Saturday, May 17, 2008

I guess this wont be a weekly thing... (A Split Screen Rant)

Okay, so perhaps I haven't been updating this as much as I should...

Anyways, since none of you care for the drama and small talk.... On with the show:

Isn't the new generation great? You find a great game, go play online, and then when a friend comes over, you realize that it doesn't have split screen... 

Dear dear dear.... 

"Sorry Bill, this game doesn't contain any split screen multiplayer"
"But, it has online, why doesn't it have split screen?"

So what are we to tell these people? "Just because?"

Are we not in the next-generation? Online play, downloadable content, wireless controllers, HD, surround sound, motion sensing, and pretty graphics, and developers can't implement a feature that has been around since before the NES(Nintedo Entertainment System). What happened? It's the next generation of gaming, surely we move forward, not backward, so onto some minor points to be taken:

"Games have online because it is the next big thing"

Perhaps that is so, but what happens if the servers go dead... Or you don't have the internet, or it's not hooked up to your system, or it's not fast enough? Surely this is a large % of the market?

"Split Screen ruins most multiplayer games, because you can see where you enemies are"

Again, true, but haven't games had split screen multiplayer for a long time? What is it about this generation that's any different? Before there was online, there was LAN, which most of the time takes place in the same room, again, how different is this?

"It takes time to implement split screen"

It takes time to implement Online, it takes time to make the graphics, it takes time to program the gameplay, so why is this aspect shafted?

"Online is better then split screen"

No, that's a matter of opinion. If you are trying to play with someone miles and miles away, sure it's nice, but what if you have people at your house, and to play a game, you just have to switch off? That's not fun.

"It takes more processing power to render stuff going on, on both screens at once."

Okay, I can agree with this, but again, I point my finger at the past, look at how many games last generation had top of the line graphics, and still had split screen? Why is this generation different?

"Not all games need split screen"

No, not all do, but games that have online already have multiplayer programmed in, sure it's not all of the multiplayer code, but it's most of the basic code needed, I don't see why developers can't go the extra 10 steps.

"Developers don't add split screen, because it's such a small feature, that no one would care"

Not true, I have seen tons of topics on online forums of people not buying a game due to lack of split screen, I also have friends that think this way. I myself haven't bought Unreal 3 on the PS3 due to the lack of split screen.

"Games on the PC have never had split screen"

Not true, old games, around the times of DOS, and Windows 95 had split screen, but that's beside the point. Split Screen is something that has put consoles ahead of computers. 

Now, why is it that when sony removed Rumble from their controllers there was an uproar, but these companies are not getting negative feedback when they don't add split screen to a RACING game..?

So in the end, why is it that exclusive to this generation there are so many games that have online but not split screen? Games that demand split screen even, First Person Shooters, Racing games.. I shudder to think of the first fighting game that doesn't include split screen...

Anyways, I'm not going to commit to, and fail, in saying that I will update more often... But, we shall see

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oblivious to the Obvious faults, all the way to Oblivion.

Ah forgive the break, as it has been a while. One thing that has happened since my last post, is that my post "Halo Killer" was linked to at . So, I would like to give a shout out to them, thanks guys!

Another thing, is that people seem to completely disagree with my console wars rant, well, I don't blame them, I guess I didn't really file my point to a head. looking back on it, the point was the stupid console war, and I got way off track, I meant to be talking about how dumb people are about talking about sales figures of games as if they made a difference to how good the games are.

Anyways, today I am going to rant about something that does have to do with the quality of the game, this post is about little things, that game developers should really consider.

Picture this, you are watching the lord of the rings movies, and you watch as it the shot switches, and you see Aragorn, and you see one of the special effects sword cut through on of his arms, but doesn't effect it.


First off, before anyone goes looking for that in the movie, no it didn't happen. Second, I'm guessing that it would bother, people, hey, why not? Thing is, that for some reason, video games are not held to the same standards as movies, which in the long run is probably a good thing, due to all the little things it would cause.

Still in Kingdom Hearts, seeing Waka's bandana pass through his arm, in plain sight, more then once, IN A CUT SCENE, is rather bothersome, it's like watching a spelling error be made over and over again, not only does it looks bad, but it distracts from whatever else is going on.

