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View Full Version : Dishonored was 'dumbed down' to placate baffled playtesters



thesisko
20-09-2012, 03:18 PM
A bit disappointing to read honestly...


"We try not to lead the player by the nose, but at some point we found that if we don’t give a little information, people just get lost and don’t know what to do. It’s just overwhelming”
"People would just walk around. They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn’t. They’d say ‘Okay, I can’t go upstairs.’ They wouldn’t do anything"
Source: http://www.lazygamer.net/xbox-360/without-clues-dishonored-was-too-difficult/

Drake Sigar
20-09-2012, 03:24 PM
They wouldn't go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn't go upstairs? What kind of gamer respects in-game authority?

Serenegoose
20-09-2012, 03:25 PM
They wouldn't go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn't go upstairs? What kind of gamer respects in-game authority?

Citizen. Pick up that can.

zanchito
20-09-2012, 03:26 PM
They are very polite anti-government assassins.

Heliocentric
20-09-2012, 03:27 PM
Yay! Most people being stupid ruining even more things.

*slow claps*

Citizen. Pick up that can.

*flings can at your head and used the moment of distraction to slip by*

Anthile
20-09-2012, 03:29 PM
That reminds me of the first time I played Precursors. Right after the tutorial I tried to find out if you can just kill NPCs.
I hid the body of the guard behind a large crate.

Lambchops
20-09-2012, 03:34 PM
Yeah, I always found it more of a shock when somebody told me not to do something and the advice turned out to be spot on (see Outcast where you get warned about dangerous locations and decide "I'm heading there then" only to get shot to pieces due to not having any decent weaponry yet).

LTK
20-09-2012, 03:42 PM
A bit disappointing to read honestly...

Source: http://www.lazygamer.net/xbox-360/without-clues-dishonored-was-too-difficult/
That is not the source. This is the source. (http://games.on.net/2012/09/dishonored-interview-arkane-on-stealth-ai-player-choice-and-much-more/)

So, having read the original interview, to make sure it's not just out-of-context quote-grabbing, it does look quite disappointing that the guests at the party are outright telling you what you should do. Anyone with a moderate amount of gaming experience would know that it's much more fun not to do what the game tells you.

Although I can understand why someone who's trying to blend in as a guest at a party would want to avoid going upstairs - so as not to draw anyone's suspicion - if you do get stuck, then it's not hard to realize that the option is still available to you.

Drake Sigar
20-09-2012, 03:42 PM
That reminds me of the first time I played Precursors. Right after the tutorial I tried to find out if you can just kill NPCs.
I hid the body of the guard behind a large crate.

Not doing what we're told and intentionally trying to break the game has been a defining characteristic of gamers since forever. We're often doing something just for the sake of seeing if it can be done, or seeing how the developer's compensated for our unexpected action. That's why I'd be interested in knowing more about these playtesters.

Tritagonist
20-09-2012, 03:53 PM
They wouldn't go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn't go upstairs? What kind of gamer respects in-game authority?
Decades worth of running into invisible walls or eternally locked doors has probably conditioned a lot of gamers to be a bit more obedient to those clues than they might otherwise have been.

Gorzan
20-09-2012, 03:55 PM
If there's an invisible wall, a true gamer will just crash on it.

Rauten
20-09-2012, 03:59 PM
Citizen. Pick up that can.

Isn't this the reason we all attended Anti-Citizen 101?

Because we ALL attended Anti-Citizen 101, right? >_>

Then again, what playtester is told by the game not to go upstairs and then doesn't at least try to go upstairs? Isn't playtesting partially about trying to break the game so they can patch up bugs, exploits and so on?

SirDavies
20-09-2012, 04:16 PM
Videogame industry: "Oooh! The players aren't immediately doing what the mission requires them to do! We must put an underlined, bold, bright-colored text in front of their faces so they can advance!"

It would be nice to play a game where the sense of exploration wasn't constantly ruined by the game holding your hand evey couple of minutes, but oh well, I guess most gamers are stupid. What can you do.

NathanH
20-09-2012, 04:21 PM
Not doing what we're told and intentionally trying to break the game has been a defining characteristic of gamers since forever. We're often doing something just for the sake of seeing if it can be done, or seeing how the developer's compensated for our unexpected action.

Yes! Yes! That's what video gaming is about; it's horrifying if this attitude is on the way out.

There's that brilliant bit in Throne of Bhaal where you recruit the low level adventurers to do a quest for you, they come back and they're like "come on, let's kill them and take their stuff". Obviously they get slaughtered, and then they reload the game. I loved this moment because it was exactly how I'd played all through the series, and it was great to see that the developers knew this spot-on.

Xercies
20-09-2012, 04:24 PM
Most wonderful moments of gaming is when you botch a mission doing something wildly you didn't think you could do and then finding out that wasn't the best way so you had to do several other weird things to get over it. But maybe people are to ingrained now a days about linear gaming.

Lukasz
20-09-2012, 04:34 PM
Yeah, I always found it more of a shock when somebody told me not to do something and the advice turned out to be spot on (see Outcast where you get warned about dangerous locations and decide "I'm heading there then" only to get shot to pieces due to not having any decent weaponry yet).

haha.... reminds me of

SPOILER for Vampire Bloodlines


Don't open the sarcophagus. You are told dozen times to not do it.
Still did it on my first try.


so yeah. a guard tells me not to go there, sure as hell i will. maybe not at first, maybe ill explore... but if guard tells me not to go there i do expect some consequences of going when they see me. whats the point of putting the guard there?

Jesus_Phish
20-09-2012, 04:55 PM
1952

Well what would you do?

A real shame to hear they've done this. Makes me worry about the rest of the game and how little room there'll be for finding your own ways of doing things.

Cooper
20-09-2012, 05:28 PM
I can't agree more with the sentiments that there is a huge amount of fun to be had in pushing games at the seams and seeing where they strain and snap. In gleefully ignoring in-game advice and just messing about.

