The Complete Rules For Games

Look, it's pretty simple. One or the other.

I love rules. Not following them, of course – that’s for other people. I love writing them. And since I’m the best qualified to decide how everyone else is allowed to behave, it’s only appropriate that I be in charge of everything. So it is that I have been making clear the Rules For Games, both for developers and for players, in an ongoing series that shall be added to forever. You can find the first four parts below.

Rather concerningly, some readers have had the temerity to claim they disagree with the given rules, and sometimes that they will willfully break them. Well let me make it clear that this will no longer be treated with the soft touch of the past. In 2012, as I am crowned President Of Earth, I will be ensuring that any who fail to obey my every rule to the letter will be punished with eternity playing hastily put together Farmville copies on your gran’s computer. Do not cross me. Obey.

DO let me flush the toilets and turn on the taps. Scenery, in any game of any genre, shouldn’t be painted on the walls. And so many games before have put in a nice toilet flushing noise. Since all games do insist in including a toilet, as well they should, then all games should include the splishy sploshy noise of flushing it.

DON’T tell me that you’re a game any more. You want to capture something of Brechtian estrangement, break down that fourth wall with mallets and wrecking balls, because you think it’s a fresh and original approach. It’s not. It’s been done a lot, and it’s probably a sign that you’re not confident enough in your own creation. If you feel the urge to winkingly acknowledge to the player that they’re playing a game, then you need to go back to work to create a more convincing world.

DO feel free to let me quick save. I know, I know, you’re very proud of your checkpointing, but as it happens I don’t really want to repeat any fight in the game seventeen times because of your difficulty spike. And sure, you could consider it cheating, letting me blag my way through sections. But I sort of bought your game, and arrogantly feel like I should now be able to enjoy it as I wish. Perhaps that might be to opt out of quick save spamming. But perhaps it will improve the experience if only you’ll let me.

DON’T show me an unskippable animation when I die. It doesn’t matter how elaborate you make this, the maximum number of times I’ll ever want to watch it is none. And if your load times are horrible, this becomes infinitely more awful. If you’re only ever playing your game with God Mode on to test it, switch it off occasionally to see how the rest of us will suffer when we play. YES! I KNOW! I DIED! SHUT UP AND RELOAD! JUST BLOODY RELOAD! That is how the rest of us suffer when we play.

DO let me carry more than two guns. Just when did we all decide that we weren’t okay with that element of unrealism in gaming? Sure, it can be set in the retro-future on a spaceship made of time, but god forbid we holster an improbable number of weapons. Especially if you’ll then let me carry hundreds of bits of ammo for all the weapons anywhere. Where am I storing those? In my magic trousers? And if so, why can’t I stick a pistol and a rocket launcher in there too? I want to stick a rocket launcher in my magic trousers!

DON’T leave diary entries by one person scattered over miles of corridors, buildings and countries. That’s not how a diary works. A diary tends to be all in one place. Most people, when journaling their lives, don’t tend to scribble it out on the nearest scrap of paper and then leave it wherever they wrote it. Because that would be utterly insane.

DO feel free to hire a writer to work for your team from the start of development. Many really are amazingly talented, and their skill with coding is extraordinary, but this doesn’t always naturally lend itself toward crafting fine narrative. It does, however, mean that we end up with characters called Dirk Bluntly, who say things like, “This is the last time I’m going to take any more of this!” Which we don’t want as much as people apparently believe.

DON’T do anything to us in a cutscene that we could easily prevent during the game proper. It’s extremely unlikely that the enemy is going to capture Tanker McTankerton by pointing a gun at him menacingly. Because that’s what everyone else did on the way there, and he blew them all up with his grenade launcher. Which he likely would do here as well, if only you’d flipping give us the controls back.

DO however, let me do anything amazingly cool my character can do in a cutscene. If the best I can do is jump the height of a brick, then that’s what he’s limited to in the scenes too. If he can cartwheel up a wall, fire lasers out of his eyes, and turn into a spider, then I have to be able to do those things too. In the game. In real life would be good too.

DON’T have flying baddies in your game. Sure, there may be examples of the odd few that have worked. The rest haven’t. It’s so, so unpleasant. Like a lovely walk in the woods ruined by the constant assault of gnats in your face. Fun, people. We want to have fun. Not be constantly irritated. Fun.

DON’T give me a mounted gun that points back at the path along which I just ran, killing everyone by hand. This seems to be the absolute default now. They only serve one purpose: finding out that they didn’t bother to make the scenery destructible. Let me play with a mounted gun! Unless it’s a sequence in which you force me to use a mounted gun, probably on the back of a truck. Stop that.

DO agree to an industry wide standard on the location of save games. Save games are not a secret. They are not a treasure. They’re something most right-thinking people want to be able to preserve after a game’s uninstalled. They’re something many people need to get at when building a new machine, or simply continuing the game on another machine. They aren’t a DRM risk. We just want to know where our save games are, and we don’t want to have to trawl through seventeen different possible locations in the very bowels of Windows, trying to discern which lunatic name you’ve filed them under. When I install a game you let me choose the install location. Can you guess where I want the save games to go to? Here’s a hint. It’s not in C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Roaming\Documents\Programs\Features\Gardening\Knitwear\Publisher\Developer\GameName\Sausages\X34265\

DON’T stop me from sprinting after three seconds. Look, look at me. I’m a fat man. I can sprint for more than three seconds. I can keep going for a good… four seconds. Before collapsing on the ground, red, sweating, pleading for the ambulance to offer me oxygen. But the character in the game? Lean McBuffington? He’s made entirely out of muscles. He’s a man who can sprint. Since it’s apparently possible for us to jog absolutely everywhere, maybe we can run further than from the living room to the downstairs loo. After all, games are supposed to allow us to live our dreams.

DO let me move during cutscenes. I know, you want to make film, and life gave you videogames. But videogames are amazing! You don’t have to sit passively in front of the screen, having the prescribed script play out at you as you sit nailed into a chair. Let me wander around! Let me jump on the tables, or spin on the spot. Let me see what objects can be picked up, and try to pile them on a key character’s head. Let me run around them in maniac circles. And you know what? Letting me look around but not move – that’s actually worse than taking away my controls entirely.

DON’T splash on my screen. I AM NOT A SCREEN! I’M A HUMAN! When it rains, this does not leave droplets running down the front of my vision. This is because I have a face, including a nose, chin and forehead. Concealed between these features are my eyes – two orbs that sit within the protective bonage of my skull, accompanied by the cleaning and dust-deflecting skinflaps of my eyelids. Were raindrops, or worse, splatters of blood, to become visible droplets in my vision, they would have to be on my eyes. I would respond to this by running around, screaming in pain and fear, clutching at my face and begging for help. You appear to be under the impression that I am a sentient monitor. Perhaps a screen mounted on top of human shoulders. I’m not one of these. I’m reasonably sure the character in the game isn’t one of these. So just perhaps can we please stop having splashes appear in front of our view? (Oh, and I’m also not a bloody camera lens, so can we also get rid of lens flare too? Kthnx.)

DO let me kill my friends. Sure, it’s a game over. But let me! I’ve got a gun. They’ve got a head. When the gun refuses to fire at them, well, perhaps you can argue some astonishing technology that recognises non-enemies and forces the safety. (If you could work on inventing this for the US army, that would be awfully helpful.) But when bullets and chairs bounce off them without comment, you’ve somewhat spoilt any notion of fiction you may have tried to establish. Also, if they get to be invincible, how come I don’t? I’m on the same side! So yes, it’s a game over, but let it happen.

DO let me choose my game settings from outside the game. I want to play games in a window, at the resolution of my desktop. The reason I want to do this is because anything else would be mad like a crazy person. So defaulting to showing it to me at 640×400 in EGA at fullscreen is perhaps not the way I want to kick things off with your game. First impressions count. When those first impressions are of seeing the name of your game overlapping the edges of the screen, looking as though it’s made out of LEGO, while IM windows are flashing demanding to know information from me immediately that I can no longer click on, it makes me think you’re a bit of a dick. And you know how you then insist that I restart the game to apply those settings? DO YOU SEE?

DON’T launch your game with an unskippable cutscene. It seems so crazy that I even have to type those words, let alone that so very many games might do it. Since you’re bound to be breaking the rule above, I’m inevitably watching this video at some embarrassingly low resolution, when all I want to do is get the bloody thing into a window. What I don’t want to do is be required to sit, transfixed at my machine, when I’ve clicked to load. I may well be making coffee. Did you even think about that? About my coffee? You can even give me one of those pointless screens saying, “Press any button to start” as if I’m on a PS2, before getting to the title screen proper, if it means not putting your opening narrative before an options screen. What are those screens for, by the way? Stop it.

DO let me pause cutscenes. It blows my little mind how few games offer this option. Doorbells and telephones wait for no man, and if I’m trying to follow your half-arsed attempt at a story, it’s not going to help if my takeaway arrives midway through Anthony Gunnington explaining to Ladyface Helpme that he has to punch fourteen aliens or the evil Gorgal will blow up the universe. This is especially bad on the few occasions when the scenes are worth watching, as I’ll then stumble into the next sequence clueless and annoyed. While some games do make them accessible from the menus, obviously many don’t, and it’s hardly the same. A pause button. Do it. Or I’ll blow up the universe.

DON’T install DirectX without checking which version I currently have. Nor a .NET framework, whatever that is. And yes Steam, I’m mostly talking to you. Just what are you doing? You know how you could know I already have the latest version of DirectX installed? BECAUSE YOU INSTALLED IT YESTERDAY. That’s how you could know. Or you could, I don’t know, check for the version number and notice it’s exactly the same as the one you’re now insisting on installing without even asking first. Especially if I’m playing the demo for a 2D puzzle game from 1989. Oh my goodness.

DO have your in-game volume sliders work. It’s beyond all my understanding – and I have over sixty-three understanding – why I can drag the slider down to a fraction of a millimetre from the bottom and still not be able to hear the TV show I’m watching on the other screen. I shouldn’t have to use Windows’ in-built volume controls to SHUT YOU UP. Especially YOU, Popcap. It’s like your volume sliders go, 10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 0. Your games do not demand my full attention, as brightly coloured as they may be. I might want to enjoy an evening of Peggle and light-hearted crime procedural dramas, and I need to hear the quips.

DON’T make it difficult for me to quit. In fact, since I’m telling you how to do your jobs, you should add this new requirement. A quit button. I know, it sounds cuckoo-crazy, but bear with me. From anywhere in the game, I want to call up the menu (by pressing “Escape” – not by looking at a device strapped to my wrist, tabbing through three pages, and finding the four pixel button for the options) and then choose “Quit to desktop”. I do not want to quit to the main menu. I do not want to quit to the level selection screen. I do not want to quit to that insane screen that asks me to press a button to start. I want to quit the game. Completely. In one go. I don’t, because I’m some sort of insanely fussy old pickypants, want to go through each of those previous pages one by one, until I’ve eventually climbed back up enough ladders to see the crack of daylight that is escape. Yes, you can ask me if I’m sure, in case I select the wrong thing because you probably haven’t bothered to add mouse controls to your 360 port. And then, PING!, I’m back at my desktop ready to continue with my day. Leaving a game shouldn’t be more of a challenge than a boss fight.

DO let me have as many save slots as I want. Because you’re on PC! You’re free! The most a save is likely to take up is about 10MB. My hard drive is, like, lots more megabytes than that! Millions of them! There is no reason in the whole wide universe why you need to restrict me to eight. I might want to keep my earlier saves without having to hand copy them from which ever stupid folder you’ve secreted them into that you won’t tell me anyway. Is it because you hate gamers? You work so hard, for so many months, and by the time your game is done you just feel nothing but contempt for your potential customers? “How many saves shall we allow in the PC version? We’ve got room for infinity of them.” “THREE. And store them in the Recycle Bin.”

