Hi Jim,
Oh, I guess I didn't really mean easy, but possible might have been a
better word for it.  From a design aspect it would be easy. It is
programming it that is complicated/hard as you have to give all of the
player semi-intelligent AI to know when to block, defend, steell the
ball, whatever. To make realistic decisions based on certain
situations in the game.
As far as AI goes it can be a pretty advanced field of study in and of
itself.  I've read a few books on the subject, and there is still
stuff I don't understand clearly. However, building a simple AI really
just requires thinking about what possible situations the game
character will face during your game, and creating a list of
conditions with specific responses attached.
For example, in STFC I had to build a realistic combat intelligent
fleet of enemy ships. As a result it would constantly check the status
of the ship, the enemy, and take a certain type of action based on
statistical data. If the Federation ship was weak, and nearly beaten
the enemy ship might not retreat in the hope of making a solid kill.
However, if that ship was heavily damaged and the Federation ship was
still in combat ready status run away and live to fight another day.
Of course, it was a bit more complicated than that, but this is a
simple example of taking one particular combat situation, and then
performing some intelligent action based on the current situation. Of
course, if you want to give certain ships or a commander a more unique
AI then things get much trickier.
However, all and all the basic principle applies to a game like
basketball. You can give each computer driven player an AI with a list
of rules how to play the game in what situation it should pass the
ball, dribble it, try and make a shot, etc. I don't think anyone is
very good at programming AI driven game players like this at first,
but it is something you can learn with practice. Sometimes it just
takes a little experimentation.

Cheers!

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