More playble years in the 80s?

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More playble years in the 80s?

Postby lreese » 12 Sep 2011, 21:16

Just thought I'd ask, any plans to include more years, say from 1985 and onwards? Since I am an oldtimer and I miss the glory days of my youth. :-) Most of the players in those years are already in the game. /lreese
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby manutoo » 13 Sep 2011, 05:11

Hello,

no plan right now. Main reason is that I think the modern tennis began around 1991 with the arrival of Courier as n°1, and the gameplay of TE2011 wouldn't match well the kind of tennis of the years before that.
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby lreese » 13 Sep 2011, 14:49

Oh, don't be silly. Modern power tennis began with Ivan Lendl and Boris Becker rather than with Jim Courier. Agassis first year was 1986. His first really good year was 1988 (6 titles). Muster played exactly the kind retarded Nadal-like spin tennis you see today already in the 80s (and he did it without big banger strings too!) Etc... I understand if you don't wanna do it, but find another reason :-)
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby manutoo » 14 Sep 2011, 05:44

I have sparse memory of Lendl (he retired shortly after I began to watch tennis ;) ), but for the little I remember, he looked more like a defender with good power, than our today average power baseliner.
Agassi arrived in the late 80's, but didn't reach #1 by then ; idem for Becker ; same for Muster : his best years have been, by far, in the 90's ; they were the early signs of the incoming new era, along some fellow players.
None of the players who have dominated the 80's (ie: McEnroy, Borg, Connors, etc...) can be seen as today standard of modern tennis players (for the best or the worst, I guess ;) ).
I watched once the final of RG'83, who had seen Noah winning against Wilander. The speed of ball looked like amateurish level, compared to what we have seen in the past 20 years...

Courier fought for the #1 ranking against... Edberg..! A kind of player that almost totally disappeared since then (only very talented one in the early 2000's similar was Rafter).
And then later on against Agassi & Sampras, the best symbols of the 90's.

Courier was the 1st #1 that bashed (almost) everything coming at him. And then he slightly lowered down, as more & more new players were bashing better, stronger & longer than him.
So if there's 1 player that can represent the arrival of our modern era, I think it's really Courier.

A finer (and way longer analysis) of the Top #10 every year should likely confirm that...
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby lreese » 14 Sep 2011, 10:15

I still think the game could easily simulate the tennis in the second half of the 80s. Here's how: Reduce the power level on groundstroke accelerations to make it just a little harder to hit winners from the baseline. Just a little.That's it! Or just leave it. The difference is zero anyway. All the players are there. All the styles of play are there.

But, point taken. I still maintain, though, that Lendl was the prototype for the power baseliner. He was the first player whose strategy was to overpower his opponent. He was the one who practically invented running around the backhand and hitting inside out forehands. I'd count Sampras to the Edberg type player as well, even if he stayed back more (not an awful lot more, though). BTW, I'm only 35, not that much of an oldtimer. I grew up watching Becker, Edberg and Wilander fight for Lendls no 1 spot.

That RG83 final is the first half of the 80s, and it's claycourt tennis. It's a bad example, an exception rather than the rule. Indoor and hardcourt tennis was very fast and had a lot of power. And Lendl didn't win his first slam until 84. Watch the 80, 81 Wimby finals. I think you'd be surprised at how much power there was. Not to mention the Becker-Edberg finals 88-90. Anyway, the second half of the 80s and the first half of the 90s are not that different.



I don't want to you to think I'm complaining. See it as a compliment to the strength of the game. I'm completely in love with it. I just enjoy talking tennis with someone who knows what they're talking about.
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby manutoo » 15 Sep 2011, 05:14

I think I'll eventually add these years, but not soon ; maybe for next year/edition.
The thing I had planned to do (even for the early 90's) was to lower the strength of all players, especially around the Top 50, to show the raise in power that the Top 100 got between the early 90's and the late 2000's. But that would have made the game difficulty change over the time, and in terms of gameplay it's not very nice ; so that'd require to find a way to modify as well the human controlled players to get a more consistent difficulty (like I did on the Women Tour, for example)...
Anyway, for the 80's I was thinking about lowering a bit the power & the precision, to get more unforced & forced errors ; if lower only the power, then it'd give a lot of endless points, and I don't think lowering the speed would be much realistic... :sweat:
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby lreese » 15 Sep 2011, 09:35

Hey, if got a job opening...I know a lot about tennis.