DON’T give me a fight I can’t win. I’ve faced the boss for fifteen minutes, I’ve painstakingly shot out its legs, arms, wings and eight of its eyes, and now I’m going for the final blast! His stupid, stupid face. BLAMMO! Cutscene! The monster is alive and disappearing down a hole… waitwhat? No! Absolutely and emphatically no. All of the no in a big pile all at once. If you’re going to make me go through some tedious extended fight, let me bloody well win it. If your story relies on this baddy mysteriously surviving having his energy bar completely emptied, his body hideously destroyed, then perhaps your story is a big stinking piece of old underwear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DO save my checkpoints – it’s not actually against the law for me to stop playing a game and then play it again later on. It’s not cheating. It’s not weird. It’s what people do. Why on EARTH should I have to start an entire mission from the beginning just because I wasn’t able to play your game non-stop from beginning to end? You lunatics.

DON’T tell me I’m leaving the mission area. If you’ve designed a level, let me walk around that level. Don’t give me the ability to walk around that level, but then announce that you’re going to kill me if I don’t turn around and go back to the invisibly marked section you’ve deemed acceptable for this moment. I’m not a prisoner released on an ankle bracelet, I’m a maverick with a lot of guns and a need to see that tree over there. If you didn’t want me to do that, why did you put that tree over there?

DO let me have the ability to turn off vibration on my 360 controller when I’m using mouse/keyboard controls, without having to pull its USB cable from the PC. There is little more terrifying in gaming than when the controller starts violently shaking my desk, making that horrible FLRRRRFLLFRLRLLRRLLL sound, because I opened a door or picked up a weapon. Although I’ll tell you what, horror games – you have my full permission to use this to the maximum effect.

DON’T use super-fancy CGI characters in your cutscenes, and then cut to the dodgy old triangle version of the same people that actually make up the game. It makes everything seem so much worse! And on that matter, don’t ever, EVER put actual real-life photographs in frames on people’s desks. It’s like having a big flashing prompt appear on screen that reads: “Look how unrealistic this game world is!” That seems somewhat counter-intuitive.

DO feel free to let your plot be comprehensible. Yes, you’ve seen a film where everything was really ambiguous, and you thought, “Gosh, I didn’t understand any of that, it must have been really clever! I’ll be clever too!” But you aren’t being clever. You’re being obtuse. If you’ve got a damned clever story that will bemuse until climactic moments reveal incredible links, or even an esoteric narrative that is open to the interpretation of the viewer, then great. But you don’t. You’ve got a story about four soldiers who shoot people until it ends. One of them dies.

DON’T Give me an ability that you’ll then take away when it’s inconvenient for you. If you let me jump, and then later on take away my ability to jump, then you are the same as a person who gives a child a big lollipop, and then snatches it away and jumps up and down on it shouting at the child, “HOW DARE YOU CONTINUE ENJOYING THIS LOLLIPOP! YOU MAKE ME SICK, YOU PUSTULE!” If I’m able to run (for the obligatory three seconds), then I’m able to run. Don’t snatch that ability away from me because… because for some reason you’ve decided it’s important to walk at half the usual pace across this patch of barren land where nothing’s happening because you hate people because perhaps you didn’t get the bike you wanted when you were nine. Good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DO let me run the game in a window. I’m bemused we haven’t included this one before, and I’m pleased to report that just the assumption that RPS would be demanding it has seen this rapidly become the norm for PC gaming over the last couple of years. But there are still exceptions. No longer is it true that your game requires a PC’s undivided attention, and there are just so very many reasons why someone might want to be able to click outside of your game to do something else, without a cataclysmic alt-tab seeing monitors flash, sirens sound, and flocks of birds flutter away from nearby trees.

DON’T force me to set difficulty levels at the start of the game, and then refuse to allow me to change it. Difficulty levels are there to let me tweak the game to be the optimal playing experience. I’m not playing your game to take part in an international tournament – I’m entertaining myself. If I find, as I play, that my entertainment would be improved were it to be more or less difficulty, that is when I would turn to the difficulty slider. I do not care about a league table you think anyone other than three people all called variants of “D4RK_D3STROY3RR” is ever going to look at. And I care more about the career prospects of a Maltese may fly than I do whether I’ll be able to get all the “achievements” you’ve made available for those whose sense of self worth is low that a hastily scrawled jpeg appearing on their own game launcher is of any import.

DO allow me to choose whether your game keeps running when I click outside the window it’s running in. While my instinct is to demand that games psychically be able to tell if I want them to pause or keep running when I click outside of them, I’m willing to concede that the technology is not quite there yet. So instead a compromise – let me choose. Sometimes I want a game to pause mid-cutscene, or at a vital point, when I am forced to respond to an IM or send an email. Other times I want your slow-ass game to get on with its current tedious nothing-time while I check through Twitter.

DON’T ask me if I’m sure about every single thing I do. Again, here I ultimately want the psychic detection systems in place, so games can only ask me this when I have somehow clicked to close the game instead of return to it, and not when I haven’t, but again I’m exhibiting unusual levels of tolerance here in allowing intermediary measures. On this occasion, how about you don’t warn me I’m going to save over an older save game when I’ve had to overwrite an older one due to your ludicrous paucity of save slots, by laboriously double-clicking on one in order to make it available. It’s hard to do that by mistake. And talking of which…

DO allow me to make as many saves as I wish, until my HDD is full. My PC, as much as it may frighten you, is not a Sega Dreamcast. It has a great big hard drive, thousands of gigabytes all over the place, and this is more than enough room to slot in more than nine of your 300k save files. While absolutely no bastard is taking any notice of one of my earliest rules, that save files should be in one agreed location (something that Unity games have made a billion times worse – thanks) I can assure you that my PC is going to cope with as many of them as I wish to create, and I do not need to be sacrificing earlier saves in order to have – at the very least – a save at the start of each of your game’s levels. You dick.

DON’T have your game dump back to the end of the main menu, with no changes, after completion. So few games seem to understand this. If I’ve enjoyed your game enough to finish it, then I’ve developed a connection with it. Most people don’t finish most games, as awful as that makes humanity, so when someone does, it’s worthy of note. A game’s close is always sad – it’s the reason why game endings always seem so flat, so disappointing, no matter how hard they try. After 15 or 25 or 100 hours of interaction, the ending means all of that is coming to an end – this distraction that’s occupied me for so long is no longer here. Game endings are, I think it’s safe to say, like experiencing abandonment. So when this is met with flopping back to the same opening menu I’ve already seen thirty times, the lack of empathy with my situation borders on contempt. I finished you! We stuck together through thick and thin! And now it’s over and you’re like, “Oh, right, who were you again?” You have to acknowledge it! The screen now needs a new background, a la Portal, or new menu options clearly displayed that celebrate the new levels of our relationship. You just have to act like you care – just at least pretend that I wasn’t yet another of your sluts, tossed aside with a cavalier uninterest. Sniff.

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.


  1. Abundant_Suede says:

    1) DON’T make ANY cutscene unskippable whether the opening or otherwise. There’s nothing worse than having to see the same cutscene play over and over again in a challenging portion of a game. Sand in the wound.

    2)Unless you can guarantee there will never be any technical issue that results in a power loss or game crashing (you can’t), DON’T make a game where progress cannot be saved at will in a practical fashion (ARPGs, I’m looking at you). Whatever impact you imagine allowing a save would have on game balance, is far overshadowed by even a single instance of losing earned progress.

    3) No one has ever enjoyed an escort mission. Ever. Even if your A.I. wasn’t so completely brain dead as to make the escortee a liability (which it is, and they are), no one enjoys babysitting.

    P.S. Thank you for the Facebook rule.

    • povu says:

      1) Assassin’s Creed 1, urgh.

    • iniudan says:

      I disagree with you on number 2, some game would be broken if you introduced an unlimited save or load feature.

      Infinite list of roguelike
      Super Meat Boy
      Binding of Isaac
      Any game where you got a limited amount of life

      But I admit having a save on exiting the game should always be there, cause you never know when you might have to quit for an emergency. (but power cut prevent a normal quit, so cannot do much about them other then buying a battery, so you get time to quit, so here a solution go buy a backup power battery for your PC)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Roguelikes allow you to save at any time. Being able to stop playing at an arbitrary point without losing progress is orthogonal to being able to arbitrarily rewind time with quickloads.

      Checkpointing is just pure developer lazyness in this day and age. The storage space argument only ever made sense for very early consoles and it has never, ever been good game design.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      You can save at any point during most of the rougelikes I’m familiar with. You just have to quit the game to do so. Something that people do after a tough encounter or finding an especially shiny piece of loot, it’s just painful to do so. Some games (Diablo) you cant quit and save without resetting the map.

      In the end, what does this contrivance serve, except to irritate? If somone really wants to back up their game in any roguelike, they can do so by locating the save directory. It doesnt keep people from actually doing anything, it just makes the game more annoying when people have a legitimate problem.

      Games crash. Power goes out. This is the reality. I’ve never had anything added to a game by losing progress because the game design pretends like those things don’t exist, or don’t matter.

    • iniudan says:

      @LionsPhil and @Abundant_Suede

      And you two fail to read that I said save on quit should always be permitted.

      Power failure is your trouble not the game developer, like I said buy a PC backup battery if you think not losing your save to one is so critical, even unlimited save features cannot help you against a power failure, for you don’t know when it will happen.

    • Abundant_Suede says:


      Is it your position that games, for whatever reason, never stop functioning abruptly, and unexpectedly? Ever?

      And yes, a freely available save function does help minimize the damage of an unexpected game failure. Or at least, it provides you with the means to do so, and if you fail to do so you have but one but yourself to blame. Instead of in some cases where I can rightfully blame the developer for pretending these things dont happen.

    • LionsPhil says:

      some game would be broken if you introduced an unlimited save or load feature: roguelikes

      Perhaps you should read your own post.

      I do not expect developers to stop me suffering power cuts, etc. I do expect them to put in the standard level of effort to help me defend against lost progress from power cuts, etc. I very much do not buy the excuse that scraping the bare minimum of checkpointing, sometimes only at entire level boundaries (HELLO MAGICKA) is for “game design”.

    • povu says:

      A recent update to Magicka actually allows you to save your progress at checkpoints, rather than at chapters only. Thank god.

      The game does use checkpoints pretty badly in some places though… Chapter 11 with the Yeti’s comes to mind.

    • Unaco says:

      1) Half Life. Ugh!
      Half Life 2… double ugh!

    • iniudan says:


      In a predictable pattern, extremely rarely. Cannot remember the last time for was quite a while ago.

      In unpredictable pattern, for non-power failure reason, from time to time. And most game where it annoy me are game which have full save features, like Skyrim has the latest example. Most of my game without such feature tend to be my more simple games. (also have yet to see Aquaria, Super Meat Boy, Binding of Isaac, Terraria, Darwinia, Uplink … crash a single time)

    • Abundant_Suede says:


    • The Pink Ninja says:

      “3) No one has ever enjoyed an escort mission. Ever. Even if your A.I. wasn’t so completely brain dead as to make the escortee a liability (which it is, and they are), no one enjoys babysitting.”

      I liked most of the escort mission in Freespace 2, especially the last ones where you and a handful of guys are all that stand between fleeing refugees and a painful death. Once you get used to quickly changing targets and commanding your wingmen it’s eminently doable and chasing down bombs is fun.

