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Author Topic: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design  (Read 40880 times)

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Burrito Al Pastor

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #80 on: January 30, 2008, 02:39:43 PM »

This is another one of those things where it's really best that they not do it at all unless they can do it really, really well. They did it in Oblivion, and there's many, many mods to disable it.
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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #81 on: January 30, 2008, 02:56:54 PM »

Are you talking about the super-psychical magic guards?
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Bal

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #82 on: January 30, 2008, 03:25:27 PM »

This is another one of those things where it's really best that they not do it at all unless they can do it really, really well. They did it in Oblivion, and there's many, many mods to disable it.

The main problem with Oblivion is that you never really are an unstoppable monster, no matter how cool you get. Why is the world in trouble when town guards can kick your ass any time they want, and you're an incredibly skilled fighter, of some kind, but it never matters or feels like it at all.
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Sharkey

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #83 on: January 30, 2008, 03:30:32 PM »

Well, this particular example pretty well fits what I originally had in mind for the thread: Making gray mobs cower would be pretty much non-work and unquestionably improve the experience for all involved. It doesn't even actually change the gameplay, so it's not something you could argue against from that perspective. It's pretty much just taking the cowering animation, which is already present in damn near every MMO ever, and having it trigger when a mob sees you in aggro range and you con too high. There may be some exceptions where this would, for some damn reason, be impossible to slip into the game. In most cases it could be done with just a couple lines of code and no additional necessary assets.

It's just one of those things that there's no real reason not to do.
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Sharkey

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #84 on: January 30, 2008, 03:33:17 PM »

This is another one of those things where it's really best that they not do it at all unless they can do it really, really well. They did it in Oblivion, and there's many, many mods to disable it.

The main problem with Oblivion is that you never really are and unstoppable monster, no matter how cool you get. Why is the world in trouble when town guards can kick you ass any time they want, and you're an incredibly skilled fighter, of some kind, but it never matters or feels like it at all.

Actually, with a minimum of effort I was able to mow down guards about a half dozen at a time. If I remember right, though, I imbued (or whatever it was called) a samurai sword with one of those doodads you got for closing an oblivion gate. I'd also never bothered sleeping and leveling up. Using it for such foolishness ate through soulstones like candy, but it was a great way to take out frustration. I called it the Sharkatana, and it was a murder machine.

Oblivion's fucking bonkers leveling system and the best ways to take advantage of it (hint: do the exact opposite of anything that makes sense) is a whole other issue, though.
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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #85 on: January 30, 2008, 04:06:54 PM »

There's a damn good gameplay reason for outleveled stuff not to attack you- especially in games with a separate combat mode that switches on.

That'd be another complaint on the Gambit System: your guys still want to attack every damn level-1 wolf they see.

Fallout for instance, you'd think people would comment on your arsenal.

They... did, but only for like, the first town. After which point no one cared that you were toting about horrific and alien death wands.

Remember in KotOR where you first meet Bastila and she says she needs to keep a low profile and then wanders around town carrying a lightsabre?

There are, at least, characters either later in the game or in the sequel, I can't remember which, who react differently to you if you've got one equipped.
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Fredward

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #86 on: January 30, 2008, 04:39:26 PM »

From what I recall, they call you "Master Jedi" whether you're wielding a lightsaber or not.  :hurr:
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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #87 on: January 30, 2008, 04:49:24 PM »

Making in-game rewards merely a function of willingness to spend a lot of time doing menial work.

This is most horrible because players then EXPECT to be awarded for being stubborn rather than smart or skilled.

Niku

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #88 on: January 30, 2008, 08:03:29 PM »

This is most horrible because players then EXPECT to be awarded for being stubborn rather than smart or skilled.

"What do you mean I suddenly have to be able to jump through the moving spike corridor!?  I ALREADY REALIZED IT WAS MOVING!"
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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #89 on: January 30, 2008, 08:11:26 PM »

This is another one of those things where it's really best that they not do it at all unless they can do it really, really well. They did it in Oblivion, and there's many, many mods to disable it.

