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Roots

Your most depised game "features"

142 posts in this topic

Game: Battle for Wesnoth
Feature: Escape the forces attacking your home.
Comments: In the standard campaigns at least, you're given a choice as to which route to take while you run away from someone or other. Either way will lead to ambush (mountains -> orcs, swamps -> undead). The first time it's a pain. After that it's just plain ridiculous. Especially as you can simply beat the enemies attacking you if you're not so focused on moving your main character to a random signpost somewhere.

Game: Starfighter3000 (DOS version)
Feature: Fog.
Comments: I've never seen so much fog anywhere. Ever. It's even in space. The original Acorn version of the game didn't have any. Just why? Enemy fighters need to have little red rings drawn round them on your display, so you know there's something there. Even so, they start shooting at you before they show up on the display. The game might almost not bother with the actual graphics, and just have some red rings on a murky grey screen.
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Game: Almost everyone
Feature: Video settings detection
Comments: Almost every game mis detects my proper video settings, notably Half-life 2, I can turn almost every setting to full, but it always sets it to medium or low. Argh!
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DANGER! DANGER! Thread is beginning to discuss savegame styles! Everybody calmly proceed to your bunker and wait for the battle to end. This might take a while. [lol]
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Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
Quote:
Original post by Roots
Game: various RPGs
Feature: always putting the save points right before a boss
Comments: not only does it give away that a tough battle is coming up very soon, but it also cheapens the danger sense of the boss, because the player knows that if they screw up, they can easily reload the game and not lose very much progress at all.


Good.

I am playing games for fun. It is a pastime. I have better things to do with my time than replay an entire level plus the boss at the end because you decided I'm not allowed to save. Let me play the game my way.


Don't want to dwell on the save game topic, but I had to retort this. I understand where you are coming from. I also play games for fun. But if there is no challenge, there is no fun. And if there's a save point everywhere that I need one without penalty, there is no fun.

I think a game that does saving very well is Legend of Zelda, Link to the Past. You can save essentially anywhere in the game, and when you reload the game you start off in the town/castle/whatever safe area. That way, if I suddenly have to stop playing (ie house on fire or something) and I haven't saved in 20 minutes, I don't have to scurry around trying to find a save point.

Another quasi-save system that I think is great is in Skies of Arcadia. In that game if you are defeated in battle, you are given the option to re-try the battle from the start. Its absolutely wonderful! If I get defeated by a boss, I don't have to work my way back to him from the last save point. If I win after the 2nd, 3rd, etc. try, I get a small penalty of my XP/gold earned.

My game is incorporating both of the features I just mentioned. This gives the player *a lot* more freedom than just providing a save point where its convenient (and obvious) to them. So don't be so quick to judge that omitting said save-point-before-boss feature will make the game annoyingly difficult.
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But if there is no challenge, there is no fun. And if there's a save point everywhere that I need one without penalty, there is no fun.


And if there are insufficient save points for me to be able to make continual progress through the game, there's no fun.

Let me guess... you're a student? Or unemployed? Or otherwise have lots of free time? That's fine for you then, wish I was still a student, but I get, typically, about seven hours a week (one hour a day) to play computer games because I have a busy, busy life. The threat or danger of having to waste my precious time if I fail does not add suspense, or a fear of failure. Really, it doesn't. It adds frustration and annoyance and, very quickly, the result of me taking the game back to the shop for a refund.

You can play the game the way you want to play it - that's fine. Save very rarely and convince yourself you're having more fun. Let me play the game the way I want to play it, too. I will save very frequently and get to actually see all the cool stuff that's in the game.

One design decision (save when you want, or at least have frequent save points) allows both of us to enjoy the game - you don't have to save at all, and if you want to go back more than one save point you can. The other design decision (can only save at certain widely spaced save points) only allows you to enjoy the game, as I won't enjoy having my valuable time wasted.

