. It's looking like edge containment is the problem. If the KR can get to the outside, he's usually got a pretty clear path.

Week 7: Yellows at Blues
Blues win in overtime 28-21!

The good:
This was a fun game. It was more of a defensive struggle than I expected. For some reason, the Yellows DL was getting to Hecker regularly. I couldn't figure out why, because the Blues OL is dominant and the Reds couldn't get this kind of pressure. I'll have to look at the ratings to see if there's a clue... It made me adjust my gameplan, which is kind of fun to see. Again, there were very few huge plays. Whenever there was a catch, there was usually someone in the area to quickly make the tackle. The one area the Blues were able to exploit was the WR1/CB1 matchup. If I could get the Blues WR1 on a quick slant, he was usually able to turn it upfield for a pretty nice gain. The speed difference was a killer.

The bad:
I found a ton of problems with this game. There's something that broke the Yellows passing game. Early on, it looked fine, but when I made defensive coverage adjustments with the Blues, the Yellows QB just broke. He'd sit in the pocket forever, just cycling through WRs. He never took off running, and could never find an open WR. It makes no sense. Hecker took off running a few times, so I know scrambling works. Why the Yellows QB won't run, I have no idea. Also, the Yellows OL was getting pushed into the QB a lot. This was causing the QB to "slide" around. It looks like he's standing on ice. On one play, he actually slid backwards 20 yards before getting sacked. wtf?
There was also something weird with the KR game. The Yellows KR was extremely effective, way above his ratings. The Blues had a hard time containing him. That's weird.

Overall not too bad. I'm happy with how the engine is coming. I have to tighten up some of the QB AI and special teams, but it's looking pretty nice. I should accomplish everything I wanted to in Exhibition Season 1 before the playoff game. I'm starting to draw up the Exhibition Season 2 and 3 goals now, and it looks like that's all I'm going to need. If everything goes well, we'll then move on to real seasons!
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:39 AM   #73
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Just finished up the games with the Blues. Today we played the Purples and the Pinks.

Before getting into the results, I should mention that the stint with the Blues was largely a success. I took on the Blues to tighten up offense, and it's safe to say that it's light-years ahead of where we were during the Greens games. I just updated the run blocking logic and now both pass and run blocking are really effective. In fact, they might be a little too effective.

Granted, I'm using the Blues team, who have the 3 most elite OL in the league.

For run blocking, I changed how OL select their block targets. Before, I was using a really simple "who's closest" system based on identifying key defenders that need to be blocked. Now I use a system that figures out the angle between the point-of-attack and the key defenders, and then figures out who the best OL is to make the right block. After that block is determined, it goes down the list of defenders until everyone has a blocking assignment. (all pre-snap) Post-snap we just go into the open-field system.

Once the blocking AI was updated, I really needed to redesign my running plays to take advantage of new blocking schemes. If you don't pay attention to where you line blockers up, and where the PoA is, you'll get weird blocking responsibilities.

Now on to the games!

Week 8: Blues vs Purples

This was a fun game. The Purples have a lot of weird players that have skills I wasn't prepared for. In the end, the Purples rolled us 21-42. I had no answer for the Purples RB and special teams. The Purples special teams is so good that their KR was able to house a kick, even though he has (at best) average speed! It seemed like it took him forever to get there, but he slowly bobbed and weaved his way through the excellent ST blocking until he finally plodded into the endzone. I'd never seen a slow guy take back a kick until today. It was pretty funny.

The Purples also had some success with their running QB. Halfway through the game, I started calling plays I knew would result in the QB taking off. It was actually fairly effective.

Week 9: Blues vs Pinks

Once again, the Pinks were atrocious. We were up 56-21 after about 10 minutes when I called it. Frankly, it stopped being fun. Something in fundamentally wrong with the Pinks. They suck at every aspect of the game. I'll have to dig into it after the season and figure out what the difference is. On offense it didn't matter what play I called, it was almost guaranteed to be a first down. On defense, I just had to try and not let them break a run. The home-run ball was their only hope.

In the arms race between offense and defense, the offense is clearly winning. Now that the games with the Blues are completed, I'll take over the Reds for their 3 remaining games and try to tighten up the defense. After that, we only have 3 games left in the season!

Based on the engine updates made while running the Blues, here's the new draft strategy:
  • Round 1: Draft Urquhart
  • Round 2-3: Try to get the 2 most skilled OL to play the tackle positions. Try to get OL with DL skill
  • Round 4: Either get a highly skilled QB or RB.
  • Round 5-7: Make sure I have 3 skilled OL and 2 skilled DL. If I'm filling DL, try to get fast ones too.
  • Round 8-9: Get the fastest WR and CB with skill. Make sure I have a serviceable #1 for WR/CB (don't need to be the same guy)
  • Round 10-12: Fill out defense with skilled players, speed is secondary, ignore strength.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:49 PM   #74
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I don't have a lot of mental energy on the weekends to do hardcore programming, but I was able to play around with the depth chart screen!

I really like the functionality. I can move players around while looking at the formation and play, which is really useful. (not to mention just being able to see who is lined up where, and the speed/power of who I'm lined up against)

I still need to refine the colors and the panel transparency, but it's definitely going in the right direction.


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Old 09-20-2017, 07:27 AM   #75
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Reds vs Yellows

Just for recap, the Yellows drafted for 2-way players and the Reds were all defense. That being said, the Yellows dominated this game defensively!

Final score: Yellows 14 - Reds 0.

That's right, 0 points. The first ever shutout. Granted, if I'd put field goals in the game, the Reds would have gotten a couple of those. We moved the ball a couple drives, but just couldn't punch it in.

The Yellows just had too much talent on both sides of the ball. It didn't show up against the Greens because WRs were so bad, but now the Yellows passing attack is really hard to stop. With the upgraded defensive AI we were able to stop the homerun ball, but my poor Reds just got dinked and dunked all the way down the field. The score would have been a lot worse if it weren't' for several goal-line stands we pulled off.

Here are a few things I learned from the game:
1. Speed is the #1 rating in this game, there's no way around it. The Yellows were faster than the Reds, and it really showed on the field. Even though my defense is extremely skilled, I had to run a zone almost all game to deal with the difference in speed. On the other hand, the Yellows were able to stay in base man defense and blanket my receivers. That allowed them to send blitzers and kill any passing attack I was able to get going. For Exhibition Season 2 I'm going to have to tightly control the distribution of speed, and use it appropriately in the draft.

2. I need field goals. I really wanted to turn punts into a potential scoring play, but it's not going to work. It got really frustrating to get inside the 5 and have no options for salvaging a few points on 4th down. Punting from the 5 just seems stupid. I'm going to have field goals in before the next Ex-Season.

3. The overall skill level of the league sucks. Frankly, I didn't make enough good players for this season. I'm ok with every team having scrubs, but this is ridiculous. Every team on the field is made up of 1-2 studs, 1-2 average guys and 4-6 complete garbage players. (not to mention the 4 guys that were so bad they didn't even make it on the field) That's just not going to be fun. That's probably also why there are so many huge plays. If I spread the talent out more, the game flow will probably be better.

4. Play design is going to be important for defense. I'm already seeing that I ignore a couple defensive plays because they put my players in bad spots, and it shows up on the field. I didn't really put a lot of effort into defensive plays because it never really mattered in Madden/NCAA/2K. With 8 guys instead of 11 on the field, each player's positioning and coverage really matter. When I was designing an 11 player game, I could just throw 11 guys out there in any fashion and have a reasonable defense.