I'm wondering if there's a generation of gamers out there so used to the kind of overt or less overt hand-holding of AAA titles that this kind of attitude (probably borne out of games that did have stretchy boundaries rather than rigid invisible walls) is alien to; so used as they are to a game telling them exactly what is / isn't ossible and the orders of possibility so tightly honed and rigid that 'experimentality' in playing games is rendered impossible.

I hope dishonoured does not die because purchasers simply do not have an inbiult sense of experimentation with mechanics, or improvisation and, basically, thinking for themselves.

Jesus_Phish
20-09-2012, 05:33 PM
I guess it's extra disappointing from this game because it really seemed like a throw back to when you had a task and that was it. Here's your task, figure out how to do it and there was several "conventional" ways to achieve it that the devs thought of and then players will find the ones the devs didn't think about. I'm reminded of the boss fight in DX:HR where you carry a turret down the elevator with you to insta-win the fight.

Bhagan
20-09-2012, 05:40 PM
If the player gets stuck, don't they have the internet?

Moraven
20-09-2012, 05:45 PM
1952

Well what would you do?

A real shame to hear they've done this. Makes me worry about the rest of the game and how little room there'll be for finding your own ways of doing things.

Reminds me of wanting to press the red button at Mimiron in WoW to see what happens (activates hard mode).

mnemnoch
20-09-2012, 06:18 PM
I guess those playtester didnt experience this in mass effect 3 then?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ATBHFo_VE

(video in surkesh where a salarian told the PC not to touch the button)

LTK
20-09-2012, 06:39 PM
Should have gone like Half-Life where pressing the button actually causes something to explode. Like, an experimental weapon discharges, it damages valuable equipment, some Salarians get hospitalised, and security escorts you back to your ship where you have to leave immediately, then you permanently lose the Salarians' alliance, your galactic readiness takes a hit, and you see the Salarians getting exterminated by Reapers in the ending.

Garrus makes a wry comment somewhere along the line.

OrangyTang
20-09-2012, 06:55 PM
Then again, what playtester is told by the game not to go upstairs and then doesn't at least try to go upstairs? Isn't playtesting partially about trying to break the game so they can patch up bugs, exploits and so on?
No, that's regular testing, or QA, who try and break the game in any way possible.

Playtesting is giving the game to a random guy of the street and saying "try to have fun with this as if you had just bought it". And then watching. Possibly through a one-way mirror or a hole in a piece of cardboard.

And if out of all of your playtesters *none* of them go upstairs, then yes you have a signposting issue that needs to be addressed. That's not dumbing down, that's just making sure your game is playable. Given that the next line is:


So we tried to add this element that gave just a hint, to help a little. But we try to do it as little as possible.

...that seems to suggest they're being careful. So maybe wait until the game is out before we start the angry internet hate train?

gundato
20-09-2012, 06:57 PM
Yeah, if you play through a Valve game with the commentary turned on you will see quite a few points along the lines of "We structured this area so that players would see this cool effect" and "We put this cool effect here to give players a hint on where to go"

mnemnoch
20-09-2012, 06:59 PM
Should have gone like Half-Life where pressing the button actually causes something to explode. Like, an experimental weapon discharges, it damages valuable equipment, some Salarians get hospitalised, and security escorts you back to your ship where you have to leave immediately, then you permanently lose the Salarians' alliance, your galactic readiness takes a hit, and you see the Salarians getting exterminated by Reapers in the ending.

Garrus makes a wry comment somewhere along the line.



Lol! I like your scenario!

But you forgot that the Krogan will be pissed at you because you fail to etrieve the fertile female and thus withdrawing their alliance. And with Krogan out of the picture, the turians will lose their homeworld and will be decimated, so thats another race that cant help you.

Drinking with Skeletons
20-09-2012, 07:29 PM
1) So many games have invisible walls and what-have-you that it's surprising when a game is truly open. Even then, a push in the right direction early on may be necessary to inform the player "Hey, you can do more than you might think." The farther into the game you get, the less of that is needed. The more open the experience, the less you should have.

2) Ever listen to Valve's commentaries? They aren't really advocates of player freedom so much as "playtest and focus group the bejeezus out of everything until any asshole can sit down, beat our game, and feel like they accomplished something without realizing we were guiding the experience the whole time."

ado
20-09-2012, 07:37 PM
2) Ever listen to Valve's commentaries? They aren't really advocates of player freedom so much as "playtest and focus group the bejeezus out of everything until any asshole can sit down, beat our game, and feel like they accomplished something without realizing we were guiding the experience the whole time."

To be fair this is how you SHOULD design a linear game. Otherwise it just frustrates the player because the only option they have is telling them "lol no way douchebag". Anyway Dishonored is not a linear game.

But then again I do not understand what everyone is complaining about here. So what if they put hints in the world? Doesn't mean they force you to follow them, you can still just go and try out your way.

Sparkasaurusmex
20-09-2012, 07:52 PM
It seems the playtesters in question were probably not aware that this wasn't a typical FPS game and (hopefully) the type of hints they are adding are along the lines of helping the player realize that there are more possibilities. Considering everything else that has been said about this game, I can't imagine they are going to start signposting all the alternative routes and whatever.

Drake Sigar
20-09-2012, 08:06 PM
I'd like to reiterate my part in this was merely to point out the oddity of someone obeying an authority figure in a video game (absurdly, even from the perspective of an agent opposing that authority).

They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn’t. They’d say ‘Okay, I can’t go upstairs.’ They wouldn’t do anything"

Something scares me about this paragraph. It is so far removed from what I thought I understood about gamers, it blows my mind the more I think about it. Gamers don't act that way. People don't act that way!

Am I saying they're lizardmen in disguise? In a word - yes.

Sparkasaurusmex
20-09-2012, 08:14 PM
It's interesting. Certainly seems they may be younger or newer gamers that are only familiar with strictly linear gameplay.

Also the quote is just anecdotal, we don't actually know what the data specifically revealed about the playtests. It seems if a few players played that way it probably really struck him and that's what he personally took from the playtests. And the quote itself is more like an example of the data, but not the specific reason they feel they need to add some guidance.

Finicky
20-09-2012, 08:32 PM
No, that's regular testing, or QA, who try and break the game in any way possible.

