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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

101

+ WasabiKing on January 20th, 2009 at 11:25 pm said:

It would be awesome if you had a custom cover generator cause I don’t want a Red Sox player on the cover of my game.


102

+ xfatal_gunnax on January 20th, 2009 at 11:30 pm said:

yankees


103

+ The_Rick_14 on January 21st, 2009 at 12:28 am said:

And here I was thinking I’d take a year off from picking up this game and continue playing The Show 08. Also, was so glad to hear about using your own songs for walking up to the plate, but will it also play your music during the loading screens as well?


104

+ Scarecrow– on January 21st, 2009 at 1:35 am said:

All baseball fans deserve this game

Madden what? MLB The Show is where it’s at! Real improvements every year. The fact that it’s the better sport helps it too.

Great improvements all around. So glad the realism is being pushed to great levels with the ps3. Past MLB based games have felt too similar in terms of how players field, like when it comes to catching the ball or cutting off the ball. This will make all the variety you see in real life baseball possible. The whole player abilities is such a great touch. No longer can you use someone like Pedroia the same way you use Cano. So their strengths will show and play out.

So glad you guys are with Sony!

So yeah can’t wait for the new season. The Yankees are gonna dominate!


105

+ IIIKAGEIII on January 21st, 2009 at 2:19 am said:

any chance of getting a copy sent out to me for free in australia because i am awesome and i love baseball and they don’t sell it here?


106

+ Exodus_Lang on January 21st, 2009 at 5:21 am said:

@61 and 72
They release roster updates every week so once trades occur you can download an updated roster.

From post #35’s reply:
cgill replied on January 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm

[The rosters will be from] this coming season. Plus we update rosters weekly so you will always have up to date players.


107

+ magoo_1080p on January 21st, 2009 at 6:44 am said:

Is HR derby finally in the PS3 version? I sure hope so, it’s been MIA for a few years now. I like it mostly because it’s a simple yet fun mode that I can play with my family/friends who aren’t hardcore baseball fans (like me).


108

+ SkoalEdge on January 21st, 2009 at 7:43 am said:

You guys have done a fantastic job with this game. I really didnt think 08 could get much better but I guess it can. Few questions…

1.) Will there be vintage stadiums in the game
2.) Will there be weather?
3.) Are there any expanded perks for road to the show character creation?


    Chris Gill's Avatar

     

    + Chris Gill on January 22nd, 2009 at 1:46 am said:

    yes, yes and yes


109

+ jrc2334 on January 21st, 2009 at 7:47 am said:

This looks great! I’ve played an entire season on MLB ’08 (all 162 games + the playoffs) and the thing that bugged me the most were some defensive lapses.

One quick question, whenever there is a man on first and the pitcher throws a ball in the dirt (which then rolls out in front of the plate), it is quite easy to immediately have the catcher throw to first and pick the runner off. Has this been adjusted so it does not happen as often?

Also, it seems in some parks, it is very difficult to hit a ball directly over the CF’s head (and really, for all the outfielders) without the outfielder making the catch. Is this possible in 2009?

Keep up the great work! This is the best baseball game ever!


    Chris Gill's Avatar

     

    + Chris Gill on January 22nd, 2009 at 1:48 am said:

    yes and yes


110

+ lakaihigh on January 21st, 2009 at 7:50 am said:

i find it amazing how you guys find more and things to add to this already perfect series! keep up the great work.

peace,
Lh


111

+ zeke2040 on January 21st, 2009 at 8:02 am said:

this is a good addition to sport fans… keep up the good work


112

+ ALLSTARGAMER101 on January 21st, 2009 at 9:00 am said:

Looks like a good baseball game.


113

+ acerazer1 on January 21st, 2009 at 9:04 am said:

Sounds great, this should be coming out in the next month or so, right? Any word on trophies for this?


114

+ biffsmack on January 21st, 2009 at 9:08 am said:

Demo soon?


115

+ Renegade194 on January 21st, 2009 at 9:28 am said:

Very cool and realistic features. I am happy you guys are helping the A.I. I had a lot of fun playing MLB 08 with my World Champion Phillies, so I hope this game is awesome as well.


116

+ Jams_Shop on January 21st, 2009 at 9:42 am said:

Are the teams participating on the 09 World Baseball Classic in MLB the show 09?

LET’S GO RED SOX!!!


117

+ Ericksoul on January 21st, 2009 at 9:56 am said:

Cant wait for 09 to come out!!! i skipped 08, but i aint gonna skip this onee!!!!


