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The Friday Five: 5 Options That Would Be Handy

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 options that would be handy to have in NBA Live and NBA 2K.

When we’re compiling our Wishlists and sending feedback to EA Sports and Visual Concepts, it’s important that we prioritise. For example, a major gameplay flaw is far more important to address than a largely inconsequential cosmetic feature. Likewise, the functionality and user-friendliness of the menus is more important than the colour (though legibility and presentation obviously counts for something). Nevertheless, it’s also a good idea to point out features and options that aren’t necessarily vital, but in their own way, add something to the overall experience.

After all, sometimes it’s the little things that really make a game enjoyable. Some options are essential, such as difficulty settings, gameplay sliders, and controller configurations, but features such as atmosphere settings, an accelerated clock, stats normalisation, and other such options can really enhance the experience. We can still enjoy the games without them, and in the grand scheme of things, they probably don’t have a huge effect on Metacritic scores and general reception, but they’d nevertheless be welcome additions. Future versions of NBA Live and NBA 2K could be enhanced with the addition of handy options such as these.

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Monday Tip-Off: Artificial Difficulty in Basketball Games

Artificial Difficulty Fires Up the AI (NBA Live 18)

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 artificial difficulty in basketball games.

No matter what the genre, it’s all too easy to blame a video game itself when we lose. We’ll blame the controls, the mechanics, the AI, the overall design…anything except our own skills on the sticks and buttons. However, there are times when video games pose a challenge simply by not playing fair, manipulating and manufacturing the results. Be it rubber band AI, lightning fast reaction times, or some other tricky tactic, it all comes under the heading of artificial difficulty. Often a necessary evil, it can be used very effectively under certain circumstances.

If implemented poorly, however, artificial difficulty can ruin gameplay by punishing gamers for being too good. It can be particularly intrusive in sim-oriented basketball titles, where the gameplay is intended to accurately mimic the real life sport. There have been great improvements to the AI in the long-running NBA sim titles over the years, with many enhancements that have resulted in a more sophisticated virtual basketball experience. Unfortunately, a few legacy issues with artificial difficulty do remain. I believe it’s vital that the developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts find a way to move past them in future NBA Live and NBA 2K releases.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #249

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Episode #249 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for a discussion of the past week in basketball and basketball gaming, including a new executive producer for NBA Live, the delay of NBA Playgrounds 2, the 2018 Conference Finals, and what we’ve been playing.

On this week’s show…

  • Seann Graddy is the new executive producer of the NBA Live series, with Sean O’Brien moving on to a new role at EA Sports. What does this mean for the series moving forward?
  • Viewership numbers for the NBA 2K League continue to dwindle. Is the League a flop – or on the way to being one – and what is it doing wrong?
  • NBA Playgrounds 2 has been abruptly delayed, less than a week ahead of its release. Saber Interactive are promising great things, but gamers are sceptical.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included more Ultimate Team challenges, LIVE Run, and some bargain retro game pick-ups. There’s also been a noteworthy development in the modding community.
  • We wrap up Episode #249 of the NLSC Podcast with a discussion of the 2018 Conference Finals.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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New Modding Resource: Conversion Mod Progress Tracker

Conversion Mod Progress Tracker

If you’re working on a total conversion mod for NBA 2K, you might be interested in a resource that DaCrispy has uploaded, which helps you to track your progress. Check it out at the link below!

DaCrispy
Conversion Mod Progress Tracker

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: Time to Close the Book on MyCAREER Stories

Proving Ground Characters in MyCAREER (NBA 2K18)

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 take on the future of MyCAREER stories, which is basically that it’s time for them to end.

I know, I know. I’ve talked about MyCAREER stories a lot. I’ve made my position on them very clear since they made their debut in NBA 2K14. However, we’re now five years into the story-driven approach in MyCAREER. Not only can we rank the stories in a Top 5, at this point we’ve also had ample time to evaluate the approach so far, and consider how it should be handled moving forward. It’s fair to ask whether or not a story is necessary or wanted in MyCAREER, and if it is, what can be done to continue to innovate in future iterations of NBA 2K.

As you might expect, my suggestion is that a new approach is needed, but I’d like to explain my reasons beyond a simple distaste for the narratives we’ve experienced so far. This is intended to be a constructive piece that offers ideas and solutions, rather than just bashing an aspect of NBA 2K that I don’t particularly like. My dislike of the stories themselves is a factor, but if the goal is to innovate and offer new experiences, then MyCAREER stories could actually be getting in the way of that. While it would be possible to steer them in a new and more innovative direction, I do believe that it’s time to close the book on MyCAREER stories.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #248

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Episode #248 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we discuss the new gameplay trailer for NBA Playgrounds 2, catch up on a week of basketball gaming, and offer up some predictions for the 2018 NBA Conference Finals and award winners.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Playgrounds 2 is coming out May 22nd, as revealed by the new gameplay trailer. We’re feeling optimistic about the game, but we do have some specific hopes and expectations.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included an unlikely return to 2K Pro-Am; it didn’t go so well. A seven game series of 2v2 on MyCOURT was a lot more fun, though. We also talk Ultimate Team in NBA Live 18, and Basketball Classics on Steam.
  • We wrap up Episode #248 of the NLSC Podcast with a preview of the 2018 NBA Conference Finals, and predictions for this year’s award winners.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Improve The Neighborhood

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 ways that The Neighborhood could be improved in NBA 2K19 and beyond.

