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Cardinal sins of game design.

#1Dragon NexusPosted 2/24/2013 8:04:03 AM
What are some of the design decisions you tink should not still exist in gaming?

An example.
Slow retry options. I'm playing MGR:Revengeance and it has VR missions where you accomplish tasks within a set time and are graded on how fast you did it.
If I know I've screwed up and taken too long, I'll retry, but doing so means it shows you an unskippable 5 second pan across the level again before letting you start, which is fine the first time but after 20 or so retries it's tiresome having to wait when you just want to get straight back into it. It's what makes games like Trials and Rayman Origins work so well, you die or fail and you're near instantly back at a checkpoint. It doesn't punish failure when you're meant to fail frequently, it just gets you right back in to try again.

Going on from that...Lives. Why do some gmaes still cling to an archaic lives system? Particularly Nintendo games and Sonic. Lives existed in the 8bit and 16 bit era due to memory sizes dictating a shorter game, therefore making it more difficult and limiting your lives and making the game last you longer so you got more value for money. But why put lives in something like the newer Sonic games which are plenty long enough? Or in Mario Galaxy which has a save system, so running out of lives does nothing but dump you to the title screen to make you load your last auto save again which would pretty much take you to where you were before.

So what do you guys have? Those little decisions made during development that must have seemed like a good idea, but only serve to add a thin layer of frustration on anotherwise good game.
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#2Halo_ForeverPosted 2/24/2013 8:17:04 AM
Protecting an NPC who is suicidal, stupid AND mission critical. Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter had a perfect example of a guy you had to protect. He would charge straight into a big canyon full of rocket snipers who would one hit kill him. While it was relaxing to see him explode into gibs, the amount of retries weren't as funny.

The Mary Sue villain whom the production team loves way too much (Reaver from Fable, Aria from Mass Effect 2-3) and you don't kill.
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#3BlueJester007Posted 2/24/2013 8:30:51 AM
Protecting/defending an NPC

Escorting an NPC

No New Game Plus Mode

Not allowing the player to explore an open world (i.e. whenever you try to explore some area, you always get your ass handed to you)

Not allowing the player to customize their equipment (i.e. not being able to choose weapons, choose an outfit, a skill, etc.)
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#4RockguyKevPosted 2/24/2013 8:33:53 AM
There's only 1 and both things Dragon said play into it:

Taking me out of the game.

Load times, slow respawns, repeating cutscenes, etc. Fail states are sooo 1994.
#5656stoogePosted 2/24/2013 8:44:30 AM
Things I hate:

*'SKIP MOVIE PRESS X' flashing at the top of screen during every cutscene.

*Cutscene - walk forward ten steps - cutscene

*Auto saves right before an unskippable cutscene

*Devs that think it's fun to have to mash buttons to open a door or pull a switch
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#6TheBlueStigPosted 2/24/2013 8:50:31 AM
Protect/Defend/Escort missions will ALWAYS be in games, they'll never be removed completely, the best you can ask for is to have the AI improved for the NPC's you're protecting.

The biggest thing that needs to change is to re-add fully customizable controls as well as analog calibration in ALL games. Bad controls can ruin a game experience, and far too many games are getting ruined because the developers are idiots with their control configs.

Day one DLC also needs to end. Make people wait, no less than 2 weeks after launch, but more like 30 days. Get them to play through the game first, THEN give them the DLC.

Demos, the claims that they kill sales are stupid, but demos are still needed for every game, so release the demo on the same day as the DLC, 30 days after the game launches, that way the people are not getting stuck with Beta code in the demos.

The days of the overpowered AI also need to end, allowing the AI to do things that the human player can't do MUST STOP. Force the AI to play under the same parameters as the human player.
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#7CyricsServantPosted 2/24/2013 9:01:48 AM(edited)
Dead Rising, one of my favorite games this gen, had some of the worst game design decisions you could ever come up with.

- Escorting NPCs (with terrrible AI)
- Emphasis on restarting the game to lvl up and progress further
- An extremely limited save system
- TIME LIMITS!!!! ONE OF THE WORST GAME DESIGN CHOICES EVER CONCEIVED!

Amazingly, I walked away enjoying that game, but I despise all those game design choices.

Another I absolutely hate is the decision to make an auto-save only game. Has this ever NOT been completely ****ed up? Every auto-save only game I can think of in recent memory has a reputation for save corruption errors, and for me there's nothing more compelling that will convince me to pass up your game than if it has save corruption errors.

Wolfenstein, Hitman: Absolution, Dead Island . . . pretty much every game that implements an auto-save only "feature" is plagued with this problem. Recently I've been hearing complaints about Dead Space 3's, which not only can get corrupted but will allegedly sometimes not trigger, causing you to lose several chapters of progress.

The decision to make a game auto-save only is the chief cardinal sin a game developer to make, and when their save system ultimately screws up and needs to be patched, and they lose tens of thousands of sales as a result, all I can think is "Good, you ****ers deserve it!"
#8mjc0961Posted 2/24/2013 9:22:25 AM
Dragon Nexus posted...
An example.
Slow retry options. I'm playing MGR:Revengeance and it has VR missions where you accomplish tasks within a set time and are graded on how fast you did it.
If I know I've screwed up and taken too long, I'll retry, but doing so means it shows you an unskippable 5 second pan across the level again before letting you start, which is fine the first time but after 20 or so retries it's tiresome having to wait when you just want to get straight back into it. It's what makes games like Trials and Rayman Origins work so well, you die or fail and you're near instantly back at a checkpoint. It doesn't punish failure when you're meant to fail frequently, it just gets you right back in to try again.


