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How To Ruin Your Game's PC Port

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-the-myriad-ways dept.

PC Games (Games) 244

An anonymous reader writes "An article at Ars goes through some of the biggest sins game publishers commit when porting a console game to the PC. At the top of the list, predictably, are annoying DRM and inconvenient game settings. From the article: 'PC gamers like to play with their mouse settings, adjust the amount of detail in the characters or environment, and change the audio mix between the music and the sound effects. We want to adjust the resolution, the aspect ratio, and even the field of view settings. The more options given to PC gamers, the better. While some engines support more options than others, there is a minimum amount of tweaking that should be available when we jump into the game. For an example of how badly PC gamers can get screwed on this issue, we can take a look at Bulletstorm when it was launched. Not only was mouse smoothing turned on as a default, but there was no way to turn it off. You had to find the configuration files, which were encrypted for some insane reason, and then install a third-party program to be able to turn off mouse smoothing and get the game feeling like it should on the PC."

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244 comments

Extra work required (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957534)

Note how 3 of the 5 things actually mean extra work for the game developers and QA department. That work probably causes the 4th thing to happen: delayed release.

Re:Extra work required (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957600)

I'd rather a delayed game that works than a borked piece of crap released too early with a buglist larger than several (average) screen-heights worth. (worse when they are serious-level bugs)

Correct engine development shouldn't have to take ages to implement these sorts of things if needed.
Engine development is the most important part, without a solid engine to base everything else around, you end up having to go back and fix crap that shouldn't be there in the first place.

Re:Extra work required (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957812)

Games have not been about what "you'd rather" since the mid 1990's, but rather about what the market is willing to pay for.

See entertainment software is in a rather special category - it doesn't really have to be good. It doesn't have to be bug free. It doesn't even have to be fun. All it has to do is "entertain". You can't get a refund from the cinema for a bad movie. You have to put up with 14 shitty songs on the CD that contains 1 or 2 songs you actually like. And no publisher will give you your money back because a book didn't end the way you wanted it to.

So we could argue that games should be essentially bug free because they are software, but the truth is that all they have to do is show a title screen and play some music, and you have been entertained. Anything else is extra. Now that's not the way it should be, but because there are a great deal of kids out there willing to buy games because of the pretty graphics on the box or the cool sounding title or because that company was the one that released MegaUltraBlasterSlaughterFest V so this game HAS to be good amirite? well, we're screwed.

All I can say is try before you buy...

Re:Extra work required (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957616)

That work probably causes the 4th thing to happen: delayed release.

Better delayed than unplayable like I found Dead Space to be. No user definable keys meant I would have to become right handed to play the game or install third party software and piss about trying to get a user experience common on almost every keyboard controllable game created in the past 20 years. Some reason console porting nob-heads think they are above the universal laws of what makes a game remotely playable.

Re:Extra work required (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957736)

Exactly Mr AC. If you are only gonna release a broken hunk of shit, why release at all? We PC gamers would be happier not wasting the money on.....oh I get it! Good way to kill your sales though. An example for me would be Mercenaries II, where the controls for the various moves are not explained anywhere in game which is real fun when you have to pull a quick time event and they just give you a foot symbol without an easy way to check and see WTF button is foot again.

Or Turning point: Fall of Liberty or TP as I call it because boy the only thing that game would be good for is wiping your ass. With that damned thing the game actually shows you the X360 buttons for most of the screens and can't even be controlled with a mouse on the menu! WTF? I might have actually had a little fun with that game if the damned developers had actually TRIED using a keyboard and mouse instead of plugging in an X360 controller because I can tell you without a controller its completely unplayable.

So PLEASE developers, if you aren't gonna bother then just....don't, okay? It isn't like we PC gamers don't have an incredible library of games that actually work, or have more new games to choose from than we could ever play. All your putting out shite ports does is burn the customer who will then hate you and avoid your company in the future.

Re:Extra work required (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957818)

Eh funny you should mention deadspace. I never got past the first room the thing was so crappy. And I heard they made a deadspace 2....

