Friday, December 30, 2011

Celtics down but not Ofer

What's happening family ! It's your man the Czar. Today I want to talk about the aging but still adept Boston Celtics. The Celtics are having a ruff run right now but I think they will recover to play some descent basketball IF they address these key concerns.

Oh Yeah be on the lookout for the SIMNATION radio show Friday Jan 6th, 2012 on SIM is a lifestyle !!!

Enjoy !

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dallas Havericks

What's happening family. Basketball to the left of us. Basketball to the right of us... It's a wonderful time to be a hoop fiend.

Today I wanted to talk about the gaping hole in the Dallas Mavericks defense. This is a team who allowed 3 key players to walk from a championship team. The problem as I see it is that these were the exact three key pieces they could ill afford to leave. ( I would include Caron but he was not apart of the championship run.) You subtract Caron, JJ, Stevenson and Chandler and replace them with the likes of Vince Carter and Lamar Odom and you once again have a "soft" team that lacks toughness.

JJ Barea, Stevenson, and Chandler brought heart, grit, and determination to the Mavericks. All of which appear to be missing as the champs raised their new banner, and as NBA teams raise welts on their behind in this early part of the season.

Some players impact is greater than the stat sheet. For the Mavs Chandler was that type of player.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day CHI 25 Punch

What's happening family ? Hope all who celebrated have a wonderful Holiday !!! Today were back with our @fastmodel play of the day. Today we will show a play the Chicago Bulls ran a few times yesterday called 25 Punch. This is a quick post play they run often to get the ball into Boozer. In yesterday's game you also saw them use it as an early offense play for a quick pin post for Boozer.

Enjoy !

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day 71 Knicks 5 X Option

What's happening family ? Back with our play of the day for @fastmodel today we reach back into the history of the game to bring you the 1971 Knicks 5 X Option.

The Princeton offense was inspired by the set's ran by the 70's Knicks and Celtics. Those offensive set's emphasized the team game and sharing the basketball. While not the complete offense this set does give you a few simple options out of the initial action.

Enjoy !

Friday, December 16, 2011

Patch 1.04

What's good family ? President Czar back again after Patchgate. As with every patch some things were left out and some things were actually made better. Today's video will briefly highlight a couple of the things I dislike and few of the things Czar is enjoying about the patch.

There were definitely more things adjusted than mentioned in the patch notes. With 2K there almost always are. Thanks for visiting !

Enjoy !

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NBA2K12 Xbox 360 3 MB Update... Patch or no Patch

What's happening family ?

So the story is this. Ronnie 2k and crew say there will be a patch out today. MS usually sends out the updates at 2:00 am PST 5:00 EST. When the PS3 family received their gameplay patch it was 47 MB. The one we received for the X360 is only 3.

WTF is it 2K ? LOL. I mean it's almost comical at this point. Of course in their defense it is still early on the left coast so they are not awake to defend themselves.

Users on OS have gone to war. Some believe they are seeing game-play improvements while others claim placebo. Some have pointed to patch notes like assigning Pippins dunk package and the lowered requirements for triple threat training camp mode as proof the game has in deed been patched.

Some question why with a patch as small as 47 meg would it need to be split up into 2 patches if in fact the 3mb patch is only part 1 of 2.

The million dollar question is why weren't we told there would be a different size patch if that happens to be to case OR that there were in face going to be 2 different patches released for the X360 system ?

Regardless of how this plays out it again illustrates a growing expectation of frustration with how 2K bungles the spread of information to it's most vocal and most supportive user base.

So 3 MB update... Is you is... or is you ain't the big game-play patch for the X360 ?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Play of the Day: NYC Base Quick 5 Offscreen

What's happening family ? I know everyone is focused on the patch. Should be out soon. In the meantime check out this quick play for the Knicks. This play begins as soon as the sf is in position so it makes a great transition play as you will see in the video.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day 98 Lakers Beast 5

What's happening family ? Back with our @fastmodel play of the day. Today I take it back to 1998 with the Frobe Bryant and Shaq daddy. This Beast 5 play was staple for the 98 Laker show.

You can see the full Diagrams here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


What's happening family. For those not following my twitter Mrs. Czar delivered a happy and healthy baby girl last week. So on top of the holiday we have been extremely busy. Very excited of course but also missing a few Zzz's at night.

It get's no more sim than fatherhood family. So to the other fathers of daughters out there I ask the all important question. Single or double barreled ? LOL !!! Really tho hand gun ? haha.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Schedule

What's happening family. Just wanted to give you an update. I have been submitting feedback to 2k on things I am hoping make it into the big patch. I have no idea when it will be released but it could change a few things. So I am holding off on some shows I would like to produce in order to see how the game is effected by the patch.

This will be my last post this week I believe, as I will dedicate the rest of my time to the all important family. To those who celebrate I wish you a very heartfelt Happy Holidays ! Thanks for your support. Were certainly not done and here is to hoping that the patch leaves much more good than bad !!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day BOS 13 PnR

What's happening family ! Back with our play of the day for @fastmodel. Today's play is from the Celtics playbook. It is a quick hitting post play that is great for guards and big men alike.

Enjoy !

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Play of the Day: NYC 41 Handoff 15 High Iso

Czar is back with a play from the Knicks called 41 handoff 15 high iso. When you don't have a power big it's a good idea to use plays with movement to get your athletic big or wings the ball in space. This is a beautiful misdirection play that can give you some descent options.

Enjoy !

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day TOR Horn 5 Screen

What's happening family. Today we bring you our @fastmodel play of the day from the Toronto Raptors playbook called TOR horn 5 screen. This is a great play for teams with bigs who can stretch the floor with their shooting ability.

