AC - What, by defining the 3space coordinates of said roof yourself, and then rendering it and specifying its Solidity, CollisionDetection and HeatConvectionInhibition? properties? Yeah, sounds a pretty good way, I guess...
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For those too lazy to read, basically: Games should be constantly fun and not annoy the player at any point. They should be playable in short doses. Why do people still design contrary to this? --Vitenka
Interesting. If this had been strictly followed, Baldur's Gate (especially 2), GroundControl and others might never have seen the light of day. Surely there's an optimum 'dose' that you can aim at. Most of my favourite games are rather too involved to play in five minute bursts (then again, others are a bit repetitive to play for more than half an hour). --Requiem
Can be played != Must be played. Why can't I pause a mission in GroundControl and then pick it up months later? Why can't I skip over a mission that I don't like, if I choose to do so? It doesn't improve the game any, just makes it more annoying. Saving especially, there is no excuse for not allowing. This is one big plus of console emulators. --Vitenka
Would you skip a chapter of a novel if you didn't like it? (And you can pause a mission in GroundControl.) --Requiem
Yes, of course I would. And do. All the matt and perrin^W^W^W Pippin and Merry bits after entwood, spring to mind. And ye, you can pause - but not for months. Ah, I see and fix an obvious thinko. --Vitenka
Ah. Yes, that makes a modicum more sense. The problem is that if you introduce a mission save feature people abuse it by replaying little bits endlessly till they do it perfectly and repeating ad nauseam. They wanted to avoid that. --Requiem
If people want to do that, why not let them? And if people don't want to feel that they have to do that, why not add some form of 'skip ahead and let a perfect AI play for you for a bit' function? --Vitenka
We're getting to the heart of the matter here. No, the game designers shouldn't let the player do everything the player wants to do. For example, there are some games where by design "thingummies" can't be destroyed once placed by either player. The players sometimes want to, but the designers think/know/feel that the game balance and ultimately the gaming experience is made better by not letting the player do everything in-game that they want to. --AC
Requiem couldn't have put it better. The End User Is Dumb - this applies as much to games as to office packages.
Strongly agree. I think that this sentiment is best expressed in many [articles on magicthegathering.com by Mark Rosewater], in some of his "rules of design" columns. To precis - "it's actually the restrictions that make the experience enjoyable". GroundControl, to use a previous example, would not be a very good game if you could save and reload constantly - GroundControl is good because you don't know what's coming next and you have to find out (or neutralise it without finding out, but that's a fairly poor strategy that won't work against higher-level AIs or humans; so using it the rest of the time is suboptimal). --SF
I agree that GameDesign? principles involve throwing obstacles at the player. But I disagree that the game designer knows best at the time of design. Unless there's an online GM? co-ordinating things, there's no way for the designer to know what kind of thing I want to do at the time of playing. I may have played a given level on a different machine. I may want to play in a game with no foozles whatsoever. Why not give me the option of making those changes and skipping the bits I don't like? Certainly, yes, make a good set of defaults that build to your view of the best game. I may well trust you and play along. But if I want to subtract a plot element, why not let me? You can stick up a big "The game plot kinda needs htis element later and you're removing a big chunk of the game" warning - but let me hit the "Don't care, want quick game then sleep" button. --Vitenka (Users are dumb, but don't dumb users deserve to have the flavour of game they desire too?)
They do, and they get it (console games in general, GTA, Diablo etc). Then they complain that the games not made for that style of play don't suit their style of play. Yeesh. --Requiem
Well, that's fine and all - and you'll note he cites GTA and Diablo as examples of how to do (some parts of) it right. But in general, if some games get it right, why must others choose to get it wrong? How about adding, in general, the ability to rewind, fast forawrd (with an AI player?) and restore from any state? The ability to delete arbitary parts would be nice, but might be hard to do as a VirtualMachine? wrapper. --Vitenka
AC was going to say something similar to Requiem. Note that he does specifically state he's describing the gaming circumstances of youungish people-with-jobs, and that he even says "In my youth, I ...prefered deep, complex worlds with lots of optional assignments, long chats with in-game characters, and backstory. Nowadays, uncomplicated, pick-up-and-put-down, linear but fun experiences (beat-'em-ups, action adventures) or five-minute skirmish matches (RTS or FPS multiplayer or skirmish) are better suited to my time-to-enjoyment ratio.". A lot of his comments are very well targetted (especially the ones on UserInterface?), but when I'm playing a game for an absorbing world or story rather than some adrenaline action, a certain amount of his comments - especially the "short doses" "rule" - just don't apply.
I'd say the "playable in bursts" thing depends on the nature of the game and your target market. I don't see an obvious way, for instance, of making multiplayer RTS games playable in 5-minute bursts in general without sacrificing a *lot*. True, you could make it possible to save and quit the campaign whenever any participant needs the loo, but the experience would be so frustrating no-one would ever bother.. - MoonShadow
Multiplayer is a bit of a special case, since no matter what, different peoples schedules have to coincide. Of course, making most rounds only last five minutes would be a good start. Or enabling drop-in hotseating for games where a persistent world is required. But he's mainly ranting about single player games, which have no excuse. None. --Vitenka
Well, I think he had a good insight when he contrasted the "death holds no fear" of GTA3 etc with the "deliberately get the player terrified of death" of Alien v Predator. The same could apply to save games: there are times when you don't want the player using frequent saves to hedge their bets... I'm surprised how few games I've seen using the system of two different types of savegame: the "quick save-and-quit" savegame intended for game suspension, where the savefile gets *deleted* upon successfully loading; and the normal style (and more restricted) savegame to let you try different things, which are maybe not allowed too often or only a restricted total number allowed. This of course is only suitable for types of games where you have a good reason to prevent the player saving with the aim of endlessly reloading; in a game not of that type, yes, make the saving free, frequent and automatic. --AC
To put this simply - if you try to make me play the same segment of the game twice (and that includes playing a different bit that just feels the same) then unless I wanted to play that bit twice, I'm never going to play that game again. Now, I admit, this is a personal preference - but as the author says - games are supposed to be fun. Let me dip in and out of the game for the bits I want to play. When I want to play a bit with terror, I will. But don't think that you (as game writer) know better than me (as player) what I want to play at any given moment. --Vitenka (And holding out the prospect of a quicksave that then gets erased... that's cold.)
It's a common feature in roguelikes, which is also commonly worked-around by file copying. --ChessyPig
It's not actually quite the same thing in roguelikes; usually the levels are randomly generated, so you *never* play the same thing twice - unless you file copy. Yes, if you die your character starts from level zero with no equipment again - but levelling up is what the game's about, so if you don't like it, roguelikes in the vanilla sense probably aren't gonna be your thing. Now the variants with plots, that's another matter entirely. - MoonShadow
Roguelikes are a good example. If I want to play a bit of 'wander round the dungeon and power up a bit' I can play one for a few minutes. Why can't I drop into other genres as seamlessly? There is the slight problem that you can't start most roguelikes at an arbitary level - which mainly exists because most roguelikes only support a small number of different levels. --Vitenka
Even the ones without plots have different shinies at different levels; if you don't want to lose your shinies, you file-copy. --ChessyPig