Con's Crease - S11 Week 3.5

Discussion in 'Leaguegaming American Hockey League(LGAHL PSN)' started by MDConMan, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. MDConMan

    MDConMan SNP PSN Commissioner, Ex-Media Member

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    Welcome back to another completely frivolous, self-indulgent installment of Con’s Crease - I’m your host - Con.


    I’m calling this installment Week 3.5 because I meant to have this up on the forums sometime on Thursday again, and yet here were are on Monday night/Tuesday morning… I couldn’t decide what I wanted to focus on, or really what this column is going to be on a week-to-week basis. I had a couple ideas, and after some thought and consultation, started writing. Hope you enjoy, and if you don’t, oh well.


    I again want to implore you to comment and participate in conversations afterwards, especially since this write-up is going to be HIGHLY opinionated and cover an oft neglected part of the game - User-Goalie physics/animations.


    This is a long one, boys and girls.


    Let’s dive in.


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    1. Goalie Talk (This is the meat of the Article)

    1.1 What’s Good About User-Goalies in EA

    1.2 What’s Bad About User-Goalies in EA

    1.3 User-Goalies in NHL20

    1.3.1 What They’ve Said

    1.3.2 What I Expect

    1.4 Things I’d Like to See

    2. Movers and Shakers (Ranking Goalie Things)

    2.1 Who Caught My Eye

    2.2 Who Fell Apart

    2.3 Who’s Steady (This is the best one to be, unless you’re steadily bad)

    2.4 Best Tandem

    2.5 Worst Tandem

    3. Con’s Playlist (New Section)

    3.1 Music I’m Listening to In-Game Lately

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    1. Goalie Talk (The Main Topic of Conversation)


    Anyone that knows me, especially thru hockey, has probably heard some portion of my rant about User-Goalies in EA the past few years. It was suggested to me recently that I write about it, spark a conversation maybe, and see where it goes from there.



    Deciding how I wanted to address this, what kind of tone, where to start, has been difficult. Normally I start this conversation with the bad, and it’s usually after some trash EA goal goes in for no reason that would make sense if you’ve ever watched a game of hockey in your life. But this is EA we’re talking about. So with all of that in mind, let’s tackle the good then the bad of the current state of User-Goalies in EA.


    It’s probably worth noting - I have no knowledge about or experience in coding beyond the world’s most simplified idea of how it works on general terms. So I am completely speaking off of my opinion/limited understanding of how this game functions, and how it could be improved.


    I could be horribly, and completely wrong. But I’ll survive somehow.


    1.1 What’s good about User-Goalies in EA


    Improvement over last year. That’s generally the trend, and while slight, and nowhere near what it could or probably should be, it’s something.



    The biggest thing is speed/agility. Not just from being able to customize your build, the physics have definitely been a lot smoother this year. Frankly, it’s the least they could do with the changes to L2’ing and ridiculous, highlight-reel goals. There’s still a lot of room for improvement though.


    Flexibility in playstyle. I find there’s no RIGHT build this year, it’s just about which build is right for YOU and the way YOU play. Which is nice. There’s a variety in what you’re going to run in to, and it all seems to be generally pretty even as long as you’re comfortable with the strengths and weaknesses of your game.


    And honestly, that’s probably all that’s of note for the positives...


    1.2 What’s bad about User-Goalies in EA


    So much… and it’s obvious, reasonable things for the most part.



    ANIMATIONS! Or more specifically, the BLENDING of one animation into another. What’s so bad about it? There is none. There seems to be utterly no blending at all. EA has long had an obsession with their canned animations to achieve remarkable plays that simply wouldn’t be possible by control inputs alone. And I get it. They look AMAZING. When they work, and when they’re not costing you easy plays that any half-decent goalie at even a JV level would read and save. The biggest payoff is that you can’t do more than one thing, and there’s a delay before you’re allowed to do a second thing even after the first is complete.



    For example: you can’t slide to the right, and still move your left arm to make a simple save. You can’t kick your leg out to make a low save, and then keep your leg there if the puck’s still on your pad. You can’t lift your leg or kick it out any extra if you spider. And just, so so many more (most of which tie into the other things I want to specifically discuss).


    HUG-POST has to be one of the most useless mechanics in the entirety of EA Sports gaming. It’s sticky, with the gravitational push and pull of Jupiter. It’s slow. And worst of all, it barely ever works. I cannot even COUNT the amount of times I have slammed on both sticks, held the shoulder button to get onto my post, and then watched EA move me OFF of my post and out of the way of the puck while still holding the animation and then slid me back onto my post after graciously allowing the goal. WHAT. IS. THAT!?



