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Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

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Old 07-09-2019, 10:48 AM   #1
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Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

One thing I enjoy doing is starting sim dynasties where I recruit and try to rebuild a teams from the ground up while simming through the games. I enjoy NCAA Football 14, however I feel like their sim engine has some problems, like the fact that upsets happen way too often for my liking, among other things.

So Iím curious what you all think. What game had the best blend of realistic game results based on roster ratings with a touch of randomness, as well as realistic stats over the course of the season, like mobile quarterbacks having realistic rushing numbers, tackle leaders in the country having realistic numbers, etc.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:40 PM   #2
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

Personally I think NCAA 12 is great for this. I had the same attitude towards NCAA 14 and it was part of one of the reasons why I switched back. I played through an 8 season dynasty before starting a new one to report on the dynasty forums and I was really happy with the simulation stats and results each year. I'll just give you my experiences (pos/neg) with it.

Positives:
Upsets are more rare, and when they do happen, they don't seem to be as totally ridiculous (i.e. an unranked Iowa may beat a #1 Ohio State at home rather than Akron beating a #1 Ohio State in the horsehoe or something like that).

I've found that simulated in-game stats are heavily correlated with coaching profiles (editable in dynasty) and player ratings (also editable in dynasty).

Depending on where you set the play-call tendency slider and the playbook the coach runs, the stats will heavily reflect that.

Coaches that run air raid offenses on a high passing slider with good quarterbacks and receivers (i.e. 2011 Houston with 94 rated Case Keenum and two high 80s receivers) will always be among the league leaders in every passing/receiving statistic. Run heavy offenses (pistol, option) will typically be among the rushing leaders once again depending on how good the running back is and also where the coaches substitution slider is at.

Tendencies do matter (can be edited). Quarterbacks with a Scrambler tendency will always put up solid rushing yards in simulations and, depending how good they are, will end with 500-1300 rush yards a season. Those with Pocket Passer tendency will have less than 100 rushing yards or into the negatives, and Balanced quarterbacks will be somewhere in-between.

Negatives:
If a player gets injured (especially at running-back) the games simulation engine doesn't move further down the depth chart to substitute for some reason. For example if the #1 running-back goes down in week 1 with a season ending injury, instead of him splitting carries with the #2 for the rest of the season, the #2 will now get twice the work instead of sharing more of it with the #3. Usually this isn't glaringly obvious, but I've seen where a backup ends the season with almost 100 more carries than anyone else in the NCAA because of this.

Blowout games can also get weird. Like if it's Alabama vs an FCS team, you'd expect the #1 RB to have a monster game, but it's almost always the second stringers that end up with it. I think the engine automatically has a mass-sub option built in and because these games are usually blowouts so early, the second string will end up with 28 carries for 262 yards and 4 rushing TD, while the Heisman front runner #1 will end with 8 carries for 52 yards and a TD.

Defensive simulation stats don't make as much sense as offensive. There isn't as much of an obvious gap between player ratings and results. Sometimes the most highly rated guys will have the best stats and win the awards, but almost just as often a 70 something overall who had a big season will be up there as well.
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:07 PM   #3
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

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Originally Posted by TylerHL
Personally I think NCAA 12 is great for this. I had the same attitude towards NCAA 14 and it was part of one of the reasons why I switched back. I played through an 8 season dynasty before starting a new one to report on the dynasty forums and I was really happy with the simulation stats and results each year. I'll just give you my experiences (pos/neg) with it.

Positives:
Upsets are more rare, and when they do happen, they don't seem to be as totally ridiculous (i.e. an unranked Iowa may beat a #1 Ohio State at home rather than Akron beating a #1 Ohio State in the horsehoe or something like that).

I've found that simulated in-game stats are heavily correlated with coaching profiles (editable in dynasty) and player ratings (also editable in dynasty).

Depending on where you set the play-call tendency slider and the playbook the coach runs, the stats will heavily reflect that.

Coaches that run air raid offenses on a high passing slider with good quarterbacks and receivers (i.e. 2011 Houston with 94 rated Case Keenum and two high 80s receivers) will always be among the league leaders in every passing/receiving statistic. Run heavy offenses (pistol, option) will typically be among the rushing leaders once again depending on how good the running back is and also where the coaches substitution slider is at.

Tendencies do matter (can be edited). Quarterbacks with a Scrambler tendency will always put up solid rushing yards in simulations and, depending how good they are, will end with 500-1300 rush yards a season. Those with Pocket Passer tendency will have less than 100 rushing yards or into the negatives, and Balanced quarterbacks will be somewhere in-between.

Negatives:
If a player gets injured (especially at running-back) the games simulation engine doesn't move further down the depth chart to substitute for some reason. For example if the #1 running-back goes down in week 1 with a season ending injury, instead of him splitting carries with the #2 for the rest of the season, the #2 will now get twice the work instead of sharing more of it with the #3. Usually this isn't glaringly obvious, but I've seen where a backup ends the season with almost 100 more carries than anyone else in the NCAA because of this.

Blowout games can also get weird. Like if it's Alabama vs an FCS team, you'd expect the #1 RB to have a monster game, but it's almost always the second stringers that end up with it. I think the engine automatically has a mass-sub option built in and because these games are usually blowouts so early, the second string will end up with 28 carries for 262 yards and 4 rushing TD, while the Heisman front runner #1 will end with 8 carries for 52 yards and a TD.

