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The Friday Five: 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries

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 unsolved modding mysteries…at least as far as I’m aware.

In many ways, modding is about unravelling the mysteries of video games. It involves digging through the game files to find out how they work, and how we can alter them to improve a title, or create brand new experiences. Modding has allowed us to find and utilise hidden and leftover content, put assets to use in new ways, and with a bit of trial and error, swap files between games to add missing content and even rig up some unofficial fixes. In short, modding helps us to become familiar with the inner workings of the basketball games that we play.

Of course, for all the creative minds we’ve had in our modding community over the years, there are times when we’ve been stumped. For all our digging, tinkering, and experimenting with all the techniques that we know, there are a few things that we just haven’t been able to figure out. Although these unsolved modding mysteries haven’t prevented us from creating several amazing projects year in and year out, they have meant that some ambitious and creative ideas have been left on the drawing board, or necessitated workarounds. Join me as I take a look at five mysteries in NBA Live and NBA 2K modding that, as far as I know, remain unsolved.

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Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at Scottie Pippen and his legacy in basketball video games.

Chicago Bulls legend and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen turns 54 today. Incidentally, September 25th is a birthday that he shares with Mark Hamill, Will Smith, and my friend Courtney (Happy 30th Birthday, Courtney!). As you may know, my all-time favourite player is Michael Jordan, but Scottie Pippen is a close second, being MJ’s teammate on six Bulls championship squads in the 90s. I have many fond memories of that dynamic duo – dubbed “The Dobermans” by Johnny Bach due to their tenacity at both ends of the court – which could fill several Wayback Wednesday articles.

However, we obviously focus on basketball video games here at the NLSC. To that end, as it’s Pip’s birthday and he’s one of my all-time favourite players – as well as one of the greatest players in the history of basketball – it seems only appropriate that I take a look back at his legacy on the virtual hardwood. In my opinion, he has a rather interesting history in that regard, given how basketball video games were developed during his prime, and considering his standing among the NBA greats. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining NBA’s Greatest

Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining NBA's Greatest

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m reimagining NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12.

I had a lot of fun reimagining The Jordan Challenge back in June, so I thought I’d give the same treatment to NBA’s Greatest. As I remarked in my retrospective on NBA’s Greatest, it was a fantastic follow-up to The Jordan Challenge, and added new content to NBA 2K12 with the lockout of 2011 delaying the inclusion of the new rookies and updated rosters. The level of detail with the retro presentation was very impressive, and it’s a feature that would be really fun to have when playing with historical teams in future NBA 2K games.

However, as with The Jordan Challenge, NBA’s Greatest wasn’t perfect. Looking back, there are a few ways it could’ve been better, and teams that would’ve been preferable. As with my previous reimagining, this isn’t intended to disparage the work that Visual Concepts put into NBA’s Greatest, but rather consider what might have been if not for a few legal barriers, and how an already fantastic mode could be made even better. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Why We Won’t Get Another Retro Mode

Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11

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 why it’s unlikely that we’ll get another retro mode in future NBA 2K titles.

While I don’t want to downplay the quality of NBA 2K11, I believe one of the reasons it’s still held in such high regard is that it was a landmark release for the series. Not only was it the first NBA 2K game to top five million copies sold – a feat helped in part by the cancellation of NBA Elite 11 – but it brought us actual retro teams out of the box for the first time. The NBA Live series experienced a similar phenomenon with NBA Live 2000. It introduced Legends, and was similarly noted as still being the best game in the series when later releases had clearly improved on it in many ways.

No matter where you rank NBA Live 2000 and NBA 2K11 in their respective series or among basketball games overall, both were tremendous releases that delivered big surprises in terms of their retro content. The Jordan Challenge was a great mode that would’ve been a tremendous hook even if NBA 2K11 hadn’t been unopposed. NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12 was a great follow-up, and the roster of retro teams has only expanded since then. Outside of Historical Domination in MyTEAM however, we haven’t had a challenge mode that makes use of the retro teams since then. Sadly, it seems highly unlikely that we’ll get another retro mode anytime soon, if ever again.

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Wayback Wednesday: Training Camp in NBA 2K12

Welcome to Training Camp in NBA 2K12

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at Training Camp in NBA 2K12.

In recent years, it’s been noted that the NBA 2K series has been increasingly geared towards appealing to the hardcore online crowd. In a Reddit post that I’ve mentioned before (and no doubt will again), a former EVE Online developer has noted the series’ increasing focus on catering to elite players, and apparent hostility to newer gamers who are trying to hone their skills on the virtual hardwood. It’s fostered the “get gud” mindset, while failing to provide the onboarding, opportunities, and fair matchmaking that would allow less experienced players to strive for that.

As noted in that Reddit post, it wasn’t always that way. Earlier this decade, the NBA 2K games were going out of their way to teach gamers all of the basic and advanced controls, in an environment that was both helpful and creative. Those efforts began with the introduction of Training Camp in NBA 2K12, a feature that would carry over into NBA 2K13 and prior gen NBA 2K14. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining The Jordan Challenge

Reimagining The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m reimagining The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11.

