Rules For Games: Do & Don’t #4

By John Walker on August 23rd, 2011 at 12:26 pm.

Just do what I say and everything will be alright.

It’s time for the return of my irregular series in which I tell games developers exactly what they must do and not do if they want to avoid being flayed and rolled in salt. You can see the rest of these rules here. It’s quite simple: obey my commands and everyone will be happy. No one needs to lose a life.

DO bring back maps on TAB. Especially shooters. “Oh, but we don’t need them now, because…” Indeed, I have an ulterior motive here. There was a time, kids, when you needed a map for a shooter. It would slowly fill in as you explored the level, so as not to give anything away before you got there, but to let you find your way back. I know, the very idea seems so pointless. Why would you need a map to walk down a perfectly parallel corridor? Well, it used to be that shooters let you explore! I know, it sounds weird and scary to hear it now, but it’s true. So, with my new rule that all shooters must have a map, I think the humiliation incurred by having to lay out your one way straight line should bring about some necessary shame.

DON’T make me deselect Start Menu and select Desktop Icon. Who still uses the Start menu? The Victorians? Obviously all I want is a one-double-click route to the game, launched from my desktop, so why the prejudice? Why does Mr Start Menu get a tick in his box, while poor orphan Desktop Icon only rarely even get offered as an unticked option at all? I demand an end to this apartheid.

DO make your “RESUME” button be in the same place as you “BACK” button on all menus. And not, for instance, “DELETE ALL SAVES AND KILL MY MOTHER”. It’s just basic courtesy, really. And common sense. And all sorts of other things that suggest if you don’t, you probably haven’t actually spent much time playing your own game. If I’m clicking my way back from advanced graphics settings, to graphics settings, to options, to the main menu, there’s a fairly good chance the next thing I want to do isn’t going to be to quit the game, donchathink?

DON’T show hints on loading screens that I absolutely couldn’t have been playing this far without knowing. “Press SPACE to jump” might be useful information if I’d, say, never played a game before. It’s possibly not the most invaluable of morsels given that it would have been utterly impossible to have gotten past the opening level of your game without bloody jumping. Let alone telling me over four hundred and seventy times. Context sensitive tips, please! Or how about just some random facts I might not know? Which is the largest nut? It really does cheapen the game experience to be loading the final level and be told, “Holding down SHIFT will make you sprint.” Oh, and write a minimum of 10,000 of them.

DO feel free to notice that mice changed in the last decade. Sometimes they have more than three buttons now! Well done for acknowledging the wheel – we’re all very appreciative. But it’s awfully hard to find a mouse these days that doesn’t have at least a couple of thumb buttons. It’d be splendid if you could have your PC game recognise them, just like the way you make sure your PC game can recognise all sixteen buttons on the 360 controller I have. It’s a thought, eh?

DON’T host your game’s “website” on Facebook. Look, this isn’t an anti-Facebook thing. Personally, I can’t stand it, but lots of people love it. And sure, if you must, give your game a Facebook page. But it can’t be the main page. Because that’s the modern day equivalent of having your game information on GeoCities. It’s cheap, it’s tacky, and most of all, it’s extremely unhelpful to navigate. Web hosting costs money, yes, but it’s money worth spending if you want to be taken seriously. Which you do. Also, I don’t want to be “friends” with your game. Sorry.

DO speed up your credits. Oh my goodness, the vanity! It’s worse than cinema. I’m sure that the marketing department for your Austrian office look forward to pointing out their names to their mums, but you could probably put a lot more of them on screen at once. I don’t think the deputy VP of Translocation for the publisher really needs to scroll past as big and slowly as the project lead. Because if you’re not hiding a bonus nugget at the end, and I’m sitting through the agonisingly slowly scrolling list of Spanish accountants, your credits have essentially become a convenient hit list.

, , , .

244 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    The rudest thing in the world is a movie that begins with the credits. I can’t think of a game where that happens, but it must do.

    No, sir. No.

    • John Walker says:

      Day Of The Tentacle and Sam & Max both did.

    • Mike says:

      It’s classy! I like a good intro with credits. John’s examples are great, DOTT’s intro is top notch.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Actually I love it when older movies do that. They’re so economical with it, so it only takes a couple of minutes, and then when the film ends, it’s all over, and so neatly. No being disrupted with a piece of music or looking for funny names or worrying there’ll be a bonus scene at the end of the credits. Fells so much more complete.

    • JackShandy says:

      I saw The Shining the other day and I was impressed – 5 minutes of credits over scenery! It’s like saying “Hey, sit down, get your feet up. You’re going to be here for a while.” Audiences today would walk out without five explosions and a sex scene, preferably simultaneously.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Hunted: The Demon Forge opens with credits over the intro movie, as does TESIV:Oblivion. Maybe it is a Bethesda thing? I can’t remember if they did it in FO3…

    • Fishbro says:

      Doesn’t DE:HR also do it to an extent? And wasn’t it completely awesome?

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @Fishbro: No idea, because an ocean slowing down all of the internet bytes (or so I understand) means that we get games half a week later over here in the UK.

    • jd says:

      Half Life 2 had credits at the start as you got off the train at City 17. Just two or three names fading in then out. Subtle and unobtrusive.

    • Dasos says:

      GTA IV did it, I quite like intro credits because the creators are forced to do something more creative with them, usually set the scene nicely too…

    • Premium User Badge

      c-Row says:

      Half-Life 1 does, too.

    • Bilbo says:

      Metal Gear Solid did a good job of it. Felt like I was playing a spy movie. And not in the “naked lady silhouettes dancing on gun barrels” sort of way.

    • PickyBugger says:

      Aye the worst part of any Bond film is having to sit through the increasingly length and terrible intro song / video. It is made all the worse by the crazy action bit just before the credits that makes you want to watch the movie more so.

    • Icarus says:

      The Fistful of Dollars movie trilogy had the credits as the opening titles. But that’s okay because the music was absolutely amazing.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Maybe if more games started with credits then developers wouldn’t be so paranoid about how many people finish their games and not make them short, linear, a to b to c corridors.

    • thepaleking says:

      You have not seen Enter The Void, then. Title sequence makes that film.

    • Prime says:

      Fallout: New Vegas did a truly remarkable thing in that its credits weren’t solely lists of names and roles – they included a quote related to that person too. I found reading that much more enjoyable, and actually worthwhile for a change, because the personalities of the people involved started to shine through.

    • bigtoeohno says:

      Within context like off the top of my head the gta IV set up that whole raw 70s gangster movie deal. Even movie wise i still get excited by cheech and chongs ‘Nice Dreams’ intro credits and all.

    • SLeigher says:

      GTA IV opens with the credits

    • Churba says:

      I’m somewhat dissapointed that nobody so far mentioned the exellent credits-before-the-game example of Full Throttle, with the plot-intro FMV coupled to it, with one of the best opening themes ever – Here it is on Youtube, Nostalgia with me, won’t you?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I was too busy being flabbergasted that some cur had the audacity to use Bond film title credits as a bad example. Youths these days have no patience, no patience at all I say.

      And as for end credits, are you all so hopped up on sugar that you aren’t willing to kick back after a successful climactic fusion of gameplay and storytelling (you know, for the 5% of games that have endings rather than cliffhangers) and listen to the music while the credits roll past? ‘Tis an important part of pacing and satisfying closure.

    • Lycan says:

      Mafia (1) opening credits were excellent too

    • Vagrant says:

      Here’s another Do: in line with that line of thinking.

