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Games Entertainment

The Perils of Pointless Innovation In Games 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-does-my-rocket-launcher-have-reloading-minigame dept.
Negative Gamer is running a story discussing the need felt by the major game developers to create the next huge blockbuster, which often leads to innovation and change for their own sake rather than simply focusing on what makes a game fun. Quoting: "There seems to be this invisible pressure to create something that is highly 'intuitive' and incorporates the highest level of innovation that we have ever seen. The problem is that the newest ideas put into games are either gimmicky, terrible in execution, or blatantly ripping off another title. On the other hand there are series that feel the need to completely revamp a game that played perfectly fine before into something completely new that falls flat on its face. ... There's a critical problem with popular, mainstream video games that isn't as large with other mediums; they are expensive to make and require a lot of time and effort put in to create something masterful. With that, games must take cautious paths. I fully understand the risks, but adding unneeded material to certain games is not justifiable."
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The Perils of Pointless Innovation In Games

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  • by OzPeter (195038) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:14PM (#27549679)
    Ah .. yes .. office suites!

    This sort of shit has been happening ever since there were companies competing for market-share of the same domain.

    And I doubt it is even related to software alone.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:17PM (#27549691) Journal

    There seems to be this invisible pressure to create something that is highly 'intuitive' and incorporates the highest level of innovation that we have ever seen.

    Well, this is certainly the first time I've heard someone complain about innovation and change in gaming.

    The picture of the ... blogger? looks pretty young on this article. I wonder if he recalls playing 2D sidescroller after 2D sidescroller? Or if he realizes that a lot of games come out based on the same engine and it really bores me when I realize that I'm just playing a re-textured version of Doom 3 (or whatever the first game was that used that engine).

    On the other hand there are series that feel the need to completely revamp a game that played perfectly fine before ...

    Then play the first game over and over. There are some people that prefer to play something different. Yes, at some point you should draw the line but there are so many games out there you should just read the reviews or rent it and avoid it.

    Given enough competition, innovation is a very good thing regardless.

    The problem is that the newest ideas put into games are either gimmicky, terrible in execution, or blatantly ripping off another title.

    What you are complaining about does not sound like "innovation" but merely something that annoys you. How is it innovative to do any of those things? It sounds more like you're just upset about some franchise being ruined for a title or two so you needed to vent. This isn't "pointless innovation," it's copycatting.

  • The thing is, though, even though 98 out of 100 improvements turn out to be flops, those 2 out of 100 seem to have carried humanity from flint tools all the way to nuclear weapons and internet porn. Well, that's some improvement!

  • fail early (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acidrain (35064) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:19PM (#27549701)
    With our budgets the conservatism is understandable. At the same time when you are trying to make a new product there is also pressure to be the one that stands out. So the creative process demands that you try new things, preferably early on in the project. I think the real problem here (sorry to parade out an industry truism) is not failing quickly enough. If a new feature or mechanic becomes a *big deal* and is not allowed to fail when it starts to suck, the investment of money and ego may require it to ship. However, trying new things when you have time to take the risks, and are not overly committed to shipping them, is the thing that keeps us evolving.
  • by Cinder6 (894572) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:21PM (#27549719)
    Every time a sequel for a popular game comes out, fans (and detractors) will cry out if it uses the same gameplay as the previous game. "There's nothing new!" But if the developers change it up, then the fans will cry foul, saying they're "ruining the experience" or "fixing what isn't broken".

    But, it seems like the video game media likes (and praises) innovation quite a bit, which could be why the developers do it. The fans will be upset no matter what, but at least they can try to get the media on their side, regardless of whether the innovations in question are any good.
  • 100% true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:25PM (#27549745) Homepage Journal

    If you're trying to fit a mechanic into your game instead of building a game around a mechanic you will fail. If it doesn't fit, don't shove. Honestly I think I'd be happier playing Twilight Princess with an ordinary gamepad, ala 'Cube, than with the Wiimote.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:33PM (#27549787)

    Bingo, at least on your first point.

    If they change it people bitch: "I loved X, the changes in X-II make it completely different game!" If they don't change it people bitch: "Why should I pay $50 to play X with a new skin?"

    However, you talk about the 'media' praising change and innovation. I disagree. The 'media' is as obnoxious as the fans. I think its actually more obnoxious. They love utter shit, they shit on true genius. Gaming media for the most part doesn't have an objective bone in their body, their just balancing the fans with the advertisers and they say whatever generates the most revenue. Whether its pooing on a triple-A title to generate a shitstorm (and boost ad impressions) or passing off poo as pure gold to appease their advertisers.

