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PC Gaming's 10 Commandments

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the thou-shalt-not-use-a-trackball dept.

PC Games (Games) 226

An anonymous reader tips a Tech Report article laying out ten sacred conventions of PC gaming. Quoting: "VI. Keep thine configurations options exposed. PC gamers are used to being able to configure things. That comes from both necessity and whim, and while one doesn't necessarily need to cater to the latter, the former is a must. Games don't have to expose a 1000-line menu for every conceivable detail level on the torches of King Whatever's castle entrance, but we'd like at least some amount of granularity. ... X. Honor thine modders and mod communities. Not every game benefits from mod support, mind you. When they do and the tools exist, however, the result is almost invariably a much bigger and more pervasive community (especially on the multiplayer front). That, in turn, leads to a constant stream of sales. It truly is a win-win situation."

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Good list... (4, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447800)

Good list. For once (and this doesn't happen often with these things), I don't think I disagree with a single entry. If I could add an eleventh, it would be:

"XI: If thou art an fps and if thou art not a realistic military simulator, thou shalt stick any ideas regarding two-weapon limits quite firmly where the sun shineth not.

Seriously, even console players seem to be getting sick of this particular convention, judging by the fact that one of the highest profile console fpses on the horizon, Resistance 3, is going back to the weapon-wheel system."

And while it's not a commandment, one thing I would really love to see on the PC is some kind of system (perhaps implemented via Steam or something) which carries my control bindings between similar games, so far as is possible. I like my mouse inverted, and I am quite insistant that my right mouse button makes my character jump, while "use" is always assigned to the space bar. Zoom/aim lives on the middle mouse button - never the right mouse button (even if the game in question doesn't feature jumping). It would be extremely nice if, even if only between games from the same developer, those settings could be carried over automatically.

Re:Good list... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36447822)

Remind me never to use your PC.

Seriously, right click binds to jump?

Re:Good list... (5, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447908)

Seriously, right click binds to jump?

And that's just his IDE bindings.

Re:Good list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36447916)

That one seems to be common among players of various Quakes. Personally, I trained it as my left pinky (on 'a', using "edsf".)

Re:Good list... (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447942)

Yes, in my case, it's a hold-over from Duke Nukem 3d and the early Quakes. I suspect most people's control preferences are shaped by the usual defaults for the first generation of fpses they played (ignoring Doom and earlier for the moment, as they didn't have vertical looking or jumping).

Re:Good list... (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448100)

And I use arrows for movement, invert mouse Y axis (so the (fps/tps) game is controlled like a plane), right click for jumping.

Other functions are accessed by the keys around the arrow keys, for example, reload is enter, alt fire is delete and so on.

I think some game had inverted Y axis as the default, or it seemed more intuitive when I first started playing games that allowed you to look up and down. In any case, if I can move the pointer independently from the panning, the Y axis stays normal, if the pointer is fixed and the whole image pans when I move the mouse, I invert the Y axis.

Re:Good list... (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448290)

I find that mine are shaped mostly by my years playing world of warcraft, since it makes a lot more use of the keyboard than any fps I played before that. My formative years with FPS games were spent playing DooM though. It started off on WoW with vanilla WASD like the default keybindings, found myself having every single available button around the WASD cluster being used for something, and, as I started feeling the need for even more keybindings, I eventually moved my movement keys to ESDF just so I'd gain an extra column's worth of keys handy. The next revolutionary event was buying an intellimouse explorer 3, and putting the two thumb buttons to use. That was pretty damn awesome.

Nowadays I rebind every game to ESDF, quickly try to and feel the waters and figure out what works well on the thumb buttons (usually they're the utility and panic buttons, whatever that means in the game I'm playing), and need to shift the keyboard a bit when I'm stuck with WASD.

Re:Good list... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448418)

Exactly I use ESDF instead of WASD as that was how i learned to play and i discovered i have a pinky finger to use to press keys. That and it sets your left hand on home row keys for typing. The first thing i do before playing a new game is to rebind all the key

A pain in the ass but i find i can play better

Recently i bought a modified gaming keyboard thats laid out for FPS games so i dont have to adjust settings as often. Of course then steam logged me out and refuses to acknowledge i exist so i cant get to any of my games.

Re:Good list... (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449504)

being an old fps gamer, I got myself trained on a very weird scheme:
right button = run/walk
ALT = run backward
X, C = strafe L/R
Z = duck
SHIFT = modify speed
This leaves a,s,d,f,g,v,b,q,w,e,r,t,y all available (f = light; v = use; a=toggle last weapon, s,d=grenades or a,s,d,e,g=specific weapon toggle, q=drop weapon, w,t=teamtalk/talk, r=reload)

Yes, I know the setup appears rather inefficient. I sometimes get caught trying to run forward and backward at the same time and I'm missing out on a lot of buttons due to reach. If I were competitive (like I used to be), I'd try and change it.

Re:Good list... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449642)

At some point I got in the habit of using:

Left click = run forward
Right click = run backward
Click Wheel = Alt fire
Thumb button = Main fire
Thumb button 2 = Reload

The strafe and other keys remained on the keyboard. What I liked about this is that I could play most of the game with just one hand, and it makes circle strafing a bit less cumbersome. The disadvantage is that firing accurately is a little trickier because of the tendency to move the mouse when pressing the fire button. Ultimately I don't use it much any more, particularly it's so dependent on a compliant mouse.

