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Monday Tip-Off: The Right Direction for NBA Live

Monday Tip-Off: The Right Direction for NBA Live

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 thoughts on the right direction for NBA Live.

Needless to say, the past decade has been tough for NBA Live. Through cancelled titles and skipped years, the series has seen only five releases during that span. There have been promising aspects and good ideas present in those five games, and it could be argued that at least a couple of titles have been solid, but EA Sports has failed to move the needle. NBA Live is still languishing far behind where it needs to be as a viable alternative to NBA 2K and the enormous gulf in sales speaks volumes. NBA 2K has its issues, but NBA Live hasn’t been able to capitalise on gamer frustration.

The good news is that the door hasn’t been slammed shut on NBA Live. Thanks to a combination of readily apparent potential and 2K squandering goodwill, there is still interest in seeing NBA Live return to its former glory. Unfortunately, the series’ steps towards reaching that goal haven’t been as large as many of us would’ve liked, and one of the main reasons for that is the direction of the series. More specifically, this includes both the particular choices that have been made, and the tendency to change direction too often. NBA Live needs to have the right focus moving forward, but that raises the question: what is the right direction for NBA Live to take?

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Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Belongs to Suits

Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Belongs to Suits

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 some thoughts on the rather dismal realisation that basketball gaming belongs to the suits.

I know I said that many things aren’t worth an angry rant, but this isn’t going to be an angry rant. I’m feeling a certain amount of exasperation and pessimism, yes, but I’m trying to remain calm and not rage for the sake of it. As a new generation looms, many of us are wondering what it means for basketball gaming. The genre has already come a long way – a few backwards steps not withstanding – and it remains to be seen what can be accomplished with the added power of the forthcoming consoles. The problem is that that kind of innovation doesn’t appear to be the focus.

Perhaps that’s a harsh and unfair assertion, given that we’re nearing the end of the current generation. We couldn’t have imagined some of the things that we’ve seen over the past seven years, when the previous generation was seemingly tapped out after producing some outstanding basketball games. However, the difference this time around is that gaming has changed. Games are designed with recurrent spending in mind, and microtransactions are no longer just for free-to-play titles. Quality seems secondary to pushy recurrent revenue mechanics; a trend that’s highly unlikely to end anytime soon. It’s clear that the suits control the destiny of hoops games.

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NLSC Podcast #321: A New Look for Old Games

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Episode #321 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and I as we talk about the importance of historical content, and a rumour that’s making the rounds. We also reimagine covers for classic games, and discuss the issue of starting over every year.

The Last Dance has inspired an increase in gamers playing with classic Bulls teams in NBA 2K20. This leads us to reflect on how important it is to have historical content in games, and how our gaming habits are affected by what’s going on in the world of basketball. We also touch on a rumour about NBA Live that’s making the rounds, mostly due to wishful thinking and a desire to have another viable sim game. In our main discussion this week, we go back and reimagine covers for games beginning with Lakers vs. Celtics, including hypothetical Legend Edition covers. We also talk about the pain of starting over every year in MyCAREER and MyTEAM, and the likelihood of seeing certain Legends in NBA 2K.

Tune in below!

Who would you choose if you had to reimagine covers for old games? Are you weary of the annual grind in modern titles? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

The Friday Five: 5 Mistakes Modders Make

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 mistakes that modders often make, and how best to avoid them.

I remember when I discovered the NLSC – then called the NBA Live Series Center – back in 1997. My family had just got connected to the Internet, and I was searching on Altavista for NBA Live 96 content. That’s when I found the site, and all the great work that our founders Tim, Lutz, and Brien had done, along with some other people in what was then a much smaller community. I was thrilled to find out about modding – then called patching – and marvelled at all the wonderful things that were possible. As I’ve said before, at long last my created Michael Jordan could have a full bio!

