ESPN/Madden Football Suggestions

Sharpe posted about wanted to learn football and how the video games set the bar a little high for the newbie. I get a lot of email about that at GamerDad so I wanted to start a thread with football sim suggestions.

Jim, I don’t remember if you’re directly affiliated with Madden any more but Sharpe’s post is something you guys should really consider. I think a great new feature for a football sim, next year, would be a real, in-depth, situational tutorial. I’m talking about getting Madden or some other coach to walk the player through a progression. EXPLAIN the formations, when and why to use them, etc., I’ve gotten a lot of emails at GamerDad from mainstream gamers and “lite” football fans who really don’t understand the game itself and want to learn. Madden (or ESPN) could become a real football sim/tutorial.

That said, you guys have gone a long way with the practice, situation, and Coach’s Pick option. The Coach’s Pick is problematic, because it just gives the nonhardcore a fish. It still doesn’t teach anything (unless they’re paying super close attention).

Another feature I think would be terrific is an optional bullet-time feature for QBs. Maybe you can only use it once or twice per game. I mean have everything slow down so the player can actually read and watch what he receivers, blockers, and the corners are doing.

Oh and finally, why even include the option to Challenge a play, if it’s blind? I mean, the real NFL coaches NEVER toss that hanky unless someone in their coaching booth tells them there’s a good chance they can overturn the call.

PS: You should add clinching to Fight Night 2005

Well, I design EA’s online feature set, so I don’t work on Madden directly as much as I work on the online portion for all the sports products. I still have a close rapport with the Madden team because I used to be on the team, but I don’t have a lot of insight into the offline feature set.

Having said that, I do think Madden does a pretty good job of including some of the features you mention. We have a mode called Football 101 where you can go through every single formation and play in the game. John will talk to you about the play and the CPU will run it once. It’s then your turn to execute it yourself and if you do so you’ll get some tokens for Madden cards.

We also have something called “EAsy play” (Get it? EA-sy play? We’re EA and it’s EAsy play! Zing! Those marketing guys come through again.) That reduces everything to pretty much one button. It won’t teach you about the NFL, but it makes what is a complicated game a little simpler.

I still think the easiest way to learn this game is to have someone talk you through it. We were thinking about having online community leaders that would play a friendly game against any n00b and talk to them through everything from how to pick a formation, to hitting select for a quick timeout, or pressing L2 + R2 to instantly into replay mode offline. The problem is you don’t want a bunch of non-EA people representing EA to your customers, and if you’re a n00b you’re unlikely to go online to get a free tutorial anyway.

P.S. Clinching is for people who aren’t smart enough to run away.

Yeah, Madden 101 is very good, but I think it could be better. Maybe instead of a seperate feature, you could incorporate it into an actual game? Make an option where you can play a game and when you hit the “Madden Choice” button, he suggests a play and tells you why that’s a good choice based on the situation. Wouldn’t that basically just be a matter of adding appropriate voice files to whatever AI does the Madden Picks?

Also, I think I might take you up on your offer to tutorialize a game with me. If you’re still offering. I’m good with offensive playcalling but I still have a hard time reading the opponent’s O and making adjustments.

PS: Boxers are not “runners.” That’s absurd.

So… this EA Sports Premium Pass I just read about – is it actually going to be up and running when I bring the game home?

And if I set up an online PS2 league for m’self and a couple friends, will we be able to have AI handle the other 29 teams? And do fantasy drafts?

And will it have all the other features I’ve ever dreamed of, and dispense free candy from the USB ports? :wink:

but it makes what is a complicated game a little simpler.

I am astounded by how obvious this, but somehow no one has done it – the difference between “Rookie” and “All Madden” shouldn’t be a factor of just AI, it’s about game speed.

Whenever you talk to a rookie in the NFL, what does he say is the biggest difference? “The game is much faster at this level”. For quarterbacks especially (which is the virtual position a player is usually taking on), you have a short period of time to make your reads and deliver the ball.

If you could run the game at 1/2 speed I bet you would find a lot of mediocre players suddenly performing much better.

