NHL 11 - Oh, the physics!

Discussion in 'Console Gaming' started by Scott_Arm, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Scott_Arm

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    With NHL and Backbreaker Football, you basically have a tackle/hit button to initiate the action and the rest is dynamic calculations. It's all based on angles, velocity and mass. There is some tackling or hitting animation, but it changes dynamically based on the contact between the two players. There is nothing stopping them from implementing a control scheme where there are more than one type of hit/tackle either high/low or with varying intensity. They just don't for simplicity of controls. I think with the Euphoria engine that Backbreaker uses, they can do things like blend the rag doll with an animation, so as a player is falling from being hit or tackled, they could turn their body or put their arms out to break the fall in a realistic manner. Actually a better example is with tackling. You'll see the tackling player reach out to try and strip the ball from the ball carrier, and it looks different every time because it adjusts based on how the two players are contacting. It's subtle, but you can definitely see it if you watch enough tackles. NHL seems to have some form of blending between mo-cap and "rag doll"
     
  2. Scott_Arm

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    This new vid shows a nice looking hit, and some cool animation where a player deflects a puck into the net while lying on his back. I'm curious whether there is one animation for shooting while lying on the ice, or if the player could deflect the puck while falling, and from different angles etc. That would be a big clue as to how much they can blend scripted animation with the dynamic physics.

     
  3. Scott_Arm

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    New "Hustle" control online. Basically it's a speed burst activated by clicking the left stick. To prevent players from abusing it, you have lower turning radius when sprinting, and your endurance is drained more quickly. And yes, they have added fatigue to all online game modes including EASHL! Looks like the endurance stat is going to matter this year. I'm not sure how I feel about this new addition. I think it'll be hard for d-men to anticipate, and they'll get split by rushing forwards while they try to turn around and recover. Maybe the new hitting system will kind of put a balance in there by making it harder, in general, for forwards to skate through the D. I wonder if getting hit will affect fatigue? Seems like it should. All signs point to me playing as a power forward this year.

    http://www.easports.com/blogs/inthecrease/post/slug/talking-about-hustle-with-redshirt
     
  4. jb

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    Hey Scott,
    sorry late to the thread but a BIG hockey fan and wanted to say thanks for the updates to this thread.

    I know they got better with the glitch goal but they are still there in NHL 10. Also what about the checking in front of the net? The AI will not only mug me but drop me to the ice many times if I camp in front of their goal. But the moment I touch one of their players in front of our goal its 2 min for interference. I just want some constancy is all there! There was a nasty bug in Be a Pro mode where you get out of your rotation of lines due to say a power play but you as a player could never get back on the ice until a stoppage of play. It happens to me a lot when I was playing that mode. Any AI improvements in the offensive side as I hate it when watching two guys play catch with each other....

    Thanks again!
     
  5. Scott_Arm

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    Demo is out on both Xbox Live and PSN. Can't wait to try it!
     
  6. Scott_Arm

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    Passing and skating feels great. Hitting is massively massively improved. You never seem to bounce off your opponent, if you have them lined up correctly. You always get some degree of contact, even if the skater stays on their feet and gets past your check.

    The protect the puck move has been changed. You continue skating, with your feet moving, and the handling of turning feels entirely different. You also do not shield the puck in the same manner. Haven't figured out exactly how to make use of it yet. You can still board-play yourself as the puck carrier, but I think it will not be exploited the same way. When you release the button, you move slowly off the boards, unlike last year where you had a brief quick move where you could not be hit or poke checked. I may be wrong on this, but if you try to hit someone that board plays themself, you are automatically put into the pinning animation, so skaters will no longer be able to use board play to avoid hits.

    Faceoffs have been completely revamped. You can now tie up, shoot off the faceoff, or switch forehand and backhand grips. Your wingers can also move in to help you win a draw on a tie-up.

    The poke and stick lift defensive moves have been altered. They have been toned down quite a bit, and require more careful positioning. I believe they are trying to encourage more hitting, and realistic defensive play. We'll see how it works 6 vs 6. Some defensive players are complaining they don't have enough tools to play effectively, with poke and lift toned down. I played locked as LD in ultimate team, and I thought it felt great. I'll see how I really feel when I play 6 vs 6. I think not being stick lifted from behind constantly will be a huge boost to the defense, that would get stripped by forechecking players. On the forecheck, forwards are going to have to hit and pin, rather than abuse poke and lift.


    Goalie controls are unchanged, though movement in the net seems left sensitive and prone to drifting.