Playtesting is giving the game to a random guy of the street and saying "try to have fun with this as if you had just bought it". And then watching. Possibly through a one-way mirror or a hole in a piece of cardboard.

And if out of all of your playtesters *none* of them go upstairs, then yes you have a signposting issue that needs to be addressed. That's not dumbing down, that's just making sure your game is playable. Given that the next line is:



...that seems to suggest they're being careful. So maybe wait until the game is out before we start the angry internet hate train?

Valve does this signposting through visual queues...
Not red arrows or signs or text or objective markers, but subtle and intuitive things like inviting lighting changes or simply designing environments in such a way that you instinctively want to check a certain path or spot out.

They talked about it in their portal dev diary thing where they talked about playtesting and polish.

OrangyTang
20-09-2012, 09:22 PM
Not red arrows or signs or text or objective markers, but subtle and intuitive things like inviting lighting changes or simply designing environments in such a way that you instinctively want to check a certain path or spot out.
I am aware of that - is there anything in this interview that says they're doing otherwise? There's no mention of red arrows or signs or objective markers.

db1331
20-09-2012, 09:40 PM
Not going up the stairs because a guard tells you you can't? Wow. Who did they find to test this? Maybe this review isn't satire after all:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1XONHO7ZJO3U5

TechnicalBen
20-09-2012, 09:56 PM
Hahahhahahha. It's what I love about games. Their entire point is to test the environment. Sadly not everyone understands this. You can give them a Lego brick, and they go "huh, what's that suppose to be, a brick?"

LTK
20-09-2012, 10:19 PM
It's interesting. Certainly seems they may be younger or newer gamers that are only familiar with strictly linear gameplay.

Also the quote is just anecdotal, we don't actually know what the data specifically revealed about the playtests. It seems if a few players played that way it probably really struck him and that's what he personally took from the playtests. And the quote itself is more like an example of the data, but not the specific reason they feel they need to add some guidance.
It's not the quote about the playtesters that worries me, it's the interviewer's comment that preceded it:

GON: When I was talking to the guests, they all just started shouting at me to go upstairs immediately and check the diaries. So I resolved that I wasn’t going to do it, just to spite the game.

He is exaggerating, but still, that doesn't exactly seem like subtle signposting. It may just be an overly critical interviewer. It may just be this specific occurence where the game is holding your hand. That's probably it. I'm still a bit disconcerted, though.

Heliocentric
20-09-2012, 10:24 PM
Isn't this the reason we all attended Anti-Citizen 101?

Because we ALL attended Anti-Citizen 101, right? >_>

Then again, what playtester is told by the game not to go upstairs and then doesn't at least try to go upstairs? Isn't playtesting partially about trying to break the game so they can patch up bugs, exploits and so on?


Defiant- 13.2%
Hit the trashcan cop with the can.
Point Insertion
When instructed by a Civil Protection officer to pick up the soda can and put it in the trash, Gordon must throw the can at him instead. (NOTE: The Steam Community and Steam Overlay are bugged, as the icons will not show up)

Submissive -19.6%
Put the can in the trash.
Point Insertion
When instructed by a Civil Protection officer to pick up the soda can and put it in the trash, Gordon must do as he is told and dispose of the can.

For every 3 people who obey, 2 look for a way to defy, that's in PC land though.

Rauten
20-09-2012, 11:15 PM
For every 3 people who obey, 2 look for a way to defy, that's in PC land though.

At that point you haven't yet attended Anti-Citizen 101 though, so I'm willing to overlook it. For now.

Sparkasaurusmex
21-09-2012, 12:03 AM
It's not the quote about the playtesters that worries me, it's the interviewer's comment that preceded it:

GON: When I was talking to the guests, they all just started shouting at me to go upstairs immediately and check the diaries. So I resolved that I wasn’t going to do it, just to spite the game.

He is exaggerating, but still, that doesn't exactly seem like subtle signposting. It may just be an overly critical interviewer. It may just be this specific occurence where the game is holding your hand. That's probably it. I'm still a bit disconcerted, though.
Well before I get any deeper into this discussion I should read the entire thing. I really hope the game is going to allow me to discover rather than tell me.

edit: I really wished the interviewer had pushed for more information about this "railroady" stuff. But yeah, in the context there it doesn't really sound good.

AlexClockwork
21-09-2012, 12:37 AM
For every 3 people who obey, 2 look for a way to defy, that's in PC land though.

That's not completely fair, though. I mean, if I'm playing a game, I'm going to try to do what's best for my character. That means that, if I have no weapons, and the enemy has some, AND not only that, but I'm completely surrounded by enemies, I may want to listen. It's not the same as if they ask me to stay somewhere and "stop playing". I mean... Freedom of choice. Let me throw the can into the thrash if I want to (only if I want to). XD

Sparkasaurusmex
21-09-2012, 02:16 AM
I request RPS do an interview asking about this. At the very least so we can raise issue with it.

Misnomer
21-09-2012, 04:34 AM
No, that's regular testing, or QA, who try and break the game in any way possible.

Playtesting is giving the game to a random guy of the street and saying "try to have fun with this as if you had just bought it". And then watching. Possibly through a one-way mirror or a hole in a piece of cardboard.

And if out of all of your playtesters *none* of them go upstairs, then yes you have a signposting issue that needs to be addressed. That's not dumbing down, that's just making sure your game is playable. Given that the next line is:



...that seems to suggest they're being careful. So maybe wait until the game is out before we start the angry internet hate train?

Well put, the argument in this thread seems to be "We all think the same don't we???" Not really very inspiring for people who I thought wanted gaming to be popular. Turns out they just want more people to be like them.

In fairness, I am rather subservient as a gamer. I wrote about this in a blog a few years ago that has since been cut short an mangled by an IGN reformat, but it still has the core point. http://www.ign.com/blogs/01misnomer/2010/08/30/choices-that-arent-spoiler-alert-f-e-a-r-portal-bioshock-baldurs-gate-2


I died in the fire in Portal.
I didn't want to shoot Paxton Fettel in FEAR.
I got shot and killed by my squad leader at that part in BF3.
I got miffed when BG2 started harassing me about killing so many people. As if could have played the game any other way. And that it did that despite the fact that I had never tried to kill Drizzt in BG1 and was shocked when he mentioned it in 2 .... seriously. Never crossed my mind.

