PlanetCrap 6.0!
Front Page (ATOM) • Submission Bin (2) • ArchivesUsersLoginCreate Account
You are currently not logged in.
T O P I C
An Optional Allusion
May 27th 2003, 15:27 CEST by m0nty

Games in general, not just computer games, are all about giving the players the ability to make choices from a finite set of possible moves, in order to reach a goal. The more complex the ruleset, the more options you have, and the more varied an experience you can have - and thus (theoretically) the greater the replay value. So why is it that it seems so hard for computer game designers to escape the on-a-rail philosophy of movie directors?

In The Sims, the gameplay is all about choosing options, be it in the friends you keep, the possessions you buy or the design of your house. There is no movie-style narrative at all to speak of, no cutscenes, no story. I don't find it surprising that it is the best selling game of all time as a result.

Now, I could go on and on about particular examples of games that are good and bad at this, but I'm sure you could think of some yourselves. I'll get straight to my point, and it is this: I look at a game like Civilisation 3, which admittedly does have a good range of options in how to play the game, but I want more radio buttons, more drop down menus, more choices of civilisation. I want to be able to check a button labelled "No sea units", for instance. Not because I want to play that way every time, but because it might be fun to try it, it wouldn't hurt the developers to put it in there, and it wouldn't cost them much in development costs. Why not, I ask?

Many FPS games do include lots of options in console menus, but I think this is stupid. If the game has options built in, why not document them, build a friendly interface for them and publicise them to the general public? Developers are only hurting their own game by not letting potential players know that they can insert their MP3s into the current FPS of choice, or change the colour of their character's hair, or modify their default radio soundbites, by typing some arcane series of glyphs into an ugly looking command line interface. Does it really cost that much in development time or quality assurance to add these extra options as part of the general interface?

Even in Max Payne, a game where design is king and the emphasis is on a homogenous experience for every player, would it have hurt Remedy to code in some options to make the gameplay a bit more personalised for each player? Why not code in radio buttons for Max wearing a fedora, or having all Russian-sourced weaponry, or the annoying crying baby sounds to be substituted for annoying sound grabs of Everybody Loves Raymond dialogue? Would it have cost that much? Why so little scope for the player to gain control over their own experience?

One aspect of this issue which annoys me greatly is the packaging of simple modifications to gameplay into expensively-price expansion packs. Civilisation 3 Play The World was perhaps the worst recent offender, with additions which should have been included in a patch chucked into a box that sold for half the price of the original game.

Some of you may counter by pointing to the mod scene, and that's fine, but I want to know what prevents developers from making all that malleability available to casual players through an intuitive interface. Why can't the average punter get more game from their game?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: An Optional Allusion

|«« - Previous Page - Next Page - »»|
#1 by MCorleone
2003-05-27 15:44:58
More options = More testing = More Development time = Unhappy and impatient gamers & unhappy & impatient Publishers.

Caryn, on E3:
"FLASHING LIGHTS FLASHING LIGHTS GIRLS IN PANTIES OH HEY LOOK AT OUR GAME"
#2 by jafd
2003-05-27 15:58:02
I would like more options in my games, specifically, ways to increase and vary the difficulty, but I am told that this is too much fucking work.

"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
#3 by Butt Sauce
2003-05-27 16:00:32
Publishers want games yesterday, whether they're done or not.  It's a lose/lose situation for most developers who are under the thumb of their sugar daddy publishers.

In fact, you could say most developers are whores to the money machine.
#4 by Duality
2003-05-27 16:16:06
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Well more options simply doesn't mean more coding.  In many instances, it also means more balancing.  In the instance of Civ3 and a "no water unit" option, that would seriously tip the balance of wars, since you or the computer could not mount an attack from sea.  Also, there's that whole thing about water being in between continents and all that silly stuff.

In the case of FPS games and the cvars and commands aplenty available in those games -- outside of cheats, I have yet to see a game where console commands are useful to the regular gamer, e.g. direct gameplay changes.  Some people like futzing with options without knowing exactly what it does.  For example, it would be incredibly easy for players to change the rate of packets recieved and ruin their gaming experience because they changed it from the usual to an incredibly high or low number, making multiplayer impossible.

This is why they usually restrict it to the standard dial-up/cable-DSL/LAN-T1.

Considering that more often than not, these settings are for debugging purposes and not necessarily meant to be used by the end user.  They tend to leave them in there, however; because id's gaming community just loves to play with them.

Come back Ally.  Come back Ally's sister ...
#5 by Duality
2003-05-27 16:17:55
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
That said ...

I'd love more options too.  But I don't really expect the developer to give them to me in a tidy GUI if they're not critical to the gameplay experience.

