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Bluefirehawk

Guide to bad game design

60 posts in this topic

[list]
[*]Unadjustable controllers
[*]Force V-Sync
[*]Force Mouse Accelration
[*]Must watch long credits after final boss to continue playing. Else you must kill final boss again.
[/list]
(Perhaps some aren't really design related, nevertheless it's plain stupid)
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[list]
[*]2D game? [i]JPG artifacts.[/i] Bitches love JPG artifacts.
[*]Always make the final boss (with no particular weak points) a matter of shooting him until he keels over, then a quicktime event. Repeat. On harder difficulties, take this, but make it three times longer per level.
[*]The control scheme of the last three games in your series being recieved incredibly well? Oh, easy enough to make THAT better! Just switch two major buttons around, and make sure what used to be the action button now stabs the nearest person in the face!
[*]Or perhaps those last three games have had a winning formula? [i]No one[/i] likes formulas, so you should stop that. To mix things up a little, change the way the story's told completely, and add a half-baked genre mash-up! That should show them.
[/list]
Bonus round![list]
[*]If making a movie/TV game, make all cutscenes low quality, 4:3 rips from the parts of the movie that either make no sense, or are huge explosions.
[/list]
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[quote name='BagelHero' timestamp='1349155157' post='4985955']Always make the final boss (with no particular weak points) a matter of shooting him until he keels over, then a quicktime event. Repeat. On harder difficulties, take this, but make it three times longer per level.[/quote]
Yeah, attrition. Relying on quantity of resources rather than intelligence, or quality of challenge.

That reminds me of the opposite, actually, and that makes me think of the original Syphon Filter. You go through all these levels and all these bosses, you're getting head-shots, you're sniping, you're blasting through enemies, you're... generally trying to figure out where to go next... and eventually you get to the final boss. If I recall correctly, all it took to kill him was a [i]gas grenade[/i]. It's the last thing you'd think to throw at him, but if you did, it ended really, really quickly.

And that is neither attrition, nor a really acceptable challenge. It was just anti-climactic. Edited by Heath
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I got a couple:
Make infinite waves of enemies that keep on coming, spawning from random places, until you complete your objective.
Make one of those annoying platform games where you jump from one platform to another, and then make that one platform that the player always misses by a centimeter.
Have a currency system, to reveal that you can buy absolutely nothing useful at all.
Have SUPER easy characters that lead up to a boss that is almost impossible.
Have a boss.
Make a tutorial that takes up half of the game and then fails to explain some of the most important parts.
Make Duke Nukem.
Make a racing game where you have the same track over and over with a couple of new turns.
Give the player a super hard objective to find out you unlocked 2 coins.
Make a Game Named Ratchet and Clank.
Make it where the player has to find a key. You search ten minutes for a key when you could've blown the door open.
Have annoying cutscenes that you can't skip yet have nothing important in them.
Make a game where you have to play in the same place every other freakin' level.
Make it like disc 5 on GTA: SA. No one likes it.
Have a boss where he isn't even hard, just where hundreds of enemies decide to come out right then and shoot at you. All of a sudden, when the boss is dead, they stop and go away.
Plenty more where that came from ;) Edited by dtg108
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[quote name='dtg108' timestamp='1351560793' post='4995245']
Make one of those annoying platform games where you jump from one platform to another, and then make that one platform that the player always misses by a centimeter.[/quote]It's bad when you just fall right through the platform. As far as a platform being a centimeter away, I think Braid plays on this pretty well, simply because you can rewind everything until you get it right. But that doesn't fit everywhere.

[quote]Have a boss.[/quote]Imagine MegaMan without bosses. Imagine Shadow of the Colossus without any colossi.

[quote]Make Duke Nukem.[/quote]Duke Nukem 3D? Duke Nukem Forever? Or the old Duke Nukem platformer?

[quote]Make a Game Named Ratchet and Clank.[/quote]You really don't like platformers.

[quote]Make it where the player has to find a key. You search ten minutes for a key when you could've blown the door open.[/quote]Try it before you pry it?

[quote]Have annoying cutscenes that you can't skip yet have nothing important in them.[/quote]Unskippable cutscenes belong in 1997, and they didn't belong even then.

[quote]Make a game where you have to play in the same place every other freakin' level.[/quote]Pong?

[quote]Have a boss where he isn't even hard, just where hundreds of enemies decide to come out right then and shoot at you. All of a sudden, when the boss is dead, they stop and go away.[/quote]At least, let the hundreds of enemies have some connection to the boss where it makes sense that they're gone too if the boss is gone. It's cliche, but it works.
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[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351565790' post='4995276']
Duke Nukem 3D? Duke Nukem Forever? Or the old Duke Nukem platformer?
[/quote] Duke Nukem Forever.
[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351565790' post='4995276']
Pong?
[/quote] No, like Prince of Persia, or Batman: AA.
[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351565790' post='4995276']
At least, let the hundreds of enemies have some connection to the boss where it makes sense that they're gone too if the boss is gone. It's cliche, but it works.
[/quote] My point, exactly.
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Market the game primarily around allowing the player to play a known, totally bad ass character, then make it a weaker version of the same character, making no particular difference in power from the last installment.