    Wrap-arounds are just AIDs. I think this is probably the only thing I would even need to point to as evidence that NO ONE AT EA HAS EVER WATCHED A GAME OF PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY IN THEIR ENTIRE LIFE. Here’s a real simple breakdown: 1. The puck goes behind the net (regardless of whether it’s loose, or which team has possession). 2. The goalie places one foot against either post. 3. The goalie simply leans his shoulders/cranes his neck to whichever side the puck is moving towards and very easily can transition into VH/reverse-VH. Now, I’m not saying it should be an infallible process in the game, if the forward gets a really good/fast/tight wrap animation (you know the one) it should take some skill to make sure you don’t get caught sleeping and make the save. Even real life goalies can struggle with that (I.E. Luongo a couple years ago even). But 9 times out of 10 the only way the wrap should result in a goal is if they hit the cross into the slot from behind the net and no one covered the man in-front.



    Goalies play hockey, too… This is another one that shows the utter lack of hockey-knowledge at EA Sports. Have you ever played goalie and tried to skate out? Or God forbid you tried to handle the puck? You’re slower than a 6’9 290 enforcer D that’s injured with 0 stamina… that simply shouldn’t be a thing. And when the puck is on your stick, you literally turn into a 2-D cardboard cutout from a bubble hockey table and you get EVEN SLOWER somehow. It utterly blows my mind. They make all this fuss about how they bring elite goalies into the studio to do Motion Capture the past couple years… but somehow they’ve never thought to leave the sensors on while they’re skating out to the net or handling a puck between plays… HOW. IS. THIS. POSSIBLE!? It’s been this way since AT LEAST NHL09 (when I started playing EA hockey) and limits a HUGE part of a goalies ability to contribute to special teams. I get they don’t want us to be Brodeur out there… but come on.



    1.3 User-Goalies in NHL20


    Just recently EA came out with some details about changes for the upcoming NHL20, and it definitely caught my attention. At the same time though, I immediately started second guessing it and critiquing what I actually believed or not and how I expected it to work out despite their media team’s spin for hyping the changes. So… thought I’d include those sentiments here.



    1.3.1 What They’ve Said


    The big headline is over 400 new goalie animations. Specifically referencing more ability to make chest saves, catch knuckle-pucks in the glove, and improvements to puck tracking/positioning to better deflect pucks into the corners especially on odd-man rushes. They also specifically mention that the puck tracking applies not only to shots but to passes. So overall some really important issues supposedly being addressed. Big ups. My attention is piqued.


    1.3.2 What I Expect


    Most of that probably won’t work as intended, or will open up some new exploitable error in the code as EA rushes another unfinished product out into the world with lack of support to fix it after. Honestly wouldn’t expect anything else from the company that STILL hasn’t fully resolved Dressing Room Errors…


    More specifically, I don’t expect that they’ll resolve any of the blending issues I’ve already complained have been a problem for years, and while there will be a litany of new animations to try and give you better opportunities to make more saves, if you have to make a second one or recover from getting the wrong one you’ll still be out of luck.


    It also doesn’t mention anything about changes/improvements to actual goalie physics or FIXING any of the known problems with goalies. Just that they’ll be adding more animations on top of what exists without any known resolutions for anything else.


    Additionally, I’m hesitant how much I expect things like “improved puck tracking/recognition on weak shots and passes” or “better awareness of secondary shot opportunities to deflect the puck away or into the corner” to actually factor in for User-Goalies and not just in the AI programming.


    1.4 Things I’d Like to See


    If you couldn’t guess by now, the biggest thing is fluidity of movement, and blending of animations.



    Goalies are so slow and stiff. You have no control or influence on the direction your shoulders are facing, using your posts is AIDs, there’s no animations for the goalie to actually be moving/leaning/looking for the puck and trying to see around screens when they’re in the zone. Skating/puck handling is virtually unusable (how is there not just a control scheme of hold R1/L1 and one of the sticks to just grab your net and swing around behind it immediately like a real goalie).



    Additionally, the “Precision Movement” vs. regular moment is not a big enough difference in either direction. The amount of times I’m trying to shift the TINY AMOUNT you should be adjusting to stay in-front of a wiggling/overly deking forward on a breakaway/penalty shot and watch my goalie just go flying to the other side of the net is too many. That’s not a thing. If I didn’t use my Right Stick, then I didn’t want to fling myself. AND WHY CAN’T YOU DROP TO BUTTERFLY IN PLACE?! I’d understand the SMALL amount you’d slide back if you were actively moving backwards beforehand, but again, the game seems to have this momentum boost to lateral movement when dropping to butterfly and it’s been an unresolved problem for years.



    I’d love to see a return to a more skill-based control system as well. Something with using the left and right sticks to follow the play more at an increased chance to make a save when correct and more likely to give up a goal when wrong.



