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Old 04-23-2013, 04:52 PM   #1
Solecismic
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Tracking Artificial Ratings

One feature I've seen with some of the multiplayer leagues is the use of a utility to extract scouted player ratings and track them over time.

The value in this tracking is in identifying the shape of a player's development curve. Players who don't develop at somewhat of a decent rate are likely over-scouted.

But this isn't really a football activity. It's more an artifact of how Front Office Football is designed. Moreover, it could be seen as a cheat, in that the exposed ratings are through the eyes of a different scout. Having multiple views of player ratings is information the game is not designed to handle well.

In future versions, the game data might be better protected, though it seems reasonable to also provide an extraction function for player statistics and basic biographical information.

I'm interested in hearing what veteran multiplayer owners think about the concept of making it very difficult to extract ratings information.

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Old 04-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
MalcPow
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I think the trade-off is weighted pretty heavily in favor of sharing this info. Having access to game information I might need to consider for a trade decision without the game directly in front of me is really helpful. The advantage gained from more information from "an extra set of eyes" seems to be pretty minimal.

More generally, I think MP games are more fun with more information out in the open and less simulated asymmetry. I would rather win because I found a way to strategically get to a dominant team than to win because I had a better scout or something. So I think it's a good thing that scouts seem to have similar enough views of players that this sharing isn't an issue.
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:49 PM   #3
digamma
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Originally Posted by MalcPow View Post

More generally, I think MP games are more fun with more information out in the open and less simulated asymmetry.

This is it for me, in a nutshell.

Shared information forms a community which is vital to a successful league. Obviously people keep certain strategies to themselves, but in a general sense, the more robust the sharing, the better the league experience.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:17 PM   #4
Ben E Lou
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Making it difficult/impossible to put player ratings on league web sites would be very damaging to the MP community. I suspect that some leagues would delay converting to a new game or just not convert at all because of it. Many people do not have access to the game during the day and have gotten used to being able use the league web sites to make decisions regarding trades. Taking ratings out of the mix would be viewed as a fairly significant step backwards.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:51 PM   #5
Taco
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Funny to see this after I just spent some time getting this info on the CFL website...

Not sure how you could really prevent it - if it shows up in the game then it's possible to OCR the screen and extract it. As long as it's scouted ratings that are extracted and not the true ratings, then I think it's fine.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:43 PM   #6
Dutch
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Following a players development is one of the best features of FOF in general and I think it would be wise to embrace this somehow within the game.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:12 PM   #7
Solecismic
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This is interesting. The publication of ratings is something that was never anticipated and provides (if you're experienced with how players develop) an extraordinary advantage, depending on the perspective of the owner publishing the ratings. Honestly, I'd refuse to play in a league that did it if I were interested in a fair competition. It can take all the guesswork out of player development.

I hope, if more protection is assigned the data file, people adjust. It would be a shame to have leagues still running on an older version. Obviously, if Ben won't upgrade, there will be a significant impact on multiplayer.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:16 PM   #8
Ben E Lou
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Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
Obviously, if Ben won't upgrade, there will be a significant impact on multiplayer.
I wasn't saying that I won't upgrade. I think some leagues wouldn't, though. Or at the very least some leagues would delay an upgrade because of it.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
I'm interested in hearing what veteran multiplayer owners think about the concept of making it very difficult to extract ratings information.

I'd be against it, because then it would become a case of have and have nots, even more so than it is now.

I think that more information is the way to go.... not less.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
This is interesting. The publication of ratings is something that was never anticipated and provides (if you're experienced with how players develop) an extraordinary advantage, depending on the perspective of the owner publishing the ratings. Honestly, I'd refuse to play in a league that did it if I were interested in a fair competition. It can take all the guesswork out of player development.

How is this any different than someone manually tracking the ratings with pen and paper?

If anything, it allows more people to have access to that information, which would create a more balanced and competitive league. Rather than having leagues with a few people who have teased out that information and keeping it for themselves.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:24 PM   #11
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If anything, it allows more people to have access to that information, which would create a more balanced and competitive league. Rather than having leagues with a few people who have teased out that information and keeping it for themselves.
Exactly.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:24 PM   #12
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Personally, I'd like to see more stats available and more game/player data available (double coverage, who the penalty is on, who is covering who on what play for examples).
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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I think having the info protected is critical to single player, but multiplayer should have a universal scout view.

This "universal" view could still have scout error or some other veil to it, but if it forced multiplayer leagues to have the owners rely on the game for all info, it would be severely limiting.

Look to the OOTP leagues for some examples. Most long running leagues turn off the scouting option.

In short, when I play MP, I want to compete with the other owners, not with the game design.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:33 PM   #14
Carman Bulldog
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Following a players development is one of the best features of FOF in general and I think it would be wise to embrace this somehow within the game.