Come back Ally.  Come back Ally's sister ...
#6 by MCorleone
2003-05-27 16:46:28
Also for hidden features it's generally understood that they're unsupported and you're on your own to locate resources to educate yourself on how they work.  If they don't, well, they're unsupported anyway.  Once you put the features on the official list, you'd better support them and they'd better work 100% perfectly else users will scream and your game may take a hit in a review.

Caryn, on E3:
"FLASHING LIGHTS FLASHING LIGHTS GIRLS IN PANTIES OH HEY LOOK AT OUR GAME"
#7 by Caryn
2003-05-27 16:51:21
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Admitting that I myself am not an actual developer (but have direct experience with the dev and studio process), I'd like to say this: those that ask for the level of choice proposed by monty or the insane level of choice proposed by jafd have clearly never made a game.

Duality and McCorleone pretty much summed up the reasons why there is a limit as to how much choice you can offer the gamer. Choice is a good thing, but there's also a limit as to how much of it a developer can reasonably put into a game.

SNIKT!
#8 by jafd
2003-05-27 17:01:12
#6 MCorleone
Once you put the features on the official list, you'd better support them and they'd better work 100% perfectly else users will scream and your game may take a hit in a review.

#7 Caryn
the insane level of choice proposed by jafd
I don't want any support.

However I'm very fond of, for example, the ability to access the console and list available variables and commands and such. Hacking teh matrix, so to speak. Very hip these days.

"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
#9 by Caryn
2003-05-27 17:10:10
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#8 jafd
I don't want any support.


And it still requires work, testing, implementation, etc. Those options don't just magically happen.

SNIKT!
#10 by jafd
2003-05-27 17:15:46
Then it is a good thing that developers are such busy little beavers!

I'll just tend to buy the games with the best beavers.

"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
#11 by mnemonic
2003-05-27 17:18:32
xmnemonic@softhome.net http://jti.developer.graphyx.net
Hell I love some of the undocumented options in games, most notably the gravity and gamespeed settings in ones using the Q3 engine.  RTCW with super high game speed was hilarious- soldiers would like they were teleporting between places, flickering in quantized positions.  Or an assassin would run towards me, only to go shooting off a small incline into the sky, never to be seen again.

Of course, making options like gamespeed and gravity settings fully visible to end users would have major effects on gameplay that would let the player play the game in a way that the developers might not prefer.  The same reasoning exists with cheats in games- they're usually not documented for fears of the player ruining the experience for himself.  Sure you can find them online in a few seconds, but that small obstacle is usually enough to keep one from cheating, at least for a while.  Likewise restraining gameplay adjustment by the player is just a way of maintaining some semblance of how the game was meant to be played.
#12 by deadlock
2003-05-27 17:35:09
http://www.deadlocked.org/
I love easter egg type cheats though. Like in one of the FIFA games, typing in a certain code would cause all of the players' heads to become extremely large. It sounds stupid, but it was comical watching them run around the field like that. There was a great cheat in Deus Ex that replaced every texture in the game with a Matrix-style green text on black one.

give it to me raw, i'll take it home and cook it myself
#13 by Duality
2003-05-27 17:38:18
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
Fun elements like that added to games are great.  That's why I so loved buttering with lowgrav instagib UT2k3.

I wish the community would embrace those a bit more.  Balanced fun is still fun -- meaning no freakin' Renegades mod!

Come back Ally.  Come back Ally's sister ...
#14 by jafd
2003-05-27 17:39:13
#12 deadlock
There was a great cheat in Deus Ex that replaced every texture in the game with a Matrix-style green text on black one.
I am ashamed that I did not know this.

"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
#15 by Marsh Davies
2003-05-27 17:42:43
www.verbalchilli.com
One of the games to do this best was Worms 2 which allowed you to create different game-types very easily and change nearly every setting in the game. It was my favourite game for a long time, specifically because of this massive replay factor.

#16 by Duality
2003-05-27 17:43:01
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
There's also a not-as-cool easter egg for a dance-club level that plays a separate audio track.  Kinda fun, actually.

The Matrix cheat for DX was fabulous.  If only they had a telefragging option!

Come back Ally.  Come back Ally's sister ...
#17 by Warren Marshall
2003-05-27 18:10:02
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
I'll just tend to buy the games with the best beavers.[/quote[
Hentai?

Bubble Bombing Fun!
#18 by Warren Marshall
2003-05-27 18:10:08
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
urk

Bubble Bombing Fun!
#19 by jjohnsen
2003-05-27 18:26:58
http://www.johnsenclan.com
I'd like Vice City to have an option to point to my music directory instead of having to move music to a vice city directory to listen.