      I recall the one where you protect the Icini from the asteroids AND Vasudans to be a bit of a shit even on lower difficulty levels though.

    • keithburgun says:

      Yikes… this is some wrong wrongness. I don’t have time to do them all right now, but suffice it to say that the author of this is very, very misguided.

      DO #1: I will assume this one is a joke

      DONT #1: Games are not about “presenting a convincing world”. Who gave him this idea?

      DO #2: “feel free to let me quick save.” NO, NO, NO! This is the WORST thing to ever happen to games. This means that losing is no longer a possibility. It also means that there is no tension, ever, in the game. In short, it is the most powerful weapon ever wielded by a video game character, by far. It turns ANY player into a total omnipotent GOD.

      DONT #2: I agree with this one, although this: “YES! I KNOW! I DIED! SHUT UP AND RELOAD! JUST BLOODY RELOAD! ” is very telling. It illustrates how little it means when we die in modern video games. For this reason I’ve actually advocated that ALL new modern AAA games, which suck anyway, remove the “death” mechanism all together. Because let’s be honest: death in today’s games is just an annoyance.

      DO #3: “DO let me carry more than two guns” uhhh… doesn’t it matter what the game is? Maybe the game in question would be best with just ONE gun, or maybe exactly two, or maybe 20. Why have a weird arbitrary rule at all for the number of guns. This speaks to the generic-ness of modern AAA games: this guy feels comfortable making this statement.

      DONT #3: This one is just stupid, about diary entries? Who gives a shit that that’s not how a real diary would be placed?

      I don’t have time to read the rest AND do all of the necessary vomiting. It’s just too wrong.

    • hahanoob says:

      Unskippable cutscenes are usually just hiding loads. It’s an interesting problem though. Sometimes I think people would be happier with a normal loading screen then then a movie that they could skip. The elevators in mass effect are a good example of this kind of thing.

      And steam has no choice but to run the DX installer. It was even covered on RPS a while ago: link to

      Also, don’t you dare put more stupid icons on my desktop. I will stab you.

    • Abundant_Suede says:


      No, I was specifically referring to actual cutscenes or cinematics, sometimes prefacing a boss battle or other challenging sequence, which do, inexplicably at times, prove unskippable so you have to watch them over and over again on the way to your reload.

      The Mass Effect elevator thing is another situation, in which I agree with you. Sometimes I would just prefer a load screen. At times, the illusion of freedom in your prison is more galling than simply removing any doubt that the game is on a breather.

    • engion3 says:

      ya who uses icons from desktop anymore

    • iniudan says:

      I use my desktop icon, but has opposed to most I got software to optimize the desktop organization, which I use to put down all the common use softwares and files, but not important enough for a quick lunch bar icon, while the start menu program shortcut are for those I rarely use due to having way too many software, so list is quite long, and files for it to be efficient for common use. The only way to access everything in a more efficient manner would be to use command line, if I could remember the paths and files names by heart.

    • ResonanceCascade says:


      Having a quicksave does not mean there’s no such thing as losing. It can, however, make losing less tedious and more fun. It also promotes exploration and experimentation because I know I won’t have to replay 20 minutes of stuff I JUST played because I wanted to try something silly and it didn’t work out.

      Also, the fact that this humorous piece got you so worked up makes me wonder if you aren’t a developer yourself. Hit a little too close to home?

    • picollo7 says:


      1. NO INVISIBLE WALLS! I’m looking at you Borderlands (come to think of it, that is a fitting title) and Far Cry 2. An open world game about exploring should have no magical barriers. I get the whole edge of the world thing, but a border on a hill is just irritating. If I can find a way to climb up there, don’t punish me by invisibly blocking me from moving up.

      2. HAVE A WAY FOR MY CHARACTER TO CLIMB. A 4 foot rail should not prevent my character from moving forward, nor a chainlink fence. My character has a 6 foot vertical but cannot figure out how to put one foot above the other?

      3. DESIGN A GRACEFUL WAY TO BORDER YOUR WORLD/LEVEL. This goes back to the invisible wall thing, and the climbing thing, but is more about level design. We have the technology to make ginormous worlds run perfectly (Just Cause 2) and your solution to the edge of the world/level is infinite sea or invisible wall or unclimbable fence. That’s just lazy. Terraria, why u edge of the world? Just wrap around! Duh. Infinite sea is acceptable for 2011. But I want something better in 2012. Saints Row: TT, Steelport is in the middle of the ocean? Have a convincing mechanic for not exploring the edge of the world. Make your levels interesting enough I don’t want to go over there. Procedural level generation, wrap around, good level design . . . mostly good design.

      4. ELIMINATE POP UPS! Saint’s Row TT, AssCreed etc. I paid x dollars for my vidya card, and I don’t want a tree popping up 50 game yards away. There was a time where PC Gamer would ding you if you had graphical pop ups. Somehow it became acceptable to pop shit up right in your face. Do it behind the scenes, don’t let me see the man behind the curtain.

      5. DESTRUCTIBLE EVERYTHING. How can a wooden chair survive a grenade explosion? Is all glass in game worlds lexan? Are light bulbs immortal? Dead people ragdolls are invincible? Let me blow shit up. Red Faction did this a billion years ago. Half Life 2 did this forever ago. Soldier of Fortune did this infinity ago. Why are we going backwards?! Let me see gibs and material flying all over the place. We have the technology.

      6. REALISTIC FACE MORPHS. If you’re gonna make a realistic face, make it move realistically. Half Life 2 did this. What happened? I don’t want to see my hawt character talking like a wooden puppet mannequin chick. Emotion! Eyebrow, cheek, lips, nose, they move when people talk and emote. DO IT!

      And a side note. Bring back COOL FUCKING GUNS, and lots of them, and let me USE THEM. Goldeneye for the 64 had a bajillion weapons. Doom 1 had a killer fucking arsenal. Crusader: No Remorse let you melt, disintegrate, plasmafy, burn to the bone, explode people. Half Life 1 weapons! And that shit’s from the 90s. Bulletstorm did a good job with the weapons, but the pacing was so fast I never felt like I got to really use them. Everything today is pistol shotgun smg grenade rifle rocket launcher. Uh yeah okay.

      Gimme lasers, let me carry a minigun without having to walk 1 foot per minute. Gimme a big fucking bomb, a microwave gun, an electricity gun, a freeze ray. And let me feel the difference of each weapon, not just enemy killed, next. Make them affect the environment in different ways (see 5). Don’t make laser guns from the future weaker than guns that shoot bullets! Why would someone make a weaker gun? Make them powerful. Don’t have bullet sponge enemies unless they’re tanks. A 50 cal bullet should blow someone’s head off. On that note, head shots should be instakill. Always and forever. I don’t care how beefy that muscle dude is, if his brain is gone, he is dead.

      I couldn’t care less about most of the shit in the article, and if just ONE single game had my wishlist, I’d gladly donate a testicle for it.


      Eliminate immersion breakers and gimme cool fucking guns to play with.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      @ keithburgun Sorry you got that round the wrong way, the return of the reliance of checkpoints is the worst thing that ever happened to gaming not freesaving. The only tension checkpoint saving adds to a game is ‘Where’s the next bloody checkpoint. Come on I want to shut this down where’s the next bloody checkpoint.’ How can you complain about freesaving and advocate removing dying?

      I have played Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl over a dozen times with and without mods, I know exactly what is waiting for me in the underground labs and a good idea of where to find my opponents, yet every time I play and reach the point that I have to go underground I get tense, my hands get sweaty my heart begins to beat faster even though I can save where and when I want. Why because it’s a well designed game with more atmosphere in it’s main menu screen than many checkpoint only games have in their entire first chapter.

      Where does losing come into it? How can you lose in a singleplayer game anyway? Why is having to replay from the last checkpoint better than having to replay from the last quick save? Besides no one forces anyone to use the quicksave but not having a freesave option can force people people to redo levels again and again where is the fun in that?

      There’s a simple answer have freesaving and have an Ironman mode for those who want more challenge or can’t resist the urge to save fail reload.

    • Dare365 says:

      I disagree with the escort missions bit.

      All of Ico was pretty much an escort mission and Resident Evil 4 also managed to make the escort mission bit interesting.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Quicksaves primary function is to prevent tedium, and I honestly think that the problem is that some game developers cannot recognize that sections of their game are tedious. It also is the best way to safeguard against bugs, crashes, and power outages. It also lets you skip cutscenes, encourages you to experiment, and put the game down when life intervenes. Repeating sections of games is frustrating, and player frustration is not a good thing in high doses.

      Even platformers, a genre that thrives on player frustration and meaningless deaths, now have small levels, close checkpoints, or time rewinding mechanics to ameliorate it. That’s not because they’re getting easier, it’s because they’re not wasting players time anymore.

    • Consumatopia says:

      And steam has no choice but to run the DX installer. It was even covered on RPS a while ago: link to

      It’s worth emphasizing that the upshot of that article was not “stupid users” but “stupid Microsoft” It really doesn’t make sense that the D3DX library, which has so many different versions, is an external dependency that the user needs to be made aware of. But Microsoft won’t let developers, or Steam, distribute the particular versions of the library specific to your game–they force you to run that installer. So LionsPhil’s solution below (“DON’T tell the user which dependencies you’re installing…”) violates the license.

      So the original complaint is completely valid, it’s just directed at the wrong party. Like that dude from Valve said “We can’t stop, it’s required due to a bad versioning/packaging scheme as well as bad redistribution licensing terms on the D3DX libraries.”

    • Exlixe says:

      Here’s my rule for storytelling:

      DO make me care when bad things happen to my NPC friends. Half-Life 2 (and the episodes) did this. Allow me to form a bond with my allies, bring me to the edge of tears when they die. Oh, Soldier X got shot and killed? Oh well, there’s only a hundred other faceless soldiers in the game that can replace him.

    • Eolirin says:

      Quicksaving in *no* way helps guard against crashes and unexpected power failures, quite the opposite. Autosaving is much more effective for dealing unexpected outages unless you’re *obsessive* about manually saving every 30 second; if the game just saves itself frequently by itself, you’ll never lose much. Having it rely on you remembering to quicksave while it’s trying to keep you engaged is asking for trouble.

      Not that there aren’t plenty of valid reasons to allow quicksaving, this just isn’t one of them. It’s an argument for autosave, of which check-pointing is a type.

  2. SquareWheel says:

    “DON’T install DirectX without checking which version I currently have.”

    Not quite so simple, these DirectX installations are often modified and need to be installed. If Steam didn’t run these installers on first-run there would be a heck of a lot more problems.

    “Do agree to an industry wide standard on the location of save games.”

    Also more complicated. Windows changed things up in Vista, and things like permissions and multiple user accounts make it more difficult. I’m with you though, we need a standard. We needed a standard ten years ago. By far the worst offender though, is:

    EA Games
    Electronic Arts
    Eletcronic Arts (Yes, they made a typo in one of their games)

    • Lord Byte says:

      Yeah the issue is that the first thing they’ll have to do when issues pop up is tell them to install DirectX / Visual C++ xxxx . Ever tried explaining that to lay-person? Where to find it, how to install it, etc,… it’s hell.

      Now at least they know that the install succeeded, so if it didn’t work on the first try at least it’s not because their directX got corrupted by some old game from 1989 (it happens!)

    • LionsPhil says:

      We covered how wrong John is the first time this came up: the DirectX, .NET etc. installers already check for existing versions. Steam is doing absolutely the right thing by just running them and delegating working out what if anything needs updating to them. (In addition IIRC what Steam is usually installing is D3DX, of which there are many little incompatable versions.)

