Draft Logic And Custom Draft Classes – Madden 19

As the news about custom draft classes hit me I could hardly stand it.  Being happy about a CFM Feature was new to me.  Any work on CFM that wasn’t surface level was something I had yet to see.  However, certain things take time to marinade and allow logic to creep through instant happiness.  Suddenly, I felt the pain of reality and the question hit me like a ton of bricks.

Have they fixed draft logic?

NFL: 2014 NFL Draft

The biggest problem with all Franchise Modes in almost every game is that they are flawed from the outset.  The user can see good players and snatch them up whenever they want to when it comes to free agency.  Once you get to scouting (what scouting?) and then the draft itself in Madden the AI doesn’t really seem to put as much thought into the most important off-season aspect as it should.  It’s generally pretty easy to find hidden gems and such in the draft through the broken scouting system (for reference, take a look at the house rules developed for Madden 18).  I have come up with a theoretical fix as we wait another two months for Madden 19 to come out.

Normal Should Be The Default Development Trait

While most of this depends on how often a development trait will change during a season, I would suggest that all players be changed to Normal as well.  This will be one of my goals in Madden 19.  I have been wishing for custom and shareable draft classes for quite some time.  While some of you will undoubtedly be looking for real-world draft classes, I will be editing and creating fictional classes for multiple reasons.  The development trait being set to normal is a big part of that. The other is that it will take away a lot of wasted time editing names, schools and such just to create a subjective rating that would be debated and scrutinized.  I will be happy to try out a few of those classes, but that won’t be my focus.

Rookies Should Never Have A Default Overall Above 84 In CFM

Rookies are unproven talent.  That’s it… period.  I will be editing my rookie classes to not only have Normal development traits, but also in a manner that will see an even spread of OVR ratings that won’t pollute the CFM with a bunch of 90-99 players by season three or four.

I will be keeping a close watch on what else is announced in regards to CFM and especially fixes to the logic engine that I fear will still see minimal effort for yet another year.

Stay Tuned

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Madden 25 – Six Months Out

Now that the NFL Combine has started there will be a few weeks of excitement before the actual NFL Draft and the announcement of who will be on the cover of Madden 25.  Until that time comes, we are going to take a look at what this game looks like from the standpoint of ‘what is already known’.

Simms

The first aspect of Madden that most fans are interested in is whether Connected Careers Mode will be updated and fixed.  CCM was a step in a somewhat new direction for Madden and while it provided many gamers with a new wave of interest in playing multiple seasons it also presented new problems and brought into focus (yet, again) some of the biggest short-comings of Madden.

  • Trades Are Still Broken – In case you haven’t noticed, you can trade away your draft picks and easily get between seven and ten future first round draft picks.  Player for player trades are a bit more difficult to pull off but that isn’t enough to save the atrocious draft pick trade logic that still plagues this game.
  • O-Line/D-Line Interaction – Every time I play Madden it feels more like I am playing Tecmo Super Bowl and the linemen are going through the suction motions.  This is certainly one aspect of gameplay that 2K mastered back in NFL2K5 and All Pro Football 2K8.
  • Commentary – Phil Simms is a jack-ass.  Okay, this isn’t something limited to Madden (as he exhibits this in every broadcast in ‘real life’) but his commentary is often out of place and even hypocritical.  When a Quarterback gets sacked from the blind side (Enter your Sandra Bullock joke here) he will say one of two phrases “Boy do they hurt” and then he will say a few plays later “They don’t hurt at all”.  Which is it Phil?…  or rather – Madden Devs?
  • Injuries – One of the most annoying aspects of Madden is that it doesn’t have realistic injuries.  While the NFL is trying to make it seem like football is safe, we know otherwise.  EA needs to make a decision as to whether they are going to make a representation of real football or some sort of football farce.

Keep your eyes and ears open as Madden 25 starts the annual hype machine.  You are destined to get excited and eventually let down by the beginning of September.  If you want a sports game that will make you feel like Madden is lacking – go get MLB 13 the show next week.

Madden 13’s Biggest Gameplay Problems

Chances are good that Urlacher will get injured when he crushes AP… why? Because Madden 13’s injuries are broken… or random at best.

