Teambuilder and Season Showdown Preview

Posted April 27th, 2009 at 6:01 am


The EA Sports Season Opener Preview last week afforded the opportunity to check out two big feature additions to NCAA Football 10. Teambuilder takes the simple create-a-school mode to a whole new level while Season Showdown presents an online integrated competition to represent the college of your choice.

Continue on to read a preview of both Teambuilder and Season Showdown. Included are two video interviews with NCAA Football 10 designer Ben Haumiller as he runs through what to expect from each.

The innovation with Online Dynasty last year changed the whole atmosphere surrounding the NCAA Football series. This year there appears to be another mode that will have similar impact. The return of create-a-school was heavily desired by the community but the NCAA team wanted to do the mode right and provide a much larger experience. The result is Teambuilder.

Using the Teambuilder website (not yet live) you’ll be able to create your team from the ground up. Everything from the team’s logo, uniforms, the field, to the rosters are customizable. Check out ncaaStrategies write-up for a more details on what each category offers.  This essentially provides for a fully customizable game within NCAA Football 10. Transfer over logos from an image program as you aren’t limited to created logos that the game would offer. A nice touch is that once you bring in a logo you can grab the exact colors it contains right from it for use on the other creation elements.

Where Teambuilder goes even further is with the ability to share the creations online. You’ll be able to download other users’ created teams for use in the game. You can even take those already created and simply work off them by making alterations to your liking.

Bringing a created team into a dynasty will require replacing one of the current teams. In theory you could replace all 120 teams with created ones if so desired. Don’t forget with the addition of custom conferences all sorts of changes to the structure can be made.

The created squad starts by taking on a roster from any current team. From there the rosters are completely editable including ratings. I made sure to ask about how that could affect Online Dynasties. The commissioner controls what teams are imported in. So it isn’t as though people will be sneaking in over-powered teams as the commish can just deny those created teams from entering.

Your online opponent will see everything you created including the logos, uniforms, names, and colors. I made sure to confirm this as previous custom teams online in Madden did not display any of that to online opponents. While there will be an outlet to report inappropriate use the freedom is there to do anything. Given that most people are in Online Dynasties with friends it should be amusing to see the creations that people come up with.

The website to start creating teams with Teambuilder may be out as early as six weeks prior to release. There will be no better way to pass time while waiting for the game to come out.  By the game’s release there will be thousands upon thousands of teams created. I’ve heard ideas such as re-creating high school teams, classic college teams of the past, TV/movie teams, website teams, and so on. It is exciting just to imagine all the possibilities.

It was clear that EA had been holding back some big info in regards to this year’s title. Teambuilder was the talk of the event and has the potential to provide an extraordinary amount of extended value and enjoyment out of NCAA Football 10.

I was happy to have been able to learn more about Season Showdown. This is something that I have been somewhat down on, primarily due to it being described as innovative in the press release and then explained as something we’ve already gotten before that few people cared about. Fortunately there is much more to it than just tracking usage stats.

Season Showdown isn’t something you play but instead just accumulates through the course of naturally playing the game. This is unless you decide to play that particular week’s match-up online with your designated team. Each person locks into the team they want to represent and from then on earn that school credits. All the modes will collect the results for Season Showdown tracking including Play Now, Dynasty, Online Dynasty, Road to Glory, and Online games.

There are several different ways to earn those credits. There is just naturally playing games and it’ll tally those results. Then there is playing that week’s real life match-up online. There are also going to be two web games. One is a trivia game while the other is a quasi pick-em.

One of the biggest benefits to Season Showdown is that it offers incentive for people to play the right way. Every game online has issues with users who ruin the experience for others. Now though you will gain credits for doing the “right” things in the context of play and lose them for playing disrespectfully.

If you go for it on 4th and 10 on your own 20 in the first quarter you’ll lose credits. If you punt in that situation you will gain credits. Go for a two point conversion every time and you’ll lose credits. Should the circumstances call for a two point attempt you would not be penalized. I was told the standards that will be set are changeable so if there is support to adjust certain ones that is something they can do on a running basis.

Will that be reason enough for many of those people to avoid taking advantage of exploits? That still seems doubtful. However it is possible that people out there will want to support their school enough that it’ll cause them to (at least) consider making the proper decision.

All the credits will be tracked not only for the schools but for the individuals in numerous categories. After seeing how those stats are displayed I think it’ll be something that people will enjoy checking in on.

The main concern I had going in was that Season Showdown would only be about the “big” schools. The USC, Florida, Ohio State, Texas types. They did attempt to avoid that being the case. With several different ways for a school to chalk up a “win” on a weekly basis vs their opponent it won’t just be about which team was used the most online. They fully expect to see some big upsets and small schools ranked near the top.

At the end of the season there will be a 32 team tournament based on those rankings to determine the winner. Is Season Showdown something that is going to capture my attention on more than an occasional basis? Probably not. But at the same time I like the potential benefits and competitive elements that it provides and can definitely see a lot of people getting into it.