Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Making Virtual Sports More Like the Real Thing 93

Posted by Zonk
from the athletes-with-brains dept.
The New York Times has an article today with an unexpected source of game criticism: Seattle Seahawks football player Sean Alexander. The athlete made the EA execs nervous at a press conference this week, where he offered up some insightful comments about the Madden series of games. From the article: "Madden has always been great, but it's always been one-on-one, just you and another person, and real football is a team game. You should be able to make a team and play together with your friends. Like if you have 10 friends, you could all play different positions and be in 10 different houses and play together over the Internet. Or maybe you just have like five people, and you control the skill positions and the program controls the other guys."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Making Virtual Sports More Like the Real Thing

Comments Filter:
  • I'll finally be able to actually crush some kids ribs and tear his elbow ligaments before giving him concussion?

     
    • They wear altogether too much padding and gear nowadays for you to break ribs. A good turtle pad and the only thing you'll be breaking is your metatarsals, you tough talker you. Maybe on sub-par pads you could knock the kid's wind out if you catch her right. (Bully.)

      Ironically, the one thing the Web does seem to really be offering us is trash talk... Which is the one thing we can verify you actually like to do in real life. ;-)

      • Correct me if I'm wrong, but later on they take away the pads? A friend of mine has something like 4th level black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and when he was growing up it was all pads and gloves, then slowly as they matured (think age 18-20) they removed all the padding. It definitely made the matches more fun to watch. Where the fighters would have to consider what they were doing or risk hurting themselves or each other (unfortunately, no ear biting or neck breaking is allowed, Mike Tyson and Chuck Norris wou
        • I've been doing shao lin kung fu for the last 2 and a half years now, almost three. We started out without pads. Controlled sparring, light contact. You gotta be fast, but you also need a lot of control to keep from knocking out teeth or breaking arms. The more advanced sashes (no belts) start wearing pads so we can kick the crap out of each other without worrying so much about concusions. Control first, then power.
      • Oh no, my point is about realism. There is no realism in any games, never mind sports games. Until we get Star Trek holodecks in our homes talking about realism in computer games is bullshit. At best you are exercising a finger or two.

        In terms of training in class, the idea there is to make it as realistic as is possible[1] without getting hurt, mainly because it bloody hurts to breathe, never mind laugh, sneeze or train while you wait 6 weeks for your ribs to heal.

        [1] Actually this idea was abandoned decad
  • Ars Technica article (Score:3, Informative)

    by KerberosKing (801657) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:32PM (#15677838)
    In case you are like me and hate the reg only articles at sites like the NYT, here's the same topic [arstechnica.com] from Ars Technica,
  • by kisrael (134664) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:34PM (#15677862) Homepage
    One of the things missing from Mario Strikers is the ability to "lock" to a specific player (it's probably an offspring of how there's one capain and a triplet of supporters).
    In NHL Hitz and Sega Soccer Slam, if I'm playing on the same side as a human, I always like to lock my controller to a single player, because I can identify with the single person, rather than bouncing around (esepcially because sometimes there's contention for control of the player nearest the action.)
    • Basketball is a great example of this failing you point out. Depending on the game, you might find a scheme that you like okay -- but no game really gives you the flexibility you need to get things just right, and it's not like there are that many possibilities. (I always want to be in the guy with the ball. I always want to be the point guard. I always want to be X player.)

      Even in soccer, otherwise excellent games often have a "switch you into the defender when you're running the opposite way" bug. Argh.

  • by LehiNephi (695428) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:35PM (#15677889) Journal
    It's interesting that the concept of having more than two people in a game has not penetrated into sports games yet. Many other genres have long since adopted this kind of play, even on consoles, which were long constrained by lack of networking ability. First-person shooters? Yup. Role-playing games? Yup, to a dazzling extent. Real-time strategy? Not really, but the nature of the game inherently limits the number of players.

    The one genre where teamwork should seem obvious lacks any sort of teamwork gameplay for more than two players. I wonder why it took an NFL player to bring it to the EA execs' minds.

