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

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Old 05-13-2018, 12:53 AM   #33
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
My creative vision for Madden:

- transition Madden away from an annual boxed release to a year-round subscription service. Sports games on consoles are well overdue for this change and non-sports games are already doing this (one notable example is Rainbow Six: Siege). I want Madden to lead the pack in this space amongst my direct peers in sports games. I assume this transition will require a major technical investment over the entire five years, especially for modes like Ultimate Team and Franchise, so I want to start it today. Once the game is adapted to the subscription model, I'll begin delivering new content to leverage that new position.

- double down on gameplay mechanics across the board, on and off the field. I want to lower the skill floor and raise the skill ceiling at every position on the field, and I want to create unique gameplay mechanics for different player types to increase roster diversity in all gameplay modes. The goal for this investment is to make an 11-v-11 online game of Madden fun to play for all players regardless of position. I also want to create more roster management mechanics in Franchise and Ultimate Team to make the meta of Madden more interesting, increase the game's authenticity where appropriate to do so, etc.

- make User vs CPU an adequate training tool for User vs User. I've said this before elsewhere, but it's worth repeating. The user has a massive toolbox at its disposal in Madden, and in my previous bullet point I propose continued investment into that toolbox. The game needs to actively make users aware these tools exist, the CPU needs to organically use all these tools, and the game needs to point out when use of these tools succeeds and fails so the user may learn from his gameplay mistakes. A more organic and skilled CPU opponent makes all single-player game modes better simultaneously.

- add components to Franchise and Ultimate Team to make each mode a more engaging and social experience. Specific to Franchise mode: I want to integrate Twitch and allow league members to broadcast their games within Madden; for example, if I log into Madden and my brother is in the middle of his game, the first thing I want to see on the franchise hub is a live feed of his game in progress. I want to collate highlights captured by my console or Twitch and present them in my team's hub for other users to see. I want to lift Story Builder from NCAA and allow custom content generation (such as what many people do in dynasty tracker threads) to happen natively within Madden. I want a much better companion app which broadcasts user-generated content, highlights, roster moves, game results, and all other activity to my phone so I can keep track of what's going on in my online league while I'm away from my console.

- continue development of Longshot on the back of last year's praise, but position it as a new user teaching tool. New users aren't going to be able to just jump right in to Madden and succeed, one-button "easy" modes are insulting to their intelligence, and removed from the appropriate context of Franchise mode Skills Trainer becomes a boring check list. I'd use Longshot to gradually introduce the controls of the game to users to get them at least ready to start attacking the rest of the game.
I would say this is more along the lines of how Madden should and would most likely go. I see EA going towards Twitch and other social avenues...

I would like to see, though it is probably out of the realm for a Madden game, but COD WW2 has a lobby where people interact. There are things to do like old school Activision games, these are fun, but not sure if they are used often enough to justify others.

The lobby in COD also, more so than in game action, allows for the micro-transaction cosmetics from uniforms to weapon skins and avatar icons to be seen and shown off. I would definitely spend money to dress up in a Vince Lombardi Fedora and overcoat and hang in a lobby where I could create challenge games and potentially set up practice matches for others to watch..

If anyone has played COD WW2, players can play against each other in 1 v 1 shout out and the other players in the lobby can watch..

The COD model needs improvements, and it was a slow launch, but it was awesome.. (note: I have not played the game in about 5 months, so I do not know the status of the lobby system currently; I hope it is running smoothly because it was a great idea).

When I open Madden I want to be taken into a world of professional football. Not just a flat UI with a bunch of links as in M18 and previous iterations.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:24 AM   #34
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
I disagree that "sim" gets destroyed by making the CPU aware of all the tools available to it. We've all been complaining that the CPU needs help for years, I want to provide it that help.

My go-to example on this is the story of how the Ravens user in my M18 online league led the league in rushing with Joe Flacco. This happened because said user scrambles any time the opportunity presents itself on a passing down, and the CPU doesn't know how or when to use a QB Spy or DL Contain rush unless that assignment is specifically baked into the play call.
I interpreted your comment as the CPU mimicking online MUT-style unrealistic cheese.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
(as an aside: before you said "I'd kick this user if I were you": 1 - he's my friend, so that's not happening; 2 - I don't have the time or patience to enforce video game house rules; and 3 - it's not my responsibility to teach someone the "right" way to play a video game, the video game must enforce its own rules upon its users.)
The rules must be fixed by the programmers then, to favor realistic play and punish idiotic cheese. Call the same play 3 times in a row? CPU gets a massive awareness bonus, for example.

