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Comments

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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Compromise: lower LOD through a window (294 comments)

Half-life 2 actually has a flag you can set on windows so that at a distance they're opaque and as you approach them they become transparent.

yesterday
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Lol, yeah, that's real tough... (294 comments)

It's not meant to be strenuous mentally on its own. It's meant to demonstrate the kind of detail and tedium required to be a game designer, because most people think it's all just goofing off and playing games. Extrapolate those questions to every single object and system in a game, from doors, to trash cans, to lamp posts, to ammo boxes, power-ups, enemies, weapons, equipment, etc. Someone has to make a decision about which ones will be in the game, what they will do, how they will behave, how users will interact with them, whether users even can interact with them, edge cases, exceptions, unexpected behavior, etc.

yesterday
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Answers: (294 comments)

Woosh.

The point of the article is that these are questions a designer has to consider for every single object and system in the game, interactable or not. There are no obvious answers because the answers will be different depending on the nature of the game one is trying to design. Some of the questions aren't even relevant to most games (which is intentional on the part of the author). The point is that designing video games is not just coming up with fun gameplay, but handling a lot of tedious and mundane details for a complex interactive system, and coming up with answers and solutions for things that most players will never even think about (until it breaks).

Also the second set of lines are demonstrations of how a person from that area of production might influence or interact with the design of a game system or object, not questions to be answered.

yesterday
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Easy answers (294 comments)

It's not just a technological or man power problem. Even if we create holodeck technology that can automatically generate realistic environments for those other 60 floors, the game designer is still only going to let you go straight to the roof, because that's the game experience they're trying to create. That's what they think will be fun for most people (and they're right, by the way).

For most people, a truly open game is not fun. They're not playing BF4 to kick over furniture. They're playing it to shoot bad guys. They're playing it to interact with the gameplay systems. If you put them in a building with 60 floors, but the bad guys are only on the roof, 59 of those floors are a waste of their time. Obviously there are some games where exploration is one of the primary gameplay systems, but BF4 is not one of them. It's your responsibility as a consumer to do your research and find out which games fit your tastes and buy games that cater to your tastes. Not to try and insist that every game that's released be specifically tailored to your tastes.

yesterday
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Easy answers (294 comments)

In real life, there are plenty of doors for which you will never find the key lying around. More importantly there, are millions (billions?) of doors that are of no interest to you, ever. In a video game, it would be very difficult to set up a series of long term societal detriments for going around trying to open every door, or to easily express to the player why the character they're playing has no interest in one door vs. another, or why what's behind most doors is not of interest to the gameplay or the plot of the game. But it'd also be extremely strange to walk down a city street environment and have there be no doors into any of the surrounding buildings. So we put up false doors as window dressing so the environment looks familiar, but then we build a visual metaphor that lets players see at a glance which doors are unimportant so they don't bother to try them. This can be by leaving them as a flat texture instead of modeled, making openable doors a different color or have specific lighting or highlights, making openable doors have handles and unopenable ones not have handles, or as the article suggests, putting rubble or something (depending on the context of the game) in front of unopenable doors. You can even make unopenable doors make a specific sound effect when approached, such as the sound of a handle jiggling on a locked door, or the sound of the character specifically saying "It won't open," etc. (although only communicating it once the door is approached can be tedious for the player).

yesterday
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Easy answers (294 comments)

First of all, you've failed to understand the premise of the article. The article is not intended to answer any of those questions, it's meant to communicate to the reader that these are all considerations that have to be made not just for a simple and seemingly obvious object like a door, but every single object and potential object in a video game.

As for your assertions:

> 2. Can the player open them? Yes. If you have doors in a 3D game and they don't behave like doors, you have failed.

False. When you walk down the street in your neighborhood, do you walk up to every single door trying to open it? No. You ignore 99% of the doors you pass in real life. They can usually be opened, but it's often not relevant or important to you that you open them. If a door is not relevant to gameplay, but your environment is one that in real life would contain a lot of irrelevant doors, then it's expected and correct to put a bunch of false, graphical-only doors to make the environment feel more familiar and natural. The important part, and what's alluded to in the article, is that you create a clear visual logic for the player so they can recognize which doors are important and openable vs. which ones are just there to make the environment look more interesting.

> 5. What happens if there are two players? Doors behave the same for all players. It's a door. See point 2.

Again, it's not about how it should work, but rather that you have to consider every possibility and account for it. If you create a door with a set of states and triggers, but only consider one player, then the second player could potentially cause problems with the state by triggering states out of order in a way that a single player could not. If, for gameplay reasons, you want the door to immediately lock behind the player to trap them, and you introduce a second player who does not pass through the door when the first does, you have now separated the players and potentially prevented one of them from participating in your gameplay encounter because you forgot to consider there might be a second player in your multiplayer game.

