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If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

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Old 05-22-2018, 10:28 PM   #73
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

I guess I never listed my five-year plan.

1. Somebody said it earlier: physics and animations. RBs and blockers get a complete overhaul: RBs now extend hands, push blockers forward, and try moving the pile on short yardage situations. No RB is Earl Campbell by any means, but players like Zeke and Adrian Peterson should have more success on 4th and 1, etc. Ballcarrier moves also overhauled. The jukes are no longer OP and silly looking, also introduce the stutter step by holding LT and X/Square. Bring back the double moves from NCAA 14.

As far as features go, scrap CFM, bring back old elements of Franchise. It’ll be a year or two before the old-school Franchise has returned, but slowly, it’ll come back. Also working on bringing back Superstar.


2. Introduce dynamic duos, team leaders, and other roles for Franchise while also tuning gameplay elements. Players have better situational awareness; QBs with a high clutch rating throw more towards the sidelines rather than across the field. RBs with low clutch ratings are more prone to fumble, WRs more/less likely to drop, etc. This is already in the game, but it could be improved so much.

Features: Add in-depth contract negotiations for Franchise. This will also make use of the role system; Team Leaders are more likely to take pay cuts than Superstars. Use the Recruiting System for Free Agency: lure a player to your team by showing him the school system for his kids, have a Mentor-type player take him out to dinner, etc. Free Agency is no longer a “Stage”, but a daily process that can also be simmed if the user chooses to.


3. Gameplay tuning: Size matters. Refreshed animations based on both physical size and ratings matter. Dez Bryant on Terrence Newman in a jump-ball situation? Bryant outjumps him, fights him all the way to the ground for the football. On the line, a smaller LT can have the LG double team his assignment. Double teaming also returns, in both secondary and line play.

Features: It’s all about the rivalry. Post-play scuffles. Late hits resulting in a sideline reaction. The all-new Discipline rating comes into factor, here (Vontaze Burfict sets the standard with a 6 Discipline Rating). Nothing too graphic; we still want that E for Everyone rating and for the NFL to endorse it. Suspensions return, but not so the NFL is put in a bad light, but rather, the player in the video game. Superstar is also on the rise.

4. Gameplay: Pre-snap route adjustments return. Corners, posts, flags, and others can be adjusted. Add in a defensive setting/gameplay: conservative coverage or loose. Playing zone against a fast slot WR? Play loose zone coverage and have the safety follow him. Play conservative and, while the zones are more coordinated, you’re more likely to get burned. Re-vamp the Hit Stick. Add realistic big hits but also increase the chance of injury for the player making the hit. Any Hit Stick on the QB should draw an unnecessary roughness/roughing the passer.

Features: Franchise is now in full swing. Holdouts and arbitration play a big part in roster building. Dynamic attendance; signing a marquee free agent will draw in more people, endorsements, etc. Do poorly, however, and you’re likely to be fired by the owner for low ratings and attendance. Effective player roles help establish chemistry. For example, too many team leaders can cause a locker room divide, cause low chemistry and morale, which affects play.

Superstar returns in all its’ glory. Create your player or use one from the draft class, guide him through the combine, interviews, Wonderlich Test, the Draft, and so on and so forth until you reach the HoF.


Year 5: Fired for not paying attention to MUT and ultimately costing EA a few bucks.


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Old 05-27-2018, 01:05 PM   #74
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

It's impossible to have a specific 5-year plan without intimate knowledge of the resources at hand. However, I can list a few targets/goals/directions I'd want to take.

* MUT lacks an overarching competitive context. Franchise mode is it's own context, play now is usually played with friends, so that friendly rivalry is its own context. There aren't many people who play play-now by themselves. MUT's context is kind of ethereal. It just gives you a bunch of busywork and fools you into thinking you're doing something. It's like one of those games where you make a bunch of money but the only use is to increase your efficiency at making money, so you end up, in Yahtzee's words, owning a majority stake in the entire world with nothing to do with your money but make a golden throne.

So I would create the World MUT League. This would be a tiered league system similar to European soccer, with regional divisions (if you're an American, you'd begin perhaps in a county-wide league, advance to state-wide, etc). Each season would run some predetermined amount of time (need data I don't have to determine this), and anytime you elect to play a league game, it tries to match you up within your league (failing that, at the same level but a different region).

Wins are worth 5 points, ties are 3, and losses are 1 (this way the teams that are active don't get relegated over the teams that don't bother; however, you can opt for auto-relegation if you find you've been promoted beyond your skill level).

The key in all of this is that your MUT team's ratings are utterly irrelevant. If you're good enough to elevate a bad team, or you have a good enough team to elevate your skills, more power too you. You get what you earn.

Me and one of my close friends, who was the tech supervisor on MUT at the time, actually started designing this at one point in our off-hours. Never was completed because we both left. It was my answer to, "Well, if you don't care about MUT, design something that would make you care."

* CFM: My view of CFM is this: the gamers play MUT, and MUT is fantastic for the gamers. The football fans want CFM to shed as much gameyness as possible and feel like running an NFL team.

With this in mind, I want to eliminate everything that feels like a strategy game and replace it with something that feels human. When setting the depth chart, I don't want to see a spreadsheet of numbers, I want an account of players' performance from my position coach and coordinator. I don't want to see a list of numbers that went up, I want to see that Jimmy G.spent time working on his mechanics and fixed that bad foot placement that hampered him last year. I want decisions to be made not based on how two lists of numbers compare but based on human evaluations, or the best a simulation can produce.

So that's my foundational philosophy; make it more human, make it more about people, even if they are fiction. Realistic, the math underneath needs to be solid, yes. But I want the math to be represented by something that feels real.

* Gameplay: Replace all random decisions with branching decision trees, give players a memory so they can defeat what they've seen before and be fooled by similar looks.

Player behavior would be my top priority. The physics aren't bad. Sometimes they LOOK bad, but the results are usually OK. I need better technique and interaction, but that's iterative. The AI needs an overhaul and it needs to make each player an individual on the field.

Anyways, other than MUT I know those are high-level concepts, but if we're looking at a 5-year plan, that's kind of how you have to view it. You start with where you want to end, figure out how you get there, divide that into steps, then fit those steps into the timeline based on your resources. Plus you have to be flexibile enough that if a step you took ends up not working, you can go back and replace it. Making games is hard.
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