Re:Extra work required (1)

f()rK()_Bomb (612162) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958322)

if you can manage to get over the horrific controls there's really a great game with an awesome story hiding under there. took me several tries to get into it but it was worth it

Re:Extra work required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958362)

Eh funny you should mention deadspace. I never got past the first room the thing was so crappy. And I heard they made a deadspace 2....

such a good game, graphics and story and screwed because the controls... anyway, i remember there was a personalized settings.file somewhere to make it work with keyboard+mouse with arrows instead of asdf... sorry i can't point you, i found that months ago but i'm sure you can still find it in google.

by the way. Don't buy'em, torrents ftw

Re:Extra work required (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958394)

I found Dead Space 2 to be much better on the PC then the first one.

It's been a while but I think I did have to fiddle around with the option menu a bit, but it was certainly playable while it's predecessor was not.

Re:Extra work required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957642)

i'm sure they'd free up a heck of a load of time not implementing DRM.

Re:Extra work required (4, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957654)

My personal favourite is when they leave the "Press X Button" hints in on the PC ports... it gives me real confidence that they've spent the extra time to ensure a seamless PC experience.

Re:Extra work required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958182)

If only AC had points.

Re:Extra work required (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958420)

What really irks me, is when they make the controls completely re-mappable in the PC version, but neglect to have the feature in the console version. They just assume that everyone will want to use the exact same controller mappings, or at best, pick from a selection of 3 or 4 different configurations. Tony Hawk 2 had this problem. I played it on the PC and it was so much better than the Xbox, because all the selectable configurations in the Xbox made it so that you had to move your thumb off the jump button to do a grind. Whereas on the PC version let you remap them so you could press both buttons without moving your thumb.

Re:Extra work required (3, Insightful)

Novus (182265) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957656)

2 out of 5, I'd say. Adding lots of configuration menus and control options is extra work, but I'd say DRM and useless network services are things that would be less work if they were never introduced in the first place. Also, wouldn't it be easier to develop the game on PC first, then port to console?

Also, many of the settings mentioned, such as aspect ratio and sound/music volume, should be in the console version already.

Re:Extra work required (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958080)

2 out of 5, I'd say. Adding lots of configuration menus and control options is extra work....

The thing is that they had to have tried different control schemes when they were playtesting the game themselves. So it shouldn't be that difficult to put some simple gui on top of what they already were doing. Not doing that is just plain lazy.

Is 'cry me a river' too cliche for you? (4, Interesting)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957794)

Why should 'software development craftsman' be exempt from the rules/expectations required of real world craftsmen?
You demand equal protections from the law, regulations, and business practices for your IP...or is IP something ephemeral and aether-like?

You insist on calling yourself 'engineers'.
Hmm. So I guess it's 'Hurray for me, and Fsck you!'

Make up your mind/s already.
[generalized warning...outliers expected]
I guarantee you that I can 'hack and crack' the physical world far more than anyone can do so in any game. MacGyver be damned, for a n00b and amateur.

Why not approach it from a 180 degree, player POV, instead of 'what will make next quarter profits'. It is not a binary choice....there is a middle ground.

It has been arguably documented that a strong 'mod community' helped promotion/sales*KaChing!$* for said game.

YMMV, but it seems to correlate with the perceived value of the game to the user/buyer to your game.. (hint:GIGO from POV)

Re:Extra work required (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957944)

Its only a lot of extra work if they did it poorly in the first place. It is, in fact, a little bit of extra work if they did it properly.

Sorry, I'm unimpressed (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957962)

Sorry, I'm unimpressed.

Having a lookup table for what keys are assigned to what function is technically a little extra work, but really very little. And in fact you have to do it anyway, if you want a game written for gamepad buttons to respond to keys and mouse buttons at all.

Hard-coding key codes makes no sense and is really frakking retarded and all around an anti-pattern.

Furthermore, most game engines and frameworks ALREADY have this kind of stuff. You just need to use it.

So you're telling me... what? That a game that blew the schedule by at least months, was totally saved by not spending a day or two implementing such a trivial thing that would make it actually playable?

Re:Sorry, I'm unimpressed (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958488)

You assume the programmers in India and wherever actually have training, rather than just hacking code the way any high school student might. This is the real problem with outsourcing, where the developers may have no skill or talent, and that is why we see low quality software that gets released. The very concept of plan the design of the code before you start to write it is lost on many people.

Re:Extra work required (5, Insightful)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957970)

So? They are getting extra money. They should be doing extra work.

Follow the money (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958692)

The last time I checked the numbers, console and handheld games sales accounted for something like 7x the sales of PC games in the U.S. (about $1 billion a year for PC games, and $7 billion for console and handheld games) And that gap has been widening for years.

