How Not To Make A Video Settings Menu

By Alec Meer on September 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 am.

(From Crysis Warhead). That’s going to make perfect sense to people who get confused by system specs. Am I a gamer or an enthusiast? I just don’t know! What if I’m both? Is that illegal? And if I’m not mainstream, does that automatically make me edgy and avant-garde? Cos that’d be great.

For fun and frolics, imagine if this list of presets were in a different order.

, , .

88 Comments »

  1. SPEEDCORE says:

    Remember when Pentium 1st came out and they were Super Ninja compared to 486.

    Super Ninja settings need to return!

  2. Ergates says:

    Bleurgh!
    Mmpf
    Hmmmmm
    Phoooaarrrr!

    “Change all settings to:”
    Settings? what are settings?
    Erm, Medium sounds good
    /\/\4>< P()\/\/4|-|
    11111001100111010001010101111010010101010111

    Or alternatively a [horizontal] slider that has “Performance” at one end and “Detail” at the other. But that’d be boring.

  3. rocketman71 says:

    I agreed with the fact that the settings were misnamed in the original Crysis. Very High should have been ultra, high -> very high, and so on. Now, THIS, I can only laugh at.

    I don’t really care, though. While Cevat Yerli keeps badmouthing PC gamers and spouting stupidities from Crytek HQ, I won’t be buying shit from them.

    Or from EA while they keep pushing those abhorrent DRM schemes.

    Hey, twice the reason NOT to buy Warhead!. Congrats to Yerli and John Riccitiello. You’re two fucked up suits, managing to lose customers instead of gaining them!.

    PS.- Also, what if you are a gamer but your computer is 3 years old?. Do you have to demote yourself to mainstream?

  4. sinister agent says:

    Congolese village
    Bethnal Green housing estate
    Sweaty Californian basement
    Stepford

  5. Nahual says:

    I dunno, i don’t mind them, they are referring to the computer, not the user. Did you buy your computer at Dell?, then yes, at best it’s “mainstream”, is your computer intended for gaming? If it is then chances are you know you’ll need water cooled overlocked SLI cards to play on “Enthusiast” settings, so “Gamer” works pretty well.

  6. Crispy says:

    An options menu where the options are not clear, that’s the menu equivalent of the multiplayer respawn room with only one exit that is one player wide. Needless re-inventing of the wheel, and by re-inventing, I mean replacing with a *NEVER-SEEN-BEFORE DESIGN* wheel in the shape of a triangle.

    Honestly, whoever approved this decision should be demoted back down the ranks to a tester and forced to do 10 years’ pennance to regain their previous position. I’d personally prefer it if they were never let near a game’s design for the rest of their life, though.

    @Nahual
    The flaw in your argument is those labels require the user to know if he is ‘mainstream’ or a ‘gamer’, whereas the rolling scale from ‘Very High’ to ‘Lowest’ makes it clear where to go if your PC can’t handle the game at one particular setting.

  7. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    Don’t be too harsh. If you work with 15 fps all day long, you are bound to get tired and come up with this kind of stuff.
    btw, I think people are complaining too much (like I just did) about the stuff you need to run crysis. Before I bought the game(no comment), I played this on a pentium 4 no-problem. After I got my new pc and bought the game, I finally got to play it in 2d though…

  8. Tim P says:

    I think it is fitting to the game as you get to play the barely literate member of the team. I think all the settings should kind of resemble that. The difficulty should have been like:
    Man U Fan
    Man U Fan with no Man U jersey
    Man U Fan at a Chelsea game
    Man U Fan at World Cup

    It is the dumb game with the dumb character, I hope they release a game for Prophet that is all blaxploitation.

  9. Erlam says:

    Here’s what I’d use:
    -Minimum: Barely runs the games graphics, but it runs smoothly.
    -Medium: Most settings are on, but some are ‘low res.’
    -High: Almost all settings on and set to higher values.
    -Ultra: So Much Bloom You Can’t See Anything.

