Rules For Games: Do & Don’t #8

By John Walker on August 18th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

The latest collection of court-mandated rules for games and games developers have been issued from the Authority. Who is me. And if you want things to go smoothly, you’ll follow my instructions. Call the police, and I start killing hostages. So nice and slowly, put down your weapons and obey me. And obey the first fifty rules too.

DO let me skip your game’s tutorial. Even if you’ve, because you’re THE WORST PERSON ON EARTH, made your tutorial levels part of the overall game. Every time I read a book, I’m not required to learn the alphabet again from scratch. Every time I ride a bike, I don’t have to go through the stabilisers phase again. Playing your game should not require me to “learn” it from the start each time, unless I express a desire to do so. Which in turn means, stop making your tutorial a part of the main game, or I’m going to drop heavy things on your head until you have to learn the alphabet all over again.

DON’T call your game an “adventure” unless it’s, well, an adventure. This is a disease that has existed for many years, but the blight is spreading, as everything from platform games to brawlers are being described by developers and publishers as “adventures”. You may have what they think is an adventurous time in the game, but it’s like describing your visual novel as an FPS. Adventure games are a genre that go back to the very birth of gaming, identified by their being narrative focused tales of verbiage rather than reflexes. From the original text adventures, through their evolving path of text parsing and eventually pointing and clicking, thems adventure games. Every time you label your resource-management tractor sim an “adventure”, you make people hate you. You don’t want people to hate you.

DO write maybe five more barks for your NPCs. When non-player characters shout the same three lines over and over and over and over and over and over and over in your game, the only impression I can get is that you never played it before release. It seems improbable that you’d not have played your own game, but then at the same time you don’t have screwdrivers sticking out of your gored, bleeding ears, so what am I supposed to conclude? You went to the effort to write their three lines, and then you went to the effort to get a passer-by into the recording studio to grunt them out loud, so why not just make it eight, ten, twenty different lines? If it’s because you hate humanity so very, very much, may I gently suggest therapy?

DON’T make a platform game where the gimmick is you can shift between two overlapping worlds. If you think you’ve had an idea, and that idea is that in your platform game you can shift between two overlapping worlds, then you haven’t had an idea at all. This is a bit like waking up one day and declaring that you’ve had the idea to put foodstuffs between two slices of bread. That’s someone else’s idea. That’s the 4th Earl Of Sandwich’s idea, and he’s going to beat you up. Coincidentally, he was also the first person to think of a platform game where you shift between two overlapping worlds, and he died in 1771.

DO consider the possibility of happy things. It’s an odd realisation, that gaming so obsessively focuses either on attempting to recover from negativity or ambivalence. Someone’s kidnapped, needs to be avenged, trapped, pursued, dying… How about a game about someone whose day is going really well, and is about to get a whole lot better? Does no one have a positive tale to tell, an optimistic adventure to share? Where’s my game about everything going really flipping well?

DON’T release your game on Early Access because you haven’t finished having ideas for it yet. Early Access is for games you haven’t finished making yet. You need to have had the ideas first. Releasing the framework of a game, and then “listening to customer feedback”, is a cynical, artless act, and I will put fish behind all your radiators if you do it. Come up with your bloody brilliant idea first. If you expect me to do it for you, I also expect a salary and a profit share from the game’s success.

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172 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    The irony is they probably get their voice actors to record that same set of three barks in 50 different ways, before picking the winning 3.

    If only generic NPCs didn’t all have the same lines either, hearing the same three barks in 5 different voices does not make it more interesting.

    • Terragot says:

      Hey, ‘writing the NPC barks’ is my job in games! Here I’ll try explain the reasoning for the repetitive ‘three bark syndrome’.

      So there’s really only a modicum of reasons why NPCs are so repetitive in games. They boil down to budgeting, hardware limitations and politics.

      So budgeting. Yes, things cost money, I want to be paid to write the lines, and I’ll happily write the NPC lines for the rest of forever, but Mr Buckets-o-Cash games company-man doesn’t want to pay me an indefinite amount of wonga for making an NPC dog bark all day, so I’m given a strict timeline to write the dog barks, and then a line budget to get recorded. Then there’s the cost of localizing the lines into EFIGS (Brazilian Portuguese and Polish and Russian too). Then there’s the cost of recording in all these languages. Then there’s loads and loads of other costs to take into account like studio rentals, audio processing, pick-up sessions for when the creative director decides the dog’s profile has changed from German Shepherd into a Shih-Poo. Games are expensive.

      Then, there’s disc space. I’m well aware I’ll get pelted for this but the PC games I’ve written dog barks for also tend to be bound by the constraints of children’s console play things. This means there’s a limit to the barks I can write so that the barking dog in question can make it onto the disc.

      But the worst reasoning of all is the politics in game development. Let’s say by some miracle I’ve managed to get 7 barks into the game. But all of a sudden the creative director says one of the barks doesn’t sound accessible enough. A Senior producer then puts in a complaint to get another bark removed because it sounds like it could effect the ESRB rating. Then the lead audio engineer chimes in to say he doesn’t understand the deeper reasoning for the existence of another bark, and who bloody well wrote the damn thing anyway? One of the studio heads then says his daughter’s dog died last week, and another bark sample sounds a little too similar to the late pooch, so can we get the blasted thing removed or there will be trouble. At the end of this demoralizing process we’re left with, well, three barks.

      The trick then is for someone like me to add a load of repetition thresholds and prerequisites for when and how often this dog barks.

      I hope this helps, though it was probably more therapeutic for me than anything.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Thank you for this entertaining canid-expressed insight.

        (But I’m still going to make mudcrab jokes.)

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        But what about situations like the infamous “arrow to the knee” one where the studio has clearly paid several different people to come in and record the exact same line.

        Surely, if you’re going to the bother of hiring different people, you could get them to say slightly differnt things:
        Actor1 : “blah blah blah I took an arrow to the knee”
        Actor2 : “blah blah blah I fell of a hose and broke my leg”
        Actor3 : “blah blah blah I unscrewed by belly-button and my bum fell off”
        etc.

        • Terragot says:

          I think this is a problem with the scale of games such as Skyrim where, unlike me spending the majority of my time working on VO, the designers have to take on a bit more, and as a consequence the variety in the writing takes a hit.

          I’m sure it’ll be no surprise for you to hear that, generally, writing in games is considered low priority.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            That sound you hear is the sound of a thousand jaws not hitting the floor.