So which do you think they're going to prioritize?

In fact, considering those numbers, I'm shocked that any developer still releases any PC-only games at all. If they're not developing console ports, they're basically throwing away most of their money.

Re:Follow the money (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958858)

In fact, considering those numbers, I'm shocked that any developer still releases any PC-only games at all. If they're not developing console ports, they're basically throwing away most of their money.

A lot more people have computers than they have consoles. The only barrier you see is that some games won't run that great with onboard graphics. Sadly, most people are unwilling to spend the extra $50 on a decent video card.

Games are not easy to make (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957540)

First of all, you have the problem of motion, which is imaginary, and then there is the Fermi theory which states that all representationsofphysicsin twodimensions are necessarily deformed becauseof the lack of graviton-photon interaction in hte virtual plane. So if thegamedesigners manage to overcome these obstacles, then they need to eat lunch before it is time to go back to work, fuck! But they have large reserves of body fat,like a camel.

Re:Games are not easy to make (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957572)

Archimedes Plutonium, is that you?

Treating Paying Customers As Criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957550)

The fundamental flaw is a business plan of treating your customers as criminals. If a large gaming company took the lead and provided inexpensive software that people could actually use, economics of scale would bring those profits back. Until then, everything is going to suck and I'm not even going to consider wasting my time with this. I don't spend money and time to be insulted.

Re:Treating Paying Customers As Criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957584)

The fundamental flaw is putting the nag-ware/DRM/FBI warnings/etc on the product you sell, making the cracked/rippoff product without it a better product.

i wonder how many people will, after paying for some software, install the cracked version.

Re:Treating Paying Customers As Criminals (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957786)

I know I do - nothing is as annoying as having optical disk randomly spin up during gaming (I have a very quiet system with optical drive being the strongest noise source by far). Even worse is crap like GFWL, which you end up having to crack just to get better overall gaming experience, or sometimes a working game in general.
Also, Witcher2 seems to have sold well in spite of being an AAA title with no DRM (at least as far as the genre is concerned).

I'm starting to consider that (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958102)

With my ISP randomly disconnecting at random times, any offline game which proposes to boot me out several times a day just because the ISP crapped... yeah, it just told me I'll need a cracked version just to be able to enjoy the game.

In fact, it's starting to make me think about plain old piracy. I haven't pirated games since early college, but maybe I should look into it again. The idea of being counted in the success story of that DRM stupidity if I buy it and then have to have to crack it just to be able to play, is seriously unappealing.

220 Volt (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957558)

Easy: just disconnect your joystick, connect your game port to the electric grid and the electronics will blow.

Re:220 Volt (5, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957622)

I agree, I also did read the heading as "How To Ruin Your PC's Game Port".

Re:220 Volt (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957838)

Eh? A trip down nostalgia lane... I remember when PC's came with a game port [wikipedia.org] . Or more specifically, I remember when they didn't. Xyzzy...

Re:220 Volt (1)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957932)

My 386 got a game port when we installed a sound card a year or so after we bought it. I still have my gravis gamepad, but no port to plug it into.

Re:220 Volt (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958512)

Ah yes.... The great midi/game port. Seriously. I think that people forget how bad we had it back them. USB is a dream as far as joysticks/gamepads go. To get an idea of how bad it was, anything with more than 2 buttons had to use the 2 buttons from the second controller (which you could use with a y-splitter), Same goes for anything more than 2 axes. So you had a total of 4 buttons and 4 axes, or the equivalent of 2 standard NES controllers without start and select. Anything beyond that required custom support to be written into the game. I really don't know how something that supported a whole keyboard worth of keys could only support a total of 4 buttons.

Mode for multiple USB gamepads (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958554)

USB is a dream as far as joysticks/gamepads go.

So why don't more PC games support a home theater PC mode, in which four USB gamepads are connected through a hub to a PC with a TV as its monitor?

Re:Mode for multiple USB gamepads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958620)

Shut the fuck up, Donny.

Re:Mode for multiple USB gamepads (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958668)

USB is a dream as far as joysticks/gamepads go.

So why don't more PC games support a home theater PC mode, in which four USB gamepads are connected through a hub to a PC with a TV as its monitor?

