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The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

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Old 05-20-2015, 03:35 PM   #1
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The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

I've FINALLY decided to jump in to 2K19 after putting it off all year, and there was no better place for me to start than right here! The Defense Strength sliders play such a monumental, pivotal role in how games play out on both offense AND defense, so it only makes sense that I finally put in the work required to help better explain just how in the hell these sliders actually work.


WHO DO THE USER/CPU SLIDERS AFFECT? - UPDATED MAY 3RD


Luckily for me the foundation of these settings has stayed the same throughout the years: The Layup/Jump Shot Defense Strength sliders affect the defense AGAINST whoever they're listed under.

For example, set the USER sliders to 100 and the CPU sliders to 0, and the CPU will play fantastic defense AGAINST the USER, while the USER's defense will have very little effect on the CPU. If you want the USER AI to play better defense, you need to increase the CPU Defense Strength sliders, and vice versa.


Now that we have the basics out of the way, it's time to really dive in so I can give you a detailed description of the exact affects each individual slider has on gameplay/animations, and how these sliders work together to give the final result. My aim is to be descriptive enough so that EVERYONE can tweak each individual setting to get the exact gameplay they want based off personal preference and skill level.


SHOT SUCCESS + CONTEXT-BASED ANIMATIONS - UPDATED MAY 3RD


Shot Success

The most obvious affect the Defense Strength sliders have on gameplay is controlling how much the defense affects shot success. As you would assume, the higher you set your Defense Strength sliders, the more the defense will affect shot success. You can better fine-tune this affect to match your own personal preferences and skill level thanks to the sliders being split into two values: 1) Takeoff (for Layups) or Gather (for Jump Shots), and 2) Release.

To put it simply, the Takeoff/Gather sliders control how much just having a defender nearby at the start of a layup/shot will lower the success rate. With a high Takeoff/Gather slider, the defender doesn't need to actually contest the shot to lower it's success rate, he just needs to be nearby and that will be enough. The Release sliders, on the other hand, control how much a defender actively contesting a layup/shot at release will lower the success rate. With Release set to 0, a defender can be in an animation where they are heavily contesting a shot but the game will still register that the shot was "Lightly Contested", while setting the Release sliders to 100 means a defender contesting the shot will severely lower the shot success rate. As an added bonus, a higher Release slider will result in more blocks as the shot contest will give a better animation and actually influence the trajectory of the ball when applicable.


Context-Based Animations

The main reason I'm always so interested in "perfecting" the Defense Strength sliders is due to how much of an affect these sliders have on triggering specific animations. Without the players on the court physically interacting with each other via context-based animations, the game can quickly start to look and feel extremely artificial. I can't count how many times I've watched a nice dunk or layup replay back and noticed that the game essentially ignored that a defender was in the way or was contesting a shot, as it chose to trigger a layup/dunk animation that glides the defender out of the way instead of making the ball-handler and the defender interact with one another. The more often you see this, the more you can't STOP seeing it and the authenticity of the gameplay simply unravels. Luckily for us, that's where the Defense Strength sliders come in handy.

As you increase each Defense Strength slider, more context-based animations will trigger in accordance with that slider. For example:

- The higher you set Layup Defense Strength (Takeoff), more animations will trigger between the dribbler and the defender once the dribbler starts a layup/dunk attempt. Instead of the defender being glided out of the way, you'll see the defender's positioning change which layup animation is triggered so the two players will actually interact in the same animation.
- The higher you set Layup Defense Strength (Release), more animations will trigger between the dribbler and the defender once the dribbler jumps to finish the layup/dunk. Instead of the defender swatting at air as their layup contest is ignored, you'll see the dribbler actually respond to the defender as the two share a context-based animation.


Defensive Positioning and Aggressiveness

On top of getting better/more context-based animations to trigger with higher Defense Strength settings, you will also see defenders be more aggressive and better positioned based off the applicable setting. For example:

- The higher you set Layup Defense Strength (Takeoff), defenders will be more aggressive in attempting to contest when a dribbler attacks the basket, and the better those defenders are at getting into the best possible position to contest a layup/dunk.
- The higher you set Layup Defense Strength (Release), defenders will be more aggressive in attempting to contest once the dribbler is in the air about to finish the layup/dunk, and the animations triggered will be more successful at affecting (or even blocking) the layup/dunk.
- The higher you set Jump Shot Defense Strength (Gather), off-ball defenders will be more aggressive when fighting through screens and/or closing down an open shooter, as well as more effective when guarding a shooter on the perimeter (as they are quicker to react when you decide to spot up).
- The higher you set Jump Shot Defense Strength (Release), shot contests and block attempts will trigger better animations that will cover more distance while jumping to contest a shot, meaning defenders can be further away from a shooter while still being a threat to block or severely affect shot success.

To put it simply, setting the Takeoff/Gather sliders higher means that defenders are more aggressive and more affective at contesting a layup or shot when the shooting animation first begins, and the greater the variety of shot/layup animations will trigger to incorporate the nearest defender. Setting the Release sliders higher means shot contest/block animations are more aggressive and more affective at both covering distance and accurately targeting the ball, meaning defenders don't have to be right in your face at the start of a shot in order to have a noticeable affect on shot success.

