*Embarrassed Cough*

By Jim Rossignol on April 27th, 2008 at 7:55 am.

Somewhere there’s a list of things you really shouldn’t do in game design.

Via Kotaku.

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36 Comments »

  1. Optimaximal says:

    Wasn’t this already linked too in the Assassins Creed PC thread?

    And wasn’t it debunked by myself and others who pointed out that all you have to do is drop out of the memory to save your place in the game then press Alt-F4 when at the Animus memory selection screen.

    Bad game design, yes, but its nothing more than an inconvienience really…

  2. disc says:

    So, does ALT-F4 not work in this game?

  3. Jahkaivah says:

    Yeah I found that video before I got the game for PC. Surprisingly it hasn’t irritated me to no end and just remains a small amusement.

    Not being able to skip any of the cutscenes was a far worse crime given how long some of them were, and how easy it would have been to put a skip scene button in. Its a good job none of this is game-breaking. (To be fair there are other games which do this as well)

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    @Opti: Ah, I missed that. I’m not sure being able to press ALT-F4 at that stage excuses it. Is there a prompt?

  5. Reiver says:

    What bugged me the most about the login process was that “press any button” screen. Totally superfluous!

  6. Pavel says:

    Game design flaws that this game suffers from:

    1.Idiotic menu system and quitting (alt+f4 ftw)
    2.Unskippable cutscenes (basically prevent me from replaying the game – idea of watching all over again make me sick)
    3.No subtitles whatsoever
    4.Forces widescreen, so I have to tolerate black bars on the top and the bottom of my screen
    5.The game starts with “press any key to continue”, which is idiotic and I wish the PC games would stop using this

    Apart from these flaws, the gameplay itself that comprises of fullfilling minigames is not so great either, but artistically the game is masterpiece, and the assassinations itself are fun too (though I wanted to kill the 251st woman that shouted that she is poor and sick and hungry).

  7. Mike says:

    Even if Alt-F4 is there, I’m not sure that counts as a well-engineered solution. ¬_¬

  8. Homunculus says:

    Yeah. There should be a standard that all PC games let you pause the game with the escape key, invoking a menu that always has the option “Quit to desktop”. The last game to annoy me with an unnecessary extra step – escape, quit to main menu, THEN quit to desktop – was The Witcher. There’s even clearly room on the Escape menu for an exit to desktop entry, just no one thought of it, or, even more blasphemously, deemed one unnecessary.

    Anyone who fails to comply with this edict should be forced to endure a month of confirmation popups for any of their inconsequential decisions. “Are you sure you want to buy the pint of milk y/n?” “It appears that you are attempting to put a sock onto your left foot. Pull sock onto left foot, y/n?”

  9. kuddles says:

    Via Kotaku? Shucks, it was made by one of the editors of PC Gamer (US).

  10. Cutman3030 says:

    Yeah, I did the whole long exiting thing once, now I just alt+F4.

  11. thefluffyfist says:

    At least with the 360 version it saved your progress (after finding a flag, reaching a viewpoint…) so you could just turn of the console directly.

    A good game spoiled by some awful UI design and repetitive gameplay. I still enjoyed the 360 version enough to see it through to the end.

  12. Pavel says:

    On PC it autosaves everytime you find a flag, or reach viewpoint or do any of those minigames as well, then you can just quit by alt+f4 – it worked for me without problems, and I finished the game as well (on PC).

  13. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Yeah well, I am recently trying the PC port of Devil May Cry 3 after reading that article on 4 earlier in the week. The ONLY way to quit is to Alt-F4. But hey, it’s efficient enough I suppose!

  14. Crispy says:

    This problem is symptomatic of the game not being properly ported from the original console version. It’s lazy developing imo.

    You shouldn’t have to ALT F4 to quit a PC game quickly, this is not something that most users will be aware of and it is definitely not the same as having a dedicated Home or Dashboard button on the control pad. The ‘Press any key to continue’ also looks to be a relic from the console version where it’s standard to have to do this.