Some indie games do this. Jamestown is the one that comes to mind for me. It has one of the BEST methods for controls. You can pretty much use WHATEVER you want and it just asks for you to map the controls before you start (only 3 buttons). One of the best experiences I've had in pc gaming in a while. I just wish it had online multiplayer.

Re:220 Volt (1)

Mister Pedant (1722084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958496)

ahh, a wee trip down nostalgia lane....mind you, it's not as good as it used to be.

Re:220 Volt (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957626)

+1

That's exactly how I read the title too.

Re:220 Volt (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957898)

I read that the same way. I was wondering why damaging your hardware deserved an article.

Re:220 Volt (1)

heneon (570292) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958094)

Heh, I too read the title the wrong way around. First thinking of DIY projets gone wrong, and right after that, "Wait a minute, there hasn't been game ports on pc's since late 90's or something... What is the article about again..?"

Re:220 Volt (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958254)

My last LGA775 mobo shipped with a game port on a bracket, and you can probably still buy a PCI sound card with a game port for less than $20...

Re:220 Volt (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958314)

Do PC's still come with that analog port on the sound card? I haven't seen anything but USB joysticks for years.

DON'T LIKE IT THEN DON'T PLAY IT !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957608)

It's not like you paid for it !!

As they say, he who whines the most, stole the most !!

Re:DON'T LIKE IT THEN DON'T PLAY IT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957686)

Sorry, that's just stupid. I guess you'd be the type that would consider Ketchup as a serving of vegetables too. If you don't like it, don't eat it! Have fun with your DRM riddled crap, instead of actually looking for a real solution. You go branding people with legitimate complaints as criminals? SCREW YOU, STUPID USELESS TROLL. Your stupidity won't save you.

Game port? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957636)

A port is a connection, right? Have they brought back the game connector that used to be on some sound cards? How could you possibly ruin one of those? Why is it a problem? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_port [wikipedia.org]

Then I read TFA. Faceplant.

All too many times... (4, Interesting)

isecore (132059) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957710)

... have I (as a PC gamer) encountered crappy console conversions. Three examples off the top of my head:

Mirrors Edge: Yes, you could configure the controls, but in-game they were still referred to by their Xbox 360 identifiers. I.e. you could set jump to space, but in the tutorial it kept referring to non-existant buttons. Made the game virtually impossible to play since you'd get confused by the bad labeling.

Blur: Insane keyboard controls and completely unconfigurable. You had two keyboard layouts to choose from, both pre-defined and written in stone. Or you could use a 360-controller. Completely retarded. Various references all through the game telling you not to turn off your "console" while saving.

Assassins Creed: Completely un-intuitive console controls. Impossible to change.

Feel free to provide more examples.

Re:All too many times... (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957806)

Worst offender remains the VR mode in Metal gear solid 2. You had a FPS mode, where you had to aim with the keyboard. (still loved the game, but that was just shitty console conversion)

Re:All too many times... (3, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958210)

MGS2 wins a special lifetime achievement award in the "bad port" category because you weren't actually using a keyboard, they had some kind of wierd controller-emulator that you mapped keys to buttons with outside of the game and that would grab your input and pretend you were using a controller. That's why you had to assign a key to "slow" and "gentle", so you could signal their controller-emulator-thing to pretend you were releasing a pressure sensitive button slowly or pressing it gently.

Re:All too many times... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957836)

I bought Dead Space on Steam when it was on sale, only to be disappointed by similar issues: the controls are all written for consoles, you can't reassign e.g. mouse buttons and so on. It really wouldn't require much work to allow a user to remap the controls, but NO, screw users :S

I never got around to play through the game then, I couldn't get over my irritation over the controls :/

Re:All too many times... (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958004)

Feel free to provide more examples.

Games that use the unreal engine have had some major control problems. In Batman: Arkham Asylum it had the forward back controls reversed for a standard usb dual axis controller (logitech in this case). The only way to get a controller to work correctly, and this is true of quite a lot of console ports, is to get a xbox 360 controller or an emulator to fool the game that you are using one.
Also, one would think the developers changed controls during playtesting, so why is it so hard to change the controls in some pc ports of games. This is the first thing that should be in a game, the ability to change the controls. I don't care if you think I should play a game using controls X, I want to use controls Y.

Re:All too many times... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958096)

Feel free to provide more examples.

