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CustomArt (sometimes simply written as custom art) is a file management feature that facilitates modding. It was used as early as NBA Live 2000, but gained popularity around the time of NBA Live 2003. CustomArt allows users to mod graphical elements of NBA Live PC simply by placing updated art files in a specific game folder, so that the game will load them instead of the default files. This method is very user-friendly, since there is no need to touch the .viv files and overwrite any original assets. The downside is that it was known to increase loading times on slower computers, though this became less of an issue as users upgraded their systems.

Games Using CustomArt Folders[edit]

NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004 required CustomArt to be enabled in the xstartup.cfg file before it will work, however this step was unnecessary in NBA Live 2000 and NBA Live 2001, and in NBA Live 2005 onwards.

Enabling Custom Art[edit]

CustomArt is enabled through the following steps:

  1. Locate xstartup.cfg in the main\cscripts folder within the main game folder folder. By default, the path will be C:\Program Files\EA Sports\NBA Live 2003\main\cscripts or C:\Program Files\EA Sports\NBA Live 2004\main\cscripts. In 64 Bit Windows, both games will be installed under the Program Files (x86) folder by default.
  2. Open xstartup.cfg using Notepad (if necessary, right-click the file and select Open with, then choose Notepad
  3. Locate the line customart 0
  4. Change this to read customart 1
  5. Save the changes and close the file.

Note that Windows security may cause problems when trying to save changes to xstartup.cfg while the file is still in the Program Files folder. If you encounter such difficulties, copy it elsewhere (for example, to your Documents), make the changes and save, and then copy it back to the original folder, overwriting when prompted.

Using CustomArt[edit]

Files are simply placed in a subfolder within the main game folder. In NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004, this folder is called render. By default, the path to this folder is C:\Program Files\EA Sports\NBA Live 2003\render or C:\Program Files\EA Sports\NBA Live 2004\render. Within the render folder, the user must create new folders that reflect the names of the .viv archives that contain the original art files. For example, cyberfaces are located in the xplayer.viv file, hence they must be placed in a subfolder labelled xplayer.

In comparison, the use of CustomArt in NBA Live 2005 onwards is much easier. All updated art files can be extracted to a subfolder within the main game folder called sgsm as long as they are not in .viv format. Mods that are distributed in .viv format (such as some jersey and court updates) must be placed in their respective folder within sgsm (labelled coach, players, etc).

Some mods may utilise an installation routine that will place the art files in the correct folder. Otherwise, a modder will usually provide instructions detailing the correct locations for placing all the files.

NBA 2K Modding[edit]

Beginning with NBA 2K16 PC, community-made plugins such as the "Modded Folder" have added similar functionality to CustomArt in an unofficial capacity. Earlier games up until and including NBA 2K14 PC did not utilise archives, with their loose files being easy to replace with modded equivalents.