Monday Tip-Off: NLSC GrindTime vs. Elite Team in 2K Pro-Am

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Nothing's Coming Up THRILLHO

Postby Dee4Three on Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:43 am

Andrew wrote:December 12th, 2016: Nothing's Coming Up THRILLHO

Yes, I'm going to talk about 2K Pro-Am again, and the ongoing attempts of NLSC THRILLHO to unlock logo importing. As I've mentioned in previous articles and on the NLSC Podcast, we've been enjoying the mode enough to get online for several sessions per week, but we've also had our fair share of frustrating moments. While we have to take responsibility for some of them - we've definitely made our fair share of mistakes, after all - there have been times when it's felt like the game is out to get us. Maybe it's the "NBA Live Series Center" text on our court; perhaps we should change that, if we want fairer treatment?

In all seriousness, I've made a point of saving clips of many of those moments, usually for the purposes of bug reports and Wishlist feedback. However, it's gotten to the point where I can put together a "Shaqtin' a Fool" type of reel, showcasing the times where NBA 2K17 made our jaws drop for all the wrong reasons. Since THRILLHO is a blatant reference to The Simpsons, it only made sense to title it after another memorable Milhouse quote. Without any further ado, please enjoy a highlight reel of the best of our worst, from bloopers to bugs, and several other frustrating and bizarre moments in between!


phpBB [video]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njW6E6CALB8


Wow, just saw this video. So many of the things I mentioned in that big thread on gameplay are showing here. The charging issue, the horrible passing issue... That's the stuff that I can't believe got passed production, and hasn't been patched out. Those are literally game flow/pace breakers.

Ive been saving highlights of that stuff as well because they happen every game, and have thought about putting a compilation together. These issues are in all modes...
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Postby Andrew on Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:04 am

I've stopped capturing examples at this point, as I have a rather large catalogue of them.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Giving NBA 2K17 Online One More Try

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:05 pm

April 3rd, 2017: Giving NBA 2K17 Online One More Try

Along with my co-hosts Arcane and Kenny, I've mentioned in various episodes of the NLSC Podcast that I've recently grown weary of playing NBA 2K17 online. After really getting into 2K Pro-Am last year with NBA 2K16, and constantly playing it for the first few months after NBA 2K17 came out, our interest in and enjoyment of the mode took a sudden downturn. After some frustrating sessions of both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK - including one where we dejectedly called it a night after only one game - we all decided to take a break from the online modes in NBA 2K17, at least for a little while, but possibly until NBA 2K18 was released.

For the next couple of weeks, we stuck to the single player modes in NBA 2K17, or indeed, played other games altogether. However, I did find myself wanting to give 2K Pro-Am at least one more try, and I've taken part in a couple of sessions with the guys each of the past two Fridays. There was familiar frustration, but also the same recognisable fun and enjoyment from more positive sessions in the past. As a result, I may not be finished with the online experience in NBA 2K17 just yet. For other basketball gamers who have grown tired of online play, you can probably relate to the following reflections.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:24 pm

April 10th, 2017: How Modding Has Changed

As of last August, the NLSC has been around for twenty years. I've had the privilege of running the site for fifteen of those twenty years, and suffice to say quite a few things have changed during that span. It's been interesting to observe those changes, and of course, crucial to adapt to them. As you might expect, that's sometimes been a challenging task. While we've expanded our content and commitment to covering basketball games during their development, a big part of what we do here in our community still revolves around modding. I expect that will always be the case, and as I've said before, we can be proud of the work we've done in that regard.

Of course, there have been changes to modding, too. For a start, instead of "modding" and "mods", in years gone by we mostly used the words "patching" and "patches". Once we started covering NBA 2K in greater depth and creating content for it, the word "modding" came to be used more frequently, either to distinguish it from NBA Live patching, or simply because the term was more common in other gaming communities. Whichever term you prefer, the changes to modding in our community extend well beyond the name for the hobby.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Postby Dee4Three on Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:48 am

It seems much harder to get a group together for big projects for the next gen versions of 2k on PC. Because, most of the big project people stayed with last gen, and many of them stayed because of CPU limitations. More big projects would be around for 2k17 if the graphics stayed last gen.

I also know a few people on here who do have CPU's that run the next gen versions, but think the gameplay is dull so they don't convert. Or, they feel that without an appropriate roster editor, it's not worth it.

I'll be releasing my UBR type base roster for NBA 2K17 this week, but the majority of the work was done by 3 people. It's a huge project for just 3 people, one kid who is full time school, and my brother and I who both work full time jobs.

If I had the 20-30 people working with me like the UBR had, I think it could be much bigger, and out much sooner.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Postby Andrew on Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:01 am

That's definitely been a challenge since the games became a PS4/X1 port. I still hope we can get some more extensive in-game tools; I have a feeling that might be the future of roster editing.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Postby Dee4Three on Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:03 am

Just a thought, you should do a Monday Tip-Off on the camera view discussion.

