Rules For Games: Do & Don’t #6

By John Walker on August 21st, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

It’s important that everyone stay calm and do as I say.

DO feel free to include a kitchen in your game. Bathrooms – oh, we’ve got bathrooms. There’s not a gaming character in the land who could possibly be crossing their legs and begging for help – he or she need only open two doors to have a near 100% chance of stumbling into a loo. But if they fancy some toast? They’re screwed. Buildings have kitchens, developers. Oh, and if you do, and you put a fridge in it, there’d better be something in that fridge other than one milk carton when I open it. Ideally a monster, but some ham and cheese would work.

DON’T inform me in an unskippable screen every time I load your game that this game autosaves. Because, and this is obviously going to come as a shock to every developer and porter on Earth so brace yourselves: very, very rarely do I ever end a gaming session by waiting for the game to start saving and then marching to the wall and yanking all the plugs out. Yes, this is a hangover from console versions, where apparently console users must habitually start wildly ripping cables out of things at random moments, such that they need to be so strongly warned. But people don’t tend to switch PCs off by throwing the mains switch in their house and tearing all the fuses out of the wall. They tend to shut them down like daddy Microsoft tells them to, long after we’ve quit out of the game. So what with NO ONE EVER DOING IT, do you think we could not have to sit through a screen showing us what a spinning icon looks like every time we start playing? Please maybe thank you.

DO remember that if you let me carry on playing your game after it’s over, after I’ve saved the world and rescued all of humanity from the brink of death, that it would be nice if the game noticed. Of course when an ending necessitates that the world can no longer be played in, this doesn’t apply. But when it does, come on, at least have the NPCs stop pleading with me to sever the seven heads from the Great Beast Of Ab, when I just so spectacularly did that. Look at me – I’m wearing two of the heads as a hat!

DON’T put a big pile of rocks in your game if you don’t want me to climb up a big pile of rocks. You know what I can’t climb up without specialist equipment? Sheer cliff faces, or vast, towering boulders. You know what I can climb up? Piles of rocks. They’re not barriers, they’re obstacles. And obstacles in games are challenges. And challenges are to be taken on. So when I either discover that there’s some invisible wall near the top, or tumble into the mad void outside of the game’s edges, it confirms for me that you’ve never been outside of a city. Nor indeed seen a rock.

DO let enemies weaken. In gaming, a baddy who has 95% health is identical to a baddy who has 3% health. And that’s crazy! I’ve been doing some experiments on humans I don’t like, and it turns out if you reduce them down to three percent of their total health, they can barely even pick up a gun, let alone successfully aim it. It’s as much as they can do to gurgle pathetic pleas for me to remove the final scraps of life. So how about there’s some level of deterioration when we attack? I’m not talking about wretched Soldier Of Fortune II style dismemberment. But maybe they move more slowly, aim less reliably, beg for mercy less convincingly? That sort of thing.

DON’T put music and cutscene volumes on the same slider. It’s weird how often this one’s done, where switching off a game’s horrible muzak results in silent cutscenes or missing dialogue. Oh, but also, when I switch the music off in your game, DO flipping well switch it off in the cutscenes too! And everywhere else you think I really actually do want to listen to your crappy music even though I muted it. I’m listening to my not-crappy music, and it just sounds awful when they dirge together. Worse even than yours on its own! Or, alternative, have good music in your game.

DO keep doing that completely daft thing where interactive objects are rendered differently from background items. Because if it was good enough for Daffy Duck, it’s good enough for me.

You can catch up on the rest of the obligatory rules here.

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249 Comments »

  1. Goodtwist says:

    DONTFACE

    • herschel says:

      DOFACE

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  2. frightlever says:

    God, that is so true. Lol’d, dammit.

    “I’m not talking about wretched Soldier Of Fortune II style dismemberment.”

    Is “wretched” what the cool kids say when they mean “awesome” now?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Here’s a thing to try. Dial someone in your family. A grandparent, maybe. When they pick up, just say “Hi, it’s [yourname]. Awesome dismemberment.” Then put the phone down. See if they talk to you again.

      • 12inchPlasticToy says:

        I think any conversation with one’s grandparents that include the word “dismemberment” would have the same result. Unless it’s with granddad Bill who was in Korea, in which case you may earn a cookie.

        • Geen says:

          That’s horrible, and I wholly admit to laughing my ass off at it.

        • Thrashie says:

          Please don’t close the cookie jar while your hand is still in there

  3. BTAxis says:

    “Saving. Please do not turn off your computer.”

    • Cooper says:

      “When you see this icon, please do not remove power from your PC.”

    • CuriousExpedition says:

      “DON’T inform me in an unskippable screen every time I load your game that this game autosaves.”

      That is a TCR (Technical Certification Requirements) by Microsoft / Sony right there. If you don’t have this, your game will fail submission.

      • LionsPhil says:

        One of the great things about the PC is that you can publish software for it without being certified by the platform owner.

        And while “just make it an option” is usually a cry in ignorance of maintenance and test complexity, “control display of that bloody screen with a build flag so it’s only present on consoles” is pretty much entirely feasible.

        It’s one of increasingly few points in these articles that isn’t iffy at best.

    • Alien426 says:

      “Please don’t close the browser tab while you are reading this blog post.”

    • ColdDeath says:

      “Do not close the browser tab while writing a com

    • puppybeard says:

      Please don’t try and open the save file in Photoshop as a .png just to see what it would turn out like, super-impose a picture of a yacht, and then save it. Not for another five seconds, anyway.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      @CuriousExpedition Jonathan Blow made the point on his blog once that this is only necessary because the save system is terrible.

      http://the-witness.net/news/2012/07/thoughts-on-consoles-and-certification-processes/

      • LionsPhil says:

        But, look at iOS. There is almost no certification process for iOS…

        Johnathan Blow remains hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Not that Kyle Orland (who he was writing in response to) is any better.

        • Ninja Dodo says:

          I assume you’re saying that iOS is a bad example of the absence of TCR not leading to poor quality control? Doesn’t really change his argument that some TCR requirements are unnecessary, like the saving thing. I think the guy makes some good points from time to time.

    • timethor says:

      To be honest, in some games I just hit alt-f4 when I’m fed up with it. If that has the potential to break save-games (it shouldn’t in the first place, but if it does..), the warning is at least nice.

      • cathexis says:

        Alt-F4-ing something just tells the program to go through it’s quit process. I think by default it immediately bails out but it’s pretty easy to take the signal, wait until you’re done being busy (like, say, saving), and then process the quit command. The only way to corrupt your save game would be to wait until it’s autosaving, alt-tab out (if possible), and shoot it in the head with the task manager.

        • AngusPrune says:

          The dirty little secret of the software industry is that we have the technology to save your game up to the second you stopped playing with no impact on the game, never lose progress and never corrupt the save file. It’s called journalling, and we’ve been doing it for a couple of decades now. It’s the reason your filesystem doesn’t screw itself beyond repair when the power goes out these days (sometimes back in the day, that would happen!)

          The reason why every game doesn’t autosave your progress to the second is pretty much just laziness. There’s no good performance reason for it, on PC at least. I swear if a game engine came with a standard library for journalling save files then probably every game would be doing it.

