Da Czar, a long-time pal and one of the OGs here, has been peppering the forums during the last week with some responses to random OS questions/thoughts. I’m not trying to get him inundated with more questions or anything like that, but I did want to round up some of his responses in one place. I think it’s important to do this because Czar’s viewpoint encapsulates the “sim nation” mindset in many ways, and he’s also an NBA 2K23 developer (focused on AI and other gameplay elements).
Again, Da Czar was just answering random questions around the forums (some of you probably won’t even know what some of the questions are talking about), and he was under no obligation to do so. I’m going to be clear that you should not ask more questions in this thread — or if you do — don’t expect a response because this isn’t me trying to open the floodgates and put pressure on the dude. I’m basically trying to walk the tightrope here and highlight the info he has given without overloading it further with every random question out there.
Da Czar’s NBA 2K23 Q&A
AIRJ23: In MyNBA those “center/right/left” tendencies for mid range and 3 pointers change for every player after every season which is annoying. I saw someone say the “center/left/right” tendencies don’t affect actual gameplay, but only affect simming. Is that true?
Da Czar: They don’t. They are only for the simulator. At least that is what the tendency engineer told me.
Yallasama: Mike [Wang] said they’ve added more signature jumpers than ever before. I’m so glad they actually named them, so now you can finally look them up because sometimes you weren’t sure before. Now you know if number X actually was the right jumper or is like X player’s jumper (by comparison).
Da Czar: The amount and quality of jumpers added is really something. I think many initially will have trouble timing them until you get used to the difference. At least I am anyway. Today I spent an hour just going into practice mode and trying out different guys jumpers. Some are so spot on. CP3’s pull up fade is one you should check out as soon as you get the game. That joint is spot ON.
EccentricMeat: I haven’t heard anything confirming or denying that player likeness can/can’t change over the years in MyNBA Eras. My guess, simply based off the fact that they are updating rules and expansion teams and even courts/logos in relevant years, is that players will also update to reflect their IRL look in relevant years.
Da Czar: I don’t believe [likenesses will change over the years during the playthrough]. Maybe Jordan has a few different models maybe, but if they did this for everyone I’m pretty sure they would have mentioned it.
Yallasama: [Talking more about the MyNBA Eras mode] …It’s already commendable you even tried. Hope to see more signature jumpshots from classic players like Anthony Mason & Michael Adams infamous push shot.
Da Czar: For a dev team, and I think we know that any dev team will probably never go as far as the creative community can. However, for a dev team, the squad went in on animations and stuff like that.
Like this was a labor of love man. Everyone on the team has a favorite era of hoops so we all really went hard on this mode. The OS crowd obviously knows more details than most, but I think it is safe to say anyone with reasonable expectations will really enjoy what was done here. It’s the biggest hit of nostalgia i have had since 2K11 and 2K12 days but it feels more authentic than that.
Hard to describe, and I don’t want to oversell because I am more lenient than a lot of OS users, but it’s just a ton of fun. Warts and all. It’s not meant to be an exact re-telling of the history of the league. Although you may be able to squeeze that out with enough work?
The filters really take you there though. Especially if you played the games of those eras. Gameplay is so solid too. What a year to have all these features. Hopefully it can hold its shape!
VDusen04: [while talking about AI “cheating” more or less on defense when you have a blow-by angle on a defender] I was so mystified by 2K’s decision in recent years to make it so unrealistically difficult to expose the advantages you’d earned against computer defenders.
Da Czar: In this and many instances it is not a basketball discussion. What you see is an advantage created by a move. The reality is the shot system and the body-up system do not share information. Each system has its own producers and engineers. They are separate and distinct systems so it becomes a technical issue that we attempted to solve…
This improves it but is not bulletproof. That will take more elegant and well thought out solution. It takes some time for the system to be mature enough to do really interesting things and share key information to make basketball situations play out more in line with user expectations.
jfsolo: Thinking about it, the reduction of the super wide angle of stonewalling should in theory allow easier blow-bys after the pump fake even without a cooldown, we’ll see though.
Da Czar: Without the cooldown, you might still catch a neutral instead of catching a loss for the dribbler. Remember the AI can react instantly and has perfect stick so your reaction time after the pump fake would have to be lightning fast or you might still get caught.
Even with the delay I have gotten caught in a body-up a few times. We have so many animations and launches that one time-out value may not work the same for every situation. So we tell you what we did to address an issue, rarely will I say yeah that is “fixed” because there are so many variables in game design.
VDusen04: Everyone plays the game differently so I don’t get too caught up in that with these videos. More, I’m just looking to get a peek at the Jordan Challenge details and whatever else pops out.
Da Czar: I heard a lot of people struggled with the way the game plays now. A lot of the old stuff they used to do wasn’t working so it’s a big adjustment for some of them. It really feels different and as you can see it moves different. Even when y’all get the game there will probably be an adjustment period.
FunGaming44: Do you know if we can turn the filter off? Some of us like to enjoy a more on court experience instead of a broadcast experience so it would be great if we can turn the old TV-style grain filter off or it would kill the immersion of the on-court experience.
Da Czar: Yes, you can.
alabamarob: There is now a “cutter help rules” option.
Description: This setting determines how off-ball defenders will help in drive situations.
If this works, then the PnR defense cheese is fixed.
Da Czar: This is off-ball cutter help, it is not necessarily tied to drive help — but when an off-ball cutter cuts to the rim. This stuff is technical, and I can’t really explain it all here, but you are in full control of this for your team so be sure to set it how you want it.
