Monday Tip-Off

Monday Tip-Off: Some More Thoughts on Constructive Feedback

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 some more thoughts on how we can give better feedback as a gaming community.

If you haven’t yet checked out the interview that our friends over at Operation Sports conducted with the NBA 2K team, I highly recommend giving it a look. I obviously got a kick out of seeing JaoSming and Leftos taking part, and hearing the NLSC receive some flattering mentions, but those were far from the only parts that I enjoyed. All the guys participating in the interview provided an interesting insight into how they came to join the team at 2K, what it’s like to work in the industry, and how their perception of video game development changed from when they were members of the community. It’s a four part series, and you can begin with Part 1 here.

The interview also discusses the importance of community feedback, noting that even when the developers aren’t replying to comments, they are reading them. There were some good tips on how to get noticed, whether you’re seeking employment at Visual Concepts, or simply want to provide the developers with feedback for official patches and future games. Some of their comments got me thinking once again about the way we give feedback – not only to 2K, but also EA – and how we can do a better job in that regard. Personally, it’s also made me reflect a little on the way that I’ve critiqued the game and offered up feedback in recent years.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Great NBA 2K Camera Angle Debate

2K Camera Angle in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

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 some opinions on the camera angle settings in NBA 2K.

If you’re a long-time basketball gamer, you’ll probably remember a time when changing the camera angle simply wasn’t an option. Whether it was a broadcast-style sideline view, an isometric angle, or a perspective from behind the player you were controlling, most games didn’t give you a lot of choice when it came to the camera. In the mid 90s, however, a choice of camera angles and various zoom options began to make their way into basketball games. In recent times, there’s been a focus on authentically replicating the broadcast angles for all 30 NBA teams.

This wider variety of camera angles has sparked some passionate debates over the years, specifically over which is the best camera angle to use. In NBA 2K, the discussion has pretty much boiled down to the broadcast camera – either the authentic angles, or ones inspired by them – and the 2K camera and its variants. Basketball gamers certainly seem to have some strong opinions about which camera is the best, or for that matter, which is the “correct” setting to use. As I’m a passionate basketball gamer myself, I obviously have a few thoughts on the subject.

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Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Andrew's 1997/1998 Roster 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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Monday Tip-Off: Giving NBA 2K17 Online One More Try

Post Game Stats in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

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 few thoughts on my recent experience playing NBA 2K17 online.

Along with my co-hosts Arcane and Kenny, I’ve mentioned in various episodes of the NLSC Podcast that I’ve recently grown weary of playing NBA 2K17 online. After really getting into 2K Pro-Am last year with NBA 2K16, and constantly playing it for the first few months after NBA 2K17 came out, our interest in and enjoyment of the mode took a sudden downturn. After some frustrating sessions of both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK – including one where we dejectedly called it a night after only one game – we all decided to take a break from the online modes in NBA 2K17, at least for a little while, but possibly until NBA 2K18 was released.

For the next couple of weeks, we stuck to the single player modes in NBA 2K17, or indeed, played other games altogether. However, I did find myself wanting to give 2K Pro-Am at least one more try, and I’ve taken part in a couple of sessions with the guys each of the past two Fridays. There was familiar frustration, but also the same recognisable fun and enjoyment from more positive sessions in the past. As a result, I may not be finished with the online experience in NBA 2K17 just yet. For other basketball gamers who have grown tired of online play, you can probably relate to the following reflections.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Playing basketball on MyCOURT 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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how basketball gaming can be a bit of a grind.

As much as we enjoy basketball gaming around these parts, I don’t think many of us would argue that it isn’t a grind at times. Whether it’s playing through a full NBA season, building a collection of quality cards in the team building modes, or turning our avatars into superstars, it’s a lengthy process. This is especially true if you’re playing with full length quarters. The obvious solution is to set shorter quarter lengths, and make use of the simulation function in modes where it’s available, but for various reasons, those options aren’t always desirable. Even if you do streamline the experience, the chances of burnout are high.

That’s because we pack so much basketball gaming into a single year, in order to get the most out of a title before the next one is released. With other genres of video games, you can generally take your time, and discover the replay value at your leisure. Most games can easily be finished in a much shorter time than it takes to complete one full season playing on twelve minute quarters. Even if you do feel as though you’ve had a full and satisfactory experience with a basketball game, within a year you’ll be starting from scratch and having to do it all over again. The question is: what changes could be made so that basketball games feel like less of a grind?