If, as a game designer, you make the choice based on what you like, not what other people might like, then the chances are very high you are not designing the the kinds of games I (for one) want to play. If you feel comfortable with restricting your target audience just so you can feel the game is "challenging", I guess nothing more I can say will convince you otherwise. When I design games I prefer as many people to enjoy them as possible, not just myself.
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And if there are insufficient save points for me to be able to make continual progress through the game, there's no fun.

Let me guess... you're a student? Or unemployed? Or otherwise have lots of free time? That's fine for you then, wish I was still a student, but I get, typically, about seven hours a week (one hour a day) to play computer games because I have a busy, busy life. The threat or danger of having to waste my precious time if I fail does not add suspense, or a fear of failure. Really, it doesn't. It adds frustration and annoyance and, very quickly, the result of me taking the game back to the shop for a refund.

You can play the game the way you want to play it - that's fine. Save very rarely and convince yourself you're having more fun. Let me play the game the way I want to play it, too. I will save very frequently and get to actually see all the cool stuff that's in the game.

One design decision (save when you want, or at least have frequent save points) allows both of us to enjoy the game - you don't have to save at all, and if you want to go back more than one save point you can. The other design decision (can only save at certain widely spaced save points) only allows you to enjoy the game, as I won't enjoy having my valuable time wasted.

If, as a game designer, you make the choice based on what you like, not what other people might like, then the chances are very high you are not designing the the kinds of games I (for one) want to play. If you feel comfortable with restricting your target audience just so you can feel the game is "challenging", I guess nothing more I can say will convince you otherwise. When I design games I prefer as many people to enjoy them as possible, not just myself.



I think the simple solution is just, to not have any saves points. Have restart points(like beginnings of levels) and give the player a choice to have all the monsters respawn when they die or keep the game state from the point just before you die and then reset the players position to a restart point. It may be annoying having to track through areas over again but at least you wouldnt have to keep killing the same monsters or redoing things and would be quicker to get back to the point that you were.

Anyway to get back on track

Game: Diablo 2 and almost every RPG
Feature: Character development
Comments: The large majority of RPGs do not allow you to test skills/stats, change them or adequately analyse which ones are good. This annoys me because in them you have a limited pool of skills/abilities and so you must choose carefully which ones you build up. But you are playing the game blind as you do not know what you will encounter in the future, and so you could end up creating a character which is unable to or only with difficulty able to continue. Generally to adequately build your characters in these games you need to look at a walkthrough(unless you dont mind playing for hundreds of hours like they did to make the walkthrough).
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Game: Nearly every space sim ever.
Feature: Outer space is full of water.
Comments: In the real world, outer space is nearly a vacuum. In the alternative universe which nearly every space sim ever is set in, outer space is filled with water. There is a top speed which is only a few km/s at best, and continuous thrust is required to maintain constant velocity.

Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
... [ Excellent, but ultimately futile, arguments ] ...

What he said.
Quote:
Original post by Torquemeda
I think the simple solution is just, to not have any saves points. Have restart points(like beginnings of levels) and give the player a choice to have all the monsters respawn when they die or keep the game state from the point just before you die and then reset the players position to a restart point. It may be annoying having to track through areas over again but at least you wouldnt have to keep killing the same monsters or redoing things and would be quicker to get back to the point that you were.

How is that a solution? It's not going to satisfy either Roots or SunTzu!

Roots finds the presence of a save game system he doesn't have to use offensive. No doubt he's going to be annoyed that there's the option of teleporting to an earlier location without having to face the same challenges for the 100th time. Apparently that won't be fun.

SunTzu doesn't ever want to be forced to replay part of the game unless it's on his terms. You'll probably argue that it's not "replaying" since the game isn't the same the second time around, because there are no monsters. That's true: the first time you die. Every time through that level after the first is the same.
Quote:

Game: Diablo 2 and almost every RPG
Feature: Character development
Comments: The large majority of RPGs do not allow you to test skills/stats, change them or adequately analyse which ones are good. This annoys me because in them you have a limited pool of skills/abilities and so you must choose carefully which ones you build up. But you are playing the game blind as you do not know what you will encounter in the future, and so you could end up creating a character which is unable to or only with difficulty able to continue. Generally to adequately build your characters in these games you need to look at a walkthrough(unless you dont mind playing for hundreds of hours like they did to make the walkthrough).

