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NBA Inside Drive 2002 (Xbox) Interview


We recently had a chance to interview Darryl Lewis, lead producer of NBA Inside Drive 2002 at Microsoft. (Click here for new screen shots)

1) Can you introduce yourself? What is your role on the game? What games have you worked on in the past?

    My name is Darryl Lewis. I'm the Program Manager, which is basically the game's Lead Producer. I have worked on Microsoft's Baseball 2000, Golf '99, and NBA Inside Drive 2000 for the PC. I also had a great Producer at High Voltage Software to work with. His name is Scott Slaby.

2) How long has the game been in development?

    For about 18 months.

3) Is NBA Inside Drive 2002 based on the same engine as Inside Drive 2000 for the PC?

    No. The game was built specifically for the Xbox.

4) How many camera angles will there be? Can you customize your own?

    There are seven camera angles. No, the cameras cannot be customized in this version, but we have tuned them extensively through playtesting feedback and, as a result, we have a variety of cameras that should please nearly every possible taste and style of play.

5) Will there be in-game saves? What about being able to save replays?

    No, games cannot be saved until the game is completed. We also don't allow replays to be saved.

6) Would you consider the game to be a simulation or an arcade?

    Neither. Just like the real NBA game, the style of gameplay is a perfect blend of high-flying fast-paced action and tactical strategy. The gameplay offers a high degree of realism while also being tremendously fun to play. We felt that if we captured the essence of the real NBA game, we would get a game that is fun and “arcadey”, while also capturing the subtler more strategic elements of basketball.

7) The latest basketball games on the market seem to have a problem representing the fast paced aspect of basketball. Will NBA Inside Drive 2002 actually have the AI take advantage of numbers and push the ball up court?

    In NBA Inside Drive 2002, we believe that we have captured the fast pace of basketball. However, you definitely need to play smart basketball to be successful. For example, you need to recognize match-ups and act accordingly. If you just try to run and gun, you may sometimes score a lot of points, but you will not be successful when the final buzzer sounds, just like in real NBA basketball.

8) How detailed will the stat tracking be? Would you be able to say it is on the same level as NBA Live 2002 and NBA 2K2 in terms of the number of stats and ratings?

    We have a wide array of player ratings and tendencies. We have shooting ratings for multiple distances on the floor, as well as a number of tendencies such as tendency to shoot, drive, or pass. We also have number of team tendencies that will dictate whether or not a particular team is more conservative or aggressive on defense, for example. For stats, we track nearly every relevant stat, right down to the number of disqualifications a player receives through technical fouls. During a season, we also have awards like Player of the Month.

9) How many classic teams are there? How far back are the teams? Will the players have actual games or just numbers?

    Classic teams were not included in this version.

10) Can you explain the injury model? Will we see players' injuries forcing them to sit out a few quarters as well as major injuries that cause them to miss multiple games?

    We have a very advanced and complex injury model where players can receive minor or major injuries to different parts of the body. Also, each injury can range in severity. At the lowest level, a player can play on an injury with diminished abilities (for example, he may be slowed down or cannot jump as high) or be on “day to day” status. At the worse levels, a player can be out for a few days up to an entire season. Also, when a player gets injured, he will look and act injured in the game (for example, he might limp when running if he has a sprained angle). Injuries can occur in-game due to a certain event (i.e. a player getting fouled hard) or out-of-game during a season (a player might get the flu, for example). Also, the season simulation engine and General Manager AI all take into account injuries.

11) Will there be inactive player slots on teams' rosters?

    Yes, injured players can be placed on the inactive list and inactive players can be activated.

12) Can you create your own team?

    Not from scratch in this version. However, you can customize any team by signing, trading, and releasing players. You can also recruit players from a free agent pool.

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13) Regarding trades, will the computer offer trades? Can you do multiplayer trades? What is the max number of players you can trade?

    Yes, the computer will offer trades during a season. Up to 3 players may be traded on each team (for a total of six players involved in any give trade transaction).

We would like to thank Darryl Lewis for his time in answering a few of our questions. Be sure to check out out preview of NBA Inside Drive 2002.

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