          • SuicideKing says:

            That sound you hear is also of a thousand collective sighs wishing things were different.

          • apa says:

            That sound you hear is a thousand arrows in the knee

        • Pan Vidla says:

          Interestingly, to “take an arrow to the knee” doesn’t mean to actually take an arrow in the knee, but to get married. It’s an expression coming from somewhere in Scandinavia. Supposedly.

          • Frank says:

            Oh? I’m amazed I haven’t seen that brought up before.

          • Nevard says:

            I’ve heard that claimed but just as often been informed that it is a myth.

          • Blackcompany says:

            Dont know about that. After 7 or 8 books from Cornwell about Danes and Vikings, with lots of marriages, the phrase was never used. So…doubtful.

          • Fanbuoy says:

            As a resident Scandinavian, I know the answer to that, but we’re not allowed to discuss such matters with outsiders. I tried to talk about it once, but I ended up doing jumping jacks in the rain.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Is “doing jumping jacks in the rain” also a euphamism for marriage?

          • Jhoosier says:

            I think it’s a euphemism for being shot with a projectile.

          • darktatka says:

            With a fletched one, into an lower extremity joint. Full circle.

          • ArcaneSaint says:

            Wasn’t the “Arrow to the Knee” joke a reference to the fact that the common heavy armors in Skyrim do not cover the knees?

          • Syra says:

            The arrow to the knee is a reference to the book “The Name of the Wind”.

        • onodera says:

          If I remember correctly, this is because lip sync animation is either expensive or takes up too much memory. So it makes sense to record the same bark with multiple voices, even if it almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter.

      • Frank says:

        Thanks! That was very interesting.

        I saw this essay the other day suggesting that language audio packs should be sold separately, allowing appropriate money to be put into the endeavor; space to be saved on console disks; and folks to both (i) enjoy games with their native audio or (ii) passively learn another language (neither of which are possible when everything is dubbed). What do you (or any others here) think? Is it not viable because people hate paid DLC or love dubbing?
        https://medium.com/@adricv/lost-in-translation-340701247100

        • Terragot says:

          I personally need more time to think on this one, but it’s definitely a fascinating proposal. If indeed language packs were sold as incentives to teach you another language, it would have to be treated like a fully fledged feature of the game. I think the biggest boon would be convincing production there’s a market for it.

          I’m not sure if Microsoft or Sony would allow it, as you have to ensure support for EFIGS (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish) at some level. And I’d be hard picked to see much of a market for it myself. I think the biggest benefit would be that it saves you disk space, although as more and more games are showing with the rise of digital, they don’t actually seem to care about disk space (god damn you Titanfall).

          I’ll admit I don’t have time to apply myself more to the article other than skimming it, but thanks for the link – I will give it a good once through tomorrow and may pop back here.

          • Frank says:

            Oh, I forgot one other benefit from the article — if hard copies are sold, fewer different versions need to be made (like one per region), which would simplify inventory management.

            Of course, I don’t know anything about it as a business proposal beyond what’s in the article. I liked STALKER better for it’s Russian; I could imagine a world in which elitist gamers (like most filmgoers) preferred to play games in their original languages.

        • DrMcCoy says:

          And then we’ll get situation where I get German with the game and will have to pay extra for English, instead of being allowed to choose a language.

          • Frank says:

            Yeah, which would be kind of cool, defaulting you to subtitles. I think most of us are sufficiently tolerant of DLC to not make a fuss if preferring our native tongue, and the others might be won over by the benefits of such an approach.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            Right now, on several Xbox games, I’m forced into Brazilian Portuguese. A paid choice would be a step up for me.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Problem is, that say I’m Spanish, now I have to buy an additional language pack just so I can play the game in my mother tongue…which will make me hate the devs.

          However, this could work better for digital distribution, as you could pick the primary language…but then that doesn’t help with the disk space issue anyway.

          • Frank says:

            I think the idea is that there would be Spanish subtitles unless you bought the Spanish dub pack (which might turn out to be inferior anyways, as all movie dubs are).

          • gwathdring says:

            Sometimes the dub is as good or better! Evey now and then it happens with Anime, too. :)

          • Phasma Felis says:

            Name one.

            Seriously, please do. I’d like to watch it.

          • Pan Vidla says:

            Actually, that’s true. I can’t prove it with an example in English, but in my country, the Czech Republic, they used to dub movies with Louis De Funes so well, that even the actor himself said it’s better than the original. In fact, I think that goes for a lot of older dubbing work in my country, like The Simpsons or Friends.

          • gwathdring says:

            I don’t watch as much foreign language stuff as I used to.

            Studio Ghibli’s dubs as usually fantastic–partially because Disney brings them the cash to hire great actors.

            Ghost Stories is great for a different reason. The dub actors were basically given free reign to goof off. It’s amazing. There’s this one whiny little kid character who’s lines are occasionally reduced to incomprehensible, whimpering gibberish which the rest of the cast responds to Han-Chewbacca style. The main character who’s supposed to be some kind of psychic who stumbles across a new role in banishing demon type things is instead a caricature of an evangelical Christian who likewise stumbled. This is an official product that went on sale. The original audio is included, too … but it’s a bit crap, so there’s really no other reason to watch it other than the dub.

            Back to more conventionally good dubbing, Cowboy Beebop is pretty widely appreciated as is Samurai Champloo. My friend who’s really into anime likes The Durarara (no idea how it’s spelled) and Baccano dubs immensely. My girlfriend says the Gurren Lagaan dub is fine.

            For one’s I have seen, I think the dubs in Oran High School Host Club aren’t bad–though I like the Japanese cast better. Some people say Code Geas, but I don’t know how anyone could replace the original Lelouch and I had a LOT of issues with that show so I’m not going to watch it again just to see if anyone can outdo his performance.

            A few issues worth noting. The first version you see is usually going to feel more authentic than it would if it were the second version you see. The original is going to feel more authentic if you *know* it’s the original. The original will always match the onscreen body-language better in a live-action film. You cannot do as good a job judging acting quality in a language you do not understand so–original or not–audio in a language you do not speak escapes some of the criticism it might deserve from a native speaker. Dubs and subtitles alike both typically require re-writing of the content; it’s not “mere” translation (a complicated enough task on it;s own) but rather a yet-more lossy conversion process to borrow the language of digital AV–the quality of that rewriting process has an immense effect on the ability of the involved actors to deliver good content.