      Do: Allow me to skip past your splash screens at the beginning. I’ve got 100 hours in Mirror’s Edge, I’m pretty sure by now that this game was brought to me by DICE and EA. I dunno, could be wrong, maybe you guys should make me see that splash screen again. Ah, yeah, there we go. Thanks.

    • scorcher24 says:

      Escape from Butchers Bay did too, but it was well implanted into the game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Deus Ex 1 did it best. Have the publisher/developer titles as part of the backdrop title (internally a whole level) that you could bring the menu up on top of at any time. You don’t even have to hammer escape for each.

      (Suddenly, tangental nostalgia!)

    • KaL_YoshiKa says:

      Credits before movies were used back in the Golden age of Cinema to credit the main members of the cast (and other *important* people) but the rest of the workers were relegated to going uncredited. This was continued all the way into the 70s for mainstream releases – George Lucas actually got in quite a bit of trouble for having Star Wars begin without credits and helped start the modern trend of long after film credits.

      Essentially you’ll find most films < 60's have got opening credits and nothing else.

    • banski83 says:

      Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis did it, It hink. Loved it, made me feel like I was playing a film, back in the day.

      And Enter The Void is an amazingly weird film.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I prefer it to interminable end credits. I definitely prefer it to interminable end credits that quickly fade to black without anything interesting to actually look at other than hunt for silly names. And I prefer it even more to interminable fade-out credits with shit music that you know is followed by some sort of post-credits vignette, forcing you to hang around.

      An example of modern start-of-film credits that I’ve found really interesting is Sahara. It’s a masterclass in how to do mise-en-scene, with the camera moving slowly round the main character’s room, showing you stuff: newspaper clippings, photos of his life pre-events of the film, stuff he’s made, stuff that’s important to him. All the while the main credits roll, and you take them in because you’re already playing the game the camera’s showing you, hunting around the screen for the next snippet. It’s brilliant.

    • Premium User Badge

      Foosnark says:

      The intro to Borderlands.

      I don’t want to watch the music video/credits thing again. No, I don’t want you to tell me a story. No, I don’t even want Claptrap to spend then next ten minutes explaining how to walk. Especially on playthrough 2 or 3, or the sixth character I’ve started…

    • Hodag says:

      No One Lives Forever had the classiest opening credits I’ve ever seen in a game. They set the mood for the entire story.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Black did that.

      And it wasn’t even all credits of the people who made the game, it was ‘film-y’ things like who wrote the original score and directed the cutscenes.

      And it wasn’t over some interesting scenery, it was just white text on a black background.

      And you couldn’t skip it.

    • passingstranger says:

      @Bilbo

      The naked lady silhouettes don’t come until Snake Eater.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      You need the end of film credits to sort out who in the audience are the connoisseurs and those who go “lights are on, film is over” or worse “screen is black, film is over.” The last two cinema trips I had (Super 8 and Rise of the Planet of the Apes,) both had extra bits within a few seconds of the credits rolling, yet most of the audience were already out of the door before they started. Half the people who hadn’t quite reached exit didn’t even stop.

      Moments like this and the general chatter that goes on during films (not to mention the success of crap films) makes me realise that most people don’t actually like films.

      My usual rule is to stay until the scrolling credits. Adjust from there depending on how much like the film.

    • Premium User Badge

      Klydefrog says:

      I was pretty sure you were being sarcastic because loads of games do that as shown by the replies, one not mentioned is Crysis 2 and I think Crysis 1 did it too. Sometimes there are major credits shown at the beginning and then there’s another, longer, credit sequence at the end which I find a little obnoxious

    • anonymousity says:

      Fallout 1 and 2 with War, war never changes and credits at the same time.

    • propjoe says:

      The way the Half-Life games do it seems sort of ideal, actually. A short series of small, unobtrusive names during a part of the game that’s all about atmosphere and getting your bearings anyway. As Mike said above, it seems classy.

      All of the old Star Trek movies begin with credits, and I love it.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Anonymousity: Fallout and Fallout 2 had also extremely lengthy credits rolls at the end, too.

      Also funny quotes files.

      I dunno, credits don’t bother me. I mean, I’ll sit through the credits roll for Mass Effect until the fuckin’ Geth come home.

    • Josh W says:

      Hmm, I’m pretty sure I didn’t click to reply on this post…
      Ignore

  2. Tei says:

    Facebook as website is like forum as website. Mods that use these to hide the download link are evil.

    • Richie Shoemaker says:

      For my SECRET PROJECT I was contemplating not creating a website and just using Facebook, but then I think back to how annoying it was that bands used to use MySpace and I guess it would be rather lazy and shitty.

    • mandrill says:

      @ Richie: You have a SECRET PROJECT? I’m intrigued.

  3. Inigo says:

    Who still uses the Start menu?

    People who don’t like shit cluttering their Desktop.

    • John Walker says:

      Bad people, you mean?

    • Nick says:

      What exactly is your desktop for other than having icons on? If you want to look at a pretty picutre that badly put it on your wall.

    • 4026 says:

      “What exactly is your desktop for other than having icons on?”

      Having windows on.

      Man, can you imagine having to switch away from your active application back to the desktop every time you wanted to launch another app? That would be like living in the 17th century. During the Black Plague.

    • coffeetable says:

      And if it’s in the menu, I can load it without minimising everything and reaching for the mouse. Start key -> first few letters of the name -> enter.

    • Premium User Badge

      freaky_dug says:

      The Desktop is useless because there’s always windows in the way of it. Everything should be in the taskbar or in the start menu so you can search for it. Or in Steam’s library…

    • Premium User Badge

      Stijn says:

      My desktop is usually covered by a few windows and doesn’t have a keyboard button that summons it.

    • Excelle says:

      Who uses the desktop anymore? It’s for pretty pictures and lobbing files onto temporarily while you figure out what to do with them.

      The Windows 7 search bar on the Start Menu is where it’s at.

    • Flaringo says:

      But it does! Technically 2 buttons, but still. (Windows key + d). I still prefer using the start menu though

    • Raniz says:

      The best thing about running steam under windows 7 is that I can right-click the steam icon and launch my games that way. Other games will have to be launched from the start menu.

      Shit should stay away from my desktop, it’s for displaying pretty pictures of racing cars.

      But the best solution lies with Linux (KDE):
      1 Hit ALT+F2
      2 Type in (partial) name of game (or program)
      3 Hit ENTER
      4 Profit

    • jealouspirate says:

      Exactly what I came here to say as well. My desktop doesn’t have a single icon on it. I run everyting either from the start menu or the taskbar. No clutter!

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      DON’T: add your awful icon to my desktop, and ask for permission if you really think someone would do such an awful thing :P

      The start menu is much faster to reach, especially if you assign a combination of keys to launching the apps you use often.

    • 4026 says:

      @Raniz: You can totally do that in Windows 7! As everyone in the universe has come to this thread to point out, just hit the start button, then start typing the (partial) name of something on your PC, and bingo.

      That said, Linux did it first and still does it better and faster.

    • Taverius says:

      Desktop -> Right Click -> View -> Unckeck “Show Desktop Icons”

      I haven’t used them in years. Every 6 months or so I go there and clean up icons made by ill-mannered installers that don’t ask if I want a desktop icon.

      Slap all the stuff into the start menu, and use the windows search or a third party thing to launch them. I like Blaze, because I can type Fyrfox (just ‘fyrfo’ actually. or ‘firelo’, or or or) and it’ll recognize that I type like a lolcat and mean firefox.

