Our Next Generation Console Demands – Part 1

Hoping for advances in technology is like hoping that tomorrow will come.  While it is a 99% certainty that it will happen, we really don’t know how it will turn out.  We usually hope for tomorrow to be amazing.  It is human nature to desire more and better for the future.  As we get closer to the next generation of gaming, we will be talking about some of our favorite parts of this generation’s games and what we hope to see in the future.

In Game Graphics Vs. Screenshot Graphics

If you have read any of our coverage of Madden 13 and real time physics you will see that it is one of the more important parts of gaming at this point. Players and characters have ‘looked like’ their real-life counterparts for a couple years now. While EA Sports has taken awhile to get more face scans, it is something that will indeed improve for the next generation. However, physics and processing power are going to be more important than something just looking pretty.

Take Battlefield 3 for instance – not only do you see guns and enemies, but you see buildings and vehicles that can easily explode and remind you that some things look cool but they just aren’t ‘super real’ just yet. That is where the physics and actual graphical ‘processing’ are going to be more important than some sort of glorified screenshot that we see even this generation.

PC games aren’t necessarily held back like console games in this way. Well, they aren’t held back ‘as much’… and it is something that PC gamers are always happy to point out to console gamers. Console gamers shouldn’t expect ‘real life’ realism yet. If you take a look at the game from id Games that made everyone see just a glimpse of the graphical future of games – Rage certainly amazed gamers on PC and consoles alike. Even with a bunch of driver problems on PC it is still a great benchmark graphically. The issue XBox 360 users got to see as they opened the game for the first time was the fact that it came on 3 discs. While PS3 owners got to snicker and laugh because they have Blu Ray playback, XBox 360 gamers simply had to enjoy Rage with a couple swaps of the disc.

Other gamers might even recall having to switch discs on their 360 while playing Rockstar’s L.A. Noire. This game, while running on the same engine as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption pushed a new era of facial structure and movement in games. Never before have you had to interpret whether someone was lying to you based on their facial expressions, but in this case it made the game incredibly innovative even if it was quickly disregarded as a must have title. L.A. Noire still ranks as one of my favorite titles that came out during this generation of consoles because while it was in development for what seems like forever (nearly 7 years) it was still incredibly innovative and risk taking from a graphical and gameplay perspective when it game to interrogating suspects. There is still something to be said for games that take a chance to amaze you and that will never go away.

Even with these amazing achievements in graphics, there is still something to be desired. The PS3 was marketed almost solely on ‘The Cell Processor’ and its amazing 7-Cores. Yes, it was and is an amazing processor, but the funny part of this really goes back to the fact that many developers actually stated that games were easier to develop for the XBox 360 (which had issues with their own processor – RROD). Metal Gear Solid 4 was delayed on numerous occasions and if you pay close attention to Solid Snake during a cinematic scene you will notice that his hair still moves around in little chunks. While details like a character’s hair are something that some people might scoff at, take a look at some of the things people are getting caught up about with Madden Football. (wrong facemasks, helmets and shoestrings, etc.)

Real Time Physics (aka – The Sports Gamer’s Pipe Dream)

Perhaps one of the most famous hits in NFL history is the one that Lawerence Taylor put on Joe Theismann. While this is an extremely gruesome hit (please don’t watch this video if you get queesy) – it is a fine example of something that isn’t in Madden NFL football – real time physics with real time injuries.

Perhaps one of the most desired and denied wishes of gamers is realistic ‘real-time’ physics. This basically means that if a character is moving at a high rate of speed and tackles someone going a different direction you should see a collision that makes you go “oooohhh!”. What we have been seeing instead are animations that are ‘canned’ and play out in an expected fashion almost every time.

Even if you don’t play sports games it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a fighting game or an action game that had better real-time physics. Games like Assassins Creed or Mortal Kombat could become some of the most amazingly technologically advanced console games ever made (from the standpoint of physics). However, where many people want to see this drive improvement is in sports games.