    The developers themselves pretty much do a little of everything. Some innovate, some imitate, and the reality is that the market genuinely wants some of each, so its no real shock that we get just that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:41PM (#27549839)

    Boy, I wish I had some points. At least with progressives they're trying to make people's lives better. Forcing people to regress into a time that never actually existed is hardly the sterling achievement you seem to think.

    There's a hell of a lot of progress necessary before we can consider it in the same realm as pointless. These are tough problems that absolutely have to be solved.

    Just continuing the same regressive, bigoted ineffectual policies because a few hicks can't learn to live with others is hardly a worthwhile pursuit.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:47PM (#27549873)

    You're missing the point. Innovation when done well is fine by the author, it's the half baked interface tweaks that add nothing to the experience which he's labeling pointless.

    Over time there have been a relatively large number of really interesting mechanics added to games which have made for a good time. But change for the sake of change isn't what causes that. These are developers that had an idea and integrated it into the game in a way that people could handle without a lot of hassle.

    Sometimes it's a graphics technology which just adds a wow factor, other times it's more complicated to integrate such as a 3rd race in an RTS or the ability to interact with the environment the way that one can in Assassin's creed or Crysis. Sure one could do a lot of that before, but not to that extent.

    But what those all have in common is that the developers thought things through and made the changes work into the game so that they fit.

  • by MBoffin (259181) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:55PM (#27549907) Homepage

    I can see what's trying to be said, but look at games like Portal. They took a simple concept, portals, and built an entire game around this one simple idea. Sure the game is not long, but it's a brilliant game. It's loved by almost every single person who plays it. Not just enjoyed... loved. And if you listen to the commentary while playing the game, you can really see just how much thought and effort they put into even this simple game.

    I just don't see the problem with this. Game creators should continually try to innovate. No, they're not always going to hit their mark, but occasionally they will totally nail it, like with Portal, and gaming as a whole will take one more step forward. That's a Good Thing.

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @01:59PM (#27549943)

    Who cares? Innovation is innovation. If a game developer doesn't wish to take the time to make sure their innovation is executed properly, don't buy the game... but other developers will be getting ideas from these half-assed innovations and they will be able to improve upon them and maybe make a halfway-enjoyable game. Innovation in any field is NEVER something to complain about... EVER.

  • by jalefkowit (101585) <jason@NOSPam.jasonlefkowitz.net> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:00PM (#27549951) Homepage
    There's a saying in the world of user interface design: "The only truly intuitive interface is the nipple. All others are learned."
  • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:18PM (#27550037) Homepage

    Or if he realizes that a lot of games come out based on the same engine and it really bores me when I realize that I'm just playing a re-textured version of Doom 3

    I don't think it's the game engine that bores you, but that the story and gameplay is boring and isn't keeping you compelled. Who cares what the engine is? Once I'm running through the same mazes, trying to find the same keys, the game gets boring. Take Assassin's Creed. The first city was amazing. There was a ton of stuff to do, people to save, soldiers to fight. Then you beat them and find out the next 9 levels are exactly the same, down to the mission structure and number of guys to save, etc. It hits boring almost immediately after that realization comes. Other games, however, have new things for you to do every level, even keeping it within the structure of the game - such as God of War. It never feels like you're doing the same thing twice. That kind of stuff is independent on whether they've licensed the Unreal engine to do it, and there's nothing really "innovative" about it. In God of War, the mechanics of the big boss battles are taken straight out of Dragon's Lair from 1983. Hit a point in the path, press a button. If you get the button wrong, try again.

  • by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:22PM (#27550045)

    There's a critical problem with popular, mainstream video games that isn't as large with other mediums; they are expensive to make and require a lot of time and effort put in to create something masterful.

    Like.... movies?

    Games that cost hundreds of million dollars to make aren't the best place to experiment. I think big game studios should create R&D departments where they'd make small games to test a new concept and give it to a number of people to test.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:30PM (#27550079) Homepage

    Yep. Particularly because you're also hounded if you haven't brought along the good stuff from the last generation. I particularly noticed it in RTS games which I played from Dune to many of the C&C series, Warcraft and so on. thinkgs like smart queues, formations, configurable hotkeys, command groups, AI tactics and so on. I went back to play the original Dune II once, it was still cool but damn how many annoyances it had with things you just expected in newer games. And I say this as someone that loved it and finished the campaign with all three, even the useless Ordos. You can't make a stunning good RTS without "ripping off" a lot of what's already been done. Then you can add something extra spicy on top...

  • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:36PM (#27550111) Homepage

    Yes, the game still has its flaws, but the parkour interface is very innovative (and fun) and will likely be copied by other games. Assassin's Creed attempted something similar, but ME shows how it can be done right.

