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Game design and other babbling, by Charles Randall

Last Build Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2013 14:51:01 +0000


Comment on About by Maik

Sat, 23 Nov 2013 14:51:01 +0000

Hey there, i've read your diamond-square algorithm blog post because i'm looking for a way to generate random terrain. But i'm struggling with a problem with this code. I would need several height maps next to each other with different values for the terrain gen. Do u know a way to alter the algorithm that the borders of two adjacent heightmaps have a seamless junction? (btw sry for my grammar, i'm not a native english speaker). Greetings Maik

Comment on Dark Souls II Wish List by namasteexpressaucklandlos

Sat, 17 Aug 2013 06:01:53 +0000

Never ever get into video games you are the biggest casual I met in my entire life

Comment on Dark Souls PC Controversy: An Analysis by Fresh-NES

Tue, 13 Aug 2013 20:10:36 +0000

So much for that... Soon as you say that PC gamers are 'entitled' in expecting the standard features that they've been able to obtain on their platform of choice for the past several decades? That's the point where you lost the argument. How's this for 'entitled', hmm? Let us apply your faulty logic to other platforms. In an NES game, the Start button changes your weapon and the Select button brings up the menu. Don't like it? ENTITLED! In a GENESIS game, I'm going to create something that mandatory-requires a 6-button controller (Street Fighter 2) but not bother to package in a 6-button controller with the game itself (possibly for ~$10 more?). I'm going to instead have a kludge where you press the Start button to switch between Punches and kicks! MWAHHAHAA! Don't like it? How ENTITLED! I'm going to make a game that can't be paused at all and takes hours to beat! If you don't like it then you're ENTITLED! I'm going to make a game that takes hours to beat but has NO way to save! Hope you like leaving your console on overnight, entitled sucker! :P And so on... Your use of entitled immediately discredits your entire argument. It isn't 'entitled' for people paying $50+ for a brand new PC game to expect it to work as they expect; as nearly every other good PC game works. Change the resolution, unlocked framerates, change controls/keybinds, support mouse + keyboard controls, and so on. These are not entitlements, they're expectations to have the bare minimum of QUALITY that we expect from a PC game! Dark Souls is good, but NOWHERE near 'best game' in any category. Not by a long shot. I'd venture to argue that title is still held by Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, Super Mario 2/3, Deus Ex, Secret of Mana, and many other games from years gone by. Being angry at paying FULL PRICE for POOR QUALITY is not 'entitled', it is a failure of fulfilling the expectations of their customers. If this were any other industry, they'd have made negative money due to most people throwing the game back in their face and demanding a refund!

Comment on Vote With Your Dollar: Dark Souls PC by Fresh-NES

Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:43:37 +0000

Just wanted to say something. PC gaming having official/unofficial modding and hacking of games has long been a fantastic and creativity-driven community. You want innovation? Look no further! The fact that 99.999999% of these mods are NOT sold and aren't even able to be sold just goes to show the sheer fantastic work that these fans can make; work that rivals even some of the so-called 'professional' work by major developers! When a fan can make an entire Skyrim expansion completely for free in their spare time AND humbly request that Bethesda offer to consider him for being hired as a worldbuilder, what would any sane company do? Hire him or at least RESPOND to him? Well if you're Bethesda, you just ignore the poor guy. Years of work down the drain for the guy that only wanted to work for Bethesda, makes me feel for em. :( 'From Software' can go DIAFF. Lazy, worthless, selfish, entitled, arrogant, dickish fucking Japanese developers. I'm not surprised. Not one bit. We've had to put up with this crap since the days of the Famicom and into the Super Famicom. Tons of fantastic games that aren't localized. Tons of localizations that have to be forcefully done in ridiculously short timeframes; Chrono Trigger had to be localized in less than 30 days! Those worthless fucking Japanese developers didn't give a damn about non-Asian markets and wanted it to fail. Their greed and arrogance blinded them to the possibility that their stupidity might have caused the desecration of one of the greatest '16-bit gems' of all time! So yeah...just saying. I'm very hostile towards Asian game developers UNTIL they can prove to me that they don't share the same sentiments as their peers. When they start making some good games (or keep their shit in their own countries) then we can move forward. The US and EU need to step up and fill in the void. We can't have all our gaming dependent on Japan or Korea or whatever. Fuck em. The world is a fantastic and open place, so let's give some love to local developers once they stop humping the FPS genre incessantly.

Comment on Super Metroid and The Exclusion of Control Mastery by Fresh-NES

Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:31:23 +0000

Just want to give a major thumbs up and kudos and +10 and whatever else I can to this fantastic post! The breakdown in game design for golden-age classics like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6, LoZ: Link to the Past, and Super Metroid can all be attributed to having a very solid foundation in good game design theory. Nintendo had this figured out even way back in '94 before everyone and their mother wanted to make video games. We must preserve the past so that we may learn from it and maintain such fantastic quality for the future. Those of us who are 'retro gamers' may not want to pay the (steep) price of admission into 'modern' gaming if we miss out on the fundamental game design principles that made these golden-age classics so revered.

