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JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

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Old 07-28-2019, 09:51 PM   #1
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JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

October 22, 2019 - Info Added for OOTB

What is the goal of this thread?

First, let me tell you what the goals of this thread ARE NOT.
  • It is NOT designed to get stats 'perfect'
  • It is NOT designed to perfectly simulate the NFL
  • It is NOT designed for people to watch the game (i.e. CPU v CPU)
  • It is NOT designed for people who want their 'stik skillz' to dominate
The goals of this thread ARE:
  • To make ratings matter as much as possible
  • To allow people to connect with their franchise team by allowing their team building efforts to count ON THE FIELD
  • To make strategy matter
  • To avoid a heavily modified game that results in large amounts of Slider RNG.

What in the world is Slider "RNG"?

This is a term I coined. Now, RNG stands for "Ratings Number Generator" (referring to the game's 'dice rolls'). "Slider RNG" is where people adjust sliders to bias one outcome over another (i.e. you're using the sliders to manipulate the dice rolls). Now, that's sort of the point of sliders for most people....they try to force the game to play a certain way (and introduce loads of slider RNG to the mix).

I HATE...HATE....HATE Slider RNG. It's the cause for the most common complaint people have for sports games ("Every game feels the same!"). You skew things too heavily one way, you override a subset of player ratings to preferentially favor one outcome. This is the worst thing you can do - it not only skews that particular ratings subset, but it also changes the AI.

A classic example - person tightens coverage with sliders. Bad DBs are now too good relative to ratings and good corners are de-valued (ratings don't stand out). The bigger issue is that CPU QBs will become more hesitant to throw the ball (wouldn't you hesitate if a receiver was blanketed?). So, the CPU QBs check-down too much (too many catches by TEs - common complaint) and their completion percentages skyrocket ('Robo QB' - another common complaint).

We want variety in all outcomes, we want player ratings to be respected (good and bad). With the ratings stretch in Madden 20, this is VITAL. You can literally undo all of EA's hard work with the ratings stretch by changing sliders too much. With a wider variety in the player base, it's key that we take as much time as possible to really see just how much variety we will see....BEFORE touching anything.

Remember, the whole point of playing CFM is to see the story of our franchise unfold and our team building efforts to show up on the field. If we allow too much Slider RNG into the mix, CFM becomes a very stale experience very quickly.

The simplest way to avoid Slider RNG is to leave the gameplay sliders alone - which is the approach I've been using the last few years. Where I plan on changing things up this year is that I am planning on being more open to slider modifications if it is determined that the default slider value preferentially favors one outcome over another (i.e. a default setting is leading to Slider RNG). But....we have to have our baseline first....and that takes massive sample size to assess.

Sample Size and Madden 20

This is where I am going to lose many of you. The concept of a "good sample size" is so completely and utterly skewed it isn't funny. Mine was too....I used to say "3 or 4 games"...LMAO...I'm sorry...I was just SO wrong.

A "good sample size" is really around 3 seasons (and if M20 is the same, the gameplay improves greatly after season 1). Anything can happen in a single season...one hot streak, a few key players get on a roll...and blammo. The second year can be the total opposite. So, which is the "true" median? That's why a third season is key - it essentially is the 'deciding vote' if you will.

Now, there are two mitigating factors that will prompt me to make a change sooner.

1. There are animations that are 'off' or don't make sense.

2. A particular outcome is consistent over a small sample size of 8-10 games or so. If I am getting 10 sacks per game every game...that's a problem. But the problem is not that I got 10 sacks in a game, but rather that it is consistently happening. That means we're dealing with Slider RNG.

Because of the ratings stretch, the presence of X-factors, and so on...I am taking a very 'long burn' approach this year. With these things in place, we should be seeing a lot more variety without touching a single gameplay slider.

Madden 20 and Out-of-Box Gameplay
Madden 20 has been one of the most frustrating experiences because it was SO CLOSE to greatness. Here's the irony, a person can live out in the middle of nowhere, no internet access, just a Madden 20 disc in-hand...and that person is playing, by far, the best version of Madden 20 gameplay. Most of you reading this have never actually played it....you played a patched launch day version of the game and then "patched up" from there. (I did the same for months)

Well, very much like my approach to Madden sliders, I am going back to basics. That means, no patches...just the version of the game that came on the disc. Now, I've tried this for other versions of Madden and out-of-box versions were notably buggy or had significant flaws (which lead me to quickly nix using them). However, Madden 20 is a different animal; the out-of-box gameplay is very smooth, has a lot of variety, and feels far more realistic than any version of the game I've played to-date.

