Interesting article. Would you be open to a little constructive criticism?
Gamer_152's forum posts
So, you mentioned developing the main mechanics and then the stealth mechanics, but you really have to develop these two areas of the design with a consciousness for what's going on in the other, even if this means now going back and augmenting the core mechanics after building the stealth systems. If, for example, the core mechanics give the player an easier way to get out of danger for the same degree of reward, the player is not going to care about stealthing their way out. Similarly, if the stealth mechanics are an all-around ideal tactic to use in any given enemy encounter, the players are going to neglect your core mechanics. Additionally, you have to think about how the player might use one side of that play to cheese the other. Are there abilities in the "main" play that might give the player an unfair advantage? Or, equally importantly, you might want to think about enabling the player to use parts of the stealth play in tandem with the other play. Can advantages gained in one area be applied to the other? Can the player easily switch between these modes of play without messing everything up? You probably don't want it so that the player stealthing their way around the game makes them skip over important items, for example, or for it to be very easy for the player to make a lot of noise that accidentally alerts enemies because you designed this as an action game.
As for the AI, you need their behaviour to be in some way predictable just based on encounter and observation. You can generally add more surprises and sudden deaths in a horror game than in other straight stealths, at least providing the player can get back to where they were in a matter of moments, but if the player can't get a solid idea of what paths the enemies are going to walk, they need to at least, relatively quickly, be able to get an idea of how an enemy is going to react when they encounter them, what methods the enemy is going to use to seek them out, and what strategies the AI is likely to be stumped by. In a horror game like Outlast, you can learn enemy paths, you can know that you're safe as long as you're not in their direct line of sight, and you know that hiding under tables or in cabinets (as long as the enemy didn't see you enter them) is a generally sound course of action against them. As for the items, they should give the player some degree of agency over how stealthing around enemies plays out, but they should also create tension. Horror games specifically usually don't give the player a lot of equipment that can make them highly powerful which is what you'd see in a more conventional action game, but there are always some vital tools the player gets because seeing if they can use them correctly or running low on them creates tension. Common examples of these items include better ways to see (e.g. Batteries for the night vision camera or a torch) and healing items. Lights that players can turn on or off in the environment also aren't that uncommon, but I'd really encourage you to experiment in this area. We've seen a flood of minimalist "run away from the monster" horror games in recent years, and it's unlikely you can just go by the book and get a really successful game.
Beyond this, all the posts above have good advice. Best of luck.
A lot of people really are that mad about having to use more than one launcher and there are some very legitimate concerns about the features on the platform, although the complaints really aren't that economic. If you were thinking about the potential economic advantages of the Epic Store, you'd be more likely to be supportive of it, but I don't think that's the way most of the games community is taught to think. It's true that Steam launched in a very bare state, but Valve's platform went online in 2003, not 2019; expectations have justifiably changed for what a digital games store needs to look like. Epic isn't competing against the Steam from the early 00s; it's competing against Steam now. Other users here have done a good job of talking about the absent features from the store, so I'll talk about the UI a little instead. The Epic Store is currently not laid out with an appropriate design for a digital marketplace; it's using a design you'd associate with a visual art website. It looks like Flickr or ArtStation.
Notice how a lot of Steam is long lists of games, where on each tile you can see the name, box art, price, price reduction, platforms, and genres in a relatively small space, allowing it to use not much of your screen to convey a healthy amount about each of the products. Now look at the Epic Store and notice how it uses much more space to just throw the box art, name, publisher, developer, and price at you, and when the service launched it was even more taciturn about data. It's an inefficient use of space and forces users to click through to the dedicated store page on each game to get basic info on them. Even then, many of those pages don't contain the fundamental facts about each title that the store pages on just about every other online games platform does. It's more work for less information. You'll also notice that the Steam front page sorts games in a lot of different ways to accommodate different users looking for different things. There are the games on sale, there are curator-recommended games, there are new releases, there are personalised recommendations, and so on. If the player then wants to look at games based on tags and genre, they can do that too. The Epic Store has none of that organisation. There's the few containers at the top which give you your free games for the month and then everything else is chucked in a big, unordered pile. This may have been appropriate when they were only selling about five games on the store, but it's already woefully insufficient for the volume of products they're touting.
From what people are saying, it seems like the game is really poorly designed right now and that Valve would have to make some very fundamental changes to turn it around, but I do still find it hard to believe that that pricing model isn't playing some role. I get that buying up a good deck in Artifact is cheaper than in a lot of physical TCGs, but I think it would be a mistake to just view this as a TCG. It's also a video game and I think a lot of people are going to weigh the cost of getting into this game competitively against the far cheaper cost of other competitive games online, including the virtual TCGs out there. And while Magic may be able to command a lot of money for their cards, it's a very established name with a large existing community. Valve. on the other hand, are trying to get Artifact off the ground for the first time and are doing it against some serious competition. I think for many players "Chuck in $80 for an unproven TCG with a bunch of bad word-of-mouth when there are proven alternatives out there" is a pretty weak proposition. I don't think it's a coincidence that a lot of successful competitive games out there right now started more or less free.
Like a lot of people, I used Gamespot as my main source for video game coverage. I can't quite remember how I got linked to it, but after Jeff was fired from Gamespot, I found the blog page that existed here before Giant Bomb launched, and then signed up on day one.
@gamer_152: UPF is a place to fix it, often UPF is time to look at a game they heard about or was recommended, but they haven’t played it before. Devil daggers is an example of a good one, and one brad has brought back later after spending more time with it. But frequently they are games they haven’t tried before and they goof on it or dunk on it.
I think that it's a bit of stretch to say they regularly mock the new games they try on UPF, but I take your point that that show is as much or as more of a platform for new games as it is for looking at older favourites. I would also say that a lot of the time that games had series dedicated to them in the past, it was because those games had play that could go in many new directions. Titles like The Sims 4 and Mario Maker are centred around creative components, allowing players to construct new experiences, while games like Hitman and PUBG are very mechanically open, meaning players encounter a lot of new dynamics every time they play. Maybe my memory's not great, but I just don't remember as many games of that breed coming out this year. If you do want to see the staff playing older games, however, in 2018 we've had the Die Another Friday series, GBE looking at wrestling games, Gotta God Hand, Mass Alex, the many "old games" streams, Ranking of Fighters, the Extra Life streams, Demo Derby, Breaking Brad, and more.