There is probably no better way to discover how the CPU plays in a sports game than letting two AI controlled teams go head-to-head and thus avoiding any user influence. Doing so obviously does not provide much insight into how a game will perform in a head-to-head pairing but instead is useful for learning where there may be holes in the AI primarily relating to single player.
The first game that was set up and recorded was a fantastic example of the value that comes with examining a CPU vs CPU game. The neutral field Virginia Tech vs Alabama match-up was set to All-American difficulty for both offense and defense it turned out to be exceedingly entertaining to watch, showed off many of the aspects that are generating a mostly positive response to the demo, and also exposed a few areas of weakness that may not have been completely addressed from year’s past. Continue on to check out the video along with some notes made along the way and feel free to leave any observations in the comments!
♦Pocket presence much improved – escaped pressure, took some sacks, threw ball away at times, didn’t force too many passes into coverage.
♦Running game looks great – some really brilliant power and finesse moves on display, players run more upright, blocking significantly better.
♦Play-calling much more varied – CPU competent running a variety of plays.
♦Don’t remember there being any penalties called.
♦Maybe a few too many dropped passes.
♦A few passes off the mark were nice to see.
♦Offense got aggressive pushing the ball late in the first half.
♦No accelerated clock – time isn’t running down between plays.
♦Does anyone off the top of their head recall if the ESPN score bug actually shows 0:00 on the clock in overtime of real games? (OK this needs to be fixed then).
♦AI makes some questionable decisions late – timeouts could have been called late in 4th, they risked throwing the ball when running to set up a winning field goal made more sense.
♦Celebration didn’t meet the moment – end of game (and other big moments) deserved more emotion, better commentary, extended discussion, and post-game celebration than they got.