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'


  1. Good to see you update it Dzar.

    Living Branching really adds many possibilities and uncertainties to the game.

    Still, I am not sure what HOF difficulty level CPU will be like? Is it still going to be like last year that HOF CPU depends on purely cheating high FG% to beat users? Or, it actually becomes smarter and takes advantage of its superb skills and techniques to overwhelm users? Like FIFA, most difficult level computer is just more skilled.

    Maybe, Bball game is different. Hopefully, this year's off line game will be more interesting so that I could run my Association mode longer than before.

  2. that is HEAVY Czar, really heavy. more offensive options is soo very good. but we need the right stick to respond faster on D. As like a Defense Stick homey--for real. I'd love to see it used for blocks, steals, to root guys out of the post, cut off drives and such.

  3. Wang the more strategic elements we can get them to put into the game the more they can then use the strategies to differentiate difficulty.

    First they have to get rotations down before they can create variability in them. Same thing with every other area of the game.

    I think this years game will be a healthy step in that direction.

  4. KG check out what they have in this years game and then get back with me sometime after launch with what you think could work better as a defensive control scheme.

    I wonder how much of what they have already done get's you closer to what you want or how big that gap is.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts on that after launch.

  5. Dangit czar with the crypticisms! you can't keep doing me like this..we all want a more responsive and effective way to play D and you're hinting we may have one. you're worse than Diddy with the subliminals. Can already tell: Gonna be a good year:)

  6. This is truly a welcomed addition! Not only does this provide a great way to improve our gaming but it's really getting into a territory where we're getting an education on how to think on an NBA play scheme level.

    I wonder how many people are going to apply this knowledge of authentic NBA plays/movement to their real life games/coaching strategies.

    Quick question czar, do you have a background in coaching?

  7. One more quick question. With all of this improved playcalling, is there a noticeable improvement in the players execution of the plays (movement wise)?.

    2k11 made a big leap in that regards is it safe to say 2k12 makes another nice leap?

  8. @ Alan yes expect another noticeable improvement in the play execution. A big part of that is that they rewrote the code on setting screens for me. Made a HUGE difference in play execution so it should be noticeable.

    Second question I have been around the game all my life. My father was inducted into the State of Kansas basketball Hall of Fame and we train students in Georgia. So we focus more on individual player skill development focusing on the intangibles and fundamentals.

    I have been around some great basketball minds and managed to learn something from all of them.

  9. I just want to say thanks DA_CZAR for all your hard word and info and I have quick question. Will we be able to see these plays exectued in video form like you did last year? I really learned a lot from them. Thanks man.

  10. Thanks kbomb I am working on trying to get access to bring you some teams this year. If not before the release then definitely after I get my hands on the retail version of the game.

  11. Good stuff as always Czar!! Keep it coming ya dont stop!

  12. @ KG,

    right analog defense. just make it sensitive. the software i push the stick towards the offensive players sides(right or left), the more of my body is committed on the steal attempt. if i slightly push it. its just me poking at the ball(there's no steal here. just a loose ball possibility to frustrate the offensive player and waste precious shot clock time.) you push he harder, and you put your full body into a reach attempt. this is a gift and a curse. if you reach to hard and the other guy crosses over. BYE BYE or torro i should say. but if you time it right. STRIPS and you're off to the races.

    as far as blocks are concerned. make it directional based. so i can block shots or tip shots/passes if i swat at the direction the shooter is shooting/laying up/dunking the ball. this also means the offensive player now has full control over his arms. so he can move them around like julius erving in the air (example). its not me just going up with a pre-setup layup to the backboard on the left side. i see a defender there. maybe i want to go further out to the left side with my left hand. to reach around him. if he's smart enough. he knows this. so he pushes his arm out towards the ball for the block(gift and a curse: if he tries to block it towards the wrong side or doesnt push it far enough. guess what happens if he's doing a strong block(RT)? he hacks the guy across the arm 80% of the time its a foul. see this is how you handle realism in hoop games. it can be done.

  13. @ 王骁男,
    in my opinion. the only thing hall of fame should be doing. actually there shouldnt be a hall of fame mode.

    there should be two modes. and i'm taking it back with this.

    it should be SIMULATION and ARCADE(you can turn all kinds of stuff off, the dunks are amped up, the 3's are amped up. guys can dribble better, run faster, the game speed is faster, the defense can block you and steal the ball. but wont really impede your progress with their body)

    Simulation: self explanatory.
    everyones ratings should be reflected in their play.

    they just have to have 1000 of hrs of testing and tweeking to make sure the cpu players are playing to their awareness potential. no more, and no less.

  14. @ Da Czar,
    you said :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.

    ^^thats a beautiful thing. there's a specific play in madden that does this same thing. or takes this same concept of allowing the player to make a split decision. its the TE cross route. you see the dotted lines that shows the POSSIBLE route he can choose to take depending on his surroundings(what are the defenders doing close by, if their are any close by). the original play is for him to run up 5 to 8 yds then out to the right for a pass. but if no one is guarding his area in front of him. he can assess the defense, then CHOOSE to keep running straight(streak route).

    from a programming stand point. you put in logic that says. when player A with awareness from 85-100 runs this route. and doesnt see a defender in front of him, takes off for the streak route. or when stand point. you put in logic that says. when player A with awareness from 85-100 runs this route and a defender is in front of him or close by(proximity 2 yards or so), then player A should run the regular cross route out to the right.

    same rules apply to hoops game programming. its called IF THEN coding. sure it probably doesnt look that simple. but aint much changed about computers if you ever have seen simple programming. i'm not a programmer. but i've seen those basic statements.

  15. @ Da Czar
    thanks for the breakdowns. in addition can out please beg the to allow us to save our playbooks(user playbooks 1 and 2) online(5 vs 5, as well as teamup & crew) as well as offline.

  16. @kingpnp I promise. I have begged pleaded and demanded. Hopefully it is in.

  17. @Da Czar,
    bruh you need to run for president. see thats what i'm talking about. going to capital hill(2k headquarters) and stressing are wants & needs.

    its weird how all the online stuff we use to be able to save, then all of sudden no more saves at all online. i dont recall what the reason was for this. i ASSUMED it was a good one. Did they tell you why, we cant save camera angles for 5 vs 5 online anymore?, playbooks, coaching tendencies and substitutions?
    i'm saying give all of us a little locker online with a few basic save options. you should even be able to save a slider setup or 3 online for your online leagues. just things to make it easier for people to hop in and play. i mean good grief whats with a coach having to re-write his playbook every game. lol.