The Jordan Challenge was a significant milestone in basketball gaming. In celebrating the career of Michael Jordan, it achieved what once seemed impossible: adding actual retro teams, rather than just a collection of Legends on Decade All-Star squads. Retro teams would be established as the norm, and the mode also paved the way for NBA’s Greatest the following year in NBA 2K12. The Jordan Challenge is a mode that I’ve profiled in a Wayback Wednesday feature, as well as gone back and finished. It’s a lot of fun, and a great achievement in one of the best NBA 2K titles.

With that being said, The Jordan Challenge isn’t perfect. As I’ve previously noted, the ten challenges do lack variety. Three of them are set in the 1990 season, recycling the 1990 Chicago Bulls and taking up spots that could’ve gone to other memorable games from MJ’s career. It doesn’t ruin the mode, but looking back, the inability to license certain players did limit it somewhat. With that in mind, I’m doing something a little different for this week’s Wayback Wednesday, and reimagining The Jordan Challenge with some additional and alternative games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Lost Retro Teams

Bulls vs Blazers in NBA 2K11

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the retro teams that we’ve lost in NBA 2K.

It’s easy to take the retro teams in NBA 2K for granted. They’ve been a staple of the games since the introduction of The Jordan Challenge back in NBA 2K11, to the point where a lot of gamers no longer consider them bonus content; they’re something we expect to see in the games. There was a time, however, when it didn’t seem likely due to the hurdle of likeness rights. Indeed, a few years before 2K made it a reality, EA Sports made some preliminary steps towards including retro teams in NBA Live 08, ultimately scrapping the idea when they couldn’t license all of the players.

While it does seem like the concept of retro teams is here to stay – and there are plenty of ideas for new ones that could be added – not all of the previously included squads remain in NBA 2K. Over the years, a total of ten retro teams have been cut after being included in at least one game, though four of them would be replaced by a squad from around the same era. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Times PC Gamers Missed Out in 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 times that PC gamers have missed out when it comes to the virtual hardwood.

Due to the popularity of the PC platform in our community, it’s all too easy to forget that it isn’t a priority for sports video game developers. Consoles account for a bulk of the annual sales, making PC sports gamers a niche within a niche. That hasn’t stopped us from having a lot of fun with the games that have come out on PC though, thanks in no small part to what our modding community has been capable of throughout the years. Furthermore, if you go back and look at the history of NBA Live on PC, there was a time when those releases could be considered the definitive version.

Unfortunately, playing on PC has sometimes led to missing out on content, or certain games altogether. From a developer’s perspective, consoles provide the convenience of standard hardware and digital platforms, as well as more security when it comes to piracy. Developing for the PC is more challenging due to differing hardware, as well as distribution methods. Even when the former hasn’t been a barrier to getting a PC release, the latter has prevented it from receiving the same level of support, including downloadable content. We’re fortunate enough to still get basketball games on PC, but here are five times that we weren’t so lucky on the platform.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11

Michael Jordan dunks on the Trail Blazers in the Jordan Challenge (NBA 2K11)

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at one of the best modes in NBA 2K11 (and indeed basketball games in general), the Jordan Challenge.

It recently occurred to me that while I’ve discussed Michael Jordan’s presence in NBA 2K11 and ran a series of articles in which I went back and finished all the games in the Jordan Challenge, I’ve yet to post a retrospective dedicated solely to the mode. I’ve obviously discussed it in those previous features, but given how special the Jordan Challenge was, it’s about time I rectify that. Besides, if responses to recent posts on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are any indication, a lot of people are still quite interested in talking about NBA 2K11!

They have a good reason to. NBA 2K11 was a milestone release, and while the failure of NBA Elite 11 was a factor, the quality of 2K’s game combined with the addition of MJ and the Jordan Challenge led to it not only being very warmly received, but also becoming the first game in the series to top five million units sold. As much as any other mode or feature, the Jordan Challenge represents the way 2K has focused on the finer details, and been willing to innovate over the years. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Ultimate Base Roster Retrospective

Rosters included in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the history of the Ultimate Base Roster, through an interview with HAWK23 himself.

The Ultimate Base Roster, also known as UBR, began as a roster update for NBA 2K12 that also expanded upon the game’s historical content. Over time, it grew into a comprehensive modding project that not only kept NBA 2K12 up to date, but allowed basketball gamers to step back into the past with multiple complete season mods and other fun content. The project would later be adapted for NBA 2K14, a release that has received an update just today. Gamers have been enjoying UBR for years now, and it’s even encouraged long-time console users to pick up the PC versions.

Want to know more about the history of the mod, and what it’s been like to maintain it for all these years? Check out my interview with UBR creator HAWK23, as we take a look back…way back…

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RED MC & REDitor II Updated; All Functionality Now Free!

