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The recipe for success: NCAA 13 Part 1

Posted 07-03-2011 at 01:27 AM by canes21
With the release of NCAA 12 just under 10 days away, many may view this blog as a bit premature and it might be. The truth is, though, that EA is already making plans, or is going to be very soon, about where to take NCAA 13. I feel that NCAA could really be the best in the series(including last gen) if they simply listened to the community.

Since most people will agree gameplay should always be the top priority, that is where I'll start. So what does NCAA 13 need to do on the field?

Improve Running From the Shotgun and on Triple Option Plays
So far in the NCAA 12 demo it seems the CPU does run a bit better from the shotgun, but still not at the level it should. With NCAA 11 we saw new run blocking assignments that significantly helped make the run game more realistic and fun, but it still can be improved on.

It seems like when running an option or any type of run play from the shotgun, the line still blocks like its just an HB Dive from under center. EA needs to have the logic behind shotgun running improve and play out in a more realistic manner. With so many new teams running spread systems and read options these days, EA really needs to get this aspect of the game to run properly in order to make all teams a threat when on offense.

Differentiate the Spread No Huddle and the Hurry Up Offense
Playing in the ACC or Big 12 is a pain in this game. Nearly every team you face will sprint to the line after a play and will pretty much run a hurry up offense all game. It's a pain to watch and play against because of how unrealistic it is. I hate playing Clemson and having them go from a 5 wide set, to the I-Form and having WR;s play the HB and FB positions.

EA needs to allow the offense to make substitutions when changing formations in the no huddle offense. This will not only slow the tempo down to get it more realistic, but will also make the offenses actually become big time threats to a defense because they will have their RB, TE, and FB run out onto the field and you either have to hope your nickel players can stop the run, or you need to call a time out.

Also, EA needs to let the defense change formations and have players run on and off the field so you can get your two extra LB's out there when going from a dime to a 4-3. But it should result in the risk of getting called for having too many men on field. This would add to the authenticity of the game. Imagine late in the game, a team completes a pass and you see their RB and FB running onto the field while two WR's run off. You want to try and get your 4-3 players out there, but the offense snaps the ball before all your men are off the field and it results in the offense getting a first down late in the game inside your red zone. This would just add to the strategy of the game even more.

Another thing that needs to be messed with is how quickly the offense snaps the ball. This isn't for the no huddle only, but all teams. I hate seeing a QB walk to the line, squatting down and hiking the ball with 26 seconds on the play clock. I'd like to see this fixed and an addition of a slider. Say putting the slider at 100 will give you the quick snaps we have now, but at 25 or so you'll see the QB snapping the ball with 10 seconds on the play clock. Even teams like TTU hardly ever get the snap off with over 15 seconds left on the play clock, yet in game, every team snaps it with over 25 seconds left unless they're running the clock down.

Improve the Passing Game All Around
One major issue with the passing game is the trajectory of the ball. Throw a bullet and it goes on a straight line 6-7 feet of the ground and is easily swatted out of the air by a LB. Throw a lob and it gets 7 seconds of hang time even on a 7 yard route. EA really needs to get the pass trajectories to play out in a realistic manner. Make it possible to dump the ball off in front of the safety and over the LB.

Another big issue I find with the system is how fast the passes travel. I remember a few years ago that a player with high throw power in Madden usually threw a bullet pass well over 70 MPH and that they finally tweaked that for Madden 10 I believe. Well, in NCAA it still seems like all the players have the arms to throw the ball 60 MPHs even on 50 yard passes. Slow the ball down and make it travel at realistic speeds. This seems very small, but I bet it would help the passing game out so much. If you throw a route late in this game, you're okay as long as it is a bullet because it will travel there so fast. With a slower, more realistic velocity, throwing passes late would be a very bad idea.

One other thing I hate is the ball physics, or lack there of. I know everyone hate seeing a ball get tipped and instead of flying in the air, it spins at 900 RPM and falls straight to the ground. Add ball physics please. If a pass is tipped, it should go up in the air like a wounded duck and be at a high risk of a INT. Just have the ball act realistically when hit by a player. You never see tip drill interceptions in NCAA because the ball never bounces off a hand correctly. If I hit a WR and the ball flies out of his hands and hits a player's body part that is moving, the ball should react realistically, not going straight into the ground.

Add Tendencies and Player Roles
Take a page from Madden's book. NCAA needs tendencies and player roles. I want their to be noticeable differences in players and how they behave. Say I can choose to recruit two WR's. Both are fast and are for the most part very similar, but one is 6'0" and the other is 6'2". So, normally I would offer the 6'2" guy over the 6'0", but after reviewing his player card I find out he has an aggressive attitude towards the ball and loves jumping up and catching the ball at it's highest point. I then look at the 6'2" WR's card and see he is very conservative and hardly ever jumps for a ball and has alligator arms over the middle. So instead of offering him like I would have in years past, I now avoid him and give the 6'0" the offer because I know he'll jump up for the ball and he won't be scared to go over the middle.