Because its funny, back in the early 2000's, Live came out with a game (I think it was Live 02), that had a really close broadcast view that really couldn't be adjusted appropriately, and it was tough for the user (I don't have that game anymore, but I think it was that one). NBA Fastbreak 98 (Or as you played it, NBA Action 98), had that default 2k-esque view, but lacked a good broadcast view. NBA Live 95-96-97 etc for Console had that overview from the corner look (Which they kind of brought back for NBA Live 16), and the older games only had one camera view (most of them), while Tecmo NBA Basketball, Bulls vs Blazers, NBA Showdown etc tried to emulate the broadcast view, games like David Robinsons basketball, one of the Magic Johnson Games tried something completely different.

A lot could be covered with an article like that.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Postby Andrew on Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:17 am

Right on, I'm always looking for article suggestions, and that's a good one. (Y) We could also be getting into Wayback Wednesday territory there, but it's obviously a contemporary issue, so I can definitely cover it in the Tip-Off. I'll make a note of it, and see what I can do.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Postby Dee4Three on Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:32 am

Andrew wrote:Right on, I'm always looking for article suggestions, and that's a good one. (Y) We could also be getting into Wayback Wednesday territory there, but it's obviously a contemporary issue, so I can definitely cover it in the Tip-Off. I'll make a note of it, and see what I can do.


(Y)
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Great NBA 2K Camera Angle Debate

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:11 pm

April 17th, 2017: The Great NBA 2K Camera Angle Debate

If you're a long-time basketball gamer, you'll probably remember a time when changing the camera angle simply wasn't an option. Whether it was a broadcast-style sideline view, an isometric angle, or a perspective from behind the player you were controlling, most games didn't give you a lot of choice when it came to the camera. In the mid 90s, however, a choice of camera angles and various zoom options began to make their way into basketball games. In recent times, there's been a focus on authentically replicating the broadcast angles for all 30 NBA teams.

This wider variety of camera angles has sparked some passionate debates over the years, specifically over which is the best camera angle to use. In NBA 2K, the discussion has pretty much boiled down to the broadcast camera - either the authentic angles, or ones inspired by them - and the 2K camera and its variants. Basketball gamers certainly seem to have some strong opinions about which camera is the best, or for that matter, which is the "correct" setting to use. As I'm a passionate basketball gamer myself, I obviously have a few thoughts on the subject.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Great NBA 2K Camera Angle Debate

Postby Dee4Three on Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:43 am

(Y)
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Great NBA 2K Camera Angle Debate

Postby Andrew on Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:11 am

Glad you enjoyed it. :)
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Some More Thoughts on Constructive Feedback

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:08 am

April 24th, 2017: Some More Thoughts on Constructive Feedback

If you haven't yet checked out the interview that our friends over at Operation Sports conducted with the NBA 2K team, I highly recommend giving it a look. I obviously got a kick out of seeing JaoSming and Leftos taking part, and hearing the NLSC receive some flattering mentions, but those were far from the only parts that I enjoyed. All the guys participating in the interview provided an interesting insight into how they came to join the team at 2K, what it's like to work in the industry, and how their perception of video game development changed from when they were members of the community. It's a four part series, and you can begin with Part 1 here.

The interview also discusses the importance of community feedback, noting that even when the developers aren't replying to comments, they are reading them. There were some good tips on how to get noticed, whether you're seeking employment at Visual Concepts, or simply want to provide the developers with feedback for official patches and future games. Some of their comments got me thinking once again about the way we give feedback - not only to 2K, but also EA - and how we can do a better job in that regard. Personally, it's also made me reflect a little on the way that I've critiqued the game and offered up feedback in recent years.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Should NBA Live 18 Be More Traditional?

Postby Andrew on Mon May 01, 2017 10:18 pm

May 1st, 2017: Should NBA Live 18 Be More Traditional?

EA Sports has their work cut out for them when it comes to NBA Live 18. The series hasn't been the dominant brand in sim-oriented basketball games for more than a decade now, with cancellations and subpar releases combining to erode the trust of the fanbase. At the same time, it's also shown potential and promise, and judging by some of the whispers from gamers who have been involved in recent playtesting sessions, there's cause for optimism. NBA Live 18 obviously has a lot to prove, and as I've said many times before, it needs to be a well-rounded product. Improved gameplay is paramount, but deeper modes and roster customisation are also vital.

