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MLB 08 THE SHOW Weekly Update: Gameplay/Situational Awareness

Chris Gill's Avatar + Posted by Chris Gill on Jan 23, 2008 // Senior Producer, Gameplay and Animation

Play Ball! Batter Up! Back, back, back, back, gone! Whatever your favorite baseball slogan… The “Boys of Summer” will be back soon, and after an off-season of blockbuster trades and free agents mega-signings, we’re sure you’re as anxious for the season’s first pitch as we are.

And, while the real-life season is just getting ready to warm up, the MLB team at the SCEA San Diego Studios are busy putting the finishing touches on what many already consider the best baseball game available, MLB 08 THE SHOW. It’s due to hit shelves on March 4th as the only officially-licensed first party baseball game exclusively for PLAYSTATION 3, PlayStation 2 and PSP.

Each week leading up to launch, we’ll be bringing you a new entry in the MLB 08 THE SHOW blog series, highlighting key features of the game.

Hello all, my name is Chris Gill, the Senior Producer in charge of Gameplay and Animation for the MLB franchise. This year our main focus was to make sure that not only was the gameplay solid, fundamentally sound and fun, but that all the players on the field behaved, situationaly, like they do in the big leagues, before, during and after the play.

For example, how they get ready in their pre-pitch stance, adjusting just slightly before the pitch to get in to position. How they adjust their positioning based on the hitters tendencies. During the play, how they approach the ball, the type of run they use, the angles to the ball they take, the way they play balls off the wall in the OF, the tags, the hot shot over the top plays, all of which are based on the current situations. You can play this game over and over and see plays you’ve never seen before.

Situational awareness is a term we use a lot here at the studio. For example, a routine fly ball hit to the outfield with no runners on and no outs. The OF knows he doesn’t have to hurry, so he performs a casual catch and throw back in. That same outfielder knows that when there’s a runner on first in that same situation and the runner goes half way, there’s no immediate threat, so he will perform an animation that’s a little quicker, than the first example but still semi casual.

The third case of course is when a runner is tagging up and you have to throw him out. In this situation, the OF will get behind the ball and make more of an urgent crow-hop type throw. This is just one example of our “situational awareness” that we use all over the game all the time.

Our infielders know how much time they have to perform certain types of animations as well. If a guy like Molina hits a ground ball to the SS, he knows he has plenty of time, the animation will reflect that. If Ichiro is running down the line, he’ll obviously have to get rid of it much quicker. For those of you that have played our game in the past, you know we have an enormous amount of animations in our game and we just keep piling them on.

This year, we added over 500 more gameplay animations. That number doesn’t even include the presentations, personal pitcher deliveries and batter stances (including their own personal walk up sequences). The pitcher batter duel is also an area where we put a lot of focus. Personalizing pitchers breaks, how they attack the batter/user and the adjustments that the pitchers make based on the users tendencies all were improved upon.

The overall idea is that when you walk away from playing our game, you’re going to feel like a big leaguer. We’ve worked diligently to not only make it look realistic but “feel” good as well. You’re going to see things in MLB 08 THE SHOW that you’ve been waiting on for a long time.

Stay tuned… we’ll have a new blog entry next week.

//Add Your Own

38 Comments

1

+ Broman6015 on January 23rd, 2008 at 3:22 pm said:

Good stuff. Cant wait!

Any chance of a PSN demo before release?


2

+ WHAT on January 23rd, 2008 at 3:26 pm said:

Unusual music choice for a game that is one big sausage party.


3

+ cmargary on January 23rd, 2008 at 3:30 pm said:

Wow… look fantastic… need a demo to see the gameplay if the add more… but improve the lighting thing that needed the last one…


4

+ ftwrthtx on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:05 pm said:

A demo would be very nice.

Thanks for the info.


5

+ Raziel Dune on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:16 pm said:

Sweet.


6

+ juanleche on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:20 pm said:

Will this game support 1080 either natively or upscaled?

WARNING: gamers if this games does not support 1080 and your HDTV does not accept 720, this game will not play in HD but rather 480 SD. please make sure that his game is compatable with your HDTV in order to play in HD.


7

+ wizardpsp on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:31 pm said:

wow show some gameplay for next week but nice work, and yes PSN demo Please!!!!


