Hot diggity damn, a fantastic article and absolutely tons
of fantastic feedback on it. Dive right in!
From: Colin Jones
Subject: "A Purist's Rules for FPS Multi-Player Design"
Novus has a valid point, but I think he (she?) takes
it too far. The game he describes caters exclusively
to newbies and casual players; serious, "hardcore"
gamers are often looking for a deeper, more
challenging experience. The obvious argument is that
mods will add such depth and complexity, but this is
fallacious because newbies and casual players, by
definition, do not become mod makers. If a game
cannot attract the hardcore crowd, it will soon fall
by the wayside.
Having said that, it *is* possible to make a game
simple and easy to play for newbies, while still
retaining the depth of gameplay that will attract more
advanced players. Straight, vanilla deathmatch might
be the default mode of play, requiring only a click or
three to get into a game. Other game types might be
accessible from an "Advanced" menu or something
similar, but it would still be quick and easy for new
players to boot up, install the game, and jump right
In summation, it's all well and good, and even necessary, to
appeal to newbies; but in doing so, it is very easy to lose sight
of the hardcore gaming crowd who will form the core of a game's
Hellchick: I think this is the idea that id is going for
in Quake 3: Arena. The game will appeal to newbies more than the
first two Quakes did because they're making it more attractive
to novices unfamiliar with FPS'. BUT, with luck, the mod makers
of the community will see a need for the complexity that hardcore
gamers want, and their mods will reflect that. Oh, and I like
my deathmatch to be Mint Chocolate Chip please, not vanilla.
Subject: SIMPLE SIMON
Man, I agree that to pick up a new game and enjoy it,
there has to be decent balance and simplicity, but once
these quick easy to learn concepts have been established
in our minds, we want more DEPTH to the gameplay. I have
been playing FPS's since the days of wolf & doom, and I
am quite accustomed to the way they work, and I have
reached the point where basic running around shooting
other people doesn't 'do it' for me anymore. that's why
I like games with loads of weapons with multiple fire
modes & lots of player classes and items, like Avp &
Halflife. It adds to the replayability of the game
because it adds so many new aspects and situations
Hellchick: I think this is why we're seeing a lot of crossovers
in genres, by the way. (Not crossDRESSING, damn you!)
Subject: Simplicity in the game.
To keep a game simple is definatly a way to keep new players
from losing interest in it.. However what about those who want
something a bit more complicated.. Something with more realistic
feel to it.. Look at ActionQuake.. Much more realistic and
everyone flocks to it.. Even the "newbie" seems to go for more
realistic game.. Now take a look at Expert Quake2.. The croud
there is SMALL and even though it adds a hook, the game is more
simplistic than the original Q2 (IMHO)..
If you keep a game at it's very basics you will loose the intrest
of the larger croud that's been playing since the days of Wolf3d
and Doom... Look at the steps.. As each game evolves it becomes
more complicated.. We like it.. New players like it too as far
as I have seen.. So the complexity, while not going overboard,
should be applied to keep the intrest of the experianced gamers
as well as the new.
Hellchick: I believe that someday we will load up the
game, download all the information into our brains and thus eliminate
the need to actually play the game, because we will have downloaded
the experience of playing it. Kinda makes this discussion moot,
From: PURE DM
The game design community must wake up. As more and more people
(mainly kids) go online, I'm finding more and more of them asking
for help with some aspect of managing their particular game as
it's usually so confusing and geared to people with far more time
at the console. I play Q2 and spend alot of my time helping others
(kids usually) on how to play or giving them resources where they
can get simple instructions/explanations about the game. Why don't
these companies just release a simple retail "base" version of
the game without all the bells and whistles and allow the individual
to enhance by downloading features of the particular game at their
pace if the want. Servers need to manage their sites also and
really allow for the learning curve and set up accordingly. There's
entirely to much "Stuff" out there for one person to assimilate
when it comes to alot of these computer games right from the get
go. From my experiance, most kids find the inital computer gaming
experiance disappointing after the inital "woohoo I'm online,
now what do I do?".
Hellchick: The problem here is that you
then get the moral minority complaining at us all about violence
in video games and giving these kids easy access to said games.
And I think we all know where that debate ends up.