  15. Flint says:

    This comments thread has made me wonder: why do console games have the “press start to begin” screen? Just tradition from ye olde gaming days or does it serve some sort of function?

  16. SuperNashwan says:

    Hehe, I get strangely annoyed by games where you actually have to press start rather than just any button, totally pointless.
    Another crappy thing about PC Assassin’s Creed; you can use a gamepad and there’s a screen for remapping the controls, only I could only get it to bonk at me and not actually do any remapping, including NO BLOODY CAMERA INVERSION. Spent the first two hours of the game regularly looking the wrong way.

  17. Dracko says:

    Opti: It’s not so much debunking. I mean, following that train of thought, you may as well argue that “it’s okay, guys! All you need to do is turn off your computer! Or jam a stick in it!”

    Here’s hoping once the hype slows down to a crawl, people will see how utterly rubbish this game is.

  18. Alex says:

    This comments thread has made me wonder: why do console games have the “press start to begin” screen? Just tradition from ye olde gaming days or does it serve some sort of function?

    I’m really guessing here, and it could be just the traditional thing as you mention, but could it be to check if the controller is connected and/or working?

  19. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I didn’t play it yet, but can a game that obviosly introduces the Prince of Persia to GTAesque freedom and advanced parcour sports really be that bad?

  20. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I thought console games had a “press start to begin” screen that was animated so that if you turned the console on and left it, you wouldn’t burn an image into your screen. I could be wrong.

    And I don’t see what’s so bad about alt+f4. It works quickly and easily and if your progess has been saved you don’t even have to do anything.

  21. Alex says:

    And I don’t see what’s so bad about alt f4. It works quickly and easily and if your progess has been saved you don’t even have to do anything.

    Great, but does it actually say anywhere that that’s an ingame option?

    I mean, it’s always an outside-of-game option, but generally not a great idea if it can be avoided.

    Surely it can’t be that hard to only have to hit Escape to get an option to “quit to desktop”?

  22. Gnarf says:

    Uh. There’s generally no reason why you’d avoid using alt+F4.

  23. Ogawa says:

    This is entirely representative of my main problem with the game as a whole: UNBEARABLE TEDIUM. Every two steps there’s a long-ass cutscene. There’s like ten minutes of cutscenes for every five minutes of gameplay.

    Then once I finally get to cutscene-free gameplay in the Kingdom if I so much as trot my horse I have every guard in the Middle East chasing me down.

    And then there’s the Investigation/Assassination gameplay which is constantly holding your hand and telling you exactly how to do each task.

    Never have I experienced a game that tried so hard to ruin everything good that it had going for it. Why can’t I just play as an Assassin during the Crusades? What’s the point of this stupid DNA memory plot? Ugh. The game’s awful.

  24. Raptornas says:

    I really enjoyed assassins creed despite its faults. Genuinly fun game in my book, I really enjoyed the whole middle east setting, the plot while not at the level of 1984 was better than alot of games out there and at least it tried. And running about a city hacking guards to death was thoroughly enjoyable.

    I must have had some kind of taste malfunction from the amount of hate it seems to get.

  25. The Shed says:

    Heh. I’ve had the 360 version for some time now, and all I have to do is turn her off once I’m sure it’s saved. The bain of PC users I guess.

    Technologically it’s a great game, but the gameplay gets damn tedious damn fast, and the final few seconds are so desperately retarded. Seriously, if the credit’s rolled about a minute before the actual end, it would be a decent- if not great- ending. I really didn’t mind the whole Animus plotline- it means the sequels can be set present-day (or future or whatever the hell it is).

  26. calabi says:

    What is alt-f4, who invented it, and why did no one tell me about it. If you go that far you might as well just Ctrl-alt-delete.

    But if people are perfectly willing to accept that then coming soon…..the new menu, menu, menu, game(save here only), menu, game, menu, game, menu, menu, game exit system.

