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Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist 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 look at the idea of minimalist modding.

With all the tools and techniques that our modding community has developed for NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, we’ve been able to produce some fantastic projects. From detailed current rosters and multi-season packs to NCAA mods and other total conversions, we’ve been able to re-skin the game and create brand new experiences. These projects can take a long time to complete, but it’s very satisfying to see them come together, for both the creator and the community. I can attest to that, having been involved in quite a few large roster projects over the years.

Of course, these fantastic projects do have their drawbacks. They can be incredibly time-consuming, so even if you have the skills to create all the necessary assets, it’s much easier if you have a few other people helping out. To that point, not everyone can do it all when it comes to modding, so it’s usually necessary to assemble a team or rely on some community contributions to get everything done. As you can imagine, the amount of time and effort required can lead to multiple delays, or projects falling through. It’s why I’ve become intrigued with the idea of creating larger projects that don’t require as much external effort; something I’m calling minimalist modding.

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Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We 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 few thoughts on the gaming and modding habits in our community.

One of the more disappointing trends in our community in recent years is the drop-off in discussion about the games we play. We certainly do talk about them, but there’s much less discussion about sliders, strategies, positive and negative impressions, and the general gaming experience on the virtual hardwood. This definitely wasn’t always the case in the NLSC Forum. If you dig through the archives, you’ll find plenty of topics discussing gameplay and game modes, sharing everything from suggestions and tips to criticism and praise. Within those topics, you’ll see lively discussion.

Not so much anymore, however. Conversely, activity in our modding community is still at a high level. From releases and previews to modding advice and requests for mods, there’s plenty of chatter. It’s a puzzling phenomenon, and an imbalance that I’d love to see corrected. Obviously we’re known as a modding community, but we’ve always been much more than that, in both our original content and the conversations we have about basketball gaming. In trying to determine how this trend began and what’s changed in our community, I can’t help wondering: are we actually playing basketball video games, or are we just modding them?

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 97 Team Editor

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 97 Team Editor

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 NBA Live 97 Team Editor.

Once techniques have been discovered in our modding community, we’re usually able to reuse or adapt them as new games come out. The question has always been whether or not the existing tools can still be used, and if not, will anyone be able to update them or create new ones. After all, we have far more modders than programmers in the community, and indeed in recent years, many of our most useful tools have come from elsewhere. This wasn’t always the case, though. Although modders have always outnumbered tool creators, there still used to be a handful of the latter.

Our founders, Tim, Lutz, and Brien, created a bunch of useful tools for editing the PC versions of NBA Live. However, they weren’t the only programmers breaking down the games and providing a means of modding them. Case in point: the NBA Live 97 Team Editor, created by Mark Paris. Although Tim’s editor was more than sufficient for making roster updates for the game, the NBA Live 97 Team Editor was a very handy companion tool. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #307: The Joy of Roster Modding

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #307 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Dee4Three and I are discussing roster mods, from how they’re made to why they’re so satisfying to create and play with.

Our NBA 2K21 Wishlist thread is now open in the Forum, so before we dive into our main discussion topic, we encourage everyone to get involved! We also encourage everyone to feel free to talk about gameplay and gaming experiences in general. With that business out of the way, we turn our attention to an activity we’ve greatly enjoyed over the years: roster modding. The discussion begins with a look at the breadth and appeal of roster mods, and the creative process behind them. Along the way, we discuss the tools and techniques that are used in their creation, the importance of certain changes over the years, and some significant roster mods. From creating them to playing with them, we discuss why roster mods are so fun and important to basketball gaming, and offer up a few tips for people who want to get involved with roster modding.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on roster mods, as a creator, user, or both? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: A Crossroads in the Modding Community

Monday Tip-Off: A Crossroads in the Modding Community

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 by addressing some recent concerns and issues in our modding community.

I’ve often spoken of how proud I am of our modding community, how I truly believe we have a good thing going here. I stand by that statement, but it’s a remark that I’ve often made before offering up criticism of troubling practices within our community. I’ll admit that I’m doing the same thing today, as the last couple of weeks have been an unusually turbulent time. There are a number of issues that have reached a boiling point, and troubling attitudes have been on display. It’s culminated in at least one ban, and an unhealthy amount of tension for what is meant to be a fun hobby.

At the same time, it’s led to a productive discussion about the path that our modding community is on, and the kind of community we want to be. It’s allowed us to raise these issues and find out that many of us are on the same page. I’d like to continue that discussion here today. Yes, I have some criticisms that may seem blunt, but I would ultimately like something positive to come out of the messy situation that has arisen. As I’ve said in the Forum, it’s getting to the point where we may have to amend our rules and policies, to ensure that we’re maintaining the standard we’ve set and culture we’ve established. If nothing else, we want to make sure unwritten rules are written.

