Voting Habits

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Post: #1
After reading some posts I am curious as to how people behaved when deciding to vote.

For instance, did you take it seriously and actually look at the whole package for the game in the same way as something you bought? By this I mean reading the instructions to see how the game is played and what the aim is?

Did you only vote for the games you actually played? i.e. if the game failed to run did you then not vote for on it or did you give it all 1's without actually having played and seen the game?

Did you allow yourself to become annoyed by simple things?

How did you judge originality? Did you judge originality compared to today's games and other entries or to games going back the last 25 years?
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Member
Posts: 20
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Post: #2
I'm just adding a question:

Did you actually read the system requirements, or did you give the game a bad rating because you couldn't run it?

"Programmers are tools for converting caffeine into code."
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Member
Posts: 204
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #3
Just a few notations about the questions you posted:

Quote:...something you bought? By this I mean reading the instructions to see how the game is played and what the aim is... the game failed to run did you then not vote for on it or did you give it all 1's...Did you actually read the system requirements, or did you give the game a bad rating because you couldn't run it?


These are unfortunate mis-conceptions of the developers. Most developers (me too, initialy) assume that the first thing a player will do is open the read me/manual and learn about the game. The shocking reality is that 99% of all gamers simply download and run, without looking at read me, manual, OR system requirements. It is the developer's responsibility to make sure that when the gamer downloads the game and decides to play, that it is:

a) Easy enough to learn without referring to a manual (or has an easy to reach on-line help system)
b) If the game does not meet your minimum requirements, the game should say so in some meaningful way (ie, popping up an error dialog and NOT simply crashing).
c) Adheres to the "basic wants" of the target platform (see below)


Quote:Originally posted by BeyondCloister
Did you allow yourself to become annoyed by simple things?

This falls under the Polish category, which unfortunately affects all of the other categories in turn. If a game does not support Cmd+Q to quit from anywhere in the game, then the Polish is degraded. If the game messes up the user's window positions/desktop icons, Polish is degraded. If the game runs in a tiny window, polish is considered poor. These are unfortunately the burdens of developing for any platform, you need to satisfy the basic wants of the target audience (our fault for choosing the pickiest audience imaginable!).

Quote:Originally posted by BeyondCloister
How did you judge originality?


Originality is a tricky subject, but to me a game scores high on originality if it makes me say, "Oh, I never thought of that before", or "Hey, that's a cool new concept to me!". This is why I gave Kiki a 5 in originality last year. Most "cloned" games get a low score from me for originality, with the score rising a little for each new thing they bring to the old concept.

Cheers,
Rocco
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Post: #4
Quote:The shocking reality is that 99% of all gamers simply download and run, without looking at read me, manual


I guess that is what they call progress. Sad At least in the 'old' days when you had to wait for a game to load you read the instructions while waiting for the cassette to load or on the bus coming home from buying your game Wink
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Posts: 365
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #5
I tried very hard to rate every game objectively and to evaluate the relative quality of all of the games in the competition. The best game in a certain category should get 5 and the worst should get 1, irrespective of their quality in relation to high budget commercial games.

I skimmed the documentation to get an idea of what to expect, but I found it difficult to wade through the extensive documentation that some games supplied! On the other hand, certain games had no documentation and were very difficult to understand, and their score suffered accordingly. I'd rather have some basic documentation than none at all!

I didn't pan any game for being inoperable. For example, I didn't want to install the libraries for CY, so I didn't vote for it at all (sorry). I couldn't download eChess, so I didn't try or vote for it either.

I was annoyed by any game which messed up my windows due to not capturing the screen, but I didn't punish them heavily for it (-1 point in polish, unless they had other redeeming features which made me forget about it).

Originality is a tricky one... I think several people have failed to notice that certain games are clones of past arcade games and have given them unduly high originality scores. I know my classic games so I wasn't fooled! Wink I gave high originality scores only to games which were either completely unique or which took old ideas and added significant new features.