    *This section turned into more things that are wrong with playing User-Goalie more or less… oops. No regrets.*


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    2. Movers and Shakers (Ranking Goalie Things)


    I have ZERO intention of committing to any actual detailed rankings, and plan to just list guys as they come to mind or I get to them in whatever file/site section I’m looking through. So do NOT read into whether someone comes up before you. You could be the last name on the list and actually be my favorite goalie right now, I just didn’t get to your stats before someone else’s. Also, some guys that were on the lists last week didn’t fall into any of the categories this week. Basically means they got a little worse without falling apart, or got a little better without doing anything great. Cool? Cool. Moving on.



    2.1 Who Caught My Eye (Notably improved/Convinced me they’re good)


    Some of these guys will have been on my previous lists somewhere, some of them came out of nowhere, but these are the guys on the rise in my opinion. Yes it’s biased. No, I did not do any additional research or detailed analysis.



    In no particular order:


    @Glachs (San Jose Barracuda) - Had to get him out of the way first, literally told him in the comments last week that if he had a strong week he’d be on my list this week 100%, and I try to be a man of my word. But boy did he overachieve on what would’ve gotten him here.


    @Malliaman__ (Texas Stars) - Kind of an odd choice for a “heating up” nomination, but he’s settling in nicely with Texas and winning games. You’d like to see his stats a little higher (especially saves) but with 3 shutouts already he’s showing something nice for these guys.


    @ses-DRAGON-ses (Utica Comets) - His performance has definitely been a big part of this team’s turn around. Had the pleasure of dicking around on D in-front of this guy in SNP this past week and hooooo-lyyyyy is he good. Or lucky. (but don’t ya really need to be both?) Watch him. Shoutout to their other goalie, @missRogue__ for stepping her game up and adjusting to the AHL as well.


    *I go by a minimum of 4 games per week played, so I wanted to specifically give a quick shoutout to @PARTYofONE___ of the San Antonio Rampage who only had 11 games so far but looks to be a stud.*


    2.2 Who Fell Apart (Got notably worse)


    These guys were neutral-good and are no longer. It’s biased, and no backing research into matchups or whether their entire team is falling apart in front of them was done. They let in goals, and didn’t save enough shots to make up for it. Some weeks I might put more effort into separating tough matchups/lack of support but not this week.



    In no particular order:


    @KeEn_CJ (Bridgeport Soundtigers) - guy was bordering on mentioning for good reasons, but had a ROUGH week and is looking like he could fall apart. Interesting to see if he bounces back. He’s had some good performances come up short.


    @DaBirdMan27 (Rochester Americans) - Man… I thought it was rough when I wrote my last article, but it keeps going. I’m rooting for ya, Bird. Keep your head up while Nort gets the re-build taken care of and I’m sure it’ll turn around. But oof… not fun.


    @moosapotamus33 (San Diego Gulls) - Kind of tough rating to say he’s falling apart at 12-6-1. It’s really more so just a critique of his personal performance in doing so. I haven’t looked into the matchups much, and it definitely looks like there’s a few blowout failures that are messing up his stats, but I really expected him to be stronger thus far.


    @Mooner2014 (Springfield Thunderbirds) - He’s a polarizing guy, normally falls into the same category as Mallia for me. Goalie GM’s that get killed by their own poor team-building. Normally, people let it diminish their opinion of these guys unfairly… but they’re spot on with Mooner this time. Guy’s just playing flat-out bad on a not good team. Needed to see more from him.


    2.3 Who’s Steady (The good stayed good)


    This is the (hopefully) best category to be in. I’ve gone on record about valuing consistency in goalie play above just having the most skill to steal a game, if it comes at the cost of also completely blowing games almost as often.



    In no particular order:


    @jacksdawgs (Hershey Bears) - he was on my “Keep an Eye On” list last week, and now 3 weeks into the season he’s 2nd in all qualified goalies with an 87.4 sv%, so I’m gonna give him the nod as good at this point. He’s still in his rookie season in the ‘A’ tho, so I reserve the right to call him out on if he goes cold. Keep it up, man. Also shoutout to @Weathergeakal on this team, too.


    @gatesse (Bakersfield Condors) - staying steady, I expect him to be on this list the entire season. Maybe someday he’ll tell me how to pronounce his name correctly…


    @Mikehockey8771 (Chicago Wolves) - holding steady with what I expected of him. Not putting up insane numbers but chugging along nicely and keeping his team in it overall.


    @CrawlingBacon and @ghost_726 (Laval Rocket) - gotta give a shoutout to both of these guys. ‘Nuff said.


    @FatDinosaurz (Providence Bruins) - definitely having one of his best seasons in his LG career, it’ll be interesting to see if he can hold that for the whole season.


    2.4 Best Tandems


    Not a lot of pomp and circumstance with the tandems. The good guys are good, and I’m not here to beat up on those that aren’t. They probably do plenty of that themselves.