Totally agree with this 100%. Two things on this subject;

1. I disagree with the statement that tracking a player's development curve is not a football activity (assuming that this is what you are saying). First off, an FOF example where we can see player one go from 23/32 -> 29/37 in TC1, followed by 34/42 the next year and 39/47 the year after that. Contrast that to the player that goes 30/58 -> 30/52 in TC 1, followed by 34/47 and 38/43. While player two has both a higher current and future rating, much like in the example above, having been witness to both their development curves, we know that player one has much more upside. Obviously this is the FOF example, but because we can't visually see players perform in practice and games, we have no way to measure actual development like one would in real life, although it does take place. For instance, a team in real life signs an undrafted free agent tackle, who only started one year at tackle in college and was a tight end before that. The guy is signed to the practice squad his first year, he sticks on the roster the next year, maybe gets a start or two the year after that and performs well. This guy has continually progressed in his development and you are likely to keep him around the next season. Contrast this to a tackle taken in the second round who is given a starting spot partway through his rookie year, under performs and then loses a training camp battle his second year and doesn't even see the field in his third year. Now, these two players may be at the same level of talent by the end of their third year but which one are you likely going to keep around?

2. I will agree that tracking development curves by numbers is not a real football activity. Neither however, is the practice of grading every player over every ability throughout each season. Denver isn't grading out Peyton Manning and saying that Deep Passes went from a 78 -> 71 while Medium Passes dropped form only an 85 -> 83. Teams will certainly make an observation that arm strength has decreased somewhat but not to the specific levels we are getting at in FOF. Again though, I understand that this is part and parcel to what we can observe in the game and how this can be realistically contrasted to what we can visually observe in real life. However, it's much like development curves that way.

Drafting and player development are my two favourite parts of the game and the ability to track the development of players is imperative while one of the biggest missing features in my opinion is the ability to see past draft classes while within the game.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:48 PM   #15
aston217
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I see this the same way as draft extractor (which uses one team's scout to generate bars)...not a big deal in advantage given.

Regardless of any of that, tracking player ratings over time adds a lot of immersion and storyline elements to the game.

If you want different scouts seeing different ratings to be particularly meaningful, then the best way to do that would be to add a Default Scout and use that to supply raw utilities with data. The data would then be neutral, and the same to everyone, as well as understood to be not exact, but approximately representative.

There's little guesswork in player development as is, considering most things about a player are known once the first TC is run (outside of random vol effects), and if there's any doubt then, they're known at the first offseason.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:53 PM   #16
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I love, love, love having the ability to see hte tracked ratings on Ben's league sites (for example). I've actually thought at times about not leaving the leagues that don't have this because it makes such a huge difference in gameplay.

The thing is that it's absolutely necessary in order to succeed to have this sort of info on your players. without it on the league sites we're forced to run third party software, build Excel sheets and track it ourselves. If I mess up and miss out on some of this information I lose interest in the game, frankly, as it's such key information to have.

I'm fine with a new version universally shielding some of this information from us, I suppose. But I would hate simply being forced to jump through hoops to track it - that's basically what we have now and it only gives advantage to those with the time to keep on top of it. they're trading for players they know are developing well and trading away guys that the other GMs don't realize are duds. That's no fun.

Now if a new version makes it harder to know what sort of development curve a player has, that's fine I suppose. But I would hope that a new version would make it easier to track whatever information is in the game.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
In future versions, the game data might be better protected, though it seems reasonable to also provide an extraction function for player statistics and basic biographical information.

I'm interested in hearing what veteran multiplayer owners think about the concept of making it very difficult to extract ratings information.

When you say this, are you saying that GMs won't have access to scout ratings? Or simply that the game will still provide scouted ratings, but that they will be harder to extract and publish? If the latter, I think that would be a huge mistake, as people are mentioning below. it hugely advantages those owners who take the time to track dveloment manually, and therefore makes the game less fun for those who want to play it more casually.

If the former, well I'm not sure what you might mean, but I would withhold judgment until I find out!
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:24 PM   #18
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There's a brook to be crossed here, I think. Either the game presents "proxy" activities that aren't really football activities but stand in for them (in the sense that figuring them out gives you some useful insight into a nominally football activity) and you're okay with that... or you aren't.

I'm good with it, in its many many forms in FOF. Some won't be.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #19
cuervo72
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Originally Posted by Ben E Lou View Post
Making it difficult/impossible to put player ratings on league web sites would be very damaging to the MP community. I suspect that some leagues would delay converting to a new game or just not convert at all because of it. Many people do not have access to the game during the day and have gotten used to being able use the league web sites to make decisions regarding trades. Taking ratings out of the mix would be viewed as a fairly significant step backwards.

I agree - I think it would be a fine way to kill a league. I've told Ben before that if a new version comes out that further restricts information flow (it's already impossible to reproduce coach pages and records), I'm not sure we'd convert FOFL (and this is in a league where regularly are looking for owners).