  10. Lars BR says:

    I’m not even halfway through the game yet, but I don’t like too open shooters. Crysis and now Warhead both have areas where you could skirt the action completely, which was ALLOWED, but apparantly not anticipated by the designers.

    In Crysis I escaped through a swamp without being spotted by anyone, though there was a busy road on the other side of a river, and in Warhead, I avoided a busy road by swimming towards the submarine-harbour. See, that’d be okay, but those routes did not have a single enemy or defensive meassure. That’s not good level design.

    Also, my brand new vista 5.9′ed gaming rig (E8600 + 4850 – I don’t like noise…), got a Gamer rating, and appears to be quite playable in 1920×1200, though it has some slowdowns… Ah well.

  11. datter says:

    Crysis Warhead Patch 1 Readme:

    * Fixed video settings menu

    /

  12. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    @Lars BR: that is part of the sneaking aspect of the game.

  13. dredge says:

    Actually, what they really need is a fifth setting called “Integrated Graphics” that just exits the game whilst playing the “waah waaaaaaah” fail sound.

  14. Lars BR says:

    @RC: I don’t buy it. It’s not sneaking if there are no bloody enemies to see you if you mess up. Then it’s just walking.

  15. kc says:

    they should just have the settings in terms of how much you paid for your computer and how old it is

  16. Darth Benedict says:

    The names are based on the PC. A recent PC with a shitty graphics card is mainstream. A recent PC built for gaming is gamer. A recent PC with a liquid nitrogen cooled render farm is enthusiast.

  17. Daniel Purvis says:

    Yeah, these settings pissed me off, not only are they confusing but they also slap you in the face. I mean, I’d consider myself an enthusiast gamer, probably “hardcore” to use that terminology, but I can’t afford a PC gaming rig and have to make do playing on my laptop. It’s like Crytek are abusing me for not having spent thousands on PC components.

  18. Bill says:

    aluminum
    chromium
    platinum
    unobtainium

  19. Half Broken Glass says:

    It’s pretty acurate, actually. Though I’d swap “Gamer” with “Enthusiast”. A desperate attempt by Crytek so that their graphics won’t kill their sales again, maybe?

    The real question is though – who with half a brain ever uses these selections? Go to Video tab and set it up there, goddamit.

  20. Real Horrorshow says:

    RPS readers sure do like to make mountains out of mole hills.

    I mean seriously, how big of a deal is this? I can’t begin to tell you how much I don’t care that Very High is now Enthusiast. It’s completely irrelavent.

  21. unknown1982 says:

    so what if I am a gamer that has a mainstream computer and I am an enthusiast about minimum specs?

  22. aldo says:

    Crysis 2 graphics settings;
    Digestive
    Fig roll
    Custard Cream
    Chocolate Hob Nob

    ?

    It really is all very silly, particularly because – whilst it might mirror the old low-medium-high-etc structure – it’s completely unclear how much of a jump each setting it. At least you can view low-medium-high-very high as being (however incorrect that may be) ‘quarters’ where very high is the maximum.

  23. asdf says:

    I’d consider myself an enthusiast gamer, probably “hardcore” to use that terminology, but I can’t afford a PC gaming rig and have to make do playing on my laptop.

    Then your not an enthusiast gamer.

  24. aldo says:

    Also, what about in 1-2 years time – will a ‘mainstream’ Pc then be as good as a an ‘enthusiast’ now? What if I was an enthusiast last year but have run out of upgrade money thanks to a botched football club takeover or something – is my Pc still enthusiastic enough?

  25. Bad Sector says:

    What Crysis needs is an “Ultra” settings option with a big fat dialogbox like in Doom 3 which says that unless your computers was made 2-3 years after the game was released *and* you have a high end one, then forget smooth framerate – or even realtime rendering – and enjoy the slideshow. I didn’t saw many people complaining about Doom 3′s Ultra setting (at least not as many as about Crysis’s very high setting).

  26. Gorgeras says:

    What Crysis needs is a less deep performance – quality curve at medium to high. You can slap nearly all settings to high and very high and it’s no problem. But shaders from medium to high is an absurd performance kill and the only noticeable changes are HDR and SO turned on. Stick q_renderer on 3, then turn on HDR and SO and you notice vast quality improvement for negligable performance loss.