The main problem with Oblivion is that you never really are an unstoppable monster, no matter how cool you get. Why is the world in trouble when town guards can kick your ass any time they want, and you're an incredibly skilled fighter, of some kind, but it never matters or feels like it at all.

Actually, town guards and other late-game escort NPCs DO NOT FUCKING LEVEL UP. So, you really can mow down NPC guards without much trouble. In fact, most everything that you don't have to melee with is prettymuch a cakewalk except for a few rough spots where your level outstrips the gear you've been getting for drops. In Oblivion, like most WRPGs, it's the quality of your gear that makes you a killing machine. This is further emphasized by the gimped spell-creation system.


There was a ramble here that was moved to a more appropriate topic.
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Sharkey

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #90 on: January 31, 2008, 03:59:16 AM »

Making in-game rewards merely a function of willingness to spend a lot of time doing menial work.

This is most horrible because players then EXPECT to be awarded for being stubborn rather than smart or skilled.

This is actually a problem I have with the general philosophy of many people. The idea that, regardless of innate talent or cleverness, deficiency can be overcome by sheer bloody mindedness. It's something we train people to believe from birth, and MMOs sure as fuck can't be helping.

... This is further emphasized by the gimped spell-creation system.

Alas, I would love to see an extensive spell/aether/whateverthefuck-effect customization system in pretty much any game- especially an MMO. Something involving a balanced system of tradeoffs for damage, recast time, healing potential, debuff, immobilization, weird AI effects, whatever. Of course, actually balancing this would be a nightmare. It'd be minmaxed within hours, but the potential for creativity would be righteous.

...

Mostly this is because I would like to create a "Healing arrow." Which thunks into the target's chest, causing a red number to pop up, along with another green number. The green number would be either bigger or smaller than the red one depending on how much of a dick you felt like at the time.
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Kazz

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #91 on: January 31, 2008, 05:05:58 AM »

Oblivion had a difficulty slider which made any given encounter fun and easy.  I recall stripping all of my armor off and punching that orc arena champion to death right after agreeing to help him find his family or whatever.

And then I kept that faggot with the torch around for a while, because he had a torch, but then he got stuck in a cave so I punched him to death too.  Then I went through a gate and punched Hell to death and then I uninstalled the game.

Sharkey:

Balancing is easy.  The key thing to remember is that something twice as good should cost at least four times as much.
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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #92 on: January 31, 2008, 10:17:12 AM »

This is actually a problem I have with the general philosophy of many people. The idea that, regardless of innate talent or cleverness, deficiency can be overcome by sheer bloody mindedness. It's something we train people to believe from birth, and MMOs sure as fuck can't be helping.

That's because anyone can be stubborn and stick to a task. If you take things the opposite direction, you run into the kind of problems that killed adventure games, like the totally non-intuitive solution. How the heck was I supposed to know to kill the cat with the boot in King's Quest V before it ate the mouse? You could argue that there's an element of Chekhov's Gun in some of the older games, but with the kind of processing power and graphics capability these days, you can afford to put lots of dead ends and red herrings into a game for the sake of verisimilitude. Just look at all the worthless junk you can accumulate in Oblivion.

Besides, there's a limited amount of ways you can program a game to allow for inventiveness. Chances are, a lot of people will just go onto gamefaqs or buy the strategy guide to find out the finite ways of performing a task. It seems like for most games, you can only be clever the first time around.
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Sharkey

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #93 on: January 31, 2008, 10:54:35 AM »


That's because anyone can be stubborn and stick to a task. If you take things the opposite direction, you run into the kind of problems that killed adventure games, like the totally non-intuitive solution.

But it swings too far in the opposite direction when all there is to do is stubbornly kill boars until your numbers get bigger and this is so central to the game that any attempt to bring cleverness to the table is considered an exploit.

Besides, there's a limited amount of ways you can program a game to allow for inventiveness. Chances are, a lot of people will just go onto gamefaqs or buy the strategy guide to find out the finite ways of performing a task. It seems like for most games, you can only be clever the first time around.