IMO, the thing you should be looking into is not power levels per se, but spin. Power has been fairly constant since the introduction of light graphite rackets in the first half of the 80s. This is where the power revolution happened. These sticks where stiffer and had larger heads, increasing the size of sweetspot and returned more force to the ball. The Wilson Pro Staff (Sampras, Edberg, Courier) was introdroduced in 1983. The racket Federer uses is that racket's decendent. The difference between them is minimal. I know, I play with them myself. Agassi was around as early as 86 and he was hitting the ball just as hard then as he was in 2005. Wide body rackets where introduced in 1990, but pros never played with them.

No, what has changed is the possibility to impart spin on the ball. The added spin allows for control not seen in past so a player can hit harder while still maintaining control. I guess you can say the average power level has gone up slightly since 1985 or so, but it's a side effect of having the extra control through the spin todays polyester strings offer. I saw the USO final. Nadal and Djokovic where hitting extreme spin balls from service line to service line, just like Wilander and Vilas in the RG82 final.

The serves are not faster today, contrary to popular belief. This belief has been brought about through a change in the speed lasers in the mid 90s. They give higher readings. I think I first saw it in Wimby94. All of a sudden all the players where avergeing 10-15 mph higher than in Queens just a few weeks before. Same players, same techonolgy, so unless the earth's atmossphere suddenely thinned out over SW19 and reduced drag, then yeah, they changed the lasers. Case in point: Edberg frequently hits 120mph+ serves on the senior tour today.

Other things you could look into:

* Court surfaces are more alike these days. Slower for most part, but clay is faster. Hardcourts and synthetics are slower. They've been homogenized. Bounce is higher on grass, lower on clay etc. This is, IMO the major reason why Federer and Nadal can win so many grand slams, and take home career slams. Today you don't have to specialize like in the past. The same tactic can be played on all surfaces. What is essentially clay court tactics has become the tactic on all surfaces. This is part of the reason why S&V has disappeared from pro tennis. You could still play it, though, on grass and faster synthetics. But it takes a long time to learn (i.e, loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in life income for the player while learning to volley) and it's faster to just develop a big serve and a big forehand and run around the backhand whenever you can.

Balls are heavier today, I've heard, and are more fuzzy. But I can't really say that with much confidence since I had along break in my own tennis life beteween 1993 and 2003 and I don't remeber the old balls. But it should make them fly slower through the air at least, and it effects the bounce.

There, hope it's useful. I've been playing the game for a week now and I'll return with comments in gameplay in a while, if you are interested.
/Lreese
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby manutoo » 16 Sep 2011, 05:41

Just a quick comparison on the game speed :
1986 Masters Lendl vs. Becker : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3q9Y5fAdMo
Nadal vs Djokovic SET1 FINAL US OPEN 2011 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDTitsp3GPk&hd=1
I'd say on the base strikes, there's likely 10km/h difference in average, at least, and on the accelerations even more...
In a general way, on the Tour, that extra speed came thanks to the topspin raise (if the average topspin raised but not the speed, then everybody would be playing like Vilas or Borg :p ), but some players show that it's not only related to the spin : Blake & Del Potro can hit giant FH with quite low spin.

And the comparison might be even more obvious if watching a match between 2 players around rank #50, and even more at #100, and so on.

The speed of Lendl vs Becker is higher than RG'83 Final, though... ;)

About the serve speed, I have blur memory of that time, but I think it's coz they changed from taking the ball speed 3 or 4 meters after the ball hit to the exact moment the ball leaves the racket (probably because of radar tech improvement).

And gameplay comments are always welcome..! (even if I don't answer about all of them).
ManuTOO
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby lreese » 18 Sep 2011, 10:45

Actually, not so sure agree that the difference is all that significant. A lot of the increased speed is an illusion from camera angle. The USO match uses a lot of aperture and is much higher placed, that makes it appear faster. It's even clearly noticeable in the game if you manipulate the camera angles the game looks faster or slower depending on the use of height and aperture. Anyway, just judging fro TV images is a bad idea. It's actually sitting next to the court is where u can tell. I'm not saying the game isn't faster today, it is. Just not as much as people generally seem to think.

BTW, I just played Wilander on clay. That match was proof that the game engine can model tennis at any period!
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby manutoo » 19 Sep 2011, 05:34

Wilander is not too highly ranked, so it's easier to make him more realistic... In the 80's, the problem would be to make him more strong to be in Top #5 without transforming him into Nadal... ;)
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Re: More playble years in the 80s?

Postby lreese » 19 Sep 2011, 08:35

Yes, I can see the problem. But the game is there at least, so it would be a matter tweaking and tuning rather than starting from scratch. Im having fun either way, though.
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