Through articles, episodes of the NLSC Podcast, and posts in the Forum, I’ve made my opinion of The Neighborhood quite clear. In short, I like it about as much as I do MyCAREER stories, which is to say, not very much at all. To me, it’s amounted to a lot of wasted time running around the same mini suburb, going back and forth and enduring long loading screens. Whether it’s changing my animations, joining my friends in 2K Pro-Am or The Playground, or picking up my endorsement money, it’s basically impossible to have a streamlined experience.

However, while I certainly have my criticisms of The Neighborhood, I’d prefer them to be constructive. Even though I’m not a fan of the concept, there are ways that The Neighborhood could be more appealing and user-friendly, not to mention fairer in terms of grinding and potential microtransactions. My guess is that the developers aren’t going to give up on the concept after just one game, and if certain changes were made, I for one would probably find it at least a little more tolerable. With that said, here are five ways that the 2K team could improve on the whole experience of The Neighborhood in future games.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #247

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Episode #247 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss DLC ideas for future NBA Live games, the tip-off of the NBA 2K League, NBA Street Vol. 2, and other news and events from the past week in both basketball gaming and the real NBA.

On this week’s show…

  • FIFA 18 will be receiving free downloadable content for the World Cup, which gives us ideas for future NBA Live games. In fact, there’s quite a few things NBA Live could borrow from its EA Sports brethren.
  • Play has begun in the NBA 2K League, with the inaugural tip-off tournament now complete. We offer up a few impressions of what we’ve seen so far.
  • In order to make the Wall of Fame in NBA 2K19, you’ll need to reach 99 Overall by May 31st. For some of us, that’s simply going to be too much grinding.
  • A recent GQ article took a look back at NBA Street Vol. 2, calling it the last truly great basketball game. Do we agree with that assessment?
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included more games of Ultimate Team, and a foray into MyTEAM.
  • We wrap up Episode #247 of the NLSC Podcast with a few NBA topics, including the latest action from the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and a head coaching opportunity for Becky Hammon.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #246

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Episode #246 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we talk about content updates for NBA Live 18, NBA 2K developers soliciting feedback on Twitter, questions regarding NBA Playgrounds 2’s release date, and more, including another week in basketball gaming and the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • A new roster has come through for NBA Live 18, and while it’s welcome, it also highlights how the official updates need to improve. Some of the new content in Ultimate Team has also sparked controversy among NBA Live gamers, though it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Beluba has been soliciting feedback for NBA 2K19 through Twitter polls. We’re pleased to see those efforts, though the voting has been a little surprising so far.
  • Pre-order information for NBA Playgrounds 2 mentions a May release. As we note, that isn’t Summer anywhere on Earth.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has centred on NBA Live 18, as we take a momentary break from NBA 2K18. Instead of MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am, it’s all about The One and Ultimate Team for us right now.
  • We wrap up Episode #246 of the NLSC Podcast with our usual chat about real basketball, including the ongoing 2018 NBA Playoffs and LeBron James’ future.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons Playoffs Mode is Essential

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 offers up five reasons why a standalone Playoffs mode is essential in NBA Live and NBA 2K.

The 2018 Playoffs are well underway, with one second round match-up already set and all other first round series currently on the brink of being decided. The race for the Larry O’Brien trophy is kicking into high gear, with most of us having fun either cheering on teams and players that we like, or cheering against the ones that we don’t. I’m sure that quite a few gamers are replicating the excitement of the postseason on the virtual hardwood, having reached that point in modes like MyLEAGUE, MyGM, Franchise, or MyCAREER, or alternatively playing through a standalone tournament in Playoffs mode.

Of course, while it’s long been a staple of NBA video games, the standalone Playoffs mode has been left out of several titles. Despite the Playoffs being the only mode of play in NBA Live’s forerunner, the aptly titled NBA Playoffs series, it’s been missing from several of EA Sports’ subsequent hoops titles, including NBA Live 18. It was also dropped from a few games in the NBA 2K series, but fortunately it’s currently available as an option in the MyGM/MyLEAGUE menu. While other modes may be more popular – and let’s face it, bigger money earners – it’s essential that a standalone Playoffs mode remains in NBA 2K, and returns in future NBA Live games.

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The Friday Five: 5 Unlucky Moments 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 five of the unluckiest moments that you’ll experience while modding.

With apologies once again to anyone who suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia, it’s Friday the 13th today, which means it’s time for another Friday Five column talking about unlucky moments! I’ve been writing the Friday Five for a few years now, and in that time, we’ve had more than a couple of Friday the 13ths. In previous columns, I’ve discussed my favourite number thirteens, unlucky moments in basketball games (as well as a few of my own examples in that regard), and unlucky moments from NBA history, including one that actually took place on the date in question.