Why do I like the OOTB version of the game (gameplay-wise) WITH THIS SLIDER SETUP:
- Man, the gameplay/animations is smooth. Even running the OP on All Madden it is really nice. Hit stick animations do have the 'warp into the ball carrir' vibe to them, but they happen far less frequently than other versions.
- CPU runners are intelligent and make full use of their moves. I've seen backs shimmy through small creases to bust through the line, I've been juked out of my shoes, I've been run over. It feels very life-like.
- The pass rush is quite good. There is a fair bit more interior pressure and elite rushers can get to you quickly.
- Tackle animations are superb. With CPU runners making moves, it has really opened-up a lot of new animation types. It feels really darn organic (god...I hate using that word...it's so over-used...but it's appropriate here).
- I really like pass coverage. Now, if you isolate and break-down every little animation, you're going to find warts. Holistically though, there is so much variety here. I know lots of folks did not like coverage at launch - this version has been a fair bit better than the launch day version. The WR/DB interactions have also been quite good and you can really see the ratings stand-out.
- User passing is harder. One of the earliest patches made the pass lead sensitivity less sensitive. Not so OOTB - you WILL miss throws (especially if you're like me and use the total control passing a lot).
- CPU QB play is solid. They show good pocket awareness and make good decisions. On All Pro in particular, they will do a great job mixing up throws/targets. They will keep you guessing and will surprise you at times. The ONLY gameplay wart is that the 'dropback glitch' will pop-up on occassion (usually due to a 4-verts call or perfect coverage). But, with the OP setup (i.e. the 10/39 INJ split), the frequency of occurrence is really minimal.
- It's quite a bit tougher to run as the user. Second-level pursuit is really good and will force you to make quick decisions. Inside/outside runs seem to be well-balanced (i.e. both can be effective depending on the type of scheme/roster/matchup). What I like is that TFLs are toned-down - there's more of a realistic feel here where a good 'run stuff' may net you a yard (versus a guy meeting you 4 yards in the backfield due to a blockshed).
- This is a bit of a small sample size, but I've seen a little better distribution of penalties here (still a fair number of facemask calls, but pretty good for a default setting).
- In some ways, superstar abilities feel less 'cheesy'. They still stand out, but I think because the core base is so good that the abilities do what they intended originally, to add another layer to the game.

What really surprised me is just how well the OP worked (even with the base game). I have to think that the 10/39 INJ slider is some sort of a 'sweet spot' with the game this year. It's really nicely in-sync. If you have the disc version of the game (or the ability to purchase it) and, like me, are more concerned with getting good gameplay, I highly suggest uninstalling your patched version of Madden, disconnecting your network, and reinstalling the base game from the disc.

Now, the franchise mode itself isn't quite as refined. The snap count glitch is present for hidden dev guys. You're going to have the wonky sim stats for QB rushing yards. Rookies with Star Dev aren't hidden potential as they are in patched versions (this was added later). There may be other franchise mode 'under the hood' tuning that may impact things long-term. Now for me, I just roll with what the mode gives me. One other thing; you're likely going to be 'stuck' with the base rosters and generic draft classes and any franchises from an earlier version will not work. So...there ARE downsides here....but most of them don't impact me because it is already how I play.

The Sliders

Important Note: I have not tested these sliders for Madden version 1.17 or higher. While they should be OK, I cannot personally vouch for them. However, as I commented on before, I DO believe this setup is an ideal base setup for any version of Madden 20.

If you are new to my thread, this is how we roll. Every setting I have listed here has a purpose. If you wish to give feedback, please follow EVERYTHING listed below exactly. If something is not listed, it is consider to be your choice.

