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mcdowell31's Blog
Easter egg technology, or I hate to piss and moan without offering a solution 
Posted on April 6, 2019 at 08:39 PM.
After my last entry, I checked the 2K forum; I had not been there in a while and Operation Sports discussions help me to cool down. I read a little about The Popboy and his sliders. I had tried them earlier in the season and was interested in what others were experiencing. It took another day, but I got back into 2K after a 5-6 day hiatus. I usually cannot stay away long: I love basketball foremost and 2K is the best thing going at the moment.

Canned cutscenes? Yeah, drives me crazy. Easter egg technology? Might be the upgrade. I had this thought a year or two ago: I wish I had said something then.

I just paused a game between Orlando and the Lakers that takes place about 4-5 years in the future. LeBron got Johnathan Isaac (me) in the air on a pump fake in the post and drew a foul.

The game immediately started its cutscene subroutine: Zoom first on Isaac complaining; zoom second on LeBron talking to the Orlando bench, or a referee, or the LA crowd; it is hard to tell and not important. Then the "overkill" zoom is Orlando's coach: Almost always stoic and really adds nothing to this part of the story whenever it occurs. Of course, as stated in other blog entries, what makes this not so good is the lack of variety in camera angle and the same camera cycle.

I paused the game and went to replay because the cutscenes usually look scripted. Of course, I always find that they are not, but I almost always find that the wide-angle shot of the shooter and the fouler are the best drama as the protagonist and antagonist are onscreen in direct opposition. In this case, Isaac started complaining about 1-2 seconds before LeBron's reaction because LeBron was recovering from the foul. Then LeBron started his reaction and "joined" Isaac. This cannot be seen in a canned zoom.

It never takes me long to find this alternative shot to the "canned" cutscene: I usually find a good camera angle that "keys" on the shooter and fouler, zoom until it is apparent they are the subjects, and replay in slow motion. As Dave Chappelle said, everything looks dramatic in slow motion.

This reminds me of the old days with College Hoops 2K8 and NBA 2K8. At that point, I was in my third year of 2K after jumping away from NBA Live. I had discovered the Easter egg effect in 2K6: That moment you are playing and you see something incredibly lifelike and rare and just a little random all at once. You exclaim "Did I just see that or am I imagining?!?". You pause the game and go to replay for confirmation.

I will always remember my first. The NBA 2K6 LA Clippers had Zeljko Rebraca as a power forward; he was not remarkable, just a pro. One of the smalls cut off of Rebraca after he received the ball in the high post. He (the AI) immediately and smoothly bounced a pass backward between his legs to the cutter for a layup. It happened so fast! I spent the next five minutes marveling at this detail. I would not see a similar play for a while. But, that is what I call an Easter egg moment, much like the Easter eggs that many open world games have as an added feature.

I really wish 2K development (the engineer responsible for cutscenes and replays) could do something like this and offer variety in presentation.

IT WOULD REQUIRE slow-motion instant replay code that would key on the shooter in a wide camera angle. This would encompass several players and dramatic responses on-court: The scene would hit several birds with one stone and do away with the disjointed, clunky, and repetitive zoom cutscene. Or, at least give more weight to the zoom cutscene if it were used, say, once per quarter.

As I have said: I really want to get back to being the ravenous 2K player I was last console generation when I could play three 48-minute MyLeague games on some days because it was exciting and not diminished by unimaginative repetition.

Whew... that was long. Sorry... I have rationalized much of the year and tried to have fun with 2K19. I am still having fun when I am allowed to play basketball rather than view an interactive movie. Of course, interactive movies are not just a 2K thing. It happens across the gaming industry. Frankly, it lacks game elements and seems a bit lazy; I say that constructively without derision.

Perhaps I will start collecting game footage and publish some of my thoughts for Youtube to better illustrate.

Anyway... thanks for reading and enjoy the Final Four!
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