I sort of agree to the extent that you shouldn't have to have supernatural knowledge of the future to complete the game. (Unless your character can see the future.)

What method of character development do you prefer?

1. Character progression is essentially fixed. When you gain a level, the game's designer chooses what happens to your abilities. Exceptions are not relevant: e.g. you can choose to train in swords or axes, but your choice of weapon has no effect other than combat animations.

2. Character progression is fully under the player's control, but the game ensures that the challenges presented usually complement the character's abilities. Exceptions are either heavily foreshadowed (so it's your fault if you get it wrong), or part of optional side-quests (so you probably have to play repeatedly with an assortment of different builds to complete all side-quests).

3. In a party-based game, the main character's progression is fully under the player's control, but the game controls the supporting characters' progression to ensure the party is balanced.

4. Character progression is fully under the player's control, and the game's designer provides several different methods of overcoming challenges. Often, none of the methods will suit the character and he won't be able to overcome that particular challenge. This implies a significantly non-linear game design in which the distinction between the main quest and side quests may not be clear, if it even exists.

5. Character progression is fully under the player's control, and the game's designer providers precisely one way to overcome a challenge. If your character can't do it, you lose.

Character development is pretty stupid anyway. In the average RPG, your character has been training intensively for eleventy billion years, yet after maybe a week of adventuring, he becomes hundreds of times more powerful in almost every facet.
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Quote:
Original post by Nathan Baum
Game: Nearly every space sim ever.
Feature: Outer space is full of water.
Comments: In the real world, outer space is nearly a vacuum. In the alternative universe which nearly every space sim ever is set in, outer space is filled with water. There is a top speed which is only a few km/s at best, and continuous thrust is required to maintain constant velocity.


I agree that realistic physics have merit, but I think for most people it also detracts from the "fun factor" of a game. Keeping track of physics in 3D space in the middle of a fast paced fight would be highly unfun. Personally I think realistic physics should only be used in 2D space games, as the physics are easier to visualize.
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How is that a solution? It's not going to satisfy either Roots or SunTzu!


Ah! but then thats the good thing about games you could have many options to satisfy a large number of people you just have to program for it and ask the player at the beginning of the game how they would like to play.

Quote:
What method of character development do you prefer?


None of those to be honest. Although its not much of a problem with single player RPGs, because they are for the most part quite easy. Even if your character is poorly optimised all you would perhaps miss is side quests and such but as long as you gain a few levels then the game can generally still be completed.

With a game like Diablo though, and it being online the problem is exaggerated and highlighted with the large number of build guides which you would be foolish not to conform to.

What I would like to see is one where all skills are useful(and proven to be) throughout the game. You dont have redundancies where a slightly more powerful skill replaces the previous one. Not all stats need to be on an ever increasing scale. It should not have weapons or quests which rely on skills/stats which you are not able to change to after acquiring the knowledge of them.
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Quote:
Original post by Torquemeda
Quote:
What method of character development do you prefer?

None of those to be honest. Although its not much of a problem with single player RPGs, because they are for the most part quite easy. Even if your character is poorly optimised all you would perhaps miss is side quests and such but as long as you gain a few levels then the game can generally still be completed.

With a game like Diablo though, and it being online the problem is exaggerated and highlighted with the large number of build guides which you would be foolish not to conform to.

What I would like to see is one where all skills are useful(and proven to be) throughout the game. You dont have redundancies where a slightly more powerful skill replaces the previous one. Not all stats need to be on an ever increasing scale. It should not have weapons or quests which rely on skills/stats which you are not able to change to after acquiring the knowledge of them.

To the extent that this sounds like character development at all, this sounds like type 1 from my list. Your character's development is basically chosen ahead of time by the game's designer, and the choices you make have no significant effect on the outcome, in this case not because your choices have no effect, but because they have no permanent effect.

