A developer's perspective; the current generation of consoles

#51QuasaromegaPosted 12/29/2013 11:25:48 PM(edited)
Hands down, this is one of the best topics on any of the system boards. Kudos, Mr. Developer!

I agree, too; while I certainly like the eye candy (I played GTAV recently and was awestruck by how incredible the city looked at night from a distance), there's something much greater to be said about games like Minecraft, Resogun, and even otherwise generic, little known games like Divinity II. There's a lot of creativity in these titles that simply wouldn't have come to light if the focus was merely on graphics and frames.

Edit: I also somehow skipped the crux of what you're saying. The capabilities of all three new-gen consoles certainly could bring forth some interesting ideas. I remember playing on the DS, and thinking, "Whoa, I draw on this thing, as a gamplay machanic?!" Likewise, the example you bring up of flipping someone off using the kinect would be freaking cool.

I've always wanted a wizard-rune game on the Kinect, ever since reading about the idea on Cracked.com, of all places. A game the tracks your hand movements/words to incant a spell, with a focus on online PvP. Concepts like that may not ever get the realization I hope for, but I am very happy to see that a developer still has his heart where it counts. ^_^

I really appreciate your insight, Sigma. :)
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Since September 23, 2000!
#52ChancoPosted 12/30/2013 4:31:13 AM
Unfortunately, you seem to have deflated your own argument that the new generation will see masses of unique and innovative experiences, with comments, like "it won an award but didn't make any money" or "it won a studio award but didn't get any funding".

Big studios only make big games and their overheads are too high to take any creative risks. Even the platform specific big studio titles follow the same experience (only performance optimised for the target platform) as those provided by the multi-plats.

How many DS games had genuinely unique control experiences (such as the original Wario DS game) rather than lamely tacked on controls?

We had Wii Sports and Wii Fit, other than those, what other games made brilliant use of the Wii controller hardware. Most things felt like exactly what they were, a lower resolution version of the PS3/360 game with tacked on motion controls.

How many big studio games made any (never mind interesting) use of the original Kinect?

What about the Six-Axis control. Support for that seemed to get dropped quicker than a lift with the cable cut.

When we looked at the last generation, some of the more interesting ideas came from the tiny, almost one man band studios, because their overheads were tiny, could afford to be different and take the risks and didn't have to answer to the non games playing "suits" that ran the company and had ultimate decision / funding control.

I can't for the life of me seeing the big studios doing anything different. That is, creating the same game on each platform and paying at best, lip service to any unique features provided by the target platform. Once again, it's going to be the Indy/Arcade developers that bring the unique / creative ideas.

To my mind (and this is only my opinion), the biggest "innovation" with the new generation is the second screen ability of the Wii-U and PS4/Vita. If your console is in a dedicated room then this isn't important, but if your console lives in a shared room where other people want to use the TV, then the ability to continue with your game even when you've lost exclusive custody of the TV is a major bonus.

Motion control is old hat and we've not seen anything innovative from the big studios since it's launch. The Kinect has had plenty of time to mature on the 360 and what have we got to show for it from the big studios? Dancing games and some really awful fighting games. The innovative use of Kinect has been nothing to do with games, but when universities etc have used the hardware (often cannibalised) for research projects.

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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#53krystylaPosted 12/30/2013 4:33:15 AM
garcia_jx posted...
Evel138 posted...
I loved the combat of The Witcher 2. Not to pat myself on the back (lie), but I beat it on the hardest difficulty. To me, that's the measure of great gameplay, if its fun on hard.

Loved every minute of it.


How the hell did you beat the assassin of Kings the first time you met on the hardest difficulty? He totally destroyed me on normal. I had to change it to easy just to beat him.


Me too, I managed the original tutorial by lucking out and executing the big guy but Leto, I think that was his name was impossible for me
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#54SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 12/30/2013 4:54:12 AM
Chanco posted...
Unfortunately, you seem to have deflated your own argument that the new generation will see masses of unique and innovative experiences, with comments, like "it won an award but didn't make any money" or "it won a studio award but didn't get any funding".