I think this is actually a core difference between true open world fans and players like myself who enjoy linear games. Players like me enjoy having stories told to them and trying to enjoy all the parts of the telling. I am not wholly bothered by what happened in Portal, it made sense in the game, but it did require the assumption that you were trying to break the game constantly when up to that point you were actually standing in elevators when it told you to and was clearly designed to not let you break out. Even when you found a hole filled with scribbles...you went back to doing what you were told right after. Try to take the companion cube with you? Nope. Portal 2 was actually much much better at getting the player to do this without relying on some sort of "must break the game" feeling.

Clearly there is a lot of room to mess with gamers for playing this way, the plot of Bioshock is basically mocks linear players... as does The Path (Which I hated for its self righteous anti-gamers who follow directions attitude, though generally like Bioshock despite not wanting to kill Ryan.)

I think as someone said in this thread...a few of us are sick of trying to open closed doors and wasting our time trying to find the story only to be given an ending telling us we played the game wrong (looking at you STALKER).

The rest of the people are just people, thrown into a game world and likely trying to figure out the rules. My father played HL2 when I gave it to him. He never did get out of the train station, he gave up. Luckily he wasn't 100% pissed at the idea of gaming and after getting him to play TF2 I have gotten him to play BC2, Portal, Portal 2 and a few other story driven games to take him beyond racing and flight games. He really enjoyed BC2 and the Portals and he still won't go back to HL2.

I am sure that makes him less of a gamer to you all, but I think about him anytime I read something like this.

r3dknight
21-09-2012, 04:41 AM
Then read a book.

Misnomer
21-09-2012, 04:56 AM
Right, because break-the-system types don't exist among readers?

Ever met a person who always reads the last page first? People who make fan fiction based on rearranging piece of the book? People who read allegory, symbolism, or irony and don't get it so they think the story is dumb?

Or movies perhaps. Rocky Horror Picture Show screening with everyone participating? Watching with someone who always tries to predict the next bit? Once again, the fanfiction people. The people who like to break that 4th wall and point out every continuity error because that is how they enjoy films?


Maybe you can file it under people who truly get immersion. They don't need a perfect open world system as some people seem to because they are willing to suspend disbelief. The only trouble with that is when they suspend their basis for interacting with the real world they are relying the rules you give them and if those rules ONLY function by being broken... you risk alienating large numbers. Especially those mildly experienced with games who realize that a game may actually be broken and unusuable as sold and assume a bug (I wonder how you would expect a player who walked into a room in Far Cry 2 where everyone was standing on a table and they were unable to turn in a quest to react... yes that happened).

There is not only one way to interact with a medium.

JackShandy
21-09-2012, 04:58 AM
If a guy in a game says "Go here!" the vast majority of people will follow orders. This isn't a brainpower thing - who's using 100% of their brain when they play a game? People play games to relax, so you're not getting them at maximum problem-solving mode, and acting like they're idiots because they couldn't be bothered to solve your problems is dumb.

This could be a good discussion, though: What did you guys do in Deus ex, when Paul told you to get out of the window and Maggie told you to go to the police station?

Xercies
21-09-2012, 07:56 AM
Um you dont feel like your breaking the game in the portal bit because you also do exactly what you have been doing beforehand in there which is also clever in a narrative sense as well because it seems that maybe your escape wasnt an escape but just continuing the test.

Voon
21-09-2012, 07:58 AM
This could be a good discussion, though. What did you guys do in Deus ex, when Paul told you to get out of the window and Maggie told you to go to the police station?

Well, I did set up LAMs and killed the agents before they managed to kill Paul

Drayk
21-09-2012, 08:38 AM
Well, I did set up LAMs and killed the agents before they managed to kill Paul

I stayed and fight ... and had to reload 10 times because he always died, but I was pretty sure I could save him. And I did !

Heliocentric
21-09-2012, 08:43 AM
FYI if you stay and fight Paul is invincible(that said, that might be a difficulty thing, it's been a while) . If you flee he auto dies.

DeekyFun
21-09-2012, 08:53 AM
:-/ ...I ran. I fled through that window like the well informed escape merchant I was. I didn't actually find out there was another way to do it until I spoke with a friend way after completing it and he told me his Paul lived. I assumed it was the only option (i.e, you could stay and fight, but it would be game over eventually).

JackShandy
21-09-2012, 09:00 AM
FYI if you stay and fight Paul is invincible(that said, that might be a difficulty thing, it's been a while) . If you flee he auto dies.

No, he can still be killed if you fight. That happened to me so many times that I assumed the battle was unwinnable.

Oh, something that made me so mad: There's a public execution in Skyrim, and you can kill all the guards and get the victim to run away... but if you do, he eventually stands up, slowly walks back to the execution stand and just dies on the spot.

Oshada
21-09-2012, 09:07 AM
That's hilarious! Is it the one at the start?

Hypernetic
21-09-2012, 09:24 AM
Have you ever listened to developer commentary for Valve games? They talk about changing this or that based on internal testing. QA people are fucking morons.

ado
21-09-2012, 09:24 AM
I am not wholly bothered by what happened in Portal, it made sense in the game, but it did require the assumption that you were trying to break the game constantly when up to that point you were actually standing in elevators when it told you to and was clearly designed to not let you break out. Even when you found a hole filled with scribbles...you went back to doing what you were told right after.

I pretty much agree with your post, and I completely agree that the "must break the game" attitude that a lot of gamers have is sometimes shitty because they are actively trying to spoil the game for themselves by braking the illusion. I think it's great to take certain aspects and rules of the game for granted in order to suspend disbelief, but to completely obey it without ever questioning anything is just brainless play.

However I cannot agree with the part that I've quoted. Portal conditions you to antagonize the "voice" and your whole environment. The game makes it clear that you are trapped in it and with that prepares you for an escape by showing you the cracks in the walls. Once you get to the fire you should be looking for a way out, thinking with portals. Even the way the escalator slows down is a hint enough to the observant gamer that you either do something or die.