118

+ Jdurg on January 21st, 2009 at 10:01 am said:

Simply wow! There are now only a scant few items that I hope to see in a baseball game to make it perfect:

1): Weather. Make it so that games can be delayed/postponed/ended early due to rain/snow.
2): Arguments with Umpires. On close plays let us press a button and “argue” with an umpire. Depending on how long you hold it down determines how much you argue. Argue too much/too often, and you’re ejected. Go too far and bump and umpire and you’re suspended.
3): Beanball Retalliation. If you hit a guy, the other team will pitch inside on your guys. Over time, some tension can build up so that when one more guy is hit, a fight breaks out. This will lead to suspensions, ejections and injuries. However, I don’t think the MLB or the MLBPA would EVER allow this so we’ll never see it.


119

+ proman159 on January 21st, 2009 at 10:26 am said:

i’m really excited looking forward to play this game


120

+ The1stMJC on January 21st, 2009 at 10:34 am said:

Please someone respond to this

there is something I hope you guys can do in this game which is kinda small but bothers me every year. The pictures of the players never change no matter what team they are on.

example: I play the Chicago White Sox and from time to time trade players. And than when they announce my line ups and show pics of the players on the team I have a team with a bunch of different logos on their hats.

It something small, but still ESPN can change that hat 2 seconds after the trade is done can the game do it?


121

+ Bender619 on January 21st, 2009 at 10:38 am said:

Legend mode, huh? Sounds great. Hopefully this means my padres will struggle to get anywhere near hitting .350 this year. Other than AGON and giles hitting near .300 for them is a small miracle in real life.


122

+ lukeb4dunk on January 21st, 2009 at 10:53 am said:

A couple of things.

1) The Eagles didn’t blow it, they were just beaten by a superior team. GO CARDS!

2) Love this game and liking the sound of these additions. One thing I would like to add or ask about, is the walk up music when your players steps into the box. Now that we have in-game music, can it be possible to choose your player’s song, maybe one you added from your HDD.

3) Thank you for adding the edit player after creation.


123

+ ElDrifter23 on January 21st, 2009 at 11:26 am said:

this game looks amazing.. surely gettin this one!! lol and this games look so realistic that one day my Aunt thought it was a real Baseball game.. lol true story.. oooh and are we goin to be able to have custom playlists like the last version??


124

+ jaybiv on January 21st, 2009 at 11:54 am said:

I’m liking what I’m hearing about the improvements. This is a first day buy for me. This is the best baseball franchise since NES RBI. I for one will not miss watching my SS throw a dead duck to my 2B for the third out.


125

+ sublimentality on January 21st, 2009 at 12:26 pm said:

Me likey this game


126

+ Gadbury on January 21st, 2009 at 12:40 pm said:

@ CartBlanche (#100)

Yes, it is an exclusive (developed by Sony Computer Entertainment America)


127

+ NuclearViper6606 on January 21st, 2009 at 12:41 pm said:

wiil there be home run derby?


128

+ PACMAN_07 on January 21st, 2009 at 12:42 pm said:

cool cant wait


129

+ ghamdikh1 on January 21st, 2009 at 1:23 pm said:

cool


130

+ motor78 on January 21st, 2009 at 1:29 pm said:

dammit I hate this Im banned Im missing all this psn features [DELETED] sony I cant believe u banned me for no reason ;(


131

+ kensharp on January 21st, 2009 at 1:29 pm said:

The games sounds/looks quite impressive. I haven’t purchased a baseball game since the Ken Griffey games on the N64, and before that, early on in the Triple Play series on the Genesis.

But I think I’ve been convinced to delve back into this sport.


132

+ awilcher on January 21st, 2009 at 1:41 pm said:

I hope the outfielders issue is fix. when they are runners on base. most the time the outfielders don’t set there feet and lob the ball back in or the continue jogging with the ball. before i can throw the ball in to the base there going too.


133

+ yilbert14 on January 21st, 2009 at 1:54 pm said:

looking very good


134

+ elmetfano on January 21st, 2009 at 2:05 pm said:

As a huge baseball fan this game series is absolutely amazing, I have been playing since MLB 06 the Show. Can’t wait til March :D


135

+ kushed324 on January 21st, 2009 at 2:30 pm said:

just please tell me you guys fixed the online problem that plagued last year i know a lot of people not only myself who have wireless connections the game would freeze at the main menu screen is this still gonna be a problem????


