MLB 09 The Show – Road to the Show Training Modes

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MLB 09 The Show Screenshot 2/3

Hey everybody. My name is Eddy Cramm (Senior Designer), and it’s my turn to bring you MLB 09 The Show blog #3…or #4…maybe #5. Not really sure which one we are on. Bear with me, we are all working some long hours right now getting this game polished and out the door!

I am here to talk about the new features in Road to the Show. When all of this RTTS stuff started 3 years ago, the whole idea behind it was to give a unique career mode experience that focused exclusively on you. Initially that meant that we would fast-forward you to your events so that you only dealt with your fielding plays and your plate appearances, etc. Because lets be honest, who wants to sit out in RF during a career mode and watch three groundballs to the infield. It sucked in little league and it sucks in a career mode, too. But as RTTS progressed, our focus grew to be more than that. It became more about giving the user more control of his path to the majors.

Last year really took a huge step in the goals and points system. The guys on the front-end team like Aaron Luke, Kolbe Launchbaugh, and Jeff Ullman have built a pretty nifty system. That’s right…“nifty.” And from a gameplay standpoint, we have always wanted RTTS to feel like you are doing exactly what you would be doing, from going to Spring training, to working up through the minor leagues, etc. But success isn’t just about what you do in that game situation. Success comes from being prepared when that game moment arises. And contrary to what Allen Iverson thinks, that means practice. That thought process is what brought us to our main new feature this year. Training mode.

Training Mode
In RTTS this year, you will be given opportunities throughout the season to participate in training sessions as selected by your coach. There are two types of training sessions this year. Batting training and Base Stealing training. When we first started designing the batting portion of our training, we kept it a lot like the way the goals system worked. You would be asked to do a specific thing in training and you would be judged on your performance. So when a training session came up, you would be told, “Go practice bunting,” or “Work on your plate discipline.” That is all well and good, but it sucks if you have no interest in practicing your bunting, or could care less about laying off bad pitches. Maybe you just want to get in there and try to mash home runs.

It was one of our A.I. programmers, Brian Ma, that suggested a slight change of focus. He suggested that we just create one type of batting training and just judge it based on what the user does in there. To which I said, “Screw off Brian, I am the designer here! Get back in your office and write some code!!” Ok, maybe I didn’t say that. It was actually a really great idea and is basically the approach we ended up taking. It satisfied one major thing that I thought we were lacking with the original design. It gives the user control of the type of player he can create. So if you take your guy in there and you want to build up his bunting attributes, you can focus on that. If you want to work on your discipline, contact, power, vision, it is all based on what YOU decide to do and how well you do it in the 20 pitch training session.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot 2/3

Base Stealing
Base Stealing training is something that I have wanted to do for the last couple of years now. This year we have done that. In this training, you will have full control of how far you take a lead and when you decide to take off. You have free reign to get a great jump or totally screw it up and get picked off. But that is only half of it. The pitcher should have something to say about how comfortable you are with your lead and your jump. We have introduced new A.I. and animations for the pitcher so that he will do his best to keep you off-balance, like mix up his pickoff moves to give you different looks or even slide-step to the plate to try to get an advantage.

But just like in real life, some guys have better moves than others, or MORE moves than others. So we have different here as well too. So if you are facing a guy like Pettitte, you will have to be a little more cautious. In this training mode, you will be judged on your aggressiveness, your reaction time and your success. The better you do, the more attributes you will gain in Base Running Ability, Base Running Aggressiveness, and Speed.

For realism purposes, we created a training facility where you will do your training when you are in the Majors. But also for realism, if you are in Spring Training, or in the Minors, you will do your training at your home field. During the season, your training sessions will be offered at the beginning of the homestand. Both the Batting and the Base Stealing training are also available in the Main Menu as practice options. These practice options are the same structure except you get to choose who you want to hit or run with, which pitcher you want to face, AND you can choose which pitches he will throw at you from his repertoire. So if you just want to face Santana’s slider, or Zito’s curve, or mix in a combo like Hoffman’s change/fastball, go for it. You can also choose any stadium in case you want to try to hit it over the Green Monster.

MLB 09 The Show baserunning training screenshot

I think that about covers it. I think that everyone will really like the new additions to RTTS and I look forward to the feedback. I will answer one question right now that I know will be asked. “Why is there no Pitching or Fielding training??” Valid question. I am glad you asked. Basically it comes down to a question of quality. We have designs for Pitching and for Fielding, but doing all 4 this year would mean that we would have had to do a little less with each mode just to get them all in. So we made the decision to focus on the two and make them as polished and fun as we could. And yes, plans are already underway to bring Pitching and Fielding training to 2010.

If you have made it all the way to the end of this blog, props to you. Hope you got some interesting info out of it and go out and pick up MLB 09 The Show. You are going to love it.

Comments are closed.