          • KenTWOu says:

            @Pan Vidla
            They said Louis De Funes said exactly the same thing about Russian dubbing.

          • Lord Byte says:

            Berserk comes to mind, the actors did a really good job bringing the characters to life and most end up sounding more fitting than the Japanese original (I’m talking about the original release not the OVAs, only seen those in Japanese).

        • RogerMellie says:

          This is already a thing in Japan on a small scale. I can buy English versions of games like Tomb Raider & Thief, and if I want the Japanese language pack, I can part with an extra $10 or $20.

      • Arglebargle says:

        This is going into my ‘Why you shouldn’t fully voice games’ file. Voicing adds a ton of issues, expenses, and problems. And text is a lot easier and quicker to modify, if you need to. My preference would be to have characters voiced in intro/meeting/cutscene, to set their character, but go to text elsewhere. The people who don’t like text are going to ignore the voice work as well.

        It is disheartening (but not surprising) to hear that the voice production suffers from the same sorta stoopidity that assumes anyone can write well enough for game dialogue and story.

        • gwathdring says:

          I guess we should go back to title cards in films too?

          I understand the difference in scale. But to suggest that we should just give up despite many games using voicing quite successfully, is ridiculous.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            A movie will not have to skip scenes because the viewers might not end up watching them. Here is a good case against voices (if rather simplified): http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/experienced-points/7588-Voice-vs-Choice

          • gwathdring says:

            The point of the outurst was not to suggest the two situations are comparable, but to express the extent of my feelings on the matter. To me, despite being fully cognizant of the many, many differences, the same response applies.

            One of the troubles here is that … I *like* having voiced content. A lot of gamers do. Some of those same gamers might skip through *some* of the dialog *some* of the time. But they might be even more bored and disinterested if it wasn’t there. Besides, it’s misleading to see them skip through it and assume they’re not interested; what frequently happens is you read faster than the voice does, and sometimes with both the voice and the text on the screen … that means you want to keep going to the next part. But what often also happens, it you’re understanding the character through the voice. You’re hearing the voice as you read, you’re internalizing and gaining value from the voice … just at a faster pace than the actor can finish the lines.

            And that’s ok. It’s sort of like how I might know exactly where my friend is going with this thought, finish his sentence for him and respond rather than let him finish. It’s not that I don’t respect him enough to listen; it’s not that I’d rather he texted me or not discuss the matter at all. It’s that I’m engaged but ready to move on and we have a rapport that allows me to do that.

            Not everyone does these things for these reasons in these ways, but not everyone skips the lines in the first place either. It’s important that we understand what we’re dealing with before we say something as widespread as voiced dialog should or shouldn’t happen categorically. Further, you can make the same exact arguments with written dialog. It’s a smaller scale, but it’s the same issue and every bit counts when you’re making something as expensive as a video game. It’s not an irrelevantly small scale, so we have to do the same sort of general metric.

            So with special effects in movies, with silent vs. voiced films, black and white vs. color. 4k vs 2k. And on and on and on. Does any of it matter? It’s not like some people weren’t happy before. But it’s not like some people aren’t happy with their games and movies now, either.

            What about games like Divinity Original Sin with partial voicing? This isn’t an either/or sort of thing. What about games like Mass Effect where the recorded dialog essentially makes up a very complicate choose-your-own-adventure film and as such is more flexible with respect to game-play design changes than the example in your article?

            Too, perhaps there’s something wrong with the way these sorts of things are being done! Maybe they don’t need to be so expensive; maybe the infrastructure needs to change. There are far too many variables for me to give up on voiced dialog just because it’s not cost-effective in some very specific game types.

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        Martel says:

        Thanks for the insight, there’s very interesting. And it was therapeutic for me as well even though I’m not in the gaming industry…..and only because it sounds like how projects work at my company :)

      • Furiant says:

        The issue for me isn’t so much not having a large set of barks, but the compulsion to replay them at such high rates. It seems like the devs are worried that I might miss the bark so they take the ham fisted approach of barking every single time I walk by, or initiate dialogue, or on a timer. Trust me: your game’s ambience suffers more from the repetition than it would from missing the bark altogether.

        • gwathdring says:

          Yeah, it should be pretty easy to reduce the repetition and/or check for whether or not the player was in range of the bark and then limit repetition too.

          Maybe it’s not easy … but I really don’t understand how “If the bark has played more than 5 times, wait X minutes and/or just don’t play it again ever” would be hard to code.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Total War: Rome II was the worst. I actually ended up muting it and playing music in the background.

      • Warped655 says:

        Hmmm, the solution to all of these problems seems to be: Be a hyper dedicated solo/small PC-exclusive indie developer that hires voice actors and makes high quality RPGs and other story driven genres.

        I’ve yet to play The Witcher 1 or 2. But is it safe to assume they meet the criteria?

      • InfamousPotato says:

        Huh, I never really knew who thought up the barks or how hard they are to get in the game (A lot harder than I would have thought). It was really fun reading about the process. Thanks for sharing.

      • Syra says:

        Hey, thanks for that insightful reply!

      • Zyrxil says:

        Ok, budget I can understand, but I really can’t wrap my head around the idea that a few 5 second barks could take up too much disc space. Music takes up around 2 megs per minute for a good bitrate. Surely with human voices having much less range, even a mediocre compression would result in tiny audio files?

      • Super86 says:

        I never thought a matter apparently as simple as this one could be that complex.

        We live in a strange world…

    • MkMax says:

      I imagine in many cases the game is tested before the sounds are added in

      • Niko says:

        I guess it could be different. In DX:HR they had to record some additional Sarif’s lines almost before the release, when the voice actor was already far away, so they had to do it remotely.

  2. Cloudiest Nights says:

    “DON’T make a platform game where the gimmick is you can shift between two overlapping worlds.”

    B-But… What about having four different worlds? Huh? Now THAT’S genius!

    • TechnicalBen says:

      How about pretending it’s set between additional worlds. Then half way through show the player it was the same world all along, and show them the results of their “imagined” actions. On this bleak realisation they have to work to turn things around, only to find their grip of reality has completely fallen through the cracks…

      Oh wait, that ones not a “happy” game. Oh well, it almost is, as the player will always wake up from the nightmare (cliché, but very real to most dreams).