Madden 13 has a lot of potential to be one of the best Madden games every made – if not the best.  However, there are still some things that are occurring that make for a rather annoying experience.  Here are a few –

CPU Play Calling – While this isn’t truly ‘gameplay’ it is something that you have to deal with every single moment of a single player game.  It seems as if the CPU Coaching Staff was programmed to mimic Pat Shurmur.  Why is it that on 3rd and long the CPU will almost always pick either a running play or a passing play with routes that are 3-5 yards short of what is needed for a first down?  The CPU play calling AI has always been bad in Madden, but this kills the experience when you are playing in a tight game and they seemingly throw in the towel.

The CPU Running Game Doesn’t Exist – No matter what you do in Connected Careers, it is almost impossible to face the CPU without dominating their runningbacks.  This is an issue that involves bad blocking and seemingly immobile runningbacks.  It is a constant struggle to feel like you have having a legitimate experience when you end up crushing the opposition every time they try to run the ball.

Human Pass Rush Is Unstoppable – I am currently playing a single player online CCM with the Browns.  Jabaal Sheard has 23 sacks through 12 games.  Chances are good that he will finish the season with over 30 sacks and this is without ever controlling him.  The funny thing is that I picked up Shawne Merriman in the pre-season to play RE (opposite of LE, Sheard) and he has zero sacks.  Sure, he is constantly facing the opponent’s best blocker, but to have ZERO sacks is almost laughable.

Left Ends Are Beasts – For some reason EA Tiburon has had a major problem programming the blocking in Madden.  This was something that was pushed strongly for by the community for Madden 13 in the new Infinity Engine.  It never made it into the final build and the interactions between lineman are still showing this lacking development.  If you have a somewhat decent Defensive Left End – prepare to dominate and set records almost every year.

WR Drops Are Infuriating – In one game I counted over 14 drops by my receivers.  This was a major issue in the demo and seems to still be a major issue in the game.  While these dropped passes might not keep you from defeating a seemingly stupid CPU AI Opponent, they can ruin your experience as you are being artificially prevented from having great games (even if they aren’t ‘sim’ with your receivers).  You can move the WR Catch slider but you shouldn’t have to do this.

Injuries Are Random and Silly – After crushing Mike Vick in week one with D’Qwell Jackson it was Jackson, not the injury-prone Vick that ended up on the injury report with a torn achilles.  What makes it better is that his foot never really hit the ground as he made the tackle.  Vick on the other hand was twisted up like a pretzel and was smashed into the ground.  He got up… Jackson didn’t.  Please, for the love of all things football – fix the injury system in Madden!

Do Legacy Games Get A Reprieve From Letting You Down?

Madden 13 has received great reviews from mainstream media, but when it comes to hardcore users – not so much.  Why is it then, that this game is selling like hot cakes with crack sauce?

If you don’t get your annual Madden fix will it be an itchy year?

It seems as if this is true to some extent.  While EA Tiburon made significant strides with the development of Madden 13 they still somehow managed to anger a faction hardcore community enough that they are up in arms over numerous ‘scandals’ that they seem to be taking personally.

Tebow for a moment and consider a world without annual releases.

Why is it then that they buy the game every year even if they think it is terrible or a let down?

Many of the problems that are prevalent in the gaming and software world revolve around giving the end-user just enough improvement or subtle tweaks that they want to give it a chance.  The expectations are so high that consumers don’t even look for things that will impress them.  Their eyes are studying every pixel for a flaw and every player movement for the slightest inaccurate animation.  This doesn’t mean they are wrong to be angry about not seeing the improvements they want to see… it just means they aren’t privy to what the corporation’s plan for consumer development and profit margins – rather than actual game improvement.

Don’t think for a moment that the developer is the only ‘guilty’ party.  The fact of the matter is that you are enabling a company to continue making what you term to be ‘broken’ games because you are buying them every single year.

If someone came to you asking for advice on how to deal with a person that continuously lets them down.  Every time they make plans something comes up.  Every time they say something, they find out it is a lie or maybe just an exaggeration.

What would you tell them?