Comment on Super Metroid and The Exclusion of Control Mastery by Lee perry

Thu, 09 May 2013 05:10:04 +0000

Excellent post! Great points and I can't get enough hearing about the details of what other designers deal with on nuts n bolts mechanical issues in games.

Comment on Super Metroid and The Exclusion of Control Mastery by Ryan McCabe

Wed, 01 May 2013 03:23:26 +0000

Excellent post. It's really awesome that you had metrics for the counters in AC, and in an animation driven combat system like that it makes sense that you'd need to have that level of control over when the counter press needed to happen to be successful. Really awesome stuff. On the subject of exclusionary controls, while not directly related, motion controls on all fronts have actually created a barrier that makes some games impossible for my best friend to even play himself. He has type-2 spinal muscular atrophy and has been wheelchair bound almost his entire life. He grew up playing games, because they were his escape, allowing him to be transported somewhere that he could do things that we generally take for granted when controlling a PC. He could walk. It sounds cheesy, but it's true. Thankfully, there haven't been many experiences that he has missed due to this yet, but there are some games that put motion control in for no good reason that he did want to play. He's a writer, so narrative based games interest him. About a quarter through Heavy Rain, he was unable to continue simply because the game required him to shake the controller up and down more violently than he was able. Anyone that has played that sequence knows that it actually doesn't even have to be shaken that hard. Anything that requires manual dexterity is going to be a barrier for a lot of people, wheelchair bound or not. As an industry, we need to be more cognizant of this moving forward in anything we implement which may require the exact things you speak about.

Comment on Free To Play and Game Design Corruption by M

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 01:26:32 +0000

Interesting post, and perfectly explains why I've abandoned the few casual F2P games I've played which were clearly designed to have a sudden difficulty/time intensiveness curve that required cash purchases for the game to be any fun at all. It's different with games that convert to F2P though, like the handful of MMOs that have done so. Games where I'd willingly paid a monthly fee before the conversion, but now I was suddenly content with a modified experience I didn't have to pay for, while wondering what subtle changes were happening to the gameplay to try to get money out of me again. I know the changes were made to expand the player base, especially with those MMOs in danger of collapsing, but I also feel like the social environment changed with the influx of new freeps (despite me being one of them).

Comment on Free To Play and Game Design Corruption by Alan Vallely

Mon, 04 Mar 2013 19:16:07 +0000

You've done a good job elaborating on what questions are raised on F2P. I do find myself immediately skeptical when presented with a F2P game, because I'm presented with the question of "how are they going to make their money?" A game that has to integrate its profitability into the game itself walks a very fine line with the balance with the manipulation of game mechanics to achieve its goals. While there are ways it can work without detriment, it seems unnecessarily-complicated. To introduce another of F2P, I find it "distracting". I often find F2P elements are disruptive to my engagement with and focus on the game, much as commercial breaks disrupt the Saturday afternoon movie. If I'm in the midst of a game session and I'm required to think about how real world currency can be used to augment my game, I've been pulled out of that escapism and back into the world. It's probably why I prefer that "pay once, then play" model, where I can get into a game world and stay as long as I want, with (hopefully) as few real-world distractions as possible. Thanks for sharing your insight!

Comment on Free To Play and Game Design Corruption by George Buckenham

Mon, 04 Mar 2013 18:20:38 +0000

This is kind of a tangential response, but: I find it quite rare to play a commercial paid-for game which felt like a pure expression of intent. Generally, there's all kinds of corrupting forces acting on a game: does it screenshot well? Are the in-progress builds satisfying for the publisher? How much needs to be cut back to meet the scope? What features were originally promised, and now can't be cut because the studio is contractually obliged to deliver them? Does the concept sound good as an elevator pitch? Even in free games, this pressure can be felt: a game that panders to what Tigsource wants, or a game that exists because someone wanted an excuse to use their level gen tech. Adding F2P compounds that, makes that task a lot harder. Personally, I'm mainly suspicious of F2P models, but I'm not entirely dismissive of them. As an indie, if I wanted to make a multiplayer-only game, I would absolutely make it F2P. Because it gives you a much better chance of getting enough of an audience to keep the game alive. The design might be purer if it wasn't F2P, but having people to play against matters more. For that kind of game, at least. I guess my main point here is that: you can't analyse the design of a game in isolation. Games are played within commercial and social contexts. And you can design for those, too, and the needs of them can override pure design considerations. But if you design a game without consideration for them, then you're just rolling the dice and hoping you get lucky.