Andy Agostini, associate producer
Fantasy Draft: Season Mode and Be a GM
As you may have heard the Fantasy Draft is now back in NHL 10.
When we worked on putting the Fantasy Draft back into the game we wanted it to be smarter than in years past. We looked at other sports games’ fantasy drafts and decided to try something different and it’s something that worked very well.
We have two different logics for our Fantasy Draft.
One is the Season Mode Fantasy Draft logic. This mode will have the fantasy draft pick the best players overall and put them on their team and battle for the Stanley cup over 1 year.
The second version of the logic is our new Be a GM mode Fantasy Draft logic that actually takes into account many factors in the CPU’s picks. In other sports games it can be quite easy to select 5 top young players when the draft starts and the CPU will be picking by which player is the best overall. This makes it a bit tougher on the user at the beginning but in the long run the CPU will start to see a ton of retirements as these great older players start to retire and the user’s young team grows and becomes unstoppable until the salary cap starts to bite them then they just trade away their stud get more youth and start all over becoming a great dynasty.
Now with our new logic the CPU actually takes into account five things: the players overall, his age, potential, what players he has already drafted and his contract. This changes the dynamic of who is selected in the draft. So with the new logic Nicklas Lidstrom is being drafted around the third round as he is 39 years old and on the end of his career. Does this mean that all the older good players don’t get selected in the first round? No, overall is still a major factor in the fantasy draft but now they consider what their team will look like in 2 or 3 seasons in past years they kept taking that older veteran that was at the top of his game with no foresight into the future for their franchises.
With the new logic we are seeing that the game is much more balanced when going into Be a GM mode and a lot more challenging as the other teams have emerging superstars just like you do. So we hope everybody enjoys this new/old feature that is back in NHL 10.
Be a GM Mode.
Be A GM is our new mode this year where we took the idea of becoming a legend player in Be a Pro and associated it with being a Legend GM. Some real life legend GM’s are Glen Sather (Edmonton Oilers Dynasty), Toe Blake (Montreal Canadiens Dynasty), Bill Torrey (New York Islanders Dynasty) and Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings). These men are famous for putting together franchises that had great success for a very long period of time.
To work your way to becoming a Legend GM you will need to complete GM Tasks. There are over 140 tasks to complete and they are wide ranging. Some are as easy as completing one trade and some are as hard as winning five Stanley Cups in eight seasons. Each task gets you task points which you earn to unlock the 6 different levels of your road to Legend GM. Another thing that the task points are good for are for upgrading your staff. New to this year we have 4 staff types that will help you in creating a dynasty franchise. These 4 types of staff are Trainers, Amateur Scouts, Pro Scouts and Assistant Coaches.
Each staff member helps in doing the following things.
Trainers help heal your players faster as well as help your players durability to long term injuries.
Amateur Scouts will provide information on the upcoming draft class.
Pro Scouts help you know about rumors around the league in regards to who is up for trade on the all new trade block and rumor mill.
Assistant Coaches will help your player development so that you can develop superstars thru the draft and your system.
So doing well as a franchise allows you to improve your staff. These staff members will be able to provide a lot of extra information and will make your franchise stronger.
Another aspect of the GM Tracker that is brand new to Be a GM is GM Reputation. Every GM in the league will have a relationship with you and depending on how you work with them when it comes to making fair trade offers they will have a relationship with you. Free agents also are aware of your reputation. Nobody will want to come to your team if you sign players and then trade them away right away. This reputation is extremely important when it comes to one of our newest features.
The Entry Draft and Trading Deadline this year are extremely important as you will now be able to trade on Draft day as well as on the Trading Deadline. Your GM Reputation plays a part on these days as the better your reputation the more phones you will have at your disposal to make deals with. This is one of my favorite features in Be a GM as you only have so many phones to make something happen during each round and if you can’t finish a deal then you have wait till the next round. The CPU teams are making deals during this time as well so the deal you thought you were close to completing with a team might not be available any longer, as that player might have been traded during the round and you will have to restart negotiations to get him with his new team. Also once a team gets a player it might take a lot more to get him now as the new team wanted him for a reason.
The screenshot below shows you one of the phones that will be available to you on the Entry Draft and the Trade Deadline
To go with the new trading mini games we have also rewritten our Trade AI from the ground up. This AI now takes into account so many factors that we have been shocked at which players show up on the trading block. We had Ryan Whitney on the trading block in our game the day before he was traded to Anaheim. I was actually laughing at Pittsburgh’s trading block thinking I don’t think the Penguins would ever trade him. I was ready to make some minor tuning tweaks to the logic then the next day he was traded. Shows you how much I know about what teams will do.
The basic fundamental of the trade AI is every team knows what type of team they are. There are 5 types of teams.
Depending on where a team is in their development cycle they will all be looking for different things when it comes to making trades. This along with knowing its team’s strengths and weaknesses led us to trades that will actually make more sense.
So a rebuilding team is probably looking for draft picks and prospects over older veterans and a team who is a championship contender is more than likely willing to give up a prospect or pick for another veteran to add to their team for the final playoff run.
Now as the season progresses if a team is doing better or worse than their original season prediction for itself it will change its team type on the fly and will react to their situation accordingly. This makes our new Trading Block much more important.
The trading block in other games that I have seen were mainly about which players are you willing to trade. Ours has that as well as sliders which tell the CPU what you are looking for and what you are willing to give up in return. This makes it easier to get a lot of offers or very few offers if you are looking for something very specific. The screenshot below shows that the sliders are by position as well as what type of player or pick you are willing to give. This makes the trade offers be tailored to what you are looking for.
In addition, you can get fired and hired by other teams. You will have a contract that you will have expectations each year laid out for you, depending on how you do you will either get a renewal or you might be let go and have to find another team to run.
We have added contract buyouts to the game. I have read on some message boards saying we don’t have a way to cut a player during the year. So just to clarify the CBA rules says you are not allowed to release a player during the season. The only way you can release a player is to buy him out in the offseason or put him in the minors during the season but still pay his full salary while he is there. Attached below is a screenshot of our new contract buyout screen which shows you what the salary cap penalty will be for buying out a player.
Good luck becoming a Legend GM.
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NHL 10- Developer blog, Andy Agostini, associate producer Fantasy Draft: Season Mode and Be a GM
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