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,



  1. Very informative Czar, as usual.
    The flip-side is that unless the user has fine and responsive controls the game may become an out-of-bounds nightmare.

    In some of the earlier EA titles, for example, the corner three became virtually impossible to pull off since you would either end up with a deuce or out-of-bounds.

    So I just hope this is implemented in a well-thought-out manner.

    Keep-up the good work

  2. Well put Toaster. I think that is why in the past 2k HAD to have that implemented. The control just wasn't available. I can say that when I went out of bounds it was mostly while attempting step backs and forgetting that I didn't have that protection.

    So it wasn't like an out of bounds fest in the build I played. But that is a legitimate concern. Also I did not play any cheesers so who knows what they might create with this. I would think it hurts them more than helps but never and I mean NEVER underestimate the power of a cheeser. LOL !!!

  3. Very nice write up Dzar. But the problem is from the players' angle, we usually can't see the baseline and sideline very clearly, which is the main difference between the real game and sim world. It sounds pretty good since it pressures the defenders a lot, but at the same time, it may figure out to appear more unnecessary turnovers. I don't know what is going to happen with this change before the gams comes out, more advantages? Or more disadvantages?

    Anyway, any change that is designed to improve the game is welcome. I like it.

  4. Totally agree with the above poster, especially since I don't play with the 2k view. This is going to hurt people's games who like to use bottom corner three's. Also those NBA players who's high percentage shots are from the corners.

    Lastly, I want to thank you and congratulate you Czar for always hooking us up with awesome content and insight. Much respect.

  5. Well put I played from a few different camera angles and it never came up for me as an issue except for when I would perform a step back when I knew i didn't have enough space to perform one. Spot up three's from the corner weren't an issue that I recall either but I don't think I tried to dribble to the corner and stop and shoot either.

    On a plus note the individual player control is tighter than 2k11 so I don't know how much of a role that will eventually play.

    What are the camera angles you anticipate having an issue with ?

  6. agreed czar. alot of people slept on Rob's insight because it wasnt "falshy new featurish" in a nutshell: HE DROPPED HEAT ROCKS! next level playcalling, next level strategy. WOW. now all i need is to be able to save those wonderful and indepth playbooks online in an online profile and i'm Good Two Shoes.

  7. Dzar, is the sliding issue improved a lot? From the few gameplay video, it seems like the players is still sliding a little bit.

    In addition, is the pump fake still super effective under the basket?

  8. What specific sliding are you seeing ? on defense or on offense ? On jumpers or just general player movement ?

    With the ball being more life this year if someone is pumpfakeing all you have to do it touch the ball an they will loose it. So I think it will be much different than last year in that regard. Only time will tell for sure but the few experiences I had as a user doing the pumpfakes was that it could hurt you if you take too long down there.

    @ KG man I hope so too on the online profile I told them what a pain in the shorts that was for the family online. Hopefully that got that incorporated.

  9. I know this is off the subject a little but when I get to the corners and I get trap will I have the option of manual passing(where I control whether it's a bounce pass or non bounce pass) if not it will be nearly impossible to pass out due to the out of bounds playing a bigger role.



  12. Czar hit me up and tell me what the did with "Back to the Furture" before you left... LOL you know what I'm talking about. That thing we all had the meeting about while I was there.

  13. @ cynic sorry man since there has been no announcements about the passing game I can't answer any questions about that.

    @Prezadent hit @Ronnie2K twitter and tell him to free Czar so I can get busy. LOL Appreciate the Love fam !

    @ Donnelle you know I can't forget about the flex capicator. LOL

  14. As a coach of the game I love the addition of "little things" like this that can make a huge impact to your gameplay experience.

    One of the key team defensive principles I teach my players is understanding cut-off angles to force your man to the sideline or baseline and effectively use them as a 6th defender on the court.

    Great to see 2KSports finally being in a position (technically) to be able to remove crutches from the game, like the force field, to allow me to implement a stronger defensive philosophy when playing 2K12.

