#1 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -

I'm working on writing something...basically a game script. The game is going to be somewhat experimental, but I don't want to give too much of it away. Suffice it to say, it would most closely resemble a take on the Fez achievement with the L,R,L,R,L... trick. Anyway, what I'm wanting to get is some help from you guys. I need a list of things that games do wrong. What bothers you with games? What goes wrong in games? What are common glitches, errors and bugs you see? Anything you can think of could be helpful, so let me know along with any specific examples you could think of. Thanks for any help you can give, and here a few ideas to get us started:

- Poor character design

- Bad camera angles

- Unclear instructions

- Problems with difficulty balance

- Lag and Latency

Any ideas? Thanks, duders -- y'all the best!

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

A lack of confidence in its own ideas.

#3 Edited by Flawed_System (384 posts) -

- Bad Platforming sections

- Problems with controls (When characters slide for 20 seconds after you take your thumb off the analog etc.)

- Game breaking glitches (fall through platforms, get stuck in walls, etc.)

- Poorly written quests (Go here, then go there, deliver this, and quest complete)

- Bland characters (A little back story goes a long way. I want to care about what happens to this guy)

- Ridiculous price for a short game ($15 for 4 hours of gameplay)

- Any combat has to be interesting. Mashing the X and Y buttons for hours on end isn't fun unless there's a gratuitous amount of blood, gore, and slo-mo.

That's all for now. Hope it helps. I'll try and think of more.

#4 Posted by believer258 (12444 posts) -
- Bad camera angles
- Unclear instructions
- Problems with difficulty balance
- Lag and Latency

Pretty much those four, although "lag and latency" has to do with networks; the term when a game is chugging due to local issues is "slowdown". I'd avoid those four at all costs.

Also, interesting gameplay and story > interesting aesthetics and graphics. Don't get me wrong, the latter two help a lot, but an interesting platforming section or fun combat combined with a backstory, even a minimalist one, will carry you miles for every foot that aesthetics and graphics will.

#5 Posted by onan (1288 posts) -

@plainplease said:

I'm working on writing something...basically a game script. The game is going to be somewhat experimental, but I don't want to give too much of it away. Suffice it to say, it would most closely resemble a take on the Fez achievement with the L,R,L,R,L... trick.

Wow, no, that really doesn't suffice it to say at all.

What exactly are you looking for? You initially ask for what sounds like problems with execution, your first example is a fundamental design problem, and then you list more problems with execution.

First person platforming is generally terrible. I guess that's both.

#6 Posted by NegativeCero (3058 posts) -

Useless AI partners that don't help you fight or revive you when you need to be.

#7 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -
@onan basically I'm just wanting to hear about the things that annoy you in games...and I'm not necessarily thinking of these as problems I'm wanting to avoid, so the door is wide open. just tell me what bugs you when you are playing a game
#8 Posted by IBurningStar (2191 posts) -

Overly intrusive tutorials and aggressive handholding. 
Look, just tell me how any important game mechanics function, but give me the option to skip over that as well. I don't need you to walk me through every little thing and explain how I should use all the tools at my disposal. I hate it when games are always telling me what to do. Give me the objective and point me in the right direction. Don't spam the screen with objective updates that tell me "Jump across the pit." "Defeat the enemies." "Follow the road to the village." "Talk to Richard in the blue house." "Look under the big rock for a crystal." "Use the crystal to defeat the dragon." How about you just tell me to go find the crystal and that someone in this one village may know where to look. Let me fill in all the little goals and the work out the "how to" parts.

#9 Posted by RPGee (763 posts) -

Long wind-up animations that stop you from doing what you want exactly when you want to. I don't want to throw a fireball in a second, I want to do it now.

Large amounts of exposition in a game where the story seems inspired by the ingredient list that goes into your cereal.

Puzzles that couldn't possibly be solved by logic, but are instead solved at the behest of the developer's self-appreciation for their cleverness.

If this it what I think it is:

A game with mechanics based around common video game issues that people dislike

then it could be interesting.