That's the one truly great thing the game does, and you just letting yourself get burned means completely missing the essence of the game. It is what I always called the "dummy ending". And i think it's purposefully there for people like you, so you break out of this mode of thinking where you trust the designer fully (Glados is the agent of the designer and guess what, she's trying to murder you!) and take charge yourself. To stop being John Anderson and become Neo.

TechnicalBen
21-09-2012, 09:40 AM
You did in the fire? Oh dear. Really? You did not think "Hmmm, that fire is getting close, perhaps this maniac of a robot may wish to harm me"?

Well, I don't really mean to be harsh. Joking aside, it was part of the game, not a problem with the game. Even Portal 2 does the EXACT SAME THING. It even gives you an achievement for it. DX:HR also did something similar, where the pilot crashes the plane, and your left thinking all hope is lost. You know what? I made dam sure I knew the limits of that level right there, I was going to test out that cut scene to the limit. Turns out you can save the pilot after all. :P

Perhaps things should be done like Portal 2 and DX:HR where either the game reloads back where you failed quickly (Portal 2) or lets you continue with a different story/ending (DX:HR). But please don't take out the exploration and alternate play throughs/results.

hamster
21-09-2012, 09:48 AM
If the game encourages you to find different ways, going where you're not supposed to go etc. then i'm sure the gamer will realize that you don't have to obey everything everyone says. Maybe the first time 'round they could give you a quest update: "find a way to go xyz", where xyz is where you're forbidden to go.

coldvvvave
21-09-2012, 09:49 AM
Game developer: "Oh, some guy didn't know what to do in my game and got bored, surely he must be stupid".

I knew this is going to end up as a discussion about how "obedient masses respect authority blah blah blah" then maybe someone would mention Milgram Experiment or argue that Warhammer 40k is faschist or something. But what if the game is just boring or badly designed? Giving player no clues at all is not the great design choice.

ado
21-09-2012, 09:53 AM
Warhammer 40k is fascist. That's what makes it so great.

Jesus_Phish
21-09-2012, 09:53 AM
Well, I don't really mean to be harsh. Joking aside, it was part of the game, not a problem with the game. Even Portal 2 does the EXACT SAME THING. It even gives you an achievement for it. DX:HR also did something similar, where the pilot crashes the plane, and your left thinking all hope is lost. You know what? I made dam sure I knew the limits of that level right there, I was going to test out that cut scene to the limit. Turns out you can save the pilot after all. :P



That was a great part of the game. It practically begged you to just turn around and leave but if you ignored the pilots commands and fought through all the guards and mechs, you saved her life.

r3dknight
21-09-2012, 10:21 AM
Exactly that's what so great. The player is presented a choice. He should really, really run. But by defying common sense and doing the irrational thing, he CAN change the fate of his friend.

Unlike Bioware where they give you that explicit radial option, save the girl you can bone now, or save the dude you can bone in the 3rd installment when Shep comes out of the closet.

Action Speaks Louder than Words.

Drake Sigar
21-09-2012, 10:28 AM
I pretty much agree with your post, and I completely agree that the "must break the game" attitude that a lot of gamers have is sometimes shitty because they are actively trying to spoil the game for themselves by braking the illusion.
Speak for yourself, I think it's wonderful. I love telling Duncan that I'm not joining the Wardens. I love refusing the call of the Dragonborn and becoming a farmer instead. Some of the examples given like Portal are linear stories and have little bearing on this discussion. Player freedom is an essential part of Dishonored (or at least, that's what all the videos and marketing has led me to believe) so I think it has more in common with the RPGs or Hitman in that regard.

ado
21-09-2012, 10:36 AM
Speak for yourself, I think it's wonderful. I love telling Duncan that I'm not joining the Wardens. I love refusing the call of the Dragonborn and becoming a farmer instead.

Hehe, I actually agree completely.

One thing that game designers need to realize is that the enemy is not the game systems that need to be hammered in to submission. Or the story that is too problematic to fit in to an interactive medium. Or the presentation that needs to befit every player. No, the enemy is the player himself.

Once you design a game that utilizes the inherent antagonisms* that the player has towards your game and you, the designer, you will make a game that is unbreakable. A game that will sustain it's illusion no matter what. For my money only three games have really accomplished this. Minecraft, Portal and EVE. Or at least those are the three that I played.

*players want to "beat" the game. It's right there in our vocabulary.

Edit: ICO and Dark Souls as well actually...

Stellar Duck
21-09-2012, 10:51 AM
For every 3 people who obey, 2 look for a way to defy, that's in PC land though.

About that:

The achievement stats may be off. I played HL2 before the cheevos were made so it doesn't account for me tossing the can at the cop and I imagine that I'm not the only one who hasn't played it post update.

Gorzan
21-09-2012, 11:00 AM
Not to talk about people doing both things on seprate (or even the same) playthroughs.

Marar Patrunjica
21-09-2012, 11:00 AM
QA people are fucking morons.

As a QA person I can confirm that, but that's only because all the smart guys leave the field because they don't like working for minimum wage.

Drake Sigar
21-09-2012, 11:01 AM
Hehe, I actually agree completely.

One thing that game designers need to realize is that the enemy is not the game systems that need to be hammered in to submission. Or the story that is too problematic to fit in to an interactive medium. Or the presentation that needs to befit every player. No, the enemy is the player himself.

I wish DA: Origins went all the way and pulled a Star Trek: Borg, where you can say no and then suddenly BLAMO! Game over screen. Totally worth £35 XD

TechnicalBen
21-09-2012, 02:39 PM
But some games are just hilariously "broken" in their narrative or gameplay. As an example, take the Mass effect 3 ending. I decided I don't like any of them. So, I could literally "win" by not playing. Just let Shepherd stand there for all eternity, nothing forces you to click the last button. :D That way, no one dies. ;)

Cooper
21-09-2012, 03:34 PM
Once you design a game that utilizes the inherent antagonisms* that the player has towards your game and you, the designer, you will make a game that is unbreakable. Or you throw that to one side and ENCOURAGE players to break your game.