If you want defenders to be better at closing down shooters and fighting through screens, increase the Jump Shot Defense Strength (Gather) slider. If you want better shot contest animations and/or more shot contest/block attempts increase the Release slider(s). If you don't want a nearby defender to affect the shot as much unless they're actively contesting the shot, decrease the Takeoff slider (for layups) and/or Gather slider (for jump shots) based off what results you're looking for.


HELP DEFENSE/DEFENSIVE ROTATIONS/DEFENDER DECISION MAKING - UPDATED MAY 3RD


I'm INCREDIBLY happy to say that, unlike year's past, the Defense Strength sliders do not meaningfully affect help defense/defensive rotations/defender decision making. In past years, setting the Layup sliders higher than the Jump Shot sliders (or vice versa) had a noticeable impact on defensive rotations and help defense, as (based off your settings) the defense would either prioritize crashing to protect the paint over defending the perimeter (making it far too easy to kick out for an easy 3 point shot), or they would be unwilling to sag off perimeter shooters making it far to easy to attack the basket at will. This made it impossible to tweak things "perfectly" as you always had to choose to sacrifice either animation quality, defensive decision making, or the impact of good defending on shot success rate. Now that the Defense Strength sliders ONLY affect animations and defensive impact on shot success, it is finally possible to have your cake and eat it too!

And the best news of all, I don't need to test for (literally) endless hours trying to find the right balance between animations/shot success/rotations and then tweaking the rest of the slider set to provide ineffective band-aid fixes to the problems caused by these settings...


So there we have it! The testing is done and the findings are rendered. Now we all know what each of these four sliders controls and we can tweak our own personal settings accordingly!

I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have, give suggestions, and/or provide any clarity that is needed when it comes to any or all of these settings, so don't be shy! Just reply to this thread and I will help out as best as I can.


Happy tweaking!


Outdated information from the last update in 2016, for those interested:

Spoiler

Last edited by EccentricMeat; 05-04-2019 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:09 PM   #2
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Wow nice work. This is very good information to have.
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Quote:
Originally Posted by EccentricMeat
Alright, so I've done some more testing and this is what I've found for the Defense sliders:

The Layup Defense Strength sliders control how well THAT team's defense plays. If the USER Layup Defense Strength sliders are set to 100, the USER defense will be very strong against layups. However, the Jump Shot Defense Strength sliders control the OTHER teams defense, so putting these sliders at 0 for the USER will result in the CPU defense playing poorly, and vice-versa.

The (Takeoff/Gather) sliders affect animations and decision making. With Layup Defense Strength (Takeoff) at 0, the defense as a whole will not attempt to contest a layup. If set to 100, however, multiple defenders will contest the layup. With Jump Shot Defense Strength (Gather) at 0, the ball-handler will basically ignore the fact that a defender is in their chest and will pull up for a jumper, and this will NOT trigger a contested jumpshot/runner/leaner animation. It will just seem like the defender isn't their. If set to 100, the ball-handler will react to a defender in his chest, and any jump shot attempted in traffic will trigger an appropriate animation. This affects the CPU decision making because the lower the (Gather) sliders are, the more likely the CPU is to take a contested jumpshot/layup.

Now, once the ball leaves the shooter's hands, the (Release) sliders go into effect. At 0, the game treats every contested shot/layup as if no defender is there. The higher these values are set, the less likely a contested shot/layup is to go in. That's it.

So to put it simply:
Layup Defense Strength (Takeoff) - 100 means someone is going to come defend a layup.
Layup Defense Strength (Release) - 100 means that a contested layup is not likely to go in.
Jump Shot Defense Strength (Gather) - 100 means that the CPU is less likely to take a jump shot in traffic, and if they do take a contested shot an appropriate animation will trigger.
Jump Shot Defense Strength (Release) - 100 means that jump shots that are in traffic and/or contested will be much less likely to go in.

The more you decrease these sliders, the less true each of these statements becomes.
Right on the money with your assessment, but I believe you reversed the two sliders, the from my testing the "Gather" aspect of the Jumpshot defense slider is what impacts the success rate of the shot.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:09 PM   #4
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shady Mike
Right on the money with your assessment, but I believe you reversed the two sliders, the from my testing the "Gather" aspect of the Jumpshot defense slider is what impacts the success rate of the shot.
I'll re-run a few tests to double-check, but I'm 99% sure the Release slider impacts the success rate. I'll post back in a few minutes!

EDIT: Alright, just ran some tests. The (Release) slider definitely impacts the success of a shot. First I just tested by eye, taking contested jump shots with the slider at 0 and at 100. At 0 the shots went in at a much higher rate. Then, just to double check, I turned on Shot Feedback and took more contested jump shots. With (Release) at 0 my shots routinely got an A+ rating, but with it at 100 my shots were rated C or lower.

