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Old 03-15-2014, 05:06 PM   #1
Sam C
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Player roles vs Sliders

I'm looking to do my bit to support this great game so I'm planning to write a series of articles and start a blog so that as 'pre fans' of the game we can debate and contribute as much as possible from now until the big release next year.

I've got a diverse range of key features in my mind and, time permitting, I'll try and write something once every one or two weeks with the aim of helping to get everyone's ideas flowing across the forum.

For no particular reason, I'm starting with a post about 'Player Roles vs Sliders'.


Player roles

The number one goal of BTS is realism.

The game could have a top rate draft system, meticulous salary cap calculator and highly intuitive trades and free agency, but if you turn up on a Sunday and see an unrealistic football game where you feel totally out of control, you’ll feel like all your hard work as a GM was in vain. This makes the in-game engine and ability to set your strategy for BTS vitally important.

One recent development in the Football Manager series was the switch from ‘sliders’ to ‘roles’. This was largely due to consultation with top soccer coaches who advised that a player would be given a specific role within team tactics rather than being told by the manager something like “I want you to play with 8 out of 20 creativity” or “I want the defensive line to push up 14 out of 20 for today’s game”.

In my opinion, the new player roles were a huge improvement and can be summarized as follows:

Goalkeepers – Goalkeeper or Sweeper Keeper

Left and right full backs – Limited full back, Full back, Wing back, Complete wing back

Central defender – Limited defender, central defender, ball playing defender

Wing backs – Wing back, Complete wing back

Defensive midfielders – Defensive midfielder, Deep lying playmaker, Ball winning midfielder, Anchor man, Half back, Regista

Central midfielders – Ball winning midfielder, Central midfielder, Deep lying playmaker, Box to box midfielder, Advanced playmaker

Left and right midfielders – Defensive winger, wide midfielder, winger

Attacking central midfielders – Advanced playmaker, Attacking midfielder, Trequartista, Enganche, Shadow striker

Attacking left and right midfielders/forwards – Winger, advanced playmaker, Inside forward, Defensive winger, Wide target man

Strikers – Deep lying forward, Defensive forward, Advanced forward, Target man, Poacher, Complete forward, Trequartista, False nine.

The devil is in the detail and these can be refined further using Defend, Support and Attack functions, as well as individual player instructions so that defining a role doesn't necessarily take away the players' individuality.

Whether you play Football Manager, enjoy soccer or are familiar with what these roles mean isn’t important. The roles system works because it allows you to tell your players to carry out your instructions in a realistic way.

Soccer is a more fluid game than American football and often involves players contributing in various different phases of play (both offensively and defensively), using these examples, it could be that the ‘Complete wing back’ is further up the pitch than the ‘False nine’ even though the wing back is labelled as a Defender and the False nine is labelled as a Striker.

American football is a more rigid game, if your Wide Receiver is told to use creative freedom, he will probably end up running the wrong route, costing an interception and losing you the game. Similarly, if your cornerback starts to believe he’s the best pass rusher in the team and spends the whole game trying to sack the Quarterback, you are likely to get a lot of blown coverages.

So do ‘roles’ belong in BTS? In my opinion they do. Take another NFL Management simulator, Head Coach ‘09.

This game uses the following roles (called Philosophies):

QB - Field general, Balanced, Mobile/speed, Strong arm/tools, Pure passer

HB - Balanced, Speed, Moves, Power, Receiving, Workhorse

FB - Balanced, Ball Carrier, Blocking, Receiving

WR - Strong/blocking, Tall/Redzone, Speed, Quick/route runner, Balanced

TE - Playmaker, H-Back, Balanced, Soft hands/routes, Blocking

O Line - Run block, Pass block, Zone block, Balanced, Size/Strength/Mauler (replace word Mauler with Engulfer for Tackles)

DT - Run stopper, Versatile 3-4, Balanced, Prototype, One gap

DE - Balanced, Prototype, Undersized, Speed rusher, Run stopper, Versatile 3 – 4

MLB - Coverage/speed, Power/blitzer, 3-4 tackler, Prototype, Balanced

CB - Cover 2, Balanced, Man coverage/ballhawk, Strong/press/run support, Prototype

FS - Centerfielder, Prototype, Run support/blitzer, Balanced, Man coverage

SS - Prototype, Run support/big hitter, Smart/productive, Balanced, Coverage

Kickers/Punters - Big foot/distance, Accuracy, Balanced.