Modding was a hobby that I got into before I ended up taking over the NLSC, and while I haven’t been as active in that regard in recent years, I’ve continued to dabble here and there. Right now I’m working on an NBA 2K11 roster update, with an eye to getting it out soon. Of course, plenty of people have come to discover the NLSC over the years, and I always get a kick out of seeing them experience the same thrill I had when I first learned about modding. New people are always trying their hand at it, and while mod-specific tutorials and guidance will always provide the most help, I’d like to offer up some advice about common modding mistakes, and what to do instead.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Suggestions for Social Distancing

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 suggests five basketball gaming ideas that you might want to try while social distancing.

These are definitely unusual and concerning times, as the world at large deals with COVID-19. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, taking the proper precautions as far as hygiene and social distancing are concerned, and that everything works out with your employment, schooling, housing, and so on. I also want to commend and thank the healthcare workers around the world who are doing an amazing job caring for patients during these difficult times. If I may borrow and paraphrase a quote from M*A*S*H, if you ask me, you’re all supermen (and women).

Obviously, there are more pressing matters in the world than basketball video games right now. At the same time, many of us are naturally spending a lot of time at home, and looking to occupy our days with leisure activities, gaming being one of them. To that end, I thought that I’d offer up some suggestions if you’re looking to hit the virtual hardwood while you’re social distancing. With the depth of modern basketball games, we’re able to sink a lot of time into them. As for older releases, at this point there are several great titles to dust off for some retro gaming. If basketball gaming is on your agenda while you’re social distancing, here are some ways to stay entertained.

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NLSC Podcast #317: The Perks of PC & The Merriness of Modding

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Episode #317 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Dee4Three and I are discussing modding projects we’re working on (and the joy that it brings us), the benefits of PC basketball gaming, and the recently revealed specs for the next generation of consoles.

March Modness may be over, but we’re still in the mood to mod! In addition to discussing projects that we’re currently working on, we talk about how important the modding scene has been to the PC version. Specifically, we note that it’s drawn gamers from consoles to PC, and made them aware of the perks of PC basketball gaming. We also reflect on satisfying modding discoveries, and how mods stand out in other original content. As the preliminary specs for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox Series X have been revealed, we also take the opportunity to look ahead to the next generation. The specs sound impressive – and very much like a gaming PC – but will it matter if design philosophies don’t change?

Tune in below!

What are some of your favourite mods? Do you game on both PC and console, or do you prefer one over the other? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

March Modness 2020 Ends; Winner Announced Soon

NLSC March Modness

The month of March has drawn to a close, and that means March Modness 2020 is at an end! Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate modding with some great releases throughout the month. For those who took part in our giveaway, we’ll be drawing the winner very soon.

Since I’ve still got projects in the works, and plenty of others are working on nifty mods of their own, I’m proposing that we extend the celebrations with Add-On April! We won’t be holding another giveaway, but I’d like to do my best to finish up the things I’m working on, and continue to discuss modding-related topics in our original content. As most of us are social distancing and spending time inside right now, it’s a great opportunity to not only hit the virtual hardwood, but mod it as well!

Thank you once again to everyone who helped us celebrate March Modness 2020! Modders, please feel free to keep making use of the hosting facilities in our Downloads database. For those who may have missed it, my last three Friday Five articles have discussed modding-related topics. Be sure to check out the 5 Most Satisfying Mods to Make, 5 Unfortunate Barriers in Modding, and 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries (Part 2).

The Friday Five: 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries (Part 2)

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 another list of five unsolved modding mysteries.

As I mentioned in my first Friday Five article about unsolved modding mysteries, the whole hobby is dedicated to figuring out the inner workings of the games we play, and discovering how we can change them. We’ve made many exciting discoveries which in turn have led to the creation of fantastic projects, but there are still some gaps in our knowledge. Although we’re constantly looking to innovate and solve those mysteries, sometimes we have to admit defeat – if only temporarily – and file them under the heading of modding barriers that we may or may not ever overcome.

