Really Annoying Things...

DoG
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Posts: 869
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Post: #1
Congratulations to all developers pulling through on uDG 2004, first of all. It's quite a feat.

But, disregarding all the good work, there are many little things that could be improved, and little things that turn out to be big annoyances for some people, and could greatly increase a game's value when fixed.

Myself, I am usually listening to music while staring at the computer screen, so a game that starts playing music at max volume before it gives me a chance to turn it off nominates itself for instantaneous deletion (MadTak comes to mind for this one, as you can not turn it off whatsoever, but many are guilty). Or games which mess up my carefully laid out several dozen windows I usually have open (none this year, yet).

What are your pet peeves that lead to you to the edge of insanity? Your chance to name the crimes and the criminals.
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Moderator
Posts: 1,560
Joined: 2003.10
Post: #2
One of my pet peeves is fullscreen games. When a game launches, it shouldn't take over my screen without asking me first - either by starting in a window and having a fullscreen option in the preferences, or by displaying a panel at startup (with a "don't show again" checkbox, of course) that lets me choose.

Also, please don't force me to change resolutions when your game goes into full screen mode! My primary computer is a 15" PowerBook, so the graphics look best at 1280 x 854. With OpenGL so prevalent nowadays, scaling the viewport to fit the screen is trivial. Let me use my display's native resolution!

Also, make sure to account for the aspect ratio of the screen/window correctly. A PowerBook's display is a bit wider than the usual 4:3, and having graphics stretched horizontally isn't very appealing. Either constrain your viewport ratio to 4:3 (blanking out the left/right or bottom/top parts of the screen, depending on the ratio), or make your game's interface adaptive to whatever ratio you throw at it. This isn't as hard as it sounds; I do it in Water Tower 3D with a fairly minimal amount of work.

Also, when presenting me with a list of resolutions to choose from, please generate this list based on the display's capabilities. All too often, I see a fixed list of a few common resolutions (usually 640 x 480, 800 x 600, and 1024 x 768). None of these look good on a PowerBook, or for that matter any LCD with a different native resolution from any of the ones listed.

On a PowerBook, there are multiple modes for some resolutions - 640 x 480 stretched, and 640 x 480 non-stretched. If such mode choices are available, let me choose between them. (aglSetFullscreen chooses stretched by default, by the way. Doesn't look too great.)

If a CRT is connected, let me choose my resfresh rate. Don't make me run the game at 60 Hz! This produces visible flickering between refreshes, which increases eye strain, and can cause headaches. Also, at higher resfresh rates, you can achieve higher visible frame rates. (Yes, there is a noticeable, if subtle, difference between 60 FPS and 120 FPS.)

Phew... I think I'm done ranting. Although this post would probably be even longer if I used a multi-display setup. Smile

- Alex Diener
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Jaisor
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Post: #3
It really drives me mad when a game launces in full screen and then I spend about 30 minutes destroying my keybiard just to figure out that none of the keys do anything.

Then if I am lucky I manage to force quit, minimize or somehow terminate the game without turning off my computer and I go in and read the readme file and see that I have to press CTRL-SHFT-LEFT_ALT-? to make the game do anything.

That really pulls my strings.
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Sage
Posts: 1,232
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #4
Things which bug: VBL tear, prerendered data bloat, 100% CPU usage, ignoring HIG (no quit menu), resolution/aspect ratio support, capturing the display properly, programmer art, distribution format (.sitx), window minimization, useless/no readme.
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Founder
Posts: 1,138
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
ThemsAllTook arekkusu, or DoG, I will like to asign one of you to take all the wisdom from this thread, and then turn it into an article format. We will then place that on the site for future generations to learn from.

Thanks,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Sage
Posts: 1,232
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #6
Right, well, here's the post I made after the Vectorized contest (I believe this was lost in the Big DownTime of 2004):

Here's a bunch of points that came to mind while I was going through all of the Vectorized entries. Some entries looked pretty good. Others, not as good. I know that everyone was under pressure to get something playable out before the deadline, but here's a list of some things (in the "Does this game feel like it belongs on a Mac?" and "general polish" categories) all you developers should check or ask yourself during your next project:


Distribution:
* did your download automatically unpack and/or mount?
* did you include all the readmes? ANY readmes?
* you really shouldn't have to ask the user to install anything before playing. That means putting fonts and 3rd party frameworks inside your bundle.


