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A Gamer's Manifesto

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the ten-things-i-hate-about-you dept.

Editorial 823

Krimszon writes "The top 20 things you always knew were wrong about games, but were afraid to talk about, since you thought that was just the way is was."

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Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (4, Interesting)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676488)

Ah: jumping puzzles.

The most annoying part of FPS games, which require you to take a break from gleefully blowing the crap out of your enemies to make meticulously-timed jumps across platforms, like you've suddenly turned into Mario or something.

Personally, my biggest pet peeve is that the AI in strategy games hasn't advanced significantly in the past 10 or so years. More annoyingly, playing "harder" settings on these games doesn't change anything about the AI, it just lets the computer "cheat" to produce things quicker than you do.

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (4, Informative)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676548)

(Good) AI and graphics require huge amounts processing power. The fact is that good graphics attract gamers more than good AI. Look at E3 2005. The demos were all about graphics and how realistic they were.

Games use finite-state machines for AI simply because the range or variety of moves in each game is limited. And for each move or state, there is a logical reaction, not unlike rock-paper-scissors. It's hard to move forward on intelligence without expanding the variety of plays. Black and White worked because the range of abilities was far greater than any FPS.

However, for people like myself that prefer strategy and thinking over gfx, we still have the time-tested games of chess, go and sudoku.

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676552)

Jumping puzzles in Metroid Prime work very well, thank you very much.

I didn't play Half Life completely (I didn't like it), but, as far as I got, jump puzzles weren't a problem either.

That said, why can't I see the feet of characters in FPSs?

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (5, Insightful)

Rirath.com (807148) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676615)

Jumping puzzles in Metroid Prime work very well, thank you very much.

I didn't play Half Life completely (I didn't like it), but, as far as I got, jump puzzles weren't a problem either. That said, why can't I see the feet of characters in FPSs?


Metroid Prime should hardly be called a FPS. It's first person, and you shoot, but it's more a FPS / Platformer hybird. You don't really aim so much as you lock on, and dodge / fight like a platformer. It's unique in the field.

If you didn't even finish Half Life, you're concerned about your feet in games (Halo 2), and these are the only two examples you give, I'm guessing you don't play too many FPS games. The end of Half Life had some really horrid jumping puzzles, for example.

The problem has lessened since older games though, Alice was the last really jump-happy game that instantly comes to my mind. Doom 3 had some tricky jumps / platform fighting, but not a heck of a lot. If done right, jumping can add to the complexity of an environment and give the game depth. If done wrong, you are indeed jumping from floating / moving platform A to floating / moving platform B, C, D, and E for no good reason.

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (2, Insightful)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676768)

That Metroid Prime isn't really a FPS doesn't change the central issue - why is it that MP's jumping sequences aren't annoying, and in fact are even FUN, when most times having a first-person jumping sequence is the kiss of death?

I've played through MP1 twice, and I'm now working on MP2, and I still can't entirely figure this out. What do they do right that no one else can?

My theory is that, although it's very well-hidden by the art design, the platforms are in fact almost always a uniform distance away. You know instantly whether you can make a jump or not. (and, accordingly, whether you need to space jump or not) And you don't have to play any silly games of only holding down the jump button for x milliseconds, or else you overshoot.

It also doesn't hurt that, as near as I can tell, they cheat the edges of the platforms to a rather ridiculous degree. I suspect that's why you can't see your feet - you'd be able to see that you were standing on thin air.

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676775)

FUCK YOU XEN! FUCK YOU AND DIE AND GO TO HELL! Yeah, the entire end world of that game was one big jumping puzzle.

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (0)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676644)

"Jumping puzzles in Metroid Prime work very well, thank you very much."

no..No..NO!!

The jump puzzles in Metroid Prime were even worse. You couldn't look down to see where you were jumping!! It was truly awful.

Metroid prime was a pretty good game other than that and a few other failings. (see TFA)

-d

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (3, Informative)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676729)

If you never finished Half Life, you don't understand the complaint: after finishing a bunch of levels of the "Greatest FPS Ever" you get to a level that is merely a jumping puzzle where you have to jump from one thing to another. You'd swear you were transported to a Mario game. Half-Life 2 doesn't have that flaw. There is a tiny jumping part, but it is trivially easy, unlike HL 1, which was surprisingly hard.

OT: popup with Firefox (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676632)

Anyone else get a popup with Firefox? I'm using 1.0.4 in Linux and one came up with this page. Argh.

Popups? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676786)

No, but I'm using adblock, which kills a number of external .js scripts as well.

Unreal AI is good (2, Insightful)

mnmn (145599) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676683)

UT AI impressed me. The bots fire in the direction youre running, not where you are. And they actually hide and make mistakes like people do too. I wished the aimbots of counterstrike 1.5 had that kind of intelligence, rather than vibrating all around and having a really good aim

Re:Unreal AI is *dang* good (5, Funny)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676790)

I have a friend, who in playing the UT2k4 campaign, was in a 1 on 1 deathmatch with a bot. He stayed one or two ahead of the bot the entire match, up until he was one kill away. The bot then owned his soul, up until the point where he was just one ahead of my friend.

The bot then hid for the entire rest of the round, and waited for the time to expire.
It ran away from him, and waited out the clock, causing it to expire.

They also say that UT2k7, they're completly revamping the AI, to be much, much, much harder. That's perfectly okay with me, I could use a good challenge :)

Re:Ahh.. jumping puzzles... (3, Interesting)

rathehun (818491) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676724)

Anybody play Thief? Harder difficulty actually makes the guards/Hammerites/bad guys more sensitive to where you are, more responsive to your noises...bloody great game!

Don't talk about loot glint. No really.

R.

work sucks (0, Troll)

deeej (827716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676493)

btw trying haxoring UA 160.130.32.166

New slogan... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676495)

News for Nerds.
Stuff that matters.
Other stuff from last weeks Fark Classifieds.

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (-1, Offtopic)

HG2 (878937) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676496)

I swear I just got that message when I clicked to Read more 20 seconds ago.

He doesn't know what he's talking about (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676510)

After reading up to #2, it's evident that he doesn't know what he's talking about. "GIVE US BETTER AI!" Yeah, like it's that easy. That's hardly the only problem with this article but I don't have time to elaborate.

Re:He doesn't know what he's talking about (1)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676590)

Obviously if this guy thinks AI is bad.. he has never played Counter-Strike with a group of 6 bots on hard... they use different guns, and distractions, and autohead shots... well.. 2 out of 3 aint bad.

Re:He doesn't know what he's talking about (1)

pandymen (884006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676715)

Well, this was just one long troll article. True, in recent times, the gaming industry has turned "Hollywood." That is, they are putting out franchise games, movie-based games, and other crap because they do not want to risk spending development money on a flop. Better AI would probably just cost too much more to program, so they use what they already have. I think alot of these accusations are true for PC games in the last few years, but the consoles have been full of innovative games (see Nintendo GameCube). Needless to say games like GTA were quite innovative at the start.....but after about 5 installments, it does get somewhat old.

