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Zen and the Art of All-Madden Play

 
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Arkaein



Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Posts: 333

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:29 am    Post subject: Zen and the Art of All-Madden Play Reply with quote

One of the wierd things about running a site about the Madden NFL series is that I spend so much of my video game playing time working on developing and testing Madden playbooks, and other time working on the website itself, that I don't really spend all that much time actually playing games on Madden.

I'm technically on my first season of Madden 2005. That's right, I'm slower that the real life. Well, not actually. I usually start my first season with the new version of Madden on All-Pro to get my feet wet, and then switch over to All-Madden difficulty sometime around mid season, when I'm up to speed and I feel that I can absorb a few losses and still make the playoffs. Once I get in the playoffs I don't save losses because I would rather keep playing the top teams until I beat them than start from scratch. Maybe if I had time to play more often I wouldn't do this, but when I average a game or two a week it takes a long time to build up to the playoffs, and I like to play out preseasons to test out new plays in real game situations.

Anyways, because I don't play all that much I get my ass handed to me on a fairly regular basis on All-Madden. This past week though I've buckled down and really worked out how to run both my offense and defense. It's one thing to have a large collection of good plays, which I do, but it's quite another thing to really hone your playcalling and execution into a complete, well played game.

My first challenge a couple days ago was the Washington Redskins in the divisional round. This game I'd been stuck on for a while (I've been playing a lot of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, since Christmas), so it took a while to get a rhythm, probably 5 or 6 tries before I got over the hump. But when I did, I did in style. I set personal bests for total offense, passing and total all-purpose yardage (including all games I've played on All-Pro), along with 6 sacks (another personal best). My pass defense was actually pretty bad, only 4 passes were not completed by Ramsey, but the sacks helped, along with great run defense, and a limited number of big plays. I also avoided turnovers, which is what usually kills me in All-Madden. I have an especially bad habit of forcing throws near the goal line, and a lot of these are returned for 90+ yard TDs. All this was with only plays developed this past season (Quick Split, I Form-Twin Flex, and so on).

Today I decided to dig into my older plays. I finished up a half completed playbook of my best plays from 2003 and 2004, and took it to battle against Tampa Bay for the NFC title (who beat me yesterday 50 something to 20 something). I was sceptical since I had very little practice with these plays in the last year. They didn't let me down though, as I set another personal best for passing yards, with 4 TDs and only 1 INT. I was also a perfect 7 for 7 on 3rd down conversions, and only kicked a field goal at the end of the first half. I actually survived 3 turnovers on the day (2 fumbles by Green), which is probably the most I've ever overcome for a victory on All-Madden. The game was sealed with an end zone INT from my old time favorite pass defense Stunt Man.

So I'm feeling pretty good about my playbook as a whole. I'm pretty sure that if I actually put together a playbook with my best offense from all 3 years I'd have something really killer. My defense is also coming together, as for about the first time I can remember I'm producing turnovers consistently and stopping most long plays on All-Madden. Of course, all this just really makes me wish I could bring my playbooks against online opponents.

So that's my story. Anyone else with an attainment of All-Madden zen they'd like to share?
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Arkaein



Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Posts: 333

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:06 am    Post subject: follow up Reply with quote

Don't know if anyone really cares, but I just completed my Zen journey with a win over the Patriots for the sSuperbowl in my first try. That's 3 wins in 4 tries on All-Madden against top quality teams, probably my best run ever.

It's got me thinking though. Each season it's gotten a bit harder for me to organize my playbooks because I have more and more plays to choose from. I generally spend most of my time with my developmental playbook, i.e. the plays I'm working on for the current version/season. This year's developmental playbook had Wiz Gun, U Bacon, Scimitar, and so on. Part of my recent success I think is due to the fact that I've gone back to my old playbooks, which aren't necessarily better (in fact I'm pretty sure my new plays get a little better each year), but with 2 years worth to choose from I have more really killer plays to work with.

What this means is that next season's "classic" personal playbook should be even better, with 3 years of material to choose from, as I will likely start a whole new developmental playbook. Now that I've found that I can beat the best on All-Madden, with an even more solid playbook I might really be unstoppable against the CPU.

So here's my question: for those of you who play actual games more than I do and have already attained a level of regular All-Madden champion status, what do you do to keep the game interesting? I don't have a lot of Madden playing friends handy to play against on a regular basis, so I'm pretty much stuck with the CPU. I play on Gamecube, so I can't play online, and I'm not sure how much I'd want to if I can't use my own plays.

Should I just play with weaker teams? Cut my favorite plays out of my playbook to make things more difficult? Any other ideas?
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SouthTitanDude



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Wichita Kansas

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you mean by older playbooks? you madden volume 1? How many playbooks do you have?
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Arkaein



Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Posts: 333

PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What do you mean by older playbooks? you madden volume 1? How many playbooks do you have?

I create a new custom playbook each season (more or less). For Madden 2003 I created what's in Offense: Volume I, plus Nebula (which I saved for the next season). For Madden 2004 I releaed Nebula and created 11 new offensive formations, and for Madden 2005 I've created my third complete playbook, with 10 formations, although I decided that only 6 were website worthy so far (U Bacon, Quick Split, Scimitar, T Bone-Jumbo, Wiz Gun and I Form-Twin Flex) as my personal quality standards are getting higher each year.

