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LtKicker

Button Madness

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Buttons. They''re driving me nuts. Games now a days have so many buttons that you have to spend a hour just to figure out what they do. Not only that you also have to learn button combos which in is just memorization of button lists so you can exicute a special death move that utterly destroys the opponent. This is not because of skill but because of memorization. And top it all off most of the time you are just senselessly jamming at the buttons so you deal more damage than the opponent because you have the faster trigger finger. I''m not saying that a game that has these things is bad. I''m saying that it could be improved by removing these useless complications. Examples in MegaMan series can show why this would be nice. First off if you''ve played megaman you''ve noticed how most of the time you are to certain extent jamming or holding a button to either attack or charge. Couldn''t this be automated? It wouldn''t take to much of an effort to add an automatic attack system which would keep the focus on where it should be, evasion. Mega man definition of gameplay is evading enemy attacks so you can last long enough to pull off your own attacks and destroy your opponent. You notice that evasion makes up the first and formost thing you should do. Talking about evading, dashing has now became a very important thing in thwe megaman series. What is dashing? It just activating rockets on your boots so that you can move horizontaly quickly for a short amount of time. While this is useful does it really a button devoted just to it? Couldn''t it just be activated when there''s a circumastance that calls for it and when that happens you just hit right or left. Or is it even needed? Also the question on the weapons you earn from bosses, how should they be activated. They should be activated automatically whenever they would be most useful. Such as if you were attacking a boss or enemy with a weakness to the weapon or maybe because of the positioning of the enemies would make the weapon useful. Any comments or ideas?

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I''m in 2 minds about this. On one hand, I find it unfortunate that there are so many keypresses to remember these days that anyone new to a first-person shooter game is unlikely to learn them all. I know I certainly never used all the keys in games from Quake 2 onwards. But on the other hand, a game like Thief couldn''t be so rich without controls for several different movement speeds, crouching, jumping, attacking + blocking, zoom in and out, etc. In a fast-paced game a menu system is too slow and in a fairly non-linear game you can''t make decisions on the player''s behalf about how they want to act.

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I reckon you have a very fair point, although perhaps a badly delivered. I too feel an awful developers are becoming reliant on adding another button/command because the joypad allows them to do so. However, just automating things isn''t necessarily the answer.

You seem unhappy about the amount of overused buttons but I feel you''d be just as incensed when a game switches weapon for you when you didn''t want to.

Now I''m not too familiar with the megaman series but you suggest the gameplay is about evading attacks allowing you the opportunity to pull of your own. Yet, at the same time, you suggest making attacks automated. I don''t see removing chunks of the gameplay as an answer to too many commands available.

You then mention that the dash ability could be automatically activated when needed. Well, why bother having them then?


Games are about testing your reflexes and abilities against challenges set by the game. Overcomplication can get in the way of this and should be avoided. However, I feel you are just asking for basic elements to be removed. Basic elements that are part of the whole dynamic - do I shoot? do I dash? Can I make that jump? etc etc.






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quote:
Original post by LtKicker Couldn't this be automated? It wouldn't take to much of an effort to add an automatic attack system which would keep the focus on where it should be, evasion. Mega man definition of gameplay is evading enemy attacks so you can last long enough to pull off your own attacks and destroy your opponent. You notice that evasion makes up the first and formost thing you should do.


But what if your automated system decides to attack, when you want to evade?


quote:

Talking about evading, dashing has now became a very important thing in thwe megaman series. What is dashing? It just activating rockets on your boots so that you can move horizontaly quickly for a short amount of time. While this is useful does it really a button devoted just to it? Couldn't it just be activated when there's a circumastance that calls for it and when that happens you just hit right or left.



What happens if it dashes you when you wanted to stay still? What if your algorithm determines you need to dash while your standing on a platform and throws you off the edge?

quote:
Also the question on the weapons you earn from bosses, how should they be activated. They should be activated automatically whenever they would be most useful. Such as if you were attacking a boss or enemy with a weakness to the weapon or maybe because of the positioning of the enemies would make the weapon useful.


Then there is very little point in giving your bosses weaknesses to particular weapons, and the player will never have to find out for themselves what those weapons are.