      The real answer is “DON’T tell the user which dependencies you’re installing, since they’re only going to be dumb ‘power users’ about it”. (And in Steam’s case possibly “once I’ve said ‘install game’, I mean install the bloody thing; don’t leave half of it unfinished until I go to try to play it”. But then people would probably complain that once they’ve set a game downloading and started playing something else in the meantime they get slowdown once it hits the dependency installation.)

      As for savegames, MS don’t document it brilliantly, but post-Vista there’s a dedicated folder, which can be programatically determined by SHGetKnownFolderPath(FOLDERID_SavedGames). Annoyingly their documentation for post-Vista game development doesn’t mention it.

    • Avish says:

      Regarding saves location.
      Just give me the option to change the directory for my savegames. Sierra did it in the 80’s, so it shouldn’t be a problem these days…

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      I’m still in favour of using the game install directory for saves, surely no-one is so protective over their saved games they want fancy windows permissions to protect them?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Sierra did it in the dark old ages when you might actually need to point to a floppy drive, and when users had to actually care about organizing their hard drives themselves.

      Those days are dead, and long may they rot. For a variety of security, stability, and plain old usability reasons, users shouldn’t ever care about anything outside of their documents folder (not even their entire profile!). The rest is not user-servicable parts; let the system deal with them and get on with your life.

      tl;dr sane defaults always trump having to do crap yourself

    • Avish says:

      @LionsPhil :
      I still want some control over what happens in “my documents”. It’s insane that some games use the “Games” folder, some open a new folder with publisher’s name and some with game’s name.

      I don’t see what’s so bad in letting me organize my hard drive the way I like it.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      [mysterious redaction]

    • Roshin says:

      Just save the games to a “Saves” folder in the game directory. I mean seriously, how fucking hard can it be? I actually don’t want them in Documents, because that directory is already filled up with all sorts of junk that devs like to stick there without asking my permission.

    • LionsPhil says:

      @Avish: Oh, sure. The plague of self-important EA games that think they should be carving top-level folders under My Documents is a horrible thing indeed.

      But the solution is for them to use the bloody My Games/Saved Games folder, not to abandon their responsibility as a developer and say “fuck it, let the user fix it themselves”.

      @Suede: 32-bit legacy (unflagged as Vista/7 compatable) applications get virtualized writes in 7; Windows puts a whole union filesystem over the top which actually lives under VirtualStore in your user profile. It’s a pretty neat solution, all constraints considered; works for old programs, is at least a small step forward in properly locking down user/application permissions, and refuses to let new ones to continue the bad old days of DOS.
      (According to the docs Vista did the same but I skipped that one; smelt too much like WinME. Also if you turn off UAC you get permission denied instead of virtualization, which is another reason why ‘power users’ are idiots who shoot themselves in their feet.)

    • Abundant_Suede says:


    • Vorrin says:

      without even going into the issue of security and whatever (boooring), it would seem obvious, to me, from a usability standpoint, to put all the savegames in one single well determined folder, ie. the ‘my games/my savegames’ windows solution, simply because… when will I most likely need to access my savegames (as in, the actual files) at all?

      I reckon 99% of the times it’s going to be ‘I’m building a new computer / formatting the old one/ installing a new Windows’, in which case, I’d find it an absolute idiotic chore to go through all my 50 game folders, cutpasting around. Also, very prone to me forgetting something, or forgetting saves for a game that was not installed in c:\games but c:\programwhatever by mistake.

      So, please industry, I don’t care about defining my bespoke saved folder in game (what a pain) nor about having the savegames necessarily inside the game folder, just all get together, agree on a very reasonable naming convention/location (my games/saved games/) within which you can do whatever you want (yes, you too, EA, as long as you keep it all there), anyway I’m not likely to see it :D

      Same exact thing, should work for config files, truth be told.

    • frymaster says:

      re: directx

      not only is there often new stuff installed in directx as per the other comments, but the “installing directx” bit is the “check if I’ve already got that version” bit. The reason it takes as little time as it does is because it checks what you already have and only upgrades what it needs to.

      re: “access denied” when writing to program files – with UAC on, things are redirected. WIthout it, they aren’t; so for admins, it’ll work, but for normal users, it won’t. Because of this, writing to programs’ own directories has been a no-no since the XP days. (Though if a program insists on it, it could just change the permissions on its install directory… but the people who get directories wrong are too dumb to think of that)

    • Twirrim says:

      There are a series of standard environment variables that get around this problem. I’m on a *nix box at the moment so can’t confirm but I believe $DOCUMENT or similar are around. There are even games that use them (I move my docs directory to a separate partition from my OS / User directory). Off the top of my head I believe CIV 5 does, for starters.
      That way even when Microsoft screws^H^H^H^H alters standard locations between versions of windows, apps can still find the right location.

  3. mr.ioes says:

    Do include cheat codes for your buggy as hell games so we can in 99% of all times create our own workarounds.

    I laughed when I read the paragraph about unskippable intros. HoMM III & Titan Quest anyone? :)

    Great list!

    • Monkey says:

      The worse one for me was Mass Effect 2. After an intro sequence and the prologue of escaping the Normandy then another sequence, all of which is unskippable. Only then you get to the character creation, so once you start playing again and you’re not too happy about his(or hers) nose being too big, you have to do the whole god damn thing again – silly

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Heroes of Might and Magic 3 was truly annoying.

      Everyone told me that it was the best HOMAM game (I still prefer 2), and the first thing you’re presented with is an overly long, unskippable and rubbish intro. It didn’t help my opinion of the game one bit.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      I can skip my TQ intro just fine.

    • LionsPhil says:

      There should probably be a special circle of hell for developers who do the “show a video while loading” thing and then completely omit loading feedback—including any kind of acknowledgement that it heard you and will be skipping just as soon as it’s able—as a result.

      Civ V, I’m looking at you.

    • Kaira- says:

      Reminds me that Kane & Lynch actually did loading pretty nicely. Some dialogue to drive the plot/excuse-for-a-plot/building characters, but that could be skipper instantly as soon as loading was done, and the loading bar was visible. It was very nice.

  4. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Superb list, didn’t disagree with one although the DirectX one isn’t really possible, unless they all ditch it in favour of OpenGL.

    • iniudan says:

      Which would be a perfectly acceptable thing, since if everyone switch to OpenGL it mean that Nvidia and AMD will update the driver for it in a regular fashion, instead of waiting on Id to release something. =p

      And OpenGL would also mean we gamer are finally free from Windows and thus Microsoft. =p

    • LionsPhil says:

      “Free from Microsoft” for gaming is kind of like being a domesticated rabbit hoping to be free from that nice back garden laden with grass and secure from foxes.

      Sure, you may be a bit penned in and they cut your bollocks off, but I assure you that the Linux grass is not greener.

    • iniudan says:

      And your show your limited vision, in only been able to see with thing that currently exist. The reason no one develop an OS which could be dedicated to gaming is justly because of Microsoft hold on DirectX, since all other OS are limited into emulating it, since it proprietary.

      If everyone switched to OpenGL, such OS could be worth the time to be programmed and that OS could be optimized for gaming, thus possibly giving you more out of your hardware.

      The trouble is that it will most likely require that OS to be developed first has long has Directx doesn’t start to lag behind OpenGL development or that Id (or some new developer) make an OpenGL game engine that everyone want to emulate. =p

      A bit in a conundrum. So I know it mostly just wishful thinking on my part.

    • frymaster says:

      except, of course, that directx isn’t comparable with opengl, since it also does sound and contollers. I don’t need to tell you the clusterfuck that is sound on linux…

    • LionsPhil says:

      Oh look, it’s the “we could have a cut-down gaming OS” argument. Hang on, got my stock rebuttal around here somewhere…there we go.

    • Consumatopia says:

      OpenGL is good not because Windows is bad, but because different OSes serve different needs. People have good reasons for preferring MacOS, iOS or Android. Porting your game to any of those platforms, some of which are growing rapidly, requires using something other than DirectX.

  5. Lord Byte says:

    DO Make it clear what every action does in the keyboard configuration screen, it’s hard to guess whether I’m going to need JUMP / CHANGE STANCE / CROUCH or can just do it all with one button.
    DON’T create those crappy configs where you have to press awkward keyboard combinations to change anything, cannot bind multiple keys to the same action.

  6. RockandGrohl says:

    Ah, this is so true, especially the save game one. I would LOVE to have all save games localised in one place. I’m looking at you, Windows 8, to offer advanced folder options such as cloning, so that when I save in Skyrim with Bethesda’s default location of C:/Windows/Stupid/Keep looking/bugger off/ lolololol/skyrim/lol/save/blamoewneng43qrew/45, Windows AUTOMATICALLY clones the save to C:/Users/Chris/My Documents/Game Saves

    Come on MS, surely advanced folder options such as passwording folders and having folders that redirect files and folders that auto clone files SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY NOW!

    • noxxit says:

      Easy solution to this: Let the user choose the save game folder upon installation – warn user that it won’t be deleted upon deinstallation – done!

    • Itantor says:

      In Windows 7 at least there is, in fact, a save folder under “C:-Users-username-Saved Games”. In my case there are two whole games which have saves here (Darwinia and Mini Ninjas). Inexplicably, developers seem to prefer My Documents or alternatively, nested several folders deep in some obscure system folder.

      E:comments do not like greater or less than symbols. Or backslashes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Why the hell do you want copy behaviour?

      Junction points have been around since Windows 2000. But you probably shouldn’t be using those either, if you think Skyrim saves under C:\Windows. (I find it hard to believe that Bethsda are quite that incompetent.)

    • UW says:

      You mean Skyrim’s default location of.. C:/Users/User/Documents/My Games/Skyrim. It’s hardly fair to single Bethesda out, their save location is pretty logical. In fact it’s almost identical to what you wanted it to be.

      The only time it really bugs me is when it turns up in some arbitrary “Application Data” folder (Minecraft, I’m looking at you). Thing is, when you backup your PC… you automatically grab whatever’s in My Documents and any game saves there in the process. Conversely, it’s unlikely you will go trawling through the system files and thus very easy to overlook games saved there.

    • LionsPhil says:

      “Application Data” under your user profile isn’t entirely “system”; it’s “per-user, per-app stuff that isn’t really user-facing”. Stuff like your Firefox profile will live there too. Back up your entire user profile (which is what Windows Backup will do for you).

    • Vorrin says:

      No no no no , please not, I already really really hate how Windows can’t automatically understand what a game is, and that I want all my games to go to C:\games , and have to handtype that every time, imagine if I even had to hand type a specific path twice, just to keep my savegames somewhere obvious. They should automatically go somewhere obvious.

      I would definitely, enormously prefer the ‘my games/my saved games’ solution pointed out in previous comments.

    • Ronlaen says:

      The saves are incredibly annoying but even more so than having a default location they should be moving to cloud storage as well. Of course you’d need an online service for this and Steam offers it for any Steamworks games which kicks ass. I can log in anywhere and install the game and have it auto download then install and finally sync my config and save game.

  7. mrjackspade says:

    Re: the point about end-game credits. One of the most obnoxiously arrogant things I’ve seen was the credits sequence at the end of Modern Warfare 2. After having endured the entire mediocre campaign to see if the story would actually go anywhere that vaguely made sense, the credits then go on to show members of an admiring public walking around a museum looking at galleries full of scenes from the game, with characters in heroic poses, as if to say “COME ADMIRE OUR MASTERPIECE, PRESERVED IN THIS GALLERY FOR POSTERITY!!!”.