Re:He doesn't know what he's talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676778)

If you play Quake 3 and want a better AI I suggest taking a look at Spiterbot. It eats away a lot of CPU, but the programming of that bot is just amazing. I would say this is definently one of the top AI programming I ever wintessed.

http://www.progamer.ru/download/view.php?id=28 [progamer.ru]

Re:He doesn't know what he's talking about (5, Insightful)

luna69 (529007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676704)

> it's evident that he doesn't know what he's
> talking about.

Something is a challenge for the developers, therefore he doesn't know what he's talking about? He didn't say "adding good AI is easy, get on it"; he said that good AI was a seriously lacking element in modern games. And he's correct.

I think he's pretty much right on on every point, and the fact that developers would have a lot of work cut out for them has nothing to do with whether he "knows what he's talking about".

Re:He doesn't know what he's talking about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676803)

No, he does not know what he's talking about. AI is not something you just polish up like "we want darker storyline."

True AI is an open problem in academics. Open means unsolved, by the way. It's like asking for anti-gravity elevators!

"AI" as 99.99% of laymen seem to call it is merely an elaborate hack. I could directly script a line of actions and with a relatively small number of branch points most people will think "wow! that's a smart AI." When it's not a smart anything, it's just a bunch of decision trees I wrote by hand.

Core AI hasn't gotten anywhere since it all started decades ago. They don't even know what they're really looking for they keep chipping off new, unrelated fields of research like linguistics.

Re:He doesn't know what he's talking about (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676755)

"GIVE US BETTER AI!" Yeah, like it's that easy.

Most of the graphics we have today, were at one time in this same category "of yeah that's easy". If you were to say in the days of Commander Keen, "I want a 3D game where you can run around multi-story levels hunting various types of bad guys and have realistic lightining effects and I want to be able to play with my friends who live 1000 miles from me" you could have said the same thing. The point is that adding better AI can be evolutionary and it doesn't have to be true "AI"... the enemy characters don't actually need to have self realization and contemplate whether what they're doing is good or bad... they just need to have more complex alogrythms that allow them to cooperate, or take advantage of the terrain around them. It shouldn't be that hard to program a simple alorythm that says, when under fire and there is a door near by, take cover or call for backup. Start with simple behaviors like this, and continue to build the AI engines and over time you'll have truly sophisticated AI that will kick the crap out of you every single time.

Europe is really going downhill (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676523)

First France rejects the EU constitution, now this.

And YES, this post is ON TOPIC. For those in the know, France is the number one maker of computer games outside Japan and the US. The EU constitution put Europe in a much stronger position to leverage the world gaming market and push superior products into the channels. Being in the UK, it irks me that people can be so selfish... the French are basically pissed at Chirac so they have to go punish Europe, and the gaming world, at large.

Re:Europe is really going downhill (0, Offtopic)

Cutie Pi (588366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676576)

France is the number one maker of computer games outside Japan and the US.

Care to quote your figures?

The EU constitution put Europe in a much stronger position to leverage the world gaming market and push superior products into the channels.

Again, care to back it up?

Being in the UK, it irks me that people can be so selfish... the French are basically pissed at Chirac so they have to go punish Europe, and the gaming world, at large.

Although anger at the French government probably played a part, the voters were also pissed that their taxes were going to fund programs in the poorer Eastern European nations (added to the EU without their consent BTW), at the same time these nations were stealing their jobs. With unemployment so high in France, this is not an appealing situation. And the Netherlands is next, along with the UK, in voting NO for similar reasons.

Re:Europe is really going downhill (-1, Offtopic)

David Horn (772985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676599)

In addition, the EU constitution is 400 pages long. Wouldn't be so bad if it was 10-20 pages, but 400 lets them stuff in things we don't want.

There's an exclusive clause in the constitution that grants politicians the right to buy tax free cars. You really think people are going to vote for something like that?

Re:Europe is really going downhill (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676695)

agreed. i feel there is need for a EU constituion, but not *that* constituion, which rather than laying down a bill of rights, laid down a framework for exploitation (IMHO)

It must be easy... (1)

WizardRahl (840191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676524)

... to be a slashdot editor. I can imagine some time in the near future them being replaced with google news-like algorithms. :)

What is the crap ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676525)

Is the article claiming to speak for all gamers ?....the voice of gaming ?....oh dear oh dear oh dear, now I understand why the site is called pointlesswasteoftime.com

Oh yeah I didn't understand the mention of Perfect Dark Zero, I thought it was previewed on that MTV show and turned out to have Quake 2 level graphics.

Re:What is the crap ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676567)

The mention of Perfect Dark Zero was demonstrating the bullshit of showing "in game images" which are actually from cut scenes.

Hemos, do you also not read before posting? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676527)

"that was just the way is was."

Ouch! It's like a little razor slashed my eyeball.

Better AI: do you really want it? (5, Insightful)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676538)

We get so overjoyed every time an enemy actually shoots from cover in a game that we forgive the fact that real, advanced A.I. is as much an unfulfilled promise as the flying car. Where are the FPS bad guys who can adapt their strategy on the fly? Enemies who themselves have six different guns and switch up according to what the situation calls for? Bad guys who work in teams, who strategize, who create diversions to distract you? Where's the enemy Solid Snake who sneaks up on you with the silence of a ninja's church fart?

While I generally agree with the author's complain, I can recommend him a game with quite decent enemy AI: Operation Flashpoint [bistudio.com] . However, this is also a good example why too good enemy AI can be bad for gameplay. In Flashpoint, you can really be killed by Russian sniper or sneaking soldier just behind your back - but it's as exciting as getting blue screen of death when playing. You just die - and that's it. Personally, I found it surprisingly boring and quite happily returned to totally unrealistic, AI-foolish "Max Payne 2".

Re:Better AI: do you really want it? (4, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676630)

The AI in OF isn't what I would call genious. Rather, it "cheats". I've experienced sneaking through the woods wearing nothing but black. Then lay down and try to snipe someone from 300 feet away. If I miss, he turns and shoots me with a goddamnt AK47 in pitch black without knowing where the shot came from.

OF is a great game, but as you say, gets boring real quick.

100% Ack (5, Interesting)

usrusr (654450) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676696)

"Where's the enemy Solid Snake who sneaks up on you with the silence of a ninja's church fart?"

this is obviously just another example of the ironic fact that most gamers would make very bad games if they were to design one.

it's simply amazing how many of them have no idea of what makes a good game.

they always cry for more, more AI, more realism, more micromanagement etc.

but all those things have nothing to do with a good game. they might make a good simulation, but games are supposed to be fun, a good simulation would be as frustrating as real life. excluding /. i have real life around me 24/7 and that's for free. if i invest precious time and money for playing a game, i certainly don't want more of the same.

Re:Better AI: do you really want it? (3, Insightful)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676797)

I agree. I don't think most gamers WANT good AI. They want the experience of being super-heroes who can mow down fifty bad guys without breaking a sweat. This is FUN.

While I know there are people who would truly enjoy the intellectual challenge of out-smarting a really great AI, I suspect those people are few and far between. They would be greatly outnumbered by those who found such contests stressful and very UNfun.

I point at Metal Gear Solid. Remember how frustrating the Psycho Mantis battle was, until the trick to the fight was revealed? There you go. There's what computer AI could be, if the gloves came off. AI isn't really about making the computer smart enough to beat the player - it's making the computer dumb enough that the player can win.