Defensive simulation stats don't make as much sense as offensive. There isn't as much of an obvious gap between player ratings and results. Sometimes the most highly rated guys will have the best stats and win the awards, but almost just as often a 70 something overall who had a big season will be up there as well.
Thank you for all of the detail! I actually never had NCAA 12, for whatever reason I happened to skip that particular year, but Iíll definitely think about getting it cheap on eBay. I definitely liked recruiting better in that era of the series, I just felt like it got way too simple in NCAA 14, and it was way too easy to exploit.

Just curious, is there any particular reason you play NCAA 12 over the other versions? Is it because of the sim engine, or for other reasons?
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:43 PM   #4
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

I recently started playing '12 again, pre-patch, and it's incredible compared to '14, IMO. I've been a huge proponent of turning fatigue off while playing '14, just to get some sense of realistic difficulty. I really got into default Heisman with fatigue off. It wasn't perfect, but it was fair and balanced, with some house rules. Long story short, IMO, it's uncanny how close default All American with fatigue ON plays on '12 compared to '14 with it OFF on Heisman. The CPU has that realistic presence of both the offense and the defense, and that all important sense of urgency. I, too, highly recommend '12.

To your direct question, the sim engine seems to work great, IMO. It's certainly worlds better than '14. It's unusable on '14 without watching the play. I was an OC for a couple of seasons when I first got back into it, and the CPU's stats were certainly comparable, and often surpassed, my own.

Last edited by Tuscaloosa; 07-11-2019 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:59 PM   #5
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

I mean yeah I do think the sim engine is better and I do like the more accurate to real-life results but mainly, since I really only play dynasty mode, I think the older games (especially 11 and 12) did it a lot better. Personally I think the coaching contracts in 12 are the coolest. Instead of just signing somewhere for however many years, you're given a list of 8 or so goals to hit in your contract. Some are for the season, some are for the duration of the contract (i.e. throw for 3000 passing yards and 30 pass TDs in a season for an OC, 10+ sacks as a DC, win 10 games at least one year, or sign 5 4 star or better recruits, etc... low tier schools have lower goals, high tier schools have tougher goals) but I think those add a lot of extra depth. I don't know why they got rid of those, I guess maybe people didn't want the game to push them towards a certain play-style but I kinda like that. Honestly that might be my favorite aspect. Otherwise, the recruiting differences are an obvious one and I actually prefer the graphical style and presentation of 11 and 12 over 14, but once again that's entirely personal preference. I never played 13 so I don't really have input for that one and going back to 10 and lower on newer gen consoles, you lose some of those cool dynasty features.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:33 AM   #6
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuscaloosa
I recently started playing '12 again, pre-patch, and it's incredible compared to '14, IMO. I've been a huge proponent of turning fatigue off while playing '14, just to get some sense of realistic difficulty. I really got into default Heisman with fatigue off. It wasn't perfect, but it was fair and balanced, with some house rules. Long story short, IMO, it's uncanny how close default All American with fatigue ON plays on '12 compared to '14 with it OFF on Heisman. The CPU has that realistic presence of both the offense and the defense, and that all important sense of urgency. I, too, highly recommend '12.

To your direct question, the sim engine seems to work great, IMO. It's certainly worlds better than '14. It's unusable on '14 without watching the play. I was an OC for a couple of seasons when I first got back into it, and the CPU's stats were certainly comparable, and often surpassed, my own.

Tuscaloosa - Can you explain the benefits of not downloading the patch? I remember a lot of people claimed some patches made the games worse but I would appreciate your opinion.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:05 PM   #7
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

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Originally Posted by Phil Spiderman
Tuscaloosa - Can you explain the benefits of not downloading the patch? I remember a lot of people claimed some patches made the games worse but I would appreciate your opinion.
Honestly, as far as my own opinion goes, I don't know yet. I was just stating that these were the settings that I had started playing '12 again under, which gave me (in my mind) positive results. Like you, I've read a lot of people saying that it was better pre-patch, which was what made me try it that way to begin with. When I have time, I plan on continuing to read through old threads and find the specifics that we're looking for, and at some point after I've played a significant amount without it, I'll probably get the patch and run a dynasty and form my own opinions about the difference. I know this may take a while, but if you're still interested at that point, I'll be sure and let you know.
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Old 07-25-2019, 02:55 AM   #8
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Re: Best NCAA Football Sim Engine?

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Originally Posted by coopdedoop
One thing I enjoy doing is starting sim dynasties where I recruit and try to rebuild a teams from the ground up while simming through the games. I enjoy NCAA Football 14, however I feel like their sim engine has some problems, like the fact that upsets happen way too often for my liking, among other things.

So Iím curious what you all think. What game had the best blend of realistic game results based on roster ratings with a touch of randomness, as well as realistic stats over the course of the season, like mobile quarterbacks having realistic rushing numbers, tackle leaders in the country having realistic numbers, etc.
I like to Sim seasons and just play the playoff games myself (if I make it) then do all the franchise team rebuilding, scouting, drafting, trading... Nice having realistic Sim stats.

Does anyone else play both NCAA / Madden & import draft classes? I never played much NCAA football until recently, NFL guy more so but Iíve always been intrigued with creating a player in NCAA then importing the draft class into Madden and continuing his career.

Iím leaning towards playing NCAA 12 & Madden 12 for the 2019-2020 season. This feedback is helpful! Thanks for sharing!
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