I'll do you one better: games with NO retry option! Enter Gravity Rush, mediocre game for PS Vita. There's a set of 20 challenges you can try to get gold on if you want. Some of them are races, and of course eventually you will know when you f***ed up and need to start over. But can you stop mid-challenge and retry? NO, because the people who made this game are idiots. Your only options are to quit out of the challenge completely, which results in one long loading time (more on that in a minute), followed by going back to the challenge marker which results in more loading, or to finish the challenge anyway and THEN you can get a retry button, which results in the same long loading time as if you had quit. So either way you have to unnecessarily waste time because the devs were too f***ing stupid to put in a retry button for use during a challenge.

See also Burnout Paradise, which committed this sin but in reverse. You can restart in the middle of a race, but if somehow you lose at the last second, NO OPTION TO RETRY! You have to drive all the way back to the f***ing start to get another chance if you actually cross the finish line. Criterion, you absolutely suck.

Anyway, back to Gravity Rush and load times. Did I miss something here? Is PS Vita not using cards for its games? The load times in this title would make you think you're back on PSP waiting for it to read from a UMD. There is absolutely no excuse for the loading times to be this goddamn long!

Add to that that the main reason you fail and need to retry in Gravity Rush is not because you made a mistake, but because the controls are complete balls. Would you like to know how you go fast to win these races? You touch the bottom corners of the screen at the same time and then tilt the Vita around to steer. This creates a problem of not being able to steer accurately because there's no finesse like when using a stick and because tilting the screen around is disorienting. The game also bugs out a lot and suddenly sends you flying in some random direction which you know damn well you did not tell the game to do because the fly button is disabled during the challenge, so the only way it could have happened is through a game bug. So all this crap the game did is forcing me to need another try at this challenge and I can't get one without wasting a bunch of time. Inexcusable, Japan Studio should be dragged into the streets and flogged for their sins against gaming with this title.

Oh, and speaking about the Vita in general (or the DS, 3DS, Wii U, and upcoming DualShock 4): it's not a smartphone. It's a gaming system that has buttons and analog sticks. LET US USE THEM INSTEAD OF FORCING ALL THIS TOUCH GARBAGE WHERE IT DOESN'T BELONG! If I had wanted to play crap with inaccurate controls due to being touch screen only, I would have kept my iPod Touch. But I don't, I want proper games with proper controls, so use the damn buttons instead of the touch screen! I'm running out of characters so I'll just leave this here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/6508-Touch-Waggle-Touch-Waggle-Swipe
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sirtonne posted...
This topic is so stupid I had to slap my wife.
#9Dragon Nexus(Topic Creator)Posted 2/24/2013 9:24:56 AM
From: BlueJester007 | #003
No New Game Plus Mode


I can understand that for some games...but yeah, I think a lot of experience/level based games would do well having a NG+. Some games it just wouldn't work, but if I've played a game through, upgradng myself and reaching the pinacle of performance by the end, what's the ultimate point if I can't use those abilities whenever I want after beating the game? Why limit the best stuff to the last hour of the game?

From: 656stooge | #005
*'SKIP MOVIE PRESS X' flashing at the top of screen during every cutscene.


Ah, Assassins Creed 3...thanks for having so much faith in your cutscenes that you're practically begging me to skip them.

*Devs that think it's fun to have to mash buttons to open a door or pull a switch


God, yeah. I do kinda get it, if you have a rusty lever you're trying to emulate putting effort into moving it or something. But for every lever? It starts to get tiresome. Diminishing returns and all that.

From: TheBlueStig | #006
The biggest thing that needs to change is to re-add fully customizable controls as well as analog calibration in ALL games. Bad controls can ruin a game experience, and far too many games are getting ruined because the developers are idiots with their control configs.


I'll agree with this. I can't see what harm there is as long as you add a "Reset to default" option.

From: CyricsServant | #007
- Escorting NPCs (with terrrible AI)
- Emphasis on restarting the game to lvl up and progress further
- An extremely limited save system
- TIME LIMITS!!!! ONE OF THE WORST GAME DESIGN CHOICES EVER CONCEIVED!


Well for one, the AI is fine. People hate the AI because they expect it to do what the player is doing, jumping over obsticals and making snap decisions. If you start to think of them as people, doing what people would do in that situation, it makes more sense. Plus players seem reluctant to learn how to guide them. You clear a line through the zombies, go into first person mode and press Y to set a waypoint for them to run to. It's so easy doing that. I think most just run through the zombies like an olympic athelete, dodging and climbing and ducking then reaching the door, turning around and seeing the survivors getting stuck and think "WTF lame AI!!"

The restarting the game thing is also a design feature. It's to emphesise trial and error, the point isn't to see everything the first time, but to keep replaying to focus on certain aspects, like maybe this run I'll kill all the psychos. Next run I'll ignore the psychos and just get the surivors. This run I'll only focus on the story.

Limited save system...well yeah, the limited slots is annoying, but the save points are meant to add to the tension Do I go on, or do I head back and go to a save point I know exists but have to go through more zombies?

And the time limit, again, is a design feature. Giving you infinite time to accomplish everything would defeat the point of the game. It's about what you can accomplish when the timer is counting down. It's about tension and prioritising your tasks. They knew they couldn't make it scarey, but they can make it tense by adding that. Though it would be nice to have a free roam mode after completing the game.
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"The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never be sure if they're true" - Abraham Lincoln
#10OrgeLambartPosted 2/24/2013 9:26:08 AM
i'm pretty sure most people hate escort missions, often times the AI you are protecting is flat out stupid or dies insanely fast. Coupled with the fact that most games don't give you options to heal them or give them any types of commands.

i'm pretty sure most escort missions could disappear and nobody would care.

Another one is Time limits on the game, i'm talking about you Dead Raising, most people hate the fact that you are limited in times, some games it works well, other games like Dead Raising it just flat out sucks.