    • Jetsetlemming says:

      Personally, more important than either the start menu or desktop, I don’t ever want to see a game or program try to stick itself, especially by default, in my quick launch bar. It happens more with apps than games, but I have seen it 2-3 times. There’s no videogame absolutely that important that I must see the launch icon for it 100% of the time, no matter what, on my task bar. That is some exclusive real estate right there. That’s a spot to be earned, not given by default in the installer options.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I use the desktop the way I use a real desktop, for the handful of things (mostly folders) that I use regularly. The only way I’d be able to put games there is if I put them in a folder, and by that point using the classic Start menu is faster and way more convenient. It also sucks having to minimize every application you’re using anytime you want to do anything.

    • Nick says:

      How many apps do you need to run at once at home exactly?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      ^ This completely. I quite like having to reboot my computer every now and again because I always a get to play “What’s my wallpaper look like”

    • simonh says:

      I use the Windows 7 Games folder in the Start menu. Another valid method is to put all your games in Steam. My desktop is my Dropbox folder, where I have all my work projects, so everything on there gets automatically backed up and is reachable from anywhere!

    • 4026 says:

      @Nick: AS MANY AS POSSIBLE ALL THE TIME FOREVER.

      Otherwise I get that annoying scratchy feeling at the back of my skull like “Maybe I didn’t need to buy such an incredibly insane quantity of RAM for this PC?”

      No, but seriously: I have at least FF, foobar and Steam open pretty much all the time at home.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Right now I have: iTunes, Steam, three windows of firefox with about twenty tabs in each, five windows of adobe reader, nine windows of IE (don’t ask) and four words documents. LOVE windows 7

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      +1 for Start Menu > Desktop for game shortcuts. I like my desktop relatively uncluttered, and get peeved at installers that add shortcuts to it without asking.

    • Bilbo says:

      Desktop is just for lobbing shit onto temporarily. People who use their desktop to launch things all the time clearly aren’t doing a whole ton of work on their computers.

    • Glycerine says:

      This is exactly what i logged in to say, so yeah…this!

      While we’re on the subject, less crap bundled into the start menu please! Game launcher, fine. Game uninstaller, not really necessary, but absolutely understandable. Game safemode launcher, getting iffy, but alright. 8 links to various parts of the game’s/developer’s/publisher’s websites, not cool!

      It’d be lovely to just once be able to have the installer put the game icon directly into my start menu games folder, instead of having to put it in it’s own folder (i realise this is usually an installer option, but see next), then decluttering it, then moving the icon(s) i actually want into the games folder.

    • Latterman says:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launchy

      check launchy for a very convenient Win 7 application launcher. Since i got it i didn’t touch the neither the Desktop nor the Start Menu in ages.

      And the to the guys complaining “there’s always a window obscuring the desktop” – you know about Win + D, right?

    • Prime says:

      I’m with Latterman! Start menu plus Launchy. Best of both worlds. A clear desktop and no need to faff around in the bloody Start Menu!

    • thegooseking says:

      I have Firefox, Pidgin and Notepad2 pinned to my taskbar. Who wants to go searching for those?

      Steam is always running, so I can select it from the active processes menu on the taskbar and run my games from there.

      I use the Start Menu for Word, but it’s usually in the recently-used programs list.

      I hide my desktop icons.

      Oh, and I also have my taskbar running vertically down the left of my screen. I don’t see the point of a horizontal taskbar on a widescreen monitor.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      What I’m not aware of with start menus is whether coffeetable’s method of just hitting start and searching works for shortcuts inside folders. I’m guessing it does but I would say the do and don’t here might be better as ‘Don’t provide anything more than a shortcut to the game when adding to the start menu.’ I see little use in those uninstalls or webpage shortcuts or manual shortcuts anyway. Config links are nice but lets assume a basic level of windows literacy and provide information on shortcut launching options (eg -noconfig) so you can setup on first launch then never see it again from there.

      I find the start menu more agreeable than the desktop but I’m not sure why. I think it’s because I don’t want to give undue presence to any given game. Also how long should they stay there until you remove them? Complete game, delete shortcut? Where’s the love in that?

    • malkav11 says:

      I don’t even know what games these are that aren’t automatically installing a desktop icon without even asking me. (Fuck games that do this.)

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Vertical taskbar? You’re a monster!

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      On the desktop I can put my shotcuts wherever I like, I can group them visually by theme, or completion status, or things to recommend to a particular friend, or whatever I like just by dragging them around. On the start menu they a) clumped in horrible ways as default (like by publisher), and b) less intuitive to spread around or view all of simultaneously. Clearly installers should offer both ways, but righteous people know the desktop shortcut is the truth path.

    • thegooseking says:

      Vertical taskbar? You’re a monster!

      I just changed it to that recently. I felt so dirty when I first did it, but after a couple of weeks of it I’m really loving it.

    • Ovno says:

      /signed

      The start menu is the way to go, sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll drop a shortcut on the desktop but 99% of the time they go in the start menu and get pinned to it if i play them often….

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Aw, I remember using desktop icons to launch things. 1998, I think it was.

      All my games live on Steam now. Even when I get something elsewhere (and it’s not Steam-registrable) I just create a shortcut for it, so 90% of the time I just have to right-click and pick it from the pop-up menu.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Who uses the desktop anymore? It’s for pretty pictures and lobbing files onto temporarily while you figure out what to do with them.

      This. The Desktop is the worst metaphor/launcher ever; “underneath all the things I’m working on/looking at” is not where I want to put stuff.

    • Magnetude says:

      I love the way abstractions like these can induce such powerful feelings or rightness or wrongness in people. Such a wave of emotion in the comments, you’d think someone had inverted their Y-axis or something!

      I’m a firm Start menuer, btw. Now that they’ve got that Linux/OSX autocomplete feature in and the Steam sub-menu for launching games directly, the desktop has reverted to being my temp folder.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Icons??? on the Desktop???

      BURN THE HERETIC!!

    • mollemannen says:

      there is also something called the quickstart were you could easily fit 40+ icons in the same area as three desktop icons. i know it’s not a built in win7 feature but it’s not at all hard to make one yourself and then you just have to click once to make the games start.

    • Kent says:

      Way to argue on an entirely unimportant aspect of comfort. -.-

    • Rhin says:

      I keep game icons on the desk because they look better than application icons.

      But the Start Menu is a nice place to put them in windows 7, with the type-partial-name-to-run feature.

    • Lemming says:

      got to agree with Inigo. Never desktop icons. Never. Start Menu so I can find it without thinking, then I’ll pin whatever I’m currently playing there, or if it’s something I’m going to be playing a very long time indeed it goes on the quick launch bar.

      But seriously, people still want desktop icons? Since Windows 98? Really?

      I’d also take exception to the mouse thing. Yes, my mouse has thumb buttons. I’ve also never used them. I’d seriously have to concentrate to do so. My hand is far too twitchy on a mouse when I’m gaming. I don’t want a thumb spasm to suddenly throw a grenade or order 10,000 troops to their death. A 3 button mouse and keyboard combo is just dandy for me.

      But rather than just be critical, I’ll add one:

      DO – bring back big manuals in big boxes that we have to find the 4th word on paragraph 4 of page 45 if you insist on having DRM. It’s more fun, we get a nice big box and it might encourage the devs to fill up the unwieldy tomes with some game lore or short stories. Elite 2: Frontier, I’m looking at you.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      In my opinion, one of the most underrated things about Windows, any version of it, is that you can do stuff in any of the crazy ways featured above, organise your clobber and use it any way you like, and it will still let you. Contrast this with a console, which has A WAY TO DO IT. Personally I rarely use either desktop or start menu and run most of the stuff I want either from quicklaunch or via opening the relevant files in explorer. Which is also valid. I let it do start menu stuff, mostly so it’ll add an uninstaller link; better to have and not want than want and not have, and so on. So, to me the DO = “let me pick with tickyboxes from desktop, start menu, quicklaunch or none of the above.”