The Dishonoured devs have gone on a bout finding out combinations of mechanics they had never thought of and designing the game to be maleable through experimentation.

If such experimental, boundary fiddling and pushing is part of your game, then put some faith in gamers to do so. Because many of us will.

Cooper
21-09-2012, 03:39 PM
But some games are just hilariously "broken" in their narrative or gameplay. As an example, take the Mass effect 3 ending. I decided I don't like any of them. So, I could literally "win" by not playing. Just let Shepherd stand there for all eternity, nothing forces you to click the last button. :D That way, no one dies. ;)Just don't. I recently completed ME3 and - though I knew of the problems and was playing for the first time with the 'extended cut' - I had put the grumbling down to vocal internet idiots. But that ending and those choices are so more fucking absurdly broken. All goes to hell at the end? Fine with that, that would have shown some strong story telling. Doing it by killing off the only decent antagonist character after some nonsense exposition and then introducing anotehr antagonist character 5 minutes before the end who waffles on, spouting nonsense that Shepard has empirical evidence that directly refutes such claims yet still says nothing and then gives you a bunch of choices; none of which makes sense and all of which address a nonexistent problem which only exists in the absurd broken logic of some ghost kid that has suddenly been introduced as the antagonist of the series?

I wish the extended cut had included a "the Reapers just fuck off" button.

Outright Villainy
21-09-2012, 04:06 PM
Just don't. I recently completed ME3 and - though I knew of the problems and was playing for the first time with the 'extended cut' - I had put the grumbling down to vocal internet idiots. But that ending and those choices are so more fucking absurdly broken. All goes to hell at the end? Fine with that, that would have shown some strong story telling. Doing it by killing off the only decent antagonist character after some nonsense exposition and then introducing anotehr antagonist character 5 minutes before the end who waffles on, spouting nonsense that Shepard has empirical evidence that directly refutes such claims yet still says nothing and then gives you a bunch of choices; none of which makes sense and all of which address a nonexistent problem which only exists in the absurd broken logic of some ghost kid that has suddenly been introduced as the antagonist of the series?

I wish the extended cut had included a "the Reapers just fuck off" button.

Yeah, this was the main gripe for me. I didn't understand all the complaining about all the endings being too dark, because you're one person, and well that's sacrifice for you. That could have been quite poetic really, your choices being to try and not fuck up shit as much as you can, rather than outright winning everything and have sunshine and happiness forever. I didn't even really mind the lack of resolution for character arcs, since those were mostly covered well beforehand, I felt like nearly every story their got closure. No, the problem as you say, is it just doesn't make any sense on a fundamental level; starchild comes out of nowhere, spews a bunch of nonsense that makes no sense, and then you make an arbitrary decision based on all this nonsensical exposition.

Cooper
21-09-2012, 04:30 PM
No, the problem as you say, is it just doesn't make any sense on a fundamental level; starchild comes out of nowhere, spews a bunch of nonsense that makes no sense, and then you make an arbitrary decision based on all this nonsensical exposition.I played with the Leviathan DLC and that at least foreshadows starchild. It explains the AI decided cyclical extermination was 'the solution' to organic / synthetic war.

Thing is, the logic is flawed. The cycle isn't time determinate, it depends upon when Reapers / Starchild believe it is 'time'. For some reason, they decided it was time for the Protheans even as the organic / synthetic wara didn't happen in the Prothean period (Javik mentions they prevailed over an attempted assault by AI machines and then shutdown all AI creation in their Empire). It didn't happen in this cycle and yet they still turn up. It mentions the Leviathans couldn;t see they were part of the problem, but if the problem is the destruction of organic life by that which it created (the Leviathans by the Reapers) it's just as much of the problem its "we store them as paste inside reapers and leave some of the young ones" doesn't cut it. (Not to mention if "order vs chaos" between synthetic and organic was a major theme of the series, they could have, maybe, wirtten that into the series?)

But do BioWare give Shepard one last moment to shine. One last moment to say "fuck off" to the nonsense shit she's been saying fuck off to the whole series? Nope. They have her mutely accept this space magic crap and bow to four equally absurd options.

So yet another of a bazillion plot holes in a series full of them. I will forgive pulp space opera plot holes. What pissed me off was that Shepard is a woman of great stubborness, exacting argumentative skills and doesn't take any kind of nonsense shit. I've stopped wars by shouting, I've talked species at war into fighting together. I've presented clear statements with such force of purpose and certainty that people have little option but to agree. Properly sure of herself. Yet presented with clearly absurd, broken logic based upon observations of supposed wars that aren't happening and have been halted, and all Shep can do is help magic child decide upon what colour light display to put on.

Plot holes. Fine. Totally throwing everything that made Shepard great as a charcter to play out of the window in the final moments to cow tow to a bunch of decisions that make no sense. Bollocks. I like that the EC had a "screw this" option. Shame it's not fleshed out.

I'm fine - even happy - with a "it all goes to shit" ending. Shame that both the universe and what story telling and writing capabilities BioWare had go to shit together.

Anyway, apologies for the thread hijack.

coldvvvave
21-09-2012, 05:32 PM
I wish DA: Origins went all the way and pulled a Star Trek: Borg, where you can say no and then suddenly BLAMO! Game over screen. Totally worth £35 XD
That happened in Witcher 2. The problem is that it didn't really add anything to the game.

TechnicalBen
21-09-2012, 07:33 PM
I'm trying to think of other games that do that. I'm sure there are a few. The original STALKER had an entire level or 2 past a "special ending" that you had to do the right things to get. If you chose wrong, you got the "It all ends happily ever after, psych! only kidding, blamo your dead!" ending instead. :D

Ritashi
24-09-2012, 07:47 PM
First, claiming that trying to break games is somehow important to being a gamer is completely silly. You *don't* need to break games, nor even try, to have fun with them; in fact, I *hate* games that I can easily break, because that means that they were poorly built or designed. Note that I also love open world games, but specifically open-world games that don't break (i.e. not Skyrim). The reason I don't like breaking games, is that I like immersion. If the physics of the world break, or quest chains break, that's not fun, that's not immersive, that's just having the game break while I was trying to play it.

