NBA 2K10 Offensive Gameplay Part II

  POSTED September 29, 2009

  POSTED September 29, 2009 |   VIEWS 13421

Zachs Timmerman, NBA 2K10 gameplay producer posted the second part of his Offensive Gameplay article. Alley-Oops, Shot Stick, Iso-Motion and more.

Alley-Oops…and Putbacks!
Again, with the type of talent we were fortunate enough to have on hand, we were able to capture a significant amount of absolutely amazing alley-oops and, finally, something much-needed in a basketball videogame, putbacks. 
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First we’ll talk about alleys. Fortunately, a lot of the changes to the dunk system were directly applied to alley-oops, which, along with the massive amount of new animations and a few other tweaks, makes our alley-oop system without a doubt the best and cleanest we’ve ever had. Unlike last year, we now have alley-layups. There’s no special button required to throw a layup vs. a dunk as it’s automatic based on ability and coverage. We have better distinction this year between the size and ability of a player when throwing an alley-oop and completing it. Last year you had to have a really good passer to complete one so we’ve reworked the criteria to be more realistic. Also new this year, there is a shot percentage on every alley-oop dunk and lay-up, which allows for the more difficult ones to not be successful even if the receiver catches the ball. 

One of my goals from the get-go on NBA this year was to include putback dunks and layups. I wanted almost nothing more than to sneak a player into the lane, take a missed shot off the rim and flush it. Fortunate enough for you we accomplished this goal and it’s quite amazing to witness in the game. We added several dozen putbacks of all types: big man dunks, small man dunks, moving dunks, standing dunks, low catches, high catches, lay-ups, lay-ins, etc. We hit all necessary angles to ensure great coverage. Like alley-oops, players can only pull these off if they have the necessary ability or size thresholds, which change per animation. On top of this, players can miss these putbacks or completely whiff on the ball altogether. It’s a well-balanced mechanism and truly needed feature that really adds a “wow” factor to the game. 

Also new this year, something very cool but very rare, is the ability to throw an alley-oop off the glass. We wanted something positive to happen if the user triggers an alley-oop despite not having a teammate in front of him. Last year you would either fail by not throwing an alley or you would throw a ridiculous rainbow that a guy behind you would catch up and put through. This year, no matter the ratings, he’ll throw the ball off the glass for the trailer to attempt to finish. The stars have to be aligned perfectly for this to be successful (good ratings, good angles, lack of defenders, etc.) but if they are, it’s quite a sight to see.

Finally, you will be able to toss alley-oops from the sideline/baseline. This was in 2K9 but was extremely rare. Now, you’ll need to run your receiver towards the basket, press LT and A (L2 and X on PS3) and you’ll toss it up in the air. Like any alley-oop, ratings/coverage/angles/defense, etc. comes into play to determine whether or not the alley-oop will be completed. 

Shot Stick
To add some variety and authenticity to our shot selection, we’ve made adjustments to the types of shots you will see when throwing the Shot Stick in various directions, especially while on the move. Our fadeaway jumpers have been updated to look cleaner, runners and drifters have been massively expanded, and leaners have been introduced. 

A fadeaway can be pulled off by moving the Shot Stick away from the basket while standing. Some of our fadeaway jumpers last year were pretty awful in that they either were too slow or were assigned incorrectly to players that didn’t fit the animation. This year we’ve removed or fixed the bad fades, added some really good ones, and correctly assigned them all to the players they would most resemble. For example, if a guard has a high release on his jumper, we’ll give him a guard fade that has a high release. In the end, our fades are very smooth and compliment jumpers well. 

Runners were a part of 2K9 and can be performed by moving the Shot Stick away from the basket while running towards it (from about 15 feet and in). We’ve added 25 runners to 2K10 to get us up to 33. Last year we had only one measly drifter so we expanded it to about 40. They’ve been sigged and play when you are running across the basket and you move the Shot Stick in the direction of the player’s movement. If a player does not have a signature drifter he is assigned one that looks similar to what you would expect him to do in real life. Both of these add some nice variation to the shot stick. 

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New this year are leaners. Like runners, they’re performed by moving the Shot Stick away from the basket while running towards it, except that your player will need to be about 15 feet from the basket to the three point line. There are over 15 leaners in 2K10 that are set up nicely for players of all sizes and ability. 

To improve our Iso-Motion system this year we focused on input, balance, feel and response.

This year we changed up the input to separate the users' intent from ‘Turbo’. Now, when engaging the Left Trigger (L2 on PS3), the user knows moves are being called for, whereas last year, that line was distorted by the fact that the user could have just wanted to make a directional change while sprinting. Liken it to driving a car with a manual transmission. You downshift to get more power then jam back on the gas to blow by someone.

As far as balance is concerned, moves this year were assigned with better skill division in mind. Big men, swingmen and small men all have their own sets of dribbles and all are tuned based on speed and quickness ratings. Along with that, abuse of Iso-Motion moves now carries stronger penalties from a gameplay side such that trying to perform multiple moves in a row can yield turnovers based on ability. Try to string a couple moves in a row with Yao and you’ll pay for it. 

Feel and response have also been improved. Appropriate contextual resolutions are played now when a move fails. This had been a problem in previous iterations where the failure resolution didn't necessarily reflect the user's original move request. It led to a lot of frustration and users feeling that Iso-Motion, as a whole, was broken. The new system is much clearer in terms of user response.

A few more things I wanted to mention that are a bit more subtle but still make an impact. I didn’t mention many passing fixes (targeting was reworked for one) and they probably could have used a block of writing, but I’ll hit you up with a few of the fixes below: 

- Lead passes no longer unrealistically speed the receivers up
- When failing on an alley-oop (meaning, you’re not able to throw one), you will throw to the player nearest the basket rather than to some random dude on the other side of the court
- Moving players no longer stop to catch passes while on a fast break
- When throwing the ball inbounds, if you’re the receiver and you’re moving, you will no longer stop to catch the pass
- Full court passes, based on ability, have a chance of not connecting
- Trying to pass out of a shot can yield a turnover
- Continually trying to go baseline and failing will result in the offensive player picking up his dribble
- Players will not try to save the ball if it was last touched by the other team
- Lots of new plays
- We now have heave shots that play when shooting from half court and beyond. Obviously set up for end of clock situations, they can be let go with as little as 0.3 seconds left on the clock
- A nice little touch that we’ve added comes from seeing the ball-handler gesture to his teammates when calling for a screen, isolation, or play
- Lots of new signature animations across the board: free throws, jumpers, layups, dunks, post shots, etc.
- There are no longer pump fakes when the clock is under 1.0 seconds. Too often people would frantically hit the Shot Stick or button at the end of a clock, which would log a tap rather than a press, and the result would be a pump fake. Nothing worse than not even getting a shot off when having a chance to win the game. 
- Users can move side to side or forward while in a pick animation to get better position

As I mentioned earlier, this is just some of what we worked on this year on the offensive side of the ball. We could talk for much longer about the fixes and improvements we made for 2K10 but the ones I listed above, combined with Rob Jones’ Insight, cover most of the heavy ones. As you can see, it’s been a busy year for us. It’s also been a great year of firsts for me, having worked on College Hoops for the last several years. I’m looking forward to working with you in the future, reading your feedback, working in your suggestions and fixes and continuing to make NBA a great game. Thanks for your time.  


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