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TSB3 Training Manual


TecSpectre
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Yeah, I'm looking forward to the audibles section.


 


One thing that is tough about goal line D is that, just like in the NFL, if the RB makes ONE MOVE, they can be gone.  Everyone is bunched up at the line and one spin move and it's like they've teleported through everyone and are off to the races.


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what percentage of this manual are assumptions versus proven game facts?  the write-up is quite long, and one of the first things I happened to glance at was "coolness" - where you appear to make some hypothesis on what it actually does.  I find the inclusions of hypotheses discouraging.


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please disregard my personal opinion in my post - I unnecessarily added that to the real question, to my dismay.  


 


I am just wondering how much of this info is actually how the game works or if it is just his opinion or guess.  let's see how this reads:


 


what percentage of this manual are assumptions versus proven game facts?  the write-up is quite long, and one of the first things I happened to glance at was "coolness" - where you appear to make some hypothesis on what it actually does.  I find the inclusions of hypotheses discouraging.


Edited by buck
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i think for the NES tsb some of the guys have run things through the debugger and seen how the numbers actually are worked through equations to determine on field play.  That might be what buck is alluding to as proof vs personal observation.     I know for me personal observation of TSB was that Bo Jackso was more injury prone than most other players.  But in fact just like everyone else it was shown he had 2/255 chance of going down.  things like that.


Edited by Dusto
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So, what would satisfy some of these things to be fact?  And is it reasonable?  If not, then I guess we can never have 100% certainty.

 

hey eroc, you can forget it.

 

to the author of the manual - regarding my inquiry, I am primarily referring to the sections on TSB III attributes and your description of them.  I  understand that your assessments on formations, strategy, etc are opinion.

Edited by buck
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what percentage of this manual are assumptions versus proven game facts?  the write-up is quite long, and one of the first things I happened to glance at was "coolness" - where you appear to make some hypothesis on what it actually does.  I find the inclusions of hypotheses discouraging.




 


This is Spectre's guide; the only thing I contributed was a once-over before he posted it (though we are planning to work together on a more extensive TSB III project down the road).  So, I can't speak for him, but I've worked and talked with him at length about the game over the past year or so to come up with the attribute picture he's painted here, and I think that despite a couple of minor disagreements, we're on the same page on just about everything. 


 


I think it's a valid question to ask how we know what we know, so I'll try and explain it here.  Keep in mind, though, that the purpose of Spectre's guide is to be readable and engaging, as well as informative, which I think he's done really well.  What follows in this post will be anything but that, but I hope it goes to prove that Spectre isn't pulling this stuff out of the sky - he knows this game as well as anyone I've ever met, and you can trust what he says.


 




i think for the NES tsb some of the guys have run things through the debugger and seen how the numbers actually are worked through equations to determine on field play.  That might be what buck is alluding to as proof vs personal observation.     I know for me personal observation of TSB was that Bo Jackso was more injury prone than most other players.  But in fact just like everyone else it was shown he had 2/255 chance of going down.  things like that.




 


Everything I'm saying here is empirically-based, but I'm not just talking about playing the game a handful of times and saying "Well, I guess Rushing Power does X' - I've done experiments with just about every attribute (except the kicker ones, because, well, who gives a shit?) for which I have created an experimental ROM.   This ROM includes a couple of "all-average" teams - their rosters have players with the median attribute for each position.  So, I take the median of all the TSB III linebackers' hitting power, say, and give that to every linebacker on the two teams.  And then I do that for every attribute at every position.  I also give the teams identical playbooks, as well as identical kick and punt returners.  I also schedule the teams to play each other, alternating home and away games, over the entire season (although playing surface and weather condition definitely affect players' behavior, I don't think teams in general perform any differently at home than they do away).