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Monday Tip-Off: Year One Done in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER

With the Larry O'Brien Trophy in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

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 an update on my first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17.

Over the weekend, I finally wrapped up my first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17. As much as I’ve been enjoying it, I was ready for it to be over and done with, mostly because I was really looking forward to my plans for the second season and beyond. Playing through every game on twelve minute quarters, only occasionally simulating to the end as the regular season reached its final weeks, turned out to be quite a grind. The postseason freshened up the experience a bit, but I was still eager to start the next chapter.

Playing through the Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals over the course of Saturday evening and afternoon, I was able to bring my rookie campaign to a fitting conclusion, and start looking ahead to new challenges. All in all, it’s been the most positive experience I’ve had in MyCAREER since NBA 2K13, so as I begin my sophomore campaign, I thought that I’d reflect on my rookie season and first foray into virtual free agency in this year’s game.

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Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K (Part 3)

Shooting with the Pro Stick 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. This week, I’m tipping things off with another follow up to my previous commentary on the usage of the Pro Stick vs. the Shoot Button in NBA 2K.

It’s only been a few weeks since I revisited this topic, but there’s been a change in my approach, and a noticeable difference in the results. As you may recall from my previous articles, I’ve tended to stick to using the Shoot Button for jumpshots, while using the Pro Stick for dunks and layups, as well as free throw shooting and moves such as floaters. Given my long history with the NBA Live series, I’ve always felt more comfortable using the right stick for dribbling moves, and sliding my thumb across to the face buttons when it comes time to attempt a shot.

As I said though, my habits have changed over the course of the past month. After spending more time using the Pro Stick, I’ve found that I’m using it almost exclusively. Apart from the odd moment where old habits will break through, or when I trust the game to pick a contextually appropriate dunk or layup animation, I’m using the Pro Stick for almost all of my shot attempts. And you know something? Jumpshots in particular have never felt easier.

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Monday Tip-Off: Got Next Gotta Go in MyPARK

Got Next in NBA 2K17's MyPARK

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 my thoughts on the “Got Next” approach in MyPARK.

Along with the other members of NLSC THRILLHO, I’ve been finding 2K Pro-Am a little more frustrating than usual lately. The most recent patch opened up matchmaking across different tiers, which results in more games, but also frequently matches us up against Elite level teams who are more serious about online gaming, or have achieved that status through cheesy builds. We’ve still had some enjoyable games, but a few tough nights, combined with rising frustration with some of NBA 2K17’s issues, have encouraged us to head to MyPARK instead. After an enjoyable experience with Park After Dark #3, it’s something we’ll probably do more often.

Even though I generally prefer five-on-five gameplay with NBA rules, the streetball approach of MyPARK is a fun change of pace. I like the more casual atmosphere, and when there’s only three of us online, a three-on-three game without AI players of questionable skill level feels like a more streamlined experience. I find that I’m less frustrated, perhaps because even though I do want to win and we do compete, losses don’t seem to sting as much in shorter games. However, there is one frustrating element of MyPARK, and it’s something that’s always bothered me about the mode: Got Next. For me, Got Next gotta go.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Mixed Bag of CPU Teammates in 2K Pro-Am

Tip-Off in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

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 few thoughts on the quality of CPU-controlled teammates in NBA 2K17’s 2K Pro-Am.

As the artificial intelligence in basketball video games has become more sophisticated, CPU-controlled teammates have thankfully become much more reliable. That’s not to say that there aren’t any frustrating moments where they seemingly forget how to play basketball, but compared to early hoops titles, there’s less of a need to frantically switch control of players and take charge of everything yourself. Needless to say, if you’re locked to controlling a single player – as is the basis of modes such as MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am – it’s even more important that CPU-controlled teammates are competent.

Barring a connection problem, you’ll never start a game of 2K Pro-Am with more than two AI players. If you consistently run with a full squad of five players, they’ll seldom be an issue at all unless someone fouls out, or is booted due to a low teammate grade. However, if you frequently jump online to play 2K Pro-Am, chances are you’ll deal with a CPU-controlled teammate at some point. It’s at that point you’ll discover that although AI in basketball games has come a long way, the quality of your CPU teammates is still very much a mixed bag.