Games that use the unreal engine have had some major control problems. In Batman: Arkham Asylum it had the forward back controls reversed for a standard usb dual axis controller (logitech in this case). The only way to get a controller to work correctly, and this is true of quite a lot of console ports, is to get a xbox 360 controller or an emulator to fool the game that you are using one.

Also, one would think the developers changed controls during playtesting, so why is it so hard to change the controls in some pc ports of games. This is the first thing that should be in a game, the ability to change the controls. I don't care if you think I should play a game using controls X, I want to use controls Y.

For this you could try xPadder software. It maps keyboard keys to controller buttons, works very well with my Logitech controller (Rumblepad2).

Re:All too many times... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958224)

FEAR 2 had a similar problem, at least in the demo. The game would let you rebind controls in the menu, and then completely ignore that and still follow the default controls ingame... but only for some things. The most obvious example was "E" for entering and exiting the giant mech. Come hell or high water no matter what you bound that key to you WERE going to get in or out of that thing when you hit that button.

Re:All too many times... (1)

chronosan (1109639) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958294)

They may have fixed that, I just played through the SP last week and I remapped the melee to the middle mouse button. Whenever I'm prompted for a melee attack it flashes a mouse with the middle button being fired.

Re:All too many times... (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958044)

Feel free to provide more examples.

Another example that got me to hate a probably good game was Bioshock. You could remap the controls, but the key I usually use for reload was permanently reserved for bringing the menu up. So half the time while I was going through the first stage I would get done with shooting things and bring the menu up to break up the game. Very irritating and really silly for them to have done something like that.

Re:All too many times... (2)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958126)

Elder Scrolls Oblivion on PC is exactly like this.
Why the hell cant I click my mouse button to open the chest that I am pointing at instead of needing to reach over and press the "open chest" button. Or the "pick up item" button.

Another pet beef is games that dont let me assign controls to all the buttons on my mouse. My mouse has left & right buttons, clickable wheel (which acts as the middle button when pressed) plus left and right side buttons. Why cant games let me assign things like reload or "drink potion" to these left and right side buttons so I dont have to reach for as many keyboard keys all the time.

Re:All too many times... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958324)

> Why the hell cant I click my mouse button to open the chest that I am pointing at instead of needing to reach over and press the "open chest" button. Or the "pick up item" button.

You can - I always bind the middle mouse button to open / activate. However the user interface makes it non-obvious - while you're likely looking at the small "controls" window in the middle of the screen, you need to click a button in the extreme bottom right (I believe it's termed "Device"). This allows you to redefine your mouse input, and possibly gamepad.

Hope this helps.

Re:All too many times... (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958144)

To add to Mirror's Edge's problems, you couldn't actually configure all of the keyboard as you wanted. I play with the numpad (old habits die hard) and Mirror's Edge won't let me configure half of those buttons, numlock on OR off.

Lego Indiana Jones. I own and love the Star Wards versions, but for some reason this game forces you to play with an Xbox 360 controller. I have a Gravis controller with the same amount of buttons as a 360 but the game doesn't recognize it as an Xbox 360 controller. The workaround is to download an application which you need to keep running in the background that will overload your controller inputs and fake the 360 controller. This was developed by a random user wanting to be able to play the game, not the company having made the game.

Secondary monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957754)

I'd really like to see games in the future support playing on secondary monitors, and support changing the audio output.

COD: Black Ops is so far the only game I've seen that would launch automatically on my tv, and let me change the sound to work over HDMI.

No settings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957760)

It's not just games ported to the PC. Even games supposedly native to the PC and built from the ground up for the PC are succumbing to this consolification of gaming. Crisis 2 did this by only having "Medium, High, Ultra" settings. That was all you could alter your graphics.

There is also an upcoming multiplayer shooter a few months from now that has a massive PC player fanbase that seems to be doing this, too. No setting alias levels, bloom, draw distance, shadows. Nothing. Just Low, Medium, High.

Noes, it's teh piracy! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957776)

Stop blaming our shitty products that cater more toward trendy new social networking bullshit and hampering DRM and late releases and half-assed ports that seem to make PC versions of games red-headed step-children! It's all because of teh ebil pirates! They're to blame for any sales problems! Duke Nukem Forever was an AMAZING masterpiece! Don't blame us for it sucking; blame the pirates!

It's hard to feel proud of being a PC gamer anymore. It's just kind of depressing. There are still a few gems on PC, but we increasingly sit here with fantastic beasts of machines (compared to consoles) that are given short shrift on the software side. Sad.