          • jrodman says:

            The sad part is that in the ps2/gamecube era of flash, journalling on the flash storage was pretty much necessary for longevity, performance, and other reasons. Everyone in the embedded space was doing it. It was the bog-standard method. And they still failed.

    • noom says:

      “Your car is accelerating. Please don’t turn off the engine.”

  4. Captain Hijinx says:

    Imagine a game in which you’re fighting an enemy and you get the best of him, he falls to his knees and looks up at you with ragged breath, eyes meeting yours, barely able to stay upright… And he says one single pathetic word “Please….”

    It would be great to see this, actually humanize your enemy in the game, so they’re not just generic meatbags to be burst to pieces.

    • Surlywombat says:

      They do this all the time in Skyrim, problem is if you stop hitting them they get back up and start fighting again.

      • Captain Hijinx says:

        Yeh, I know about Skyrim, but it’s not very meaningful, It doesn’t have a long term effect on the game. Let’s say you spare enough people and word starts to spread about you, maybe it even changes the dynamic of the story. As someone mentioned below, it has to be more than just a few animations. I’m just talking about doing more with the whole opposition thing than running and gunning or hacking and slashing. Some developers are experimenting with it, but I’d love to see it really explored

        • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

          You’re capacity for mercy would potentially be illustrated by red streaks fanning out from the abodes of healers.

    • merc-ai says:

      Umm..Skyrim?
      Though sadly in it (and other games where wounded enemies can plead and claim to surrender), the bad guy will just stab you the moment you spare him and turn your back.

    • Ross Mills says:

      They did it in The Last Of Us (I know, not PC)

      My girlfriend and me were horrified when I pressed Square a bit quickly and hit him in the face with a pipe.

      I felt bad.

    • Runty McTall says:

      Hmm, but more disturbing when people still execute the person at their mercy?

      Most games have no scope for taking prisoners and, as noted above, you can’t be sure that the game will actually allow them to stay passive if you spare them so I’d really rather not have to spend my gaming time killing off people begging convincingly for their lives.

    • particlese says:

      No…please…don’t shoot! Please! No… ARGH! *flop*
      *peek*…*peek*…*peek*…
      *insta-stand* Bang! Bang!
      *explode into many pieces, including eyeballs and flipped birds*

    • Wut The Melon says:

      Actually, this is one point I don’t really agree with. Or rather, I do, but as long as games are about mass-murdering enemies (which, let’s face it, almost all of the games to which this rule would apply to are), I think that 5 extra animations are not going to ‘humanise’ your enemies. If killing is simply ‘gameplay’ (i.e. as inconsequential as platforming in a platformer), we don’t need extra animations.

      Sure, it’d be interesting to have more ‘human’/'realistic’ enemies, but to do that killing first needs to be something significant in a game, not just a matter of ‘kill 50 of these to progress’. The problem is not with animations or enemy behaviour but the way combat is implemented in practically all games.

    • Clavus says:

      The moment you have enemies pleading for their lives, your game’s PEGI / ESRB rating will skyrocket.

      • aleander says:

        PEGI 21, because at that point we don’t care if you’re removing glamour from military service.

      • InternetBatman says:

        This and absolutely this. The Punisher game ran into the rating problem.

    • draglikepull says:

      The surprisingly good game based on the TV show 24 did this. Some enemies would become scared of you, at which point you could simply handcuff them and leave them for the rest of your team to arrest after the mission is over. If I remember correctly you could even shout at enemies to put down their guns in an attempt to get them to give up rather than being killed.

    • kud13 says:

      S.T.A.L.K.E.R.–seriously wounded enemies will lie on the ground, weaponless and cry for mersy, until some other enemy spares a medkit. Or until you knife them (because shooting them would be a waste of a bullet)

      Likewise with allies and neutrals, but here you have the option of offering a medkit. if the NPC was neutral before, he becomes your ally instantly.

    • belgand says:

      It would also be nice if then maybe he runs off and perhaps you happen to encounter him again, later in the game, living a different life. Not just some notable NPC, but one of the regular mooks.

    • Geen says:

      From MGS2 onward you could hold up soldiers, or grab them, both of which caused them to drop their weapons and surrender the contents of their pockets to a pat-down and they would also surrender if their arms were disabled and the couldn’t run away.

  5. ajoh198 says:

    Don’t place unskippable cut scenes straight AFTER a checkpoint I don’t want to have to see the same boss intro every time die!

    • phuzz says:

      The Witcher managed the trifecta, a checkpoint, followed by a cutscene, followed by a boss fight with an enemy that’s about 10 times harder than anything you’ve seen up until this point in the game.
      Yeah, part of the reason I’ve not played W2 yet is that fucking boss fight.

      • Jonfon says:

        You’ll be thrilled to hear The Witcher 2 manages it as well. In fact it’s even more annoying because saving is disabled if you get too close to the boss in question, so you save, walk for a bit, get cut-scene, do boss fight which has QTEs in it. When you die you have to do it all again.

        I love the Witcher 2 but those boss fights were a right pain in the nads.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Though at least you can skip it.
        Also, if that’s the one early in the game I’m thinking of, it is not immune to stuns or knockdowns.

  6. Sian says:

    Adding to the pile of rocks “DON’T”: DON’T make my character slide down even the gentlest of hills and have him be unable to climb back up. Humans are capable of keeping their footing and even walking uphill.

    Playing Borderlands 2, I noticed that certain enemies start limping or otherwise changing their behaviour when severely wounded. Of course it’s a bit strange to start limping after being shot in the head, but it’s better than performing perfectly at 3 %.

    • TheMightyEthan says:

      Your bullet grazed his motor cortex.

    • Prime says:

      Heh. Sir, You Are Being Hunted commits this heinousness! RPS FIGHT! :)

      More seriously, how hard can it be to reduce movement to a crawl, or mimic the trudging step-by-step approach we humans can employ in such circumstances? I can’t recall one game that gets this right.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        And it would be nice if your character could occasionally stub his toe and hop about swearing under his breath. I mean, come on, we all do it. And when was the last time a game character had to stop in the middle of a firefight to sneeze, but it turned out to be a totally false alarm?

        • Prime says:

          I can’t think of a single game that wouldn’t be immeasurably improved by such human realisms. :)

          • DrScuttles says:

            Or at the very least have the game* measure your character’s need to urinate. Complete with the screen lurching up and down giddily when reaching breaking point in a populated area with no suitable facilities.

            *not Sir, in this case. You could piss anywhere in Sir if you wanted to.

          • InternetBatman says:

            The ship did that.

          • gunny1993 says:

            I do believe any of G Mans speeches would be immeasurably improved by him biting the inside of his mouth mid sentence.

          • The Random One says:

            I have a feeling the next Far Cry will have all of these things.

        • LionsPhil says:

          ChaosUT caused your character to burp and hiccup randomly to ruin any attempts at stealth, but to be honest being UT kind of did that for it.

        • melnificent says:

          Hiding in the dark waiting for the guard to pass. You step out behind him, making sure to move slowly. As he turns the corner he stumbles…. “OWWWW, OW, OW, OWWW, MY TOE…” Turns and sees you but continues to hop on one foot for a few more seconds, rubbing his toe.
          Before finally sounding the alarm.

