Well, lots of things to comment here, which is why I wanted to throw this out for discussion in the first place. For those worried about making the game too complicated, we can always dial things back and best to do that on paper than in code. So the feedback is appreciated. As far as games changing, I think it's a necessary thing when looking at a game like ours. But it shouldn't be change for the sake of change, and I hope it isn't.
I think there are some mis-recollections of the GDI engine, at least in some cases. One of the biggest problems was that everything was put into the grinder at a team level and there was no way to split out individual contributions. Coupled with some issues on the technical side and design side of the engine, and it was time for a new engine. Where the new engine, or GDII, failed, in my opinion, is that we kept the same philosophy of determining results with probability calculations and random rolls. That serves us well in our other sports where you have 162 games or 80+ games in a season, but after working on our football products for 10 years, I've come to the conclusion that that model doesn't quite fit for football with the 13-16 game seasons. We need a new way to evaluate the possible results and outcome of plays for football. This is changing quite a bit which is why it is scheduled for several months of development, and we will have a beta period to shake out as many issues as we can.
I know it's tough to take change in a game like this, but this update shouldn't drastically change how you play the game. It should just allow you to have more control over your team and make your team play how you want them to. How you recruit shouldn't change at all. What may change is the effectiveness of certain combinations of play settings, like passing out of the Wishbone.
There are always risks of "glitch" plays and combinations that people will find to perform much greater than they should. That's something we will constantly battle. Certainly the more complicated and the more options you have, the more difficult it is to fix these issues. It's best to start simple and then layer in options. So we may not go full bore with the setting individual routes and customization, but it's something to discuss now so we know if it's something we would want the engine to support later. However, the way routes currently work is that each player has a certain chance to be in a certain part of the field, so Player A might have 20% chance to be where the QB is targeting and Player B might have a 40% chance, so Player B has twice as much chance to be the target as Player A in that area of the field. Then Pass Aggressiveness determines the chance that the QB targets a certain part of the field, which again is determined randomly. When looking at all the randomness of how a play unfolds in just the decisions of what happens, there's no way to tell that a WR is your deep threat or your WR running into traffic across the middle, and in turn there's no way to get your best deep WR deep and your best in-traffic WR in traffic.
The dilemma is that you have to set your playbooks before the game plays and hope it is enough to tell you team to play how you want them to play. If game plans are too simple or too random, then it's difficult to actually control your team. If they are too specific, then you have to have way too many settings. What will most likely come out of this process is something between the current settings and the Madden/EA type individual play settings.
The core focus of this update will be breaking down the plays a little more to allow us to work on match ups a little more. I'd have to get into the technical aspects of the simulation to really explain why this is needed, so I won't bore you to death with that. I'm sure I'm already writing too much as it is. But let's just say it is what will help us with SPD 30 guys running 90 yards without anyone touching him, or DLs getting more sacks than LBs. It will also help us in evaluating how a play plays out and allow us to tell if a certain player helped or hindered the play.