NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

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NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Rob Owen on Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:45 am

The insight can be found here


NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio
by NBA 2K on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 1:16am

Hey everyone,
Joel Simmons, Audio Director, here with the newest Developer Insight. I want to give you a rundown of all the new additions to Audio in NBA 2K12. Let’s get into it:

3-Man Booth with Steve Kerr
It’s been a great year, filled with major upgrades to the audio in NBA 2K12. As many of you know, we’ve added 5-time NBA Champion and long-time analyst Steve Kerr, to our broadcast booth. Steve brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and creates a great chemistry and balance with Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg. This is our biggest year ever in the franchise in terms of new dialogue, more than doubling the amount of new content that was introduced in 2K11.

As with a real-life 3-man booth, the sports video game equivalent is much more flexible and dynamic with the ability to deliver various combinations of two-man and three-man commentary exchanges. It also goes a long way to eliminate the predictability of a typical 2-man booth where following a play-by-play call, you’ll always expect to hear a comment by the same color analyst after each play. Having a 3-man booth also enables each color analyst to fully contribute their unique insight on trends within the game; both Steve and Clark have side-by-side content where they each start their own thought on a topic, followed up by the other analyst. This allows them to agree or disagree, as well as choose to expand on a topic as best fits the situation.


Within the context of your Association or NBA Today in NBA 2K12, you’ll notice that you’re not just hearing last year’s content split between Clark or Steve, but instead hearing complete coverage of the analysis. This brings a new dynamic to the broadcast experience, and opens the door for even deeper systems that push the boundary of sports dialogue presentation.


All New Color Commentary
One of our top priorities for 2K12 was to completely revamp our color commentary. Adding Steve Kerr was the perfect catalyst to make broad changes across all color. Clark Kellogg’s dialogue has been redone for 2K12- and in a big way. In addition to tens of thousands of new lines, nearly all of the existing lines (97 %+) have been re-tooled into a new 3-man commentary AI.

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One of our primary considerations in 2K12 was to avoid re-recording the same line-types with new writing. Instead, we wanted to fundamentally change how the existing systems worked, while adding new ones. We also expanded coverage for hundreds of areas where variety and detailed analysis was lacking in prior years. For example, as you take your team through the season, one of the early-game analysis segments may discuss the fact you’re playing in the second game of a back-to-back. Prior to 2K12, when this analysis was triggered, only one angle was covered. For 2K12, this scenario takes into consideration the quality of the season to this point and whether the game was won or lost last night. This is just one example of hundreds of areas that have received a complete color analysis overhaul. We’ve taken this type of approach with nearly every area of color commentary and we’re really excited about the new direction for deepening the realism brought to each game of NBA 2K12.


Another couple areas that received a lot of focus this year are clutch moments and late game analysis. New content from Kevin Harlan really adds to the intensity of big moments down the stretch, with his signature high-energy play-by-play calls: an area we had wanted to expand on for quite some time. The new late-game play-by-play calls, combined with the brand new color commentary, help make the big moments in games feel much more authentic.


Greatest Players Mode

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Undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas for dialogue this year is the “NBA’s Greatest” Mode. The first question was how to provide the best broadcast experience within the context of games from the 60’s all the way up to the present era. We decided to take an archival perspective on the broadcast commentary, which allowed us to analyze the body of work for a player’s entire career while still calling out the in-game action as it ‘occurred’ in the archival tapes. With the Bill Russell game in particular, we simulated a “lo-fi” sound that added to the vintage feel.


The common thread between all of the”NBA’s Greatest”match-ups is that we wanted to provide more than just a background of each player’s career highlights. More so, we wanted to provide real-time recognition for the play-by-play and color commentary systems with specific calls on all of the player’s signature moves: Bill Russell’s dominance in the paint, Kareem dropping another deadly sky-hook, the Showtime Lakers’ fast-break and so on.


Once we started down this path, we realized that there would be an enormous amount of content needed to do the Legends justice and so we committed many days of recording for this feature alone. You can probably imagine the efforts of our team but also the analysts. Kevin, Clark, and Steve all had an absolute blast working on the Greatest Players commentary this year, and I think their enthusiasm and passion for the history of the game really shines through.


David Stern and Adam Silver

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A new milestone for the NBA 2KFranchise and one of the memorable experiences of this year’s development cycle was our recording sessions with NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. For the first time in a sports video game, the draft feels and sounds like the real thing.


Whether you are in Association or in My Player, David Stern and Adam Silver lend their voices to Rounds one and two of the Draft. As with all dialogue systems, we are always planning on expanding support for deeper name database coverage each year, and we’ve got a great head-start with 2K12.


