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biggest gamedesign/gameplay mistakes

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i''d be very happy to know what you guys consider some of the biggest gamedesign/gameplay mistakes, in any type of games. i''m pretty sure it happened to everyone to think "how the hell could they leave such a big/stupid/annoying mistake in this otherwise great game ? did they even test it ???" for my part, i think the boss in Dead Or Alive 3 (xbox) is pathetic ! really not playable, just annoying. what a shame ! now i don''t want to finish story mode with other characters because i can''t stand the idea of having to fight him again and again and again... it is so not fun that it becomes something you have to do, but you don''t want to :-( another one i can remember is the way bad guys appeared out of nowhere in Project IGI (pc). god, this was so irritating ! diing because a bad guy just appeared behind you in an empty room where you just killed everyone. and you had to start the level all over again because you couldn''t save (which was a good thing, but made it even more irritating). BTW i just tried igi2 single player demo : awesome !!! see the same post on edge-online forum : http://forum.edge-online.com/viewtopic.php?t=46151 here, most of the answers are about console games, and the main conserns are controls and camera positionning and on igda gamedesign forum : http://www.igda.org/Forums/showthread.php?s=464868764e279e6438582b75eae3ff92&threadid=4019 Emmanuel Alpe 3D artist http://anim3d.free.fr "Consciousness is a terrible curse"

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it''s an rpg game and you can''t save anywhere you can. god, imagine this, you are entering a dungeon, and there is a save spot there. you save the game, and enter the dungeon. after 1-2 hours killing monsters, looting, opening treasure chests, you still can''t save the game. what if somewhere in the middle of the dungeon you die. or what if you want to quit right at that time because your mom tells you so? "mom! i can''t save the game!" you basically have to start all over again.

and the bad thing is, they give you another save spot just right before the big boss is coming, so you can kind of guess "alright, finally we find one save spot, i bet there is a big dude behind that door." and there is the big dude. that''s no fun.

return 0;

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Focusing on a story and related noninteractive elements rather than the play itself.

Focusing on a raw technology engine (portals, LOD, occlusion methods, physics, IK) instead of a game.

Giving too little to the player up front, only letting him see the really cool stuff after hours of gameplay.

Going for extreme realism at the expense of gameplay.

Following cookie-cutter design templates: "Okay, now we need to figure out what bosses and powerups to include."

Basing the difficulty on the experience of the designers and expert testers, and thus making a game much too hard.

Having overly huge levels that feel 80% empty.

Solving every "Should we do it this way or that way?" design problem with "We''ll make it selectable on the options screen."

Focusing on the cliched details of a genre: "Should we have two-handed weapons?" "Should we have pain skins?" "Should we have rocket jumping?"

Going with a much too ambitious design and having to scale back by 25-50% or more late in the project, keeping the game from feeling polished.

Overly complex user interfaces and player controls.

Choosing uninspired, over-used settings: midieval fantasy world, post-apocalyptic world.

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The biggest mistake most designers make IMO is going with what is proven to be popular. Sure it might make them some $$, but not as much as if the game were at least somewhat original. Why would I want to play a 10th game based on the Q3 engine unless it has something new and different? Chaning the models, skins, and textures does not make the game different.

There is far too much focus on things that don''t make a game any more fun. Too many games are created to look good, or have a good story, etc. If I want to see good graphics I''ll watch some demos, and if I want a non-interactive story I can read a book for a probably better effect. Games need to be engaging and fun.

Realism does not neccesarily make a game fun. It can help, but a game that is 100% realistic would probably be pretty boring. Making a game unrealistic does not make it fun either.

Fixing things that many people don''t consider a problem in a way that some players object to: I enjoyed counter-strike until they added the `jump-stumble`(after juming, a character moves about half walk speed for a few seconds) to fix `bunny hoppers`(characters that constantly jumped) it broke the game for me. I hardly used jumping in the game, but because of the ''fix'' I could no longer jump when it was needed (for example: to climb a few crates to take an alternate route). I played the game once after the patch, and I miss the old versions a lot =-(

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I think the biggest most aweful thing they can do is not go with whats proven on simple things, like control schemes and navigation schemes (examples to follow):

I have james bond agent under fire for Game Cube, its not a bad game and the controls for it being a console FPS are pretty good, i got turok evolution (no comments please) and the games biggest failure was trying to do its own system (granted it was its own system from the older turok games, but that controle pales in comparison to JB on gc) that in itself made the game unplayable.

The second thing is that they dont go with other proven methods (speaking from what i read) i heard the new game the getaway had some errors in that were unforgivable, and from what it sounded if they just followed a tried and true system of GTA and GTA:Vice City (the parts of course that intertwine between gta and getaway) they would of done just fine, or at least followed and improved upon.

Its like, dont these development houses play games???? Do they play anyone elses games? There is noooo reason for them to do this, its unforgivable, then charging 50$ for this. Do they realize software is usually unreturnable? talk about not beliving the hype...if u do u get scrweed with a waste of 50$ that probably doesnt even work well as a coaster..

