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NFL FEVER 2004 info from lead developer

Old 07-16-03, 02:43 PM
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NFL FEVER 2004 info from lead developer

Interesting information that I found out about Fever04

Dan Weisman, one of the Development Leads on NFL Fever 2004
We've made so many changes to gameplay, it's hard to list them all. Here's a small portion of that list:
1) Read & Lead passing. You've undoubtedly heard about this. This is gonna totally change the way you play Fever. So much so, we needed to add separate online ranking leeaderboards to separate the men from the boys.
2) New animations. Lots of 'em. I think we have over a thousand new animations this year. Virtually everything has been completely re-done. The list of new animations includes Blocking, Tackling, Broken tackles, QB broken tackles, QB specific tackles, Catching, DB anims, 3 player tackles among others.
3) "Read" routes. RBs and FBs can now read the blitz and only run their route if no one comes. An AI setting lets you control how long they wait before deciding there is no one blitzing.
4) Defensive adjustment "macros". We added so many new ways to adjust the defense pre-snap that we needed to add shortcuts for those. i.e. since you can shift your LBs and your line and set the DBs to tight coverage and move players up and back pre-snap, we let you do all of that at once with one button (i.e. Stop Run Right or Defend Deep Pass).. unfortunately you can't make your own or modify the existing ones this year.. only so much time!
5) Defensive plays can now be flipped (you could only flip offensive plays last year)
6) Receiver's hot routes can now be flipped
7) Defensive players now have a shuffle/backpedal button
8) RBs who normally have a pass route can be switched into blockers or vice versa (read routes can be used as well)
9) Any receiver/RB can be sent in motion using one of several different motion routes on any play
10) Fatigue now works much more realistically.. you hurry-up offense lovers are gonna have to be more careful this year.
11) There's a "swat at ball" button on defense
12) There's an option to tell safeties to focus on the run, pass, or balanced.
13) New formation editor.. don't like the standard formations? make your own. If you want to line up 3 receivers on top of each other, knock yourself out. You can move pretty much any player (offense or defense) around to pretty much anywhere on the field.
Info on the new Read and Lead passing.
indepth info on read and lead passing from Dan W.
Basically, when you come to the line before the snap, you have a yellow passing reticle that starts about 10 yards directly in front of the QB. Think of this reticle as the QB's eyes (where he's looking) from now on and you'll be set. You can move this reticle with the right analog stick. You can move it before the snap if you want to pre-position it maybe to have it be closer to the primary receiver or maybe just to fake out your opponent. Or you can leave it alone.

When you snap the ball, the reticle will just sit there. It will not move by itself. Not yet, anyway. You throw the ball with the right trigger. The faster and harder you pull it, the faster and straighter the pass will be. If you tap it, you'll lob the ball (but not sky high like last year.. it'll be a slower higher-arcing pass that can loop over a defenser's head.. very useful if you know when to use it). Anyway, when you throw the ball, it heads pretty much precisely where the reticle was *when the trigger was pulled*. This means that it doesn't auto-adjust in mid flight or anything stupid like that. It goes where you told it to go. If the receiver left that spot and is somewhere else, the ball will not be caught or could be picked off.

Now, let's go back to the snap.. So the reticle starts out in front of the QB. After the snap, you can select a receiver to throw to with the face buttons on the controller (just like last year). So hit B and the reticle will *move* from wherever it was to where receiver B is. Since receiver B is moving, the reticle will basically "chase" him until it catches up. At that point it sits right on top of him and moves with him. Any time the trigger is pulled, the ball will go to where the reticle is at that instant. If it's currently travelling to receiver B, well, guess what.. that's where the ball will go. There is a a built-in delay (think of it as "travel time") for the reticle to move from one receiver to another (when hitting the face buttons). This simulates the QB looking off receivers and adjusting to the new speed and location of the receiver. But this travel time is much faster than a defender can run so the QB has an advantage in that respect.