Now, you're not exactly wrong by saying the Gather slider impacts jump shot success rate, as it controls the awareness, defensive attention, and aggression with which the defense contests jump shots. So if you have the (Release) slider at 100 and (Gather) at 0, there won't actually BE as many contested shots so the success rate will still be high and the grade given by Shot Feedback will be high as well. But with (Gather) at 100 there will be more defenders nearby and more contested shots.

Last edited by EccentricMeat; 05-20-2015 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:23 PM   #5
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Quote:
Originally Posted by EccentricMeat
I'll re-run a few tests to double-check, but I'm 99% sure the Release slider impacts the success rate. I'll post back in a few minutes!

EDIT: Alright, just ran some tests. The (Release) slider definitely impacts the success of a shot. First I just tested by eye, taking contested jump shots with the slider at 0 and at 100. At 0 the shots went in at a much higher rate. Then, just to double check, I turned on Shot Feedback and took more contested jump shots. With (Release) at 0 my shots routinely got an A+ rating, but with it at 100 my shots were rated C or lower.

Now, you're not exactly wrong by saying the Gather slider impacts jump shot success rate, as it controls the awareness, defensive attention, and aggression with which the defense contests jump shots. So if you have the (Release) slider at 100 and (Gather) at 0, there won't actually BE as many contested shots so the success rate will still be high and the grade given by Shot Feedback will be high as well. But with (Gather) at 100 there will be more defenders nearby and more contested shots.
So basically you are saying that if the gather slider is at 100 and the release slider is at 0 the shot even though the shot is contested it should more than likely go in (or at least have a high grade) correct?

I've been playing at 0/100 (gather/release) for the past week or so to do some testing and contested shots SEEM to be going in at an insanely high rate like in the video I showed you earlier.

Last edited by Shady Mike; 05-20-2015 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:57 PM   #6
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shady Mike
So basically you are saying that if the gather slider is at 100 and the release slider is at 0 the shot even though the shot is contested it should more than likely go in (or at least have a high grade) correct?

I've been playing at 0/100 (gather/release) for the past week or so to do some testing and contested shots SEEM to be going in at an insanely high rate like in the video I showed you earlier.
Yea, the two definitely work together. So if you have either at 0, shots are going to drop at a high clip. Gather at 0 means the defense really isn't contesting the shots well/at all, and Release at 0 means that even if there is a strong contest, the shot will probably go in anyway. So the key is finding the correct Gather value, and then tweaking Release from there. As I said at the bottom of the OP, the Takeoff/Gather/Help Defense sliders all work in tandem to control the awareness, aggression, and priority of defensive rotations and contested shots. Once we have the defense REACTING properly, rotating smoothly and intelligently while triggering appropriate driving/contested shot animations, THEN we can tweak the Release sliders to get the FG% right where we want it.

I'm running some more tests so that I can properly define and explain how the defense reacts based on how these sliders are set. I'm trying to find the "perfect" balance where rotations will come in to force a kick out while still moving over to cover open shooters on the perimeter, forcing more ball movement on offense and thus fewer shot attempts, fewer wide-open looks, lower FG%, and more exciting gameplay

Last edited by EccentricMeat; 05-20-2015 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:21 PM   #7
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Not sure if you saw the video that I edited in my last post but here it is, I'm not sold on this at all yet, I went into practice mode with the gather sliders for both teams at 100 and the release sliders at 0 and the CPU missed every contested 3 they took (including an air ball) and all of my mid range jumpshots with Duncan were extremely low grade due to the contest even with the release slider at 0 by this video it looks like the gather slider effects the success rate of contested shots because when I had this on 0/100 the CPU was splashing nonsense all day...


Shot defense testing by shadymikegaming
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:56 PM   #8
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Re: The "Shot Defense Strength" Sliders Explained

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shady Mike
Not sure if you saw the video that I edited in my last post but here it is, I'm not sold on this at all yet, I went into practice mode with the gather sliders for both teams at 100 and the release sliders at 0 and the CPU missed every contested 3 they took (including an air ball) and all of my mid range jumpshots with Duncan were extremely low grade due to the contest even with the release slider at 0 by this video it looks like the gather slider effects the success rate of contested shots because when I had this on 0/100 the CPU was splashing nonsense all day...


Shot defense testing by shadymikegaming
I went in to do more testing and the only concrete thing I could come up with is that I'm no longer using the Shot Feedback to judge anything. No matter what I had the Gather/Release sliders at the Shot Feedback remained consistent. Shots with perfect timing were an A, very poor timing was an F, and everything else just mixed in between.

With Release at 0 I saw a lot of poorly contested shots, as in my defenders hands deliberately moved OUT of the path of the ball so the offense could get off a good shot. What I'm thinking is that they both impact jump shot success differently. With Gather set low the defenders don't get in the shooter's face enough to really affect a shot, and with Release set low the defenders are awful at actually getting a hand in front of the ball or at least in front of the shooter's line of sight to the basket.

I've gotta take a break from testing for right now, I'm getting frustrated and burned out haha. Time to load up Battlefield 4 Premium for the first time (it's on sale this week on PSN!) and get my mind off confusing defensive logic for a minute.
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