    • GameCat says:

      Making game with 4 worlds is like making a single sadwich from 4 slices of bread.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Add in 2 more slices and you can make cubic sandwichs.
        Which I’ve just googled and doesn’t seem to exist, so I’m claiming invention, and from now on it’ll be called an Ergates.

        • GameCat says:

          SO I’ll add 2 more slices and bam! Tesseract Sandwich!

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            12 slices end on end twisted into a mobius strip : Infinitiwich

          • GameCat says:

            Bad idea. You will sell only few of them and it will cause a market crash, because no one will ever need any other food.

          • Stuart Walton says:

            I would have thought a Moebiuswich would be foodstuffs sandwiched between 1 single looping and twisting slice of bread.

          • The First Door says:

            That’s a brilliant idea, and now I really want to try making one! Although, I think I’ll start with Hexamexagon food first!

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          Wowbagger says:

          Slightly off topic I know, but are you named after Ergates the ant from Feersum Endjinn?

          If so, Kudos.

      • phelix says:

        Or you can make a puzzle game with 6 parallel worlds and make a cube out of the slices. Then proclaim the game will be an insightful metacommentary on player agency á la Stanley Parable, but with SIX WORLDS!!!!!!!111!

        Edit: Beaten to the (lame) punch.

    • wishinghand says:

      Forgive my ignorance, but what games do this? The only thing I can sort of think of is the recent Gunpoint. But I’ve also never platformed on consoles.

  3. gschmidl says:

    Yes! THANK you for the adventure one. This drives me nuts as well.

    • pepperfez says:

      Equally unfortunate is when you don’t really want an Adventure game and dismiss something you’d otherwise enjoy because it’s labelled as one.

    • Mctittles says:

      Arguing semantics on the use of Adventure seems confusing since RPS has also argued the opposite on “Rogue Like” stating that they can call all types of games “Rogue Like”.

      • John Walker says:

        For starters, roguelike has evolved to incorporate more, whether anyone likes it or not, and it’s generally understood what is meant, unlike the entirely random application of “adventure”.

        But perhaps more importantly, we’ve recognised the frustration and have been using ‘roguelite’ for many months. So there.

        • Yglorba says:

          I think that a lot of the current confusion over what an adventure game is started with Shenmue.

          Was Shenmue an adventure game? I mean, I don’t know what else to call it, really — its overall structure was heavily based around an interactive narrative, and it clearly used most of the core ‘grognard’ adventure-game mechanics, like inventory puzzles and the like. But it involved a lot of other things, too.

      • Urthman says:

        First they started calling any action game with stats an ‘RPG,’ but I said nothing because, hey, I’m not some Wizardry-playing neckbeard.

        Second they started calling any procedurally-generated game with perma-death a ‘roguelike,’ but I said nothing because Spelunky rules.

        Finally they started calling any game with a story an ‘adventure’ game, but I still said nothing because nobody gave a shit about game-genres anymore.

        • gwathdring says:

          I’m not sure why it really matters. What matters is that we communicate clearly and genre gets in the way of that almost more often than it helps.

          Especially with something as generic as “adventure.”

          Seriously. Adventure.

          It’s a word that means something that happens in most video games. I’m not surprised it didn’t stick well as a genre term! And that’s fine.

        • Philotic Symmetrist says:

          Except that the finally happened firstly; Adventure has been a fairly generic genre term for a long time, although not as generic as the ubiquitous Action-Adventure which is video games’ equivalent of Drama.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Shit, that’s been going on since at least the 90s, when everyone knew what an “adventure game” was.

      But I’m not sure you can lay claim to such a broad, common English word just based on a mostly arbitrary historical choice. RPS has no problem with the ever-expanding “roguelike”, which was a word invented by Unix nerds specifically to describe the likes of Nethack or Angband, and now means whatever the fuck.

      If anything, I think a lot of RPGs have a better claim for the word “adventure”, and indeed, that’s how many tabletop RPGs describe themselves – as fantasy adventure games.

      • Frank says:

        Ha, funny how that worked out. Yeah, a specialized term like “roguelike” is entitled to take on a specialized meaning, I say.

        What specialized term shall we use for these adventures John has in mind? Trial-and-error machines? Gated movies? Interactive fiction? Oh wait, somehow that one’s already been reserved for the text format.

    • Alien426 says:

      Seconded.
      Don’t call adventures “point & click” as well. You point and click in all sorts of games. Strategy, FPS, RPG, …

    • GameCat says:

      Call me console peasant, but for me term “adventure game” describes lovely 3D platformers like Spyro or Medievil. Games with living world (for their times), alternative paths, games filled with secrets you can find during your Rescue All Dragons And Their Eggs or Stop That Bad Guy Who Is Turning English Citizens Into Mindless Zombies (And Fight With That Skeleton T-Rex) adventures.
      :<

      Adventure game != point & click adventure != text adventure, dig it?

      • Alien426 says:

        You are a console peasant!
        First of all, the titles you mentioned aren’t even games, because they are not on PC.
        Second, they are action adventures.

    • bill says:

      Rule V2:

      Don’t call your boring slow paced point and click puzzle game an ‘adventure’. Spending 2 hours trying to work out how to get a handyman to give me his sandwich isn’t an adventure.

      Call them Cryptic Story Puzzle games or something.

      • Philotic Symmetrist says:

        This is a much better rule; Adventure doesn’t imply “narrative focused tales of verbiage”, Adventure implies a journey, excitement, exploration, overcoming adversity, uncertain odds…so sure, we can agree to “[not] call [a] game an “adventure” unless it’s, well, an adventure”, but you won’t like it.

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      Harlander says:

      I thought ‘point and click adventure’ was the genre term for… those things that I call point-and-click adventures

    • Zamn10210 says:

      Even Hearthstone now has ‘solo adventures’. It’s a goddamn card game.

  4. Horg says:

    I think the worst, un-skippable tutorial of recent times has to be Thiefourf’s prologue, The Drop. Not only did it force you to listen to your psycho / emo companion for over 30 minutes, but it contained a couple of instant fail sections that did not warn you that they were insta-fail. If you had selected the iron man difficulty mode and screwed up a button mashing swoop, you would have your entire save game deleted and be forced to restart -.- I honestly never got far enough in to discover if it was indicative of the main game, because all it really taught me was that I had better games to work through than this.

