Rugby 2012 - Ruck/Maul System Improvement Suggestions

Discussion in 'Rugby World Cup 2011 Game' started by best_fullback, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. best_fullback

    best_fullback Senior Member

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    I have already posted a simplified version of what I think would vastly improve the Rugby 2012 rucking system over its predecessors on the 'Rugby 2012 Suggestions' thread. This here is now an advanced explanation of how I think it could be implemented and why.

    Rucks

    Rucks are such a massively important area in the game of rugby union and I strongly believe they should not be understated. In each and every EA Sports Rugby title (and any rugby game to be honest) I have been very disappointed with the difference between how rucks are represented on the game, and how they actually work in real life.

    Rucks most have several important roles:

    • Provide a base to start a new attack.
    • Allow the attacking team to recycle the ball and build up phases of play.
    • Allow the attacking team to dictate the style of play.
    • Allow the defending team an opportunity to compete for the ball and possibly turn it over.
    All of these points have been implemented in the previous games, but to an inadequate standard. Specifically you could not fashion quick ball, the defending team had little opportunity to steal the ball and it seemed almost arbitrary whether possession changed or not (unless isolated) and outside of the player's control.

    Rugby Challenge 2006 and WCR tried to address this by having a button mashing system which meant the player who tapped faster won. However if you found yourself up against a fast tapping friend, you stood almost no chance.

    Rugby 2004/2005/06/08 did little to address this. The only power you had was to add or remove players which did very little and if in defence it became apparent very quickly that not contesting for rucks was a far better strategy.

    My System


    In my system I propose two settings that the player can choose to use for rucks. One simple and one advanced. I have chosen to do this because when I have looked around the suggestions thread recently there seems to be an abundance of people asking for the game to be easy to 'pick-up-and-play'. I for one don't disagree as Rugby games can have a steep learning curve and online and playing with friends isn't something that should be avoided just because of this. Then again I would like a seperate advanced rucking system in this case that will challenge players to think and be strategic with play.

    (Note: All the buttons I use to represent actions are completely hypothetical. They may not be adequate but are just for explanation purposes)

    The Simple System

    The simple system I have designed is similar to that in WCR/Rugby Challenge 2006, but instead of button mashing, it is a random button combination.

    Once a tackle is made and a ruck is formed a random button combination of face and shoulder buttons will appear above the corresponding side of the ruck to your team. The person who completes their button combination first will win the ruck (See fig.1). Simple.


    Ruck 1..jpg
    fig.1

    You might say though, as someone already has, 'how does this actually differ from button mashing?' Well firstly it constantly forces you to be on your toes at rucks in order to win them, or turn them over, as you never know what combination will be displayed. Also I thought that to give the benefit to the attacking team they could have one less button in their random combination (See fig.2) promoting retention of the ball and making it that little bit harder for the opposition to steal the ball, as it is in real life. A handicap system could be put on the options menu also to give less buttons to a novice player or more to an experienced one.

    Ruck 2..jpg
    fig.2

    I believe this system would work very well for a 'pick-up-and-play' game. It allows you to worry less about the intricate aspects of the breakdown and will promote ball retention and back play for the less experienced players.

    The Advanced System

    Ever since I played Rugby 05 I found the rucking system very much let the game down. Sadly since then the ruck system has not evolved very much up to 08 where it still lets a large area of the game down.

    By having an improved rucking system it would allow for a much larger replay value and increase the technical and tactical decision making required in a game. Games would be far more realistic and challenging against CPU and human opponents and I think would be fantastic online.

    The system works on the way rucks work in real life. Before a ruck is formed we have a tackle area where the ball carrier is tackled by a tackler(s). In this situation when the ball carrier is taken to the floor and held two things must happen:

    1. The ball carrier must release/present the ball so it can be contested for.
    2. The tackler must release the tackled player to allow him to release the ball and not interfere with play.
    Ruck 2(1)..jpg
    fig.3

    Fig.3 shows that both the ball carrier and tackler must press X to complete their respective obligations. Obviously, if one or the other fails to release their respective object a penalty will be awarded once a ruck is formed. This means more penalities will can be awarded for ruck offences which hardly featured in the last games, or were under little control to the player; far closer to real life.

    However if a ruck hasn't yet formed two situations can still occur.

    If the ball is presented and a defending rucker reaches the tackle area before any attacking ruckers, the defending rucker can steal the ball. The rucker will approach the tackle area and reach down to seal over the ball (See fig.4).

