MLB 2K11 Dynamic Player Ratings Explained

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The 2K development team on MLB 2K11 took the time out to put together a lengthy explanation of how the dynamic player rating systems will work in the game. They even went so far as to have Evan Longoria talk about it on video.

In the post, producer Mark Little talks about one of the most exciting new features for MLB 2K11: Dynamic Player Ratings. In a nutshell, this feature works in conjunction with the critically acclaimed MLB Today feature, bringing even more realism to the game. Now, when playing in MLB Today games, not only will you get up-to-date rosters and news from around the league that’s happening in real time, but the players you are playing with will also be affected by their current performance in the real-world season.
For instance, if Derek Jeter is going through a slump in the real world, his ratings in the game will be lower to affect that. If Cody Ross currently has a hot bat, his bat will be just as hot in game. This feature makes the game feel and play more like the real thing: pitting struggling greats against unlikely heroes.
For more information on how this new feature works, head over here to read the full diary on their Facebook page.

 Like many people, our entire design team loves to play MLB Today games. Thanks to the MLB Today feature in MLB 2K10, for the first time, we were participating in the real MLB season with our favorite teams and players, but something still didn’t feel quite right.  As last year’s MLB season progressed we quickly came to realize that, while the MLB Today was doing a great job of keeping us up to date with the standings and stats for all the teams and players, the players themselves didn’t really change.  We watched last year as June rolled around and Derek Jeter started his epic slump. Jeter’s batting average was down almost 50 points, but when I loaded into a game against the Yankees he was close to the same Derek Jeter that I played against the month before.  That’s not what we wanted to see, we wanted to play against the Yankees with Jeter struggling through his slump. That would have been closer to the real MLB Today.

We really wanted the players in our game to play like they are currently playing in the real world.  Baseball players don’t bat their average 162 games a year; sometimes they are on a hot steak and sometimes they are cold and struggle at the plate.  Each new season is a continually changing landscape of player performance. This is what causes lineups to change and how teams discover that unexpected bat which helps lift them into the Postseason.  We wanted to play the Postseason with the Giants, a team not known for their bats, and come up to bat with a hot Cody Ross and Buster Posey as they were in the 2010 Postseason.   We wanted to play with the unlikely heroes and struggling greats. That’s baseball.


This became our new inspiration: make the players in our game play like their real-life counterparts are currently playing.  We also wanted to extend this notion into our Franchise and My Player modes to make those seasons more dynamic and interesting to play through.  So let’s get into the details of the Dynamic Player Rating system and look at how the system made our desire become reality.  

 How it works

To describe the system in one sentence: the Dynamic Player Rating system (DPRS for short) dynamically adjusts player ratings to represent recent performance.  It is simple to say but it is a little more complicated to do. I’m going to walk through the basics of how we do this.

 To begin with, the only way to make a player play better or worse than normal is to adjust up or down the ratings for the player.  Albert Pujols is a beast at the plate because his contact and power ratings make him amazing.  So, when we adjust player ratings, we adjust how the game will play with that player.  The end goal of the DPRS is to determine how and when to adjust player ratings to represent their recent performance. 

 The first step is to determine how well a player is currently performing.  Obviously, you can’t get a reliable gauge of player performance if you look at just the last few games. So we look back across the last four weeks of performance, putting more emphasis on the most recent weeks and less on the oldest.  This rolling four week view of performance ensures that a few bad games don’t impact their ratings; players need to consistently perform below or above expectations before their ratings are adjusted.  We also verify that the player has a minimum number of at bats or innings pitched to ensure that there is enough data to make a good determination of their performance.

 Based on these parameters on their performance, we evaluate what sort of rating their performance deserves.  For batters, we correlate different statistics to different player ratings. Batting average affects the Contact rating, slugging percentage impacts the Power rating and on base percentage changes the Eye rating.  When this process is done, we have created a performance rating for contact, power and eye based on the player’s actual performance in batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage.  For pitchers we look at their WHIP (walks + hits / innings pitched) and calculate the appropriate performance based on control and movement ratings for their pitches.

 Finally, we compare the performance rating to the player’s base rating to determine if the performance warrants a change to the appropriate player rating and, if so, how much of a change.  There is a lot of math involved in this determination but, in simple terms, if the performance rating is close to the base rating, then there is no change. The further the performance rating deviates from the base rating, the more we either increase or decrease the base rating.  To ensure integrity in the game, we do impose limits to how much we will adjust player ratings.  A 70 rated contact hitter will not be adjusted up to a 99 rated contact hitter, even if they are batting .500, but they will be adjusted up to the mid 80’s which is a significant change that is noticeable when playing.  The amount of the adjustment is varied based on size of difference between the performance rating and the player’s rating.  The way we do the math allows for a nice progression of adjustment that is not too abrupt but makes a big enough difference for you to notice.

So what does this mean?

Now let’s talk about how this impacts the different game modes and what you should watch for while you are playing MLB Today games or managing your franchise.

It’s a pretty massive explanation and if you want to Read more... it is available on the Facebook page.

In : PC

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