Chances are good that you would advise them to end that relationship or step away from it slowly if they are worried about hurting feelings.

My question to those of you are continuously disappointed with Madden every year (or any other game – Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, etc.) is –

Are you obligated to purchase any of these things every single year?

If you don’t like the product you are buying every year, stop giving the company that makes it the power to keep making it.  Talk with your pocket-book rather than your angry fingers… money is the only language businesses speak.  If that means you have to take a course on Rosetta Stone in order to learn how to grow a monetary backbone – do it.

Stop giving annual releases a reprieve if you don’t like what you are getting – take the power back.

Madden-ing: How Finding Madden ’93 In My Parents’ Garage Made Me Re-Think EA Sports and the Direction of the Madden Franchise

20 years ago I was a nine year-old sports fanatic.  I was lucky enough to get a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1992.  After playing many great games like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 I was still hoping to have a chance to play a sports game.  Eventually, my mom and dad came home with a copy of John Madden Football ’93.  It was a gift for my 10th birthday and I cherished it.  I had played the same game while visiting my cousins in Georgia on a trip to the Citrus Bowl where I saw Garrison Hearst run over my beloved Buckeyes in Orlando.  It had hooked me from the first snap.

After years of asking for Tecmo Bowl for Christmas I had found a game of ‘real’ football.  You had to run ‘up’ the screen and call all sorts of different plays.  There was a manual that seemed to be 1000 pages long with player ratings and explanations of how to play every facet of the game.  I digress, my play-style was far from what many in the hardcore community would call ‘sim’… but dammit, I had a blast!  I could circle the field 3 times with Thurman Thomas before either getting tackled or scoring a touchdown.  So yes, before we get into the nitty gritty of this reflection – there are some incredibly arcade-like things about JMF93.

During my most recent visit with my parents we started going through some of the things I had packed away in the garage after getting married seven years ago (August 27).  In the process, I uncovered a bunch of old memorabilia and video games – including my Sega Collection with JMF93.  As I opened it up after years of storage and checked out the manual and case I was floored with how advanced this game was back in 1992 and perhaps more-so… how unimpressive the title has been in its growth during this generation of consoles.  That is where we will pick up the remainder of this article.

Why John Madden Football ’93 Is Better Than This Generation of Madden

Back Cover Game Features

Anytime you get a new game, the first thing you do is look at the back cover.  In this case, it is no different.  Upon finding JMF93 I took a look at some of the features in this game… and I was impressed.

Back Cover Features – How A Game Puffs Its Chest

“Buffalo’s No Huddle offense makes Washington scramble in the snow.”After seeing this quote, I started to think about some of the things the Madden development team has been championing over the last couple of years.  Teams playing like their real life counterparts and other such pursuits that sound great to anyone looking to have a great experience against their teams rival or the like.  Yet, how does this get so much coverage when almost 20 years ago – it was already in the game.  Granted, this is a small version of what we have now but the fact is that this is nothing new and even what we have tends to be broken from a logic perspective.

“Which four-time champion will dominate?” The next part of our back cover reveal is focusing on something similar to what we have this year – All Time Players and Teams.  This is one of those interesting things we commented in July when relating the inclusion of ‘Legendary Players’ for Madden 13 to All Pro Football 2K8.  In fact, if you want to go back 20 years, you will see that there are “8 Greatest-Ever Teams” that include teams such as the ’85 Bears, ’78 Steelers, ’84 49ers and more.  It tends to make us scratch our heads and wonder how original some of these ideas are or consider the notion that they have a tendency to recycle some of these old features as the games find new audiences.  It is a fine idea, but it seems somewhat off-base to call the inclusion of legendary teams or players anything but an expected inclusion at this point – rather than a ‘new feature’.

“Head butts, Clothesline Tackles and Shoestring catches”You would think that some of the animations from old games would make their way into future games with ease.  Well, clothesline tackles haven’t been included in Madden in almost a decade.  Head butts have gone the way of the Dodo with the NFL becoming more of a police-force trying to censor away the natural violence of their televised sport so Madden can stay rated-E… for the children.

Did You Know You Could Challenge Rulings In John Madden Football ’93?