Check out the whole article here 

Enjoy !

Friday, November 11, 2011

Play of the Day: Alley Oop Inbounds Play

What's happening family. Happy Veterans day to all the family who have and continue to serve their country ! Today I wanted to show you an out of bounds ally oop play. Unfortunately the execution of this play does not match up to it's design. Regardless there are still scoring opportunities for you out of this play.

Enjoy the day and the weekend !

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day OKC 31 Screen Fist

What's happening family ?

Today I did another play of the day from NBA 2K12 for the good folks @fastmodel. This is a quick and potent play that get's right down to business early. Quicker plays allow you time to freelance or call another play.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Strategy Session 10: Inbounding Plays

What's happening family ?

Today I wanted to bring you some information on calling your out of bounds plays during a time-out. I love the fact that they tried to incorporate this feature but I believe it could use a bit more work to make it more functional.

Out of bounds plays are critical to a teams last second shot success. As such there is no reason why a user can't run these plays in practice to increase their chances of properly executing down the stretch.

A coach should be able to select what plays he wants to run in what situation so that when you select your shooter, inbounder and play your not just as surprised as the defense as to what transpires next.

Enjoy !

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Strategy Session 9: Freethrows

What's happening family ? Today I wanted to touch on the freethrow system as a few users had questions on why they are getting different percentages with seemingly the same release point. Hopefully this video will answer those questions.

P.S. Working on Knicks Plays , Warrior Plays and out of bounds plays.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day Det 52 Chin Roll

What's happening family. Today @fastmodel released another Play of the day Featuring Da_Czar. You can check out the diagram and video here on their site. 

Todays play is from the Detroit Pistons called the Chin 52 Roll. This is a great set for the Stones when you put Charlie V at the 4 and have a shooter at the 3. This stretches the defense and leaves shooters at the most probable help points.

Enjoy !

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Jersey Nets 51 PnP : Running an Offense

What's happening family. I wanted to take a moment to show you how to use the plays in game to run an offense. Following the diagrams will only yield you so much success. Especially against a human opponent. An offense allows you to take advantage of open opportunities. It gives you options that you are free to exercise or to pass up. But they can only benefit you if you are aware of them

I have heard of a few users not sure when a play is over. With so many options that is certainly understandable. However the design was meant to allow you to take the first good option you see. No matter if there are more steps to follow. Those steps are only there if you need them. If the defense can't stop the first option no need to move on unless you want to move on.

Pound away at an option until they make an adjustment and then punish that adjustment until they give you something else. A great offense applies pressure to a defense by continually putting them in lose lose situations.

Enjoy !

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Detroit Pistions Play of the Day: Det Quick Offscreen

What's happening family ? Today I am happy to bring you a new play of the day from the Detroit Pistons Playbook called Det Quick Offscreen. This play utilizes an "if not open... then option" that can really open up the offensive side of the basketball. It also enable the AI to have options and be a bit less predictable.

If you are mainly a freestyle player learn one play and use it once or twice a qtr for a few games. Once you do that you know it down cold. Then introduce another play the same way. Before you know it your arsenal of offensive play options will be larger than you once imagined. Nothing helps like getting in practice or scrimmage mode.

In scrimmage there is no shot clock so you can run the same play over and over and over to learn the available options.

Enjoy !

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fast Model Sports Technology Play of the Day Phil 1 Alley

What's happening family its your man Da Czar excited to tell you about a new feature I'll be working on with @fastmodel sports technology. While I've done play of the days before, I consider it a huge step for Sim gaming to have been asked to do them for a company whose product is used by a majority of the teams in the NBA.

Please take a moment and check out the article. I appreciate your continued support.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Strategy Session 8: Coach Profile Settings

What's happening family ?

Were back with another installment of our defensive series. Today I want to go over some of the coach profile and individual defensive settings. I am hearing a lot about cpu defenders leaving their assignments. While I am certain some of these are bugs that need to be corrected. Especially in modes like my player where you may not be able to make the necessary adjustments.

There may also be a small bit of user error involved. One of the great things about 2K sports games are their complexity. Conversely, one of the worst things about 2K sports games are their complexity.

With so many settings variables and so many places to adjust them it can make having an intelligent conversation about what is wrong very frustrating. A small change in one place or another and the basis for the comparison can change in an instant.

Hopefully this show can help clear the air on how you can assist the cpu defenders in implementing your defensive game-plan.

Enjoy !

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strategy Session 7: On Ball Defense

What's happening family ?

Were back with our defense series and today we talk about on ball defense. There are too many tips to fit into an 8 minute video so today we break down the basics. These tips will make you a much better on ball defender.

One of the biggest things you need to do is NOT overreact to the offense. One overreaction leads to another and then the momentum system kicks in and your unable to get to exactly where you want to be.

When playing human opponents they almost always want to get closer to the basket. This works in your favor, as you train yourself to meet them at the cutoff point. They are bound not to capitalize on your first mistake by trying to get all the way to the rim. But not overreacting you can meet them on their way and get a great shot contest. You can see an example of this at the end of the video @ 7:15 I don't overreact and meet him for the contest.

Enjoy !

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Strategy Session 6: Fundamentals of Contesting the Shot

What's happening family. Hope you are enjoying the series so far. Today we dive into the the fundamentals of contesting the shot in NBA 2K12. Some things to keep in mind as your watching is that there are numerous other elements that can contribute to the offense making or missing shots, including hot and cold streaks.