    • triple omega says:

      I’m with John on this one.
      Why would I use: Win, type name, move to correct shotcut, enter.
      If I can use either: Win + D, Double LMB on icon .
      Or: Click Bottom Right, Double LMB on icon.

      Aside from being faster I also don’t have to remember the name, let alone the correct spelling, of every game/app I have on my PC. As mentioned above, I can also group icons in any way I please, thus creating a visual sorting system. Lastly it also gives a nice overview. Something which the start menu certainly doesn’t do.

    • sinister agent says:

      I use the desktop the way I use a real desktop

      Me too!

      for the handful of things (mostly folders) that I use regularly.

      Oh. I was thinking more “put everything on it until I’m distracted, then come back a few days later and lazily sweep everything on it into a random folder”.

      Have we already had a rule about games not installing to a “program files/publisher name/developer name/celebrity endorsement name/game name” folder? Because we should. I don’t remember or care who made games, guys, and if I want to know I’ll look it up. And I’m crazy about games and know tonnes about them – most people don’t, so will care even less, and likely be more put out by this practice.

    • Gadriel says:

      I hate having stuff on my desktop. The asymmetrical nature of desktop icon placement drives me batty but the idea of my moving them about to keep them evenly distributed on the right and left sides is silly. The start menu is too much trouble, too. Screw sifting through that gargantuan list or relying on Win7′s iffy search bar thing.

      I just have one standard Windows pop-up toolbar on the taskbar with subtrees for games, apps, and other things. Everything is launched from this neat, organised list if it isn’t launched from Steam. The only exceptions are my browsers and Winamp that have places in the quick launch.

    • MrTrent says:

      I don’t have a single icon on my desktop and use the start menu for everything.

    • aerozol says:

      Whoa, am I the ONLY one who uses the quicklaunch bar?
      Start Menu has way too much crap, and needs to be kept tidy, desktop I need to have clean/empty… But I currently have 40 shortcuts in quicklaunch, more or less ordered, and things are looking good, and very quick to get to.

    • Tams80 says:

      Too many desktop icons can significantly increase cold boot times.

      But then I think only hibernating or sleeping a computer is fine most of the time.

    • worldoesnotend says:

      I only recently moved from Mac to Windows (for teh games) and I wanted to ask if anyone else finds it ridiculous that “Shutdown” and “Sleep” are in a menu called “Start”?

      Me: “Okay, to turn it off, go to’ Start’-
      Mom: “What? I just want to turn it off”
      Me: “I know Mom, its really easy, just click on Start and then over to the right -”
      Mom: “Oh godI don’t understand computers”
      Me: “Its not really that….no just, its simple… ”
      Mom: “Why do I have to go to something called Start to stop it?”
      Me: “…Um…well its always been… you know what, just push the power button on the front of the box.”

    • LionsPhil says:

      Most people got over that in 1995.

    • anonymousity says:

      In conclusion john is wrong delete that do or don’t or whatever it was right now!

    • adonf says:

      I have some game icons on my desktop (usually as reminders of which games I recently installed) but the desktop icons get shuffled around each time I change the resolution. Like when I change the video output from my 5:4 monitor to my widescreen TV or when a game crashes in 640×480 or when I update video drivers. So I end up typing the first letters of the game to locate the icon, just like I would do in the Start menu.

      Yay Start menu, boo desktop.

    • Josh W says:

      What you’re missing is that unlike many other applications, games need all the processing power they can get, so it makes sense to close most of your windows down and get back to the desktop when you start them.

      The danger is that you start the computer, get the blank screen, and get distracted from what you were going to do by the shiny shortcuts. I know I spent a month playing half an hour of red faction after school just because it was there.

    • Shivoa says:

      Dear sir,

      You’re one of those people then. The ones who use their desktop for putting clickable things on, rather than just being a picture (and maybe some ambient information widgets or the like) that gets covered up by windows as you actually start to use the computer.

      This is only one step away from using your desktop as a storage medium (possibly not realising where the rest of the hard drive is accessed from) and ending up in a cluttered mess of nonsense.

      The shortcut for a game should clearly be accessed from the quick-launch tool of your choice from the OS of your choice (defaults: Windows – Win key -> start typing name of game and hit enter or use Steam; Mac – Command-Space -> again: type name, hit enter, enjoy). This desire for a messy array of clickable buttons hiding behind your windows speaks to a dark desire for filth that must clearly be suppressed.

      In summary: Start Menu entry selected, Desktop shortcut not so is how things should be.

  4. 4026 says:

    Who uses the desktop any more? Clutter-happy, disorganised children with a tenuous grasp on reality? Obviously all I want is to just tap the start button on my keyboard, start typing the name of ANYTHING AT ALL ON MY PC, and then hit enter when it helpfully appears in the lovely Start Menu, so why the prejudice? I demand an end to this apartheid.

    • Latterman says:

      Because the start menu search in Win 7 is extremly sluggish? Personally i store links to documents and other “work”-stuff on the desktop, have a few important programms in the quick launcher and the rest i access via launchy.

    • Prime says:

      My desktop is a worktop – no links or launch icons should besmirch it’s purity or that of my current desktop wallpaper. Launchy handles the Start Menu and a couple of key folders, while Everything (voidtools.com) helps me locate everything else, and astonishingly quickly too.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I don’t understand why people can’t use both. When you first start your computer, it’s quicker to just double click. If you’re already using the keyboard with both hands, it’s quicker to use a keyboard shortcut.

      WHY THE GAMES LAUNCHING APARTHEID? WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

    • skinlo says:

      Already too much effort hitting the start key. My hand doesn’t hover over the keyboard, it does on the mouse, so its much easier to use icons for me.

    • sinister agent says:

      Because the start menu search in Win 7 is extremly sluggish?

      I have to agree with this. I’ve nothing against the start menu, but since switching to 7 a few months ago, I’ve barely touched it, because it’s apparently been shot up the digital jacksy.

    • Deano2099 says:

      I have a feeling the people that think the Windows 7 start menu and search bar are ‘too sluggish’ are the same ones that say they ‘can’t see the point’ of an SSD.

    • sinister agent says:

      I have a feeling that people who say something I disagree with have big, stupid, flappy ears. Like little wings.

  5. woodsey says:

    DO let me use the numpad when using an in-game keypad.

    • Edawan says:

      It seems kinda obvious, but how often do we find keypads ingame ? I can only think of GTA 4, and it did recognize the numpad.

    • nindustrial says:

      Actually, I just found today that DX:HR lets you do this. I went to use a keypad in-game and figured I’d give the numpad a shot given the loving PC handling they’ve supposedly done and… it worked!

  6. Risingson says:

    Sorry, but I disagree on the first point. Maps are unnecessary now because the FPS mechanics have changed FOR GOOD. No “look for the red key all over the map and go backwards”. No “push this button and guess where in all the map a wall has opened”. It may be fun for a while, but even the narrow mechanics of cod modern warfare are much more … durable.

    • Raniz says:

      I disagree, I like backtracking (ever enjoyed a Metroid game?)

    • woodsey says:

      Well they could even dare to advance the design as well as open it up.

