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Posts posted by jonny_rat

  1. The thing that I liked about yesterday's stuff - that I don't think Microsoft actually shout about enough - is that a lot of it leaned into social or co-oppy multiplayer. That's been a real lifeline for me the last year, as has the xbox ecosystem: most of the friends who I want to play games with has access to an xbox one model of some kind, even if they've gone PS5 for the new generation. Game pass is an easy sell after that: we can jump between games that are on there that look interesting. It means we don't have the guesswork of all landing on one game that we're willing to commit to enough to buy outright.


    Sony leaning on the big exclusive narrative single player stuff is great as well, it's just not what I need at the moment. 

  2. Apologies that these are twitter links!


    Steve Saylor is brilliant: he's quite visually impaired and does playthroughs of games, but also links to loads of good stuff.


    I haven't watched them but this journalist also does accessibility reviews focusing on visuals.


    Tara Voelker is an accessibility lead at MS, and Mark Friend at Sony. Both post loads of interesting stuff.


    DAGER are the other lot doing an accessibility database: still early days though. They also post video reviews?

  3. There are a few really good streamers etc who go through accessibility features (will post them later) but this place is a good start for finding games with specific visual access features:


    It's not totally extensive but there's a lot covered. I couldn't quite get the filtering to work correctly but clicking on a feature name seems to work. In any case I know at least two other organisations/groups are working on databases like this so there should be more to come!

  4. It's a bit weird to have seen this go from a niche gem to being labelled as overrated. I guess that's a function of having people advocate for it, but still, a strange journey.

  5. I had one of my favourite gaming moments recently when replaying 2: in Hard the big sister fights are genuinely tough if you approach them like regular battles early in the game. There's a good chance that you'll run out of resources, end up running to vending machines, etc. I think maybe the second or third proper one I fought, I was in a bit of a bad state when I realised she was coming, and was scrambling to get ready when another Big Daddy came lumbering in. I legged it to the gene bank, swapped in hypnotise,  and set them fighting while I set the camera going and put more traps down. I think the Big Daddy actually won out before turning on me, only to go down in a couple of shots.


    I just sort of.. sat back, thinking: fucking hell, that was fun.

  6. :) It's a great post @Sketch and really interesting game design questions, BUT in practical terms I reckon you're definitely overthinking it! In terms of the normal experience, and the stress of adding options and the existential questions about the nature of the game/challenge posed by the game, that core experience will always be there and will always be what game designers and devs spend most of their time crafting: it will be what you get when you press the start button and don't change any options. 


    If you can add other options/modes that offer alternative crafted experiences - eg assist mode, Vs survival or hardcore mode - great. But having all the tweaks available are nice easy alternatives to implement if creating those is impractical (in most cases you're just letting players scale internal values, hence why sliders are popular here).


    sliders probably do make more sense to devs then they do to players for this reason. But I dunno, I think that granularity might actually be something that's requested quite often by players with accessibility needs? Couldn't say with confidence though. 


    Grinding has the same issues when it's used in taking about a way of modifying difficulty in dark souls. Getting players to invest time in a tedious task sucks for everyone, especially the players who don't have long to okay or worse, experience pain and strain issues from playing.

  7. 1 hour ago, Qazimod said:

    I wouldn’t ask for an open world, but it would be nice to go back to B1 world design. I’m one of the madmen who didn’t mind Infinite* but it definitely simplified the maps to the point where they were pretty hallways. B1 had A-to-B objectives but they were in maps which had little corridors going off to optional things or secrets. It wasn’t a hallway or open world - it was just a more classic approach to FPS level design.


    *although I still wish you could have refunded your upgrade points so that you didn’t screw yourself over at the end of the game by not giving yourself enough shields. Ahem.


    Yeah, the level design in B1 and B2 is just lovely. I especially love the bits in B2 that boil down into mini-hubs that are designed to encourage you to create chaos in, or go off on tangents of exploration. It might also just be that my favourite thing in the world in a game is to be given a little street with shops to break into and loot, which is absolutely a me problem.


    I've just started Infinite again and for all the excellent atmosphere it's just a mess so far. One thing though: the eerie ambient sound you get in homes/buildings, I thought was just there for effect. It's supposed to be the sound of the city's engines!