You're still thinking too much about adventure games for some reason. Sure, there are a very limited number of things you can allow players to do if you're painstakingly crafting each and every problem and solution. This was something learned in the most unfortunate way, back at the very beginning with Habitat. The developers spent months crafting an intricate sequence of adventure-game style puzzles, which were solved by a single person in a matter of hours.

What you can do, however, is create obstacles and a great big mess of tools that can be used together in near-infinite combination toward overcoming those obstacles. Some of the earliest MMOs were almost like this: a kitchen sink of all those things you could do in Western RPGs because nobody had really much idea what they were supposed to be doing. It made for a more interesting game, if a more exploitable one. I'm not saying that these things should be MMO Crackdown (though something taken to that extreme would be fuckawesome, it'd be both an entirely separate genre and a technical nightmare) but it'd be nice if they could meet in the middle somewhere without being a completely unstructured wreck like, say, Second Life, or a totally railroading glorified MUD.
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McFrugal

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #94 on: January 31, 2008, 07:49:44 PM »

I thought I should mention that in World of Warcraft, grey mobs will still attack you if you get close enough.

Also, in Oblivion I found the easiest way to kill things is to be a stealth archer.  Sometimes after shooting something in the head, they will start to move towards my location and then suddenly stop, because I was in such a dark area that they couldn't see me at all.

Oh hey, and I just got done trying to play Mr Robot on Gametap.  That game has some serious problems.  Tile-based block puzzles with analog movement, instant death tiles, an extra lives system, save points, plus an RPG minigame for hacking stuff.  If you go into a room with a bunch of drones and hack them all, then die 3 times by barely grazing the instadeath tiles, you just lost all that time you spent grinding because you couldn't leave the room out of its FUCKING OPEN DOOR to save at the checkpoint next door!
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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #95 on: January 31, 2008, 08:38:04 PM »

Also, in Oblivion I found the easiest way to kill things is to be a stealth archer.

Actually, stealth archer with a weakness to poison bow, and high alchemy. With a three-element poison you can deal over a thousand damage in a single hit. You don't even need any marksmanship, as the damage from the actual arrow is completely insignificant.
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Royal☭

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #96 on: January 31, 2008, 08:41:28 PM »

My easiest strategy was a back pedaling archer.  Running backwards while shooting was great fun, especially when the fatal arrow sent the target flying backwards spectacularly.

Koah

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #97 on: January 31, 2008, 09:45:02 PM »

Ridiculous amounts of backtracking.  I understand that people spent a lot of time and effort making a level, but running along its length three times isn't going to make people appreciate it three times as much.
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Kazz

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #98 on: February 01, 2008, 05:03:22 AM »

Quote from: Sharkey link=topic=17.msg1013#msg1013
What you can do, however, is create obstacles and a great big mess of tools that can be used together in near-infinite combination toward overcoming those obstacles.

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.

I recall the hype of Black & White (which did so much wrong that it'd require a new Sins thread to cover it) saying that they'd present you with these dilemmas in the form of people praying for your help and you could do whatever you wanted in response.  In theory, this was true, but in practice, it was ridiculously stupid.  Every once in a great while, your influence-spreading mission would be interrupted by a cutscene where somebody described whatever bullshit they were up to and asked for your help.  You could do what they wanted, or you could figure out the most creative way to kill them, but whatever you did, it didn't fucking matter.  It didn't matter.  It wouldn't affect the game in any real way.

Anecdote: I stopped playing Black & White when I got to a mission where the nearest enemy city was across a vast stretch of land that my influence could not reach.  I had to convert them, but I had no way to affect them (I'm 90% sure they'd taken away my creature for this mission).  I eventually started grabbing boulders and bowling for the faraway city, trying desperately to get them to believe in me.  These must have been some stubborn goddamn athiests, because the gigantic hand trying to pick up the 7-10 split on their houses didn't cause them to consider the metaphysical.
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Bal

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Re: Unforgivable Sins of Game Design
« Reply #99 on: February 01, 2008, 07:00:06 AM »

Could've been an avalanche, couldn't it? Natural occurrence, that.
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