    Turned me against the series for life.

    • shimeril says:

      Wonderful list – though as an oldtimer I’d like to add:

      DO – provide a PDF file that can be printed on one A4 sheet of what the keyboard shortcuts are so I don’t have to go into the control settings 385 times to learn exactly what every command is.

    • applecup says:

      Or, alternatively, include one in the box. On the back page of the manual, for example.

    • Meneth says:

      @applecup What is this ‘box’ you speak of?

    • WPUN says:

      Dev shrines should always be secret rooms/levels.

    • Spork says:

      @applecup: Or even, sadly, what is this ‘manual’ of which you speak? Although I got X3:TC for xmas and my eyes lit up when I saw there was an *actual proper manual* in the box, with pages and everything! (Yes it would have been cheaper online but getting my dad to do Amazon was difficult enough).

  8. chriskin says:

    I don’t think that the part on mice is needed – i have been using my mouse’s thumb button for every game in the last years and i never faced a problem with it. Sure, it might be called “MSBUTN8” or something like that on the menus (“thumb button” name can’t be too difficult) but it always works.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      There are definitely games that won’t recognize all or any extended mouse buttons as mappable options, or expose certain functions to be accurately mapped to mouse buttons at all. One of the most recent examples was Skyrim, where certain functions couldnt be “cleanly” mapped to the mouse buttons, without breaking some of the functionality.

    • chriskin says:

      Can you give an example of those “certain functions” ?
      If i recall correctly, i was using my thumb button on skyrim without any issue of broken functionality

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      It’s been a while since I’ve played it, but I remember mapping “F” for some reason to a mouse key (I forget what it did, but besides the primary function, thay key also had a context function which didn’t transfer to the new location, and broke when you remapped it to a mouse key.

      As far as other games, there are far more significant examples, but I cant think of them off the top of my head, other than to assure you the rule is needed.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      in games with few weapons, wheel up AND down to select them seems pointless. I’ve experimented with binding mwheeldown to alt-fire in many games, with distinctly patchy success. Another one: my rear thumb button (which does Back in browsers) refuses to be held in some games, making it useless as a momentary iron-sights button. I’ve met a few games which refused to let me use it for toggle either. As for my mouse6 and mouse7, virtually nothing actually handles them properly, and in a few cases they cause crashes or instant, often un-switch-backable task switching. Maybe that’s Logitech’s fault, and maybe not; it’s not like they’re unknown manufacturers, though.

  9. Drake Sigar says:

    Don’t prevent us from continuing a sandboxy game if we skip the end credits, FABLE!

    To be fair, I haven’t seen anyone else do it since then.

  10. mrtypo says:


    You speak the truth on so many matters that it pains me to bring this minor failing to your attention. A desktop icon? Are you quite mad? I do not wish for my desktop to look like the icon fairy had too many shandies at the Christmas party and vomited all over it.

    Yours Victorianly,


    • aleander says:

      This. FFS, I hate when an installer shows me this page, with checboxes like start menu, desktop, quick bar, sprout a new button on the computer case or whatever. There is start menu, and the start menu has search, and if I want an icon in the middle of my living room I will drag the icon from the start menu myself, thankyouverymuch.

    • barbex says:

      FFS, desktop icons! Surly you don’t mean that any idiot can just dump his crap on my clean desktop! The arrogance!

    • Edawan says:

      I love desktop icons !
      If you don’t want yours can I have them, please ?

    • salgado18 says:

      What are you guys talking about? They give you choice of making the icon or not, and you complain that they didn’t do what you wanted automatically? I like desktop icons, so I move them to a folder in my desktop called Games, where I store all my game icons. You don’t like it, deselect it. Move on.

      Oh, and I don’t like cluttering my taskbar, thank you very much for letting me choose.

    • SolanQ says:

      In regards to desktop and start menu icons, what that “DONT” should have said there is:

      DONT give me the option to disable the creation of a desktop icon if you’re going to completely ignore it and create one anyway no matter what I choose! Worse still, if you’re going to be a stubborn installer, please don’t create a new desktop icon every bloody time I update the game.

      I don’t have enough fingers on both hands to count the number of game installers that try to be funny and create icons everywhere even if you specifically tell it not to.

  11. Fox89 says:

    I wish that end-game credits were more of an event in most games. When I play something through to the finish I always take the time to read the credits, partially to take a moment to appreciate the work people put in and partly because I was conditioned on good credit sequences! Like the end of Final Fantasy VIII, where you get a little bonus CG sequence playing on the side as the names roll by. And the music is an orchestral masterpiece composed purely to be heard during the credits!!

    More like that please. Credits are a part of your game, developers, so you may as well embrace them!

    • MondSemmel says:

      You might enjoy the game “Sequence” in that case. There are no animations or graphics in the credits, but they are commentated by the voice actors of the two main characters. It’s quite interesting. And because one of them is also the developer, that makes them even better.

    • McDan says:

      Quite so, I enjoy sitting through the credits of games that I’ve really enjoyed. And sometimes have been pleasently surprised by things at the end, like Human Revolution. Which was nice. but yeah, you’re right. If developers want us to sit through the credits provide some incentive! Even if it is just little things like the Pixar films do. Game outtakes! Ridiculous but could be brilliant.

  12. President Weasel says:

    I do like a nice quippy crime procedural. I even have a not-hate for that one set in the Caribbean which I am fairly sure was just an elaborate excuse to give one half of Armstrong and Miller a free holiday.
    I also quite liked that ‘Vexed’ one last year that got critically panned; it only had three episodes and I hear the production company went into administration. Sigh.

    Sometimes quick saves make a game stupidly easy and take all the tension out of it, making it little more than a film where you occasionally have to reload from three seconds before. I liked the lack of quicksaves in Dead Rising, for instance, as that made me genuinely hate and fear the zombies for trying to steal my half an hour of progress.
    How about rationed quicksaves (maybe based on tokens you can save up like those ink ribbons they used to have in Resident Evil?) so you can’t just save before every corner, but you can avoid having to do half a level multiple times because of a particularly tricky boss – would that be acceptable under your rules?

  13. Anzcm says:

    DON’T have all your characters in your CRPG speak with dramatic pauses before every word you think is especially significant. It becomes… annoying and… transparent very quickly.

    DO have your characters make noises other than just the words in your script. Um, you know, like real people do when they, when they, er, speak.

    • Thirith says:

      Especially: have their dialogue turns overlap, so it doesn’t sound like one declamatory monologue after another. Doesn’t have to be overdone, doesn’t have to become a Caryl Churchill play, but a bit of overlap can do wonders for more believable dialogue.

    • Edawan says:

      “Especially: have their dialogue turns overlap”
      Yeah, particularly when they’re supposed to be interrupting each other, don’t leave 2s of silence between their lines.

    • Muzman says:

      You guys are suggesting they not make things as easy as possible for the sound editor and animators. Outrage!

  14. Gnarf says:

    People still use the desktop?

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Some people still use computers for more than checking email and browsing facebook, you know.

    • piderman says:


      a) My desktop is always covered by a browser, explorer or Steam.
      b) Steam contains all game shortcuts, even those I have not bought on Steam.
      c) For all other programs, the W7 Start Menu is very friendly. Press Start button -> type ‘netb’ -> Enter and go. Much faster than wading through a sea of icons to find the correct one.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      Oh, I see. Yes, I actually agreed with you elsewhere.

      I interpreted your statement as a knock against desktop computers. A button issue for me, I fear.

      My mistake.

    • iniudan says:

      Yes, still use the desktop. But I got a a fence software install, so my desktop is divided into area, which are all classified into category for software or files shortcut I often use. And I own way too many game for steam for it to be be practical has to browse games, since reorganization is just painful, when you have an very extended list.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Quite. The desktop is, and always has been, an awful metaphor. It’s putting access to things underneath your work area.

    • Gnarf says:

      Oh, yeah. I meant “thing that’s underneath all the windows” desktop, not the desktop computer.

      It just strikes me as something that needs a bunch of tidying to be not-awkward and almost-fast to use. And then the “you get to see it if all your windows are minimized” thing is ridiculous. What LionsPhil said.

    • skinlo says:


      Thats what its for shockingly, to be used.

    • iniudan says:

      If you got to minimize all your windows to get access to desktop then it mean one of them was full screen or your desktop is untidy, has you don’t know where stuff was has to minimize a single windows or that you used the desktop alt+tab shortcut or key (cause it was just faster or because you had so many windows stacked over each other), can easily alt+tab everything back in place after activating what you were going for. (only time I ever use the start menu is because I am going without mouse or because I am going for the program list for a program I rarely use or to enter a command line)

      But like my steam list I don’t go into the start menu for way too many program install, so going by a list just take too much time, for I use it to have all software available (for still faster then going through files when you don’t remember the command line by heart), over having well classified shortcut on the desktop. (but like I said I use software to enhance the desktop, for indeed the basic desktop is complete crap)

      And desktop is not an awful metaphor, it actually perfect, for if your work on your desk I am pretty sure you work on top of it, not under it, so thing would go over the top of the desk. =p

    • Arglebargle says:

      Different people like to do things different ways. Make them all easy to set up.

    • Gnarf says:


      Yeah. But this is a “sensible default settings” issue. It is easy to set up, and Walker is complaining about things defaulting to start menu option selected and desktop option deselected. And then, what with the “Victorians?” bit, it is only right and proper to mention that the last time I fiddled around with the desktop was two computers ago, when I was on that OS from ten years ago.

  15. WhatKateDoes says:

    The splatters on the screen thing, yes yes yes, and especially your description of said malaise lol.

    Also, yes intro screens that are unskippable, if any of you havent seen “If Quake were made today” video – it quite hilariously and astutely nails that particular modern day affliction:

  16. dandy-pandy says:

    i mean, serious sam first encounter, second encounter had the kamikaze’s look silly, its a game, fun? lookin silly ? please bring back silly in games, they are GAMES?
    serious sam 3 was just too serious , and im not talking about the gameplay, but about the way it looked.
    and there are many more examples..

    games have forgot to be games ..
    battlefield 3 , modern warfare, and all of those sorts..maybe some of us are fed up with all those objective-propaganda-stupid-war-serious-look-at-me-im-a-game-publisher-that-forgot-the-meaning-of-game.

    saints row was just silly and dang fun, for me atleast…for example..we want to play GAMES..for reality we have LIFE

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I dont really think light-heartedness in games in in any short supply. Even as far as triple A games this year we had Portal 2.

      But then, I just played through Orcs Must Die, so perhaps my viewpoint is skewed.

    • InternetBatman says:

      This year we had:

      A Costume Quest port
      You Don’t Know Jack 11 (finally)
      Orcs Must Die
      Saints Row 3
      Three Lego games
      Portal 2
      Duke Nukem (it was trying)
      Rock of Ages
      Your Doodles are Bugged
      Serious Sam
      AAAAAAA! for Awesome
      Cthulu Saves the World / Breath of Death 7
      Dungeons of Dredmore
      Solar 2
      Post Apocalyptic Mayhem
      Cargo the Quest for Gravity
      Blocks that Matter
      Atom Zombie Smasher
      And many more.

      It’s a great year for light-hearted games. I think there should be even more, but you can’t ignore all the funny little games being created because AAA games have a serious bent.

  17. mr.ioes says:

    Do not stop loading after I tab out of the game.

  18. Zhou says:

    Oh for a world where sense is common.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Given “common sense” is usually “‘obvious’ thing I didn’t think through”, I am quite glad about its supposed rarity.