        • qrter says:

          Far Cry 3 seemed to have incessant toe-stubbing implemented – my bro could hardly walk without stumbling over some nigh invisible rock, going “ARGH”.

      • Harlander says:

        Miasmata?

      • Nixitur says:

        Dwarf Fortress is pretty good in that regard.
        Someone with punctured lungs is going to have trouble breathing or might just bleed out, a dwarf with a broken leg can pick up a crutch to help him walk, every weapon or attack type has different consequences from cutting tendons to just shattering someone’s foot and it’s all reflected in how that character fights, how fast he is and how he dies.

    • Svant says:

      This, so many times this. Every shooter ever has this impossibly stupid terrain where it is impossible to tell if you can walk somewhere or will just slide down. Planetside 2 is extremely bad at this for example. Seriously humans can walk/scramble over pretty much any terrain ever, it just goes a lot slower. This should be in every shooter with outdoorsyterrain, simply slow down infantry on inclines but never, EVER make them slide down for no reason at all. Sure some inclines will be too steep but they are obviously walls.

      Yes this will let infantry access all sorts of cool places that you did not intend but hey it will take time and they will be very very vulnerable while climbing up there because of their greatly reduced movement speed.

      • AngusPrune says:

        Alas, it’s mostly an animation problem not an environmental one. Let people walk up too steep terrain and you get the Skyrim horse problem and suddenly your game goes from gritty war sim to hilarious Benny Hill sketch.

        I’m sure somewhere out there, people are beavering away even as I type on real-time adaptive skeletal animation. That’ll be the next big graphical improvement to impress me. Those seem to come at the rate of one a decade, so I’m predicting about 2020 or so.

        • Shadowcat says:

          Unfortunately no one will care. I’ve been hoping for that to be done properly for the past 15 years, and then Primal Software were actually doing it in “Heavy Duty” in about 2006 (albeit with four-legged robots rather than humans), but despite that piece of kick-ass technology which was such a step up from anything else I’d seen, none of the previews I saw ever pointed it out as anything of significance.

          People oohed and aahed over the planetary tech (which was also cool), but apparently had no idea what they were seeing when it came to the movement and animation code.

  7. PAK-9 says:

    It’s nice to see Walkers sense of gamer entitlement reach the point of blankly instructing developers what they may and may not do with their games. Maybe it would be better if the whole industry just consulted with him before making any design, development or marketing decision, lest they do something to offend his sensibilities.

    • Runty McTall says:

      Where does he say what they may or may not do?

      Seriously, he just asks that they do or do not do things. He doesn’t state that they may not do things, just that he will like their games less if they do.

      You call this entitlement but really, how the hell else can life work? I like certain things, I don’t like others. Is that entitlement?

      I would prefer it if games did more of the things I like and less of the ones I don’t like. Is that entitlement?

      Sometimes I tell people what I like and don’t like about games. Is that entitlement?

      I mean, jesus.

    • John Walker says:

      Yes, that WOULD be better.

      In other news, oh my goodness, really? A series that’s been running since 2010, and your humourless fury at my existence can’t parse the idea that these are a tongue-in-cheek series of demands? I’m almost honoured to be the recipient of such idiotic, quenchless hate!

    • Prime says:

      Actually, based on these articles alone I think the games industry would be an entire fuck-tonne better if John were consulted before every game is made. What do you say, John? Would ‘Games Overlord’ look good on the ol’ CV?

    • Grygus says:

      By that standard, is it any less entitled to come to a free blog and complain about what you read?

    • Ajh says:

      Do you disagree with these ideas?

    • Mungrul says:

      I would like to forward the motion that anyone using the word “Entitlement” be rigourously ignored.
      Too often these days people use it to imply the opposition are spoiled and egocentric.
      They use it to all too often dismiss valid criticism, and it’s blatantly a sign of blind consumerism.
      They may as well be saying:
      “You’ll take what you paid for and you will damn well like it. You bought it, it’s your problem now. You have no right to complain about the quality of purchased goods.”

    • SuicideKing says:

      You sir, are entitled to a beer.

      So please, chill the fuck out.

    • dsch says:

      Oh no, you didn’t just suggest the great John Walker can’t say whatever he want. Don’t push him or he’ll tell you to ‘fuck off’ and insist that is a valid and reasonable argument. ‘It’s my blog and I can do whatever I want with it, so there.’ and so on.

      Edit: Didn’t you know that he basically invented games journalism?

    • nindustrial says:

      Pot, meet kettle. Whooooooosh.

  8. Moni says:

    Don’t #4 gave me an idea: A menu toggle that disables cutscenes, so they’re not even loaded, the game just skips to the next level.

    • Prime says:

      Yeah! That’s the spirit! Smack those developers right in the Hollywood! MOAR GAME LESS FILLUM!

      • marrakoosh says:

        At least the option to turn off cut-scenes once you’ve completed the game? Or just, for god’s sake, if you’ve seen it once, give the option to skip with a button press.

        • Jonfon says:

          This. Any pop-up (Swirly Icon Save Warning Screen, Cut-scenes etc, opening logo screens) should all be skippable by pressing space once you’ve seen them once.

          • iainl says:

            Please don’t. The correct way to do it, as seen on a few (but far too few) games, is:

            1) Cutscene starts
            2) Pressing a button brings up a little UI overlay, telling you that
            3) One button skips, but another PAUSES.

            Maybe, just maybe, I’m actually interested in what’s happening, but still have to leave the keyboard a moment.

          • Jonfon says:

            Good point well made.

            Space to pause, escape to escape so.

          • One Pigeon says:

            Yes please!

            Not knowing whether pressing Esc will pause or skip the cutscene is annoying when real life waddles its way into my gaming time.

            I also don’t want to sit there mashing every button on my keyboard and mouse trying to work out which key combo skips the damn thing.
            Enter> Left Click >Escape is not a logical combination.

          • frenchy2k1 says:

            I am actually OK with escape ALWAYS skipping the cut scene as long as there is an menu giving easy access to it from another part of the game (main menu, profile, extras…). All cut scenes already unlocked should be easily accessible from it. Some (too few) games got that right.

  9. jpileborg says:

    Regarding the monster or ham and cheese in the fridge, depending on the age of the ham and cheese there’s nothing ruling out that it is the ham and cheese that is the monster.

  10. ajoh198 says:

    Also when I load a game that I’ve already played once the only thing I ever want to do is continue my previous session, there should always be a continue button to go back to the latest checkpoint/save.

    And I don’t want to have to press a bloody button to see the menu, what is the point of forcing everyone to do that when there are no other options

    • Sian says:

      I guess that’s a remnant from the arcades (which took a detour over consoles before it really reached the PC).

      Dear developers, we don’t need to have the game wait for us to decide how much money we want to throw into its greedy maw anymore. We pay you up front now.

    • werix says:

      I might be wrong and if I am correct me, but I think the whole “press enter/any button” to continue is a holdover from consoles, since games will assign the player one/active controller slot to whichever controller presses start. Its great on consoles so you don’t have to hunt around for which controller is “controller 1″ but it is the sign of a port when we see it on PC. We’re only ever going to have the one keyboard/mouse.

