'NCAA 11' to play like an ESPN broadcast

May, 10, 2010
By Jon Robinson
NCAA Football 11EA Sports"NCAA Football 11" features dynamic new ESPN presentation.

When I posted my interview with Tim Tebow about "NCAA Football 11," one picture in particular caught every die-hard gamer's attention. Forget the shots of Tebow yelling into the camera or diving for the ball, it was the picture I took of the cover boy playing an early build of the game that might have been the most telling, and definitely created the most buzz.

Was that game clock part of some new ESPN presentation in the game?

Who would've thought one picture with a game being played in the distance would start the hype rolling for what has become the most anticipated new presentation offerings in "NCAA Football 11."

"That picture got everyone talking," says Greg Heddlesten, one of the designers of the new game. "I don't know if they zoomed in or Crime Scene Investigated the photo or what, but after you posted your interview, people knew right away that there was new ESPN presentation in the game.

"We've had the ESPN license for so long, but we've only really dabbled with what we could do with ESPN in our game before. We would have the news ticker and the radio updates if you went online, but we never went beyond that. So now, we're really taking ESPN to the next level in 'NCAA Football 11' and trying to inject it everywhere."

As for exactly what gamers will find from ESPN in "NCAA 11," Heddlesten provided us with a list of details.

  • Game Clock: As some of you recently speculated in the Tim Tebow interview article, the game clock has been updated to reflect the new visual style that ESPN revealed during bowl season. We've recreated nearly every animation in the game clock from the Touchdown animation to how the clock opens out from the single ESPN cell.

  • Banners: Banners received a face lift to match the ESPN style with new data like home town info for impact and injured player banners. In addition, we've also created a "Dual Threat" banner to support our mobile quarterbacks once they hit a certain threshold of passing yards and rushing yards, we'll throw that up there and let you know how he's doing. In the past, the banners have focused on one particular stat type, but now we're able to show you multiple stats per player to tell you how big of an impact he's really having on the game.

  • Replay Wipes: ESPN logo intro wipe plays as you start the replay and outro wipe plays as you exit back to the field. These aren't just videos played back over the screen, the wipe is actually a fully animated 3D animation rendered in real time. This really helps add to that huge broadcast feel throughout the game.

  • The Monolith: It's our take on the broadcast bumper you see before every game with the College Football shield logo. It has two giant monitors with the teams that are playing blasting out of it. You have the College Football logo with all of the lighting. There is a pedestal in the middle of the monolith, so if you're playing for the National Championship or if you're playing for a rivalry trophy, that trophy is sitting right there. It really lets you know that this game is all about the Golden Hat or this game is all about the BCS National Championship. All of this is completely rendered real time in the stadium you are about to play in and helps us kick off the broadcast.

  • Update UI in the Main Menu and Screens: The new ESPN look wasn't only integrated into the in-game broadcast. The entire game has been accentuated by the ESPN style to really give the entire game a new television broadcast theme. When you hear that theme, you know, oh man, this is going to be awesome.

  • Other ESPN additions: You can now filter ESPN news articles by you favorite sports, conferences and teams. ESPNU also lists their top 150 recruits that are available in your dynasty.

    Adds Heddlesten: "All of this adds a fresh coat of paint to 'NCAA Football 11' and really brings a cool new vibe to the franchise that we haven't had before. We wanted to add everything from the sound to the graphics so that you feel like you're participating in an actual broadcast, not just playing a video game."

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