Re:Good list... (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448140)

I hear you, Right click should be firmly bound to Backwards, and Left click to forwards, tis the only way!

Thank goodness for the manufacturer's packages that allow you to remap the mouse when stupid ass developers decide such commands should only be performed by the keyboard.
 

Re:Good list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448658)

Remind me never to use your PC.

Seriously, right click binds to jump?

It's not so weird, my right click is always bound to crouch.

Re:Good list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449130)

That is how you recognize a Quake player. Try doing Rocket jumps with the jump function bound to anything else....

Re:Good list... (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449268)

Also try bunnyhopping without it. Hell, try shooting the RL. I can't shoot RL in QW without jumping, it's engrained.

Re:Good list... (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449248)

You know how I can tell you're a gaming neophyte(comparatively to many of us)?

Re:Good list... (4, Insightful)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447838)

User-remappable controls are a neccessity. It's less of a problem now but there's plenty of games that I never bothered with more than 1/2 hr of because of idiotic control schema.
Oh, and if you insist on 5 minute long unskippable cutscenes followed by a hard bossfight for the love of Xenu have an autosave between them. Your beautifully rendered cutscene gets really tedious when you've heard the joke half-a-dozen times.

Re:Good list... (2)

sjwt (161428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447914)

I hate forced limitations on re-mappable keys,
Damm it, I use my mouse for looking, as well as left and right click for forwards and backwards, but some games wont let you re-map the mouse to moment keys. Sure I can then remap other ways, but why not let us do what we want!

Mouse control of a platformer (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450088)

but some games wont let you re-map the mouse to moment keys. Sure I can then remap other ways, but why not let us do what we want!

By "moment keys" do you mean "movement keys"? If so, say I'm developing a side-scrolling platformer vaguely similar to Mario or Sonic or Mega Man series. How would you recommend that I map the motion of the player's character to a mouse? The closest thing I've ever seen to a mouse-controlled platformer was Kirby Canvas Curse for the DS, where the player drew extra platforms with a stylus.

Re:Good list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36447844)

Steam cloud does this for TF2 as far as I am aware.

Re:Good list... (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447976)

"between similar games"

Not "between different installations".

Re:Good list... (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447964)

Meh. This could work sometimes and not at others.

In Valve's Day of Defeat right-click is for iron sights. In Valve's Left 4 Dead right-click is for melee and this makes sense - L4Ds melee attack is used about as much as the primary attack as you have to beat off the zombies (no, not like that) while you reload. In DoD your melee attack is a separate weapon so you don't need a dedicated button for it.

Might not be the best example but you get the picture.

Maybe keeping them between L4D1 and L4D2 I could agree with...

Re:Good list... (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448148)

In Valve's Day of Defeat right-click is for iron sights. In Valve's Left 4 Dead right-click is for melee and this makes sense

Point well made, and I know it makes sense, and yet it doesn't stop me melee-ing fresh-air every 2 minutes.

Re:Good list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448054)

My problem is with console ports in general. When I hear about a game I might be interested in, the first question I ask is "Is it available on a console?" If the answer is "Yes", then it's not for me. It's sad I'll miss games like Skyrim, but the gameplay is going to be too limited, I can tell without playing it.

Re:Good list... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448332)

Yet Bethesda brings to market some of the most moddable and configurable games ever created, with a construction set for pc users. Skyrim is likely to follow most of the commandments in this list. Gameplay in oblivion, morrowind, and fallout is still going. I think you can make an exception here.

Also it is not a console port. The development is parallel.

Re:Good list... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448574)

Just to let you know, in case you care: your system is not serving you well. The PC version of Elder Scrolls: Morrowind shows no signs of having been developed with consoles in mind. Oblivion does show it, but only in the (annoying, unmoddable) interface; the world and gameplay are worthy of the PC (and even where you disagree with that, there is a mod to make it the way you like it). Games like Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 start up with that completely useless "Press Any Key" screen before the main menu but otherwise feel like native PC games. Dragon Age: Origins shows no signs of a console release. And on and on.

Asking yourself whether it was out on console first, i.e., whether it's actually a port, is a pretty good question, but just because a console version exists doesn't mean the PC version is a port or even worse for the fact.

Re:Good list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448222)

I generally disapprove of "rules" written down without their intentions being noted besides them. As people (OK, NPCs ;) tend to blindly follow those rules, even if that results in the opposite of the goal that originally spawned the rule.

Just look at the billion ways people "interpret" the constitution. Or laws in general. They become a horrible travesty of their former selves.

Add a purpose/intention/goal line/paragraph to every rule, and I might consider checking them out. Otherwise they are completely worthless, since I would never know the point of following them, and so could never decide if I agree with them. Which is essential for individuals (who have their own free will and sense of reality).

P.S.: Most PC games use the same few engines. All games with the same engine save the control assignments in the same way. Usually in a simple text file. So actually, you can just copy that file over. :)
Other than than, there is no controls standard, because (luckily) games are not that similar (yet). So there is always stuff that is individual to a game.

Re:Good list... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448320)

Don't have time to read the WHOLE list, but I wanted to comment on the summary:

- I prefer plug'n'play over mucking with configuration settings like "What's the IRQ on your sound card?" or "Crucial DOS command missing. Reverting to 640x480 mode." I grew-up in an era when computers had fixed settings (Atari 800, Commodore 64, and Amiga) so everything worked straight out of the box. Keep it as simple as possible.

The one thing I do like is the so-called "trainer" mode where you can give yourself infinite lives, or slower enemies, or just skip whole levels completely. That seems to be lacking in modern games.