Also re: scouts - FOBL has had them turned off in OOTP as long as I've been there, and that's nearly a decade. From a SP standpoint I can see them being a worthwhile game element, but less so in MP. It's also worth noting that the third-party tools that track OOTP development are seen as some of the most valuable.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:53 PM   #20
aston217
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By the way, if a new FOF gets released, I hope the utilities are embraced because they add so much to the game, to MP leagues in particular, and they require so many hoops to jump through currently.

Changetracker is an old, unpolished utility that takes ages to run.

The DBs used for MP leagues are a horrendous pain to maintain. DB Updater more or less needs to be continually updated, or it needs to be run using the EOS export file for every year.

To get the CT data into the DBs themselves takes even more work and I believe, stuff like making sure no two guys in a draft class have the same name (which happens on occasion).

All of these shenanigans can be easily rendered unnecessary if the game itself provided all the data necessary in a nice format for utilities. I think it would be a great thing for all the MP communities out there.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:11 PM   #21
Solecismic
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Or simply that the game will still provide scouted ratings, but that they will be harder to extract and publish? If the latter, I think that would be a huge mistake, as people are mentioning below. it hugely advantages those owners who take the time to track dveloment manually, and therefore makes the game less fun for those who want to play it more casually.

That's a good point. I can't force people to play the game the way I want them to play the game. To me, sharing this information is cheating. To others, though, it gives them information they don't want to track themselves.

How to expose scouting to GMs is an issue I've spent more time thinking about than most. Usually I can figure out the best way to do something if I put my mind to it. FOF needs scouting.

I need to put more dedicated thought into this. Obviously, I don't want to simulate everything a GM or a coach does in the NFL just the way he does it - or this game would become a 24/7 job and not all that much fun. Scouting is grunt work. It's watching hundreds of hours of film, trying to get beyond the numbers. Those who are truly good at scouting give their teams tremendous value and there are no shortcuts. That would make for a miserable game experience, though.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:20 PM   #22
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Can't there be something like the scouting bureaus that exist for the NFL, and in MP leagues they can use the ratings from them? could really just be a scout that's average at everything, but it's never on a team and can be the league rating source.
Maybe the initial bars are based on this, and an interview could give your scouts take on the player.

Also someone mentioned having past draft data in game, this would be a great feature.

One of the best reasons for having this info, is when someone joins an existing league, they have no history on the players in it. If you could see ( in game even better ) the ratings of players you would have an idea of what you just took over and the players in the league you may trade for.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:12 AM   #23
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I need to put more dedicated thought into this. Obviously, I don't want to simulate everything a GM or a coach does in the NFL just the way he does it - or this game would become a 24/7 job and not all that much fun. Scouting is grunt work. It's watching hundreds of hours of film, trying to get beyond the numbers. Those who are truly good at scouting give their teams tremendous value and there are no shortcuts. That would make for a miserable game experience, though.

It's really fascinating to hear you discuss things this way, because I would say that the vast majority of what we are doing while playing the game is scouting. We are constantly looking at combines and player ratings and the progression of those ratings or the mix of those ratings. Some of the things we are looking for are the proxy activities that Quik describes where pattern recognition based on long experience with the game reality is offering advantages to veteran FOFers. Some of the things we are looking for are based on general football concepts that are appropriately modeled by the game. But we are constantly scouting. The tools are actually fixating us even further on scouting. We are spending more time looking at players and trying to identify undervalued or overvalued guys than we would be with less information.

And, honestly, access to information about ratings progression has not diminished my sense of mystery around who many of these guys are. I'll speak for myself, but I think most of the community also believes that there are guys who never get unmasked, and guys who unmask in counter-intuitive ways, and every permutation of possibility to one degree or another. There are some clear signals at times, but just as often, we're left wondering just what we have in a sport that doesn't give clear statistical feedback on the contributions of many positions and players.

The ratings information isn't seen as an answer key but another layer to be weighed, measured, and considered. It helps to have some "memory" of what you thought about a player and how that is changing over time. It helps even moreso when it would otherwise be impossible to recall anything but the most basic impressions. We're scouting and evaluating more because we have more little nooks and crannies to go digging into. And it's a good thing. It's working. We're all wary and wondering, comforted when a guy moves in a certain way but not wholly convicted that we know who they are and just how much they're contributing.

I think this may be a case where it's impossible for a developer to turn off what they know and see game information with uncertain eyes. This just isn't the reveal for us that it is for you. We're still the right mix of unsure but not completely lost. So I wouldn't worry too much about thinking through ways to reveal less, just let us keep feasting on all our quirky theories and half-truths and not so penetrating insights. It's great.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:11 AM   #24
Yoda
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Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
To me, sharing this information is cheating.

I was wondering if you could elaborate on this further.

I'll share my thoughts on the matter.