    Crysis remains badly optomised and whoever was in charge of setting attributes to each pre-set in the options needs a kick in the groin. Certain mods that do make actual optomisations to the game code like the Natural Mod demonstrate how this could have been easily done if Crytek hadn’t completely assumed the manner of EA. I was able to play and complete Crysis recently at acceptable settings with this mod preventing a slideshow with amazing visual quality. I realised what my PC was actually capable of.

  27. Dick the Ace says:

    I think that the “enthusiast” really means that you’ve actually bought that game and not leeched it from p2p…

  28. Crispy says:

    Real Horrorshow says:

    RPS readers sure do like to make mountains out of mole hills.

    I mean seriously, how big of a deal is this? I can’t begin to tell you how much I don’t care that Very High is now Enthusiast. It’s completely irrelavent.
    If they can’t take care of a video settings menu properly, that’s evidence enough that I don’t need to play this game. I don’t give money to stupid people.

  29. EmmJay says:

    How about a new setting called “Hopeless Optimist”?

  30. Deuteronomy says:

    Crispy are you serious? In my humble opinion the only stupid people are the ones that can’t decipher the meanings behind some rather simple menu options.

    Alec you need some new material badly.

  31. Real Horrorshow says:

    @Deuteronomy:

    Exactly.

  32. Rabbitrunner51 says:

    What do you expect form EA Games? TBH, i just hate that company so much i wouldn’t wste my money nor time buying thier games,which alot of lately are using the worse malware ‘secure rom’ devices ever made. Now thier trying to get us to buy thier games on a rental basis, put with with meriad of patches,secure rom, and all that atrocious advertising malware to boot. Will someone PLEASE give us a break here. ( ?????)

  33. nightwayne says:

    [I AM VERY ANGRY ABOUT SOMETHING I READ ON THE INTERNET ABOUT VIDEOGAMES]

  34. Simon Jones says:

    There seems to have been a sudden influx of YouTube-educated teenagers to RPS. I wonder where they’ve come from?

  35. Alec Meer says:

    No-one’s actually confused, happy people.

  36. Crispy says:

    @Deuteronomy
    “Crispy are you serious? In my humble opinion the only stupid people are the ones that can’t decipher the meanings behind some rather simple menu options.”

    Yes, I am serious. When it comes to giving information, the difference between a good designer and a bad designer is one designs for himself and the other designs for the player.

    The only thing that saves the list of options in Warhead is the fact it comes in a drop-down menu that, logically following, is either ordered from highest to lowest or is ordered from lowest to highest.

    Take all of these options and instead of putting them in a drop-down menu (i.e. in some sort of order), write them on pieces of paper and give them to the test subject. If 99% of users cannot work out whether ‘Gamer’ is supposed to be higher than ‘Enthusiast’ then you have a poorly designed list of options. Obviously this is not what you need to do in real life, but your design should be able to withstand such hypothetical tests and emerge as functional as it needs to be.

    But even then you have a massive drawback on the ‘Mainstream’ option. You see, all of the options except ‘Minimum’ are comments on the user themself, not on their hardware (this is exactly what Alec was getting at). A user may regard themself as ‘mainstream’ but be unaware their PC can actually handle the game at settings as high as ‘Gamer’. Ignorance on the part of the user undermines the intended message. This means they may miss out because the designer hasn’t taken into account how different types of users will approach the menu. It means this user will get a worse experience from the game, not because their hardware is incapable of a better one, but because the options menu is fundamentally flawed such that it can be interpreted to give information other than what is intended. If he then goes on to tell his friend not to buy the game because the graphics weren’t as good as he’d hoped for, a lack of catering to the user will lead to a lost sale – all because of a badly-designed menu.

  37. Hulk Hogan says:

    Grandma
    Mom
    Yo Momma
    Cats in Space

  38. Octavian says:

    My Crysis Warhead goes smoothly(really smooth) on

    GAMER
    !600×1200
    Aliasing 0x