Autumnal Waterfall 9 – Super Sad

Arrrgh, desktop is busted. Don’t have any of my saved screenshots and using a small keyboard not fit for my big hands to type. Super Sad.

Instead of talking about a game, I guess I’ll give my opinion on something. I usually don’t like to do full opinion pieces but eh. This will be about what I think is most important in game design. And that is responsiveness/usability. There will be no pictures in this one :/ Hope you like reading.

Nope, not gameplay, not graphics, not mechanics but responsiveness/usability (from here on, I’ll refer to it as r/u).

I count r/u as how well it feels to play the game and access the game. Say, character sliding or input lag, that is r. It’s okay if the game was designed a with certain things in mind such as sliding but haphazardly making movement is not good. If the game doesn’t feel right to play, I will find it a chore to play.

One example of good responsiveness is WoW. Barring lag, things pretty much happen the moment you press the button or something comes up telling you why you’re action failed. Instant response. WoW interrupts animation so you can do what you want to do and when you want it. Character movement is also extremely responsive to the point that you can spin 1080 degrees plus in midair if you want.

Most other mmo’s are not nearly as responsive. They just feel like more of a chore to do what you want to do. I should be fighting the enemies of the game, not the game itself.

Another issue of responsiveness are menus. And this crosses into usability as well. Most menus are responsive enough but some just have strange lag whenever something is done. The worst in recent memory I can think of is probably FF14. Their menus took a crazy long time just to get anywhere.

As for usability, there have been some ports of consoles to PCs were the menu were clearly meant for the controller. Mouse support is spotty or sometimes nonexistent. Skyrim had menus that were designed for the console. If I wanted to use a controller, I would opt to get in on the console.

Another issue of usability is also the available options. Now having a ton of options for no reason is not good but there are certain things that annoy people greatly and most games don’t have an easily accessible way to change them. Some examples are mouse acceleration and FOV.

I do not like mouse acceleration. Some games require me to go into the .ini just to change it.

FOV is a big one. Now I don’t suffer from FOV related issues but people do. Basically, at too low of an FOV, playing the game will make them physically ill. Now a lot of games still do not support the ability to change FOV and that pretty much means certain people will not be able to play it for more than twenty minutes. Not good.

The ability to customize controls is another usability point. Sure most games have it but for example, Mass Effect 3 already prebound the T key to something and it cannot be changed. I like using the T key as the “Use” key and I could not without some fancy file editing.

I’ll point out one thing I really liked in Saints Row: The Third, for the sprint and crouch, they had both a toggle and a hold option. Toggle being press it once to go into say crouch mode and press it again to come out of it. Hold being stay in crouch mode as long as the button is being held. I really like it since I actually used both settings. For sprint, I used hold mode and for crouch I use toggle mode. Nice.

Some other usability issues can include things like a color blind mode. Just some things to consider.

Now, r/u might be the most important but gameplay/mechanics would certainly be a good second. Once the game is pleasant to use, it must be fun to play. Graphics aren’t a huge concern for me. As for content, that really depends on the genre. I obviously expect a lot from MMO’s. I expect solid mechanics from fighters and a decent array of characters. I expect some nicely designed guns and levels from shooters. I expect a bunches of areas and side story from RPGs. Basically, every genre has its own content expectation.

Well, that’s it for my pictureless ranting. Now have some guitar shredding.

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