Totally (3, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676550)

I read this a few days ago, but I gotta agree with a lot of what this guy is saying. Some of his points can be debated, like save spots, but most of them are just dead on, like bad AI.
I was thinking previously that in the next gen sony and MS were just going to make more of the same games, and that hopefully Nintendo would give us a real revolution in which there are new gaming experiences. However, after reading this I remember there IS still room for shittons of innovation in the current gaming paradigm of a screen, speakers and a gamepad. Nintendo is sort of taking an easy way out by innovating in other areas than these fundamental, obvious and real problems. If the other guys who are making plain old video games with the same old interface can address many of these issues you can be ready for some games that will sell by the millions.
Maybe this is how there will be a PC gaming comes back. If the next gen consoles dont' fix these things, perhaps some newer PC games will buck the trend and we'll have us a revival.

All your base are belong to me (3, Interesting)

cyrix (882273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676563)

The simple fact is that gaming companies have dropped the "let's be innovative and unique" idea long long ago. What was the most innovative and unique game to come out last year? Katamari Damacy? Donkey Konga? And how many copies did these games sell? The bulk of the gaming world unfortunately resides in the teenager category. And what do these kids want? Well look at how they dress or what they're into. These kids want something that they think will make them look cool, IE: the most overhyped product to come out. Take GTA: San Andreas for instance, that game to me was a big fudge up compared to VC. First they promised us so many things, then didn't deliver. Some of the things they did give us were lacking some of the depth and options they said they'd give us. Very few game developers want to take a risk due to the high cost of development. And most studios won't let them even take that risk even if they have a cash cow. If the game does bad the company is basically done for given the fact it probaly cost them at least 5mill to develope it. So what do we REALLY need? Either lower development costs, or more expensive games. Why? Because the average gamers again doesn't care about what has great gameplay or something unique to it, they want what the game with the best graphics, the most hype, and the one they're friends are likely to get. Yeah I probably screwed that up somewhere.

Re:All your base are belong to me (2, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676658)

IE: the most overhyped product to come out. Take GTA: San Andreas for instance, that game to me was a big fudge up compared to VC. First they promised us so many things, then didn't deliver. Some of the things they did give us were lacking some of the depth and options they said they'd give us.

I'd really like to hear some specifics. Because VC was probably my all time favourite game until SA came out... and now I find that going back to VC is like going back to GTAIII after playing VC .. there's just so many things that I miss.

Honestly, I love how big SA is huge compared to VC which felt really small. I love how you can work on skill levels for weapons and driving and how you can build your stamina, muscels etc. I love that there's schools for learning to drive, bike, fly and ride a boat. How you can fly planes and parachute out of them.. all features which are missing in VC.

VC is a great game but I seriously can't understand how you can say that it was better than SA.

Re:All your base are belong to me (1)

cyrix (882273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676694)

1. We were supposed to be able to build our own casino. 2. We were supposed to be able to actually interact with a lot of peds on the streets (instead of just getting a random comment tossed at us and replying positively or negatively) 3. The rain effect? I can't tell if it's the game or if I have a bad connection. 4. The physics.....I'm not even going to go there. VC seemed more realistic. 5. The "pop up" has gotten wwwaaayyy worse than VC ever was, especially on the highways...no wait pretty much anywhere. 6. Trams were supposed to be jackable, they promised at least double the business opportunities, grave digging to hide corpses, carrying stuff in the trunk of your car....etc..etc... I can go on for days and days. The point is R* media raped this game to get it hyped up, then decided to cut out alot of things we were promised. Then of course they change quite a few of the things that we actually WANTED TO STAY in the game. Here's hoping the next is better.

On the high cost of development (3, Interesting)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676675)

Today, console games have high cost of development because the systems are so locked up. You need to license a development console and the SDK from the console provider for big bucks, and not everyone gets the license anyway. Then you need to pay the console manufacturer for each box sold.

It's just impossible for a small company to create a small, nice, innovative game for a console. A new great idea along the lines of Tetris would never make it, no matter how addictive or playable the game was. All the new games are gigantic with minimized risks and huge budgets, and the price will be set accordingly. (The Sega Sports NHL/NBA/NFL 2K5 games being a notable exception to the rule.)

Game budgets have risen to the same ballpark as movie budgets, but, for console games, there is no alternative analoguous to independent films.

I have these new games that are pretty to look at and everything, but why do I miss a bunch of old, simple games from the C64 and Amiga days?

Re:All your base are belong to me (3, Informative)

kyrcant (858905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676679)

the bulk of the gaming community is NOT teens, its young men, 18-30.

On point 2: games are all the same (2)

maynard (3337) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676564)

I eagerly bought one of the first generation PS2s when they came out, in the hope that ps2 game developers would continue the playstation tradition of releasing good war strategy games. Games like Command and Concur, or Allied General, or maybe a decent civilization type strategy game. But no. So now the damned thing sits idle because I got sick of playing car crash and kill games (grand theft auto), FPS games (red faction et all), I never liked the final fantasy games, etc etc etc. I like pretty graphics. But this 37yo wants a game that takes more planning than pressing a button to take out the enemy or jump at the right time. I'm bored with these damn games and haven't bought a new one in over a year. That can't be good business. How 'bout some better games folks? --M

Re:On point 2: games are all the same (5, Funny)

the phantom (107624) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676720)

I must agree. Command and Concur was a great game. It is always nice when you give an order, and units agree to follow it. ^_^

Re:On point 2: games are all the same (3, Funny)

nemostultae (524156) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676762)

I concur!

Re:On point 2: games are all the same (4, Insightful)

Punko (784684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676753)

2 comments on this:

Don't buy a console for anything other than mindless FPS, side scrolling Mario gams, and racing games.

Stop the developers from lowering the standards of gameplay to suit consoles. Thief: Deadly Shadows was a middling-quality game utterly ruined by the limits imposed so the publishers could sell it to xbox owners. They had to dumb the game down, and sever the levels into small pieces to suit the xbox. This ruined the immersive environment totally.

Unrealistic expectations (1, Redundant)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676573)

While I agree with the author's frustrations, I think his complaints are a bit vague and airy.

Do you really think the game programmers of the world are sitting there, reading this article, and smacking their foreheads? "Oh! They want BETTER artificial intelligence! Damn it, why didn't they say that before!? And they want ORIGINAL games. Thankfully, I have all these original ideas for games that nobody has ever though of before!"

My favorite scenario... (3, Funny)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676581)

You walk into a room full of traps and puzzles to disarm them... you are well on your way to getting through the room.. when suddenly.. BAM! You have just stepped on a tile that locks the way out. What do you do now? Leave the way you came in... and PRESTO! all the traps are reset and everything is back to how it was before you entered earlier.... that always gives me a chuckle or two...

Impatient characters...SUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676582)

For crying out loud, why do they have to tap their feet or nod hypnotically while the game is paused.

It's annoying as hell. So annoying that I'd rather not play than have that crap going on while momentarily diverted to some actual paying work

From TFA (1)

lunar_legacy (715938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676592)

More than half of your potential customer base are penisless. They have money. They like doing fun things.

Re:From TFA (3, Insightful)

RichM (754883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676624)

In my experience the girls I know actually prefer playing Dead Or Alive 3 as the women characters with attitude & huge bouncing breasts rather than play "cute" and "girly" games - they get some kind of escapism out of it, just like us men do when we fire up Rainbow Six...