There are probably much better solutions to that problem as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
Teaching the CPU when and how to use defensive hot routes to counter that tendency forces that user to sit in the pocket and read a coverage, giving him opportunities to round out his skill set. He doesn't know how to actually read a coverage or play the pre-snap chess match at all, so against the very best players of the league he's currently screwed as long as he is allowed to rely on his crutch of just scrambling (because the very best players in our league know how to take that crutch away). I want the CPU to tie his right hand behind his back and make him learn to play left-handed, so to speak.
This is the GOOD side of your proposition. But there IS a bad side, and it depends upon how this is done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
Even if making the CPU aware of its toolbox was 100% not "sim" - I already said I disagree, but let's go with it - I also feel strongly that competitive balance of the user population is far more important and wins out over "sim" in this case. IMO Madden is a competitive video game first and a football game second. I want to do my damnedest to make sure anyone who picks up the controller has a fighting chance if he or she goes online.
IMO that is why Madden is going down the toilet with respect to its original slogan "If it's in the Game, it's in the game."

If we're talking ideal situations, the ideal situation is to make playing realistically the best way to win. This could include a version of what you're talking about, but it has to be done right. The two are not mutually exclusive.

But they have to stop using an engine base designed in 2006. Fat chance of starting over and doing it right, of course.


But imagine a Madden game where doing stupid, idiotic crap that would never work in real football actually gives the user a DISadvantage instead of an advantage? Something like that has already been done in either NCAA or Madden (can't remember). It worked like this: if you kept calling the same play, the other player was able to see your play-call art. This could be adapted to the CPU. They get a situational awareness boost that increases every time you exceed a certain number of consecutive same play calls.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
This is literally the exact opposite of what you need to do if you want to foster a healthy and robust community in your game.
See, you're approaching the problem from the wrong side. Don't start with what users are doing now and make the CPU duplicate it, start with how the engine works, and change it so that realistic football strategy gives an advantage, and unrealistic cheese gives a disadvantage.

To an extent they are already trying to do this (QB fumbling for example), but unfortunately their tools are too limited to do it right (which is why the engine needs to be thrown out and rebuilt- but of course that's nothing but a dream).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe

Going back to my online league - the skill gap between the best player and the worst player is extremely wide. The best player in the league, my brother, has won literally every game against one of our mutual friends for the past three iterations of Madden. As a game designer, I not only want to but I feel I have a strong obligation to provide tools and experiences with which the worst player may hone his skills so he has a chance against skilled opponents.
That's all well and good, but you could also design the game in a way that the best players are the ones who play the game the closest to how NFL games are actually played.

A tall order, but so is designing an entire system to make the CPU simulate the cheese found in online games.



Allowing the CPU to adjust intelligently is a good thing. The problem is the engine.





At least for those of us who want Madden to be an NFL Simulation first and an E-Sport second, which is clearly not the crowd you belong to, so naturally you'd disagree with my take on it.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:35 AM   #35
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improve and add game-play mechanics
passing game- incorporate an advanced passing option similar to back breaker.
catching for both offense and defense, make catching the ball a fully manual function.** id have the catching window variable based on the defender and receiver ratings.*** match ups would matter, cause now you would want to have your best cb's on the best receivers...

these two options would go a long way in balancing gameplay.
AI adjustments* in-game definitely* have to be improved.

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Old 05-13-2018, 08:35 AM   #36
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

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Originally Posted by JayhawkerStL
We saw this issue in the QB scramble thread. You offered three strategies that help stop scrambling QBs. Strategies carry with them risk/reward. They may leave leave other areas open and allow other plays to work much better. But this is how competitions works.

What was the solution by the sim guys in the thread? Go into attributes and change the scrambling QB into a player that won't scramble so much. It's what I';ve called paint-by-numbers boring. There is no learning, no improving skills. They just dial in the results they want and make them happen. There is no risk/reward.