Step 1: You MUST enter the following Main Menu Settings/Sliders:
Difficulty - All-Pro (note: others have reported good results on All Madden as well)
Injuries - 10
Fatigue - 50
Quarter Length - 10 Minutes
Acc Clock - Off
Min Threshold (Player Speed Parity) - 50
Ballhawk - On
Heat seeker - Off
Switch Assist - Off
Flip Play - User's Choice (I recommend "off")

All gameplay sliders and penalty sliders in the Main Menu should be set at 50!! Keep Autosubs at the default 60/80!

Step 2: In your franchise setup options (you can change this after starting a franchise as well):
Superstar abilities: ON
I know some folks don't like them, but after finally testing with them off, it's very apparent to me that something is very 'off' when you don't use them. I'm therefore adding this to the slider setup as a required setting.

Step 3: Once you start your franchise, go to your CFM sliders and hit the reset button
Step 4: MANUALLY enter the following values

User
QB Accuracy: 50
Pass Blocking: 50
WR Catching: 50
Run Blocking: 50
Fumbles: 50
Pass Defense Reaction Time: 50
Interceptions: 50
Pass Coverage: 50
Tackling: 50

CPU
QB Accuracy: 50
Pass Blocking: 50
WR Catching: 50
Run Blocking: 50
Fumbles: 50
Pass Defense Reaction Time: 50
Interceptions: 50
Pass Coverage: 50
Tackling: 50
ALL Special Teams 50

Injuries: 39
This is the most important gameplay slider in the game along with threshold. This has a direct impact on player inertia, the 'forcefields' around the players and footplanting. This affects virtually every phase of the game and needs to be well-optimized. We're set here to 1 point below the game's default value and it has greatly synced-up a lot of things. It's a whole lot of 'little things' but it adds up. The biggest improvement has been in getting the CPU QBs more in-sync with their receivers - which has made it so they will actually throw those intermediate and deep passes.

Fatigue: 50
Threshold: 50

PENALTIES
Offside: 50
False Start: 50
Offensive Holding: 50
Defensive Holding: 50
Face Mask: 50
Illegal Block In The Back: 50
Roughing Passer: 50
Defensive Pass Interference: 50
All Others: On

Step 4: Exit slider screen
Step 5: Important: DO NOT touch autosubs! They WILL mess up the game!
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Last edited by JoshC1977; 10-22-2019 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 07-28-2019, 10:19 PM   #2
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

Thread rules/notes
  • I'm not your customer service. I'll help offer advice as I can, but I am not here to 'fix' the game for you. I build a set per the central tenants of the OP and share it with the community. Nothing more, nothing less. I will NOT make suggestions to tailor the game in a manner that introduces Slider RNG. If you want to, that's your business....it's your game to break.
  • Please do NOT post your own sliders in this thread. If you have your own custom setup, please post your own thread. You might be surprised, but I constantly read other threads to see what other people are doing. If you post it, I will see it.
  • Numbers of penalties and subs are two things which trip people up. I WILL NOT adjust values STRICTLY for penalty calls or subs unless I deem that there is ZERO gameplay impact.
  • I do not test anything in "coach mode". While my approach generally works for it, I can't vouch for it.
  • I will not entertain any discussion of CPU v CPU mode in this thread. CPU vs CPU has traditionally played very differently than other modes (including "coach mode"). Please refrain from any discussion of "findings" derived from CPU v CPU play in this thread.
  • Broad statements like "It's too easy" or "It's too hard" or "the run game is too easy/hard" will be ignored unless you provide further support. Provide full descriptions (or video) of WHY something is "too easy/hard". Broad generalizations based on tiny sample sizes (i.e. less than 48 full games in regular season CFM) will be ignored unless you have specific reaction/animation-based arguments to support the "why". If you have video of full games available, please refer to specific time-frames where you see things that look "off".
  • I will not make adjustments based on stats alone. I will not respond to queries based on stats alone. Video is nice, but even text descriptions of what you are seeing is helpful (oftentimes, one small detail may resonate as something I have seen myself...having secondary confirmation often helps me realize that something may be wrong). If you just post numbers, it is meaningless.
  • You're welcome to post box scores of games, but know that I usually ignore them (now, if you take the time to write specific details about how the game went and what you saw, I will totally read that). Box scores alone really don't tell me a whole lot. Stats lie all the time.
  • Take ownership of your gameplay style. If you like to go overboard and maybe exploit the CPU a bit, own it. If you're not 100% "sim", there is nothing wrong with that; but my approach may not work for you on All Pro.