"I'm gonna need a hacksaw" -Jack Bauer
#20 by Squeaky
2003-05-27 18:32:10
I'd like Vice City to have an option to point to my music directory instead of having to move music to a vice city directory to listen.

I concur.

Shikin haramitsu daikomyo
DVDs
#21 by MCorleone
2003-05-27 18:32:35
I'd like Vice City to make me milkshakes.  Just thick enough to be a good pull but not so thick that they don't make it up through the straw.  Actually make thickness an option!

Caryn, on E3:
"FLASHING LIGHTS FLASHING LIGHTS GIRLS IN PANTIES OH HEY LOOK AT OUR GAME"
#22 by Squeaky
2003-05-27 18:33:25
And I want GTAIII to give me a pony.

A pony damnit, with my choice of colour!

Shikin haramitsu daikomyo
DVDs
#23 by CheesyPoof
2003-05-27 18:34:36
Well in VC they added motorcycles, so a pony in the next version is not much of a strech.
#24 by Shadarr
2003-05-27 18:37:47
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
jjohnsen,

That feature should be standard in just about every game now.
#25 by Wudi
2003-05-27 18:40:56

Caryn, on E3:
"FLASHING LIGHTS FLASHING LIGHTS GIRLS IN PANTIES OH HEY LOOK AT OUR GAME


I've been to 6 E3's..I don't recall ever seeing actual "Girls in Panties". Hot chicks in the shortest of shorts, Yes.

Was it a dream of yours to be a "Girl in Panties" at an E3 but noone would have you?

Zep--

I want to be a part of the club! Accept me!

Bubble Blast Installer!
#26 by yotsuya
2003-05-27 18:43:10
Wudi-

Shouldn't you be off coding rip-offs of other games right now?

"YES!!  You see people, THAT'S why he's the Vice-President of A/V Services here at Respawn Games.  Yotsuya ALWAYS unleashes the fucking fury!" - Warren Marshall
#27 by Phayyde
2003-05-27 18:43:52
I thought the hippy-gibs in Serious Sam were hilarious.  That was a gui option-menu setting.  Though I wonder how many SSam owners even noticed it.  Is it really productive to provide and support features for the hardcore fringe users?  Or is it just good for the devs soul?

Beat to fit, paint to match.
#28 by Shadarr
2003-05-27 18:51:50
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
m0nty's original request wasn't really catering to the hardcore fringe user.  That type of game already has all sorts of game setup options, which help keep the game fresh for people who play it over and over.  The lack of those options is one of the reasons I don't play Civ3 (the late-game suckage is another).  However, I think it's more to do with Brian Reynolds leaving than anything else.
#29 by Trunks
2003-05-27 18:55:52
Options designed and implemented early - good.  Done late during massive Feature-creep sessions - usually bad, barely tested, buggy as all hell, and usually taken out again after much wasted time.

"Because apparently, Link should be visiting strippers and getting his rocks off every time he blows the magic flute." - LPMiller
#30 by Caryn
2003-05-27 19:05:16
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#25 Wudi

I've been to 6 E3's..I don't recall ever seeing actual "Girls in Panties". Hot chicks in the shortest of shorts, Yes.

Was it a dream of yours to be a "Girl in Panties" at an E3 but noone would have you?


First of all, I don't even know where that came from, especially since I don't recall interacting with you until now on PC.

Second of all, you don't call these panties?

This was my fourth E3, and I've seen this at more than one E3. Thanks, please drive through.

SNIKT!
#31 by jafd
2003-05-27 19:10:30
#19 jjohnsen
I'd like Vice City to have an option to point to my music directory instead of having to move music to a vice city directory to listen.
It does. It's called "Shortcut to:".

At least that is how it worked in GTA3. If it doesn't work that way in VC, I'll be surprised.

You don't read the readme.txt much, huh?

"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
#32 by LPMiller
2003-05-27 19:20:22
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Thank you Caryn. Just...thank you.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#33 by Charles
2003-05-27 19:20:41
www.bluh.org
More options = More testing = More Development time = Unhappy and impatient gamers & unhappy & impatient Publishers.


EOD, really.  And I'd like to add that it isn't linear.

Of course, this is only a minor technicality, as even when "properly elected" into office, a politician has as much chance of not having gotten there via corrupt means as Dubya has of spelling racecar backwards.  --UncleJeet
#34 by Warren Marshall
2003-05-27 19:20:50
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
You don't read the readme.txt much, huh?

And you do?

*points*
*laughs*

Bubble Bombing Fun!
#35 by Marsh Davies
2003-05-27 19:23:33
www.verbalchilli.com
Second of all, you don't call these panties?

PlanetCrap suddenly becomes Gaming Illustrated's top referer.

