|« Google supports atty fees on copyright owner suit loss||Copyright Registrar reports extension 'Big Mistake' »|
I have noticed for a lot of games a problem which I refer to as "coin-op crapola," stunts that should have ended when the user paid for the game all at once, and should have been dropped when they no longer had to keep making the game too hard in order to get you to drop more quarters in the video game. These include, but are not limited to:
- Making it impossible to save except at limited points. It's inexcusable to not allow someone to save state at (almost) any time. I'll grant that it may be impossible due to too many temporary variables or state saving requirements) to allow save state in the middle of a mission or a scenario (such as with Grand Theft Auto III, but even then I'm still suspicious) but other than that, it's inexcusable misconduct amounting to negligence to say that I have to find a save icon or save location in order to save what I'm doing.
- Making the game so difficult it's unplayable. We are not all hard-core gamers, making the game so hard that it's unplayable or unwinnable is ridiculous. I have Quake III arena. I can't play more than one or two levels because the AI on the game, at the weakest and least difficult level, is impossible to beat. This also means the rest of the game is inaccessible because until I win the levels I can't win, I can't play anything further. Which brings me to...
- Having locked levels, or locked features. I'm paying for the damned game, let me decide if I want to play other levels or other features. If it's that significant, put it in as a "cheat mode" but let me decide; I'm the one paying for the game, not you.
- Making "cheat mode" contaminate the game. If I want to unlock something early I should be able to do so, without causing it to make the game reduce functionality or become unworkable. The so-called "cheat mode" simply either disables some policy of the game, or adds features early; there is no reason - other than pure spite - to have it cause other features to degrade or fail.
- Making overly complicated and basically unusable level editors. Level editors have increased in complexity with the increase in complexity of these games to the point that you can't use them. I have never been able to figure out how to use the editor for Half-Life, or Quake III Arena, or any of these. You look at the simplicity of the editor for Duke Nukem, which includes a 2D and 3D mode, and while it has a lot of options and key controls, you can still use it. These 3D wireframe editor tools are basically unusable. For most purposes, I simply want to carve out a space such as a room, a corridor or other such, and perhaps connect them. Later I may want to do some special features. Why is it so hard to make it possible to get the job done? Game editor tools are not important, nobody bothers to standardize so they're ad-hoc and recreated from scratch for every new game, and it shows in the results, with overly complicated and extremely user-hostile tools that are basically unusual for someone who simply wants to do what they have to do. Look at the object builder tools in the on-line game Second Life. They have to have easy to use tools, most people developing objects for such a game are not hard-core gamers willing to put up with crapola.
Having done programming professionally for over 25 years (including game programming), I am aware of what it takes to write programs or to develop them. And nothing I have said is excessively hard to implement, or in most cases, even necessary. But it still continues over and over and over and...