At this point, with high-def technology and graphics engines being what they are, we're used to sports games blurring the line between polygons and reality. But that doesn't mean we can't still be impressed by something like the Dynamic Player Rating System that 2K Sports unveiled today as part of MLB 2K11. The game's senior producer Mark Little wrote an insanely long and detailed explanation of the process on Facebook, but we're not nearly smart enough to parse the whole damn thing, so we're just going to say this: The game maintains a rolling analysis of every player's performance over the last four weeks and adjusts accordingly. If an MLB player does well in real life, his virtual counterpart within the game will enjoy a commensurate stat bump. Hot streaks beget in-game hot streaks, and likewise for cold—if Derek Jeter continues to struggle with his power this year, you better believe his in-game ratings will slide along with him. Not only does DPRS work for hitters, though, but for pitchers as well. Hold on, let's let Little explain this part:
For batters, we correlate different statistics to different player ratings. Batting average affects the Contact rating, slugging percentage impacts the Power rating and on base percentage changes the Eye rating. When this process is done, we have created a performance rating for contact, power and eye based on the player’s actual performance in batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage. For pitchers we look at their WHIP (walks + hits / innings pitched) and calculate the appropriate performance based on control and movement ratings for their pitches.
Roster updates on steroids, essentially. It's kind of amazing, and definitely makes us look forward to the game even more than we already had. There's far more to Little's explanation of DPRS, so by all means head over to his treatise and read away. Or if you're more like us and you just want to see game footage, peep the trailer below that condenses DPRS into a simple message: DO GOOD IN LIFE DO GOOD IN GAME.