    • Risingson says:

      Very. And Castlevania too. But backtracking is a bad design choice, period. Like labyrinths and pixel hunting in adventure games.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I always press “TAB”, just in case. Or if I’m thirsty.

    • GTRichey says:

      I like backtracking… and games that continually progress. Games like CoD though with their narrow linear corridors are just boring to me. Either put some effort into complex level design that at the very least makes me feel like I have freedom or give me wide open areas with hundreds of enemies if you’re going to make your games linear.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Opinions like this make me even more grateful for games like Divinity 2, made by people who are apparently outsiders to mainstream game design conventions.

    • Prime says:

      “”It may be fun for a while, but even the narrow mechanics of cod modern warfare are much more … durable BORING.”

      Fixed.

    • Mman says:

      “But backtracking is a bad design choice, period.”

      What? No it isn’t. Backtracking is an entirely neutral element that can can be terrible when done badly, but can also make a setting much more real than just leading you down a corridor does when done right. Many great games (linear or otherwise) are full of backtracking without anyone calling it out (rightfully), because people only notice the bad examples.

    • Eclipse says:

      for good? WTF? Go play some Quake 1 and then tell me it’s not a gazillion light years better than any modern fps out there. And that “take the red key and guess the door” is just a myth. In DooM as in Quake you exactly knew where the doors were. Always. And there was no way of getting lost with the map.
      Exploring the levels was so much more satisfying than going to one long corridor route also because levels had secrets in them.
      If you really think that was for good you probably never played an fps before 2000

    • skinlo says:

      Rose tinted glasses.

      Of course we all know music was better before autotune, films were better before CGI, cars were better before being fuel efficient etc etc.

    • Nalano says:

      Uh, music was better before autotune.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Films were better before widespread cheap CGI, too. Back then, special effects was a field that involved serious effort, not just “smother the screen with animated GIFs of explosions”.

      “We must not confuse distortion with innovation; distortion is useless change, art is beneficial change.”—Chuck Jones

    • Mman says:

      “Rose tinted glasses”

      The level design changes in “linear” FPS being mentioned here are objective differences that can be demonstrated by comparisons (and a matter of preference at that). So try again without the strawman.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      Surely the concept of “backtracking” only makes sense in terms of linear or minimal branch map design. If you design a proper open location map, there is no track to go back over. Sure there might be a shortest route, but if you’re bored of it, you can go a different way. Even if your map is linear, you can design it so that going the other way is almost a different experience (new events, asymmetric obstacles, different views).

    • Baines says:

      You can have open maps without using them for key hunts and back-tracking.

      Why should a battlefield shootout be only a winding street? Why not a winding street, back alleys, rooftops, sewers, and the like all offering alternate and intertwining paths and the player can freely choose how they wish to progress.

      There are two things that damage that idea, and neither are truly necessary though both are loved by game developers. The first are heavily scripted story events. The developer forces a linear path because they’ve a set of pre-scripted events that they want to be unavoidable, and thus they don’t want the player wandering around freely. The second are collectables hidden in stages, the things that force you to explore all alternate paths and dead ends in the hopes of finding documents, special weapons, or even just triggering some exploration-based achievement. Yes, you can let me find some stuff, but don’t make it stuff that would cause me to want to explore for the sake of exploring.

  7. Jumwa says:

    I wish to see the credits scroll slowly across my screen through my entirely playthrough on endless repetition, to really help me memorize all those names.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I’m fine with credits, so long as they slow over the entry for “DRM Manager” which contains home address, credit card details, telephone number and their least favourite Dominoes pizza topping.

      I SHALL ORDER THEM THREE!

    • Jumwa says:

      A cruel but just punishment.

    • Lemming says:

      Credits are fine, but do it the Nintendo way. I want slow-panning shots of the world I’ve just left behind to grandiose music.

    • Jumwa says:

      You know, I always did enjoy how Nintendo used to do it in the old days. Capcom too with their Megaman games.

      Watching Megaman running along through the changing seasons, or X lamenting the carnage he was apart of as the credits rolled was somehow captivating. I watched it through every single time with rapt attention.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    DO let me select multiple save games to be able to delete many of them at once. Please. Sitting for five minutes clearing them out is no fun.

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      Browse to the save game folder with explorer and do it there. Most games won’t screw up if you do it that way, and don’t have some bizarre database or file structure obscuring such things. Of course some will give the files names that don’t relate so it’s better if you can tidy up by knowing to delete everything before date xx

  9. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    Also, if you’re going to hide something at the end of your credits, actually make it worth sticking around for, rather than just an excuse to make use of 3 seconds of pre rendered footage you had knocking around.

    • Avish says:

      Or at least make the credits fun to watch (like in some COD game).

      And if I press ESC during credits and there is something after them, let me see it and don’t send me back to the main menu screen (or at least warn me before doing so, that by pressing ESC I am about to miss some cool 3 seconds footage ).

  10. JackShandy says:

    Man, John, what have you got against developers? You hate them, don’t you. You just can’t bear the few seconds it takes to memorise the names of the lovely people who slave over a hot CPU to bring you your bread and butter. When I make a game the credits are going to constantly scroll in the background of the main menu. With full voiceover.

    • Ricc says:

      I agree. The credits are basically each individual’s tiny moment of glory. It’s so hard to claim authorship of (some part of) a game for 90% of the people who worked on it, because teams are just that big now. But in the credits, there it is for everyone to see. GTA4′s credits are incredibly long with multiple songs playing throughout. I don’t see those minutes as an inconvenience after having played it for many hours. It’s pretty impressive, actually.

      Also, I’m from Austria, so I can emphasize with that marketing department. ;)

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      The people who make the games I enjoy playing have done me a great service (in exchange for my cash). But the same could be said of the people who designed and made my computer. Or my desk, or my carpet. I appreciate all these people but I can’t possibly take note of all their names and job titles. Make puter game credits scroll fast with multiple names on screen at once (yes even when it’s the vice-president of marketing (EU) of the company that provided the voiceovers), and give the user the means to pause them or change the scrolling speed as they see fit.

      Unless the game was made by 5 people or less, in which case have a pile of limelight each, just present it in an interesting way.

    • JackShandy says:

      I’ll put my name as a fucking barcode on the back of the player characters head if I have too, but you will remember me.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I have no issue with watching credits as long as they’re interesting. Games or films, I don’t mind. In the case of games, sure, fade to black, but fade out of black and show me some nice concept art, or rotating game models, or a video tour of the developer’s offices, or even a gag reel. If you make games, do you really want players staring at your name thinking “Fucking hell, this is tedious, hurry up, for god’s sake, aaarghh” ?

    • Nidokoenig says:

      One way to make credits more interesting would be to have enemies rush the screen with names and jobs of the various people who worked on the game, rather than a boring list. Add a Typing of the Dead mechanic to kill them, and add an achievement/hat if you know all the names well enough to kill them all before they reach the camera. It’s a fun game, and it gets people to pay attention to the names.

  11. olemars says:

    “DON’T make me deselect Start Menu and select Desktop Icon. Who still uses the Start menu? The Victorians? Obviously all I want is a one-double-click route to the game, launched from my desktop, so why the prejudice? Why does Mr Start Menu get a tick in his box, while poor orphan Desktop Icon only rarely even get offered as an unticked option at all? I demand an end to this apartheid.”

    I disagree so hard on this. It’s having to untick Desktop icon all the time that is the pain. I’m also extremely prejudiced against people who have icons all over their desktop. Such behaviour is indicative of an unpleasant personality.