Okay, seriously, this isn't a small problem, but I would assume that to fix it would be about as difficult to fix as it is for us watching it. Seriously, move the animation over like 3 in game inches, it can't be that hard...

Here's another thing developers do to us, any of you played Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? Good, then you will remember the optional 3rd person gameplay? Well, anyone who will not admit that it is garbage, is lying to themselves, because well, no one can consider it really good you know why? Not only is harder to play in, but...

There are missing animations. This is a major, high budget game, is missing animations.

Seriously, if you walk diagonally, It does the animation for you walking forwards...

Did someone miss a memo or something? Honestly. That is not as simple to fix as the last problem, but still, it's only a small animation. Now, every time anyone pops the game out into 3rd person, they have to worry about how to explain why the game looks like such crap, and why they are playing a game with animations that are so bad. Honestly, it's just sad, it's something they should have fixed quite a while before the game shipped.

Well, honestly, the video game industry has been around for quite some time, and the games have turned into multimillion dollar projects, so why are we still stuck with such obvious faults? It seems a shame that these kind of things go unpunished in video games these days. So, I invite you to following in my footsteps if you feel like it, and tell game developers not to leave such obvious faults in their games.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"I compare, so there" What Bull.

Why do people feel the need to compare things to other things?

Well there are a number of reasons and a lot of them make sense, but to a point, and no farther.

Comparing a Volvo to a Honda is one thing, comparing a Honda to Book is a different thing.

These days people seem to want to compare every game with ever other game.


There is no final answer when comparing games. Like I have said before, everyone is different, with everyone having different tastes, where one person might like Counter-Strike another may love Halo. You can't say which one of those it better, as the word known as "opinion" throws a wrench in "Fact's" cogs.

But even so, people sometimes have good debates on which game is better, be it very rarely, but, people have to go one step farther....

They decide to compare things like Ratchet and Clank, to Halo, or Gears of War, and Burnout to Metal Gear Solid.

Okay, tell me....

How the f*** are you suppose to do that? Like the metaphor from before, "comparing a honda to a good book."

Some things do not work; you cannot put together a jigsaw puzzle with pieces from multiple puzzles, You cannot take a taxi from Japan to Hawaii, and you cannot compare a Shooting game with a puzzle game, or a platforming game, with a racing game. Some things just *don't* work.

End of story.

This should be obvious right?

I guess not.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Rip Off", is a "Rip Off," of "Ripping off"

First off, sorry for not posting for the last few days, I've had thing after thing come up. Be it, little sleep, friends being around, or just plain fixing a deck. Hopefully I will be back at it again regularly.

Rip Off. Rip Off!

Dude that's totally ripping off this.

Rip Off!

We hear this all the time in the gaming industry. The question is: "Why?"

People keep saying that one game is "Ripping Off" another, when the game they are talking about is in fact "Ripping Off" another game, which in all odds is, probably "Ripping Off" same game before it., but why is the phrased used so much?

People often refer to this as a bad thing....

And yet, we would not have "Halo", "Splinter Cell", "Gran Turismo", "Zelda", and many other series, if they were not ripping off another game or series. People continue to say that it's a bad thing, and continue to site games that have ripped off others.

So then, what if it IS a bad thing? Let's just think about this.

The first video game was called "Tennis for Two", which means there would not be any other Tennis games suck, because they are 'Ripping Off Tennis for Two".

Pole Position was the first Racing game, which means that "Gran Turismo", "Burnout", "Project Gotham Racing", "Forza Motersport" and "MotorStorm" all suck because they are "Ripping this game Off".

"Super Mario Bros" Is the first Adventure game, which means that "Zelda", "Kingdom Hearts", "Jak and Daxter", and countless other Adventure games suck.

"Doom" was the first, First Person Shooter, thus, "Half-Life", "Halo", "Resistance: Fall of Man", "Metroid Prime", "Goldeneye", "Perfect Dark", all must suck.

"Driver" was the first true 3D Free roaming game, so "Grand Theft Auto", "The Getaway", "Spider-Man 2", "Mercenaries" and "Jak II" must suck.

I could go on, but that would probably bore you.

People will go on to say that "Game X Rips Off game Z." But this is not necessarily a bad thing, as most of the most loved game franchises "Ripped Off" another game or franchise, and look where it got them.