Tendencies would go further than just WR's though. There could be tendencies for running out of bounds to avoid contact or not, lowering the shoulder or covering the ball, throwing into coverage or taking a sack, scrambling or throwing away, going for one handed catches or playing it safe, going for a strip or safe tackle, going for the big hit or safe tackle, and even small things like having a QB more likely to audible every play like Peyton Manning, or having a QB to be more likely to mix the snap count all game, or having a DE looking to jump the snap count more often than the other DE opposite him, or having a RB use the juke and spin frequently, but never the stiff arm, a QB who slides almost all the time, etc. The more tendencies the better. Every player would play differently and the game would be much more alive.

Player roles would also be nice. Of course we wouldn't see something like "Franchise QB", but we could still see Team Captain, Fumble or Injury Prone, Team Distraction, Clutch, and so on. These would also help add to making the game feel more alive.

After gameplay, career modes are probably the second most important part of the game. Now I am not a big RTG player, so this will all be Dynasty talk, but I do think RTG should also keep seeing improvements every year.

Add More Life to the Recruits
Adding tendencies o recruits will help make them more lifelike, but there could be more done. I'd like to see players have a Academic Performance Rating when being recruited. Some schools like Duke and Stanford are not going to just take any recruit, so the game should reflect that. Say a school like FSU will take any recruit, but Duke will only offer and accept recruits with C+ or better Academic Performance. This would add to the strategy side of recruiting and make those schools as challenging in the game as they are in real life(sort of). I'd also like to see military schools forced to follow the real recruiting rules they follow in real life. That would help make the game even more authentic and really help show why it is so hard for Army, Navy, and Air Force to compete at the Div. 1 level with the players they are 'forced' to play.

Adding Currency and "GM or AD" Features
This is a touchy topic, but something I think would really make the game even better. Imagine winning a major bowl and receiving a large amount of "money" that can be used to add on to the stadium, build a completely new stadium, build better facilities to get better progression, etc.

Money is a big part of college football and should be in the game. Remember in the old Madden and MVP games where you could have fan appreciation days? Or you could set the prices of hot dogs, parking, etc.? Those need to make a comeback as options. If I want to earn money quickly, let me jack up the prices on parking and food, but if I am not a hot team, my fans might not come to my games as often and I really would just be hurting myself. Or imagine having an away team and not making a profit that week since you had to pay for travel, food, etc. These also add to the strategy elements of the game and give you more reasons to play the game over and over.

Would it not be cool to be struggling to gain cash, so you plan on having a black out against your rival team? And when that game comes around you end up having a sell out and winning and your team catches fire and your attendance sees an increase and eventually at the end of the year you are able to get better facilities that lead to better progression that leads to better performance which leads to you getting more money which leads to you having fan appreciation days and increasing the capacity of the stadium. So much could happen that could make or break a program.

The addition of a coach carousel is the first great step for Dynasty mode, but it has a long ways to go. Give coaches individual ratings, let us hire and fire our coordinators, have the coaches have specific impacts, maybe add position coaches, etc.

Right now the coach carousel has no ratings other than the prestige rating and I see that hurting it a lot. Imagine two coaches are in line to take the Texas job. One coach has ratings that make him a great recruiter and can spot gems easily, but players don't progress well under him and he isn't the greatest X's and O's coach. The other coach is average at recruiting, but players progress under him quickly and he gets his teams to play above their ability. So say Texas takes the great recruiter and they end up getting great classes down the road, but still never get the success they're looking for, so they fire that coach after 5-6 years and are one again looking for a new coach. That other coach ended up going to Vanderbilt and ended up making them a top SEC school and he now has an even greater price tag because he has shown why he should have been hired at Texas.

That would add life to dynasty. You could see a small program make the right hire and gain some national attention and then their coach takes off for a power conference job and they either make another good hire or fall back down to mediocrity. Or say a team hire a great coach and he is also a loyal coach, so when he takes Tulane to a 9-3 record, he doesn't jump ship for Penn State, he stays there and eventually Tulane is constantly in the top 25 and becomes a national powerhouse until he retires and they either make a great hire or a bad hire. Just so many possibilities in one dynasty.

There are my thoughts. This was a very long blog. I started typing and kept going as ideas flooded my head. There are more than likely errors and some parts that may lead to confusion and I apologize, but I think if EA was to go in the direction most OS'rs want and would use some of these ideas and others around the forum, then the series would truly be golden.

I will put up part 2 later which will be a lot shorter and will be more about presentation and details.

Some coaches could turn a program around and would stay, but that program just doesn't have the funds to pay him, so he moves on to another school that can give him the money he wants, but they don't have the success they thought they would because they wasted all their money on the HC and the coordinators and position coaches had to be bought cheap and ended up not being able to help the HC that much so he struggled and ends up not being a hot name anymore. So many different things could play out that no dynasty would ever be the same.

Small Things
The small things are what always make a game or mode great and Dynasty mode has been lacking in this area for a while. Players need to be able to pick the time of day their games are played, they should have the ability to schedule neutral site games, etc. Giving the user more customization and more reasons to be wowed every time they fire the game up will keep the coming back for more.
Total Comments 2


edaddy's Avatar
Excellent blog ..maybe all these issues can somehow be addressed via tuners and patches..
Posted 07-03-2011 at 08:20 PM by edaddy edaddy is offline
cap032's Avatar
Excellent blog. IMO, play action passing needs to addressed as well. DL & LB who are blitzing never seem to hesitate. It feels like they are robots with one mission programed in that they dont vary from.
Posted 07-04-2011 at 02:10 PM by cap032 cap032 is offline
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