25 Author Replies

  • woah…i logged in and all of the sudden there was a new post…cool…anyway…this looks pretty cool

  • Do you plan on putting any Playstation Home soport? maby some jerseys to show off? a stadiem? anything at all?

  • cool. i think i wanna get it :-D

  • So as your stats from training improve does your character get better in any way? Or does this aspect just help with Team Owners sign you on?

    I understand that it’s still up to the player themselves to swing the bat or steal a base.

    Anyway. These are great additions that I like to see. I don’t think any other baseball game in the market really captures the feeling of being a baseball player than what MLB The Show has done. Keep up the good work:)

    • Hey RNBaran. Yes. the training points directly affect your attributes and your attributes directly effect your performance. So if you pick up training points in power (for example), those will gradually start to increase the amount of pop you have in your swing in actual gameplay.

  • If I didn’t hate Baseball, I would get this game. I love all the improvement you guys are making and hope the people that buy this game enjoy it.

  • You know, I was perhaps a little too hard on the game’s visuals in your last post. I guess I just got caught up on the dirt effects and the crowd. Sorry for being such a nitpicker- I criticize because I love. :)

  • I can’t wait for this game!

  • When I first read training mode, i thought lame, but the way you guys describe it, it actually seems interesting and seems like it will actually improve my skill in the game. haven’t bought a ball game in a long time, always been playing it in the summer =). But I heard so much about 08 the Show last year, that I just have to pick it up this year. And all these features look awesome!

  • I cant wait to get my hand on this game. i love mlb. and love this game for the ps3.

  • Alright! Getting a comment on the first page.

    Firstly: I can’t wait for the game, I already have mine preordered. I’ll be waiting at GameStop.

    However, I have some questions I’ve been trying to get answered. Hopefully with them on the first page, I can find out! I know they’re not really related to RTTS, but … can’t blame a guy for trying.

    Is online voice quality improved for MLB 09?

    Has the push to talk method been improved? (L3 was prone to be hit accidentally.)

    And my friends and I experienced lag playing online in real ballparks, we had to stick to minor leagues/spring training. Has this been improved?

    Thanks in advance.

    Can’t wait for 09.

    • We\’ve spent a lot of time improving the speed and framerate of online gameplay. The pitch meter anomalies have been addressed. Gameplay will also be very responsive. You\’re also getting the full quality of the offline animations in an online game.

      Feel free to jump into your MLB stadiums!

  • Man, this sounds sick. Thanks for 1 – upping us and answering our question before we even asked. And thanks for letting some guys go out for the preview build last week, it was awesome to get updates on the game from pastapadre and operation sports. You are a great dev team!!

    • Those guys were great. It got a little rowdy here too which is a fantastic sign. Those guys have some serious game. I made sure to stay as far away from them as possible. I am in a serious hitting slump and didnt need to get called out.

  • I love this series. I can’t wait for this game. Day one for sure. Too bad my cubbies won’t have Kerry Wood and Mark Derosa.

    • And my Dodgers wont have Manny. Its amazing how quickly I got used to him in the lineup. If he goes the the Giants, I am going to throw up… a lot…. all season.

  • Looking good.

    Does the game finally support AAC files for custom music (the ps3’s default format)?

  • Oh man I am so excited for this game. RTTS is going to consume my life once again…


  • I’ve never been a fan of training modes in any game really.

    I did enjoy it in the BIGS but most of the time you have to be good to begin with to get your ratings up and if you’re not or the training games are just horribly done (like in NBA 2K9 where in the shooting drills one of the rebounders will ocasionally glitch and take the ball then run around in circles for 15 seconds screwing you over) then you’re not going to get anywhere.

    Though the other end is without it everyone would just make a player with all 99’s.

  • Yes I am liking this a lot! Question: Will there be a Home Run Derby mode for this game…I did not find one on 08?

  • Can anyone who is a The Show player explain why people say this is the best baseball game?

  • Because it is!!

  • why is there no training for the pitcher??

  • nevermind, just read the end

  • Cool looks good

  • i’m going to be preordering soon… this looks like im back into baseball! :) when will you devs talk about mini games?

  • There should be fighting in this game. Especially when you get hit by a pitch multiple times.

  • Hey Eddy, I have a question that was not answered the last time your team posted in the blog. My question is if I can download online roster this year after starting my season? This has been a major problem for years (since PS2) because I can’t keep up with all the moves in the real life MLB. It would be great if this feature was added to MLB 09. Thanks.

    • While I\’m not Eddy (he likes it when you spell his name Eddie) I think I can answer you.

      This feature is NOT in MLB09 The Show and at this point is far too late to be added. It\’s a feature we\’ve had on our list to get into the game for quite a few years now. The problem is that while it sounds simple; when you get right down to it the way our database accesses players it is a very difficult task. It will require a large undertaking by multiple engineers and until we have the time to do it correctly it won’t get in the game.

