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.
1. Current Roster Updates for NBA Live 2005-08
I’d be lying if I said that I was completely happy with how I stepped away from making the current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through NBA Live 08. After several delays, I managed to get a 2013 season roster out as the regular season was wrapping up, but I never got around to releasing a final season update. I also originally intended to create roster updates for subsequent seasons, and even did some preliminary work here and there, but those efforts never really went anywhere. When it came down to it, I was too burned out, it was difficult to find the time, and there simply wasn’t the same demand for them as there used to be.
Every so often though, I’ve thought about making more roster updates. Earlier this year, I did some preliminary work and put together a preview image of LeBron James back on the Cleveland Cavaliers, facing off against Kevin Durant on the Golden State Warriors. I asked if there would be any interest in updates for those games, and despite the newest title of the four being almost ten years old now, it seems the answer is yes. As such, it’s difficult to close the door on the idea entirely. Releasing at least a couple more rosters – while also making them open source so that others can continue them in my stead – is something that I can’t help thinking about.
2. Current Roster Update for NBA 2K11
Around the same time that I was gauging interest in new current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through NBA Live 08, I was also mulling the possibility of making mods for the NBA 2K series. One idea that sprang to mind was a current roster update for NBA 2K11, a game that many still hold in high regard, but one that isn’t really being actively updated right now. Once again, I did a little preliminary work, and put together a preview image featuring LeBron James and Kevin Durant. And, as with my posts regarding the NBA Live rosters, it seems there is still interest in having some new mods for NBA 2K11 PC, with current rosters definitely being on the list.
Funnily enough, it would actually take a little bit more work to make current roster mods for NBA 2K11 than it would for NBA Live 2005 through NBA Live 08, since I already have more assets in place for the Live titles (including a 2013 season update to work from). You’d be surprised how much turnover there is in just six years in the league, with rookies being drafted, veterans retiring, and other players simply not being able to stick around for more than a couple of seasons. It would be a big undertaking, but it would be fun to breathe new life into an old favourite, trying my hand at something new while also doing something that’s very familiar.
3. Ultimate Jordan Roster for NBA Live 2005-08
When it comes to the mods that I’d like to release this year, this is definitely one that is a distinct possibility. After all, I’ve already released a couple of beta/demo versions of the Ultimate Jordan Roster, so it’s already a work in progress that’s coming along quite nicely. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and do any real work on it, but because a significant amount of progress has been made – all the included teams have at least eight players, so it’s in a playable state – it does feel like a project that I’ll be able to finish. I had to revert back to the latest public beta after some issues with corrupted database files, but it didn’t set me back too much.
The Ultimate Jordan Roster is an idea that sprang to mind after NBA 2K gave us the Jordan Challenge and all the historical content that’s followed, so I really would like to develop it into a full release. I’ve also had some fun ideas for it in the meantime. Aside from adding a couple of bonus teams – availability of assets and time permitting – I’d like to include a version that replaces all instances of Michael Jordan with a Roster Player, as a tribute to those classic NBA Live games in the mid 90s. Since there’s a dedicated 1-on-1 mode in NBA Live 2005 through 08, it also only seems logical to add LaVar Ball, just to settle that argument once and for all.
4. Some Kind of Project for NBA 2K17
Of course, modding is also about tinkering with the latest game and future releases, and not just sprucing up old favourites. Even though it’s late in the year, I would like to do something with NBA 2K17. Since the other mods I have in mind would be time-consuming if I can make them happen, I’d be looking to do something fairly simple here. I wouldn’t be making a custom current roster update, as there’s a fantastic one already on the way. In terms of historical and fantasy rosters, Dee4Three has us covered with the Ultimate All-Time Teams Roster, Ultimate Classic Teams Roster, and Ultimate Fantasy Draft Roster; all amazing projects.
I’d be looking to do something smaller and simpler, but hopefully, still fun. I was thinking perhaps an NBA Jam-style roster, if I can get the right slider and ratings combinations to create such an experience. Alternatively, I’m interested in the idea of a “concept” roster, such as placing players on their hometown teams, or exploring some “What If?” scenarios. Basically, I’m toying with some ideas for roster mods that would be fairly straightforward to make, but still offer an experience that would be fun to mess around with. If they didn’t utilise external assets and weren’t too time-consuming, I could probably make a PlayStation 4 version as well.
5. Various Smaller Mods
I’m cheating a bit here, but I believe that miscellaneous ideas for a bunch of smaller mods could feasibly come under the umbrella of a modding project. Like the Ultimate Jordan Roster, there’s a good chance that I’ll be able to make at least a few of these mods as they’re much smaller projects, and in some cases, can actually be created in a day. Several teams have unveiled new logos, so I expect I’ll be able to create some more updates for the last four NBA Live games on PC. Other mods such as Real Staff are also relatively quick and easy to make, help keep the games up to date, and shouldn’t conflict with any other releases.
Creating a custom practice court for Arcane’s birthday last year piqued my interest in messing around with custom courts again. I’d like to create a couple of NLSC-themed courts, as well as the Fallout-themed court that I’ve talked about in previous articles and on a recent Podcast. There’s a new NBA on ESPN logo, and it probably wouldn’t take too long to update my old screen transition mods with the new artwork. Whether it’s NBA Live or NBA 2K, there are smaller things that I can tinker with here and there. Making those mods would scratch a creative itch, and hopefully provide something that enhances the basketball gaming experience in some way.
Once again, this isn’t an announcement, nor is it a confirmation of anything. Please don’t hold me to any of this; as I said, these are just some of the mods that I’d most like to make if I were able to set aside the time, with a couple being a bit more likely than others. Modders, what are some of the projects that you’d love to create, or cool ideas that have fallen through? Gamers, what kind of mods do you want to see? Have your say in the comments section, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.