But it sounds more like you're arguing against any kind of character development. To my mind, character development is not easily reversible. If it takes you 5 hours of game time to specialize in magic, then changing your specialization to melee combat should take you between 5 and 10 additional hours of game time. That should be much longer than it would take to just find a magical solution to your problem.

Character traits you can swap around as easily as you'd swap a piece of equipment should be thought of as equipment.
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Quote:
Original post by gharen2
Quote:
Original post by Nathan Baum
Game: Nearly every space sim ever.
Feature: Outer space is full of water.
Comments: In the real world, outer space is nearly a vacuum. In the alternative universe which nearly every space sim ever is set in, outer space is filled with water. There is a top speed which is only a few km/s at best, and continuous thrust is required to maintain constant velocity.

I agree that realistic physics have merit, but I think for most people it also detracts from the "fun factor" of a game.

Does it really? Are football games with realistic ball physics unfun? Were the physics-based puzzles in Half-Life 2 unfun? I think when you say "unfun" you really mean "different".

Sure, people who are used to space shooters which are actually submarine sims might not enjoy a space shooter which is really set in space.
Quote:

Keeping track of physics in 3D space in the middle of a fast paced fight would be highly unfun.

That's why I propose we use a computer to do the physics calculations for us. [wink]
Quote:

Personally I think realistic physics should only be used in 2D space games, as the physics are easier to visualize.

Perhaps you're thinking of terrible 'space' maze games where you have to twist your ship around and carefully apply tiny amounts of thrust to stop your ship smashing into a wall? That is unfun. But space isn't actually filled with mazes, and even if it was nobody would really make a space ship with such a stupid control system.
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I had the character development problem in Neverwinter Nights and Fallout 2. In Fallout 2 I looked up a guide fairly early in the game to tell me which skills were useful (only about 5/20 of them actually are). In NWN I just about scraped my way to the final battle and then just got massacred repeatedly.

So, as far as character development goes, how about a system where:

1) You aren't required to decide a massive amount about your character before you've even started the game when you've absolutely no idea how the game will go, so you can't make the game unwinnable before you even start.

2) Instead of having generic skill points that you can allocate to whatever you want, why not advance different skills based on how much you use them, unlike in Fallout 2 where you can start with 67% Small Guns skill despite the fact that nobody in your village has ever seen a gun?

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Undoubtedly a repeat, but...

Game: CRPGs of all flavors
"Feature": Grind
Comments: Just absurd. Technology is past this. P&P evolved beyond it ages ago. ePeen crap is what it is. "Character progression" is six flavors of bullshit when you've got to butcher 10,000 pigs to learn a new magic spell.
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Game: Sims
Feature: Need x number of friends for promotion at work.
Comments: It takes away a lot of the fun, at least for me.
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Game: GTA: San Andreas (PC)
Feature: Flying planes with the keyboard
Comments: It would have been far simpler with two analog sticks on a console, they could have eased it up a bit for the PC, or made a better control scheme. There's other parts that give away that it's still a console port, such as buying items, there's a friggin keyboard, make better use of it.
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Game: Mostly the ones with long opening FMVs or cutscenes
Feature: Lack of options before starting the game.
Comment: Maybe it's just me, but if my PC is old and I know the game is going to lag I'd like to set low settings before spending 20 minutes seeing a horribly slow initial cutscene. Or in the case of FMVs, hey maybe I'd like subtitles before watching them (this is specially annoying if there's no translation to your language).
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Game: Battlefield 2
Feature: FMV background for the menu
Comments: the huge background video causes the game to actually make you wait while the menu loads, which is a little bit ridiculous for something that is just pretty and does absolutely nothing for UI.
I haven't played any other game that actually had to pause while the menu loaded instead of just going directly there.

It's especially frustrating trying to bail out of a laggy server to jump into another one before someone else does.

Actually for as fun a gae as BF2 is, the user interface on the whole is pretty damn bad.
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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Undoubtedly a repeat, but...

Game: CRPGs of all flavors
"Feature": Grind
Comments: Just absurd. Technology is past this. P&P evolved beyond it ages ago. ePeen crap is what it is. "Character progression" is six flavors of bullshit when you've got to butcher 10,000 pigs to learn a new magic spell.


