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NHL 17 Human Limitations to the AI

We made a change in the hitting this year to low relative speed contact that impacts both the human and AI players. We also made a change that if you push a player away from the direction of the puck that the puck is loose on the first frame. This fixed the issue where when you were skating down the wing and a player hit you, the puck would stay near your player rather than continuing it's momentum down the ice. That was because it wouldn't come loose until the second frame when the player being hit had his stick starting to move sideways/backwards and the puck took that momentum instead.


So at slow speeds, if you hit the player away from the puck, if it triggers even a stumble, the puck will be free. If you are a big player against a small player, especially if offline, you turn the size and ratings effect up, a small player and weak hitter shouldn't be able to do too much to a big strong player beyond incidental contact/stumbles and if you protect the puck in such a way that he is hitting you towards it, you will play stumbles where you keep control.


NHL 17 Human Limitations to the AI


It is definitely interesting feedback and something we can look at in the future to see how big the hit needs to be at low relative speed to let the puck come free right away but overall, the balance feels pretty good. People used to complain a lot about not being able to strip the puck from someone just standing AFK but any hit away from the puck makes this much easier now.


As far as the other thoughts about the reaction time of the AI, I completely agree. We have had discussions on how to improve this but as stated in one of the other posts, the AI needs to be able to do a better job anticipating as well otherwise we just lower their overall difficulty when we change reaction time (which is what we already do when you move from something like All Star down to Pro or Semi Pro difficulty). 


There is also the virtual controller issue. Right now the AI can change a direction or intent on their 'virtual left stick' in a frame where a User needs to go through the middle of the controller or roll. This is something I have discussed with the team as well and I think it would add to them feeling more realistic if we could handle the knock ons from a change like that.


Lastly, the concept of passing. We did make a change this year around AI passing strength so that if they wanted to one touch a pass, it would be at the minimum speed, just like it would be for a human player. Since they aren't physically charging their pass, they at least have to have the puck long enough to have charged their pass to get a charged pass but we could obviously model something even more realistic to do a virtual charged pass solution in the future.


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