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Author Topic: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design  (Read 40904 times)

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BŁge

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #100 on: February 01, 2008, 12:06:16 PM »

You're still thinking too much about adventure games for some reason.

My computer is very old. Adventure games are pretty much all I've got to work with.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #101 on: February 01, 2008, 01:25:23 PM »

In my experience, a wider path is a shorter path.  That's a problem for developers.  They can create several ways of solving a problem, but that often necessitates limiting the actual amount of content that the player experiences during each solution, and it rarely affects the overall plot in a significant way.  Here I'm thinking about Hitman, Deus Ex, Fallout.

This is absolutely true, but there's not a good way to solve it. If there's four discrete ways to solve a puzzle, then either that puzzle will be one-quarter as polished as it would have been if there had only been one way to do it, or the whole area would take four times as long to develop. Development times and costs are already astronomical, of course, so it's not hard to see the appeal of single-path games.

There's two kludges for this. First, you do it the way Valve does it; there's only ever one path in Half-Life, but they've mastered the art of making you choose that path the first time around. This "illusion of control" technique is has a rich tradition in Dungeons and Dragons - the DM only has so much time to develop this week's game, and he can't account for everything the players might choose to do, so he manipulates the players into choosing the path that he's developed. Valve runs the same gambit, but they have the advantage of having "soft" blockades for the false paths. If you try to solve something in a Half-Life game in a way that won't work, you won't walk into an invisible wall; there'll be some credible reason why your first choice won't work.

Second, you sandbox. This is another D&D tradition; instead of designing a scenario with a specific solution in mind, you just design an area in the most thorough, realistic way possible, and leave it to the players to sort out the best way to approach things. This is an exceedingly rare technique in games, in part because it's still pretty expensive and complicated, but if you can make it work well, as in the Thief games, it works really well.
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Sharkey

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #102 on: February 01, 2008, 01:40:25 PM »

Second, you sandbox. This is another D&D tradition; instead of designing a scenario with a specific solution in mind, you just design an area in the most thorough, realistic way possible, and leave it to the players to sort out the best way to approach things. This is an exceedingly rare technique in games, in part because it's still pretty expensive and complicated, but if you can make it work well, as in the Thief games, it works really well.

Thank you, this was what I was trying to get across. And it has been significantly harder to do so ever since "Sandbox" and "Emergent Gameplay" became buzzwords diluted to the point of meaninglessness.
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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #103 on: February 01, 2008, 01:45:40 PM »

Yeah, too often anymore "sandbox" simply means "choose the order in which you do these linear sub-missions".
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Kazz

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #104 on: February 02, 2008, 04:52:37 PM »

With the option to run people over in between sub-missions.
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Brentai

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #105 on: February 02, 2008, 05:26:44 PM »

If you have to put escort missions in your game, please, please, please keep the AI as minimal and non-suicidal as possible.  This is a real problem in tactics games where the friendly AI is on the same level as the enemy AI - which was intentionally made stupid as fuck to give the lowest common denomination of players a chance.
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Spikey

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #106 on: February 04, 2008, 12:13:02 AM »

If you have to put escort missions in your game, please, please, please keep the AI as minimal and non-suicidal as possible.  This is a real problem in tactics games where the friendly AI is on the same level as the enemy AI - which was intentionally made stupid as fuck to give the lowest common denomination of players a chance.

Sounds like somebody's been playing Days of Ruin.
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PhoenixUltima

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #107 on: February 05, 2008, 06:14:11 AM »

Most RPGs, MMO or otherwise, seem to have that problem. You walk into town wearing a god's skull, and people don't turn a hair. Even in less outrageous games, like Fallout for instance, you'd think people would comment on your arsenal.

A couple of towns in Fallout 2 had the random town NPCs saying different things if you were wearing a suit of powered armor (the prostitutes in New Reno being a high point). Ironically, the gun laws in FO2 were much more relaxed, such that in most towns nobody ever even noticed you walking around holding out a big-ass turbo plasma rifle. Except in NCR, where pulling out a gun in public would get you a warning, followed fairly quickly by every policeman in the city turning hostile and trying to shoot you to death. Nice touch, there.

On Oblivion: the best way I've found to walk all over everything is to get/make some stuff that has +20% chameleon bonuses on it (+30% is possible if you're high-level enough and can be bothered to farm sigilstones looking for the one specific kind that gives chameleon enchantments, and there's a ring you get for one of the daedric quests that has +35% and a +10 speed boost to boot), and wear it all at once so you have 100% chameleon. The AI more or less can't react to you at all with 100% chameleon on, so they just stand there while you whack them in the face with your daedric longsword of +20 fire damage or whatever. Sometimes they'll bring out their weapon, then put it back and say something like "hummmm. Must've just been a rat" even as you continue to pummel them mercilessly. If that's too broken for you, then consider getting a set of nice clothes and enchanting them all so that they add up to a +85 shield enchantment. You'll not only have a set of very light clothing (about 5 pounds or so, not enough to care about when you have 100 STR) that protects for as much as a full set of armor and can't be damaged (no need to carry repair hammers around! Huzzah!), but because you're not technically wearing armor you'll also have 100% spellcasting efficiency, something that can come in handy if you focus on destruction or conjuration.

