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Op Ed

Firing Squad - Consolitis. Thanks Ant.
Generally, the only way to determine a feature is missing is if the game in question is a sequel or part of a genre that is prominent on PC. Examples include: no ability to lean in an FPS, no dedicated servers for multiplayer, no access to console commands, not being able to quick save, etc. Now that I think about it, several missing features can be attributed to the game being designed to work with a controllerÖ Usually, these canít easily be fixed during the porting process, so they arenít.

bit-gamer.net - A Death Worth Having.
From a less casual perspective, the fail state is something that we shouldnít have to tolerate. Itís rarely fun to slog through the same content again and again because we keep messing up one thing, and hereís the crux of the matter: death becomes nothing more than an annoyance. Itís not dramatic, itís not emotional; at best it invokes an eye-roll at the prospect of fighting through the same goons again, at worst a mouse gets launched into a £200 monitor and we find ourselves mourning the loss of hardware more than the death of Super Soldier X, who is now deciding whether to retry from checkpoint or load an earlier save.

MCV - Games education must move quickly.
Ironically, todayís children are naturally attracted to the digital world. They are a connected generation. They prefer to access and process information when needed using whatever media devices are available. Calculators and smartphones are not a substitute for learning; they enable it. It would be a simple matter to inspire them with creative computing. Enable them to build digital bridges for their shared world. Collaborating in teams with different but complementary skills naturally prepares them for their working life.

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18 Replies. 1 pages. Viewing page 1.
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18. Re: Op Ed Feb 9, 2011, 01:58 xXBatmanXx
 
Two words: Demon's Souls....  
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In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. / Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.
Playing: New dad
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17. Re: Op Ed Feb 8, 2011, 09:26 Slashman
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 8, 2011, 04:27:
The reason you see fewer challenging games is because of lot of the old 'hard' games were flat out broken.

That's a bit of a generalization. Sure, a lot of games were harder due to poor design but most games were harder because they were designed by hardcore gamers, for hardcore gamers. In today's market, games are designed for the lowest common denominator. As a result, accessibility takes precedence over depth and complexity. Regenerating health, slower movement speeds, hitscan weapons, third-person cover systems, aim assist, larger hitboxes, invincible companions, unlimited ammo, etc, have all made games significantly easier. Unlike the 90's, nobody takes risks with gameplay anymore because doing so would create a learning curve. Devs just regurgitate the formulas that sell the best, which is why almost every shooter plays exactly the same.

But yay for those uber profits, right?
 
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16. Re: Op Ed Feb 8, 2011, 04:27 Jerykk
 
The reason you see fewer challenging games is because of lot of the old 'hard' games were flat out broken.

That's a bit of a generalization. Sure, a lot of games were harder due to poor design but most games were harder because they were designed by hardcore gamers, for hardcore gamers. In today's market, games are designed for the lowest common denominator. As a result, accessibility takes precedence over depth and complexity. Regenerating health, slower movement speeds, hitscan weapons, third-person cover systems, aim assist, larger hitboxes, invincible companions, unlimited ammo, etc, have all made games significantly easier. Unlike the 90's, nobody takes risks with gameplay anymore because doing so would create a learning curve. Devs just regurgitate the formulas that sell the best, which is why almost every shooter plays exactly the same.
 
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15. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 19:03 PHJF
 
I thought that's what a difficulty level was for.

Who decides how difficult "normal" should be? I haven't played a game on "normal" in years. I guess I'm just so damn abnormal.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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14. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 18:35 Warskull
 
Icewind wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 15:22:
Any game in which you aren't punished for dying isn't a game, it's something the losers at gamerdad.com probably play.

Diablo had it right. The first one that is. The one where when you die everything you wear is dropped and you either go down and get it somehow or you lose everything.

Without that fear that you could lose everything, where is the suspense? Where is the challenge? Where is the fun?

Gamers have become far too soft.

No, the tolerance for bullshit is much less now. Challenges are fun when you have crisp controls, death is your fault, and you don't end up repeating boring parts over and over again (such as the checkpoint right before the cut scene.) Death is not fun or interesting when it is due to sloppy control, random bullshit, and you end up repeating boring, trivial parts of the game repeatedly.