Achievements (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450176)

The one thing I do like is the so-called "trainer" mode where you can give yourself infinite lives, or slower enemies, or just skip whole levels completely. That seems to be lacking in modern games.

Cheat codes wouldn't be compatible with the practice of reporting the player's achievements to a central server, which became common in 2006 after the Xbox 360 was released. Perhaps the game could just disable achievements on a save file once the player has used a cheat.

Vaguely speaking of control schemes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448570)

The button configs need to be more transparent, or bad and confusing shit can happen in critical moments. [youtube.com] Oh, and I also want to choke her with my cock.

Re:Good list... (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448704)

"XI: If thou art an fps and if thou art not a realistic military simulator, thou shalt stick any ideas regarding two-weapon limits quite firmly where the sun shineth not.

While you're a lot more knowledgeable about games than I am, RogueyWon, I think the good thing about this list is that it avoided making "commandments" about issues regarding the actual play of the game. Every commandment is about technical issues, like interface conventions, key bindings and modding communities.

I think when you start talking about how many guns you can carry, it becomes trickier to force any commandments. Military sims aren't the only games where you might want to place some arbitrary limit on the player's ability.

But I understand where your frustration comes from. I played Duke Nukem Forever too (at least I started it - I doubt I'll finish it). When you have a game that revels in over-the-top silliness, having a limit on weapons is kind of pointless (as you have pointed out in your excellent journal review of the game).

Re:Good list... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448758)

I'd add "Thou shall NOT consider MP as a substitute for shittastic AI" and "Thou shall NOT build entire level out of nothing but chest high walls" as those two really bug the ever living crap out of me.

Have to agree on the list though, especially when it comes to modding. A game like Freelancer frankly was okay by itself but the mods have really gave that game life. on the flip side a game with really shitty weapons like RF: Guerrilla can be almost saved by a decent weapons mod (the explosive pistol mod in my case) as without it the entire game consisted of "run truck through building, truck go boom, steal another truck" lather rinse repeat.

Finally I'll agree with you carrying bindings over would be nice. I usually flip the vertical and having a simple button to push when friends or family come over that would flip it back to the way they are used to would be a really nice touch. But all in all I don't really think we have too much room to bitch. Thanks to GOG, Steam, and Amazon we have cheap quality games up the wazoo, thanks to the consoles being from the stone age a $200 PC with a $60 GPU plays most games at 1600x900 or higher at decent framerates, all in all it is a pretty nice time to be a PC gamer. Oh and sub $60 Tb drives means you can just leave everything installed, damned nice that.

I'd say more of a mixed list (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448798)

For example the anti-aliasing thing. That is often not in a game because of technical limitations. If the developers choose to use a deferred lighting , which many do these days, then regular anti-aliasing doesn't work. You turn it on, nothing will happen.

To overcome that limitation you have two real choices:

1) Make your engine DirectX 10 or newer. There the GPU supports what is needed to so FSAA with a deferred lighting renderer. This is what we'll start seeing since Windows XP has dropped off in a big way and game markers are starting to be willing to target Vista/7 only (XP only has DX9) but it'll take some time. Some games do have multiple versions, and can support FSAA in their DX10+ version, but many don't bother to do that since it takes extra development resources.

2) Have the drivers deal with it. The graphics card drivers can do some trickery on hardware that is DX10 (or better) capable and force FSAA in games that can't handle it due to being DX9/deferred shading. That is fine but it takes implementation by the card maker (which nVidia and ATi do) and means you don't have the option in the game.

The guy needs to understand the difference between what he thinks would be nice and what is possible.

Re:I'd say more of a mixed list (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449292)

There are also different methods of antialiasing that can be applied.

Re:Good list... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449192)

"XI: If thou art an fps and if thou art not a realistic military simulator, thou shalt stick any ideas regarding two-weapon limits quite firmly where the sun shineth not.

If an FPS doesn't have a weapon for every numeral on the keyboard, it's not worth playing.

DIsagree with #4. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447892)

having context sensitive buttons reduces complexity where complexity may not need to exist. Having one button to interact with the environment beats having one for interacting with buttons, switches, etc, and one to jump off the wall, another for...

Re:DIsagree with #4. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447928)

Except it tends to fail way too often and is primarily around in the console world because console gamers don't have as many buttons to map things to as PC gamers.

Hitting "use/reload" to disarm the bomb just to waste your last ammo and then get hurt when the bomb blows up? Not fun, I'd rather take the "complexity" of having separate "use" and "reload" keys.

Re:DIsagree with #4. (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448018)

Which is great up to the point that you leap over the cover into oncoming fire instead of interacting with the thing 3 pixels to the left of your crosshair...

Re:DIsagree with #4. (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448062)

Bad Company 2, trust me on this one. I really don't need "reload" and "use" actions bound to the same key. I absolutely love trying to disarm a bomb only to keep switching guns with the dead guy on the floor like I'm some clothes-switching fetishist.

I agree with the sentiment in regards to BC2 but he is slightly wrong...

Reload and use aren't bound to the same key. "Reload" is R, "use" is E. (Maybe they're the same on consoles but he's supposedly talking about PC games.) The problem comes when there are two things to "use" - like, as he says, disarming a bomb and switching weapon kits. I see your point about context and there is definitely a time and a place for that. However, in his example, if enough people die next to the bomb in BC2 it becomes almost impossible to disarm the bomb as there are so many weapons to pick up.