    Then again, when you have what amounts to a monopoly in sports games, there's little motivation to innovate. We certainly haven't seen EA do much in that area...
    • Umm? Have you played Madden on the PS2 before? has this Seahawks guy? i dont think so, becasue i have a madden game i can have 8people playing at the same time, that is four on each team you can do, not the full controll of all then players on the field but enough to have a team effort. Even Ice Hockey games you can do this...
    • there's little motivation to innovate. We certainly haven't seen EA do much in that area...

      Are you kidding? Their franchise modes lack a new conspicuous feature every year!

      On the other hand, their game play -- I mean, how many NBALives has it been now where rebounding is utterly and completely unrealistic and bizarre? There's some continuity there. If they were innovating per their usual style, some years you wouldn't be able to jump, and others your arms wouldn't reach for the ball...

    • Then again, when you have what amounts to a monopoly in sports games, there's little motivation to innovate.

      There is no monopoly in sports games, just a monopoly on licensed sports games. I don't understand why EA's competitors just folded after EA grabbed exclusive rights to the NFL license.

      I typically avoid the sports games genre (I haven't played a video game sports title in years), but most of my favorite sports games didn't involve real life players or teams. For example, some of my favorite sports tit

      • Because now that people have been exposed to the experience of games with real players, teams, and stadiums, most don't want to go back. You may feel differently, but you are definitely in the minority.
        • you are definitely in the minority

          I don't dispute this, but I think there's still a market for sports games that don't include real players, teams or stadiums. Blitz sold over 1 million units [ampednews.com] without any of those things. Now, granted 1 million units is probably nothing compared to what Madden sells in a single year. But most developers out there would be thrilled to sell 500,000 units, let alone 1 million. Although maybe 1 million units is the limit of the "fake" football market.

          Visual Concepts could've don

        • Let me translate what you don't even realize you are saying between the lines:

          It's because the branding and marketing works, especially on kids, and people have been brainwashed into desiring strong brand identification. Go stand in the video game section of WalMart or Target for a half hour. Really, the experience will be worth a half hour of your time. You will witness a child consider which game to purchase. The kid will probably have one where they think it looks cool, or one of their friends has told t
      • Because they didn't just get NFL, they got exclusive NFL, the players association, NCAA, and arena league licenses. Oh yeah, and Mutant league belongs to EA as well. EA really does have as close to a football monopoly as you can get.

        But not all of the competitors jumped ship "The League" came out after the exclusive license shoe dropped.
    • Real-time strategy? Not really, but the nature of the game inherently limits the number of players.

      Not really. First of all, you can play Total Annihilation (a quite old RTS) with up to 8 players. Second of all, there is room to have a game where there is a single commander per team, and people can jump into vehicles/units and control them, taking direction from the commander like any other unit, or ignoring them.

      • Not really. First of all, you can play Total Annihilation (a quite old RTS) with up to 8 players.

        TA might be old, but it's still the best. Man, I can't wait until Supreme Commander [wikipedia.org] comes out!!!

        Second of all, there is room to have a game where there is a single commander per team, and people can jump into vehicles/units and control them, taking direction from the commander like any other unit, or ignoring them.

        Kinda like the original Starsiege:Tribes where each side can have a commander giving orde

      • Second of all, there is room to have a game where there is a single commander per team, and people can jump into vehicles/units and control them, taking direction from the commander like any other unit, or ignoring them.

        Savage [s2games.com] is exactly what you describe.
      • TA allowed ten players. Maybe you were thinking of Starcraft or C&C, those are limited to 8 IIRC.

        Battlefield has commander+underlings gameplay, it focusses mostly on the underlings to make sure everyone's having fun, not just the commander.

        By the way, the opensource TA remake [clan-sy.com] allows users to control units directly.
    • Actually, the concept already exists in sports game, and it is called "Ultimate Baseball Online" developed by Netamin. Its partnership with ESPN existed for a short while with its software in the early ESPN360 package. However, the game lacks concrete financial backing, and it is a horrible game with a great concept that has been in BETA since 2001/2002.