Application:
* if you don't have help, don't have a Help menu. Likewise if you don't support editing you don't need an Edit menu. Don't open/save files? No File menu.
* make sure you DO have an Application menu and the user can Cmd-Q to Quit or Cmd-H to Hide.
* don't leave your about box unfinished. What version is the app. Who developed it? Who holds the copyright? You can easily put HTML links there too!
* don't eat 100% of the CPU unless you have a really good reason (none of the Vectorized entries have complexity that should need 100% of my PowerBook.) Learn to write an event loop and/or use timers and/or sleep. SDK's fault? Change SDKs.
* stop animating (and eating CPU) if the user pauses, switches to another application, hides, or minimizes your app.
* do you have a custom application icon? Document icons (for savegames)?


Window:
* is your window resizable? If not, WHY NOT? All vector games ought to be.
* does your window resizing take the display's aspect ratio into account? Or the presence/absence of the Dock?
* if you use OpenGL, does your window minimize properly? Or does it turn white or transparent while genieing/in the Dock?
* if you use OpenGL, do you sync to VBL? Or tear annoyingly?
* does your game work on second displays? Across multiple displays?
* can you switch between windowed and fullscreen? On second displays?
* does closing the window quit the application, if appropriate (one-windowed games)?
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Moderator
Posts: 384
Joined: 2002.08
Post: #7
Awesome lists of things here, this thread should be required reading for all developers. I'm saving it as a pdf!

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Moderator
Posts: 916
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #8
  • lack of adherence to apple-q
  • no options at all (I like to fiddle with things)
  • are you sure? are you sure? are you sure? I CLICKED IT DIDN'T I!!!
  • click-in-windows games not having borders or full screen mode
  • games that run slow on my G5 (if it runs slow on here, I can't even imagine it on a normal computer)
  • inconsistent graphics. I don't care if it is programmer's art, at least make it all look the same, or have transitions.
  • requires too much learning or too little learning. I should be able to just know the controls (directional and at most 3-4 other buttons) and play. controls I should never have to learn. gameplay should be simple enough to pick up by casually playing, but I shouldn't have to have everything step by step explained to me. allow the player to make discoveries. I become overjoyed learning things new in a game. an example. In a fighting game, label what all the buttons do, and give like 2 special moves for 1 character, but have the player learn the rest.
  • bad camera management (mainly in 3D games)
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Moderator
Posts: 771
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #9
I like this list! I think I got most of it right in my entry!
arekkusu Wrote:Right, well, here's the post I made after the Vectorized contest (I believe this was lost in the Big DownTime of 2004):

Here's a bunch of points that came to mind while I was going through all of the Vectorized entries. Some entries looked pretty good. Others, not as good. I know that everyone was under pressure to get something playable out before the deadline, but here's a list of some things (in the "Does this game feel like it belongs on a Mac?" and "general polish" categories) all you developers should check or ask yourself during your next project:


Distribution:
[YES]* did your download automatically unpack and/or mount?
[YES]* did you include all the readmes? ANY readmes?
[YES]* you really shouldn't have to ask the user to install anything before playing. That means putting fonts and 3rd party frameworks inside your bundle.


Application:
[YES->Help menu]* if you don't have help, don't have a Help menu. Likewise if you don't support editing you don't need an Edit menu. Don't open/save files? No File menu.
[YES]* make sure you DO have an Application menu and the user can Cmd-Q to Quit or Cmd-H to Hide.
[YES]* don't leave your about box unfinished. What version is the app. Who developed it? Who holds the copyright? You can easily put HTML links there too!
[YES->about 70% on my G4]* don't eat 100% of the CPU unless you have a really good reason (none of the Vectorized entries have complexity that should need 100% of my PowerBook.) Learn to write an event loop and/or use timers and/or sleep. SDK's fault? Change SDKs.
[NO, I was going for a Myth-style pause, so you could rotate the paused game level, I should have stopped it when minimizing/switching to another app though]* stop animating (and eating CPU) if the user pauses, switches to another application, hides, or minimizes your app.
[YES (but no save games)]* do you have a custom application icon? Document icons (for savegames)?


Window:
[YES]* is your window resizable? If not, WHY NOT? All vector games ought to be.
[YES (Dock)! (look in Okugai's customized SDLMain.m]* does your window resizing take the display's aspect ratio into account? Or the presence/absence of the Dock?
[NO, couldn't recompile SDL to fix it]* if you use OpenGL, does your window minimize properly? Or does it turn white or transparent while genieing/in the Dock?
[YES]* if you use OpenGL, do you sync to VBL? Or tear annoyingly?
[NO idea, any testers?]* does your game work on second displays? Across multiple displays?
[YES/no idea about second displays]* can you switch between windowed and fullscreen? On second displays?
[YES]* does closing the window quit the application, if appropriate (one-windowed games)?

Arekkusu's list and previous posts should really be in a FAQ Smile !

OK, to stick to this thread topic: "Really annoying things..."
* Lisence.txt
* Liscense.txt
You know who you are Wink
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