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  #1  
Unread 09-06-2010, 07:11 AM
Adam Ryland Adam Ryland is offline
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Exclamation World of Mixed Martial Arts III: Developer's Journal

Welcome to the WMMA3 Developer's Journal!

As announced last month, WMMA3 is going to be released toward the end of this year via Grey Dog Software. The Developer's Journal is a feature we've run in the past to help launch games, and has proved very popular; basically, every single weekday you will get another entry in which I talk about one or more additions or alterations that have been made to the game. This helps build a picture of what you can expect when the game is released.

Before we begin, we'll start with a few Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: When will this be released and how much will it cost?
A: It is scheduled for release in late 2010. At the moment we are aiming for sometime around early December, but this is a tentative schedule as the game is still in production. We will announce a more specific date a few weeks before the game is released. It will cost $34.95

Q: Do I get a discount if I have purchased WMMA2 or a previous Grey Dog game?
A: No.

Q: Is the game written from scratch?
A: No; WMMA3 is written on top of WMMA2. This is because the previous game has proven to be a very stable and popular engine, and so there is little point in reinventing the wheel. This also means that all the development time has been spent on improving the game, not on rewriting the basics.

Q: Will WMMA2 databases be compatible?
A: Not directly, but WMMA3 comes with a converter that will update a WMMA2 database to make it compatible. The converted databases will be instantly playable, although they may need some minor work to incorporate some of the new features.

Q: Will WMMA2 save games be compatible?
A: No; although the game is written on top of WMMA2, they are two entirely separate games.

Q: Will the game use ELicense security? If so, how many licenses do I get?
A: Yes it does use ELicense, and it will be one license as with all the previous WMMA games.

Now, without further delay, let's begin...
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  #2  
Unread 09-06-2010, 07:23 AM
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To give some indication of the size of WMMA3, at last count there were well over 200 additions \ modifications \ improvements from the previous version, not including minor tweaks or cosmetic changes. The intention is that this developer's journal will include 100 entries, so some things will be left to be discovered by the players on release day.

As a word of warning, please do not start trying to "figure out" the significance of the order in which the features are announced or why certain features are announced on certain days - other than preferring to announce the larger features on a Friday (so that they can be discussed over the weekend), there is no plan behind the entries, they'll be purely based on what I feel like talking about that day.

#1: Watching The Enemy

One of the most requested features from WMMA2 will make its debut in the new game, and that is the ability to watch matches that are being held on other promotion's shows. These matches are shown "live" as they happen, and use the same format and commentary as they would be if they were being held by the player's own promotion; therefore you can skip to the end, save reports, etc, just as you can do with your own fights.

For maximum user friendliness, the player can select one of seven options (which can be changed at any time from the Options menu) which control which matches to watch:

None - The player does not see any AI matches at all.
Major Matches Only - Only matches that achieved a certain "anticipation" level are shown.
Main Events Only - Only the main event of each show is shown.
All Matches - The player sees every single match that is held.
All Matches Bar Prelims - The player sees every match that is held on the main show.
All Matches Involving Shortlisted Fighters - The player sees every match that involved at least one person who is currently shortlisted.
Manual Selection - The player is asked whether he wants to watch each match in turn; answering Yes loads the match.
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  #3  
Unread 09-07-2010, 03:56 AM
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#2: Super Shortlist

The shortlist feature has had a complete overhaul for WMMA3, turning it into a very useful and user-friendly tool.

Once a fighter is added to the shortlist, nine tick boxes become available; these allow the user to customise exactly how the shortlist should work for that specific fighter. To make the feature as easy to use as possible, there are various extras (like being able to apply the same custom settings to everyone, to save a default setting that will be applied to everyone who is added to the shortlist, etc) included.

Eight of the choices are:

- Alert when this fighter's employment status is altered in any way
- Alert when this fighter signs up to a match
- Alert when this fighter can be watched in a match (see previous entry)
- Alert when this fighter is injured
- Alert when this fighter returns from injury or absence
- Alert when this fighter announces retirement
- Alert when this fighter fails a drug test
- Alert when this fighter moves from or to a new camp

The ninth relates to a feature that has yet to be announced and will be covered later in the journal.

If an alert is ticked, that means an e-mail will be sent to the player when that criteria is met (except for when he is in a match that you want to watch; this is done as described in journal entry #1). This allows you to use the shortlist for different reasons for different people. For example, you may add a personal favourite to the shortlist purely so that you are alerted and can watch his matches, not caring about his contract status or anything else.

On top of these new features, the Shortlist now includes the ability to clear the list entirely in one go and also for the list to be filtered.
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  #4  
Unread 09-08-2010, 04:40 AM
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#3: Of The Night

New to WMMA3 are post-show bonus awards. For each show, whether human or AI controlled, there are potentially three awards that can be handed out; Knock Out Of The Night, Submission Of The Night, and Fight Of The Night. These are calculated by the computer and shown on screen (if awarded).

