SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting

Over at OperationSports he made some in-depth comments. I've copy and pasted here. Why can't these guys engage like this on their official forums?

Brian SCEA - Senior AI Programmer - MLB: The Show

One note on the difficulty change. The difference is 1/4 the gap between Veteran and Allstar (or 1/2 the difference between Veteran+ and Allstar in Dynamic). Another way of saying it is, every time you change difficulty in DD (through matchmaking, etc..), you blow way past this level of change by a factor of 4x (going from Veteran to Allstar is the same as applying the patch 4 times).

Between difficulty settings, the biggest result is you get more swing and misses and fouls on your worst swings. The swing feedback meaning doesn't really change (Perfect-Perfect, Squared Up, Good, Okay, etc..). Difficulty does not change the hit types - what changes is how often you earn them.

On hit type feedback, the strategy guide quotes the user stats from Beta. This is from averaging tens of thousands of users:
Batting average on Perfect Contact is around .850.

What this means is that 5 out of 6 P-P are going to end up hits on average. It's quite normal for one person to get 10 hits in a row and another person to go 2 for 5 - both people are playing the same game. To illustrate, I rolled random numbers 1 to 6, 5 times for each user. Imagine that 5 = an out on perfect-perfect:
14155
62422
23624
13266
42555
24334

User 1 went 3 for 5, and user 5 went 2 for 5. Users 2, 3, 4, 6 all went perfect 5 for 5.

Same thing goes for getting HRs with perfect-perfect. This is influenced by how you swing (flyballs or groundballs) and the batter's attribute (a pitcher is not going to HR as often), but otherwise the same idea applies. About 30% of perfect-perfect are HRs but you will get streaks naturally.

Last I checked, Squared Up was around 60-65% hits depending on type and attribute again. You are going to get streaks both ways.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by knucklecutter	

"I use 10 for both on HOF and they are for sure faster."

A 10 will be exactly 2.0 mph faster.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by countryboy	

I'm curious to see if default pitch speeds are changed at all with the update to the pitch speed slider.

They're the same. If they seem slow to you, that's because you are exceptional.

There are going to be a lot of people who see the pitches as slow. There are roughly exactly the same number of people who see the pitches as fast. This is trickier in two-player games because you need to negotiate some intermediate value.

The difference between a Legend user and an Allstar user is the same as the difference between the average MLB hitter an a pitcher. Yet there are many users starting out and well below Allstar.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by Dolenz	

There are so many bugs across so many modes that it is hard to get behind a patch that prioritizes hitting difficulty over bug fixes.

You would not want your plumber working on your electricity. So whoever works on the game's hitting is only looking at the hitting. Speaking only for myself, I looked at other parts of the game, I would probably break it. I barely understand it.

There are wider reasons for the hitting change, but they are related to the exit velo this year compared to last year. I don't know if any stream has mentioned it, but based on last year's game we wanted to make that sure as you ranked up in difficulty you still got hard hits - it will just be harder to make contact and put the ball into play. This patch has to happen sooner or later because it gets exposed more as you approach WS and build up your teams.

As the previous notes pointed out, Perfect-Perfect hasn't changed nor Squared Up. Anyone can hit a 450 HR on Legend DD, it just won't be easy. And as the previous post mentioned, it's a 1/4 difficulty change and difficulty doesn't affect the hit types but how often you get them. But I understand the patch just came out so people are going to judge based on the wording rather than what the patch does.

Simply put: Count the batting average on Perfect-Perfect - it's going to be unchanged in the long run.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by countryboy	

On the topic of pitching and to tie in with the community seeing an influx of homeruns, it seems to me that there are more "hangers/meatball" pitches in the game versus previous years, which I think is leading to more hard hit balls that in turn result in more homeruns. And this is happening with great/elite pitchers and not just a back end rotation starter who you may expect to leave more hittable pitches out over the plate.

I gather user stats twice a year for detailed analysis on topics like this. I hate to give strategy advice, so let me present some hard facts instead. Compared to MLB, users in our game are choosing to throw too many strikes to power hitters. It's fine to throw strikes to most of the lineup, but in MLB pitchers pitch differently when a power guy walks up. Most of our users don't do that.

Maybe there's something else wrong with the game. Whatever that might be, this blows that away. I can go into the detailed numbers on why this has to be for good pitching strategy, but there are hundreds of articles on this. So I'll speak very generally for illustration.