From: Billy Hladik
Subject: RE: A Purist's Rules for FPS Multi-Player Design
If every developer wanted to get the most gamer user base
to make the most profit, then all the games would be simple as
Novus wrote. Now all games pretty much have their individuality.
For instance, Quake and Duke Nukem 3d (Blurgh) are very different.
In Duker Nuker you have a "Jetpack" (and other things) which lets
you fly in the air and in Quake you have a whole list (moving
in the air, being able to be superman and be able to jump of the
CN Tower (I live in Toronto, its the tallest thing I can see)
and only loose 20 health).
Guns, If all guns were realistic and easy to learn we would probably
use real life weapons. But is that what we want, every game having
a handgun, shotgun, chain gun, rocket launcher? Rail guns (Which
actually are real life guns, using high power magnets to shoot
a projectile at high speeds and make it go spiny), BFG's, and
other miscellaneous energy weapons (many in Half life) are what
we crave. They might be hard to learn or very easy, that is not
the point. If every game had at least 2 unique weapons, they'd
all cool and fun.
Half life (Arg, Fragmaster flashbacks) also has many instances
where the things are unrealistic, when your on the other planet
and the gravity is different. Well, if your able to take one of
those hover things and actually be able to see all around the
planet, there would be very little gravity, absolutely not enough
to keep a jumping human from fly into space, this is not realistic
at all, yet it is the coolest thing!
The purpose of games is for gamers to have fun. To enter a virtual
world where we can do as we please. So maybe the developers should
find a way that a newbie could get a game play it but not be disadvantaged
to the experienced players, while still having something for the
newbie to learn, and make it fun.
By making games simpler they'd all be similar, and that's not
what I want.
Hellchick: And they should do it without
causing Fragmaster flashbacks, as evidenced by your obvious pain.
Subject: purists rules
This guy talks about making games simple "out of the box" but he realises
the limitations of making a game too simple ("a happy medium is needed" he
says). I think ID and Epic have got this happy medium. If you take all his
points and simplify them to their logical conclusions then you would end up
with Tetris. The fact that fps games are becoming more focussed towards
arcade playability does not mean that you need to simplify things. This is
because at the moment a pc gamer still has to have basic computer knowledge
to start, install and use an fps on the net. Such a person can easily get
their head around the rules of quake or unreal and after a few games could
easily understand the importance of different weapons. CTF isn't exactly
rocket science either.
Hellchick: Hey! You makin' fun o' Tetris?! I don't wanna
hafta come over there an' bust some heads!
From: S Ryland
Subject: great editorial, roosters have funny penises.
I'd like to thank Novus for a great editorial, it said a lot of things I
have wanted to say for a long time. Whilst I have been playing FPS since
wolfenstein, there are many people who haven't, and they simply aren't very
good to start off with. This creates an imbalance in the community, which
consists of 'leets' and 'lamers'. How are we supposed to encourage growth
when it takes an average person a year just to get used to the rules,
weapons and tactics of a game. Whenever we see 'Player' on a server, we
know immediately they ain't gonna last long. Quake is quite difficult to
grasp if you are starting out new, yet most good players in the community
have no idea of this because they have been playing so long. I've seen it
too regularly with my friends. The reason they don't play online, or play
at all, is because they say "it's way too hard, i get killed straight away".
We need to adapt games so they can be more simplified. Hell, maybe they can
ship the game with a 'simple' and 'complex' mode. I don't know. Mind you,
I don't know very much.
And roosters have funny penises. (have you ever seen one?! psycho!)
Hellchick: Okay, before I get to the rooster penis comment
(c'mon, you know I can't leave THAT one alone), this letter makes
you wonder: we were ALL newbies at one point, weren't we? I mean,
can't you remember when YOU jumped on a server for the first time?
Long before you acquired your l33t sk1llz? How did we get where
we were? Maybe we need to all go to our rooms and think about
that for a while. Oh, and you need to quit hanging around the
barnyard for dates, Feenix.
Spyke: Now did I tell you that was fantastic feedback?
Well, all except for the rooster penises. That was only a tenth
of all the feedback we recieved on Novus' poop-disturbing editorial.
Maybe we need to post articles that will get significantly less
feedback, so I won't have to sort through it all. Editorial aside,
let's see what else people are consulting the oracle that is PlanetQuake