Unless, of course, they were sacrificed as part of a dark ritual to the dark gods for access to their dark magic.
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Original post by Nathan Baum
Does it really? Are football games with realistic ball physics unfun? Were the physics-based puzzles in Half-Life 2 unfun? I think when you say "unfun" you really mean "different".


We aren't talking about football games or half life 2 here. That's entirely different. I'm talking about the challenge of keeping track of the physics of a spaceship in 3D space on a 2D screen. Most people don't find that very intuitive.

Quote:
Original post by Nathan Baum
That's why I propose we use a computer to do the physics calculations for us.


I see your point here, but I also think that kind of defeats the point.

Quote:
Original post by Nathan Baum
Perhaps you're thinking of terrible 'space' maze games where you have to twist your ship around and carefully apply tiny amounts of thrust to stop your ship smashing into a wall? That is unfun. But space isn't actually filled with mazes, and even if it was nobody would really make a space ship with such a stupid control system.


This isn't what I was thinking of (I assume you're referring to subspace), but I agree they're unfun.

Regardless, I think what we have here is disagreement between different players. Some things may be universally despised by players, but this is probably more of a gray area. I suspect there's lots of players who'd favor either system.
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Original post by sanch3x
Game: Jade Empire
Feature: Follow the way of the Open Palm or the Closed Fist which, according to the developers, doesn't mean Good or Evil.
Comments: Total baloney! I just went through the game and I was very disappointed to see that to follow the path of the Closed Fist you have to always make the obvious 'evil' choice. When I got the game I thought it would be more flexible and I'd become Closed Fist by making personal choices that reflected my hunger for power (not kill someone needlessly).


I'd like to extend that:
Game: Any RPG where you can choose your moral path
Feature: The promise of proper role playing; choose whether you will be good or evil or a mix inbetween
Comments: ...except it never seems to quite work as adverised.

First the main format of the RPG story is tailored towards the good path. Gathering a rag-tag bunch of companions and collecting the five magical doohickies to overthrow the Evil Overlord works for the traditional hero. But typically the "evil" path is exactly the same, save for the twist at the end where the protagonist betrays his quest givers and comrades and claims the mantle of Evil Overlord for his or herself. Due to the linear nature of RPG stories it's very rare I see a game story that works well from a number of motivations (example: Baldur's Gate II, where your initial motivation is either to rescue a friend, gain revenge or learn your inner power, all which convieniently involve going to same place).

Second though is the previously mentioned lameness of choosing the evil path. It seems that the choice between "good" and "evil" in games means either being the traditional all-round good guy or a totally sociopathic jerk. This is worst in those Bioware RPGs where you need to gain "evil points" by committing evil acts, which are typically just done for the sake of proving your evilness, such as beating up beggars for chump change.

I agree with the original choice of Jade Empire as a problem. I too was looking forward to a richer Closed Fist experience that wasn't cartoon evil. The impression I got from the game that the Closed Fist wasn't so much pure selfishness or a lust for power, but more the respect for power. In the case of peasants being bullied by brigands, the "Open Palm" approach would involve mediation with violence being a last resort, whereas the "Closed Fist" approach would involve arming and training the peasants to fend for themselves. While there was a little bit of that it was still too much of the "good" path being giving the smack down to the brigands whereas the "evil" path was screwing over both sides if possible.

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Original post by SunTzu
Let me guess... you're a student? Or unemployed? Or otherwise have lots of free time? That's fine for you then, wish I was still a student, but I get, typically, about seven hours a week (one hour a day) to play computer games because I have a busy, busy life. The threat or danger of having to waste my precious time if I fail does not add suspense, or a fear of failure. Really, it doesn't. It adds frustration and annoyance and, very quickly, the result of me taking the game back to the shop for a refund.


Excuse me, but I take offense to your comment. I am 24 years old and I also have a busy life without much time for playing games. I do not wish to spend my time re-playing a game frequently either. Where you find frustration and annoyance, I find suspense and enjoyment. So lets just leave it at that and stop trying to frame me as someone who is ignorant of the needs and lives of others.


Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
One design decision (save when you want, or at least have frequent save points) allows both of us to enjoy the game - you don't have to save at all, and if you want to go back more than one save point you can. The other design decision (can only save at certain widely spaced save points) only allows you to enjoy the game, as I won't enjoy having my valuable time wasted.


No, this design does not allow us both to enjoy it. The presence of those save points still gives me a warning that a tough fight is around the corner. I will use those save points as well; I'm not going to pass up save points like you are supposing I would just because I want to feel the fear of failure. If the save points are everywhere, it does nothing to help someone like me.


Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
If, as a game designer, you make the choice based on what you like, not what other people might like, then the chances are very high you are not designing the the kinds of games I (for one) want to play.


Very well. I'm glad that 99.9999% of the Earth feels exactly the same as you do, while no one feels the same way I do. Do you realize how arrogant you sound here? It is impossible to design a game such that everyone who plays it will enjoy it to the upmost. You chose your audience, and you chose your features. You don't ignorantly try to design a game thinking everyone is going to like every decision you make.


Anyway, lets drop the save game talk and get back to the real discussion in this thread, shall we?
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Quote:
Original post by Roots
Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
One design decision (save when you want, or at least have frequent save points) allows both of us to enjoy the game - you don't have to save at all, and if you want to go back more than one save point you can. The other design decision (can only save at certain widely spaced save points) only allows you to enjoy the game, as I won't enjoy having my valuable time wasted.


No, this design does not allow us both to enjoy it. The presence of those save points still gives me a warning that a tough fight is around the corner. I will use those save points as well; I'm not going to pass up save points like you are supposing I would just because I want to feel the fear of failure. If the save points are everywhere, it does nothing to help someone like me.


Solution that fits everyone: make it one way of determining difficulty. Really, don't put in a hard, medium, easy, put in different variables to change and make one of them the number and placement of save points. Think of Fallout Tactics' "Ironman" mode where you can only save between missions.
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I agree. Make it part of the difficulcy. Limiting the number of save games based on difficulcy is a cheap, but effective way to implement this (Hitman 2 does it to great effect).

To stay on topic (and please, do!):

Game: Most
Feature: Anonymous music
Comments: Command & Conquer was the first game with recorded music (non-midi, non-mod) as far as I know. Most of the music was great, and some of it even became popular outside the game. Today has music that just blends in. Forgetable. I miss the memorable game music from games like Mario, Transport Tycoon Deluxe, Sonic...
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Quote:
Original post by gharen2
Quote:
Original post by Nathan Baum
Does it really? Are football games with realistic ball physics unfun? Were the physics-based puzzles in Half-Life 2 unfun? I think when you say "unfun" you really mean "different".

We aren't talking about football games or half life 2 here. That's entirely different. I'm talking about the challenge of keeping track of the physics of a spaceship in 3D space on a 2D screen. Most people don't find that very intuitive.

But throw in a top speed and suddenly it's perfectly intuitive? I can't help but think we mean entirely different things by "physics in space".
Quote:

Quote:
Original post by Nathan Baum
That's why I propose we use a computer to do the physics calculations for us.

I see your point here, but I also think that kind of defeats the point.

That's too bad. I kinda like using computers when implementing computer games...
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Quote:
Original post by Xai
Why 12? Because of the number of pixels no the screen. The icons had to be sized as a balance between the number they can support, and the detail they can convey. They choose 12, because it was greater than or equal to the 4, 8, 10 and 12 limit which other RTS games with arbirtrary limits had, and yet allowed big enough icons to be usefull.


So, you mean the limit is 12 because they were too lazy or closed minded to find a better way to display the information?

It would make sense if 12 was a reasonable number for battles, but it isn't. That makes about as much sense as Microsoft (or any Linux desktop) only allowing 12 programs to show up in the start menu.

If you're selecting more than 12, maybe it's not as critical to know what each unit is. Easy answer, use increaingly smaller icons as the number of units increases.
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