Hello everyone! Jean Adams here, and I’m happy to be posting my first blog as theMadden Art Director. This has been an incredibly productive cycle and I’m eager to share just a small portion of Madden NFL 13.
Let me start off by saying that we are definitely bringing some exciting visuals to the Madden community this year. From the crisply rendered details of the new NIKE uniforms and gear, to the field and sky which are more dynamic than ever before. These details will without a doubt deliver one of the most immersive Madden NFL games to date. Below are three of the many areas that we updated this year, and we can safely say that there is something new everywhere you look. Let’s jump right in.
Details Matter– One of the most exciting gear updates this year are the new NIKE uniforms. Everyone is talking about them, especially the revamped Seattle Seahawk uniforms. Most might think the changes are small, but when you take closer look you’ll notice that the patterns, color, pants, jersey mesh, collar, padding and other changes really add up.
Check out the detail on those newly designed helmets and jerseys from NIKE! Oh, and those turf pellets still rock.
Gear fans like me will dig the new equipment that’s being added this cycle. We’ve included new NIKE cleats, long sleeves, facemasks and much more. These details might seem small, but it shows that were dedicated to getting as much realism in to the game as possible. I know Donny and the rest of the designers are going to enjoy adding this level of authentic detail to all of the players in the game.
Here are just a few of the new cleats that made it in to the game! The Alpha Speed, Alpha Talon, Hyper Fuse and Super Speed.
By popular demand! Here are some of the new facemasks that have been added to the game...
Mixing and matching the new NIKE uniforms, cleats, face masks, sleeves and other yet to be released gear will keep me and many gamers out there in edit player for hours.
Rendering Realism – As an Art Director it’s important to me that the game look as realistic as possible. The user should look at our game and compare it to what they see on TV every Sunday. When we started this cycle we knew Madden was already a good-looking game, but we wanted to reach an even higher level of quality.
We started by bringing NCAA’s HDR lighting and dynamic exposure system over, but applying it in a more realistic, true to broadcast way. The dynamic exposure will improve presentation by exposing the game similar to the way professionals shoot the action on Sunday. To be clear, this is just a way to allow more or less light in to our virtual camera so we can better display the great details in the game. A Multi-Vector lighting system was added on top of the HDR to represent a more realistic lighting model, especially at night when the artificial lighting hits the players from a lot of different directions.
Check out the great lighting. This is also a great example of the new replay camera angles that now include wire cameras.
HDR and Multi-Vector lighting really do make Madden NFL 13 look like a genuine game-day broadcast. This screenshot might fool a few people in to thinking that it’s straight out of an NFL replay.
The above shot shows how multi vector lighting fills in the player from multiple angles during night games. The highlights on the skin are even better examples.
a player moves through space. Each limb or area of the player that speeds up also triggers the effect.
The motion blur increase and decrease is often unnoticeable when the game is in motion. It just looks right.
We also wanted to improve the way the field is rendered to improve the quality of in the game presentation. What we didn’t expect is that one of the artists would take it to a whole other level and improve the degradation system for both natural grass and snow. I can’t wait to release screenshots of the new degradation system!
Above left is the dark, low resolution field surface that didn’t really resemble the real in-game reference. On the right is the new, more detailed and authentic field surface. Notice how sharp the lines are. The scale of the grass blades is much closer to real life. It’s huge difference in my opinion.
Here is another quick look from a wider camera. You can see that the top image doesn’t really resemble an NFL field surface.
Last cycle we had dynamic lighting that evolved and changed over time. It was nice but, the clouds always stayed the same. This year we partnered up with our friends on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour team and developed a system that would allow us to have dynamic sky domes. This mean that clouds now move across the sky, change color over time and more closely resemble a dynamic sky.
Multi-layered sky dome moves and changes color over time.
Visuals for Authentic Presentation and Depth – Everything we do on the art side is to support an authentic football experience and the broadcast presentation realm is no exception. This year we created hundreds of new presentation elements to support both our commentary team, and a new level of presentation depth that has never existed in Madden. I won’t go in to everything here - as there are hundreds of new art assets supporting presentation - but here are a few notable presentation upgrades.
Let’s start with the pre-game. Regular season games, post season and the Super Bowl will all have a unique presentation package that will bring some much-needed variety to our career mode. Below are just a few shots of our post season package.
Pregame Presentation will feature the team’s superstars, and there may be some other surprises as well!
Even before Phil Simms and Jim Nantz were approached to be our commentary team, the football graphics team had started to develop a character system that would be less generic than in the past. With this system we could create and apply unique animation to recognizable characters. It also had to support lip-sync so that we can bring those characters to life. Luckily, Madden was thinking of creating a 3D booth around the same time. I can’t wait until you guys see the final results.
Phil and Jim come to life in Madden NFL 13
Above is a quick look at the graphics package redesign. The Banner style is in the middle and the transitional wipes are below that.
Check Out the new replay. Can wait to share some of the new wire cam angles as well.
I’m happy to say that the game is getting better and better every week. So now I have to get back to work and help polish what is quickly becoming a great Madden NFL game. It was fun sharing what is still work in progress, but I hope that you all see the great potential. Please remember that we still have a lot more art and presentation to share with you including our front end UI. The rest of the team is also eager to share so please stay tuned.
Jean Adams – MADDEN NFL - Art Director