Or if you have no life whatsoever, like me, you can just get every skill and stat to 100 and level up to something like 51. Or don't bother with the leveling up, because with 100 skill in everything any level 1-4 thing you come across is going to be made of wet tissue paper, whereas if you bother to go up to 51 then the lowly goblin can still present you with at least a minor challenge, especially the shamans and warlords.

Or don't bother playing the game properly at all and instead just dupe lots of watermelons or apples or other round objects on top of a large hill. Or dupe a whole big stack of books so that they explode in a pretty moving line pattern. That's a lot more fun than grinding your blade skill to 100 on a bunch of immortal scamps with an iron dagger.
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Thad

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #108 on: February 06, 2008, 04:39:28 PM »

...So I just made my way through Nabudis for 3 hunts.

That consisted of TWO HOURS of play without a fucking save point.

And when I DID get to a save point, it turned out to be a monster I had to fight before I could save.

The fake save point had the ability to use Restore and completely replenish its HP every time I damaged it.

I eventually figured out I could kill it by Mist-spamming, but seriously, that's just...how did that even get IN there?  It's like a massive "fuck you" to the player.  I can see JOKING about it if I were a dev, but I can't imagine ever actually DOING that to somebody.
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Disposable Ninja

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #109 on: February 06, 2008, 05:46:41 PM »

Oh speaking of FFXII:

Zodiac Spear. There's a right way and a wrong way to make getting an awesomely awesome weapon difficult to get, and FFXII chose the wrong way.
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Kayma

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #110 on: February 06, 2008, 07:17:14 PM »

Oh speaking of FFXII:

Zodiac Spear. There's a right way and a wrong way to make getting an awesomely awesome weapon difficult to get, and FFXII chose the wrong way.

What? I fail to see what's utterly retarded about rewarding players for not opening random chests.
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Brentai

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #111 on: February 06, 2008, 08:45:24 PM »

...So I just made my way through Nabudis for 3 hunts.

That consisted of TWO HOURS of play without a fucking save point.

And when I DID get to a save point, it turned out to be a monster I had to fight before I could save.

The fake save point had the ability to use Restore and completely replenish its HP every time I damaged it.

I eventually figured out I could kill it by Mist-spamming, but seriously, that's just...how did that even get IN there?  It's like a massive "fuck you" to the player.  I can see JOKING about it if I were a dev, but I can't imagine ever actually DOING that to somebody.

Remember the end of Parasite Eve?  After fighting the (really hard) final boss, the stupid thing turns into some green shitpile and starts chasing you.  Right as the sequence begins there's a save point you used earlier, only if you try that now it tells you the thing's broken and furthermore doesn't let you move again until you've already been caught and killed by the boss.  Game over, do it again.
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Norondor

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #112 on: February 08, 2008, 01:02:39 AM »

Oh yeah, that was when i threw my copy of PE into the street.

I still love the game's combat system to death, but fuck absolutely everything about the last boss encounter.
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sei

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #113 on: February 08, 2008, 01:34:05 AM »

Ridiculous amounts of backtracking.
Even worse when timed.  Fuck you, Phantom Hourglass.  Yes, I know it had shortcuts open up with acquisition of new items, but it was still irritating.
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sei

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #114 on: February 08, 2008, 02:50:19 AM »

This making spells not based on weapon damage, but making weapon skills based on weapon damage shit that the industry is so into?  It needs to stop.
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Brentai

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #115 on: February 08, 2008, 10:16:45 PM »

I still love the game's combat system to death, but fuck absolutely everything about the last boss encounter.

Everything?  What about the flaming black guy who jumps out of an airplane to give you bullets?
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Disposable Ninja

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #116 on: February 08, 2008, 11:24:55 PM »

This making spells not based on weapon damage, but making weapon skills based on weapon damage shit that the industry is so into?  It needs to stop.

what?
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Bal

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #117 on: February 09, 2008, 01:56:23 AM »

Hellgate: London, for all it's flaws, handles caster scaling extremely well simply by tying spell/skill damage to weapons just like everyone else.
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Norondor

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #118 on: February 09, 2008, 02:13:20 AM »

Everything?  What about the flaming black guy who jumps out of an airplane to give you bullets?

ain't no gettin offa this train we're on
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Thad

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #119 on: February 09, 2008, 11:39:37 AM »

AIN'T NO GETTIN' OFFA THIS TRAIN WE'RE ON
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