I think most of us agree on that, and we all have our own specific suggestions as to what we'd like to see out of future NBA Live releases. My first seven Friday Five articles of 2017 were dedicated to discussing ideas for this year's game and beyond, and it's been a recurring topic in the Forum and on the NLSC Podcast. For EA Sports to make a dent in Visual Concepts' share of the market, their next game needs to be a quality release with an appealing hook, such as an All-Star Weekend mode. However, their overall approach and direction is also important, and that's something that I've been thinking about lately.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Postby Andrew on Mon May 08, 2017 9:53 pm

May 8th, 2017: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Something that's come up on a few times on the NLSC Podcast when we've been reminiscing about the old days of basketball gaming is the dwindling number of NBA video games. Although no other series has enjoyed the same longevity as NBA Live or NBA 2K, several other developers have released NBA licensed sim games over the years. Some series ran for two or three years, some skipped a year, and others didn't get off the ground after the first game. In any case, while EA Sports and Visual Concepts remained the biggest names in the genre, some years have seen the release of several sim-oriented titles, along with the occasional arcade title here and there.

These days, NBA Live and NBA 2K stand as the only two five-on-five, sim-oriented NBA video games that are still being developed, and only 2K has an unbroken streak of annual releases over the past decade. With 2K's dominance of the marketplace, Live's struggles, and the lack of any other developers throwing their hat into the ring, basketball gamers are left with little choice. Saber Interactive are joining the picture with the promising NBA Playgrounds, but that's an arcade-oriented game. As far as the sim experience is concerned, it's fair to wonder, are two sim NBA video games enough?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Postby deihatein on Tue May 09, 2017 8:53 am

I think competition can be good. With 2K having the monoply and the most recognizable brand, there is no surprise that we are seeing much of the same gameplay at this point, if EA or any other developer step up creates a basketball with the same or higher quality, I'm sure 2K is going to step up their game as well.

I disagree at your point that there is not enough time to play both games, yeah sure that might be true but there is going to be some people that will invest their time on which game is more fun and enjoyable to play.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Postby Andrew on Tue May 09, 2017 10:02 am

I said that it can be difficult, not that it's impossible.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Postby [Q] on Tue May 09, 2017 3:10 pm

I think having a 3rd game helps bring new ideas to the table. 2k is so far ahead that Live basically has to try to copy them in one form or another. but when they were a bit more even, they'd take stuff from each other but having a 3rd game like NBA 06 brought new ideas to the table like using the baseline camera as the default or full TNT integration
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Postby Andrew on Tue May 09, 2017 6:41 pm

Well, 2K has borrowed some ideas from Live in recent years, albeit generally smaller ones and they've put their own spin on them. I think that's fine, though. If a third game came along with great ideas, so much the better.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Games SHOULD Borrow Ideas

Postby Andrew on Mon May 15, 2017 9:05 pm

May 15th, 2017: Basketball Games SHOULD Borrow Ideas

Fact: NBA Live has borrowed ideas from NBA 2K. Fact: NBA 2K has borrowed ideas from NBA Live. A lot of basketball gamers may be inclined to sneer and suggest that it isn't the case, but there are numerous examples in both games that prove it to be true. Right stick dribbling controls, face scanning, temporary player cards in the team building modes...a lot of features and concepts have been adopted by one game after first appearing in another. There may be differences in the way the ideas are implemented, with each game putting their own spin on them, but the basic concept is similar to the original feature.

You might suggest that NBA Live and NBA 2K need to have something unique about the experiences they offer, or take different approaches to certain common features. That's a fair comment, and something that I generally agree with. However, both games ultimately have the same goal: to realistically portray the sport of basketball, specifically the style we see in the NBA, and provide gamers with experiences that accurately replicate aspects of the league in detail. With a common goal and audience, it only makes sense that there's some overlap in what both games are doing. To that end, basketball video games absolutely should borrow ideas from one another.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Games SHOULD Borrow Ideas

Postby deihatein on Tue May 16, 2017 5:53 am

If they make thier own spin on it. Sure why not.
shadowgrin wrote:Quick question: who is better in basketball, a black dude or a pinoy dude. If you thought or considered for a moment that it's the black dude then you're also a little bit racist.

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Games SHOULD Borrow Ideas

Postby Andrew on Tue May 16, 2017 9:41 am

Generally that's what happens. Other than that, if there's really only one way of doing it, and it's a good idea, then no point not doing it just to be different, or because someone else did it first.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Green Releases in NBA 2K

Postby Andrew on Mon May 22, 2017 10:36 pm

May 22nd, 2017: Green Releases in NBA 2K

A few weeks back, NBA 2K Gameplay Director Mike Wang made a candid statement about the future of green releases. Beluba's goal is to wean basketball gamers off the concept of green releases being guaranteed baskets, in order to strive for more realism and competitive balance. We've seen NBA 2K17 take a few steps in that direction, with several tuning updates focused on shooting mechanics being pushed through since the game's release. Generally speaking, those updates have sought to reduce the number of green releases by making them more difficult to achieve, tweak the percentages of near-perfect releases, or re-balance the shooting in some other way.