Back when I started playing 2k4 (just before 2k7 came out) I kept notebooks filled with notes. Combine what is known as the change tracker and game plan analyzer utilities and that was what I kept track of. There were days I spent 6-8 hours a day tracking games and drafts.

Then I found the various utilities.

I see these utilities as just saving me time. The only difference that I see is using a computer to accomplish in a few minutes somethings that I used to spend hours doing. I get a lot more enjoyment out of the game because of those utilities.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:06 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by MalcPow View Post
It's really fascinating to hear you discuss things this way, because I would say that the vast majority of what we are doing while playing the game is scouting. We are constantly looking at combines and player ratings and the progression of those ratings or the mix of those ratings. Some of the things we are looking for are the proxy activities that Quik describes where pattern recognition based on long experience with the game reality is offering advantages to veteran FOFers. Some of the things we are looking for are based on general football concepts that are appropriately modeled by the game. But we are constantly scouting. The tools are actually fixating us even further on scouting. We are spending more time looking at players and trying to identify undervalued or overvalued guys than we would be with less information.

And, honestly, access to information about ratings progression has not diminished my sense of mystery around who many of these guys are. I'll speak for myself, but I think most of the community also believes that there are guys who never get unmasked, and guys who unmask in counter-intuitive ways, and every permutation of possibility to one degree or another. There are some clear signals at times, but just as often, we're left wondering just what we have in a sport that doesn't give clear statistical feedback on the contributions of many positions and players.

The ratings information isn't seen as an answer key but another layer to be weighed, measured, and considered. It helps to have some "memory" of what you thought about a player and how that is changing over time. It helps even moreso when it would otherwise be impossible to recall anything but the most basic impressions. We're scouting and evaluating more because we have more little nooks and crannies to go digging into. And it's a good thing. It's working. We're all wary and wondering, comforted when a guy moves in a certain way but not wholly convicted that we know who they are and just how much they're contributing.

I think this may be a case where it's impossible for a developer to turn off what they know and see game information with uncertain eyes. This just isn't the reveal for us that it is for you. We're still the right mix of unsure but not completely lost. So I wouldn't worry too much about thinking through ways to reveal less, just let us keep feasting on all our quirky theories and half-truths and not so penetrating insights. It's great.

Wow, well said and I agree 110%.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:18 AM   #26
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A screenshot of your roster would accomplish the same thing as the change tracker, only in a more tiresome way. To be honest, there are already too many things in this game that need to be less cumbersome, not more. Interviews come to mind. In a big way.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:19 AM   #27
Young Drachma
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As a text-sim geek of the first order who has only dabbled in multi-player, would need to say that any efforts to make the game more frustrating and time consuming, would make a must-buy game for me anything but.

Also, I always play OOTP with scouts off and hate the "fog of war" associated with anything that makes it harder to value players. I need a baseline.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:38 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by MalcPow View Post
It's really fascinating to hear you discuss things this way, because I would say that the vast majority of what we are doing while playing the game is scouting. We are constantly looking at combines and player ratings and the progression of those ratings or the mix of those ratings. Some of the things we are looking for are the proxy activities that Quik describes where pattern recognition based on long experience with the game reality is offering advantages to veteran FOFers. Some of the things we are looking for are based on general football concepts that are appropriately modeled by the game. But we are constantly scouting. The tools are actually fixating us even further on scouting. We are spending more time looking at players and trying to identify undervalued or overvalued guys than we would be with less information.

And, honestly, access to information about ratings progression has not diminished my sense of mystery around who many of these guys are. I'll speak for myself, but I think most of the community also believes that there are guys who never get unmasked, and guys who unmask in counter-intuitive ways, and every permutation of possibility to one degree or another. There are some clear signals at times, but just as often, we're left wondering just what we have in a sport that doesn't give clear statistical feedback on the contributions of many positions and players.

The ratings information isn't seen as an answer key but another layer to be weighed, measured, and considered. It helps to have some "memory" of what you thought about a player and how that is changing over time. It helps even moreso when it would otherwise be impossible to recall anything but the most basic impressions. We're scouting and evaluating more because we have more little nooks and crannies to go digging into. And it's a good thing. It's working. We're all wary and wondering, comforted when a guy moves in a certain way but not wholly convicted that we know who they are and just how much they're contributing.

I think this may be a case where it's impossible for a developer to turn off what they know and see game information with uncertain eyes. This just isn't the reveal for us that it is for you. We're still the right mix of unsure but not completely lost. So I wouldn't worry too much about thinking through ways to reveal less, just let us keep feasting on all our quirky theories and half-truths and not so penetrating insights. It's great.

And even now, with all the utilities and tools, and the digging, nobody gets it 100% right, which is a good thing. I lean heavily on the draft here.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:02 AM   #29
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Yes, I think the sharing is reflecting that owners in MP want a fun level playing field. I know in the NAFL one of the owners shares his Changetracker results every season because it recognizes that it's a pain to go through, easily forgotten, and it's just not fun to win simply because you know this stuff and someone else doesn't.

