Thursday, April 29, 2010

Football: Virtual And Real

Madden 11 features are trickling out, and like last year, I'm impressed with how much attention the development team is paying to the simulation aspect of the game.

The big feature being touted this year is "Gameflow." If you see offensive coordinators on the sidelines during games, they usually have a big, laminated sheet of plays in their hands. The way that sheet is organized is by situation, so for any particular down/distance/score combination, they have a set of plays to choose from. Some NFL teams go into a game with more than 200 possible plays (out of a much larger playbook), so it's not possible to sort through all of those in the few seconds a coordinator has to call a play.

That's what they're introducing in Madden 11 this year (as an optional feature). There will be 15 play slots for each down/distance situation, and you can weight each play from .5 to 5 stars. Then, when it comes down to which play gets picked, the CPU "coordinator" makes the call. So you choose the suite of plays to choose from, and weight them, but you don't choose the actual play that gets called.

I like that. A lot. It's much more realistic, and it's also potentially much more fun, because it removes a degree of control from the player.

Here's a video of the feature in action, and please note that the audio/subtitles can be turned off.

In more good news, while Turbo is still an option, the default position is "off." Turbo is just cheese--there's no other way to describe it--and disabling it by default is, again, a step toward a better simulation.

Here's the real football note, and you may have been following it already: Miami Dolphin General Manager Jeff Ireland, in a pre-draft interview with Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant, asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute.

Let that sink in for a minute. I'll wait.

Here's what I find mind-boggling: there are people defending Ireland. On what planet is it legal (or ethical) to ask that question in a job interview?

Apparently, quite a few teams asked Bryant is his mother used illegal drugs, and again, since when is that legal? And why does the NFL apparently believe that they're exempt from the employment law standards that exist for every other business in this country?

I heard someone say on the radio that questions like that help judge a player's "character," and I burst out laughing. Seriously, if the only way someone can find out a prospective employee's character is by asking questions like that, then they're a complete idiot and should be fired.

Dez Bryant has done enough stupid things on his own that it's pretty clear that he does have character issues. No one needs to act like a borderline sadist in an interview with him to figure that out.

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