8

+ backbreaker65 on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:37 pm said:

The Show is nothing but a Show Off and it deserves to be. Love your game and love you guys attention to detail. This game is the epitome of a system seller.


9

+ Keysersoze10033 on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:41 pm said:

I can’t wait for this game :).


10

+ Jeigh on January 23rd, 2008 at 4:41 pm said:

Those graphics are sick! And 500 animations?? It’s nice to see that you guys are skimping. :D

@6 What kind of question is that? That sounds more like a threat. Get lost, and find a forum. Chris, don’t bother answering this clown- if he can’t show a little humility and decency he doesn’t deserve a response.


11

+ lyfestory on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:10 pm said:

i still see players running through players in every baseball game made by man, woman or child… that’s a small pet irritation to be sure, but player collision is important.. injuries can and do happen when they run into each other, whether on the base paths or in the field.. and umps always make a concerted effort to get out of players’ way… (especially during action replays or cutscenes..)
but the game looks amazing from the various trailers i’ve seen and may get it this year..


12

+ moshakirby on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:10 pm said:

Play TV, Play TV, Play TV, not gonna stop ’till you tell us! :D


13

+ frito on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:18 pm said:

I haven’t played any of the The Show games yet, but I have heard nothing but good reviews about them!

Hopefully a demo will show up on PSN!

I also hope the game will ship being able to be displayed in 1080p and/or have full 1080i and 720p supported for those without upscaling!

cheers!


14

+ EnigmaOppanax on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:23 pm said:

I’ve always hated sports games. Just not my thing I guess.


15

+ free on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:30 pm said:

You think you’ll get around to having online work at all this time?

No voice chat online last time.

Never could complete one online game w/o the connection failing.

Or will this be a broken release too?


16

+ cmargary on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:30 pm said:

@moshakirby

yes… we want to know at least if will come to the us… remember that playtv is for europe…


17

+ sedateinfect on January 23rd, 2008 at 5:40 pm said:

why do you guys always put a hotel or building or whatever it is directly in centerfield with Phillies written on it at Citizens Bank Park WHEN IT DOESN’T EXIST? i seriously don’t get that. i got to that stadium 40-50 times a season and have never seen it.


18

+ chase on January 23rd, 2008 at 6:05 pm said:

will this game have custom soundtrack


19

+ joel on January 23rd, 2008 at 6:12 pm said:

I would have bought it if I liked baseball games.


20

+ Stoffinator on January 23rd, 2008 at 6:21 pm said:

I hate baseball, but that looks pretty damn real to me.


21

+ Kpepe on January 23rd, 2008 at 6:35 pm said:

Wow. preety good job. Now the question is PSP or PS3?


22

+ backbreaker65 on January 23rd, 2008 at 6:42 pm said:

how do you download this video?


23

+ C-h-a-o-s on January 23rd, 2008 at 8:41 pm said:

I hope the online for the PSP wont lag like 07 did.

Also will the 08 version come with some sort of bonus? I still have my Yankee’s hat that I got from MLB 07: The Show.


24

+ gardea on January 23rd, 2008 at 9:22 pm said:

Getting it for PS3, and maybe PSP so I can have it on the go.


25

+ The_Rick_14 on January 23rd, 2008 at 11:15 pm said:

@2

Don’t you know chicks dig the longball? lol


26

+ TheTwelve on January 23rd, 2008 at 11:31 pm said:

Day one purchase for me. Thank you very much.

12


27

+ StalkingSilence on January 24th, 2008 at 6:39 am said:

So all the new animations will be in the PS2 version as well? When are we going to start developing more features for the PS3 version besides better graphics? These games should start becoming PS3-centric as the market shifts and starts to adopt. But also, you need to provide people a reason to switch. Maybe something as minor as 600 animations in the PS3 version to take up more blu-ray space. Or custom soundtracks. Remote play for a baseball game would be doable. But then you cut into your PSP UMD sales.


28

+ Jeigh on January 24th, 2008 at 6:40 am said:

Update today!! :D

I know of at least two good things we are getting today! :D

And I look forward to this demo in the near(-ish) future! :D


29

+ Scarecrow on January 24th, 2008 at 7:14 am said:

I will be getting this game on day one!

Thank you Sony for taking me away from the ugly grasps of 2K and their horrible MLB 2K games.

