Aug 15, 2007
Marcel Kuhn, FIFA 08 (PS2), Producer
I’ll start off by introducing myself. My name is Marcel. I was born in Austria, and raised in Germany, and for as long as I can remember I have been a football fan and a FIFA fanatic. It all started in my parents’ apartment, where my Dad called me a lunatic for shouting and swearing at my PSOne while I was playing FIFA. It continued all the way through university, where studying lost out to all-night long FIFA tournaments. It was a dream come true when I was hired by EA in 2001, and everything came full circle in 2005 when I started to work as a FIFA producer. Fast forward to 2007 – I am on my 3rd production cycle of FIFA, and for the first time responsible for gameplay.
For FIFA 08, our goal was to give more control and freedom to the user. A big part of this concept is that the game doesn’t try to anticipate what the user wants to do, but instead allows the user to be in control at all times. The two AI systems I want to talk about today (Defensive AI and passing) are game play essentials that were affected the most by this approach.
Let’s get started with passing, I play football, and passing properly is much harder then pressing a button. Since we’re making a football simulation, this had to be represented in our game. In reality, a football player has complete control about when, where and how hard he wants to pass. This applies to standard short passes, but also to more specialized passes, such as through balls or crosses. In all of the teams I’ve played on, there was always a handful of players that were specifically good in crossing or playing through balls. These two types of passes require skill in reality, and they should require skill in our game. The idea of Manual Through Balls and Manual Crossing was born.