However, to me the main thing I think about every time I play, whether SP or MP, is that the game should be tracking this info for me. When it comes to my own players on my team I definitely need to be able to see the history of their ratings within the game.

Maybe what youre saying is that we shouldn't have that same level of info on other teams in the league. If so, I can go with that. I'm not sure what's realistic about how much info a scout has on players on other teams. If that information assymetry is what you're looking to reflect, that makes good sense to me. I think the sharing of information today has most to do with the fact that the game doesn't even give me the info on my own players.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:29 AM   #30
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MalcPow has my proxy here. 100% agree with him.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:54 AM   #31
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I've played a ton of SP and only recently started MP. All the time I did SP I hated that the game wouldn't track changes. To play the game effectively required manual records or cumbersome screenshots. It just seemed like an unnecessary bunch of hoops to jump through for vital information.

And much of that information was vital not just to play well but because a player's rating history was one of the few ways to lend them a sense of depth and reality.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:32 AM   #32
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MalcPow has it right. My FOF time right now is spent in this way:

80% scouting (watching development, decline, and scouting the draft)
10% trades and player contracts
10% gameplanning

Honestly, if scouting became harder it wouldn't be much fun to play FOF.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:42 PM   #33
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It's really fascinating to hear you discuss things this way, because I would say that the vast majority of what we are doing while playing the game is scouting. We are constantly looking at combines and player ratings and the progression of those ratings or the mix of those ratings. Some of the things we are looking for are the proxy activities that Quik describes where pattern recognition based on long experience with the game reality is offering advantages to veteran FOFers. Some of the things we are looking for are based on general football concepts that are appropriately modeled by the game. But we are constantly scouting. The tools are actually fixating us even further on scouting. We are spending more time looking at players and trying to identify undervalued or overvalued guys than we would be with less information.

And, honestly, access to information about ratings progression has not diminished my sense of mystery around who many of these guys are. I'll speak for myself, but I think most of the community also believes that there are guys who never get unmasked, and guys who unmask in counter-intuitive ways, and every permutation of possibility to one degree or another. There are some clear signals at times, but just as often, we're left wondering just what we have in a sport that doesn't give clear statistical feedback on the contributions of many positions and players.

The ratings information isn't seen as an answer key but another layer to be weighed, measured, and considered. It helps to have some "memory" of what you thought about a player and how that is changing over time. It helps even moreso when it would otherwise be impossible to recall anything but the most basic impressions. We're scouting and evaluating more because we have more little nooks and crannies to go digging into. And it's a good thing. It's working. We're all wary and wondering, comforted when a guy moves in a certain way but not wholly convicted that we know who they are and just how much they're contributing.

I think this may be a case where it's impossible for a developer to turn off what they know and see game information with uncertain eyes. This just isn't the reveal for us that it is for you. We're still the right mix of unsure but not completely lost. So I wouldn't worry too much about thinking through ways to reveal less, just let us keep feasting on all our quirky theories and half-truths and not so penetrating insights. It's great.

I appreciate you taking the time to put those thoughts together. It's very helpful.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:17 PM   #34
wade moore
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MP really nailed it. In the end, I think your stance on this unfortunately misses what the vast majority of players think. The ratings tracking tools are vital to my enjoyment of FOF. For years I've hoped that future versions of the game would include this natively., rather than relying on free third party apps - the idea of removing the ability altogether is very unappealing to me.

I would be curious to see this as a poll, but I think you may actually get zero votes for removing the ability to extract this tracking information.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:09 PM   #35
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MalcPow has my proxy here. 100% agree with him.

Yes yes.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:32 PM   #36
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We're scouting and evaluating more because we have more little nooks and crannies to go digging into. And it's a good thing. It's working. We're all wary and wondering, comforted when a guy moves in a certain way but not wholly convicted that we know who they are and just how much they're contributing.

I think this may be a case where it's impossible for a developer to turn off what they know and see game information with uncertain eyes. This just isn't the reveal for us that it is for you. We're still the right mix of unsure but not completely lost. So I wouldn't worry too much about thinking through ways to reveal less, just let us keep feasting on all our quirky theories and half-truths and not so penetrating insights. It's great.

I thought MacPOW's post was excellent, and is related to a more general thing about not just gaming but uncertainty in statistical and economic modeling. Consider this passage from Vorderer and Bryant's Playing Video Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences (Klug and Schell, 105-106):

Quote:
What are players trying to do as they make decisions during gameplay? They are trying to gain some amount of "control" over their gaming world, resulting in an increased sense of agency.