With that in mind let's jump right into Volume 6: Fundamental of Contesting the shot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Strategy Session 5: Understanding Shot Indicators

What's happening family ? This is a continuation of Strategy Session 4 and the last primer for our defensive segment's. Understanding the basics of 2k's shot system are a must if were really going to understand how to play good defense. You have to know what a good shot is before you can learn to take it away.

Enjoy !

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Strategy Session 4: Shooting Slider Adjustments

What's happening family ?

I get asked all time what are good shooting sliders to use. The correct answer is that it depends. This video will show you why that is not a cop out answer. Enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Play-Type Assignments

What’s happening Family.

I wanted to talk briefly about team play-type assignments. I know we have many expert playbook editors in the community. I am in no way trying to take away from the great work they do. There is no secret the disdain our community has for the stock tendencies that ship with the game each year.

Just some notes and some background information that you may want to know before requesting changes or establishing your own set of play edits.

For the play-types to be absolutely authentic you would need two things that are not present in NBA 2K12. One you would need each teams complete playbook. While the plays in 2K12 are a significant authentic upgrade over any previous effort. Let’s not pretend that 25-40 plays is the complete sum of any NBA teams arsenal over 82 games plus playoffs.

Secondly you would need for every single play-type to be accounted for. 2K12 has 8 play-types. A few obvious omissions are ally-oop and handoff play-types. These types of plays are grouped differently depending on the team, other plays in their play-book’s and personnel at the time.

Since we are missing both of those key ingredients. The play type assignments will not be as rigid as some may hope for or that other’s may have feared they were.

It might help to know that the play-types are NOT tendencies. The actual player tendencies will still play a role in determining what plays the AI decides to call for each player. The play-types just give a player access to a group of plays. With a slight preference for the order the groups appear in. There will be players who have authentic plays they actually ran last year in a play-type that they may not be “known” for.

So just because you see a player who is not a 3 point specialist with 3 point plays it does not mean he will be chucking 3’s all day long. It simply gives him access to those types of plays. If you eliminate a team’s perimeter players from having 3 point plays they can’t run them when they need a 3. So don’t think 3 point specialist think off screen plays that happen to get him open on or around the 3 point line.

For some teams you will severely limit your floppy action or other offscreen plays by only having a player with one or the other. (Screen_Mid, Screen_3PT)

The play-types were not meant to be rigid lines separating one player from another but simply groupings of plays. The design decision was made to increase the amount of plays available in the game and reduce the manual administrative overhead involved with plays concerning personnel moves.

Another thing to consider is the variability in each teams play-books for the same type of plays. For instance Boston’s mid range plays differ greatly from the Bobcats. The Bobcats mid range plays are much more suitable for athletic slashers rather than pure shooters. Some of them could even be considered Cutter plays.

Many times NBA teams do not pass to a player and clear out for their isolations. Some use floppy plays or other off-screen action sets to get a player the ball. Casual observers oftentimes just see the ISO because they are following the ball and that player happens to catch it and go one on one. The play that got him in position to iso is the playtype not what he chooses to do after he receives the ball.

So if you simply judge the play-types without also considering the team specific play-books, it can lead you to eliminate plays that a player may have actually ran last year.

If we look at the bulls for example. Many may scoff at D Rose having mid range as his 3rd option. Perhaps thinking that means he would be running floppy plays like Ray Allen. When in fact the majority of the Bulls mid range plays like CHI 43 floppy is a play the Bull’s actually run get Rose the basketball. Whether he Iso’s after the catch or shoot’s off the screen is up to his tendencies.

Another mid range play is the Chi hand-off they ran for him. Because there is no hand-off play-type it goes in the mid range play type. You will notice a stark difference between Chicago’s mid range plays and Boston’s.

Similarly each team has their own offensive identity. I urge you to get familiar with the actual plays AND branches rather than just making your decisions based on the play-type.

Every year until this you were severely limited in the offensive variety and execution of each Player in the NBA. It is only fitting that with 4 plays you needed those to be the one’s that represented the most important aspects of what that star player means to you as a fan.

This year you have the ability to represent a much broader scope and therefore more authentic version of your favorite superstars and role players. I hope you can see the beauty and replay-ability that lies in the variety of authentic offensive options; not the limitation of the same.

While there are undoubtedly mistakes like some pg’s being labeled with pnr_screener as opposed to pnr_ball_handler those can and will be easily rectified. There was a considerable amount of thought put into the play grouping and team play assignments. Although that doesn’t make them correct it does represent a much more thorough attempt than you have seen from this company in the past.

One other small bit of info that you can’t see in the front end is that if your team has 8 pick and roll plays and 4 were designed for the pg and the other 4 were designed for the sf. The AI will prefer to run the SF pick and roll plays for the SF and the PG pick and rolls for the PG. This further differentiates the plays to players as was the original intention.

At the end of the day however the MOST important thing is that you have to tools to have the players play as YOU see fit.

As always , don’t play video-games... Play BASKETBALL

Friday, October 7, 2011

Strategy Session 3: Playbook Essentials

What's happening family ? There is so much I want to get to and only so much time. That said I see that some of the family are struggling understanding the new play call system.

With much power comes much responsibility and to whom much is given much is expected, are two sayings that come to my mind; when I consider the play-calling system in NBA 2K12.

Many were frustrated last year by the fact that the cpu only ran the same 4 plays for it's star players. Others were even more frustrated with the inability of 2k to keep up with player movement and trades concerning the play system. This lead to roster updates leaving key players with the wrong types of plays.

The new play system addresses both of these concerns. The issue is that out of the box it can seem a little different, confusing and intimidating.

Join Czar, as he shows you how to tame this beast and hopefully helps you understand it's potential.

