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MLB 09 The Show – New and Improved A.I.

Chris Gill's Avatar + Posted by Chris Gill on Jan 20, 2009 // Senior Producer, Gameplay and Animation

Today we’re going to show you some of our new and improved A.I. for MLB 09 The Show. Realism is THE most important thing to use here on the MLB 09 The Show team. Year in and year out, with a development team that has a wealth of baseball knowledge, not only as fans of the game but development members that have actually played the game at very high levels, we dedicate ourselves to making the most realistic baseball experience possible. That being said, there were a few things about last year’s game that were a bit frustrating and not as realistic as we would have liked. As much as we would like to tackle every idea out there, we strategically have to pick and choose our battles. This year we decided to work on a little bit of everything, so today I’m going to highlight four of them.

1. CPU Fielder routes to the ball
In our quest to make the perfect baseball simulation, balancing the game can be a long difficult task. In order for our batters to reach the correct amount of doubles and triples in our game, we needed a couple things to happen.

  • The batter needs to get out of the box appropriately, round the bases correctly, and have his true-to-life times from home to first, first to third, etc…
  • The fielders need to react naturally, the same way they do in real life. Basically, if the runners are going to behave realistically, then the fielders need to as well, otherwise you would not have balance. So this year, our infielders and outfielders will react and behave appropriately on balls hit down the lines or in the gaps. No more direct routes to the ball keeping you at first if you should have had a double. Now, in MLB 09 The Show, you will see outfielders rounding the ball, cutting it off at a BACK angle or just playing it off the wall. This truly looks and feels like you’re playing in The Show.

2. Infielder Hot Shots
Another part of last year’s game that I felt needed improvement to bring it that much closer to real life was the fact that fielders would catch just about everything hit their way. For the most part, if they could reach it, they would catch it, with a few deflections here and there. This year, in MLB 09 The Show, our infielders become human again and are now vulnerable to Hot Shots coming off the bat of Albert Pujols. We’ve developed a system that will allow for the player to miss balls based on how hard they’re hit, the fielding ability of the player, and the player’s reaction time. Some balls are just too hot to handle for anyone, but if you are playing with the Gold Glovers, they’ll have a better chance of making some unbelievable plays. Balls will also take bad hops and hit off the player, and yes, your infielders will even make errors. Even though we’ve had errors in games past, we focused a bit more on it to, once again, bring this game closer to real MLB. The cool thing about this is, with the addition of the new routes to the ball, a shot down the line can get by that third baseman and give you a realistic chance to stretch it in to a double. These are my favorite plays.

3. Tags
We used to have a very generic set of tags that basically set the facing direction toward the incoming runner and then we would apply the tag. That OLD system would not account for the infielders set up at or around the base and the attacking angle of the runners slide. Now, in MLB 09 The Show, we consider all of that. We have all new setups that are tailored for every base and every direction the throw is coming from. The catcher also has his own setup and tag system. We even have an all-new system for pickoffs and back picks. This makes for some really exciting plays at the base that make you feel like you’re part of a real Major League Baseball experience

And I just wanted to mention this even though it really doesn’t have to do with the tag section. For those of you that play our game regularly, you will know that we have always had a problem with “going the short way” with two outs. Well, you’ll no longer be frustrated trying to go the “short way” with two outs. With the incorporation of our “on the run catch system,” on a ground ball to the third baseman with two outs, you can branch your throw to second and get a really cool catch on the run by the second baseman for the out, without having to throw across the diamond. The CPU will do this as well. Another side note, the CPU will tag your runner in the baseline if he can, instead of ignoring the runner and throwing to the base. You guys that play our game know what I mean.

4. Pitcher / Batter duel
The Pitcher/Batter Duel has always been what makes or breaks a true to life baseball simulation. We have dedicated a whole year to improving this feature and we will continue to do this as long as we make this game. This is extremely important to us here on the MLB 09 The Show Team, and I know you’ll appreciate the advanced technology, logic and dedication that has gone in to it. Oh yeah…we also have a new level for all you guys that brag about H.O.F. Mode being too easy. It’s called Legend Mode. Good Luck!!

Also, be sure to catch a special interview of MLB 09 The Show cover athlete Dustin Pedroia on ESPN First Take live from Sony HQ tomorrow at 11:15am Eastern Time, as well as a live ESPN News segment that will air throughout the day.

//Add Your Own

159 Comments   8 Replies

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1

+ ftwrthtx on January 20th, 2009 at 2:12 pm said:

Sounds like some great improvements.

What about transferring seasons/stats/game saves between PS3 and PSP versions?


2

+ bubbawilhelm on January 20th, 2009 at 2:12 pm said:

2nd


3

+ yunier91 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:12 pm said:

looking good


4

+ bubbawilhelm on January 20th, 2009 at 2:13 pm said:

woo 2nd lol


5

+ gema11981 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:13 pm said:

I can not wait for this game ! My first post on the ps blog !