The "control" the players seek is a curious phenomenon. Control is not what they really want, although it is the word they will use if asked. They want the illusion of control, the feeling that their actions make a difference. Now in most games the player is not in total control - after all, there are opponents (both human and artificial intelligence, or AI) and obstacles whose purpose is to defeat the player's plans. But, the player does want influence over the game system in a predictable way, mixed in with some degree of unpredictability (randomness). An example would be the chess player's desire to have, for example, a rook always move in a straight line parallel with the grain of the chessboard and not, say, move diagonally at random times. This allows both the player and his opponent not only to observe the current position of every rook on the board and predict all potential rook moves both on their part as well as the part of the opposing player, but to plan future moves armed with that knowledge. The player feels in control because he can predict what his opponent is going to do on the next turn, insofar as the moves of the rook are concerned. However, as he projects rook moves further and further into the future, and while all moves are predictable, the human players ability to store and analyze all the potential combinations of those moves grows progressively more difficult. Compounding that, we have the fact the player cannot predict which of the potential moves available to the opposing player, will, in fact be chosen. Thus, we have the delicious combination of predictability, control, and randomness, that is the essence of exciting strategy games.

The rook's behavior is predictable and therefore somewhat "controllable." Players would become very frustrated indeed if they had planned a certain move for that rook but when they took their hand away from the piece after finishing their move, it shifted one square at random from the player's chosen destination. The player would feel as if his strategic planning no longer meant anything. The player's frustration would vary by how often it performed this random move, how predictable this random pattern would be, and whether the piece could accidentally capture this way (because then the player could capture an enemy piece otherwise he could not have reached - if, say, the rook could randomly move diagonally). But, if the player could use the random move to his advantage, because it was semipredictable, then some "controllable" excitement might be brought into play. It would become a different game, for sure, but perhaps experimenting in that way might lead to an interesting new type of game.

Like in economic forecasting models, the requirement is not that all inputs have to be perfect without noise or that the model results have to exactly predict what we think we want to know. What we care is that the signal (the useful information) outweighs the noise (the masking randomness), because then we can say we learned something that's useful; we feel we are getting somewhere.

In the game setting, the players don't want to be able to perfectly control everything - because then you get a reductionist game theoretic outcome that's perfectly predictable from the start... why even play? There have to be some things out of the control of the players - but not too much. It's the hard balance to strike. The players don't want so much noise and randomness that they feel like their planning and strategies are getting swamped by luck and dice rolls. I get the feeling many players have simply given up on trying to figure out things like defensive gameplanning ("Fuck it, i'll just Rex it" etc.) because the things they try all seem to make little difference. At the same time they don't want dominant strategies or dominant solutions (e.g. BPR > ALL) that make everything else "stupid." Yes, that's a tall order, but that's what makes the fantastic games... and not every game will live up to that. That's okay. *shurg*

A sense of helplessness and lack of any meaningful "control" and that there's no way to figure out the puzzle is what frustrates players. The semipredictability Klug and Schell are talking about is analogous to the FOF multiplayer team owners sifting through all the data looking for patterns they can use to figure out booms, busts, and developmental curves. They are trying to use noisy data (ratings, but also other things as MacPOW points out) to try to bend the "randomness" of player quality revelations and ability changes to their advantage. The notion that they can "figure some of it out" is exciting and is what drives them to analyze and scout the information. This may not be the intended game that was set at the beginning, but it is an evolution of the game into something that they appear to enjoy very much.
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Last edited by Morgado : 04-24-2013 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Ugh typo
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:00 PM   #37
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MalcPow has my proxy here. 100% agree with him.

Adding to the chorus.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:38 PM   #38
aston217
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However, to me the main thing I think about every time I play, whether SP or MP, is that the game should be tracking this info for me.

What MalcPow said, and this!^

I think Jim's approach here reflects a desire to make the SP game harder and it's a very sensible one, but it doesn't translate very well to MP, in my opinion.

Couldn't that be appropriately modeled by AI SP that has varying degrees of superior accuracy in how they "see" a masked player, both in the draft and in the FA pool? I think you can make them almost arbitrarily good at that.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:14 PM   #39
NorvTurnerOverdrive
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i like the arrow system as it's used in FM and a few other games for tracking changes (90 deg up, 45 deg up etc.) i think it gives new owners an idea as to how a player is trending without revealing too much
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #40
corbes
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Late to the party but completely with MalcPow.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:55 PM   #41
Carman Bulldog
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This post is off topic somewhat in regards to the original post, but I have to agree that scouting and identifying value is one of the biggest and most interesting aspects of the game and that the draft is my favorite part of the game.

While I'm not sure that everyone would agree, I would actually like more information available to us.

For example, some sort of college stats for each player, preferably every year, but even just for their final season heading into the draft. I want to be able to look at a players numbers and ask, does the talent (or projected talent) match the production, and vice versa? This would also give some hints into the avoid interceptions and fumbling stats.

