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Molyneux at GDC
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Johnh



Joined: 06 Sep 2003
Posts: 160



PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too agree on some things and disagree on others.

I personally disagree with the statement about not having lists. For me, I NEED some sort of list, so that I know what all of my options are.

Personally, it seems to me that point #13 is just Molyneux advertising an idea/concept that he personally wants to become mainstream. I for one lack ANY artistic talent what so ever, so I'd NEVER be able to use "digital clay" to construct a chair. Alright, maybe I could, but it would take WAY too long. I would much rather prefer to have a list of items to choose from.
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function



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 1



PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks to me like Molyneaux got tired of people asking him the secret to making good games so he scammed up a Bull**** (not 'frog'!) answer that sounded good enough to make them go away. Your breakdown suggests Molyneux's primary advice [3-11] is for game designers to use the same design mechanics as he has in his sucessful games. Yay! Such superficial 'citing of things that worked' does little to address the "why?". If Pete could offer some insights into the question of why his game mechanics work (and why some don't) he'd potentially be illuminating other avenues future game designers might be interested in exploring. Or at least putting his own interests in a larger context.

Typical of the times, points [1] and [2] start things off with the cart before the horse. Namely thinking of marketing strategies before we start talking about game design. I'd object about that further but point [5] about having gimmicks to excite reviewers is so crasss I hcaen harldy fiuksn tpyue!!!1!!
...
In points 12 and 13 he seems to have gotten ahold of Will Wright's notes for Sims and Spore (respectively). I wouldn't accuse Pete's 'little worlds full of little people I can mess with' games of having much emotional overtone beyond BWA-HAA! I RULE J00!!!!

I've played his games. I know the man thinks unlimited sandbox concepts are neat. So do a few other leading devs I can think of. Can we get something a little more substantive from him than "put in everything I've done, and the kitchen sink, and think of teh m4rk3ting, and it'll be a good game"?

P.S.
http://pc.ign.com/articles/594/594823p1.html
Check out the above. Paragraphs 3 and 6 resonate with me particularly.
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ragnarok



Joined: 05 Jun 2003
Posts: 34
Location: Madison Heights, MI



PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of the things he suggests are true, for the most part. Making good concepts actually work is where he has the most trouble.

I do think his "mouse can do everything" concept could have worked if he also put in a backup menu to do everything if you couldn't get into the mouse. having alternatives is always good, I think.

but I also wanted to add this rule for game developers. always have a way to skip tutorials and/or cutscenes. especially now that cutscenes last 10-30 minutes in some games. it drives me nuts when I try to replay a game and I'm stuck for 20 minutes watching some **** I've already seen.

the same concept applies to tutorials. if I've already played it, I don't want to sit through the boring stuff again. If I remember right, starscape forces you to do the little tutorial mission when you play the first time on a fresh install. I like that you can skip it on a new game, but when I reinstalled it after a format it did annoy me a little when I was forced to do what they told me.
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Fost
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - we should probably think of some changes to the tutorial. The overriding issue for us is that word: 'tutorial'. If you ask players if they wnat to 'skip the tutorial' then 90% of them will (I'm on about people who've never playerd the game before here). Even if you managed to make a tutorial that was so much fun people wanted to play it, they'd still skip anything with that moniker.

Tutorial = boring as far as most people are concerned, but we have to have something there, else people get stuck really quickly, which is even worse.

I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on how the tutorial could be better, more useful and more fun, maybe there's things we can do to version 1.6.


Voiceovers might help - then we wouldn't necessarily need to stop the action.
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
Starscape Jedi


Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall that Final Fantasy VIII had a whole bunch of micro-tutorials that came up at different points in the game. I think each could be skipped. The cool thing (and the thing they sadly failed to make clear) was that every tutorial you'd watched was added to your help menu, and you could replay it at any time.

I'll have a think about what might improve the tutorial...
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Fost
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some games don't really have a tutorial per se, they have lots of little helper comments that crop up as you play the game, and you can turn the help on/off at any time. I wonder if this is preferable? ie. easier to digest the info in smaller chunks. I'm sure that's true.

We did have a similar idea about the 'help log' where every tutorial will have 'press F1 at any time for help' and pressing F1 would bring up a list of tips you had been given, which could even be context sensitive, and only give tips for say, R&D if you were on that screen. Although I think R&D would be better if we just improved the user experience there.
Weeble wrote:
I'll have a think about what might improve the tutorial...

Thanks - it's really handy to get an external perspective on these things. Very Happy
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
Starscape Jedi


Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fost wrote:
Although I think R&D would be better if we just improved the user experience there.

There's a coincidence. I was just mocking up a suggestion for how to change that screen. This is what I've come up with so far:

The red lines indicate keyboard/joystick navigation.

The crew assignment doohickey would scale based on how many crew you currently have. It should also probably have numbers superimposed on each side. The idea is that you can click and drag the dividers with the mouse to assign or unassign crew members to research or building. In this example the blue building crew are darkened because they are paused. They would also be darkened if they were stalled.

The graphs have a symbol at the current time - a play symbol to indicate the project is busy, a pause symbol to indicate is it paused, or an exclamation mark symbol to indicate it is stalled. If a project is stalled, the resources required indicator for the missing resource should turn red, and the symbol for that resource would have a flashing exclamation mark.

I've not yet drawn out the arrangement of stuff for creating a new project.

Problems with this design are that it uses a lot of space and has condensed the information panels and the status line into one small panel, and I've not yet detailed what will appear there. (I thought about maybe having the buid panel slide off the right of the screen while you're interacting with the research panel so it can grow, and vice-versa. Mind you, that's getting really elaborate and would probably be a pain to implement.) Also, it is not sufficiently prominent what you are researching/building.


Last edited by Weeble on Sun May 15, 2005 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Fost
Pod Team
Pod Team


Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 3734



PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the last few weeks of the project, I suggested something similar regarding a slider between research and built, but wiring up the front end is a complete nightmare, so we just wouldn't have had time.

Poo Bear has lately been thinking along more elaborate lines (just for fun mind - chances of implementing this in the near future are pretty slim!) - like making the front end look like a cutaway of the Aegis - you can see all the available crew walking around, and guide them to where you want them. You'd alse be able to see your available ships in the hangar, click on them and edit their config by dragging and dropping. As an idea, It's a generational leap over what we currently have, inspired more by Peter Molyneux's comments.

Starcape 1.6 will be released mainly to update our unlock system (we have made it much easier to use now) and also a long list of usability fixes that we've come up with, so alterations to the existing front end might be on the cards. We'd really like to get some new content in there for you to play around with too!
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