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Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

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 look at the idea of minimalist modding.

With all the tools and techniques that our modding community has developed for NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, we’ve been able to produce some fantastic projects. From detailed current rosters and multi-season packs to NCAA mods and other total conversions, we’ve been able to re-skin the game and create brand new experiences. These projects can take a long time to complete, but it’s very satisfying to see them come together, for both the creator and the community. I can attest to that, having been involved in quite a few large roster projects over the years.

Of course, these fantastic projects do have their drawbacks. They can be incredibly time-consuming, so even if you have the skills to create all the necessary assets, it’s much easier if you have a few other people helping out. To that point, not everyone can do it all when it comes to modding, so it’s usually necessary to assemble a team or rely on some community contributions to get everything done. As you can imagine, the amount of time and effort required can lead to multiple delays, or projects falling through. It’s why I’ve become intrigued with the idea of creating larger projects that don’t require as much external effort; something I’m calling minimalist modding.

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The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Roster Mod Ideas

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 crazy roster mod ideas.

Even though I haven’t been as active in the modding scene over the past few years, it’s difficult to resist the lure. Modding is a creative hobby, and it’s very satisfying to see a project come together, especially when it’s a big roster mod. I’m still working on a 2020 season roster update for NBA 2K11 PC, and should have a status update out soon via new episode of “Making a Mod“. Although it’s a big project that has taken more time than I’d like, it’s been great to get back into updating rosters, especially for a game that I haven’t done anything with before.

While I’m focused on getting that project done, I can’t help thinking of other fun, and often crazy ideas for roster mods. Comprehensive roster updates that enhance the sim experience are great and something I’ve always taken pride in, but there’s room for a lot of creativity with custom rosters. There’s a lot of appeal in creating and playing with classic teams, champions, legends, and other such rosters, but we can be more even more imaginative than that. Although my focus is on completing my current roster project for NBA 2K11, I may take a shot these crazy ideas at some point. I’d like to at least put the ideas out there, in case anyone else wants to run with them.

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Wayback Wednesday: Vince Carter & The NBA Live 2000 Sim

Vince Carter Dunks in 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 simulating to today in NBA Live 2000, in order to see how long virtual Vince Carter (and a few other stars) stick around.

Some nineteen years ago, my cousin and I spent an afternoon simulating way into the future in the brand new Franchise mode in NBA Live 2000. Back then, the year 2020 seemed so far away, and yet, we’re only four months away from the calendar flipping over into that futuristic annum. Keeping with the theme of Wayback Wednesday, I’ll quote a classic 1980s film by John Hughes and say that life moves pretty fast. Ferris Bueller was right on the money with that line, and one only has to look at the NBA to see how a couple of generations of stars have seemingly come and gone in a blink.

A name that still remains on an NBA roster all these years later is Vince Carter. The future Hall of Famer known as Vinsanity and Half-Man, Half-Amazing, has just re-signed with the Atlanta Hawks to play in his 22nd and final NBA season; a record that will see his career span four different decades. As the last player standing from the 90s, Vince Carter is also the last active player from NBA Live 2000 still in the league. Would virtual Vince stick around as long as his real life counterpart? What about some of the other stars? To answer that question, I’m simulating until today in NBA Live 2000’s Franchise mode! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios in Basketball Gaming

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 gets hypothetical, as I consider five “What If” scenarios in basketball gaming.

Even though we shouldn’t tie ourselves up in knots dwelling on the past, it’s hard to resist the allure of a fascinating “What If” scenario. What if Michael Jordan didn’t retire in 1993? What if he never returned in 1995, or in 2001? What if the Boston Celtics had won the Draft lottery in 1997? What if the Oklahoma City Thunder had never traded James Harden, or remained the Seattle SuperSonics? What if LeBron James had never taken his talents to South Beach? For each of these scenarios, we can debate and speculate as to how history would differ in both outcomes and perspective.

The real NBA provides us with plenty of “What If” scenarios, as there are so many events that have the potential to be pivotal: trades, free agent signings, lottery results, injuries, clutch shots, and fateful decisions in crunch time of the biggest games. For the most part, the history of the virtual hardwood goes hand in hand with the general improvements and progression of video games as a whole, but a few big moments – as well as a few things that didn’t happen – have shaped the hobby as we know it. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the twists and turns that basketball gaming may possibly have taken, but they are five “What If” scenarios that I find interesting.

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Redd’s What If in NBA Live 2003

Michael Redd in Dallas (NBA Live 2003)

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 an oddity with Michael Redd in the default rosters of NBA Live 2003 PC.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s fun to go back and play an old basketball video game. Even though our old favourites tend to be far surpassed by new titles, we can usually still find nostalgic enjoyment in the familiarity of the gameplay. It can be satisfying to dust off an old save file, and pick it up again for a while. Sometimes, it’s interesting to just go through the rosters and be reminded of when a certain player was playing for a particular team. If you do that in NBA Live 2003 PC, you’ll be reminded of when Michael Redd played for the Dallas Mavericks. Only, that never actually happened. Yet there he is, on the bench for the 2003 Mavs.

Did EA Sports mess up here? Was someone paying too much attention to those infamous Courtside Comedy cutscenes, and not enough to the default roster as it was being finalised? In truth, there’s no error here; not at the time of the roster’s creation, at any rate. Confused? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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