September 3, 2007
Joe Booth, FIFA 08 (PS3, Xbox 360), Lead Producer
Today I have asked gameplay designer and software engineer, Gary Paterson, to speak in the diary. When he’s not following Aberdeen, celebrating Scotland’s World Cup Win (the homeless World Cup that is), finding the latest Leeds United negative story to rub in my face, or reliving every detail of Scotland’s one win over England, Gary is busy tweaking the shooting and the details of our game engine. Seriously, Gary is going to give you some insight into our new shooting mechanics and some of the changes that we have made to the fundamental depth of the game. What has been really encouraging for me about the way our new shooting module has developed is the sense of unpredictability that it creates. Because of the new way players strike the ball you never get the same shot twice. So if you go in the arena and fire shots off at the net, you are never sure if the ball is going to dip down under the bar or rise over the bar or swerve in on the side or not. That creates a sense of drama that’s there from the real world. Previously in football engines the shooting mechanics have been too predictable and I think our new model for FIFA 08 creates this authentic sense of unpredictability.
The other thing I really like about the shooting mechanics is the feedback from the animations. There are all these different contexts and factors going on, so if you are off balance the player may still kick the ball but you will see him stumble afterwards, and so it’s this kind of feedback that you now get to know that you did not quite connect with the ball. That makes more sense to me than if the ball just flying off and you don’t understand why. I’ll let Gary go into more detail here.
Gary Paterson, FIFA 08 (PS3, Xbox 360) Gameplay Producer
Thanks for such a 'warm' introduction Joe. Aye, the World Cup win was certainly something to celebrate, the streets of Glasgow were packed that night. Don’t feel too bad about the eng*sh teams performance though. I’ve heard that your team might be bolstered for the next World Cup by the addition of some Leeds players who might soon be homeless after not receiving any pay in the last 2 months.
We have done a lot of work on the shooting mechanics to create added realism and it is a very complex system to explain. The main enhancement we’ve made is to the shooting system and how we analyze the context to a kicking situation to decide the size and type of error. We have always used the situation the ball is kicked in, like ball speed for instance, to determine the error on the ball. This year in FIFA 08 we’ve gone further to use more contexts to try to decide how the player kicks the ball, what the ball trajectory will be and if it is going to have back spin, top spin, swerve to the right or the left, etc.
This is the first time we have used this many contexts to determine the trajectory of the ball after a kick and the size of the kick error. We consider things like is the player stretching for the shot, the ball 'y' velocity, the ball incoming velocity, the ball lateral velocity, is the ball under his foot, is the player being jostled and a lot more factors to determine the success or failure of the shot. The trajectories we are now getting out of the game are more realistic than ever before.