Guide to Installing Patches (NBA Live 2003 & NBA Live 2004)
This guide is intended to help install a variety of patches for NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004. Please read it carefully; questions may be added on the Discussion page. Please feel free to add any further information/instructions to this guide as necessary.
IMPORTANT: Although this guide is intended to explain the procedures for installing patches in a straightforward and comprehensive manner, some basic computer skills are required. If performing tasks such as opening files and locating folders on your hard drive is too confusing for you, you'll need to brush up on your basic computer knowledge first.
- 1 Getting Started
- 2 Downloading & Extracting Files
- 3 Enabling Custom Art
- 4 Installing Roster Patches
- 5 Installing Art Patches
- 6 Automatic Installations
- 7 Additional Information
- 8 Links
Most patches are distributed as compressed archive files (eg .zip, .rar, or .7z files). This allows patchers to distribute several files as one download, as well as reduce the size of the files that they are distributing.
Windows operating systems from Windows XP onwards have in-built functionality to open .zip files. However, the use of third party software is recommended, as these programs will also allow you to open .rar and .7z archives, which have become more popular formats over the years as they offer better compression and thus allow for smaller downloads.
- WinZip (.zip files)
- WinRAR (primarily .rar files, can open other formats)
- 7-Zip (primarily .7z files, can open other formats)
Downloading & Extracting Files
If you're downloading a file from our Downloads section, it's simply a matter of clicking the Download button underneath the table that contains the file description, information, and preview (if applicable). Files that are hosted on our server will begin downloading shortly after clicking the Download button; if the file is hosted elsewhere, such as Mediafire, you'll be taken to another page where you may have to click another button to begin the actual download.
Generally speaking, patches can be downloaded to any folder to begin with. It's where you extract the files to after downloading the archive that's important.
Once you have downloaded a patch, all of the above programs offer two main simple ways of extracting files from the archive. After opening the archive file (done by using the Open command in the program, double clicking it on the desktop or a folder in Windows, or launching it from the Downloads list in your browser), you can either use the Extract button and specify a location, or you can simply click on files to drag and drop them into the folder of your choice.
It's essential that patches are extracted to the correct location, based on the type of patch and in some cases, the format in which it is distributed. Roster files are fairly straightforward, whereas art files can sometimes be a little more tricky. See below for more information.
Enabling Custom Art
If you intend to use any art patches (jerseys, courts, faces, etc) in NBA Live 2003 or NBA Live 2004, then CustomArt must be enabled. CustomArt is a value in the startup configuration file for both NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004, and is enabled through the following steps:
- 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.
- Open xstartup.cfg using Notepad (if necessary, right-click the file and select Open with, then choose Notepad
- Locate the line customart 0
- Change this to read customart 1
- Save the changes and close the file.
Note that in Windows Vista, 7, and 8, you may not be able to edit the file while it is still in its original folder, due to protection on the Program Files folder. This can easily be remedied by copying or moving the file to another location, modifying it, then copying/moving it back to the original folder. You will need to have administrator privileges in Windows to do this.
Installing Roster Patches
Roster files are saved files, which means they are located in the saves folder. You'll find this folder in your Documents, under the folder for the game you're playing.
In Windows XP, by this will be:
- C:\Documents and Settings\YourWindowsUserName\My Documents\NBA Live 2003\saves
- C:\Documents and Settings\YourWindowsUserName\My Documents\NBA Live 2004\saves
In Windows Vista, 7, and 8, this will be:
- C:\Users\YourWindowsUsername\My Documents\NBA Live 2003\saves
- C:\Users\YourWindowsUsername\My Documents\NBA Live 2004\saves
Saved games and rosters are stored within their own subfolders within the saves folder, with each subfolder's name corresponding to its save slot (eg 000, 001, etc). Roster patches should therefore be distributed as a folder containing saved files, and must placed in the saves folder.
For example, if a custom roster for NBA Live 2003 is being distributed in an archived folder called 002, then the 002 folder must be placed directly in the saves folder, like so:
- C:\Documents and Settings\YourWindowsUserName\My Documents\NBA Live 08\saves\002 (Windows XP)
- C:\Users\YourWindowsUsername\My Documents\NBA Live 08\saves\002 (Windows Vista, 7, 8)
NOTE: This would override any roster or game that you already have saved in slot 002. Take care before overwriting any save folders and be sure to save your game/roster in a new slot first if you want to keep it.
Inside the 002 folder will be a bunch of DBF files, along with a .dat file which contains information about the save.
Now that the roster save has been placed correctly, you will need to load it from the Load/Save menu within the game. Note that you cannot apply roster updates to a Season, Dynasty, or Playoffs game already in progress.
Installing Art Patches
Once again, CustomArt must be enabled in order to easily use custom art patches in NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004. While it is possible to import new textures and shapes into the VIV containers, this is not recommended as it may be difficult for beginners, but more importantly it doesn't allow for the easy removal of a single patch if desired.