#10 Posted by HerbieBug (4208 posts) -

Taking control away from the player for the express purpose of cinematic presentation. Designing a game in such a way that there is one preferred way the designer would like all players to approach a given scenario in order to trigger the cinematic stuff exactly as intended.

It is much better to design a game that supports a multitude of approaches and dynamically reacts to everything in pleasing ways without any particular developer vision invading the player's autonomy. If it's a do-it-as-intended-or-the-game-breaks-in-really-janktastic-ways type of deal, that's bad news.

#11 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Instant kills, button hits that queue up, laggy or imprecise controls, unmovable AI obstructions, stuff like that. There are plenty of things that I feel EVERY developer should know not to do, but I can't remember the golden ones that I can usually bring to mind.

#12 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

useless AI- character gets stuck walking too the wall. character not healing you. i think it might be time for ai to be able to heal the player. give us a time that they have to do it. i could see like glitch where the are healing and just end up dieing also.

sound effects sometimes don't work.

difficulty jumps, i hate when one part was challenging but the next part is a huge step up.

games that are too short. might be just something that is happening because multiplayer is taking over. i hate wasting $60 on a single player game that was only 8 hours. they need to be longer. along with this, story is bad.

games that have multiplayer just kind of thrown in.

#13 Edited by egg (1483 posts) -

- hubs / hub worlds

- arbitrary inclusion of puzzles in games/genres that don't focus on puzzles

- not clear where you have to go / what you have to do (typically resulting in unnecessary backtracking)

- low to average framerates

- splitscreen that's an afterthought (e.g. only one mode, one arena, good for 15 minutes at best) or isn't compelling even if you have 2 players.

- save management (including save points, quicksaving, having to manually save, and games where saving requires a one-time-use item)

- being able to get stuck do to saving in a place you were ill-equipped to handle, and unable to leave, having to start the entire game over

- lack of movelists in a fighting game (or Twisted Metal game) even in the manual

- having to take turns with opponent to check movelists because it doesn't show moves for both players simultaneously

- controls not remappable

- when you lose, you are taken back to the title screen, and have to reload your save from the memory card or hard drive, as though you just powered on the system.

- double jump, where the 2nd jump is more like a delay rather than an actual jump

- double jump that is relatively easy to whiff, so that out of the thousand times you're required to perform one, invariably some will result in unfair death

- platformers where jump is X button / A button but camera control is the righthand control stick.

- games with tutorials / help dialogue that make everything including once simple concepts sound more complicated than it really is. (''press A to jump over this hole'' becomes ''press A to jump thus gaining an temporarily increase altitude before gravity pulls you down, this can be used to clear missing sections in the terrain immediately before you when using in conjuction with the analog stick. When in contact with the ground, control resumes to normal and you can jump again.'') It's like... who is this written for.

- hidden collectible items such as cogtags or medallions without sufficient help to locate them. (i.e. not showing how many in each area/chapter and how many you have found) (ones you found permanently disappear, making it harder find the rest) (no radar or chime when they are nearby)

- arbitrarily making the player unlock certain content instead of being available out of the box. (Primarily applies to fighting game characters, but applies to other things as well)

- games with a laundry list of combos to memorize, in genres that aren't hack-and-slash, or in franchises that didn't originally have them. (Superman Returns, Sonic Unleashed PS360, Castlevania Lords of Shadow, etc)

- ultra high speed games where you can't see where you're going due to low camera angle (Burnout Paradise) or side-scrolling perspective.

#14 Posted by BeachThunder (12723 posts) -
  • Excessive 4th wall breaking/in-jokes/pop-culture references. It's rarely funny or clever and just shits all over any sense of suspension of disbelief.
  • fixed camera/tank controls - Any attempt at forming artistic or interesting camera angles is completely overshadowed by the annoyance of awkward camera changes.
  • Invisible walls - Not having any good contrivance of why you can't walk a certain direction either makes the game look completely broken, or the developers look flat-out lazy.
  • Getting irreversibly stuck - I don't feel like this happens too often now; regardless, it is still very frustrating getting to a certain point in the game and finding out that you didn't pick up a certain item 5 hours back.
  • Unclear objectives - No, being confusing isn't a valid way of increasing the difficulty.
  • "Magic" - This is the laziest, most uncreative shit; and it seems to exist in far too many games. There is nothing compelling about a game mechanic that is, for all intents and purposes, explained by "a wizard did it!"