I loved the "loading" part (3, Interesting)

Nonoche (138802) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676594)

"How in the name of Islamic Fonzie did we ever let games get away with "Loading..." screens? The Gamecube doesn't have those, not on the games made by Nintendo. Hell, the 8-bit NES didn't have load screens 20 years ago."

Bwahahaha... that guy gotta be kidding on that one

Re:I loved the "loading" part (4, Interesting)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676640)

From elsewhere in the article...

Did you know you can't have mini-games during a loading screen because of patent law?

Curious... (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676770)

I'm really curious about that. Didn't the first CD-based games have Space Invaders to play while they loaded or something? (Hell, I kinda wish Warcraft III did, and I play that off my hard drive.)

I would like to know who hold the patents on 'spherical camera controls' (I'd also like to learn what the hell that actually means) and decent force feedback.

'Cause I'd never heard of this stuff before, and I'm kind curious.

--grendel drago

best games are often the cheapest (4, Insightful)

gullevek (174152) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676613)

seriously. One of the best games I have ever played is Lumines, and it was the cheapest game for my PSP.

Anyway, the article is so right in every point, and it just shows my double why I don't play much games anymore, and why I haven't bought a PC in more than 5 years ...

FSPYQIS ... I know I am bloody registered!

Re:best games are often the cheapest (4, Insightful)

jdludlow (316515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676697)

OB reference to... NetHack [nethack.org] . Still one of the most amazing and fun games ever made. If you don't cheat (i.e. play from backed-up save games) it's really frustrating, but in a good way. You know why you died, and almost every time you know that it was squarely your own fault and easily avoidable. (Yes, gnomes sometimes step on polymorph traps, turn into a mumak, and trample you to death, but those are rare events.)

The game keeps you coming back for --more--, time and time again.

List of Games Used for Screenshots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676623)

Can anyone please give me a list of the games and mods used for making these screenshots?

Thanks.

This guy (4, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676628)

This guy has *really* put his finger on exactly whats wrong with videogames.

Maybe it goes back to what you grew up with, but the videogame "Type" that I always loved the most was "Adventure Games". I was a major Sierra and Lucasarts junkie as a kid ... I lived for each release of Kings Quest, Monkey Island, Quest for Glory, Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle, etc ... then then doom came out (yes I know wold3d was first, but doom was the *BIG* hit) and Adventure games stopped getting made, and videogames got dumbed down forever. Instead of intellecutal challenge and witty writing, we got button mashig, searching for ammo, and looking for what switch opened that door. Grim Fandango (1998) was the last *GREAT* Adventure game. To put it in the words of a friend of mine, "I actually feel a sense of loss that the game is over, like someone has died and won't be a part of my life anymore." Has anybody ever felt that way about a FPS?

Re:This guy (4, Insightful)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676672)

I was expecting a fluff piece, but it's surprisingly accurate when it comes to listing the weaknesses of modern games.

Allow me to add one more:

NO MORE DAMN 5-CD INSTALLS!

We've had DVD-ROM drives for YEARS, and most people have burners now. PUT THE DAMN GAME ON A DVD AND QUIT WASTING OUR TIME!

It's much easier to install (and store) a single DVD than the massive CD case that comes with the game (or an armload of flimsy paper sleeves (ala WoW)).

N.

Re:This guy (1)

luna69 (529007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676731)

I agree. It's ridiculous that I have to sit and tend the keyboard during an install - I should be able to stick a single disc in, click the button and go clean my toenails or something.

At least it's not like the old days when we had to constantly switch discs in-game depending on where we were because hard discs were wither not really common/affordable on the desktop yet or were too small to consider copying an entire game to. Heck, I remember swapping 143k 5.25" floppies in-game... :)

Re:This guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676733)

To put it in the words of a friend of mine, "I actually feel a sense of loss that the game is over, like someone has died and won't be a part of my life anymore." Has anybody ever felt that way about a FPS?

Yes, I have. Doom 3 was the most recent, but others included Quake 1, Deus Ex, and the biggest one, Pathways into Darkness. The Marathon games fall under that category as well (no Halo game comes close).

#9: Immersion and the invisible hand of God (4, Interesting)

jdludlow (316515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676631)

Almost every game does this. In Lord of the Rings: Return of the King there's actually a "run out of a crumbling building" level and where stones rain down on your head and block your path. So the biggest difficulty in the level is that you can't jump over a knee-high stone because THERE IS NO FUCKING JUMPING IN THE GAME.

This one really hits home, because it's exactly the reason that I didn't buy Guild Wars [guildwars.com] . Yeah, it might be a really fun game otherwise, but it's like your character is on rails. Hey, there's a cliff. I think I'll run off the edge... hmmm, nope there's an invisible wall preventing me from moving. In a game that's supposedly a cross between FPS and MMORPG, this is just super lame.

For all of it's fault, at least in WoW I could explore terrain, climb mountains, and roam aimlessly if I wanted to.

Re:#9: Immersion and the invisible hand of God (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676728)

This annoyed the hell out of me in the Everquest for the PS2 (the only version of Everquest I'll admit to having played, thank you). There was no jumping and the camera angles were so constricting that playing the game eventually made me feel claustrophobic.. in expansive outdoor environments.

The only way I could escape that was jumping off of cliffs or off the top of the Dark Elf cave. They have a huge skull shaped mountain entrance, and there is (or was) a way to climb up to the very top of it and jump off the front.

That was about the funniest and most amusing thing you could do in Everquest on the PS2. I am deadly serious. That game disables large portions of your brain.

Re:#9: Immersion and the invisible hand of God (2, Insightful)

luna69 (529007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676746)

This one does hit home. I'm plaing brothers in arms, and after playing FarCry obsessively for the last year I'm constantly trying to jump over small obstacles without success.

A similar annoyance is not being able to lie down in BIA - I'm a soldier! Why can't I go prone? It's nuts!

boobies (0, Offtopic)

cwebb1977 (650175) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676659)

Hey, I think I just saw boobies in there! A must-read!

I've met... (-1, Troll)

RingDev (879105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676661)

Retarded monkeys with a better grasp on reality then the author of that pile of steaming fecal mater. He makes a few decent points, then obscures them in retarded babbling and misguided notions about hardware and software development. -Rick

Great Article (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676663)

I consider myself a good game critic. This article was right on about just about everything ... except:

As a rule, a console is a better game machine than a cheap PC because all it does is play games.

A console is a DUMB PC COMPUTER! All it does is play games - of one variety. I can play console games from multiple consoles on my PC.
And it's upgradeable.
AND ... ... free pr0n.

CIVILIZATION (1)

kyrcant (858905) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676665)

The Civ games are a perfect example of a failed AI, and many RTS games are similarly crippled. When you played on a higher difficulty in CIV (all of them) the AI player didn't get any better, he just got a bigger and bigger attack and defense bonus, and got ten extra turns before you were allowed to start playing. It resulted in situations where my fusion-tank unit would attack their bow-and-arrow barbarian unit, and LOSE!!! The same thing happens in RTS games, where the AI gets a resource bonus, and extra time to play before the player gets to start. LAME!!! I'm not even a very good programmer, but I can write a better AI than Sid Meier?

