Over simplification

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by zoombapup, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    I was reading the guidelines to this competition by intel/thegamecreators:

    http://www.thegamecreators.com/intelcompo/

    And it strikes me that the current trend is to basically simplify absolutely everything to fit the specific form-factor of mobile type devices.

    It irks me a bit that essentially the form factor is driving the kind of games theyre suggesting people make. Basically theyre saying make a game that works with one button and perhaps some simple swipes. Not that there's anything wrong with making simple interfaces, but surely theres something wrong with ONLY doing that?

    At what point do we rebel against the over simplification of choices? Or do we accept the inevitable "you have to press this big pad at the right time" to become the defacto standard for control?

    I mean flash basically removes the options of using right mouse control in games. What if that trend keeps on going? Eventually using any form of complexity for controls will be vetoed. Yet I'm sure that occasionally the complexity of controls is required to produce the correct experience. Not that I'm advocating FOR complexity, so much as against the dumbing down of user choices to fit lowest-common-denominator hardware. I'd much rather we saw innovations in making user choices more convenient than restrictions on input methods based on hardware budgets.
     
  2. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    How about innovations for input methods based on hardware restrictions (budgets) that make user choices more convenient and rich?

    Make the games smarter so the hardware doesn't have to be. This is where innovation and great design will give you a leg-up over the competition.

    Stop looking at it as: "You have to press this big pad at the right time," and starting thinking about it as context sensitive input.
     
  3. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    This bothers me less than the other trend of assuming idiocy:


    "You pressed pause"
    "Are your sure you want to do that? Y/N"
    "Y"
    "You pressed Y. Was that your intention?"
    "Y"
    "Paused. Press OK to continue your game. This means that the pause menu will close and the game will resume, so be ready.
    "OK"
    "You pressed OK. Are you sure? Y/N"
    etc.
     
  4. princec

    Indie Author

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    One of the reasons for being "independent", other than financial, is that we get to choose what form factors and platforms we design for.

    In fact right at the very beginning, it was all "Windows PCs", so we had all that at our disposal. Everyone's since fled in to all sorts of different platforms and form factors, leaving the PC a bit of a desolate wasteland of shitty "concept" games and utterly expensive 3D RTS/FPS/MMOGs. And a few of us who stay there trying to find a niche.

    Our platform is "Downloadable Games for Desktop Computers on The Internet" and that's what we design for. We don't much care about the other form factors or delivery mechanisms, and this is maybe good, because everyone is abandoning this specific niche finding no riches :)

    Cas :)
     
  5. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    Why does it have to be at the right time? That's too complex! :p

    I agree with the spirit of what you are saying. I don't necessarily think games should use all of the buttons on an xbox gamepad either, but I think games should be intuitive enough to minimize the number of buttons needed to reach the desired gameplay not limit the gameplay to reach the desired number of buttons.
     
  6. Musenik

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    Um, that would be the Apple II. And the only people making games, at the beginning, were indies. Sure there were home-brew predecessors, but the Apple II ignited home computing for the masses.
     
  7. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Yeah, I think he's showing his age now. My first actual commercial game was for the ST and Amiga, but I learned my craft on the zx spectrum.
     
  8. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    zx81 for me until I could afford a Taiwanese Apple II knockoff. Good times.
     
  9. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Didn't realise you were as crusty as I am. I had an '81 but didn't really get it into it. (A wobbly ram pack killing two hours of typing in from a magazine is all I can really remember)

    We can do "oh the youth of today" stuff now... :)
     
  10. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    Leave it!!!!! >:)
     
  11. JarkkoL

    JarkkoL New Member

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    Oh sweet memories, I remember typing in many pages of plain hex code to my ZX'81 that was released in a local compute mag, and of course there was no saving option :)
     
  12. cyodine

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    Ah, me too. But it was Apple magazine for my Apple IIc. I typed in the hex code for the game Laser Chess and a game I think called Minesweeper (not at all related to Window's Minesweeper). I even recently made my first Unity game based on that Minesweeper game. Good times. I remember dreams involving futuristic computers that could display more than the 4 colors my computer did (not counting black and white), and that was after hooking up my tv for my monitor. All those fancy IBM's and Commodores with their greater color depth.
     
  13. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    Don't knock simplification...it allows everyone to compete. :)
     
  14. zoombapup

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    Compete for what though? The trouble is that it seems to inevitably lead to a dumbing down. Which is something I dont think we need more of.
     
  15. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    It's like autocross! :)

    I admit that when it comes to certain things, I can be a bit of a minimalist... Especially with input and interfaces. I still think the NES gamepad is one of the best controller designs in history; it's simple enough that kids can use it, but has enough depth to pull off hardcore games, as well. Hell, if we're talking about one button... The old-school Sonics had great depth and only used a d-pad + one button!

    Granted, it can certainly be taken too far, and one button for everything is probably overboard... But there is still a market for that; just look at the Wii Remote motion controls! Sans Motion Plus, it's a totally binary input device (well, ignoring the pointer and alternate horizontal config, of course).
     
  16. Vino

    Vino New Member

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    Talk about simplification, weren't there other threads in this forum a short time ago? Or is there something wrong with my browser?
     
  17. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

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    Vino, default forum setup only shows topics that have posts in the last 30 days otherwise they don't appear.

    My opinion on perfect level was the Snes controller, it had the right number of buttons when you needed them, and was great for d pad + 2 button games. The multi-colored ones with the yellow, red, blue and green buttons looked good and kids were attracted to them.

    I missed the fun of the early days, didn't get our first home PC until the time of the 486 machines. Creating that banana throwing game in basic was fun at the time.
     
  18. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    If you look at the bar at the top of the page, look for "new posts" and click that, you'll see everything recent that you havent already seen.
     
  19. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'm part of the Sinclair Research generation - there was a ZX81 at home but I was 3, got my real start with a ZX Spectrum 48+ at 6. Good times :)
     
  20. Wrote A Game or Two

    Wrote A Game or Two New Member

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    In all fairness, I do see where they're coming from on that. My wife has a full laptop PC (it's nicer than mine, darn her - I'm supposed to get all the cool toys!! :mad: ) and even the full size trackpad it has is hard to use as an input device for games. Our latest creation is a brickbreaker type game and with a mouse it's pretty easy but on a trackpad, it's pretty hard to play. I had to buy her a mouse so she could play it. :eek:

    It's a bit of an intriguing challenge, actually. Create an engaging game with nothing more than "tap the trackpad to _______" as your input method. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm......... (creaky wheels begin to turn) :cool:
     

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