Additionally, I'd like some sort of health grade from the combine. You hear it said quite frequently now that the most important part of the combine for teams is the medical. There is a good article on it here. Essentially your staff would label a player no risk, low risk, moderate risk, high risk or disqualified. Let's not forget that a guy like Gronk was not even on some teams boards, and also fell to where he did, because of health concerns. Looking at the article, they also reference Jeremiah Trotter failing the Eagles medical but Ray Rhodes over ruled removing him from their draft board.

Finally, I'd like to see an expansion of the "Red Flag" category and what exactly it means. I think "Red Flags" should definitely have an impact on player development/volatility and make it even more important to have a mentor at that position. Perhaps each player could have a "character" grade, or something along those lines. You spoke in the other thread about revamping the interview process, and I think this is where it could be done, in that the interview unmasks an accurate grade, similar to what it is doing now with the personality attributes. Perhaps have all players graded on a 1-3 scale for character (ie. Good, Average, Below Average) which is visible for even non-interviewed players, while interviewing could unmask some sort of 10 point scale grade (ie. Good unmasks to a 7-10 (being the best), Average to 4-7, and Below Average from 1-4). If you tie in leadership and mentors to typically be 9's and 10's in character, this gives a reason to interview the "good" guys as well as obviously wanting to interview the "below average" guys. Obviously the lower the character grade, the bigger chance there is to bust out because of it.

While the draft is still my favorite part as it is, I think this information would make the draft much more interesting. As it is, right now, I mostly focus on the combine results far above anything else, as I think many others do as well.

I want to be in a position where I have to scout players and make a decision. Do I take the big pass rush bar DE who was a combine standout but only had 3 sacks over the year? Do I take the stud running back who had a number of fumbles? What about the beast DT who grades out as a high risk medically, can I count on him to stay healthy? How about that all world WR who has major character issues and who could be as likely to bust as he is to turn into a star? Do I take a chance on that WR three years down the line when he gets cut because he hasn't developed, when I know that I have a WR mentor and leader who is an affinity match with him that could help him turn into the player he is capable of?

There is such a thing as too much information and while others may disagree, this is the information that I want before me and these are the decisions I want to have to make.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:06 PM   #42
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There is such a thing as too much information and while others may disagree, this is the information that I want before me and these are the decisions I want to have to make.

I like everything about this post.
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:04 PM   #43
Pyser
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i think part of the problem with the player ratings is obvious things are rated. do we need a big play receiving bar if we are given a players 40 time? do i need a lineman's strength bar if i see their bench press reps? (all this to say combine scores should stay on a players card throughout his career. possibly changing year to year). after all, combine stats are not subject to scouting error. giving us more "raw" data like that leaves the shape of the player more up to us, and less on the scout.

other ratings are where a scout can come in handy. say, how good a cb is in man 2 man, or how well a wr can run his route.

this can increase a scouts worth, i think, and also boost scouting error tremendously (i'd love to see scouting error closer to 30% right or wrong, versus the 5% or so it seems to be now).

how that works with MP leagues where one scouts version is put on the web for everyone to see, i dont know. the idea of a neutral scout, or maybe "the media" could work, if we all assume it's subject to the same giant scouting error.

also, perhaps just taking away a players overall score would help.

just thinking out loud, though.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:03 PM   #44
Timmyotall
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to me the main thing I think about every time I play, whether SP or MP, is that the game should be tracking this info for me.

I agree with this whole-heartedly. There are times that I feel like I spend more time running change tracker and other utilities than I spend playing the game - and that's not what I want to do.

I think it's important to consider why people feel like they need to keep and track this information - IMO this is because it is so difficult to determine how good a player is based purely on the stats recorded; particularly for non-starters. The reason I think FM works so well is because it provides constant feedback both on how players are performing (they get a rating out of 10 for each game) and how they are progressing - there are regular emails from the coaches saying things such as 'player X has been training well', or 'player Y is not developing as anticipated due to a lack of playing time'. I don't feel the need to track how players' ratings have changed over time, because their average performance score year on year is tracked for me; and ultimately that matters more than their ratings.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #45
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I agree with this whole-heartedly. There are times that I feel like I spend more time running change tracker and other utilities than I spend playing the game - and that's not what I want to do.

I think it's important to consider why people feel like they need to keep and track this information - IMO this is because it is so difficult to determine how good a player is based purely on the stats recorded; particularly for non-starters. The reason I think FM works so well is because it provides constant feedback both on how players are performing (they get a rating out of 10 for each game) and how they are progressing - there are regular emails from the coaches saying things such as 'player X has been training well', or 'player Y is not developing as anticipated due to a lack of playing time'. I don't feel the need to track how players' ratings have changed over time, because their average performance score year on year is tracked for me; and ultimately that matters more than their ratings.
I agree with the overall thought of this post. If the game somehow would tell me which players are making progress and which aren't, I wouldn't have to track the development curve, because my staff (technically the game itself) would do that.

