Modding

Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Projects Fall Apart

Abandoned 1998 Season Modding Project (NBA Live 2003)

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how modding projects fall apart, while discussing a recent personal example.

Although I’m not as involved with modding as I once was, I won’t deny the lure of working on roster updates. I’ve previously discussed some of the mods that I’d like to make, should I be able to put aside the free time and get sufficiently motivated. That certainly still holds true, and as previously mentioned, I do have a list of modding ideas, similar to my lists of topics for the Monday Tip-Off, Wayback Wednesday, and Friday Five features. Every so often, I might do a little bit of preliminary work on one of those ideas, but aside from one or two beta releases, a majority of them haven’t progressed any further than that.

I’ve really enjoyed producing my Wayback Wednesday content since I introduced the feature a couple of years ago, as it’s been a way to reminisce about old favourites, and talk about some interesting modes, community history, and basketball gaming trivia. It’s also provided an opportunity to indulge in some retro gaming, which I enjoy doing across a variety of genres. Of course, I sometimes find myself becoming drawn towards an old release, especially if it’s one that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time modding. Such was the case with NBA Live 2003, where I recently toyed with the idea of a mod, only to be reminded of how easily projects can fall apart.

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The Friday Five: 5 Least Favourite Basketball Games to Mod

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of the games that have been my least favourite to mod over the years.

Since I reflected on my favourite games to mod last week, it only makes sense that I now take a look back at some of the hoops titles that are among my least favourite to tinker with. As I mentioned in last week’s feature, some games are relatively easy to mod, while others are very cumbersome to work with. Even when you know what you’re doing and have mastered the techniques, the general difficulty or lack of flexibility with the files often makes modding more of a chore. Also, just as your favourite games are more fun to mod, the games that you don’t enjoy as much can be very unappealing to create content for.

With that being said, although these games are not among my absolute favourites to mod, I can’t say that I’ve never had any fun modding them. When it comes to a few of these games, I did spend quite a lot of time working on updates for them, and even returned to create new mods for them years later. It’s not that I absolutely hated every moment of modding them; if that were the case, I simply would’ve stopped sooner than I did. It’s just that of all the games I’ve messed around with over the years, they’re not among my favourites. Without any further ado, here are my five least favourite basketball games to mod, in chronological order.

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The Friday Five: 5 Favourite Basketball Games to Mod

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of my favourite games to mod over the years.

A combination of burnout, different priorities, and less free time has seen my modding efforts dwindle over the years. I do like to release some kind of mod every now and again when I can find the time though, because it’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing for the basketball gaming community. Although modding can be time-consuming and sometimes a chore – that is one of the reasons I became burned out on the hobby, after all – there is a lot of creative satisfaction in it. Whether it’s been the current rosters for NBA Live, dabbling in making some art updates, or finding other things to mod, it’s been great messing around with several different games.

Of course, when it comes to modding, not all games are alike. While the process may remain largely unchanged from game to game, and sometimes we’ve been fortunate enough to have a large amount of file compatibility to work with, each release has its own idiosyncrasies. Sometimes the files are easier to modify, other times there are limitations on what can be done with texture sizes or the roster databases. Just how much you enjoy modding a game can also depend on how much you like playing it in the first place. Looking back on all the games I’ve created mods for over the years, these five are the ones I’ve enjoyed tinkering with the most, in chronological order.

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Wayback Wednesday: Legends & Champs Rosters for NBA Live

Isiah Thomas in the Legends Roster for NBA Live 2000

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the Legends and Champs rosters for NBA Live on PC.

The announcement that NBA 2K18 will be receiving new historical content, not only in the form of additional classic teams but also All-Time squads, drew a lot of excitement from gamers who are also enthusiastic NBA history buffs. While there have been omissions and other issues, historical content is something that the 2K series has generally done a great job with since NBA 2K11. Of course, as more than a couple of people have pointed out here and on social media, All-Time Teams are not a completely original concept, as many fan-made rosters featuring such squads have been created in recent years.

However, the concept goes back a lot further than that. Rosters comprised of All-Time squads date all the way back to the early days of patching NBA Live on PC, as Lutz’s Legends rosters demonstrate. For that matter, the concept of classic teams was also utilised by his Champs rosters. It’s been a while and a lot of newer basketball gamers probably aren’t aware of those influential mods, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Changes to Modding Sections in the NLSC Forum

NLSC Forum

As announced in the NLSC Forum last week, a few changes have been made to our modding sections, effective as of today. Those changes are as follows:

  • Contributors will have access to create new topics in the Tutorials section.
  • The individual Releases & Previews sections will be renamed Modding, and all modding-related discussions – releases, previews, requests, help and development – will be welcome there.
  • The Tutorials & FAQ sections will remain separate to avoid their respective Modding sections getting cluttered by pinned topics, and ensure those resources are easier to find.

The first change is intended to make it easier for our Contributors to add to the various Tutorials & FAQs subsections, as they will not have to wait for their newly created topic to be moved by a moderator. All members are of course welcome to contribute resources which will then be moved to the Tutorials & FAQs sections as soon as possible, but Contributors will be able to post there directly.