      Ultimate Baseball Online: www.ubo2006.com
    • It's interesting that the concept of having more than two people in a game has not penetrated into sports games yet.

      One problem: if you have a griefers on your team in the real world, you can fire them; it's a lot harder to ban a determined griefer in a virtual game.
    • The one genre where teamwork should seem obvious lacks any sort of teamwork gameplay for more than two players. I wonder why it took an NFL player to bring it to the EA execs' minds.

      Why? Because I suspect that EA et al realise that the primary reason people play sports simulators rather than getting off their butts and playing *real* sport is that they don't have enough people around to form a team. Once you've got the team, playing real sport is much better than sitting staring at a screen, and EA know i
      • Actually, the REAL primary reason people play sports simulators rather than getting off their butts and playing *real* sport is that they lack both the physical talent to play the game, and the necessary social skills to gather enough friends and organize a real game.
  • by darthservo (942083) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:39PM (#15677953)
    "it's always been one-on-one, just you and another person, and real football is a team game. You should be able to make a team and play together with your friends. Like if you have 10 friends, you could all play different positions and be in 10 different houses and play together over the Internet."

    If he's strictly talking about getting 10 of your personal friends together, why not just go to Target, pick up a cheap football, go to a park, and...play football? Compared to the price of getting 10 gaming systems, 10 copies of the game, 10 online subscriptions, and coordinating the same time to get all 10 of your friends together it's far too much effort.

    Now, for online play in general (playing with people you don't know from the entire world), it seems like it may be feasable. The only problem I forsee is the same types of complaints with most other online games: more than half of one team disconnecting before they lose, n00bs bringing a team down, and 1337 players pwning everyone.

    • pick up a cheap football, go to a park, and...play football?

      I assume you play paintball instead of FPSs?
      • Actually I'd much rather play Lazer Tag for hours on end than play any multiplayer FPS.

        Admittedly Lazer Tag and Paintball can be cost prohibitive, whereas a football/basketball/soccer ball costs very little and you need only one for entire group of people. Frankly I find it disturbing to see these obese kids (and adults) sitting on their fat asses playing simulated sports when it wouldn't kill them (or even save their lives) to go outside and play the real thing.

        As a parent I make damn sure the TV goes off
      • The difference between FPSs and sports games is the content. For those who enjoy sports games, they probably more than likely enjoy playing the game as well, which in the end is more rewarding.

        The point I was making was not in reference to online gaming in general, just to the fact that it sounded like his suggestion was limited to your personal friends.

      • That's kind of a flawed analogy.

        Continuing with the football example, the upfront costs are X consoles and X copies of the game. There are also X subscription fees (ISP/game service/etc), probably recurring monthly/yearly. To buy a football and go to a park to play has one cost: The price of the football. There are no recurring charges, and the initial capital investment is quite a bit lower.

        Now consider your FPS example. The upfront and ongoing costs are similar to the football game on console. To p
    • Because you may all live spread out across the country or the world. I've been dreaming of a football game doing this since Madden '93.
    • Come on, they're never going to be able to make it to a park, never mind play an actual game of anything. And then, even if they did, they'd have to like actually talk to a real person, like in front of them. We're busy cultivating a generation of shut ins.

      ok sure, it's flamebait, but true, nevertheless.

       
    • why not just go to Target, pick up a cheap football, go to a park, and...play football? Compared to the price of getting 10 gaming systems, 10 copies of the game, 10 online subscriptions, and coordinating the same time to get all 10 of your friends together it's far too much effort.

      It's ironic, but anyone who's seen a "life of the big star" thing about sports players knows that, nowadays, they all play these games. Kevin Garnett actually plays himself in NBALive. Yeah, he could go dunk it any time he wan

    • If he's strictly talking about getting 10 of your personal friends together, why not just go to Target, pick up a cheap football, go to a park, and...play football? Compared to the price of getting 10 gaming systems, 10 copies of the game, 10 online subscriptions, and coordinating the same time to get all 10 of your friends together it's far too much effort.