I think it was Sid Meier who said "A game is a series of interesting choices". If you automate the player's choices, then they aren't interesting anymore - you end up with something like Progress Quest. If you're going to automate attacks, might as well automate evasion too, after all, why wouldn't you want to evade an attack? So really you're just guiding the player through the map. But hey, the maps are linear, or at least have a fixed solution, so why not save the player the bother of navigate it? That could easily be automated. At this rate you'll end up with a single 'complete game' button.

Conclusion: Automate only the mundane choices that aren't interesting. As for reducing buttons, that is a UI design thing - if you are smart you can keep it down to a sensible minimum without crippling your game in the process.

[edited by - Sandman on July 2, 2003 10:14:19 AM]

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Sorry. I did go a little of the wall. I was just trying to find an example I could use. Maybe I could give a better example such as in Megaman Zero. I have only played it a little bit but one of the things I notice and hate is that there is two different attack buttons. This is suppose to allow you to handle two different weapon systems. The example is the z-buster/z-saber combination. One is ranged and the other is for close combat giving them very specific purposes in the game. Wouldn''t it be better to have the weapon automatically switch depending on the range of your opponent or just have the button shoot your gun and when your near to touching the opponent automatically swing your sword. Comments?

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To a certain extent you can see that in some games already. The metal slug series are about shooting with guns but should you happen to press fire while near an enemy you''re character whips out a knife and slashes them real quick. It''s a nice touch and it doesn''t hinder gameplay.

However, in the case of megaman I''m guessing there''s a certain trade-off (I''ve not played the game). Something like the short-range weapon being stronger thus forcing a player to decide whether or not they wish to risk going in close for more damage.

Thats the whole point of games - decisions, actions and responses.

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I think more players would like to be able to control which weapon they use rather than let the system decide. Then again, it could be an option in the config screen (auto-weapon YES/NO), just like Descent allowed auto-aligning, which I turned off as quickly as I could.

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quote:
Original post by Sandman
At this rate you''ll end up with a single ''complete game'' button.



might as well automate the too

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quote:
Original post by LtKicker
The example is the z-buster/z-saber combination. One is ranged and the other is for close combat giving them very specific purposes in the game. Wouldn''t it be better to have the weapon automatically switch depending on the range of your opponent or just have the button shoot your gun and when your near to touching the opponent automatically swing your sword. Comments?


but that removes the whole skill aspect to the game. Auto-Switching Weapons in quake 3 is find because it changes when you pick a weapon up, not when you want to use it.

the whole point of having a long and short range control system is that YOU LEARN when to use both, YOU LEARN their ranges, and YOU LEARN to deal with 2 attack buttons.

Hell, street fighter has 6 attack buttons (weak/medium/strong punch and kick) which works perfectly together, as the whole point of the game is to test you reflexes, timing and co-ordination. if you don''t like it, don''t play the damn game. MegaMan is a game of SKILL, so why take away this aspect?

Another good example of this is metal slug. The action is absolutely frantic on screen and you can only carry one weapon (which can be changed) and some grenades (so much for halo being the first in that department ). Now, the skill of the game is knowing exactly when to fire, where to fire, and which weapon to have equipped. There''s also a heck of a lot of jumping and dodging of bullets going on.

I have my own way of playing metal slug, and I know other people that have theirs too. But we all agree that the fun is building up your skill so you can tackle any situation in the game, otherwise there''s no point to it, or any game. Games are about skill. If you want boring automation, go play windows solitare.

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I have to agree. I recently rented out Medal of honour and Ghost Recon, and was overwhelmed by the amount of buttons that come up in the loading screens! All I wanted to do was shoot stuff, but here I had buttons for duck, crounch, throw grenade, bring up map, change map, change map while selecting team, pick nose..

I think that it does go a bit overkill sometimes. I remeber hearing on the radio (Triple J if anyone knows what that is) where they were talking to a guy who just spent about 10 years or summin in jail. When he came out was when playstation 1 just got released. He said he remebers before going to jail of going to bars and having one stick to move, and one button to fire a ship. Now he says that there are so many buttons, he feels like everyone has become almost superhuman to him. He was saying that all those buttons confused the heck out of him (R1, L2, select, triangle), and that they change each and every game blew his mind. He thought that games just need to be simpler and thought it was all very over the top.

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