Wow that's really interesting. Seems David is focusing more on the 3D/arcade part of the game though which I think is where he should have worked more on earlier.
An update of the graphics was always a goal for 3.0. How much it will be updated is the question. One should not have undue expectations in this area. After all, the player models of Maximum Football 2.2 are fine as long as one does not take the animations into account. I would state that the Maximum Football 2.2 models are up to Madden 2003 or 2004, but the animations are not even close. If the Maximum Football 3.0 models are better, the game will look better, but if the game still lacks the multitude of animations that make it play more realistically, it won't matter all that much.
If I was part of the project, which I am not at this time, I'd make sure that receivers have several types of catch animations that actually look the ball in and catch with hands out like a receiver should catch the ball. I'd put in the feet shuffle animations that make blocking look realistic, and I'd put in the slip and juke animations for running backs. Those are the very least that are needed, and better models will not resolve the problem the game would have looking realistic without them.
Todd, when you say a long way off are you saying mid-late 09 or 2010?
I wouldn't even want to guess. David is doing this on his own, and it will take as long as it takes him to do what he wants to do. Anyone thinking of waiting for 3.0 instead of jumping into 2.2 may be waiting for Gadot.
Very interesting news - good to hear some things about the DB structure made to be compact and maybe changing that a bit. Bummed about the different rule sets as that is what drew me in originally. Good to hear that there's some thought going on in the works and hope to see something.
You may be reading more into my comment than is there. David is used to the way the database structure works, so I don't know if he will change it. I do know that any managerial option will require more fields to be used, so that could muck up using old files. On the other hand, they may be able to be converted or loaded into 3.0. I have not been given more detail on that.
The animations (and the reactions to them) need to be improved. Like you said, the player models may be Madden 2003, but the animations are NFL QB Club 98. I know in the running game, the players all feel like sliding bricks (as opposed to moving people), and in the passing game... The QB has a throwing motion that's unrealistic once you get into the high school level. The Wide Receivers only make 2 types of catches, either a spinning catch, kneeling catch, and an awkward stride catch where it's more of a case of the ball magically appearing in the Wide Receiver's possesion, much like in old school football games (you know, all he had to do was touch the ball and he made the catch?). Defensive backs are even worse in terms of catch animations.
This is almost as pressing as the play in the trenches, which I think needs massive improvement. There isn't much in terms of blocking (fan out, bunch tight, pull left, pull right, delay [TE, RB]), or pass rushing (and the pass rush's relationship with the QB).
And then after that we can worry about things like atmosphere.
... listen to me, here I am recitating a wishlist...