I should carefully note that I do, in fact, love experimentation in games. I want to be able to try everything, I want to push the game to it's limits; the difference is that I don't want the game to break afterwards. If I explore everything available to me, I want to then be able to continue on with the game, having discovered everything it has to offer. If a figure in the game tells me something isn't possible, or moreover that I'm not allowed to do something, I will take it into consideration, but I will not simply accept it as fact. I won't immediately assume they are telling the truth, or that they are lying. I may, if I decide it suits me, test what they say; if a guard tells me I'm not allowed upstairs, my first reaction won't be to walk up there anyways; I will instead try to sneak up there, without attracting attention, if I decide that there might be something useful up there (or I just get curious). Basically, I trust people in games exactly as much as in real life; I trust that they had a reason to say anything they say, I deduce a rough estimate of that reason and extrapolate any other relevant information (which often indicates whether the original statement was true), then take all that knowledge into consideration as I approach available problems. I assume that characters in games are talking to the player character, NOT to me, and treat what they say appropriately. But as soon as I do something in character (curiosity is in character) but the game forces me to look at the results as a player instead of as my character, immersion breaks. If I fall through the world, I as a player recognize that (my character does not) and I have to reload. If a quest chain breaks, I as a player have to recognize that. If I break some sort of internal logic such that guards don't notice me doing something blatantly obvious, then I as a player am forced to make the explanation of why ("game logic failed to account for xyz") and immersion breaks. Sure, sometimes I just mess around in games to see what happens, particularly when I suspect a flaw in the game logic. But most of the time? Immersion is king.

jackieo
25-09-2012, 06:02 AM
Playtesters are not always just folks off the street. Sometimes they're also serious gamers who just happen not to work in the industry already (e.g. MMOs get raiders to playtest their raids and see how they like them). Whoever they chose to have test, they chose because that specific group's understanding of the game is important to them. That group is probably not going to include exclusively asshats, unless that's the target demographic (which we have no evidence is the case). So, the fears of super game-illiterate people ruining games for us clever types are probably overblown. And if the fix for the problem area is ham-handed, that's development's fault, not the testers'.

Joseph
25-09-2012, 08:39 AM
Can't they just... make it part of an easier difficulty setting?

Mohorovicic
25-09-2012, 09:25 AM
Have you ever listened to developer commentary for Valve games? They talk about changing this or that based on internal testing. QA people are fucking morons.

Only because for every one proper QA tester(who has an extensive knowledge not only about videogames but also usually about game-making) they hire ten monkeys off the street to represent an "audience sample".

If it's any consolation, said ten monkeys work in slave labor conditions and are usually fired after two weeks in most humiliating way possible.

LTK
25-09-2012, 11:02 AM
Yeah, that really makes me feel better, knowing that people are hired to test games to the point of becoming suicidal, just for the sake of our enjoyment. Thanks for making my day.

Besides, the 'audience sample' isn't there to test games for bugs by playing them over and over and over again. It's there to make sure the game is accessible to people who play it for the first time. It reveals problems that developers are going to miss because they spend ten hours a day on the game, and some elements start to seem intuitive to them. "How do I open my inventory?" "Triple-click your character."

The fault isn't with QA. They don't even have anything to do with the game design. The fault isn't with playtesters. They're there to point out mistakes in the design that the developer may have missed. If the game turns out to get hand-holdy just like every other triple-A game on the market, it's the fault of the developer, because they didn't know their audience well enough.

Or we might all be overreacting and it'll be just fine.

Bork Titflopsen
25-09-2012, 12:46 PM
Or we might all be overreacting and it'll be just fine.

PREPOSTEROUS!

I'm pretty sure the game is ruined now, I don't see how they can ever right this wrong!

duffster
25-09-2012, 05:11 PM
I'm still tremendously excited for this game. If it lives up to all the hype, it could be the deus ex of this generation.

TixyLixx
26-09-2012, 01:43 AM
Remember when L4D was a non linear game? Then focus testers kept getting lost so they made it linear.

Hypernetic
26-09-2012, 02:01 AM
Yeah, that really makes me feel better, knowing that people are hired to test games to the point of becoming suicidal, just for the sake of our enjoyment. Thanks for making my day.

Besides, the 'audience sample' isn't there to test games for bugs by playing them over and over and over again. It's there to make sure the game is accessible to people who play it for the first time. It reveals problems that developers are going to miss because they spend ten hours a day on the game, and some elements start to seem intuitive to them. "How do I open my inventory?" "Triple-click your character."

The fault isn't with QA. They don't even have anything to do with the game design. The fault isn't with playtesters. They're there to point out mistakes in the design that the developer may have missed. If the game turns out to get hand-holdy just like every other triple-A game on the market, it's the fault of the developer, because they didn't know their audience well enough.

Or we might all be overreacting and it'll be just fine.

WAT. If the play testers are below average intelligence and they are basing game design on their feedback, it's definitely the fault of the testers, or at least partially. I'd say the blame should be distributed something like 20% testers, 20% developers, and 60% the guy who hired the testers.

internetonsetadd
26-09-2012, 03:32 AM
Someone told a pretty amusing story on Project Eternity's Kickstarter page yesterday. A tester (at THQ I think) kept fatally crashing a product. Lead sits down to start the task manager and find out what the conflict might be, and upon minimizing the game finds WoW running behind it. Lead gives the guy a look, leaves, and two security guards come to escort him out of the building.

That's some well below average intelligence right there. It sounds like a terrible job though, so I doubt it's attracting the best and the brightest. If play testing is supposed to find the lowest common denominator, maybe that's the point.

Am I allowed to just steal other people's stories? Apparently.

Outright Villainy
26-09-2012, 09:33 AM
Remember when L4D was a non linear game? Then focus testers kept getting lost so they made it linear.

I can't really see Left 4 Dead working as a non linear game though. This is a game about keeping everyone together, when not everyone is sure about where to go next, no one goes anywhere. Besides, once you finish the map once, you know the right way, so the other ways seem like a waste. I actually thought 2 had weaker level design because you weren't as naturally guided by light as much, and any of the open area finales for collecting things were universally awful. Linear level design is not the antithesis of fun, Half life 2 proves that well enough, and it's a mold that's much more suited to a game like Left 4 Dead than open world. It's not Day z.