Most of the time in both MLB and the game, a hanging pitch is not even a hit. The batter doesn't swing, or misses, or fouls, or hits it for a normal out even if solid. The difference is with a power hitter, you are risking a HR versus an out - compared to a regular hitter being more often a 1B or 2B versus an out. For simplicity that's a gap of 4 bases versus a gap of 1.5 bases. The risk reward ratio is totally different.

So you walk power hitters a lot when you 'dont have to'. You would think that contact hitters are better at taking balls than power hitters - and they are. But who gets the most walks? Check the leaderboards. On a good year Gallo will get 70+ walks. Ichiro could hope for 50. This is not because Gallo is more careful about what he swings at - but how pitchers pitch around him.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by JoshC1977	

Also, Brian, are you able to elaborate on which slider solution might help minimize this without other deleterious effects? I'm convinced an increase to CPU Pitch Control is a viable option (rather than decreasing strike frequency as that seems to alter how the AI pitches to the user). However, I'd love your take if you're able to provide one.

Pitch control is probably the slider you want.

I'm interested in what is the right balance for pitching, but without all the facts I can't say what's right. Imagine I knew for sure that pitching should be more accurate - should we even change that still? A patch like that would mean two things a) "I lost my game because it's easy to pitch and they nerfed hitting again". I don't mind that, people are always entitled to complain. And b) "The patch made me hit into a double play with Mike Trout. The patch made my squared up hit into an out" - which the patch could not possibly have done but is also impossible to deny (any change to pitch location, even random, will change your hit result through the butterfly effect).

So as a rule, I focus on things that are necessary to fix specific problems. And I think it's important not to change the balance between hitting and pitching unless it's going to preempt a problem later. It helps that offense is high and still is, but that's not the main reason for the difficulty change.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by countryboy	

*Thank you for the explanation Brian, greatly appreciated.

I re-read my post and failed to mention that I was referring to the CPU leaving to many hittable pitches over the plate. As a user, I understand that my hangers/meatballs are a result of my own doing, meaning I made a mistake in user input thus resulting in the outcome.

I don't know if this changes anything in regards to the response, but wanted to ensure that the question I was asking was complete and I apologize for omitting "CPU" from my original post.

Again, appreciate you taking the time to provide us with this feedback.*

The CPU isn't trying to hang pitches, but they miss. When I looked at this, the CPU location is pretty continuous. What I mean by that is for example:
https://library.fangraphs.com/misc/heatmaps/

Occasionally Rivera is trying to throw down the middle, but more often he's working one side and it happens to miss and land there. However, down the middle is no more frequent than the sides. I've looked at different settings and modes and the CPU appears the same. But I can't speak to your individual experience.

You can use the pitch control slider to adjust this. If you're getting a lot of success against these pitches, it's also going to be in part to your skill - either difficulty setting or how well you react against pitches down the middle. A lot of people actually struggle on a pitch down the middle because they're expecting the worse, but your 'optimistic' approach (assuming you're successful) is better.

Quote:	
Originally Posted by JoshC1977	

My question was more...IF an offline user were to desire a greater tendency for CPU pitchers to "nibble" (without increasing the base difficulty), is there a "best" approach (via slider adjustments) in your opinion in which this could be accomplished without overly impacting other aspects of the game?

You want to use the sliders in that case, but as far as what you change this differs from person to person so you would know better than me. Allstar is designed for the average person to play very similar to MLB - but almost nobody is average.

Man he really dodged that hanger question

can someone summarize? hard to read on the phone.

@ImDFC said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

Man he really dodged that hanger question

@SurfinSantaCruz said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

can someone summarize? hard to read on the phone.

Basically justifying why they changed hitting, so as your team gets better with higher rated cards it stays competitive. We're stuck with this hitting for awhile.

His comments on walks and comparing real life MLB to a video game is annoying... it's a f'n video game!

@MadderBumgarner said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

Over at OperationSports he made some in-depth comments. I've copy and pasted here. Why can't these guys engage like this on their official forums?

Brian SCEA - Senior AI Programmer - MLB: The Show

One note on the difficulty change. The difference is 1/4 the gap between Veteran and Allstar (or 1/2 the difference between Veteran+ and Allstar in Dynamic). Another way of saying it is, every time you change difficulty in DD (through matchmaking, etc..), you blow way past this level of change by a factor of 4x (going from Veteran to Allstar is the same as applying the patch 4 times).

Between difficulty settings, the biggest result is you get more swing and misses and fouls on your worst swings. The swing feedback meaning doesn't really change (Perfect-Perfect, Squared Up, Good, Okay, etc..). Difficulty does not change the hit types - what changes is how often you earn them.

