Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Long Game: Mastering the pass in Canadian football 2017

When Canadian Football 2017 was released on July 26th, the immediate feedback was that the passing was too difficult. We got it. We heard you.

Why was it too difficult? Well because we over complicated things. In this post I hope to address those concerns.

Throwing the ball.

On release, the game had two passing styles; Touch Pass and a Bullet Pass. A quick touch of a button gave you a nice touch pass and holding the button down put more power on the ball. While this worked once you got used to it, many people just felt it seemed to ‘lag’ because the QB would wait for the button to be released before starting his throw.

How we addressed it. 
Going forward the game has a new passing system. We flushed the old one and built one that should work for everyone (well, most people anyway). And there’s a bonus!
Starting with the first XBox One update (which should be live around August 2nd) passing in the game will now have 3 styles;

Passing Actions in Canadian Football 2017

The primary way to pass the ball is just tap the button for the receiver you want to throw to. Tap meaning a quick press and release. The QB will not start his throwing motion until you release the button. If you tap and release in less than ½ second the QB will throw a nice touch pass.

If you tap the button to start the throw, then tap it a second time -- before the ball is released --, the pass will be thrown as a lob ball with lots of air under it.

If you hold the button down for more than ½ second, the QB will throw a bullet pass. Bullet passes to a receiver that are within 10 yards are very hard to catch.

This should accommodate most people that want instant throwing but also help those that want to be able to add a little finesse to their passing game.


The initial design for passing in this version of the game was designed around short throws of 15 yards or less. Moving methodically down the field in chunks. You could make longer throws of course, but those became high-risk, high-reward. There was less than a 60% chance of making a pass longer than 30 yards – which is still higher than real life. This ‘chance of catching’ was calculated based on the distance of the pass, the Hands rating of the receiver, the weather, the angle of the throw, and a few other things.

The results, while statistically not too far off from real life, resulted in a lot of frustrated throws. 

How we addressed it.

Game Settings screen starting in next update of the XBox One edition.

We’ve reduced the complexity of the reception formula down to a simple slider on the Game Settings screen. This is the pass catch modifier and does work in conjunction with the receivers Hands rating. We also still have the consideration of short passes being more likely to be caught that really long ones, but even that has been changed to allow for more completed long passes.
The results are a greatly increased number of catches.

But just catching the ball doesn’t mean your receiver will hang on to it. If you throw the ball to a receiver that is going to be crushed as soon as he touches the ball, he’s very likely going to drop it. The chance of this receiver hanging on to the ball after a ‘bang bang’ play is based on his hands rating as well as weather. Rainy games make the ball harder to hold on to.

Okay, so yes the passing was frustrating out of the box. We hope that these changes address the majority of concerns and allow for both types of players; those that like ball control, and those that like to chuck it down field.

Thanks for your support of the project.

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