But enough negative lets commend the companies that do listen to their audiance and improve upon their games in version 2 or even in a patch, the greatest of examples would probably have to be..
Vampire the Masqarade, the release of the game the critics told of its problems, and well in the next patch or two all these things that kept the game from getting a good score were fixed.

Then there was hitman 2, that game was a great improvement over hitman , all the stuff most people complained about in hitman was nonexistant in hitman2.

One other example is when a company actually makes a licensed game and its good, heaven forbid they make a good game based on a licesnse...i hear lord of the rings the two towers for game cube is quite good..and then there was Beavis and Butthead in virtual stupidity (i think thats the title) that game one a lot of adventure game awards...and it was a fun game.

There are many other examples too...

Well thats just the way I see it. I still find it highly irritating that companies just seem to throw crap out the window...arg see now im annoyed thinking about the dung we are forced to view and see.

While im on a soapbox...what is up with crap licsensing? I mean the GBA has a flood of reatarded games, or very uninspired ones (of course a select few of games are a+). Unfortuantly the rest of the selections are just junk..stupid shuve down ur throat junk.

Oh well, 2:30am..time to shut up and goto bed. darn that felt good.

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One of the biggest mistakes that comes to my mind is adding a good feature, but getting it wrong. Its very frustrating as a player to read about a feature but when you go to use it the game gets it wrong. As an example in an RTS called...grr forgotten its name (Warcry or something I think, I threw it out it was so bad), anyway you could build roads, and anything walking along the road would move about 50% faster. Great I thought, and so built roads to my workers. Well, maybe things walking along the road would go faster, I don't know because my guys would wander off and end up returning to base alongside the road at normal slow speed. Even quite stringent micromanagement of my units (directing them to the road first then home) wouldn't help they walk off it. There were a number of problems with the game, but that one frustrated me the most, why put in a useful feature like that, but not make the units smart enough to use it?

[edited by - ShonTsu on January 24, 2003 5:27:14 AM]

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Relying on the Save feature as part of the gameplay.
For instance, if I enter a room, but I don''t have a specific tool, like say a Sun Shield or something, and I get immediately fried by a huge beam of light, I better have the ability to have seen it coming, like seeing scorched ground or something. Any traps should be avoidable without having to die first and say, "Oh, how do I get past that?"

This goes for logic problems as well. What I mean by that is let''s say I found some invisibility potion. I see a guard by the gate. If I walk up to him, he kills me. If I drink the potion first and then walk up, he kills me. If I throw the bottle of potion, he comes out to see what happened, and then kills me. It is only after all that do I think to drink the potion and then throw the bottle. He goes to investigates. It is only then that I realize that if I don''t move, he won''t see me. That would have been quite some leap in logic for me to figure out from the get go.
That was an example in "Game Architecture and Design." Just giving credit where it is due.

How about problems like this:
You walk into a room, only to find that it is a dead end. You turn immediately around. You spend forever and a day looking throughout the maze for the way out. Eventually you find yourself coming back to that room again and again. You finally decide to walk to the other side of the room for once, and all of a sudden, that triggers something that opens a way out or something.
A big, empty room, and I had to step on a specific tile on the other end that otherwise I had no reason to think about walking on in order to trigger some even that allows me a way out of the maze or otherwise continue the game... Big no-no.

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Can't think of any specific examples, but:

In any given game rule that could go one way or the other because of popular demand, and the designers decide to go with only one of them and not allowing the players the options of which rule applies.

Open options I think is key to increased playability on the net. The host just picks the options and everyone plays by the same rules. You can "make your own game" that way, and everyone is happy.

[edited by - Waverider on January 24, 2003 11:52:12 PM]

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[ =~ ]


[ /=~ ]

I think the worse gamedesign ideas are always created by sacrificing ease of use for realism.

Q:Bump into a wall, drop your gun,
A:yeah, that is how it works in real life, but its rather annoying in a FPS.

Q:You can only catch the football if it reaches the player''s hands, reaching his head or his legs counts as a fumble.
A:except I cannot control the player''s arms, so I lose the range a RL player will have, let alone the fine adjustments a NFL player can make

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1) "Hunt the pixel" designs.

I love the Dreamcatcher games. Nice environments, fun to play through (once), good puzzles, and not too expensive. But all too often I get stuck and have to look for a walkthru because I didn''t think of clicking on a particularly small patch of blackness in a large black area. You end up having to wave the mouse around randomly in every single room.

And I agree with both previous posts about saved games, and more:

2) You should be able to save anywhere you want to -- what if the fire alarm goes off, or your laptop battery is about to run dry?

3) The game shouldn''t rely on save/restore/save/restore cycles. Far too many RPGs do this. Yes, it''s nice to be able to restore, but forcing the user to fight the same insanely strong creature over and over and over until they guess the one spell that can harm it is lame.

4) Games with limited save slots are pathetic. Normally I see #2 and #4 together on games that are ports from console games. Just because it''s a port doesn''t mean you can''t add functionality! One game in particular really ticked me off... it was a long time ago, not sure which game it was. Maybe Legacy of Kain? Anyway, 4 save slots. What? Was that so you could run it off a floppy?

5) Games that don''t let you Alt-Tab to other applications (or break horribly when you do so).

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