Are today's gamers too soft?

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Post: #1
With uDG 2004 rapidly approaching, I've been thinking over several game ideas. However I'm not so sure that some of the ideas are suitable for today's gamers - or more to the point, I'm not so sure today's gamers are suitable for my ideas.

So what causes me to make such flame inducing remarks?

Well I remember from developing my uDG 2003 entry (Garden Pests), and reading comments by others about other games, that gamers tend to be too soft. One of the "complaints" was that you lost a life when you touched an enemy. Now the concept of losing a life when touching an enemy makes perfect sense to me as
I've been playing computer games since about 1980. But it seems that today's players want to have energy levels, cotton wool wrapping and other such things to save them from such loss of life.

So should I go to the effort of writing a nice retro feel platform game along the lines of Manic Miner only to be whinged at because touching the penguin causes a loss of life? Or should I just give in and provide body armour so that Miner Willy can take lots of hits? Oh, wait a second, what is the point of the game if you cannot be harmed by touching the enemies.......

Discuss

(I intend to write a proper article about this at some point.)
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Post: #2
I blame it on save points!!
It would be safe to assume that most kids grow up nowadays playing huge commercial games in which you can never really die. They expect automatic quick save like in Halo; if they die they want to be automatically back in the action. Gamers are an impatient lot, I think in this day and age they expect to finish the game in one go. Long gone is the question "What level can you get up to?", now it's "What level are you up to?".
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Post: #3
Part of the delight of games back in the 1980's was working through to reach a new level. The sense of achivement at finally getting passed something after a week of trying. You had to have the skill to clear the first 10 levels successfully to give you that chance to beat level 11. Games back then had a much greater replay value.

As you say, the save point has ruined that.

Of course the very fact that there are so many retro consoles appearing now with lots of games from the past with one touch death means someone must still like them.
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Lucis-Gladius
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Post: #4
I also started playing games in 1980

1 year ago I read an article about a Jedi Outcast cheat called "THEDESTROYER"
underneith the cheat said something like:,, Don`t complain if the fight lasts too short." When walking up on to an enemy "destroyer saber" it would be an instant 1 hit kill.

Battlefield D.C. 7.0 while being infantry, if any type of rocket, bomb, tank shell, or an AK-47 fires at you, it all will result in 1 hit kills. If your driving an Abrahams tank and an A4-Douglas Skyhawk fires its bullets at you or drops a couple of bombs bullseye on your tank, its will be a 1 hit kill. Etc.

Next to that there are also explosive shells that have a wider area of effect, me 1 time playing battlefield, I booby trapped on of our outposts with detonation packs, at the time there was an enemy squadron driving in formation through our outpost, properbly about 5 soldiers guarding 1 Armoured personal carrier. After detonating the explosives, there was not 1 enemy remaining, basicly it was all 1 hit kills in 1 strike.

In Battlefield when flying a chopper (appache/blackhawk etc.) or an 10-Thunderbolt, there is always the possibility that if an anti-tank infantry fires its RPG at your aircraft "bullseye", that means its going to be a 1 hit kill.

Em buddy, if you don`t like 1 hitkills make a game like simcity or do something about unarmed combat, but may I remind you that I`ve thaught about this subject lots of times, all for my own game design.

Sorry all, but for me there is 1 undeveloped game design called <<Purple|Star>>. After that is finnished I`ll talk about other game designs, have been working on the idea for 11 years, and don`t you ever forget it.

All welcome !
Alex
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Post: #5
Lucis-Gladius Wrote:Em buddy, if you don`t like 1 hitkills make a game like simcity or do something about unarmed combat, but may I remind you that I`ve thaught about this subject lots of times, all for my own game design.

I do like one hit kills games as that is the type I grew up with. The question is - are there enough like minded people out there or will I be swamped with people complaining that games are too hard?
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Lucis-Gladius
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Post: #6
I was just fortunate to learn about Chinese martial arts code "Wude"

Don`t start the violence, but end it. This is my whole game concept, violence is bad for your mentality, sure... I really love to do flying in simulation games, take out targets wit the A-10. But you must draw the line, I think making a game relaxing will add more ballance to the players mental state before he goes into action.

But thats the idea I`m using for <<Purple|Star>>, lets call it the principal of the cat: The cat appears to be sleaping all day, but a cat in action is like something you`ve never seen before. Its all about saving and spilling energy, both must be in ballance. Too much violence will do something to the players mental status, after preforming an action 200 times in simultation, you might feel like doing this in real life.

The answer to the problem is make it clear to the custommer that he`s using a simulation !
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Post: #7
[QUOTE=Lucis-Gladius] To much violence will do something to the players mental status, after preforming an action 200 times in simultation, you might feel like doing this in real life./QUOTE]

This should be taken off into a seperate thread.

After years of playing computer games I've never once had the urge to:

chase a ghost around a maze
shoot at invading alien space ship
jump over a penguin on to a collapsing ice platform to grab an ice lolly
prepare to qualify for a motor race
shoot anyone
walk into a wall
jump over a charging bull

Bonus points for anyone who can identify the games that I realised were not actually reality Wink
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Post: #8
There's a bit of a fallacy of game design about the more super hard a game is, the better gameplay it is...

The one hit and you're dead school of gameplay arose from arcade consoles and the need to get gamers to keep pumping in quarters. So the harder a game was, the more money it could make. As long as the gameplay was such that it would hook the player before he was killed.
(side point: In more popular arcades, where you were guaranteed more players, the difficulty setting would be upped to provide even higher turnover rates on the machines).