We’ve decided to consolidate all modding discussion into central subsections as the old practice of having separate sections for requests, help, and mod releases and previews proved to be overkill, leading to unused and redundant sections. The more recent solution of simply having Releases & Previews sections with requests and help belonging in the main discussion section was unclear, and therefore somewhat confusing. These consolidated modding sections are intended to eliminate that confusion, as well as reduce the likelihood of off-topic posts and posts going unanswered.

If you have any questions or concerns about this revamp to the NLSC Forum, please let me know, and I’ll try to provide further clarification. As I mentioned in the Forum thread, we may end up moving the Tutorials & FAQs subsections so that they’re under the Modding sections, in order to make them more visible and easily accessible directly from those sections.

NLSC Podcast – Episode #211

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #211 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Without any new previews for NBA Live 18 or NBA 2K18 in the past week, Arcane and I take the opportunity to catch up on recent events in our modding community. We also talk about a couple of the big stories heading into this year’s NBA free agency bonanza.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA 2K17 PC is currently 75% off on Steam. If you’ve been looking to double-dip, or you’ve been holding off on getting the latest game from 2K, now’s a good opportunity.
  • The 2017 season may be over, but our modding community is still hard at work. We talk a little about the latest roster projects for the PC, including Dee4Three’s releases and the upcoming community roster update, and SkillzFromThe6’s detailed offseason roster for PlayStation 4.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has mostly revolved around NBA Playgrounds, which is currently also on sale through Steam.
  • Phil Jackson is out in New York. Knicks fans seem to be happy, but are also wondering why it took so long.
  • Chris Paul has been traded to the Houston Rockets, setting up what might be a very interesting offseason.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

The Friday Five: 5 Mods I’d Like To Make This Year

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five mods that I’d like to make before 2017 is through.

Although I don’t get involved with the modding scene as much as I used to, I still like to whip something up and release new mods whenever I can. I really enjoyed going back and updating my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004, and with some of the great court and jersey mods that Murat has been working on, I’m looking forward to releasing another new version in the not too distant future. These days I’m primarily focusing on content such as articles, videos, and the NLSC Podcast, but I do have a list of ideas for mods that I’d like to make, and there are some in particular that I’d really like to find time for, some of which I’ve discussed in two previous columns.

Please note that this is not intended to be an announcement, a To Do list, or anything like that. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to make these mods this year, or ever for that matter. However, at least one has already seen a couple of beta/demo releases, and others are ideas that probably wouldn’t take too long to create, in between the other content that I’m working on (as well as other site updates, and of course, my day job and personal life). However, when the itch to get back into some modding starts to flare up, these are the mods that I’d be most interested in creating in the near future…time permitting, of course.

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Monday Tip-Off: A Suggestion for Modding, Moving Forward

Enhancements to in-game creation tools would help with modding.

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a suggestion for our approach to modding, as look ahead to future releases.

Recently, I’ve written a couple of articles that have taken a look at how modding has changed, and some of the biggest developments that have helped the modding community to grow and thrive. Aside from reflecting on the past and talking about noteworthy milestones, both articles have also had an eye towards the future of modding. In that regard, I believe there is inspiration to be found, as well as a few important lessons that can be learned, when it comes to the history of our modding community. A little perspective and reflection can help us as we look to move forward.

There’s no guarantee that future NBA 2K games will be as moddable as releases on the previous generation, or that NBA Live will return to the PC platform. Even if either of those scenarios is actually feasible, there’s a strong likelihood that it won’t happen with this year’s releases. With that in mind, I think it’s important that we prepare ourselves for the possibility that we’ll be facing the same challenges and limitations that have presented themselves in the past couple of years, and be ready to work around them as best as possible. In particular, there’s one suggestion that I believe we should keep in mind.

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The Friday Five: 5 Biggest Developments in Modding

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of what I believe are the five biggest developments in modding.

I’ve said it many, many times before, but our modding community has done some great things over the years. Of course, creating all those amazing mods hasn’t always been easy, and in the case of some games, it’s taken a while after their release to develop all the necessary tools. Even today, there are obstacles that make modding difficult at times, and there are some things that we used to be able to do that we presently cannot. Obviously, the goal here is to do the best we can with the tools at our disposal, and keep trying to develop new methods and resources that will help us to tinker with basketball video games as desired.

With that in mind, we only need to look back at the major developments in modding to find inspiration. As a community, we’ve been able to overcome a lot of obstacles in being able to modify NBA Live and NBA 2K, and in one or two instances, the developers themselves have helped us along the way. In the spirit of recognising all the advancements in modding, and hopefully providing some inspiration to keep doing what we’re doing, I’d like to discuss five major milestones that I believe have marked some of the most important developments in the hobby. Without them, modding would certainly be far more limited, if not impossible.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Supreme Update Mod for NBA Live 07

Basketball in the Supreme Update Mod for NBA Live 07

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the Supreme Update Mod for NBA Live 07.

Over the years, several amazing mods have been released in our community for both NBA Live and NBA 2K. Certain mods stand out as landmark releases though, delighting the community and inspiring other modders to produce great work of their own. Since it’s the tenth anniversary of NBA Live 07, and today also marks the 38th birthday of cover player Tracy McGrady, I thought that I’d talk about one of the most significant mods made for the game: the Supreme Update Mod. Undoubtedly one of the best projects to come out of our community, it’s about time that I profile it in a Wayback Wednesday feature.

It was one of the most comprehensive updates for a PC version of NBA Live, and a great example of teamwork and cooperation in the modding community, as well as technical innovation. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Andrew's 1997/1998 Roster Mod for NBA Live 96

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how modding has changed over the years.

As of last August, the NLSC has been around for twenty years. I’ve had the privilege of running the site for fifteen of those twenty years, and suffice to say quite a few things have changed during that span. It’s been interesting to observe those changes, and of course, crucial to adapt to them. As you might expect, that’s sometimes been a challenging task. While we’ve expanded our content and commitment to covering basketball games during their development, a big part of what we do here in our community still revolves around modding. I expect that will always be the case, and as I’ve said before, we can be proud of the work we’ve done in that regard.

Of course, there have been changes to modding, too. For a start, instead of “modding” and “mods”, in years gone by we mostly used the words “patching” and “patches”. Once we started covering NBA 2K in greater depth and creating content for it, the word “modding” came to be used more frequently, either to distinguish it from NBA Live patching, or simply because the term was more common in other gaming communities. Whichever term you prefer, the changes to modding in our community extend well beyond the name for the hobby.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live PC Mod

Shaquille O'Neal dunks in NBA Live PC for NBA Live 06

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Inspired by last week’s dig through the archives, I went rummaging again to see what else I could find. My search yielded some preview screenshots for the NBA Live PC mod, which became the NLSC’s comprehensive roster update for the PC version of NBA Live 06 for several years. Since I enjoyed looking back at my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004 last week, I thought that I’d do the same for a current roster update that I maintained for one of my all-time favourite games in the series. With NBA Live 06 being next up in our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospectives, it also seemed fitting.

So, why did the mod bear that name, and how did it come about? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Is the Future of Modding In-Game?

Team Designs, an example of in-game modding in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

TGsoGood offered up an interesting question in the Forum a couple of weeks ago, concerning the current state of modding. He noted that while modding has always had its ups and downs, the hobby is not quite what it used to be, at least for the most recent releases. While modders have been a little more active so far this year, and the tools and resources at their disposal are the best they’ve been since the PC started receiving the same version of NBA 2K as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as TGsoGood alluded to, we’re not finding ourselves in a new golden era of modding.

With that being said, there are plenty of users who are customising NBA 2K17. As TGsoGood also pointed out, gamers are making great use of the team rebranding and roster customisation options to create a variety of modifications that are distributed through the in-game sharing facilities. Therefore, the question before us is this: is the future of modding in-game? Since Arcane and Kenny aren’t involved with the modding scene, I decided that I’d tackle the issue in this week’s Monday Tip-Off, rather than on the NLSC Podcast.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Lure of Roster Modding

Kawhi Leonard in the 2012/2013 Roster for NBA Live 08

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

It’s been almost four years since I released my last current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through 08. Although I’ve dabbled with beta versions of a fictional league roster and an Ultimate Jordan roster – and I would like to return to those projects at some point – it would seem that my days of working on the rosters and other big modding projects are getting further and further behind me. That’s not to say that I won’t continue to release work here and there, or that I’m completely done with modding, but right now, I’d have to say that I think I’m done with regular current season roster updates.

I’m phrasing it that way because I wouldn’t want to say that I’m definitely, unquestionably done, at least until I get to a point in my life where being involved in modding simply isn’t feasible. While I don’t want to give the impression that any announcements or releases are imminent, doing some more work with rosters is something that I wouldn’t want to rule out completely. As tiresome as the process can be, as much as it can become a chore, I can’t deny that as someone who has worked on such projects for many years, the lure of roster modding is often strong.

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The Friday Five: 5 More Patches I Always Wanted to Make

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

A little over two years ago, I wrote a Friday Five column about five patches that I always wanted to make, but never did. Since then, I’ve given a couple of them a try, releasing beta/demo versions of an Ultimate Jordan Roster, and a fictional league roster inspired by World League Basketball. They’re a couple of projects that I’d like to return to when I have the opportunity, as I do like to get back to my roots and make some patches from time to time. It’s been a while since my last release, so I must admit that I am getting the itch to work on something beyond my regular columns and other features (although I certainly do enjoy creating that content, too).

Because I don’t have as much free time as I used to, these days I prefer to focus on making smaller patches that fill a particular need, or works that are creatively satisfying, rather than the regular roster updates that I used to create. When I’m trying to come up with some fun ideas for patches, I still tend to think back to projects that I’ve envisioned in the past, but never got around to making. Following on from my previous Five, here are some more patches that I didn’t end up creating, some of which I might take a shot at sometime in the future.

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