RED MC v5.0.0.0 Preview

I’m a few days late in posting this, but Vlad delivered the NBA 2K modding community some fantastic news for Christmas. For the first time in quite a while, new versions of RED MC and REDitor II have been released. The new versions contain a couple of minor bug fixes, but the biggest development is that all functionality is now available for free!

We still have quite a few people modding and playing the older NBA 2K games on PC, and these new releases will undoubtedly be a boost for that contingent of our community. For those who are unaware, the tools are comprehensive roster editors and modding utilities, used in the creation of projects such as the Ultimate Base Roster and U R Basketball. REDitor II is compatible with NBA 2K10, NBA 2K11, and NBA 2K12, while RED MC is used with NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14.

Pick them up in these sections of our Downloads database:

A huge thanks to Vlad for his hard work over the years, and for now making these tools freely available for everyone. For modding tutorials and resources, please check out the appropriate sections in the NLSC Forum.

Ultimate Base Roster Website Back Online; July Update Coming

Ultimate Base Roster July 2018 Preview (NBA 2K14)

Outstanding news for everyone still playing NBA 2K12 or NBA 2K14: the official website for the Ultimate Base Roster is back online! HAWK23 has restored working download links for the NBA 2K12 version of UBR, so head on over if you haven’t previously downloaded the massive mod pack.

The links for the NBA 2K14 version of UBR will be back online soon, after the completion of a July 2018 update. This is obviously fantastic news, as not only will the previous season mods be available, but there’ll be brand new rosters for NBA 2K14 as well. It’s been some time since the last UBR update, and from the reaction in our Forum, gamers are really looking forward to the forthcoming one.

You can find the topic for UBR 2K12 here, and the UBR 2K14 topic here in the NLSC Forum. Be sure to check them out for download links, previews, status updates, and support. You can also connect with HAWK23 here on Twitter, where he’s posting updates about the Ultimate Base Roster.

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K12’s Introduction Video

NBA 2K12 Introduction Video

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the introduction video for NBA 2K12.

Although NBA 2K11 was a tough act to follow, I would suggest that NBA 2K12 was up to the challenge. Continuing to improve upon the gameplay of its predecessor, it also successfully expanded the historical content we’ve come to associate with the NBA 2K series. The Jordan Challenge gave way to NBA’s Greatest, a mode featuring fantastic production values and several of the best teams in the NBA history on top of MJ’s Bulls. The game was hampered by the absence of the Class of 2011 rookies at launch owing to the lockout, but official roster updates would later resolve that issue.

Firing up NBA 2K12 for the first time immediately got you in the mood to play with the new historical teams, with an introduction video that I once ranked as the best among basketball games. Although we’ve seen some slick intros in the years since, there’s still a strong case for NBA 2K12’s boot-up remaining in the top spot. As such, I thought I’d look back at it this week, and the real highlights that inspired several moments in the intro. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: My Top 5 Favourite NBA 2K 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 countdown of my personal Top 5 favourite games in the NBA 2K series.

In the five years that I’ve been writing The Friday Five, I’ve covered a lot of topics. I’m always thinking of what to write about next, and when some topics come to mind, it occurs to me how I should’ve discussed them a long time ago. Such is the case with today’s column, which is a countdown of my Top 5 favourite games in the NBA 2K series. I covered my Top 5 favourite games in the NBA Live series almost three years ago, so it’s about time I compiled a similar list for NBA 2K. I’ve admittedly changed my mind a little in regards to my top NBA 2K games, while my list for NBA Live does remain the same as of now.

As always, I have to stress that this countdown is a list of personal Top 5 favourites. It isn’t meant to be an unbiased, definitive list of the five best games in the series so far. These rankings are influenced by my own enjoyment and overall satisfaction with each release, not just an evaluation of their quality. It’s a list that’s intended to start the conversation, not end it. If you disagree, that’s fine; it’ll be interesting to compare notes in the comments section once I’ve finished having my say. Without any further ado, these are my Top 5 favourite games in the NBA 2K series, at least as of March 2018.

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Wayback Wednesday: Legends & Champs Rosters for NBA Live

Isiah Thomas in the Legends Roster for NBA Live 2000

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the Legends and Champs rosters for NBA Live on PC.

The announcement that NBA 2K18 will be receiving new historical content, not only in the form of additional classic teams but also All-Time squads, drew a lot of excitement from gamers who are also enthusiastic NBA history buffs. While there have been omissions and other issues, historical content is something that the 2K series has generally done a great job with since NBA 2K11. Of course, as more than a couple of people have pointed out here and on social media, All-Time Teams are not a completely original concept, as many fan-made rosters featuring such squads have been created in recent years.

However, the concept goes back a lot further than that. Rosters comprised of All-Time squads date all the way back to the early days of patching NBA Live on PC, as Lutz’s Legends rosters demonstrate. For that matter, the concept of classic teams was also utilised by his Champs rosters. It’s been a while and a lot of newer basketball gamers probably aren’t aware of those influential mods, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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