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Video Game Football Stinks, and No One Seems to Notice

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Old 08-04-2008, 03:33 PM   #9
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"Zuniga" is from the Latin root word for "rationalization".
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:34 PM   #10
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Thought provoking article...

They REALLY do need to show the defense some more love though. Seems like every year they are coming up with more and more innovative controls for the OFFENSE, but the defense...

one thing i think that would make the defensive game more interesting, which I've never seen attempted, would be to switch the camera to behind the defense, while playing defense. Now I know this would only work while playing against the computer or against an online foe, but could you imagine the possibilities that even that one little change could add to the game.

Last edited by ausar72; 08-04-2008 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:37 PM   #11
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You're a jackass. But I agree with you.

I can't play defense to save my life. The best D I ever played on football was in nfl 2k5, where I basically would run a fantasy draft and take LaVar Arrington and blitz with him every down. I always let the secondary just get run by the computer when a pass is made, cause I know that switching from the D-line/LB to the DB will screw up the play cause it isn't seamless for me. And I have a feeling that's how it is for most people, even if you can play the DB, you probably just pick one to stick with the entire play. I will say that football D is a thinking man's game until the ball is snapped, whereas with soccer, it is always moving. Plus, there is a significant difference (at least as I saw it) between football D and the others sports you mentioned. Aside from moving around, in football every player has something which they are actively doing on defense aside from 'move to this spot' and 'set up for the play' (ala hockey, basketball, baseball, some soccer). Unlike in baseball, there isn't that one guy who has the ball and does something, or the one guy trying to take the ball in basketball. Each of those 11 players is doing something different, making it even more complex on D.

So with that, the issue really is how to fix it. Because of the pacing (within about 6-7 seconds usually a pass is made and the play is essentially set up until it degrades into smear the "kid with the ball") I'm not sure that you'd be able to achieve anything really close to this complete control without slowing the pace way down. Really, I guess the best implementations that could be would be more options to switch up defensive plays before the snap (or just have the 2002 Baltimore Ravens tell Madden how to build it).

However, I will say that just because you don't have the complete control doesn't mean that the game stinks. I think that it would just be really hard to have "complete control" of the D while 11 guys are actively doing something different. You're right, you don't have complete control. I'm just not sure that it necessarily equals 'stinky game.'

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Old 08-04-2008, 03:46 PM   #12
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Re: Video Game Football Stinks, and No One Seems to Notice

Sure, we notice. We've noticed for a long time now. Unfortunately, as long as consumers and "critics" keep giving game developers a free pass on their broken feature sets, it seems the developers and publishers will have little motivation to change thier thinking.

Really Todd, you've mentioned your distaste for defense on your podcast and even in your recent NCAA review. But then you give EA a swat on the *** and a "Good effort guys, you'll get 'em next year ...", and score them a freaking A-. Broken AI, broken online dynasty, and chronically broken/"unfun" defense, and they still get an "A-".

"No one seems to notice", huh? It seems that includes the "critics" as well.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:00 PM   #13
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Re: Video Game Football Stinks, and No One Seems to Notice

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Originally Posted by lowlevel
Sure, we notice. We've noticed for a long time now. Unfortunately, as long as consumers and "critics" keep giving game developers a free pass on their broken feature sets, it seems the developers and publishers will have little motivation to change thier thinking.

Really Todd, you've mentioned your distaste for defense on your podcast and even in your recent NCAA review. But then you give EA a swat on the *** and a "Good effort guys, you'll get 'em next year ...", and score them a freaking A-. Broken AI, broken online dynasty, and chronically broken/"unfun" defense, and they still get an "A-".

"No one seems to notice", huh? It seems that includes the "critics" as well.
Ouch. just... ouch.
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Come November we’ll be voting for a new president, and even if NCAA and Madden’s makers vote McCain, hopefully they’ll adopt Obama’s slogan as they go forward with their defensive philosophy. A new way of playing defense is certainly a change I can believe in.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:30 PM   #14
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The two biggest issues in video game football are poor AI, and constantly ineffective Defensive Playbooks Assignments. In video game football as you pointed out the player can only control one player at a time. The player must count on CPU AI to be in the rght place at the right time. This sounds easy enough but quite often human players find their CPU teammates out of position. This can be due to suction blocking or poor pursuit angles. While I understand this can be difficult for game designers to program but the biggest problem comes from the problem with Defensive playbooks/play assignments. For years video game football teams have used the same defensive playbooks. We buy into it if they give us extra formations or name the playbook after our team, Tampa 2, Baltimore D, NE Defensive for example. But the problem is the design of the plays with the playbook. The designers have given us defensive hot routes, but most people use this to fix the play not to create new ones. For instance how many defensive plays have the d-line assigned to the proper gaps? I hate the fact the the NOSE tackle doesnt cover the A gap on a standard Cover 3 play. And do DE's ever attempt to keep contain? Only if you call a QB contain play but then they do don't rush they imply spread out and sit on the line of scrimmage. DE's rarely follow proper pursuit angles. Let me breakdown a typical DE pursuit on a run play; ball snapped, DE rushes to blocker, ballier breaks line of scrimmage to opposite side of field, DE turns around and runs across the field. Does DE go past the line a scrimmage and run behind the line to be wary of the boot counter or reverse BCR??? Nope. Do line backers play inside-out? Nope Do CBs try to keep contain? Nope This is why for years (extremely apparent in NCAA09) the CPU will only run the ball to the outside. How often have you seen the CPU ball carrier run up the middle? Ask yourself these questions. In soccer, basketball, hockey and baseball the all the CPU players have to do is stay in zones or or run with their man. In football defensive is not just reactive players have assignments during the play not just the beginning. Until game designers and programmers establish in play assignments we will continue to see the current "reactive electronic table top" defense that we have played and enjoyed for years.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:34 PM   #15
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I agree that video game D is off, but it could be fixed. EA has had no reason to produce a complete game in the recent years. But I think that the controls for D could be leaps and bounds better. They could start with getting rid of the speed burst or tone it down, make it work for a few seconds, so the player wouldn't be able to sprint for 100 yards. Also the buttons are there for better block breaking controls. RB power move to the right, RT finesse move to the right, LB power to the left, LT finesse to the left. I cant tell you how many times I wanted to rip/swim/spin to the outside, only to have my DE spin to the inside on a run to the outside. The ratings of ALL the players should mean something. If player ratings counted you wouldn't see a 76 rated RT dominate a 91 rated DE. With EA its always a gimmick "wide open gameplay"= dumb D AI.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:34 PM   #16
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