    In no particular order:


    Bakersfield Condors - @gatesse and @MasonicMan8


    Hershey Bears - @jacksdawgs and @Weathergeakal


    Laval Rocket - @CrawlingBacon and @ghost_726


    Utica Comets - @ses-DRAGON-ses and @missRogue__


    *Shoutout to falling off my own list… but it’s pretty hard to be on a top tandem when I don’t have a rostered backup currently. Oof. But hey! I won 2 games already in week 4! Up to 6-10 now! TreignSzn!*


    2.5 Worst Tandems


    Some of these goalies legit aren’t even bad, I’d 100% vouch for some of them personally. Rough seasons happening here whether they’re off their game, their team sucks, or just really bad luck.



    In no particular order:


    Binghamton Devils - @ijdubs1754 and @Fred-Proulx-


    Colorado Eagles - @Pikachuguy35 and @Im_Kreaky


    Rochester Americans - @DaBirdMan27 and @I BERGER0N37 I


    Springfield Thunderbirds - @Mooner2014 and @Angl3dangle_


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    3. Con’s Playlist


    3.1 Music I’m Listening to In-Game Lately


    Not really sure what to do about making a section of this, but the amount of goalies that at some point in the past week-and-a-half have mentioned something to me about what they do during games made me wanna keep talking about game-time habits. So I thought I’d just mention what I’ve been listening to lately and see what you’ve been listening to.



    Also, this is in no way an all encompassing list of music I like, it’s just what I’ve been listening to during games recently. That way this list can actually change each week as I get superstitious about what helps me focus/is good luck or bad luck.


    In no particular order:


    Artist - Album

    Billie Eilish - dont smile at me

    Billie Eilish - WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?

    Cage the Elephant - Cage the Elephant

    Cage the Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday

    Gorillaz - Humanz

    Half-Alive - Now, Not Yet

    KONGOS - Egomaniac

    KONGOS - KONGOS

    KONGOS - Lunatic

    MISSIO - The Darker the Weather // The Better the Man

    MISSIO - Loner

    Radiohead - Amnesiac

    Rammstein - Sehnsucht

    Thom Yorke - ANIMA

    The Who - Greatest Hits
     
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  2. ses-DRAGON-ses

    ses-DRAGON-ses Picked 58th Overall in the S5 entry draft

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    it is honestly 50% skill and 50% luck, the perfect blend for success!
     
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  3. Glachs

    Glachs Well-Known Member

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    so true, i would go in warm up, not save 1 shot, get EA'd on every play cuz "momentum" game time, stop everything and even get the correct animations and saves i am shocked about cuz i usually don't... EA is so off and on every game its just load it, be in position and pray lol
     
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  4. Stav 98

    Stav 98 Greatest Never

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    Really fun read great job!
     
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  5. PARTYofONE___

    PARTYofONE___ kicking names and taking ass

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    @ll_Hillyer77_ll and I still gettin no love, this saddens me deeply, I’m upset now
     
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  6. MDConMan

    MDConMan SNP PSN Commissioner, Ex-Media Member

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    Go look at the italics note under the "Who caught my eye" section 2.1. I didn't give any love to Hillyer but I gave you a shoutout.
     
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  7. PARTYofONE___

    PARTYofONE___ kicking names and taking ass

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    I saw that, thank you very much, had to come out from chl tc as a dp but hopefully I get to your 4 games a week eligibility, appreciate the love tho, love the article
     
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  8. MDConMan

    MDConMan SNP PSN Commissioner, Ex-Media Member

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    It should work itself out by the end of the season, that's why I use it. It can be a little rough during the season, especially early, as guys get called up. But that's why I gave you a shoutout anyway!
     
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  9. gatesse

    gatesse Well-Known Member

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    Just trying my best but last week was a shit week for me. Trying to figure it all out still lol
     
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  10. ll_Hillyer77_ll

    ll_Hillyer77_ll Well-Known Member

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    I’m still getting disrespected, I can’t even get in the who fell apart
     
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  11. Mooner2014

    Mooner2014 Well-Known Member

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    I’m bad it’s ok
     
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  12. Mooner2014

    Mooner2014 Well-Known Member

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    I need to be better
     
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  13. MDConMan

    MDConMan SNP PSN Commissioner, Ex-Media Member

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    I agree with your latter comment, you're better than this. Just gotta figure out what's in your head that's holding ya back and get back on the horse! I believe in you man!
     
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  14. Pikachuguy35

    Pikachuguy35 Well-Known Member

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    Chl’er for life... also my team has lost 12 games by 1 goal so far. But we definitely had some AIDS defense to start the season and it made playing goalie nearly impossible. Hopefully we have a big second half of the season and I can work my way up towards a decent save percentage
     
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  15. StackedPads

    StackedPads Formally Quick_Scope_14

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    The NHL needs media like this, great writeup!
     
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