Seriously, having bought MLB 99 back in 1998 I’m so happy to once again be back on the ship.

Everything looks so beautiful…..so personalized, so TRUE TO LIFE.

Love how Lowell slides sideways like he does in real life and how Howard hits his homers like in real life.

Man, can’t wait to see Hideki Matsui and some of my favorite Yankees!

The Stadiums are looking insane too….they really feel like they have LIFE to them. Hope we get a trailer highliting that. The only game where I could truly say “the crowd is into it” was Ken Griffey Junior’s MLB game on N64…and since then there’s been on game which has done it so well.

By the way Chris, think you guys can expand on multiplayer options? You know co-op(same team) and more than 2 players? I’d really love to see co-op in this game….would make playing with my brothers so much funner.


30

+ Kedaro on January 24th, 2008 at 9:24 am said:

Any hints as to a demo on the PSN?
actually what is lined up in total for the PSN this week… seems like it might be a suprise of sorts?


31

+ PSheddy on January 24th, 2008 at 1:22 pm said:

Just want to chime in and say the game looks great.

One question though. I read you can import music. Does this mean you can set certain music to play when homeruns are hit/created plare walks up to the box/game is won?

I’ve been dying to have a baseball game play Zombie Nation when a home run is hit.


Chris Gill's Avatar

32

+ Kolbe Launchbaugh on January 24th, 2008 at 1:34 pm said:

@ Everyone
Thanks for all of the questions and comments – I’ll do my best to answer you all. PSN Demo is coming soonish – no real idea on a time line, so hang in there!

@ juanleche RE: 1080i/p support
Yes, we support both 1080i/p as well as 720p and 480i/p – so no matter what kind of TV you have you’ll be able to play.

@ lyfestory RE: Player inner penetration
This is a difficult issue to do and do well without impacting how the game plays. It is absolutely a feature that we are working towards.

@free
We thought about making online even harder to get working this year, but instead we went ahead and fixed it. Voice chat is in and working, the connection issue is fixed (was fixed in a patch for ’07) and if we play our cards right, it wont even be broken on release! We actually planned it that way last year, you guys didnt enjoy it?! ;)

@ cmargary & moshakirby
I want Play TV too… however this is the wrong thread for that – I know absolutely nothing about it. Perhaps someone else will see this question and help you out

@chase
Yes, you can create custom soundtracks to listen to in the FE as well as in the post game menu.

@S StalkingSilence
I cant answer you 100% on this as I dont personally handle the animation system. That said, we try and fit as much of our improvement in every area on each platform. The last thing we want to do is ship a roster update for PS2/P every year.

As for developing features that are “PS3 centric” we’ve already done that this year. Quite a few items just arent possible on the PS2 because of the memory use they take up. For example: Custom Playlists, Replay Vault, box scores for every game throughout a season, play by play game log, etc, etc… This is of course on top of the improved graphics, audio and animations.

@Scarecrow
Yes we can and will be expanding on our multiplayer options in the future.

Glad you guys are pumped for the game!

-Kolbe


33

+ chase on January 24th, 2008 at 2:03 pm said:

@Kolbe Launchbaugh
thanks
its good 2 see custom soundtracks
being added 2 most games now


34

+ GOODFELLA on January 24th, 2008 at 4:25 pm said:

It would be awesome if the music you add to the playlist would be part of the in-game music like when someone goes up to bat, or even a specific song for your custom player.

And speaking of custom players, will the game support the PS Eye? And will custom players still be called “NUMBER 17″ or will a full name be possible?


35

+ juanleche on January 25th, 2008 at 8:55 am said:

Thanks!!!

Please spread the word to other devs who may not know that lack of 1080 support if preventing people from buying certain games:

http://boardsus.playstation.com/playstation/board/message?board.id=ps3&thread.id=1543693&view=by_date_ascending&page=1


36

+ elmetfano on January 25th, 2008 at 4:06 pm said:

thanks! ah man THANK YOU for a demo and voice chant, that made my day :) cant wait for you next post ;)


37

+ Smittie1984 on January 26th, 2008 at 11:33 am said:

Will we be able to select the uniforms of our choice before games in Franchise/Career mode?


38

+ droop06 on February 6th, 2008 at 9:12 am said:

will we be able to cutoff throws to home?


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