    Also consider Portal. At heart a very simple concept that was quite difficult to figure out how to implement, but in gameplay led to really interesting and innovative puzzles.

    On the other hand, there are failures. For instance, setting the grass on fire and needing to take the prevailing wind into consideration in Far Cry 2 was an interesting novelty that probably took a lot of time and effort to develop, but didn't really add much to the game.

  • Re:Problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:45PM (#27550153) Homepage

    That's the way people seem to like FF games and MGS games. It seems to be the way the developers want it and they do it. But they try things. The Gambit system in FF XII was good, it wasn't FF6's battle system for the 18th time. And while new things are added to Metal Gear Solid, they usually don't feel like they were just added to be a bullet point in reviews that turns out to be really obnoxious in real life (I'm looking at you friend system in GTA IV).

    As for the vast emptiness of Shadow of the Colossus, it seemed very appropriate to me. It gave you the feeling the world was lonely and there wasn't much life, which made the Collosses stand out all the more, and it all the more heartbreaking when you had to kill them. If it was all a dense forrest or there were herds of elk running around, I'm not sure it would have the tone it needed.

    I've played most FFs since VII, and I'll agree that they are changing it. I'm kind of glad. The Gambit system made all the little battles easier since you didn't have to spend as much time going through menus during small fights. I'm actually kind of glad they are simplifying things, having 70 kinds of armor is just obnoxious to me. I don't care. I wish they would fix the grinding problem though, the games always have sections where you basically have to stop and grid which just feels like padding the games hour count. Maybe XIII will be better. We'll see. I doubt it.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @02:45PM (#27550155)
    At least with progressives they're trying to make people's lives better

    Which people? At whose expense? Be specific.

    Forcing people to regress into a time that never actually existed is hardly the sterling achievement you seem to think

    Ah. If you would, please point out where I mentioned anything like that, OK?

    There's a hell of a lot of progress necessary before we can consider it in the same realm as pointless

    Change for the sake of change doesn't identify a specific problem, propose a specific solution, or identify a goal - a situation when a given change will no longer require action. But the legions of people who simply can't stand a status quo in any form, in any area of culture or human activity, for any reason ("Change! Never mind to what, or how!") fail miserably to ever articulate an actual, rational, intellectually coherent set of ideals for a freely functioning society. For example: they can't stand the First Amendment, because it provides for politically incorrect, "unfair" speech (see the "progressive" call for the restoration - regressively, one might say - for the hillariously mis-named "fairness doctrine"). When the progressives can't rid themselves of a large contingent that wants that sort of "change" to a status quo like freedom of speech, don't talk to me about the rest of noble work they have in mind.

    regressive, bigoted ineffectual policies

    Such as? Which government policies are bigoted? Are you referring to the ones that favor students or businesses based on gender or the color of someone's skin? That sort of bigotry? But that's exactly the sort of thing that progressive politicians enact and celebrate at every opportunity. Progressives absolutely thrive on dividing society up into grievance groups, skin pigment groups, and newly-minted-victim groups. Divisiveness, economic class baiting, resentment and exploitation of actual taxpayers - those the badges of honor among progressive politicians. The "hicks" you love to hate are far less of an issue than typical grievance group activists.
  • Right. They innovated. They perfected the thing they made. THEN THEY STOPPED.

    Portal was short, and they were fine with that. But if it was most companies, it would have been padded out to 2-3x that length. We'd have had at least one sequel by now that "innovated" in some pointless way (like the one-way green portal and the come-out-upside-down purple portal, and the...).

    Valve did what they needed to. They made a fun game, planned it to be one game, and balanced it well.

    Most companies just plan to make sequels no matter what. I refer you to the 50 Cent games, Mercenaries, etc. They are designed to be trilogies. So even if they had good ideas, they store them up for the other games, making the first seem bland. If big problems are found in the first, they often aren't corrected until the third due to the parallel development.

    Pointless innovation often isn't tested until it works well either. Let's take the friend system from GTA IV. It was interesting, but took WAY TOO MUCH TIME. The people were way too needy. Everyone I know just gave up on that aspect of the game because of it. It was a good/interesting idea, but it wasn't finished when it was put in.

    As a final example of what goes on, let me mention Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. That game was basically perfect. The combat wasn't great, but the rest of the game more than made up for it. The graphics were good, but the platforming was sublime and the story was so well told (especially the ending). It had a good tone.

    The game innovated. It took the rewind-time mechanic we had already seen (unfinished or gimmicky, see Blink: The Time Sweeper) and perfected it. The platforming worked extremely well and the level design complemented it perfectly. The game was done. Unfortunately, it sold well.