There are a couple things to tighten up before I run the next game. (mostly having to do with bad RBs pausing at the line of scrimmage and scrambling QBs)

If nothing crazy pops up, I should be able to finish off the Reds games this week. That just leaves the last 3 games of the season for special teams refinement, and then we're at the championship!
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:01 AM   #76
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Reds vs Purples

This game went into overtime, where the Purples finally pulled it out 2-0.

That's not a typo. 2-0. Technically, I don't have safeties in the game (I completely forgot about it) but the Purples made a run-stuffing tackle in the end zone to "end" the game. I have to give them credit for that.

Both teams moved the ball a little but, but couldn't seal the deal. This is another game where field goals would have made the difference. (definitely coming in Ex-Season 2) It was kind of nice to see a whole game without a 30+ yard breakaway. There was also a nice mix of passing and running.

One area that didn't look right was the QB scrambling. It might be a ratings issue, but they QBs look really dumb when trying to take off. They run into the line, then run away, then spin around, then try to run again.... then get tackled. Granted, the Reds DL is pretty good, but the Purples scrambling QB should have been able to do more. I'll have to dig into that before the last Purples games.

Other than that, most of the remaining items are probably going to be done in the offseason. The last few things on the list have to do with game-flow and big changes like field size, field goals, ratings balance, play design, safeties ...etc. If I can get the QB scrambling thing down, before the end of the season, we can call Exhibition Season 1 a success.

4 games left!
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:18 PM   #77
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Reds vs Pinks:

Reds lose another one. 7-14. The Reds have a stellar defense, but the offense just can't sustain a drive and punch it in. The Pinks are generally pretty bad, so I was really trying to figure out what's wrong with the Reds. Obviously the team speed is an issue, but we can't run the ball, either. In fact, the Pinks had more success running against the elite Reds defense than the Reds could get going against either the Pinks or Purples. (both pretty bad teams)

Thanks to the new depth chart feature, I was able to figure it out! I shuffled the OL around a few times until i started getting some success on the ground. The difference was power. I've never been looking at power before, but now I'm seeing it in the depth chart screen, and it makes a big difference. 2 of the top 3 OL for the Reds have a 1 power rating. Most of the top DL/OL are in the 7-9 range. That's a huge difference. We're getting no push at all, and my line is getting pushed back. They are also getting pushed back into the pocket on passing plays, which is killing my scrambling.

wow. As it turns out, your line needs to be strong!

Well, it also helps to have a QB that can get the ball in the same zip code as the WR. All of the Pinks points were on turnovers. The first TD was on a interception return for TD. The second was an Int that was returned to the 7 or 8, and then punched in a couple plays later.

One other thing that happened in this game is that I started relying on some of the other plays that I'd been ignoring. With no downfield passing game, I started running a passing play that has the RB swing out of the backfield. I almost never run this play because most of the time the RB catches the ball and gets tackled behind the line. However, with the Reds, there aren't many other options. It actually made some positive yardage. It was interesting to be forced into adjusting my play calling, and then to see it start working.

Almost like a real game!

3 games left! All between the Purples, Pinks, and Yellows.

All 3 teams have a shot at the championship. The Greens have locked up the top spot by going 5-0. The Blues have finished all their games and are 3-2. The Purples are 1-1 with the Pinks and Yellows at 1-2.

The tiebreaker is going to be point differential. The Pinks and Yellows are fairly negative right now. It looks like the Purples are going to be the favorite on the strength of the 42-21 win over the Blues in week 8.

A Purples vs Greens rematch would be fun! That was a close one last time.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:12 AM   #78
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Purples vs Yellows

Purples win 21-0. This eliminates the Yellows from playoff contention. It's down to the Blues, Purples, and Pinks for the remaining slot.

The Purples have that great running QB, but I think there's a timing issue in my scramble AI that causes him to stay in the pocket too long. I abandoned that strategy pretty quickly and went to a straight-up ground game. After 3 drives, I found the weakness in the Yellows defense. Runs to the left seem to have a lot more success than any other, so I put the hammer down and kept going. The Yellows threw every defense possible at it, and had very little success in slowing it down. There is a play that blitzes off the left that sometimes worked, so they were forced to keep calling it. Eventually the Purples started varying the offensive play call and ran to the right, which nullified any hope the Yellows found.

On offense, the Yellows didn't have much. They have a couple nice WRs, but the QB is so bad that it just didn't work. 2 deep Ints broke the back of the Yellows offense. The Purples turned those takeaways into 10+ play drives and ate up the game clock.

Overall, a pretty fun game. No special teams excitement, which is kind of a bummer. We'll probably have to wait for the Greens and Urquhart to take the field to see that again.

2 games left!
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:48 AM   #79
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This may have been mentioned/discussed previously, if so I apologize for overlooking it.

It's also something waaaaaaaaaaay the hell down the road, so apologies for that too.

But ... just looking at your depth chart screens, the rating at every position & so forth, I couldn't help but think how that approach would make a darned good base for a high school football game.
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:24 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
This may have been mentioned/discussed previously, if so I apologize for overlooking it.

It's also something waaaaaaaaaaay the hell down the road, so apologies for that too.

But ... just looking at your depth chart screens, the rating at every position & so forth, I couldn't help but think how that approach would make a darned good base for a high school football game.

I'd planned on a college version, but I hadn't thought of a high school version.

I imagine a high school version could provide for some really interesting and varied gameplay. Each level of football would require a different management/coaching focus, and could create a completely different experience around the same engine. Besides, it would be fun to see your high school stars move on through college and then maybe to the pros.

There's a lot of potential there!
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:51 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenCrest Games View Post
I'd planned on a college version, but I hadn't thought of a high school version.

I imagine a high school version could provide for some really interesting and varied gameplay. Each level of football would require a different management/coaching focus, and could create a completely different experience around the same engine. Besides, it would be fun to see your high school stars move on through college and then maybe to the pros.

There's a lot of potential there!

The campaign mode would get awfully complex -- the need to account for not only skill development but actual physical growth at a considerably larger scale than needed for higher levels/older players, just for one thing -- but seeing the players laid out more as athletes (that you had to determine how to utilize) instead of players with fairly well-defined positions/roles, it fit perfectly with a discussion I had a few days ago about how one of the real challenges at small/medium sized high schools (think: rosters of 30-60 players) was figuring out how to allocate talent to each side of the ball*. Then on top of that, how much/how little to use players on both sides of the ball once their primary roles are set. It's not unusual to have your best QB also be your most capable LB and no worse than your second best RB ... but at the price of fatigue, increased injury risk, and diminished practice time.

It'd be one helluva expansive model to get right, but your basic concept seems like it would lend itself to tackling the problem.

*my HS alma mater is currently averaging around 40 ppg through four games ... but giving up nearly 45 ppg, which would be the worst scoring defense in the 60 year history, by a fair margin. Basically the offense has all the experienced players and most of the talent, the defense is playing as many as nine Fr/So at a time, the tradeoffs are rather obvious.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:05 PM   #82
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Pinks vs Yellows

What a difference it makes when you're not playing against the Reds defense! The Yellows dominated this one 35-7. The Pinks couldn't slow down the Yellows offense at all. It was a completely different feel than when the Yellows were up against the Reds. While the Yellows QB has a really hard time with the deep ball, he's great at the 0-10 yard range. I just ran a bunch of drags and slants for the fast WRs, and worked my way down the field.

It's a little hard to believe they are eliminated from the championship, after playing them against the Pinks. But hey, that's how Exhibition Season 1 rolls.

That officially eliminates the Pinks. Now it's down to the Purples and Blues. Frankly, unless the Purples get completely blown out here, they get in. The Purples are 3-1 now with the Blues at 3-2. The Blues have a +2 point differential while the Purples are currently sitting at +37.