The reason you see fewer challenging games is because of lot of the old 'hard' games were flat out broken. The difficulty was due to bad design and that simply won't stand these days. Making a good, well designed, challenging game is difficult. It is much easier to simply make an easy game and rely on other tricks to sell it.
 
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13. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 18:35 Sepharo
 
Everygame should come with a hardcore setting for those who'd like to play without dying.

Or at least a "Never-died-not-even-once" achievement.

But I guess the 24/hr race guy would cry about that one too.
 
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12. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 18:28 Dreagon
 
Fifth wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 17:42:
PHJF wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 15:50:
As a game developer you're limiting your market by creating a game so difficult only a portion of your players can complete it.
I thought that's what a difficulty level was for.

But difficulty levels make people feel bad. They want to win the game. If you put difficulty levels then they will want to win on the toughest...but if it's really tough then THATS NOT FAIR!!
 
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"@Dreagon - Comparing Oblivion to Deer Hunter was just ridiculous and you should be ashamed of yourself... it just made you look like a Class-A cunt." - theyarecomingforyou
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11. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 17:42 Fifth
 
PHJF wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 15:50:
As a game developer you're limiting your market by creating a game so difficult only a portion of your players can complete it.
I thought that's what a difficulty level was for.
 
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10. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 15:50 PHJF
 
A necessary part of "cinematizing" games has been the severe toning down of difficulty. As a game developer you're limiting your market by creating a game so difficult only a portion of your players can complete it. Nobody enjoys being a pathetic loser who can't beat Stage One of Game X.  
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9. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 15:43 Kajetan
 
Icewind wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 15:22:
Any game in which you aren't punished for dying isn't a game, it's something the losers at gamerdad.com probably play.

Diablo had it right. The first one that is. The one where when you die everything you wear is dropped and you either go down and get it somehow or you lose everything.

Without that fear that you could lose everything, where is the suspense? Where is the challenge? Where is the fun?

Gamers have become far too soft.
You're such a hero! Can i have your babies?
 
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8. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 15:32 Jerykk
 
I think an important distinction needs to be made between between failing an objective and dying. I'm all for branching paths where failing an objective simply has repercussions on future missions. However, in most cases, death needs to result in a fail state. The lack of a death fail state in PST was okay because the game wasn't really about combat, suspense or intensity.  
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7. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 15:22 Icewind
 
Any game in which you aren't punished for dying isn't a game, it's something the losers at gamerdad.com probably play.

Diablo had it right. The first one that is. The one where when you die everything you wear is dropped and you either go down and get it somehow or you lose everything.

Without that fear that you could lose everything, where is the suspense? Where is the challenge? Where is the fun?

Gamers have become far too soft.
 
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6. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 14:31 avianflu
 
"Unskippable cut scenes that you *must* go through every single time you die will get my rage quit on as well after about the 5th time."

I just ran into this with 'Persona 3 portable' for the PSP. There's easily 5 minutes of clicking thru a cutscene and then a few minutes of walking thru a maze to get to the boss. Then you die and have to do it all over again. To make matters worse, it is a timed event, so I cant level up and then come back to that boss to make the fight easier. Have not played the game since. . . . infuriating.
 
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5. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 14:30 warmbluelasers
 
PropheT wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 13:06:
Wing Commander did it years ago, and I don't think I can name more than a handful of games to have done it since...it allowed you to fail and continue with the consequences of the failure. It was a lot more interesting than just a simple you win/you lose to everything you did.

Wing Commander's spider web of a branching campaign was indeed ingenious. However, Origin found that very few gamers actually bothered to experience it all, tending instead to load the last save game and redo a mission until they got it done right, never bothering to realize they could lose a lot of the campaign and still come to a final victory (and the losing ending wasn't shabby either). That's why the sequels were increasingly linear.
 
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4. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 13:36 Flatline
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 7, 2011, 12:19:
Fail states are a necessary part of any game that wants to convey intensity or suspense. If there's no penalty for failure, these things cannot exist. I don't really know why the author has such a problem with it. Most games either have quick save or a generous sprinkling of checkpoints, so you don't lose too much progress when you die. If you get frustrated if you ever have to repeat any portion of gameplay at all, you must have an extremely short attention span and would probably be better off playing casual games.