Re:Noes, it's teh piracy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957942)

>It's hard to feel proud of being a gamer anymore.

FTFY

How To Ruin Your Game's PC Port: (1, Redundant)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957778)

Make the game for the console then port it to PC.

mod U;p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957780)

an0Ther cunting During which I

How to ruin a port? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36957802)

1. Require Games for Windows Live to be installed.
2. Require Securom to be installed.
3. Sell the game on steam with the above two.

#1 Way to ruin a game? (4, Insightful)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957814)

Design for console, then port to pc.

Re:#1 Way to ruin a game? (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957940)

That's pretty much all that needs to be said.

However, consoles only have a subset of features that PCs have. This makes designing a game for the PC, then porting to the consoles a huge pain in the ass. When they design for the console, then port to the PC, they may get legions of angry PC gamers, cursing them for the horrible UI and lack of configurable options, but it's a whole lot less work for them. Designing for a neutral platform, then customizing for each platform is a rather large undertaking, and I can understand why (though I do not condone it, obviously) they would simply release half-assed ports, rather than put in all that effort.

It's a huge fucking pain having to fix all the console-inspired idiocy in each Bethesda game, but, once you install enough UI mods, there's actually a fun game. I'm simply amazed that Bethesda is so lazy that they push all that effort on us, however. I guess we need to be thankful that the interface is even moddable...

Who else mis-read the title? (2)

elFisico (877213) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957912)

When I read "How To Ruin Your PC's Game Port", I thought "Easy! Just apply an overvoltage!" and immediately thought about all the wonderful hacks that we did, driving stepper motors via the parallel port and reading ultrasound proximity sensors via the game port...

*sigh*

Those were the days...

Re:Who else mis-read the title? (1)

jacksonyee (590218) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958712)

That was about my sentiment as well, only my brain added:

But jeez... I don't have that old ISA SoundBlaster card with the game port on it anymore...

[dons long, white beard and fake glasses] These younger kids probably don't even know what a game port is anymore. Now get off my lawn!

Ruin your PC's Game Port (1)

qIroS (597071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957920)

Can't help but read it that way around. Does anyone still use a Game Port on a PC?

Re:Ruin your PC's Game Port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958106)

XP was the last version of Windows that supported it, so...

Re:Ruin your PC's Game Port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958132)

That's exactly how I read it! Was hoping it was going to be an article on interfacing with external hardware.

A lot of indie games have this problem lately (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#36957948)

I've been buying more games lately and have been amazed at how many have to be run in windowed mode, run at an incredibly low resolution, or both. And most of those games are not even ports.

Minecraft, probably the current king of indie games, only runs at 800x600, Cogs only supports up to 1280x1024 and Hammerfight by default is windowed at something like 800x600 and requires editing a config file to increase it.

Re:A lot of indie games have this problem lately (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958048)

Minecraft, probably the current king of indie games, only runs at 800x600, Cogs only supports up to 1280x1024 and Hammerfight by default is windowed at something like 800x600 and requires editing a config file to increase it.

But at least you didn't pay $60 for them.

Re:A lot of indie games have this problem lately (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958150)

They don't have DRM either, which is an even bigger point for me than price. But I'm not really complaining, I just find it a bit odd and disappointing. Even knowing now their limitations I'd still buy most of them again.

Re:A lot of indie games have this problem lately (2)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958154)

Minecraft, probably the current king of indie games, only runs at 800x600...

Yeah, there's a fix for that, too...press the "Maximize" button.

Re:A lot of indie games have this problem lately (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958306)

F11 also works.

Re:A lot of indie games have this problem lately (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958446)

I've been buying more games lately and have been amazed at how many have to be run in windowed mode, run at an incredibly low resolution, or both.

I haven't used Solitaire for Windows 7. Can it go into full screen? Because Solitaire for Windows XP is still limited to windowed mode. Title bar and taskbar remain if I maximize it.

Minecraft, probably the current king of indie games, only runs at 800x600

And Super Mario Bros. only runs at 256x240.