    So they made a sequel. And it innovated. It made the prince EMO. There was no reason. Arguably it was completely counter to his character in the first game. But that was the innovation. Otherwise the game wasn't supposed to be much different or that much better. This stupid "innovation" prevented me from playing the game.

    And then they made another sequel. And the prince was still angry and emo. It didn't matter that Ubisoft took so much flack for taking a great game and trying to make it "trendy", taking away much of the great family-friendly mood. In this game they were supposed to have improved the combat quite a bit, but it still wasn't a game I wanted to play.

    There was no need for sequels, the first game was complete. They just tacked on new adventures and "innovated" until their excellent game was a slightly confusing series that didn't have much of a reason to exist.

    Very few games should ever be planned as a trilogy. Shenmue was a great example (I wish it was finished). It was one cohesive story in three parts, because it was so detailed and the story so long. Having it be a trilogy made sense. But when you go design the next generic FPS game and from the start deem it a trilogy so you can sell more units... you're not helping anyone.

  • by jdbausch (1419981) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @03:07PM (#27550315)
    just more proof that the article is just another ill-informed rant from some idiot blogger who we are all dumber for having read.
  • by TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @03:15PM (#27550369)

    Citing Shadow of the Colossus as an example of why we don't need innovation is confused. SotC doesn't have a huge list of asterisks on the back of the box (you know, *Multiplayer! *Online Player! *User Modications! *Physics simulator!). Nonetheless, SotC stands out from the pack. SotC's innovation was omission--like it's wikipedia entry says, "The game is unusual within the action-adventure genre in that there are no towns or dungeons to explore, no characters with which to interact, and no enemies to defeat other than the colossi." It was unusual because of what wasn't there. Well-designed simplicity is innovation.

    If you just re-worded this rant to be against adding stuff for the sake of adding stuff instead of against innovation, then it would been making a rather insightful point. As it is, it's just flamebait.

    Maybe you didn't like Mirror's Edge, but whatever problems it has are unique problems. Citing it as an example of what's wrong with the industry is deeply obtuse.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @03:21PM (#27550399)

    You want to be innovative instead of trying to build the biggest epeen how about trying to build the most fun FPS? Serious Sam? fun. SoF I&II? fun. NOLF I&II? VERY fun. Deus Ex? FUN. See a connection here? None of these games were top of the graphics charts when they were released, yet folks still keep talking about them and coming back for another round because they were F.U.N. with a capital F.

    Games are becoming more and more like movies in this regard. Back in the day, just showing a train coming into a station was enough to wow the audience. But as the audience got more sophisticated, more was required to impress them. Then you ended up with market segmentation. There's the people who want tits and splosions, there's the people who like Woody Allen movies, there's the people who like screwball british comedies, etc. But even within those genres there's good work and bad. Everyone can do explosions, everyone can do costume dramas, but not everyone can do those genres well. And that's the difference between a good movie and by the numbers crap -- giving a shit and doing it right.

    These days pretty much every game can look pretty. The ones in the past that always impressed me were the ones that either took what we've seen to a new level or did the same stuff better than anyone else. And much of that comes down to storytelling. I'm attracted to RPG play mechanics but am usually bored out of my mind by the derivative and uninspired storytelling. Shooters tend to have poor storylines as well but man, when they're done right it's engrossing. I enjoy the gameplay and I'm also wanting to see what happens next.

    What I find interesting is that there's been a resurgence in the development of games that feel a bit more old school. The name used for them is casual gaming but it's really about making a game that's not quite modern -- modern games are $20 million epic events that suck up a ton of time. The casual games are more built like the old atari ones -- you pick them up, have some fun, can set them down whenever. Doesn't take a million bucks to put one together, doesn't take a hundred thousand units sold to break even. And with the electronic distribution available on consoles, it's easier to take a chance with them.

  • Re:Problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @03:22PM (#27550401)

    MGS4 had plenty of gameplay. It's just that the Solid part of the Metal Gear series has been since 1998 dedicated to gamers who now have lives and professional careers and can't spend endless amount of hours crawling through games anymore. Play it in a weekend and be done.

    The only aspect of gameplay cut from MGS3 to MGS4 was the healing and feeding systems. Which given the time elapsed from the start point to end point of missions, the food requirement made no sense. The sneaking suit's already camo, and temperature regulating, might as well take care of things like broken bones, and bleeds.

    Also, play MGS4 on Boss Extreme difficulty. You're spending more time crawling through from point to point than watching cutscenes.

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @03:31PM (#27550453) Homepage Journal

    Yes, it is truly horrible. I'm paying more in taxes than my parents ever earned. Of course, I do so because the government payed for my education, which has given me valuable skills, but I see now how selfish its action were. The government only lifts people out of poverty to expand the economy in order to produce more tax revenue, which it uses to continue to raise the standard of living of all Americans. It's a vicious cycle!