Of course, a big part of basketball gaming in our community is the hobby of modding, and it certainly has its unlucky moments as well. I’ve previously discussed one of my unluckiest moments in modding, but there are definitely more examples that I could name. I’m sure that a lot of modders have experienced at least one of these moments at one time or another, leading to them kicking themselves and cursing out their bad luck. If there’s one upside to such unfortunate moments though, it’s that they can be learning experiences, albeit very frustrating ones. Without any further ado, here are five unlucky moments in modding!

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Monday Tip-Off: The Perils of Digital-Only PC Releases

LeBron James attracts fanboys and haters (NBA 2K18)

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 drawbacks of the PC versions of basketball video games being digital-only releases.

It’s not fashionable to admit it, but I’m still a fan of physical media. Part of that comes down to where I live, of course. Australian Internet speeds don’t always make digital releases for PC games desirable, and certain streaming services are either unavailable, or don’t carry the same selection as their US counterparts. A DVD, Blu Ray, or game disc not only alleviates any issues with Internet speed and data limits, but also offers a physical collectable that I can put on a shelf. Be it TV series, movies, or video games, I enjoy seeing them all lined up in my collection.

Of course, I also enjoy the benefits of digital releases. They obviously provide a lot of convenience, and save on shelf space. There’s no need to drive to the store, or wait for copies to arrive in the mail. Physical media can be lost or damaged, while a digital release can just be downloaded again. When they’re tied to a platform such as Steam, there are no issues with lost or invalid serial numbers, and patches will come through automatically. These days, we don’t actually have a choice in terms of the only PC sim basketball video game, as NBA 2K is only released via Steam. It’s preferable to having no PC version at all, but there are some perils to digital-only PC releases.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Could Be On Multiple All-Time Teams

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 players who I feel could and arguably should be appearing on multiple All-Time teams in NBA 2K.

Despite a couple of omissions, the All-Time squads were a very welcome addition in NBA 2K18. I’m hoping that those teams will remain in the game moving forward, as they provide an opportunity to play with a variety of retro players who don’t have their own historical squads. I also hope that players such as Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, and Reggie Miller can be included at some point. Their omission has led to the inclusion of some less than ideal players on the All-Time teams, including a few active players who are certainly good, but lack the same historical significance.

It’s not just the absence of a few big names that makes some of the active players on the All-Time teams stick out like a sore thumb, however. There are historical players already in the game that could feasibly appear on a couple of other All-Time squads, replacing active players who aren’t stars of the same magnitude. While it could be argued that they didn’t have as big of an impact with those teams, or that their stints were too short, some All-Time teams do include players who had a very short tenure with them. With that in mind, here are five players who are not currently on multiple All-Time teams, but I believe could and should be.

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March Modness 2018 Is Over; Winner Drawn Soon

March is over – almost a week ago, in fact – and as such, our inaugural March Modness event has also drawn to a close. A huge thank you to all of our modders who participated in the giveaway, as well as those who simply continued to release their work last month. We’ll be drawing the winner of the contest soon, and delivering the prize of their choice once NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 are available to pre-order and are subsequently released later this year.

As I mentioned in my original bulletin, we’ll certainly consider making this an annual event here at the NLSC, to celebrate our modding community. We might also consider other community-driven events, and I’d like to offer some more giveaways that are open to everyone later on this year as well. As I noted here in the NLSC Forum, while March Modness may be over for this year, I’ve felt inspired to get back into the hobby a little more, and expect to be releasing some more work throughout this month. We won’t be running another giveaway alongside it, but as far as my own efforts are concerned, I’m hoping to make it Add-On April. I’ll post further details, and releases, as soon as possible.

Thank you as always to everyone in our modding community who contributes to our Downloads section, as well as our resources. I encourage everyone to make use of our hosting facilities whenever possible, to ensure that files don’t get lost over time. If you need help using the upload facilities in our Downloads database, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For modding resources, please see the Tutorials & FAQs subsections in the Forum, as well as the guides in our Wiki. Stay tuned for more great mods for a variety of basketball video games!

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Monday Tip-Off: Absolute Controls Are Absolutely Best

James Harden dribbles the basketball in NBA 2K18

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 Absolute controls setting in NBA 2K games, and why I feel they are the best approach.

It took me a while to get used to the controls in NBA 2K. Having spent years playing NBA Live, it was difficult getting used to dribbling moves being performed with left stick movement and the Isomotion trigger. Even after the series adopted right stick dribbling controls in NBA 2K13, I wasn’t quite as proficient in pulling off slick moves and breaking ankles as I had been in NBA Live. Eventually, I discovered the root of my clumsiness on the sticks: the default Camera Relative controller setting, which makes stick movement dependant on your player’s position relative to the camera.

The Absolute setting, which standardises stick movements no matter where you are on the court and which camera angle you’re using, made NBA 2K’s controls far more accessible to me. It helps that it’s the same approach that NBA Live has always used for its right stick controls, but aside from familiarity, I’ve always felt it simply made more sense. There’s a legacy issue in NBA 2K where the Camera Relative/Absolute setting randomly resets, which means I’m always checking to make sure that it’s still set to Absolute before I start a session. After all, when it comes to dribbling controls, I strongly feel that Absolute controls are absolutely best.

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