On hit type feedback, the strategy guide quotes the user stats from Beta. This is from averaging tens of thousands of users:
Batting average on Perfect Contact is around .850.

What this means is that 5 out of 6 P-P are going to end up hits on average. It's quite normal for one person to get 10 hits in a row and another person to go 2 for 5 - both people are playing the same game. To illustrate, I rolled random numbers 1 to 6, 5 times for each user. Imagine that 5 = an out on perfect-perfect:
14155
62422
23624
13266
42555
24334

User 1 went 3 for 5, and user 5 went 2 for 5. Users 2, 3, 4, 6 all went perfect 5 for 5.

Same thing goes for getting HRs with perfect-perfect. This is influenced by how you swing (flyballs or groundballs) and the batter's attribute (a pitcher is not going to HR as often), but otherwise the same idea applies. About 30% of perfect-perfect are HRs but you will get streaks naturally.

Last I checked, Squared Up was around 60-65% hits depending on type and attribute again. You are going to get streaks both ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklecutter

"I use 10 for both on HOF and they are for sure faster."

A 10 will be exactly 2.0 mph faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by countryboy

I'm curious to see if default pitch speeds are changed at all with the update to the pitch speed slider.

They're the same. If they seem slow to you, that's because you are exceptional.

There are going to be a lot of people who see the pitches as slow. There are roughly exactly the same number of people who see the pitches as fast. This is trickier in two-player games because you need to negotiate some intermediate value.

The difference between a Legend user and an Allstar user is the same as the difference between the average MLB hitter an a pitcher. Yet there are many users starting out and well below Allstar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolenz

There are so many bugs across so many modes that it is hard to get behind a patch that prioritizes hitting difficulty over bug fixes.

You would not want your plumber working on your electricity. So whoever works on the game's hitting is only looking at the hitting. Speaking only for myself, I looked at other parts of the game, I would probably break it. I barely understand it.

There are wider reasons for the hitting change, but they are related to the exit velo this year compared to last year. I don't know if any stream has mentioned it, but based on last year's game we wanted to make that sure as you ranked up in difficulty you still got hard hits - it will just be harder to make contact and put the ball into play. This patch has to happen sooner or later because it gets exposed more as you approach WS and build up your teams.

As the previous notes pointed out, Perfect-Perfect hasn't changed nor Squared Up. Anyone can hit a 450 HR on Legend DD, it just won't be easy. And as the previous post mentioned, it's a 1/4 difficulty change and difficulty doesn't affect the hit types but how often you get them. But I understand the patch just came out so people are going to judge based on the wording rather than what the patch does.

Simply put: Count the batting average on Perfect-Perfect - it's going to be unchanged in the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by countryboy

On the topic of pitching and to tie in with the community seeing an influx of homeruns, it seems to me that there are more "hangers/meatball" pitches in the game versus previous years, which I think is leading to more hard hit balls that in turn result in more homeruns. And this is happening with great/elite pitchers and not just a back end rotation starter who you may expect to leave more hittable pitches out over the plate.

I gather user stats twice a year for detailed analysis on topics like this. I hate to give strategy advice, so let me present some hard facts instead. Compared to MLB, users in our game are choosing to throw too many strikes to power hitters. It's fine to throw strikes to most of the lineup, but in MLB pitchers pitch differently when a power guy walks up. Most of our users don't do that.

Maybe there's something else wrong with the game. Whatever that might be, this blows that away. I can go into the detailed numbers on why this has to be for good pitching strategy, but there are hundreds of articles on this. So I'll speak very generally for illustration.

Most of the time in both MLB and the game, a hanging pitch is not even a hit. The batter doesn't swing, or misses, or fouls, or hits it for a normal out even if solid. The difference is with a power hitter, you are risking a HR versus an out - compared to a regular hitter being more often a 1B or 2B versus an out. For simplicity that's a gap of 4 bases versus a gap of 1.5 bases. The risk reward ratio is totally different.

So you walk power hitters a lot when you 'dont have to'. You would think that contact hitters are better at taking balls than power hitters - and they are. But who gets the most walks? Check the leaderboards. On a good year Gallo will get 70+ walks. Ichiro could hope for 50. This is not because Gallo is more careful about what he swings at - but how pitchers pitch around him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshC1977

Also, Brian, are you able to elaborate on which slider solution might help minimize this without other deleterious effects? I'm convinced an increase to CPU Pitch Control is a viable option (rather than decreasing strike frequency as that seems to alter how the AI pitches to the user). However, I'd love your take if you're able to provide one.