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      ffordesoon says:

      Assassin’s Creed III had a seven-hour unskippable tutorial with numerous bits where you could instafail based on seemingly random criteria. And there was no quicksaving. And there were randomized QTE wolves during a chase you could also fail if you got too far away from the target, which was easy because randomized QTE wolves. And at least a quarter of the missions consisted of slowly following a man from one cutscene to another cutscene. And did I mention it was seven hours long?

      That iron man thing is uniquely terrible, I’ll admit, but I still humbly submit that thirty minutes of abject misery is better than seven hours of it.

      • Pan Vidla says:

        I don’t understand why people call the first few hours of Assassin’s Creed a tutorial. I mean, sure, they force you to learn by play, but the actual main game story is already happening and I have to say that I actually enjoy slow introductions.

        • thebigJ_A says:

          Trouble is every damn asscreed game sloooowly drips the mechanics on you over half the game, most of which mechanics being similar or identical to mechanics in the previous asscreed.

          Don’t limit a major part of gameplay till ten hours in. By that point I’m getting bored and remembering why I never bother finishing asscreed games. (Which is why I tend to get like every other asscreed. Enough time’s elapsed. I love the setting for the new one, but it’s too soon. The pirate one was soo dull after a while)

    • Premium User Badge

      dahauns says:

      Tomb Raider was pretty annoying, too. It was the first AAA game I have played since some time, and I almost didn’t make it through the tutorial (out of boredom)…

  5. JD Ogre says:

    “DON’T make a platform game where the gimmick is you can shift between two overlapping worlds.”

    Well, you just lost all credibility with me. “Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams” was excellent.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      He’s just saying that if you make a game now in which you do that, you’ll be ripping off the dozens of games that came before which did the exact same thing, including Giana Sisters. He’s not (necessarily) saying that the games already out that do this are all bad games.

      • Premium User Badge

        LTK says:

        So just now people are not allowed to use that mechanic any more, just because John proclaimed it? But they were allowed to do it yesterday, right? Face it, that rule is bullshit. It’s like saying you can’t make platformers with gravity manipulation any more because Limbo has done it already.

        Whether a game decided to incorporate a more-or-less commonly used mechanic has no bearing on its quality. People seem to like making games with world-swapping mechanics. So what?!

    • pepperfez says:

      The sandwich analogy makes this one even weirder, because who doesn’t want another expertly-crafted sandwich? Not even a novel one, just a perfectly browned, melty grilled cheese. I’d probably pay more for that than for most games…

      DO: Stop making games and open a sandwich shop.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      ‘DON’T make a platform game []. If you think you’ve had an idea, and that idea is [a] platform game [] then you haven’t had an idea at all. ‘

      I mean it’s been done before! Let’s see something new under the sun!

      I just checked. Every one of the other items, including the other 50, is serious. A few are wrong, but they’re all serious. So you don’t get to purse your lips coquettishly about choosing to look like the crowd who dismiss genre games out of hand.

  6. rexx.sabotage says:

    I am so with you on the ‘happy things’ topic, I got into STO several weeks back and I was playing the Romulan tut (you can skip it if you done it before I found out :\ ) and through the first half I was just helping people out in their daily life and I was thinking, “Man, this is nice. I can just Rom it up with my fellow Rommies, no attacks, monsters or invasions. Heck, I even get to go a keg party!”

    NOPE.

    • Grygus says:

      Saints Row III has a bad day at the start but from there on out it’s pretty much happy times escalating into happier times, assuming your idea of happiness is unbridled violence.

      • Sidewinder says:

        Not entirely, considering the time I ended up finding a fan who was hoping for a photo op, pressing the button while too far away, and accidentally using him as a human shield; then, given that you can’t peaceably release them, tossing him into what turned out to be a non-empty road so that he got smacked by a semi and flung over a fence into the ocean.

        I fell out of my chair laughing and hit my head on the floor, which rather interrupted my happy time.

    • bill says:

      Nintendo, for example, have spent decades making lots of games that include happy things… but they tend to get dismissed by PC gamers (and others) as being kiddie. If it isn’t gritty and dark and doesn’t involve blood and heads exploding then is isn’t an acceptable modern grown-up game.

      • The First Door says:

        And that is the reason that I almost always have a Nintendo console as well as a PC! Mario games, as much as people seem to hate on them these days, are just so joyous, especially Galaxy.

        I get so sick of the terribly unnecessary grimdark nature of so many games. It is why, for example, I don’t care about the new Tomb Raider game which isn’t coming to PC (yet), but I’m very excited for the puzzly co-op fun one. I’ll take the silly game with the fire-breathing t-rex over the slightly dodgy origin story any day!

    • Chuckleluck says:

      I think a lot of developers don’t make happy games because the stakes are lower, and they don’t usually demand action – someone’s having an awesome day, and you’re about to make it even better. If you fail – or do nothing – they still have an awesome day. Though I agree with the premise, PC is lacking in the happy department dearly.

      • Premium User Badge

        Rizlar says:

        In terms of a single narrative then yeah, stuff being lovely isn’t really compelling compared to stuff being in dire jeopardy. But there are plenty of non-FPS/RPG games which are more focused on nice stuff. Mostly sim type games I guess; city builders, The Sims, that type of thing. The way I play Civ is basically utopian.

  7. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    I’d happily extend the fourth rule to all those “2.5D platformer with physics!” and “it’s like Mario with a twist!” games. There’s been way, way too many of those and even a genuinely brilliant idea is very likely to be missed in the endless sea of wannabes.

    • JFS says:

      Exactly. Indie (or AAA, if such a thing does exist) are way overdone. Way, way overdone. They are easy to make, I guess, so everybody wants a share of the cake, but please, dear game developers, don’t.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Say, while we’re at the vocabulary, could we get some kind of consensus on what “2.5D” means? ‘Cause it’s been used to describe everything from “2D platformer with polygon backgrounds” to “3D platformer with a side-view camera and limited Z-axis movement.”

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        In my head, it means one of two things – either a game visually pretending to be 3D that offers only 2D gameplay (Doom, where the Y axis is an illusion and the game could be played virtually unchanged from a bird’s eye perspective) or a game using a real 3D engine that offers only 2D gameplay (Trine, which does not use the Z axis at all, but has 3D models for everything because it makes animation and physics a lot simpler). It’s not really about how it looks, but how it plays.

      • ZephyrSB says:

        Just be glad some bright spark came up with isometric so we don’t have to add ’2D game with a 3/4s perspective to give an illusion of depth’ to the mix, which I recall went by the 2.5D moniker for a time.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Henke says:

    Game where things go well: Euro Truck Simulator 2.