6

+ jbat17 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:13 pm said:

sounds great. i’m definitely buying this year’s version


7

+ wizardpsp on January 20th, 2009 at 2:14 pm said:

Nice im having this one!!!


8

+ gema11981 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:15 pm said:

Oh yeah Go STL Cards !


9

+ egonadrian on January 20th, 2009 at 2:16 pm said:

9th


10

+ Look_Behind on January 20th, 2009 at 2:17 pm said:

wow 10 comments already wow


11

+ Exodus_Lang on January 20th, 2009 at 2:18 pm said:

I’m so pumped for this game :)

I love the animation changes, because there were a few frustrating ones last year (You have to get nitpicky to find something, by the way).

My only remaining question is if we can change our players, especially numbers, in RTTS mode.


    Chris Gill's Avatar

     

    + Kolbe Launchbaugh on January 20th, 2009 at 2:28 pm said:

    RE: Editing RttS player after creation.

    Yep.

    -Kolbe


12

+ AndyMP-US on January 20th, 2009 at 2:19 pm said:

I really cannot wait for this game to be released.


13

+ VivaGardner on January 20th, 2009 at 2:21 pm said:

Amazing


14

+ Professor2345 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:21 pm said:

nice. i like the improvements.


15

+ ColonelSeitan on January 20th, 2009 at 2:22 pm said:

those animations looks insane!


16

+ Lifewish on January 20th, 2009 at 2:24 pm said:

sounds like some really solid additions this year. The outfielders is a big change that was needed.

Will be purchasing.


17

+ NewYork214 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:26 pm said:

i HATE logging in everytime i want to comment.

but looks good. if i have some extra money around release ill pick this up for sure. would be cool if MLB 10 or 2010 whatever it’ll be called gets brawls between teams. just to watch not to fight. like red sox vs yanks and you bean a bunch of people on purpose and its starts this payback revenge type of thing. it happens in real life why not the game lol

and RED SOX SUCK lol. sorry had to


18

+ ty_hot on January 20th, 2009 at 2:27 pm said:

Anoother nice game, I’m still trying to buy the 08 version, wich noone plays in Brazil lol


19

+ hmrnkng901 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:28 pm said:

i can not wait. I hope the graphics are as good as ’08


20

+ foolio_67 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:29 pm said:

Nice :)


21

+ AAAChampions on January 20th, 2009 at 2:32 pm said:

this game looks better and better everytime you show it on the blog. did at any point in development did you consider there to be not one on one matches and that there could be say nine on nine matches with every game player take the role of a field and batter?


22

+ symo63 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:40 pm said:

I can’t wait for this to come out as I have it on pre-order as they don’t sell it in Australia. I have MLB 08 The Show and it is the best baseball game I have played for sometime. I also love MVP Baseball 2005.


23

+ captionloken on January 20th, 2009 at 2:41 pm said:

meh, i never liked baseball games, tho this looks like the best one ive seen, may try it when i can


24

+ Gump_ on January 20th, 2009 at 2:41 pm said:

best Baseball game on the market BY FAR!


25

+ Exodus_Lang on January 20th, 2009 at 2:42 pm said:

@11 reply

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


26

+ talleyc on January 20th, 2009 at 2:42 pm said:

I’m psyched for this game!! Is it baseball season yet?!


27

+ Exodus_Lang on January 20th, 2009 at 2:43 pm said:

@21
I was a bit surprised they didn’t add something like this since it started to become more prominent in other sports games, but I’m still holding out hope for MLB 2010 having that feature. It’d take the game to a whole new level.


28

+ bigdaddykraven on January 20th, 2009 at 2:50 pm said:

I bought a PS3 two years ago for MLB 07: The Show and have loved every minute of it since then. Got MLB 08 and loved it more and now you guys look to top yourselves yet again with hitting the contract sides and the fielding aspects. Kudos!

Honestly, if only a couple more things were added, I wouldn’t need to play any other games. However its still my favorite PS3 game anyway.

Those “missing things” by the way are Expansion teams (either start a new franchise with one or 10-15 years down the road new teams join) and with that in mind, teams can get new stadiums.

Also More Records! Team Records (I didn’t beat Bond’s record but did I get it for the Reds, my team?) as well as expanding the current records in the game.

Finally, announcers recognition. Meaning, if I’m in 2015, I don’t want to hear about Ortiz being the AL MVP Runner-UP in 2005. If a guy won the gold glove, is on the trading block, just got traded or is having a career year, I want them to say it!

All these features were in All-Star Baseball 2005, as well as things you guys have added in this year. If you guys had that stuff and what you bring to the play yourselves, that’d be about as close to the show as you could get!


29

+ GCubz06 on January 20th, 2009 at 2:50 pm said:

This is absolutely amazing!! It’s awesome to see the way you guys are always finding things to improve the overall experience without taking away from the core gameplay. I was wondering as far as presentation goes… remember those awesome stat boxes you guys had in the demo last year? Stuff like batting average in day games, steals leaders, batting average with RISP, wins leaders, etc…? I was really disappointed that those didn’t make it into franchise mode when the game released. Do you plan to have that included when 09 releases? That would be icing on the cake for me!! Thanks for an awesome game, guys!