Having high quality feedback makes our efforts here much better. I greatly appreciate everyone's cooperation

Thoughts on Franchise

Before getting into the meat of the slider setup, I'd like to go over some items for Franchise.

Rosters

EA spent MONTHS working on the new rosters. Given what we know about the importance of sample size, does it really make sense to use updated rosters that consist of changes made based on a game or two? Does it? Of course not. This is doubly important later in the year because they will boost younger players and if you start a new season from week 1 with those younger guys already boosted, then in-franchise progression will boost it even more (so you'll wind-up with a league-wide roster that is top-heavy in young players...which can skew league balance for 10+ years. For this reason, I strongly advise using the default pre-season roster that ships with the game (worst-case, make sure you save the final preseason roster so you get more up-to-date rosters without the in-season boosts).

Draft Classes

I'm a huge proponent of using the game's generated draft classes. One, you have no pre-conceptions of players and who/what they "should" be. So, you are going to dive more into them from a scouting and evaluation standpoint. That's going to massively boost your immersion in your franchise.

If you "must have" real classes, tread VERY carefully. The majority of top-voted draft classes last year were very poorly done as they had hyper inflated potentials with numerous players having superstar and star development (when they weren't warranted). This is where custom rosters/classes struggle, not with ratings, but with the potentials as we all have a tendency to overrate the upside of young players. Just like with double-dipping on progression by using a later-season roster, using a class with inflated potentials will massively destabilize your franchise for many years.

EA's classes are crafted to adhere more to the ratings stretch and ultimately, will lead to more balanced outcomes long-term. If you choose to use a custom class, just be careful and don't say I didn't warn you

Single-team vs Multi-team Control

I'm a single-team control guy. My enjoyment in franchise comes from watching my team's story unfold in a fictional universe I created and I am far less concerned about micro-managing the CPU to make things "more realistic". I'll help them along if maybe their depth charts are a bit shallow or something, but not much more than that.

Now...this is just how I play. If you enjoy 32 team control, go for it.

Coach vs Owner

I HIGHLY recommend using a Coach. The scenario engine is much more fleshed-out for coaches and it will add more depth and immersion to your CFM.

XP Sliders

I'm usually a default progression guy. EA's default progression usually lowers team ratings slowly over time and that's more my thing. If TDawg does his annual XP slider thread, I'd highly advise using his setup if you want to keep things more in-line with the base roster.

Superstar X-Factors

Someone will ask....I am 100% using them. I love the concept and from the Beta, they did a nice job balancing them. Don't short-change yourself by not using them - it's a fun addition to franchise.
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Last edited by JoshC1977; 08-09-2019 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:58 AM   #3
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

Absolutely loved your Show sliders, and your overall approach. Really excited for what you come up with.

I notice you're saying these are User vs CPU only. I'm doing a CFM with 7 users and 25 CPU. Is there any reason these wouldn't be a good fit for user games? Or is it that you're just testing these against the CPU, and putting that as a disclaimer?
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:11 AM   #4
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bucknut7
Absolutely loved your Show sliders, and your overall approach. Really excited for what you come up with.

I notice you're saying these are User vs CPU only. I'm doing a CFM with 7 users and 25 CPU. Is there any reason these wouldn't be a good fit for user games? Or is it that you're just testing these against the CPU, and putting that as a disclaimer?
Honestly, I've never played a H2H game of Madden - ever. In the past, I know a few guys that have said that my approach to sliders has worked well in User v User games. I just can't vouch for it personally.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:33 AM   #5
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

Can you share your thoughts behind the penalty slider bump to 51? I know these are still being workshopped, just trying to understand your methods on Madden.

Absolutely giddy to get my full copy tonight. Based on my access trial, I see no reason NOT to start my Lions franchise. Too many years I delay waiting on perfect settings. Not this year, game has shown me enough at default. I think your adjustments will only enhance what Iíve seen.

Iím a HUGE fan of X factor/ superstar traits this year. Elite player impact is immediately evident. Love that wrinkle and really feels like all play styles can be successful with the right roster construction this year.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:32 AM   #6
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

I wanted to break down a few more things from my EA Access experience (2 trials so 20 hours) here before launch. This is random and in no particular order.

