Review of Draft Day Sports: College Basketball 2 Coaching in college is a lot of work. But it can also be very rewarding. December 8th, 2012
Why anybody would choose to coach college sports over professional sports is mind-boggling.
I realize most college coaches would jump at the opportunity to coach in the pros, but there are a handful who choose not to. Those coaches are crazy.
I suppose there is something to be said for being the king of a campus instead of just another pro coach that has a slim chance of lasting more than a few years. But look at how much more work coaching in college is!
• Recruiting. Forget about game-planning and scouting your opponent. A good chunk of your time is visiting the inner-cities, suburbs and farmlands of America, trying to convince 16- and 17-year-old kids to come play for you.
• Homework. You have to worry about your players flunking out of school. Can you imagine if Phil Jackson had to keep on Jordan and Rodman to do their homework?
• Athletic Directors and Boosters. The boosters are paying for your fancy new practice facility and the athletic director is a bureaucrat with a PhD.
I think you get the point. Coaching in college is a lot of work. Tedious work. But it can also be very rewarding.
All of that is captured in Draft Day Sports: College Basketball 2 (DDS: CB2).
As soon as you dive into DDS: CB2, you will be busy. You need to know that before starting. Otherwise you will get overwhelmed.
This isn’t a game where you can just adjust your gameplan a bit, pick up a few players with high star ratings and watch the season unfold.
Once you create your coach and get hired by somebody, you start right up with summer travel to camps held throughout the country. You need to learn a bit about each camp, consider the cost to attend, and pick the one you think best meets your needs.
Sure, it’d be nice to attend the Indy Elite Camp, but would it be smarter to attend a cheaper camp and use your recruiting budget elsewhere? (Going broke early in the recruiting process is a bad strategy, by the way.)
Once you decide which camp to attend, your schedule really gets hectic.
This is where the real work starts. When you first open the recruiting screen, you might just stare at it for a while, trying to figure out where to start. It can be daunting, but once you get the hang of it, you start to develop a system and some strategies so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
The entire country is at your fingertips when you recruit. Want to pursue the No. 1 kid in the country? Go ahead. Want to focus on your own state? That’s not a bad idea. Want to mine a certain region of the county? Also doable.
Build your program .. Get recruiting!
Of course, your strategies depend on who you’re coaching. If you’re a top-ranked program like Duke or North Carolina, you’ll be chasing the top recruits. If you’re a tiny school that few people have heard of, you’ll be wasting your time if you recruit the top guys instead of focusing on players in your own state or region.
Of course, recruits don’t decide if they want to play for you right away. You need to stay in touch by putting them on your call list, inviting them to campus, and monitoring their interest. Eventually, depending on how well you do in the courting process, they’ll sign a letter of intent or tell you to buzz off.
I’m not going to explain every last detail of how recruiting works because that would take too many words. If you’re looking for a game with a fair recreation of what actual recruiting probably feels like – the highs, the lows, the excitement, the disappointment, the work – this is the game for you.
If you don’t want to be consumed by recruiting like a real-life college coach, you should probably find a different game.
I’ve always found it difficult to make a connection with players in college sims. There are thousands of players from hundreds of schools with all kinds of ratings and stats that you have to sort through to find guys you might want to recruit. It can feel like combing through a spreadsheet.
DDS: PB2’s presentation does as good a job as possible of helping you get to know a player so he doesn’t just feel like a giant glob of text and numbers.
Each player has a face photo. His ratings and stats (and there are a lot of them) are organized in a way that makes sense and is easy to read. If you want to add a player to your call list, watch him live, watch him on film, pay him a visit, etc., you can do that easily with one click from the player information screen.
Player Card - Huskers Shooting Guard
The theme of this review so far has been how much work being a college coach is, especially recruiting. It’s also a lot of work in DDS: CB2, but the game’s presentation makes that work a lot more fun than it otherwise would be.
While everything you do off the court is in-depth, rewarding and very real, on the court leaves you feeling a little empty.
DDS: CB2 suffers from the same thing as its counterpart pro game suffers from: Once the actual games start, you’re pretty much relegated to being a spectator.