    Ultimate team seems like a great game mode. It's based around a hockey card concept. You start with a pack of cards, which are your players, jerseys, stadium, training etc. As you play games with your team in online and offline tournaments, you win money which you can spend on new packs of cards. Some players are more rare than others, and you have to manage a salary cap and contracts. I guess some player cards have a contract and can only be used for a finite number of games. You can trade cards with other people etc. Seems pretty cool.

    Overall, I'm very happy with the game. I think, hopefully, it'll be the best one yet. We'll see what turns up for glitch goals.
     
  7. Scott_Arm

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    New EASHL update. The most important things

    -team practice mode, including 6 vs 6 and drills
    -matchmaking options based on team size and human or AI goalie
    -select positions and lineups before matchmaking, rather than the informal dressing room system
    -integrated playoff system for each season (month)
    -Elite, Pro and Amateur divisions
    -custom uniforms
    -team banners show up in the arena intro for EASHL games. Bragging rights, I guess.
    -revamped stat progression and player types (looks like you'll spend "experience" on stats rather than having an unlock system like FIFA)
    -team accomplishments to encourage teams to stick together.

    http://www.easports.com/blogs/inthecrease/post/slug/eashl-improvements-for-nhl-11
     
  8. deathindustrial

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    EA really needs to come up with a subscription model for roster updates. People normally skip a year or two of each sport franchise since it is hard to justify $70 for what is mostly just an updated roster. I bought NHL09 new and recently picked up NHL10 used to tide me over until hockey season starts. No way I am picking up NHL11 at full price but I would consider paying $10 for roster updates, maybe a little more if the frequency was more often.

    All of the stat and player movement data must be directly available from the NHL (since it is used in their web apps and such) and presumably the other leagues are the same (or EA wouldn't include it) so I can't see it being too onerous to generate for them other than licensing costs which they pay already.

    Cheers
     
  9. Scott_Arm

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    I'd like to see the title come out every two years with roster support for the full lifespan. Sometimes a year doesn't seem to be enough, but I'd say NHL 11 is a great update from NHL 10, at least from the demo. NHL 10 had the "tuners" that allowed them to tweak AI and gameplay without patching the game. I imagine the set of variables they can change is limited, but NHL 10's online play changed quite a bit through the year. Seems like they could go two years without a full release now that they can fine-tune and tweak. They could do some DLC in the second year to keep it fresh, or something like that.

    If they could come up with a way to have a menu system that streams over the internet, so they can make changes to the online service features and roll them out without patches, that would be cool. They could make significant changes to the feature set for the online modes, like the EASHL without having to do a full game release. I guess I'm saying the online client could be more like a web service, rather than hard coded on the disc.
     
  10. Scott_Arm

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    Release day. I really want to pretend to be sick so I can leave work early, but I won't. My club from last year has fallen apart, so I have to go through the pain of finding a new club again, but I'm really looking forward to it. I've got a bunch of contacts and maybe end up on a much higher level team this year. There's a player build calculator floating around, but not sure if it's accurate. Looks like they got rid of Dangler and renamed Tough Guy as Enforcer. They added a new player type, for both offense and defense called "Two Way." Seems somewhat like a hybrid of the grinder and the playmaker and on defense its a balance between the offensive defenseman and defensive defenseman types. I like hitting and playing a forecheck game, but also move to the back end sometimes, so I'm thinking power forward, grinder or two-way. Two-way has really low puck control to start, which is normally a pretty important stat.
     
  11. Scott_Arm

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    Great game, but one huge change I'm not a fan of. In EASHL, your club can only play one game at a time. That means if you have over 6 people, which most clubs do, you have to be really good about sitting out games so other people can have their turn. To be honest, when I get on to play, I just want to get my games in. I don't want to sit around in a lobby waiting for my turn to play.
     
  12. wco81

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    So is this game holding up?

    I'm hearing about super goalies, too hard to score.

    I've been waiting for the TRU or BB 3 for 2 sale, which is around this time of the year.

    Now people seem more excited about FIFA11. In previous years, I tended to play FIFA more because there were more online games on the PS3, probably from all the Euro players online.
     
  13. Scott_Arm

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    There are mixed opinions. I find it way easier to score. For my EASHL player, I didn't really put any points into my wrist shot at all, but I could beat the goalie from the slot. I think my wrist shot was low 70s accuracy and high 80s power. Compared to NHL 10, where the goalie was nearly unbeatable if he was square to the shot, even with accuracy and power in the 90s. The main thing is, most of the stuff people did in NHL 10 doesn't work anymore. If a team plays positional defense, they can take away passing lanes because passes are intercepted far more easily this year. There's far less cross-crease passing that goes right through the defense.