Big studios only make big games and their overheads are too high to take any creative risks. Even the platform specific big studio titles follow the same experience (only performance optimised for the target platform) as those provided by the multi-plats.

How many DS games had genuinely unique control experiences (such as the original Wario DS game) rather than lamely tacked on controls?

We had Wii Sports and Wii Fit, other than those, what other games made brilliant use of the Wii controller hardware. Most things felt like exactly what they were, a lower resolution version of the PS3/360 game with tacked on motion controls.

How many big studio games made any (never mind interesting) use of the original Kinect?6

What about the Six-Axis control. Support for that seemed to get dropped quicker than a lift with the cable cut.

When we looked at the last generation, some of the more interesting ideas came from the tiny, almost one man band studios, because their overheads were tiny, could afford to be different and take the risks and didn't have to answer to the non games playing "suits" that ran the company and had ultimate decision / funding control.

I can't for the life of me seeing the big studios doing anything different. That is, creating the same game on each platform and paying at best, lip service to any unique features provided by the target platform. Once again, it's going to be the Indy/Arcade developers that bring the unique / creative ideas.

To my mind (and this is only my opinion), the biggest "innovation" with the new generation is the second screen ability of the Wii-U and PS4/Vita. If your console is in a dedicated room then this isn't important, but if your console lives in a shared room where other people want to use the TV, then the ability to continue with your game even when you've lost exclusive custody of the TV is a major bonus.

As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


A well-worded post and excellent insight from yerself there, my friend.

I think people tend to oversell the phrase "innovation". In my opinion the massive leaps are the ones that tend to be exceptional technical showcases, but poorly-adopted gaming mechanics because people can't successfully emulate them and they're binned as "crap gimmicks". The subtle, tiny innovations are the ones that change the way we play and build games - things like the waist-high wall in the shooting game, or even the checkpoint saving system - these are the innovations that alter the landscape of game design.

The thing is, the former, more dramatic technological and design advancements are often temporary flops - history proves that they return when the technology and market ripens and readies a bit more. I think the level of acceptance raises dramatically when you can say, "it's like X, except not crap any longer".

Everything from motion controls and bodyframe tracking (Kinect) to virtual environment immersion (Oculus Rift) has been done many times before to much lower success in the past, but people are generally more accepting when a technology is in the second or even third iteration.
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#55SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 12/30/2013 4:54:46 AM
(Cont)

I know Gamefaqs is generally very vocal about how much it hates things like Kinect, but the general consumer actually thinks it's an exciting, cool piece of kit - some of my family actually thought I was playing an elaborate trick when I was using it to navigate menus and Netflix, for example, because "I didn't think something like that actually existed yet".

History, as you say, does tend to repeat itself, but every time it does so with new technology, we accept and repair the issues that held it back previously. It's the tiny subtle innovations WITHIN the new technology that change the way we play games, not the technology itself - but in order to get that far, we have to at least have faith in the devices themselves.
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#56ChancoPosted 12/30/2013 5:50:52 AM
I think the Kinect is a very interesting piece of hardware and using it to control the XBox dashboard is impressive and as you say, certainly a good way of impressing friends / relatives.

That being said, it doesn't seem to add anything to the gaming experience, other than facilitating dancing games. It seems to fall into the same problem area as smartphones. So long as what you're playing is very simple (Fruit Ninja for example) then the technology is fine, but try anything that requires more complicated control (such as trying to play an FPS or an emulated console game) and the limitations of the touch screen (and it's lack of tactile feedback as to where the buttons are etc) make playing things harder, not easier.

A classic example is Forsa. It was neat being able to rotate cars in the car exploration mode and menus etc, but you soon found yourself reverting to the controller. Then we get to the thorny issue of actually driving a car using Kinect. When I drive a real car, the weight of my arms are being supported by the fact that I'm holding/rest my hands on a steering wheel. I don't suffer muscle fatigue by trying to hold my arms unsupported in front of me. This is what happened with Forza and thus you treat Kinect control is an interesting gimmick and then revert to using the controller.