    Ruck 2(2)..jpg
    fig.4

    The rucker can then press X to steal the ball and will push the ball back to the defending side of the pitch to turnover possession.

    The second situation is where the tackled player in possession of the ball decides to hold onto the ball (from fig.3; by not pressing X) to try and spare a few seconds of time for support to arrive. However if a defending rucker reaches the tackle area before any attacking ruckers they will again assume the position from before (See fig.5).

    Ruck 2(3)..jpg
    fig.5

    However as the tackled ball carrier has declined to release the ball all the rucker can do is seal over the ball to show the referee that the tackled player is not releasing the ball and he cannot get to it. Then there will be a split second window where the tackled player can press X to release the ball (as in fig.3) and a turnover will happen as in the previous situation. If the tackled player declines to release the ball a penalty will be given for holding onto the ball.

    (Continued on next post)
     
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  3. best_fullback

    best_fullback Senior Member

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    If both players are honest however, and release the tackled player and ball respectively, a ruck will form when there is one rucking player from each team competing for the ball at the tackle area. I think the three most important actions at a ruck that should be implemented are:<o></o>

    1. A driving ruck, attempting to push the opposition ruckers back so that you can get through to the ball.<o></o>
    2. Sealing off. A modern-ish technique used when rucking when the ball has already practically been won and is near the back feet of the last rucker. The next rucker simply forms a stable low position over the ball to ensure it legally stays within the ruck area to allow the scrum half to decide how to use the ball.<o></o>
    3. Removing players from the ruck, for instance if it is clear it has been lost or you wish to keep players in defence.<o></o>
    Fig.6 shows these three actions at ruck time.

    Ruck3..jpg
    fig.6
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  4. ak47

    ak47 Senior Member

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    i agree massively
    i'd be happy with JLR rucking mechanics - but any change from the AI auto is a must
     
  5. ranger

    ranger Senior Member

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    I really like the idea of the advanced system, having to release would be a good addition.

    having to push a sequence of buttons in the first option would ruin the game for me though. its far too arcade and goes against the flow of the game.
     
  6. ranger

    ranger Senior Member

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    From the other forum..

    Oookay heres my solution for the breakdown issue.

    At the moment, there is no real feeling of control or input at the breakdown, nor is there a tangible reason why you win or lose any given competition. It seems to be down to a roll of the dice to be honest.
    My solution is instead of pretending that we are in control, just take the step of actually making the breakdowns automatic. Much like in Madden. do you know how you control the offensive line? you dont, its done automatically because the focus is on running and passing. The focus of Rugby is on the running and passing game aswell so its only logical.

    At the team selection screen, a player would be able to set his forwards to either "Automatic Rucking" or "Support". If you chose to set a forward to automatic rucking, they would automatically go from ruck to ruck sealing off and securing ball on offence, and counter rucking once a tackle is made on defence. Once the ball is secured by either team, they fan out to either defend the close channels or set up for the next ruck depending on the outcome.

    The effectiveness of these players would directly depend on their rucking and counter-rucking ratings. Because it is decided by the AI who hits the rucks, and not just the closet guys around the tackle, you would visibly be able to see Richie McCaw hitting 5 rucks in a row, or Schalk Burger outmuscling two players to secure the ball. You could have openside flankers running specialist lines directly accross the field, taking them out of the play as far as recieving a pass goes, but getting them to the breakdown twice as fast. You would be able to program in world class forwards being awesome. This would give them value, unlike in the last games where the only good forward was a fast forward that can break tackles. This way, if you choose Martin Williams, you know you're going to get a steady supply of ball

    The other major advantage of this system is the ability to choose "Support" forwards. This would mean that if you had a guy in your team like Sebastian Chabal, Sione Lauaki or Pierre Spies that are absolute monsters with the ball in hand, you can change the way their AI works. So instead of them being tied up in the tight, they would hang around in the backs more looking for opportunities to hit it up, they would follow the ball carrier looking to receive an offload at pace or drift backfield to hit up return kicks. I envisage you having the ability to change the players from "support" to "automatic rucking" during the game depending on how its going and vice versa.