      • GameCat says:

        You’re right with that controller thing. Also I like it. Most of my best gaming experiences starts with “Press Start” screen.

      • Sian says:

        Oh. Yes, that makes more sense than my comment. Dang. I don’t like being wrong on the internet, so… LOOK BEHIND YOU, A THREE-HEADED MONKEY! *runs*

        • Grygus says:

          I had no idea she was a three-headed monkey. The disguise is nearly perfect! Thank you for the heads-up. I owe you one.

        • Panda Powered says:

          You’re still right. It is a remnant from the olden days of arcades and demo machines. You don’t want a static menu screen on a CRT that’s turned on for thousands of hours. Hence the press-start flashy demo of move’y things.
          It’s just recently, when wireless controllers became the console standard that someone had the idea of making the Press Start Screen useful again since developers were still insisting on using them anyway.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Actually this is nice on PC when it works. Press Enter/X and then the game knows if you are using controller or KB for the game.

  11. chabuhi says:

    FarCry 2 sort of did a decent job with the way enemies behaved depending on their comdition. Not quite what you’re describing here, but it felt more authentic than most games I had played up to that point.

    • merc-ai says:

      Also, this was quite useful : wound a baddie, then wait for one of his friends to come out of cover to try and help the wounded one, kill both. Not many games to date where AI was this fun to play against.

  12. bigjig says:

    “DO let enemies weaken. In gaming, a baddy who has 95% health is identical to a baddy who has 3% health. ”

    Shouldn’t this also apply to the player character as well. I don’t see how that would be very fun.

    • aliksy says:

      You can possibly thank D&D for this. Maybe we can avoid a big argument about what HP mean.

      There are games that have wound penalties (World of Darkness comes to mind).

      It also helps if you avoid hp inflation and bad combat animations. Looking at you, elder scrolls games. If you show me stabbing a dude in the face, I expect a reaction more compelling than his hp bar shrinking 3%.

      • Reapy says:

        As a gameplay mechanic, the bad guy getting weaker as you play is not good. Having the difficulty drop as the fight progresses might be realistic but not fun, bosses should ramp up as they go, imagine how underwhelming it would be for the back half of a boss fight was a huge push over.

        Honestly there are few good points in the article and they show a lack of understanding of game design. I see a lot of the reality over gameplay style points in the article, I see a lot of this in various game forum rants too, they all misunderstand the problem of trying to strictly follow the rules of reality rather than understanding the concessions you must make to fit the controls and development budget as well as the gameplay.

        Anyway nice try but maybe rethink why certain things are the way they are in games for the next rant.

        • Grygus says:

          If only John Walker had ever given game design any thought. Perhaps next time he will do some research, like you did with your post.

          • MarcP says:

            Saying he misunderstands game design after doing tons of research is even worse than saying he misunderstands game design because of ignorance.

          • Grygus says:

            I’m actually refuting that he knows nothing about game design, and insinuating that the poster doesn’t know what he’s talking about in regards to Mr. Walker. Perhaps too subtle or poorly written, so here it is plain as day: “nuh uh.”

          • Reapy says:

            Article with millions of unique readers : possibly research and think about.
            Comment a few people skim by: write off the top of head on ipad in the morning

            Playing and reviewing games doesn’t count as research. Maybe Jim should do an article about the difference between reviewing and playing games for years and then taking a crack at designing it. For example as a reviewer, he would probably scream at himself to include building interiors, while as the designer he is seeing the concessions he has to make due to budget and the time/tech it would take to implement.

            This series of points overhead seem to grab random gripes with random games that a player would had and condense them up as a few points. Sure games are going to end up with little reality breaking things from time to time, sometimes corners must be cut, sometimes the actual affect on the game experience vs cost to develop won’t make any sense at all. They just smell of, sure they can do all that stuff if they have unlimited time and money, but they don’t, so there will always be tiny little things missing off the top.

    • John Walker says:

      There’s no reason why it should be applied to the player. No other rules are shared between enemies and players, really.

      • DrGonzo says:

        It often does affect the player, like Max Payne for example, and it’s great when it does.

      • aleander says:

        Reason 1: enabling scenes like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psnQnYtXFyo

      • Wulfram says:

        More rules should be shared by player and enemy. Though maybe that’s a genre thing.

        Though I don’t think enemies getting weaker is very good gameplay anyway. Seems like it’s asking for an anticlimax. And odds are the guy with 5% health should be dead 5 times over, so realism is irrelevant.

      • Berzee says:

        The reasons you gave for it applying to NPCs are equally applicable to PCs, but of course it needn’t if it would make the game worse. (It’s something of a toss-up whether player-wounds make a given game more interesting or just more annoying, but on the whole I’m in favor of them).

      • Reapy says:

        Sports games do this to some extent. In fight night games both boxers are worn down as they are beaten by one another and punch speed and defense drain down as the rounds tick by. In this context it works pretty well.

        For an RPG though I see this as being really difficult to balance and honestly would be frustrating as a player. It is already difficult enough to tweak content to be fun at a good clip while players are leveling up several characters of varying abilities.

        Imagine trying to make fun gameplay where every fight characters get shittier over time. The game would probably be about front loading damage and maiming enemies so they can’t do anything. Actually that is/was the strategy for the Bannerlord saga f2play thing, you would just maim units and leave them half dead and ineffective. I don’t know that it was a well liked mechanic.

        I can see crippling effects on enemies in action games. Take RE4 for example where you could shoot bad guys in the legs and make them fall over, or shoot weapons out of their hands. I think dead space had something similar where you could slowly dismember bosses. Actually it has been this way since the end of time with say side scrolling shooters where you blow off pieces of the boss as the fight progresses.

        Eh anyway I don’t think it is a thing that should be in every game. It would have to be tailored appropriately to the experience. I kinda get what you are after, but I think that is an aspect of real life that should remain there.

        • Veracity says:

          You mean since the beginning of time, probably. 1987 or so. But while pick-apart bosses remain common in scrolling shooters, the more usual approach in games that use them has long been that they get more dangerous as you do it, not weaker. So you squeeze more points out by blowing all the bits off, but if you’re just trying to get them dead you’re better off avoiding the sub-targets. I can’t think of much recentish where it’s a sensible survival tactic. Maybe Satazius, but that’s an eighties throwback.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Health/HP is a strange system to begin with. It’s a hangover from pen&paper RPGs and only really works when it’s abstracted from the actual action that’s taking place since it doesn’t relate at all to physical injuries. But it’s hard to replace when your game mechanics are based on numbers that keep going up as characters get more powerful.

      • Niko says:

        But every game mechanics is based on numbers, and HP is the easiest to implement.

      • Milky1985 says:

        I always think of HP in RPG and some other games as a kind of ability to avoid mortal damage, while your fully rested you can easily dodge the damage but as you fight you get tired, you get a few grazes that impact your dodging, in the end you get nakkered and succumb to the next attack that fly’s your way. Unless someone casts a cure which at least heals up some of your wounds and refreshes you.