Alright, I'm done for now...

#15 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -

You guys are giving me some great stuff to work with. What are some visual/graphics things you don't like in games? Personally, I think it really sucks when a game is too dark and I can't see the things I need to see. What about you?

#16 Posted by Christoffer (1971 posts) -
  • Server crashes
  • Rage quitting team mates
  • Being a billionaire and nothing to spend it on
  • Texture pop-ins
  • Gigabytes of constant title updates
  • Players being too serious in multi

And the big one for me...

  • Rooms and corridors that makes no sense other than to extend the level. "Oh this is the hall where they store A barrel".
#17 Edited by cannonballBAM (620 posts) -

I have a question, can someone name a game they think has done everything right?

@plainplease: If your basing this off of a Fez framework, than why is unclear instruction one of your negatives in current gen games? You either have the argument Jonathan Blow/Phil Fish had that games hold your hand too much with tutorials or they don't teach you enough like Dark Souls. What kind of games are you referencing as getting the formula right? It is entirely impossible nowadays to dump instruction sections in games today, considering we changed from having only 4 buttons on a Nintendo controller to well over 20 on either a PS3 or Xbox360.

Also you said your writing a "Game Script"? Do you mean a design document? Are you literally only handling the story line of a video game and are trying to tweak some in game scenarios or are you creating an actual game and are trying to formulate an entire idea? As someone that programs I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to get your idea from paper on screen considering what you have to go off is arithmetic expressions, arrays and constant alternative methods. A large majority of complaints I read had to deal with specific engines that are being utilized currently. Almost everyone mixed game design with actual programming issues, like fourth wall breaking and texture pop in. The Unreal engine is something a lot of developers utilize because of the means of convenience for cross platform development, otherwise almost everyone would waste a large amount of development funding in creating a proprietary engine aka the reason Vahalla Knights is being let go from THQ after losing the rights to use a licensed engine.

Also are you talking about light design in games or when the overall product is visually on your screen? Some developers have actually won awards for specific styles, like Visceral Games for the Dead Space series.

Honestly I think a lot of people make the mistake of comparing games like Mass Effect to Binary Domain and complain about how the latter doesn't look as well and has many problems. They don't even comprehend the amount of funds or staff that go into Bioware Studios compared to the Ryu Ga Gotoku team at Sega.

My question is, "what are you trying to accomplish?" To write a script and are asking for narrative questions? Or a design document and are trying to develop a framework or concept?

Edit: A piece of trivia for anyone interested, Mass Effect is created using the Unreal Engine. Texture pop in's and all.

#18 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -

@cannonballBAM: i work with some indie developers, but i don't have art, design or programming skills. basically, i'm talking about script in the sense of a movie script (the plot, the character bios, the in-game text, dialog, etc.)...i'm basically a the writer/creative director on the team. our project is experimental, and the suggestions i'm getting from you duders is helping us with our game (design, mechanics, plot, etc.). we aren't completely sold on our ability to do it yet, but we want to try to make an almost quirky game that plays on common things that frustrate gamers, recreating them as actual tools the player will use to progress through the game. this is somewhat of a poll just to get an idea of what are common problems and frustrations.

#19 Posted by Zooey74 (53 posts) -

Killing. I have had it with killing in games. And hurting too. Make a game about something other than killing.

#20 Posted by Zooey74 (53 posts) -

Or rather make a game where killing is not the primary problem solving device. Its getting old.

#21 Posted by UitDeToekomst (765 posts) -

"quick time events", "set pieces"

#22 Edited by HerbieBug (4208 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

unmovable AI obstructions

Yeah. It really bothers me when, say, a stack of rubber tires in Forza behaves exactly the same as a brick wall on collision. I realize that might be a compromise made in the interests of steady framerate... but still.