30

+ ctbundy on January 20th, 2009 at 2:52 pm said:

Count me in. The RTTS mode is a reason to buy. My only hope is that Online works better in 09(lag).

Good Luck with the game, it looks fancy


31

+ bigdaddykraven on January 20th, 2009 at 2:53 pm said:

@ #21

I could see us being able to import our RTTS guy into an online game and playing with 9 other guys in say 10 game league…that’d be fun!


32

+ bodath on January 20th, 2009 at 2:53 pm said:

Please release this in Europe.


33

+ SouthwoodS on January 20th, 2009 at 2:53 pm said:

i loved the demo last year for MLB 08 but didnt have money to buy it…. i think i might buy this one.


34

+ SouthwoodS on January 20th, 2009 at 2:54 pm said:

just for the WORLD SERIES CHAMPS, THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES.


    Chris Gill's Avatar

     

    + Chris Morell on January 20th, 2009 at 4:44 pm said:

    FYI, that\’s the best way to suck up to Jeff. Just don\’t mention anything about the Eagles for a month…at least.


35

+ liketoski on January 20th, 2009 at 2:54 pm said:

Does this game have the team members of this coming season or just last seasons?


    Chris Gill's Avatar

     

    + cgill on January 20th, 2009 at 3:05 pm said:

    This coming season. Plus we update rosters weekly so you will always have up to date players.


36

+ luiginut on January 20th, 2009 at 3:00 pm said:

I don’t follow sports games much, this is just a test post.

Glad to see you guys finally integrated this: I never commented because making an account would be a waste of time.


37

+ Odd1 on January 20th, 2009 at 3:10 pm said:

Amazing… I don’t know how they keep making it not only look better every year but also keep adding features which only improve on the years before without taking away from the heart of the game. The Show ROCKS


38

+ coramoor_ on January 20th, 2009 at 3:15 pm said:

i’m getting really excited by this game, keep up the good work


39

+ BigChief on January 20th, 2009 at 3:17 pm said:

Looking forward to this game. Btw is the native resolution 720p or 1080p?


40

+ Atoms on January 20th, 2009 at 3:17 pm said:

Please look into a co-op for the “Road to the show”. It would be totally awesome if me and a friend could enter spring training and end up on the same team, all online in co-op mode. Please give it to us!


41

+ xX-PEIN-Xx on January 20th, 2009 at 3:18 pm said:

hey guys, thanx for the info. I’m a huge fan of the franchise and I’ll definitely be picking this up, though i gotta say I’m pretty sour about Dustin Pedroia being on the cover ( I’m a Yankee fan). I’m pretty sure it being a great game will make up for it. Can’t wait to play with C.C. Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixiera as Yankees :)


43

+ stallyon84 on January 20th, 2009 at 3:30 pm said:

Can’t wait for this game. . Just wish had different covers for different regions. Tired of seeing costal players getting all of the recongnition just because of their bigger media markets. . oh well looks like ill just be printing my own cover this year. . .


44

+ bigbadbros on January 20th, 2009 at 3:34 pm said:

Cool,
I am thinking about upgrading from the 07 version but I’m not sure.


45

+ JOEKILLA on January 20th, 2009 at 3:40 pm said:

Nice, keep up the good work

Have your guys at the QA offices manage to

beat the CPU on the hardest difficulty?


46

+ tha_con on January 20th, 2009 at 3:41 pm said:

I gotta say, I’ve never been a fan of Baseball as a sport, so I’ve never played any of the MLB titles…but since the GLORIOUS Football season is coming to an end (GO STEELERS!) I may use some extra income to get into this and maybe pay *some* attention to Baseball!


47

+ johnnyblades on January 20th, 2009 at 3:47 pm said:

One of if not my most anticipated game. A few friends and myself just did a fantasy draft today so we can play a season together.


48

+ whiteboykyle on January 20th, 2009 at 3:55 pm said:

This will be my first MLB game I’ll ever be getting since I recently got into baseball at the ripe age of 17. lol. But I got one question. Are you able to also have a fantasy league in the game? If not it’s cool, I’ll still get it, and then maybe in the future you guys will implement it. If there is that feature in the game though. Awesome!


49

+ NEJI64 on January 20th, 2009 at 3:55 pm said:

……………RED SOX’S SUX!!!!……………

……LETS GO YANKEES!!!..LETS GO YANKEES!!!…


50

+ xiiego on January 20th, 2009 at 4:03 pm said:

im glad you guys picked the woodland native dustin pedroia… anyway, ive never played any baseball game except mvp 2005 because i wasnt into baseball that much but i’ll try MLB 09 the show! Virtual World Series game 7 celebration coming up lol!


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