General Note on Sliders
I'm very much adapting an approach of keeping all sliders between 48-52 for All Pro. That SEEMS to me to be a safe range where you can mess around with tendencies without getting 'Slider RNG'.

Now, I am currently NOT using any gameplay slider adjustments. I have tested a couple of things out...but...we need sample size. I'm not adverse to making changes, but the changes need to make sense and be justified.

Coverage
There were coverage issues in-game during EA Access. I don't know if we'll get a Day 1 patch or not and even if we do, if it will address them. There were three primary components:
1. The amount of distance between the DB and receiver. At pure default, you could watch a DB following a WR on a crossing route, but the DB would be 3 yards downfield following him. Modifying the injury slider to 50 in MM and 50 in CFM cleaned this up. (Note: on All Madden, players tend to play 'tighter' to start - so this setting may not work as well)
2. CPU defenders would constantly LOOK for the ball (and not necessarily react) at the expense of covering the receiver (leaving some nasty gaps in coverage). This took me forever to figure out but turning Ball Hawk back "on" really helped us out here. It's very clear the game was tuned to have this on (and it IS "on" by default). This functionality is definitely different than past years.
3. There are some odd animations with how DBs turn their hips or react on change-of-direction patterns. Now, EA stated that they tuned DB movements post-Beta to try to get Post patterns to be less effective, but I don't think the tuning worked out as well as it should have. There isn't much I can do here and I am not going to try. The other 2 tweaks will help mitigate this from being a major nuisance.

Threshold
I spent a TON of time on this. There are a lot of big plays by default. It is very tough to catch guys from behind. In this case, THAT IS NOT A THRESHOLD ISSUE! The issue there is related to fatigue...I'll touch on that later.

I set threshold to 52 for a couple of reasons. One, it smooths out some animations. Two, I think it syncs-up the run game a bit better. It will help A LITTLE in closing the gap, but not as much as people think.

Fatigue
This was a late addition to the setup. As mentioned above, breakways were virtually unstoppable. The reason, watch the stamina drain on a defender on a long return....it doesn't go down fast enough.

Now, 52 fatigue helps that without rocking the rest of the gameplay. In fact, the gameplay is just a bit sloppier...which I love.

Penalties
In previous years, penalty sliders at 50 'gated' the number of calls and going to 51 would essentially remove that restriction. But in past years, going to 51 wound up causing a ton of issues with warping/suction and just generally imbalancing the game. Well last night, I was down to 30 minutes of EA Access and thought, "What the heck?". I plugged-in 51 for all the penalties and got into a game. About a quarter's worth of play, 3 DPIs, 1 IBB, 1 Hold later...I was like, "Oh man...we HAVE to explore this!". I think the subtle tweak to fatigue along with the 51 values may have got things to stand out. It also could have been dumb luck. But any chance of getting lots of penalty calls without causing major gameplay disruptions is well worth it.

(note: 51 RTP will introduce some odd calls that don't seem to be justified by the animation (e.g. QB is barely grazed)...I know this but for now, I really want to leave them all at 51 to see if there is a 'balancing act' here)

Fumbles
(insert sound of spoiled toddler crying)...."WAAAAAA too many fumbles!!! WAAAA!!! "

Suck it up kids. Use the protect ball button, don't make jukes in heavy traffic, get out of bounds, use the coach adjustment (especially in rainy weather). If you are reckless handling the ball, that's on you.

X-factors
You HAVE to gameplan for these guys and I LOVE IT! They can and will shred you. Be cognizant of where they are and what they can do. Related note: understand your opponent's personnel (even non-superstars) and where their sore spots are.

Franchise mode in-general
I basically spent 20 hours testing gameplay in CFM. I did not dabble much in the mode at all. The scenario engine stuff seems OK and I am hoping that we get far more interesting scenarios throughout the year.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

Do you have to change this and re-do every time you start a CFM? So it wonít work in a existing one?
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:45 PM   #8
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Re: JoshC1977's Madden 20 CFM-only Sliders (User vs CPU Only)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WCBasketball
Do you have to change this and re-do every time you start a CFM? So it wonít work in a existing one?


No, you can apply it to an existing franchise.


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