The art folder for NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004 is the render folder. By default, this is located at:
- C:\Program Files\EA Sports\NBA Live 2003\render
- C:\Program Files\EA Sports\NBA Live 2004\render
- C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Sports\NBA Live 2003\render (64 bit Windows)
- C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Sports\NBA Live 2004\render (64 bit Windows)
VIV files containing texture and shape files are located in the main render folder. To use CustomArt, the user must create subfolders within the render folder that correspond to the names of the VIV files, and place the updated texture and shape files inside those new subfolders. The game will then load the loose files instead of their equivalents in the VIV containers. Further information on specific types of patches can be found below.
The default jersey files are stored in xteam.viv.
- Create a subfolder within the render folder called xteam.
- Extract all custom jersey files directly to the new xteam folder.
The default court files are stored in xcourt.viv.
- Create a subfolder within the render folder called xcourt.
- Extract all custom court files directly to the new xcourt folder.
The default stadium files are stored in xstadium.viv.
- Create a subfolder within the render folder called xstadium.
- Extract all custom stadium files directly to the new xstadium folder.
- NBA Live 2003 does not have a separate xstadium.viv file; all files are stored within xcourt.viv.
Player Faces & Art
The default player face and other art files are stored in xplayer.viv. Within the xplayer.viv file, each player's artwork is stored within its own VIV container, the name of which corresponds to the seven letter PLAYERPKG value they've been assigned in players.dbf (eg KOBRYAN for Kobe Bryant). Therefore, it is necessary to create further subfolders within the newly created xplayer subfolder.
- Create a subfolder within the render folder called xplayer.
- Within the xplayer subfolder, create a new subfolder that corresponds to the player's seven letter PLAYERPKG value, as specified in players.dbf (eg KOBRYAN for Kobe Bryant).
- Extract the custom player files directly to the appropriate individual subfolder (eg render\xplayer\kobryan). Please note that the individual files must also match a player's PLAYERPKG.
Most player's PLAYERPKG values follow the convention of using the first two letters of a player's given name, and the first five letters of their surname, with an underscore being used if a player's surname has less than five letters (eg GRHILL_ for Grant Hill). Players with similar names will use slight changes in this approach to ensure that they have a unique PLAYERPKG value; for example, twin centres Jason and Jarron Collins use the first and third letters for their given names (JSCOLLI and JRCOLLI respectively).
Not all roster makers use the same naming convention when creating new players, so if in doubt, open the appropriate players.dbf file with DB Commander, locate the player whose face is being patched, and check the value in the PLAYERPKG field.
It's possible to assign player specific jerseys, shoes, and other artwork using this method. For more information, please see this guide.
The default coach face files are stored in xcheads.viv. Within the xcheads.viv file, each coach's artwork is stored within its own VIV container, the name of which corresponds to the seven letter PLAYERPKG value they've been assigned in coaches.dbf (eg PHJACKS for Phil Jackson). Therefore, it is necessary to create further subfolders within the newly created xcheads subfolder.
- Create a subfolder within the render folder called xcheads.
- Within the xcheads subfolder, create a new subfolder that corresponds to the coach's seven letter PLAYERPKG value, as specified in coaches.dbf (eg PHJACKS for Phil Jackson).
- Extract the custom coach files directly to the appropriate individual subfolder (eg render\xcheads\phjacks). Please note that the individual files must also match a coach's PLAYERPKG.
Most coach's PLAYERPKG values follow the convention of using the first two letters of a coach's given name, and the first five letters of their surname, with an underscore being used if a coach's surname has less than five letters (eg GEKARL_ for George Karl).
Not all roster makers use the same naming convention when adding new coaches, so if in doubt, open the appropriate coaches.dbf file with DB Commander, locate the coach whose face is being patched, and check the value in the PLAYERPKG field.
The default player portrait files are stored in xprtteam.viv. As with faces and other player art, the names of the files correspond to a player's PLAYERPKG value, however, custom portraits do not require individual subfolders to be created within the newly created xprtteam folder.
- Create a subfolder within the render folder called xprtteam.
- Extract all custom portrait files directly to the new xprtteam folder.
- This only applies to NBA Live 2004. NBA Live 2003 does not utilise 2D (ie real photograph) portraits.
Some patches (such as the 1995/1996 Season Patch for NBA Live 2004) utilise installation files that automatically place files in the correct place. If that's the case for the patch you're using, then all you need to do is extract the .exe file and run it. Please note that problems can arise with custom installation folders; please see the included documentation where applicable.
Certain patches may require you to run a batch (BAT) file. It's important that you extract the batch file and any other required files to the correct folder. As this is a more complicated step, the patch will usually contain further instructions.
- All paths specified in this guide assume that you have installed NBA Live to the default folder, and that Windows is installed on your C drive. If this is different for your PC, alter the path accordingly (eg C:\Games\NBA Live 2003\render).
- If you're having trouble with a particular patch, be sure to contact the person who made it.
- Always look for an included readme file for detailed instructions on installing a patch. Patchers are definitely encouraged to include readme files for detailed updates.
- Adding face patches will not automatically add players to a roster. You will need to create them yourself, and then assign the face to the player you've created.