The crutches that are given to the players right now from Rookie to All-Madden are inappropriate because they change the way the game plays, not just the difficulty. In Rookie you can throw the ball up anywhere and your team will come down with it. In All Madden if you try that you’ll get picked off, but you learn really bad habits if you start out at the easier difficulty levels.

Here’s more on the subject of game speed and how it affects difficulty:

Speed Kills

The speed factor is what I’ve been thinking the whole time while I’ve been picking up NFL2k5. In passing plays, I never have enough time to follow more than one reciever, if he’s covered, I’m toast. In running plays, by the time I see the gap, I’ve already committed to the wrong line (usually the line that the playbook has diagrammed.) I’d love to the play slowed down, but I’d bet it would turn off the action junkies who’d whine “the players move to slow.” Maybe a speed slider is the perfect idea to add to the rookie difficulty level.

Yes, but just as in the NFL, the game speed slows down as you play it more. Eventually, you are seeing more of the field and you get better at reading defenses before the snap too. You should be able to basically tell which receivers will be open before you snap it. Plus, you should have a contingency. If the safety moves left, I throw to receiver B. That’s what you do in real football, and you should do it in the games as well. Also, don’t forget your outlet receiver (often your RB). You may not get a lot of yards that way, but you won’t get sacked as often either.

anyway, learn to read coverages a bit. And on defense check the offensive formations (how many WRs, TEs and RBs they are using) before choosing your defensive formation. That’s critical. The down and distance will help you decide whether to play the pass or the run, though that is an imperfect science. I like being a LB (Keith Bulluck…my fave player anyway) because you can support in run or coverage. My second option is a safety (usually the FS, since he is almost always faster).

Yes, but just as in the NFL, the game speed slows down as you play it more.

Obviously. The point is that the game is easier at slower speeds, and for the bulk of players starting at a “slow” speed is challenging enough because of the sheer amount of information that has to be processed. When the game becomes too easy, they crank it up a little faster. At some point they should be able to play at full speed comfortably.

Toss them in at full speed from the outset and many will either A.) get flustered and quit; B.) resort to gimmick plays that they know work; or C.) stay on easier levels because that’s the only way they can compensate for the game speed.

Very few people are going to throw themselves like moths to flame over and over just to figure out how to play a game “properly”. There is no good reason I can think of NOT to have a speed slider.

BaconTastesGood is right. A speed slider would accomplish exactly the same thing the “bullet time” idea I had would, and would do it better. Ease players in, let them learn at their pace, and I think the game would produce better and more confident players who can ramp it up as they see fit.

He’s also right about bacon, of course.

multiple posts

Multiple posts

Sorry, but I can’t talk about this beyond what has been mentioned in the press releases. :(

I might be missing something, but why don’t you just change NFL2k5’s game speed option to slow?

I might be missing something, but why don’t you just change NFL2k5’s game speed option to slow?[/quote]

Well, 'cause the players move to slow then. :wink: Actually, I didn’t realize such an option existed.


Sorry, but I can’t talk about this beyond what has been mentioned in the press releases. :([/quote]
But, but, if you don’t give answers that don’t match my unrealistic expectations, how am I supposed to flame you? (one must follow proper 'net forum etiquette)

Anyway, my local football geek enclave is all atwitter at the prospect of online Madden leagues, so pardon my enthusiastic questions (yeah, I know, online leagues are a huge waste of dev and QA time for a feature used by less than 5% of your audience, but we like 'em :wink:)

I think the biggest problem with playing the game in slower, is that doesn’t actually train to play the game faster. You still aren’t learning about the game and you still won’t be able to play it faster.

As someone mentioned above, learning to read the defense and the offense, is just practice currently. I agree completely you should be able to play a game where it talks to you, pauses the game and show you formations and what could happen from those formations…

The running back as your default drop is a great tip, learning to pick your receiver before hiking and switching down to the next and maybe the next (if you have enough) as fast as possible is important. When I get to the field in a pass play, I look and try to figure out from how the defense is lined up what receivers I want to hit and in what order. Just like quarterbacks do in the NFL, you have your first, second and third look. You may not have enough time to get all those looks, and hardly ever the fourth look. But that’s what the RB is for.