Some things make it worse than others though. Poorly designed non-boss challenges that suddenly ramp up the difficulty about 500% and then go back to the original challenge level being one of them. Unskippable cut scenes that you *must* go through every single time you die will get my rage quit on as well after about the 5th time. Loading screens that take longer than 30 seconds per death suck too, because sometimes I end up staring at the loading screen longer than I actually spend trying to get past the sticking point. Less than clear goals in a timed situation that kill you if you spend too long trying to figure something out suck as well.

Otherwise I don't mind dying/failing out to a game over in video games, because honestly it rarely happens. In the end, it's bad game design that makes the repeated, frequent trip to what Yhatzee calls "Jagged-Rock Junction" such a pisser and unnecessary part of the game.
 
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3. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 13:35 Beamer
 
If you get frustrated if you ever have to repeat any portion of gameplay at all,

Some games take this to a ludicrous degree, though.

There were fights in Far Cry that I fought over a dozen times. MW2 was even worse, and I had friends that would have easily quit if I hadn't guided them through certain moments that they found themselves doing dozens of times.

Then there are the games that do the checkpoint just prior to an unskippable cutscene (which is a sin in itself, though almost as bad are ones that do it before a skippable cut-scene but you still need to wait for it to load before you can skip.)


It's really all about how much you're made to redo and how worthwhile it is. If it's a really hard battle and you make it incrementally further and try new things it's not terrible. If it's a really hard battle and you keep dying in the same spot it's infuriating. If it's a really hard spot that follows a really easy spot it's equally infuriating because redoing that easy part is a pointless, unpleasant waste of time.


At the same time, playing BioShock II made me remember how absurd its handling of death is. Dying was often the better choice in some battles. Sure, I could use some precious ammo and health kits for the fight, or I could save them for a time I'm not right next to a regen booth and just die and walk right out. On top of that, I was always bugged as to why I was immortal but no one else seems to be.




Long post longer:
I'd absolutely love for a game that allows failure to return. I've mentioned it here before, but I'd like to see a game like Unreal Tournament embrace the Red Baron model (only with economics!) Red Baron was outstanding because there really was no end of the game to aspire to. The war ended. You were done. So it wasn't about reaching the end but seeing what your career path was. You might have a first flight where you shoot down 8 planes, making you some kind of legendary ace. You may have a few more, less eventful missions but still making you some kind of flying god. Then you may end up getting shot down and missing the next 2 years of the war in a hospital, derailing the career. Or maybe you end up dead. It was all kind of rogue-like, as the game wasn't about winning but about seeing how your career played out. Failing a mission wasn't game over/redo (unless you were killed or injured beyond the war.) Failing just meant your career was slowed down. Maybe you'd have a few key missions and make it a great career. Maybe you'd have more failures and have your plane taken away. The fact that you were never really compelled to reload made the game interesting.
All this, of course, comes at the expense of plot. Occasionally that's a trade off I'm ecstatic to make.



I could write pages on how I'd take this model and apply it to Unreal Tournament, only adding stats (for your wingmen, not you, stats are iffy in FPS), betting, and an economy to hire better teammates (or have them stolen from you.)
 
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2. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 13:06 PropheT
 
He's right, though, because ultimately all fail states do is that they punish you for playing. There needs to be something there that allows you to fail, but there also needs to be something more imaginative to integrate failure into the worlds being designed rather than just a binary state where you either succeed or you try again until you do.

Wing Commander did it years ago, and I don't think I can name more than a handful of games to have done it since...it allowed you to fail and continue with the consequences of the failure. It was a lot more interesting than just a simple you win/you lose to everything you did.
 
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1. Re: Op Ed Feb 7, 2011, 12:19 Jerykk
 
Fail states are a necessary part of any game that wants to convey intensity or suspense. If there's no penalty for failure, these things cannot exist. I don't really know why the author has such a problem with it. Most games either have quick save or a generous sprinkling of checkpoints, so you don't lose too much progress when you die. If you get frustrated if you ever have to repeat any portion of gameplay at all, you must have an extremely short attention span and would probably be better off playing casual games.  
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