    If you think there is a real opportunity to steal the ball on defence and want extra numbers, you can hit the usual join ruck button to add backs into the fray to try and tip the balance, but this would leave holes or forwards in the backline if you dont turn it over, leaving an attacking opportunity. Similarly on offence you could throw the backs into the ruck if for instance you have made a break in the line and the closest players are backs. But ordinarily you would leave the forward pack to do their jobs

    It would put a real tactical spin on squad selection too. I envisage a persons skill in selecting a balanced 22 being almost if not as important as a persons skill in the actual game. I want to see players not necessarily being "better" than each other, but better at certain aspects of the game. Some players would then appear better than each other depending on your individual style and philosophy about the game. Much like in the NFL when players are deciding between a predominantly passing or predominantly running game. Or in NBA where players decide between a halfcourt or fastbreak type offense.

    -Can you afford to carry a front row of 3 scrummagers that arent very good at the breakdown? You might have to offset this by not having any "support" players, just a loose forward pack of ruckers to support the ball. This loss might then have to be offset by selecting a bigger unit at inside centre to compensate for the lack of a powerful runner coming out of the forwards. This would mean you lose a kicking and playmaker option from your inside centre and you might need to go for more of a tactical flyhalf-type fullback rather than a counter attacking one to compensate. The fact that you cant counter attack from kicks may mean you have to change your whole game plan and set moves.. Its these types of quandaries i want to be created
     
  7. Sebastian V

    Sebastian V Junior Member

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    I posted a pretty similar idea in the suggestions thread. It is basically a simplied version. A modified version of the previous rugby 08, 06 types.

    There are 2 ways to steal the ball in defence, The first was to use a fetcher to steal the ball or the Second to counter ruck. Just like in real life.

    Once an attacking player gets tackled, the tackler gets to his feet or another defender gets to the ruck and attempts to fetch the ball like in figure 4 above. The releasing of the ball and the tackler rolling away is done automatically. The closest defender toward the ruck automatically goes into steal the ball (figure 4). An indicator appears "press x" and you hold "x" to steal the ball. Attacking players wishing to hold onto the ball to by time can simply click in the thumb stick like in previous games and are liable to penalites.

    Attacking team simply have to add a player(s) to the ruck in order to win the ball just like in previous games, its as simple as tapping "a". As soon as an attacking player gets to the ruck they knock off the player trying to steal (if they are strong enough, stats willing).

    Defending teams can counter ruck instead of trying to steal, they simply ingnore the "steal" indicator (it would be smart to do this if they see they dont have enough time to steal, or a weak player is attempting the steal) and simply add players to the ruck by tapping "a". Winning the ball by counter rucking will simply be who puts in more players, who puts them in quicker, which players into the rucks have higher rucking/strengh stats.

    So the rucking/counter rucking is basically the same as b4 but more emphasis on stats, if the first two players enter the rucks have higher rucking/strengh stats, and the opposition first 2 players entering the ruck are very weak with low stats then the player with higher stats should win the ball more often.

    Players like backs should have very low rucking stats, and it would take a very long time (near impossible) to steal the ball, Also if the tackled player is strong it should be harder to steal the ball from them. So it would be wise to run forwards as they have less chance to lose the ball. Players like richie McCaw would be able to steal the ball a lot quicker, however because the player attempting to steal is done automatic as its always the first player in the ruck, McCaw may only have one or two chances to steal in the whole game.
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2010
  8. sambãd5

    sambãd5 Member

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    I think this aspect seems to be the biggest dilemma for the makers of this game. One one hand is the almost, amatures of rugby, who just want to throw the ball around and have a fast game, then theres the authentic players who want accurate and competitive rucks. I quite like your advanced idea, it looks quite easy to implement and i could see it being used, but i think that the button combonation seems a little gimmicy. Its funny that Jlo rugby had the best rucking system, and it is unfortunate that the current needs of graphics etc make it impossible to recreate easly. The only thing i really like to add is that remeber playing 04 and that playing on easy, ment that you got your hand held every time something other than running was involved?

    This means that EA are happy to have a easy setting that is truely easy. (and so far no hard setting but thats another topic for another thread) but what that means is that an idea like yours where you press X when your over the ball etc can be used on more advanced levels, whereas a automatic system can be used on easy. or even have a menu setting....

    The other thing is i dont want to be pressing X every time im tackled. what could be done is if there is a reasonable reason to try to be a counter ruck then it should be available. such as being icolated. because there is no point needing to press x if your a team like SA or ENG where your working up through their 22 with pick and goes against a team like i dont know, portragol or russia who have almost a 0% chance of turning it over.

    however being a ruck and maul topic - Any ideas on how mauls are going to happen. because they NEED attention too. this super14 season youve seen some amazing mauls going a very long way, going into and out of pick and goes, begining from lineouts, scrums, quick turnovers in a 22, even in open play! there needs to be a way where you can peel off and run from a maul successfully. Such as the great one, JLO rugby where you pass the ball back through the maul to get a player running off the side. they arnt a moving ruck like they have been in the current crop of rugby games.
     
