Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Note on Head Coach

Here's a post from Dan Bekins, lead programmer of Head Coach, concerning player value:
1. Essentially, the CPU will assign a value to all available players and compare them against one another. "Player value" is a third type of rating we use in addition to the raw Madden player abilities and system-dependent player grades.

Player value takes everything into account you could possibly imagine.

First, it scales each player's grade based on his position. For example, a 99 overall QB is much more valuable than a 99 overall kicker.

Second, it scales players with the same position relative to each other in a non-linear way. For example, a 60 overall QB is not 60% as valuable as a 99 QB (in fact, a 60 QB is basically worthless). So the value mapping is actually a curve, and when you look at your Team Roadmap you'll see a huge dropoff in value from the top-tier players to the lower-tier guys.

After that, a ton of other things are factored in to tweak the value such as projected cap hit, playbook knowledge, etc.

Once the team has evaluated every single player, they need to decide who will add the most value to their team. "Added value" is the secret sauce that drives almost all of the logic in this game.As an example, let's say you're the Colts and Tom Brady is on the FA auction block. Do you acquire him? No, because although Brady has a high value, he has essentially zero *added value* to your team. Your money is much better spent somewhere else.

The trick is that added value encapsulates both value *and* need, so teams will always go after the guy who is the best available relative to their current needs.

During the draft, the player who fits this description might not be expected to go for several picks, and this is when the CPU will trade down.

2. The CPU will go after a player in proportion to how much value he adds to their team. As per above, teams with more need will be willing to pay more.

Also, each team has a philosophy as to how it spends its money. Some teams will go all out for their top need, while other teams will try to distribute their money among all of their needs.

That thinking is jammed full of win.

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