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Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER’s Funniest Text Message

Checking the phone in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

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.

I realise that not everyone is fan of the virtual Twitter and text messaging in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. For some people, it’s a pointless annoyance, an unnecessary addition that has nothing to do with gameplay or replicating the experience of being an NBA player. I can certainly understand that point of view, but I have to admit, I kind of like it. For me, it contributes to the immersive nature and world building aspects of MyCAREER, making the mode seem more alive with something that’s very prominent in the real world. Beyond that, of course, some of the messages and Tweets are actually pretty funny…though not always for the right reasons.

There’s unquestionably a lot of intentional humour in MyCAREER’s text messages and Tweets. Certain Tweets represent (with painful accuracy) some of the less intelligent things that we basketball fans are prone to putting out there on social media. There’s in-jokes, banter with other players, and texts that add minor plot points to the background storyline. There are supportive Tweets from Leftos, which I always enjoy. And then, there are the text messages that are just plain weird, and most likely glitched. That’s the type of message I’m sharing with you today.

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Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K (Part 2)

Shooting a jumpshot with the Pro Stick 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.

A few months back, I discussed the pros and cons of the Pro Stick and Shoot Button in NBA 2K, and my preference for using the button. Since the changes to the shooting mechanics in NBA 2K17 had just been announced, I noted that I’d be open to changing my approach, depending on the precision that was required when using the Pro Stick, and whether or not it offered a noticeable advantage. I also mentioned that I was more inclined to use the Pro Stick for shots in the paint, because of the ability to perform floaters and other elusive shots on cue, as well as have more control over dunk and layup animations.

NBA 2K17 has been out for about five months now, and has received eleven official patches, as well as several tuning updates. With all the gameplay tweaks, and having tried out more than a couple of different jumpshot animations for my MyPLAYER, there have been plenty of variables as I’ve experimented with both methods of shooting the basketball. I expect to be playing NBA 2K17 for several months yet, so the experiment is ongoing. As I look ahead to future NBA 2K releases, I must admit that my mind isn’t completely made up about which method I favour, and the direction that the controls and shooting mechanics should take.

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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: All-Star Disappointment in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER

Three-Point Shootout Intro in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

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.

As I briefly described here in the Forum, I had a rather unfortunate experience in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game last week. The All-Star Weekend didn’t exactly finish with a bang, thanks to a rather nasty glitch that I feared might have messed up my MyCAREER save in more ways than I originally anticipated. Combined with some disappointment in the Slam Dunk Contest, it’s fair to say that the All-Star Weekend didn’t turn out to be one of the highlights of my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER thus far. As such, I thought that I’d talk a little bit more about it in this week’s Monday Tip-Off.

Spoiler alert: I will be talking about a development in the story that happens a considerable way into MyCAREER. It’s not exactly a plot point on the level of Tyler Durden, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, or even Luke Skywalker’s parentage – though I guess those twists are actually all common knowledge now, anyway – but out of respect to those who’d like to let the story reveal itself, I figure it’s only appropriate to offer a heads up. It’s also something else that kind of bugged me, so I definitely wanted to touch upon it. With that said, here’s how the 2017 All-Star Weekend went down for me in MyCAREER.

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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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Monday Tip-Off: Would I Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Switch Logo

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.

Last week, the gaming community learned more about the Nintendo Switch, which is scheduled for release worldwide on March 3rd, 2017. Of particular interest to those of us in the basketball gaming community, we learned that Visual Concepts will be releasing NBA 2K18 for the console in September this year. The announcement reflects the general increase in third party support that has been pledged for the Switch, after several developers abandoned the Wii U very quickly. As you may recall, NBA 2K13 was the first and only basketball game Visual Concepts released for the Wii U, and the last NBA 2K title released on the original Wii.

With the Nintendo Switch being a hybrid portable and home console, and gaining the support of third party developers, it’s certainly generating a lot of interest and discussion ahead of its launch. With the confirmation that NBA 2K18 will be released for the Switch, it might be a viable option for basketball gamers who haven’t yet invested in a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, and don’t have a suitable gaming PC. With that in mind, is the Nintendo Switch something that I’m personally interested in, either instead of or in addition to the gaming platforms that I currently own?

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