  15. Thanks for dropping by Syphon. I am gently encouraging them to use real strategy as a means to increase difficulty as opposed the superhuman cpu tactics.

    As they improve technically as you mentioned it becomes more and more feasible each year.

    There are a number of small but big improvements that a coach like your self is bound to enjoy with this years title.

  16. This may be a bit unrelated, but Czar have you seen more instances of fouls on breakaways? Meaning, I've seen in almost all previous versions of 2k, when you get a breakaway the trailing defender has a good chance of stripping the ball as you are laying it up without a worry about a foul. This hardly ever happens in professional ball, its either a layup AND 1 or just a good fout that prevents the layup. Have you seen this issue addressed?

  17. Ya similar to what dillard said about the lack of foul calls when driving, did 2K get rid of those excessive suction animations? What I mean by that is on 2K11 and even 2K10 you would get "stuck" in an animation that didn't look right or make sense. For instance, when I get by the defender on a crossover and drive to the hoop, what should be a normal layup is turned into an animation where the defender is guarding me. Another example is when I should have an easy dunk with a good dunker and out of no where an auto block animation happens and I get swatted with no foul call 95% of the time. If all those auto suction animations are still there, hopefully 2K increased the number of foul calls! These suction or auto animations make players like CP3 pretty useless when driving even though they have a very good layup rating. Hope you can fill me in on this Czar.

  18. @ddillard I really would need a larger sample size to say conclusively. What I did notice are that there were more clean breakaways with quicker players clearly out running slower players.

    While I did see one instance of being fouled I am not certain that indicates the issue is completely resolved.

  19. @ xMojo Yes they have drastically reduced the number of 2 player contact animations around the basket. So going to the rim is a much more fun with a lot less suction on the challenge shot animations. The new physics implementation really shines around the rim. Not 100% but its extremely noticeable. I don't recall seeing many if any of those magically get back in front of you animations on the perimeter. So they are either all gone or also reduced a great deal.

    Keep in mind the limited sample size.

  20. whats good czar its ya boy kingpnp from operations sports. the guy they banned for going in on 2k about the lack of real physics and giving elite 11 some credit for the direction they were going in.hoping it would rub off on 2k. lol. i'm liking the sound of the non animations(you said not 100% non but still better then the way it was).

    and i'm extremely happy about the forcfield finally being gone. beautiful. cheesers cant shoot that corner three like they use to now. lol. and for those that are afraid it will be totally gone. not true. real hoop. you dont run to the corner as fast as you can. cause your momentum would take you out of bounds. you may dribble over there at a slight job. and then pull up. but most pull up threes off the dribble dont happen in that corner anyway. thats where the lack of realism was on those plays. most pull up 3's come from the angles on either side of the 3pt line or the top somewhere. the only time you see someone running full speed for a jackup 3 ball. is from the top or around the top arc of the 3pt line. never on the side. or almost never. the sideline is reserved for stand still shots(or kick out 3's.)

    and guess what even the stand still guys that pump fake and push off that back foot to close to the out of bounds sideline. they are called out in real life. so you have make darn sure your feet are not to close when you make your move over there.

    its a give or take. its the shortest 3 in basketball. its the easiest three for most people. but it comes at a price. you may get trapped there or you may step out because its a lot less space.

  21. oh czar and i noticed you mentioned the "live ball" where if a defender swings at the ball and the players hand(s) actually touches it. it can tip it loose. this was another thing i gave elite 11 props for, and was telling people on OS that 2k needs to steal from EA lol or borrow. i said dribbling thru your legs and in front of people's faces with no regard for the defender is not real hoop at all.

    as good as kobe is, if he did that to me. i would atleast poke the ball loose a couple of times. that means now you have to turn your body. turning your body means you cant just shake me down any old way you like. you now have to choose wisely how you want to break me(the defender) down. in addition because i know the ball is live. i reach more. therefore i should also be called for more reaching fouls when i miss the ball and hack you. in addition when i reach you better be ready to Teach. or else"cookies" cp3 off to the races.

  22. Quotin this from sum1 on the forums which is interestin cuz its tru...

    Remember in 2k9 how half the community use to change their controller settings to ALT-A?