#36 by Sgt Hulka
2003-05-27 19:24:28
Warren Marshal #18 urk


I believe the proper syntax is [/urk!

Doomed! the Movie - Videogames Turn Deadly...
#37 by "Balderama"
2003-05-27 19:26:15
support@real.com www.planetcrap.com
This place sucks. Why is there no email-less registration yet?
#38 by Sgt Hulka
2003-05-27 19:26:50
First of all, I don't even know where that came from, especially since I don't recall interacting with you until now on PC.

Second of all, you don't call these panties?


Those girls could probably tell you all the intricate details about the game too. /snicker

At least these Girls of E3 seem to know about the games, that is when they're not answering questions about thier breasts.

Doomed! the Movie - Videogames Turn Deadly...
#39 by Caryn
2003-05-27 19:29:54
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#38 Sgt Hulka
At least these Girls of E3 seem to know about the games, that is when they're not answering questions about thier breasts.


Back when I was at GameSpy I wanted to do an article similar to Leno's "Jaywalking" where I'd go up to the boothbabes and ask them questions about the game engine, the modeling system, and things like that. Never did do it.

SNIKT!
#40 by mrbloo
2003-05-27 19:31:58
mrbloo2000@hotmail.com
You should have, I'd definitely read it for laughs.  Although maybe you'd be making fun of the wrong people, it looks humiliating enough just being there.
#41 by Sgt Hulka
2003-05-27 19:32:41
Caryn, filming that could provide for some "uncomfortable silence".

:)

Doomed! the Movie - Videogames Turn Deadly...
#42 by "Balderama"
2003-05-27 19:34:23
support@real.com www.planetcrap.com
I'd sure like to see Caryn in panties though.
#43 by MCorleone
2003-05-27 19:35:02
That video was funny enough as it is.  "This game is excellent.  It's going to be out for the XBox first and then it's going to become PC."  

Magic!

Caryn, on E3:
"FLASHING LIGHTS FLASHING LIGHTS GIRLS IN PANTIES OH HEY LOOK AT OUR GAME"
#44 by Sgt Hulka
2003-05-27 19:37:40
Yeah, that line stuck out for me too MCorleone.  It reminded me why I hate going to E3 shows.

Doomed! the Movie - Videogames Turn Deadly...
#45 by Caryn
2003-05-27 19:38:55
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#40 mrbloo
You should have, I'd definitely read it for laughs.  Although maybe you'd be making fun of the wrong people, it looks humiliating enough just being there.


I think that's why I never did it. I would have felt like I was picking on these girls who are really just likely doing this to earn some money and try and build up experience for a modeling career or something. Mainly I just wanted at the time to highlight how funny it is to use scantily-clad pretty women to entice someone into looking at a video game.

SNIKT!
#46 by zimbardo_ugly
2003-05-27 19:47:10
zimbardo_ugly@hotmail.com
#45 by Caryn

Mainly I just wanted at the time to highlight how funny it is to use scantily-clad pretty women to entice someone into looking at a video game.


Isn't that America's most sacred tradition?

.i lu doi ringos.star. xu do puku'aroroi dunli dopecaku leni virnu li'u
.i lu go'i co'i le pamoi se morji be mi li'u
#47 by Caryn
2003-05-27 19:47:59
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
#46 zimbardo_ugly
Isn't that America's most sacred tradition?


Sure. Doesn't mean it isn't incredibly silly.

SNIKT!
#48 by Chunkstyle
2003-05-27 19:51:19
Does using booth-babes work?  Do booths with babes and lackluster games draw more traffic than those booths without babes?  Do the babed booths draw traffic comparable to the booths of top tier games?

Evil comes from the abuse of free will.
- C. S. Lewis
#49 by LPMiller
2003-05-27 19:56:38
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
I dunno that anyone really cares enough to look.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#50 by Warren Marshall
2003-05-27 19:57:42
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Do the babed booths draw traffic comparable to the booths of top tier games?

You've clearly never experienced the DOA Volleyball booth.

Bubble Bombing Fun!
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: An Optional Allusion

|«« - Previous Page - Next Page - »»|
P O S T   A   C O M M E N T

You need to be logged in to post a comment here. If you don't have an account yet, you can create one here. Registration is free.
C R A P T A G S
Simple formatting: [b]bold[/b], [i]italic[/i], [u]underline[/u]
Web Links: [url=www.mans.de]Cool Site[/url], [url]www.mans.de[/url]
Email Links: [email=some@email.com]Email me[/email], [email]some@email.com[/email]
Simple formatting: Quoted text: [quote]Yadda yadda[/quote]
Front Page (ATOM) • Submission Bin (2) • ArchivesUsersLoginCreate Account
You are currently not logged in.
There are currently 0 people browsing this site. [Details]