Enjoy !

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lakers vs Blazers Gameplay

What's happening family. Just wanted to post some gameplay for an example of what I am seeing and how I am playing NBA2K12. I know some users are having a problem with the game and it's hard to discuss without something to see.

Sometimes it can seem like one person is seeing issues that another person isn't or at least not to the same degree. It is my belief that this is due to playstyles. I believe the cpu reacts differently depending on the users input.

This is why AI vs AI games can look so bad but user vs AI can look much much better.

I have always believe that it does no good to try and make a game conform to how you think it should work. It is always easier to find out how the game was designed to work and tailor your interpretation of the game around that.

That is only if you really want to enjoy the game. That is a big part of what I try to do with my videos and tutorials is show you how I believe the game was designed to work. What it's intentions are. To allow you to "see" how your particular style can be most effective.

With that said here is part 1 of a full quarter of gameplay between me (Lakers) and the CPU.

My focus in this game was to use my size and length inside to get great post scoring opportunities and then snipe at them with Kobe in spots. I wanted to go under all screens and force this team to beat me from the perimeter.

I also wanted to severely limit their second chance points and hustle points and make this a drag out half court affair.

My settings are all-star with sim gamestyle with these changes mid range and 3 point success for both user and cpu are set to 47 everything else is the same as sim gamestyle.

And here is the conclusion of the 1st Qtr

For all the complaints I read about game-play and this or that. To me this was one hell of a quarter of video-game basketball. Your always going to have some weird things happen in a game vs the AI. Guys will take some bad shots. CPU is going to cheat you on a pass or two. The question is did that define the experience ? Or was it a one off occurrence ?

The game is not perfect I say that all the time I think the difference is I really don't expect it to be. Can it improve. HELL YES. But simply compare this to a video of 2k11 with the same teams and you will see that a year's worth of programming is all in the code.

Don't play video games... Play BASKETBALL !!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Strategy Session 2: Pick and Roll Control

What's happening family ?

I saw a few of the family was having some trouble executing the pick and roll controls in NBA2K12. I thought it made perfect fodder for our next strategy session. Today I will review the basics of the pick and roll controls.

Pick and Roll is the basic staple of the game of basketball. In it the entire philosophy of the game can be surmised and expanded upon. The push and pull of the defense... The offense reading and reacting... strategy, match-ups, and execution OH MY. LOL


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Strategy Session 1: Practicing your Plays

What's happening Family. I am bringing back the strategy sessions. I want these to be shorter and more to the point. If you know me you know how difficult that is as I like to be as thorough as possible.

Just in case there is anyone out there who sincerely wants to get knee deep in their playbooks your going to need these workarounds to get at certain plays. I am already on 2k about fixing this for 13. Hopefully it makes it into the higher priorities and get's done.

It was way too late in the dev cycle when I brought this up to make any significant change.

Roster Editors be careful Editing the New Abillites for Ratings

What's happening family it's your man the Czar. Deep into my 2k Holiday. I hope your enjoying yours. I just wanted to send a quick note out to all the fantastic roster editors.

Be very careful editing the new player abilities. Especially if your intent is only to get a specific number rating higher or lower.

The abilities control more than just percentages. They determine how well a player is able to perform that particular move vs the defense. Depending on the ability they also can control how fast/ effective a particular move is for the offensive player.

In this regard it is more important how that player actually plays in the game rather than his overall ratings.

This makes it sort of a different ball game for editing rosters. While the numbers given to players may not be aesthetically pleasing to you, It might have very little effect on how the player is able to perform for both the user and the cpu.

Under the hood a lot is going on that I can't discuss but I will say this. More than any other year it matters now only where you attempt a shot but what shot you attempt and who you attempt it on.

This adds a lot to the strategic nature of the game. If I have an excellent jump hook and a poor turnaround jumper against a great defender I want to use that jump hook as often as possible from my hotspots if I have any as often as possible.

If you just blindly go thru editing the post or other abilities to achieve a certain number you may throw off (or enhance ) the a players actual on court effectiveness.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Washington Wizards Play of the Day

It's almost that time. Czar brings you the Washington Wizards play of the day to kill the last hour of waiting for your 2K holiday to begin.

Today we show you how big of an effect relatively small changes can have on play execution and effectiveness.

One other thing to notice is that the screeners in 2k12 will adjust to the defenders location. So if you call the play and are slightly to the left or right of the mark the screeners will come to the defender. Sometimes this will cause the playart to only show you that you can run off one of the screens but both options are still there. ( This will make sense when you watch the video)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

LA Lakers Play of the Day

What good family ?

Today we bring you the Lakers for our play of the day. While we do not yet know what exact offense the Lakers will run. No offense shows off the nested branching and persistent offensive options in NBA 2K12 like the Triangle Offense. So sit back relax and enjoy !

Here is the youtube link.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Heat Play of the Day

What's good family ?

Today Czar brings you the Miami Heat for our play of the day. The heat have one of the largest playbook's in the game with 44 stock plays. 38 of those are unique to their system. The heat have so many interchangeable parts you will see any one of 4 players handling the basketball depending who is on the floor.

When the BIG 2 are on the floor Lebron takes care of most of the ball handling for the team. When Lebron is out Dwade steps in as the primary facilitator. When neither of them is on the floor the reigns are handled by Super Mario and on some set's Mike Miller.

Last year certain plays allowed a non pg ball-handler to initiate the offense. However that ability was tied to a specific player and play. This year, if a player has the ability to run the offense, he can take the point for practically any play regardless of who the play was designed for.