        If you think about it that way it kind of makes sense, as you get stronger you get better at avoiding the big hits, evasion and blocking are separate because they are outright stopping the grazing attack or near misses.

        Its entirely possible that I have been over-thinking this however.

    • Moni says:

      I was thinking the other day about what a game would be like if the player character grew weaker as the game progressed. Something along the lines of John McClane in Die Hard, where he gets cut and shot up as the film progresses and by the end he’s dragging himself around leaving a trail of blood.

      Maybe it could be tied to some kind of hardcore mode, where you get one life, the more hits you take, the more difficult the game would be by the end.

    • Zunt says:

      Deus Ex did this. Who can forget gliding around with your head at the enemies’ groin level because you had had your legs shot off. I think it also worsened your aim if your arm got damaged.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yep. Fallout’s crippled limbs, too. (Somewhat in the Oblivion-with-guns Fallouts, too, but they go easier on you.)

    • phelix says:

      STALKER did this to an extent, with swaying aim and reduced movement speed at lower health levels.

    • IonTichy says:

      wasn’t this kinda the case in dead space?

      where the monsters can loose their limbs one by one rendering them more and more useless at attacking?

  13. distantlurker says:

    You can put MORE than just a carton of milk in a fridge?! Even if you’re a guy?!!! O.O

    *runs off!*

    Guys! GUYS! You’ll never guess what I just found out!

    • particlese says:

      I have two cartons of milk in my fridge.

    • Prime says:

      There’s no room for milk in my fridge what with all the beer and dead girlfriend in there already.

    • Dozer says:

      I have no cartons of milk in my fridge. Its sole purpose is to hold up a diagram showing my housemates where I’ve hidden the clean tea-towels now.

  14. wiper says:

    DON’T put important guidance in loading screens, and nowhere else, not caring for owners of SSDs who never get more than a half-second of said guidance before being thrust into the game.

    • mondomau says:

      Or spoilers or references to items / places / people you haven’t encountered yet. Particularly if you randomise the screens with no reference to the player’s current progress.

      Skyrim’s item / npc view is an exception to this rule though, since it doesn’t give any accompanying information and sometimes a glimpse of something unknown is kind of cool.

      • GameCat says:

        You’re wrong.
        Dark Souls did the one hell good job with showing random items descriptions in loading screens.

        • mondomau says:

          I suspect you only skim read my post.

          “Skyrim’s item / npc view is an exception to this rule though”

          An exception, not the exception.

          I haven’t actually played Dark Souls properly yet, otherwise I am sure I would have included it and spared myself your sneering wrath. What a shame.

        • dE says:

          Well are you sure you are right, as you go and claim wrong? The item descriptions in Dark Souls did contain occasional spoilers, when it showed items with clear pointers towards who they belonged to or where they were dropped. For example long before I had ever set foot into the corresponding dungeon, I knew where I’d find a lantern because the game spoiled it for me. Similarly when I found a still sane NPC but the loading screen had given away that he’d gone hollow at some point.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Oh, God, this. I have a regular hard drive, but it still happens, and it’s always tremendously irritating. I can’t decide if it’s worse when it’s interesting lore or stuff that actually affects gameplay.

      …Mmm, I suppose the second one is worse for more players, since only lorehounds like me care about where an axe came from or whatever. So that one is worse from a utilitarian standpoint. But both are garbage. And there are so many loading screens in games like Skyrim that they can’t implement the “Press Space to enter game” thing that I’d prefer.

      I despise Ubisoft’s approach to usability features in general, but I actually quite like the in-game manuals they do. Because they’re easily accessible at any time, and very thorough.

      Shame they apparently have a company-wide policy of screaming at the player, in addition to ridiculously long and unskippable tutorials. The opening of Assassin’s Creed III is still one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had as a gamer. I imagine it works a bit better if you’re not skipping through the bizarrely good cutscenes to get to the part where it becomes a game instead of a movie with occasional moments of following a man to a place or sitting in the slowest horse-drawn carriage ever and telling other people to do cool assassin moves. Ugh.

    • cdx00 says:

      Very much this

  15. Ross Angus says:

    DO use a kitten to judge all games. Video, or it didn’t happen.

    • Lambchops says:

      DON’T accept offers of saucers of milk, balls of wool or pouches of [brand redacted] cat food. We don’t want the feline equivalent of Doritos-gate on our paws!

  16. Spakkenkhrist says:

    There’s no toilets in Skyrim, does a Jarl shit in the woods? Yes apparently.

  17. DrScuttles says:

    Yes, bathrooms are finally taking their place as a fundamental part of our virtual experiences, but I still think there’s a long way to go. Had I any expectation that the new Thief would be any good or a game I want to play, I’d demand to see some absolutely horrifying privies in it. Actually, just more privies in general in games.
    People often do their very best thinking on the toilet. It’s time developers acknowledged this fact of life and set a few more cutscenes in the bathroom. Main character in an FPS needs to poo. Goes and sits down, begins their business and suddenly realises that s/he was dead all along. The shit gets real, so to speak.

    • Grygus says:

      Perhaps the loo could serve as a save point, or a med station. Hearing in Ventrilo, “guys hold on, I have to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW,” and knowing that they meant in-game, would entertain me at least four times.

      • strangeloup says:

        Weirdly, I know of two games in which the khazi serves as a save point: Dead Rising and No More Heroes.

        So now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

        • Grygus says:

          Plus I learned “khazi.” Pretty much done processing information today; think I’ll have some popcorn. Thanks!

          • DrScuttles says:

            That’ll teach the doubters who look at me funny on the street and claim that contrary to my wild claims, toilets aren’t educational!

  18. bstard says:

    Do make your game bout sexy zombie’ettes who work at the local German officers WW2 shooting hall. With proper multiplayer. And Sybil.. dont mention the console!

  19. AngusPrune says:

    Can I add “DO have a master volume slider”

    You know what? Mostly you’ve already got the audio balance in your games right. If you were constantly getting it wrong, I’d wonder what the hell you were doing.

    Usually if I’m in the audio settings menu, it’s because your whole game is too loud and I want to turn it down. Don’t make me move 4 different sliders to achieve that.

    • Grygus says:

      Yeah! I like mute buttons, too. Not sure that’s important enough for a DO, though.

      • tormos says:

        you could just use the mixer on your speaker controller thing to mute the game and nothing else

  20. kregg says:

    Some of us like the Soldier of Fortune style dismemberment. Can’t comment on #2′s style of dismemberment, but SoF1′s dismemberment was OTT and hilarious.

    AND THEY STILL WOULD SHOOT YOU! Just when you thought you sorted the enemy out.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It was, and Soldier of Fortune 2 was even more OTT and hilarious, I played that game a lot as a teen, did me no harm. But then my favourite hobby is now dismembering prostitutes.

      • kregg says:

        I blame the LEGO franchise. With all the LEGO dismemberment you can do and all.

        Ban that sick filth.

    • John Walker says:

      SOF2 was where it really crossed a line. The entire games industry took a massive step back from the gross line after that one.