Even just giving the bomb-disarming action priority would fix it in this instance as you could then just do "press the use key to do use the important thing which is obviously the thing you want to do right now" as opposed to "mash the use key, repeatedly switching weapons until they're out of the way enough for you to start defusing the bomb by which time it's too late as the bomb has exploded or you have been shot because you were paying too much attention to the text on screen telling you what the button will do".

One "use" key often makes sense but if you can accidentally do something very different to what you are trying to do then the system is broken. At any given time a button's function should be obvious and if its function is something you will need to do whilst under fire at the trickiest times in the game then you shouldn't have to rely on reading the text on screen.

Re:DIsagree with #4. (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448072)

Having a button to interact with things, with the nature of the interaction being context-sensitive, is one thing; making the function itself dependent on context is quite another, especially when the functions conflict and the contexts are similar. A good example of this is Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. They did a good job overall of giving you the ability to perform a broad range of activities with onle a handlful of keys, but they overdid it with having one button for both functions of the dagger: rewinding and coup-de-grac. This creates a problem: your ability to reverse time at any moment in the game shuts down every now and then, and your attempts to finish off a defeated opponent occasionally resurrect your enemies instead (not to mention deprive you of sand when you were counting on repleneshing it). Using just one more key would have made the game far better.

Of course having a different button for every possible action in the game is silly, but going to the opposite extreme and cramming absolutely everything into one button for the sake of eliminating one or two keys just as bad. As Albert Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.".

Re:DIsagree with #4. (1)

ZosoZ (1603973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448278)

Just Cause 2 has a context issue on the PC as well; in all the other GTA-style games I've played spacebar is jump when on foot, handbrake when in a vehicle. In Just Case 2 spacebar is jump when on foot, but deploys your parachute when in a vehicle. Net result, every time I was in a high speed pursuit I'd go to jam on the handbrake for a sharp turn and instead throw myself out of the car and float slowly to the ground on the parachute while soldiers took potshots. It's possible to rebind the keys but only across all situations, so if you change the "deploy parachute" key while in a vehicle that also changes the "jump" key when on foot.

I. Thou shalt win (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447894)

I. Thou shalt win

Mods indeed. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447910)

Fallout 3 modding community comes to mind. those people have really made games out of the game with their mods. there is even a mod that lets you found your own post-apocalyptic village, build it up, trade and whatnot. i noticed that even tho fallout - new vegas was out just for a short while, the mod community already put out 12,000 files in mods for nv.

exhilarating, really. how much mods can do.

Re:Mods indeed. (2)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447962)

Fallout 3 modding community comes to mind. those people have really made games out of the game with their mods.

The Microsoft Flight Simulator kicks the shit out of any other modding community. Entire companies set up to provide aircraft, scenery, utils and airports. Literally tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of free addons. Whole boards full of dedicated content.

Pity the idiotic management at Microsoft decided to bastardise it with FSX and then kill it off altogether. Oh but there's apparently a new Windows Live "Microsoft Flight" game coming out "any time soon" with screenshots appearing every 2-3 months.

Re:Mods indeed. (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447990)

if microsoft flight simulator community kicked the hell out of any other modding community, they wouldnt be too naive as to rely on microsoft, which, not surprisingly and habitually, killed off microsoft flight simulator community.

the fact that microsoft flight simulator modding community not existing today, is proof that they didnt kick the hell out of any other modding community.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448428)

if microsoft flight simulator community kicked the hell out of any other modding community, they wouldnt be too naive as to rely on microsoft, which, not surprisingly and habitually, killed off microsoft flight simulator community.

We are talking about a franchise that began in 1982 and lasted 24 years [wikipedia.org] . It is a bit rich to turn around after all that time and say "I told you so". Name one other modding community that has lasted that long.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448986)

when did the modding community start ?

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449010)

if microsoft flight simulator community kicked the hell out of any other modding community, they wouldnt be too naive as to rely on microsoft, which, not surprisingly and habitually, killed off microsoft flight simulator community.

the fact that microsoft flight simulator modding community not existing today, is proof that they didnt kick the hell out of any other modding community.

Actually the community still exists, and companies still make new MSFS addons. Don't let reality get in the way of a good rant.

There are very few truly independent and open source games around. Certainly in flight simulation, the leading contender - flight gear - doesn't come close. Which is why it has not attracted as many modders. However X-Plane, another commercial offering has gathered some of the momentum MSFS lost...though not as much as the eccentric author would like.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449276)

didnt x-plane bite the dust.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448116)

Fallout 3 was a playable game even before the mods. Oblivion is a much stronger case, without the mods, it would be generally reviled as the worst RPG ever made, which is was unmodded.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448348)

point is not whether originals were playable or not, point is, how much the mods can expand the game. in fallout 3, they made it into numerous new games.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449018)

That is a good point.

I read your comment wrong then, I assumed you meant Fallout 3 was bad, because the case of expanding the original game was exemplified in the article by Half-life + Counter-strike.. Still Fallout 3 is another good example, Civilization IV + Fall from Heaven is probably my own favourite of a good game expanded and made even better.

In other news: Mods are awesome!

Re:Mods indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448480)

You're retarded. I didn't mod Oblivion at all and I enjoyed it a lot. Sure it was buggy, but it offered a kind of exploratory gameplay that you just couldn't get elsewhere. That forgives it a lot of the bugs. And even ignoring the bug fixing mod, most of the so-called "required" mods just change the gameplay because someone disagreed with a specific gameplay design Bethesda had. Most of the time I think Bethesda's decisions were better in these cases. The mods either make the game too easy or make a mechanic that was intentionally supposed to be a pain to make you less likely to exploit it or feel more rewarded when you complete it.