Huh? (0)

jsprenkle (2009592) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958000)

I've actually made only one of the many adjustments the author claims "pc gamers" want. That adjustment wasn't voluntary. I had to make it to get the game to play. The author is portraying everyone as being like he is without any research to back up his statements. It makes exciting commentary though. I grade this journalism C-

Re:Huh? (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958056)

He isn't claiming that EVERY SINGLE PC GAMER is like that. He is saying the majority of PC gamers are like that. And so far it does seem that's in fact true.

I grade your comment C-.

How to ruin your PC's game port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958078)

And here I was, thinking this article would be about cool hacks you could try with a long-deprecated IO port.

FOV Adjustment (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958162)

A while ago I started playing Section 8: Prejudice [warisprejudice.com] on PC, and experienced something odd. In all the other games I play (even Quake TF, which is very fast-paced), I have no problem tracking enemies when they're in my face and running around me. In Section 8, about 1/3rd of the time I'd completely lose track of them.

I soon came to realize this was due to optimization for consoles.

Consoles have very limited graphics power, so game levels are usually designed to keep you from seeing too much at once: they'll usually have a lot of buildings or a hill in the middle of a map to block your view. When this doesn't give enough of a boost, they lower your field of view -- basically zooming in slightly, to remove some things to draw from the edges.

We have about a 120 degree field of view. Most games until now stayed with the FOV Quake introduced: 90. Section 8 was using 70, with no way to change it. Even worse, it was treating widescreen as "4:3 with top and bottom chopped off", so the effect was even more zoomed. Eventually they did listen to a lot of complaints and added a (still clamped but better than nothing) setting that you could only change by modifying a config file. Most devs (especially the big ones) wouldn't have even given us that, so I guess I should be happy.

PC gaming today is crap. Even Portal 2 was designed for consoles first, with constant loading and nothing requiring the fast/precise aim of a mouse.

Re:FOV Adjustment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958276)

Minecraft's FOV actually makes me nauseous. I have to play it windowed and stretched to fight it.

FOV that the monitor occupies (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958516)

We have about a 120 degree field of view.

But how much of this field of view does your monitor occupy? CSS specifies [w3.org] the standard viewing distance for a desktop PC monitor as 28 inches, meaning a 21" 16:9 PC monitor has only 36.2 degrees. (Showing my work: 21" diagonal VIS * 16/sqrt(16^2+9^2) = 18.3" wide. Horizontal field of view is 2*arctan(width/2/distance), or 36.2 degrees.)

Re:FOV that the monitor occupies (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958706)

We have about a 120 degree field of view.

But how much of this field of view does your monitor occupy? CSS specifies [w3.org] the standard viewing distance for a desktop PC monitor as 28 inches, meaning a 21" 16:9 PC monitor has only 36.2 degrees. (Showing my work: 21" diagonal VIS * 16/sqrt(16^2+9^2) = 18.3" wide. Horizontal field of view is 2*arctan(width/2/distance), or 36.2 degrees.)

Doing that would be a bit surreal. It would be a game that looked as though you were looking through a window into another world the entire time. Which would be kinda neat, but it is a bit better if you get more of a view of the world at all times so that you feel like there isn't a monitor.

Re:FOV Adjustment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958540)

We have about a 120 degree field of view. Most games until now stayed with the FOV Quake introduced: 90. Section 8 was using 70, with no way to change it. Even worse, it was treating widescreen as "4:3 with top and bottom chopped off", so the effect was even more zoomed.

You think that's bad... try Red Faction Armageddon. A 45 degree field of vision. Painful.

Fortunately, the users came to the rescue again with a third-party hack.

The game wasn't even that good looking, even with DirectX 11, so I'm not sure why such a tiny FOV was necessary.

Re:FOV Adjustment (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958796)

Actually, Portal 2 is one of the good ones. Valve in general has been good to us. That "constant loading" you are talking about has been there since Half Life 2, unless your forgot (or never played any earlier Source Engine games, in which case I pity you.)

my list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958300)

CONTROLS!
controls
controls
controls!!!!!!!!!!

press B to continue.

Graphic options i don't much care about. But damm. Controls make or break any game. Such as the piece of shit called dungeon siege 3 here lately. That was such a crap port it was sad.

Supplement (1)

djnforce9 (1481137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958346)

As a supplement to "Forget that most PC gamers aren't using a gamepad", some games assume that everyone has an Xbox 360 controller and offers little to no support for other gamepads. Now this doesn't affect me too much because I DO use a wired xbox 360 controller on my PC but many don't and it's frustrating getting it to work at times. Mind you there are xinput wrappers to get around this problem.

another crap game ported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958440)

Crysis 2 (cough cough...)

