The first major addition to presentation is a totally revamped pregame package, including authentic player entrances for all 32 NFL teams. All of the run-out details are featured, including tunnels, inflatables, pyro, cheerleaders, mascots, flags, vehicles, and animals. Whether your team has a no frills introduction like the Steelers or an over the top entrance like the Broncos, we have the details covered. The five foot Auger Hawk “Taima” in Seattle, the giant inflatable Bear in Chicago, the Miller Light Club in Dallas, the huge inflatable Viking ship in Minnesota, the chopper with a sidecar in Indy, the Cowboys cheerleaders and the Warpaint in KC…it’s in the game. In addition to having the accurate details for each team’s entrance, the presentation of these run-outs is superb. Every scene has been filmed just like they would on game day by two of the best cinematographers the NFL Films has to offer. (More on this later)
Lighting has also been totally overhauled this year. New to the game is Linear Lighting. This was a big hit in NCAA Football 11 and now Madden NFL 12 is linear. The benefits are obvious in the images below. True NFL colors are now a reality. In the past, colors would shift values and hues in unpredictable ways; now they match what you would see on an HDTV. The second benefit of linear lighting is we can now accurately depict high contrast broadcast lighting while preserving rich details in the bright and dark areas. In comparing Madden NFL 11 and 12 below, you can clearly see the huge difference this makes in the visual quality of the game.
Authenticity is always a big focus for the art team and this year we took things to the next level. Player proportions have been overhauled including a new dynamic head and neck scaling system that makes extreme body sizes like 6’4” 264 lbs Brandon Jacobs and 5’6” 190 lbs Darren Sproles accurate for the first time in Madden NFL. In the past Sproles would have felt like a child because his head would be too small while Jacobs would not feel as big because his head was too large. In addition, we now have the ball scale 100% accurate. Before it was 20% too large and looked like a beach ball. I can’t emphasize enough how great a difference these things make in presenting an authentic NFL look.
Of course, there is more to getting your favorite player right than what they look like, and that is why we’ve added new player specific animations, such as new running and throwing styles, so Mike Vick runs like Mike Vick, and Tim Tebow throws like Tim Tebow. More authentic player celebrations have been added as well, including Aaron Rodgers’ signature Championship Belt pose.
Thanks to our partners on NCAA Football, we also have 3D grass and it looks fantastic. In addition, the players will now feel like they are actually interacting with the field. We have added a new photorealistic uniform degradation system that includes helmet scratches and grass stains. On top of that, players now kick up grass, divots, pellets, water, or snow depending on the surface. The interaction is not limited to just feet either. Dive head first into the end zone with DeSean Jackson and send snow and the pylon flying.
For those of you who love stadiums we now have the rights to Soldier Field so expect this to look great. We have also added flags to the tops of stadiums including the legendary 12th Man Flag in Seattle.
One of the things I think Madden fans will be most excited about is our broadcast presentation. Our mantra was “Go to the experts.” You don’t want a game developer’s version of an NFL broadcast, you want the real deal. We studied with multiple CBS football directors by having the entire presentation team studying inside the truck with unlimited access.We even got input from our own Hall of Fame broadcaster and namesake John Madden. Highlights include real broadcast camera locations for every stadium, all new stadium exteriors (seen more than 10 times per game on SNF), virtual cameras, virtual director logic, and new broadcast graphics designed by the geniuses behind MNF, SNF, and ESPN’s Sports Center.
The improvement I am most excited about is our virtual cameras. Using EA’s proprietary camera capture technology, DCAM, we were able to create scenes as shot by actual NFL Films cinematographers. DCAM is very similar to the technology used by James Cameron to film virtual scenes in Avatar. For Madden NFL 12, we filmed 100 unique scenes in 4 days to produce close to 700 new cameras. You, like everyone else, will notice these right away.
NFL Films have revolutionized the way we watch football over the years. We’ve consulted with experts in their field in the past, but could never truly put their work in our game. Now with DCAM, we’ve been able to capture their precise movements and create truly authentic cameras. Now the steadicam work you see in Madden NFL 12 will match precisely what you see in broadcasts and in NFL Films productions.
Overall, this year is going to feel completely fresh with all new cameras, new scriptables, new replays, and new broadcast graphics.
NFL Films Cinematographer Dave Dart filming the trophy presentation at the Super Bowl in Madden NFL 12.
That’s all for now, I hope it gets you excited for Madden NFL 12. I look forward to going more in-depth on some of these features in the coming months.