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DarkeSword

Required Features for Video Games

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Was playing some games this weekend and I ran across an issue that I see in a lot of games that pisses me off to no end. I'd started Enslaved (great game, btw) and was about to start the second chapter. My dad called me over for noontime prayers, but the game was in the middle of a cutscene. I tried to pause the cutscene but couldn't; I hit START and nothing happened, so I hit SELECT and the cutscene ended up skipping.

What the hell? I see this so often in games that have cutscenes; you can't pause them and if you do touch the controller the cutscene just ends. No warning, no prompt, nothing. Just, BAM, story gone. Had to reload the chapter to watch it again properly.

So here's my first REQUIRED FEATURE for video games:

If your game has cutscenes, you need to allow your player to PAUSE that cutscene, and then give them the option to RESUME or SKIP.

Next thing: I read an article on RPS earlier today about how Visceral is patching Dead Space 2 PC to allow greater control customization for disabled gamers. This is great, but why isn't this a baseline feature in the game already? My second REQURIED FEATURE for video games:

Controls in every game should be customizable to the fullest extent possible. There's no reason for this feature to not be available in every game. Let the players map their buttons, axes, triggers, and wheels!

Those are the only ones I can think of right now. What about you guys? What kinds of features do you think all games should have as a baseline? What kinds of features exist where it's inexcusable to leave them out? Quick-save/auto-save? Level select? Let's put together some kind of list, spread it around. Maybe it'll catch the attention of devs and we can finally put a rest to the silly lack of no-brainer features in games.

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Controls in every game should be customizable to the fullest extent possible. There's no reason for this feature to not be available in every game. Let the players map their buttons, axes, triggers, and wheels!

five thousand times this

I cannot even begin to count the number of times I've wanted to change button configs but there was no option.

Luckily the systems I play the most these days (PC and PSP) have button remapping utilities, but there definitely is no reason for it to not be in games itself.

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I'm more bothered by unskippable cutscenes than skip-and-lose ones, but I agree about the feature. if you're gonna make players watch a movie in the middle of the game, give us movie controls.

Level select is a good one. I've played a lot of Halo 1 (only one for mac) single player, and enjoyed every other mission or something. I'd hate to have to replay the friggin' Library level just to get to the Maw.

An option to turn off sound and play in a window rather than fullscreen. I tend to play a lot while watching tv or movies. I tend to need to be doing something, I get bored otherwise with slow predictable stories and uninteresting subplots. Plants vs Zombies, Osmos, OpenTTD... I can turn off the sound and play these in a window next to whatever Im watching. After I'm done with the first playthrough and story experience stuff, I mean.

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Joystick sensitivity for controllers, and mouse sensitivity settings for X/Y separately. And no 1-to-10 crap like Halo. REAL settings, like Valve's Source Engine games.

Oh, and look inversion. I have to be able to play with look inversion. If it don't have it, I aint gonna play it.

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Movie controls for cutscenes. Yeah!

I for one often miss parts of cutscenes, and would like to rewind to catch what actually happened. And of course pausing.

This is an awesome idea. I haven't ever seen implemented, and yet I have a hunch that once somebody actually does it, it will quickly become the standard.

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For RPGs that use hidden stat systems like bonuses and things that affect how stats are boosted or lowered, have some more transparency to it. Give a proper list of how it works and what does what. Show the player how they can adjust things to their liking. Let the player know about this stuff, and let them use it to their full potential.

People that don't care about that sort of stuff... well, they don't have to bother with it, so they're good. Just make it optional for the player.

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If something can easily and intuitively be controlled with a button press, don't use motion control for it. I'm looking at you DKCR

This is more of a game design/choice issue, and not really a standardized feature issue. While I agree to an extent, waggle vs. button is a matter of taste.

I think the transparency of stat systems in RPGs is also a game design choice, rather than a baseline feature issue.

Let's try not to get too specific and just talk about gaming pet peeves; we should focus on broader issues across a lot of different types of games.

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I have only one stipulation: The game has to be enjoyable. I don't need voice acting, I don't need fancy graphics or 2 hour long cutscenes...it just has to be fun. I think that's what's missing from the industry. Everyone has a story to tell--well, if that's the case they should be making movies instead.

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I have only one stipulation: The game has to be enjoyable. I don't need voice acting, I don't need fancy graphics or 2 hour long cutscenes...it just has to be fun. I think that's what's missing from the industry. Everyone has a story to tell--well, if that's the case they should be making movies instead.

This is also not a standard/required feature request. Please try to actually contribute something that's in line with the topic. (—___—)

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I've only done a limited amount of game programming in my life, but I have developed applications similar to cutscenes with time-based events and the like and I'd venture a guess to say that it complicates the code a whole lot to add the functionality to pause in the middle of a queue of timer-based events and in the age of devkits and pre-built engines, in some cases it may be out of the question or at best, a huge time-sink. It's not to say that it's impossible or shouldn't be done, but just based on my experience, it's more complicated to do than most may think.

On topic, I totally echo customizable controls.

Also, add the ability to toggle HUD visibility to the list.

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I hope it's what you consider a feature so I'm not off topic, but I really think all games that have online multiplayer should have a split screen option. I don't know why a bunch of games all of the sudden stopped including it, and it's getting pretty annoying.