  12. reticulate says:

    On loading screen tips, sometimes less is more. An egregious example I remember is from Fallout 3, wherein I was told early on that Energy Weapons includes such things as the Alien Blaster. You know, the secret Wild Wasteland weapon, that you have to find using your radio (at least up until Mothership Zeta, where it gives you the location off the bat).

  13. MD says:

    I’m with you on the Desktop thing, John. These other guys are crazy.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    I don’t like start menu or desktop entries for games. Pin icon to taskbar or ctrl-escape search. (too many things in either make for an unhappy desktop load time)

  15. Dawngreeter says:

    I sat for what felt like hours in front of AssBro credits. Because I thought there was going to be a cutscene or something afterwards. :(

    I am very, very angry at all the people who work for Ubi. Very angry. It’s a good thing that I don’t yet have long-distance seek&destroy robots.

  16. wccrawford says:

    Wow, my God. NO to desktop icons! I hate having to uncheck it even! And games that don’t ask… UGH. I do not think your game is one of the best ever, and I do not want it on my desktop. It’s fine on the start menu, where I can access when I want to.

    Or better yet, from Steam’s menu. With the rest of my games.

    I also disagree with the credits. They can make them any speed they want, so long as they are skippable without skipping any ending content. It’s fine the first time I beat the game, but the fifth time, I’m probably ready to strangle people, and you’ve provided a convenient list.

    • steviesteveo says:

      More PC games really should look at building steam integration into their installers.

  17. Premium User Badge

    mrwonko says:

    If I remember correctly, the 2008 Prince of Persia game had well done credits. Devil May Cry 3/4, too, letting you play while the credits roll.

  18. LennyLeonardo says:

    I like when developers make their end credits interactive. The only example I can think of right now is Vanquish, where you got to blow up asteroids with the dev team’s faces on them. Cheesy, but great, like the rest of the game.

    I guess it’s just nice when a developer acknowledges that their game is a game and not a film.

    • Baf says:

      I recall Sam and Max Hit the Road had a credits sequence set in a shooting gallery, where you could shoot the names as they came out.

      Even better, The Typing of the Dead let you try to type the names as they scrolled by, with on-screen feedback in the form of zombies being released from tanks and danging to the background music if you did well. I remember noticing that this was particularly difficult because the names were all Japanese, and thus tended used letter sequences that are uncommon in English and that the rest of the game didn’t train you on, like “ryo”.

  19. Laneford says:

    On loading screen hints, equally as bad as “press space to jump” are ones that ruin some bit, secret, or weapon of the game that I have not got to yet.

    Just get rid of them eh?

  20. zipdrive says:

    Portal 2 (co-op?) had cute credits.

    Also, I REALLY stand with John on that whole Facebook-is-not-a-website-dummy stance.

  21. metalangel says:

    Also, give everyone who was present during a co-op game a copy of the save. I’m not going to just pick on Magicka here (pain in the butt that entire game is to get working online) but also Dungeon Siege 3, and I think Borderlands. Whoever was originally ‘mother’ now always has to be to ensure we pick up where we left off.

  22. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    “DON’T make me deselect Start Menu and select Desktop Icon.”

    Ugh, I vehemently disagree. I like keeping my desktop tidy, thanks, and prefer to have an organised Start menu (which on W7, you can search anyway). If you play a game often, add the icon to your taskbar.

    P.

  23. Electric Dragon says:

    “Holding down SHIFT will make you sprint.”

    If you insist on giving me that kind of tip, at least check my current key mapping. I may actually have NUMPAD PLUS mapped to sprint.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      Think that’s bad? Then just wait until you get “Use RIGHT TRIGGER to fire”. That’s really frustrating, when they make up imaginary keys, like these “triggers” or the “any key”, bloody annoying.
      Of course, the most frustrating is when they say “Press START to play”, and I press my windows key to bring up the START menu, I press the big green START button, and the game crashes. It doesn’t play at all, they lied to me!

    • Gnoupi says:

      It’s actually a reversal from the situation from a few years ago. Years ago, you could use a joystick or gamepad, the game was still telling you about the keyboard during the tutorial and other tips.

  24. somnolentsurfer says:

    Ick! No! Why would I want all kinds of ugly icons all over my desktop? If I want something to be there, I’ll put it there myself. Let it slide for games, and you validate it for QuickTime and Adobe Reader and all kinds of shit.

    I run almost everything from the search box these days, in the Start menu on my Vista partition, or in Spotlight on OS X. It’s like a handy auto completing command line on cmd+space. I thought that’s what everyone did. Why would I touch the mouse when four keystrokes can open almost anything?

  25. Jake says:

    Icons all over the desktop? Next thing you won’t be maximising windows and will just be sat in a sea of clutter like a Mac user. I dislike even having the icon in the Start menu, they are better off all in Steam, but that has the added problem of non-Steam games not getting a full icon. Oh and what about games that stick a folder in your Documents library? This is very irritating.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Yes. Can we just agree on a standard place for save games? This might have been in a previous set of rules.

    • GTRichey says:

      Maximising windows is entirely unnecessary for 95% of tasks on any modern (read: widescreen) monitor. Windows has poor window management so I understand the sentiment, but look to the sides of any website or document you’re editing and look how much space is wasted (or if you scale things up to fill the screen look at how overly large everything is). Maximising windows should die.

    • thegooseking says:

      Who maximises windows any more? I like being able to see my browser and IM window at the same time.

      I always maximised windows on my 4:3 monitor, so I guess maybe if you’re still using one of them, but on a widescreen monitor a maximised window is a waste of screen real-estate.

    • Jake says:

      OK that might just be me as I have two giant screens and I was really thinking of Photoshop and Firefox rather than Explorer. Windows 7 is pretty good with maximised windows, they can snap to fill half a screen automatically. Really I just don’t like little bits of wasted screen around the edges where things don’t fit neatly together, like a clutter of windows all open at once and overlapping.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Maximising windows should die.

      Pistols at dawn, sir.

      As for save games, Win 7 does seem to have a “Saved Games” folder as part of user profiles, with a little “this is a special place for a type of thing” decal and everything. All we need now is for everyone else to get with the program and stop cluttering up under “My Documents\Command and Conquer(TM) Generals Zero Hour(TM) Data” and “My Documents\My Games\Awesome Shooter Man 2051″ and aaaaargh you infighting bastards I’m going to stab you all in your respective faces.

    • Jake says:

      I found though that you can set these folders to hidden (rightclick>properties>hidden) and it doesn’t seem to affect most games.

    • Joof says:

      “Maximising windows should die.”

      I really don’t think I could disagree with this more. I don’t need to look at fringes of desktop while I’m working, and having the window be the full screen allows more space for tracking things while I’m debugging, which is enormously helpful. Also, the half window-maximize windows 7 does is also amazing for references.

  26. Daiz says:

    I am on the same line with many others here. Desktop is for windows, not for icons.

    Start Menu search and Steam game list (in small mode on the right side of my screen) is where my games are launched from. NOT the Desktop.

  27. Bilbo says:

    Don’t think you’ve got much of a mandate to plow ahead with the “retrograde our shooter mechanics to pre-half-life days please” and “everyone uses the desktop, people who don’t are nutters” shit, John. But 2 misses out of 7 isn’t bad, I guess. Why do you do this, anyway? Who is this for except you?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      You, Bilbo, just you

    • Bilbo says:

      Oh, I see.

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      A strong part of the beauty of RPS is the fact that the writers set their own mandate. And readers rather than editors get to decide if they want to read it or not.