There are a lot of things that Madden has that don’t really work well when it comes to actual in-game performance.  One of the things that people complain about almost every year is challenging calls on the field.  In JMF93 you could actually overturn penalties (see the picture to the right).  While this was limited to Head-to-Head games, it is still something to look back and snicker about because it probably worked better than the current system ‘works’.

Player Ratings Were Better 20 Years Ago, Kind of.

Another thing I noticed when browsing through the 79 PAGE manual was the listing of player ratings.  When you take a look at some of the ratings you might laugh, but most of the ratings when taken into further consideration come across as pretty fair and downright decent.  If you take a look at the pages we scanned you will see two teams with drastically different talent levels – Cleveland and Dallas.

Ratings have become some of the more contentious sticking points in Madden over the past 12+ years.  If you take a closer look at the ratings in JMF93 you will notice a few things.

– They are simplistic

– They are smaller (on a scale of 0-15 rather than 0-99)

– They are brutally honest

– They are somewhat wonky

For instance, Cleveland’s starting QB (Bernie Kosar) was given a Passing Range rating of 11 and a Passing Accuracy rating of 12.  He was a very slow QB when it came to running and scrambling and he was given a Speed Rating of only 4.  The interesting rating that is included is a Scrambling Rating… Kosar also had a 4.  His back-up on the other hand was given some rather strange ratings.  He was given a Passing Range rating of 0… yes… ZERO and then a Pass Accuracy rating of only 4 with SPD and Scrambling of 3.

If you look at the other page you will see one of the greatest running backs of all time has almost top ratings in every meaningful category.  Emmitt Smith was given 15s in Speed, Agility and Break Tackle with a 4 in Hands or ‘Catching’.  If you take a look at the ratings given to the running backs for the Browns you would think that their players were taken out of a tar pit with Speed Ratings of 7 and 8.  Kevin Mack (#34) was actually a FB and had a 12 SPD rating.  So, it wasn’t a complete loss for the Browns.

This Article Isn’t Meant To Trash On Madden Football

Before any Madden fanboys (see our earlier post if you don’t know what that means) read this article, please take into account that we are giving honest opinions based on evidence from actual games.  Also, it should be considered that we do realize that Madden 93 is clearly graphically inferior and definitely has issues with player movement when compared to current Madden games.  Again, this article isn’t stating that people will enjoy Madden 93 more than Madden 10, 11, 12 or even 13, but it does put current Madden games ‘on the spot’ when it comes to pursuing greatness and innovation.

We want Madden to be great.  We want it to be able to make us turn off a game on Sunday because our digital experience on a console is more enjoyable.  We want to see pass interference and hard hits across the middle.  We want to see head butts, shoe string catches and even an ambulance come onto the field as Colt McCoy asks where he is.  We want better football on our consoles and hope that this can invigorate people to be more critical while still being professional.  You are allowed to be upset, but please remember that this is all in an effort to make people think about the past so we can improve the future.  Even if it means looking into the past and wondering what the hell is going on with current game development.

Making Madden Better – Volume 1 – Ending Games

No matter which form of entertainment you choose – gaming, movies or books, if the ending is bad you will consider it either a waste of your time or sit there for a minute wondering if that really is all that happens.

Madden has a few issues in this department and no where is it more noticeable than at the end of a big game.  We are starting a new series of videos dedicated to helping make Madden a better experience.  These are primarily meant to catch the eyes of developers at Tiburon; however, if you have other suggestions for things we haven’t covered please comment below, send us a message on YouTube or email us at officialnoobtubetv@gmail.com.

Again, the content we provide is meant to be used as constructive criticism in order to improve the game.  There is no reason to point fingers or say anything in an unprofessional manner.  You will get nowhere fast if you think bashing something or someone will make it or them change.

Keep hitting that F5 key as NoobTubeTV is starting to grow more popular we will be posting more often.

Community Involvement Doesn’t Equal Community Development

In recent years EA Sports and some other publishers and game developers have started inviting select members of their hardcore gaming community and fanbase to come in and check out their game and give opinions and critiques as well as simply get a chance to play the game in its early build.  For the many people that don’t get a chance to visit places like EA Tiburon for Madden over the course of a game’s development cycle it is easy to think they might do a better job than those going down to Orlando.  There are a few things to consider before you let your mind run wild with envy if you aren’t among the invitees for Community Day (as they call it at EA).  As well, if you are among the lucky few – it will behoove you to pay attention as well.