 


I do two types of tests - MAN-MAN and COM-COM.  First, I do the human tests, usually helped by CheapCatch.  Sometimes the results are pretty obvious, like they are for, say, Rushing Power.  For example, compare the median linebacker with an attribute line of 38-38-44-44-19-38-19-50 versus a high-RP linebacker at 38-100-44-44-19-38-19-50, and a low-RP one at 38-6-44-44-19-38-19-50.  The first one will feel, well, average: the closest guy in TSB III to this guy is Michael Barrow of the Houston Oilers - pretty freakin average.  The second one will be zipping all over the field with lightning-quick changes of direction - immediately you'd think he was the greatest TSB III linebacker ever.  The third, with low RP, would be so sluggish as to be absolutely useless. 


 


I call RS/RP/MS the three "movement attributes," and they are unique because, while you can tell that a high RP guy is better than a low RP one, it's hard to see exactly why until you compare them with some high MS guys and low RS guys and so on.  So, we did all that, too - we built a roster with a high RS guy, a high RP guy and a high MS guy, as well as low RS, low RP, and low MS guy.  This led us to the description of the attributes that Spectre had above: a high RS guy with average or lousy numbers in the other movement attributes will start out fast but be slow in accelerating and not particularly fast when he does accelerate; a high RP guy with mediocre RS and MS atts will be quick to accelerate starting out and when he changes direction (this is extremely important for a human-controlled player since you move around in different directions a lot); and a high MS guy with middling RS and RP won't start off great and will lose his momentum when he changes direction, but when you get him going he's blisteringly fast.  This leads us to the conclusion that for human-controlled defenders, RP is most important, MS is next, and RS is third - but all matter to the way a guy moves.  It may sound a little convoluted, but try it yourself - it's obvious, and when you know what they do, these numbers really reveal a player's "personality."


 


In addition to that, I simulate through hundreds of COM-COM games.  There's a lot of talk out there that there are MAN attributes and COM attributes, that certain attributes are only read when a player is AI-controlled, and that some attributes behave differently when MAN- or COM- controlled. In the many tests I have done I have found no evidence whatsoever to even suggest that might be true - what we find in the human tests is borne out in COM tests.  Now, as we know, humans play differently than AI players do - AI guys tend to run in straight lines, humans cut and zig-zag a lot more.  So, as Spectre said, MS is much more important to an AI defender than he is to a human defender, for example.  There are other cases where that's true.  HP is more important to AI guys than to MAN guys, since tapping still does play a role in TSB III.


 


If you're trying this at home, there's one important note about the SKP setting vs COM setting in Team Control.  SKP games tell you nothing about attributes, so don't use it for tests like this.  In SKP games, the program does not read individual attributes and run algorithms the way human or COM-COM games do; instead, each player has an additional, hidden "overall value" number from 0 to 15 that determines how well they perform in skp games.  Think of a pass thrown into coverage.  In a human game, we know that, as the ball arrives, the game runs an algorithm that incorporates the QB's Pass Control, the receiver's Receptions, and the defender's Interceptions (though, unlike TSB, we don't know exactly what the algorithm is).  So a pass from Troy Aikman (81 PC) to Jerry Rice (81 RC) is highly unlikely to be disrupted by Cortez Kennedy (6 IN).  On the other hand, Deion Sanders (81 IN) is likely to either intercept or disrupt a pass from Chad May (25 PC) to Lorenzo Neal (19 RC).  When you play a game against a human or against the computer, the game is running hundreds of such algorithms on every play.  But not so in a SKP game.  In this case, each player has an additional "hidden" number (hex from 0-15) that indicates his overall value and how he will perform in any game, independent of his attributes or the players around him.  So, Rice has a 15, and no matter who you put around him or what team you put him on, he'll put up sterling receiving numbers.  Try using a manager and give Jerry Rice all 6 attributes.  Trade him to the Giants, even - he'll still put up insane receiving yards every single season if he plays all SKP games.  This number does not come into play in non-skp games at all. You can adjust this number in the hex, but not in any of the managers.


 


For attributes that matter, the results in these COM-COM tests are pretty smart.  For example, in a test of 100 games where one team had linebackers with 6 RP and the other team had linebackers all with 100 RP, the boosted-rp team won 86 of them, and scored boatloads more points - just under 30 per game, versus just over 12 per game for their opponents.  That tells us that RP is highly significant for that position.