Now I’m sure there’s plenty of people who have played Head Coach who will tell you how well these roles/philosophies worked or didn’t work in execution. But there’s no doubt they strip back some of the micromanagement elements by not having to place and tweak your sliders in exactly the right places and are also a more realistic representation of what a coach might actually say to a player. I'd also wager they are more likely to appeal to the casual player, who will ultimately help fund future versions of BTS.

On the Football Manager forums, people have taken this to the next level and there is a fascinating thread on ‘Pairs & Combinations’ in the Tactics forum which talks about complementary roles and on the flip side, roles that are poor bedfellows.

As BTS sensibly only has one big playbook to begin with, it would be great to set-up your strong armed quarterback with a speed wide receiver and watch the results. On the defensive side of the ball, you could bring your strong safety in for run support and free your speed rushing defensive ends to pin their ears back and go after the Quarterback. The possibilities are endless.

So what do you think?

Do you like the idea of roles or do you prefer sliders?

What roles would you like to see? Are the HC09 ones outdated and need modernising?

How does all this coincide with overall team strategies? e.g. No huddle, conservative or risky play calling, your defensive scheme, how much your blitz.

I look forward to hearing your views and I’ll get to work on another discussion piece soon.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:32 AM   #2
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Pretty good ideas. Roles do have a place on a team, and you make a strong case for their inclusion in BTS. But I don't know if roles and sliders are a good comparison, as roles sound like titles with bonuses, while sliders are a means to adjust or scale the player ratings or their effects.

To me, if a player is given (or has earned) a role on a team, his value changes to reflect the bonus effects of that role. You might see evidence of these effects as the game unfolds, but not necessarily. Using sliders could also produce in-game effects, but those effects may be spread universally throughout the game, and not truly show how individual players have a more powerful impact.

If your argument is pointing out how a slider adjustment changes a player's tendency from say, a "coverage LB" vs "blitz LB", then that slider may not be detailed enough to span all the aspects of a player. Is that what you meant?
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:14 AM   #3
killershrew
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I think there's a disconnect here in terms of vocabulary. While goalie is talking about the genral game sliders that affect the match engine the OP is referring to the tactics sliders for players that you set for individual players or teams to tell them how to play.

You are both right, we need game engine sliders and roles are better than tactics sliders. To totally swear in church I'd also like to say that the playing styles players have in FIFA manager are nice too. They make players with the same general attributes play like individuals. Haven't played it in about 5 years so it might have changed since.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:12 AM   #4
Sam C
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Thanks for your comments goalie and killershrew.

Yes, I was wary when writing the post that the word 'sliders' has very different meanings. In FM, roles replaced sliders in team & player instructions within the tactics area. In HC09 I've never used the sliders but they are used to alter the game engine and I know there's serious discussion about them in the Operation Sports forum.

In OOTP, there are sliders used for team and player instructions such as stealing bases and using pinch runners. I believe sliders are put to much better use in OOTP than they were in FM because they define the frequency a player should try something rather than a mentality. Instructing a player to attempt something more often using a slider makes more sense than telling a player that they should think a certain way using a slider.

My use of the word here, relates to the team and player tactics.

For example, for my team the Chiefs (and you'll have to bear with me here because understanding schemes and playcalling are my weakest areas of NFL knowledge!) might have the defense set-up with the following player roles:

DT Dontari Poe - Prototype
DE Tyson Jackson - Run stopper
DE Mike Devito - Versatile 3-4
MLB Derrick Johnson- 3-4 Tackler
MLB Akeem Jordan - Balanced
CB Sean Smith - Man coverage
CB Brandon Flowers - Man coverage
SS Eric Berry - Prototype
FS Kendrick Lewis - Centerfielder

The skill then comes with a) having a good scheme, b) finding players to fit your scheme and c) if you change scheme, you also need to refresh your roster to make sure you have the right personnel.

The AI can also work out your scheme to create mismatches, such as when Peyton Manning picked on Chiefs CB Marcus Cooper and Eric Decker got four touchdowns. You can also create mismatches, if you were up against Captain Munnerlyn of the Panthers who is 5"8 tall, you could line him up against your tall/redzone threat WR to give you an advantage.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:24 AM   #5
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Hi Sam,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for the post.

>>QB - Field general, Balanced, Mobile/speed, Strong arm/tools, Pure passer

Would the type of QB etc you have not depend on the player you have? e.g. if you have Manning you have a field general pocket passer type of QB and you have RG3 you have a mobile passer etc?
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Cole View Post
Hi Sam,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for the post.