I think it's safe to pencil them in.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:36 PM   #83
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In the last game of the regular season, the Purples took on the Pinks.

This was a surprisingly ugly game. I had assumed the Purples would roll over the Pinks, but they barely pulled it out 14-7. Not much offense on either side. There was one section of the game where both teams traded '3 and outs' about 6 times before someone got a first down. Just plain ugly. Honestly, I was pretty happy when it was over.

However, the Exhibition Season 1 title game is set! Greens vs Purples.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:17 PM   #84
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We made it to the championship of Exhibition Season 1! After it all shook out, the final game is between the Greens and the Purples. The Greens were 5-0 with the Purples going 4-1. The lone Purples loss was to the Greens in week 3 42-35.

The engine went through a lot of refinement over the season. I think we ended up in a good spot, which allowed me to get through the rest of the season pretty quickly, and with few engine changes.

On to the game!
  • Purples kick off to Urquhart, who quickly gets tackled. .... uh oh.
  • Greens try to move the ball on the ground, and end up with a quick 3 and out.
  • Purples get the ball, and rely on their running game all the way down the field for a TD! oh no, we're in trouble.
  • Urquhart takes the kickoff and houses it! We're back in it!
  • We shift to a zone defense to contain the run, and force the Purples to a 3 and out.
  • Urquhart gets tackled quickly on the PR. grrrrr.....
  • Since running didn't work, we take advantage of WR Jarmon's speed and go to a quick passing game. It pays off as we drive down the field and score! 14-7 Greens
  • I'm sticking with the zone blitz defense to stop the running game. The Purples are going to have to throw if they want to win. It doesn't work. The Purples QB had happy feet and tries to run the ball instead of being patient. 3 and out.
  • Nice return by Urquhart, but he gets tackled around midfield. He made a sick juke between two free defender that I really wish I had on video!
  • Purples shift to a zone to try and contain Jarmon. It works, but my dink and dunk offense slowly marches down the field until we find WR Martindale in a hole on the zone. He makes a nice catch and stretches over the goal line for a TD. 21-7
  • The Purples completely give up on the pass and dedicate themselves to the run. The Greens just have too much team speed to throw on. 10 plays later they reach paydirt. 21-14
  • Urquhart gets tackled on the KR by the first guy down.
  • Jarmon beats the zone deep over the middle on the first play for a TD! 28-14
  • On the Purples drive, we make a mistake on 3rd and short, and try a man-blitz. The Purples block it easily and break the run for a TD. 28-21
  • Urquhart gets tackled on the KR by the first guy down. again.
  • We hit another deep pass to Jarmon (in double coverage). I think I got a little cocky because I tried to hit the homerun on the next 3 plays, and get forced into a punt.
  • Purples are backed up inside their own 10. I had some pretty good run defense, and was making the Purples work for their first downs. Then the Purples RB broke my Safety's ankles with a crazy juke, and broke it for a long TD run. 28-28
  • Urquhart gets tackled on the KR by the second guy down. COME ON MAN!!!!!
  • I'm playing tight now. Calling a lot of safe plays as we slowly march down the field. Eventually, Jarmon breaks free on a crossing route and turns it upfield for a TD! 35-28
  • Purples need to score on this drive. The end of the game is coming up pretty soon. They have a 4th and 2.3 near midfield....... they have to go for it. Bread and butter play, power sweep to the left....
  • ...
  • ugh. We give up 10 on that play. Drive alive.
  • NOO!!! We have the RB bottled up in the backfield for a big loss, when he spins and runs back across the pile in the other direction to wide open field. TD. 35-35
  • We went over 75 plays, so next score wins.
  • Urquhart gets the kick and makes the first guy miss. He weaves his way through the blocks and breaks into the open field!! YES!! YES!! YE-
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • Urquhart got caught from behind!!!! WHAT? That can't happen!
  • Urquhart gets stopped at the 6. ok, 6 yards. we can do that.
  • Power left for 2 yards. Ball on the 4.
  • Off tackle right for 3. Ball on the 1.5.
  • Dive. Loss of 0.3. 4th and goal on the 1.8
  • o...m....g...
  • I don't trust the OL in power situations, so I'm calling a quick slant to Jarmon. Besides, the Purples are selling out on the run.
  • He's open! The throw is away! Batted down by the CB.
  • Purples have the ball on the 1.8
  • Maybe we can end this on a safety. Afterall, the Purples won a game on a safety.
  • We're sending the house.
  • We get to the RB in the end zone, and then he breaks the tackle and scampers up the sideline to reach the 20. Grrrr....
  • 8 plays later, we end up forcing a punt near midfield!
  • Urquhart catches it at the 11 and........ gets tackled by the first gunner. COME ON!!!!!
  • F this. We sub out Martindale and put Urquhart in. If we're going down, it's with Urquhart and Jarmon flying all over the field.
  • Urquhart is open on a deep cross, and Thurber fires it.... about 8 yards overthrown. NO!!!! It gets picked off by the Purples safety! Turnover!
  • 7 plays of power right, toss left, and the Purples work their way down the short field for a TD.
Purples win the Exhibition Season 1 Championship 42-35.

I'm a little sad my Greens didn't pull it off, but it was a pretty fun game. Overall, I think the biggest problem with the engine right now is speed. Everything else looks like it might be pretty good. Shrinking the field might be a good idea, too. I'll have to look into that for Ex Season 2.

Here's the final TD.

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Old 09-29-2017, 06:10 PM   #85
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The prep for Exhibition Season 2 is cruising along! Iíve cleaned up a lot of the bugs found in Ex1 and Iíve started putting some serious time into special teams. Thereís a lot to be done here. Kick returns were being brought back for TD at an alarming rate, special teams defenders had almost no chance against decent blocking, and the punt return team had all the discipline of a box of kittens. It also become pretty obvious we need field goals.

Iím going to spend the next few days concentrating on special teams. Hereís the priority list of what needs to happen:
  1. Add field goals. Iíve already got most of the field goal stuff working. The offensive and defensive plays both work, and the scoring gets updated as it should. I still have to add the ability to block FGs and fine-tune the kicker skill effect. Right now a 100 rated kicker will regularly hit 65 yard FGs, while a 1 rated kicker will have a hard time with extra points. Seems reasonable, but I need to make sure it feels right in-game.
  2. Fix punts. Thereís something off with punt return blocking and coverage. It just looks weird. I also realized I never adjusted punting for kicker skill. That has to get fixed, too. While Iím at it, Iíll add in the ability to block punts.
  3. Fine-tune kick returns. Kick returns are pretty good, but Urquhart is way too effective. I think the problem is the coverage unitís ability to break off blocks. If I can get them to break off blocks a little better, we should see more free defenders to attempt to catch Urquhart. If he still houses kickoffs, well thatís on the defenseÖ

After the special teams overhaul is done, I can move on to the new play calling interface. From there, I should be able to tackle the draft screens and then itís off to Ex2!
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:25 AM   #86
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Before we get into the play calling stuff, itís been a while since Iíve logged progress so there are a few things to catch up on.