Re:CIVILIZATION (3, Insightful)

jdludlow (316515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676719)

Actual programming likely has very little to do with making a good AI. If you want to outdo Sid Meier, you need to be able to describe, in very generic terms, how to play Civ III well. The game is outstandingly complex, with all of the different civ interactions going on at once. I seriously doubt that most people could succeed with this task.

I don't agree (2, Insightful)

xv4n (639231) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676670)

He's only complaining about his gaming preferences. I don't think the FA applies in full to every game-player.

Some good points, some not-so-good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676674)

1. The fact that the next generation of consoles won't have CPUs that do out of order execution has nothing to do with AI. It has everything to do with the fact that nobody knows a good way to make AI that "thinks" beyond following a bunch of rules. We know how to make better graphics, though, so we do that instead. Figure out a better way to do AI, and we'll do it.

2. Katamari Damacy. Rez. The whole "party game" genre, which didn't really exist 5 years ago. There are games out there that bring something new to gameplay, but you have to look for them. Oh, and if you want more games with innovative gameplay, buy them instead of the ones that look pretty but are just a rehash of the same old thing.

3. It's like a nuclear arms race. Whoever disarms first is in a bad position. See item 2 for how to fix this.

7. Less to do with copy protection than high seek times and low bandwidth with current optical disk technology. That plus increasing quality of content to satisfy the graphical arms race, which compounds the problem.

8. Sure. Just don't complain when the game costs more to cover the week long voice recording sessions.

9-11. Good points. But how are we supposed to tell the gamer anything about their status without breaking the immersion?

12-20. Yup.

Re:Some good points, some not-so-good (1)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676685)

Katamari Damacy is an off-shoot of Marble Madness/Super Monkey Ball/what have you. The ball rolling games.

Rez is a take of Space Harrier/Panzer Dragoon.

Both games are great. But they are evolutionary, not revolutionary. In fact, most games out there are evolutionary to some degree. You just have to have your eyes open enough to realize it.

Re:Some good points, some not-so-good (4, Insightful)

StocDred (691816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676806)

Oh for fuck's sake. If you're going to demean Katamari because it has a rolling sphere in it just like Marble Madness and Super Monkey Ball, you must be the biggest inconsolable anti-gamer ever.

"Hey man, want to play DK Jungle Beat? You use the bongos!"
"No thank you sir, it's simply a 20 year old Mario designs married to an overpriced, single use gimmick controller."

"Hey man, want to play DDR? You totally have to use your legs to play!"
"No thank you sir, I grew tired of that sort of thing with the NES's power pad."

There are times when the use of the word "innovative" is incorrect. Katamari Damacy is not one of those times. There is more to the innovation in the game than just rolling a ball. The easy-to-grasp concept and controls, the cute/bizarre art and music design, the level and size scaling, the original IP. Combine that with ball rolling and you still get innovation. Katamari deserves all the credit and good word-of-mouth it received, which is more than you can say for just about every mainstream game out there.

Oh wait, they completely ripped off "The Little Prince" with those small planets in the game menus! INNOVATION IS DEAD.

This is so typical (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676682)

This is so typical of online gaming review sites these days. I blame MTV for the whole smash. People these days have so little attention span that extreme hyperbole is used just to ensure that people will read for more than 5 seconds.

I only found one item in there that was valid. The rest was over the top free porn! attention grabbers.

Oh look, but I can do hyperbole too. The designers of that game took time to make sure that the emotes for the female characters are very evocative. And - as an added bonus, body parts jiggle when subjected to sudden movements.

Playing with pixel dolls has reached new heights! Who the heck needs AI with jiggling?

Hooray! (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676690)

Finally, sense has prevailed and someone has wrote down all their pet peeves and, guess what, they are pretty much what every gamer has been saying since the dawn of time.

The author must be a mind-reader because I've always had the same concerns in mind. Now, let's just hope that someone "up there" with a brain listens to him and Half-Life 3 breaks none of these sacred rules.

My favorite quote from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676691)

This comes from # 16 - Don't use the online capability as an excuse to release broken games

The first time we hear the word "patch" in relation to a PS3 or XBox 360 game, we're taking the console back to the store. Filled with our shit.

AI really sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676700)

I really hate it when people squawk about AI in games! AI is only fun up to a point, and I have a very strong belief that any game with a strong AI should be designed to last only as long as that AI is going to be "fun." Therefore, you're automatically limiting the replay value of your game by including AI. In order to counter that, you'd have include some other features (that have probably never been seen before).

I personally play games to do one of three things: kill some time, challenge a friend (read: human opponent), or develop myself mentally or physically (chess/ other strategy games). AI is not the end all be all for me. Others may view it differently, but AI is not going to make a FPS game "more fun" for me unless that game has my emminent boredom in view as a design feature.

Some genres may benefit from AI more than others, but in the end AI is only 1 of many features of gaming, and focusing on it without a much broader scope in sight is not going to make significant advances in game design. Sure it would be nice to have smart enemies, but it's only going to be as good as it is implemented, which takes us back to having a good design in the first place.

A developer can't magically make "bad design" elements go away. At some point a designer has to do something that he knows will hurt his game. Either because of a techinical limitation, or by the direction of a project lead bad things end up in games. A clever designer will make the player accept their failing, almost as if it were part of the game. But a bad developer makes no effort to disguise, or soften-up their bad design features. So yeah... I don't thnk gamers should be asking developers to do away with bad design elements altogether, as they are inevitable, but rather to disguise them better. design your problems into your games. This is great game design. What most gamers are asking for is pretty much impossible.

The article sounded reasonable until: (5, Insightful)

Alef (605149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676701)

It has to do with the fact that both the XBox 360 and the PS3's Cell CPU use "in-order" processing, which, to greatly simplify, means they've intentionally crippled the ability to make clever A.I. and dynamic, unpredictable, wide-open games in favor of beautiful water reflections and explosion debris that flies through the air prettily.

Wherever did he get this idea? It is completely unrelated. "Unpredictability" only harms in-order processing at the scale of single assembly instructions (nanoseconds). A good bot should hardly do something unpredictable more often than once every other second.

And for that matter, more advanced AI algorithms, such as ANN or SVMs, are usually massively parallelizable and very easy to predict. The Cell would be ideal for such applications.

IAAGD (4, Insightful)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676703)

I was going to write a long point-by-point discussion (and partial refutation) of the points listed in this article thing. It would of course take forever, no one would read it, and the problems would still be there at the end of it.

Most of the things in the article (having shorter load times, better AI, no invisible borders, etc) are things decent game developers strive to do on every title. However, many of these problems are hardware-bound (you can only stream data from dvd so quickly regardless of how you optimize your code), knowledge-bound (AI isn't exactly a solved problem is it!), or practicality-bound (yeah, "come up with a new genre" is easy to say, you do it, find funding, get it published, etc.)

Another few quick points -

"bullshit" about graphics is indeed bullshit, but it *sells games* and people put up with it for some reason. Trade description laws might well apply, if they do, use 'em!

Save points are a fairly nice way of saving progress in a completely linear world, like for instance Halo. Less so in free-roamers like Resident Evil, but thats just my opinion. I can see why developers use them, and I've worked on games which have them in, and its better than the alternative. They're not there to save space!