Hello Bioshock 2.

-Exo
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Make a platformer that has a bug at 3/4 of the game that forces you to start all over again because a platform isn't where it's supposed to be and all your options left are 100 ways to fall into an horrible death. (ie, Prince of Persia Warrior Within, still pretty good tho)

Make a game centered around freedom of choices that suddenly stops caring about what you choose in the most defining moments (Deus Ex Human Revolution, still pretty good tho).

Make a pretty good single player RPG with an awesome lore on a recently founded company with an awesome team of designers while at the same time spending all your money on another pointless "WoW killer" that leaves your company in the dust, every employee on the street and your awesome RPG in Oblivion (Kingdoms of Amalur, pun intended).

Lease a very famous IP of your company to another company. Watch them make a game on a horrible timeframe that is way better than whatever thing you'll ever come with. Never lease them the IP again. Edited by TheChubu
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@dt108 - [url="http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/Product/Prince-of-Persia/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d8025553080c"]This "Prince of Persia"?[/url] I didn't like that game. I didn't really dig walking around in the same area doing nothing like you said, or getting achievements for talking. Never played DNF, didn't feel I needed to. I was addicted to Batman: AA, mostly due to finding items from other Batman characters and collecting biographies. That game captured that part of my brain that gets addicted really quickly to that kind of stuff. Plus, it was the first Batman game in like 15 years that was decent.

That reminds me. Make a game about the World's Greatest Detective with expert martial arts skill, but only let him fight one enemy at a time. When the battle starts, everything else just freezes in place. (Batman: Vengeance on PS2)
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I think the biggest issue in the gaming industry is the disconnect between the people making the design document and the ppl coding the final product.

A feature that sounds GREAT on paper can easily be trite or stupid once actually enacted, furthermore the implementation for certain features might be far to costly in man hours then it might seem to a Developer with no programming experience.

Unforseen events which means u gotta cut features as ure nearing release, and we see game after game released with so much potential but just not living up to it.

At the very least all games should count on at least 6 months after the game is finished to tweak polish and add features before a proper release.

-Exo
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[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351659981' post='4995700']
. I was addicted to Batman: AA, mostly due to finding items from other Batman characters and collecting biographies. That game captured that part of my brain that gets addicted really quickly to that kind of stuff. Plus, it was the first Batman game in like 15 years that was decent.
[/quote] I liked that game, too. It just felt really reptitive.

[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351659981' post='4995700']
When the battle starts, everything else just freezes in place. (Batman: Vengeance on PS2)
[/quote] Oh my gosh. I have that game for the original xbox sitting on my shelf collecting dust! The graphics are horrific. But since you mentioned it, I might have to pop it in and play it (haven't played it in 5+ years).
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[quote name='aattss' timestamp='1351819798' post='4996393']
Add permadeath and make it simple to die.
[/quote]
...and costly to re-start.
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[quote name='dtg108' timestamp='1351785106' post='4996225']
[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351659981' post='4995700']
When the battle starts, everything else just freezes in place. (Batman: Vengeance on PS2)
[/quote] Oh my gosh. I have that game for the original xbox sitting on my shelf collecting dust! The graphics are horrific. But since you mentioned it, I might have to pop it in and play it (haven't played it in 5+ years).
[/quote]lol, I had forgotten all about it too. They tried to make a decent game with that, but what was the deal with that stupid battle system? It's Batman! And yeah, the graphics didn't work that well. Maybe if they'd cel-shaded it a bit like Wind Waker, or just done it realistically without the Bruce Timm style.
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here's a few of most irritating things that i see as bad design:[list]
[*]unnatural difficulty spike every now and then
[*]slow respons on the input as in situations where enemy can knock you down and you are unable to get up until he hits you at least three times (prince of persia sands of time, and prince of persia warrior within)
[*]bad controls or control layout
[*]horrible ai - if ai can't find his way from point A to point B, or if ai can make a headshot without you even been able to see him.
[*]always online DRM (this can ruin the game in the long run)
[*]pay to win practices
[*]funky collision detection - as in sometimes when you try to approach the ledge and your character refuses to fall down, but he will fall if you do it few times throughout the level (pitfall 3d - for ps1)
[*]give full hallway of ammo to the player just before the last boss (not so hard) fight in the game (quake 4)
[*]unlogical puzzles in adventure games especially inventory puzzles
[*]overpowered enemies every now and then as in some of the final fantasy games (maybe)
[*]unskippable cutscenese (this is worse if it is a boring cutscene)
[*]not rebindable keys
[/list] Edited by proanim
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Here are a few:[list]
[*]Design a stealth game that revolves around staying out of sight and in the shadows. Then 90% through the game introduce an enemy that has a night-vision/X-ray-vision cross ability... ...(I'm looking at you Splinter cell Conviction)...
[/list][list]
[*]Make a game about team-play, but then add a vehicle that only serves as a good one-on-one counter against [u]that[/u] vehicle in combat, and has no other practical use. (Jets in Battlefield 3)
[/list][list]
[*]Any competitive (PvP) multiplayer level up system where playing longer guarantees you a stronger character. (Call of duty, Blacklight, Etc.)
[/list][list]
[*]Make a game about fast paced immersive parkour/platforming, but make various miscellaneous actions slow, tedious, and non-interactive. (Ladders, valves and ledges in Mirrors edge)
[/list][list]
[*]Create a wonderful and unique art style filled with thought and careful themeing, and then a few months down the line fill the game with random and visually incongruous promotional and self-parodying customization options. (Team Fortress 2)
[/list]
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All bosses could insta-kill the players at a random point in the fight. They will never see it coming! (Inspired by Final Fantasy XIII)
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[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1351826542' post='4996411']
They tried to make a decent game with that, but what was the deal with that stupid battle system? It's Batman!
[/quote] Exactly, the game was so cheesy. That gives me a couple more points:
Make a game with cheesy lines (Spider-man.(Original of course))
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[quote name='Exodus111' timestamp='1351638840' post='4995615']
Market the game primarily around allowing the player to play a known, totally bad ass character, then make it a weaker version of the same character, making no particular difference in power from the last installment.