OrangyTang
26-09-2012, 10:08 AM
Someone told a pretty amusing story on Project Eternity's Kickstarter page yesterday. A tester (at THQ I think) kept fatally crashing a product. Lead sits down to start the task manager and find out what the conflict might be, and upon minimizing the game finds WoW running behind it. Lead gives the guy a look, leaves, and two security guards come to escort him out of the building.
If a game is crashing because another game is also running in the background then that's a bug that needs to be fixed, not 'fixed' by escorting the tester out of the building.

Applications (and that includes games) need to play nice with whatever else is running. Something like that is probably due to the game not properly re-initialising D3D after being minimised when something else using 3d is running. The kind of bug that causes random crashes on actual end users systems. And before you say "I'd never be stupid enough to run WoW at the same time", there's tons of non-games apps that (surprisingly) might be using 3d at the same time without you being aware of it.

Ignoring these kinds of issues is what gives pc gaming the reputation for being buggy and crashy.

coldvvvave
26-09-2012, 10:16 AM
WAT. If the play testers are below average intelligence and they are basing game design on their feedback, it's definitely the fault of the testers, or at least partially. I'd say the blame should be distributed something like 20% testers, 20% developers, and 60% the guy who hired the testers.
Where does it say in original text that testers are below average intelligence? Devs mentioned that testers didn't know what to do or kept getting lost. To me that screams bad game and level design. See STALKER as sn example. Are you going to call people who got bored near starting village of Cordon stupid? Sure it's a cult hit and some people like it that way. But thats just a result of programmers forced to write script, design levels and do literally everything because who else would do that? Thats not optimal game design. And that is developers fault.

Okami
26-09-2012, 10:34 AM
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

Hypernetic
26-09-2012, 12:26 PM
Where does it say in original text that testers are below average intelligence? Devs mentioned that testers didn't know what to do or kept getting lost. To me that screams bad game and level design. See STALKER as sn example. Are you going to call people who got bored near starting village of Cordon stupid? Sure it's a cult hit and some people like it that way. But thats just a result of programmers forced to write script, design levels and do literally everything because who else would do that? Thats not optimal game design. And that is developers fault.

I said they were stupid.

Unaco
26-09-2012, 02:02 PM
Has it actually been 'dumbed down'? Have they removed anything because of this, or just added pointers for certain solutions?

Squirly
26-09-2012, 02:16 PM
If a game is crashing because another game is also running in the background then that's a bug that needs to be fixed, not 'fixed' by escorting the tester out of the building.


This is all fine and well and I can't disagree with most of it, but a tester that has WoW running in the background is a worthless tester and needs to GTFO. Them fixing the issue has nothing to do with keeping dead weight around.

TixyLixx
26-09-2012, 02:26 PM
I can't really see Left 4 Dead working as a non linear game though. This is a game about keeping everyone together, when not everyone is sure about where to go next, no one goes anywhere. Besides, once you finish the map once, you know the right way, so the other ways seem like a waste. I actually thought 2 had weaker level design because you weren't as naturally guided by light as much, and any of the open area finales for collecting things were universally awful. Linear level design is not the antithesis of fun, Half life 2 proves that well enough, and it's a mold that's much more suited to a game like Left 4 Dead than open world. It's not Day z.


They just made it repetitive and boring making it linear.

Also they needed to just add lots of physics objects and a gravity gun and fort building like Garry's Mod.

Instead it was point and shoot through linear levels and it got boring after 4 hours once you completed it.

deano2099
26-09-2012, 03:00 PM
They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn’t. They’d say ‘Okay, I can’t go upstairs.’ They wouldn’t do anything"


I dunno. I mean it's an immersive sim isn't it? So if there's an armed guard on the stairs, telling you not to go up there, you should be looking around for other ways to sneak upstairs without alerting the guard. If you really can't find any, charging in would seem to be the only remaining option. I don't think this is down to 'casual FPS' players not knowing what to do, as they're surely most likely to just shoot the guard in the face? It's people trying to actually immerse themselves in the world.

It's fine hearing about people who love to try and 'break the system' on games, but that's always so much more better in theory than practice: guard says don't go upstairs, I rush past him, I get stormed and murdered by 5 guards, I reload and don't go upstairs this time. Repeat ad nauseum throughout the game: try something, fail, reload, etc.

I find it's much more fun in these sort of games to explore the possible routes, weigh the risks of each, take the safest approach. Essentially play as if you don't have infinite lives and continues, as if this is iron-man mode. I'm not saying actually restart the game if you die, but don't just automatically do the most ridiculous thing you can think because you can always reload afterwards. That sounds a hugely dull way of playing to me.


But some games are just hilariously "broken" in their narrative or gameplay. As an example, take the Mass effect 3 ending. I decided I don't like any of them. So, I could literally "win" by not playing. Just let Shepherd stand there for all eternity, nothing forces you to click the last button. :D That way, no one dies. ;)
I don't know about the EE, but if you tried to do that in the original release, you'd get a message that the Crucible was destroyed and a game over screen. Which I actually quite liked as they'd anticipated that reaction and blocked it off.

Namdrol
26-09-2012, 04:51 PM
If a game is crashing because another game is also running in the background then that's a bug that needs to be fixed, not 'fixed' by escorting the tester out of the building.

Applications (and that includes games) need to play nice with whatever else is running. Something like that is probably due to the game not properly re-initialising D3D after being minimised when something else using 3d is running. The kind of bug that causes random crashes on actual end users systems. And before you say "I'd never be stupid enough to run WoW at the same time", there's tons of non-games apps that (surprisingly) might be using 3d at the same time without you being aware of it.

Ignoring these kinds of issues is what gives pc gaming the reputation for being buggy and crashy.

You are over simplifying things. Some api and driver functions cannot be run simultaneously by two separate applications, especially when dealing with graphics drivers. So, running two resource heavy games at the same time is going to lead to crashes and that doesn't mean the games were coded shoddily.