>>QB - Field general, Balanced, Mobile/speed, Strong arm/tools, Pure passer

Would the type of QB etc you have not depend on the player you have? e.g. if you have Manning you have a field general pocket passer type of QB and you have RG3 you have a mobile passer etc?
In HC09 it is tied to how they are evaluated. If your team has their QB philosophy set to "pocket passer" then Manning will have an overall of 99 but if they have it set to "rushing QB" manning will have an overall of like 65% because of witch attributes the rating takes into account. it doesnt affect attributes but might affect how well they perform in a system.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Cole View Post
Hi Sam,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for the post.

>>QB - Field general, Balanced, Mobile/speed, Strong arm/tools, Pure passer

Would the type of QB etc you have not depend on the player you have? e.g. if you have Manning you have a field general pocket passer type of QB and you have RG3 you have a mobile passer etc?
Yes, it would be fundamental in the QB position and that's why the interconnecting pieces around the QB and overall scheme are so crucial.

Off the top of my head:
Strong arm/tools - Flacco, Cutler
Speed/mobile - RGIII, Newton, Kaepernick
Pure passer - Brees, Brady
Field general -the Mannings, Rivers

The more versatile QBs that come to mind are guys like Luck, Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Roethlisberger who have elements of strong arm, elusiveness, accuracy, speed and field general attributes.

If you selected Peyton Manning as a mobile/speed QB it would be like choosing John Terry as a winger in FM. There could be an element of building around a franchise player so the Broncos would need to built around a field general/pocket passing QB, Vikings around using the pass to set up the run for AP, the Lions would want to get the best out of Calvin Johnson so adapting the franchise to his role would be crucial.

Last edited by Sam C; 03-16-2014 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:06 AM   #8
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It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure I'm convinced it would work in the way you describe.

What would be interesting though is a drop down choice to implement an overall system/philosophy for your team.

For example, (if a user does not want to call all the plays themselves) they can set various things (like if they should pass more than run etc).
Maybe on that screen there could be a general philosophies drop-down. That would include things like West Coast, Smashmouth etc. (and there would be another drop-down for the defensive philosophy).

Then when your coaches are calling the plays on your behalf they would follow the philosophy you have set. So you still need to make sure the philosophy you have set fits in with the players you have.
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Cole View Post
It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure I'm convinced it would work in the way you describe.

What would be interesting though is a drop down choice to implement an overall system/philosophy for your team.

For example, (if a user does not want to call all the plays themselves) they can set various things (like if they should pass more than run etc).
Maybe on that screen there could be a general philosophies drop-down. That would include things like West Coast, Smashmouth etc. (and there would be another drop-down for the defensive philosophy).

Then when your coaches are calling the plays on your behalf they would follow the philosophy you have set. So you still need to make sure the philosophy you have set fits in with the players you have.
There was also an interesting system in HC09 with coaches. When you signed the coaches you negotiated with them by giving up control in different areas. You could agree to release certain players or give the coaches control over what type of qb to look for etc. Not saying it has or should work exactly like hc09 but it had alot of good ideas that were more or less well implemented.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:42 AM   #10
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When selecting a general system your organization employs, be it spread, west coast, I back, etc., there should be advantages reflected in the players and coaching staff that make up the organization. A drop down box would, in theory, alter many ratings.

Example: I take over a team that I want to run the ball a lot, like "ground Chuck" from back in the Rams/Seahawks days of the 70's and 80's. But my current coaching staff and roster is more tuned to a spread offense. They were rated pretty high for a spread offense, knew the plays, and scored a decent amount of points. Now, I change everything...

Well, in real life, this kind of radical change throws many things out of balance. While some coaches and players may thrive from the sudden change, the likelihood is that most will not. The team will need to be rebuilt, sometimes from the ground up (no pun intended) to win with my new run heavy system.

In HC09, as soon as you alter the play style of your team, player ratings change, forcing you to look to free agency and the draft to build the team you want. This takes time, and risks you losing your job as head coach. It's a lot of fun.

As to the original post: Since OOTP already has a tendancy (tactical) slider system built into the game, a logical system of course, you might consider implementing that into BTS.

Player sliders are a little trickier though as football is not a game of individual battles and achievements like baseball. You can't just set your slider for a RB to "run to daylight" "always" vs "never". It doesn't transfer the same expected results as "hit and run" (always/never) in baseball, as football relies heavily on the synchronized play of 10 other players all within the first couple of seconds after the snap.
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