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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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151

+ Gunkrock on January 22nd, 2009 at 8:14 pm said:

is the rtts mode going to be easier for fielders to make it to the show, i had a pitcher with 320 wins but i could not make it to the show with a batter to save my life, there were no opportunities to get points and when you did you had to use them for bunting skills on a power hitter it was the most infuriating thing about the game


152

+ cLOLe on January 23rd, 2009 at 12:34 pm said:

Everyone keeps ignoring my questions, I may cry. :(

In MLB 08, the voice quality was rather sub-par, has this been improved?

Is there a better system for using the voice chat? L3 was novel, but it was very hard to hit accidentally and either talk when you don’t want to be heard, or talk when you WANT to be heard and aren’t.

And lastly, it seemed like the game was laggy at times in online play, mainly when using real stadiums, my freinds and I resorted to using spring training or minor league parks. Has the lag been fixed?


153

+ cLOLe on January 23rd, 2009 at 12:35 pm said:

Wasn’t very hard to hit accidentally*, excuse me.


154

+ nygiants5892 on January 23rd, 2009 at 2:38 pm said:

Is there any chance that there is you could play co-op in this game? Because from what I am hearing about this game and from what I played lasted this would make it to me the best video game of all time.


155

+ xiiego on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:22 pm said:

Are the World Series celebrations the same in 08? maybe some virtual champagne? :p


156

+ linkinzpark88 on January 24th, 2009 at 9:06 am said:

A few questions, is this game going to have to expanded 40-man roster in franchise during september?
Also, are there a lot of REAL minor league players in the game or just made up ones?
And lastly, how many different batting/pitching styles are there in the game?
thanks a lot, Can’t wait for the release, keep doing your best


157

+ Koneesha on January 24th, 2009 at 10:51 am said:

Will there be things such as the home rub derby that were in the ps2 versions?


158

+ aso513 on January 24th, 2009 at 2:02 pm said:

Does 40 man roster mean any player now listed on the 40 man will appear or just fake prospects like other years?


159

+ cooolkid93 on January 24th, 2009 at 8:58 pm said:

wow it seems like it is going to be a good
baseball game.


160

+ McSiD on January 25th, 2009 at 9:43 pm said:

Looks great again. I like the new additions but FIX the online lag from ’08.


161

+ McSiD on January 25th, 2009 at 9:48 pm said:

Oh yea and fix the online chat. Still one of the best games ever.


162

+ Titan-Warrior33 on January 26th, 2009 at 6:49 am said:

This is hands down my favorite sports game you guys do a stellar job of keeping me hooked for months of playing. One question regarding the Online mode. I love the fact that we can do competitive leagues, however I wish that I could do an online season with computer controlled teams, per say if I am only interested in playing with one or two people in my league. NCAA Football from EA accomplished this, and I was wondering if you guys had anything like this planned. Where me and a couple of my friends can play through a regular season against cpu controlled teams and hopefully it’s me and him that meet in the world series. Thanks


163

+ KopKILA on January 26th, 2009 at 3:04 pm said:

Come on guys!! You can’t have a next-gen baseball game, especially MLB 09 and NOT have HOMERUN DERBY!!!!!!! WTF?


164

+ SIim_Shady on January 26th, 2009 at 6:06 pm said:

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I”D LIKE TO SEE (HOPE THE CREATORS ARE READING) IS HAVING ROSTER UPDATES AND BEING ABLE TO TRANSFER THEM INTO YOUR FRANCHISE. LET’S SAY YOUR IN A SEASON AND A BLOCKBUSTER TRADE HAPPENS, IN YOUR SEASON THE REAL PLAYERS WON’T BE ON THE RIGHT TEAM AND IF YOU WANT TO HAVE THEM, YOU’D HAVE TO RESTART YOUR SEASON. THIS IS THE ONLY ADVANCEMENT I TRULY REALLY CARE ABOUBT.


165

+ SIim_Shady on January 26th, 2009 at 6:10 pm said:

CHRIS GILL PLEASE REPLY…. LET ME KNOW IF IT CAN AT LEAST BE DONE FOR FUTURE INSTALLMENTS IF NOT THIS ONE… THANK YOU…. BEST SPORTS VIDEO GAME EVER… MAKES REAL IMPROVEMENTS UNLIKE EA AND 2K, THEY JUST KEEP THE SAME GAME WITH A NEW COVER…. LOVE THE SHOW… 35 DAYS TILL MARCH THIRD, YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA


166

+ SIim_Shady on January 26th, 2009 at 7:14 pm said:

CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DEMO IN FEBRUARY… CAN ANYONE GIVE ME AN EXACT DATE???


167

+ samerh3 on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:28 pm said:

Very important please answer, in franchise mode, can you still increase or decrease their ratings and overall simply by pressing edit! I hated that it would be annyoing being so easy to change how good you are. PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION!!!


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