    We know the hop step button has changed. It might be gone this year. The default Y button is now post up. I wonder if 2k will have a alt setting for 2k12 where users could have their hop step back to the Y button. It wouldnt surprise me if they did. All just speculation on my part.

    That was the quote.. So my ? Is what if alternate A or any other alternate has the hop step changed to a button?? Then wats the point of the hop step changed?? I hope its not changed to a button then..

  23. @e790 I am not exactly sure that the reason that control change was made was to reduce the spamming of the hop step. I believe, but will have to get confirmation that they addressed the overpowered moves in another way. Again we will have to wait and see. I bet Beluba's insight will cover this.

    I think it was changed because the overall control scheme is better now. It simplifies the post game to where you don't have to have the hand coordination of a Ninja just to pull off advanced post moves.

  24. @ kingpnp what up fam ? Hey listen the live ball I mentioned was in regards to the pumpfake glitch. So the ball is live in certain situations. The on ball steal's are better but are still based on ratings.

    A completely live ball would be a mess for now I agree they could have went with elites scheme but the protect ball / reach in foul situation in 2K is still not the best solution so it may have caused more issues than it solved. That said I have played a much earlier build than anyone who has recently seen the game so that may have changed. I don't know for sure.

    Great points on the Corner 3 as well !!!

  25. @ cynic I can't answer that ? as no information on passing has been released.

  26. I hope this really works towards thwarting cheesers mostly. I appreciate real basketball simulation, but more importantly I don't want the game to deviate from a realistic experience.

    Pump fake spamming, gigantic hop steps through defenders, step back jumpers with 100% success rate from mid range (Like everybody out there is Jason Terry on a good day), hacked players in crew, Samuel Dalembert crossing people over and then eurostepping into a layup. 2K11 was a huge step forward to thwarting the cheeser, so I hope they take more big steps forward, and are ready to patch up the flaws.

  27. here's the thing bfrederi,

    the cheese you're talking about has everything to do with physics. the more physics thats implemented in the game the less cheesing you will be able to see.

    for example: if i correct the collision physics. when a guy hop steps and there's a defender in front of him already. he will ram into said defender. a few things can happen here. both guys fall and the ball goes loose(no call, because the defender just got there). ref cant always call it right either way, or the defender falls and the offense player is off balance and throws up a bad shot because of tihs. maybe the shot goes in, maybe it doesnt. or the guy that hop steps on top of a defender sprains his ankle(this is realistic to that kind of play. you would land on a guys foot by hop stepping like that when a defender is there. you run the risk of an ankle/foot sprain. this is why people dont do that in real life.) lastly a person hop steps hits the defener. the defender goes back but the ref calls either a block or a charge depending on where the defender was standing (outside of the circle or inside of the circle). but more times then not. this play should reflect a collison and someone falling and someone else being off balance.

  28. @ Da_Czar,
    oh okay thanks for the reply.

  29. Another Question Czar:

    Has the defense been adjusted for contesting shots? This question alludes to the fact that when an offensive player is shooting, too often I use the right stick to defend the shot and if my direction isn't exactly in line with the shooter, I have to watch the defender that I'm controlling go for the charge.

    It just seems that contextually, if the offensive player is already in a shot animation, I shouldn't even have the ability to go for a charge as a defender. I'm not sure if I am explaining the situation clearly, but hopefully you understand what I mean.

  30. @ ddillard1914,
    i believe you're talking about having the ability to "CLOSE OUT" on defense via the analog. i have a few things to say about that. i love the feature in 2k11. But as you've stated. its a camera angle thing. depending on your camera angle, and i ASSUME if you have your control setup on "absolute" or whatever the other option is(not at home at the moment). it will possibly become more effective.