I'm with you. I'd rather a game adapt to condition on the field and opponent tendencies to utilize the same tools the User does. That leaves open the risk/reward opportunities to counter what your opponent is doing. If the game were to start doing that, it would render the "adjust attributes" solution even more meaningless.
And why couldn't an engine incorporate such a thing, but instead of rewarding idiotic cheese, reward realistic football play?

Then you can have the same kind of moves and counter moves seen in the NFL. This is not a mutually exclusive situation here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JayhawkerStL
Expanding on that, maybe difficulty levels take advanced strategies as way to scale difficulty. On easy, it doesn't adapt. On the Hardest, it adapts to everything. The only problem I see with this is the usual sports gamers battlecry of "Comeback code!"
Adaptation is not the problem for the sim crowd. The sim crowd WANTS CPU adaptation. Situational awareness and adaptation by the CPU is a HUGE request from the sim crowd. What we DON'T want is for unrealistic play to reward the user, and then the CPU to simulate it to train newbies.


We want an engine where REALISTIC play gives the best chance of winning, and then by all means put all of that into the CPU and give it the same tools.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JayhawkerStL

[...]

So, I'm not convinced that sim players will ever embrace an AI that actually uses the in-game tools to combat your tendencies. And if that is the case, you can't put sim gamers into easy difficulty, as they won't use it. But I think it would be better than changing the speed and abilities at different levels.
Then you obviously have zero idea what sim players want, and haven't really been listening to them.


Here's what sim players want:


Super Bowl, Falcons vs Patriots. Falcons get a huge lead. Falcons have a lot of success running the ball.

Second half comes. Patriots adjust. Running becomes far less effective for the Falcons. The Patriots run a lot more hurry up. The Patriots then, at the most critical moment on a two point conversion, call a play that exploits the way the Falcons had been playing short yardage all game.


That's what happened in the real Super Bowl. Moves, counter moves, counter-counter moves, etc.


That is what the sim crowd wants.




What the sim crowd DOESN'T want:

User makes Joe Flacco scramble 40 times a game. CPU then simulates that play to "teach" new users how to compete against experienced users online, making Joe Flacco scramble 40 times a game.

Now every franchise season has Joe Flaccco leading the NFL in rushing.






The problem is NOT the CPU having access to the same tools as the user. That would be a wonderful thing that sim players would embrace whole-heartedly.

The problem is that the game rewards idiocy too much and realistic football play not enough.


Fix the engine, and THEN add this feature.
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Old 05-13-2018, 08:39 AM   #37
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

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Originally Posted by JayhawkerStL
If you run QB contain and use a spy, the QB will run less. What changing the traits do is allow you to defend him in the same way you would any other QB. The threat of a run forces teams to avoid man to man and give up a defender to just spy.

So yeah, you can "fix" this by changing attributes, but it's really just dumbing down the game. I prefer to have to actually change my defensive style based on the talent and tendencies of my opponent.
And I'd prefer the talent and tendencies of my opponent to mimic the NFL instead of MUT tournaments, and be challenging BECAUSE of that. I.e., a game where realistic football play yields an advantage rather than a disadvantage. For example, in the real NFL, the Patriots will often come out passing a lot, and then run a lot after they have a lead in the second half (not always, but that is the general trend). Tom Brady is a great QB in real life AND in the game, yet in the game the Patriots are easy to beat because they underutilize Tom Brady compared to the real Patriots, because Tiburon just goes by a play call ratio instead of situational exceptions to play-calling. The so-called "adjustments" you speak of, if done right, would result in Tom Brady passing more early in a game, especially if the secondary is weak, instead of blindly following a pass/rush ratio like the game does now.

Another example: The CPU playing press coverage when I have a 96 speed WR on the outside. That is something that flies in the face of what BOTH of us want: it's not sim (no team is playing press cover zero against Randy Moss), and it shows a complete failure of the CPU to adapt to what's going on on the field.

What you say you want is not mutually exclusive with making Madden a football simulation. But an engine from 2006 that's been patched and tweaked for more than a decade isn't the way to get that done.
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Old 05-13-2018, 12:36 PM   #38
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForUntoOblivionSoar∞
IMO that is why Madden is going down the toilet with respect to its original slogan "If it's in the Game, it's in the game."