People often cite "Ripping Off" being bad because it's not original. This is really stupid. How many games could be made before there isn't anymore concepts to be had. I will agree games like "Katamari", are "original", but even games like "LocoRoco", and "Gitaroo-Man" are STILL ripping off other games.

I will agree there are too many similar games these days, but putting a label like "Rip Off" on them is ridiculous, "Ripping Off" is necessary to the gaming industry, and is not a negative thing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Companies Minus the Public

Here is something that when it happens in the video game industry is considered cool and such, this is something few companies do, though most of the ones that do it are the well known ones.

What I am talking about is people from a company actually taking time to talk to fans, denying, or confirming things about their game, just talking about things, ect.

Why do only some companies do this? It seems like the more player feedback the better right? If people are continuously ask for something, then it's probably something good to add. Maybe people point things out that the developers didn't notice, whatever the way, to me it seems like a good idea to have a company to have contact with "The Outside World."

Some companies are doing this, like Kojima Productions(Metal Gear Solid), Bungie(Halo), Guerilla Games(Killzone), and more. This is a good step, it brings players that much closer to the developers, which is a good thing for many reasons, not the least of which is that some companies see to be up completely of people that have never played games, as sometimes games get released, and you just have to wonder about the people making it.

Often companies listen to fan feedback, and take what fans like to the drawing board, trying to incorporate what people like to make the game better, but sometimes, companies, sometimes one that even talk to their fans(Rebellion), but don't listen to them about things, which end hampering the game (Battlefront: Renegade Squadron).

Then there are companies that listen to fan feedback and make their product what the fans want, (Guerilla Games, Bungie), and this obviously pays off, as the companies that do this often come out with games that are generally considered the best.

Another thing that companies talking to fans does is give a face to some of these companies that would otherwise be just a name. Obviously some companies you will only know by their games, and name, where as some companies such as "Bungie" will be known also by the people that work there, that have shown themselves to the public, (Frankie of Bungie).

It's easy to enjoy a game more when it feels like you know the people behind it more. Additionally, when you see something you don't like about a game, it's nice when a reason if giving for having it the way it is, sometimes it will stop bothering you even.

So, why are there so many companies that make a game and do very few interviews, and have bland page with no way to contact them? You have companies that release 1 game, and then disappear again, where you wont hear from them until another game is released. Are you going to care nearly as much as you would if it felt like you were keeping up with the company? Probably not.

I see it happening more and more where companies talk to the public, and I think this is a good thing, and I am glad it is happening, it's just a little odd it's taken so long. What happened to "The Customer is always right?" I would assume the reason a lot of companies don't keep in contact with the public is because they would believe they know better.

But this all leads to some interesting points, such as the fact that there are things that fans have complained about for a long time and developers still get wrong, such as certain crappy animations (Halo 2 - Halo 3), better camera system (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater), major control problems (Camera - Grand theft Auto III - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City).

Hopefully these types of issues will happen less and less due to more then just the developers looking out for them. in this respect, hopefully games and companies will continue to improve.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Can't we all just agree on what is good yet?

I know that people tend to argue over things, and it's only natural, because everyone has different opinions, BUT there are some things that people should just be able to agree on.

And yet games continue to come out years later, when it seems like some of these things should have become apparent. Games may continue to evolve, but they are not going to go anywhere as a whole, unless there are a few things we can agree on.

I am not talking about the ability to jump, because i know that is up to personal taste, because I know I love it, but I know there are people that think otherwise.

What I am talking about is more long the lines of, say, a customizable control scheme, what the hell happened here? This seems like the simplest thing to have in the game, and it can completely change the game, for example, the game "Battlefront: Renegade Squadron" for the PSP, has 2 control schemes, the main one and the secondary one. The main one focuses on Lock on, with the secondary being the only other option, a lot people people didn't want Lock on and opted to go with the secondary control scheme, which is flawed. If they had just had an option to change the controls, everyone would be happy.