This really opens up your offensive flow and allows for much needed variability from the AI against teams with multiple play initiators.

Without further adieu I bring you the Miami Heat Play of the Day !

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Play of the Day. Dallas Mavericks

What's happening family. As you requested in the comments section of my recent blog what yall really want. I am happy to provide the SimNation with Da_Czar's NBA 2K12 Play of the day. We will kick this series off with the Dallas Mavericks.

Be sure to check back with us after launch as I plan to bring you much more information on team specific playbooks and get into some of the new defensive options in the game this year.

If your a new visitor thanks for dropping by. And if your one of the regulars. Your seat is always warm and waiting. Thanks again and enjoy !

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Basketball vs Videogame

While it remains to be seen what kind of video game NBA 2K12 will be upon release. One thing is for absolute certain... It is one HELL of a BASKETBALL game.

As a video game you may not like isomotion vs right stick dribbling. You may prefer physics in real time vs the animations and physics engine of 2k. You may disagree with the color palette or think myplayer is not all that it should be.

However when it comes to actual basketball strategy 2K12 is the absolute best there has ever been...  Period !

2K12 does things both offensively and defensively that have never been done, either at all ... or to this degree; in a basketball game.

No one outside of the dev team has spent as much time with this game as I have. In the last 2 days alone I have spent easily 18-20 hours a day; capturing and analyzing this game.

There are things I don't like about the game. There are very few 2 player animations in comparision with 2K11 but some of them can still be a bit grabby. Although the ones that are allow you to break out of them or spin out of them I still wish they weren't there.

Despite my pleading they decided to leave in some automatic defensive stuff like if you don't move your stick on defense and you man passes or jab steps sometimes your player will feint at the passing lane or react to the jab step. I freaking HATE that with a passion. They have it so that if you start to move when that happens your player immediately reacts to your command. Once or twice however,  I was trying to back up and would get pulled into the passing lane feint move.

Another thing that bothers me is the new physics effect you when your bumped by other players. ( of course) Sometimes the bump causes you to feel a bit weightless and for a slight instant you can loose control of your player. Yes it's a nitpick and it doesn't happen often but hey, I wish the players had more weight on them in these instances.

The fact of the matter is that NONE of the nitpicks above keep me from enjoying this game. It still feels fresh, new, fun, and entertaining.

The reason why is simply this. Animations can get old, but strategy lives forever.

When the offensive and defensive sides of the pick and roll are working like they should; every time you run it your straight Forrest Gump. It's a box of chocolate's and you never know what your going to get.

What that means is each possession you still have to make the right decisions and then execute upon those decisions for 48 minutes to secure a victory. It's complete interaction. No sitting and watching. Almost every move in the game can be broken out of.

The team and player differentiation is absolutely off the charts. No two teams that I have watched or played has felt the same. Their offense is different and although the cpu does not walk the ball up the floor that I have seen, there is a noticeable difference in the tempo's teams play with. It seems that the cpu get's the ball into the front court at the same speed and then varies from there. So it is difficult to detect at first but after awhile you start to feel the difference

And on top of that it is absolute F.U.N.

Those who have been with the SIM Nation know that if I don't like something I tell you. ( NBA 2K9, NBA 2K10). You also know that I am never afraid to like something that most may not.

With that said I absolutely LOVE NBA 2K12.

I know without a doubt that some people legitimately may not like NBA 2k12 as a video game. But as a BASKETBALL game there has been no better attempt to replicate the intracasies of the NBA. If you haven't checked out the series on Inevitability . Check it out to see what kind of strategy awaits you on Oct 4.

On that day all of the SIM Nation, young and old, will all join hands and sing that old SIM Nation spiritual

Don't play video games. Play BASKETBALL !

Your President,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fast Breaks are BACK !!!

What up Family ?

I know a lot of you have been concerned with the fastbreaks in 2k for a couple of years now. Simply put 2k12 MIGHT have the best fast breaks in the series. I will have to wait until I get home and check out some of the runner ups.

You willl see 3-2's and 2-1 fastbreaks. You will see them hit the trailer for 3's. You will see a player ( not always the 4) running down the middle of the floor ahead of everyone. You will see some 3 point shooters spot up and others go to the basket. Only time will tell if the right players are always doing the right things.

AI will even push when numbers are even depending on the ballhandler. I witnessed one cpu team get 16 fb points at halftime of one game. That is obviously a high and other times I have seen both teams have between 6-12 for a half.

Overall very very good logic and implementation especially in comparison with 2k11.


Don't play videogames... Play Basketball !!!

PS. There are games where if you control your turnovers and depending on whose playing there are only 2-4 fastbreaks points at the half so it varies. Turnovers are death. Also if your too aggressive going to the Offensive boards some teams will make you pay.

What yall really want ?

What's happening family ?

Listen I am at 2k working but I have a question. The plays are too complex to do a full blown 10 teams in 10 days type of concept for this year this late in the promo cycle. Would you prefer me to blow out 2-4 teams and take you in depth thu them or do something less intesive but cover more teams ? Something like Play of the day ?

I am going to cover some plays for all 30 teams after I get my official copy of the game. So you will have that if your wanting to know your offense better. I am leaning towards something like play of the day because I can show you more teams and you can probably get that content sooner. Plus like I said you will be getting in depth info on all 30 teams after my copy arrives.

What say ye SIMNATION ?

El Prez

Don't play video games Play BASKETBALL !

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back in the saddle

What's happening family ?

Just wanted to let the faithful know the President is back up at 2K for a minute. I have a lot to do and a short time to get it done so I won't be posting an awful lot but I may drop some tidbits now and again.