How about voice control? Unfortunately, just like voice control on your phone or in your car, it's too hit and miss to be used as a reliable and viable control method in games. Having to repeat a phrase repeatedly to get your console to play a film or change channels is irritating, having your instructions ignored or misinterpreted whilst in the heat of a game will almost certainly result in you losing the event. Not good.

This is nothing new. I can remember playing one of the Tom Clancy FPS games which had voice recognition. You used voice controls for ordering you team and setting up the appropriate approach through a locked door. There were two problems, firstly, there were too many times when the game misinterpreted my instructions. A request for "Breach, bang and clear" would be interpreted as Breach and clear" which then resulted in half my squad being wiped out as they burst through the door into a group of enemy NOT stunned by the flash grenade I'd requested. The second problem is that it takes a lot longer to say "Breach bang and clear" (often several times) than it does to simply press right on the D-Pad. So once again you quickly get end up ditching the voice controls.

I am always happy to be proved wrong, but it doesn't bode well for the future when there aren't any exciting uses of Kinect on the XBone. Kinect 2.0 isn't revolutionary, it's simply a more powerful version of what has been available on the 360 for several years. What have we got at launch? A dancing game and a truly dreadful fighting game. Didn't we have those when the original Kinect launched all those years ago?
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#57SgtGalaxyPosted 12/30/2013 6:38:38 AM
What do you think of the oculus rift Mr.Developer?

Do you believe that it will innovative the gaming industry,and do you think if the kinect and oculus came together it would make something amazing?
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#58SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 12/30/2013 11:02:56 AM
SgtGalaxy posted...
What do you think of the oculus rift Mr.Developer?

Do you believe that it will innovative the gaming industry,and do you think if the kinect and oculus came together it would make something amazing?


Incidentally, I think the technology at the moment is exciting and awe-inspiring but as a marketable, mass-produced product I think it'll struggle. The current production costs are too high to lower RRP enough to make it more than a niche product. But if money was no object, I'd find it amazing to work with/on.

This is why I cite Kinect - the original was a dry run, a tester, and I believe the Kinect 2 is the intermediate level, a far more accomplished product with a few issues still left to iron out. The third version (and I assure you, there will be a third) will likely be the perfect balance of technological accuracy and affordability for both the manufacturer and consumer. In this same way I think Oculus Rift will be the primary tester, where only the truly intrigued will purchase it. After that a slew of "inspired" technology will pop up, perhaps by a company with a lot more revenue behind them , and we'll see a more established, perhaps even "packed in" Oculus Rift 2 that more people can afford and champion.
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#59Ryo_HazzukiPosted 12/30/2013 4:56:45 PM
I appreciate your insight and posts, but if you say you work at a big game studio, I'd assume you'd list some of the games you worked on, and if you forgot then list them now, otherwise I see this as a BS topic and cannot take your posts seriously.
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#60SigmaLongshot(Topic Creator)Posted 12/30/2013 5:10:15 PM
Ryo_Hazzuki posted...
I appreciate your insight and posts, but if you say you work at a big game studio, I'd assume you'd list some of the games you worked on, and if you forgot then list them now, otherwise I see this as a BS topic and cannot take your posts seriously.


I'm careful about being flagrant about what I do. I'm by no means a big cheese. I'm a foot soldier in the world of game development, and though the company I work for is exceptionally tolerant and kind to me, many people (especially in the past three years) have been fired for speaking on the company's behalf.

I guess I'm not splitting hairs or speaking out of turn by saying I have worked on Viva Pinata 2: Trouble in Paradise, Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts, and more recently, Driver: San Francisco.

I can't really place more hints and nudges without doing the company promotion deal which would implicate me in some way. :)
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