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @04:02PM (#27550619)

    making lives better? Oh, yes, by not allowing people to make their own choices.

    Gay marriage forced me to choose between my faith and not being an asshole.

  • by Haeleth (414428) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @04:19PM (#27550711) Journal

    Every time a sequel for a popular game comes out, fans (and detractors) will cry out if it uses the same gameplay as the previous game. "There's nothing new!"

    Really? I can't remember many examples of this.

    Doom 2, perhaps ... but then people were specifically complaining that the game didn't have as many new weapons as they'd hoped it might. They weren't upset that the basic gameplay was the same.

    But if the developers change it up, then the fans will cry foul, saying they're "ruining the experience" or "fixing what isn't broken".

    Generally this is because the changes that are made are not to the things the fans thought were wrong with the first game.

    For example, look at the complaints around Deus Ex: Invisible War. What did people complain about? Primarily the user interface, the unified ammo, and the tiny environments. Were any of these things that had been wrong with the first game? No; hence complaints about "fixing things that weren't broken". There was plenty broken in the original Deus Ex, and fans would have been perfectly happy with those things being fixed in the sequel. Unfortunately most of them (such as the game balance) were actually made worse by the changes.

    Again, look at System Shock. Observe the magnitude of the changes in System Shock 2. It's a very different game in many ways; the interface is fundamentally different, making it less of a traditional 3D RPG and more of an FPS. Do you see fans griping about the changes? Nope -- mostly they loved it, because while it was different, it was just as deep -- and a lot of the changes, such as the new control scheme, were clearly improvements. Then compare those same fans' reactions to Bioshock ...

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @04:59PM (#27550969)
    You threw out the first generalized, nonspecific criticism ... Perils of Pointless Innovation ... "progressive" politics"

    But that was specific! "Progressives" are utterly rudderless in their idealogy, goals, strategies - their only coherent thought is that however things are (no matter the topic, or scale, or people, or interests involved), they have to Change (as in, the undefined Change We Can Believe In that so many people blindly voted for, and are now seeing rather lurchingly and alarmingly playing out in real life). Activists whose primary interest is simply seeing things stirred up and changed, rather than having an interest in building an intellectually solid and philosophically rational cultural framework... those people aren't interested in intellectual integrity, they are simply in the Activist Business or wearing their Progesssive platitudes as a fasion of sorts. They are in the business of manufacturing inequities where none exist (or don't in the advertised form), grievenances out of increasingly microsopic differences between people, and votes out of the notion that quaint things like, say, the First Amendment aren't fair.

    When their message becomes "Change to XYZ" (so that X, Y, and Z can actually be debated on their merits) rather than "anything that exists now sucks," (rinse, repeat, perpetually) then they'll be exhibiting maturity worth a debate. The adolescent urge to graft pointless or performance-killing features onto a perfectly good game engine just because you can isn't any different than grafting pointless, tax-costing, liberty-killing Nanny State "features" onto the government just because you can say that you're progressing in some way. That's as specific as I need to get!
  • by genericpenguin (318967) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @05:57PM (#27551297) Journal

    Modded insightful? Hello? Is there anyone still here? I know there's supposed to be a good point in there but it got eaten alive and spat back out with copious amounts of troll saliva.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 12, 2009 @06:42PM (#27551533)

    Of course you foster none of this bigotry... even towards religious people...

  • by FrostDust (1009075) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @08:20PM (#27552143)

    With regenerative healing in FPS games, the player is encouraged to take a preferred attitude towards how aggressive to be in battles.

    In more realistic games where you die after being hit by 3 shots or less, like Rainbow Six, you pay very close attention to tactical implementations to keep your character alive, like cover, recon of enemy positions, and suppressive fire.

    In traditional FPS games, where your health is measured as a number out of 100, and health packs are easily found or can be saved in your inventory, you can circle-strafe groups of enemies with machine guns blazing with little concern if you suffer a decent amount of damage.

    In games with regenerative healing, they enforce upon the user an impression of how aggressive to be by making it known your shield can take so many hits, and it recovers after so long. If you judge you can fight the enemy easily and not take that many hits, you'd most likely jump in to the fray and take them out quickly. With a bunch of accurate, beefy enemies, you'd either handle them with long-range weapons, or use hit and run tactics.

    While such behavior is seen and viable in many other games, shooters like Halo use this to prevent the user from being too cautious, or too aggressive. At least, as defined by the ideas of how the developers want the user to play.