      Are you dense? He's a friggen football player. He plays the real thing all the time. You're acting like this is some fat kid sitting on a couch compl

      • Some famous coach, probably Vince Lombardi, described the sport as "Up in the stands you've got 50000 people who are desperately in need of exercise, watching 22 players who are desperately in need of rest".

        If you're not out on the field running around, you're not playing anything resembling the real game. Back when I was in college, I played intramural football - if you're playing offensive line, the big difference between touch football and tackle football is that you don't get to wear pads in touch fo

    • Your nine other friends don't actually have to own a copy. This can be done to an extent the way StarCraft does it. Your copy can 'spawn' up to nine other games, then get together in a network. You can get together to play against other teams in a sports version of Battle.net. It can be done.
      • Spawn installs require passing the CD around, a better analogy would be the later handhelds that allow you to copy the game (well, a limited multiplayer client version thereof) over the network interface (link cable for the GBA, wireless for the DS and presumably PSP). Nintendo claims the Wii will be able to do the same.
  • The collective thought of all of the EA game coders realizing that, if EA listens to Sean Alexander, there will be lots more unpaid overtime and sleepless nights.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:41PM (#15677979)
    Making Virtual Sports More Like the Real Thing

    Ship steroids with the game discs.

    • And why limit people to the players on the field? You could let people play benchwarmers too. You could cheer for your teammates, drink a variety of licensed products, ogle cheerleaders, take your jacket off (and/or put it on), or ask the coach to be put in (but why would you want to be).
  • Uh oh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Quadrature (524139) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:44PM (#15678015)
    Did Alexander just make a dig at his offensive line by implying they aren't "skilled" positions? Let's see how many touchdowns he gets this season... :)
  • It's just as if I were playing Virtual Skeeball!
  • "Sean"? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Primis (71749) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:11PM (#15678331) Homepage
    Who's "Sean" Alexander?

    The all-pro Seahawks RB is named "Shaun" Alexander.

    If you're going to post a front-page story on sports, at least get the first name of one of the top players currently in the game right. This is the equivalent of writing a story on MS and referencing "Steve Bullmer". It's kinda' sad...
  • by keyne9 (567528)
    If I wanted to play sports, I would be outside!
  • I 1st played multi-player sports with the 3DO, FIFA and 6 controllers (daisy chained). Later the DC with it's built in modem, Madden 2K and a CS class tournament. Madden allows you to creats players now and you can create a player that is your size and ability. Then play the AI (not very good) with your team (family, friends ...) on the same team.
  • Not practical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aendeuryu (844048) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:20PM (#15678409)
    Executing a football play is a complex thing. The play has to be decided upon, the players have to huddle up, each player needs to know their role. The offensive line needs to know who to block, each receiver needs to know their route exactly, tight ends and running backs need to know if they're blocking or receiving. Running plays might be a bit more controlled, but think about possible reverses, options, trick plays, etc. Now, you're actually going to the line of scrimmage, and the defense shows you an alignment you don't like. Now you've got to audible. It's really quite a miracle that with all of this chaos, football players can still go out and execute.

    The reason why football plays succeed in real life is because those 11 men on the field practice together like crazy before football comes up every Sunday. Who out there is going to want to try to get 11 buddies out there to practice there this much? Never mind conflicting schedules from real life that could make this impossible, or trying to audible using only your gamepad... it just doesn't make it as much fun. If you're the quarterback, you're involved in every passing play. If you're the running back, you're involved in every running play. If you only get to be a receiver, though, the ball might get passed to you a half-dozen to a dozen times per game. If you're a fullback, you're basically limited to running into people and trying to knock them down. Who's going to want that skill position? And it is a skill position, because of the possibility of getting to do a short-yardage running play or catching the odd pass out of the pocket, etc.