Special teams needed the most work, coming out of Exhibition Season 1. I really made an effort not to call Ďgood enoughí on the special teams upgrades until Iíd be happy with them being included in the final game. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I think I finally got there.
  1. Fieldgoals. I finished up field goals and made sure kicker skill mattered. Kicker skill is used to determine max FG distance and accuracy. I played around with this a lot, and I like the scale where a 100 rated kicker should be able to hit a 65 yarder while a 1 rated kickerís max range ends up being an extra point +1 yard. If thereís a missed FG, the ball is turned over at the LOS. (I never really liked the rule where itís the spot of the kick.) Also, the blocking went through a few iterations but I like where it landed. I started with a run-blocking style system, but it didnít really look right. Pass blocking was weird because the line spread out too much as defenders were trying to get through. In the end, I was able to manipulate the pass rushing and pass blocking systems to look for a point 1 yard in front of the kick spot, as if it was the QB. That seemed to work pretty well, and the FG units look pretty damn good.
  2. Punts. The punt coverage and return blocking didnít just look off, it actually was wrong. There were a couple bugs in the punt gunner AI and in the punt return blocker AI. Now the gunners will try to fight past the blocker at the line instead of just giving up and getting blocked. The deep punt return blocker will also look for a block instead of running off in a random weird direction. (that was a strange one) I also updated the punting to take kicker skill into account. It works basically the same way the FG system does. 100 rated kickers will be able to punt the ball 65+ yards while the 1 rated punters will be able to rip off amazing 10-12 yard punts. Thereís also a little bit more of a departure from NFL/NCAA rules when it comes to the punting game. I made a few changes to keep the game interesting. (mostly to reduce annoying turnovers and pointless breakaway TDs)
    • Any punt that isnít fielded cleanly, is downed where it hit the ground. No weird fumble rules or picking up the ball at the last second to run past the defenders. Itís just down and you go on offense to earn your points.
    • Any punt that lands on the ground in the endzone is a touchback. I was initially going to call it a safety and use punting as an offensive weapon, but it ended up being dumb. The game flow felt better when it was a touchback and you just went on offense.
    • If you field a punt in the endzone and get tackled in the endzone, itís a safety. I kept this part of the offensive punting system because it actually happened to me, and it was pretty exciting. I canít think of a lot of times where youíd punt into the endzone instead of kicking a FG, but itís there. Maybe if you were just on the edge of FG range and werenít confident in your defense, but had a couple really great special-teamers? Anyway, it adds to the fun of the game, so itís staying in.
    • A blocked punt is down where it lands. (could be a safety) The defense canít return blocked punts for a TD. I think blocking the punt is enough. I always hated seeing the defenders get a free run at the endzone after a block/recovery.
  3. Kickoffs. Kickoffs have also had kicker skill implemented. 100 rated kickers can hit the endzone while 1 rated kickers can get the ball to go 10-15 yards. I also played with the blocking/defense and couldnít find the sweet spot. Kick returning is my best looking play, so I didnít want to mess with it too much. What I ended up doing is shrinking the field. I had an idea Iíd eventually end up doing this, but I put it off until I was really sure. I was hoping Iíd get to use the pre-made stadium and field assets in the asset store, but the NFL size field just isnít going to work. Luckily, I have a lot of modeling classes over the last/next few months, so I should be able to do it myself. I ended up going with an 80 yard field (plus 10 for each endzone) and 45 yards wide. So far, it seems to work great! The slightly narrower field is making it harder to find open space, while not making it feel ďoffĒ. Urquhart is still able to house kicks, but they look far more impressive than before. If he takes one back, itís because he (mostly his blocking) have really earned it.
  4. Smaller field. I put the smaller field in place mainly for kickoffs, but itís working great for normal play. Breakaway plays donít feel as long or annoying as before. Also, defenders donít have as much field to cover so they make more plays. Overall, itís going in the right direction. Eventually getting stadiums and nice looking fields is going to be more work, but itís going to be worth it,.
On to play calling!

I set up the new play calling system to be able to work with the upcoming coaches system. The basic idea is that you have to hire a coach for your team, and that coach comes with a playbook. The only control you have over which plays you get, is who you hire as a coach. The reason I use this system is because I want each team to have different style of play. I can control style of play by limiting what is in each teamís playbook. As an example, my Greens team is going to probably have a wide-open passing attack while the Purples might rely more on screens. Iím sure the Blues will just run the ball.

Having limited access to plays isnít enough. The CPU teams need to know which plays work in which situations. They also need to know if a play hasnít been very effective, and call that one less often. In order to do that, I need to link the plays themselves to the coach AI in some way. The most effective way I could think of was to have the coach AI own its individual playbook. Each coach would be able to track the effectiveness of each play. Each AI coach could also tailor their roster management to the plays in the playbook, so they are able to build effective rosters. As the player, youíll do the same thing. I imagine the system will start to create interesting roster and coach management choices. Do you take the star RB in the draft, even though you have a pass-heavy playbook? Do you fire your coach and get a new one to take advantage of the RB? Do you skip him and take a less talented player who fits your scheme better? That sounds like fun to me!

So thatís how the system is designed. The output of all that is a playbook thatís limited to 40 offensive plays and 40 defensive plays. (not counting special teams) Thatís all you get. Most coaches wonít have 40 of each, but thatís the max. Iíve started implementing the interface, and it seems to work pretty well.



I know Iím really button-heavy right now, but I am doing everything I can to avoid sliders. I absolutely hate sliders. They cause far more problems than they solve. However, that means I need to get creative about my button usage. Kind of the same way the depth chart is evolving, I expect this will get refined as we go. The basic design seems to work, though. The individual play buttons donít have anything but the play name on them. I toyed with the idea of putting the personnel package on the button, but scrapped it because it took up too much space. Instead, when you click on the play button it immediately is drawn on-field. You can cycle through all the plays you want until you see one you like, then you have to click the ďCall PlayĒ button to commit to it. Before you click that button, you can browse as much as you want. You can also toggle the player names and depth chart position if you want. (the N button)

Right now you have the ability to change your depth chart at the play calling screen, but I think Iím going to remove that before Exhibition Season 3. I want to avoid the tactic of moving your 1 stud WR around on every play, just so you donít have to develop any depth. Iíll mess around with it over the next season to be sure, though.

One thing I hadnít anticipated when implementing play calling is the amount of work a game is now. I have to do a lot of clicks to call both the offense and defense. Thatís super annoying. Before we hit Ex2, I really want to get some basic CPU play calling AI in place. Thereís no way I have the patience to call plays for both teams all season.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:31 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
The campaign mode would get awfully complex -- the need to account for not only skill development but actual physical growth at a considerably larger scale than needed for higher levels/older players, just for one thing -- but seeing the players laid out more as athletes (that you had to determine how to utilize) instead of players with fairly well-defined positions/roles, it fit perfectly with a discussion I had a few days ago about how one of the real challenges at small/medium sized high schools (think: rosters of 30-60 players) was figuring out how to allocate talent to each side of the ball*. Then on top of that, how much/how little to use players on both sides of the ball once their primary roles are set. It's not unusual to have your best QB also be your most capable LB and no worse than your second best RB ... but at the price of fatigue, increased injury risk, and diminished practice time.

It'd be one helluva expansive model to get right, but your basic concept seems like it would lend itself to tackling the problem.

*my HS alma mater is currently averaging around 40 ppg through four games ... but giving up nearly 45 ppg, which would be the worst scoring defense in the 60 year history, by a fair margin. Basically the offense has all the experienced players and most of the talent, the defense is playing as many as nine Fr/So at a time, the tradeoffs are rather obvious.

Just to follow up on this. I've been planning the next projects and my development cycle lately, and I think the idea of doing a HS version has real promise! As of right now, I'm going to plan on following this project up with a HS version, instead of moving to a college version. I'll fill the gap between the regen3 project and the HS project with a college game sometime later.

I can think of so many interesting things that a HS game brings to team management, that I just can't wait to get cracking on it!
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:12 PM   #88
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Quick update:

The last thing I need to finish up before kicking off Exhibition Season 2 is almost done!

Coaches, playbooks, and AI playcalling has been implemented. (more on that in another post) I've also finished up a lot of the game flow stuff, so I only need to worry about my own team during games. That's really going to let me focus in on exactly what I'm calling and how it works out on the field.