Incidentally, I originally included “blanking out career stats in NBA 2K11” on this list, as it’s something I’d noticed in the Chinese roster updates and had no idea how it was done. Not only have I since been informed that it’s an option in the Chinese trainer for the game, but I accidentally stumbled upon a method of doing it with REDitor II. It just goes to show that even when a game has been out for a decade, we can continue to solve modding mysteries and learn new techniques. That may mean that there’s hope of finding answers to these five modding mysteries at some point, but as of now, they do remain unsolved.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Basketball Gaming Nostalgia

Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Basketball Gaming Nostalgia

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 what basketball gaming nostalgia is going to look like in the not too distant future.

In recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, we’ve been discussing old basketball games and reflecting on our nostalgia. We’ve talked about the different nostalgic phases that we go through, as well as some of the games that influenced the way we approach the virtual hardwood. We also recorded a big two part episode for the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, which was a lot of fun. As much as I enjoy playing the latest game and other recent releases, I also like to revisit old favourites and reflect on the history of the genre. It’s one of the reasons I do Wayback Wednesday every week.

However, I’ve recently been wondering what basketball gaming nostalgia is going to be like for recent titles as they get older. Will they inspire the same kind of fondness that we older gamers have for an NBA Jam or NBA Live 95, or will they be discarded and dismissed? Will we, and especially the younger gamers who are growing up with these titles, see fit to revisit them the same way we like to dust off the old titles that we love? Perhaps most importantly, will it even be viable to revisit those games and their experiences that captivated us for hours on end? My feeling is that nostalgia for basketball games is going to look and play out somewhat differently moving forward.

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The Friday Five: 5 Unfortunate Barriers 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 unfortunate barriers that challenge us when creating great modding projects.

Sometimes it seems as though we can do anything when it comes to modding the PC versions of NBA 2K, and back in the day, NBA Live. The fantastic projects that we’ve seen are the result of hard work, experimentation, and perseverance in the face of barriers that seemingly stood in the way. Either by developing new tools or nifty workarounds, we’ve been able to do things that once seemed impossible. This has only contributed to the feeling of being able to accomplish just about anything we can imagine with the mods that we make for basketball video games.

However, there are indeed limitations and barriers that make modding difficult, or in the worst case scenario, impossible. It’s been our goal in the modding community to find a way around these barriers, but in some cases, we’ve had to admit defeat. If nothing else, we’ve had to accept that certain ideas can’t come to fruition exactly how we envisioned them. It’s always frustrating when a game is so modder-friendly in some respects, but so limited in what we can do in another area. Once again, it obviously hasn’t prevented some amazing mods from being made, but nevertheless, here are five unfortunate barriers that we’ve encountered while modding.

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NLSC Podcast #315: Old Games & Old Habits

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Episode #315 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and myself as we talk about our basketball gaming habits and preferences, and how the games we grew up playing in the 90s and early 2000s ended up shaping those tastes.

With the NBA shut down for the foreseeable future, it’s a great time to not only catch up on gaming, but also classic NBA games. We discuss some of the ways the NBA could improve League Pass and the official YouTube channel, including some comparisons to the WWE Network. Speaking of history, the 25th Anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first comeback is making us feel old, but it’s a good excuse to play the Double Nickel game in NBA 2K11’s Jordan Challenge. On that note, our main discussion topic this week is our basketball gaming preferences past and present, with reflections on the titles from the 90s and early 2000s that influenced our tastes and habits. From our preferred quarter and season length to how often we sim and how much realism we like, those old games established how we approach the virtual hardwood. We also touch on some of the quirks of those old games.

Tune in below!

What are your basketball gaming preferences? Which games shaped them, and have they changed over the years? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

The Friday Five: 5 Most Satisfying Mods to Make

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 types of mods that I find the most satisfying to make.

Although the NBA season is on hold and March Madness has been cancelled, March Modness is still underway! We’re celebrating modding throughout the month of March with new releases, a spotlight on modding, and of course a giveaway as a means of saying thank you to our modding community. There’s still time to enter that giveaway, so if you’re interested, be sure to check out this post for details. The prize is a copy of either this year’s NBA 2K or NBA Live, though from the looks of things, it’ll probably be a Steam key for NBA 2K21 for the winner!