As games moved out of the arcades and into the home, the quarters were removed and game designers were able to think about more long term gameplay rather than a quick thrill before killing the player. Most console games have evolved along these lines, where players are looking more to explore the game's environment (even if it's just seeing what's in the next level). Unfortunately, especially in the case of license titles, this has evolved too far in the 'safe' direction with license holders not wanting the player to be able to be killed at all, so that the player can easily get through the game and experience the whole of the licensed property.

Somewhere in between these, there is a balance. Old school gamers are kind of the Vietnam Vets of the group in that they were brought up in a violent environment where you died quickly. Post arcade gamers are more used to slightly more relaxed environments where everybody is a hero eventually. So unless you're targetting the hardcore retro gamers, be careful with the difficulty level Wink
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Post: #9
Zwilnik Wrote:Somewhere in between these, there is a balance. Old school gamers are kind of the Vietnam Vets of the group in that they were brought up in a violent environment where you died quickly. Post arcade gamers are more used to slightly more relaxed environments where everybody is a hero eventually. So unless you're targetting the hardcore retro gamers, be careful with the difficulty level Wink

Interesting. So my over a sandwich at lunchtime thinking is as follows:

People these days seem to want more and more realistic games, yet they do not want the ultimate realism of actually losing and be sent back to the start. The kind of Hollywood version of everything were everyone is a hero and everyone lives happily ever after.

I've nothing against games where you get to do lots of exploring and stuff and never die.

But I feel there is still a place for the single hit life lost game. Taking Manic Miner as an example, how would you do a game like that in a multi hit to lose life game? Say you can take 10 hits before losing a life. You would just be able to walk straight through the stinking bushes on the Central Cavern and get the key without any risk.


It all depends on the kind of mode you are in. You may sit down infront of your TV and watch a documentry or some mindless effects filled film. They all have their place.
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Post: #10
I think gamers expecting an easier game is part of the problem, but I think a much bigger problem stemming from gameplay with 'one-hit-kills' much more relevant for us indie devs is poor design.

You can have a game where you die in one hit, but it had better damn well have really smooth, reliable play control and well-designed levels where nothing is too eratic. You should also have enough lives that you have a little bit of lee-way.

Too often people have tried to re-create these classic arcade games and botched the job in some way, making a game for example with poor collision detection, and enemies with completely random patterns. Of course a player is going to get angry when he or she feels little control over the character's life!

Often devs recognize that their game is too hard, and as an easy solution, they just add multiple-hit life to the design. This can come as a band-aid to the solution, not fixing the fundemental gameplay flaw.
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Post: #11
Very good topic I must say. The last poster raises a good point. In a platformer, I can keep dieing because of the controls or collision detection just are not there. In such cases, I don't feel that investing more time to improve my skill will allow me to enjoy the game and progress. On the otherhand, if the level/mission/objective is difficult, but consistent, in a good way Wink then I feel I can overcome it, and will keep trying.

Aaron points out the obvious that balance is critical, so I think getting feedback from testers is how you reach that balance.

I would also add that today's gamers are use to playing games which are multi-player. I think this has affected them.

To me, the perfect balance was Lemmings. Some levels were hard, and I kept losing. But I could get a password, and start the levels from where I left off. Sometimes, in some platform games, you die and need to go allllll the way to the start. Boy I hate that.

Somewhere, I read an article, perhaps by Miyamoto on just that. Perhaps it said, "Yes, you start over, but each time, you could discover something new in the level. So, it didn't feel like you were going through the motions JUST to get back to where you left off."

I suppose what you should do for uDG is to have play levels like "Trainer", "Normal", "Tough","Forget it" Wink

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Post: #12
One aspect with the one-hit-death games. Due to the CPU/Graphics power available etc. the collision on them was usually pretty forgiving (always err on the side of the player where collision is concerned. They *will* notice if they get killed when they didn't think they should have, but they'll usually not be too worried if they get away with a 'near miss').

You could easily do 'forgiving' Manic Miner by losing health (rapidly) when you touch deadly things. Thus forcing your way through a deadly item will always kill you as you have never got enough health to get all the way through.

Most importantly, people are playing games for *fun*. If it's just frustrating then they're not usually having fun. If the game is just a walkthrough then they're not usually having fun either (unless it's a particularly nice walkthrough).
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Post: #13
Zwilnik Wrote:Most importantly, people are playing games for *fun*. If it's just frustrating then they're not usually having fun. If the game is just a walkthrough then they're not usually having fun either (unless it's a particularly nice walkthrough).

The thing is I, and thousands others, had fun playing the one hit kills type of game so it is not as if the game type was never popular.

The player has every right to be upset if they get killed due to poor collision detection, but it is the player complaining just because they got their timing wrong that annoys me.
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Post: #14
good news, my uDG entry will have instant hit kills.

should probably also add in instant miss kills...
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Post: #15
Is your game going to be like Miner2049er? If so, goodie goodie.

The ultimate unforgiving game for wrong timing must have been the Laser Disc DragonSlayer.

So, in your platformer. when I die, will I need to recollect something?

Platform Game Death Situations
------------------
1. You die, and go back all the way to the start
2. You die, and go back to the last "safe place/marker"
3. You die, and you appear where you just died
4. You collect something, and die, you restart and you must re-collect everything
5. You collect something, and die, you restart, but the game doesn't require you to
re-collect those things that you had before.

Might be some others.

I like the idea that if I need to collect something, and I die, rather than re-collecting everything, I simply move my new adventurer to the bones of the last player and "pick up" my inventory (ie keys, potions, bombs, etc)

Anyhow, in talking about death, I think it is good to example what the objective of the level is. Can you provide a summary?

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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