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Making a Mod: NBA 2K11 Current Roster (Episode 2)

Making a Mod: NBA 2K11 Current Roster (Episode 2)

The second episode of Making a Mod: NBA 2K11 Current Roster is out now! For the uninitiated, this is a new video series on our YouTube channel, in which I document the process of making a 2020 season roster update for NBA 2K11 PC. Just so you know, I have bought plays from themarketingheaven.com for the video included in order to help me reach a wider audience and greater viewership as Youtube’s new algorithm has changed and brought in more robust reforms and rules.

While there’s still quite a bit of work to do, I’ve been able to make some significant progress since Episode 1. In Episode 2, I discuss the current status of missing players, as well as collecting and adding faces for all the players that need to be added. I also talk about two-way players, salaries, and the availability of the mod when it’s ready.

For all the details and clips of the roster coming together, catch Episode 2 of Making a Mod below. You can also watch it here on our YouTube channel; while you’re there, feel free to subscribe!

Also be sure to keep it locked to this topic in the Forum for further updates and previews, as well as information on how you can help the project. I’ll be maintaining lists of required art for anyone who is willing and able to lend a hand. Once again, a big thanks to everyone for your continued support and interest in the NBA 2K11 Current Roster project! Stay tuned for more progress reports in Making a Mod.

Making a Mod: NBA 2K11 Current Roster (Episode 1)

Making a Mod: NBA 2K11 Current Roster (Episode 1)

The first episode of Making a Mod: NBA 2K11 Current Roster is out now! This is a new video series on our YouTube channel, in which I document the process of making a 2020 season roster update for NBA 2K11 PC.

You may recall that I teased the project about a year ago. Unfortunately, a lot of things kept getting in the way, and I wasn’t able to get an update out last season. With the new season looming – and potentially a very exciting one at that, given all the player movement – I want to see the project through this year.

These videos will serve as progress reports for the project, and hopefully provide a fun and interesting insight into the creation of the rosters. I’m not sure of the schedule yet except that I’ll likely have one out whenever I’ve made significant progress on the roster. As the 2020 season tips off in just a few weeks, they may end up being fairly close together. Watch Episode 1 below, or catch it here on our YouTube channel (and feel free to subscribe while you’re there)!

As I mentioned, you can find more coverage and previews (and eventually support) here in the Forum. If you’re able to assist in creating/converting faces, jerseys, courts, and other art assets for the NBA 2K11 current roster update, please let me know!

The Friday Five: 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries

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 unsolved modding mysteries…at least as far as I’m aware.

In many ways, modding is about unravelling the mysteries of video games. It involves digging through the game files to find out how they work, and how we can alter them to improve a title, or create brand new experiences. Modding has allowed us to find and utilise hidden and leftover content, put assets to use in new ways, and with a bit of trial and error, swap files between games to add missing content and even rig up some unofficial fixes. In short, modding helps us to become familiar with the inner workings of the basketball games that we play.

Of course, for all the creative minds we’ve had in our modding community over the years, there are times when we’ve been stumped. For all our digging, tinkering, and experimenting with all the techniques that we know, there are a few things that we just haven’t been able to figure out. Although these unsolved modding mysteries haven’t prevented us from creating several amazing projects year in and year out, they have meant that some ambitious and creative ideas have been left on the drawing board, or necessitated workarounds. Join me as I take a look at five mysteries in NBA Live and NBA 2K modding that, as far as I know, remain unsolved.

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Wayback Wednesday: How We Used to Create Rosters

1996 Mod for NBA Live 2004: Michael Jordan

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 way we used to create current and retro rosters for NBA Live.

Back when we were the NBA Live Series Center, our founders described the site as “the official home of the Roster Patches and the NBA Live Editors for Windows”. In those days, there were no official rosters pushed through by EA Sports, and limited in-game editing facilities. Modding existed before the NLSC, and the PC versions of NBA Live for that matter, but it’s fair to say that the efforts of Tim, Lutz, and Brien were instrumental in bringing the hobby to the virtual hardwood. It certainly blew my mind when I discovered the NLSC, and I was inspired to make my own rosters.

Of course, even with the editors that our founders created, it wasn’t always easy. I’ve talked about the technical aspects of editing those early games, and some of the tools that made it possible. In this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’d like to reflect on the process of making rosters; in other words, how we found the necessary information that made those projects possible. It’s a process that’s become a lot easier as online resources have expanded, but back then, we had to hunt around a little more. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NBA 2K20 Modding & Downloads Sections Now Open

NBA 2K20: Serge Ibaka

With 2K Day 2019 almost upon us, I’ve opened up the NBA 2K20 modding and Downloads sections in the NLSC Forum! Obviously there isn’t a lot of content there right now, but given how quickly our community works after a game is released, it shouldn’t be long before we see the first uploads.

If you’re after some quick links, here they are:

I’ve also added a portal for NBA 2K20, and of course, I invite everyone to join in the discussion here! I’m hoping we can get some good topics going this year related to gameplay, slider tweaks, and modes that we’re playing. As I’ve said before, we aim to be your one stop hub for all things basketball gaming!