As a side note, it's pretty fun when people complain that Skyrim will be "consolized" because they're the primary target. It was pretty obvious from its UI and interface design that Oblivion was already primarily targeted at consoles. You really think someone would make a 640x480 UI system if they were targeting PC's in 2006? Even the mod that upped the UI resolution in Oblivion I thought of as merely an aesthetic thing rather than a "requirement".

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448932)

I didn't say Oblivion was a bad game, I said it was a bad RPG. And yes I have gotten the exploration gameplay in other games such as Morrowind which was a much better game, or Gothic 3 which was a miracle of game except for its extreme buggyness.

The reason oblivion was such a bad RPG, was because it was a reverse RPG, you got weaker and weaker every time you leveled up, and every time you leveled up all your equipment all loot you had ever acquired turned useless and less powerful than that of a common highway man. It punished you for playing it, not a bad gaming decision and common for platforming games, but the opposite of RPG gameplay which is about character development or for some; acquisition of loot.

I have never played a game with that much potential completely ruined by a company's decision to make it fit the gameplay of Mario Brothers.

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448962)

It was pretty obvious from its UI and interface design that Oblivion was already primarily targeted at consoles. You really think someone would make a 640x480 UI system if they were targeting PC's in 2006? Even the mod that upped the UI resolution in Oblivion I thought of as merely an aesthetic thing rather than a "requirement".

I'm a console gamer and I played the PS3 version, and the UI bothered me. I think that you're right that it was designed with the idea of being playable on a PS3 connected to an SD set, which was not necessarily a bad thing, but they should have had a setting that let me say: "Hey, got an HD set here, you can shrink the font some to put more info on the screen."

Re:Mods indeed. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449740)

I never really modded Oblivion, either. The one exception was the mod that allowed me to decorate my house with some sanity. There were a couple of things that really bothered me about the game - if we were allowed to buy houses, why was decorating it such a pain? It ended up being a toss everything on the table, ground, or wherever and hope it landed upright. Even with the decorator mod, the physics caused stuff to knock around very easily.

I never understood why I only had 8 hotkey options, there 10 numbered keys, plus function keys. Neverwinter Nights, WoW, Everquest had all been around for awhile. But now that you mention they likely designed this for a console, it makes much more sense - especially with the thick UI elements and large fonts.

It's not just about playability (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36450040)

It's not just about playability the first time, though, IMHO.

1. Mods also add replay value.

E.g., putting a silencer on more weapons than the 10mm pistol (and I can take pride in being the first guy on the Nexus who put a silencer on a different weapon than the 10mm pistol, and before there even was a GECK as that) opened up a whole new possibility: to play a ranged stealth character from start to finish. In the normal game that 10mm pistol would get woefully underpowered by the end, so basically eventually you had to suck it up and just use loud weapons. Now I could have half a dozen different silent guns, ranging from point blank SMGs to long range sniper weapons.

And then there are the pure vanity replays, like playing a game only with a lightsaber, or in an Alucard suit and with the Jackal gun, or in a Boba Fett armour and with my very own EE-3 blaster carbine, or strictly by smashing heads with an authentic late-medieval six-flanged mace like an old-style D&D priest. Especially since many such concepts involved advancing different skills (e.g., if I use blasters, I'll want energy skills, so I might as well get medicine too and get Cyborg, etc) and sometimes figuring different ways to get past the same situations (e.g., I can't snipe with a melee polearm;)

Sure, FO3 was plenty playable without that. But, really, there's only so many times you can play it again only with the standard props. All those extra props let me have a lot more fun by giving me a reason to play the game again.

2. Modding the game is fun by itself.

I mean, sure, I didn't really need a 30mm/L40 portable cannon to play the game, but modelling and texturing it and the custom ammo was fun by itself. Or I didn't really need a scoped EE-3 blaster, but, you get the idea, it's fun to model all those fins and scratch the edges and darken the creases just right. Etc.

So, yeah, I'd say that Fallout 3 still benefited from being so moddable. Sure, it would be playable even without mods, but I think I got a lot more bang for my buck as it is.

Number 11 (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36447934)

XI. Though shalt not maketh Duke Nukem Forever, ever.

Re:Number 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448112)

XI. Though shalt not maketh Duke Nukem Forever, ever.

Indeed, you should be working on Elite IV instead.

Completely OT (-1, Offtopic)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448028)

When I open /. now many, maybe 25%, of the stories are collapsed down to just the headline. I can't find switches for this anywhere in my Options.

And where am I really supposed to post questions like this?

GFWL, DIAF (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448128)

"IX: Thou shalt not worship false gaming services"
Steam is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the realm of online game services. Other than sheer weight, there are actually pretty good reasons why it's so successful. One of them is that, for the most part, it stays out of our way—unlike you, GFWL. When all I want is to play Street Fighter IV, you insist on making me create a profile. Without that profile, my unlocked characters won't be saved. Just brilliant. Did I mention the GFWL log-in screen also pops up after you purchase the game on Steam?

