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The NBA Season has begun, Time to work on your Road Game

Josh Hart's Avatar + Posted by Josh Hart on Oct 30, 2008 // Team Assistant Producer and Designer, Pinball Heroes

Hello again, everyone! Team RamRod here, the developers of High Velocity Bowling for PS3 and NBA 09: The Inside for the PSP. Now that our HVB update is available and our basketball game is on the shelves, we finally have some time to provide another long post!

Our PSP NBA series is the only sports series that we know of that has been created from the ground up specifically for the PSP (as in, it’s not a port). Since it is not a port it can be optimized year-after-year to be tailor-crafted for the PSP. This has resulted in silky-smooth 60 frames per second gameplay and an absolutely feature-packed UMD.

Being on a portable system has been a huge influence on the design of NBA 09: The Inside on PSP. We have always tried to have a fast-paced game that could be played in short bursts. The on court action is quick and fun, plus there are a ton of mini-games to try. But of course, if you have loads of time, you can play multiple seasons in our new Franchise mode.

What we’d really like to talk about today is one of our favorite mini-games for this year’s version. It’s called ElimiQuest and it’s a little unorthodox. So we’ll start by explaining the development process and how it came to be.

Conquest

In NBA 07 for PSP we had the idea to do a turn-based game called Conquest. Our team is small and we try to get together about once a month to socialize, eat, drink and play a bunch of boardgames. We like to play a large variety from party games to strategy games. We’re all very interested in the game mechanics and where the strategy and fun of the game is.

NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_1
All of this led us to create Conquest. When you begin the game, you choose a team and a city. That city connects to other cities that you can challenge or be challenged by. Whenever a city is challenged, the outcome is determined by playing a game of basketball with some minor rules changes. If the challenging city wins, then they gain control of the defending city and it’s team. If the defending city wins, then they get to swap one of their players for one from the challenging team. After each city has had a chance to make a challenge, then the players can be moved from one city to another.

NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_2 NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_3

The fun in Conquest comes from stealing another city’s players and building the ultimate team as you march your way across North America! This means that you get teams in Conquest that wouldn’t occur in the real NBA. The boardgame-styled map gives you more to think about as you plan your strategy. You can also upgrade your players and even earn retired players by controlling a whole division.

Elimination

When we started making NBA 08: Featuring Block Party for PSP, we knew that we wanted another basketball minigame that we could be as proud of as Conquest. We really wanted to change how you play basketball with this one. So instead of constantly using your best players to score, we wanted you to try to score with even the less skilled players.

To accomplish this, we decided that when a player had scored 6 or more points, they should be eliminated from the game. This meant that there would be situations with off-balance teams. You might have a team with only 3 players left going against a team with all 5 players. Naturally, this is an advantage to the player who was able to get a lot of his team to score before any single player got eliminated. The winner is the first team to eliminate 4 of his 5 players. This means that the points earned by the last remaining player are a waste. So you wanna be sure that you know which player shouldn’t score when you begin the game!

NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_5_Drive
To help with the advantage in numbers, we decided to give a power-up to the team that eliminates a player. To help even out the playing field a bit, we took the best power-ups and assigned them to the lower rated players. The best players get the worst power-ups or, in some case, don’t even award a power-up when they are eliminated! This really helped to balance out the playing field of the various NBA teams in Elimination. Teams without big star players generally get better power-ups than the stronger teams.

NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_4_Indoors NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_4

So you have some decisions to make in Elimination. Do you try to spread out your points so that you maintain an advantage in numbers or do you try to eliminate one of your worst players to get a great power-up? Similarly, do you go the easy route and eliminate your best player and get a weak power-up?

ElimiQuest

Elimination turned out to be really fun in 08, so for 09 we came up with the idea to combine it with Conquest. The resulting un-imaginative name is ElimiQuest! It plays just like Conquest mode with the strategic map and capturing other teams, cities and players. However, instead of playground basketball, the cities face off in a match of Elimination.

NBA09_TheInside_PSP_Elimiquest_1_Instructions
As in Conquest, the players on the winning team that get the most points, rebounds or assists earn you medals to upgrade them. This means that if you really wanna upgrade someone, you’re gonna have to keep them on the court making assists and getting rebounds or have that player score 8 points (the most a player can earn in Elimination/ElimiQuest). Upgrading players in ElimiQuest is a little bit more important than it is in Conquest. If you have a poorly rated player who gets you a great power-up whenever he is eliminated, you should try to upgrade him so that he can be eliminated more easily.

Conclusion
If you’ve made it this far, then thanks for reading! We hope that you all get to try ElimiQuest and let us know what you think in your posts. If there is enough interest, we would love to discuss some of the other minigames that we have like Shootin’ Bricks, Pinball, Block-A-Shot, Own The Court, etc. Unfortunately, ElimiQuest couldn’t fit in our PSP demo, but be sure to check it out for our regular basketball gameplay along with a few minigames. The whole game is only 30 dollars, and we think that it represents a ton of gaming value at a low price.