    It's easier to see this by recognizing a character's health as a resource, like in an RTS game. By making resources abundant or scarce, the player will accordingly be more aggressive or cautious in building and using units.

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @08:55PM (#27552371)

    Proper nipple use is not instinctive, at least for humans. Ask any nursing mother about the first breast feeding of her children, and be prepared to cringe.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday April 12, 2009 @09:02PM (#27552417) Journal

    I HAVE played on high, and you know what I find? Rubber band AI. They simply cheat by cranking out the bad guys armor or allowing him to pull off perfect head shots from a mile away while I am trying to make do with an M1 Garand. That ain't fun. That is like making yet ANOTHER WW2 shooter and then going "Oh it ain't hard enough for ya? Well how about this: I give your enemy heat seeking smart bullets and night vision that sees through walls and you get...a Colt 45 with six bullets. Oh yeah, and your character has a pulled groin muscle and limps to the left. Have fun!"

    But of course that AIN'T fun, that is just covering up the pisspoor AI with heat seeking super bullets. There are times when that might be believable. A battle hardened German Sniper sitting in the top of a tower picking you off? That I can accept. The green ass grunt being able to "magically" know EXACTLY where you are even behind building and able to carry and rain down massive amounts of lead coated death? Not so much. A good example IMHO of "getting it right" would be Bioshock and FEAR. With the exception of a few glaring examples(bad guys trying to climb under a locker when a simple step over would do in FEAR. If you played it you know the spot) the AI worked. Compare that to MOH:Airborne where I have seen Nazi elite troops run to hide behind the SAME box that from the huge pile of corpses beside would give even the most retarded bad guy notice that perhaps that ain't the place to be hiding. All cranking the AI does on those games is paint a giant flag above your head that says "HE IS RIGHT HERE!!!"

    And as for the above poster talking about how we "want" or tits and explosions? You ALMOST had it right and then veered off course bud. Do we want stuff to blow up real good? Hell yes! But the more IMPORTANT question is this: Do we honestly give a shit if the explosion uses realistic "blast physics" so that each fricking timber comes down in the EXACT right place as it would if you hit it with an RPG. I have talked to more gamers than I can count and we agree: Who cares as long as it goes boom?

    Realistic physics is another one of those "epeen" bullet points that require a supercomputer to get more than 6 FPS that is being pushed ON rather than BY the gamer. As long as the explosions are big and fiery we are happy little campers. All that "my physics is better than your physics" crap does is give bullet points to ATI and Nvidia for their latest cards and pushes a hell of a lot of gamers right out of your market. As a PC repairman with 15 years experience I can say that the "sweet spot" in graphics is between a 6200 and a 7600 on the Nvidia side with the 6600 and 7600 being quite popular and widely used, with the X1650PRO being quite popular on the ATI side of the pond. None of the above cards are going to work with the "realistic physic" eye candy but you know what? At prices between $50-100 bucks they are still big sellers. Why in the nine hells would you want to get into a "sorry about your penis" battle with the other game publishers and cut so many potential buyers right out of your market? In this economy it makes NO sense at all, and I bet if you look at Nvidia+ATI sales records they are selling 10 to 1 on the under $100 cards compared to the $300+ cards.

    Everyone in the game industry seems to be missing the forest for the trees. Allow me to point out a few problems with the way it is now: 1.-Graphics needing a quad core with SLI to keep from being a slideshow. You want to make pretty graphics? Fine, but learn what the words "degrade gracefully" mean. You are cutting your own throats by making system reqs too damned high. 2.-Crazy amounts of physics. See rule #1. 3.- AI that totally sucks or is rubber band AI. If you quit blowing your cash on graphics that price you right out of the market then maybe we'll see better AI than fricking DOOM in your game. They don't have to be smart, just not retarded without cheating. 4.-Totally bogus DRM schemes. The "only x activations" BS needs to go PERIOD. You ain't doing squat to the pira

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @09:30PM (#27552597)

    No one's produced a computer game I've wanted to buy since about 2005 with Falcon 4.0 Allied force. The combat flight simulator genre is dead. The Space Flight Sim is dead. And the FPS's these days are all pretty much the same. I loved the early Tom Clancy games: Rainbow 6, Rogue Spear, Black Thorn, Ghost Recon, Desert Seige, Island Thunder, etc.. Then all of a sudden the elements that made those game fun, such as tactical planning before you went into a mission, were gone and the Ghost Recon and Rainbow 6 games became nothing more than arcade shoot em ups. Really, to me it was nothing much more than the scripted games you play at arcades only you get dictate when you move instead of a script.

    The strategy of how you were going to attack a situation, what equipment and people you needed on your team, etc. was all gone.

    Sure the graphics looked better, but why I played the games in the first place was gone.