The current generation of consoles has been pushed to the limit with physics processing. Many games look good in this fashion (All Pro Football 2K8) and others look simply ‘overblown’ (Backbreaker). What we are really hoping for is something in-between that will give us true physics in regards to player size, speed and strength (with other such variables). It is our hope that someday we will be able to play a game of Madden, MLB, NHL or NBA 2K and see hits, throws, catches, shots, passes, interactions and injuries that genuinely make us feel like we are watching/playing a real game of football.

 

Madden 13’s Fall From Grace – An Abrupt Turn For The Worst?

If you consider the way Madden was going with their announcements of Connected Careers Mode and Real Time Physics it seemed as if the sky was the limit.

Now it feels like someone has come to your 4th of July party and taken all of your fireworks.

EA Tiburon has announced many new limitations for Madden 13 since the vaunted reveal of Connected Careers.

Darren McFadden should probably have an injured knee, back or right arm after this hit. However, thanks to EA and the NFL, this will most likely result in nothing more than a regular tackle and recovery… every single time.

You can no longer play more than one game per week and it must be for only your team.

This is a big deal for people that like to play random games along the way of their season to expand their enjoyment of the league as teams evolve… or to throw games like the 1919 White Sox so their team can make the playoffs.  Either way it goes, this limitation is silly and only hurts EA from the perspective of once again taking away any sort of further depth a gamer may want.

– Editing players is completely gone for Connected Careers.

Perhaps the biggest kick in the analog stick was the news that you can only edit players for Play Now games but not for your team before you start your Connected Careers Mode.  So, not only can you not edit your players… but now you have to hope that you bought the game new and got the $10 Roster Update Code included with the retail release.  Then you have to suffer the more unfortunate fate of having to depend on the Ratings Czar, Donny Moore.

– Madden still depends on the the ‘all-important’ Speed Rating

Please understand that this isn’t new or even an announcement.  However, it is still a major issue that annoys us to no end.  Football is the one game that is more than just fast guys running everything 80 yards for a TD.  It is a game of strength, awareness, determination, size and motivation (of which only one is a ‘rating’, Strength).  This leads us to our next limitation which is a continuation…

Ratings still determine everything…and nothing.

Madden football has turned into a bastardized arcade version of simulation NFL Football. There are ratings (like Speed) that mean everything to a player.  Then there are ratings (Awareness) that are some sort of mysterious presence that make a player’s Overall Rating but little else really comes out of it.  One of the things that All Pro Football 2K8 got right was taking those number ratings away from your view and made you ask yourself…”Can this guy play football?”

That is the real question facing Madden and NCAA.

Are these games really football?

Something that has troubled many football fans lately is the constant focus on ‘safety’.  If you want to be safe, play golf.  Football is about blood, guts, glory, concussions, playing hurt and yes… violence.  It is a game where every single play the goal is to destroy the player carrying the ball.  The NFL is taking it away from the game as much as they can but EA is taking it away altogether.

There are no late hits in Madden NFL Football.

There are no real time injuries to go with real time physics.

There are no roster edits for your (or any other team) before you start a Career Mode.

Which really starts to beg the question.  What exactly is in Madden outside of a couple of what now seem to be aesthetic changes to the game?

Are you angry with EA Tiburon’s approach to football games?  Vent below…

Madden 13 – Infinity Engine and Real Time Physics Should Mean Real Injuries

If Roger Goodell had it his way the NFL would be relegated to flag football or two-hand touch (but the latter might involve too much contact).  The issue at hand for Madden is the fact that they are marketing their newest and most important gameplay fix in years – real time physics.

What is real time physics?  It strictly means that as a player’s leg makes contact with another player in motion it will bounce off in realistic fashion rather than clipping through the other player or simply rubbing off in some strange way.

Now your players will flip, fall and bend as they should… but will they break like they should?

What might take away from this new way of players moving is when they smash their knees on someone’s helmet or fall on their head… or god forbid, get laid out by Patrick Willis and they somehow don’t get injured.  The NFL is making it more and more difficult for EA Tiburon to implement realism so long as they have the NFL’s license to make Madden with real players and NFL likeness’.

If EA wants to be a simulation, they need to include real-time injuries with this new physics engine… otherwise, they are just giving people a watered down version of football that is better left to Saturday morning kids shows.

Who knows if Joseph Addai got hurt on this play, but it could happen. In Madden it would currently play no part in his chances of injury.