Saturday, October 2, 2010

OutRun 2, Crossword Puzzles, Game Flaws, NBA Elite, MW2

These last few days were kind of interesting because I got the chance to do a couple of Sudoku's in the USA Today.  Yeah, I like to do those--I remember them in Brain Age for the DS and they're not hard as long as you use a pencil...  I also did a crossword.  Now those are hard--I had to Google some terms but I figured it out without calling the 1-800 number.  What is the prayer book of Zoroastrianism (Avesta)?  A column foundation piece (socle)?  Oh yeah, I really was supposed to know those.

I also got the chance to play OutRun Online Arcade in a long time and it was really refreshing...just nice to see all those colorful landscapes, crazy drifts, just good stuff.  And yeah, that game's not easy either--I was twitching all over the place mostly because I think I had the sensitivity too high.  Yeah, I look at the times that my friends F40, rjay, all of them set and it certainly seems tough...give them some credit.  Oh, and if you haven't bought ORA for Xbox 360 already, just do it...


I would like to talk about this funny story I've heard and then transition into game design-ish stuff.  First, in case you're not up on sports, there were supposed to be two NBA games released this year.  One is NBA 2K11 which has Michael Jordan in it--can you believe it?  The other is NBA Elite '11 by EA Sports which is supposed to be the glorious return to the Live series...well, things aren't looking so great for them once again.

The Elite demo came out in mid-September or so and the actual game was supposed to be released in early October.  Well, just a week before the release date, EA postponed the game indefinitely.  Let me repeat, a WEEK before the release date.  RIP.  The game was hallmarked by a bevy of glitches, among them the "Jesus" glitch where a player stands in the center of the court, arms spread, not moving at all.  Wow, what a glitch.  This is the video that cost EA $60 million!  This is legendary IMO.

NOTE: The uploader's account was suspended once, here's the same video again:

WARNING: Some Profanity NSFW

Or you can watch the "longer" version here (3:00 is when it gets good).

The Jesus pose is merely the "default" pose for any given player model--if not assigned a wireframe, it will just snap to that.  Standing at the dead center of the court (the origin: 0, 0, 0) not moving at all, one could assume that all data on that player (in this case, Andrew Bynum as "Jesus") has been dumped/erased thereby taking him out the game.  This glitch is widespread and I really can't believe something like this exists in a game...I was cracking up in tears over this.

There's no way that EA's going to compete with 2K Sports with a buggy product.  I'm all for delaying the game if it means it will be semi-decent.  But why do developers do this?  This all began with the 360--release the game and patch it later.  You couldn't patch N64 or PS2 games, but now, let's just do it all the time...  This everyone knows I'm sure.  But it's not just glitches to fix--it's game balance issues as well.

Look at Modern Warfare 2.  It's not that bad a game, I've played it up to 4th prestige on the PS3, 1000/1000'd on the 360, it sold tons of copies, but I've never seen a game community SO BITTER over a product before.  Not just glitches and exploits, but noobtubes/grenade launchers, knife sprinters, annoying perks, killstreaks, etc.  Just a lot of things that that should've gone back to the drawing board.  But that's the thing--glitches and balance issues only bother a small portion of the consumers, enough for game devs to say "Screw it, just release the game, we'll sell tons of copies anyway."

I mean, call me old-fashioned, call me puritan, but if you're gonna go out of your way to hire hundred of employees to work for two years, design a game engine from the ground up, work on art design/models, advertise, etc. I would at least make sure the game is somewhat solid and pleasing to everyone.  Why leave a game at 80-90%?  I mean, how many opportunities do you have to work on a project of such a grand scale?  The only reason why these games are as they are is because of greed--pure and simple.  Yes, I know that greed is good in driving people to be successful as possible, but not when it means denying the consumer a solid product.

I imagine that all gamers have select games they really wanted to like, but are heartbroken to find out how flawed they say someone really liked Modern Warfare 2, they say "I love everything about this game more than any other game, the graphics, the guns, the sound effects, EXCEPT for all the noobtubers, IF ONLY THE DEVS COULD HAVE FIXED THAT..." and then they spend the rest of their lives mourning over what could've been a better game...  Usually, these flaws are easy fixes that the devs pass up.  Considering the nomadic nature of gamers, we are rarely satisfied by one game so we just keep moving on to get our fill which kind of sucks...

I miss the old days where you didn't need hundreds of people to work on a game...NES, Genesis, SNES, N64, games that only needed thirty or so people.  I talk about Goldeneye N64 quite a bit and that was a game made by a small bunch of novice developers that went on to be one of the most memorable of all time.  I've heard that the multiplayer source code was created overnight by one man, amazing stuff.  Same thing with Daytona USA and stuff, small groups of people make good games.  It's more personal to them instead of being caught up in crowds of hundreds.  That's just the way I see it--with games becoming so intricate due to graphics, processing power, etc. you're not going to see any "small" games outside of the standard indie/iPod/flash game or whatever.

Next time you beat a game, do this.  Count how many people are mentioned in the credits.  And no, silly stuff like marketing and special thanks don't count--look for how many people sat in that developing studio and got their hands dirty--programming, modeling, art design, sound, you name it.  You'd be surprised.

I guess the good news about newer games is that with the increase in communication--magazines, internet, game rentals, downloadable demos--is that there's less ability of devs to BS you...back in the NES days, there were a lot of good games, but also plenty of abysmal ones.  You just bought and game and hoped for the best.  Nowadays, you can't really push a piss-poor product, but then again, you see a lot of lukewarm games that aren't really good or bad.  This is mostly because of the informational aspect, plus having tons of coworkers to rely on in case you slack off (someone's gonna get the game done, even if it's sloppy).

I was going to talk further about Dead Rising 2 in this post but I'm gonna postpone that for later.  Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment