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mahri726

Minigames instead of quick time events

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Hi. What could you say about this mechanic ? Within a cinematic, when a character is atacked by a monster, the time slows down and you play a minigame instead of QTE, for example a puzzle.If you solve the puzzle within time limits, the character counteratacks. Are there games you know that use this mechanic ?

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Strictly speaking a QTE is a minigame.That said, I fail to see how replacing them with even more complex minigames would do anything to alleviate the complaints people have about QTEs to begin with.

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depending on your game, be careful not to overwhelm the player by requesting too much of his attention every time. I'd personnaly be annoyed if I had to solve a puzzle while i'm fighting an epic boss

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It all depends on the type of minigame (and the larger game it fits into). If the mechanics of the minigame fit the fight, it *could* be brilliant. I mean, I'm not really up for tetris, but if there was a blocky boss who was all about you fitting between his attacks, that might make sense in a weird way.

 

But Anthony's comment gives way to a great question: why not do QTE?

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Minigames such as lockpicking in fallout is ok, becouse it fits the game world and they are somewhat simple enough and at the same time rewarding enough when you "solve" them (good sound feedback etc).

 

Just a random puzzle to attack a boss? I think that would annoy the player.

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why not do QTE?

 

 

Because Quick Time Events are frequently both a bad design and a lazy choice.

 

They tend to be fundamentally different actions than main gameplay, often rapid button mashing. As such it takes away from the game experience, you go from controlling a character with making fine motor control actions of selection and careful picking into a button-mashing masturbatory-style action.

 

Also a problem is that while game designers frequently take steps to enable people with poor motor control to play the game normally, they'll throw in these button-mashing events rendering the game inaccessible to those with limited motion.

 

 

I know several people with partial paralysis in their hands, and over the years I've even worked with quite a few of them.  They tell stories of how games include all kinds of options to enable accessibility like remapping controllers, switching to wait-style actions, adding color blind modes and closed captioning, and then after doing all that the lazy game designer suddenly adds a Quick Time Event where you must mash buttons rapidly in seemingly random order, even though the player's game settings clearly indicate that they have limited mobility and a reason not to do so.  So suddenly when they get to the epic boss fights they cannot win them at all or they are excluded from getting heavy hits or other benefits because the designer was too lazy (at best) to consider their entire player base.

 

Don't use QTE if you want a good design, or at the very least, make them optional in a way that doesn't hurt the game.

 

 

On the flip side, if you're going to do a minigame, make sure it fits with the same game.  

 

 

 

 

Interesting, I hadn't really thought about the accessibility angle. I was more thinking about QTE when it's actually good, like with God of War, where QTE finishers are, for me at least, extremely satisfying, and help connect the player to the action being performed in a very tacticle. I'm not sure how those are or are not modified for accessibility. Does wait style mean that the game essentially pauses (more than usual) for the player to input the prompted command?

 

Regardless, my original question for the OP was more trying to get at what negative aspect of QTE he was trying avoid. If it was: accessibility issues, then having a super slow QTE timer as an option or an "easy" mode would address that issue. If it was about engagement, or something else, that would give me a better handle on what they were seeking, exactly and an indication about what kind of minigame would be appropriate.

Also, I kinda consider QTE, when done well, to be a sort of mini-game, so, there's that. But I definitely know what you're talking about when you talk about lazy implementations of QTE and agree with the idea that the minigame should fit the action. In fact, generally, QTE works very well in the same way that other minigames work well. When your character is mashing or bashing something with a limited amount of time to do so, then traditional QTE where you mash buttons within a time frame can feel very satisfying and not a whit out of place. If one is hacking a keypad, or, I dunno, playing a guitar, likewise, its cool to connect those practices to the mechanic of mashing buttons in time. If one is dodging or painting or a number of other things, the time-crunch mashing mechanic doesn't fit well, and doubly so if it doesn't fit with the surrounding gameplay.

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I was more thinking about QTE when it's actually good, like with God of War, where QTE finishers are, for me at least, extremely satisfying, and help connect the player to the action being performed in a very tacticle.

 

 

This is actually one my disabled co-workers complained quite vocally about.  One is a great game designer, but is mostly paralyzed due to a sports accident.  (One of his favorite thing when people in his favorite FPS games are rude to him is to shout back "You realize your bragging about taking out a quadriplegic?" and if it persists, taunts like "I'm sure it took some skill to shoot the paralyzed guy." which usually gets laughter from the other players.)  Another person in our office at the time (Steve) had some palsy issues and was partially parlayed in one hand and walks with a limp.  

 

 

 

When God of War was revving up for release everyone in the office at the time was thrilled, it looked like a great game.

 

The day after it came out, Kevin was in the office ranting about how the game was completely unplayable to him. Steve hadn't played much, but the next day came in with the same complaint: the game series is COMPLETELY TERRIBLE for them.

 

The games are beautiful and is completely fun, right up until they enter the phase of button mashing that only works great if you have full dexterity in both hands.

 

 

 

 

The entire series is completely unplayable to millions of people who would love to play the game, but cannot because some game designers didn't think through their decisions.  Later games took the lazy route and copied what others did with all the flaws, in many cases making the problem even worse.

 

I've had designers propose QTEs over the years, and every time I've vocally called out that it is a terrible design for alienating the players.  One time they wouldn't listen, so I got permission to invite some people to a playtest, then called the few paralyzed people I knew to participate. When the designer saw that he was being an idiot, he relented and removed the QTEs.

 

Now that I'm in a lead position, I always do what I call a Kevin Test.  I must be able to play the game with one finger on my left hand and one finger on my right. I may be able to wedge the controller against something and push in with my body to hit the shoulder buttons, I may curl my hand around with that one finger, and I may rock my finger back and forth between multiple buttons.  But if I cannot play the game that way, the game is inaccessable and I work with the designers to change it.  When it comes time to playtesting I make sure to invite people with limited dexterity and ask them for input as well.

 

I'm currently working on a title and the Vive controller's squeeze mechanic has been giving grief with the Kevin Test, so just this week I've taken it on to ensure button remapping works so the entire control system has a secondary optional input that can be completely played with the touchpad and a single finger.  I've already alerted the QA leads that they'll need to ensure the entire game is single-finger playable.

 

 

Also, read this

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frob brings up some good points; on the other hand, some game designs are improved by "action tests" (more details). While action tests are not as extreme as QTE's - action tests are predictable of when they'll appear (players initiate them through normal in-game actions) and are mapped to a known button - they still do require precise timing from players.

 

What's good is they are usually optional, and can be ignored, but nevertheless that'd make one mechanic of the game (that again, can be a genuine improvement to the game's design) inaccessible to many potential players.

 

 

As for minigames instead of QTEs, I'd have to ask why? I like Thief's lockpicking, which is a minigame that is seamless from within the existing game. Oblivion's lockpicking is nice, and that's a full minigame, but it makes sense thematically and doesn't happen during cut-scenes.

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I was more thinking about QTE when it's actually good, like with God of War, where QTE finishers are, for me at least, extremely satisfying, and help connect the player to the action being performed in a very tacticle.

 

 

This is actually one my disabled co-workers complained quite vocally about.  One is a great game designer, but is mostly paralyzed due to a sports accident.  (One of his favorite thing when people in his favorite FPS games are rude to him is to shout back "You realize your bragging about taking out a quadriplegic?" and if it persists, taunts like "I'm sure it took some skill to shoot the paralyzed guy." which usually gets laughter from the other players.)  Another person in our office at the time (Steve) had some palsy issues and was partially parlayed in one hand and walks with a limp.  

 

 

 

When God of War was revving up for release everyone in the office at the time was thrilled, it looked like a great game.

 

The day after it came out, Kevin was in the office ranting about how the game was completely unplayable to him. Steve hadn't played much, but the next day came in with the same complaint: the game series is COMPLETELY TERRIBLE for them.

 

The games are beautiful and is completely fun, right up until they enter the phase of button mashing that only works great if you have full dexterity in both hands.

 

 

 

 

The entire series is completely unplayable to millions of people who would love to play the game, but cannot because some game designers didn't think through their decisions.  Later games took the lazy route and copied what others did with all the flaws, in many cases making the problem even worse.

 

I've had designers propose QTEs over the years, and every time I've vocally called out that it is a terrible design for alienating the players.  One time they wouldn't listen, so I got permission to invite some people to a playtest, then called the few paralyzed people I knew to participate. When the designer saw that he was being an idiot, he relented and removed the QTEs.

 

Now that I'm in a lead position, I always do what I call a Kevin Test.  I must be able to play the game with one finger on my left hand and one finger on my right. I may be able to wedge the controller against something and push in with my body to hit the shoulder buttons, I may curl my hand around with that one finger, and I may rock my finger back and forth between multiple buttons.  But if I cannot play the game that way, the game is inaccessable and I work with the designers to change it.  When it comes time to playtesting I make sure to invite people with limited dexterity and ask them for input as well.

 

I'm currently working on a title and the Vive controller's squeeze mechanic has been giving grief with the Kevin Test, so just this week I've taken it on to ensure button remapping works so the entire control system has a secondary optional input that can be completely played with the touchpad and a single finger.  I've already alerted the QA leads that they'll need to ensure the entire game is single-finger playable.

 

 

Also, read this

 

 

First of all, all the kudos. That's a great movement, and we need more tools and more visibility for humane, inclusive things like the accessibility movement. Consultants to help with trivial changes to add accessibility that don't damage the vision for the game sounds 110% glorious. Same with localization efforts, easy modes and more to reach the broadest audience possible.

However, that does not give us place, morally or logically, to say things like "game designers didn't think through their decisions" because they did not prioritize the people we care about over delivering their vision for their game. The QTE in GoW is clearly very well thought through, and made the game relevant to the masses in a way that accessibility simply could not. We can call that exclusive, or even selfish, but to call expert craftsmanship bad or lazy is not worthy of kudos at all. That's not a win for anyone.

What you're talking about is the mechanical equivalent of localization. It is a good thing, and it is important. Localization matters, and too few people understand that accessibility matters just as much, but a lack of localization is not fundamentally "bad design" or "lazy." It is not an indication that the game designers didn't know what they were doing or didn't think through their decisions. It is not a moral failing. It's a design choice, influenced by a number of factors, and accessibility, while important, is simply not the only important thing.
 

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