I decided to hold off on the in-game draft screens until Ex Season 3 or Regular Season 1. It's not necessary for what I'm trying to accomplish this season, so it's not really worth holding up the season for it.

I'm a little stuck on draft pool generation right now. It just isn't looking right. We're not getting the right balance between star players, good players, and scrubs. I think I'm going to have to sleep on this, and tackle it again in the morning.

Hopefully we'll get to start the draft sometime this week.

#GoGreens!
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:08 PM   #89
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Öand just like that, weíre officially ready to kick off Exhibition Season 2!

Exhibition Season 1 was focused on making the game engine work correctly. Now the engine is working pretty well, and plays a pretty entertaining (and believable) brand of football. Exhibition Season 2 is going to be focused on moving from simulating a single play, to simulating full games.

Here are the specific items I want to accomplish this season:
  • Have the game situations controlled so the entire game flows in a logical way.
  • Have basic CPU AI in place so I only need to control my team for the whole game
  • Start implementing animations for the different player movements
  • Have all the in-game interface screens and indicators implemented
  • Update the camera so it works for all situations
  • Finalize the ratings balance
  • Finalize the in-game player AI
  • Have at least 3x more plays than right now
All of this is leading to the final exhibition season where we move from full games, to the league as a whole. If I can come out of Exhibition Season 2 with the game engine pretty much locked down, it shouldnít be too hard to get the league-wide stuff completed in a reasonable time after that.

As before, Iíll try to limit my programming time between games to 3 days. If something is going to take longer than that to implement, Iíll try to break it up or move it to the offseason.

So with that, on to Ex2!

Most of our teams are back from last season, with the exception of the Pinks. Frankly, they were embarrassing. The Pinks have been replaced with the Oranges, who will lead off the draft with the #1 overall pick. We have a completely new draft pool, except for 1 playerÖ

Thatís right, Urquhart is back. 🙂

I made sure to add a section in the player generation code to preserve my favorite player(s) from each season. Urquhart will have all his key ratings exactly preserved, but will have the opportunity to gain (or lose) points in his other skills. I donít know exactly what heís going to look like yet, but heís going to be 99 rated in KR and keep his 412 speed.

Hereís the draft order (in reverse standing from Ex1)

Oranges: The Oranges come in with a focus on offensive and defensive line excellence. They are going to draft for line.
Reds: The Reds will draft for defense again. It didnít help them much last season, but maybe the changes to the engine will make a difference.
Yellows: The Yellows have slightly shifted strategy from balance to Best-Player-Available. Usually BPA is going to be the same as the most balanced, though.
Blues: The Blues will draft offense again. They did ok last season, but itís going to be interesting how effective it is now.
Greens: My team. Iíll just go by gut feel again.
Purples: Since it worked last season, why change a good thing? The Purples are going to try and draft unique engine-breaking players and special teams.

I should have the draft file ready by tomorrow. Itís go time!
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:23 AM   #90
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Itís draft day! ok, actually the draft is already over, but hereís how it went, pick-by-pick. (with the results spreadsheet)

Results Spreadsheet

Round 1
  1. Oranges: With the top pick in the draft, the Oranges have a choice between 98 rated DL Cyril Provencher and 99 rated OL Bennie Murphey. The next best OL is rated 89, while there are 2 DL rated above 90 after Provencher. However, both these top guys are speed specialists and donít have much strength. In the end, the elite pass blocking potential of Murphey wins out and the Oranges select him with the #1 overall. He wonít help in the run game, but he should be able to lock anyone up in pass protection.
  2. Reds: It looks like DL is the most skilled position on the defensive side of the ball, and the Reds love the top 2 prospects. Provencher is an elite pass rusher, but 93 rated DL Billie Enoch is an elite run stopper. Provencherís potential to disrupt the passing game is what tips the scales. They take him with the #2.
  3. Yellows: The Yellows are scouring for BPA. None of the offensive skill positions have been taken yet, and there are some stars there. The top 2 QB are 95 and 92, there are 2 97 rated RBs and a 94 rated speedster, and thereís a 91 rated WR who has good speed. The problem is that none of these guys are 2-way players. Thereís a sweet RB/WR/DL later in the draft, but heís not worth the #3. The top RB Jacob Rooker might be the most talented offensive player in the league, and he can play just enough safety that he might crack the defensive lineup (46 rating). The Yellows take 97 rated RB Rooker.
  4. Blues: They donít mess around. The Blues quickly grab the top QB and run. 95 rated pure pocket passer Nick Melo.
  5. Greens: I really want to grab a legit skill position, but the Purples are picking back to back and thereís no possible way Urquhart makes it to me in the 2nd round. GrrrrrÖÖ. Unfortunately, this is probably a bad pick because he didnít gain any other skills in the offseason. In fact, he lost all his WR ability. Heís rated 44 at CB, so maybe heíll be a CB3? The only other possible option is start him as a 33 rated QB. Ouch. We take KR Urquhart with the #5.
  6. Purples: The Purples wouldnít have taken Urquhart with this pick. The #2 QB is rated 84, has a 421 speed, and a 92 for scrambling. Thatís a game-breaker if Iíve ever seen one. They take QB Jeremiah Ries with the last pick in the 1st round.

Round 2
  1. Purples: Coming back around, it turns out that the Purples wouldnít have taken Urquhart here either. L Thereís a LB unicorn that is too interesting for them to pass up. The 2nd LB is rated 81 but has a 405 speed. (The max game speed is 425) Thatís elite WR/CB speed in a LB. This should be interesting. The Purples take LB Kirk Hills.
  2. Greens: I really liked that LB. I probably could have waited to grab Urquhart until my 3rd rounder. Oh wellÖ. My best options are the last star QB (92), one of the 2 star RB (97 and 94), the only star WR (91), or someone on the line. This draft is pretty deep on line, so I think I need to grab a skill position. I donít love the WR or QB talent after the top guys so it might be hard to build a full passing game. Iíll take the safe route and pick the speedster RB (94-408) Winston Dunaway. I can use him in a lot of different ways.
  3. Blues: They took a QB in the 1st so it only makes sense to grab the lone WR star. Erin Dutcher (91-389)
  4. Yellows: There are a lot of 1-dimensional players at the top of the board, so itís hard to find the right fit here. However, Yellows ownership notice a guy a little farther down the board thatís perfect. While not elite in anything, Burt Putnam is top-5 in 5 different positions! (QB/RB/WR/DL/ST) He also has respectable speed (352). Thatís a nice fit.
  5. Reds: The Reds canít believe that DL Billie Enoch (93) is still on the board! They take him and have the best pass rusher and the best run stopper in the draft
  6. Oranges: That last pick really burns the Oranges. GrrrÖ.. The last elite DL is close, but not quite Enochís level. Still, quite a bargain to find elite run stopping late in the 2nd. DL Brian Morley (91).

Round 3
  1. Oranges: Both OL and DL could start to get pretty thin in a couple rounds. The next few guys up on the OL and on the DL lists are fairly close in talent. The top DL left has an edge because he can play a little OL if it comes to that. Oranges take another run stuffing DL Angel Smalls (86)
  2. Reds: Reds are pretty good at DL for now and shift their attention to other positions. The top prospects are LB Billy Grove (81), CB Jason Hershberger (90), S Kyle Correa (90) and S Glen Silva (88). Silva and Grove are by far the fastest guys out of this group, so it comes down to them. Silva ends up being the pick.
  3. Yellows: The Yellows are looking for high-end talent that can play multiple positions, and thereís only 1 of those left. S Kyle Correa might not be the most electric runner, (257) but heís savvy. He also is the 2nd best KR in the league at 96. The Yellows hope his quick decision making is a difference maker.
  4. Blues: The Blues have the top QB and WR. They make it a clean sweep by taking the top rated RB (97) Morris Noah.
  5. Greens: I missed out on my favorite LB, but I can grab the next best thing. LB Billy Grove (81) isnít as fast as Hills, but Grove can play a little WR. I might need that, the way the draft is shaping up.
  6. Purples: The Purples are going to load up on special teams here. Thereís not a ton of talent in the pool, and they donít want the pesky Greens to snap any more of it up. They grab the top K (92) Francesco Stoll.