      • Prime says:

        Really? Interesting. Ever since then I’ve been hoping someone would continue the experiment. The veracity of the experience, however crudely rendered, was quite satisfying and worked well in context. Limbs DO get removed when bullets hit them with enough force. Being able to remove a leg or an arm from your foes made sound tactical sense. Follow that up with a pistol shot to the face – boom! Job done. And no more than our very own SAS do in operations around the world.

        A Doom 4 with a Hell theme and fun-with-blood-and-limbs would be tremendous.

        • belgand says:

          Well, Dead Space did sort-of try to go with that. Except now they’re alien monsters so apparently it’s more acceptable. But not so much that we won’t run ads about how your mother would disapprove.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Yeah I’m more offended by gaming’s “Get shot twice and run behind cover!” or “Get shot and a little red dot shows up where you were hit.”
        Murdering with guns is gruesome, and props to developers who make their games gruesome if they are going to be realistic looking 3D games.
        Unfortunately SoF2 had none of the dismemberment in multiplayer :(

        • belgand says:

          Handled well this feels like there could be a definite place for it in something like Spec Ops: The Line where they actually want to make you more aware of what the impact of your actions are.

          Or, y’know, any other game as well because games aren’t reality and if we want to play a game that’s all about dismembering people there’s absolutely no problem with that.

      • kregg says:

        It turns out being the best in ultra-violent and in ultra-realism isn’t all that fun, as Rockstar found out when they made Manhunt 2.

        I just hope game devs push the boundaries of violence without making it tasteless. The new Shadow Warrior looks like the right blend of insane violence but done in a Kill Bill OTT way.

  21. DrGonzo says:

    I mostly agree with these lists, but the one about music is pretty horrible sounding to me. I wish games didn’t allow you to switch off music at all, it would be like turning off a soundtrack in a film. Then listening to your own music over the top is even worse! Although I’m thinking of a story based game when I say this, obviously a strategy game, or multiplayer game should allow this.

    It reminds me of my dad switching off the music in every first person shooter he plays, which ruins many of the best parts of them.

    • Jonfon says:

      God I’d love to have separate volume control for film & TV music (and another for explosions & other FX). Nothing worse than straining to hear dialog and get getting deafened by a sudden bombastic, OTT blast of drama-music.

      The BBC is especially bad for this but most movies do it too.

    • particlese says:

      It is mighty hard to resist setting options to the worst settings possible, isn’t it? More seriously, if it’s your dad doing that to the games you also play, you could set your options the way you like them and then set the config file to read-only. That would have the added bonus of confusing your dad and possibly even you if you later decide to change an option!

      I haven’t encountered a game where I dislike the music (with a few single-song exceptions, probably), but I think the option should exist and behave reasonably. I’m guessing cutscenes violate your choice when they’re part of a pre-rendered scene and the dev is lazy or needlessly worried about audio synchronization issues.

    • dE says:

      It’s often quite amazing and a bit puzzling to see just how much dialogue and details get blasted away by overbearing sounds and music. It’s a fun experiment, activate Subtitles, even if you don’t need them, and be amazed how much you miss by not having those sliders to adjust it to your ears.
      Each ear is different, some deal better with lower frequences, some deal better with higher frequencies, some can’t deal with middle tones very well. The reason it works so well in movies is because they’ve got a static soundscape to adjust to. They can place things at just the right spot, for example let them talk when there’s a moment of silence and you can fade out the music for a bit. Games however have to deal with dynamic soundscapes that changes constantly and without warning.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      This sounds hellish. Usually I turn off music in games. This is based on what I hear as I start the game and start configuring graphics and controls, and also on how many times I have to hear it. If your music is shit straight off the bat (which includes if it’s trying to sound like a bombastic cookie-cutter Hollywood orchestral score) then sorry, but it’s going off. Usually, even if it’s not, it will survive long enough for me to hear each piece of music about three times and then I turn it off, because good or not, I’m now sick of hearing it. Game music has to be truly exceptional to stand up to multiple serial repetitions. I don’t get how anyone can stand game music being permanently on.

      How I wish I could do the same to films. For every film that uses music well, there’s at least five whose music has no subtlety, originality or taste whatsoever. I once watched a pirate copy of The Fast And The Furious that was identical to the genuine release except that it had no music at all (presumably stolen from a preliminary cut or something), and it was a much better film than the retail version.

    • Tei says:

      No!. No artist can control how his creation can be experienced, and is none of his business.

      Imagine Mark Twain tryiing to stop people from reading his novels in smarphones (he can, he is dead), or Van Goth tryiing to stop colour blind from looking at his paintings (he is dead, too). Tolkien can get to ban people that read slowly from reading The Hobbit.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Ah, yes, the “way it was meant to be seen/sacred purity of the artist’s vision” argument. As someone who used to believe in it, I feel comfortable saying it’s rubbish.

      Do you also hate mashups, remixes, references to other works within a given work, pop culture references, epigraphs, allusions to mythology and/or classical literature, direct quotes from mythology and/or classical literature, soundbites, clips, supercuts, memes that involve licensed content, remakes (which are usually pretty easy to hate, admittedly), VHS, dubbing, transliteration, tape loops, DJs, hip-hop, performances of Shakespeare’s plays set in other times and places than those intended by the author, Shakespeare’s plays, Homer, Virgil, Dante, John Milton, etc.?

  22. Bishop149 says:

    Related to the last point;

    DO have an option for subtitles, for the occasions when I’m not playing attention properly or the wife makes asks me to play with the sound off.

    • dE says:

      I think for the most part, they’re doing pretty well on this part already. Although I wouldn’t mind full caption subtitles as an option, like in Valves games.

  23. WoundedBum says:

    I want to know where Sir, You are Being Hunted stores it’s savegames. That’s the biggest thing for do’s and don’ts!

    • John Walker says:

      Man! That was in DoDon’t 2! I’m going to kick Jim right in the back of his knee.

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/07/09/rules-for-games-do-dont-2/

      • FunnyB says:

        “I used to be a videogame developer like you, then someone kicked me in the back of the knee…..”

    • DrScuttles says:

      SirYouAreBeingHunted\sir_alp\SaveGames for the Steam version. The DRM free version has slightly different folder names depending where you installed it, but they’re very similar. Shouldn’t be too hard to find; I was able to copy my save from one version to the other with no problem.

      • The Random One says:

        Ugh, why not just [wherever you installed]/Saves/SavedGames?

        • Shadowcat says:

          Probably so that you can mount “files which are going to be changed or added to on a regular basis” on a different partition to “files which are going to be installed once and rarely ever changed”.

  24. particlese says:

    I’m not sure whether the sarcasm lies in the “DO” (probably) or the “daft” of your final point, although I may be missing some subtlety. Possibly one involving Daffy Duck.

    I would prefer the option of toggling object highlights, personally. I felt they made sense in Deus Ex 3, but I would have been horrified if Skyrim had them. (Oh, wait, it did have those horrid quest markers, but I modded them out as soon as I could and almost forgot!) I haven’t yet decided whether I approve of them in Binfinite. I turned them off for my first play of Mirror’s Edge, which wasn’t a fantastic choice, but it vaguely helped the immersion. Options are always appreciated by the people who use them (unless perhaps you have sarcastic options), and — believe it or not — people who don’t care probably won’t be delving into the options menus as soon as they start the game.