Results have been mixed, and a lot of gamers have expressed frustration with the constant changes to shooting in NBA 2K17. On top of some tweaks seemingly being either too effective or largely ineffective, there's been a concern that changes that are made in order to enhance the online experience are negatively affecting single player gameplay. Beyond that, opinion is divided as to whether green releases should be guaranteed baskets - assuming the attempts aren't blocked, of course - or whether they should simply have the best odds of being made, according to a player's ratings and attributes. I have to admit, at times I'm a little torn myself.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Green Releases in NBA 2K

Postby [Q] on Tue May 23, 2017 1:31 am

I've actually thought about the concept of the "perfect release" since playing 2k7 and seeing guys bury free throws with Ben Wallace because he had an easy animation to time. While someone like Yao was tough to hit with.

I've always felt that bad shooters who have perfect releases should still miss more often than not.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Green Releases in NBA 2K

Postby Andrew on Tue May 23, 2017 2:20 am

That's definitely the problem with the mechanic. Realism and player abilities can be overridden if you familiarise yourself with the animation.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: A Suggestion for Modding, Moving Forward

Postby Andrew on Mon May 29, 2017 6:07 pm

May 29th, 2017: A Suggestion for Modding, Moving Forward

Recently, I’ve written a couple of articles that have taken a look at how modding has changed, and some of the biggest developments that have helped the modding community to grow and thrive. Aside from reflecting on the past and talking about noteworthy milestones, both articles have also had an eye towards the future of modding. In that regard, I believe there is inspiration to be found, as well as a few important lessons that can be learned, when it comes to the history of our modding community. A little perspective and reflection can help us as we look to move forward.

There’s no guarantee that future NBA 2K games will be as moddable as releases on the previous generation, or that NBA Live will return to the PC platform. Even if either of those scenarios is actually feasible, there’s a strong likelihood that it won’t happen with this year’s releases. With that in mind, I think it’s important that we prepare ourselves for the possibility that we’ll be facing the same challenges and limitations that have presented themselves in the past couple of years, and be ready to work around them as best as possible. In particular, there’s one suggestion that I believe we should keep in mind.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Importance of Consistent Controls

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:12 pm

June 5th, 2017: The Importance of Consistent Controls

The preview seasons for NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 are tantalisingly close...presumably. We should get another glimpse at NBA Live 18 this weekend at EA Play, and with Live scheduled to come out this year, hopefully 2K won't drag their feet putting out information, especially since they're once again pushing early pre-orders. In any event, it hopefully shouldn't be too long before we start hearing about improvements and changes to gameplay mechanics, AI, modes, and all other aspects of the games. Controls will be a key point of interest, specifically whether or not there have been any major changes or enhancements.

When it comes to the responsiveness and fluidity of the controls, as well as their depth and influence over the action, it's probably safe to say that most of us still want to see some further improvement. It's vital that we have control over advanced moves, don't get stuck in animations or experience too many canned moments, and not suffer stiffness or a lack of responsiveness on the sticks. Beyond those mechanics however, there's an important design concept that EA and 2K both need to keep in mind: the controls should be relatively consistent from year to year.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: You Can Constructively Criticise NBA Playgrounds

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:51 pm

June 12th, 2017: You Can Constructively Criticise NBA Playgrounds

It's been around a month since NBA Playgrounds was released for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Saber Interactive's first attempt at an arcade basketball game has been reasonably well-received, even if it's not quite on par with its legendary predecessors, NBA Jam and NBA Street. Saber has been very diligent in listening to feedback, resulting in some much-needed changes being implemented via the game's early patches. New players have also been added to the game, additional tournaments are planned, and Switch users will receive a free copy of the new Shaq Fu game for their patience regarding the delay in launching the online features.

Saber's interaction with the fanbase and their gestures of goodwill are extremely admirable, and refreshing. They've created an official Facebook group for NBA Playgrounds gamers to offer feedback, share their experiences, and basically keep the lines of communication open, which is awesome. Unfortunately, some of the discourse in the group is, to be blunt, very toxic. I've seen some perfectly reasonable suggestions shouted down, and people with valid criticisms told to zip their lips by their fellow gamers. As such, I feel that something needs to be made very clear here: we can and should constructively criticise NBA Playgrounds.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Missing Former Modes & Features

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:17 pm

June 19th, 2017: Missing Former Modes & Features

With their annual releases, sports video games are often criticised for being little more than a patch, roster update, or expansion pack sold at retail price. While it's an understandable criticism, and those of us who buy the games every year certainly do want to get value for money, it is selling developers like EA Sports and Visual Concepts short. A lot of time and energy goes into the development of the games, and while the results aren't always want we want, we generally see some pleasing improvements, and new content beyond updated rosters for the new season. Of course, it's always frustrating when it seems like one step forward, two steps back.

