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.
1. Fallout-Themed Practice Court
Since I started making patches for NBA Live all those years ago, I’ve mostly focused on roster updates. I’d like to think that I became quite good at making them, and since graphic design isn’t my forte, for a long time I didn’t do much work at all with art updates. However, I did try my hand at making some art updates several years back, and have ended up making some logo patches, TV-style transition wipes, and even converted some player faces into coach faces. Thanks to JaoSming’s tutorial, I also made some custom courts including team-themed practice gyms, and one of my all-time favourite projects, a re-creation of The Hangar from NBA Live 10.
An idea that I thought might be fun is a practice court based on the Fallout series, which as you may know from mentions on the NLSC Podcast, I’m a big fan of. I’ve envisioned the patch a couple of different ways. The first approach would simply be to decorate a standard court and practice gym with artwork from the Fallout universe: Brotherhood of Steel logos, in-game posters, that sort of thing. I’ve also thought about taking it one step further and using the school gymnasium from NBA Live 06’s practice court, making it look like an abandoned and dilapidated gym from the Fallout universe. Maybe a little grim, but that’s war. And war…war never changes.
2. “What If?” Roster
Few things in sports are as wonderfully interesting and heartbreakingly frustrating at the same time as “what ifs”. Sometimes it’s painful to think of what might have been, other times we might feel thankful that history tells a different story, but either way, we can’t help but wonder and imagine. While we’ll never know for sure, sports video games do give us an opportunity to play out those scenarios and have some fun with them. To that end, I thought that making a “What If?” roster might be a good way to finally get into some NBA 2K modding, and provide the community with a fun alternative experience at the same time.
A couple of the most intriguing ideas I had were the 2001 Orlando Magic with Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, and Tim Duncan forming a big three, and LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining forces on the New York Knicks in 2010 (as Jalen Rose erroneously predicted). HAWK23 gave me permission to use assets and data from the Ultimate Base Roster, so I was all ready to create the mod. As it happened, ChrisBrodbeck had had the same idea, and ended up creating a fantastic “What If?” roster of his own before I was able to really get started on my version. He did a great job, and ultimately I was very glad to see a fun idea come to fruition.
3. D-League in the NLSC Roster Patches
Although the most popular roster patches tend to be current and retro season updates, college mods, and international tournament and foreign league total conversions, the community has also shown an interest in Summer League and D-League rosters. A few of those patches have been released for both NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, and at one point, I was toying with the idea of either making a D-League roster, or more likely, adding D-League teams to the NLSC roster updates. On top of being extra content, potential D-League call-ups would also be available to add to NBA rosters.
One of the talented modders in our community had even provided me with some D-League art assets, in case I was able to go ahead with it. Unfortunately, by that point I was well and truly burned out on making current roster updates for NBA Live, so I wasn’t able to do anything with the D-League one way or another. It’s a shame though, as I feel it would’ve been a cool bonus feature, and definitely useful in terms of having D-League call-ups readily available. If you’re currently maintaining a roster update for NBA Live or NBA 2K, I’d definitely suggest incorporating the D-League in some way. I certainly wish I’d done it while I was still making the NLSC roster updates.
4. All-Time All-Star Rosters
This was actually an idea that I had when I was still making patches for NBA Live 96. I’d been playing around with changing team names and the pointers to art files through hex editing, and I figured that I could replace all of the NBA teams with copies of the East and West All-Stars. I’d then re-create the All-Star squads from some of the most significant All-Star Games in history, to either replay those contests, or mix and match for the ultimate All-Star challenge. As for the original East and West All-Stars, I envisioned turning them into the All-Time East and All-Time West squads, just to add another idea for a challenge to the roster.
A project like that could’ve been made fairly efficiently for NBA Live 96. Player appearances were very basic back then, which would have greatly sped up the process of creating all the players. However, by that point patches for NBA Live 96 were getting to be passé, so I didn’t get very far with it. The idea came to mind again when I was modding later games, but since I usually had other projects such as the current roster patches taking up my time, nothing ever came of it. Fortunately, this is another instance where other people have had the same idea, and you can find an excellent All-Time All-Star roster in UBR for NBA 2K14.
5. A Current Roster for an NBA 2K Game
As I alluded to earlier, I’ve been meaning to get into some NBA 2K modding for some time now. The most logical place for me to start would be with a current roster update, since those are the patches that I have the most experience with. Going back to what I said in a previous Friday Five, maintaining roster updates can be a tiresome task at times, but it’s also something I’ve had fun with, and it can even enhance your enjoyment of the current NBA season. To that end, every so often I’ve thought about getting involved in keeping one of the NBA 2K games up to date.
The main obstacle here, of course, is time. The roster patches for NBA Live were time consuming enough, and in the recent NBA 2K games, there are even more attributes to familiarise yourself with, and properly maintain. I’m also still a little burned out after so many years of making rosters. Fortunately, there are some very talented people who have been handling roster updates for NBA 2K, so it’s not as though the community has gone without. All the same, as with the other ideas on this list, every so often I think about updating a community favourite like NBA 2K11. I’m not making any promises here, but I’d never want to rule it out completely, either.
Even though I wish that I could’ve made these patches, I may still get around to a couple of them someday. As I said in my previous column, I’m also in favour of putting the ideas out there to the community, in case someone else would like to give them a try. Any thoughts on those ideas, or projects of your own you’ve had to shelve? Let me know in the comments section below, 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.