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Gaming The Problem With Porting Games

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 18 Aug 2009.

  1. Cobalt

    Cobalt What's a Dremel?

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    +1 The irony is palpable. CPC articles are to bit-tech as console ports are to PC gamers.

    Baranec seems like he can't stop putting his foot into his mouth. His talk about save points was especially enlightening. He doesn't seem to get that the reason people want to be able to save just before a battle is because they've just walked through an easy section of gameplay. Spending 5 minutes walking through the same area every time I die in a particularly difficult area at the end, is frustrating and will make me stop playing the game.

    Apart from that the two biggest problems with ports are interfaces and controls. Controls not so much; its usually a sluggish feeling to aiming that I never quite understood. Interfaces like the pip boy in FO3 are what can really kill the experience. With no hotkeys it makes a late game search for the right item a nightmare. Mass effect also suffered this somewhat even with the re-design of the interface. No stacking items an a tiny space through which to view your inventory meant way too much scrolling.
     
  2. Hugo

    Hugo Ex-TrustedReviews Staff

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    This is the kind of article that bit-tech (and by extension CPC) should be publishing more of! Excellently written and researched; entertaining, informative and interesting to read. Top notch stuff!
     
  3. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    xfresh hit the nail in the head.

    the software isn't pushing the boundary, so no one's upgrading. without anyone upgrading, games like Crysis is a huge financial gamble. and we get stuck in a loop.

    i blame the other non-PC specific media (such as gametrailers). Crysis is a success, innovative suit gameplay, fantastic graphics, old formula works great with the new mechanics. only thing held it back was the PC hardware.
    with a single game that pushed the hardware boundary, the 2 year old 8800GTX owners finally felt the need to upgrade in shader power. with the public upgrade comes games with better graphics, and good port such as GTA4.

    now, no game is pushing the 8800gts/9800gtx requirement. people are not buying new hardware, which leads back to bad games.

    come on people, gtx260 is dead cheap!
     
  4. somidiot

    somidiot Minimodder

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    My beef with the console ports that I've played is that they don't even show any consideration that they've even made it for the PC. "push the 'A' button" with a little green circle around it. pice of crap if I'd wanted to play on a microsoft pad I would have gotten a stinking xbox. (am I allowed to say that all those little boys playing with the xbox joeysticks need to grow up and get a mouse?) Halo 2 = worst port ever IMHO. The fun factor just dissapeared and the whole "vista only" thing really irked me especially since it was origionally designed for a box that could only handle DX8. and I couldn't belive that the frames would drop and stutter on a AMD 6400+ with a 9600 gt slightly overclocked. :-o. I actually enjoyed playing the first game on PC, thanks microshaft for yanking co-op play that I was really looking forward to on PC with some of my buddies. I guess all I'm trying to say is that if they even tried to make it feel like they made some effort to make it PC worthey then I wouldn't complain so much. Fallout 3 is one of the best ports I've played, seemlesly from first to 3rd whenever I wanted to, I actually enjoyed that feature, there are some situations where I liked playing in the 3rd better since I could see what my caracter was doing. It didn't "feel" like a port it actually felt like they had designed it to play on a pc, at least when I played it it felt like that to me. no little button reminders for an xbox controller, just little squares with the key that I had bound to that action, now was that so hard?

    btw confusis I don't know what your problem is but I can run GH3 on my 9600 GT underclocked to 500 mhz core and 600 mhz mem butter smooth, must be a driver issue ;-).
     
  5. isaac12345

    isaac12345 What's a Dremel?

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    Very nice and interesting article guys! Keep it up :) Could you please explain the fact where you have mentioned " its often Pc's that can't keep up with the computing power and not the other way around"?
     
  6. thehippoz

    thehippoz What's a Dremel?

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    yeah the controls took a bit to get used to.. you should have stuck it out- you missed out on one hell of a game :D
     
  7. Sifter3000

    Sifter3000 I used to be somebody

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    He's referring to the fact that every 360/PS3 has a decent (ish) graphics card, so you can aim for that - while some PCs have *excellent* graphics, the vast majority have really crap (integrated) ones.
     
  8. shaffaaf27

    shaffaaf27 The budget builder

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    oh my another CPC port (pun intended)

    sub ended
     
  9. Hamish

    Hamish What's a Dremel?

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    you say that but Rainbow Six Vegas used almost exactly the same cover system, it just switches to 3rd person when you're in cover
    actually thinking about it R6:V(2) are good examples of a decent multi-platform game, they both worked perfectly well on xbox and pc
     
  10. Lepermessiah

    Lepermessiah What's a Dremel?