136

+ MCRuBiX on January 21st, 2009 at 4:09 pm said:

cant wait for the game
question
will there be a feature where you can argue calls on close plays??
GO O’s!!!


137

+ sscoolChea on January 21st, 2009 at 4:19 pm said:

I played well over 1000 games on mlb 08 the show last year . This is by FAR the best baseball game EVER.(yes I have bought them all ) I can’t wait to play a THOUSAND more this year for 09. All I have to say is AWESOME


138

+ LUGIEZ on January 21st, 2009 at 4:22 pm said:

This game is living up to all my expectations. From Dustin Pedroia to errors, to routes to the ball, to being able to get a true double or triple, to the way the shadows look while playing in a stadium. Yes this is sweet!


139

+ Nevadan on January 21st, 2009 at 4:39 pm said:

You guys are absolutely on the right track. Don’t add bells and whistles, or arcadey stuff. Keep refining the realism. The infield hot shots/errors are a prime example of something no video game has ever been able to replicate.


140

+ TheGameV30 on January 21st, 2009 at 5:19 pm said:

i had one other quick question, will we be able to skip through watching EVERY foul ball when it’s clearly a foul? it just got a little annoying having to watch it go all the way until it hit ground. thanks!


141

+ Agni10 on January 21st, 2009 at 8:34 pm said:

AI will undoubtedly be good. But better than the AI in Killzone 2 or Uncharted 2? I doubt it. (Not the greatest fan of sports games)


142

+ metsin86 on January 21st, 2009 at 8:39 pm said:

the thing i enjoy most about baseball is the history. i often will unlock all the legends and do a draft before i start a season to pit greats against players of today. i was wondering if more all time players were added maybee more all time teams? my perfect game would include all time rosters for at least the pre expantion teams


143

+ mvp2020 on January 22nd, 2009 at 7:22 am said:

wow cant wait and im a red sox fan but this year im defenly playin for the NY Yankees man! dat would be cool if they had BWC on it too cause da dominican team has da best lineup for this coming world tournament.. cant wait and recording ur own voice awsome,,,


144

+ Scarecrow– on January 22nd, 2009 at 7:23 am said:

@Chris,
By the way what ’bout co-op baseball? It’s overdue and I think it would make things really fun with friends.

Playing WITH instead of against for once…


145

+ bigdaddyjane on January 22nd, 2009 at 7:50 am said:

I’ve never bought a baseball game before,until now.


146

+ bk1369 on January 22nd, 2009 at 8:03 am said:

Does anyone know if MLB 2009 for the PSP has a “manage” mode like MLB 2008 and if so, did they add a “one pitch mode” to speed up gameplay like High Heat had in the past? It would be nice to “manage” a game in under 30 minutes without having to “simulate” it.


147

+ opsdaddy on January 22nd, 2009 at 10:17 am said:

@jrc2334: You asked the very questions I had about defense in MLB ’08. Good job…
@Chris Gill: Thanks for your quick reply…

This is, without doubt, the best sports sim ever made, and it’s nice to know that the best just keeps getting better. Now, if only the NFL would extend its licensing to you guys, I am confident you could bury Madden once and for all with the best football sim as well. I can dream, can’t I?


148

+ Snap on January 22nd, 2009 at 2:13 pm said:

Really looking forward to MLB 09. I still enjoy playing 08. Keep up the great work!


149

+ GrayFox51 on January 22nd, 2009 at 2:49 pm said:

Seeing how I’ve played 08 so damn much (over 10,000 RTTS games), I’ve noticed the little things in RTTS that I hope are fixed.

1. Let’s say I become a FA and I am either looking at offers, or, picking another team to play with, or considering resigning. Well, shouldn’t I be able to see the team’s full roster and the transaction they’ve made? Sure I might want to sign with say, the Cubs, but have they made adjustments to their rotation? I’d have to choose the Cubs, then look through the team, then quit and reload the RTTS.

2. There should be a lot more interaction with my character and teams in the offseason. There is no bargaining, no mulling real offers, trying to find the highest bidder .. it’s just either YES/NO to the pointless offers .. or I can just say no to all, sign with any time and play in spring training and get myself any contract I want. What’s the fun in that?


150

+ Uknowho on January 22nd, 2009 at 3:58 pm said:

Will you be able to play spring training games even after you sign for a club for a few years?

It kinda penalized you for resigning with a club last year because you missed out on the EXP from Spring training which helped.


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