  9. ak47

    ak47 Senior Member

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    JLR - teaching rugby developers how to code since 1997
     
  10. Teh Mite

    Teh Mite TRF Legend

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    i played JLR a few weeks ago,,, Saying it's still relevent now is nostalgic rubbish.

    Consign it to the history books and keep the happy memories. or, boort a copy up then realise it's not actually good by todays standards.
     
  11. Duckdee

    Duckdee Senior Member

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    I like Ranger's idea best, and I echo the no QTE sentiment.
     
  12. best_fullback

    best_fullback Senior Member

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    I agree, they are. Being experienced with rugby I would always choose the more advanced option. The problem is a system like this will have to be implemented if there is also an advanced system to tap into the casual gamer market, which I am sure HB will be aiming for. Its just a problem trying to find which one would work best and still allow for a free flowing game.

    Possibly having and button assigned to hold onto the ball/player would be preferable. Then the ball is released automatically (encouraging quick phases), as is the tackled player, unless the button is pressed and will only again be released when pressed a further time.


    I agree with Ranger that there should be a lot of aspects and stats taken into account in and before a ruck to decide the outcome automatically (infact I did write the same thing onto my second post but the forum said I was over the word limit so had to be removed!). Ideally his I think that is what everyone would want because then it would provide the correct outcome to ruck situation rather than the arbitrary result as in 06/08 etc and allow more time to concentrate on the whole pitch rather than just the ruck. However, this then increases demand for accurate stats, or as I would prefer, an edit mode where all the players stats can be adjusted if inaccurate.

    I think the idea of 'support' and 'automatic rucking' is great and the idea that by pressing X will add backs if isolated or trying to turn over ball is great also. I am just a bit concerned whether HB will be able to implement an automatic system well because there are so many AI parameters and stats to take into account. We'll just have to see what they say.
     
  13. TRF C A Iversen

    TRF C A Iversen Rugby Gaming Nut

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    Stats driven ruck results would be a farce. You say '06 and '08 were arbitrary results, but they were based on the player stats in the game and in the ruck. People would still claim this to be a farce if it happens again.

    I believe there needs to be a mechanism, most people want one. It's a matter of turning rucks into a 2-5 second contest, that's just how they are in real life. Jonah Lomu Rugby is the past yes, but it also shows one thing that has not gone away. People love the idea of being able to quickly fight for the ball in a ruck and drive a maul along whilst their opposition tries to stop it. It's the 3rd dimension in Rugby gameplay, so far we have had two. The running/Passing dimension and the kicking.

    Control is wanted and needed. I have thoughts and I'm compiling my own idea to put in this thread, but if mine is pulled apart I won't just say "let's go with automatic stats driven rucks. A mechanism is what will make this game enjoyable and the search is not over.

    I will say this. I have an idea that is unique, realistic and a contest myself. That's not to say that it's the way to go, but when I've finalised a few things in the idea I'll post it up for you guys. It may even give you guys some thoughts on how to adapt it.
     
  14. TRF_woosaah

    TRF_woosaah Senior Member

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    Me personallly i didnt like the JLR rucking system, remove player add player remove player add player, my friend was a pianist and was quick with his fingers and i hardly ever got the ball, we ended up making it a rule that we couldnt use that tactic in the game and that shouldnt be part of it, every part of the game should be able to be used but i understand bugs are part of the game.

    I hope something si implemted for the rucks and mauls, it woudl be a great addition to the game. This thread is quite interesting and I am goign to keep an eye on it for craigs ideas.
     
  15. TRF C A Iversen

    TRF C A Iversen Rugby Gaming Nut

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    Understand about the join leave ruck thing not being at all realistic on JLR. The reason why people did like it though was that there was a tangible contest. Mine's not about rapid button bashing, but about trying to be clever on defence to poach the ball quickly. The way it's panning out the attacking player has the advantage and should be able to keep the ball for several phases, but the opposition still has a very good shot at turning it over if they can think quickly, not button bash quickly.

    Got a couple of very minor kinks in my idea, but I really feel like this is new territory, simple and quick.
     