    I think its the best one yet, much better than 10, 09 or 08. The people that are complaining are the guys that like the arcade style, where they can puck hog, cherry pick, and rely solely on glitch goals and dangling. Now you need to play positions, get garbage goals, deflections, work it into the slot etc. There are a few sort of glitchy things, but nothing I can see that's relied upon to win games.
     
  14. poopypoo

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    Improved gameplay sounds great. Not having tried any hockey games since the last one by Sega, however, these videos look terribly disappointing. All I see is the same EA NHL. Looks like 97, same "dribble", same puck glued to the stick, same bouncy physics, same goalie stopping shots he's not all that close to, same replay angles even. I don't wanna rehash any EA vs SEGA holy war, nor judge this book solely by its cover. You seem like a really diehard enthusiast so I trust your opinion of the gameplay. I gotta ask though, does the player animation engine really seem different to you? I swear it looks just like 97 with a fresh coat of paint.
     
  15. Scott_Arm

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    Hockey is always going to look like hockey, but the way you play the game feels incredibly different from earlier versions of the game. Over the last three years they greatly improved the sim aspect of the game. I went back and looked at NHL 97 again, and other than the basic look of some of the skating, I wouldn't say there is much similarity. There are so many more options now in player movement with manual deking, loose puck dekes, protect the puck moves. On defense you have manual poke check, manual stick lift, pass block, shot block, manual hip checks, directional hitting. There are automated animations like players batting down or gloving down pucks, as well as animations for rolling off hits, stumbles, being tripped and shooting from your knees etc.

    Because I play at a fairly high level, I'm probably more sensitive to some gameplay tweaks than other people would be. For instance, last year defence was entirely built around poke checking. Stay in front of the guy, keep the right distance and poke the puck off his stick. This year, you have to know how to hit, poke check and stick lift because they balanced things out right. Now you have to know how to correctly position yourself to do each of the three without missing our taking penalties all the time. And on offense, you have to manually charge up your pass power. Overcharge and the pass will hop of your teammates stick. Undercharge and it may be intercepted. As well, plays with low hand eye coordination are less likely to receive a pass properly.

    The puck is glued to the puck carriers stick a little too well in terms of deking, but you don't have the heat-seaking passes of the old games where you could just throw the puck up the ice non-stop.
     
  16. poopypoo

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    Well I'm glad to talk about it with you. You sound like you know what you're talking about, and what I'm talking about. I'm just surprised; most of the new gameplay elements you describe seem straight from Sega 2K5 (poke check, puck grab, board play), and you would think that after all this time, the main thing they need to work on is not brutal hits or more moves, but better puck and stick physics. Maybe I'm just overly optimistic about these things. Sometimes I wonder if a game like that, with a free-running puck, and an analog stick devoted to stick control, even if assisted by a liberal helping of glue but not completely dependent upon it, would even be fun...?

    Anyway, it's really cool that positional hockey is back "in the game". Passes through the crease drive me nuts. Damn do I miss playing video hockey. Some of the best gaming moments I've ever had were playing co-op hockey with a friend back in 2004.
     
  17. Scott_Arm

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    I never played any of the 2K games, but I heard they were better through the early 2000s. EA kind of kept their series as more of an arcade style game than a sim game. I think it was 2008 where they really started to refine their game, and with each release since then they've gotten better and better, even though some of the features were in the 2K games previously. What makes the EA title really strong is the EASHL. There's nothin' better than playing solid 6 vs 6 games with a persistent player.
     
  18. poopypoo

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    Yeah, the EASHL thing -- this is the first I've heard of it -- is the coolest thing EVER. My friends and I used to do something very similar back in 2003 with on the PC (EA version obviously). Of course it wasn't the same as this. Iirc, they did have packs of player cards though o_O; everything about your thread is like a blast from the past! But is a great way. I guess EASHL could even let me enjoy hockey games here in Hong Kong where I have zero NHL-fan friends, but you know how competitive online sports are. I'd really need to start practicing for next season right now...
     
  19. Scott_Arm

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    There is the EASHL and the EAUHL(?). The EASHL is where you create a persistent player, and join clubs to play in a month league with playoffs. You can play full 6 vs 6 games, with locked player positions. The EAUHL is the card game, which is 1 vs 1, where you earn points to buy new card packs. Card packs have players, training, stadiums, jerseys, contracts, and you build your team with those cards to enter tournaments etc. There is some type of leaderboard with playoffs as well.
     
  20. NavNucST3

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    The game plays much better than it looks in the videos. I would grab it were it not for FIFA. Depending on how the Blackhawks play tends to increase or decrease my interest as well.
     
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