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate NBA Live modding, and release some new mods for old favourites. In fact, I’ve done just that, releasing fixed versions of my Hangar and NBA Elite 11 practice courts. There are a few other mods I’d like to finish and release this month, and I’m working towards getting that done. After all, modding can be a lot of fun, and it’s hard to resist the lure of the hobby. Most of us have a type of mod that we specialise in; updates that we find the most satisfying to make. I’ve been able to branch out with a few different types of mods over the years, and looking back, these five are the kind of updates I’ve found the most satisfaction in creating.

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The Friday Five: 5 Terribly Named Basketball Games

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 terribly named basketball games.

Since nothing is classier or more cultured than Shakespeare, I’ll pull a quote from one of The Bard’s most famous works, Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This famous quotation, often paraphrased as “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, is a metaphor which illustrates that a name doesn’t affect the nature or quality of the thing that it belongs to. Just like the idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, it reminds us that superficial details aren’t everything, and that we shouldn’t make snap judgements based on them.

Of course, as The Simpsons once argued, roses wouldn’t be nearly as alluring if they were called stench blossoms or crap weed, and candy would likely be off-putting if it were called scum drops. The point is that while names aren’t always indicative or as important as we make them out to be, they do play a role in our initial impression of whatever it is they’re attached to. Even when we get past those impressions, a bad name can still stand out as an unfortunate attribute of an otherwise appealing thing. That goes for basketball video games, and there have been some terribly named ones over the years. Here are five examples that stand out to me.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ideas That Were Better In Theory

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 ideas in basketball games that I believe were better in theory.

Basketball video games – and sports games in general – are often accused of being little more than expensive annual roster updates. As my interview with former NBA Live programmer Rod Reddekopp revealed though, even in the early days, a lot of code had to be rewritten and updated every year. Unless there are significant and noticeable changes in the modes, graphics, or gameplay however, it’s quite likely that we won’t appreciate all that work. On top of that, each new game needs some kind of hook, a fancy selling point that can be promoted in previews and on the back cover.

From our point of view, we want basketball games to keep getting better and add new content, and that means exploring new ideas. Whether it’s a change to the controls or a new gameplay mechanic, improved presentation and details, a new or enhanced mode, or additional historical content, we always want to see freshness and innovation. Our Wishlists show that we have plenty of ideas of our own that we’d like to see added in future games, and developers also have their own roadmap. The problem is that not all ideas pan out, no matter how creative and promising they once seemed. Ideas like the ones I’m talking about today were good in theory, but not in execution.

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Third Annual March Modness Tips Off Today

NLSC March Modness

It’s March 1st, so that means we’re tipping off the third annual March Modness here at the NLSC! For those who are unaware, the event is intended to be a celebration of modding. We of course welcome mod releases all year round, but we invite modders to get extra creative and productive during this month!

In addition to our usual File Additions bulletins and spotlighting other big releases, we’ll be holding another giveaway. As a thank you to our talented modding community, anyone who releases work and adds it to our Downloads section will go in the draw to win a copy of either NBA 2K or NBA Live (as long as there is an NBA Live game to choose from this year). Congratulations once again to Pep, who won the giveaway last year.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is release a mod and upload it to our Downloads section during the month of March 2020, with “March Modness” in the description. The mod may be for any PC version of NBA Live or NBA 2K, but it must be your own work and remain hosted in our Downloads section. Please see below for the full terms and conditions of entry, and good luck!

Once again, I’ll be looking to get into the spirit of the event myself with at least a few releases. I’m hoping to finally get my 2020 season roster for NBA 2K11 out this month, as it feels it would be timely with all of the celebrations. I also have a few other ideas I’d like to explore, time permitting. Stay tuned for that, and the many fantastic releases I’m sure that we’ll see throughout our third annual March Modness!

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