P.S. Check out High Velocity Bowling from the PlayStation Store for the PS3!!

//Add Your Own

2 Comments   19 Replies

1

+ Enigma777 on October 30th, 2008 at 11:58 am said:

shameless plug Josh….


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 2:59 pm said:

    Heck yeah it is! Completely shameless! By the way, don\’t forget to check out NBA 09: The Inside on PSP and High Velocity Bowling for the PS3 (only available from the online Playstation Store)!

    ;)


2

+ X1rtam on October 30th, 2008 at 12:01 pm said:

Haha hilarious ending. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve had HVB since day one. :D


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:03 pm said:

    I am VERY pleased to hear that! I hope that you have tried out the online mode as well…


3

+ Jeigh on October 30th, 2008 at 12:06 pm said:

Hail Team Ramrod, if only because of the name of the studio. :P I may very well be picking up High Velocity Bowling soon. The update certainly makes it an easier decision. :)


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:06 pm said:

    Hail Jeigh! You should totally pick up HVB. It\’s only 10 bucks! My lunch yesterday cost 10 bucks! How am I gonna eat if you guys don\’t buy High Velocity Bowling?

    So, in conclusion, I would like to suggest that everyone buy HVB and NBA 09: The Inside on PSP so that I (Josh) can continue to enjoy lunches. I know that these are difficult times, but I\’m still hungry!

    :)


4

+ smokey_vols on October 30th, 2008 at 12:08 pm said:

Go LA!


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:07 pm said:

    Geaux Hornets!


5

+ WHAT on October 30th, 2008 at 12:15 pm said:

HVB with the added OL is awesome and I read none of the rest of this blog post.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:07 pm said:

    Hahaha

    Glad to hear that you like HVB. As for reading the rest of the blog post…well, it is a little long, ain\’t it?


6

+ ftwrthtx on October 30th, 2008 at 12:17 pm said:

Will the PSP game ever be linked to the PS3 game? The ultimate road game would be where you start a NBA 09 season on your PS3 and then be able to take that season on the road with your PSP. Complete with interchangeable stats that can be transferred back and forth between the two.

That would be cool for any sports game and I’m sure it would create ‘System Seller’ game titles.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:12 pm said:

    That\’s a great idea and I promise you that we\’ve talked about that before. Unfortunately, since the two games are so different in terms of programming, it is a far more difficult task than you would think. But nothing is written in stone, so who knows what the future holds?


7

+ Scodo_Thope on October 30th, 2008 at 12:25 pm said:

High Velocity Bowling!

A definite STRIKE!

:P


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:18 pm said:

    And NBA 09: The Inside on PSP is a definite SLAM DUNK!

    :)


8

+ Torgo on October 30th, 2008 at 12:33 pm said:

This game blows NBA Live 09 for PSP out of the water this year in every way. If you’re looking for Basketball on the go, this is definitely the one you want to pick up.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:18 pm said:

    I don\’t really like to bash the competition, but we certainly appreciate your opinion!


9

+ lakaihigh on October 30th, 2008 at 12:41 pm said:

played the demo for this and its fantastic! I highly recommend this purchase for basketball fanatics that want to get their game on portable style. I saw how many trophies/achievements are unlockable and i wish Sony would develop a way to implement those into the PSP xmb much in the same way they have on the PS3. would be truly amazing. great job guys A+ in my books.

peace,
Lh


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:21 pm said:

    Thanks for the kind words, Lakaihigh! We\’re all really happy to hear that you are enjoying it so much. A lot of the reviews didn\’t mention our in-game trophy room, and I thought that was a shame. But we\’re glad that you are utilizing the feature!


10

+ Foxx on October 30th, 2008 at 12:54 pm said:

Great post. Very interesting read and I would like to at least read about the other mini games included with the game. Haven’t had a chance to play it yet as I have my PSP in for replacement with Best Buy.

One other question. Is there any plan in the future to put out a demo for HVB? I haven’t purchased it yet because I’m one of those that really wants to try before I buy it. I’ve heard great things about it and I’m sure a demo would bring me in enough to buy the full game *hint hint*.

Thanks for the update guys.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:26 pm said:

    Thanks for the reply Foxx. Let us know what you think when you get the chance to play it.

    As for HVB, I would say buy it. It\’s only 10 bucks and I think it\’s the best bowling videogame ever made. Granted, I\’m pretty biased, though. Check out the other blog posts and forums to see how many people are enjoying it. I personally think that it is worth the money by leaps and bounds. The control scheme may be tricky at first, but as you get used to it, I believe that you will enjoy it.


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+ boxmyth on October 30th, 2008 at 12:57 pm said:

Why is that Cavs logo over Cincinnati?


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:30 pm said:

    durh…um…well, ya see…uh…hmmmmmm.

    Actually, in some cases, we fudged around with where the cities were to make the team logos more visible and to make the lines of travel from city to city more easily selected.