  19. greenbananas says:

    How about DON’T use any more than 2 (TWO) cutscenes. One at the start, on at the end. That’s your time, you can set it up how you want and finish it how you want. Anything inbetween is MY time. And I chose to occupy my time playing a computer game because I wanted to PLAY A DAMN COMPUTER GAME, not watch a movie. I don’t want the controls wrestled from me, I don’t want to stop playing whenever you want me to “because exposition” or “because scripted sequence”, I don’t want to watch the PC do stuff I could and should have done myself. In fact, I don’t want to watch anything at all. I want to play it. As you’re supposed to do. In. A. Bloody. Game.

  20. woegjiub says:

    You were spot on in almost all of them, except for the desktop.
    My desktop has zero icons, not even “my computer”
    Windows has the taskbar for a reason, and all games can be accessed through right-clicking on the steam icon, even if it is an “external game”.
    The start menu is there so that I can search for things I hardly ever use, or search for something I want to pin to my taskbar.

    Games should be pinned to the taskbar, ideally through steam.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      I have to agree here. Desktop icons are for philistines. (/snobbery). My desktop is pristine, unspoiled landscape, with some serious eyecandy, not a bunch of gaudy gewgaws. I make heavy use of start menu.

    • skinlo says:

      I hate cluttering up the taskbar, but always use icons on the desktop. Taskbar reduces the amount of open windows you can have easily.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      @ Abundant_Suede my desktop doesn’t need eye candy it has so many icons they create a beauty all of their own.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      my desktop doesn’t need eye candy it has so many icons they create a beauty all of their own.

      *Looks over the ruined landscape of Strontium Mike’s desktop, and a single tear runs down his cheek.*

    • Arglebargle says:

      Second verse: Different people like to do things different ways. Make them all easy to set up.

  21. Steven Hutton says:

    Do: Include some kind of credits game.

    If you insist on having a full credits at least let me shoot the names as they appear or something.

  22. Abundant_Suede says:

    DON’T have flying baddies in your game. Sure, there may be examples of the odd few that have worked. The rest haven’t. It’s so, so unpleasant. Like a lovely walk in the woods ruined by the constant assault of gnats in your face. Fun, people. We want to have fun. Not be constantly irritated. Fun.

    I can’t get behind this. Sure, there are still nights I wake up in a cold sweat after hearing the illusory screech of a Cliff Racer. But I’m not willing to give up on the variety and thrill an airborne enemy can provide.

    • Imbecile says:

      Cliffracers *shudder*, though Skyrims dragons were actually alright!


  23. Pobblepop says:

    Once I’ve watched the endless multitude of company logos and startup movies DON’T SHOW ME THEM AGAIN, just start the goddam game already cheers.
    If I’ve tried to kill/get past a boss/area of your game 10 times and I’m still too shit to do it LET ME SKIP THE AREA SO I CAN CARRY ON PLAYING. A number of games I’ve never got over half way because of this.
    Standardise the server browsers in multiplayer games, they’re all different and all generally bad in one way or another. Find an optimum design and then all games should use it.

    • Somerled says:

      Once I’ve watched the endless multitude of company logos and startup movies DON’T SHOW ME THEM AGAIN, just start the goddam game already cheers.

      For fucks sake even Minecraft has this (unskippable even). Minecraft is made by Mojang? NO FUCKING WAY!! That’s my favorite developer of Minecraft!! I’m glad I bought Minecraft from its one available distributor, Mojang.

      Just do away with the logos entirely. That’s what credit rolls are for. Let’s go back to the Atari days where starting up a game drops you right into the opening screen, or sometimes right into the game.

  24. Coriform says:

    What sort of monster muddies their pristine desktop with icons???!!

  25. Trelow says:

    Who the hell uses the Desktop? I’ve always got a window up, don’t just stick things on my desktop: like links to your web store, or publisher, or anyfrikenthing. I use the Start Menu like any rational person would; please let your folder tree you put in there make sense. And be consistent. Put it under the name of the game. Not your publisher’s name, not the developers name, and for the love of the elder gods, don’t put ™ in the damn folder name.

  26. WPUN says:

    Put some frikkin’ functionality in MMO character selection lobby/screen plz.

  27. Imbecile says:

    Erm, I actually like my gun selection being limited, as it means I have to make some kind of tactical choices about what I’m going to carry rather simply using the most recent (and obviously most powerful) gun I happen to have picked up.

    Its the same problem I have with Skyrim (though I love it). Being able to become an uber mage/warrior/thief/ninja/hairdryer feels like a missed opportunity. I want to choose. I want to specialise. It feels like I’m playing it may way, it feels like I’m making choices rather than having and doing everything.

    • Vander says:

      Yeah, same here. I dont want every games to be like an 90’s shooter.
      And what about realistic games like ARMA?

      Not a good rule.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      A two weapon limit is no more realistic than 99 weapons. I like a limited selection as well but it gets silly that if I’ve got a pistol holstered at my hip and a grenade launcher bungee corded to my backpack that I can’t pick up and use any other weapon without having to discard one that I’m not currently using. That I can’t sling a rifle over my shoulder as well or carry a smg in my hands without giving up my pistol or knife. Especially when your character will pull a pistol or knife out of nowhere in cut-scenes.

    • Imbecile says:

      Its actually nothing to do with realism. I just think limiting options promotes choice and makes for a better game.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Well, with 10 guns you still promote choice. The choice to use whatever gun you want to use or which suits the situation best.
      With limited guns you in general only force the player to take the most versatile and/or the most powerful gun because he doesn’t know what is waiting ahead. And then when a special enemy or occasion comes up you have to throw the right weapons right into his face because he might have chosen the wrong ones before.
      Of course the two weapon approach can work, but outside the “realism” approach I don’t see the use of it.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Well it depends on the type of game and the setting, limited weapons would be just as out of place in some games as unlimited would in others. I personally like limited weapons, limited inventories, individual inventories but a two weapon limit is so arbitrary, why not three weapons or four? And no matter what the limit is if you’ve got all your weapons holstered allow the player to pick up an additional weapon (or two) in their hands, which they’d have to drop to draw any of their holstered weapons or use another item. Going back to the list and being able to do in game anything your character can do in cut-scenes why not have a knife and a pistol the player can’t swap out (except for any other knife or pistol) and then two main weapons one slung across their chest the other over their shoulder plus the option to pick up and use any other weapon? Combined with limited ammo carrying space, it was kind of silly in Crysis that they had limited weapons, but you could max out each ammo type even if you weren’t carry a weapon that used that ammo.

    • Arglebargle says:

      I actually tend to ask the military vets I know what type loadouts they carried in field situations. Median answer was three (main weapon, alternate weapon, sidearm), not counting knife/machete cutlery. Second most common was indeed, two.

      My favorite answer was from a grizzled old Vietnam era recon Marine who regularly packed a crossbow, a pump shotgun, and a Browning Hi-Power. I try to replicate that sometimes in games that will let me.

      Or course, this issue really applies only to vaguely realistic situations, and could be easilly disavowed for more futuristic settings.

    • Mman says:

      “Erm, I actually like my gun selection being limited, as it means I have to make some kind of tactical choices about what I’m going to carry rather simply using the most recent (and obviously most powerful) gun I happen to have picked up.”

      “Using the most recent weapon” is more something that games with limits force on you (to the point that many literally provide exactly what you need for a given situation and they may as well not bother providing a choice). In most weapon limit games there’s no reason at all to take anything other than a generic general purpose weapon (99% guaranteed to be an assault rifle) and a semi-specialised or “power” one (E.G. Shotgun), and anything else is reduced to a couple of gimmick encounters (that *have* to be gimmicks because the limits prevent anything too different from intruding on standard battles). Games trying to be realistic can get away with it, but in anything Sci-fi or Fantasy based it almost always destroys enemy variety and meaningful rewards for exploration at the very least, and has been one of the most damaging influences on the (Single-player, it’s fine in Multi-player) shooter genre in recent years.

      The only non-realistic shooter I can think of where it somewhat works is Halo, where the fact that shields and health have different resistances means you have to balance between pure DPS weapons and shield breakers, which actually does force some sort of actual choice on the player from situation to situation. I’m not sure I can think of any other weapon limit shooters that have anything like that.

    • MattM says:

      I feel like Halo made 2 weapon limit work well. Other elements of the game like enemy design, gun design, and grenades and melee attacks were designed to work with the limit. Later games copied parts of halo without understanding why. The games that made the worst use of weapon limits were the fear series and DNF. In both of them you would frequently be forced to leave cool guns behind or waste them on normal enemies because the only weapons you could find enough ammo for were the basic guns.

  28. Oozo says:

    DON’T use x and z as your main action-buttons, when your game doesn’t have any option to rebind the keys in-game. We all know about the supreme power of the English-speaking race, but there are lower-standing gamers out there who’s keyboard is not fluent in this tongue, thus leading do cramps and distortions in the fingers of the poor fool who’s trying to bridge the gargantuan space between their x- and z-keys.

    • barbex says:

      This! Damnit, Developers, don’t make assumptions like that!

    • Edawan says:

      That’s why I have a shortcut to switch my keyboard to qwerty. (I use alt-shift-0)

  29. mpiwo says:

    Sir Author, you are my new role model. Sorry dad, Yoda.

  30. Sigvatr says:

    Your years of masquerading as a game journalist have all been a cover-up for you to one day seize this platform and dictate your will. You are no longer a gaming journalist, you are a gaming dictator. I want you to edit your about page to explicitly state this. I look forward to hearing more of you telling game developers how to do their job. Someone has to, otherwise they wouldn’t know what to do!

  31. nyarlathotep-88 says:

    What has bugged me a lot these days, is where games ask you to hold a button and then press another button to perform some function. Such as hold space then press 1 (or some other button) to select a weapon. I have some many other buttons on my keyboard that are not being used. Why can’t I map that function to an already unsued key?

    A keyboard has many more buttons than a controller. Let me use them dang it!

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely this. And some of the buttons you hold are just bad, like hold capslock.

  32. Maldomel says:

    I don’t agree with everything, but I do agree with any character capabilities related stuff.

    Please, let my character jump like a normal being, let him run, hop on stuff, sprint, and do whatever a normal human (or alien, mutant, blob, wathever I’m controlling) could do. I’m not asking for Ezio in every game, just for playable dudes who can jump higher than my grandma!!

    Also, it might seem paradoxal, but can I control stuff that does not know how to perform perfect rolls sometimes? When I play a lambda civilian, he does not need to have military training, and to know how to handle every machinegun out there.

  33. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    DO let me use profiles for your savegames. Consoles have this feature via their own avatar/profile kind of thing for a reason! As with consoles there are very often more than one person using a PC and trying to organize Skyrim savegames for more than one person, or just multiple characters, is a f’ing pain in the youknowwhere!

    • zaphod42 says:

      ABSOLUTELY. It blows my friggin mind that there are developers who don’t think about this. Nothing worse than sitting down to play a new game to find out that your only option is to continue your roomate’s game at 40% completion. AAAGH. So, what, I have to swap saves off to a USB drive back and forth manually just so you don’t overwrite it?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Any modern game which is not keeping its state somewhere under your Windows user profile is broken by definition and eventually the free passes of backwards compatability it’s living on will run out.

      And if you’re sharing Windows accounts, don’t complain when you end up with shared state.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Sure. But like I said, in Skyrim (eg) it’s already a problem playing more than one character at the same time. (Yes Bethesda! People do that!) And strangely, many games that enforce people to experiment or have several playthroughs are somehow unable to create a folder for every character/playthrough.
      Of course those games which are not corridor like are a minority, but it’s still an annoying issue.