> 7. What if the level is REALLY BIG and can't all exist at the same time? Then your technology is not good enough to implement your vision and one or the other needs to change. See point 2.

Most games these days stream level and texture data from disk rather than keep it all in memory. This allows more complex scenes in each area and disguises or obviates load screens. Doors can be a good way to section those areas off and control the flow so you can optimally stream that data from the disk without the player noticing. The scope of the project could be fine, but now the level designer has to design his levels with this aspect in mind. The design has to be understood all the way down the line, from project lead to engine programmer to level designer to quality assurance (so they can try to break it in a way a customer might accidentally break it) in order for the result to prevent this from becoming an issue in the final product.

It's not that hard to develop a visual language within your game to make it clear to the player which objects are interactive and which are not. That's why some of the questions in the original article are things like "Do you put rubble in front of a door to indicate that it won't open?" It becomes a clear visual metaphor for the player that doors with rubble in front do not open, and ones without rubble do (or at least can given proper conditions). For your ledge grabbing example, all you have to do is look at the Uncharted series. Climbable ledges in Uncharted have a distinct color and texture that makes them stand out from non-climbable ledges. This is *exactly* what the article is talking about. You didn't know which ledges in Tomb Raider were climbable because their visual metaphor failed to inform you of which ones were climbable and which ones weren't, either because it didn't exist or wasn't clear enough for you to pick up on it. This is something a game designer has to consider for every interactable object in their game and make sure that it's clear to players. Doors, ledges, guns, ladders, question blocks, bottomless pits vs. non-bottomless pits, all of it.

The goal of 99% of video games is not to make a real world simulation, but a fun gameplay experience. Creating a fun gameplay experience usually requires that you guide players into the experience you think is optimal or that you want them to have. This means limiting options for the reasons that it would be physically impossible to ever complete development of a game that had truly unlimited freedom and because most of those unguided options would either not be very fun at all or even would simply not be the type of fun you are trying to get people to experience with the game you've crafted.

If all you're looking for in a game is a real world simulation, then you just need to make sure you do your research as a consumer and seek out the games whose goals align with yours, like Minecraft or Second Life. But most people are not looking for that, and most games are making no attempt to provide that.

It's not even about the technology, because even after the tech exists to make infinitely interactable worlds, people will continue to make games with limited interaction because they are trying to craft a specific gameplay experience for the player and not just give them infinite freedom to do whatever.

yesterday
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

ildon Re:Will the door have windows? (294 comments)

Doors infrequently have windows in video games because they are used to block visual information from the renderer and gameplay information from the player. But doors with windows do exist. Even Half-Life 1 had some.

yesterday
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Not Just a Cleanup Any More: LibreSSL Project Announced

ildon Re:Please change the name! (349 comments)

It has nothing to do with "Americans." It has to do with the fact that every single open source project that had a version called "Open Something" now has a fork called "Libre Something," even when the name change doesn't make sense (because the original version was "libre" software, too).

It's just people getting tired of a silly trend and a lazy naming scheme.

2 days ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

ildon Re:Myopic viewpoint (359 comments)

They might be, but they might not. It's a risk. Mercedes is decidedly less of a risk.

about a week ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

ildon Re:Myopic viewpoint (359 comments)

You missed his point completely. Tesla might not exist at all in 5-7 years. You won't be able to buy a new one, and if you got one used it could be very difficult or expensive to get replacement parts as they wear out.

Mercedes, on the other had, will almost certainly exist in some form, even if it gets bought out or merges with another car company. You will continue to be able to get replacement parts at reasonable prices (or at all).

Perhaps Tesla will become huge. There's no way to know. But right now, for most consumers the safer bet is to buy something else.

about a week ago
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Steam's Most Popular Games

ildon Re:Big data, spying? (117 comments)

You can put the user ID number into a URL that will bring up your profile page, if it's public. If you don't want your profile info to be public, don't make it public. The data can't be scraped from non-public profile pages.

about a week ago
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Steam's Most Popular Games

ildon Re:Big data, spying? (117 comments)

I'm not really sure how your favorite TF2 loadout could constitute "sensitive data." And if you're using Steam's IM feature to send messages you don't want others to read, you should probably stop now because they're not encrypted and everyone on the internet can read them in the clear, not just the NSA.

about a week ago
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How much do you spend yearly on mobile apps?

ildon Re:Why not a "$0" only option (240 comments)

Came here to say this. $0 is a completely different category than $0.01 to $10.

about two weeks ago
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44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

ildon Re:Probably typical (121 comments)

There's a third type of person who never tweets. One that essentially uses Twitter as an RSS feed, news aggregator, and/or joke-a-day (or joke-a-five-minutes) feed. They could still be considered "active" users, in that they use the service, but don't feel the need to post.

about two weeks ago
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Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

ildon Re:New? (181 comments)

"Free-to-play" does not literally mean "free to play." It means a game that is specifically designed around microtransactions. A game that was designed, scoped, and balanced around the idea that you will just barely not be able to succeed, or just barely not be able to get what you want done, unless you fork over some cash a little bit at a time.