      That said, I truly hope we can get it into MLB\’10 The Show as it’s a feature that a quite a few fans really like to have. The CPU Roster Control feature was added a couple years back as a stopgap measure. It will allow you to keep all of the transactions, trades and injuries up to date.

  • Hey thanks for the heads up with the info. and the video also one thing i am wondering… this year are we having the world baseball classic in 09 the show but if not think about it in 2010 the show.

    P.S. please write back.

    • Man, I wish it was, but approving these things are not always that easy. But that being said, it is on my personal wish list for \’10. Fingers crossed.

  • stop making me want to be march already!

    game looks great and I can’t wait to hand my hard earned $60 over for it ^.^;

    • We cant wait for March either.. but I think for us, its because that will be the next time we actually get to sleep.

  • looks sweet! might have to check this 1 out :-D

  • the info you guys bring every blog makes this game look better and better. i like all the improvements that have been mentioned in the blog.

  • My ps3 died! When i push the power button the green light appear and then one yellow light. The red light start to flashing!

    Plss help me! Im desperate!

  • I wish you guys could incorporate a control scheme which maps the hitting (and possibly pitching controls) to the right stick.

    After playing games like Skate, Tiger Woods and NHL 09 brilliantly incorporate RS controls, i feel a baseball game could do the same easily.

    game looks great otherwise though

  • Houston Astros and Corpus Christi Hooks in the video! Awesome!

    Pitchers and catchers report in 10 days, 10 hours and 53 minutes!

    Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!

  • Gonna ask again, can we please either have live updates to roster ability to apply if ya have a season going, or the ability to force trades so we can update the roster ourselves and create a player during a season too incase some no name rookie comes up and kills it. please please!

  • Game gets better every year!!! Except the commentary and analysis. 2K has you beat in this every year. Will there be big improvements this year? Its the only downfall but its a big one.

  • Can’t wait for this game! i never played the show for ps3 and i just brought me one!

  • TerryVSL!!! Are you crazy? You every play this game? The look, the feel, the fluid motions of the players. The reaction when you hit a grad slam in the bottom of the ninth on an 0-2 pitch with 2 outs while everyone watches it leave the stadium. Knowing whos at bat just by looking at his stance. Knowing whos pitching just by his wined up. This game is so true to life I actually get chills when im leadind 1-0 in the eighth with runners at the corners and one out. Fans screaming jumping up and down. 2K brings none of this (except its commentery). If you havent played this game, you should. If your a true baseball fan and want realistic game play.

  • Holy [DELETED] this game looks amazing. Can’t wait for it.

  • Dang, those graphics look good. Nice info by the way

  • I dont really like Baseball but oh man that game looks great……I will rent this game and check it out…Good job guys

  • Sounds like ’09 is going to be a good year for playing baseball.
    Are all these improvements also included in the PSP version of the game?

    • Unfortunately, no. We have a lot more limitations when it comes to PSP and fitting some of these new features are just unrealistic without sacrificing some things in the main game. That is something we are not willing to do.

  • Now that is what PS3 games look like, it was so real looking that I bet if you dubbed in some sportscaster casting then you could fool alot of people. Great job folks. I’ll definitely have to check this out.

  • How will the training sessions meld with 08’s point and manager goal systems? Is there a cap on how successful i can be in training? Are you able to train in both disciplines during the same homestand?

    • The training sessions are just another way to gather points towards specific attribute improvements. Similar to how you gain points through goals in the game. The training modes do have a cap by only allowing you 20 pitches or 20 steal attempts. So there is room to gain a substantial amount of points if you do well, but overall, the points you can get through training should feel about the same as you would get during a game.

      No, you only do one type of training at a time and it is weighted based on your skill set. So if you want to be a big slow catcher, we wont bother to work too many Base Stealing trainings into your schedule.

  • Oh man, this is EXACTLY what I need! Hopefully you guys can add pitch training to MLB 10.

  • Please Eddy or Jeff can you tell me if this is getting an EU release? it looks amazng and I know alot off people in Europe would buy it, whats the chance of MLB team PSN avatars?

  • will this game be receiving trophy support?

  • caitobacci, not sure how to send Pm’s on here, but here’s what you should do, find your receipt/invoice (must be dated within 1 year of purchase for warranty to apply) and contact Sony customer service at 800-345-7669. turn around time can be up to a few weeks, it all depends. so I suggest you look into asap, ’cause MLB 09 is only 4 weeks away.

  • very nice game, shame im not a sports nut or i would deff pick it up ;)

  • One thing i NEED to know….. WILL it have trophies?

  • Wow, this is how “guest” bloggers should be. There are 47 comments from us readers and 13 replies, that is AWESOME!!!

    I’m not a fan of Baseball Games, but I really appreciate you guys coming here and interacting with us readers, thanks!

  • Trophies????

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