Wednesday, December 30, 2009


After the second patch for Madden 10 was released, I rebalanced the "play" sliders, and finally (finally) started my franchise.

The whole focus of slider development has been to make the game difficult without being cheap. I want bad teams to play like bad teams. The problem, historically, with games like Madden has always been that player skill can overwhelm player ratings to a relatively ridiculous degree.

When that happens, the game just isn't fun--to me, at least.

I think this is, all things considered, the best slider set I've ever developed, and the game engine, even with its limitations (two minute offense--hulk rage), is very "bending friendly" in terms of the sliders affecting gameplay in a significant way. So I've been looking forward to taking charge of an awful team and trying to lead them to the Super Bowl.

Hello, Detroit!

That's right. I've hired myself as General Manager/Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Defensive Coordinator/Quarterback/Middle Linebacker/Placekicker/Punter to lead the Lions back to prominence.

Playing all those positions lets me pay myself one hell of a salary.

It's not just for me, though. It's for Detroit, that hard-luck city that (as we've been reminded ONE MILLION times by sports announcers) apparently needs a sports championship far more than infrastructure and jobs. A virtual sports championship would cheer millions of virtual residents and give them some virtual hope.

I'd also like to say that the rumors I'm moving the team to Vancouver next season are totally unfounded. There's no way anyone would be in a position to know I'm doing that. Not that I am. Next season.

I also added a few difficulty modifiers to my franchise, because house rules are almost always necessary (in any sports game) to prevent the exploitation of shaky franchise A.I. Here are the extra rules:
--no signing of free agents before the first season (so I can't sign a bunch of guys to one-year contracts up to my cap ceiling)
--no player trades (there aren't many trades in football, anyway, so this isn't that big of a deal)
--no more than 19 player evaluations per week (you can sign different "scouting services" to scout college football players--this is the number a less-expensive service provides)

So how is this all working? With two weeks left in the regular season, the Vancouver--um, Detroit--Lions are 0-14.


I call that success.

The games haven't all been blowouts (I could have won at least three of them), and they haven't been cheap, but the quality of talent on my roster is poor, and that's how they're playing. Missed throws, dropped passes, bad tackling--the Lions have it all.

I can't overcome those deficiencies with individual skill, either, which makes this game different from any other football game I've ever played. I'm just trying to sneak in a win to avoid going 0-16, but even that is highly unlikely at this point.

It's not that Madden is perfect this year, and I've discussed most of the deficiencies, but it does feel like I'm actually running a beleaguered franchise.

Now if I can just learn the Canadian national anthem.

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