Another one of these, though I can see it taking more work then the last, is subtitles, this is an option that needs to be able to be turned on and off. A lot of games either don't have it at all, or have it on all the time, neither of which is the best fix. It's really annoying in games where the background noise makes it really hard to hear what's being said. An example of a game that could use it, is the original Halo, where there is a cut scene or two in the game where it is incredibly hard to understand what the characters are saying over the sounds in the background. And example for one that has them on all the time is Kingdom Hearts, where once in a while, the subtitles spoil the mood.

Here's another one that wasn't so much a problem until more recently, where newer games these days fall victim to this problem more then older ones. The problem I speak of is: Split screen multiplayer. This was the only way to play, all the way up until the last batch of consoles. yet, today, less and less games seem to include split screen play, even if they include online, it doesn't seem like it would be to hard to implement split screen multiplayer if you already have online. Games like MotorStorm, and DiRT suffer from this.

This one takes a lot more work, but ends up being worth it. Co-Op, when did this become such a selling feature? You'd think it would be an obvious thing to include but these days, it makes a game worth looking at, and they have games that get a of hype due to that fact that they have Co-Op. If you can remember back to the days of the "Super Nintendo" and "Sega Genesis" you will remember that a much larger percent of games had Co-Op back then, and it wasn't a big deal when a game had it. When I play a game, I personally have a loads more fun and will play it for a long time to come if it has Co-Op, because I will show my friends, and get sucked back into it myself. "Halo" and "Resistance" nailed this, hopefully more games will in the future.

This is another that would take a bit of work, but would be completely worth it, and this is, Split screen online. I don't know if "Halo 2" was the first game to have this, but it's the first game I remember having it. After playing it for a while, I would have expected many other games to follow suit, instead, it like Co-Op, became one of those feature to brag about, with only few games supporting it, "Halo 3" does, and so does "Prefect Dark Zero", also "Warhawk" has it. Along with Co-Op this really helps when playing a game with friends.

Here's another simple one: Music and sounds volume control. So many companies forget that some people enjoy listening to their own music when playing. Or what if they don't want to hear people's voices, but still want to hear the music. This doesn't seem like it would be a very hard thing to implement.

This one should have been stomped on a million years ago, but it still gets me these days somehow. How can someone making a game, not think to have an option to change between inverted and normal, be it for aiming or just camera control. We still have games that force you to play it one way. I can't see why this still stands, when it's something that should be obvious as night and day.

This one might be incredibly hard to do, especially on some games, but is another thing that can be done to make games last a lot longer. Level select, I hate it when I am playing through a game, I see a part I want to play again, and the only way I am able to do this is keep a save, so I can come back later and replay it. It's much easier to do it when selecting a level from a menu.

Overall, I may come back to this subject, but I completely lost my train of thought for now.

The Seriousness of Having Fun

This one is really short. I couldn't think of what to say though.

Some would say the console market is competitive, I would say that console is over competitive, to the point that it feels like the developers aren't trying to make us have fun anymore, but just to bring fame to their company, or parent company.

This is not the direction I want to see the industry going in.

Why can't we have it where companies are more friendly?

It would be nice to see more cameos, and more tributes, for instance, I like the fact that they have Snake in "Super Smash Brothers Brawl," Even though I think it is a horrible waste of his character. I wish more companies have cameos and such in their games, like say, a Kingdom Hearts of game worlds. In the gaming age we live in, that would be near to impossible to even imagine due to how the industry is.

Another thing that the industry being like this warrants, is not unified online play. Sure some games would have slight advantages in terms of controllers and such, but there a such a large amount that wouldn't. I don't see why 3 copies of the same game all have to run on different servers, just due to company politics. I would be awesome to be able to play online from a PC, to a "Playstation 3."

I think it would be really cool to have a game that is made by a few competing companies, like Bungie(The makers of Halo), and Guerilla Games(The makers of Killzone). Think about how cool that would be. What about a game between, say, Naughty Dog(The makers of Jak and Daxter), Insomniac(The makers of Ratchet and Clank), and Sucker Punch(The makers of Sly Cooper). The last one is more possible due to the fact that they all make games for Sony, but still, I don't see something like this happening in today's gaming world.

Think of how useful it would be to have a LAN(Not online, game with more then one console, hooked up through cords) party, with PCs, and consoles in the same game? Think about how much easier it would be to get people who own the game together rather then people who own the game AND the same console...

This is short I know, and I have no real way to wrap it up.