Round 4
  1. Purples: The Purples come back around the grab the speedy ST specialist Isidro Ivory (94-419). He can also play a decent game of CB (74).
  2. Greens: We laugh at the Purples! Thereís no way we would have taken either of those guys in the next 2 picks! (well, maybe IvoryÖ) We need to cover our investment in RB Dunaway by getting him some blocking. We grab a pretty good balanced OL (86) with legit ST skills. (89). Hiram Hylton.
  3. Blues: The Blues have leaded up on skill positions, but need some blocking. They grab the top OL left (89) Luigi Testa.
  4. Yellows: The Yellows make a bit of a reach and grab another 5-way player in RB/WR/OL/DL/ST Harley Lumpkin
  5. Reds: The Reds took a long look at CB Hershberger (90) last round, and are happy to see him still on the board. Thatís the pick.
  6. Oranges: The 3rd rated OL is still on the board, so this is an easy pick for the Oranges. OL Augustine Bigler (87).

Round 5
  1. Oranges: The oranges probably could stand pat with the OL and DL they have right now. They have 2 star DL, 2 star OL, and one serviceable OL. It looks like they still might be vulnerable against the run with only 2 DL, so they fill that hold with another run stuffer Tommie Macmillan (79). Now they are dominant on the DL.
  2. Reds: The Reds canít pass up an opportunity to have to two most skilled CB in the draft (by quite a margin). They take CB Reginald Paulk (88)
  3. Yellows: The Yellows find another gem in WR/DL/CB/K/ST Dominique Cofield. He even has legit speed.
  4. Blues: The Blues start to make the other teamsí defensive coordinators nervous by taking another fast and skilled WR. While not the top WR left on the board, heís by far the fastest. WR (74-354) Carmelo Alford.
  5. Greens: Ugh! I wanted that guy to fall for a couple more rounds. He looked like a gem. I might as well load up on run blocking. Letís commit to the running game! OL Kelly Jamerson (82).
  6. Purples: Purples find another special teams star in ST (97) Robt Word. He also happens to have massive strength. Should help out the return game a lot.

Round 6
  1. Purples: Speaking of the return game, the Purples have yet to select a returner! They take KR (95) Rich Mosley.
  2. Greens: Thereís really only 1 more high-end run blocker left, so I might as well get that taken care of. OT (83) Anthony Lo. Now we can move on to other things. The running game is set.
  3. Blues: The Blues need to round out their offense with line now. They take OL (84) Foster Dressler
  4. Yellows: They Yellows find another multi-skill player to fill line positions on both sides of the ball. They take OL/DL/K Andrea Fix
  5. Reds: The Reds biggest hole on the defense is at LB now. They fill that hole by drafting #3 rated LB (78) Mark Henshaw
  6. Oranges: The Oranges could have made it through the season with the OL3 (52) they have right now, but there is still OL talent out there. They fill the last line position with OL (80) Forrest Haggard

Round 7
  1. Oranges: Now that all 6 positions of the line are full, the Oranges need to fill every other position with the remaining 6 picks. Ouch. They are going to need a few multi-skill players, or just deal with subpar talent. Thereís a decent WR (78) who can play S (70). Thereís also a serviceable LB (64) / QB (60). In the end, they probably make things worse by taking the #2 QB in the draft, who is amazingly still on the board. They take QB (92) Doug Keith, who now has something to prove against every other team in the league.
  2. Reds: The Reds have filled out most of the defensive starters. They could use a S2, LB2, and a DL3, but should probably look to fill some other positions. If they can find an offensive player with a 50ish rating on defense, that should be good enough. They already have 2 guys who can fill in at WR and one OL, so thatís a good start. WR (78) Alonzo Stringfellow is a nice WR who also would make an excellent 2nd safety (70). They grab him and fill 2 spots.
  3. Yellows: The Yellows need OL, LB, CB help. Saul Mohler looks like a good fit. He can play OL (62) and LB (53) and is as strong as a dump truck.
  4. Blues: The Blues need to look at the defense now. Luckily, there is some talent left. They grab S (85) Moshe Mercado
  5. Greens: We sold out on the running game, so now weíre kind of in a hole with the rest of our roster. I think weíre in ďmost talented playerĒ mode right now. Thereís an athletic multi-position player that looks like a good fit. We take the speedy CB(71)/S(65) Lou Kersey, and weíll see where he fits later.
  6. Purples: The Purples really need line help. They take the best lineman with the highest ST rating. OL (64) Nathan Bartz with ST (82)

Round 8
  1. Purples: They follow that pick up with DL (62) Danial Gall with ST (73)
  2. Greens: Oh boy, I almost took a kicker here. J We find another talented specialist in the defensive secondary. Weíre going to pay for this with incredibly weak depth, but we take CB (78) Sherman Toner.
  3. Blues: The Blues grab a starter at LB (73) Normand Nutter
  4. Yellows: They grab the top CB left on the board. (72) Mikel Spires
  5. Reds: They grab the most talented offensive player left. RB (74) Wally Pennell
  6. Oranges: Oranges grab WR (81) Courtney Soper to help out their new angry QB. Soper is pretty dang slow, but he should be reliable.

Round 9
  1. Oranges: Oranges also grab WR(71) Fritz Grayson. Heís a lot faster than Soper and should help the Oranges capitalize on the lucky QB pick.
  2. Reds: The Reds are mad right now. The Oranges WR Soper was also the top QB on the board. Now the Reds have to take QB (60) Rick Mccowan before someone snaps him up to play LB (61).
  3. Yellows: Yellows grab another solid OL (62) Dalton Camp
  4. Blues: Blues grab DL (68) Antone Kiger
  5. Greens: Guess who the last team to look for a QB isÖ L The top QB left is rated 46, so thereís really no point now. I didnít think Mccowan would go. The Soper pick kind of messed everything up. UghÖ. I take K(68) Andreas Dickenson and hop my running game + kicking gets me through.
  6. Purples: Not a lot of pure talent on the board, so the Purples stay true to form and draft for ST. They take ST (83) Kraig Hazlett

Round 10
  1. Purples: They follow that up with ST (78) / WR (68) Grant Beals
  2. Greens: 3 picks left. As it turns out, my 4th rounder OL Hylton can play a little QB. I donít love that, but it give me options. I still need: QB1.5, WR1, WR2, OL2.5, DL1, DL2, S1. O.M.G. Thereís an ok run blocking OL on the board I could take and play Hylton at QB. Thereís an ok run stopping DL. Safety looks like garbage, so thatís out. Iím going to grab OL (58) Clint Venable and see if I can get some QB flexibility with the next pick.
  3. Blues: DL (66) Deangelo Montero
  4. Yellows: LB(64) / CB (68) Moshe Acuna
  5. Reds: OL (51) Shaun Garza
  6. Oranges: LB(51) Jamal Cornejo

Round 11
  1. Oranges: ST (76) Kelley Steed
  2. Reds: K (50) Jerry Zuber
  3. Yellows: S (62) Lionel Fontaine
  4. Blues: 4-pos player Johnathon Jacob
  5. Greens: We reach WAAAAAAY deep and take QB (12) Earl Christopherson. He has no skills, but he has a speed of 395 and a scramble rating of 76. If my OL-at-QB experiment doesnít work, I can always go to the option!
  6. Purples: ST (70) Doyle Bloomer

Round 12
  1. Purples : Randall Messick
  2. Greens: Bret Troyer . Nothing special, just the fastest guy left.
  3. Blues: Dewey Houser
  4. Yellows: Chet Peel
  5. Reds: Elliot Schaffer
  6. Oranges: Colby Kimball
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:30 PM   #91
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As we head into the second exhibition season, itís probably a good idea for me to get down all the things Iíve noticed about the game and process. Iíve found myself looking over old posts a lot lately, to see what I was thinking. Iím sure Iíll come back to this one before too long.

