11-8-04 - 1


I'm doing my damndest to ensure that all the little horrible things are right in our game - the load times are quick, the GUI's are ergonomic, the frame rate is solid, the latency is low, the game is responsive and nice to the user. These are some of the most important things in games, but producers will never give you time to work on them, and directors & publishers will happilly sacrifice them in exchange for some unneeded feature.

Non-skippable cinematics are just an insult to the player. It tells the player "we don't give a damn what you want to do, we're going to force you to sit there and watch this". There's nothing else like it in media - if I watch TV, I can change the channel - can you imagine a show that prevented you from changing the channel away? I would never watch that show. Can you imagine a DVD that turns off your skip and fast-forward? It's my DVD player, in my house, I'll skip if I want to. (in fact DVD's do have those non-skippable intros which are infuriating). With a book or magazine, you can turn the page any time you want; if the story gets boring, you can jump ahead, but you can also go back if you want. A game is not a movie in a theatre, it's an interactive experience that the user is creating for themselves, they should be allowed to craft that experience for themselves. Now, some people take that too far and ruin the game - the game universe should still have a rule set and logic, and even if people want to do things outside of that, they can't, but they can try (eg. the player might want to drive a future mech tank in your fantasy RPG, don't let them!). You see, that's part of the content, which the game developer should control, the user should be in control of the medium, the mechanism for viewing the content.

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old rants