Studio Upgrades
One of the challenges with sports video-game commentary is the requirement to support not only the normal range of statistics for 12 minute quarters, but also the low-ranges for 4 or 5 minute quarter lengths. We took on the challenge this year by developing more modern analysis systems that use appropriate ratios to provide a more accurate perspective on what the statistics reveal based on the quarter lengths. While this is something that applies to our booth commentary as well, the requirement for supporting deeper statistical ranges during the halftime show makes a big improvement in the accuracy and variety.


Damon Bruce returns to the HP Halftime Report with an assortment of new analysis angles including a weekly and monthly awards segment for NBA Today and, for the first time in 2K12, also introduces the game during the loading screen.


Arena Specific Music, PA Sound Effects, and Crowd
We added over 500 new arena-specific sounds and music clips to enhance the realism of the uniqueness of each NBA arena in 2K12. You’ll hear the fire-truck siren after a big dunk by Josh Smith, or the screech of a hawk after a clutch basket in Atlanta. While many new sounds were added for the superstars of the NBA, this year we made a big effort in expanding coverage to a lot more players. When Jonas Jerebko drops in a bucket, you’ll hear his customary horn sound effect, and custom-style situational PA calls were added for dozens of players including the likes of Ty Lawson and Tayshaun Prince:


This year we wanted to recreate vintage sounds for “NBA’s Greatest” games, such as the unique organs of the Showtime Lakers, and Dr. J’s Philadelphia 76’ers:


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It was really interesting to research how the use of music and PA sound effects has evolved over the years. In the modern era, the 30 NBA arenas utilize hundreds of custom sounds and unique music bits, whereas the arenas of the 60’s and 70’s typically relied on the sparse use of organ or music. Taking into account these differences and creating vintage content were additional ways to differentiate the “NBA Greatest” games from those of the current era.


This year was also a big year for improving the crowd sound. Thousands of new crowd chatter lines were added, as well as a host of fan-instruments like air-horns and hand-drums. We also were really focused on getting a better mix between the primary crowd sound and the layers of chatter, whistles, PA announcer, and music. This was our second year of developing our dynamic mixing approach to give the true feel of a broadcast, while maintaining the extreme moments of the crowd. The crowd this year is louder than ever when D-Wade dunks to tie the game with 3 seconds left in the 4th quarter, but you can still hear the commentators fighting against the roar of the Miami crowd. The lulls in a lop-sided contest are more noticeable, and there’s a bigger contrast to the emotion and volume of the intense moments. The advancements for 2K12 have brought us much closer to our goal of matching the sound of a broadcast crowd.


Dialogue Patching
On the more technical side of things, we’re really happy to announce that we’ll be able to fix commentary bugs post-launch. This is something that we’ve been planning to implement for many years, and it is finally a reality. We’ll be listening to feedback from the community in addition to continuing our own testing, and will address any issues in a patch. It’s great to be able to provide updates that can immediately improve the broadcast experience, where in the past we could only make these changes for the subsequent title. Thank you for the great feedback and suggestions we received for NBA 2K11, and we hope to hear from you again after October 4th!

- Joel Simmons
Audio Director
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby kobebryant24 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:08 am

"Arena Specific Music, PA Sound Effects, and Crowd

We added over 500 new arena-specific sounds and music clips to enhance the realism of the uniqueness of each NBA arena in 2K12. "


that was the most important part for me in this insight.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby fjccommish on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:16 am

It will be interesting to hear how the dynamic commentary works. One example was that commentary during the second game of a back to back set would acknowledge the result of the first game, and the actual record during back to backs.

If more of that happens, the commentary might be worth hearing. If not, it will be another turn down the sound year.

In general, IMHO, commentary takes away from the NBA experience. Gamers holding the stick are supposedly playing in the game, not watching it on television. Add talk during the time outs, the coach talking about what's happening in the game. Add the coach saying something to the gamer, especially in Myplayer, "stop taking those wild threes", or whatever a coach tells players. Add more in game talk, guys passing by saying "nice block" or "go over the screen next time".

It reminds of a common occurrence when people discuss the game. It might be a description like "Garnett was posting, and Rondo broke his ankles, then Allen hit the game winning 3." No, the gamer did those things. The gamer, the person was in control. That's not Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby bowdown on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:30 am

I prefer commentary way more. There is only so much useful chit chat you can hear from from the AI during a game which you are gonna pay attention to. I want the feel of watching an NBA game.

With that being said, the unique sounds for arenas has got me stoked. Amazing job dudes.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby RedPhazon8 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:57 am

They claim they can fix commentary bugs now with patches, but it won't matter if they only patch the game once (PC Version). 2K11 still had numerous bugs that should of been fixed, but never were. I guess it's not to late to change that, pretty cool insight though.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Pdub on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:39 am

Commentary needs to have context. That means they need to talk about what is happening at this point in time, not just in the game, but in the season, and the playoffs, etc. If it's the last game of the season and one team needs to win to clinch a birth, we need to hear about it a couple times in the game, including in the post whistle wrap up commentary.