Hello Bioshock 2.

-Exo
[/quote]

"make it a weaker version of the same character" and then you say "no particular difference in power from the last installment".cause fuck logic.Besides the fact that the characters are totally different, and set BEFORE the first Bioshock. He's a goddamn Big Daddy, he doesn't even seem similar.And no difference in power? What? You have different mechanics and a drill as an arm. Do I even need to go further? A goddamn drill.God I loved that drill.
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On characters/leveling:[list]
[*]Leveling making the game easier (or staying the same due to matched opponents) instead of harder through increased game depth
[*]Strategic (e.g. character development or building) "choices" that aren't such because one of them is better in all cases, specially in competitive games
[/list]
[quote name='aattss' timestamp='1351819798' post='4996393']
Add permadeath and make it simple to die.
[/quote]

I agree with you, though, strangely enough this works for some games, most notably roguelikes. The randomness of and the character's stats means that permadeath is the only way you will ever roll a playable character instead of keep playing with the same one, while randomness and richness of levels ensures the exploring them and the options of the games stays fun.
IMHO, roguelikes without permadeath are only half as fun.
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My pick would be having features/aspects in the game that don't have any effect on gameplay. This is a problem in some strategy games that try to offer many paths to for the player to win but some paths are so tedious/un-fun/less-efficient-than-others that they end up never used. There are also "features" that basically do not exist. Supreme Rulers are great games in many ways, but the player can research many technologies that lower pollution levels. The thing is that the game doesn't model pollution in any way.
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I think bad game design has a lot to do with lack of fun :[list]
[*]Make the game as repetitive as possible, variety is bad ! Avoid it at all costs
[*]Make it as difficult as possible so that only an elite of players can beat it, noobs don't deserve to win
[*]Give as much achievements as possible, give an achievement for opening the options menu !
[*]Let players guess how to play, it's much more fun that way !
[*]As an alternative for 2), strip the game from any challenge so everyone could win, targeting a very large audience (including new-borns) will sure make you filthy rich !
[/list]
This is an exerpt of my blog post [url="http://www.gameplaypassion.com/blog/do-these-5-mistakes-at-the-risk-of-boring-your-audience/"]Do these 5 Mistakes at the Risk of Boring Your Audience[/url]
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Have complicated many-tiered crafting, which produces things no better than a player can purchase from common NPC vendors (or if marginally better
would require some astronomical small chance while using/consuming very expensive/rare components - and have it soon outclassed by moving into the next higher level content area - easy quest loot). And make all the tedious endless repeated production required to advance have the product sell for much LESS than the components cost that go into it (and the real icing is have one component that ONLY can be bought at a high price from a vendor to go along with the raw materials that have to be tediously gathered). Tools that wear out constantly and need to be expensively replaced are optional.

Make sure that the training/advancing process is so long/slow to produce items just even (or lower) with the players current usability level (specificly just as the player is moving up to the next level) or requires gathering in level appropriate areas so that the player is in danger as well as being bored..

In other words make a grind-fest that isnt worth the bother except that the players expected a 'crafting feature'.
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