Pitch control is probably the slider you want.

I'm interested in what is the right balance for pitching, but without all the facts I can't say what's right. Imagine I knew for sure that pitching should be more accurate - should we even change that still? A patch like that would mean two things a) "I lost my game because it's easy to pitch and they nerfed hitting again". I don't mind that, people are always entitled to complain. And b) "The patch made me hit into a double play with Mike Trout. The patch made my squared up hit into an out" - which the patch could not possibly have done but is also impossible to deny (any change to pitch location, even random, will change your hit result through the butterfly effect).

So as a rule, I focus on things that are necessary to fix specific problems. And I think it's important not to change the balance between hitting and pitching unless it's going to preempt a problem later. It helps that offense is high and still is, but that's not the main reason for the difficulty change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by countryboy

*Thank you for the explanation Brian, greatly appreciated.

I re-read my post and failed to mention that I was referring to the CPU leaving to many hittable pitches over the plate. As a user, I understand that my hangers/meatballs are a result of my own doing, meaning I made a mistake in user input thus resulting in the outcome.

I don't know if this changes anything in regards to the response, but wanted to ensure that the question I was asking was complete and I apologize for omitting "CPU" from my original post.

Again, appreciate you taking the time to provide us with this feedback.*

The CPU isn't trying to hang pitches, but they miss. When I looked at this, the CPU location is pretty continuous. What I mean by that is for example:
https://library.fangraphs.com/misc/heatmaps/

Occasionally Rivera is trying to throw down the middle, but more often he's working one side and it happens to miss and land there. However, down the middle is no more frequent than the sides. I've looked at different settings and modes and the CPU appears the same. But I can't speak to your individual experience.

You can use the pitch control slider to adjust this. If you're getting a lot of success against these pitches, it's also going to be in part to your skill - either difficulty setting or how well you react against pitches down the middle. A lot of people actually struggle on a pitch down the middle because they're expecting the worse, but your 'optimistic' approach (assuming you're successful) is better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshC1977

My question was more...IF an offline user were to desire a greater tendency for CPU pitchers to "nibble" (without increasing the base difficulty), is there a "best" approach (via slider adjustments) in your opinion in which this could be accomplished without overly impacting other aspects of the game?

You want to use the sliders in that case, but as far as what you change this differs from person to person so you would know better than me. Allstar is designed for the average person to play very similar to MLB - but almost nobody is average.

This is called blowing smoke up butts

Yeah, the thing about pitching to power hitters is dumb. People in this game absolutely wont swing at pitches out of the zone, and things like low sinkers are hit for bombs when in real life they would be hit into the dirt.

Plus as we move forward lineups are going to be 8 power hitters deep, you cant pitch around the whole lineup.

Explaining a bad patch by saying 'pitch around power hitters more often' is nuts. Seems almost totally beside the point.

Not to mention, your change up 3 feet low might go right down the middle with perfect release.

Not to mention, how you pitch vs. CPU vs. head-to-head vs. real baseball are all totally different.

This pattern they get into ever year with comparing changes they make to real baseball is so frustrating. Remember that stream they did showing clips of real baseball?!?

This is a game that is meant to be fun! Why not measure changes needed based on feedback from YOUR COMMUNITY instead of "user stats data analysis" feedback?

Was it fun? Yes. Is it fun now? No. Well that's all the feedback you need Brian.

@MadderBumgarner said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

@SurfinSantaCruz said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

can someone summarize? hard to read on the phone.

Basically justifying why they changed hitting, so as your team gets better with higher rated cards it stays competitive. We're stuck with this hitting for awhile.

His comments on walks and comparing real life MLB to a video game is annoying... it's a f'n video game!

this is a sim video game, they pride themselves on putting out a realistic product similar to its real life counterpart. this isnt madden. any show vet will tell you that they take pride in being as close to real baseball as they can get. dont like it go play mlb 2k on the xbox 360.

@MoBigDaddyDongs said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

@MadderBumgarner said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

@SurfinSantaCruz said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

can someone summarize? hard to read on the phone.

Basically justifying why they changed hitting, so as your team gets better with higher rated cards it stays competitive. We're stuck with this hitting for awhile.

His comments on walks and comparing real life MLB to a video game is annoying... it's a f'n video game!

this is a sim video game, they pride themselves on putting out a realistic product similar to its real life counterpart. this isnt madden. any show vet will tell you that they take pride in being as close to real baseball as they can get. dont like it go play mlb 2k on the xbox 360.

