NFL Full Contact
You ARE on the field.
We’ve incorporated new artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to bring you the most realistic football game to date. Over 90 real NFL player “behaviors” – stuff like reading the defense, breaking for daylight, or psyching up your teammates – take place before, during and after the plays. If that’s too technical, try this: IT KICKS BUTT!
Dramatic 1st person perspective brings you the action in a whole new way
Over 1500 NFL players with individual player ratings based on their actual stats
Motion-capture animation brings you the truest representation of NFL players
Sound FX that’s knock your helmet off
You’ve never experienced football like this.
By DAVID BRUMBAUGH, former programmer Robin Antonick Games
I was a young “hot shot” programmer who had just had his first book released in 1993 on C++. It was the number one selection in the Computer and Information Science Library and I also had several articles on C and C++ published in several magazines (C Users Journal and PC Techniques specifically). I realized I could do anything I wanted.
I wanted to program games. The first game I ever worked on was NFL Full Contact …
I was hired by Pierre Maloka of “The Software Works”. Pierre is probably the most awesome game programmer and all around great guys you’ll ever hear about. He has been the lead programmer for dozens of big releases. His most famous at the time was “Maddog McCree” and his latest was “Blown Away” … based on the movie. Currently Pierre is president of “Entertaining Games” doing some cool stuff for the iPhone.
He introduced me to Robin Antonick who I was told had designed the original John Madden football game and had actually worked WITH John Madden to do it. Of course, this was a dream job. Working with the designer of John Madden football, on hot new platforms, working at home in my basement! We were going to do NFL Full Contact football for the PlayStation, the new and unreleased platform and two others. The other was Sega Saturn and one other.
Sega’s developer libraries for the Saturn were worthless and we ended up dropping the platform. Not long into the project it was down to the PlayStation only. NFL Full Contact got done for in time for Christmas of 1995 but was no approved by Sony for several small reasons. Coincidently, Sony’s Gameday football game was the only football game approved that year. We released before Christmas 96.
Robin got the funding and the big names, but Pierre and I did the actual work. There was another guy, Alex, who pounded the pavement and used Robin’s credits with Madden to full extent. I loved working for Pierre, I was used to being the computer genius but this guy Pierre was fantastic. I was learning from him, he respected my time, made sure I had enough “creative juices” was respectful of my family commitments…
Pierre did the really, really hard stuff and corrected me a lot, it was an awesome time of learning and growth.
I had played football in high school and was astounded at how BAD the top football games of the time (1994) looked on the line. All of the creative energy had been put into the backfield. Anyone who knows football will tell you that you have to have smart guys on your offensive line. I put together a forward chaining inference engine based expert system for each player. So, linemen acted like linemen and every player had his priorities straight.
Additionally, for no good reason I could think of at the time, I decided to use polar coordinates rather than cartesian coordinates to describe the motion and change in motion for the physics. Specifically each player (or other game object) moved relative to itself. Using polar coordinates, the AI engine could tell a player icon “turn right 3 degrees and move forward 1 yard”. Traditionally, with cartesian coordinates this has been done by telling the player icon, “Move 1 unit right, and move 2 units forward”.
While this did cause some problems in the transformation to the graphics, it ultimately gave us a lot of flexibility when mapping behaviors and capabilities to players. Each player was a virtual robot with the “expert system” AI driver. I did forget about air resistance in the passing and kicking so all the throws are in a perfect arc.
The key problem with the PS1 was that it had no floating point co-processor. All of the math had to be done in fixed point. Pierre was used to this and knew how to make it work. I was not, and this was one of the places I learned A LOT. I mention that challenge because the lack of floating point support is key to all projects I worked on concerning the PlayStation.
Other “firsts” in the game included the ability to have a first person view (we called it Helmet Cam internally) from any player’s perspective. Turns out it was not used much.