Yes, you can set your overall team strategies, depth charts, rotation grids and all that. You can even adjust your strategies during each game, but there are no options to call specific plays on a possession-by-possession basis. It’s frustrating because the game feels so hands-on off the court that you want it to feel just as hands-on on the court.
You want to have the option to control each possession so you can really make sure your recruiting and game-planning strategies pay off. Instead, once the games actually start, it kind of feels like a letdown.
Some players might like the more distant approach to the actual games. I guess that’s a personal preference. But it’d be nice to at least have the option to immerse yourself into each game with specific playcalling.
If you’re looking to dive headfirst into all the ins and outs of being a college basketball coach, this game is more than worth your time. The depth and realism of recruiting is amazing and the all the other little things that represent the good and bad of college coaching are well-represented.
If you get scared off by in-depth player research and daily grind type of activities and would rather just call plays during a game, you might want to look elsewhere.
Everything that makes DDS: CB2 great will likely scare some people off. It’s very realistic, probably too realistic for some. Not everyone is going to be patient or dedicated enough to do the work required to recruit and maintain a successful program.
Those who do want to put in the time will appreciate the game’s presentation and immersion making their jobs more enjoyable.
Recruiting is deep and realistic. Stats and results are realistic. There are plenty of stats and ratings to pore through. The only thing lacking is in-game strategy and playcalling.
Customization It's easy to change team nicknames and other things, but players looking to start their own college basketball world from scratch will probably be disappointed. There is also an easy-to-use community created real-world mod that can be used.
As long as you have the patience to keep plugging away, you will always find yourself coming back to this game. Something the game feels like work, though, which might force you to take a break for a while.
Online GM Games did not have the opportunity to play the game online.
Presentation The game's graphical presentation and layout really help you connect with the randomly generated players. It also makes recruiting and player research less monotonous.
Review of Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 3 Could a Basketball GM sim revolution be on the horizon? November 8th, 2012
Stats and analytics aren’t just for baseball nerds any more. The geeks have made their way into basketball.
Due to its endless statistics and 162 games worth of data, baseball has traditionally been the sport that was the most popular in the text sim world. With analytics and stats now taking hold in basketball front offices and the hoops blogosphere, could a basketball GM sim revolution be on the horizon?
If it is, one of the games leading the charge will be Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 3 (DDS: PB3), the latest offering from Gary Gorski at Wolverine Studios.
DDS: PB3 features a completely revamped user interface, artificial intelligence, contract rules and the introduction of season disks that allow you to start with a full league history and import draft classes.
The second version of Gorski’s pro game was excellent and more than filled my need for a fun, realistic and challenging NBA sim. I recently started playing the third version, so let’s take a look at how it stacks up:
The first thing you notice after firing up DDS: PB3 is how great the game looks. It’s the GM sim version of a picturesque painting that hangs on your living room wall.
I don’t play GM sims for fancy pictures and graphics, but man, when the game looks good, it really ups the immersion factor. The studio-type setup during the draft and office-type of layout during the season really sucks you into DDS: PB3 and makes it easy to connect with your team and individual players.
Everything is laid out well, too. There’s a lot to do in this game, and it’d be a major hassle if you had to click 10 different times to do certain tasks. Thankfully, you don’t have to. It might take you a little bit to figure out exactly what you have to do and when you have to do it, but once you get your bearings, getting where you need to go is simple.
Playing the Game
Ok, so the game looks good. How does it play?
The short answer is very well. Statistics are realistic and it feels like you’re getting a very real-world simulation of professional basketball.
The first thing I noticed is improvement in the play game screen. I thought playing your games in the second version was a little clunky, but thanks to the new gameview mode, playing your games in DDS: PB3 is much smoother. Stats, play-by-play, subs, strategy options and the court are either all on your screen or just a click away.
One thing I would like to see added is the ability to call specific plays or call for specific players to try and score. For example, for each possession, I’d like to call for the ball to be dumped into the post to Dwight Howard, or simply select Kobe Bryant if I’d like the offense run through him on a possession.