I think they had a nice balance going pre patch based on the response from people on these forums. But I'm glad the vets are happy BigDaddy.

"Compared to MLB, users in our game are choosing to throw too many strikes to power hitters. It's fine to throw strikes to most of the lineup, but in MLB pitchers pitch differently when a power guy walks up. Most of our users don't do that."

the issue is that most good DD teams have 7-8 high power hitters. You can't pitch around 8 batters.

@lumber_dan said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

"Compared to MLB, users in our game are choosing to throw too many strikes to power hitters. It's fine to throw strikes to most of the lineup, but in MLB pitchers pitch differently when a power guy walks up. Most of our users don't do that."

the issue is that most good DD teams have 7-8 high power hitters. You can't pitch around 8 batters.

That’s the choice that users are making though - teams full of power hitters. And that’s the reason an unrestricted DD is the problem.

@lumber_dan said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

"Compared to MLB, users in our game are choosing to throw too many strikes to power hitters. It's fine to throw strikes to most of the lineup, but in MLB pitchers pitch differently when a power guy walks up. Most of our users don't do that."

the issue is that most good DD teams have 7-8 high power hitters. You can't pitch around 8 batters.

It sounds like they made a system that guaranteed a hr for any perfect flyball from an 80+pwr player, then when everyone only used 80+pwr players, they were surprised and nerfed hitting altogether.

100%. I’m totally okay with having the team you like, but such a bogus excuse that people are throwing too many strikes to Power hitters when 7 out of 9 people in the opposing team’s lineup has 75 power and up.

@GradektheBard said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

@lumber_dan said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

"Compared to MLB, users in our game are choosing to throw too many strikes to power hitters. It's fine to throw strikes to most of the lineup, but in MLB pitchers pitch differently when a power guy walks up. Most of our users don't do that."

the issue is that most good DD teams have 7-8 high power hitters. You can't pitch around 8 batters.

It sounds like they made a system that guaranteed a hr for any perfect flyball from an 80+pwr player, then when everyone only used 80+pwr players, they were surprised and nerfed hitting altogether.

Which is what everyone does every year. I do like the new perfect perfect system over MLB '19

@MadderBumgarner said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

This pattern they get into ever year with comparing changes they make to real baseball is so frustrating. Remember that stream they did showing clips of real baseball?!?

This is a game that is meant to be fun! Why not measure changes needed based on feedback from YOUR COMMUNITY instead of "user stats data analysis" feedback?

Was it fun? Yes. Is it fun now? No. Well that's all the feedback you need Brian.

The quantitative telemetry data is 100% accurate and unbiased and represents 100% of the player base. Qualitative feedback (from forum posts here and OS etc) has a high risk of bias and represents less than 1% of the players (on this forum it’s probably less than 0.1%).

I just wanna know how they didn't see this coming with all the time they tested it. Do they all suck at the game over there? Lol. It just feels extremely unorganized and like they're just playing "guess and check" and that sucks.

@Red_Ted_is_back said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

@MadderBumgarner said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

This pattern they get into ever year with comparing changes they make to real baseball is so frustrating. Remember that stream they did showing clips of real baseball?!?

This is a game that is meant to be fun! Why not measure changes needed based on feedback from YOUR COMMUNITY instead of "user stats data analysis" feedback?

Was it fun? Yes. Is it fun now? No. Well that's all the feedback you need Brian.

The quantitative telemetry data is 100% accurate and unbiased and represents 100% of the player base. Qualitative feedback (from forum posts here and OS etc) has a high risk of bias and represents less than 1% of the players (on this forum it’s probably less than 0.1%).

But telemetry doesn’t measure fun. The community by a vast majority seemed to love the hitting at launch. Regardless of telemetry (especially since launch version was designed with both beta input and other play testing), they should have let the game alone because people enjoyed it.

@Red_Ted_is_back said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

@MadderBumgarner said in SDS Dev "Brian SCEA" comments on hitting:

This pattern they get into ever year with comparing changes they make to real baseball is so frustrating. Remember that stream they did showing clips of real baseball?!?

This is a game that is meant to be fun! Why not measure changes needed based on feedback from YOUR COMMUNITY instead of "user stats data analysis" feedback?

Was it fun? Yes. Is it fun now? No. Well that's all the feedback you need Brian.

The quantitative telemetry data is 100% accurate and unbiased and represents 100% of the player base. Qualitative feedback (from forum posts here and OS etc) has a high risk of bias and represents less than 1% of the players (on this forum it’s probably less than 0.1%).

this is the kind of stuff that got New Coke put on the shelves

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