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How to Ruin a Game

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Mithrandir

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One of the games that I always enjoyed a lot was Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. It had a great concept, decent graphics, excellent gameplay, and a very fine-tuned user interface.


Great, great game.


Along comes Roller Coaster Tycoon 3.



What can I say, but "Ugh".


I have a processor that is 2x as fast as the "reccomended". 3x as fast as the "minimum".
I have 2x the reccomended RAM.
I have a brand new ATI Radeon 9800.

And it STILL runs like molasses.

Why does it do this?


answer:

Because game companies are full of idiots who think that a game will be better if they turn it into 3D. What moron decided it would be a good idea to make a game with 1000 highly detailed people running around, many very accurate roller coasters flying around, all sorts of rides, AI, physics, and billions of other calculations flying around in 3D, where obviously this kind of stuff is still far beyond the current range of processing power?


This game is NOT fun. I feel like I'm in a suspended slow-motion world when playing it. Furthermore, the 3D interface makes the game messier. Okay, yes, it's pretty. BUT! It's also 100x harder to place rides and paths, because it's not as clean-cut as the traditional 2D-Iso view of the original 2 games.

Furthermore, they had to make the design look less "windowsy" and more "5000 years in the futurey", which of course means that the little icons are often completely useless as far as telling you what they do, so you have to hover over it for 4 seconds until a tool-tip appears (and sometimes they don't!!) just to find out what one of the 800 icons does.

The old path-track layout system has been completely destroyed; it's now impossible to lay out a complex path in 10 seconds like in RCT2, it now takes over 2 minutes to do the same thing (but it looks more futurey!!).


And by far the worst part of the game, in my opinion, is that it added nothing to the gameplay. Not a damn thing. It's a virtually identical game to RCT2, except that it's slower, harder to use, prettier, and now you can use a "coaster cam", which allows you to attach the viewpoint of the game camera to a roller coaster car. That was fun... for the first 2 minutes. After that it's kind of pointless. I was expecting them to add something substantial to the game; something that every amusement park on the planet has, but for some reason this game doesn't: Amusement park games!!

You know, those stupid little game booths ("toss the ring over the peg", "hit the bottles", "Guess your weight", etc)... they're still missing from the game!


I'm noticing a trend lately; I get 100x more fun out of silly 2D games that can be put together in a week than these million-dollar monstrosities that just annoy me. Fuck, I'm virtually addicted to TANSTAFFL's HeXircuit.


Addendum:

I forgot to mention, I ended up turning the detail levels of RCT3 down to the lowest level for everything, so now everything looks like ancient 3D (for example, a sphere-shaped building that looks like that thing in Epcot now looks like an 8-sided die with extra-blurry textures), and it still runs slow... so the "prettiness" argument doesn't even apply anymore.

Honestly, it seems like most games are made based on the kinds of screenshots they are capable of taking, rather than if they're actually playable in any shape or form.
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At work, I am currently doing a project that will run on the Advantech TPC-60S (a CE device).

Since the application I am developing will be used without a stylus, only finger touches, I had to determine what the optimum size for push buttons was.

I also had to keep in mind that the application would not be the primary focus of the user.

To find out a good size for buttons on this 320x240 display, I made a slide puzzle game that used the logo of the company I work for and scrambles it up. I made a 32x32 tile version, a 40x40 tile version, and a 48x48 tile version.

I then asked folks to try it out. The 32x32 was deemed "definitely too small". The 40x40 was deemed "okay, if you were always paying attention to the panel", so we are going with 48x48 buttons.

Of course, people wanted to solve the slide puzzle, myself included. At one point, I wasted a good 15 minutes before I realized that I needed to stop playing.

HeXircuit, as it turned out, was the sleeper hit game on my site. I figured it to be a trivial game that folks might play once or twice, but ultimately abandon as trivial. It is an almost direct rip off of another game (that used squares instead of hexes)

I figured ChemHex or Honeycomb would have been a much bigger "hit".

One never knows...

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And people wonder why I play that 2d sidescroller MMORPG all the time.

Other thing is that 3D games usually make you tired rather quickly. I can play Maple for hours and be fine, but 1 hour of Guild Wars makes me very exhausted.

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Hey mith, perhaps it's time to stop running away from Tiberia!

And I can play Maple fine for hours too, except last night my neck started to hurtx0r.

Toolmaker

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I didn't run away from TA; I just don't have any kind of internet access that will allow me to log into there anymore.


Not like I really miss it though (no offense), I realise now how much of my time that place ate up.

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