Furthermore, all Of The Night awards are stored so that you can not only go back and review them via the results page, but also see a list of all the awards a fighter has achieved in his career via his profile. This can help when deciding who to sign, as clearly a fighter with lots of Fight Of The Night honours is likely to be an exciting competitor.
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  #5  
Unread 09-09-2010, 03:45 AM
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#4: Bad Calls

One of the smaller of the huge number of improvements to the match engine is the addition of bad calls. Although infrequent, referees can now make controversial (or just flat-out wrong) decisions during a match; primarily these revolve around too early or too late stoppages. The controversy is mentioned during the commentary itself. This feature helps add to the overall realism of the engine.
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  #6  
Unread 09-10-2010, 04:14 AM
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#5: Competitive Credibility

The first of the big game-changing features to be announced is Competitive Credibility. This is a measure of the quality of a promotion's roster and is used to simulate the fans' view of the fighters.

Once a company becomes large enough to be eligible, Competitive Credibility is worked out before each show (you can also check it at any time via your Office). The calculations are quite complex, but the basic idea is that the game checks each weight class for fighters who are in the world rankings; the #1 ranked fighter may be worth 100 points, the #2 fighter worth 80, and so forth (NB: these figures are not the real ones, they are just to make the explanation easier to follow). The total number of points scored is compared to the total number of points that were available to create an overall percentage.

This overall percentage is compared to a threshold number; the bigger the promotion, the higher the number (and therefore the tougher the task). If the company has less points than the threshold then they are not considered credible; this means the fans think the roster is weak as it doesn't contain enough highly ranked fighters. (An example of this in reality would be StrikeForce, which clearly suffers from it's weak talent pool.) If this is the case, the company will lose popularity over time, with the amount being relative to how badly they missed the threshold.

If the company does hit the threshold then they are considered to have a credible roster, and therefore avoid all penalties. If they score highly enough, they can even gain extra popularity per show.

This has a huge impact on the game in several ways.

Firstly, it balances the game out. In WMMA1 and WMMA2, popular fighters were always far more valuable than skilled fighters. This is now not the case, as successful, ranked fighters become a key element to a company's success. You can't rely on one or the other, you need a balance.

Secondly, it impacts roster building and bidding wars, especially in a world where there is more than one big company. There are (obviously) only a finite amount of ranked fighters in the world - with high thresholds, every company is going to be wanting to desperately sign them in order to remain competitive. If there are enough companies there actually may be too few points to go around, in which case ranked fighters become like gold dust.

Thirdly, relating to the last point, ranked fighters now have more leverage in negotiations, especially if they're also really popular. A Lesnar type fighter who has both enormous popularity and is successful is going to be able to demand huge money as he becomes an enormously powerful strategic weapon. It also means that dull-but-successful fighters become a gamble; a Jon Fitch type of fighter, for example, may not be providing you with the most exciting fights due to his style, but do you really want to be handing a very highly ranked fighter to your opponents?

Fourthly, match making gets an added strategic element. Rankings, of course, change regularly and you need to be aware of that. If you have a hot prospect you clearly want to build him up in both popularity and ranking as quickly as possible....but now you have to be more careful. You could feed him other ranked fighters so that he can "steal" their popularity and success, but then you run the big risk of actually knocking these sacrificial lambs out of the rankings entirely, weakening your overall credibility rating.

There's also several other smaller impacts, such as the fact that building your own success stories can be even more rewarding. Overall though, the addition of Competitive Credibility brings far more depth and strategy to the game.
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  #7  
Unread 09-13-2010, 03:40 AM
Adam Ryland Adam Ryland is offline
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This week will be used to look at some of the new stats that have been added to the game.

#6: Creative Striking

Creative Striking is a new stat that is found in Fighter -> Standing Skills. Very simply, it's a measure of the variety of unorthodox, unusual or spectacular strikes that a fighter can use. A fighter with a low score will be limited to using "regular" punches and kicks, whereas a fighter with a higher score will be able to start using spinning kicks, spinning elbows, flying knees and other crowd pleasing moves.

The addition of this stat allows for better simulation of real fighters.
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  #8  
Unread 09-14-2010, 04:43 AM
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#7: Submission Knowledge

This is essentially the "ground version" of the last entry, creative striking.

An addition to Fighter -> Ground Skills, Submission Knowledge is used as basis for knowing what submission holds a fighter has access to. A fighter with a very low score will only be able to attempt basic techniques like guillotines, whereas a fighter with a very high score will have gogoplatas, peruvian neckties and rolling kneebars stored in his arsenal. It should be noted that it does not indicate how good their skills are at actually finishing the fight with these holds, that remains the domain of their normal submission values.

As with the previous entry, this allows for a better simulation of real fighters.
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  #9  
Unread 09-15-2010, 05:37 AM
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#8: Head Movement

An addition to Fighter -> Standing, Head Movement is self-evidently the fighter's ability to use head movement to avoid or slip past punches.

This new stat also brings with it two new sets of commentary for the fight engine, as a fighter can use his head movement to let strikes sail harmlessly by or to slip \ roll past the punch in order to set up a quick counter-strike from close range.