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    Missing out on Dead space because you never took the time to get used to the controls? The view worked fine, your loss.
     
  11. Rocket_Knight64

    Rocket_Knight64 Minimodder

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    Very good article! :thumb:

    It makes me wonder if an idea I had once may be feasable. If the PCGA got of their behind, they could make a rating system for PC games and hardware that the casual PC user could understand at a glance.

    Everyone assumes (knows lol) that a 59' plate car is better then a 05'. So why not make a yearly spec system for pre-built systems (assuming self builders know what they are doing)?

    Each year a high and low priced system are built to a set budget and that hardware is what participating developers adhere to as target specs (with equivalence tables of course). That way the layman can match games to there hardware and have a good idea if it will run well without having to know what a dongle is. :geek:

    eg: The low end system is bits Affordable All Rounder and the high end is the Premium Player.

    An example naming system would be '09-L and '09-H. All systems made that year that meet the '09-L standard could be sold as such and the same for '09-H. Then on the games case there could be a grid of 4 symbols that give the min and recommended spec for the L and H bands.

    On that note the recomemded spec should be what would be required to max out the game and get a average FPS of 60 and no issues or quirkyness @ 1080P res.

    Eg: OFP2 could have a min requirement of '07-H or '08-L and a recomended of '09-L and '09-H.


    Dont know if any of that made any sence but I could expand if people are interested. :lol:
     
  12. wafflesomd

    wafflesomd What's a Dremel?

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    His loss.

    Seeing as how Capcom doesn't seem to be having any trouble releasing quality ports, I would assume the other developers are just lazy or simply looking to make a quick buck.
     
  13. HugoC

    HugoC What's a Dremel?

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    So, they went with 3rd person view on Dead Space so that I could see the avatar -- Isaac -- being sliced?! What for? To make me feel like the puppet-master, instead of the one roaming the ship?!
     
  14. Bursar

    Bursar What's a Dremel?

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    I get what you're saying, but I don't think it would be a workable idea. There would need to be so many variations, and the hardware companies don't help by changing their naming schemes, so you have no idea if one component is better than another, even if the model number is 'higher'.

    Vista has a hardware rating tool, but I don't know if that has been carried into Windows 7. Maybe they should display the numbers needed to play the game according to the Vista rating.
     
  15. Mentai

    Mentai What's a Dremel?

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    GH3 runs worse on my 4870 1gb than it did on my 9600GT, that said it was never butter smooth. I have however seen it run smoothly on a similar system to mine, the only difference being ram and motherboard, but I gave up on it a while ago.

    The article was an interesting read, even if I questioned some points (first person only!). I like the length and developer commentary.
     
  16. jrr

    jrr What's a Dremel?

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    Most of the invalid (control) complaints about PC ports can be relieved by plugging in a controller and leaning back in your chair. If you do this and still have complaints, they may be valid.

    Personally, I recommend grabbing an xbox controller for your PC. I got the wireless one and a receiver to go with it. It's a nice controller, and it's guaranteed to work easily with GFW logo games.

    Signs of a sloppy port:
    -art resources obviously intended for console display resolution. (e.g. pixelated 2D elements like the HUD and text)
    -really bad menus
    -inability to exit the game easily (google "how to exit assassin's creed PC"). On the xbox, you exit games with a system interrupt. For PC Gamers, this means alt+f4, or perhaps using the task manager.
    -few or no advanced options, graphical and otherwise
    -references to controller buttons that aren't relevant for you
    -the lack of a mouse cursor in places that really demand one, like the menu. (have you ever found that your mouse works like a *joystick* in a menu, scrolling through options instead of letting you point at them? sloppy port.)
    -the port being developed by a separate company

    On another note, Baranec defends some of their choices very very poorly. Quicksave does not give me infinite resources! It *does* make the game easier, but it does this by removing difficulty of the synthetic, frustrating kind. You need a different kind of difficulty!

    Keyboard remapping: somebody at the developer decided what keys will do what. Normally, this decision results in the *default* keybinds, not the only ones. Normally, I keep the defaults. If I disagree with your decision, though, I'd like to make my own.
     
  17. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Maximum Win

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    ...and if i dont like joypads?
     
  18. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    A bit of a console-apologists article.... 'honest, there are good reasons why we cut corners on your games...'.

    The irony of a ported CPC article and Xtra's Ferrari analogy stick in the mind (except that in reality the Ferrari is usually and Audi or Beamer - it only takes a very modest entry-level gaming PC to put a console to shame).