Obviously I can't put all of my custom plays into one playbook because I have something like 32 offensive formations with over 200 plays in total, so in 2004 I had a new developmental playbook for Madden 2004 and a seperate playbook with my previous plays from Madden 2003. This year I have a developmental playbook and a "classic" playbook that takes my best formations from both 2003 and 2004. Several of my older formations I don't have in any playbook for Madden 2005.
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SouthTitanDude



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Wichita Kansas

PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds cool! Do you think you wll release anything else from 2005 or the playbook you are currently using before 2006?
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Arkaein



Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Posts: 333

PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll probably release about 1 play per month during the off season, which is about what I've done the past couple years.

In the future I plan on lowering the number of new formations each year so I can focus on adding to existing forms rather than creating huge numbers of new forms each year, so hopefully it becomes less of an issue to keep a small number of high quality, up to date playbooks on hand. I'll probably never release every play I create, simply because some of them aren't all that special, and I want to focus on quality over quantity.
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cowboys3204



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 59
Location: Lexington

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the Colts in franchise mode. After starting the season 7-0, averaging 42 pts/game, I switched to All-Madden. First game in, I fell behind 55-35, with a quarter to go. After a furriuos rally, I had closed in to 55-52. With 3 minutes to go, I decided to kick-off. After 3 first downs, I was sitting at the 48 yd-line with 1:25 remaining. The pass was incomplete, and I had force a punt. The punt was a whopper, and somehow bounced out at the 4 yard line. I began a desparation drive, completing 5 straight passes to Marvin Harrison. I had the ball at midfield with :44 left on the clock. After two failed passes, I had a 3-10 on my hands with :31 left. I set up a play with Harrison and Stokley running verticle routes. Reggie Wayne was on a sideline route. I throw it deep to Harrison, he catches it at the 30 yd line, and gets to the 20 before I run him out of bounds. I kick the game-tying FG with :14 left. So I go into OT. I lost the toss and had to kick off. The kicked went 105 yds for a TD. That was one loss I will never forget.
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pimpdaddypat



Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ark, I'm in exactly the same situation as you. With school, sports, my band, and a girlfriend, I don't have nearly as much time to play madden as i would like to. And when i do, like you, it is usually working on my new formations and plays. It's a real bummer. Also, i used to have 3 separate playbooks, and then i combined them all into one, which is the one that i emailed to everybody a while back. I found that when i combined all my best plays, i had a killer playbook, but that a lot of the time, i had so many good plays to choose from that i didnt know which plays to choose, and it also seemed to narrow down my best plays even more because i found that thought i had put all the plays in that playbook because i thought they were all my best, i still found myself only running about 40% of them most of the time. right now i am working on a playbook where every formation in it is built around the Slot formation. It started out with the Slot-I and evolved from there. You may know what the slot-i looks like. But nonetheless, one thing i have found in my years of creating plays is that with the more formations and plays you create, the harder it is to make new ones that are unique and effective. Now I often find myself creating plays that seem just like my old plays, only they are in a different formation. Which is sort of frustrating, and it could be because of the fact that like you in only play the CPU. And you dont see the CPU creating new defensive formations or new defensive plays. Therefore, it limits what you can do in terms of creating original material b/c only certain things work against the unchanging defenses. What do you do to keep the original materical flowing from you, or do you also feel like that you are just creating the same plays, just in different formations? Do you ever have "creators block" like i do? I just wish that someone big, like and NFL or NCAA Division 1 coach would come up with some new, completely original formation or type of play. Even if it didn't completely change the football game, it would still be neat just to see a real life new formation or play sometime.
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Arkaein



Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Posts: 333

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Do you ever have "creators block" like i do?

I'd say that once in a while I get a block, and sometimes I do end up resuing old ideas. This isn't a bad thing though, bring a tried and true technique to a new formation is one of the best ways to create plays that are both new and effective.

Originality counts, but effectiveness is the ultimate goal and originality is just one part of achieving that. While the total number of possible plays is virtually unlimited, there are good reasosn why most plays share common elements: because those elements work. Often the best success I have with new plays is by making little twists to old formas and plays. Soemtimes I do this subconsciously, and it can be a bit disappointing to see that it's similar to something I've already sone, but like I said already effectiveness counts most.

The real "acid test" for a new play should be: Will this solve a problem (such as an opposing defense) that other plays in my playbook don't? Or does it give me a new way of attacking a problem that can't be stopped like my other techniques can? If a new play meets either of these tests, then it's a good play.
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SouthTitanDude



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 216
Location: Wichita Kansas

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDP,

I feel you man. Execpt now I have came up with an offense like the west tcoast offense to fix this problem. I run 6 different plays ( pass heavy, each play attacks a certain element of the defense), but I run them out of 11 different formations. I "disguise" the play I am running. Face it, if you knew that somebody only ran 6 plays, you would look for 6 different plays (and think you know when they are called and how to stop them), but lets say you run a Hb dive but you motion a WR to be a lead blocker. In that same situation, call a pass play out of the same formation and motion the WR to the same spot. The defense is going to see it s the same play and bring the DL and LBers to the middle. That brings coverage away from the other WR who can run a quick route and you get an easy 7-10 yard gain! if you would like to see the plays I run, I might be able to put them into powerpoint and send them to you or something!
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Kody
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pimpdaddypat



Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 268

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeh ... could you send them to me please?

roachjp@gosaints.org
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