    • Nalano says:

      Yeah, how dare John Walker have his own opinions. He should only regurgitate to us what we want to hear!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Guys, I think we’re missing the important part here:
      Shut up, Bilbo.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I feel like a ghost now that I’ve been blocked by this sir, and I utter this shedding tears of a thousand heartbroken girl scouts. But the guy’s right.

      Shut up Bilbo.

    • Gassalasca says:

      Bilbo, you know that hole, that hole you put your pie in? Yes, your, not to put too fine a point on it, piehole.

      Shut it.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Who is this for except you?
      Me, for one. I enjoy reading articles of this nature and am more than happy to see more of them.

    • Dervish says:

      Bilbo, I am 100% on your side re: saving, but I don’t think “making levels complex enough for a map to be useful” is regression.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aninhumer says:

      I don’t mind John posting his opinions, I just wish this wasn’t presented as some kind of objective set of “rules” or even as a consensus. I’ve disagreed with stuff in every single one, quite often vehemently, so I feel a little offended when he presents it as a patronising “silly developers, this is obviously the right way to do it”.

    • Lemming says:

      Seriously, WTF do you come here for Bilbo? It’s pretty obvious you don’t understand what a blog is. The concept is lost on you. Go hang out at Gametrailers, I’m sure that’s more your thing.

      EDIT: Actually, fucking blocked.

    • the.celt says:

      I’m getting tired of the long string of nasty responses after everything Bilbo says. I don’t know much about him, or any of you, but I came to this website months ago and was quite impressed with how much this place *wasn’t* like the rest of the internet. I don’t know what he’s “done”, if he’s been rigorously having his way with all your wives and girlfriends, but I really don’t care. He seems to have an on-topic opinion and he states it. It’s the long trail of unrelated-to-the-topic comments after any/all of his comments that are the real problem.

      It’s wrong to kick a bad dog. I’m not saying he is a bad dog, but many of you seem to think he is. Please, let your grudges go and stop polluting this internet oasis.

      I apologize for my contribution to the long trail of unrelated-to-the-topic comments. =/

  28. diamondmx says:

    I suggest you do something biologically improbable with your desktop icons.
    I hate that so much, needless clutter on an already cluttered screen.
    The start menu is where that stuff should go.

    Don’t: Make yet another company name subfolder on my computer, or in my start menu. When I go looking for a game in the menu, I’m not looking for Stardock Games\Sins of a Solar Empire, I just want the game name.

    Do: Put a shortcut in your game folder to all the little folders hidden in %USER% that MS makes you keep my files in now. If I need to find a file, I don’t want to have to ask google which particular hidden folder in my user directory that file is hidden in. Civilization IV’s collection of links within the game folder to everything I might need to find is *exactly* what I want to see

    • Prime says:

      Until the second thing happens, Diamond, try Everything (voidtools.com). Type the name of the file you’re looking for, then every possibility on your machine pops up as you type, then allows you to either open it or the containing folder as is your wont. I’ve bound mine to a hotkey combo so it’s always to hand. I seriously can’t live without it now.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The correct solution is to stop caring about the folder structure of your Start Menu. That publisher->product heirarchy has been MS’s suggestion since back in Windows 95 to try to avoid naming conflicts, and with the search-based interface you no longer need to dig about and care where things are. (There’s a reason it’s still buried under “All Programs” while Windows gets on with showing you the things you actually run at the top level.)

      That said, the correct way to get a list of games is for games to actually use the goddamn Vista/7 Games Explorer.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I have five start menu folders into which everything gets intermittently bulldozed: the inevitable startup and accessories, plus frippery (games), tools (useful stuff) and sump (everything else). These get organised with well used programs given shortcuts at the bottom and everything else in a folder called _sump so it appears at the top of the list when re-sorted. Lovely and streamlined.

  29. Premium User Badge

    Stompywitch says:

    Sir, you are exactly correct; an untidy desk is the sign of an untidy mind, and the same extends to your computer. I absolutely hate my desktop being cluttered, and I hate the games that, while they will (Correctly!) allow you to not install a desktop icon, then insist on adding one after you patch them.

    The computer desktop is a working space, so put icons there while you are actively using them, and then tidy up afterwards.

    • Archonsod says:

      Stardocks Fences is a lifesaver in that respect. And the free version works quite well.

  30. boywithumbrella says:

    DON’T make me deselect Start Menu and select Desktop Icon [...]

    There’s that thing that many (or at least some, I hope) users actually play games from a profile without administrative rights, whereas all the games that I’ve ever seen (that require installation at all) need to be installed with administrative rights (the necessity of which is quite another and a very sad point). As such, the desktop icon “installed” by the installer is either installed for the administrator profile used to elevate the rights – and consequently not visible to the user-profile (the benign variant); or put on the shared desktop, so that it appears for all users (the malign variant). The problem with the latter is: my girlfriend doesn’t need my Warhammer 40’000 shortcut, and I for sure don’t want her colourful Sims 1, 2, 3 (and the respective editors) cluttering my Fallout wallpaper.

  31. Gassalasca says:

    Re the credits – I can’t believe we’re still at the point where they unfold at the same speed (and this speed = snailpace). *All* credits should have the pause button and the fast forward button at the very least.

    The one point where I disagree with John is the mouse one. I’ve never seen a mouse with thumb buttons, I don’t I know anyone who uses one, nor do I have any inclination to buy such a mouse. Two buttons + a wheel, that’s all any sane person needs. -_-

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Clearly, you’re mad. Doesn’t your mousewheel click when you press it, giving you three? Have you not seen any new mice in the last, say, six years? Even default Dell mice and MS mice have thumb buttons; they’re usually back and forward for browsers, and they’re flippin’ indispensible. My mouse of choice (Logitech MX510) has eight buttons, and I wish it had more.

      My pet peeve: pressing mouse4 (back) and holding works in a few games, but usually registers as a momentary tap. Given that I used to habitually bind this to aim, and previously used the same mouse and drivers on different PC hardware to do this fine, I can’t help but think this is a DirectInput thing or similar. Please make mouse4 and mouse5, at the very least, act in the same way as mouse1 and mouse2, and allow me to hold them down.

  32. Unaco says:

    I have to disagree on the Start Menu/Desktop thing. I still use Start Menu shortcuts, and prefer them to Desktop shortcuts… although I usually just add any game .exes to Steam, and start the shortcut from there.

    Firstly, the Desktop has limited space, so I don’t want to keep EVERY game and app and program shortcut on there… just the ones I use frequently and mostly for work (Steam, MATLAB, FooBar, PuTTy, etc. I, in fact, have no game shortcuts on my desktop currently)… otherwise, I’d run out of space, and would never be able to see all of my lovely desktop images. Secondly, Start menu entries have more than just the game shortcut in them. They may also have links to the manual/PDF/Readme, links to the forum pages, links to registration, the config program, etc… things that, if you were going to put on the desktop, you’d need 5 or 6 shortcuts for for each game. These sorts of things are easier to navigate to in the Start menu as well, rather than going through explorer.

  33. Essell says:

    Re: Start menu vs desktop icons. I use the start menu (or Steam) and would never want a desktop icon. Just sayin’.

    Re: Credits – I don’t think it’s that they should simply be faster, but they should have controls that allow you to change the speed of them, rewind, and ideally even explorable / interactive in some way. Every gamer who sees credits is sitting there with an input device in their hands, after all, and interactivity would help people be interested in actually reading them, and getting a feel for who and what was involved in the making of the game.

