Revealed a month ago at E3, NBA Live 14 is the series' next-gen only re-entry into the market, and will rely on something called "BounceTek" to distinguish its gameplay as truer to life. BounceTek got a nice hype reel in Los Angeles, but now we can see a little more clearly what it means in terms of gameplay.
Noting that basketball gamers "spend about 50 per cent of their playtime dribbling the ball," one of the game's fundamental acts has remained underdeveloped and underserved for years, argues EA Sports. Because dribbling was part of the entire player's animation, rather than acting independently, past games would show the ball stuck to the player's hands, magically floating into the player's hands, and then, from there, players would change direction without an animation or become stuck between animations, all to compensate for the fact that the ball didn't bounce on its own.
The video above shows how BounceTek is meant to solve that. As opposed to introducing some new off-the-wall variable you have to actively control, I take it to mean the game's players will behave more authentically and gracefully than you've seen up to now — and steals, deflections and other parts of the game may look less like a roll of the dice. Good heavens, may we actually see a double-dribble in a video game for the first time since Konami? Could we see someone called for a carry — scratch that, forget it. No one is ever whistled for travelling in the NBA.
Back to being serious, you can also see in the tech demo portion how the screen is calculating the ball's trajectory and bounce if it were to leave the player's hands, showing these are two discrete animations.
"While some of these issues may seem cosmetic, they speak to the deeper flaws of the genre," EA Sports argued in a developer blog posted this past week. "Authenticity is huge in our games. Players expect our game to look, feel and respond like it does in real life. With our old technology, that could not be achieved." BounceTek sounds like a catchy name, and it is, but at least it's showing its maths as the game steams toward a launch with next-gen consoles. No release date has been named yet.
The Science of BounceTek [EA Sports]