Initial release had a "Press X button to start"

Just sad.

Press X Key to start (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958594)

Initial release had a "Press X button to start"

I haven't played any Far Cry or Crysis games, so I don't see how this is necessarily so bad. Most emulators for NES and Game Boy that I've seen map Z on the keyboard to the emulated B Button and X on the keyboard to the A Button until the user remaps the controls. If your game starts out mapped that way, then of course "Press A Button to start" will become "Press X Key to start".

Re:Press X Key to start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958850)

the funny thing is crytek lying to users, telling it was not a console port LOL
Almost no graphics settings, motion blur by default, and a lot of console details inside.

Grand Theft Port IV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958514)

Grand theft auto IV. Yes, the port that came out 4 years ago in 2008 with recommended requirements of a quad core CPU and 8600GT graphics. Make the recommendation to have to have a $1000 worth of hardware to play your $49 game. That's a sure way to port!

Prefer gamepad (0)

rxan (1424721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958588)

Meh, I prefer a gamepad.

I feel that mouse/keyboard is a hack that only works for certain types of games. Games aren't meant to be played with mouse/keyboard, it just happens to be what everyone had laying around. It's also less comfortable.

I can understand certain types of games converging to a mouse-like control. However the keyboard is a joke for gaming. At least drop the keyboard and give me a real gaming tool for my left hand.

Re:Prefer gamepad (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958780)

Oh boy, you might want to duck.

Re:Prefer gamepad (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958852)

I use the Nostromo by Razer/Belkin and am loving it so far. It takes the WASD cluster and a few others like tab, shift, ctrl, caps-lock, and gives them to you in a nice neat package. You also have a D-Pad by your thumb which you could do all kinds of crap with (batarangs and bat-claw in combat for Arkham Asylum, skill usage in Monday Night combat, switching weapons in TF2), not to mention macros (flamethrower + axtinguisher in TF2 come to mind). It's like a keyboard without the keyboard.

How to ruin your PC's game port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958600)

I once ruined my PC's game port by pluging it into my monitor. Started the wires on fire - didn't hurt the motherboard though.

Amen brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958666)

I enjoyed playing my friend's copy of Resident Evil 4 on GameCube in college. I didn't have a gamecube myself, but after graduating I found a copy of the PC version - I thought SCORE! Then I played it.

The game felt like someone had taken the Gamecube controls and directly ported them to the keyboard no alteration - button for button.

Zooming seemed to be based on a feedback control, allowing you to control the intensity, but you can't do that on a keyboard, so you had to zoom and unzoom, hoping to get the right level. Direction control was mapped to the arrow keys, of all things. Why on earth would you not map them to the mouse? The D pad can only go at one speed, which can easily get you killed in a game like that.

I found the game ultimately unplayable and forgot about it.

Tigersoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36958726)

FTA --"Ubisoft claims this is a win for the company"

Charlie Sheen rides again!

And if that's not bad enough... (1)

carou (88501) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958738)

There are even more ways to ruin a Mac game than a PC version. All of the ones in that article, plus why bother to write a native port when you can run everything through a Windows API translation layer instead? It's a sure-fire route to making performance suck, and only the real pedants will care about things like .ini files randomly turning up in the Documents folder.

What annoys me most is their arrogance; it's like the publishers expect me to be grateful for scraps. Assassins Creed II actually manages to be incompatible with Keyboards (seriously - if you're on a laptop than you have to use the built-in keyboard, anything plugged into the USB won't be recognized). Ubisoft tech support said: "At this point in time there is no plant for a patch to change this. I wish there was enough space on the game box to write all this, but i will defiantly escalate your query to head office." Never mind that the game box was Steam's web page with essentially unlimited space, in what universe does it make more sense to advertise your bugs than to fix them? I just wish I could have been there to see that defiant escalation...

The interface (1)

eth1 (94901) | more than 2 years ago | (#36958804)

The number one gripe I have is that the interface usually ends up stunted. Fallout 3 was like this.
- they tried to reduce the number of buttons needed so it could easily be ported to a console, and left the PC users with a clunky interface when we could have easily just used more buttons.
- huuuge text that forced you to scroll all the time

Knights of the Old Republic wasn't as bad, but was still obviously optimized for a console.

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