This. A thousand times this. Happened to me when I purchased Bioshock 2 from a bricks and mortar store for the special edition box/artwork/vinyl soundtrack. GFWL pops up and tells me that I have to create an ID in order to be able to save my single-player game. Wait...what? Another one: I bought Batman: Arkham Asylum on Steam when it was on sale. I start it up, and what do I see? GFWL. Today I started the game up and "Click to start", I'm presented with the login screen where I enter my GFWL login (which I use only for the 2 games I own which force it upon me). Then I'm told "There is an update for Games for Windows Live, if you refuse the update, you will exit the game. After updating, you may have to restart your computer. Do you want to update?". Awesome. Thanks for giving me a choice, dickbags. Then "Update complete, exit game and restart to play."

I love Steam. The sales, the library, (the browser overlay for consulting a walkthrough occasionally), the community stuff. I install a game and then run it. And it stays out of my way unless I need it. Games For Windows Live on the other hand, is an abortion that should be cast into the depths of hell. The only analog I've seen is "Mordac: Preventer of Information Services" in the Dilbert cartoons. It's like Microsoft wanted to come up with the most efficient way possible to stop people from enjoying the games they play. Every day spent alive, outside of a fire by the developers of GFWL is a day too many in my book.

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448438)

Wait, what? You _want_ intrusive DRM and think this is a "good" thing?

Steam, Battle.net -- no deal. Local DRM like SecuROM rootkit is at least easily avoidable thanks to cracks. And no, I will never allow a rootkit to be installed on a system that's run natively, even on a throw-away partition.

These days, it's groups like Razor and Skidrow whom you can trust...

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448726)

Steam has the least intrusive "DRM" I've ever seen. Please explain how it is intrusive.

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449414)

It's track record is better than most, but I still occasionally have problems with Steam.

Once in a while, Steam will decide I'm not allowed to play a game I purchased. It's easy to fix, sure (close Steam and re-launch), but it's still an annoyance that I'm told I can't play my legally purchased games.

I've also had some issues where Steam ignored my settings and decided to do its own thing. Their support took the "it couldn't possibly be us" approach twice, until I sent them screenshots. The solution was to purge Steam from my system and reinstall it (luckily, it was just Steam and not all my games).

However, the biggest problem with Steam is it still lets games install additional DRM on the system. I have Steam installed, it needs to do its thing to let me games run. Why do I need a copy of SecuROM on top of Steam doing things as well? Why does the game have to validate itself against both Steam and the publisher's 3rd party authorization servers? Ask anyone who purchased Dragon Age Ultimate Edition from Steam about this, and you'll likely get an earful thanks to the server outages earlier this year (the irony of this problem is that EA's solution was to disable the DRM authorization check in the config files).

Re:GFWL, DIAF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449660)

Because it exists.

So what if it has made purchasing software from a variety of developers and playing with my friends easier than at any time in history.

Re:GFWL, DIAF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36450090)

I've been stuck with a sudden drop-out in my internet connection on occasion and am forced to wait until I can get back on Steam before playing anything.

What good is having an offline mode for games if I have to be online to enable it!? Frustrates the hell outta me!

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1)

twocows (1216842) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449284)

The only people I've met who dislike Steam are people who haven't used it or haven't used it in the past four or five years.

It is an excellent service that makes it convenient and easy for me to play my games however I want and makes buying and downloading games a breeze. If that's what you call DRM, then I'm fine with it.

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449600)

Steam is like a vasectomy. It's intrusive and it looks like it will hurt a ton, but in reality it's painless and not a big deal.

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448562)

Add that a million times. I ended up going through the whole Update, exit, reboot cycle 10 times and still it wouldn't bloody work. Until I figured out that if you told it to update and kept playing it would work. Games For Windows Live must die. Now. Please.

Re:GFWL, DIAF (1)

Alter_3d (948458) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449870)

I love Steam too, but using it won't save you from GFWL. I purchased Bioshock 2 from Steam and have the exact same problem that you had.

My commandments. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448166)

Like any long-time Slashdot user, I didn't read the article, and I'm not going to, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to keep my opinions on this subject to myself. As an added bonus, I don't write like a dumbass, using Shakespearean English in 2011. Unfortunately, I do fucking curse a lot. If that offends you, good. It means that I win.

Commandment 1: Don't port console games to the PC. It always ends up pissing off the PC gamers, because the UI is shitty and the graphics look like they're from five years ago. If you simply must port your crappy console game to the PC, at least spend a few days reworking the UI, so that it looks decent and handles well on something other than console hardware (TVs and gamepads). Thanks to the relatively high resolutions of HDTV, this isn't as monstrous of a problem as it used to be, but it's still annoying as hell when PC games completely ignore the existence of joysticks, mice, and keyboards, in favor of an input method only an eight year old could love.

Commandment 2: Nothing in the history of gaming is more hated than DRM. Even John Romero probably still has a few fans. If your game is released with DRM, remove it after the launch. Most publishers know that DRM does nothing to stop casual piracy, once a crack is publicly released. Once that happens, why punish the legit buyers? Do the right thing and remove the DRM. Or just don't use DRM at all. Imagine that! Absolutely nothing is more frustrating than a game that won't run, because of broken/buggy DRM, except perhaps a game that won't even run, because the license server is down. Fuck you.

Commandment 3: Misogyny, homophobia, racism, and religious intolerance might sound like great concepts for your game, but they actually aren't. You'll have to just trust me on this one. Allowances can be made for irony, satire, parody, and/or social criticism, but you're probably not witty enough for this. Gender stereotypes are equally as frustrating.