  34. Miodrag Kovachevic says:

    On another note: DON’T make the the only gamepad that will work with your game the Xbox360 pad. I love my Logitech gamepads. I can actually perform quarter circles on them.

  35. Kefren says:

    Maps on Tab: yes, this made me chuckle!

    Start menu vs Desktop Icon: should always be a choice. I don’t care what the default is but I always have my current game in the start menu and stick a number in front of the shortcut. Then I just tap Windows Key then the number and the game runs. Much tidier. Same for my main programs.

    Mice: I’ve never used a new-fangled one. By all means support them, but make sure the game runs fine with just two buttons and a (clickable) scroll wheel.

    Credits: Don’t show them at the start OR the end of the game. Just make them a menu option, so I don’t lose immersion at the start of a game, or waste part of my life at the end.

    • Premium User Badge

      mrwonko says:

      I disagree on the “no credits” part – after all the hard work the developers put in their game, they deserve their credits. Make ‘em skippable, sure, but not “on demand”.

    • Kefren says:

      I wasn’t saying they couldn’t have credits. Just that the person buying the game should not have to see them if they don’t want. The problem with ‘skippable’ is that you don’t know whether skipping them then also skips something at the end.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    And you add links to older parts of the series at the end of article???

    (it’s almost like the hint with “back” button ;) )

    • Nidokoenig says:

      That’s what the Do Don’t tag is for, click and you’ll find all the previous ones.

  37. malkav11 says:

    To be honest, I’d just as soon games just install a shortcut to the Windows Vista/7 “Games” metafolder which is actually designed for the purpose, and nowhere else. But if you’re going to automatically install any others, Start Menu only, thankyouverymuch.

  38. krimhorn says:

    Deselect Start Menu and Select Desktop Icon? Really? A cluttered desktop is a terrible thing. With the advent of Vista and the ability to press the windows key and immediately type in the name of any program I’ve hardly ever opened the All Programs section of the Start Menu.

    One keypress, followed by a second of typing. followed by Enter and I’m in any game I want to play. That is if I’ve actually bought something from anywhere other than Steam.

  39. WeltEnSTurm says:

    I don’t need desktop icons. Never. If I want to start something I bring up my steam window which already blocks the view to my desktop and then start it, or press the windows button, type in the first letters of the program and press enter.

  40. Berzee says:

    1, maybe 2 items in this list are about games. (Maps and possibly mouse buttons).

    The rest are, what, rules for installers, rules for menus, rules for websites, etc…still good points (including the controversial desktop point I disagree with) but I should not call them Rules for Games.

  41. Berzee says:

    Since everyone is talking about desktops versus start menus…let me tell you what I do. Let me tell you: here is what I do.

    I right-click on the Windows 7 start menu, and I open Windows Explorer. I go to C:\Games and select the folder I want, and then I look for an executable computer software program, and I execute it via mouse input.

    This is sometimes because some games don’t seem to pop up in the search results, but mostly because when I’m feeling lazy, clicking for 20 seconds seems better than typing for 3. (I have a Trackman Marble meaning I only have to move my thumb, so I guess that enhances the lazyness factor =).

  42. Berzee says:

    Agreed about the hints thing, by the way! Bastion even does that, and I keep thinking “Oh man that hint will be important for this next level” and sometimes it is, but usually it’s just on a loop I think. =)

  43. step21 says:

    On desktop vs. start menu: Who uses desktop icons??? Most likely I use search, or the start menu, but definitely not desktop icons, I even have them disabled…

  44. SAM-site says:

    “DO feel free to notice that mice changed in the last decade. Sometimes they have more than three buttons now! ”

    Yes, now they release mice that are unusable by The Chosen. You wrong-handers may have giggles and mirth and the number of buttons you may now faff around with using your opposable thumb, but those of us who are left-handed find these so called “ergonomic” monstrosities unusable.

    I like causing wrong-handers to mentally blue-screen by switching the mouse over to the correct side of the keyboard.

    And as for the desktop. Any man attempting to lay an icon anywhere on mine will be cut in two. The desktop is a blue “classic” background on which nothing sits apart from windows. All my programs may be accessed from the helpfully named “Programs” folder in the start menu.

    • LionsPhil says:

      5-button ambidextrous mice do exist; many of the newer Microsoft ones, in fact. They treat it as a thumb button on one side and a pinky button on the other, which is good enough given these buttons are for less-frequent tasks than the workaday “fire boolet” tasks of the big two.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Sidewinder X3. Absolutely symmetrical five-button mouse.

      Doesn’t look like it’s been beaten with sticks.

      It’s awesome.

    • daf says:

      Sidewinder X3 owner and lefty here and while it’s a great mouse It does seem to suffer from a nasty flaw, the scroll wheel is given to get stuck after a wile, mine already passed that phase and the rubber of the wheel is actually beginning to slowly fall apart, maybe I just have acid hands but it was the only mouse i’d ever have that problem with :(

      Razer used to make mostly ambidextrous mouses but they’ve gone the ergonomic route now as well and I still can’t justify 50+ euros for a mouse. So when my x3 breaks it’s gonna be a hard time finding a replacement.

  45. Bob_Bobson says:

    I think I see what it is I want to do that many commentators don’t: Browse my games collection.

    Yes, I can hit the windows key and type the name of the game I want to play, if and only if, I have already decided what I want to play. But as often as not I know what sort of game I want to play but not which actual title. Desktop icons let me see my currently installed games collection, clumped by theme, have a think and select the one I want in the most natural way possible (apart from maybe if my monitor was a touchscreen).

    People that complain my desktop is “cluttered”: I use it exclusively for launching programs. Once I have programs open it is hidden and so is the clutter. What are you *using* your desktop for that requires it to have nothing on and thus no functionality?

    • Jake says:

      I use my desktop for current files (like a bunch of jpgs I am editing or extracting zips or whatever) and for Rainmeter. And I keep it uncluttered otherwise or it will distract me when I am using lots of Explorer windows/browsing and ruin the aesthetics of my lovely minimalist Windows theme.

  46. Johnny Lizard says:

    I only use desktop icons for programs I use sufficiently rarely that I would forget they were installed otherwise.

  47. Strontium Mike says:

    Don’t keep asking if I want to register with your online social club every time I start a game, I’m not interested how many times do I have to confirm this? Don’t keep asking me to confirm I want to quit the game, I’ve clicked through three menu screens to get the exit game option so I’m pretty damn sure I know I want to quit already. Don’t create a career profile for me based on my user profile on this pc, I don’t want my character named ‘fat bastard computer owner’ especially if you want me to go online. Do let me create more than one career profile without renaming files. Do allow me to play your game in a window, it is a windows OS after all.

    And most important do stop discriminating against disabled gamers, you’d probably sell many more copies if your games were more accessible.

    • iainl says:

      Also, EA, don’t prompt my son to join your social rubbish every time he starts, lead him through five screens before announcing that because he’s not pretending to be an adult he can’t have the privilege of being snooped on, and THEN ask him again every time he re-launches it. Grr.

  48. Arona Daal says:

    DO give me the option to directly continue my last game from the desktop,without having to skip/sit through all the logos showing me the publisher/developer/optimized for Nvidia and/or the same old intro movie.
    Please just let me load my last save.

  49. SlappyBag says:

    I don’t have a single item on my desktop. I want my icons in the start menu, or even not at all – they all get added into Steam anyway so I just have that Icon in my ObjectDock bar. Clean desktop = Win.

  50. michaelfeb16 says:

    Start menu AND desktop should be unchecked by default.