Ex2 Draft: This is the last time I do an offline draft. Itís a huge pain in the butt! Itís hard to put yourself in the mind of each teamís GM and pick players like they would, while still being totally invested in your own team. (not to mention the logistics of getting it all into the game) By the later rounds my attention was starting to wane, and I made some bad picks for the Greens. Iím going to make sure the in-engine draft is set up before the next exhibition season.

The Greens Roster and Play Creation: My team sucks. I should have a legit running game (and Urquhart), but my passing game is going to be embarrassing and I have almost no defense. That being said, it gives me a real incentive to create new plays. Almost all my plays so far have been made for the Ex1 Greens so they are based around a spread offense. Now that I have the opposite, I have a reason to start developing the power running game and the screen game playbooks. Itís already making a difference with the game engine. I uncovered a bunch of bugs with the way OL pull out for screen passes, and how the QB AI breaks down on designed roll-out plays. I never would have been as focused on those details if my entire offense wasnít going to be based around the run and screen passes. Iím going to bet that Iíll get a lot closer look at punting, too. 🙁

College Draft: That needs to happen soon. Itís funny, but I canít help but look at my team and think ďIím going to take a QB #1 in next yearís draftÖ.. oh crap. Thereís no daft.Ē Itís weird to be looking forward to something I havenít started planning yet. I think that just means it needs to happen soon.

Keeping it Simple: Iím having a hard time with scope-creep in the engine. I have to continually remind myself that this is a 1st generation game, and I shouldnít try to cram every AAA-quality feature into it that I can. I need to focus on getting the core game experience right, and then I can add the frills. Keep repeating thatÖÖÖ

The Depth Chart Interface: I love it. 🙂 The usability is awesome. I bring it up a lot during testing to swap players around, and itís really easy. However, itís not going to be intuitive for a new player. Iíll have to figure out how to deal with that. It makes perfect sense to me that you click on a player, and then click on the position you want to swap him into. I can see how that might be hard to understand the first few times you play, though.

The Playcalling Interface: ÖÖ..eh. I like the idea, but the execution isnít working for me. Not sure exactly whatís wrong, but itís kind of ďstressfulĒ. I have to find a way to capture some of the depth chart feel.

Defense: I fear there are still holes in the defensive AI, specifically when it comes to defending the screen pass and outside runs. ugh! Thatís frustrating.

Player ĎPlatformsí: I almost decided to take them away (again) because it seems to ďgameyĒ. Frankly, itís kind of dumb to have guys running all over the field, but then also have them stuck to plastic game piece platforms. That being said, I donít know that I want the game to be realistic. Maybe I need to commit to the concept and start pushing the realism closer towards the ridiculous? Just abandon the whole idea that these might be real players. Donít even pretend thereís the possibility, and just embrace that these are game pieces. On the other hand, that kind of messes up the whole point of a football league. Maybe the best idea is somewhere in the middle. Keep the players as real players, but use the platforms as an implied ďaugmented realityĒ view of the game. I kind of like that idea, but Iím still not sure how it works. Presentation is coming later in the development plan, but I might as well start thinking about it now.
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Old 10-16-2017, 01:44 PM   #92
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So we played the first game of the Ex2 season, and.....well...... I'm not so sure it went real well.

Overall, it was nice not to have to call the CPU plays. The game itself flowed a lot better. It was also nice to see how the engine runs with completely different players. That being said... Urquhart broke the game.

3 KR for 108 yds and 1 TD, 9 PR for 404 yds and 6 TD.

yikes.

Frankly, that's why I kept him in the league. I need to make sure freaks of nature don't completely break the engine.....and he broke it.

I'n not 100% sure what to do about this. It could be a matter of the Oranges ST being so crappy. I've been testing my updates against the Purples team, and I don't see anything close to this. It was just sad to watch the Oranges try to catch Urquhart. I wanted to cry for their dignity.

There was also the problem of the Oranges offense. We ended up winning the game 65-7. They have a top-2 QB and the best OL, but couldn't manage even the slightest bit of offense. The WRs couldn't get open, and that was pretty much the end of it. That's really not acceptable.

I'm going to see what I can do with the punt coverage and offense before the next game. If I can't get Urquhart under control, and get more reliable offense from WR-poor teams, we might have to call a false-start on Ex2 and make some more engine adjustments before trying again.
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:16 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenCrest Games View Post
3 KR for 108 yds and 1 TD

Either that yardage is a typo OR those were some normal kick returns with one medium/long one for a TD.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:04 PM   #94
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The kick returns were ok, it was the punt returns that were alarming. The Oranges had no chance on punt coverage.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:31 AM   #95
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Ever have one of those "OMG I'm dumb!" moments?

I've been dissecting the punt coverage code and can't find anything I want to change. I really like how it's set up. Then I took a look at the players to try a few things....

The Oranges have an embarrassingly bad special teams roster.

So I started down the road of trying to figure out how to make ridiculously bad ST be able to cover punts against a team who invested a lot into ST, when it occurred to me. Why the hell would I do that? If you don't invest in special teams, you should pay for it. That being said, we can't have teams giving up 6 punt return TDs a game. Then it dawned on me. There's actually such a simple option, that I feel dumb for not thinking of it sooner.

Why not just punt the ball out of bounds?

Ugh. If I'm the Oranges coach, I'm obviously not going to kick the ball to Urquhart every time. I'm also not going to go for it on 4th every time. I'll be kicking that damn ball as far out of bounds as I possibly can, and just take the poor punt distance.

I should have this implemented within the hour, so we're back on track!
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:38 AM   #96
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I should have known that the success in Exhibition Season 1 was too good to be true.

I made a bunch of adjustments to address the punt return issue and the "slow WR" issue, and replayed the game against the Oranges. Still a blowout, but a little more realistic. My log of items to fix got pretty long during the game, though.

Before diving into the fix-log, I played the Reds. I just wanted to be sure what I was seeing was real, and not just because of the Oranges. The list got even longer.

UGH!

I think the new player pool is exposing a lot of things I didn't see in Ex1. Some of the heavy-hitters are:
  1. Slow WRs are completely useless. Seems to make sense that you don't want a slow WR, but the way the engine works right now he can't ever get open. That's not what I wanted.
  2. QBs rated lower than 70 are all basically garbage. There's no real difference between my scrambling QB (20) and my OL/QB (64). They both can't even complete a screen pass reliably.
  3. OL is still at a disadvantage. It seems like the best an O-line can hope for is a stalemate. They never have the advantage.
  4. Almost all plays are either no-gain or a breakaway TD. You don't have any sustained drives.

I'm not going to waste any more time trying to get Ex2 to work. I'll just use the player pool to try and balance the engine again, and then see where we end up. I'm going to give myself a week to fix everything. After that I'll generate another player pool and see if the engine holds up. If it does, we'll have to see if Ex2 still makes sense, or if we start preparing for Ex3 instead.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:03 PM   #97
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There's a small chance I was being overly dramatic in my last update.