    The computer games I play today: Beyond the Red Line (Fan made Battlestar game based on the Freespace 2 engine), Fleet Commander (again BSG mod of Homeworld 2), Vegastrike (opensource game like Privateer).

    Now the Wii, different story. Lots of fun and different games on there, like Wii fit, Wii sports, etc. that are a blast at parties. Lots of people who normally wouldn't be playing games love playing Mario Tennis etc..

  • by bonch (38532) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @09:42PM (#27552659)

    Religious idiots like to say that gay marriage is wrong. I tell 'em that thousands of species practice homosexuality in nature

    Since when do animals get married?

    Being anti-religious on Slashdot isn't interesting or clever anymore, sorry. This is coming from a jaded agnostic. But I'm sure the college kids who think it's edgy to mock religion will give you a +5.

  • by DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @10:06PM (#27552771)

    Also, religious people are delusional fucking retards who foster bigotry, impede progress, and propogate the spread of socially acceptable psychosis.

    Why should I listen to a bigot?

    Seriously, whoever modded this guy up is full of hatred themselves. Sure you might justify it by saying Religious people are asking for it, "just like" the blacks, Jews, gays, witches...

  • Not just games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Iyonesco (1482555) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @10:07PM (#27552773)

    This problem is occurring everywhere from computer software to motor cars, with companies adding innovation where it's not needed and in so doing breaking things unnecessarily.

    My last two company cars have been Vauxhalls; a company that is obsessed with adding innovation that makes the car a nightmare to drive. The old Vectra replaced the mechanical indicators with electrical ones that made it impossible to turn the indicators off. The Insignia, which has replaced the Vectra, has reverted back to mechanical indicators but now they've replaced the mechanical hand break with an electrical handbrake. To disengage the handbrake you have to press the accelerator making a hazard out of precise manoeuvres such as pulling out of a tight roadside parking space. Other aspects of the car are crap such as the automatic lights and automatic climate control which make me feel like I'm not in control of the car. Why can't they just leave things as they are instead of "innovating" and destroy things that work perfectly well.

    Thins are even worse with software and we're seeing a push to replace the entirely functional mouse and keyboard with touch screens that are slow, cumbersome and don't work half the time. User interfaces are even worse and Microsoft are intent on innovating their way to destruction with the likes of the IE7 and Windows 7 interface while KDE seems to be in competition with them to produce the worst interface possible.

    The by replacing a few words in the article summary you can get a perfect description of the current state of user interfaces:

    "There seems to be this invisible pressure to create something that is highly 'intuitive' and incorporates the highest level of innovation that we have ever seen. The problem is that the newest ideas put into user interfaces are either gimmicky, terrible in execution, or blatantly ripping off another system. On the other hand there are operating systems and applications that feel the need to completely revamp an interface that worked perfectly fine before into something completely new that falls flat on its face."

    The word "innovative" has now become synonymous with "junk". The Wii was "innovative" in that the control mechanism doesn't work at all so, while it's sold fantastically, nobody actually plays on it. Touch screen computers are "innovative" in that they make doing simple like viewing your photographs tasks a mammoth task where you're having to make ridiculous gestures to resize them or scroll through them. We're also seeing "innovative" portable media players controlled with facial recognition which I'm sure will work great!!!

    The world has gone mad and it seems and companies seem to be in a race to make things as unusable as possible by replacing concepts that work with ones that don't.

    Screw "innovation", what I want is "improvement".

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @10:52PM (#27553009)

    So I guess you think that if someone is running around with a swastika on his arm or wearing a white hood while burning a cross on someone's lawn, that people shouldn't discriminate against him?

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with discriminating against people who are actively doing evil things. "Bigotry" implies that you're discriminating against people for things they have little to no control over, like the color of their skin, their nationality, their disabilities, etc. There's nothing wrong with treating people poorly when they've consciously decided to join an organization that treats other groups of people poorly.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @10:55PM (#27553019)

    The problem is that 99.99% of Christ's followers here in the USA firmly believe that gay marriage is horrible and must be banned, and that somehow Jesus would have wanted this. So if you run around calling yourself a Christian, or a "follower of Christ", you're going to get lumped into that group unless you immediately disclaim your involvement with any church.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @11:26PM (#27553185) Homepage

    Most modern science would be impossible without the technology engendered by earlier science becoming engineering. We wouldn't (and couldn't) have a fraction of the knowledge we do about astronomy, biology, physics, or chemistry if we didn't have telescopes, microscopes, computers, spacecraft, airplanes, or a host of other products of "applied science". Hell, even most higher mathematics, an absolute necessity for modeling nearly all modern science, is an application of earlier scientific discoveries. In other words your position makes no sense. Theoretical science beyond: "When I drop this it falls every time" requires the tools produced by applied science.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @11:33PM (#27553213) Homepage

    Except that there have been a fairly steady number of homosexuals throughout history. Which argues for either a recessive gene that passes through non-homosexual parents, non-genetic causes of homosexuality, and/or a spectrum of sexuality that allows some homosexuals to breed because they "swing both ways". Most likely some combination of these factors. Oh yeah, and you're a dumbass. If homosexuality was going to be bred out of existence it would have happened centuries ago.

