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NBA 2K10 Developer - Offensive Gameplay I

  POSTED September 29 |   VIEWS 5622

This is Zach Timmerman talking about some the previously unmentioned overhauls and improvements they’ve made to the offensive side of the ball for NBA 2K10. 

We took a step back to take it all in after shipping 2K9, and after getting feedback from our fans, we went to work on the areas we felt needed the most improvement on offense. Along the way we improved or rewrote just about every aspect of offense. We’ll start with an area that frustrated me the most in 2K9…the inside game.

Inside Game
In 2K9 it was very easy to score near the basket, yet when you missed you sometimes felt totally cheated. You could thread the needle on passes despite defenders staring at the ball and then score even with multiple defenders surrounding the area. And if you happened to miss that shot, it was a near controller-throwing moment because the shot looked so easy that even a 6th grader could have made it. Fixing this problem was a huge focus for us this year and we feel it’s been significantly improved on the offensive side by adding 2-player under-the-basket shots, enhanced Standing Dunk code, the addition of a Shot Inside attribute and re-tuned inside shot percentages. On the defensive side, we have smarter defensive logic when passes come into the paint and better shot contention with 2-player blocks. We already covered Defense in a previous Insight .

In real life, if you’re an NBA player under the basket surrounded by other NBA players and decide to shoot, 9 times out of 10 you’re going to have a very tough time scoring either because they’re going to give you a lot of contact to force you to take a tough shot or they’re going to simply block it. This year we’ve added 2-player shots for areas under-the-basket when a defender is near and he’s attempting to prevent you from taking a clean shot. Each under-the-basket 2-player shot has a minimum and maximum shooting percentage based on ability and defensive impact. It is much more calming to see your guy take a tough shot and miss it if he’s highly contested than it was last year. Nobody wants to see clean blown lay-ups. 

Another change we made to the inside game on offense relates to the Standing Dunk attribute. After witnessing a lot of domination in the paint by getting the ball inside and dunking with a high Standing Dunk player like Amar’e, we realized our inside dunk logic needed revisiting. The logic to determine when and where a player can do this has been tightened and the addition of inside contact shots has forced contested under-basket dunks to trigger less. Ratings have been adjusted as well to account for too many players having 99-rated Standing Dunk attributes. Last year players had only three ratings: 50, 75 and 99. This year we’ve expanded this to have any number between 25 and 99, which allows for much more flexibility. 

 

I believe Rob mentioned in his previous Developer Insight that we’ve added a new scoring attribute called Shot Inside. Last year we had Close, Medium and Three. With the addition of Shot Inside we were able to be much more specific about who has a hard time scoring while directly under the basket and contested. This shot range goes out to about four feet so Close and Medium distances also got adjusted. Close now goes out to about 15 feet and Medium goes from there to the three point line. This now means players like Elton Brand, an excellent close to mid-range scorer who struggles a bit when heavily defended under the hoop, now more realistically scores like his real-life counterpart. Using hot zone data from www.82games.com, we were able to adjust our shooting percentages across the board to be more realistic as well. 

While I’ve touched on some of our enhancements near the basket, I haven’t talked about our greatest improvement; the post game. 

New Post Game

While our post game in 2K9 wasn’t bad, it felt a bit stale, was mostly too complicated, was hard to defend and didn’t always give the user the type of control they desired. The animations were not really smooth when transitioning from a move to a shot, and the system didn’t allow much for signature styles. So after putting some thought into it, we decided to toss the entire system and start over. The result of this is the smoothest, most realistic and authentic post game we’ve had in an NBA 2K game to date, and we were able to resolve all of the issues we had with our 2K9 post game. It’s close to being my favorite part of 2K10.

The types of moves you can perform in the post somewhat resemble those we had in 2K9, apart from some much needed additions. Unlike last year, the user can now shimmy at will (think KG jukes) to throw the defender off, step through to gain an advantage towards the paint or drop-step to get better position towards the baseline. Like last year, you can face-up, pump fake, perform up & unders and a pull off a couple types of spins. All of this is much less clunky and more easily controlled by simplifying the button combinations required to get the moves you want. The up and under is a great example. I could write a paragraph about what was required to pull it off in 2K9, but in 2K10 you simply need to pump fake (hold LT on 360 or L2 on PS3, then flick the right stick either left or right) then follow it by moving the right stick to the side you want to finish on.

Of course, all of these moves can be defended by guessing which way the offensive player will go, up and unders especially, and correctly timing blocks on fades and hooks. On top of this you have the ability to strip the ball if timed correctly on up and unders, drop-steps, step-throughs and spins. You can poke the ball lose on a back down. You can push into the offensive player backing you down both off and on the ball, deny the post player the ball, steal a post entry pass and front him to force a tough throw. Player attributes factor into any defensive move you try, so don’t expect to be successful unless you’re doing the right things on the sticks and the player you’re controlling fits the necessary thresholds. 

 

I’m real excited about the ability we had to add some signature post shots this year. It’s pretty cool to see Andrew Bynum hold the ball high on his roll/fade and Al Jefferson kick his leg out in an unorthodox style on his hooks. We hit up all types of players from guards to centers to create a more authentic post experience. 

Dunks

I’ve been fortunate enough to direct, help out or attend a significant amount of star-studded motion-capture sessions over the last several years but I’ve never witnessed as many jaw-dropping dunks as I did this year. We brought in some phenomenally athletic players, like James "Flight" White, to perform some of the most amazing dunks we have ever put into NBA. We’ve added hundreds upon hundreds of dunks of all types, and on top of this, we’ve put a ton of time into the who/what/where/when/why and how dunks play off. 

 

In NBA 2K9, it was pretty easy to get an edge on the defender, hold the aggressive button, move the shot stick and slam on a helpless defender. This has been addressed with tighter dunk lanes, more multi-actor layups/fouls, the removal of “ghost” dunks and a few more necessary updates. This year, if there are defenders in front of the ball-handler, based on the player’s rating, he will either perform a contact layup or contact dunk. The probability of getting the layup is higher, and both contact layups and dunks have minimum and maximum rating requirements, as well as foul and miss chances. When I speak of “ghost” dunks, I’m talking about those dunks that triggered from the free throw line and essentially played a movie while a helpless defender between the dunker and the basket basically no longer existed. Tighter code and more animations allowed us to remove them and play more appropriate contact animations in these situations. 

A few more fixes you may be interested in. Players can no longer pull off flashy dunks (360’s and windmills) while in heavy traffic. Also, unlike last year, where a player could windmill a dunk without a step, we now look at player momentum and speed before pulling off a dunk to determine the type of dunk he can do. To be more realistic, players are now forced to dunk with their dominant hand (most often) unless the dunk is two-handed. Finally, the rim hang technology has been improved to help ensure players actually hang on the rim when dunking. 

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