I put quite a few bonus keyboard hours in since then, and I think I have everything sorted out. Here are the heavy-hitters:

Slow WRs being useless: Even in Ex1, slow WRs were kind of useless. I thought I'd made enough changes to the engine so that it's possible to have a highly skilled slow WR be effective. It didn't work at all. The Oranges have a skilled slow WR crew and they couldn't do a thing. What I ended up doing was rethinking how I handle WR skill. I've tried a bunch of things to model WR skill, but they haven't been working very well. Now I'm using something I call "coverage radius" to model the difference between WR skill.

I'm assuming that any WR, no matter the skill, can run routes. What separates the good WRs from the bad ones is the ability to catch. Specifically, the great ones can catch in traffic.



This is a good visual. The WR on the left is rated 81, and the one on the right is about 60. The circle around them represents the distance they are considered 'uncovered' for catching calculations. The better WRs will have a much smaller coverage radius than worse ones. This means that a great WR could be covered fairly tightly and still have a high probability of making the catch. A really bad WR will have a lower chance of making the catch if any defenders are around. The net output of this is the ability to catch balls in traffic. Slow WRs with great skill can now catch balls when defenders are around. Bad WRs need to be wide open. The catching calculations also take skill into account, but in a pretty uncomplicated way.

I also implemented decision making time for the defense breaking on the pass. For lower skilled CB/S, they don't break on the ball immediately, and skilled WRs will sometimes get that little extra room.

Breakaway Plays: Still had waaaaaaay too many breakaway plays. I think the player pool for Ex2 made it worse. This one took a lot of experimenting, but the final solution ended up being relatively simple. It has to do with intercept points and decision making.



Here's the Greens RB breaking a run outside and turning upfield. That little yellow sphere is what the Orange player at the top calculated as the intercept point to hit the RB. It's actually correct. There's nothing wrong with that calculation. However, if the Greens player deviates at all from that path, the decision making time of the Orange player could cause him to continue to aim at that yellow sphere for too long. What usually happens then, is that the Orange player ends up aiming at a point behind the Green player and gets into chase mode. That almost always means a breakaway TD. I adjusted the intercept calculation so now the Orange player is aiming at the white sphere 3-5 yards upfield of the actual intercept point. That small change made a huge difference. The Orange player will take a conservative intercept angle until he's within a smaller distance to the Green player, at which point he'll change to the actual intercept point (tackle attempt).

And just like that, breakaway plays are not nearly the problem they were before!

QB Skills: This was easy. I tweaked the accuracy formula and got a better range of accuracy. While I was at it, I monkeyed with the progression reads and made it so highly skilled QBs can read progressions faster, and can cycle through them easily. Bad QBs will struggle to get through the progressions once. (But every QB can read the first progression)

Blocking: Made a lot of updates to the blocking system, and it's looking good now. Power offensive lines can move the DL at a good rate. Speed offensive lines can pass block like crazy. However, both need high OL skill to be effective or the DL will eat them alive.

Special Teams: (the Urquhart problem) The intercept angle update helped this a lot, but I also made changes to special teams coverage/blocking. Coverage players can break off blocks a lot easier now. Also, when the runner passes by, the defender can break free and pursue. This helps on those plays where Urquhart makes a ridiculous weave back through the blocks to get across the field. It always looked cool, but completely unrealistic that nobody hit him.

There were a lot of other small items I had to fix. I ended up taking care of them when I got stuck on these big items. In the end, it looks like Ex2 is still a go!
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:33 AM   #98
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Lots of interesting progress since last time!

Exhibition Season 2: Iím definitely ready to kick off Ex2, but Iíve made a lot of progress on some cool features so the plan is being adjusted. (More on that coming)

Coaches: Hereís where a lot of the recent work went. Frankly, it was a huge pain to call plays for both teams. My laziness cause me to move up the AI coach system from Ex3 to now. At first, I just hacked together a system that would randomly call an offensive or defensive play, just so I didnít have to do it. It quickly became apparent that I still had to call special teams plays for the CPU, or the game would crash. Ok, Iíll just have them call those tooÖ..

In order to do that, I had to put situational awareness into the coach AI. Cool, thatís not hard. Iíll just add some basic situational awareness inÖÖ.

Now it works, but I have to double-check that the CPU isnít calling my really bad plays. (I have some really poorly designed plays). Iíll just remove those from the playbookÖÖ.

Now I donít have enough plays. 🙁 No problem, Iíll just start creating playsÖÖ.

Of course, all the plays are created for the Greens roster. I really donít need to see pocket passers running the QB dive. Now I have to double-check the CPU playcall, which is just as bad as calling it myself. I can fix that, Iíll just have the coach AI keep track of which plays worked and which didnít! Then they can focus on the plays that workÖÖ..

Ok, in order to do that, I need to create a system to track how each play worked during the gameÖ.. and I might as well track over the whole season. Wait, if I want to track over the whole season, I need to be able to save and load that informationÖ. ugh!

*down the rabbit hole we go*

When I came back out of the rabbit hole, the entire AI playcalling system was done!

Which then brings us to the bonus activity and the Ex2 plan. As I was setting up the Ex2 schedule and getting ready to replay the Oranges, a thought occurred to me. I donít really want to play the games for the non-Greens teams. I donít really care who wins between the Yellows and the Reds.

*DING!*

OMG, I already have everything in place for CPU vs CPU games! I just need to make a few changes so the game keeps running when Iím not clicking the buttons.



And there is it. I put all 4 teams on CPU mode and let both games run for 100 plays each. (simultaneously)

I even walked away and got a cup of coffee while it ran! No crashes, no stoppages, and no errors! The first actual CPU-CPU game(s) in regen3 history!!

The purpose of Ex2 was to make sure whole games could be played. Iíd anticipated that it would take all season to get it working, but weíre already there. Ex3 was planned to start rolling this into a league-wide structure, but Iím not quite ready for that yet.

So hereís the new plan:

Ex2 is going to be more like Ex2.5. Iím going to add a couple more teams and regenerate the player pool. Iíll also create a way to do the allocation draft from within the game.

Once thatís done, Iíll kick off Ex2.5. During the season, Iíll finish up all the animation stuff I wanted to do in Ex2, and build the league stuff I wanted to have done in Ex3. Once we get to the end of Ex2.5, weíll see if thereís a need for another exhibition season, or if enough was completed that we can just roll into the first regular* season.

Exciting times!



*The difference between the exhibition seasons and the regular season is history. Once regular seasons start, players and history carry over from one season to the next.
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:58 PM   #99
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Instead of a long-winded explanation of the progress since last time, I thought a screenshot would do.



I've run through the draft a few times from beginning to end with no errors or unexpected happenings, so that's pretty cool. I still have to put draft AI for the different coaches in before the Ex2.5 draft is a go. I'm definitely not drafting for every team again.

I have the system set up so that each coach will have its own style, and won't draft the same way as everyone else. (more on the details when it's completed) I really hope to have it functional by the end of the weekend. It feels like there's about 3 hours of work there. The tough part is finding those 3 hours.
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Old 10-30-2017, 08:31 AM   #100
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Well, I found those hours after all!
  • Draft AI is done
  • Coach draft style system in place
  • Updated player generation to get a better pool of players. (greatly reduce players that don't make sense. ex: 99 rated CB with 10 speed, 90 scramble on QBs with 10 speed, 90+ WR that's also a 90+ OL, etc)
  • Added more teams to the league. (now we're at 10)
  • Figured out how the player uniform texture works, so I can make more!

I want to fine-tune the player value calculation a little before kicking off Ex2.5. I don't imagine this is going to take too long, so we'll probably be ready to draft this week!
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