Sports game commentary will suck for quite some time, game DVDs aren't 9Gb (usually, anyway), and commentary is difficulty not because of how much speech you record...

"Superimposing shit" on the screen is going to happen until you can come up with a way of conveying all information without text (or sound, because deaf people play games too y'know). Even cunningly hiding it like in The Movies isn't getting rid of it.

And do you have some kind of magical map that shows you floor layouts of places you've never been before? No? Didn't think so. How do you find your way around? Exactly.

Hmm. This turned into a huge post. :(

I've got one to add: (1)

bsquizzato (413710) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676707)

How about someone out there makes a good hockey game for the console (or any other sport other than football, for that matter)? Well, not that I care much anymore because I've been taken over by PC FPSs, so now I hate consoles...

But, back when I played on Gamecube/X-Box I had always wished there was a hockey game out there with really good gameplay that actually looked somewhat realistic, where the players in it looked like they knew how to skate and where you couldn't make a 180 turn in a split second like you were some super skater.

I think as far as sports games go (team sports at least, this doesn't include racing or whatever), nothing really lives up to the football games out there on consoles. I guess it's just really hard to make games like basketball and hockey work as video games.

where's this game, you ask? (1)

kertong (179136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676711)

The author asks for a game where you're on a desert island, and surviving for food, building shelter, and the likes.

Well, here you go, buddy.
Survival Kids [ign.com] (gamespot.com).

One of the greater games that just slipped under the radar (like so many of them often do).

Re:where's this game, you ask? (1)

kertong (179136) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676737)

oops, ign, not gamespot. sorry, i'm a bit hung over this morning. (plus I've got a case of the mondays).

A suggestion for the author of the article (2, Funny)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676713)

DECAF!

True (3, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676717)

Its so true.

If you want a game that's truly a challenge, it will have to be against human opponents.

Things like Counter-Strike (without cheats), fighting games (Tekken, DoA, etc), or occasionally strategy games (C&C, Empire Earth, Civ).

Everything else is too easy. The only difference between easy and hard on some games is the amount of enemies. Granted, yes, that does make it harder, it doesn't make it any more exciting. There's only so much enemy-slaying you can do before it loses its excitement.

A good read. (1)

Asterax (522761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676721)

That manifesto is surely filled with angst. Although I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't be with the state of game consoles. I liked the point about the dehumanization of women.

Honestly now... (1)

Goosey (654680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676723)

Half of the gamers are now over age 18, and almost a quarter are over age 50. So only about a quarter of gamers are between 18-50 years old? Come on! Don't make up statistics out of your ass and expect me to take them seriously.

Re:Honestly now... (2, Insightful)

Crimson Dragon (809806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676766)

That is incorrect mathematics.

Half of the gamers are over 18. That is .5. A quarter are over age 50. That is .25. The set of gamers that are over age 50 is a subset of the gamers that are over 18. The two events are not disjoint. In other words: .5 * .25 * 100% = 12.5% of gamers are over 50 years old.

Which means 50% - 12.5% = 37.5% of gamers are between ages 18 and 50 by the statistic cited.

I am unsure of his truth, but he stated it quite clearly. That's basic probability and statistics I used there.

Besides, the point in the article was sound without the statistic: making game environments juvenalian gives no incentive to mature gamers to play it. Is it true? Possibly... who knows. I side with that point.

The "arbitrary barriers" are what annoy me... (5, Insightful)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676734)

I've gotten really sick of arbitrary level design. What really irritates me is that they don't even TRY. They *could* make the door some sort of super-duper HellForce-powered starship-grade forcefield... but they don't. It's just a door. And despite having enough weaponry on you to level Myanmar, you have to find a key.

Basically, I think the rule is: a gamer should NOT be aware of the cruel hand of God fucking with him.

If you ever say, "Damn you, (programmer)!" then there is something wrong. (well, unless Will Wright is peeing on you [penny-arcade.com] , but that's another story) There should never be moments so arbitrary or evil that you're snapped out of the game universe to curse the designer. A door which you JUST walked through should not suddenly be locked, for no reason at all, just to prevent you from going back to that save point you passed two rooms before. (I'm looking at you, Metroid Prime 2 - and your older brother DIDN'T DO THIS!)

Or if you're near the endgame... You've got all the keys and magic spells... And all you have to do is march into the Temple and kill the evil wizard... this is NOT the time to make you go on a scavenger hunt all over the fucking map for a ludicrously high number of pieces of an arbitrary key which has no purpose except to draw out the last act! *cough*WindWaker*cough*

(if I pick on Nintendo, it's because if any game design company should know better, it's them)

It's really simple. Just ask yourself - if this were a MOVIE, would I believe in this event? (Paul Anderson and Uwe Boll movies excepted) Would I believe that the characters need to spend three months item-gathering? Would I believe it's necessary for the heroes to take a break from the plot to crossbreed giant chickens? Could I conceive of a world in which a character is unable to climb over a ten-inch high barrier?

If the answer is "no" then there is no excuse for having it in the game.

XBox? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676745)

Numbers: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, some of 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18 are all well answered by the Splinter Cell series, especially SC3 (the squad tactics used against the player in SC3 are scary. I remember one mission where two enemy combatants alternatively laid down suppressing fire while the third came up and flanked me). It seems like this guy has been doing too much lame gaming on the PS2 and older PC games.

AI impossible my ass (1)

Xavier CMU (829477) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676759)

The article makes the insinuation that 'PS3's Cell CPU uses "in-order" processing' making real time AI impossible, however the system specs for the PS3 released by sony indicate that they have 7, yes SEVEN parallel processors running on this guy. What is he talking about?

Bah! Back to the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676765)

You want randomized maps? Real AI? Real gameplay?

We don' need to steenken' teraflop, multi-core gizmo for that, you maggots, we've had it for years -- NETHACK!!!

Nethack is the One True Game!

Nethack will not divorce you!

Nethack will make you 'l337!#@

Nethack!

Missing genre... not (2, Insightful)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676773)

Why isn't a there a spy game where we actually get to be a real spy rather than a hallway-roving kill machine? You know, where we actually have to talk to contacts and extract information and tap phones and piece together clues, a game full of exotic locales and deception and backstabbing and subplots? A game where a gun is used as often as a real spy would use it (that is, almost never)?

I take it that he didn't play Deus Ex (the original). I think it is the best game of all time. It is rumored that you could win the game without shooting a bullet.

good AI (1)

MaroonWarrior71 (886386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676779)

because who wants an enemy that actually fights back, right?

Save points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12676783)

I have to take issue with the quick save argument. Some games are ruined by the ability to quick save as it removes all challenge from the game as you can just reload to the point a few seconds before you died. It removes any fear of death

I'm more in favor of well placed save points.
Preferably auto save points like Halo has.

my two cents (0, Redundant)

SomeGuyFromCA (197979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676784)

> 1. Give us A.I. that will actually outsmart us now and then.

they did in the privateer remake. some enemy ships shoot just as well as the player does, use the full capabilities of their ships, and fly in this really annoying sort of tight corkscrew that ruins autoleading.

of course, these are wing commander players, so they're masochists who enjoy reflying a mission 20+ times. (kurasawa 2, anyone?)