Commandment 4: This is for Peter Molyneux. Peter, I love you, but you need to keep your big mouth shut. It makes promises that your development team can't keep. Seriously. Mouth shut until the game ships. Everyone will be much happier, and we'll avoid having to punch you when we meet you.

Commandment 5: Don't fuck with a successful formula, and don't run what was once a good concept into the ground. Yes, this part requires you to use your head. If you can't come up with a novel twist, then it's time to move on to a new project. If you think that the franchise needs to be "streamlined", then it's best to start over with a new franchise.

Re:My commandments. (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448550)

Commandment 1: Don't port console games to the PC.

This is not enough. Even a game that is released purely for PC can still smell of consolization. The Witcher 2 really is a truly great, great game. And it was originally released only for PC (the console version was recently announced for November or thereabouts). But the interface tells you they're already prepared for console. Yes, it uses the mouse to click on stuff where it needs to (except in the game itself, where mouse controls the camera), but there are a lot of places where the interface is unnecessarily limited.

Re:My commandments. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449422)

That, and I actually don't mind games which have been ported to the PC, if they've been done decently well. Beyond Good and Evil smelled very much like a console port, but it worked very well and had what it needed to have to be playable -- it's nowhere near as bad as most of the things mentioned in this article.

XI (1)

Cant use a slash wtf (1973166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448198)

XI: Thou shalt never release Half-Life 3. Ever. EVER. Instead thou shalt waist thine time making Left 4 Dead 2 and making countless hats in Team Fortress 2.

That's what? 39 Commandments now? (1)

Duffadash (1389627) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448262)

Re:That's what? 39 Commandments now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448378)

Mod Parent Up. I'm enjoying those linked articles. However, the 10 commandments from TFA are going at it from a different angle, e.g. configuration, key bindings, etc. At least I think they are. I haven't clicked through every page of the articles you linked but they seem to be focussed on graphics & gameplay.

Re:That's what? 39 Commandments now? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448686)

Gee that takes me back. I haven't read cracked since digg imploded.

Nothing new about it (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448280)

Cracked.com also compiled a list [cracked.com] . Ever year or so someone goes on a rant like this, and brands it "commandments". TFA focuses heavily on UI and corporate meddling on gamers' affairs; Cracked concentrated on gameplay and plot. Interestingly, both had rants about multiplayer, though with different things in mind.

This is a bad list (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448362)

While some things are legit, common sense UI issues, like the SF4 controller issue, most of it is latching onto conventions of the past for no other reason that they are conventions of the past. You really shouldn't need to edit the graphics settings more than like screen resolution and then "low, medium, high, ultra", at least in the game's interface. Maybe give people access to a plaintext config file if they want to do more, but there's no reason to expose more options than this through the user interface other than "PC gamers are used to it". Being "used to" something that makes for bad or confusing UI doesn't make it not a bad or confusing UI.

Also... (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448526)

Multifunction button binds and weapon inventory limits are legitimate game design choices that should be considered (almost) completely independent from platform. Yes, it is a legit design choice to make the player decide between the rocket launcher and the rail gun. And just because one game had a poor or buggy implementation of a multifunction button doesn't make it an invalid design choice. I prefer games that have a more simple interface. Just because a player has 104 keys in front of them doesn't excuse you from simplifying the interface.

Again, being "used to" something doesn't make it a good or valid design, or a design that should apply to all games equally. It doesn't mean we shouldn't seek improvement/innovation/change.

Re:This is a bad list (1)

stardaemon (834177) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448638)

While some things are legit, common sense UI issues, like the SF4 controller issue, most of it is latching onto conventions of the past for no other reason that they are conventions of the past. You really shouldn't need to edit the graphics settings more than like screen resolution and then "low, medium, high, ultra", at least in the game's interface. Maybe give people access to a plaintext config file if they want to do more, but there's no reason to expose more options than this through the user interface other than "PC gamers are used to it". Being "used to" something that makes for bad or confusing UI doesn't make it not a bad or confusing UI.

As long as DoF/Blur/View bob/Tripple buffering is permanently of, vsync on, FoV is locked to 110, and a few other details, I _may_ not complain to vocally...
I'd still like the option to decide whether to step back on AA,shadows or view distance on various things.
There are likely a lot more settings like this I'd like to prioritize myself;)
So I'd still complain:p

Point is, I disagree, because most of us have different preferences and prioritizations regarding settings.

Not a bad list. (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448896)

This is about PC GAMING! There's no need to expose these options to console-tards, but PC gamers with vastly differing system specifications want/need as much control as they can get. "low, medium, high, ultra"? Bullshit. I want to be able to fiddle with shadows, anti-aliasing, model-details etc. etc. until I get my optimal frame-rate/experience available on my system. We're not asking for this for the sake of it...because we're used to it on the PC...it's because it's a good fucking idea for PC gamers. It can be hidden in an "advanced options" menu, completely obliterating any complaints about a bad or confusing UI.

Re:This is a bad list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449946)

You must be from the same breed of people who keep cutting stuff from GNOME and saying it's an improvement. How fucking hard is it to just shove it under a menu called "Advanced" and keep the basic graphical stuff separate? Hint: It isn't.

Cut scenes (5, Insightful)

david.given (6740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448504)

Don't forget these:
  • All cut scenes shall be skippable, or else the FPSers will hunt you down and kill you.
  • All cut scenes shall be repeatable, or else the RPGers will hunt you down and kill you.

Corrolary:

  • Thou shalt not put a five minute unskippable cut scene immediately before a boss fight. Or else everyone will hunt you down and kill you.