It wouldn’t always have to work out as I call it, but I think that option would make the user feel like they have more control over the game. I like to feel like I have the power to actually execute some of the strategies that form in my head.
You do have some control over what your team does in-game (defensive sets, offensive sets, subs, etc.), but it could be a little more specific.
Want to try and trade Michael Beasley for a first-round draft pick? Not going to happen. The AI is strong and difficult to trick.
When simming games, sometimes I question why certain players shot so often or don’t shoot enough. Having a play-by-play log for each game would help simmers better understand the why and how of each contest. But you’re not completely powerless in what your players do, either.
If you choose to control your team as a coach in addition to being a GM, you can set your philosophies to favor fast breaks, jump shots, zone defenses, crash boards, etc. You can also run certain types of offenses.
If you think Derrick Rose is shooting too many 3s, you can call him and tell him to stop shooting so many 3s and drive more. He might even listen to you.
Navigating the NBA’s financial system can get a little tedious, but the game offers the option for a simplified system if you don’t want to deal with the ins and outs of Bird rights and the luxury tax.
Play-by-Play and In-Game View
Basketball is a simple game. You take a ball, you shoot it in a hoop, you run down the court and try to prevent your opponent from doing the same. However, there are all kinds of intricacies that take the simplicity of the game itself and make it much more challenging.
DDS: PB3 captures this. The game feels really simple from a basketball-sense, but forces you to think beyond just finding five guys who are good at putting a ball in a hoop.
I feel like I have the most success in DDS: PB3 when I either a) develop an overall philosophy and acquire players that match it, or b) change my philosophy to match my players. You can’t just cobble together five guys with overall ratings about 3.5 out of 5 and think you’ll win.
Ratings matter, and not just the overall rating. If you find yourself only looking at the overall rating, you’re going to get burned. You need to build a team with players that complement each other in order to be successful.
A strategy that I use is trying to always win the points in the paint battle every game. That means I favor shot blockers and strong defenders in the front court and a point guard and/or small forward who likes to drive to the hoop. I supplement this with a 3-pointing shooting specialist off the bench and a defensive specialist.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, putting a ball in a hoop sounds simple, too. But it’s not.
Final Word DDS: PB3 is the best professional basketball GM sim I’ve played and likely will only get better when Gorski starts releasing season disks that incorporate the full history of basketball.
Realism, immersion, easy-to-navigate and easy-on-the-eyes screens and menus, stats, and challenging AI, it’s all here.
It’d be nice to have a little more control over the in-game action and some additional data to pore over after each game. More options for customization would also probably attract more players. Those faults are hardly deal breakers, though.
Basketball GM sims might not ever reach the popularity of baseball sims, but who cares? It’s pointless to compare the two sports, anyway.
Whether you're watching games play out live or simming straight through, the stats are realistic, strategy adjustments matter and the action is easy to follow. More in-game control and a play-by-play log would be useful.
Customization You have a few options for finances and world setup, and it's easy to change things like team names and logos, but if you're looking to completely wipe everything clean and create a basketball universe from scratch, you won't be able to.
This game never gets old. There are always new challenges to undertake and the beautiful look of the game mean you won't get bored. The replayability of this game will likely go closer to 10 as more season disks are released.
Online GM Games did not have the opportunity to play the game online, but judging from the game's forums, online features seem to work well.
Presentation The game looks amazing. The draft coverage, menu layouts, customizable logos and courts, stats and everything else that goes into the presentation really immerses you into the game.
November 1st, 2012 - Gary Gorski of Wolverine Studios has distributed his newest major release for Draft Day Sports - Pro Basketball 3. Some of the major changes of version 1.3 include a complete update of rosters for the 2012-2013 season. This includes the James Harden trade to the Houston Rockets.
In addition, Wolverine Studios has enhanced the AI logic on how they behave with restricted free agent offers. Graphics have also been improved for scoreboards.
To stay up to date on Basketball simulators, visit our forum and be prepared for a review of DDSPB3 from GM Games in the near future.