    You’ve got a job you love, hauling cargo! After a while you’ve saved up enough money to start your own trucking company, so you do! You buy some garages and some more trucks and hire a few drivers to drive for you. And they all lived happily ever after. The End.

  9. Awesomeclaw says:

    I don’t think having tutorial levels be part of the main game is a bad thing (look at e.g. the Portal games for a situation where this is done well – is the whole game a tutorial, or none of it?) but you should still be able to zoom through it without waiting for NPC dialogue to finish or for message boxes to pop up. Bonus points if there is a way through the tutorial areas available which is different from the ‘tutorial’ path, so that experienced players can get a different experience.

  10. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    On a similar vein to unskippable things, what about skippable intros? Some producers have now gone too far and rather than just make them skippable, they’ve started adding huge “PRESS AND HOLD SPACE TO SKIP THIS INTRO” logos which just sit there in the corner of the screen, distracting me from… watching the intro.

    • Supernaiivi says:

      In my opinion, a great solution to this would be that if, during a cutscene, you press any button at all, some sort of text would appear saying that “PRESS ENTER TO SKIP”. That way you wouldn’t unintentionally skip anything, but you would be able to. I know some games take advantage of this already.

      • Rao Dao Zao says:

        The ability to pause cinematics is also rather missing in… every game ever. Dinner time waits for no man, but I’d rather not skip it because I haven’t seen it yet but I forgot to save before it started and and and…

        • Reapy says:

          Yes sir! I’m often afraid to touch the start button during scripted sequences, but I’d love a universal standard of the paused cinematic and the option to skip with another button press. I’ve had games where i just back off getting to an end part because I don’t have time for a potentially long cut sequence, so have to stop playing, when typically you want to stop after you hit a cut scene.

          The worst offender here was the end of metal gear solid 2? maybe, it was a while ago, but I remember hanging half asleep on a chair at 2 am on a work night while waiting for the damn thing to end. I was like, ok, this should be it.. nope, this time! Nope! Then bam, boss fight after 45 minutes of blah blah blah. Last MSG game I ever played hehe.

          • Supernaiivi says:

            Yes, pausing cutscenes would be very useful. Yet, so rarely games use this. Maybe someone could even go as far as to develop a game where if you press any button during a cutscene, it pauses the cutscene allowing you to either skip the cutscene by pressing a certain button or continue watching the cutscene by pressing another button. How about it?

        • gwathdring says:

          God, I want this feature in so many games. Too many games that DO let you skip the cutscene just blast through it when you tap any-old button and that’s … maddening if you actually want to watch the damn thing and were either trying to see if it would pause or accidentally hit a button.

        • bill says:

          I think it was the Prince of Persia games that allowed you to fast-forward (and maybe even pause or rewind) cutscenes.

          This always seemed like a great idea to me. If you died and had to replay you could skip through it very quickly. And if you’d taken a break from the game for a short while, you could whizz through the cutscene and it would remind you of what was going on without having to watch the whole thing in detail.

        • Premium User Badge

          ffordesoon says:

          OH GOD YES AGREED A THOUSAND THOUSAND TIMES

  11. Emeraude says:

    “DON’T make a platform game where the gimmick is you can shift between two overlapping worlds.”

    There *is* something to be said in the defense of an utterly unoriginal idea perfectly executed. Often it easily trumps an incredible idea that fails in execution. Sometimes it’s even even on par with a great idea well executed.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      Indeed. Blizzard could be arguably said to be the masters of this.

      Still, you look at Steam Greenlight, and there is a morass of these things. It would be far easier if these people could point their passion in another direction. The chances of coming up with something wonderful, where the innovation could excuse failings elsewhere, would be increased.

    • Baf says:

      Seems to me that the key part of the phrase there is “gimmick”. If you make a well-crafted game that contains world-shifting, you’re not treating it as a gimmick.

      • Berzee says:

        I agree. It’s probably progressed beyond the stage of gimmick now and has just become another thing you might decide to put in your game. (Incidentally, a thing that will probably make me a tiny bit tired and less happy, but THAT’S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE).

    • gwathdring says:

      I’m very tired of this use of the concept of “original.” Original is a convenient and occasionally useful fairy tale. I’m much more interested in games that have a unique feel and play to them than games that, upon inspection, contain “original” ideas. Further, I’m most interested in games that play well and are worth my time. People have been making unoriginal games, novels, and movies for a very long time (some of those longer than others) to celebration from critics and audiences and even jaded meta-critics alike.

      I don’t see what the use is on getting all flustered at mode-switching platformers. It’s like complaining about basic genre tropes in film. When I come across a spy agency with a mole in it I don’t start groaning because it’s unoriginal. I start groaning because the writing is un-engaging, the acting is bland, and the action is poorly paced and choreographed.

      I’ll play the same game over and over. I think I can stand to play two similar games. If you can’t, well don’t play it. But you’re not helping the game’s industry by telling people not to use existing game mechanics unless those mechanics have specific reasons for not working or being socially problematic or what-have-you. And if it’s just half-serious belly-aching … well, it’s till more useful when there’s a coherent half-serious reason behind it, no?

  12. DanMan says:

    I will put fish behind all your radiators

    /me applauds

  13. Kuuppa says:

    Actually the 4th Earl of Sandwich died in 1792, not in 1771. You ignorant lout.

  14. Frank says:

    My imperfect memory and subjective opinion tell me that this list is much better than your earlier Rules. I especially like the “happy things” rule.

  15. AsianJoyKiller says:

    Don’t be like Hawken developer’s Adhesive Games, who have apparently abandoned the game before it’s even made it out of beta. They’ve gone completely silent, support isn’t responding, the forums are suddenly completely unmoderated, and the community manager now lists his living location as halfway across the country from the Adhesive offices where he was working.

  16. PancakeWizard says:

    “DON’T make a platform game where the gimmick is you can shift between two overlapping worlds.”

    If that happened we’d get no Oliver and Spike, and I am so very looking forward to that game.

  17. E_FD says:

    So this makes me wonder… what IS the first platformer to feature shifting between overlapping worlds?

    The earliest I can recall offhand is Sonic CD, but the 8-bit era was before my time and I’ve got the sneaking suspicion there’s an embarassingly-obvious predecessor that I’m overlooking.

    • Isair says:

      I’m not sure if it’s enough to count, but Doki Doki Panic / SMB2 has those weird shadow doors you use for coins and occasional shortcuts.