Finally, for my own game, I tried to assess it as if I had never seen it before (probably unsuccessfully). I think it's pretty good, but I punished it for having poor polish and sound. I may still have rated it too highly.... Sad

Neil Carter
Nether - Mac games and comic art
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Post: #6
I tried to be as fair as possible in my voting. I didn't give a game all 1's just because I didn't like it or wanted to hurt it to help my game. So yay for me I guess.

I was actually lucky in that every game ran fine, and none of them refused to start or not run, so I didn't have to mark a game down for that (believe me I would have).

I think I read or at least skimmed all the documentation for all the games, but there were some games like Dig It that I just couldn't figure out despite that.

I was probably most generous in the polish and originality categories. There were several games I rated poorly in graphics or sound or gameplay, but gave a 3 or 4 in originality. Gotta reward them for trying something new. I was pretty nice in polish too, as I didn't rate any game lower for moving my windows or what-have-you. I was definitely toughest in the graphics category. I gave out a lot of 1s and 2s, but I was definitely willing to give out the higher numbers if you deserved it.
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Superpig
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Post: #7
Quote:Originally posted by NCarter
I didn't want to install the libraries for CY, so I didn't vote for it at all (sorry).


That's OK - not installing the libraries is your decision, and thank you for not voting the game down because of that.

May I ask why you didn't want to install the libraries?
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Post: #8
Quote:Originally posted by Superpig
May I ask why you didn't want to install the libraries?

Er... difficult to explain my reasoning, because I had most of them installed already. I suppose it's because installing a library into the system on Mac OS X still makes me slightly nervous. As stupid as it may sound, if you had given instructions which told me what to install and what to expect as a result of installation (where the files would go, etc.), I would probably have bitten the bullet and installed them.

Since I declined even though I (mostly) know what I'm doing, I suspect the average user might be even more reluctant to mess around with separate installers.

I suggest you look into incorporating the SDL frameworks into your application bundle - this neatly avoids the whole separate installation problem. There are threads on this forum on the subject, and I believe there's an article in the FAQ about it (although the FAQ is broken at the moment so I can't confirm that).

Speaking of which, why don't you put your data files into the bundle as well?

Once again, sorry for not giving your game a fair run. I went out of my way to try everything else in detail and I regret missing yours out. Sad

Neil Carter
Nether - Mac games and comic art
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Superpig
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Post: #9
Quote:Originally posted by NCarter
[b]Er... difficult to explain my reasoning, because I had most of them installed already. I suppose it's because installing a library into the system on Mac OS X still makes me slightly nervous. As stupid as it may sound, if you had given instructions which told me what to install and what to expect as a result of installation (where the files would go, etc.), I would probably have bitten the bullet and installed them.

Hmm, I thought I *had* done in the readme. Eh, maybe not.

Quote:Since I declined even though I (mostly) know what I'm doing, I suspect the average user might be even more reluctant to mess around with separate installers.
Yeah, granted. Rolleyes

Quote:I suggest you look into incorporating the SDL frameworks into your application bundle - this neatly avoids the whole separate installation problem. There are threads on this forum on the subject, and I believe there's an article in the FAQ about it (although the FAQ is broken at the moment so I can't confirm that).

Speaking of which, why don't you put your data files into the bundle as well?
The game was developed under PC, so all the paths to the files would have changed. No, wait, that's a weak excuse.

The truth is, I have no idea what an 'Application Bundle' is. However, now that you've mentioned it, I'll be going to read up on it. Smile
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Superpig
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Post: #10
Incidentally, the FAQ works if you do 'index.php?Topic' instead of 'index.php/Topic.' Just in case anyone was wondering. Smile
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Moderator
Posts: 365
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Post: #11
Quote:Originally posted by Superpig
Hmm, I thought I *had* done in the readme. Eh, maybe not.

