BRINK Interview

Thinking Brink- Splash Damage's Console Evolution on Gamasutra is a conversation with Splash Damage designer Edward Stern about BRINK, their upcoming action game, focusing in part on the developer applying their experiences from PC development to the world of consoles. Reading this leaves little doubt that Ed's paid his shooter dues: "Obviously, from a PC hardcore FPS background, we know both the best and worst time you can have playing a game is online. It can be astonishing four-dimensional chess. It can be absolutely the best thing you could be doing. It could be tactical and brilliant, or it can be just an exercise in soul-crushing frustration and homophobic, racist, misogynist abuse as well.
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8.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 2, 2009, 05:46
8.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 2, 2009, 05:46
Aug 2, 2009, 05:46
 
Ah, so a game with controls designed for the PC can be ported without any loss, but the other way around and they must be making sacrifices!

No, it's pretty much impossible to port a PC shooter to console without loss, since gamepads are inherently inferior to M/KB for shooters. Of course I don't really care about that since I'm a PC gamer. However, Splash Damage is claiming that all the platforms are being treated equally when this very obviously isn't the case. No multiplatform game is ever treated equally unless each platform gets a game designed specifically tailored to that platform.

About as crazy as your assumption that you can no longer jump when you want to. How do you make this stuff up?

It would probably help if you actually read the interview. Here's what the dev said:

KG: With your smart [movement] system, you just press the sprint button and then you look at a gate or something, and then you automatically go over there and climb it?

ES: Yeah.


It's the same mechanic that Assassin's Creed used. You hold down a button and your character automatically runs, jumps, climbs, hops, swings, etc.
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7.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 2, 2009, 05:28
7.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 2, 2009, 05:28
Aug 2, 2009, 05:28
 
Ah, so a game with controls designed for the PC can be ported without any loss, but the other way around and they must be making sacrifices! Some more grade A crazy right there. About as crazy as your assumption that you can no longer jump when you want to. How do you make this stuff up?

This comment was edited on Aug 2, 2009, 05:29.
6.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 2, 2009, 04:44
6.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 2, 2009, 04:44
Aug 2, 2009, 04:44
 
It's not an issue of equal attention, if you had bothered to read what I had said. It's an issue of spending more time on something you have less experience doing.

I read what you said and I disagreed. It isn't just a matter of knowing how to do mouse and keyboard controls. It's a problem of designing a game completely around gamepad controls. If you'd read what I said, you would have realized this. Porting a console shooter to the PC is easy. However, if gamepads are the focus, then M/KB will not be used to their greatest potential. For example, this whole automated traversal mechanic is very likely the result of the gamepad focus. Anyone who's played a PC shooter like Quake knows that moving around the environment, jumping across gaps, moving to cover, etc, is really easy. It's far less easy to do with the lack of precision offered by analog sticks. This isn't that hard to follow.
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5.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 2, 2009, 04:28
5.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 2, 2009, 04:28
Aug 2, 2009, 04:28
 
That's no excuse. If all platforms are being developed equally, then all control schemes should be given equal attention

It's not an issue of equal attention, if you had bothered to read what I had said. It's an issue of spending more time on something you have less experience doing. This isn't hard to follow, even for your insane views. As I am equally insane for expecting rationality here.
4.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 1, 2009, 18:01
4.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 1, 2009, 18:01
Aug 1, 2009, 18:01
 
Let them try something new.

It's not new though. Assassin's Creed had automated traversal and it was terrible.

That, or they already know how to do PC controls, and are done considering all they've made so far is PC games.

That's no excuse. If all platforms are being developed equally, then all control schemes should be given equal attention. Designing the game completely around gamepads is not equal and all it means is that the game won't take full advantage of the benefits of M/KB.
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3.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 1, 2009, 16:42
3.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 1, 2009, 16:42
Aug 1, 2009, 16:42
 
That, or they already know how to do PC controls, and are done considering all they've made so far is PC games. But that's probably too easy of an answer, and takes away a reason for people to scream about consoles. And we wouldn't want that, would we?
2.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 1, 2009, 08:47
2.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 1, 2009, 08:47
Aug 1, 2009, 08:47
 
I agree with you on the first point. It's bullshit to say you're treating all platforms equal and then playtest using a controller. Which controller btw?

The second point I think you're approaching too negatively. Let them try something new. Of course the player should still be in control of his actions. The addition of some cool moves that are performed when the environment provides it without the player having to push some kind of insane sequence or combination of keys is a noble goal to me. It doesn't have to be as gameplay numbing as auto aim.
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1.
 
Re: BRINK Interview
Aug 1, 2009, 04:57
1.
Re: BRINK Interview Aug 1, 2009, 04:57
Aug 1, 2009, 04:57
 
We've had to grow a lot as a team. We're doing all three platforms at the same time. It's not that thing where it's just ported from the PC to the console. So, for example, on the playtest, everyone uses a controller.

Yeah, that's great. Now instead of porting from PC to console, you port from console to PC. Gee, thanks guys. If you're developing all platforms equally, shouldn't you be playtesting with mouse and keyboard too? id is pulling the same bullshit with Rage, where everyone has to playtest with a controller.

I really wish developers and publishers would cut the crap about multiplatform games being equal. They aren't. You have a lead SKU and everything else is a port. Only difference between this and a traditional port is that you're porting this stuff during development instead of after. Though, in the case of PC, you usually don't start porting until the end of the project anyway because you don't have to worry about certification. As much as I despise id for abandoning the PC, at least they are honest about it. Carmack has plainly stated that they are focusing on consoles because that's where the most money is at.

All the smart system does is that if you could make that jump or that leap -- plus 10 or 15 percent extra for coolness -- you can do it. That just stops you worrying about the interface. It [becomes], "Can I make that jump? Should I get behind this? Should I hang back and reload? Should I wait for another teammate?" We're just turning it so that that's the decision making process, not, "Which button do I press at what point?"

More bullshit. Games are about interaction. According to his logic, shooters should automatically aim and fire for you. After all, why should the player have to ask "What direction do I push the analog stick to aim left? And what button do I press to fire and when do I push it?" Another huge setback he doesn't mention is that the player can now only jump whenever the game wants him to. Can you imagine how badly this would have ruined Quake, Tribes or Deus Ex (which the dev even claims to love)?

This comment was edited on Aug 1, 2009, 05:15.
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