As much as we hate to see new games make missteps in terms of the gameplay experience, it's arguably even more frustrating when modes and other features that we really enjoyed in previous games are cut from future releases. Even though there may be perfectly valid reasons for their removal - technical or otherwise - it generally doesn't lessen the sting of losing the experiences and functionality they provided. As I look ahead to NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, and think about the news I'd like to hear in the upcoming preview season, I can't help but reflect on some of the modes and features that I miss in both games.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The NLSC's Biggest Move, One Year Later

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:51 pm

June 26th, 2017: The NLSC's Biggest Move, One Year Later

Around this time last year, I was in the process of moving the NLSC from our old host to our current home. It wasn't the first time that we'd had to move to a new host, but it was definitely the most stressful move we'd undertaken. On top of the usual downtime and teething problems, there was also an air of uncertainty. For the first time since I took over the NLSC, we'd be footing the bill for our hosting costs, rather than getting free hosting in exchange for advertising space. We also had a deadline, as our old host was discontinuing their services as of July 7th 2016, which meant if we hadn't moved or at least backed up everything by then, everything would be lost.

Fortunately, it all turned out for the best. We found a new home, nothing was lost, and in terms of covering our expenses, we're confident that we'll be around for a while yet. Needless to say though, until everything was transferred and running smoothly, and the financial side of things had been sorted out, I was under a lot of stress. There were a few moments where it looked very bleak, and I found myself trying to prepare for the worst and figure out how to announce the unfortunate news. With our future now looking much brighter, I thought that I'd reflect a little on that time, and offer a little more of the back story.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The NLSC's Biggest Move, One Year Later

Postby Dee4Three on Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:00 am

We can't let anything happen to NLSC. Glad everything worked out.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The NLSC's Biggest Move, One Year Later

Postby Andrew on Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:03 am

Me too. :)
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Historical Teams in NBA 2K

Postby Andrew on Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:05 am

July 3rd, 2017: The Future of Historical Teams in NBA 2K

Beginning with the content added for the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11, Visual Concepts' roster of historical teams in NBA 2K has delivered an experience that we once never thought possible. While the game hasn't featured a dedicated mode for historical teams since NBA's Greatest in NBA 2K12, many retro squads are still available as of NBA 2K17. It's clear that there's a demand for them, as new teams and players have been added over the years. Community projects such as the Ultimate Base Roster, U R Basketball, and the Ultimate Classic Teams Roster, further demonstrate how we like to use basketball video games to look back on the past.

Looking ahead to future NBA 2K games, however, I have to wonder what's in store for historical teams. A few prominent players have been removed since NBA 2K11, and others weren't included in the first place when their teams were added. Some teams have been cut in their entirety, either due to redundancy, or a lack of real players as licensing deals have expired. It's been a couple of years since any new historical teams were added - the pre-order bonus Dream Team in NBA 2K17 not withstanding - and even longer since they've been utilised in a dedicated mode. I have to wonder, what does the future look like for historical teams in NBA 2K?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Ideas for 2K Pro-Am Customisation in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:40 pm

July 10th, 2017: Ideas for 2K Pro-Am Customisation in NBA 2K18

Following a few frustrating sessions of 2K Pro-Am as of late, NLSC THRILLHO enjoyed a good run last Friday night. Arcane, Valor, and I were able to go 4-1, finishing up the evening with a payback victory over the lone team that defeated us. We also each had some good individual games, padding our stats here and there. It was refreshing to have a session where everything was clicking for us as a team, and we didn't feel robbed by the way the games played out, at least for the most part. A slow start last year and some rough weeks have left us with a losing record overall though, as we've stuck with our original squad in order to keep our custom branding.

Of course, even though our record isn't impressive, we'd like to think that our branding is among the best that we've come across. Arcane designed our uniforms and court, as well as our sideline banners with all their Milhouse and Thrillhouse references. Unfortunately, it took us quite a while to get to the point of being able to customise all of our branding, due to the changes that Visual Concepts made with the new rank system in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am. Even though the approach does have merit, there are some changes I'd like to see made to the way that customisation is handled in 2K Pro-Am this year in NBA 2K18.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: It's Time to Retire "Cartoonish"

Postby Andrew on Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:49 pm

July 17th, 2017: It's Time to Retire "Cartoonish"

Fellow basketball gamers, we've got to talk. I know that I've gone on about this before, in previous articles and on the NLSC Podcast. It's admittedly hard to broach this subject without sounding like a broken record, a fanboy stamping my feet, or a tyrant aggressively attacking freedom of speech. Hear me out though, because our credibility as a gaming community is at stake here. Alright, that might be a bit of a melodramatic exaggeration, but it is one of our worst habits, and we let ourselves down whenever we fall victim to it.