  18. Synesthesia says:

    Well somebody needs to study the basics of scriptwriting, regarding the second to last point!

    • gwathdring says:

      Nah, conflict doesn’t need to mean *sad* or *bad.*

      Indeed that overly simplistic understanding of conflict in a narrative is made even more absurd in the context of video games where we can be engaged and entertained without any stories to speak of, and certainly with good mechanics to stories without conflict.

      So in sum: Games without stories work. Games without conflict work. Stories with up-beat conflicts work. What’s wrong with happy games, then?

      • Synesthesia says:

        I wasn’t expecting a reply! I thoruoughly agree with you, in most of your points. Game do NOT need narrative. However, as they are a young medium, when they do, they nececesarily suckle from bigger industries. As of right now, it is the film one. And yes, game writers are even worse at understanding this basic stuff. Women tropes a glistening example of it.

        I didn’t necessarily refer to conflict as something bad, but… i’m translating from my local theorists here, so the terms might be different. Also i’m piss drunk:

        We either have an inaltered state where everything is nice, things take a turn fro the worse, and then it either returns to normal (most of the cases) or it stays like that, or the other way around. I think it’s a rather safe bet to assume most of the industry will not take risks on more downer scripts for a while. It’s still too young. So that. We will not have happy games, because they will be still quite undigestible for current narrative cultural biases. Did that even make sense? I hope so.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          “Games don’t need narrative” doesn’t mean “games should never have narrative”, though it does suggest that unless you think you’ve got a really good way of doing narrative you might be better off not bothering.

          Of course, everyone thinks their way of narrativing is great, so that’s no help

        • Niko says:

          Depends on what you mean by narrative. I’d prefer a shmup about spaceship shooting aliens over one with abstract shape launching shapes toward other shapes.

        • gwathdring says:

          I don’t really think game’s are quite as obsessed with film as is made out hereabouts. Nor do I think games treat women notably worse than films do. The gaming industry, perhaps, but games as a medium, as a thematic space? I don’t think so. Maybe you haven’t watched enough movies lately.

          Most recently, I watched Guardians of the Galaxy. A lot of awesome stuff; I’m a fan of the 2008 comics (a desperately giddy fan of them) so I was super pumped up while it wasn’t my wildest dream, it was really damn good. But here, I’m interested in characters. They showed they’re willing and able to both stick right by the source of a character and revise it to fit their vision and remix it into something that’s entirely unrelated but nonetheless awesome. They did all three and did all three well.

          With Gamora, the leading female and one of the only women in the film, they did none of these. They gave her nothing. They brought her to us part-way through a character arc (as they did all the characters, which was great) … but it was an arc that only really works holistically AND it didn’t get it’s resolution .. just the middle section that’s the least interesting part of that archetype! They gave her a fluctuating and vacuous role, being whatever they felt the scene needed rather than whatever they felt the character demanded. They didn’t remix or revise her comic book form … they simply let her sit there like a doll with swords and be nothing. She was utterly pointless. She never really carried the plot the way other characters did and she never really carried a scene the way every other character got to. And it’s frustrating because the actress did FINE the few scenes and moments she got to be a proper character doing proper character things … but christ she doesn’t even get to snark about the rest of the team except ONCE that I remember in the entire damn film–in the transcendent prison escape sequence. She was just NOTHING. And despite not being as overtly sexist as a lot of films I’ve seen, it affected me quite a lot; because I loved these characters and I even loved this film as I was watching it … and because they already did that to Natasha in The Avengers. And because it’s so much harder to fight that kind of thing–both in life and in media criticism–they didn’t do anything shocking or clearly oppressive you can get people riled up about. They just … silenced and erased her. Made her a non-agent. That’s an awful thing to do to a character because most of the people who notice at all will just go “Meh. It wasn’t *bad.*” And that’s a bad pattern for Marvel to be setting with their female characters. Especially when added to the absence of Wasp from Avengers and the absence of Quantum, Mantis and the head of Liandri security from Guardians.

          Tangent/rant over. Anyway. We were talking about video games!

          I don’t think video games are “behind” the other mediums and I don’t think video games are confused or trying to mimic other mediums any more than is utterly sensible. Individual games, perhaps, but not the whole industry.

          On to conflict!

          “We either have an inaltered state where everything is nice, things take a turn fro the worse, and then it either returns to normal (most of the cases) or it stays like that, or the other way around. I think it’s a rather safe bet to assume most of the industry will not take risks on more downer scripts for a while. It’s still too young. So that. We will not have happy games, because they will be still quite undigestible for current narrative cultural biases. Did that even make sense? I hope so.”

          That makes sense, but that’s exactly what I’m getting at with conflict being bad. It doesn’t have to be things taking a turn for the worse!

          Consider this common story trope that works well. So and So was high on the hog for whatever reason. Then things get normal again. Now they have to deal with everything not going their way and they’re bad at it; engagement points can include sympathetic side characters OR a main character who we want to think better of and see adjust because they’re just sympathetic enough OR a main character we want to see reach that high point again.

          Consider another. Alice was bored. Then she went through the looking glass and it was strange. Some good things happened, some bad things happened, but there was no real central worsening. No turn for the worse. The conflict is in her overcoming immediate obstacles–some not even stressful. The engagement comes from exploring the weird alongside Alice–we don’t even need conflict, here, it’s just sometimes useful to carry a scene or two.

          One day dude was poor. Now he switches places with a rich dude. Wacky hijinks ensue! Turn for the better as they both get away from something and into something they want …but they have to get used to their new life and end up solving and/or worsening some of each other’s problems and learning a lot about themselves. There’s no real turn for the worse, necessarily. You can have one as their face starts falling apart or something … but that’s definitely not the central driving force of the story–it’s just a climactic point in the story which is largely about wacky hijinks rather than overcoming turns for the worse.

          These still follow the “Things were normal, then they weren’t” pattern though! They just skip the “turn for the worse” part! What about some stories and conflicts that remix this even further?

          Consider yet another kind of story where everything just kinda … is. Not good or bad. Just … normal. Conflict comes in individual character beats and through the specific pacing and presentation of characters and scenes rather than the inherent large-scale arcing of their drama into conflict. There’s no turn for the worse.

          Then there’s the wide seleciton of kids movies and comedy films with completely different formulas from these so far listed. And then there’s stuff like Memento. And A Christmas Carol.