Mod parent up! (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449188)

Oh my fucking god, unskippable cut scenes infuriate me.

Re:Cut scenes (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449250)

Mass Effect - Krogan and Geth Snipers? at the top of the Prothean Tower. I think they even threw in an elevator ride.

Re:Cut scenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449656)

_PC_ Gaming's 10 Commandments

Your commandments are most definitely universal.

Re:Cut scenes (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449712)

Even worse is having a five minute cut scene with a QTE at the end. You can't even go to make yourself a cuppa, because you have to be ready. Never mind that QTEs make no sense on a PC. If you feel you have to have them, at least allow mouse clicks to take the place of buttons, or you're just screaming "CONSOLE!".

Anyhow, one thing I felt missing from this was: Drop "mouse smoothing". Kill it on PC versions, even though doing so gives PC players an advantage. PC users have a mouse, they don't need to push a cursor from A to B at a fixed rate, but can jump directly.

Or, to sum most of it up in one rule to bind them all: Don't force the PC to behave like a console would.

Easier (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36448692)

I think this can all be made much simpler:

Devs must be forced to play all ports of their game with several different PC's, controllers, players, connections, etc. be made to use every menu a hundred times, and be forced to watch other people do the same and FIX the problems.

Which would immediately expose all those flaws straight away, and give them an incentive to fix the damn things (because AFTERWARDS they will be made to do the same again and again and again).

In the past we used to call it play-testing. Apparently now we call it "That'll do".

Re:Easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449358)

The part with Devs playing their own game only works to an extent. If they played it on the console for a while, they will be perfectly fine with going to Online -> Multiplayer -> Lobby -> Sign In -> Host game -> Create to start a multiplayer match, all with the keyboard cursor keys ... just because that is what they are used to. Any new play-tester would be overheard swearing loudly at such a contrived substructure of menus just to host a game and mouse clicks doing absolutely nothing despite a cursor being visible in the menus (Yes, I am looking at you EA and especially your NFS and FIFA games).

The key is to frequently get new play-testers that have not yet developed this 'blindness' and will point out these flaws instead of accepting them because they've become used to them.

Re:Easier (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449754)

Well, when you deal with console devs it works a bit differently(sorta). They do in-house QA and such, but the games get sent to Sony/MS/Nintendo for QA prior to release. Essentially, your finished game product playtesting is being done by a 3rd party that doesn't give you that kind of feedback.

spaceship games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36448862)

XI. Though shalt not make spaceship with maximum speed limit.

unless you state that its in different universe.

I know it sounds like nit picking and i had my fair share of fun playing freespace, freelancer and xseries, but I want at least semi realistic spaceship fights game.
the only games if I remember correctly were Orbiter (crazy ass simulation for nasa pilots in training) and actually very good (and for free) but a bit buggy and unfinished Babylon 5: I've Found Her.

Re:spaceship games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449418)

Try Frontier, Frontier: First Encounters (/ JJFFE), Independence War 1, Independence War 2

intro vids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449322)

publisher.bik
developer.bik
nvidia/ati.bik
brand owner.bik
gameintro.bik
actual game menu

oh boy! are we having fun yet?

blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449472)

The attempt at ye old dumb fuck humor language is not funny.

Thou shalt allow the y axis to invert (1)

edremy (36408) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449510)

It's been a while since I gamed a lot, but there were a few PC games I had that didn't allow this. This one is so hardwired into my hands that any game without it is totally unplayable for me.

What about people who only use a mouse and KB? (1)

vmaldia (1846072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449526)

Some recent examples. Just cause 1 and saints row 2: Driving, specifically steering is EXTREMELY difficult just using the mouse and the WASD keys. Fallout 3 and divinity 2: only 8 hotkeys? We need MORE!!! I assume the limit at 8 is due to a console controller. the 4 cardinal directions and the 4 diagonals make 8 Lost planet: very unusual control scheme for some of the functions and even the menus Dead space 1: cannot skip EA logo at game start. Cannot save anywhere, only at save points. Very slow to turn the view/turn your character around, bad if being attacked from behind Modern warfare 2: very linear level design

I Alloweth cheating or skipping in single mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449604)

If I pay a good amount of money for a game, I don't want anyone telling me that I _HAVE_ to finish that one mission before I can move further.
If I play only casually, I do not want to try the same friggin level over and over.
And I sure as hell don't need anyone to tell me I should!

dev console and ingame server browser (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449704)

Thou shalt provide a dev console in game with real commands that will have effect on the fly.
Thou shalt not restrict the player to only the horrific in-game server browser.

Looking at you BFBC2(among others).

Commandment 11 (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36449898)

11: Your PC game MUST be from the PoV of a character waving a gun in front of his face.

"Thine game"? Blech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36449958)

Idiot writer is trying to sound all Biblical, yet has no idea how to do it properly.

It's real simple. Here's how it works, kids: You use "thy" where you would use "a" and "thine" where you would use "an" -- and for exactly the same reason, to avoid the glottal stop. "Thy armor" is awkward to say; "thine armor" flows more smoothly. And "thine game" just sounds ignorant and pretentious. It's:

- thine eyes
- thy gun
- thine armor
- thy game, and
- thy uniform (You don't say "an uniform", do you? No, because the "y" sound at the beginning of "uniform" obviates the need for the glottal stop.)

Sorry if I sound unduly harsh, but I sing a lot of church music, and this kind of nonsense just grates on my ears.

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