It's been run into the ground more than jokes about blowing 3-1 leads, or the Crying Jordan image macro. It's not making us look smart and knowledgeable about our hobby, even though we absolutely are. It's tired, lazy, and uninspired. And so, it's time to do something about it. It's time to expand our vocabulary. It's time to learn how to properly critique, instead of relying on snark and overused buzzwords. Quite frankly, it's time to grow up. It's time that we retire the word "cartoonish" to describe textures, animations, and other aspects of basketball video games that we don't like.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: What Happened To The Preview Season?

Postby Andrew on Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:37 pm

July 24th, 2017: What Happened To The Preview Season?

In recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, as well as bulletins covering tidbits about NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, I've talked about this year's preview season being a little slow to get underway. It's frustrating, as I found myself discussing the same issue around this time last year. I had hoped that with the return of NBA Live, we might also see a return to the days where there was a constant stream of preview media and information about the upcoming games. Instead, it's been the same trickle of info, and relative radio silence from both EA Sports and Visual Concepts.

We obviously know that NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 are coming out, and we've seen glimpses and heard a detail or two here and there, but that's it. We know what NBA 2K18's pre-order bonuses are, but we haven't heard anything about new features or improvements. We do know a little more about NBA Live 18 coming out of EA Play, but the hype train stopped rolling shortly afterwards. With the way info is held back until it's almost too late, it's difficult not to ask the question: what happened to the preview season?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Double Overtime THRILLHO

Postby Andrew on Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:58 pm

July 31st, 2017: Double Overtime THRILLHO

As Arcane and I discussed in Episode #215 of the NLSC Podcast, we recently had a very enjoyable session of 2K Pro-Am that included an exciting double overtime victory. Despite a few mistakes here and there, Arcane, zzcoolj21 and I were able to eke out the win for NLSC THRILLHO, producing some highlight plays along the way. I naturally made sure to capture the footage, beginning with zz's three-pointer that sent the game into overtime, and have put together a video recap/highlight reel of what turned out to be a very enjoyable and rewarding game. Watch it below, or catch it here on the NLSC YouTube channel if you're unable to see the embedded video.


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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Gameplay vs. Game Modes

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:36 pm

August 7th, 2017: Gameplay vs. Game Modes

For the most part, we basketball gamers can generally agree that we want to see the games that we play get better and better with each release. Of course, we're not always on the same page as far as the specific improvements are concerned. At the very least, we may prioritise them quite differently. We need to realise that these differing points of view are equally valid; it's perfectly fine to like different aspects of the games, and as such, have a keener interest in seeing them improve compared to others. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to see your fellow basketball gamers talking about something that doesn't interest you, and not feel that they're missing the point.

Perhaps the best example of this is the whole gameplay vs. game modes debate. It's fair to say that most basketball gamers would agree that both gameplay and game modes are the most important aspects of any given release, but disagree on the importance of those aspects in relation to one another. I've recently seen a few comments that have derided the importance of game modes, and over the years, there have been more than a couple of remarks that have downplayed the necessity of getting the gameplay experience right. To that end, I thought that I'd offer up my thoughts on the debate regarding gameplay vs. game modes.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How My Basketball Gaming Habits Changed

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:37 pm

August 14th, 2017: How My Basketball Gaming Habits Changed

I've been playing basketball games for quite a while now. It's an interest that began as I was entering my teenage years, intensified in my mid-to-late teens when I created the NBA Live Domain and then subsequently took over running the NLSC, and has since continued into adulthood. Now that I'm in my early thirties, I'm finding that I'm approaching the hobby differently. I'm still passionate about it, but with different priorities and responsibilities, I've had to ration my time and make a few adjustments to the way that I play. Of course, there have been gradual changes to my habits ever since the very beginning of my interest in basketball gaming.

The evolution of basketball gaming, as well as my own changing tastes, have both played a role here. Picking up two annual releases rather than just the one is a major factor as well. With NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 coming out next month, I'll once again be faced with the prospect of dividing my time between two current games. Just how much I enjoy those games will also depend on my expectations and tolerance for legacy issues, which have been shaped by all my years of basketball gaming. As I prepare for the next batch of previews, and the new games themselves, I thought that I'd reflect on how my habits have changed over time.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: PC Basketball Gamer? Get a Gamepad!

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:14 pm

August 21st, 2017: PC Basketball Gamer? Get a Gamepad!

With last week's gameplay blog, we've learned that there will be a few tweaks to the controls in NBA 2K18. Beyond those changes however, the general approach will remain the same. The game will still feature the Pro Stick, which is used to perform both dribbling moves and specific types of shot attempts on cue. Dual analog controls aren't an issue on Sony and Microsoft's consoles, which have made use of controllers with two sticks for a few generations now. The approach can cause problems for PC users however, especially if they prefer to use the keyboard to play games.