    In this case, it\’s just to make the task of choosing which city to challenge more intuitive with the analog control.


12

+ GGCAN on October 30th, 2008 at 1:28 pm said:

Thanks Josh.

Yep, gotta agree with some of the others, HVB is a great game and for the low price a very good deal.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:31 pm said:

    You\’re welcome, GGCAN. Hey Foxx, GGCAN thinks HVB is a great game and a very good deal for the price! Also, I swear that I\’m not GGCAN…

    :)


13

+ kspraydad on October 30th, 2008 at 2:05 pm said:

SONY needs to do a NBA/PSP pack to rival the Madden one…jmho.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 3:32 pm said:

    I can\’t tell you how happy that would make me.

    Actually, wait a minute…yes I can.

    It would make me VERY VERY HAPPY.


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 6:11 pm said:

    I\’m glad that you like Conquest so much. Both Conquest and ElimiQuest are on the UMD for NBA 09: The Inside. If you like the demo for 07 so much, you should check out the full version of 09.

    I hope that you get the chance to try out ElimiQuest as it really does change up the strategy of the game. Please let us know what you think if you give it a shot.

    :)


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 6:25 pm said:

    Whoops! Forgot to answer your question about the roster updates. You should not expect a constant stream of updates to the PSP rosters. Although there should be some through the season, unfortunately, I can\’t tell you how many (because I don\’t know).


15

+ kspraydad on October 30th, 2008 at 5:08 pm said:

Have you had any discussions with SONY to get this on the PSN as a downloadable title?


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 6:17 pm said:

    As of now, the game is only available on UMD (and a packed one at that). Looking into my crystal ball of the future, things look murky and indecisive. So once again, who knows what the future holds? Or, maybe my crystal ball just needs to be cleaned.


16

+ X1rtam on October 30th, 2008 at 6:56 pm said:

Nice job answering every single question (Some more than once!)! I have to admit that I’ve yet to try out a basketball game on my PSP. Maybe I’ll try it out sometime soon. You know, in between classes or something. Ugh so many classes…

Oh and of course I tried out HVB online, it’s very fun and the games take a maximum of ten minutes! :)


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    + Josh Hart on October 30th, 2008 at 7:01 pm said:

    What can I say? I\’m on a question answering streak! (though this will probably be the last one for a while as we dive back into the shadowy recesses of game development…)

    Good luck with your classes X1rtam. Be sure to invite your friends over to play HVB offline with up to 4 players!


17

+ ballman77 on October 30th, 2008 at 7:06 pm said:

Hi Josh,
A bit off topic, but when is the HVB patch coming to european territories? I am in Australia.


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    + Josh Hart on October 31st, 2008 at 5:12 pm said:

    Hi Ballman77. I wish that I could give you a definitive answer on that. Unfortunately, I do not know the exact date that it will be available to you. All I can say with 100% certainty is that we are working very hard to get the EU update to our friends overseas as soon as possible! We really do appreciate your enthusiasm for this. :)


18

+ hijaker77 on October 30th, 2008 at 10:30 pm said:

@Josh Hart
It’s great to see you are responding enthusiastically to all posts.
I’m from Australia too and when is the update being released! Yeah go Aussies! :P

Anyway add me on PSN: Ivan_Krazy


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    + Josh Hart on October 31st, 2008 at 5:33 pm said:

    Hehehehe

    Well, there aren\’t too many posts right now, so it is easy to keep up with it. Please keep the faith that you WILL be able to play HVB Online in the future. We are still committed to bringing it out in Europe and Australia!


19

+ hijaker77 on November 1st, 2008 at 7:40 am said:

Thanks Josh.
I just had my birthday with mates. They enjoyed HVB but I was expecting the update sooner so there is more fun :). Honestly, there aren’t that many games that support 4 players. All I can say is my friends loved it. I invited my friends over and I have a bunch of games and one problem is that they either support one or two players which makes the PS3 more boring. I am going off topic here but Unreal Tournament III on PS3 sucks, honestly. Its only 1 player or online. Lucky 360 owners get 4 player splitscreen. To make matters worse The Orange Box… Team Fortress 2 on PS3 doesn’t work anymore, it seems EA have shut down the servers. I want my money back NOW. Now I may need to buy PC version because of the lack of support on the PS3 version of The Orange Box :(

Anyway thanks guys and I am definitely looking forward to the update!

Cheers,
Ivan


20

+ hijaker77 on November 1st, 2008 at 9:08 am said:

Oh and one other thing is that I hope the HVB update doesn’t take too long to release in the European territories. Because it took Sony 7 months to transfer the PAIN game from North American version to the European territories. That wasn’t pleasant at all.


21

+ KnizzleHizzle on November 27th, 2008 at 6:23 am said:

I’m with the people here, I find it really sad that you keep pushing SOON on everybody but US.

I’m honestly starting to feel like PS3 and Europe just don’t mix. And it’s not just you guys, it’s EVERYTHING that is PS3, video, demos everything.


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