          • Frank says:

            Hey you — your thoughts are expressed coherently.

            You should blog (and RPS should hire you to do so).

  19. Warped655 says:

    What WAS the first platformer that used that mechanic anyway?

    The earliest I know of is a free gamemaker game caller Dim (http://www.mattmakesgames.com/ scroll to the bottom, fun game though I prefer his Jumper series). Released in 2004. But surely there are older titles? classic ones even?

  20. bill says:

    How about a game that features 2 versions of your day: A Happy Good day and a bad terrible day. And you can switch between them at will.

  21. jasondesante says:

    This right here

    DON’T release your game on Early Access because you haven’t finished having ideas for it yet. Early Access is for games you haven’t finished making yet. You need to have had the ideas first. Releasing the framework of a game, and then “listening to customer feedback”, is a cynical, artless act, and I will put fish behind all your radiators if you do it. Come up with your bloody brilliant idea first. If you expect me to do it for you, I also expect a salary and a profit share from the game’s success.

    I love RPS so much. I couldn’t have worded it any better. It is like we all see the same problems at around the same time, it is so awesome! :D

    • Premium User Badge

      Matt_W says:

      I don’t know that it’s a good hard and fast rule. Perhaps it would be better to say “You Early Access game should be a playable, enjoyable game experience already.” I’ve been a gamer for 30 years, and the game I have played and enjoyed more than any other game ever is Kerbal Space Program, which is an Early Access game for which the developers are still having ideas.

  22. atsumori says:

    “Where’s my game about everything going really flipping well?”

    Right here:
    http://www.aflippinggoodtime.com/

  23. Runs With Foxes says:

    Don’t force your oppressive definitions on me, Walker.

  24. froz says:

    “DO let me skip your game’s tutorial.”

    Nah, that’s actually not good. If you want to skip the tutorial, it means the tutorial is bad. Instead they should make good tutorials. There are some great examples. First that comes to my mind – Portal. It did have tutorial, but it was also part of the game and was unskippable. Another nice example is Plants versus Zombies (the first one). The author even made a very nice presentation about that (and it was linked some time ago in RPS).

    I guess important thing here is that the tutorial should be part of the game – and as such should be nice to play even to players who may already know all the game’s rules and mechanics.

    So, I would change the rule to “DO create a good tutorial”.

    • Bob_Bobson says:

      An ideal tutorial is both in the main game and skipable. If the main game is a whole connected by narrative I want every part of my experience with the game to be a part of that narrative. But even if the tutorial is good there’s a strong chance I don’t want to experience it repeatedly. The perfect example, for me, is NWN2. The tutorial was an interesting zone which set a lot of story background and gave my character a place in the world to set off from. But with characters other than my first I wanted to explore mechanics more than story and skipping the part of the game that needs me to learn mechanics by rote was welcome.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I’m more a fan of the Half Life one style ‘tutorial is a separate section’ style of design. I think it means you can get on with the game proper, without interruptions and the gradual increase in mechanics. But it is a tough thing to call and almost entirely different for every game. RTS games are best learned simply by playing in Skirmishes over and over and using all the different units/races/etc. It’s like a sandbox for self teaching. World of Warcraft couldn’t operate if they threw every ability at a new player from the get-go because it would be overwhelming to have all class abilities immediately. The drip feed there is not only clever, it’s necessary. But Assassin’s Creed is onerous and would have been better in a separate section (probably safely situated somewhere in-game due to the whole Animus thing).

      I think one thing that really hacked me off about GTA Four was when it told you how to do something the first time, but then never tells you again. If you weren’t paying attention (or just forgot, because of the rarity of some mechanics) then you’re screwed to never be able to knife fight well or ‘forgive/punish’ when a choice is there. There is no help section that explains all possible actions.

  25. Stephen Roberts says:

    I find it interesting that I haven’t yet seen ‘Don’t have invisible walls in your game.’ The issue has been skirted around with ‘don’t tell me I’m leaving the game area’ and ‘don’t stop me climbing a pile of rocks’. But invisible walls are some of the shittest level design ever. Imagine the literary equivalent. “But he couldn’t go there, because… erm… because I said so.”

    Do let the player climb waist high ledges. Or should that be: Don’t create impediments to progress that an eleven year old boy could handle. Concerned comic about the topic:
    http://www.screencuisine.net/hlcomic/index.php?date=2006-07-17

  26. Arithon says:

    DO: Describe the game you actually made, DON’T: Spend months hyping features and game-play that don’t exist except in the PR department’s imagination and perhaps the unskippable CGI trailer that plays when the game loads… especially if the game is total rubbish!

  27. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Don’t agree with “stop making your tutorial a part of the main game” at all. Tutorials that you have to access separately from the main game (that you don’t want to bother with but will need to anyway because the game is incomprehensible without) should very much remain a thing of the past. Learning by doing in the game proper is the way to go.

    What devs *should* do is make it so you can skip through any tutorials by simply completing the actions you already know how to do. The game should detect you already know said thing and move on. What games should definitely NOT do is arbitrarily restrict your move-set to force you to only do the next required tutorial action (like disabling jump before the game tells you how to jump). If you need to have a tutorial make it so a veteran player can breeze through it as if it’s not even a tutorial at all.

  28. Salahn says:

    DO :- respect the users mouse preferences from windows control pannel.

    Too many games nowadays ignore these setting and force us left handers to use right handed mouse button configuration

  29. belgand says:

    What about a tutorial that’s actually written out on a piece of paper? Like a pretty long bit of paper that’s bound up into a small book. Sort of a booklet if you will. It could have instructions on how to play the game, what the controls and various options do, extra art, backstory, profiles on the various characters and bits of the world that you probably ought to know about, a stern warning not to leave the game out in the sun. That way you can read it before you play and if you forget something look it up again while you’re playing to refresh your memory. Want to skip it in the future? Don’t read it again! Easy-peasy.

    • SPCTRE says:

      That’s preposterous! What’s next, maintaining a telephone hotline for people who are stuck or want cheatcodes?

      • belgand says:

        Or, for a modest fee, mailing a pamphlet to interested parties at home periodically. It could contain news about upcoming games, reviews of recently released games, cheat codes, a forum to have correspondence published, descriptions of relevant events and companies.

        Oh, I do fear I’ve gone too far this time. I mustn’t get into the Gloucester before bedtime if I don’t want to be plagued by such imaginative nonsense.

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