It's admittedly less of an issue than it used to be. Both NBA Live and NBA 2K have featured dual analog controls for over a decade now, so a majority of gamers have made the adjustment and picked up a gamepad for their PC. There are a few holdouts, though. Every so often, someone will ask for help using the keyboard with a PC version of NBA 2K or NBA Live, or complain that the keyboard controls are lacking. This is fair enough, as everyone has their own preference, and the keyboard is a viable option for many other games. However, if you're a PC basketball gamer who wants to have complete control, there's really only one solution: get a gamepad.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Metacritic Scores & Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:15 pm

August 28th, 2017: Metacritic Scores & Basketball Games

We're less than three weeks away from the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18. It won't be long before publications are getting their hands on the finished games, and vying to be the first to post their reviews. The most glowing reviews will be shared by the games' official social media accounts, while we basketball gamers discuss the merits of each reviewer's critique. At the end of the day, however, their approval or disapproval of each game will contribute to their respective Metacritic scores. Like all developers, both EA Sports and Visual Concepts will be hoping for the best result possible, as Metacritic scores are the yardstick for successful releases.

Generally speaking, that's an understandable approach. While there can certainly be a disconnect between the opinions of professional reviewers and the general public, along with sales, Metacritic scores are a reasonable barometer for a game's success. At the same time, when it comes to basketball games, and sports games in general for that matter, I'd argue that they're not always accurate or fair. I'm not a huge fan of awarding numerical scores to games of any genre, and as far as basketball games are concerned, the extent to which the importance of Metacritic scores can be overblown is comparable to the overemphasis on overall ratings in the games themselves.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Everything's Coming Up THRILLHO!

Postby Andrew on Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:50 pm

September 4th, 2017: Everything's Coming Up THRILLHO!

When NBA 2K17 was released, the very first thing that Arcane, Kenny, The X, Valor, and I did was to play a game of 2K Pro-Am. We'd had a lot of fun with the mode in NBA 2K16, and having created our players in last year's Prelude, we decided to jump right into the 2K Pro-Am experience. With the exception of a short break earlier this year, we've been enjoying some regular sessions over the past twelve months. However, as we discussed in last week's Podcast, with this year's Prelude and NBA 2K18 both right around the corner, we've been rapidly approaching the end of our season. On Saturday, we enjoyed a win that felt like a great game to end on.

Through all the ups and downs, we've had some really fun times running with our NLSC THRILLHO squad in 2K Pro-Am. We're still deciding whether we'll keep the name for NBA 2K18, but in the meantime, I've put together an extended highlight reel of memorable moments where everything was definitely coming up THRILLHO! Check it out below, or catch it here on our YouTube channel.


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Re: Monday Tip-Off: MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs

Postby Andrew on Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:26 pm

September 11th, 2017: MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs

The odds and overall value of the packs in MyTEAM have been discussed at length since the mode debuted in the NBA 2K series. As someone who used to collect basketball trading cards, I've often wondered how MyTEAM's virtual packs stack up against the real thing. Are the pack odds as unfairly weighted as they sometimes seem to be? How would a box of packs in NBA 2K17's MyTEAM, featuring a total of twenty player cards, compare to a couple of real packs of basketball trading cards, which generally include ten to twelve cards apiece?

I decided to put those questions to the test. A while back, I bought a box of League packs in MyTEAM, and spent a few minutes opening them all. I also picked up a couple of brand new packs of Panini NBA Hoops trading cards off eBay, and opened them up as well. The results were certainly interesting, and since I've been sitting on the footage for a while now, I'm pleased to finally present to you my comparison of MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs!


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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Is It MyCAREER, or The Shammy Wells Show?

Postby Andrew on Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:54 pm

Somehow forgot to post here on Monday. ICYMI...

September 18th, 2017: Is It MyCAREER, or The Shammy Wells Show?

Early on in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER, I remember feeling like Justice Young was the real star of the story. He was getting more shots, he was levelling up a lot quicker than I was, and in terms of the narrative, he was the one driving the action. As the year progressed, I surpassed him in Overall Rating and on-court performance, and by the time we hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy, it was clear that The President of Basketball was indeed the protagonist of the story, and the star of the team. Despite my usual aversion to the story-driven approach in MyCAREER, I did enjoy last year's tale. In terms of gameplay, I also liked having Justice as my teammate.

My reactions to the MyCAREER story in NBA 2K18 are...well, not so positive. I'll go into that in greater detail at a later time, but suffice to say, I'm not a fan of the writing, characters, or the plot in general. As for the gameplay, I knew that I'd have to grind my way up again - it's always the way - but I wasn't counting on being outshone by a fictional player once again, and even more so than before. Through the early stages of MyCAREER in NBA 2K18, I have to admit that it doesn't really feel like the story is actually about my career, at least on the court. Instead, it feels like D.J. is merely providing the soundtrack to The Shammy Wells Show.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Goodwill, Greed, and NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:24 am

September 25th, 2017: Goodwill, Greed, and NBA 2K18

I'll admit that there's a part of me that doesn't want to write this column. I've already discussed the matter in Episode #223 of the NLSC Podcast and in the NLSC Forum, and I'd rather not sound like a broken record. Furthermore, it's all too easy to come across like a hater, gleefully indulging in some opportunistic bashing simply because there's a controversial issue that's a hot topic at the moment. However, it is a big deal, and it's something that we basketball gamers shouldn't let slide. I am of course referring to the aggressive implementation of Virtual Currency in NBA 2K18.