    I love the idea of putting your hands up to close out and make a shot more difficult. but what i HATE. let me reiterate. what i HATE, is the fact that the hands up animation with a pretty good defender in the paint. can cause a great dunker, or offenive paint guy to blow layups, go up for a dunk then stop going up then turn it into a layup without any input from the user. the hands up can also be used as a glitch to tip passes like crazy. if you do it away from a player. it wont put the guys hands up or out. what it will do is Turn on a DEFENSIVE assist. so that if a pass is even remotely close to you. you will tip it.
    that to me is complete fake. if i throw a hot dime to the right of you and you're not paying attention/or you're slow on the steals button. you should not be tipping my pass. thats real life hoop. there should not be any auto tip control. just like there shouldnt be animations that kick off that will make my dunker go from dunking on a guy with his hands up. to collapsing into some really bad blown layup.

    putting your hands up on defense can also change the strength of your opponents shot if he is in the paint.
    example: i'm right next to the rim. i up fake. you put your hands up. i then go up for a layup. there's no reason my guy should make a soft attempt at making the shot just because your hands are up. thats a bad animation. but this is what it does 85% of the time.

    what it SHOULD do is make the possibility of my layup going in a bit less because you're there with your hands up(assuming we are close to equal height and you have a good defense rating.

    cp3 putting his hands up while kobe is in the air about to dunk on him. should not effect kobe at all. unless its an AND 1 dunk because cp3's hands touched kobe's arms. thats real hoop.

    and putting your hands up should not be a "no foul" ever style of defense. if you do it in the paint. you should periodically get called for fouls. it happens in real life. guys THINK they're straight up. but they are not. or it doesnt matter if the ref says it doesnt.its a FOUL from time to time.

  31. ...@ ddillard1914,
    last point. you should never want a forced animation or forced "non animation". thats unrealistic. you should be able to setup for a charge if you so well please. irregardless to what the offensive guy is doing. if you dont know your controls, thats on you. the moment you make a game that dictates when you can and cant do a lot of moves. its when the game becomes very unrealistic.

    i have this theory that says all video game hoop players should be able to attempt a dunk. noticed i said "ATTEMPT" there shouldnt be any logic stopping nash from trying. because the real nash CAN dunk. he just doesnt do it. but the difference between me and nash's mentality is that i might go up in there one time and sneak dunk on someone if i was steve nash.

    so allow me to be able to try. if a defender is there. let them crush my dunk attempt. because that would be real also. or allow me to take off, and not make it because i took off from to far with a guy like steve everything would have to be perfect for a dunk to be made. this means i would get HUNG on the rim. again. thats real hoop.
    as i always say. the more realistic you make the game. the less you will have to code for cheesers or patch for cheesers/exploit abusers. and the less you will have complaints about fake things happening that shouldnt. but that also means to pull this off everything will have to work very well. like the hands up de. it doesnt work well enough yet. make it so it can be dialed up with the controls very easily. THENNNNN, switch up the logic like i suggested above.

  32. @ dillard I am not 100% sure I understand your ? but the challenge shot mechanic has indeed been looked at. I fought vigorously for a new or improved mechanic. I don't know if they are covering defense in an insight so I can't speak on it at the moment but it was addressed so hopefully its an improvement this year. It's full implementation happened after I left.

  33. @KingPNP

    Just to be clear, I know the control system more than well enough. I am aware of the analog control scheme. I just prefer the camera relative defensive settings for everything except contest shot.


    Thanks for the clarification. I hope a better challenge shot mechanic is implemented soon. There needs to be a way for me to challenge the shot with more control. There are a lot of times where I feel helpless on defense because once the offensive player loses his dribble, I can put my hands up and he can shoot over the top, or he can pump fake and I'll contest the pumpfake and it the defender can just rise up for the jumper. This is also a problem when trying to defend the post and the offensive player uses the pump fake.

  34. @ ddillard1914,
    i was just giving you a FYI if you didnt know. lol, i know i didnt know about the relative settings etc for a long time. but i feel you. it would be nice to have more control over it. i 2nd someone elses idea of the right analog being a full defensive arsenal of control in Czar's latest blog entry.

    if the right analog was setup to be sensitive thru and thru. then if i slightly push towards the ball handler(no matter what camera i'm in). i should have my hands up