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 preview of some modding projects that I’m looking to work on during the offseason.
I’ve been creating content for basketball video games since 1997, and needless to say, a few things have changed since then. The games have come a long way, and I have different responsibilities and interests within the hobby. Over the years, I’ve become less involved with modding. As I’ve discussed in previous articles, that’s mainly due to a combination of burnout, and having to ration my free time accordingly. Not as many people are playing the old games that I have more experience editing, and there’s a lot to learn in terms of modding NBA 2K, so I’ve felt less motivated.
However, having enjoyed the hobby for many years, it’s hard to resist the lure of making updates for games; especially old favourites. While I don’t want to set any dates or make any concrete promises, I am looking at getting involved with some bigger projects during this offseason. I’ve been tinkering here and there and mulling the possibility of getting more involved in modding again for a couple of years now, and the recent release of the new version of the Ultimate Base Roster has provided me with some added inspiration to dust off those modding tools. I’m also inclined to try out some new things. Here’s what I’m looking at working on in the coming weeks.
Ultimate Jordan for NBA Live 2005-08
This is a project I’ve been casually working on since 2016, and I’ve mentioned it in a couple of previous articles. Ultimate Jordan is a roster celebrating Michael Jordan’s career, with all thirteen of his Chicago Bulls teams, both Washington Wizards teams, and opponents from each year. There’ll also be an “Ultimate Roster Player” version where, just for fun, MJ and Charles Barkley are replaced by Roster Players as they were back in the 90s. While there is still a reasonable amount of work left to be done, I’ve had a beta release out for some time, which means it’s a project that I am quite likely to finish. After that, I’ll probably add some extra content to it whenever I can.
With a renewed interest in NBA Live and the brand looking stronger than it has in many years, I’d like to spruce up some old favourites, and this is an idea that I’ve wanted to do for some time. In fact, it’s an idea I’ve had since the Jordan Challenge was announced for NBA 2K11! My intention is to finish the NBA Live 08 version and then convert it for use with NBA Live 2005 through NBA Live 07, much as I was doing with the current roster updates several years back. In the meantime, I’ve put together a short teaser trailer and a collection of screenshots from the latest work-in-progress. You can follow this topic in the Forum for more updates and previews.
New Rosters for NBA Live 2005-08
I haven’t released a current roster for NBA Live 2005 through NBA Live 08 since the 2013 season, but that wasn’t originally my intention. I had plans to continue making them for the 2014 season, but they fell through. I’ve actually moved players around and created the basis of a new roster update every season since, but have found it hard to get motivated to create all the missing players. I’ve always felt disappointed that I couldn’t have ended my roster updates on a better note, because despite my burnout, I did enjoy doing them for many years. As with Ultimate Jordan, the renewed interest in the NBA Live brand has me looking at bringing back the current roster updates.
It must be noted that there’s a lot of work to do here. I’m hoping to find some ways of streamlining the process so that it’s more enjoyable, and also so I’m less likely to give up on the project. Because there are fewer people working on those old games now, a new roster may not be as complete as previous updates in terms of artwork; at least initially. That’s always something that can be changed in subsequent releases, pending the availability of those assets. My current plan is to offer both a final 2018 season roster, and a new 2018 offseason update. That’s what’s on the workbench, so follow this topic for updates, and check out a few work-in-progress teaser screenshots.
Current Roster for NBA 2K11
Yes, this is new! Not only have I been mulling the possibility of continuing my roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through NBA Live 08, I’ve also been considering creating a current season mod for a common favourite in the NBA 2K series. I’ve done some preliminary tinkering with NBA 2K11, similar to the rough preparations for the NBA Live updates, over the last couple of years. Those efforts have likewise never gotten out of the early stages. There seems to be a decent amount of interest in playing NBA 2K11 with some fresh rosters, and I feel like it would be a good entry point for some NBA 2K modding, especially with other games already being taken care of.
Because I have the basis of a 2018 season roster ready to go, my plan would be to finish it and then move on to the 2018 offseason update, as with the planned NBA Live rosters. A few generous and talented modders have already offered their work for use in an update, so there are several assets ready to go. I’d also be updating the rosters for the retro teams, adding missing players and removing the placeholder ones. There is a whole lot of work to do – more than the NBA Live rosters in fact, since I at least have a 2013 season update to work from there – but I am feeling inspired. Keep an eye on the situation here, and check out a teaser trailer and screenshots below!
Other Modding Projects
You may have noticed that I’ve released other modding projects here and there in recent years, such as a new version of my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004, logo updates for NBA Live 2005-08, and more recently, some custom title screens. I’m always open to doing some little updates every now and again, as many of them can be completed rather quickly. Just as I have a list of topic ideas for Monday Tip-Off, Wayback Wednesday, and The Friday Five, I have a list of modding ideas that I’d like to try; some big, others fairly small. I will be focusing on these larger projects, but I’ll probably release a small mod of some kind whenever inspiration strikes.
Once again, I can’t make any guarantees or promises with these projects. I can’t and won’t set any release dates at this time, or until such time as it looks like they will be finished. In the case of Ultimate Jordan, I may end up releasing another public beta before the full version, and indeed, demo releases of the other modding projects may also be feasible. I’ll be sure to post further bulletins as I continue to work on them. In the meantime, if you’re able to lend a hand with art updates for NBA Live 2005, NBA Live 06, NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08, or NBA 2K11, by all means feel free to get in touch. I’d certainly be grateful for any contributions!