    The only way to make sure that everybody holding a gamepad gets to be involved in every play is to make sure that the guy with the gamepad is the one with the ball. That's 1 guy out of 11.

    I'm not passionate about this or anything, just not sure how this could work and be both practical and fun. Even in baseball, for instance, where coordinated execution isn't as important as football, it still means a whole bunch of bored guys sitting around waiting for something to happen.
    • You better get modded Insightful. This is why FPS tend to be the best online multiplayer games - the game works much better if everyone is working together, laying down cover fire, etc., but if that fails, you can still be the one guy who lets all the noobs be fodder, grabs an AK, and picks off the opposing team from well-covered positions.
    • How about hockey? I mean, in a hockey game, there's a lot of passing around, so all players get to handle the puck. Everyone gets a chance to do something worthwile and exciting. After all, there are some defensemen who scored more goals in the NHL then some centers or wings in some teams. While having a specific role (defensemen, goaler, wing or center), everyone can have a meaningfull involvement in the game.

      Playing the goaler sounds pretty boring tough. Unless you make it some sort of behind the shoulder
    • Re:Not practical (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MarcoAtWork (28889)
      you're kidding right? Guilds spend hours and hours and hours and hours perfecting strategies to beat the latest and greatest encounters in MMPORG (currently naxxramas in wow, say), I wouldn't be surprised if groups of dedicated people spent hours and hours and hours practicing football plays in order to be on top of the ladder leaderboard...
      • Yes, but in those raids, you're always doing something, be that healing, DPSing, tanking, decursing, etc. It's very rare when your job is to just move to spot A and do nothing. The OP of this thread makes a good point, though I do agree that an additional coop mode on a sports game would be attractive to some.
    • There's no technical obstacle, but with live players in control, the play will look like a game of pickup football, not the NFL.

  • So the box for Madden '08 will be big enough to be 90% empty and still hold 2 CDs, a dire warning about piracy, a 50 page book of "errata that doesn't work like it says on the outside of the box" and a dirty jockstrap worn by Sean Alexander, Peyton Manning or Troy Polamalu?
  • by linvir (970218) *

    I can remember as far back as Fifa '99 having support for at least four players at once. It was pretty fun.

    All you need in order to have this kind of thing online is game join system similar to CounterStrike. You find a game with space on a team, and join. Obviously, unlike CS, you'd be taking partial control over existing players, instead of creating one new one, but the base concept is the same.

    Add in a grouping system like Halo 2, and you can get a group of friends together and either create your own n

  • It sounds pretty cool but honestly who wants to be the left tackle or the blocking fullback? Most people want to control the glamour positions, QB, WR, LB, CB....so I think his idea is impractical for football. But his idea would make a basketball game awesome!
  • Is that 90% of the people will want to be either the QB or RB. Granted you can make the line be computer controlled (you'd likely need to to have any type of cohesive blocking scheme) but who wants to play receiver if every other play is a hand-off?
  • This makes me think about one of my favorite game experiences... One that I would love to recreate again, but haven't had the time to look into what's available nowadays. Back in the 92-94 timeframe, I used to visit friends at a little game design company in Knoxville, TN. Apart from way cool digs and what all of us CS guys in college thought was a dream job, they had the best gaming setup around -- a 3DO (I think) hooked up to a projection system and six controllers. Me and my buddies who worked there
  • Get those firnds together and go play football. You know, outside, moving around! That's the best way to get the real experience of playing. Sad, sad thing that playing a sport more often means sitting in front of a console rather than going out and moving around. And we wonder why people are so obese?
  • Am I caught in a time warp? I could SWEAR I've played Madden on PS2 with more than two players. After double checking the website it supports four with multi-tap. XBox and 360 do as well. PS2 even has online play which I believe would allow four players per console, total of eight. I could be wrong.

    Furthermore, there are games like Fifa World Cup that support up to EIGHT players on a single console using two multi-tap units. Additionally I've seen more than one video hockey series that supported more than t

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.

Working...