In order for a shareware classic like DOOM to be designed in the Free-to-Play model, imagine that instead of the levels having 3 colored key cards with associated doors, they had 10 colored key cards, and you could only pick up one per day. You might reach the second key, but you would have to wait a day or fork over $0.50, or have someone click your post on Facebook to pick up the next card. Not only that, but as you progressed through the level, monster health, damage, and density increased, to the point that it would generally not be possible to complete a level unless you paid for a "boost" such as bonus healing or ammo or a temporary damage power up. There would also be no cheat codes in the game, and no difficulty level selector at the start. But you wouldn't have to pay for episodes 2-4! They'd be included but extremely hard to complete without paying for boosts, and without paying for the extra keycard access it would take you weeks to reach them.

So yes, the current "free-to-play" design paradigm is completely different from the old shareware system. In a shareware system, the most unscrupulous thing a game designer might do is front load the best level designs into the first episode, and get lazy with the designs of the later episodes, but they still had to actually make the core gameplay and difficulty progression fun, and the main gameplay loop fun. In the F2P model you create a core gameplay loop that is fun and balanced, and then you intentionally skew it to be impossible, time consuming, or frustrating, and add payment opportunities at those points of near defeat or frustration or "I'm just 2 points away" or "I just want to play one more level." And the worst part is that once you actually fork over the money, and the restrictions are released, the resulting game is bland and repetitive. The challenge disappeared because the only challenge the games usually provided were in the management of limited resources. You literally just paid $1 to make the game less fun for yourself by effectively cheating. It leaves you feeling empty and unfulfilled.

about two weeks ago
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Darth Vader Runs For President of Ukraine

ildon Re:This is a TRAVESTY! (114 comments)

You never see the true Dark Lord, working from the shadows.

about three weeks ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

ildon Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (512 comments)

Right, but if I heard it a few times in context I'd figure it out pretty damn quickly. That's my point.

about three weeks ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

ildon Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (512 comments)

My point was that if the computer can figure out the context of the other 90,000 languages it runs into, it can figure out the context of language #90,001. Else it wouldn't have been able to figure out the context of any languages, including ones on earth. The entire episode hinges on the dumbest thing ever and it's not even internally consistent with itself. When the viewer can figure out the gist of what they guys are trying to convey just through body language and expression within the first 5 minutes of the episode, it gets pretty ridiculous that Picard and his crew, ostensibly a group of people whose entire job involves contact with bizarre and alien cultures can't figure that shit out for another 45 minutes and it costs a man his life to do so.

about three weeks ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

ildon Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (512 comments)

I used this in another post and I think it's a really good analogy: http://www.businessinsider.com...

This article is a bunch of Chinese expressions that make zero sense in English when translated literally. But we're able to translate them because of the context in which they are used. All languages have metaphors and idioms like that all over the place. If the universal translator really wasn't capable of using context to figure out meaning, it wouldn't be able to translate any languages at all. That's why the episode is so dumb. If I heard you say "Picard at Farpoint" a few dozen times over the course of a conversation, I could figure out what it meant, even if I never found out what "Picard" and "Farpoint" meant. I'd learn what the phrase meant and ignore the literal translation. Using a phrase to convey a meaning is functionally identical to using a specific word for it. If a person can do it, the Enterprise's computer could do it. The entire premise of the episode is idiotic.

about three weeks ago
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

ildon Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (512 comments)

It's not about idioms. It's about meaning. Meaning can be conveyed either through a set of words or a single word. Either way it still requires context and can be translated using that context.

Read this article: http://www.businessinsider.com...

We don't have any trouble turning those literal Chinese phrases into common English phrases, despite the fact that their literal meanings make almost no sense without context or prior knowledge. By the logic in that episode, the TNG Universal Translator would fail to turn Chinese into English. It'd be a useless piece of shit and not work for any language.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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bing stealing google search results

ildon ildon writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ildon (413912) writes "look, you know the story, it's been around all day, you pick a link to talk about it. you're an editor i'm sure you can figure it out. I just want to read other slashdot readers' comments on it. thanks."

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