    The bottom line is that the Wii holds the other consoles back, and other consoles are holding the PC back. Nothing that couldn't be solved with extra effort and will to excel (rather than cash-in).
     
  19. tron

    tron What's a Dremel?

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    Using the Ferrari analogy for high quality PC games, nobody wants to pay Ferrari prices for a game. PC gamers pay less for their games and expect and usually get (in my experience) better quality than the more expensive console versions. Better quality in terms of framerates, anti-ailiasing, resolutions and sometimes extra content, better textures or physics. Yes, a proportion of the console retail price includes licensing fees to subsidize the cost of the loss-making console hardware, but they still don't make any more profit on each PC game sold compared to each console game. Expensive sports cars are carefully designed with high end parts, and usually hand made, then sold to a small niche market that have the money to pay for the materials, staff wages and effort involved with creating the work of art.

    After saying what I have just said, I still think that some games developers have an extremely short sighted vision when producing PC games, whether the games are "multiplatform" games or a straight "port". I have read about and even witnessed one or two very bad PC "ports". For example, in a certain game, you can use a gamepad to play the actual game, but all of the 'supported' gamepads do not work in the menus, so you have to keep on swapping between keyboard and gamepad (How on Earth can someone release a game like that?). Another example: you select your desired resolution, but the game doesn't remember this, then defaults back to a low console-friendly crap resolution everytime you restart the game. Another example: A menu mouse pointer conflicting with and 'freezing' gamepad navigation when the mouse pointer is hovering over another menu selection but you want to use the gamepad to scroll somewhere else. Look at how well Crysis works between mouse and keyboard in menus - no conflicts. It's an official Games For Windows title as well, so has to support the xbox pad.

    It would be nice to see more PC games looking like Crysis. Crytek had a vision: to make their game future-proofed for at least 2 years, so that no consumer hardware could make the game engine look outdated. Also make the game still look good by the release of the trilogy. With this attitude, not only can they increase sales compared to having a 'run-of-the-mill' average looking game (how many people bought Crysis for the fantastic storyline?). They also increase the critical acclaim and public awareness. The first Crysis had quite good sales. Even PC magazines for years will still use Crysis for benchmarking and reviewing PC hardware. The game will still sell more copies to new gamers in years time. Crytek also benefits again through the publicity and potential sales of their CryEngine tools for third party developers.

    When a game developer is making the decision about whether or not to make the PC version of a multiplatform title contain more graphical detail and textures, one of the influences, apart from time and their initial finance, is what level of vision the company has. Do they want people to complain and accuse then of 'lazy porting' and then potentially hurt sales due to many poor reviews of the PC version of their game, or do they want to showcase a work of art and increase sales. Some companies seem to believe that they will receive the exact same amount of PC game sales regardless of the state of the 'finished' product. They lack the vision of Capcom etc. to know that bad quality = less sales and good quality = more sales. Ideally, all PC games should have the usual multiple scaling of the graphics engine so that the 'average' PC can play, but also include an extra advanced 'layer' for higher end systems.
     
  20. dzmcm

    dzmcm What's a Dremel?

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    I'll accept that Dead Space isn't technically a port, but it isn't a PC game. Anything with such a narrow field of view is designed to be viewed from a couch. Take a PC monitor that sits right in front of you and you need a wider FOV to fill the space occupied within your field of view (seems obvious to me, you?). I'm not suggesting you compromise the claustrophobic design, but adapt it to it's platform.

    Mouse acceleration is another huge fail on a lot of multi-platform games, as well as key-binding options. I know not everyone has 5 buttons on their mouse, but why the hell cant I? Restricting what keys can be used is borderline offensive too. Give the gamer options and he cant complain about a devs preferences.

    I'll be the first PC gamer to thanks consoles for the checkpoint, but sometimes I just need to be able to put my GAME down and return to my LIFE at a moments notice. Don't take away control for convenience sake. That's hypocritical and ignorant. I didn't build my computer because it was cheaper that way. I did it because I wanted to control the quality of every piece. I use software that allows me the greatest number of options and flexibility. When I play a game, I CHOOSE to. I choose to run scared and participate in all the digital fantasy. If a person cant control that F5 twitch than it their loss, don't force it on me.

    I won't even get into that whole "devs just use half-assed PC ports to extend profit" debate. Modern engines are sufficiently mult-platform centric that, going forward, there is little room for excuse. Tell me I can't have higher res textures because the enormous amount of extra man hours isn't justifiable and I'll say thanks for the truth. But don't tell me it's too difficult to make a menu designed for a mouse (Wolfenstein).
     
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