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Three Levels of the Dribble

NBA LIVE 14 Gameplay Designer Scott O’Gallagher


Learn all about player control in NBA LIVE 14, including Signature Styles of some of the NBA's greatest players.

NBA LIVE 14 is built on the idea that to deliver the most authentic experience possible, you must ensure that the athletes move and respond just like the real thing.

Imagine a scenario where you are in an isolation situation and as a dribbler you fake to your left with a "hesi" move. You do this to get the defender to shift his momentum to his right so that you can cross back left to create space.

The driving force behind your success rests on the defender having to arrest his momentum before he can recover and chase you. This takes time and gives you as a dribbler the time (and space) to beat him.

But what if the on-ball defender could immediately change direction and move to his left without any consequences? The balance of the game would be broken, as there is no reason for me to try to fake since it has little outcome on my ability to get past a defender. This results in outcomes that are less varied and less authentic.

Much has already been said about bounceTek, our new physics dribbling system, which brings new levels of authenticity to the look, feel and level of control in the dribble. However, it also has been created to control the dribbler’s momentum in order to create a balance between dribbler and defender that can replicate the intricacies and subtleties of the one-on-one scenario. It’s also important to note that each defender reacts differently depending on the particular player and/or move they are defending. Defenders are more likely to retreat on a dribble move from Rajon Rondo due to his lack of a perimeter shot – while they are more likely to crowd a player like Steve Nash because of how well he shoots from the outside.

When handling the ball there are basically three different levels of dribble moves that you as the player can utilize in order to get the defender out of position. Level one moves are basic handles like crossovers, hesitations, behind the back and so on, all controlled by simple flicks and holds on the right stick.

Level two moves (above) take things to the next level, adding some more motion and momentum to your dribbles as you chain together moves to lure your opponent to take a wrong step or move out of position. There’s a rhythm to these moves, as you transition from one to the next so you’re not simply jamming the thumbstick in multiple directions in order to try and catch a lucky break in the animations. Think of these as setup moves, where you can lure a defender into a screen or create the space you need for a quick, uncontested jumper.

Last, but likely most important, are the level three moves or the signature moves. These are the “did you just see that?!” plays that some of the NBA’s biggest stars can pull off. These ankle-breakers are most effective when your opponent has been properly set-up, pulled out of position and is scrambling to recover. All it takes at this point is one well-timed signature move and you’re past his hip and on your way to the hoop. Check these moves out in action below.

The driving force behind player movement is the ability to put control in your hands and allow you as a player to be as creative as possible. The ability to mix and match moves from all three levels creates a nearly infinite amount of opportunity, letting you orchestrate your offense in the same manner as the NBA’s greatest floor generals.

We believe that having a game that plays as close to the real thing as possible is at the heart of what will make this franchise great, and we also realize fans want to feel like a superstar when they’re out on the court. Ideally this balance between authentic responsiveness and the various dribble moves and signature styles will provide a foundation which we can build on for years to come.

Next time, I’ll go a step deeper and put the controller on-screen so you can see how to perform some of our favorite signature moves. Then you can use those insider tips to school your friends when NBA LIVE 14 launches in just a few short weeks.

Fans in North America can pick up NBA LIVE 14 on Tuesday, November 19, for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. NBA LIVE 14 will also be available worldwide on November 22 for Xbox One, and November 29 for PS4.

Preorder today, and be sure to check the NBA LIVE website, Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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