>

The Sony Playstation 3 is going to cost $465.00.

In the desolate economic climate of post-apocalyptic 2006, I'm thinking that's going to be a lot of money. Now, it's true that at E3 Sony was boasting the Playstation 3 could crank out 1.8 TFLOPS, or 1.8 trillion FLOPS. If that many FLOPS were piled together they would fill the Grand Canyon, assuming each FLOP were the size of a muskrat. So what do gamers want from all that money and FLOP? Just ask them.

20 things gamers want from the seventh generation of game consoles

1. Give us A.I. that will actually outsmart us now and then.

Look at the little guy. The one on the left. The one who's just a head.

I mean, let's face it: strategy is all that guy's got going for him. He has no limbs and he's already on fire.

And yet, did anyone stop being impressed by Doom III long enough to notice he and the other bad guys were flailing at us with the same straight-line Ulysses S. Grant calvary charge that failed them twelve years ago in Doom 1? Even Far Cry had bad guys that went into spinning seizures when they got confused.

We get so overjoyed every time an enemy actually shoots from cover in a game that we forgive the fact that real, advanced A.I. is as much an unfulfilled promise as the flying car. Where are the FPS bad guys who can adapt their strategy on the fly? Enemies who themselves have six different guns and switch up according to what the situation calls for? Bad guys who work in teams, who strategize, who create diversions to distract you? Where's the enemy Solid Snake who sneaks up on you with the silence of a ninja's church fart?

"Do NOT duck inside those doors, men! Honorable warriors need no cover!"

Chances of that happening...

Almost zero. One, there's more and more focus on multiplayer for this sort of game. This takes some of the pressure off programmers because in multiplayer, other humans supply their own A.I. Even the ones who are complete morons.

Two, as developers have lamented, the guts of the new consoles are geared to make the gaming equivalent of dumb blondes. It has to do with the fact that both the XBox 360 and the PS3's Cell CPU use "in-order" processing, which, to greatly simplify, means they've intentionally crippled the ability to make clever A.I. and dynamic, unpredictable, wide-open games in favor of beautiful water reflections and explosion debris that flies through the air prettily.

That means the next generation of games will likely play just like this generation. Only shiny.

Article continues after this ad...

2. Give us a genre of game we've never seen before. Something that's not an FPS or an RPG or Madden NFL or...

Why isn't a there a spy game where we actually get to be a real spy rather than a hallway-roving kill machine? You know, where we actually have to talk to contacts and extract information and tap phones and piece together clues, a game full of exotic locales and deception and backstabbing and subplots? A game where a gun is used as often as a real spy would use it (that is, almost never)?

Where's the game where we're a castaway on a deserted island and the object of the game is to find food and clean water and build a shelter, a game where we can play for one month or six months, because whether or not we get rescued is randomized? Where every time we restart we get a different island with different wildlife and vegetation and water sources?

Where's the game where we play a salty Southern lawyer who has to piece together evidence to exonerate a black man falsely accused of murder, breaking down witnesses and spotting inconsistencies in testimony?

Half of the gamers are now over age 18, and almost a quarter are over age 50. Where are the games for the old-timers? Where's the game where we get to play as Dr. House and diagnose mysterious illnesses while crushing the patient's spirit with cruel insults? Where's the game where we're a pre-op transsexual where the object of the game is to gather enough money to complete the operation?

Considering how broad the gaming market is now, there is a remarkably narrow range of games out there. Could this be what the news wires were talking about last year when they spoke of a "crisis of creativity" in gaming?

Chances of that happening...

See item #1. If the new consoles are built with a graphics-first mentality, how easy is it going to be to make games that stretch the boundaries of game logic and player freedom? And if so, can we at least have our damned adventure games back?

But there's another, less-obvious side of that muffin: if a machine is so "advanced" it can draw a photo-realistic city in the background of every level, that only means that developers now must to hire somebody to render that photorealistic city instead of pasting on a bit of flat, blurred wallpaper. That means game development costs are skyrocketing and that leads to the big-budget Hollywood blockbuster syndrome. Bigger investments means developers must "play it safe" for fear of losing their ass. And that means fewer and fewer oddball "niche" games like those mentioned above and more quickie knock-offs based on movies.

3. Don't bullshit me about your graphics

How, in 2005, can there still be gamers taken in by EXCLUSIVE SCREENSHOTS of games that are obviously taken from cutscenes and have NO connection with what the actual game will look like? I blame the developers formerly known as Square for this. They're the ones who ran their entire ad campaign for Final Fantasy VIII with shots like this: ...for a game that looked like this:

Now, that was a great game and the actual game looked fine for its time. But stop treating us like morons. Wait a second... news coming in now, yes, we have an EXCLUSIVE SCREENSHOT OF PERFECT DARK FOR THE XBOX 360.

Drool!

Wow! This must be one of those new second-person shooters we've been hearing about where you spend the whole game looking at the hero's fucking eye. Because surely from now on they'll demonstrate the awesomeness of their game only with shots from the game, right?

Chances of that happening... ...are directly proportional to whether or not you'll stop falling for it.

4. Nipples?

Speaking of adult games, where are they? Politicians bemoan the bloodthirsty horror of video games, but really the standards are almost Victorian when compared to R-rated Hollywood fare such as Sin City and Kill Bill and Cinemax's Voyeur Safari IV: Dildo Island. You get a little harsh language and some comic-booky sprays of gore, but that's about it. There is an "AO" (Adults Only) ESRB rating for games, but when is the last time you saw it?

We're not for speeding the moral degradation of the modern world, but imagine a Hollywood where only PG-13 movies could get made. Say goodbye to everything from Shindler's List to The Matrix.

Chances of that happening...

We've got one hyphenated word for you: Wal-Mart. The largest game seller in the world simply won't stock games with the "AO" rating. Period. So those games won't sell and developers won't make them. So until they invent new and varied and Wal-Martless ways to sell the games, we're stuck with the AO games found only in our fantasies.

5. And on the opposite side of the nipple coin...

Developers will be shocked one day when they notice that the world is full of women. It's true! More than half of your potential customer base are penisless. They have money. They like doing fun things. And yet, how do you think they feel when they play a game where the heroine looks like this:

Yeah, that's what she wears into battle. Thong-length kimono, no bra for those flopping DDD breasts.

And this is years after analysts told developers that women would happily play games if they didn't feel so objectified by them, and several decades past the point where they should have even needed to be told that. Have you guys ever met a woman? Then why don't you try making just a few games that don't play off of a 14 year-old male's idea of womanhood on the apparent hope that he'll play the game one-handed?

Chances of that happening...

Sadly, the proven money-making designers in the industry are the same ones that have given us Dead Or Alive Beach Volleyball and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (where the main character rampages though a city populated with violent men and sex-crazed street whores). As it turns out, they're all men. The female demographic is seen as something that can be "targeted" by adding features to existing games, such as in-game clothes shopping, in-game makeup application and in-game cute animal pets. Game creators aren't just casually missing the point, they're showing a unified front of stupidity.

There is hope however. Like all industry, it is inevitable that females will eventually forge their place in the world of game design. The female designers will burst on the scene soon enough, heaving their giant bosoms of talent and creativity and brandishing their black thongs of diversity.