@cannonballBAM said:

I have a question, can someone name a game they think has done everything right?

I think Super Meat Boy executed correctly on everything it set out to do. Naturally, this is easier to do the simpler the sort of game you're trying to put together. I've never seen a lengthy RPG nail it on everything, for example.

#23 Posted by Irvandus (2947 posts) -

Boring worlds and cliche writing.

#24 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

@Zooey74 said:

Killing. I have had it with killing in games. And hurting too. Make a game about something other than killing.

I have the perfect game for you.

#25 Posted by AngelN7 (2974 posts) -

A lot of those problems don't solve by just saying the solution you know , I'm not game designer but I'm learning programing and a lot of times what seems logic in paper doesn't exactly translate in code or the design of it just have that in mind , have fewer goals with your game start simple and try to make that as good as you can before attempting to do several mechanics.

#26 Posted by HerbieBug (4208 posts) -

1 good mechanic > whole mess of shitty ones. :)

#27 Edited by egg (1483 posts) -

-- randomly triggered encounters (surprised I forgot to mention that)

-- when it's not clear whether you're just too dumb to figure out a puzzle, or simply don't have the item/powerup required to solve it.

-- when you reach a dead end, and seemingly no way to progress, so you end up leaving and exploring every area in the entire game trying to figure out where is the next place to go, to no avail. So you end up revisiting the dead end and finally realize what you had to do there, and therefore, realize the dead end was in fact the right place to be from the beginnning.

-- When you try a possible solution to a puzzle and it does not work, so you end up exhausting 100 other possible solutions and/or end up going to every area in the entire game trying to find out where to go next or looking for a possible solution, only to realize you had the solution right the first time, but you a) just slightly missed the first time, even though it seemed like you hit, b) you weren't close enough when using the item, c) or you didn't hit the object in the exact right place you were supposed to.

#28 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3947 posts) -

A big one for me is checkpoints. If death is a possibility, bad checkpointing that forces you to replay a huge section kills a game faster then anything for me unless I'm super invested.

#29 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

Ideas are cheap, execution is difficult. I don't see how listing problems is going to help you or any developer for that matter.

#30 Posted by egg (1483 posts) -

@deathstriker666 said:

Ideas are cheap, execution is difficult. I don't see how listing problems is going to help you or any developer for that matter.

a lot of these problems aren't really actively avoided by game devs

#31 Posted by astrodoggy (145 posts) -

@Zooey74: Make a game without killing?? That's like a something without another something necessary to have the original something!

#32 Posted by sashimi_biscut (98 posts) -

Inconsistant in game world logic. Like if you just took down a whole building of bad dudes and then you walk into a room and get overtaken by 2 bad dudes in a cutscene. I know things have to be sacrificed for gameplay vs. story line, but I like it more when things match up.

#33 Posted by mrfizzy (1558 posts) -

Don't think anyone has said this yet but bad voice acting shits me. If you're going to get voice actors then go right ahead and do it but either make sure they are decent or don't have voice acting at all. I'm sure no one is going to attack a small indie game for not having voices right?

#34 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -
@deathstriker666 it probably wouldn't, but that isn't really what I'm looking for anyway. These problems you guys are giving me are helping me craft the executive overview, storyboard and other pieces of writing a game script. The game design will be later, and hopefully it will incorporate some of these problems as mechanics (not list them as something to avoid). I appreciate all the great comments here.
#35 Posted by doobie (605 posts) -

just 'bad' things in general.

if you could make a game with out any 'bad' things then im sure you on to a winner.

beats me why other games companies have not thought about making gaming with out 'bad' things in them.

#36 Posted by plainplease (187 posts) -

@doobie: what kinds of "bad" things...like gore, or like glitches, or like Michael Jackson's "Bad" video?

#37 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@Zooey74 said:

Killing. I have had it with killing in games. And hurting too. Make a game about something other than killing.

This, I would much rather see a game were you can play the whole game with out killing a single person, kinda like Fallout.