  • Re:Problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday April 12, 2009 @11:49PM (#27553297)

    "Ugh, so you're suggesting taking out the cutscenes (story) from a JRPG? This is why current JRPGs like FFXII and Last Remnant are total garbage."

    Uhm no... FF 12 was garbage because the lead designer was from FF tactics, he tried to bring his mundane crappy story + crappy MMO battle mechanics into FF world.

    "Hate to break it to you (and Square for that matter), but JRPGs are supposed to be story-driven games. That means you must, from time to time, take a break from smashing the controller against your forehead for dialog and events to take place."

    I'm sorry you're incorrect, early JRPG's had awesome gameplay AND awesome story, lately they've put way too much emphasis on PASSIVE cutscenes and not enough meat on gameplay. I really don't want to sit there for 10-30 minutes to watch some big ass long scene that takes me out of the game, if they are going to tell a story, they should let the player EXPERIENCE it and not take him out of the game "and now is the time to watch a movie for 15-30 mins" while you get bored out of your skull.

    Games like God of war or Call of Duty 4 implement the story/movie aspect without essentially pausing the gameplay and "cutting to cutscene mode". Most cutscenes in FFX were grating, I couldn't stand the horrible voice acting of Yuna and the jarring incongruency of the lack of lip synching because it was originally modelled for japanese dialogue.

    If you've played Final fantasy since the very first game, you've noticed that the later final fantasies (roughly after FF7/FF8) started getting progressively worse with time due to focus on graphics and cinematics over gameplay.

    One does not preclude the other, go back and play classics like FF4 / FF6. Newer FF's have dumbed down the gameplay so badly they are barely games, why not just render it out and sell an anime on DVD? The whole point of GAMING is to have an actual game, the story heavy pansies who don't like the battle system or fighting monsters should really pick up movies or anime instead because they're more interested in movies then games. They are what is holding RPG's back from greatness, diablo and diablo 2 were great in both gameplay and story. The problem with some JRPG's lately is they are sacrificing and dumbing down gameplay for their "vision" when they really should be doing anime/movie's instead of games, because they are more focused on basically creating a movie that's rendered on a game console then creating a videogame.

    It's obvious you've totally can't grasp what I'm getting at.

  • by JockTroll (996521) on Monday April 13, 2009 @03:33AM (#27554033)

    Loserboy nerd, games have never been a niche market for nerds. The Atari VCS sold 30 million units, hardly "niche" numbers. It was a huge market even in the late '70s-early '80s before the 1983 crash, and after that the NES went on to sell 62 million units. Nobody invests money and effort in something only smelly geeks in their parents' basements would buy. Same with home computers. Same with RPGs. You believe this stuff is made for you because you develop unhealthy attachment to it, while the rest of us just enjoy.

    And, of course, shit on your faces.

  • by MaxwellEdison (1368785) on Monday April 13, 2009 @07:55AM (#27555237)

    The government only lifts people out of poverty to expand the economy in order to produce more tax revenue

    A government doesn't lift its people. It is carried upon their backs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 13, 2009 @11:11AM (#27557805)

    In God of War, the mechanics of the big boss battles are taken straight out of Dragon's Lair from 1983. Hit a point in the path, press a button. If you get the button wrong, try again.

    Except for the part where God of War innovates (compared to Dragon's Lair) by telling you what button to press. And lets you try again immediately without showing you your horrific death and costing you another life.

    But other than that...

  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Monday April 13, 2009 @12:19PM (#27558889)

    Whenever you luddites stop shivering, maybe you could actually try to understand that such "pointless" innovation is necessary for the survival of the game industry. Game development is a process of continual trial and error. If developers don't keep pushing the envelope, they risk having the user become bored with their products. And if you remember the video game crash of the 1980s, offering too many similar-looking game to users is typically a bad thing.

    Sure, we've seen some of these "pointless" innovations fail the first time around on numerous occasions. But, when these innovations are picked up elsewhere and reworked, they can eventually lead to titles that go down in history as being revolutionary.

    So yeah... "pointless" innovation might be bad at first, but we f---ing need it!

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman