Search Unity

  1. Welcome to the Unity Forums! Please take the time to read our Code of Conduct to familiarize yourself with the forum rules and how to post constructively.
  2. Join us on Dec 8, 2022, between 7 am & 7 pm EST, in the DOTS Dev Blitz Day 2022 - Q&A forum, Discord, and Unity3D Subreddit to learn more about DOTS directly from the Unity Developers.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Have a look at our Games Focus blog post series which will show what Unity is doing for all game developers – now, next year, and in the future.
    Dismiss Notice

I don't like complicated games anymore

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by BIGTIMEMASTER, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I don't like complicated games anymore. I don't like if a tutorial takes more than 5 minutes. I don't like if it seems necessary to actually go through a tutorial to understand how to play the game. I don't like if the game has no tutorial but you gotta go read a wiki and watch youtube to figure out what the heck to do.

    I don't like crafting, spell-crafting, weapon modification, "builds", big level-up trees, numbers, or menus with sub-menus and icons whose meanings aren't immediately obvious.

    I also don't like casual games where you "get it" in 5 minutes.

    I like games that are dead simple to understand, but have so much nuance that you can't ever master it. I also still want to be immersed. I want to believe some fantasy. I want something to dive deep into, but I don't want it to play "hard to get" up front. Ya know what I mean?

    What kind of game is that? How do you describe that? And what kind of audience is that? Are you like that? Do you know other gamers like that?
     
  2. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    Reminds me of early titles such as Ninja Gaiden (NES),Half-Life,and Hitman or even newer indie titles like Hotline Miami, Katana zero, Celeste. The newer titles did a great job at immersion with the right sounds,music,and simple gameplay mechanics. Catherine was a favorite of mine that I played about 5 times.
    It seems a lot of indie titles are inspired by those earlier titles that got the immersion right (At least for me...) I wonder if it is a generation thing.
     
  3. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I just replayed the original two Turok games cause they remastered on steam. They still fun. They can be pretty challenging if you set them up that way. But you never have to figure out how to play the game. You just start running and it all comes naturally. And it never feels stunted, ya know?

    It's crazy that, these two games from like 1997 still feel better than most current games I've played. Even big AAA games. I think a lot of times developers feel a need to put more "stuff" into the games because, well you need to keep doing new stuff to sell right? But it seems to me there is a finite amount of keys and actions the human mind can map and recall, and if you exceed that then the game starts becoming work and not play.

    I keep downloading and trying out new games from steam. Mostly indie stuff. 9 times out of 10 i return within 20 minutes because the character control feels stunted. Or it's just tedious to do anything. A lot of times the premise of the game is really interesting and I want to get into it, but like, I dunno when it comes to games I guess I am trained to expect to be able to learn it easily just by playing. Nowadays it seems like everybody wants to copy dark souls and be obscure as hell (while not getting the basic combat absolutely perfect like DKS did, so that it's fun and easy to learn through trial and error), or they want to make something more complicated than taxes. Seems like most the unity games in particular suffer from really clunky, non-fun character controllers.

    I think thats the most important thing. The game has to feel fun right from the get go. I don't care what kind of clever systems are in it -- if it feels bad it is bad and I don't want to to grind hours to develop a taste.
     
  4. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    9,798
    I'm playing through Ni No Kuni on Nintendo DS right now. I wonder how you would feel about that one... it was I think a couple hours in before I had any decisions to make at all. The early game plays out as something between a movie and a comic book, with a lot of story and character development (and gorgeous Studio Ghibli artwork). The first couple of times you even get a dialog choice, your only choices are between "yes" and "yeah!" :p

    I remember thinking at the time that American audiences, in general, would probably not have the patience for a game like that. It's just what I was looking for though, so I'm enjoying it immensely. (But to be fair, this is partly because I'm using it as language training rather than a game per se.)
     
  5. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I never had much interest in japanese stuff like that. but i'll give it a shot if it's on steam.

    I think the thing that a lot of modern games do wrong is they try to impress you before they hook you. Like Ubisoft keeps throwing these massive worlds at you, and before you even got grasp of the basic game rhythm they are showing you the one million things you could do and then saying, "now go! you're free!" and it's just stressful.

    a lot of survival games and rpgs do this too. But the size and complexity isn't a hook. It's a deterrent if -- at least to me -- if you try to sell that as the hook. I really think you got to either get the play hooked on the basic gameplay pattern, or some story that you wanna get more of, before you start reading all the stinking rules of monopoly and expecting them to care.

    Anyways, just ranting.

    I give ni no kuni a try. Who knows maybe i discover japanese games is what i needed all along.
     
  6. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    Ni no kuni was fun for the first few bosses, but then the "fetch quests" got really boring for me. The only japanese RPG's I really enjoyed have been Chrono Trigger, Tales of Phantasia, and Seiken Densetsu 3. But even the newer versions of Tales games and the secret of mana titles bore me because they're just the same titles with different characters, colors, and better graphics. Most modern titles have pretty much been that for me. Same plots, better graphics, different characters, and a slightly more complex system.
    It is crazy indeed that old titles had better character controllers despite the lack of access to game development at the time and harder code to work with. Insane. The programmers were genius.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  7. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I don't think they were any smarter, just more focused. If it's not possible to put in all the extra junk, you just make what little you can do as good as you can right? People don't change generation to generation, just the environment. I'm sure if they could have geeked out with total freedom they would have. But restraints mandate focus.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  8. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    It's always in restricted environments where creativity thrives I think. It's one of the reasons pixel art looks amazing. In restricting the color palette, and resolution, good pixel art is capable of making memorable moments in games. And as you said mandates more focus during the creation process. If you think about it, why you found Ubisoft games to be overwhelming with their big expansive empty worlds. They lack any focus or direction because of the unrestricted approach to development.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  9. bigRUSH

    bigRUSH

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2019
    Posts:
    19
    I tried some new games on Steam, also I like to play on mobile device, but as author described, a long tutorials (especially on mobile) just annoy me. I tried a lot of games, RPGs, MMOs, Quests, and im feeling like hungry wolf now in PC/PS4/mobiles games, Some of modern games have very nice graphic, but I feel no soul in them. So I gave up, and playing Hearthstone, OSRS (but all game is tutorial, you need to keep 10 browser wiki pages open, every time, if you want to understand something) and some indie games, last was 'My friend Pedro'. Also I very liked 'Zelda: Breath Of The Wild'.
     
    GazingUp likes this.
  10. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    I wasn't impressed with Nintendo's array of games before the Switch. I mean Nintendo was THE company that came up with Iconic Mascots! Mario, Megaman (Not exactly Nintendo but first played in NES), Starfox,Link, Metroid to name a few. I can't think of such a mascot in the last 20 years from them. I started playing Breath of the Wild just a couple of days ago. I caved in and bought it off an Amazon sale. And my god, what a brilliant game. I read forums, saw videos, I pretty much know the end part of fighting ganon, but I made sure not to spoil the story for me. So it's still fresh. What a game!

    From the moving grass fields with their lush green colors and amazing shaders to the brilliant approach towards exploration rewarding you for the right reasons rather than just fetch quests or some dumb collectible to the great soundtrack to the neat mechanic of breaking weapons to explore new weapons and so many more features.

    It makes me feel like a real world I WANT to explore. Just brilliant from Nintendo. They were the pioneers of the adventure/exploration genre from the first Legend of Zelda and I think they've done it again with Breath of the Wild.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
    bigRUSH likes this.
  11. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I played BOTW recently too. In fact I bought a Switch just to play it. Mostly I was interested in the graphics. But I enjoyed it pretty good. Still, after about 15 hours I was fine with putting it away for good. I felt like I'd seen and done it all, and what remained didn't interest me further.

    I personally thought the weapons breaking was tedious. Just me, but I prefer games where you just use like one weapon the entire time. I think Sekiro made a good improvement there over the Souls games. Of course that's purely preference -- lots of people complained about not being able to make their tank builds or mage builds or w/e -- but to me that's always fluff that distracts from the point. JMO, not knocking on game design at all there.

    Back to BOTW, yeah they did just about everything right. Except the dungeons. Dungeons felt like they ran out of time and just tacked them on.
     
  12. Inxentas

    Inxentas

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2020
    Posts:
    245
    For some reason I am thrown back to Nier: Automata, which played like any other Platinum game: fastpaced action that is easy to pick up but deep enough to throw you an occasional challenge.

    The world was a simple and small interconnected one, no fancy expansive open world or day/night cycles. Exploration consisted of finding a secret passage between two sections or a secret weapon in some dead end.

    The game occasionally shifts camera perspective with the sole purpose of making the game feel like another game. There are platforming sections, SHMUP sections, topdown sections á la Diablo.... without affecting the control scheme.

    Not bad for a game with a color palette that's so subdued the dust on my old Xbox has more color variation!
     
  13. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    The Souls games never really hooked me too well. I don't know if it was the "Git gud" community, or the constant dread and gloomy atmosphere with a really depressing/intense soundtrack, or the fact that you're always playing a dead/someone who looks dead person. And I know people praise the controls of those games, but the overly realistic animations was hard to work with a video game camera for me. It looked like an action RPG, but played like some kind of fencing/sword swinging simulator. But that's just me. Sekiro fixed that problem for me. I enjoyed the whole japanese aesthetic and the fact you play a super fast Ninja warrior. They should make more fast-paced games. Loved the grappling hook mechanic too.
     
  14. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Posts:
    2,041
    I play a mix of games.
    That's why I went back to playing dreamcast games, N64 games, and old school retro games, that I haven't played yet.:p

    PS: Fantasy? I've got that covered. Check out the dreamcast version of Soul Reaver. Or the PC and PS1 versions if you want. And if you do, don't watch playthroughs of it on youtube, otherwise it'll spoil the story and immersion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
    i2eilly likes this.
  15. SisusCo

    SisusCo

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Posts:
    764
    The genre that I think best fits the description is the action-adventure genre, very closely followed by the action RPG genre. Probably any genre that starts with the word "action" would be a good candidate really... :D
    Also genres where the name is derived from a single verb: shooter, jump...erm, platformer.

    I enjoy these types of games a lot myself. I like being immersed and enjoying a good story more than power-gaming with a spreadsheet to make the ultimate build or speed-running or anything like that.


    I recently enjoyed playing through Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice a lot. Combat in it is really simple so the gameplay definitely doesn't fulfill the "so much nuance that you can't ever master it" criteria, but it's still a highly immersive game and has some really gripping storytelling.

    Celeste actually fits the bill pretty much perfectly, if you're into platformers. The controls are dead simple and the learning curve is almost non-existent, but it still manages to gradually ramp up the difficulty and complexity through level design so that you always feel challenged (well, after the first 15 minutes at least; the very beginning was a bit boring to me).


    Audience type for these genres would probably be people who enjoy mastering a challenge and being immersed in a fantasy setting, but who just lack the patience (or time) for spending lot of time studying a complex system for a delayed payoff.

    I have personally gotten less patient with games as I have gotten older for some reason. Could be partially because I'm more conscious about not wanting to "waste" my time, wanting to achieve things with my life, be a productive person. Also I think that I'm just more aware of the things that I tend to enjoy, so I don't often see the point in persisting with something that isn't fun to me almost immediately, when there are so many other things I could be doing with my time instead. Memento mori and all that.

    Perhaps also atomistic learners could tend to enjoy these types of games more often over something like complex strategy games.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  16. welby

    welby

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Posts:
    549
    I also agree that as I am older I am more discerning with what I play.

    Especially on this forum. I mean, I assume if we are here we are into game dev and such. So we always have that frame of reference when approaching games.

    It's like, ok, I see what you're doing. I know that mechanic. Or I see the skinner box or gimmick. So , at least for me, my patience can run out quick if I've "seen it all before".

    Which doesn't mean I hate it. Sometimes I'll play a genre game just for nostalgia even if I know there are no surprises.
     
  17. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Posts:
    9,948
    I think thread title is wrong
    I don't like COMPLICATED games anymore

    You may think yo u don't like complex games. But I bet, most of you actually don't mind complex game.
    But what you don't like, is current trend of grinding, to achieve anything in the game, or walking from A to B point, to get to C, without particular immersive experience. Or crafting, exping for 5 hours, to get anything sensible. So I again bet, that is what you really don't like and don't have time for.

    Hence the title should be
    I don't like GRINDING games anymore
     
  18. SisusCo

    SisusCo

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Posts:
    764
    I think that the title actually is correct. Complicated as in difficult to understand. As in games with a steep learning curve, where you need to do a lot of reading etc. before you understand the systems well enough to start making smart decisions.

    For example I tend to really dislike the process of learning the rules to a new complex board game by just sitting down for 20 minutes and reading the instruction book. The fun for me only really starts once I have a good enough understanding of all the different mechanics that I start getting a feel for the different dynamics and can start formulating effective plans of action within the system.

    I think that this is closely related to the paradox of choice. When you have a very wide number of possible actions you could take, but you don't have a good understanding of their consequences, you feel like you're just shooting in the dark and don't get to experience flow, feeling of mastery, fiero or any of those good feelings. In other words it's more distress from being overwhelmed and/or boredom than eustress from feeling like you've "got this".
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  19. Antypodish

    Antypodish

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Posts:
    9,948
    I don't know, but I think game dev, is like 'playing' complex game. Requires lots of tinkering and problem solving.
    I just can not imagine, someone who try make a game, not liking to play something more complex from time to time.
    Besides times, when just want to put brain cells into the rest for a bit.


    However,
    Even minecraft can be very complex, and very easy as we make it.
    Many MMOs doesn't force us to do all stuff. Just open paths of options.
    Long time ago I did play WoW. But I didn't bother with crafting and mining, or fishing. These were completely optional.
    Most games don't require reading any docs, or stats, to play casually. Unless starting getting serious. Which become complex.

    Factorio, KSP, From The Depths these can be complex as we make. But can be also simple. We are not forced anyhow, to make it complex. Sure, not everyone must like these type of sandboxing/construction games.

    Then we have racing games. These can be as well complex. Is not just casual riding about. Rather racing against opponents and time.

    FPS games can also be complex. Or DOTA, or LOL. But we can play them casually, without much stress, not bothering about ranking. More stress would imply haters chatting than game itself :)

    Playing tower defense can be relatively simple as well. Unless we want beat high score.

    Tetris, or arkanoid can be simple and complex, if wanting high score. Will require little, or lots of focus.
    Flappy bird anyone? Simple or complex? You would though single button can not make you anyhow stressful ... :)

    Older games typically had just play and thats it.
    Today we have tons of upgrades as the option. Get faster, get more health, get higher damage, get new equipment.
    But even then, no one forces us to use it. But then we probably will struggle to progress.

    Witcher 3 allowed us to play only story, or set for challenge, with fights. So such complex game for example, become casual and pleasant.

    You can pick up crossword and sudoku. Choose easy or hard, as per liking.

    If there will be hand holding on every step, no much of plying fun would be left. I better go to watch film. Or play game with tons of cut scenes.


    So in my humble opinion, most games are as complex, as we making it to be.
    In fact, many games feels they are dumbed down, in comparison to their ancestors. Which also leads to unfun.

    In the end, game were suppose to imply some challange, to make it fun. Rolling ball down the hill forever, would be extremely boring.


    In the end, I am glad we have options, to play different type of games, with different difficulties and challenges, literally for everyones liking.
     
  20. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    This. ^^^

    Grinding is neutral. It's great if you like the actions you do to grind (like kill low-level monsters in dark souls or search for loot in a survival game). It's just grinding if it's monotonous chore you don't enjoy. That's just semantics though because you can say any part of a game you don't enjoy is grinding if you got to do it more than once.

    Anyway, yeah the big thing I think is too much choice. It's like meeting a person with multiple personalities. It's overwhelming and you don't know how to react. So what do you do? Smile and scurry away as soon as possible. That's what it's like when a game introduces itself by trying to impress with it's range of stuff to do.

    The very worst way to introduce a complicated design is to throw player into action and expect them to learn tons of new stuff all at once. Like, opening with a big firefight in a strategy game, but I can't even figure out how to move and select units. Or even in a simpler action game. Don't throw waves of nazis at me while I'm trying to get a feel for the controls. That's not exciting, it's annoying.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  21. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    Grinding for better stats/gear CAN be made fun though!! Perhaps it is more challenging to code in the "fun" part for the grind. In the Tales games ( my favorite still being tales of phantasia) it required you to actually use the skills and their skill combos to 'level up' those skills. And the combat was really fun for its time! A top down RPG would turn to a side scroller beat em up style fighter game and it was really neat to hear the characters battle cries and voices when performing the combos. Or even more recently in Breath of the Wild for an example fetch/grind quest, to get a certain gear to proceed to a certain place, it's combined with a fetch quest, and some grinding for certain items to get another item (Don't want to spoil the details.)I really enjoyed how they actually put some meaning as to "why" you have to get that gear item.
    Grinding can be fun if there's an equal amount of satisfaction from doing it. Path of Exile and the Diablo games come to mind, where you had to grind and grind for better gear and better exp, I really loved the skill tree in PoE and the combinations of unique traits you can have in a character.
    Mostly these days it's just lazy design or perhaps more emphasis on looks than material. And when I say material, I mean a plot that can create a meaningful world large enough for side quests/missions/grinding to be fun. That would require a much stronger/larger material. But I have to say, mobile gaming ruined it for me too. I can't seem to look at a 2D platformer/rpg anymore without thinking "Just another mobile game looking game" unless they do something drastically different from the typical games.
    Hollow knight and Salt & Sanctuary did something cool for me. They looked different, felt different, and paid attention to detail. And I think it's the little things that can make a huge difference like lighting,movement,sounds,animations,and mystery.
     
  22. BrainwavesToBinary

    BrainwavesToBinary

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2019
    Posts:
    23
    A lot of the tutorials in games are implemented poorly. I think Dragon Age: Origins handled the tutorial fantastically - while going through your origin story, you are learning the basics of gameplay as well as getting an immersive sense of the world's lore and your character's background. In contrast, a game like Endless Legend had, what I consider to be, a horrible tutorial in which you have to go into a sequestered gamespace where you are hand-held, step by step, through a long list of mechanics, menus, etc. Creativity with respect to story and game mechanics doesn't automatically translate into creative and effective ways to teach the player what they need to know. And then there's the whole issue of how intuitive and informative the UI is... so many aspects in which design flaws can make it unnecessarily difficult to the learn the game.

    The level of complexity of the game doesn't have to determine the ease with which the player can get into it.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  23. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I was trying out a new indie game, and I won't say the name because it's an indie unity made game (and it looks awesome and has been received well), but it is absolutely necessary to play the tutorial in order to understand the game. Of course, the tutorial is a lengthy labrynth of rooms where you read a text box that explains all the annoying details of how spells work, how crafting works, how runes work, how combat works, how level trees work, etc etc etc.


    There was a time where I'd just take it all in stride, but I got no patience for that anymore. If it isn't immediately obvious and intuitive, I just don't got the energy.

    To make a tutorial that is effortless to play, I think you gotta do the same thing as when you are teaching somebody a new skill. Don't showcase all the tools that exist and then theorize about what they can do. Show a problem, explain in non-technical terms how we aim to solve the problem, and then before we ever see the tools we can imagine what they might be. That way learning is effortless and engaging, because we aren't starting from abstraction. We are seeing real problems in front of our face, and if there is abstraction of thought we (the learner) are guiding it. So you can't get confused trying to figure out what somebody else is describing.
     
    BrainwavesToBinary and SisusCo like this.
  24. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    14,962
    I'm currently playing a part of God of War where there's one world which is just a mountain with a bunch of arenas. Defeat the waves in each arena and it unlocks a chest with some unique stuff in it which you can use to craft unique armor. On one hand that's "grind" by definition: kill bad guys to get loot, repeat until you have what you wanted. And I typically detest "grind".

    But in this case I'm loving it. Why? For the same reason I played hours of Geometry Wars. The fights use the same enemies as the rest of the game but are designed to each be challenging in unique ways and require different strategies to win. It's a side quest, so the developers could use it as an opportunity to push the combat mechanics in a way that (I suspect) the main quest line will continue to avoid.

    Persoanlly I like my games to have some complexity and depth. Unless there's some other hook I get bored very quickly once I feel like I've "solved" something. But I also don't like having to study before I can play, or remember more than a couple of new things at a time.

    A well designed game should introduce its complexity in layers, and ensure that players are reasonably comfortable with one thing before introducing the next. To me that keeps things interesting by constantly keeping the intellectual side of things fresh without ever making me stop to do some deliberate learning.

    I think the Portal games are great examples of this. The individual mechanics are simple, but there's a lot of interesting stuff you can do with them, and some of the puzzles towards the end are somewhat complex, but you're eased into it so well that there's a consistent but relatively low challenge.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  25. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    Yeah you are making a good point. A lot of times, it's not necessarily that the game is too complicated, just that it is being presented poorly.

    Like I read the reviews about some game and it sounds right up my alley, but if it's going to be a chore to learn how to play I just don't have the patience.

    But I'm tired at the end of the day everyday and generally don't want to look at screen any longer :). Still, I think that is not a bad metric for if a game is approachable -- if I can get into when I'm tired of sitting behind screen, it's got to be pretty well streamlined.
     
    tylerguitar75 likes this.
  26. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    14,962
    I like some of this stuff. However, one thing I don't like is "false choices". That is, when you're given a choice that turns out to make no practical difference or, indeed, no actual difference. It takes the same cognitive load as any other choice, but gives zero value aside from maybe an illusion of agency.

    God of War seems to have some of this. I have so many XP right now it's ridiculous, yet I'm presented with menus of stuff to "unlock". At the start of the game I thought my choices here might be important, so I put thought into them. Further into the game it's as if the desighers changed their mind and said "screw it, let the player have everything". I haven't added up the costs, maybe I couldn't actually unlock it all, but I can sure as heck unlock far more than I actually need. Also, when I unlock stuff, I often fully upgrade it straight away because of the afforementioned glut of XP. So... why have all of those options in there? It's basically glorified character customsiation.

    My guess is that if you play the game on harder settings then you get less resources and the choices do matter, but they don't want to disappoint casual players by not letting us have everything the first time around. I just happen to find that somewhat condescending at times.

    ---

    Hmm... to disagree with myself... I've been doing all of the side quests, because exploring the world and finding all the stuff is right up my alley. Perhaps they've deliberately balanced it so that if you do everything you can also have everything, and players who beeline for the main quest do indeed have to stick with their choices unless they leave the beaten path?

    In any case, these "gripes" are purely academic. I'm enjoying the game quite a lot.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER and Deckard_89 like this.
  27. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    @angrypenguin ,

    Yeah I think really what I want is AAA streamlining, but not AAA themes. Really, the only games I've thoroughly enjoyed in like the last ten years was the Souls series, because they did this perfectly. AAA streamlined gameplay, but not silly AAA theme.

    That and The Long Dark. They did such a good job with that one.
     
    angrypenguin likes this.
  28. BrainwavesToBinary

    BrainwavesToBinary

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2019
    Posts:
    23
    I think that's the thread in a nutshell. Obviously, people learn differently, so there's no single perfect method, but you're absolutely right about designers needing to approach tutorials with serious thought to utilizing teaching methods. The "captive audience" style tutorial is a huge turnoff for a lot of us.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  29. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    Yeah that's the part, especially for us tiny developers with limited resources, that I think we make a mistake in not taking seriously enough. It's easy to get focused in on technical workings of the game but it comes down to end-user experience. If it's hard to start playing the game, that's no good.

    I am sure I am way more intolerant than average gamer but still, this is something that I think too many indies don't take serious enough.
     
    angrypenguin likes this.
  30. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    14,962
    I think the concept of "tutorialisation" might even be going down the wrong path. Tutorials are a form of explicit teaching, and that stuff is boring. I want to feel like I'm on an adventure, not in a classroom. I certainly don't want to be reminded that that I'm playing a contrived experience crafted for my entertainment.

    Using Portal as an example again, I remember almost no explicit teaching in that game despite the theme being "testing". All I remember being explicitly told was the move, jump and portal buttons. Everything else is taught to you experentially. To clarify what I mean by that, you are never told "this is how you solve a puzzle with a portal" or whatever. You're given simple scenarios which force you to figure out one thing for yourself, then increasingly complex scenarios which get you to apply it in different ways. Then you have to figure out something else, or you get given a new thing to learn about, and that's how complexity is built over time, without any "stop and learn" moments and without the player ever feeling overwhelmed with all this new stuff they have to think about.

    I think The Witness is another great example. Controls wise you can move around and you can drag things on panels you find around the place. That's it, dead simple. From there the game's mechanics are all about figuring out, for yourself, what the different things on the panels mean and how they work.

    Compare that to when I played The Division a few years ago, when the game literally pauses itself on multiple occasions to show you panels of instructions. You're running around shooting stuff with your mates and suddenly "STOP AND READ!" It's not integrated into the experience, it's not fun, it's distracting, and it's stressful ('cause you're balancing absorbing info that you need vs. keeping your friends waiting while you read it).

    I call the start of our game a "tutorial", but what I really mean is "the part where players get familiar with the controls". Once players understand the controls I want them to figure everything else out on their own, with the game giving them just the right nudges to do that comfortably.
     
    Antypodish likes this.
  31. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    I will always follow what Nintendo does - look at this video what shigeru miyamoto explained Nintendo's approach was when they designed the very first Mario level, and that how the first stage is always a sandbox like environment for players to learn the controls and experiment what can be done and can't be done.
    "Once the player realizes what they need to do, it becomes their game."
     
  32. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,911
    It doesn't make a lot of sense to me in terms of value to the player, but I really feel that a lot of games these days are designed to sort of maximize the extraction of activity from the player rather than focusing on offering the player something meaningful. And somehow, in squeezing activity from the player like a worker on a production line, the player gets satisfaction - at least it seems so or these incredibly grindy games we have these days wouldn't work.

    I think @Antypodish has a point, or at least there's some overlap between grindy games and complex games. It's like these games are generators of systems to maximize cognitive and activity investment. And I have to say, as someone who is critical of the value of games in general (I think they can have value, but are not valuable in themselves) this seems like a depressing waste of human labor to me. Imagine all the people who spend incredible amounts of time learning about and mastering the systems in some game, and what they could accomplish for themselves if they turned that output to something more productive?

    My point of view on the value of games is that they are vehicles of meaning, in the same sense that stories are - although they operate in a fundamentally different way. I'm aware that this could be my own bias toward the games I like, but I cannot objectively for the life of me find any value simply in a player investing work toward some virtual 'production' or 'levelling' in a game, because the value of the result of that work is quite literally zero.

    So I think the value of games is in providing an experience of the imagination, an interactive story, a fantasy. They provide a way to look at ourselves a bit differently. Of course, games are enhanced by a certain level of obstacle -> learning -> investment -> overcoming/winning, because that's a fundamental part of how we experience things that are meaningful - but that part of the game does not have a value in itself whatsoever. What is valuable is how the experience of a game changes the way we see ourselves and the world around us, not in some politically correct way but in terms of exercising our imagination.
     
    BIGTIMEMASTER likes this.
  33. SisusCo

    SisusCo

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Posts:
    764
    You could say the same thing about building a snowman. The value of this is only zero if you don't enjoy the activity itself to the slightest, it doesn't leave you with any pleasant memories and it doesn't lead to any positive interactions with other people. The same things could even be said about life itself. Some people enjoy grinding gameplay more than others, but it does not mean that these types of games inherently don't have any value to offer to anyone. Having something useful/interesting to say about the real world is just one way for a piece of entertainment to offer value.


    I highly agree with everything that has been said here about good/bad tutorials. Portal, Super Mario and Celeste are all great examples of doing it really well. To summarize what others have said and offer my own thoughts, here are some good rules of thumb about teaching the player:
    1. Do teach the player through practical challenges.
    2. Do integrate teaching naturally with the story and level design.
    3. Do introduce new mechanics / dynamics to the player gradually.
    4. Do use choke points to ensure the player cannot miss essential learning moments.
    5. Don't tell the player exactly what to do.
    6. Don't interrupt the flow of the game by pausing it to display a static wall of text.
    7. Don't patronize the player by blatantly teaching them something they've already demonstrated to know.
    8. Don't break the fourth wall by talking directly to the player.
    The worst tutorial I've ever experienced? Black & White. Not due to its complexity, but due to how excruciatingly slow and hand-holding it was. This goes to show that while too much complexity can be a turn off, too little complexity can also ruin an experience.
     
  34. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I get what @Billy4184 is saying, though I agree with @SisusCo too. There is plenty of games that I put alot of time into only to feel pretty depressed about having it all been a waste later. There is only a select few I look back on and think, "wow I am really glad I played that one" because it left me with something positive.

    I think the games that leave you feeling empty and mad about wasted times are the ones that are specifically designed to be addicting. The ones that leave a lasting impression are the ones that were developed by people who had a passion and acted on it. It's like, art or something.

    In my own designs, I try to think of some positive thing I can teach or share with people. I'm particularly keen on motivating people to be confident and take on risk, so I think that shapes my design a lot.
     
    angrypenguin likes this.
  35. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,911
    I would say that there is almost no story-driven, linear, singleplayer game that ever left me with a feeling like I wasted my time. Simply because it was so clear whether or not the content was valuable to me.

    Similarly, games that are designed to be simply fun and exciting without too much complexity, are easy to put down once they have served as the distraction you wanted them to be.

    The games that wasted my time were the ones which gave me what I wanted in small bites, but forced me to work for it. Games I wanted to like enough that I put up with too much from them. I don't have many examples because a game has to really get my attention for me to play it. Probably many survival games and open world games fall into this category, though I very rarely play either. I suppose it makes sense that non-linear gameplay is correlated with grinding, because it's very hard (though not impossible) to generate a meaningful experience that is not fully designed.

    I agree, and for me, one of the best indicators of the worth of a game (like any other kind of art) is the author's intent. There are many games that have the excuse "you can do whatever you want in this game" or something like that, but you look at the game and it is simply a retention system wrapped inside a flimsy premise. I mean, I can do whatever I want in reality (within reason) so when I am playing a game I am looking for something specific, something substantial, something meaningful, something exciting, something designed. Something that makes the game worth spending time on over all the other possible things I could be doing.
     
    SisusCo and BIGTIMEMASTER like this.
  36. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Posts:
    966
    I think the issue comes down to deep mechanics vs wide mechanics, both are complex, but in different ways.

    Mario games are largely running and jumping. Yeah there are other powerups, but that's the main mechanic. So the width of the mechanics set is very narrow, but mario's jump is one of the most complicated mechanics in all of video games. It's got so many subtleties that you could spend hours and hours mastering it, and once you do you can fly around stages in really crazy ways.

    Halo has annoyed me more and more as the version number ticks up. Halo CE is my favorite because it's dead simple. Here is a gun and some grenades, go. If you pick up a powerup, it just does it's thing without you having to do anything. Halo 3 added a whole F***ton of items: power drains, jumpers, trip mines... Most of the time I forget I even have them on me. Then they kept adding more and more crap with Spartan abilities and it just made it too complicated to be fun at any kind of casual level. Halo CE's mechanics are simple, but deep: how long you hold jump affects how high you jump, crouching at the top of your jump brings your feet up a little extra, you can use explosions to increase your jump. Melee combat is simple: one button causes you to melee with your weapon, but again, the mechanic is deep: each weapon has it's own time to melee and its own damage value, hitting someone from behind is an insta-kill, your motion affects the strength of the attack, and you can even double melee for in instant kill, but it pops out a grenade. Simple. Even the guns were simpler: mid range? Use the pistol. Close range, use the shotgun, long range, sniper. In later Halos, wtf. In Reach, wtf am I supposed to use for mid range? The BR, needle rifle, and DMR all fit this function and have only minor differences, why do I need three midrange weapons?
     
    angrypenguin and SisusCo like this.
  37. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    14,962
    Perhaps for an equivalent reason to needing variable power jumping with the ability to tuck your knees and use explosions for momentum. ;) It could well be that to a casual player they're all equivalent, and to an expert player there are significant differences towards the top of the skill pyramid.

    This pyramid is from Starcraft, but many games would have something similar:

    Assuming (for the sake of discussion) that the game is designed well, to me it sounds like the difference between the guns you mentioned are probably up in the orange or red areas. You understand that they're all "mid range" weapons, but there could well be further nuance that sets them apart in different scenarios. I know that there are people who play Halo competitively, and to them just breaking weapons down into short/mid/long range might not provide enough nuance after years of play. So it makes sense to me that the developers have sub-categorised stuff within that, even though to me it's basically just different skins on the gun.

    From a design perspective I think the challenge there is accomodating people throughout that whole skills pyramid. Designing a game so that it's accessible and fun to people who don't even have the blue level stuff, and isn't boring to people who are already orange or red level in similar games and want to transfer some of that existing skill.

    Note that this is indepentent of the breadth vs. depth concept raised, which is also important to think about.
     
  38. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    Honestly ever since that whole call of duty non-sense, the shooting genre has become a money grubbing scene with barely any innovation on weaponry or gameplay but are now moving more towards cut-scene gameplay, more cinematic stuff. I've been playing the metro games recently, but something about it is turning me off. Might be the intensity?? The annoying mechanic of having to put on gas masks that run out of charges in toxic environments? Or the linear element of "levels" in an FPS shooter?
    Anyway, I really miss shooters like half-life, unreal tournament, serious sam 1, duke nukem 3D, the Quake games etc. these games brought something so different and new to their games and it was through sheer gameplay. Half-life had the puzzles/gunfire/aliens; unreal tournament had the most epic weapon of all time (redeemer);Duke Nukem's dialogues and flirty commentary when fighting aliens; Quake's quad damage where everything you shot just blew into pieces... I miss those times. They were simple but finding the redeemer in Unreal tournament always felt satisfying and those zero gravity levels...man. We need to go back to game mechanics more than story and graphics in these kinds of games.
     
    Antypodish likes this.
  39. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,911
    Not sure how you are associating 'money grubbing' with story and graphics? Game mechanics are entirely the foundation on which these games bleed your wallet. They aren't selling chunks of story or a graphics overhaul in their virtual stores. They are selling improved game mechanics.

    Incidentally, the singleplayer CoD games are for me an example of games where you know exactly what you are getting. A big cinematic distraction for a few hours, with set pieces other games only dream about. I've played several CoD games over the years and thoroughly enjoyed them. I don't care for the multiplayer though.
     
  40. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I think the graphics versus gameplay debate is kind of surface level. Whether you got big money or no money, what you are doing is selling some fantasy that people want to believe in. Call of Duty can sell the fantasy of being a badass soldier to the biggest audience, because they can afford the best graphics and the whizbang that gets the LCD excited.

    The shooting and general gameplay in those games is really tight and polished. The animatiosn and "juice" makes for extremely satisfying gameplay. But, the games are stupid easy for those of us who've been playing games for a long time, or otherwise identify as "hardcore" or non-casual for w/e reason. But that doesn't mean COD lacks good gameplay. It's just not the fantasy we want to dive into.
     
    angrypenguin likes this.
  41. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    Right. Money grubbing because these games lack any gameplay mechanic that can hook anyone for more than 4 hours. I remember days playing unreal tournament and half life all day and not knowing it because their gameplay mechanics were just pure fun. The only reason CoD had any real relevance was because of the multiplayer community pushing for it and many other shooters followed suit. CoD didn't have gameplay, just a toxic online environment for people to vent their anger. This became a thing with many games, even today with Fortnite.
    I was at a laptop repair shop recently, I saw this little kid in the back, by the repairing area, playing Fortnite, yelling at the screen, talking really big talk, in front of a customer like myself, and the fact that it was inside a shop was pretty odd. That's not a video game. It's just another form of social media.
    It's either multiplayer to be the best player online, or it's cinematics - I'd rather watch a movie rather than ruin my eyes with all those colors and graphics. But again - this is just my personal opinion. CoD obviously did well and that's fine.
    Not gonna throw shade where credit's due. Just that it's not my cup of tea..
     
  42. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I don't mean to discount what you are saying here @GazingUp because i feel similar. But i wonder how much we just consumed what was there "because it's on tv." Ya know what I mean?

    If fortnite had came out at the same time as any of the ones we played back in the day, I'd bet it still would be more popular. It just has better mass appeal.

    And I've gone back and played some of what used to be my favorites. And they're terrible. Others remain awesome. But I think mostly it's just a matter of I had unlimited free time and was bored. So I played whatever there was. Not until like, 20 years of gaming did I start getting a refined palette.

    Also, nowadays, there is too much choice. There didn't used to be. That makes it easier to toss games aside because they aren't perfectly suited to your taste.
     
    GazingUp and angrypenguin like this.
  43. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,911
    I think I get what you mean. Are you looking for a singleplayer game that is designed around 'pure' shooter mechanics that are perhaps easy to pick up but hard to master, rather than the same old standard FPS controller plus cinematics?

    I can see what you mean about cinematics, but the games you mention were among the best graphics games of their time, and not by chance either. The devs certainly weren't disinterested in the graphics element in the same way that many of the people nostalgic about these games are today. You can see in a game series like Doom which has been right at the front of graphics quality at every release. Unreal Tournament is no exception either.

    I totally agree about multiplayer, I had a friend while at university who left his girlfriend on the sofa watching movies every evening while he went to improve his rankings in CoD, it was really quite sad. I have never had a particular interest in multiplayer games (except for counter strike on LAN while in high school) and I think they are one of the most common ways that people waste a lot of valuable time in their life.

    For me, I generally like to either play immersive, story-driven games alone, or something like split-screen FIFA with friends. One gives me a meaningful experience, and the other one is a fun way to spend time with people. Singleplayer games where I'm grinding to level up so I can get to something actually fun, or multiplayer games where I'm just trying to move up on a stats board in a community of people I don't know and probably wouldn't be interested in knowing, just don't turn me on.
     
    GazingUp likes this.
  44. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    @BIGTIMEMASTER exactly. There's a lot more "choices" but alas, they are just fake choices - like a "Yes to be good, no to be evil" kind of choice. They aren't choices of variety.
    Of course if we play a game today from back in the 90's or 2000's we'll not like it because we know it's old. The "too many choices" things are all just different things of the same thing we've seen many times. But you're definitely right - I had unlimited free time and boredom. I even got heavy with MMORPGs back in the day (not wow, but ragnarok online) and it was a glorious time since the internet was a new entity too. Everytime you met someone on a game back then was an experience. That's what many games are missing nowadays. But it's very hard to be original now that we have so much access to everything.

    @Billy4184 Exactly what you said. I couldn't care less about online ranks. Or "leveling up" on an FPS game to get better guns ( Why was this even a thing...) not to mention the pay to win models in these online games. Ugh. The online gaming community has become very toxic nowadays I feel. Just 5 years ago, it was alright to play MMO games or shooter games online - but as you will find, there's rarely a decent MMORPG nowadays - because people are bored with finding people on the internet. I feel nowadays everyone's looking for the next big thing and I think it's VR.
     
  45. SisusCo

    SisusCo

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2019
    Posts:
    764
    I have to disagree with this statement. Since the original Call of Duty the series has been pushing the envelope when it comes to graphics, sound design, spectacle and immersive experiences. The single-player campaigns of many games in the series have been praised a lot, and have been the reason for many Game of the Year awards given to the games.

    I agree though that the formula has become very stale already. It's no wonder really given that they've churned out a new game for the series every year for the past 16 years. The devs are probably hoping for a third world war at this point just to get some new material :p


    I think that one part of the reason why many old-school FPS games can feel more rewarding to play could be because they often didn't have regenerating health or such forgiving save systems.

    I remember in games like Far Cry and TimeSplitters 2 health was a precious resource and source of much tension, because you could sometimes need to replay like 20 minutes of the game if you lost all of it. Even if the second-to-second point-and-shoot gameplay was just as simple in games of the old, they would still often feel more challenging just because of this.

    It's similar to when you play a game in Ironman mode. This tiny change to the game's rules can completely transform the way you play and experience it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
    Billy4184 and angrypenguin like this.
  46. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    I think online communities being more toxic is simple formula: more people.The more people you got, the great chance of there being a florida man in the bunch :).

    About all the nonsense stuff like level ups, perks, etc... I mean it works. It gets people addicted. And some people it hooks as powerfully as actual chemical drugs. Plus, there's a fool born every minute, as they say. So even though you might know all that stuff is meaningless filler by now, kids just coming into games don't.
     
  47. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2017
    Posts:
    4,837
    Here is a good example of what I mean by complicated games. This game, HUNT SHOWDOWN, looks totally awesome to me. I really wanna play it, experience, and just completely get into it. A similar game is Escape from Tarkov, which I did actually play a bit.

    But once you get beyond the basic gameplay, and you get all the level-up stuff and the millions of pieces of gear and builds and all of that, you lose me. It's way too much investment for a video game. If it was all cosmetic I wouldn't care, but, in Tarkov at least, optimizing your loadout makes a huge difference in your survivability. And I just don't have hoarder instincts. Playing dress-up or playing with gear loadouts and desigining "builds" just seems like tedious distraction from the point of the game.

    I really love the intensity and pacing in Tarkov. I love the big map designs because I can really sneak around, fool people, and get an incredible immersive experience. But I dropped it for good once I got tired of spending an hour in menus for every 15-45 minutes in gameplay. That's just not what I want from a game.

    It's like, if I wanted to go play soccer, I don't want to spend half my time fussing over what cleats to where and what outfit. I just want to enjoy running and using teamwork and kicking the ball. Ya know?

     
    GazingUp likes this.
  48. GazingUp

    GazingUp

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Posts:
    233
    Totally get that. I mean, to be honest, this is why I felt like buying breath of the wild. It doesn't overwhelm me with menus and essays about how to play the game - it just throws me into its world and say go figure out what to do. No hand-holding at all besides what buttons on the controller do what. I like that. A lot of the older sports games were like that too.
     
  49. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    5,911
    The way I see it, if you don't provide some intangible value (such as meaning) to a player, you must provide them with a value that is tangible (though virtual). But since virtual things suffer terribly from a lack of tangible value, the only way to make them seem valuable is through scarcity. In multiplayer games, this problem is resolved through competition. And in singleplayer games, it is resolved through the grind. The former is slightly more valuable than the latter, since you are at least competing with a human being and not some utterly pointless drag coefficient in an algorithm. But on the whole they are both pretty worthless in the context that they are gained.

    They are both what you get when you remove the true value of the game and are left with its mechanical husk.
     
  50. Deckard_89

    Deckard_89

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    Posts:
    314
    Incidentally, I'd love a single-player open world game with the premise of The Hunt. A monster hunter, hunting down the creatures in locations before rival hunters get there. Multiplayer puts me off because It always feel rushed and chaotic to me.

    Dare I say it: The Witcher with guns?
     
    Billy4184 likes this.