 


At the risk of sounding Rumsfeldian, I would categorize our knowledge of these attributes in three ways.  First, there are the "known knowns" - attributes whose function(s) we know, and we know that there are no other functions besides those we know.  For all players, these include the three "movement attributes" - Running Speed, Rushing Power, Maximum Speed - as well as Hitting Power (though one note on HP below).  They also include the first three passing attributes - Passing Speed, Pass Control, and Pass Accuracy.  Third, they include Ball Control and Receptions for offensive skill players and Interceptions for defenders.  All those have been empirically observed to be significant, and we know what that significance is - it's just what Spectre said above.


 


(A note about Hitting Power - there is a theory that higher-HP defenders are also more likely to cause a fumble.  I can't find any evidence in my tests that this is true.  And it would kind of defy logic, making CBs, who all have low HP, very unlikely to force fumbles, which they are not.)


 


Then there is another category of attributes - the "partial knowns."  And these are mainly Body Balance and Agility, which Spectre has described above.  We know that high BB makes a player carrying the ball more likely to spin, and that high AG makes him more likely to leap.  These have been clearly observed in human tests and proven to be significant in COM tests.  But other questions remain: What do they do for defenders?  We can assume they have their normal function if the defender is returning a kick, interception, or fumble (though I can't recall seeing a guy spin on a turnover runback).  But do they affect anything else? 


 


This is where you run into the problem of not being able to empirically prove a negative.  I am pretty confident that they don't do anything for non-ball-carrying defenders.  I have heard the theory that BB might affect a defensive player's "fluidity," so I gave one guy 100 BB and another 6.  I didn't notice that one was any more fluid than the other; they felt identical to me over a large number of plays.  Also, giving my test team high-BB defenders didn't really change the balance of wins and losses in the 100-game COM-COM test; the high-BB team won 53 games, which is well within the normal range, with similar offensive production.  And for this test, I raised the BB of ALL defenders, not just the linebackers.  Compare this to the RP test, where only the linebackers had a RP boost, and it raised the team's winning percentage to 86%. 


 


Then, you figure that for most defensive positions, these attributes are fairly uniform: most linebackers have the same BB, and AG differences happen mostly at the DB position (my theory is that these guys are eligible as kick returners).


 


It doesn't look significant to me, and I am ready to conclude that BB and AG don't matter at all for defenders who don't have the ball.


 


I've also heard that AGIL might control whether or not a receiver jumps for and catches a ball, which is tougher to test, since the COM-COM test won't work very well.  The reason for that is that we already know it will improve their winning % and passing yardage, since the receivers will be spinning out of tackles more.  And it did - 63 wins for the high-AGIL WR team.  But, interestingly, the quarterback's completion percentage was not significantly higher, leading you to think that he's probably not benefiting from more jumping catches.  But that depends on a lot of other factors, and we're starting to get away from Occam and his razor at this point.  Let's just say a strong "probably not" for now, but we could definitely use more and better tests than I've come up with for this. 


 


Finally, you have the "pure conjecture" attributes.  These are the two weird passing attributes, Avoid Rush and Coolness, and Quickness for defenders.  I'd looked thoroughly at QK before, but I hadn't done so for AR and CL, so I ran some tests tonight on those.


 


Let me start with Coolness.  I really believe that it does something, namely what Spectre said in the initial post.  Some quarterbacks seem to enjoy standing there like an idiot not throwing the ball while you hammer the B button and swear, and these seem to be the ones with low CL (see, Spectre, you CAN abbreviate it!).  But I can't find anything in it.  I ran dozens of plays with QBs of all different CL numbers, and can't find anything definitive.  And absolutely nothing interesting shows up in COM-COM tests.  In fact, in a series of COM-COM seasons between a 6-Coolness QB and a 100-Coolness QB, the team that opposed the 100-coolness guy had MORE sacks than the other: 163 to 155, over 100 games.  I think CL does what Spectre says, but I can't prove it.