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I hope it's what you consider a feature so I'm not off topic, but I really think all games that have online multiplayer should have a split screen option. I don't know why a bunch of games all of the sudden stopped including it, and it's getting pretty annoying.

^ This. Screens have only gotten larger since splitscreen was commonplace. of course, graphics have gotten fancier and now require the whole machine to render... F->Zero GX got around that by leaving stuff out, which was distracting when you were used to the eye candy but ultimately didn't get min the way of fun.

Fun, that's a feature that more games should have. Isn't that the feature ferret wanted too? :D

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I've only done a limited amount of game programming in my life, but I have developed applications similar to cutscenes with time-based events and the like and I'd venture a guess to say that it complicates the code a whole lot to add the functionality to pause in the middle of a queue of timer-based events and in the age of devkits and pre-built engines, in some cases it may be out of the question or at best, a huge time-sink. It's not to say that it's impossible or shouldn't be done, but just based on my experience, it's more complicated to do than most may think.

I don't think so. If you can pause a game like Uncharted which has tons of scripted action sequences, it's no different than allowing a pause during a cutscene with quicktime events.

"Fun" isn't the kind of feature I'm talking about, and you guys know it. I'm talking about more objective things. :roll:

Local multiplayer for games with a multiplayer component is something I agree with. I think it's more of a resource issue than a game design decision, in which case I think devs should figure out how to make it work.

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I don't think so. If you can pause a game like Uncharted which has tons of scripted action sequences, it's no different than allowing a pause during a cutscene with quicktime events.

Like I said, I know that it's possible, but in many cases you probably need to build it from the ground up with cutscene pausing in mind. This may be out of the question when the game is being developed via a pre-built, repurposed or re-used game engine. And even then, building an engine with that functionality may not be part of the project template or existing workflow, so in that case it's not implemented because it's not part of the company's standard game features.

Either way, I agree that it should be required but I'm only arguing that it's more complicated than adding in a boolean and pausing the event queue. Just because you have one example of a game that does it doesn't mean that it's easily implemented in every other game.

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Graphics sliders/settings. Mostly talking about console games here. First of all console devs in general are all too happy with sacrificing framerate for graphics, instead of leaving players with a choice. GTA3 on PS2 had an unacceptable framerate for me, then I noticed that I could turn off motion blur in the options, which instantly improved the performance. This was a wise move by Rockstar.

Second, all the fancy schmancy post-processing effects people utilize these days have a tendency to be really fucking tasteless and obnoxious. Like very blatant distance blur, eye-bleeding bloom/HDR or a freakin grain filter (zomg it looks more CINEMATIC!!!!). It says something when the graphics are in fact improved when going from Ultra High to just High.

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I can't play an FPS that doesn't allow me to invert the y-axis and move my gun like an airplane. I don't even know how I got into that habit, but I just can't stand pushing up to move the gun up. Just can't.

Also I have to agree with developers overusing bloom. If I remember right Ratchet: Deadlocked gave me pretty much migraines everytime I played because there'd be this dreary landscape with dreary sky and and then there's this huge bright ass light way in the background. Most early Wii games had too much bloom, too. Twilight Princess's Wolf Stages and Metroid Prime 3 immediately come to mind.

And most importantly there needs to be an option to turn the voice acting off, no matter how good you developers might think it is. I don't think I've ever truly felt comfortable playing an RPG with voice acting, just because of all the fictional weird stuff the characters are talking about that nobody aside from the player would understand. I was always way too insecure about my video games.

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YSBAT...

You should be able to pull save files of other characters from other PS3 profiles.

For instance:

In Borderlands, I had to make my character on Shariq's profile to play co op with him. Now I can't move my character, because an error message pops up saying something like "This character was made on a different profile, please make a new character."

I'm robbed of my million and one PSN trophies I could've gotten in Borderlands. :P

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I think it's more of a resource issue than a game design decision, in which case I think devs should figure out how to make it work.

Honestly, I think it has more to do with the rapid spread of online functionality. Why bother programming split-screen multi when it can be done as a purely online experience? It's not that they couldn't get it to work, they probably just don't want to bother coding in something the majority of users nowadays probably won't even use.

One could argue that they deliberately do this to force more sales out of people, but that's treading into conspiracy territory.

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Every game should have an unlockable debug mode so you can enjoy cracking the game wide open after, like many of the first sonic games had, except an unlocked feature after the game is beaten. Is there really so much to hide?

Just like anyone who's interested in electronics winds up taking apart their vcr; anyone interested in development, or even at humoring the thought of development, shouldn't be restricted to the confines of the game when they want to fully understand it.

I know there's reasons for this though right?

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Every game should have a sound test.

I agree with this a lot as well. My enjoyment of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was greatly increased because of this. And when I found them in other Sonic games, Fire Emblem, and even occasionally Pokemon (Pokemon Pinball).

I don't want to replay the entire game just to have a chance to listen to that one song again.

Ignore the part in red. I misunderstood.

For RPGs that use hidden stat systems like bonuses and things that affect how stats are boosted or lowered, have some more transparency to it. Give a proper list of how it works and what does what. Show the player how they can adjust things to their liking. Let the player know about this stuff, and let them use it to their full potential.

People that don't care about that sort of stuff... well, they don't have to bother with it, so they're good. Just make it optional for the player.

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For ALL FPS's that have auto-aim, there should be an option to turn it off. There have been many moments where the auto-aim screwed me in Call of Duty, and sometimes they do help.

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