    • Grygus says:

      I agree that options are good, but in order for it to be optional, the feature DOES have to be in the game. He never mentions that it must be mandatory for the player.

  25. Mungrul says:

    Regarding kitchens and toilets, I hold up the game “7 Days to Die” as a bold example of forward thinking.
    In this delightful game, the two things are often one and the same.
    Sit on the shitter whilst frying a fritter!

  26. puppybeard says:

    I really do hate the old death-by-geometry. Or worse, imprisonment-by-geometry.
    I’ve had some miserable ends inside pointy corners in Elder Scrolls games.

    There must be good reason why something like..
    if ( player can’t possibly move ) {
    plop them somewhere they can flipping move
    }
    …isn’t actually an easy thing. I’m curious why.

    • Mungrul says:

      Guild Wars 2 still suffers from players getting ignominiously trapped by bad geometry.
      Happens to me most often when playing as Mesmer, a profession with a few teleportation moves.
      Often you’ll blink from one place to another only to find yourself observing the action and unable to attack because you’re trapped inside a transparent boulder / wall / siege engine / loot chest.

    • Grygus says:

      It’s hard because the parameters that would allow the game to know that the player cannot move and where they should be are pretty much the same ones that the game could use to not allow the player to move there in the first place; by getting stuck, you’ve already defeated the system. Randomly teleporting you out is another solution, but few games are willing to implement that. If the game has some sort of controlled teleport/hearthstone/level reset mechanic, the problem is pretty much sorted from a developer’s point of view, anyway.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Postal 2, of all games, implemented this. Trying to move while wedged would make it actually pop up a “hunh, you seem to be stuck” floating message, then teleport you out (nearest AI path node, perhaps?) with a “there you go”.

      Gamebryo is utterly dreadful for it since it’s really, really prone to thinking you’re still falling while wedged between rocks, therefore won’t let you even try to move or jump at all regardless of if you’d just collide with them.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        That’s probably more to do with Postal 2′s level design being a mess, so they just implemented the “get unstuck” feature instead of fixing the maps.

        • xao says:

          Which is still better than say, GW2 or Borderlands wherein they do neither.

        • Shadowcat says:

          Vietcong had an excellent “disperse” command which you could issue to your AI squad whenever they managed to box you in :)

  27. Ajh says:

    After re-reading over the complete list again, I’d like to add one.

    Don’t make your single player game require me to be always online. Most of the countries you’re selling your game to do not have universal wi-fi, and internet downtime happens everywhere. (I lost connection for almost 2 days once when a truck slammed into the box out on the corner. Really can’t predict that.) We’re going to turn to the single player games at that time anyway, so why not let us play your game? You know very well this “feature” doesn’t actually prevent piracy.

    Don’t make your games require your servers and not give them an offline mode when you decide to shut those servers down. Who’d want to play an old game you ask? Well the success of sites like GoG speak volumes to the amount of people that want to play games that are way older than should be supported by active servers.

    And I agree with Bishop149. Always give me the option for subtitles. My phone likes to ring at the craziest times, and I don’t have to pay attention to my mother while she rambles on, really. Or sometimes I will listen to an audio book during an action game. I still want to know what’s going on. Your voice acting just isn’t compelling enough to tear me from my book.

  28. Ninja Dodo says:

    These are good points. Except possibly for the last one, unless you were being sarcastic. Contrast for visibility is good but I’m not a fan of the weird glowy highlight thing which makes it feel like interactable objects are not part of the environment.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      It depends, though. It’s certainly good in a game like Deus Ex HR where there are items strewn all over the place, but most of them you can’t touch.
      In a game like Elder Scrolls, where you can pick up virtually anything, it would be bad to highlight important items.

    • Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah, in some games it works better than others. Still, as a rule, objects could be marked in more subtle ways.

  29. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    DON’T do auto-saves only, or checkpoint saves only.
    If you must disallow saving when I want, DO (you MUST) include a save-on-exit that deletes when it is loaded.

    (Sir, You Are Starting Over Again Because of Bad Save Policy)

  30. Perjoss says:

    I’ve been gaming for nearly 35 years, but I can count on one hand the games I’ve played that implement this totally logical feature: all cutscenes are skippable, but you either have to hold more than one button down to skip them (to prevent accidental skippage) or you get a small conformation window in the corner of the screen, one of those ‘are you sure?’ type things.

    • Niko says:

      That’s because the games you’ve played in the first 15 or so years in your life didn’t have cutscenes! Seriously though, I too can’t remember a lot of games that do that. Was this feature in Witcher 2?

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah I always feel a special kind of love for devs that implement cut skips with warnings. It’s like, stage 1, they let you skip the cut scene. Stage 2 they realize you might have accidentally tapped a key or something, so warn you, hey, hit this OTHER button to skip. Nothing is worse than completing a story section and thinking you were still playing the game hit a button and skip through your ‘reward cutscene’ to be dumped in some other confusing fight that would have made sense had you watched it.

  31. quietone says:

    Well, sorry, but if there’s a more efficient way of quitting a game other than blowing up the fuse box I would like to hear it!

    Oh, and I want my characters to sneeze. There’s not enough sneezing in games.

  32. Niko says:

    Don’t make tutorials where you have to read stuff and then do it. Let the player learn by playing.
    Also, if your game story is no more complicated than “a good guy in a spaceship flies and kills the enemies who have no outstanding qualities except their sheer numbers”, maybe that game doesn’t need time-consuming briefings and lots of text. R-Type didn’t need that.

  33. SuicideKing says:

    Do you know what NFS Shift does?

    1) Language Select

    2) EA Logo and Shift logo, un-skipable, about 10-15 seconds long, something about “if you want to race go to your nearest track, etc.

    3) Select profile

    4) Loading profile (almost instant…done)

    5) Loading, please wait (after #4? dafuq?)

    6) Now you reach the menu.

    Unless you disable it, there’s also an EA account auto-login.

    If you press back from #3 to go to #1, it shows you #2 AGAIN.

    Also, the game refuses to tell you the equivalent 360 controller buttons for the menus, even though it supports the thing in full.

  34. guygodbois00 says:

    There was an article in the PC Gamer UK, way back, I think Mr Gillen wrote it , “10 commandments” or some such title, where one of the commandments was along the lines of “Thou shalt not tell me that thou are loading”. Ever played a game that did not tell you that, eh? Well, I surely didn’t.

    • qrter says:

      I’m not sure why a game can’t tell me it’s loading. I kind of like it when a game at least tells me it still is doing something, and hasn’t just turned unresponsive.

      • sinister agent says:

        Because it is shouting in your face that you are playing a videogame.

        Indicate it with something thematic, by all means, that’s fine. Like how dead space made menus and health display less obviously like a game.

      • darkChozo says:

        There are ways to do that without having to resort to a loading screen, though. If you’re not doing seamless loading, you can at least mask load times with cutscenes, or mysteriously slow-to-open doors (<3 Metroid Prime), or narration screens or something. Better than a loading bar/spinny thing with a pretty picture, or even worse, a loading bar and a black screen.