After being away from the game for about 6 weeks I can already notice even more polish on the title since the last time I played it. Controls are much more responsive than 2k11. If you spent any time with 2k11 the difference is immediately noticeable. Graphically the game looks dam good.

On the AI front. This is hands down the smartest computer opponent I have faced both defensively and offensively. If inside drive was the AI standard then you can go ahead and reserve that title for 2K12.

Some of you have seen my blogs on the plays in 2K12 and wondered if the defense has the capability to provide balance. So far the answer is a resounding Yes.

I am not a great cheeser by any means so take this with a grain of salt but thus far I have not been able to spam the lead pass or the hop step. I have seen the cpu wade get bumped when hop stepping directly into a defender and loose the ball. As I understand it the worse the ballhandler the higher the liklehood of a unsuccessful hop step.

The games have a terrific pace for them that seems perfect for a 12 minute per quarter game. Only time will tell but I won't have the opportunity for many full games @ that time signature.

Well it's time for me to jump back in considering my limited time I won't be taking many questions but if you post one and I can get to it during a break I just might.

Time to go. Granger is killing the Knicks right now... Its going to be a long few weeks til I get my copy : (

Hoopcetera hoopcetera hoopcetere,

The Prez,


Don't play videogames... Play BASKETBALL.

No time for punctuation and spell checking so please forgive me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Inevitability Part 2

This is a continuation of my last blog entry on Inevitability. If you have not read that, today's entry may not make much sense. You can check out part one here.

We already covered what happens if the 2 decides to run off the single screen ( set by the 1) of this Celtics 13 entry.

Today we will see what happens if the 2 (sg Ray Allen) decides to run off the double screen set by the  5(c) and the 4(pf).
To have one of the most dangerous catch and shoot players in the history coming off a double screen is always a tasty option. If Ray Allen ( the 2 in the diagram) is open you hit him with the pass. There is a high probability however that the defense will assume Ray is the primary scorer for this play and try to switch out or fight through the screen to make it a difficult pass.

The truth is Ray is merely a decoy. As you see here the 1 will clear out to the corner and leave Paul Pierce ( 3 man in diagram) with plenty of space to operate only 16 -18 feet from the basket.

Those watching carefully will notice we received no roll/ fade protection for Ray as he is running his man off the double screens. This is because the more the defense fights to keep the ball away from Ray. The more open the isolation opportunity for Pierce.
Let's recap our options to this point in the play. We had a rub opportunity for the pg very early in the play. We have 2 options for getting Ray Allen open jumpers off screens. We have an Isolation for Paul Pierce at the top of the key.  Then, finally , we have a 1-4 Pick and Pop for Garnett and Rondo. 

Next let's look at when happens if we choose to the dribble entry to start the play.  As the 1 dribble's right at the 3 man. The 2 dives into the paint and get's his head under the rim (just like before).

Once again the 2 has a decision as to which way he wants to run off the available screens.

If he decided to run off the single screen set by the 3 ( Paul Pierce). Then immediately after he clears the screen the 3 will run off the double screen set by the 5 and the 4. The 5 and the 4 will again initiate a double post movement after setting the double screen.

The dribble entry can imply more pressure on the defense with this floppy screen action because you now have 2 legitimate jump shooters coming off of the screens; with Allen at the 2 and Pierce at the 3.  The defender will have to pick one to deny as he can't manually guard both players.

Because of the personnel in this play neither pass option has a pick and roll attached like it did on the pass entry version. Please refer to this step in Inevitability part 1 ( if your confused). 

If the 2 (Ray Allen) decides to run off the double screen set by the 4 and the 5. This opens up a new option for the play. As the 2 runs off the double screen we want to draw the attention of the defense, so look for a quick roll by the 5 and a fade by the 4 after their respective screens.

Once again we should have an opportunity(option) to spoon feed Ray an open 3.

However, Ray is again, a pawn in this play. The real scoring option is the 3 (Paul Pierce ) As he should now have prime post position after setting up for the possible screen on the 2.

Now in addition to the other scoring options we mentioned earlier we add two more for Pierce. One coming off a double screen where he is a secondary option. And another, with him in prime post position using Ray Allen as a decoy.

One play... Many options.

Hopefully you can start to see that simply knowing or recognizing a play set is only half the battle. The defense should still have to work and stay balanced in their defensive attack or risk giving up a quality shot elsewhere.

I am not trying to tell you this is the end all be all of play systems. There will undoubtedly be some issues. However, there can be no doubt about the depth and authenticity of what 2k is bringing to the table this year. This is just one single play for the Celtics. At my last count the C's had just under 40 plays in their default playbook.

Good luck stopping someone who knows them all.

With warmest swishes,

The Prez !

Thursday, September 8, 2011


What's happening family ?

I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has dropped by Sim Citi to read or get involved in the discussion. The response has been tremendous and it is greatly appreciated.

Similar to the Matrix and Mr. Smith's infamous speech about it, hoop games on offense all suffer from some degree of inevitability. The vaunted memory and processing capacity ( yes I am joking) available in the current gen systems is no match for the supercomputer between your ears. So, eventually, users are bound to figure out how to stop a cpu attack.

In NBA 2K11 the AI and users were greatly hindered by the cpu's limitation of 4 plays per player. I mean even the lowliest of basketball IQ's are going to be able to figure out a play if it is ran repeatedly over the course of a 48 minute game. Even more so if this is a team you happen to play 4 times in a season; then meet them in the playoffs.