You said this:

Quote:CY requires certain libraries to run (namely SDL, SDL_Image, SDL_TTF, and FMOD). I have included the packages for the SDL libraries, along with the shared library for FMOD. Please install all the SDL packages before running the game.

Put the shared library for FMOD... where?! Wink

Neil Carter
Nether - Mac games and comic art
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Posts: 1,138
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Post: #12
In general, this is what I do...

* File is uncompressed, I open the folder, I see how easy it is to find and start the game. ie. Do I have to install extra stuff, is the playable's icon burried, etc
* I look at the included files (ie. readme, etc) How does the playable's icon look?
* When I start the game, I see how long until I see "something" Here I look for some kind of feedback. If the screen turns black, and I see nothing or hear nothing for too long, I deduct points
* Splash screen comes up/or doesn't. If it does, how does it look and sound? ie Polish points
* How does the main menu look? Fits in with the mood/theme of the game? Consistent? ie I hate non-matching buttons. Does the interface provide feedback when mouse-over. *(audio-visual)
* I then check for credits. I think gamers don't, but I do.
* I then check the config screen. No config? Minus points. I look for the usual stuff, like changing resolution, input keys. Too many games force keys upon the gamer. I minus alot for that.
* I check the navigation of the menu screens. How easy is it to move from screen to screen, etc.
* I look for other niceties in the menu, like highscrore, story/tutorial, link to vote, and so on
* Playing the game, I ask myself, "Do I understand what is going on?" If I do once I have tried my hand at the game for a bit, then I give points. If I don't, I then read the help. I don't take points away here, just add them if the game lets me jump right in. Obviously the genre has an impact here. (ie Everyone know shoot'em ups)
* After playing the game for some time, I ask, "Is it addictive? Was it fun? Did it feel like work?"
* I check to see if I can pause or quit a game in progress.
If I quit, does it bring me back to the main menu or quit the game? I want to hit quit/esc to drop back to the main menu, but some games just quickly quit. I hate that. Yesterday, I found a game that drive me nuts. I tried to go back to the main menu but the interface was screwy. It took me 20 min. to finally quit the game. NOT GOOD!
* When I stop playing and quit, I at my desktop. If icons are jumbled, resolution is whacky. I deduct points.

That's it in a nutshell.

Quote:The shocking reality is that 99% of all gamers simply download and run, without looking at read me, manual, OR system requirements.


Yes, I really agree with that. Thus, when I look at a game for the first time, I write up my score based on that. My second look (which you see above) is from a dev./editor view point. I then average them and reach my final score for a game.

But I suppose I can do that because I can download all the games very quickly.

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Hugh Rayner
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Post: #13
If I can't run a game, I don't vote on it. I think I gave one game all ones, but that was because it was a half-assed effort (like my boulder race last year, which was a flawed concept and never really completed), not because it didn't run (there were actually none which refused to run on my setup, though a few I couldn't figure out controls etc.). I think OSC's comment about giving all 1s to a game which doesn't run OR REQUIRES A LIBRARY TO BE INSTALLED is a bit harsh. I did not deduct anything for an incorrectly submitted game, as long as I could make it run (frequently by running chmod 755 on the executable because of stuffit's permission-munching habits).

Originality is the factor I like to be high in games particularily (note that that's the factor I expect to score highest in). I'm more likely to play an original game for longer (though if it has crappy graphics I still won't give it a good graphics score etc.) and I may overlook some polish issues like bad controls etc (the game itself is somewhat experimental, so the controls are not necessarily clear).
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Post: #14
Here is a way "somebody" (not me!) reviews games... Just thought I would post it for fun.

Quote:When I play a game, I expect to be having fun by the time I figure out the controls. If the game is half-decent, I'll play it for much more than that. In fact, I've occassionally played bad games for 20 minutes or more before completing my review. However, the first five minutes during which I play the game are enough for me to formulate a rating. After that, my rating rarely changes by more than 2.