    • LionsPhil says:

      True. One of the things I like about Civ 4/Alpha Centauri’s save dialogues is that you can make subfolders. (Think they broke that in Civ 5.)

  34. pmanpman says:

    You can keep the start menu thing as is, because if I will use it regularly, I’ll pin to taskbar, because we all know gamers are lazy and taskbar only needs one click.

    Better yet, give me a pin to taskbar option

  35. Unaco says:

    DON’T: Make an old school, retro, indie game in the modern era, and completely forget the innovations and improvements that have occurred in the last 20 years. Specifically I’m referring to Cthulhu Saves the World here, and its complete lack of mouse support. Complete. It also has atrocious menus and interface, limits you to 5 or 6 saves, only displays 5 lines of text at a time, skips rather than scrolls through said text, and is generally clunky, awkward and annoying to engage with.

  36. pilouuuu says:

    I think I just don’t agree about blood on the screen and lens flare. It’s not real life. OK, it’s not a movie. But it is a game, maybe a place where you can mix the best of all media. Those effects don’t annoy me at all and in fact I think they make the game look better and more immersive.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      It might not be real life but they can make a game hard to play. It gets so bad in some games that they might as well program the game to turn off the monitor as soon as you get shot.

  37. NothingFunny says:

    Dear John Walker, I assume you’v been playing games for over decade and writing about gameindustry for many years considering yourself a professional, then why do you still look at game development from the casual ‘common sense’ point of view instead of trying to look a bit inside the things and consider such matters as ‘design focus’ and ‘gameplay’ eh? Limits ARE necessary even in the games where you can seemingly do anything.

    • skinlo says:

      Because common sense > anything ‘professional’.

    • dE says:

      A lot of the so called design focus and gameplay decisions are utter rubbish – from a design point of view as well. You’ll want to guide the players attention, preferably towards something great and enjoyable so that they may view the product favorable.
      However, a lot of the points raised are explicitly about how the game designers smash the player head first into the bad and not so enjoyable parts of their game as if to say “look at that, isn’t it marvellous?”.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I absolutely agree with DE. Many design decisions that were intentionally made are still the wrong decision.

      Also, common sense is a factor in games when they have credulity issues.

  38. 2late2die says:

    I think all of us should just dig up some emails for the various developers and publishers and send them this list. If enough of us do it and we flood their inboxes, maybe they’ll actually pay attention.

    • pilouuuu says:

      I want to believe that some (good) developers read RPS. They should. And they need to!

  39. pilouuuu says:

    I would add:

    – If the game is an RPG then let me solve things by talking and not just by killing! I’m thinking about Skyrim now. It’s a good game, but it’s like and FPS, brawler with levelling and quests, but not an RPG where you can find a diplomatic solution. Even some boss fights should be solvable by talking! You could even befriend some boss. Just imagine how cool would be to go around with a mega powerful evil guy fighting alongside you (when and if you want to fight in the game)! Really, by now games should not focus just on violence.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      I desperately want a Mass Effect-ish game where I can cower behind convenient boxes and shout sensible things at enemies who are shooting at me, and talk them into not shooting. Likewise, I’d seriously like a character skill which, if you put enough points in, lets me quick-draw and shoot someone’s face off mid-sentence if I feel like it. The strict deliniation between shooty enemies and talky enemies is surely too ancient and outdated to continue to survive for that long.

  40. zaphod42 says:

    “DO feel free to let me quick save.”
    This isn’t fair, and has nothing to do with “being proud about checkpoints” or being “unfair”.

    I’ve you had ANY idea how massive the “save anywhere” code was for Skyrim, you wouldn’t say nonsense crap like that. Programming save can be extremely complicated, and having checkpoints MASSIVELY alleviates that difficulty. Then you just say, player is at point X, he’s got stats Y, then reload the scene as normal.
    To be able to quicksave anywhere, you have to record the EXACT game state down to every last detail. Have you noticed how Skyrim saves, even quicksaves, are over 5 MEGABYTES? Most videogame saves are in the 2Kb range. EACH of your saves is bigger than the game executable itself!!

    EDIT: I’m not saying that save size is an issue. Not at all. But I’m trying to say that some games having 2kb saves vs some games having 10MB saves shows you that save isn’t the same across the board. Saving anywhere vs saving at checkpoints requires far more robust programming, which takes time. Yes, serializing the entire game state is common practice, and AAA game studios like Bethesda can do it, sure. But I’m just saying, expecting everybody to do it every-time on every game isn’t necessarily fair. Some games checkpoints are more appropriate, and then save the developers time. Even if the code wouldn’t take long to implement, you’ve got a whole new tier of bug testing and QA to do on load / save from ANYWHERE in the game.

    • pilouuuu says:

      Who cares if they are 100 Mb or 1 Gb? We should be able to save anywhere. Hard disks have plenty of space nowadays. But, also please let me create a different profile for the saves. Sometimes different people play the same game on the same computer. Did you know that, Bethesda?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’ve you had ANY idea how massive the “save anywhere” code was for Skyrim

      Do you?

      Saving is “just” object serialization at the end of the day. Once you can get one game entity to disk and back, you can pretty much get the world. Oblivion, at least, did its game logic/state in a bespoke little scripting language I believe, so its state too can be bundled up.

      It’s nowhere near trivial, but it is a problem that thousands of developers have been solving quite capably for tens of years.

      Have you noticed how Skyrim saves, even quicksaves, are over 5 MEGABYTES? Most videogame saves are in the 2Kb range.

      Actually, John’s gunning low with his 10MB quote for a lot of games. It can vary hugely: Deus Ex 1, for example, never bothered to compress anything and saves could be tens of megabytes. Supreme Commander has hit hundreds before now on large maps IIRC.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      An auto save is a save process forced by an in-game trigger. A quick save is a save manually forced by a user trigger. They’re both the same save process. I don’t see your point.

      The only thing file size affects is how long it actually takes for your hardware to write the file, be it auto or manual. And modern hard drives do not want for space.

      Feel free to educate me further if I’m in error.

    • zaphod42 says:

      @Abundant_Suede I was talking more about saving at checkpoints vs saving anywhere than quicksaving vs autosaving. They’re seperate issues, and our language kind of confused them. Sorry.

      I’m not saying the size of saves is a problem. I’m just using it as an indicator that adding a “save anywhere anytime” feature to some games is not as trivial as just checking a box, which is how the article made it sound to me.

    • Elos says:

      My Witcher 2 save folder was 3.4 GB when I finished the game. I still have 400GB free space.

    • Abundant_Suede says:


      Are not checkpoint saves and Auto-Saves the same thing?

    • zaphod42 says:

      Okay, then to make it all ABUNDANTLY clear what we’re talking about:

      Save anywhere – you have the freedom to save when you want, and load your game there
      Checkpoint save – you can only save at certain locations, or if you save, you have to go back to the most recent checkpoint you hit, regardless of when you save

      Quick save – being able to hit a button to save automatically
      Auto Save – having the game save for you when ____ happens

      Now, yes, Auto-saves are usually triggered on checkpoints. Skyrim also triggers an auto-save when you’ve played for X minutes, or when you open your menu, or other things like that.

      You can have a game that allows you to quicksave and has autosaves at checkpoints, but only saves your progress from most recent checkpoint. So you hit quicksave and then you load it and you’re pushed back some.

      Other games, you can quicksave anywhere, and when you load, you’ll be RIGHT there.

      Thats what we are talking about, the freedom to save anywhere and go back there, rather than save and get pushed back to the latest “checkpoint”.

      Autosaves and quicksaves are both a seperate issue.

    • zaphod42 says:

      @Elos If you’d bothered to read what I’d said instead of skimming you’d realize that this has NOTHING to do with file space.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If we’re going to be pedantic, the difference is between autosaving at a checkpoint and a save that only encodes that you reached point X. Think the difference between a full save game being made automatically, and a level skip code for Lemmings.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      *shakes head*

      Ok, regardless. As LionsPhil said, there’s no game genre that hasn’t solved whatever problems you imagine there are on a technical level for this issue many times over, for decades now. The only reason to chose one over the other is a question of gameplay design, or, in days gone by, because console toys had limited storage resources.

      While I don’t agree with it, I realize one could make argument for the mechanism from a design perspective. There is no *technical* reason why a game can’t introduce open saves on a PC, other than incompetence or laziness.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I absolutely agree with suede and phil here. The save problem has already been solved. It’s even been solved for games where sections of the world don’t even exist until you explore them, like minecraft. It may be a complex problem, but it’s important enough that it always warrants solving. A team that is incapable of making quicksaves / save anywhere on modern hardware is incompetent.

    • Llewyn says:

      “incompetence or laziness”

      I am completely sick and tired of this bullshit from RPS commenters. Incompetent and lazy people do not develop video games to completion. Even the appalling, bug-ridden and badly designed games that we all hate require a level of effort and degree of competence that most of you will never successfully apply to anything.

      What incompetent and lazy people apparently do is post comments on blogs accusing other people of being incompetent and lazy.

    • Abundant_Suede says:


      Sorry to offend your delicate sensibilities. I think it’s important for you to take those comments in the proper context, though. I’m not saying the lack of save features in most of the games we see it in is the direct result of incompetence or laziness. In the vast majority of games it’s a design decision. A design I disagree with, but clearly it was a matter of some deliberation.

      The OP’s point however is that it is somehow a technically prohibitive operation to pull off, something we can easily infer from 20 years of precedent across the entire spectrum of games is far from being any kind of insurmountable challenge. In the theoretical case someone truly doesn’t pull it off purely because it’s too difficult technically, and not because of a deliberate design decision they made, the only reason would seem to be they don’t know how, or they don’t care enough to do so. I think this is seldom, if ever, the case.

      Feel free to make a convincing argument otherwise.

      As far as who can criticize someone else’s work, well, well live in the grown up world. In that world we expect criticism of our professional efforts. Those of us who make the particularity masochistic decision to try and profit from our creative abilities expect savage criticism, and not just from people who share our own ability. Musicians are criticized by non-musicians, movies get criticized by non-directors, and I bet you have even done your fair share of that in your time. One can be a connoisseur without being a practitioner.

      Everyone has expertise that others don’t. I can do creative things that few other people here probably could, and get paid to do it. I have, on occasion, been heavily, even savagely criticized to the point I didn’t want to get out of bed for a week. Occasionally, the criticisms have even been accurate. I have, on occasion, failed. Of course it all pales in comparison to the harshness with which I judge my own work. If people had just asked me, I would have told them what was *really* wrong with any single thing I did. Little if any of the criticism ever came from people who working in the same field as I am, it was rarely completely fair, and virtually nobody understood the pressures behind the scenes that may have shaped the effort.

      I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I want that praise when I succeed and make someone happy with my work, and I reap the rewards from that. I’m perfectly willing to take it from someone who doesn’t share my own skillset (that would be significantly limiting my audience if that were the case). You can’t then claim the same criticism isnt valid when it comes from people who dont share your ability. You can’t have it both ways.

      You just have to toughen up, and take it. It’s the price for putting yourself out there, and risking something. As they say, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

    • InternetBatman says:

      If a team cannot perform its job to the standard in the field, whatever that field may be, because they lack the ability, or in other words because they are not competent enough, then that is the definition of incompetence. I get that on small teams it may be hard to tackle all the major problems, but the successful ones limit the scope of their project so that they do not have as many major problems to solve.

      The thing about checkpointing is that the worst offenders are frequently, perhaps the majority of the time, not small teams. Small teams on the PC generally stick to genres, like platformers, where checkpointing is ignorable. In large games, checkpointing is normally a sign that the basic systems of the game did not work and that somebody said that’s okay. That is incompetence.