You already know from the play-calling insight about the living branches. I will take you through one play today to give you an better idea of how 2K's Living  Branches aim to make the inevitable... a little bit less so. This is a medium difficulty play so if your new to the series please don't panic. There are plenty of simple plays you can run that will not be difficult or confusing to understand. To our advanced users there are definitely more advanced and complex plays in the game than what we look at today.

Let's travel to bean town to check out the Celtics 13 entry play. This is a variation the C's run on a floppy play.  If you watch them a good deal I am certain you have seen them operate out of this play. Here is the base set for this play.

The play begins with a pass from the pg (1 Rondo) to the sf ( 3 Pierce). The red squiggly line represents a dribble entry option. So if Pierce is overplayed/ fronted, OR if you prefer the options on this dribble entry because of matchups you can dribble Pierce out.

We will proceed with the pass branch for now. On the pass the sg (2 Ray Allen) will dive into the paint and get his head under the basket. The 1 will follow his pass and curl around Pierce.  ( If you have a jump shooter in for rondo or Ray at the 1, feel free to use this as a rub opportunity for a quick jumper)

In 2k11 come hell or high water the 2 would always come off the screens on the same side. So once you saw the initial action as a defender you knew with certainty where the play would terminate.

NBA 2K12 introduces dynamic floppy decisions.  This means that the only person on the floor who knows which screens the 2 will come off of is the 2.

Let us continue as if the 2 decided to run off the single screen by the 1. As the 2 clears the screen by the pg (1). You can see the 1 will immediately run off a double screen set by the 5 and 4.

This actually happens as the same time the 1 comes off the single screen above, but I broke this out so as not to make the diagram too busy to understand. Consider this a slo-mo replay. As the 1 comes off the double screen we have the roll/ fade protect we talked about in the last blog. Only this time we have a double post.

If the sg is open off the screen you hit him for the open jumper.

If the defender guarding the 2 happens to smell out the screen play and deny it. You have a release option to the 1 on the opposite side of the floor.

Knowing this is the Celtics and with the authentic plays we knew there is a good chance that that is Rondo on the other side of the floor at the 1. Doc wouldn't want him chucking up that Jumper so we have a Pick and Fade assigned to finish that branch off should you need it.

Whew... now... what happens if the 2 decides to go off the double screen ?

and what about about that dribble branch option. Is the play the same or different if you dribble entry ?

Sounds like excellent fodder for part two of this blog.


El Presidente'

Monday, September 5, 2011

Roll and Fade Relieve Pressure

What's happening Family ?

Besides the many large scale improvement's to the play-system in NBA 2K12. There were a number of minor improvements recommended to help with the overall flow of the game on the offensive side of the basketball.

Some of these improvements will provide much needed relief against high pressure defenses. As well as create secondary scoring opportunities off of primary action.

When talking about screen and roll/fade opportunities most people are only concerned with the on ball pick and roll/ pick pop situations. This simplified view of the screen can lead to a powerful advantage for the defense in video game basketball.

Let's look at a basic double screen on the tail end of a floppy play for the 2 man (Shooting Guard). When you don't have the threat of any roll / fade action on your off-ball screens the defense holds an advantage. Especially once they become familiar with the play !

A savvy defender will switch to the 4 ( the red 4 is on defense) and have him jump the passing lane.

With no roll/ fade from the 4 and 5 on offense the defense has the advantage. They have their 2 trailing the offensive 2 to keep him from fading to the corner. They also have the 5 defender able to cover both the 5 and 4 on defense because of their close proximity.
This has been a standing issue in most video game attempts to replicate the sport we love. Almost all games have suffered from a mild to severe case of CSS syndrome. ( Czarism... chronic statue screen syndrome). Here is a video of NBA 2K11 demonstrating classic CSS.

A similar play diagram in NBA 2K12 might look like this
As you can see immediately after his screen the 5 offensive player is cutting to the basket. This will serve to hold the 5 defender and keep him from hedging or helping on the screen. The 3 on offense set's his screen and then fades a bit to create separation.
Now if the 3 defender attempts to shoot the gap, the point guard has the alley to the 5, the dump off to the 3, or the pass to the 4 if the defense wants to rotate.

All of these options naturally come about by simply adding intelligent fade or roll's within the context of the play design.  If it works correctly it gives the user a basketball solution to fix a basketball problem      ( In the words of the wise and talented @nelsonblake2 )

So while not every screen in every play will provide you the protection of the Roll and Fade. The threat alone, combined with a successful execution of it early in the ball game; are enough to relieve some of the pressure.

Hoopcerely Yours,

President Da_Czar


If you haven't already (don't tell me you don't have a dollar)  be certain to support the Nation's own @sageinfinite

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Between the lines

What's good Family ?

I hope your all enjoying a safe and festive Labor Day weekend if your in the States. To the rest of the Nation around the world I hope your weekend is enjoyable as well.

To the untrained eye NBA 2K12 may not have that one single gameplay advancement that is overwhelmingly impressive. However, the strength of this years title, could lie in the combined effectiveness of the numerous smaller changes. This polish, and fine tuning, that is usually only accomplished with matured code; can add up to a great gameplay experience.

One of those changes that many may have overlooked is the removal of the force field that kept the offense from going out of bounds.

At first glance, this may not appear to be all that significant. I am of the opinion that it adds a critical and much needed dynamic to the series.

When most gamers speak about control in a digital hoop game. They are generally talking about dribbling the ball and the responsiveness that goes along with it. But there is another type of control that must find it's way into simulation gaming.

Self control !

Not being able to go out of bounds creates a fearless offensive player. It gives the offense an advantage when he should be at a disadvantage. If the user is aware that running out of bounds is not a possibility they can gamble without consequence; and apply pressure to the defense without retribution. This creates an imbalance that can lead to more fouls, clipping and the possibility of baseline exploits.