I will be anticipating how much variety the back and forth analysis can go, as well as the context.

I am really tired of hearing about one of my players being in the league leaders for a stat every damn game.

Have some background on players during freethrows. What college they went to, who they were drafted by, how they got to their current team. Stuff like that can be dynamic and does not require player specific lines, but a mash up of a template with adlibs for key facts.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby shadowgrin on Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:21 am

Listened to the audio clip. New lines or not, Clark Kellog is still annoying.


So whats gonna happen when steve kerr makes a 3 on the floor while hes sitting in the booth?
‎"Fighting against the roar of the MIAMI croud"...lol fake, Miami fans don't make noise.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Bnicolas13 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:58 am

shadowgrin wrote:Listened to the audio clip. New lines or not, Clark Kellog is still annoying.

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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Lean on Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:18 am

I am annoyed of Clark Kellog as well. There were times when I committed a turnover because of the stupid no-look steal by the CPU, Clark says a comment like he can handle the ball better, I'd like to punch him in the face.

So whats gonna happen when steve kerr makes a 3 on the floor while hes sitting in the booth?


This I agree. This early we found a hole!
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Andrew on Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:56 am

Just a general reminder, when posting articles there's no need to copy the whole thing. Just a link and a blurb is fine, plus any paragraphs you feel should be highlighted or wish to comment on. Thanks.

Good to hear they re-recorded and revamped 97% of Clark Kellogg's lines to fit the new three man booth. Listening to the commentary in the OS gameplay video, I did get a sense that they worked Kerr in fairly seamlessly with the effect being that it does seem like the three of them are there interacting with one another, rather than Kerr just also happening to be there.

It seems they've addressed some of the issues with repetitive commentary in Association, though I expect we'll still grow tired of some of the lines. More acknowledgement of the current situation, standings etc definitely sound good. The late game clip sounds pretty good, I like the way they all react at once and have that overlap as they would in real life, rather than waiting to delivered a cued up line.

I'm definitely in favour of the archival perspective approach to the NBA's Greatest games. It makes much more sense than pretending those guys were actually there calling the game at the time. Short of getting some voice over artists to mimic people like Johnny Most and Chick Hearn, I think that's the best approach.

It'll be interesting to see just what they can do with the audio patching.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby RedPhazon8 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:04 pm

I could see Steve Kerr saying how awesome he is after seeing himself dropping a three. I'm thinking they'll make the commentators talk as if the game happened back when it did, and they're re watching it and commenting on it, it's really the only way it would work. Well, realistically at least...
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Andrew on Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:28 pm

That is indeed how they're handling it.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby RR on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:16 pm

I dont know how to explain exactly, but last year had something about custom arenas soundtracks? I mean, on PS3 you could select and PC could not, right? On 2k12 someone heard something about it?
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Andrew on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:50 pm

No mention of it as yet as far as I'm aware.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby itsmb8 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:55 pm

it sounds great and it makes me want to wait 3 hours outside gamestop to be guy #1 to get the game. but we'll have to wait and see how good it actually is.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby The X on Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:36 pm

I'm just hoping Stern & Silver recorded at least the first and last names from 2K11 names database & then finally I will hear them call out my name on Draft night :P
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Andrew on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:15 pm

It sounds like they might have, judging by the included clip.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby hova- on Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:15 pm

Sounds just great. I'm getting more and more the feeling that 2k really use their revenues from the games they sold very well. audio won't be perfect, but they never stand still in any category and keep plugging.

The draft will add more touch rookies, everything that makes generics more real is appreciated by me. (and I know a few others who will feel the same)

It's getting better and better, two weeks left, still haven't touched the demo and probably won't, because I want the game in full effect.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Cr0ss0v3rK1ng on Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:04 pm

I'm suprised by the Sound Clip from the draft, with them actually saying the names and those names sounded very generic.
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby Murat on Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:06 am

I didn't like the draft voice! Stern is unrealistic.

IT SHOULD BE LIKE THIS: THE FIRST PICK...THE MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES SELECT.....KEVIN SMITH! (then you can hear yeeees) FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF INDIANA!



Also what about generic mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grannies and grandpas? it would be MORE realistic. hehe
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby puddnheadwilson on Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:00 am

:applaud:
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby SHEED36 on Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:24 am

Is there a option to BOO David Stern in the game?
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Re: NBA 2K12 Developer Insight #11- Audio

Postby karlsanada10 on Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:03 am

Audio makes me pumped up. Without it, NBA is too boring. Good Job 2k.:D
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