Oct 3, 2011 - Wolverine Studios has released their version of College Basketball. DDS: College Basketball 2!
Brand New GUI with full window mode and data widgets
No longer is the game bound to a 1024x768 display (although you must use at least that resolution as a minimum) - the game window will fully expand to match your screen resolution. Also included are data widgets and toolbars - the amount that appear depend on the size of the resolution you are using. The higher the screen res the more widgets you see. These widgets allow you to look at a wide array of information at a glance and from most screens so that you can keep up with the game universe while going about your normal tasks. You can even set one or all of them to auto-cycle through the assorted options so that you can track all kinds of items without any extra effort on your part!
Brand New Assistant Coach mode
For the first time ever you don't have to be the top dog. You'll get the opportunity to play in the game world as an assistant coach specializing in one of the three assistant coach jobs (recruiting, scouting, practice) - your decisions will have a direct impact on the success of your team. Along with this feature comes the enhancement of the computer assistants - your assistants will be more important than ever and it will be important for you to hire the best assistants possible as well as the ones that fit best with your philosophies.
Brand New Alternate Universe : Promotion/Relegation
Looking for a new challenge to the game? Try this mode and watch the collegiate universe get turned upside down. All 352 teams are stripped from their conferences and placed into 22 16-team conferences with the 16 highest prestige teams in "Conference A" and so forth. At the end of each regular season the top 12 teams advance to the conference tournament and the postsesaon plays out as it normally does with each conference tournament winner getting an invite to the big dance. However, since the basic system remains the same the at large bids certainly will be weighted towards the best conferences. The top four teams in the regular season standings are promoted to the next best conference in the following season with the four who missed the conference tournament being relegated down a conference. In this mode conference affiliation also plays a major role in determining the budget for each school to spend on coaches and recruits so the advantages to being in (and staying in) "Conference A" are certainly numerous.
The "DII Challenge" / New Teams
The team list has been bumped up to 352 teams - 5 of which are participants in the "DII Challenge". These teams serve as Independents in the game, playing a full season schedule against each other and the other DI teams with some major differences. Aside from the lowest recruiting budgets in the game, DII teams don't have to adhere to the game's minimum grade requirements allowing them to take the players who do not qualify for the DI schools but they are not eligible for postseason play and without that draw will see good players want to transfer out to more prestigious schools later in their careers. The challenge for you is to string together a significant number of successful seasons and bring your school's prestige above zero to be a fully qualified DI school in the game. Are you up to the challenge?
Brand New "GameView" Coaching mode
We've added a brand new way to coach out your games in DDS: College Basketball 2. If you're not a fan of the 2D display then you can play out your games in this mode which streamlines all the game information into one screen area while replacing the full screen court with a small display for shots taken and a vibrant play by play recap area in addition to the full text play by play.
Brand New Postseason - 68 Team Tournament and 3rd Postseason Tournament
The primary postseason tournament has been redone to mimic the 68 team setup, allowing for four play in games. In addition to that a third, 16-team postseason tournament has been added into the mix allowing even more teams to go to postseason play.
Progressive Injury Healing
This has always been an area of the game I wanted to improve on from the “realism” factor. Sure the player was out for two months with a broken wrist but in the past that meant that for 60 game days he was at 0% health and then 100% back on day 61. Now players will heal progressively over time giving you the opportunity (and risk) of bringing a player back early. So yes, you can play that player with a torn ACL two weeks before his injury was supposed to be healed…he might be at 90% only and you’re risking re-injury but now the game realizes and accounts for the 11.5 months he has already sat out and had surgery and rehabbed making this much more realistic of a feature.
Many Requested New Minor Features
Your feedback has always been the driving force in the game and some of the most popular items suggested are already in with many more to be added during FirstAccess. The list includes a lockable sub matrix you can reset back to after you have made changes for injuries or other reasons, the ability to play without being fired from your school, revamped and functionally improved recruiting screens, tracking of assistant coach's jobs over his career, tracking of double doubles and triple doubles by season and career, the ability to delete all emails at once, brand new team and individual stat leader screens and so much more!