Improved QB Play and Blended Animations in NCAA Football 10

Wow!  NCAA Football 10 is shaping out to be one of the biggest updates to the franchise that we have seen in a long time.  I think that NCAA Football 10 will be the first true “Next Gen” iteration of the franchise.

At the Inside EA blog, a concept called Layered Blending has come to surface.  Essentially, instead of your QB getting sacked as soon as he is touched, the QB will have the opportunity to throw the ball depending on a lot of different factors.  My initial impression of this feature is “Oh crap!  We had robo QB’s in ’09, now this!”  However, EA has been tuning the pass engine to ensure that there are a lot of factors that impact the spiral of the ball, the accuracy of the the throw, and the power behind the throw.  For an example of Layered Blending from EA, see the video below:

Also, EA has decided to include a few more ratings for QB’s that should have an interesting impact on the game:

1. Deep Ball Accuracy: Determines the accuracy on deep passes (streaks, deep posts, etc)
2. Medium Passing Accuracy: Determines the accuracy on medium passes (outs, corners, etc)
3. Short Passing Accuracy: Determines the accuracy on short passes (quick smash, flats, etc)
4. Throw on the Run: Creates a modifier to accuracy when the QB is throwing on the run. Every QB will take some sort of accuracy hit when throwing on the run, but a QB that has a high rating here will take a smaller hit.
5. Play Action: Determines the ‘effectiveness’ of Play Action for a QB, i.e. how often they can fake out or freeze the defense (which is obviously weighted against the defenders Play Recognition ratings)

While it’s nice to see EA include some new ratings, my biggest question is this:  How will a QB react in a broken play situation?  Let’s say that I have a QB with a VERY LOW “Deep Ball Accuracy” and I’m running a HB Screen.  If the play is run correctly, the HB will wait for the screen and there will be one WR running a streak.  If, for some reason, I’m fast enough to run past the 4 or 5 linemen coming after me, the WR might have already finished the route and started running back towards the QB.  Even though the play started out as a streak for the WR, how will my accuracy be impacted if the WR comes back to the ball and he’s only about 10 yards away?  Will the ratings be “pre-determined” before the play or will this be dynamic?

Last but not least, EA has decided to change its accuracy algorithm to something more realistic.  Instead of drawing an imaginary circle around the WR and picking the best place to put the ball (based upon the QB’s accuracy rating), there will now be a funnel shape instead:

NCAA Football 2009:

NCAA Football 10:

After seeing the above charts, one has to wonder if we will ever see a ball that is thrown too short…In my opinion, here’s a more realistic chart:

deepballaccuracy

Overall, I’m really excited about the additions that EA is making.  Whether for good or bad, NCAA Football 10 will play different that any other iteration we’ve ever seen.

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