My hard drive is gigantic and my internet connection is fast. I don't care if a game uses a large file. However, I do erase games if I don't think I'll be playing them anymore. If I know I am going to erase a game immediately after I complete my review, the game is ineligible to receive more than a 5/10. This is also a deciding factor between a 10/10 and an editor's choice. Editor's choice games often remain on my HD for months. Some are still on my hard drive. It is worth noting that this criteria is based on how much fun the game is over all. Hard drive time is my way of giving a game an overall rating. Games with both a short playing time and low replayability will often earn lower ratings. Games with no replayability are OK if they last a really long time without getting boring. Short games are OK if they are fun to play over and over. Occassionally a game will gain a rating adjustment if I notice that I'm still playing a long time after I reviewed it.

I expect a game to have decent graphics and sounds. Since music is subjective, it has little influence on my rating for a game. If a game has bad music, I probably won't realize it. Music which contributes to the tempo of a game (i.e. fast music for arcade games) is a good thing. If the music or sounds are annoying enough to prompt me to shut off my sound, the game will lose credit as compared to a game with no sound at all. An exception is made for games that have in-game controls which allow me to turn off the sound and/or music.

Accessories can boost ratings significantly. On a 1-10 scale, 5 or 6 is average. Games without accessories are rarely above average. Games which allow scoring should include a high scores table (with some exceptions). I expect games with sounds and music to have volume controls or at least a means of turning them off independently of one another though this usually only affects my rating if I dislike the sounds and/or music. Life meters (for players, maybe for bosses too), multi-player mode, online play, powerful computer AI, difficulty settings, items/power-ups, ability to skip cut-scenes and introduction with ease, explosion effects, and different modes of play are all nice to have.

It should be easy to control what I wish to do in a game. Controls should be as intuitive as possible (or an accessory to allow me to pick my own controls should be added). The GUI (graphic user interface) should be nice. The game should also include documentation which explains how to play and answers most possible questions about the game. In game documentation is preferable. Note: I can also review games on my laptop, so controls that are not adjustable might seem useless to me despite the apparent ease of use to others. See "allowances" for more information.

I don't expect logic/puzzle games to have fancy graphics. I don't expect RPGs to have fancy graphics either. In the rare case where I choose to review a sports game, I don't expect it to sit on my HD very long. I make allowances for certain games if certain criteria do not seem applicable. Such allowances are more generous if the game fulfills other criteria well. I do not make allowances for problems which prevent me from fully enjoying the game unless such problems will not affect the majority of gamers (i.e. the control issue with my laptop that is mentioned above. Of course, an RPG with fancy graphics will still have a higher ranking than one without them. An allowance will not bring a game above average, it will merely keep it from falling down.

Games which have something unique or which implement something in a unique way impress me. I have reviewed more than two hundred games and have played hundreds more. I like to see something new once in a while. Even a low quality game can receive high ratings if it is unique enough to grab my attention.

If and Effort If an author of a game tries to convince me that my rating is unfair, I'll listen. It is very rare for an author to bring my rating up. However, if they can convince me that my complaints are unwarranted or if they actually update their game in response to my complaints I am willing to change the rating. Also, I'll often have second thoughts about a rating and change it, especially if I am unsure between two adjacent ratings. The easiest way to get a higher ranking from me is to read my review, fix all the problems, and tell me there was an upgrade. However, most upgrades will not result in rating changes.

This is probably (indirectly) the most important rating factor. My opinion of your game is defined by previous experience with other games. Of course that means that classic games from the 80s will rarely achieve high scores because they just aren't as good as the newer games that take advantage of the advent of extended memory, color, etc.

This guy has reviewed almost 300 games.

He seems not to like retro gaming. Boo, hiss! Mad

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Oldtimer
Posts: 834
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #15
Huh What the? Where is this reviewing stuff? Remind me never to send anything his way.
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