Dumb Mondays: NBA Live 2003 PC Dev Console Fun

This is Dumb Mondays, tipping off the workweek with silly facts, opinions, or predictions that you may or may not find interesting. This was originally JaoSming’s feature, but since he’s now at Visual Concepts and hard at work on 2KTV, I’ll be writing a few articles in his place. A new Monday feature may also be coming soon, so stay tuned!

Did you know? The PC versions of NBA Live 2003, NBA Live 2004, and a few other games in the series featured a developer console that was disabled by default. It’s true; with a quick modification of a configuration file, the console can be re-enabled and used to mess around with the game. It has limited uses compared to, say, a first person shooter, and to that end, some people might be inclined to call the whole thing dumb. But hey, this is Dumb Mondays, so let’s have some fun!

So, how do you enable the console?

The file you’ll need to edit is xstartup.cfg, which is located in the main NBA Live 2003 game folder under the main\cscripts subfolder. Depending on your version of Windows, you might need to copy the file elsewhere before you can save any changes to the file, and you’ll need Administrator privileges to overwrite anything in your Program Files folders.

Once you’ve located the file, and copied or moved it to a folder where you can edit it, you’ll want to open it with Notepad. Search for the line that contains // bind +K_TILDE CONSOLE, and remove the two forward slashes. This will “uncomment” the command, and enable the console. Save your changes, and copy the file back to the cscripts folder if necessary.

If you’ve done everything correctly, you can now bring up the console by pressing the tilde key (~) in-game. Congratulations! So…what can you do now?

For an overview of what you can type into the command line, type cmdlist for a list of commands, and varlist for a list of variables. These will allow you to perform functions such as taking a screenshot, displaying the frame rate, or disabling and enabling various visual elements…even the players and the basketball!

One practical use of the console would be to remove any unwanted visual elements, for the purpose of taking a better screenshot. Displaying the frame rate is obviously handy for benchmarking purposes. You can also play around with the resolution, lighting effects, and other such settings.

Beyond that, though? Well, it’s fun to just mess around with the game and do silly things. Needless to say, it’s kind of challenging when you can’t see which player you’re controlling, or any of the players at all! It also looks pretty funny when the players are playing with an invisible ball. In fact, see for yourself:

We still have a few people in our community making great patches for some of the old games, so it’s fun to pull them out every once in a while and play with current rosters, or FIBA teams, or some other update. However, if you just want to mess around with one of these games for a little bit, and have some fun…enable the console, and see what you can do. And if you come up with something amusing, be sure to grab a screenshot and share it with us!

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