Once the reticle is right on top of a receiver, it'll start to move with him exactly so it would always stay right on top of him if you didn't move it with the right stick. If you were to throw the ball now, you'd be screwed because what QB throws the ball exactly where the receiver is (if he is moving)? No, you need to "lead" him. Hence the name. Read the D, lead the receiver. In some case, (like when the receiver is not moving), this might be ok, but even then you probably want to move the reticle to throw to where the defense isn't. So you need to move the reticle out in front of the receiver's path. The nice thing is that once you stop moving the reticle, it will move automatically again, but this time relative to the receiver's movement. So if you moved it downfield and to the right, it continues to be in that position relative to the receiver but still moves with him exactly. So once you've figured out how much you want to lead him, you can leave it there.

Now, when you throw, the ball will go to where the reticle was when you pulled the trigger, but since the receiver is moving in that direction, he should be right there ready to catch it (provided you led him right). If you lead him too much, it'll be overthrown. Too little and he'll need to slow down or twist backwards to catch the ball. In both these cases, you're looking at an incomplete pass or a pick a lot of times. Hit him right on stride and you'll have a big gain. This makes throwing the bomb so much harder but so much more rewarding knowing you threw it exactly where it needed to be. It's also hugely rewarding knowing you threw the ball where you knew the defender couldn't get to it.. maybe in the receiver's back pocket.

One more thing you can do is once you pull the trigger, you have about 1 second or so to adjust the height of the pass while the QB is in his throwing motion. Once he lets go of the ball it's too late. During this time, you can push up or down on the right analog stick to adjust the height of the reticle. A higher pass would be used for maybe a taller receiver with better hands if he has a step on a DB. A lower pass would be used to maybe have the receiver dive for the ball or make a shoestring catch with DBs closing in. Or you could just screw up and do it by accident because you panicked under pressure and threw too high and overthrew the receiver and the defense got a pick. But hey, that was your fault, not the game's. Happens to real QB's all the time.

By the way, since you won't be able to look at the presuure coming (you'll be too busy looking downfield) we made it so that the controller will vibrate stronger and stronger as pressure approaches. If you feel the controller vibrating, better hurry up (or throw the ball away) or you're gonna be flat on your back. This increases the chances of bad QB's just throwing up a lame duck that can easily be picked. Got to be able to handle the pressure, man!

Now, on defense, things get a lot more fun as well. This is because the defense *can* see the reticle as well. DBs often read the QB's eyes or where he is looking. And QBs sure as h*ll won't throw to a place they aren't looking at. So if the QB keys on a receiver too long and doesn't look off to another receiver, you can just hang out by the reticle and await your pick. But a good QB will look you off and switch to another receiver. If he's good and leading quickly, you won't have much time to switch to the defender closest to the reticle (using the left trigger on defense) and make your break on the ball. If you don't have a defender nearby the reticle, well, that's not gonna be good for you.

Since receivers are not vacuums, you, as a QB, need to be pretty close to right on the money with passes because they'll do their best to catch your garbage throws, but they can't catch everything you throw at them. Receivers with higher Hands ratings would be better targets because they'd be better at catching bad throws.

There's actually a bit more to it that this, but I don't have all day.

Dan
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Old 07-16-03, 03:49 PM
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Ok, like NFL 2K3 wasn't hard enough...

Honestly, it sounds pretty cool for die-hard fans of football games. Definitely adds a new level of realism. But look at how long that explanation is... the casual fan isn't going to pick it up. Now you need to know the plays exactly, as you have to lead the man on his route. And the defense knows exactly where you're going to throw... if I'm reading the QB's eyes, I'll know the direction he's going to throw, but not necessarily where. Add in the fact that you now need to know the approximate height of your recievers.

I dunno... NFL 2K3 was pretty realistic last year, but people said that it was too hard...
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Old 07-16-03, 03:53 PM
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Considering the game has bombed the last two years, going more realistic than the others can only help.
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Old 07-16-03, 04:13 PM
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There are actually three types of passing modes this year and they are for different levels of playing.

Button - like the old madden style
Trigger - press button to select player then trigger to pass
Read and Lead - as described above.
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Old 07-16-03, 06:21 PM
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sounds insanely complicated.
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