  27. malkav11 says:

    ALT-F4 is a Windows standard “exit this program” key shortcut. (Not that it works in all programs.) Much as ALT-ENTER is a standard “switch between windowed and full-screen modes” shortcut that I find useful with some games (though, annoyingly, not in some of the games that most need it.)

    The overabundance of cutscenes are front-loaded – that’s the tutorial section. Once you get through that, the only cutscenes for a long time are before assassinations (and really briefly before investigations), everything else is gameplay. As for guards getting on you in the Kingdom, well…it’s a stupid, unnecessary filler region, to be sure. But the guard thing is not even remotely an issue. You can go at a full gallop through the whole thing whenever you please. The guards can’t do a thing to you unless you stop and let them catch up, and even then you just have to hide briefly or kill them. (If you want to collect things in the Kingdom, which there’s little reason to do, especially on the PC. Otherwise just charge through.)

  28. Kevin Lee says:

    Funny, I’ve only actually gone through the whole quit process once. Every other time I took the game crashing as a sign of “time to stop playing for now.”

  29. Nallen says:

    Jeez. Why are people willing to accept something so ridiculous? It’s just giving them the nod to be as lazy next time.

  30. Crispy says:

    Re: ‘Press START to begin’

    Could it be harking back to ‘Insert coin (to begin)’? The games were ported from the arcade machines onto the first consoles, and the trend has stuck ever since?

    The ‘controller check’ hypothesis sounds a fair enough reason why this would be kept in, apart from the fact that most games ask you to put the controller back in when absent as a basic requirement.

    The ‘screensaver’ thing doesn’t really follow through for current generation consoles, though, since most console games have an ‘attract mode’ (a benefit of more memory/disc space) that shows you demo/teaser footage if you leave the game on the title screen. That in itself harks back to the arcade versions (where the ‘attract mode’ would entice you to play the game and insert more monies), but still has its uses when a game is shoved on a display unit on shop floors.

    But following on from this I suspect Tycho is closest to the money. I think the ‘Press START to begin’ thing was probably -in the past- just to save on resources when the game is in idle mode. You’ll notice that most (if not all?) of these screens are very basic without too much on the screen and most are non-animated apart from the START message, which would otherwise burn itself onto the screen after time. Only once the end-user has made some input does the game start using more system resources to display an animated main menu. This piece of design could have kept arcade machines, which must have been expensive to replace, running for many more hours than if they were in constant medium-heavy use.

    As I say this, to me, seems like an antiquated piece of arcade-to-first-generation design, which isn’t really necessary anymore. It’s worth noting that ONLY console-to-PC ports have this, since PC users only start a game program when they intend to play it. The PC has never been left idle in an arcade or an electronics boutique for a customer to play a demo of the game.

  31. Dexton says:

    I’d pull the goddamn plug out of my computer rather than go through all that ****.

  32. Manu says:

    “Press any key to continue” ? That’s CONSOLE talk !

  33. Biscuitry says:

    The problem is that developers continue to labour under the mistaken impression that a given UI will work equally well on a console and a PC. And then they wonder why so many PC gamers hate console ports.

  34. malkav11 says:

    Actually, with the advent of the Games for Windows initiative, I’ve seen Gamestops with PC displays much like the console ones.

  35. Seth Tipps says:

    The reason for this is obvious to me; they wasted no time or money that wasn’t absolutely necessary to make a port for PC. It is unstable, and the quit process being so utterly and incomprehensibly redundant is just one way in which they failed to understand the needs of the interface. Assassins creed is not a bad game. It was one of the best I’ve seen on the 360 since Bioshock. But it is a bad game on the PC.

  36. God says:

    If Alt-F4 doesn’t work…

    Step 1. Control-Atl-Delete (for Windows users anyway)
    Step 2. Select Assassin’s Creed.
    Step 3. Click “End Task”

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