A quick note about NBA 2K20 modding. While we’re currently still allowing ad links, they are becoming problematic and we may have to amend our policy. As our community gears up to mod this year’s game, I encourage everyone to make use of our hosting facilities, which allow mods to be readily and permanently available. For more information on how to upload files to the NLSC, check out this video tutorial that JaoSming put together a few years ago.

March Modness 2019 Giveaway Winner: Pep

NLSC March Modness

The winner of our March Modness 2019 giveaway has been chosen. Congratulations to Pep, whose multiple uploads for NBA 2K14 earned him the most chances at winning the prize! Pep joins TGsoGood, the winner of our 2018 giveaway.

As the situation with NBA Live 20 is still up in the air, Pep has won a copy of the Standard Edition of NBA 2K20 for PC. Budget permitting, we might be able to hold a few more giveaways this year, but in any event, we’re looking to make March Modness an annual event here at the NLSC.

A big thanks as always to everyone who entered this year’s contest, and continues to share their mods with our community. Don’t forget that we offer free and permanent file hosting for the modding community, in order to preserve these great releases for years to come. For more information about adding files to our Downloads database, check out this tutorial!

The release of NBA 2K20 is right around the corner, so get ready for another season of modding and post-release coverage! In the meantime, stay tuned for the final nuggets of news from the preview season, and any information on NBA Live 20 as it becomes available.

NLSC Podcast #291: Is It Time To Worry Yet?

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #291 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! It’s another solo show this week so there’s obviously no featured discussion, but between NBA 2K20 news, NBA Live 19 rosters, speculation about NBA Live 20, and updates from the modding community, I have a few thoughts to share.

As expected, the NBA 2K20 ratings reveal wasn’t without controversy. While fans debate their accuracy and the merits of NBA 2K’s approach to ratings, the best response belongs to whoever is running the Denver Nuggets’ Twitter account. In other news, NBA Live 19 received a surprising roster update featuring offseason moves. Despite being a welcome surprise, it does invite worrisome speculation about NBA Live 20, though it doesn’t help to jump the gun. Meanwhile, in our community, there are some modding projects and other upcoming features worth spotlighting. Check them out, and stay tuned!

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on the latest NBA 2K20 previews, and the speculation surrounding NBA Live 20? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

NLSC Podcast #287: Renovating the Virtual Hardwood

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #287 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Arcane and I are discussing modding, including the history of our community and our own involvement with the hobby over the years.

After catching up on the results of Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals, we dive into this week’s topic: modding, also known as patching (or indeed if we want to get really fancy, renovating the virtual hardwood). We discuss the beginnings of our modding community and how it’s evolved over the years, as well as how we came to be a part of it. Our discussion also includes modding etiquette, and ways that we can improve as a community. We also talk about our favourite mods, both the ones that we’ve made and those that others have created. We wrap up with some tips for getting started, and touch upon what it might be like if NBA Live and NBA 2K could one day go head to head with modding on PC.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on our modding community here at the NLSC? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Our Modding Community

RED Modding Center for NBA 2K14

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 current state and future of our modding community.

2019 could be a great year for our modding community. Late last year, Vlad delivered a wonderful gift in the form of new versions of RED MC and REDitor II that are fully functional and completely free. The availability of these modding tools should allow for some great new releases for old favourites that are still being tinkered with. The community is also very active as far as updating NBA 2K19, with our most intuitive modders developing new techniques and resources. As far as the site is concerned, we anticipate being around for some time yet.

However, there are some disappointing trends and growing concerns. I’ve discussed a few of them before, but unfortunately, they persist (and in some cases, are just getting worse). In some respects, we’re at the mercy of current trends and culture, and some issues are difficult to curb without setting inflexible rules that ultimately run the risk of driving people away from the hobby. Nevertheless, I’d like to take the opportunity to weigh in on those matters once again, and try to steer our modding community onto a better path. To be as productive and friendly as possible, we must avoid the pitfalls and toxicity that have sunk other modding websites and communities.

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RED MC & REDitor II Updated; All Functionality Now Free!

RED MC v5.0.0.0 Preview

I’m a few days late in posting this, but Vlad delivered the NBA 2K modding community some fantastic news for Christmas. For the first time in quite a while, new versions of RED MC and REDitor II have been released. The new versions contain a couple of minor bug fixes, but the biggest development is that all functionality is now available for free!

We still have quite a few people modding and playing the older NBA 2K games on PC, and these new releases will undoubtedly be a boost for that contingent of our community. For those who are unaware, the tools are comprehensive roster editors and modding utilities, used in the creation of projects such as the Ultimate Base Roster and U R Basketball. REDitor II is compatible with NBA 2K10, NBA 2K11, and NBA 2K12, while RED MC is used with NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14.

Pick them up in these sections of our Downloads database:

A huge thanks to Vlad for his hard work over the years, and for now making these tools freely available for everyone. For modding tutorials and resources, please check out the appropriate sections in the NLSC Forum.