FIFA 08 PS3 and Xbox 360 developer blog #03

Everyone on the forums let us know the collision system in FIFA 07 wasn’t very good so we have improved it so that our collisions are a lot more realistic than last year taking more account of player momentum and the concept of a player’s center of gravity.

Player Positioning
We received a lot of feedback from last year’s game that player positioning wasn’t very good so we spent a lot of time working on this. We also developed more sophisticated conceptual awareness in the AI of each player which has really improved man-marking. This is called a Threat Map. Our goal with the gameplay engine rewrite was to unlock the power of the Xbox 360 for gameplay, so now each AI player views the pitch through a new threat map system, analyzing and reviewing over a 1,000 options per second. So now, rather than just marking players, or keeping zone positions, they will defend space, pushing attackers into a safer position before going in for the tackle.

The Threat Map AI system analyzes the pitch for players in threatening positions so defenders will position themselves appropriately. Essentially individual players have their own brains and are capable of processing multiple things going on around them in order to behave more realistically. We have combined this with a special analysis tool which breaks down the pitch into areas that each player owns.

Each player will have an idea that 'this is the space that I own on the field' and this will responsibility will be processed along with the Threat Map system to decide where a player should position himself on the field, when he should provide run support, where to make incisive runs. On top of that we will layer in where the defenders are so that if there is a threatening position and four defenders are already in place, than other defenders will consider this when deciding where to position themselves.

These are the concepts that we have added to the intelligence of the strikers and defenders that will help them to decide where to position themselves. For example, if there is a threatening area on the pitch for an attacker to be located but no defender nearby, then the defender might choose to position himself there rather than man-marking a striker in a low threatening position. Or sometimes two defenders will mark one striker if that striker is in a very threatening position.

- Gary

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