By now, if you haven't played NBA 2K18 and felt the sting of VC gouging, you've no doubt heard other basketball gamers expressing their outrage. Perhaps you've even read about 2K reaching out to a site that published a negative review, asking them to reconsider their score. These are disturbing and disheartening practices for a company that is the brand leader, with a vast majority of the market share. As a game, NBA 2K has gone from strength to strength in many aspects, stepping up to deliver great experiences on the virtual hardwood as the NBA Live series has faltered. That's earned them the adoration of gamers, but right now, that goodwill lies in ruins.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Recreating Game Covers in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:28 pm

October 2nd, 2017: Recreating Game Covers in NBA 2K18

I'd like to tip this week off with something fun. It's not that I don't enjoy tackling more serious topics related to basketball gaming, as last week's feature demonstrates. After all, it's important that we critique, and share constructive ideas about our hobby. At the same time, we should also celebrate our passion for basketball gaming, and there's always room for some levity. Although I have my criticisms, I've been having fun with both NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 so far. As I mentioned in Episode #224 of the NLSC Podcast, I've enjoyed playing some games with the classic teams in NBA 2K18.

While I was messing around with the retro squads, an idea came to mind. The huge amount of historical content in NBA 2K18 means that the game includes many former basketball video game cover players, spanning as far back as the mid 90s. With that in mind, I thought that it might be fun to try to recreate some of those old covers, using NBA 2K18's classic teams. The results are a little mixed as some were definitely easier to recreate than others, but hopefully you'll enjoy seeing what I've managed to put together. Let's tip things off with a classic.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Recreating Game Covers in NBA 2K18

Postby [Q] on Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:39 am

This was pretty cool. Would've loved to see you attempt the Gilbert cover with an older game. Can't wait for part 2
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Recreating Game Covers in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:08 am

I'll have to check to see the last game Arenas was featured in. Probably NBA 2K13 since he last played in 2012, so he's probably still in the files/Free Agent Pool. I've also thought of doing "covers recreated in their own game", though that mightn't look too great for some of the earlier titles!
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Roster Editing & NBA Live

Postby Andrew on Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:53 pm

October 9th, 2017: Roster Editing & NBA Live

With NBA Live 18, EA Sports' long-running basketball series has taken some pleasing steps forward. While there's still room for improvement, it's had the best reception of any NBA Live game on the current generation, among gamers and reviewers alike. There's more fluidity on the sticks, the controls have been expanded, and with The One, the game has a much deeper career mode along with some solid connected experiences. NBA Live appears to be on the right track, and even cracked the top twenty downloaded games on the PlayStation Network in September.

The team at EA Tiburon has to feel pleased with the more positive reaction to NBA Live 18, not to mention motivated as they begin work on next year's game. However, there is one feature that's conspicuous by its absence in NBA Live 18, and that's roster editing. We haven't seen roster editing in the series since NBA Live 10, and gamers are understandably getting impatient to see it return. While other areas of the game have rightfully been prioritised, roster editing is a staple that must return in NBA Live 19. That's assuming, of course, that there isn't a way for it to be implemented in this year's game.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Late 90s Basketball in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:28 pm

October 16th, 2017: Late 90s Basketball in NBA 2K18

Today, I turned 33. It's funny to think that I've now been running the NLSC for around half my life! As I've said in previous articles, it's hard to say just how long I'll keep doing this, but I'm not intending on giving it up anytime soon. I still have a great deal of passion for basketball video games, as well as creating content based on them. After all, I've been playing basketball games and watching the NBA for a long time now. It's a little overwhelming to think that it's been twenty years since I was getting ready to watch the 1998 season, the last year that the Chicago Bulls were champions. Unfortunately, I don't think that they'll be anywhere close to that this season!

It's important that we keep moving forward, and as I said in Episode #226 of the NLSC Podcast, it's my intention to try to enjoy this season a little more than I have in recent years. There's nothing wrong with reminiscing from time to time however, and thanks to the historical content in NBA 2K18, I can indulge in that nostalgia on the virtual hardwood. For this week's Tip-Off, I'd like to share some screenshots that I took during a game of NBA 2K18 PC, using the 1998 Chicago Bulls against the 1997 Miami Heat. It was a fun game to play, and I'm looking forward to using the historical squads a little more often this year. Without further ado, here are the screenshots!
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