In these situations, the ball-handlers attempt aggressive drives where they would normally exercise caution. This can also negate the effectiveness of having the defender shade towards the middle of the floor; in an attempt to force his man baseline.

The unintended effect of this design decision creates a virtual no win scenario for the defender. The defense is in danger of having a foul called as well as getting beat; and with no help from the sideline, the best course of action is to retreat and try to protect the paint.

When the sideline witness protection is turned off. You have a completely different dynamic on baseline and sideline drives to the basket.

Now that an offensive player can step out of bounds he must re-evaluate his decision making process when considering a drive in the corner or near the sidelines. The defenders shade towads the middle of the floor can increase pressure on the offense and encourage him to drive baseline; despite the limited spacing available.
Now, depending on the matchup, the defender is holding all the cards. All he has to do is maintain his spacing and cutoff angle and guide the offensive player into the second defender... the baseline. An aggressive defender can also choose to risk a foul and body up as the offense begins his drive. On the body up he adjusts his cutoff to a more aggressive angle forcing the offense into the hot box. ( This is real basketball theory. Not a definition of what is or is not possible in NBA 2K12)

As the offense enters the hot box or the hot corner, traps and rotations start to look very inviting. The more aggressive the trap the better, because the offense can only retreat so far.

So, while it does not create much chatter in an insight, and can easily be overlooked. You can clearly see that the lack of an Obi-Wan forcefield can make all the difference between the lines.

Your President,


Friday, September 2, 2011

Seat at the table

Whats good family ?

I know some of you are eagerly awaiting my preview of NBA 2K12. But there is a reason for my silence. 2K gave the Sim Nation a powerful gift this year. After retiring from Operation Sports I was allowed an inside view into the development of NBA 2K12. While I am not the first to have the opportunity it has certainly never been done to this degree. That is a credit not to me of course, but to the good folks over at 2kSports.

While I have had unique looks at both EA and 2K in the past. This... was entirely different. I was allowed to not only watch their process, but interject, suggest, and haggle (rarely successful) for changes that benefit our community.

Before I left for 2K I combed though OS and 2K's forums and read , started or inquired into already established threads about what the Nation was interested in. It was fun as well as challenging to solicit feedback from those who had no idea they might end up contributing directly to the making of NBA 2K12.

Some leaped at the chance unknowingly, to their own benefit. While others, amazingly, passed on the opportunity like Rondo does open jumpers at crunch time.

While I can’t and won’t say what all has been added or adjusted to the game as a direct result of your input and analysis. I will say this. Practically everything I had on my list was either already worked on, fixed on the spot, or improved upon as much as was possible at that stage in the development cycle.

It was an amazing experience to witness the translation of community feedback into tangible improvements in the game. To say 2k does not care or listen to its fans is not only a fallacy. It's almost offensive.

2k was more than generous with their time and human resources and never made me feel like I should just shut up and go stand in the corner. Although Mr Lee, an incredible lead engineer might prefer that.

The standing internal motto at 2k was simply this. Does it make the game better ? If it did and the resources were available they went at it with reckless abandon.

Far from a one way exchange I received an edumacation (Jethro) on the trials and challenges that face a team as they translate thought into action, action into math, and math into code.

When I check back in with you. I will talk a bit about the process and maybe even diagram a play or two for you.

We all know that we are a passionate but admittedly niche community. What does it say then about 2k that in a year with no competition, they would pull out all the stops and give our community, THE Sim Nation a seat at the table ?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to the Spot !

Whats going on family ?

Want to start by saying thank you to all my longtime supporters. Some of you have followed the journey since the beginning and your support is greatly appreciated. 

Many of you who do not visit Operation Sports may not be aware that
, just before summer started, I stepped down from my position at Operation Sports as a Video Editor. I want to take a moment to thank Big Steve at OperationSports.  He has always had a great appreciation for what I do and has given me tremendous support over the years. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at OS and I am certain Steve and I will work together again in some capacity in the future.

From now on this blog will be the center of the Czar universe. You may find me working with other gaming sites, or going solo. But whatever is going on with Czar you can find out about it here.


I found my home and began posting on Operation Sports back in Sept of 2002. Although I wrote many posts on gameplay and Basketball, I officially became Da_Czar on August 25, 2006 with a post called the Czar breaks down play of the day. Targets AI ! 

After years and years of typing I said to myself there has to be an easier way. With the release of NBA 2K7 many users struggled with the implementation of Isomotion and understanding momentum. As I grew weary of re-typing the same advice over and over. Czar decided to take it to the airwaves with his first video.

I find it hilarious when people who haven't seen any of our previous work say your trying to be like (insert any name here). Not knowing that I been doing this for sometime now. 

Not many if any were breaking down videos when Czar brought you classic's like this from NBA 2k7.

We brought you created characters and comedy with Czar's co-host MistaBuss

Our evolution continued with the innovative and original 10 teams in 10 days pre release series for NBA 2k11.

So from here on out expect Czar to consult, coerce, ghost develop, encourage, challenge and threaten companies into making their games more inline with what the Sim Nation can enjoy. I am open to working with any company that is open to working with me. 

Wether you find us doing freelance work for established sites or going solo, know that your support is always appreciated !
I want to thank Mrs. Czar for her dedication and understanding. Sageinfinite for lacing Czar with some of the hottest custom tracks on the internet. My man Deuce Tre'  Kdre and the ENTIRE SIM NATION for their continued support.
Sincerely yours,

President of the SIM Nation