Head Movement's addition allows for better simulation of fighters, particularly those with boxing pedigree.
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  #10  
Unread 09-16-2010, 05:48 AM
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#9: Feints

Another addition to Fighter -> Standing is Feints. This covers how good a fighter is at using tricky feints to his advantage.

This stat also brings about the addition of a whole new section of commentary, in which the attacker tries to use feints to set up an attack. If successful, you'll see custom commentary where the attacking fighter sets up certain strikes via the use of feints, for example faking a strike to the body to get the opponent to lower his hands only to go high to attack his now-unprotected head. There is also commentary if the fakes don't work, which gives fights a more realistic feel.

Although it is not directly related to the stat itself, there is also an off-shoot section of commentary whereby fighters can do an alternate type of feint - the fake takedown. This is not controlled by the Feint stat, but by their normal takedown abilities, and is used by fighters to get the opponent to drop their hands or get ready to sprawl, leaving them open to surprise strikes. This is technically a second addition to the game, but I'm grouping them together as they are closely related in their purpose.
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  #11  
Unread 09-17-2010, 05:19 AM
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#10: Scrambling

A key skill in reality, Scrambling has now been added as a separate stat to Fighter -> Ground Skills.

This stat has two primary uses; the first is when the two fighters are on the ground, in which case the fighter on the bottom can quickly scramble to try and get a better position or regain his feet, and the second is immediately upon being taken down, in which case the defending fighter can try and scramble to immediately pop back up.

As with the other stats mentioned this week, this is to add a greater sense of reality to proceedings.
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  #12  
Unread 09-20-2010, 04:03 AM
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#11: The Declaration Of Independence

Independent shows (the small AI-controlled events that are not linked to a "big" company) have been given an overhaul for WMMA3. The new format is that each fight now takes place between an unemployed worker and a specially generated "local" fighter.

This local fighters have poor stats and are basically fodder for the unemployed fighter to pick up a win (it should be noted that there is no 'cheating' involved, it is a legitimate match and the local fighter could potentially win - it's just highly unlikely). He (or she) exists only temporarily for the match, and then disappears. The user can select from the Options menu whether the fighter should get a proper randomly-generated name or simply be called Local Fighter, as it will appear on the unemployed fighter's win\loss record.

This new format has two big advantages.

The first is that it allows low-level fighters the chance to re-build themselves; if they've suffered lots of losses recently and have become basically unemployable, a spell on the independent scene will allow them to build themselves back up and re-establish themselves as potential signings for smaller companies. This ensures that you don't get a situation where the bottom-of-the-barrel fighters end up perpetually unemployed.

The second is that it allows a much more natural way for rookies to develop. Fighters coming in with a 0-0 record can build themselves up a nice undefeated streak while simultaneously improving their skills and gaining experience, without the pressure of doing it in bigger companies where they're much more likely to get upset or face difficult opponents.

To recap, the feature essentially works as a natural stabiliser for the game world; building up the next generation of talent while simultaneously refreshing the pool of low-level fighters, all in a realistic way.
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  #13  
Unread 09-21-2010, 04:30 AM
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#12: Recorded Finishers

An often-requested addition, WMMA3 will be the first game in the series where not only is the type of finish stored (KO, TKO, Submission, etc) but also the method. This is shown in the format of "Submission (Guillotine)" throughout the game.
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  #14  
Unread 09-22-2010, 04:16 AM
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#13: A Question Of PRIDE

A third method of judging a fight has been added to WMMA3, on top of 10 Point Must and Automatic Draw, and that's the PRIDE system. Under these rules, the fight is judged as a whole rather than round-by-round. This allows the defunct Japanese company to be simulated properly.
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  #15  
Unread 09-23-2010, 04:06 AM
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#14: Feeling Foggy

The way fighter's stats are presented in WMMA3 has been completely overhauled, with the old "belt" system being removed entirely and replaced by a new "fog of war" type system.

The way the system works is that the level of "fog" is calculated by looking at how many fights the person has completed. There are twenty different levels, ranging from Level 1 ("extremely foggy" - the fighter hasn't debuted) to Level 20 ("clear" - the fighter has an extensive history of fights).

The "fog" impacts two things - the AMOUNT of scouting categories and the ACCURACY of the data. For example, at the very lowest level you would have a very small amount of very wide-ranging categories; "Striking", "Wrestling", etc, etc. The accuracy would also be very poor, giving you results like "Good", "Mediocre", and "Bad".

Each time the fighter goes up a level, either the amount or accuracy increases (they alternate). So, by the time you reach the higher levels, you are seeing a large number of very specific categories and are getting very accurate results. For example, whereas at level 1 you may just have seen "Striking = Good", by the time you reach the higher levels you might have that broken down into lots of individual categories (punching power, low kicking technique, etc) and be getting results that tell you they're in the "90 - 95%" range.

This system mimics reality (the more a fighter competes, the better your understanding of his strengths and weaknesses is), prevents people from just cherry-picking rookies based on their stats, and provides a more strategic gameplay experience.
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