Everybody likes to see their starting rookie quarterback grow from big green into big red bars, but it's a lot of work to track their progress. Just the improvement of the overall rating doesn't tell the story, a GM wants to know whether the rookie has the strong arm he's scouted to have and develops his long and deep throwing or not, or wants to see whether that awesome wide receiver indeed gets to learn the playbook and increases his route running ability, whilst also working on the desired sure hands, because he's still prone to dropping balls.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:47 PM   #46
Julio Riddols
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I'd pretty much love to see the current system with something akin to "player types" added. This DT has great combines and bars, but what systems does he know? Will he be a good fit for me? Do I take him and switch my scheme to build around him or will that be too much risk for too little potential reward? What does my coach want in a DT? I'd love a general scout consensus grade, a team scout grade, and a team specific scheme grade. Everything else seems pretty solid from a drafting standpoint. We're 6 years into this game and it is still possible to routinely find a solid number of gems late in drafts in pretty much any league out there. As much as the game has been picked apart and studied, still no one has it to an exact science.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:52 PM   #47
NYFAN
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So it's been a really long time since I've been on FOFC, and probably even longer since I've played (I got a way from it, and due to job etc... never really got back into it... until now). I haven't played FOF07 yet, but I plan on purchasing it when my new computer arrives.

However, back on topic, with regards to scouting. A different model from what I've seen in most games (where they rate many attributes) is an online game I enjoy playing called soccermanager.com. I know very little about soccer, but I love playing the game because it is developed as a professional online league... Jim, if you haven't already, I would suggest taking a look at it, it's a different model, but they do some things very well.

Anyway, the way they do scouting is a bit different. Players are rated on a basis of 1-100 but most are very similar (ex: all my starters are between 88-91). Since it is all based on real life players, and their development they have a separate website (Soccer Wiki for the fans, by the fans) that lists more player info. Here they are given attributes that define the style they play, their "strengths", "weaknesses" and "special attributes". These all essentially have two tiers (a strength for example can be dark green (stronger) or light green (less of a strength)).

On the main website they have player graphs that track a player's rating history (progressions or regressions over time), as well as their game to game "form" history (a game to game performance rating).

I think this puts a greater emphasis on "feel" and production (goals, assists, performance rating), and finding roles and formations that players thrive in, versus looking at the many individual ratings that FOF incorporates that make it very simple to compare players and determine who is actually better at which skills. Each way has it's strengths and weaknesses, but if you haven't explored it at all, I would suggest playing (it's free until you get into advanced features) and exploring the way it works as it is simply put - different.

With regards to scouting the draft, I think one of the big things is not identifying who is more skilled. The depth of athletes is huge, yet not all are succesful. Since I haven't seen the interview phase (I'm excited to see it!) or whatever other changes you made, I think my only feedback is that the focus should be on giving the player a greater focus on why you SHOULDN'T draft a player. What type of risks are inherent with a player (ie: injuries, attitude, immaturity, work ethic, etc...) because those risks are what cause a great "talent" to drop 3 rounds in the draft. It's all about risk analysis really.

I'm not sure if this was on target for this discussion, but were just some thoughts that came to mind. I'm just excited to get back into this game and forum!
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:44 AM   #48
Gallifrey
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Originally Posted by wade moore View Post
MP really nailed it. In the end, I think your stance on this unfortunately misses what the vast majority of players think. The ratings tracking tools are vital to my enjoyment of FOF. For years I've hoped that future versions of the game would include this natively., rather than relying on free third party apps - the idea of removing the ability altogether is very unappealing to me.

I would be curious to see this as a poll, but I think you may actually get zero votes for removing the ability to extract this tracking information.

MP really made good points and this is one of the most interesting threads I have read in a long time.

I am one who given the time would like less info so I could break down more and have more mystery. But with life as it is I need the websites of MP leagues to give me more info so I can just keep up.

To take away what the website can tell me about my team and other teams would really make competing harder.

I am sitting on the fence on this and can fall either way. I hope it is a soft landing.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:27 PM   #49
Sef0r
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I can kind of see the point of this, and it would make your scout selection even more important.

Would it really be a loss if we could not see Ben's scout information for all players in a league? Maybe if Jim made the extracted information appear similar to non interviewed rookies where you get a from-to bar rating per skill.

Essentially what this means is for the commish of the league, who extracts player ratings to import to the website, he would login as the commish - which means when he views each player, they look like rookies (pre-interview). The ratings themselves takes into account what a poor vs excellent scout would rate each skill.

For example when looking at a WR on one of Ben's websites after the information was extracted in the new game format it would look like:

Skill - scout poor/excellent
AD - 45/55
GD - 55/70
RR - 70/75
BP - 70/80

You get the idea. The ratings adjustment is also not consistent, i.e. it won't always be 10 points difference between the poor vs excellent scout per skill as certain skills are more difficult to gauge.

Anyways...just a thought.
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