 


Avoid Rush, to disagree with Spectre, I really believe does nothing, which is strange, since they put it in for some reason.  In human tests, I can't verify what Spectre says, which is that it makes a QB faster at running around in the backfield: a 6 AR guy feels just as fast to me as a 31 AR guy, as fast as a 69 AR guy, as fast as a 99 AR guy.  And in COM-COM tests, the 99 AR guy ran 3 more times than the 6 AR guy - 88 to 85.  Not statistically significant. 


 


Same with Quickness.  They put it in for some reason, as it had been since the original game, but if it does anything, I am absolutely unable to ascertain what it is.  I can't confirm that it affects a player's speed in getting to a thrown ball once it has been thrown and the player is under AI control: to me, a 100-QK guy is just as quick at getting to a thrown ball as is a 6-QK guy with the same atts in other categories.  Certainly, some players get to thrown balls faster, but I think that this comes down to RP.  I also have heard the theory that high-Quickness guys jump for and tip thrown balls more often than low-Quickness guys, but I'm also unable to confirm this.  And, again, there is no significant difference in the results of 100-game COM-COM tests for variances in this attribute.


 


So, there you have it.  As I said from the start, Spectre and I disagree about some minor points - I can't find AR and QK to do anything at all, and while I want to think that CL does what he says it does (I've blamed my losses on it too many times not to), I can't confirm it in any empirical tests.  But, more important than niggling disagreements like this is the fact that he bases what he says on a wealth of TSB III experience that, I believe, gives him expert-level knowledge of the game (if you don't believe me, play him sometime).  And, probably more importantly than that, he's distilled all that knowledge into something a lot more fun to read than what I've just written here.  I think that makes this manual very, very valuable - something we've been waiting 20 years for - and it makes me really hopeful for more of this project.


Edited by deadfaulkner
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Deadfaulkner covered a lot of this.

But, to answer from my own perspective; my guide above comes from years of researching (on this site and with other fans of the game as well as on my own).

 

The research has not been done by reading code, but by manipulating the game both on a cart level and on a rom level. modifying player stats and using the created player functions on a cart to test stats. I have poured over any and all information I've been able to find online, both on this site and anywhere else I could find it. Testing other peoples theories and my own.

 

So, no, this isn't a list that is derived from running the rom code through the ringer and getting answers, the only people that I know of that have done that are drunken and hurricane.

I will be adding to and editing this manual over time based on future findings, but there are definitely some things that are not explained.

 

For instance, I point out above that quickness MAY not do anything. We don't know for certain what BB and AGI do for defensive players. I don't mention this above, but it's the case.

So, if you want to discount everything, that's fine. Your call. I feel very confident that I haven't posted any misinformation. The above information, I am fairly sure, is tested and accurate and will help anyone looking to learn TSB3 to become a better player with a better understanding of the game.

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Deadfaulkner covered a lot of this.

But, to answer from my own perspective; my guide above comes from years of researching (on this site and with other fans of the game as well as on my own).

 

The research has not been done by reading code, but by manipulating the game both on a cart level and on a rom level. modifying player stats and using the created player functions on a cart to test stats. I have poured over any and all information I've been able to find online, both on this site and anywhere else I could find it. Testing other peoples theories and my own.

 

So, no, this isn't a list that is derived from running the rom code through the ringer and getting answers, the only people that I know of that have done that are drunken and hurricane.

I will be adding to and editing this manual over time based on future findings, but there are definitely some things that are not explained.

 

For instance, I point out above that quickness MAY not do anything. We don't know for certain what BB and AGI do for defensive players. I don't mention this above, but it's the case.

So, if you want to discount everything, that's fine. Your call. I feel very confident that I haven't posted any misinformation. The above information, I am fairly sure, is tested and accurate and will help anyone looking to learn TSB3 to become a better player with a better understanding of the game.

 

hey, I don't want to discount anything anybody has said!  I was seriously asking how much of this stuff is just "hunches" and how you determined hunches.  tweaking ratings and that sort of thing makes sense to me.