  16. ranger

    ranger Senior Member

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    The difference between my system and the one used in previous games it that we were under the influence that we were in control of the outcome in the last games, and it was frustrating because we werent really. This way you would just be told, its automatic, like madden. If the calculations are done automatically then the animations could be alot sharper, you could see players really ripping in to rucks and snaffling the ball. The better a players rucking rating was the more skillful their animations would be at ruck time. It would be pleasing on the eye and you could physically see some players being better than others.

    Im an openside flanker myself, but even i concede that the ruck contest should be sacrificed for the good of free flowing running rugby. If my idea isnt taken up id still like to see someone solve the problem of out-and-out ball runners like Sione Lauaki and Andy Powell getting tied up in rucks and mauls and not getting any space to run.
     
  17. sambãd5

    sambãd5 Member

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    Jeasus H christ, has the world gone mad? Did i just read more than one post saying jlr wasnt the best game ever!?! lol. the thing about the rucking system in jlo rugby was that, and assuming you have a even contest with another player, it would have an accurate rate of turnover. of course if you have someone playing it non stop for a year, like any othe game, they would kill someone who had been playing it for a month. but when your isolated and you have got 3-4 guys on defence already, the defence has won the ball. such as, if you have a quick run, back into the rucking area, you will retain the possession as you have 8 guys there, and so do they. and then if you dont break the advantage line by the 3rd or 4th play, theres a good chance of some counter rucking.

    I do agree that we shouldnt re-release JLR (or pull a EA and just re-release it with better graphics and new players and teams) but i think that the principal is what should be worked off, as apposed to anything weve seen in the last 6 years or so. and really, anyone who says otherwise is a communist, hence this thread trying to give ideas to fix the current rucking system.

    but Question: how would a rucking stat be introduced into the systems mentioned? by guessing, a longer period of time to press x?
     
  18. alexrugby

    alexrugby Senior Member

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    I remember how scandalous it was to decide to allow maul collapsing

    I guess new rules will add more than regress to Rugby
     
  19. Duckdee

    Duckdee Senior Member

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    I look forward to reading it. My fingers may be weak, but I are good at thinking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  20. Hamez

    Hamez Senior Member

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    i really dont want to lose control of the rucks. But I also think for a video game it shouldnt be too in depth. JLR's adding and removing has been the best, while you could exploit it, it worked when you didnt use that tactic. I think it should be the same in this rugby.

    Having been in many a ruck over my years of playing rugby I would love to see the little tricks and stuff that I and others use, but in a videogame you just cant recreate that. so I would suggest a simplication of the ruck. Generally the team taking the ball into the ruck will win it back. The way it is taken back is either simply the first person to the tackled player is from the opposition (a quick steal) or there is counter rucking, more numbers entering the ruck at the right time.

    So I can't see why this wouldn't be easy to implement. If the player is isolated and the attacking team takes to long to get there, it should either be a turnover or a penalty for the player holding on (the attacker could use R3 to hang on til more players arrive, a gamble like in real life). For counter rucking simply pressing X to add players realisticly into the ruck, so not being able to do the JLR trick of backwards and forwards. Adding players too early or too late jut means you've commited too many players to the ruck and have left space, adding at the right time would mean the other team is pushed back over the ball and you take ownership. You could also bring a 3rd way to win the ball, and that would be from infringing, with R3 and L3, R3 to use your hands, high risk of penalty or L3 to hold the ball in the ruck and slow things down, also high risk of penalty. The attacking player can just use x to add players to make sure of the clear out in the early stage or prevent the counter rucking, and use triangle to get players out when they have won possesion to add number for attack, while leaving an oppurtunity to counter ruck

    I am unsure on stats and how they affect things in my system, I think they should have a subtle affect, but they should definatly not be the be all and end all. Even lesser teams can win more rucks than they lose, and thats not how 08 worked.

    I honestly dont see how hard that system would be to implement, and it would pretty much end up with realistic ruck which you control, doesnt require button mashing because the players will join realistically, because they will have to be in position. And isnt that what we want?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  21. best_fullback

    best_fullback Senior Member

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    I wasn't saying I want automatic rucks at all. I think you'll find if you scroll to the top of this thread that I started it with a fully controllable ruck mechanic of my own that I have devised.

    Me complimenting Ranger on his idea of differentiating levels of ruck control, but with automatic outcomes dependant upon this, isn't endorsing it but I think it is a good premise that can be built upon. Just because it has less control doesn't mean that we should completely disregard it. I was thinking that the idea of different levels of ruck control such as 'driving' and 'support' could be combined with that of the full control system myself, Hamez, Sebastian V and yourself want see.
     
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