        • Panda Powered says:

          One of the guilty pleasures on my old 360 – Onechanbara (a budget crap bikini women zombie hack-em-up-whatever) had pretty bad loading times but it let you fight an endless wave of 2D-zombies with a little kill counter while loading. I wish more games did something like that instead of boring “loading” stills or repeating spoiler tips.

  35. mr.ioes says:

    Do add cheatcodes.

    Please. Your games aren’t bugfree. When we encounter a plotstopper, we’d like to -noclip or reset quest or … Why are cheatcodes so rare these days?

    • Zekiel says:

      Want to know the real reason? It’s because people could cheat and then get achievements unfairly! The horror! Imagine that! Fortunately by not allowing us to cheat they allow us to preserve our precious gamerscorething. Phew.

      • Panda Powered says:

        The real real reason is sadly worse – DLC. There are games with cheat codes still and they simply disables achievements while running mods or a code. Examples: New Vegas and Skyrim disables achievements that session if using the console and Civ5 while running mods.
        Then there are games that instead sell ‘Unlock Everything™’ DLC (Saints Row 3, remember trainers and save-game editors?).

  36. Henke says:

    (with appologies to Paul Rust)

    NEW NO-NO!

    What’s up with all these CRATES in games huh? Why are there CRATES everywhere? There aren’t crates everywhere in real life, are there? How about this, developers: every time from now on that I see a crate in a videogame, I’m taking a crate into my appartment!

    NEW NO-NO: I’m filling up my appartment with CRATES!

    • sinister agent says:

      Seriously. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a wooden crate. Metal, fibreboard, plastic reinforced, sure, but crates? Unless you’re in a dock or certain kinds of warehouse, they’re just not that common. And in places where they are, they’re seldom just scattered in random locations, without pallettes, forklifts, etc.

      • jrodman says:

        Implementation is correct, the flaw is in Real Life. Reassigning bug.

  37. YourMessageHere says:

    On music:

    I’d like to modify this point to include this – if you have a club or bar or whatever in your game where characters are listening to diegetic music and the player can visit it, make the music an environmental sound, NOT something controlled by the game music volume; fade the game music track out when entering the club and just let the environmental audio play. I tend to turn off music in games because of my low tolerance levels for crap, and so when I go to the bar in Mass Effect or Sleeping Dogs or something it’s rather weird to see all these people silently dancing.

  38. Fatrat says:

    I’m not sure if someone mentioned this, but the “informing you that this game autosaves” part is required. I remember some dev saying in an article that they don’t want to bother adding it either, but they’re forced to for some legal reason or something.

    I can’t find the article now though because i have no idea who the dev was. I think it was someone working on a racing game.

  39. Moraven says:

    Always have Mechwarrior for damage affecting systems.

    #1, Now I want to make a Garry’s Mod add-on that simulates cooking in the kitchen and controls much like say Surgeon Simulator.

  40. Totally heterosexual says:

    Thanks god you are not saying that these should apply to ALL games.

    Right?

  41. Vinraith says:

    Traditionally I’ve found these articles kind of frustrating, and often disagreed with a number of points in them. This one, though, I can only whole-heartedly support.

  42. Gypsy23 says:

    DO allow rebinding of the keys. WASD is impossible for left-handed people to play. Some of the biggest games are guilty of this, Dead Space 1, and Skyrim, for example. And even though Skyrim lets you rebind the keys it reserved the numeric keypad for it’s own purposes. I’ve developed over the years a keyboard layout I know by heart and for me to not have it is, well frustrating, and I usually don’t play those games that do this for very long..

    DON’T have more cut scenes than game play. I didn’t plan on watching a game. Neither did I
    expect to enter a room, shoot a couple of monsters, then watch another ten minute cut scene, until I repeat the same event in the next room.

    On the same note:

    DON’T keep yanking me out of the game by have cutscenes so often. All that does is remind me the game is in control and I DON’T really have the freedom to play the way I want.

  43. Somerled says:

    I’m sure we’ve covered unskippable startup logos before. Although developers are generally getting better at letting you skip them (sometimes all at once, sometimes piecemeal like I just want to get to my favorite logo), they often will still force you to wait through the copyright and trademark screen.

    What fucking purpose could this serve to anyone on a startup screen? Yes, Havok, Marvel, EA, Coca Cola, Nintendo, Bink, Lucasfilm, and Speedtree have provided licenses for some game assets or technology. Great? I was wondering if you are allowed to use Burger King logos; turns out you are. My mind is at ease.

    Look, fools. Put that kind of info in your next publisher pitch or on your CVs. Add it to your credit roll (as if you don’t already) for the curious types. If you still can’t help putting it up front, let us skip it! We do not need to see this information.

    • Panda Powered says:

      Copyright lawyers like to think everyone else in the world is either a copyright thief or a lawyer. Also games with the same EULA popping up every time the game is started is read by everyone every time. The best ones are those that require you to scroll to the bottom before you can even click ‘Agree’…

      • Somerled says:

        Zwoooop, click!

        Oh, now I’m a sworn henchman of the League of Evil. Ooh, free balaclava if I agree to this disclaimer.

        Zwoooop, click!

  44. aircool says:

    Boss Fights. They’re shit. I hate them. I’d rather plough through an extended battle of normal minions than a boss fight anyday.

    Boss Fights. They’re shit!

  45. Don Reba says:

    I’ve been doing some experiments on humans I don’t like, and it turns out if you reduce them down to three percent of their total health, they can barely even pick up a gun, let alone successfully aim it. It’s as much as they can do to gurgle pathetic pleas for me to remove the final scraps of life.

    — Any last words, you pathetic commenter?
    — You stab like a woman.
    === KO ===

  46. ffordesoon says:

    I’m glad most developers now have the good sense to make cutscenes skippable, but for God’s sake, why are they not also now pausable?

    I happen to quite enjoy cutscenes (well, good cutscenes), but sometimes I need to do something else urgently during a cutscene At that point, I often have to choose between doing the thing and watching the cutscene. If I don’t see the cutscene right then, nine times out of ten, I have to watch it on YouTube or reload an old save to see it. Why? I’m no programmer, but surely it is a relatively simple feat of coding to let me pause a cutscene before I skip it, or at the very least store it in a menu so I can watch it later? Or both? Naughty Dog does both in their games, and the courtesy is always appreciated.

    Also, games that do let me pause cutscenes inevitably fail to make a note of this anywhere in their paper or on-screen documentation, leaving me unsure of whether or not to press pause in the first place.

  47. cdx00 says:

    My biggest gripe these days is that too many developers are name-dropping other games in order to sell their own product. If you go to the AppStore on your (or a pal’s) iPhone, you’ll see that ALL of the top games are blatant voxel-based Minecraft ripoffs — and they all basically state this in their description. I would say DON’T do this, but it’s profitable I suppose.

    Also, DON’T create an open-world game if the game itself and its lore has no use for it. DON’T throw around the word ‘sandbox’ if you’re going to restrict the player economy.

    Man, I really enjoy this series.

  48. Shadowcat says:

    I completely agreed with “DO feel free to include a kitten in your game”, and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the discussion immediately diverted to bathrooms.