The Science of bounceTek

Posted July 18th at 12:00am.

Gary Paterson is the Senior Creative Director for NBA LIVE 14, which releases later this year on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Gary joined the FIFA team in 2006, and he was instrumental in creating an all-new dribbling mechanic that gave players freedom on the pitch, as well as working on the introduction of 360-degree dribbling. Gary joins the NBA LIVE team with plans to revolutionize the game's dribbling control in the same way.

THE ISSUE

As heard at E3 from Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving and NBA LIVE 14 Executive Producer Sean O'Brien, dribbling is the most important fundamental skill in the game of basketball. Basketball gamers spend about 50 percent of their playtime dribbling the ball, but despite that stat, dribbling had been one of the most underdeveloped mechanics in every basketball game to date. That had to change.

The basketball genre has been hampered by a dribbling mechanic that has the following flaws:

- The ball can be stuck to the player's hands, as seen in the video above

- The ball magically floats into the player's hands, bouncing in mid-air

- Players change direction without an animation

- Players get stuck between animations

While some of these issues may seem cosmetic, they speak to the deeper flaws of the genre. 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.

WHAT WE'RE DOING

The goal of bounceTek is to completely separate the ball from the animation in order to create a physics-driven dribbling mechanic where the ball is under the same physical forces seen in the NBA. This mechanic will result in authentic responsiveness as opposed to rigged animations.

As you can see in the footage above, red lines will appear to show the ball when it's under the effect of physics. The red cages are called contact cages. If the ball passes through the cage, then the player is able to touch it. The third set of lines is called the player warp track, which allows us to control an animation so that the player is fluid and able to turn in any direction. By taking a look under the hood of NBA LIVE 14, you can see that the physics are not being faked. 

HOW THIS HELPS THE GAMER

As stated earlier, our fans require authenticity from EA SPORTS. Everything from the look, feel and responsiveness in our titles. bounceTek will take all of these elements to the next level.

- The dev team recaptured all of our dribble animations in order to give players the responsiveness they were looking for.

- Our technology allows us to ensure that movement is as fluid as it should be in order to deliver authentic gameplay.

- Our dribbling has something called "Authentic Responsiveness," which means the ball is controllable when it touches the player’s hands, ensuring that control is responsive when it should be and unresponsive when it should be. While that sounds counterintuitive, it's important to create the depth required in a top-notch dribbling system.

- Depth is created through decision-making and risk-reward options that forces users to think about what they want to do with the ball in their hands.

Dribbling has been stagnant in basketball video games for far too long. In NBA LIVE 14, that's changing with the all-new bounceTek dribble system.

 

NBA LIVE 14 will be available later this year for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Preorder today, and be sure to check the NBA LIVE website, Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the summer.