Did anyone play these games (for the SNES) as a kid? (or maybe still once in a while when they were older?) Anyways, I fired it up the other day, and I started thinking about how the game actually works. For the uninformed, there are many teams, and many players on each team, each of whom has unique stats (speed, intelligence, agility, etc). Naturally, making the best team means picking the best players. (You can trade players between teams.) I thought that it'd be nice to dump the stats of all the players so they can be sorted/viewed/compared easily in excel, and set out to do it, but I was quickly stumped, because:
(1) The names of the players are not stored in a simple way. Doing relative searches for names in a hex editor yielded nothing. It must use some kind of multi-byte encoding.
(2) The stats aren't stored in a simple way. They're nominally between 0 and 100, but there's only multiples of 5. Thus, it's homo-morphic-whatever to a scale of 0 to 20, so maybe they're stored like that. Or maybe a non-multiple of 5 is actually possible; I don't know.
But even if I dumped all the stats, I don't know what each means. Some are obvious, like SPD (speed), but what does INT (intelligence) do for a player? Furthermore, if you go into the substitutions screen during a game, you see even more stats that you don't see on the trading screen. (The trading screen lists only SPD, INT, and AGI.) I can deduce what most of the acronyms mean, but some baffle me, like PCVR. (Cornerbacks and safeties have it. Maybe it means "P---- CoVeRage"?) Searching Google for football acronyms hasn't helped. To further confuse things, sometimes a statistic is just a clone of another, like INT and ACC (accuracy), and AGI and SCR (scramble) for quarterbacks, and INT and AWR (awareness) for linebackers. Yet for wide-receivers, INT seems to be unique, and not of clone of either BRTK or HND (break-tackle and hands).
Does anybody have some suggestions about how to do this? Has somebody already dumped the stats for these games?
I was a big fan of Madden '97 for the SNES. I thought it was interesting that EA had been using the same SNES-based engine from 97 & 98 for the Gameboy Advanced version right up until 2004. I'd played the game extensively as it always gave me a nice nostalgia buzz for the way football was when I was a kid (its a lot different now both IRL and in videogame form).
I'd like to comment on a few interesting quirks I noticed about the SNES '97 version... You could draft have players at one position EG Free Safety and then convert them to a Linebacker by exploiting a glitch with the salary cap limit. This would allow for atypical jersey numbers playing in different positions, a linebacker with a 20s 30s or 40s number, or if you will a running back with a 80s number or receiver with a 20s 30s 40s number.
One thing I thought was really odd was that the NFLPA's kick returner and punt returners were available to be traded, yet they couldn't actually be traded due to the game's inability to trade kick and punt returners to other teams. I always wondered if this was a feature that could be unlocked through modification or hack. My favorite team was Indianapolis, and I always hated that Aaron Bailey and Zack Crockett were so slow... It would've been great if I could've switched them out with Marvin Harrison Flipper Anderson or even Marshall Faulk. If anything I'd love to know if any of the old programmers knew how to change that out.
Another interesting tid-bit I found out when trading players to different positions using the salary cap glitch - when an offensive/defensive lineman becomes a receiver or running back, they're hands rating is automatically 20... 20 is presumably the lowest rating in the game (perhaps that in itself is a glitch due to the cap exploit). 20 is the passing-range rating that will be given to any player that becomes a quarterback.
Its interesting to note that when a quarterback is converted to a runningback or receiver, their skill rating (like their passing range RNG rating) will stand in for their hands HND rating.
As for those stat rating abbreviations - the names of the stat categories I believe were as follows:
SPD - Speed
AGI - Agility
RNG - Range
ACC - Accuracy
SCR - Scrambling
BRTK - Break Tackle
HND - Hands
WGT - Weight
PBL - Pass Blocking
RBL - Run Blocking
TACK - Tackling
PUR - Pursuit
AWR - Awareness
PCVR - Pass Coverage
I always thought it would be really cool to be able to somehow alter the game or expand the memory to create an unlimited amount of new players. Perhaps manipulate the data somehow to make modern rosters and what not like some communities do with Tecmo Super Bowl.