      I don’t know why a problem this old that has had successful examples for decades gets a free pass from criticism when much harder and newer things like AAA graphics and UI do not.

      On a different, does that mean that a reviewer should never criticize a game when they do not have the programming skill to make that game? Are you not allowed to that a restaurant is bad if they deliver terrible food because operating a restaurant is hard?

    • Llewyn says:

      @InternetBatman: You are, of course, free to believe that the RPS commenters who insist on insulting development teams rather than criticizing games (and the decisions and processes that lead to them) are using incompetence with that particular meaning in mind.

    • Abundant_Suede says:


      Except for my part, I didn’t insult any development teams, save perhaps in the hypothetical. OP posited that instituting open saves was technically prohibitive, and some games may not have them because the developers “just couldn’t figure out how to do it”. I see no evidence of it being an insurmountable obstacle in two decades of PC game development. If someone wants it there, it’s obvious they can sort it out.

      So whenever we see it, it’s almost certainly a design decision (unless we’re talking about Older console games, which had limited storage resources). I dont happen to agree with that design decision, but recognize it as a matter of some deliberation. In the hypothetical case of a developer that fails to get it done for purely technical reasons (which I think rarely, if ever, happens), based on precedent, it’s hard to see it as other than a lack of skill, or lack of will. So yes, if you insist, I just insulted your imaginary developer who wants open saves but just can’t get it done, rather than believing the game is better without them. I find this scenario unlikely in this day and age.

      Feel free to make a convincing argument otherwise, if you are able. I heard the OP out.

      I went on to write a long response about the nature of who can criticize whom, and whether one must be a movie director to criticize a movie. Alas, the RPS Spam-o-tron has deemed it too powerful to be unleashed in this confined space, so you will just have to take my word that it laid you low and your indignation would have been extinguished under its mighty, scalding wind of truth (re: Hot air).

      It boils down to this, though. As someone who works in a creative field, I have, at times, been subject to withering criticism, some of it even deserved. Little, if any of it, ever came from people who had my same skillset, or were aware of the pressures behind the scenes I might have been dealing with. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because I’m going to take the praise, and reap the rewards when I succeed, even if it derives from pleasing people who have no idea what went into my work. You can’t have one and not the other.

      You man-up, toughen your skin, and accept it as the price for putting yourself out there to do something you love. If it were easy to do, everyone would.

  41. zaphod42 says:

    “DON’T leave diary entries by one person scattered over miles of corridors, buildings and countries. ”

    Um, No. Have you played this amazing game called Bioshock? They used that quite extensibly, and while the realism may have been stretched, you were JUST arguing FOR allowing unrealistic amounts of guns, in favor of gameplay. So in favor of pacing and story, allow the messages to be scattered around. Big deal. I can suspend disbelief of a scattered diary much easier than hammerspace for infinite weapons.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Bioshock is a terrible example because it has exactly this “wandering around dropping tape recorders” problem.

      System Shock 1 and 2 at least had the justification of scope control, in that they knew they couldn’t handle realistic enough interactions with other non-hostile people on their time and tech budget. That excuse wears thinner and thinner with time—we’ve had Deus Ex 1 now, with some of that same Shock devteam talent saying “ok, now we CAN talk to the monsters”. The Shocks also geeenerally grouped one person’s diary entries around the path they were taking/area they were working in the backstory at least, and saved the really littery paper trails for major characters on journeys mirroring the protagonist’s in scope, like Delacroix.

      Top points probably have to go to the likes of Deus Ex 1 and NOLF1/2 for leaving their backstory/sidestory notes in plausible places. Like people’s e-mail accounts, over time. Or actual memos.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      The diary progression in games is kind of like creating a new twitter account every time you want to post something, it’s silly. It can be easily avoided with a little bit of thought. Far Cry 2 lamp-shaded the reporter’s tapes being scattered to the winds by telling you they had been confiscated and presumably they were all in cassette players because people was listening to them. Or you could just pick up one diary/recording per character and when you reach certain points in the game you’d be prompted to read/play the relevant entry.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      I would add the beginning Mass Effect 2 here. The medical logs in the computers gave you a very good impression on what is/was going on. I really enjoyed those.
      Sadly this idea almost vanished throughout the game.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Bioshock was wrong in this case, not the writer. Using diaries to tell every story in a game, especially diaries that are split all over the world is clumsy. It’s not like diaries are the only form of permanent communication, there are emails, cards, voice mail, personal notes and photographs. It is almost always poor decision to just use one to tell a story. Great games are great games despite their flaws, not because of them.

    • Nezuji says:

      @Strontium Mike: The problem with the idea of having one diary with all entries intact, and reading it in dribs and drabs, is that when the diary reveals some vital piece of info or plot twist, the player is only going to scream, “Why would I carry this f***ing diary around and not sit down and read the whole thing?! It would’ve been nice to have this information two hours and three apparently pointless bosses ago!”

    • Strontium Mike says:

      There’s no reason the character can’t read the whole thing when they first pick it up, you can even have a journal option that allows the player to read the whole thing at once. If your publisher has enough money they could even include a physical copy of the diary in the collector’s edition. But if your writer’s clever enough the diary wouldn’t make total sense straight off, use of initials for characters referenced, encrypted sections, unexplained acronyms etc. Or even just rely on the human capacity to forgot something they read three hours ago by distracting them with a lot of exciting events in the meantime. The diary would then only really begin to portray the real back story as you progress through the game and trigger flashbacks or are given a clue that decrypts the diary (hasn’t some game done this?). Going back to the email examples, if your setting doesn’t support something so high tech just have plain old letters or even telegrams anything beats having a single character leave a trail of complete books/recordings that only contain one entry.

  42. Azazel says:

    I fired up Quake 1 Mission Pack 2 (Dundee United 3) and was taken aback by the how awesomely the dragon adhered to the shit flying baddie rule.

  43. Elos says:

    Skyrim: You have to sit trough an unskippable boring wagon ride before you get to create your character, then endure a hilarious unskippable cutscene (“sentries, what do you see?!” “it’s in the clouds!” when the giant ass dragon is already chilling on the tower right in front of you) followed by a run trough some scripted stuff and tunnels and shit. THEN it lets you play the game.

    And you have to do it every goddamn time when you start a new character.

    A “skip this bullshit and let me play already” -button or a separate intro/tutorial should be mandatory.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Actually, Skyrim (at least for me) created an auto-save of my game RIGHT before I “created” my character, so if you want to “skip” the opening cutscene, just load that save of your first character. It is a little wonky of a workaround, I know, but it works.

      That said, they should have anticipated people doing multiple playthroughs.
      On the other hand, at least the Skyrim intro is shorter and more interesting than the Oblivion one.

      Edit: Ah, good point. That only skips the opening carriage ride. You still have to play through the *Spoiler? But who hasn’t played Skyrim yet?*

    • Elos says:

      Even with the save you have to go trough the later part of the unskippable bullshit.

      But yeah, Oblivion was even worse. Let’s do the character creation in a badly lit prison cell so it will never look quite like what the player wants when he finally gets to daylight!

    • Thants says:

      Fallout 3 does a better job of this. There’s the whole vault opening of slowly defining your character. But it also creates an auto-save right before you leave the vault with a dialog that lets you customize your character however you want.

  44. Erithtotl says:

    DON’T do anything to us in a cutscene that we could easily prevent during the game proper. It’s extremely unlikely that the enemy is going to capture Tanker McTankerton by pointing a gun at him menacingly. Because that’s what everyone else did on the way there, and he blew them all up with his grenade launcher. Which he likely would do here as well, if only you’d flipping give us the controls back.

    I think you can go even farther with this one. I felt like all of Red Dead Redemption was like this. The cut scenes were all gritty revisionist western, then the combat was Serious Sam. And then at the end, the way it ends, completely contradicts the previous 10 minutes of Serious Sam action.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Absolutely. It has become a trope of videogames that the coolest things that happen are all in cutscenes. It is rather frustrating, sitting there going “I wish I was doing that right now.”

      Even bigger, though, I would say we’re way too dependent on cut-scenes in games. Games like Portal show emergent story which is much more interesting, and the odd “cutscene” still leaves you in-character. Back when videogames were just sprites, I could understand doing an FMV with your best pre-rendered 3D graphics. But now our realtime graphics are getting close to the pre-rendered ones, so whats the point? Especially when they do a scene in-engine, but totally locked and scripted. Even a Quick Time Event (oh god, help me) would be better, although those are pretty poor excuses for gameplay.

  45. Penicillin says:

    DO let me change the field of view (FOV) from the options menu in-game. Contrary to popular belief, many PC gamers still play their games seated at a desk…gasp! I don’t enjoy playing FPS games as if my character is looking through a telescope. Maybe this is the preferred approach for people sitting on a couch watching a TV, but for full immersion I prefer the monitor in my face, and the wide FOV associated with it. If the ability to change FOV is built-in to the game engine, then WHY do you force me to Google cryptic console commands and .ini file edits? Just put the slider in the damn game menu!

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Adjust FoV and deactivate Head-Bob please.
      Many people, me included suffer from Motion (nowadays Gamer-) Sickness and those two are for many people an easy way to ease the issues with a game and not all of those people know how to fiddle with INI files.

      Eg: I could not play Fallout 3 on my 360 for longer than 30 minutes before getting sick. So I bought the PC version, deactivated head-bob, increased the FoV from 60 (60? Are you f*cking serious?) to 85 and all was well!

    • Shortwave says:

      YES, THIS.

      I can’t stress this enough.
      Fov support has gone down the drain and it sucks hard.

  46. SuperNashwanPower says:

    If you have a russian character in your game, please get a russian voice actor for them. No race on earth can do a passable russian accent, especially not really young members of those races. So please, Metro 2033 devs, don’t bring that awful 10 year old american kid, undoutedly called ‘Chip’ and sporting a blonde bowl cut, back to voice anyone young called Viktor or Gustav. He made all of Metro’s Under-12 characters sound like Elliot from E.T, but with a serious speech-affecting facial deformity.

    Equally, don’t get the american water cooler refiller guy to do his ‘hilarious’ cockney accent every time you have an english character who isn’t posh. Get a cockney. Even Jason Statham is more palatable than a dreadful attempt at what america thinks a cockney sounds like. Hint: Maoriy Pawpins is not a good reference.

    EDIT: Also, Nitro from Call of Pripyat. Bad.

    • Delixe says:

      This is a complaint you can level equally at movies and animated shows. The Hilarity of Richard Gere doing an Oirish or Mr Sean Connery a Georgian submarine commander.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:


    • Starky says:

      Please anyone can do an amazing Russian accent, all you have to do is say Vodka like “Vuhwod-Ka”


  47. salgado18 says:

    DO let me pause/unpause the cutscene with the spacebar, and skip it with ESC, and, since you’re in a good mood, let me restart the cutscene with a little button too, like backspace. I’ve stopped the action in the middle, let me get back to the start and see it all uninterrupted.

  48. Saarlaender39 says:

    Words of wisdom, Mr.Walker. So true – oh, so true.

  49. Figday says:

    This thread should have ended with


    OT : Great read, agreed with almost everything on it!!

  50. LostViking says:

    “DON’T show me an unskippable animation when I die.”
    I couldn’t agree more!
    I think it was Neverwinter Nights that played this agonized scream when you died, and when that happened 10 times in a row it was so infuriating I almost screamed myself.
    In general I quit easily if I have to reload more than a handful of times to complete something in a game, and when you die you should be able to reload immediately.