One thing to note and this is a video game thing about separate systems etc. but cutter help can also happen in pick and roll situations if the hedge man gets beat and we have to turn on drive help. When that happens, we are kicked out of the pick and roll help system and the roll man will only be picked up if you have cutter help enabled.
I know it can be difficult to understand and there is nothing visually for you to know which help you are in. Pick and roll, drive, and cutter help are all separate systems and only one can be on at a time. This complicates deciphering where help may actually be failing, and it is why just looking at a bad play in retail doesn’t give us information that can help solve those cases.
Basically, it is a huge headache — making progress but still a lot of work to do to get it to where I want it.
vannwolfhawk: One thing I’m going off on your points is what they said in the blog about adjusting ACE to what’s happening. The user never really abused layups so was an adjustment needed? Same with the post.
But also maybe teams play differently where Robinson being a good rim protector changes their defensive scheme as opposed to a team maybe like the Nuggets?
Da Czar: Years away from something this deep. Great idea and it is on our board but….We still fixing the basics.
VictorMG: Do we have full control to tell the AI to help in each of those situations?
Da Czar: For user team. Yes. You always had drive and pick and roll. Cutter help didn’t work until last year, and it got turned on right before ship so there was not time to add it to the menu. This year we added cutter help so you have control over all three.
vannwolfhawk: So let me ask you this to make sure I understand correctly.
When we have a PnR sometimes there is a delay in the roll man rolling and the ball handler will get to the elbow or 4-5 feet away from the screener attacking off the PnR before the roll man even starts to roll. I noticed it in videos today at times and it was like this last year as well. Because the roll man hasn’t left is this why the cutter help will not come sometimes for a tag? Because it’s more of a drive attack now then a PnR? Which help should come here? When does the help trigger between the 2? Also, is that maybe why we have help come from the strong side at times?
What about if in drop coverage? And the big gets beaten after stepping up to stop ball and the roll man is rolling behind him? Will that trigger as cutter help?
I’m sure it’s all complicated and not a simple answer, but I’m wondering if knowing the answer can help us understand which thing should be triggering or happening that maybe you could explain? Hopefully that all made sense?!
Da Czar: You are correct. It is complicated. Trust me I’m not trying to be coy or slick. Even I don’t fully understand how to consistently trigger the help on command. The AI has a bunch of checks it has to pass to send the help.
This is one thing I know that might help, Right now — and this could change but right now — if you want that rotate one defender to rotate early like you see in these videos to cover the roll man, play soft hedge (our simulated drop coverage). He rotates early as you can see in some of those videos if you want to simulate a tag on the roll man (our actual tag is still not working so we pulled it from the AI logic) but this is how we make it appear to happen.
In a catch hedge right now the rules are different and that rotate one defender is much stingier [in terms of] when he comes to help on the roll man. He will come if the cutter is wide open, but he won’t come automatically every time like he appears to do with the soft hedge.
In the future, I want to make this more streamlined so you can just say tag roller as a setting and not worry about which hedge defense you are in. To do that I need to redesign how the roll help is sent and somehow simplify it. So eventually it will be much more consistent, but it’s a going to take some time unfortunately.
I am open to any ideas you guys have that you think might translate well into code concerning when to rotate or how you think you guys would like to control it.
And yes, when the hedge man gets beat and we go to drive help after pick and roll help it looks crazy to have the drive help come from the opposite sides of the floor because he has to run past the hedge man, WHO IS RIGHT THERE LOL. So the drive help will come from that strong side because most times no one can get there in time.
We could not leave the corner but then help wouldn’t come from there when you needed it on drives from the point with 5 OUT. As the system matures, I would love to give you the option to skip that corner help and let you deal with the consequences, but it makes troubleshooting help failures a pain in the neck for now.
VictorMG: IIRC, we’ve always had Automatic, Help and No Rotation, and No Help for screen defense. Is there any chance we get a Help Plus Rotation option any time soon?
Da Czar: Auto is help plus rotation by default for right now. We can add that in the future for clarity in case we make auto for the AI something different.
vannwolfhawk: What is the button for DHOs [dribble handoffs] now?
Da Czar: Still B but you choose it in the menu. You can’t do get open and hand-off, you pick one.
vannwolfhawk: For your 5 out scenario, is there X out scramble logic in? [In simple terms, basically this is a weak-side defensive rotation where defenders are swapping matchups to guard open perimeter players. They end up sometimes running in an “X” shape during their scramble to recover.] I’ve seen it before and saw it last year a few times with the CPU AI doing X outs after double teams as well as after pick and pops. Those were awesome when they triggered, but It didn’t happen a lot.
Da Czar: Lot of good stuff, just picking this part cause it is quick. The scramble logic is there but it is all hidden in code. There is stuff that is in what we call “data” that is stuff I can manipulate and make rules for and tune. And there is stuff in “code” (engineers’ world) The scramble logic and when it kicks off vs. when it does not is in code.
The process of taking it out of code and into data where we can start to do really cool stuff is a process that can take an engineer 2-3 months depending [on the ask]. So in a 7-8 month development period that is a huge commitment. And while they are doing that, guess what? I’m not getting anything else defensive-related accomplished that I need from that same engineer.
Having said that, I can’t currently control exactly when that kicks in, but I agree it is clean as heck when it happens.