Before we proceed, it is important to view one of the interactions from OperationSports.  This is between a non-Community Day participant and a Madden Community Day Participant –

Illustrator76 – “This was a great analogy sir, and I agree with what you’re saying. But I disagree with it as well, lol. Actually, I only disagree with the bolded part as it applies to Madden. I just feel like people need to remember why they are at the CD in the first place. Just because EA employees feed you, show you pictures of their kids, their peg leg, etc… that shouldn’t change your reason for being down there, or what you intend to say. Now, it may change HOW you say what you say, but it shouldn’t at all change WHAT you say.”

And the reply –

rgiles36 – “Just to offer a response, are you suggesting that people do forget the reason why they’re down there? And if so, what evidence is there that people go to Tiburon and don’t critique while in the studio?”

MY DIRECT RESPONSE

This is kind of a Catch-22 because there is no evidence that anyone can give that wasn’t there and the people that can give that evidence won’t likely speak freely about anything truly negative as it wouldn’t be beneficial if they wanted to keep getting a trip to Orlando.

I think it would be best practice for those that aren’t going to Community Day to remember that those invited are invited as guests and it is usually customary of a guest to show proper respect and gratitude toward their host(s).

If you go to someone’s house for dinner and the dinner tastes crappy – you (probably) wouldn’t stand up and yell “This tastes like sh*t!”.
However, if your guest stops eating after the first bite and says “This tastes like sh*t!” – you should feel slightly more inclined to either agree with them or give your two cents… otherwise, you hack down what you have been fed and you go home to a nice bottle of Pepto-Bismol.

MY MESSAGE FOR COMMUNITY DAY INVITEES AND PARTICIPANTS

You have to keep in mind that a majority of hardcore fans have no idea about what their favorite game is going to look, play or feel like until they pull it out of the DVD case on release day.  Chances are good that you will be criticized by an ignorant public because they believe that you have an inside track… because you do.  There is a certain level of responsibility that you have when it comes to being a sought-after member of the gaming community and you have to remember that while you have confidentiality clauses and other issues to worry about – you are still in a position of power among people in the community.

Also, as it is widely known among active members of the gaming community itself each person making the trip to Orlando must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that legally prevents them from divulging any information about the game or development of the game without prior approval of the studio/company.

Be that as it may, any person that is invited to a Community Day needs to remember that they were once among the commoners.  While there are rules they must follow, there is also a responsibility for them to be a conduit that other people in the community can utilize to further the overall mission – making the game better.  In my view, Community Day participants have done an excellent job over the last few years and their efforts are much appreciated.

THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is that when you bring in anyone to critique your product you are trying to get some feelers for what could be tweaked.  If the people being invited to give advice or suggestions were better at developing the game than the actual employees they would probably have a job offer to work at the studio.  (Keep in mind, this has actually happened in some cases with EA Sports and Madden)

There is a vast difference between being asked for your opinion and being asked for your help on any project.  For the most part, when people are invited out of the community to check out a game (of any sort) it is in a capacity of giving opinions and feedback but not much else.

Going to a community day is like helping someone hang a picture.  The developers picked the spot on the wall, put the nail in and they standing there holding the picture and asking you, “Does this look straight?”.

It is good to remember that people like Josh Looman pay close attention to forums and Twitter when it comes to community suggestions. Not just those from Community Day.

IN CONCLUSION

The main message here is that you must understand that people invited to give suggestions at Community Day are not there as developers.  They are there strictly on the basis of being valued consultants (at most).  They give opinions and they give suggestions when they are asked.  They give feedback and might even take some notes in order to give a detailed list that is comparable to proof-reading.  However, in the end it is up to the developer to take these suggestions and use them or ignore them.

So, before you accuse Community Day participants of ‘not doing their job’ or tell non-participants to ‘provide evidence’ that you know they don’t have – remember that this entire process is in the spirit of consulting at most.