 

it's like in NES TSB, QB Pass Accuracy and Defender Quickness don't do ANYTHING (don't ever even get loaded up by the game) - but you wouldn't believe all the bullshit people have come up with over the years regarding what it "really does".  you know what I mean?

 

I had already given you +1 for the manual before I even posted the question; however, I was wondering how much of your manual was assumed before I took the 10-20 minutes to try to read and understand it.

 

thanks for your replies, DeadFaulkner and TecSpectre.  Between you last posts, I have the answers I was looking for. 

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Well, I hope if you read through it, that you find it helpful.


 


I know when I decided to go backward and start playing in nes TSB events, I looked for all of the information that was out there and studied as much as I could to understand the game before I started going to tournaments and events. AND that the study that I did really was helpful in my ability to prepare and compete in those events.


 


So, I wanted to create something that would be helpful for people interested in getting into TSB3, as I feel it's the superior version of the game. It's not the beloved game that everyone remembers, but it's very similar with what I view as a lot of upgrades.


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 3 years later...

Hello, reviving a dead horse here lol.  But me and my family and friends have been playing TSBIII for a long time and wanted to throw some theories out there.

 

Agility:  I think agility does have a factor in movement.  I believe it's the ability to maintain maximum speed while changing direction.  If a player is running left to right, he will maintain his MS if he goes diagonally up/right and diagonally, down/right.  But if he changes direction that is sharper.  Say running to the right and then you go directly up or directly left, the game resets to the rushing power speed.

 

Avoid Rush:  I always thought Avoid Rush meant the QB's release and how quick it was.  Feels like when a QB has a low Avoid Rush he needs the full animation to throw the ball, but if he has a higher AR then he doesn't need the full animation.  (Haven't been able to prove this, just observation and theory)

 

Coolness: I always thought Coolness had some sort of correlation with Passing Accuracy/Pass Control/ Avoid Rush.  If a QB is under pressure and his throw animation gets interrupted by a tackler, his Passing Accuracy and Pass Control is decreased, and more likely of the pass to be overthrown or not caught.  Coolness I think maintains those numbers while Avoid Rush triggers the event.

 

Body Balance: Definitely is correlated with spinning, but i also think it determines how big a player's hitbox is when carrying the ball.  Characters with high BB seem to be more 'slippery', meaning you have to get deeper into the sprite to trigger the grapple animation.   

 

Quickness:  I think this is how fast a player reacts when being controlled by the CPU.  Players with high quickness, is when fooled by play-action, flea-flcikers, or draw players, seem to make up their mistake faster than with players with lower quickness.  I understand that picking a pass play will determine how the players defend that play but sometimes they still get fooled even when picking a pass play and if they have good quickness the faster they are at getting back to the receiver they were supposed to cover.  Same with linebackers and draw plays.  it's hard to prove since the formation and play you pick factor into this as well.

 

Anyone think any of these theories hold water?  How is it possible in this day and age that we can't look up the code of these things and figure out exactly what they mean?  Lol it's frustrating.  

 

Does anyone know how trades work?  It's also very mysterious but does have trends.

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Hey Rook are you and your family the group that plays in coach mode?

 

I think a number of your theories are legit.

 

One thing I've found to be true is that stats seem to have different functions sometimes based on computer control vs man control. I came upon this based largely on the TLL guys, like Deadfaulkner, who did all their testing by running computer sims and finding completely different responses for certain stats that I did through testing in man control.

 

As to the code research... there just isn't as much interest in this game, compared to the NES version and the code hasn't been studied as much.

 

While people have studied it for modding purposes, that's about all we've got.

In a way though, this maintains a level of mystery to the game and how it works that I'm ok with.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Hello All,

 

I was just wondering if someone help me out..  I am not high on computer knowledge when it comes to Rom, hacks, etc..

 

I see some neat games that have been created and love to buy one.

 

can anyone PLEASE allow me to purchase a Tsb III Legends Version  cartridge?  I would like to play this game.

my address is [email protected]

 

thanks!!!

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