If we're talking ideal situations, the ideal situation is to make playing realistically the best way to win. This could include a version of what you're talking about, but it has to be done right. The two are not mutually exclusive.
I’m not sure to what extent the poster plays others sports titles - but if you look at another massive EA title like FIFA you can see how the balance between sim and competitive can be achieved perfectly well to satisfy both without sacrificing one over the other. The idea that Madden has to go all in on competitive is crazy. And if there’s a new model to be adopted on the sports game genre, it will be FIFA that attempts it first. Madden definitely isn’t the trailblazer in the sports category anymore. Ultimate Team and Frostbite both appeared on FIFA before Madden and that’s in EA’s own stable, let alone non Ea game which are even quicker to innovate.

While I’m on the subject, titles like NBA 2k have set the benchmark when it comes to pushing forward with franchise mode and still satisfying competitive players demands. It’s my opinion that if necessary, Madden should implement non essential micro transactions to satisfy the corporate bottom line.

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Old 05-13-2018, 02:34 PM   #39
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I love seeing the community reply with the need for a complete overhaul of gameplay and Franchise mode. Unfortunately it seems only the people who buy the game are this passionate about these things as the developers continue to worry and work only on aspects which will cost people to purchase and purchase. *Business wise, one would think it important to produce a product that a major amount of it's target audience is asking for, yet according to their internal research, I can only suspect we are no longer their target audience.
My hope is they react for once- honestly- to the public and just say one final time- "Yes, we are embarking on a new path that will ultimately release a game focused on superior and realistic gameplay including Franchise" or "No- these games where micro transactions rule the day are the way we will focus moving forward."

I doubt anything so transparent will ever be released by EA, but one can continue to hope, can't one?
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:05 PM   #40
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Re: If You Were in Charge of Madden: What Is Your Five-Year Plan (Roundtable)

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Originally Posted by Impetuous65
You're talking about likeness or signature animations. I'm talking contextual/situational animations to fit any giving scenario and it looks natural. Likeness just takes some getting some good actors to mimic or getting the player to come in and doing it themselves.

SDS, have a whole slew of animations that a 2nd and 3rd tier out of position player has no access to, which makes you reconsider drag and drop when you sub. EA, is just plug and pla when it comes to sports WE all know sports is a meritocracy, some men/women are better and can do more than others. Plug and play is a 90's concept.

Not quite.

I hear what you're saying. But what you're referring to is essentially increasing the available number of animation assets and putting trigger limits or access depending on the ability of the individuals (if they're superstars, average or weak) in given a certain situation.

More importantly, it would fall on the shoulders of the AI programmers as well. Of course the animators would be heavily involved in the process-- they would know exactly when a set of animations should be triggered. But having the proper animations trigger, how and when they should be triggered for a given situation is predominantly the programmers' responsibility.

Animations C, D,E,F gets trigger when Player X is this many units away from the sidelines, and how many defensive players are surrounding Player X, and the positions of any surrounding defenders, the ball path trajectory, and many more variables, etc. etc. etc. If player X (rated abilities, ranked capabilities, superstar, above average, average, weaker, etc.) and defender Z interacts one of many ways, a set of tiered contextual animations (Ca, Cb, Da, Db) could be triggered, etc. etc.



...... But what I'm talking about is not signature animations. I'm strictly talking about capturing proper biomechanics of human athletic movement. They're not the same and SDS falls short in a lot of their "general run of mill" animations. MLB the Show pitchers not tucking their glove side arms, not swiveling their hips and shoulders independently to generate the proper torque angle, not having the proper arm angles with respect to the body as the pitcher rears back, along with improper follow through and recoil is not "signature animations." It's simply about getting the mechanics of movements correct.

I understand what you're saying and yes, contextual situational awareness along with a systematic animation tiered approach separating capable from less capable players and out of position players is definitely important. But when SDS isn't exactly doing simple athletic movements justice, I would be concerned about bringing them on board. SDS have had years to fix their general basic run of the mill animations and the same ones still plagues the series.

Or let me rephrase that. Get an understanding to how SDS blends together different set of animations and transitions would be nice, but recruit someone or a team that actually understand the biomechanics of how a body moves. It starts with the basics. Either Visual Concepts, team that worked on Pro Yakyuu Spirits, Dixney/Pixar/Dreamwork to oversea the animation department along with a team who understands how to properly take raw mo-capped sequences, clean them up, and prepare them for in-game animation assets.
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