6. All of the new consoles will have hard drives. Use them.

(in short - save points bad. quicksave good.)

this i disagree with. quicksave leads to people playing the game like this: take two steps forward, save, see enemy, restore, take one step forward, ambush enemy, take 2% damage in ensuing fight, restore, take five steps back and launch rockets at enemy's general position.

i watched a friend of mine play through half-life like this - he said it was boring, too tedious, and never challenging. gee, i wonder why.

> points 9-11: immersion, immersion, immersion.

not being able to jump an obstacle - bad. invisible walls - bad. but they're both conventions to aid in two things. a) so you have some fucking clue where to go and b) so the game designers don't have to map every nook and cranny and can concentrate on the parts of the level you're actually supposed to play. as far as heads up displays and such overlays, again, the amount of immersion they break is directly compensated for by the gameplay benefits, as long as they're done well. a giant floating hand telling you where to go [reallifecomics.com] ? bad. car radar in the 1930s (as in mafia)? good, because it compensates for not having mirrors or a realistic field of view. iff in crosshairs, hell, crosshairs themselves in FPSes (or even disabling the trigger when your gun is aimed at a friendly)
- good, compensating for the expertise and eyesight your character is supposed to have.

> 19. NO MORE JUMPING PUZZLES IN FPS GAMES

agreed. if i wanted jumping puzzles, i'd play mario. or i'd play a third person game that lets me see what the fuck i'm DOING - ie oni, jedi outcast/academy, prince of persia:sands of time...

for more, video game design cliches [everything2.com] and video game design flaws [everything2.com] [although that has more to do with the classic ones, like being killed by falling off the bottom of the screen to a place you just came from.]

gah, overpaste (1)

SomeGuyFromCA (197979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676792)

> 1. Give us A.I. that will actually outsmart us now and then.

they did in the privateer remake. some enemy ships shoot just as well as the player does, use the full capabilities of their ships, and fly in this really annoying sort of tight corkscrew that ruins autoleading.

of course, these are wing commander players, so they're masochists who enjoy reflying a mission 20+ times. (kurasawa 2, anyone?)

>6. All of the new consoles will have hard drives. Use them.

(in short - save points bad. quicksave good.)

this i disagree with. quicksave leads to people playing the game like this: take two steps forward, save, see enemy, restore, take one step forward, ambush enemy, take 2% damage in ensuing fight, restore, take five steps back and launch rockets at enemy's general position.

i watched a friend of mine play through half-life like this - he said it was boring, too tedious, and never challenging. gee, i wonder why.

> points 9-11: immersion, immersion, immersion.

not being able to jump an obstacle - bad. invisible walls - bad. but they're both conventions to aid in two things. a) so you have some fucking clue where to go and b) so the game designers don't have to map every nook and cranny and can concentrate on the parts of the level you're actually supposed to play. as far as heads up displays and such overlays, again, the amount of immersion they break is directly compensated for by the gameplay benefits, as long as they're done well. a giant floating hand telling you where to go [reallifecomics.com] ? bad. car radar in the 1930s (as in mafia)? good, because it compensates for not having mirrors or a realistic field of view. iff in crosshairs, hell, crosshairs themselves in FPSes (or even disabling the trigger when your gun is aimed at a friendly)
- good, compensating for the expertise and eyesight your character is supposed to have.

> 19. NO MORE JUMPING PUZZLES IN FPS GAMES

agreed. if i wanted jumping puzzles, i'd play mario. or i'd play a third person game that lets me see what the fuck i'm DOING - ie oni, jedi outcast/academy, prince of persia:sands of time...

for more, video game design cliches [everything2.com] and video game design flaws [everything2.com] [although that has more to do with the classic ones, like being killed by falling off the bottom of the screen to a place you just came from.]

Innovation...Why? (0)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676794)

This entire manifesto is nothing more then self-serving bitching and moaning.

"...we need more innovation in games...."
I call BS. Goto any library and you can classify ANY book into one of two 'genres'.
Fiction & Non-Fiction

Everything else is a sub-classification or sub-genre.

We don't need NEW ideas for games, we just need a better evolved game.

My wife has a handfull of games that she loves. The Sims, RollerCoaster Tycoon, Creatures, Lemmings, Zoo Tycoon.

None of those were groundbraking at the time, they are simply evolved from an existing game style.

Repeat after me: Just because it's old doesn't mean its bad.

Games do not need to be shiny or flashy to be fun, some excellent old games just need a tune-up to be awesome again. (MOO2, Space Taxi, DOTT, Civ2 (great job on FreeCiv guys), Tribes (if it could only be patched to use OpenGL. Legends always crashes on me).

Here is an idea: look at the games that were made for the C64, and let those evolve! It was a very large "game-platform" and because of limited resources focused on gameplay.

He's not a gamer, he's a simmer (2, Insightful)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676795)

I don't play many games. The main reason I don't is for the same reasons he lists.

However, I do play a lit of simulators. Mainly flight simulators, but also more "down to earth" simulators like Operation Flashpoint. These games need to have great AI, because they would be completely unplayable if not. They also usually have a physics model unparallelled in any other type of game. Take a look at IL2 Sturmovik [il2sturmovik.com] for a good example.

Imagine that... There already exists games without artificial barriers, with great AI, with real physics, no indestructible doors and realistic movement.

I guess the problem is that as soon as you make such a game, it suddenly becomes a "simulator" and therefore not interesting anymore for most game-playing consumers. That's why unrealistic crap like Ace Combat sell way better than the realistic counterparts.

Well, some things are getting fixed... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676804)

Where's the game where we're a castaway on a deserted island and the object of the game is to find food and clean water and build a shelter
This game [gamespot.com] looks like it could fit that description.

Where's the game where we play a salty Southern lawyer
Here's another [gamespot.com] .

Where's the game where we get to play as Dr. House and diagnose mysterious illnesses while crushing the patient's spirit with cruel insults.
That would be fun, but there's a surgeon game [1up.com] coming out for the DS too. :)

I find it interresting that both his examples are games that are coming out in the near future. But I do get his point : these kind of different games are very few and very far between.

Cell processor vs AI? (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676805)

It has to do with the fact that both the XBox 360 and the PS3's Cell CPU use "in-order" processing, which, to greatly simplify, means they've intentionally crippled the ability to make clever A.I. and dynamic, unpredictable, wide-open games in favor of beautiful water reflections and explosion debris that flies through the air prettily.

I'm sorry, I completely fail to follow why this is a limiting factor in the games artificial intelligence. Could somebody please explain for me?

What is in-order execution? (2, Interesting)

richardcavell (694686) | more than 9 years ago | (#12676808)

From TFA...

"both the XBox 360 and the PS3's Cell CPU use "in-order" processing, which, to greatly simplify, means they've intentionally crippled the ability to make clever A.I. and dynamic, unpredictable, wide-open games in favor of beautiful water reflections and explosion debris that flies through the air prettily."

That is more than a simplification. The in-order processing eliminates the transistors used for out-of-order execution, and puts the burden on the compiler writer to avoid dependencies/cache misses.

Some of the extra transistors are used instead on the other cores. Overall, this means way more processing power and should mean better AI... if the programmers can code good AI in the first place.

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