Madden NFL 11: Locomotion

A new locomotion system promises to make players more responsive in EA's next Madden game. Check out the details.


Madden NFL 11
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On Monday, EA Sports released a blog detailing the new locomotion system in its upcoming NCAA Football 11. Highlights for the new system will be more realistic player acceleration, as well as an increased import on player momentum. It shouldn't come as any surprise that the same system will also be in place in EA's next pro football game, Madden NFL 11.

LT knows all about momentum.
LT knows all about momentum.

In a post found on the official Madden NFL 11 blog, lead gameplay designer Ryan Burnsides described how the new locomotion system will work within the confines of the NFL game. Before getting into the meat of how locomotion will affect Madden 11, Burnsides started off with a critique of last year's Madden:

"Things like acceleration, direction changes, and momentum were very difficult to tune, and while the end result was a fun user experience, we knew we had to make a pretty dramatic change in our toolset to allow us to achieve our goals."

With that in mind, the Madden development team decided to start over with locomotion, building a new system that combined technology from EA's FIFA game (known as RailTracks), as well as from-the-ground-up code. Burnsides then broke down the changes to Madden 11 in three specific areas: momentum, acceleration, and visuals. Here are some choice quotes:

On Momentum:
"… the mechanic that felt the best was to allow the player to go where you are pressing on the left stick, but slow him down to make the turn you are requesting (based on his ratings of course). It feels pretty natural to gradually round off a turn if you want to keep your speed up or move the stick sharply to sacrifice speed for making a necessary cut. As soon as we put this in, the game felt way more responsive. You can feel the momentum of trying to turn a big lumbering lineman, but at no point do you feel like he isn’t going where you are trying to make him go."

On Acceleration:
"It is now possible for our ratings guys to make players that are quick over 10 to 20 yards but get smoked at longer distances. A 90-speed player can now run the same 40 time as a 99-speed player but lose over longer distances."

On Visuals:
"At mo-cap, we set up a 50-yard-long runway and recorded our mo-cap talent over the whole distance. Our forward run cycles for each body type now don’t loop until the player has traveled for 40 yards. The differences in each stride are subtle, but that small difference is enough to break up the robotic feel of our old locomotion. We layer in dynamic lean based on how much a player is accelerating or turning to get rid of the upright turning from Madden NFL 10 and contribute to the feeling of momentum."

In addition, Burnsides provided some movies illustrating the concepts he discussed in gameplay, as well as a neat movie of the grass field used in the mo-cap sessions. Finally, there's that brand new screen of LaDanian Tomlinson as a member of the New York Jets above to salivate over.

Stay tuned for more NCAA Football 11 and Madden NFL 11 coverage in the near future.

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