  8. I mean, give me something along the lines of Prey set in a hefty chunk of Rapture and I'd be very happy. Lots of scope for secrets/traversal upgrades in the ocean as well. 


    Actually, fuck it, while I'm wishing for stuff, give me a time travel mechanic that lets you zip between rapture's heyday and the smelly, leaky, spliced-up present.

  9. On 28/05/2021 at 10:30, Gabe said:

    I said that on here at the time (one of the reasons I really, really didn't like the film). In theory, it would just produce leaders who could beat up your dad, not anybody who needed to care for the citizens at all. It seemed rather out of place for such an advanced nation.

    I'd have said that BP is pretty up front about some aspects of Wakanda as it stands at the start of the film being not great, included being isolated and obsessed with secrecy and tradition. 

  10. 18 minutes ago, ZOK said:

    Is Prometheus the one where they have a desperate scramble to reach their spaceship (for reasons I forget) because they haven’t figured out they can park their spaceship right next to the place they are exploring?


    I nearly kicked the telly in.

    I was going to reply saying oh, sure, that bit was stupid, but what about THIS bit. Except there are like six other bits where they do ridiculous dumbo shit! An absolutely wonderful film and a firm favourite

  11. 1 minute ago, Stoppy2000 said:

    I think Prometheus really looks fantastic. When I find it on tv I can't help but watch it. It's a shame it's (currently) part of the Alien canon as I don't like what it does to the alien origin.

    Covenant has some nasty gore and Fassbender absolutely stealing the show. 

    Both films feature ludicrously stupid characters behaving ridiculously. 

    Haha, exactly the same re: Prometheus. It's the worst, most watchable film I've ever seen, and if I watch a minute of it I immediately want to sit down and gobble up the whole thing. So silly and beautiful and gruesome and total nonsense.


     Covenant is a terrible film and sadly not much fun in comparison, but god that one scene with fassbender. Where he gets his little flute out plays the theme from the prequel to the film that he is in.

  12. 12 hours ago, ChewMagma said:

    Curious why this thread is fixated on Soulsborne and Returnal whereas Nintendo make objectively the best video games that are perfectly balanced for casual gamers and simultaneously beloved by speedrunners and they almost totally eschew difficulty modes. You generally just press start and get on with it.

    It's good that this has come up, and to recognise that no, people asking for difficulty options aren't asking for developers to be Nintendo. This is because Nintendo are super good at this and devote a lot of time and resources in developing their games to the sort of broad ability range you've mentioned (although as @Gabe says this doesn't always work), and no-one is asking - in practical terms - for other developers to make this much change. It's useful to discuss their games as points of good practice but for now the focus is on small, impactful changes that could benefit a lot of players.

  13. On 09/05/2021 at 17:25, BitterToad said:


    There isn't a better shot in the MCU than the kids looking up at the Wakandan ship at the end of Black Panther. It manages to not only sum up everything the film has just said but also reaches out into the audience and says "look, you are these black kids. You've not had this kind of film before and this is for you!"  


    And then All The Stars comes on and it's fucking amazing

  14. 8 minutes ago, Alex W. said:

    From a tech point of view I had complete faith in it - I’ve got bad enough reaction times that I’ve played about half of the PS4 generation on Vita or PC Remote Play and not felt hard done by. It’s just that there’s a big hole there where the product should be. Why should I buy my new games on there?


    Maybe that’s the point? When someone gets a Google Play movie or book or album they’re just buying a product, not buying in to a platform, right? Why shouldn’t you just be buying the game when you buy a game? Maybe it’s a non-platform by design. But then why the pizazz of the launch, the exclusivity, the look-at-what-new-stuff-streaming-can-do?


    I still think it's the biggest tech flub of the covid crisis (along with VR, as much as all the VR bloggers tell us that's not true): Stadia could have been the thing that allowed us to play Jackbox, Among Us, Tricky Towers, etc, with our families and friends, just by sending a link and helping them sort out an input device. 


    That's obviously wishful thinking in terms of the tech, but the original pitch made it sound like that's what it was going to do, or at least aim to do at some point. Somewhere along the way it seems to have become a service for enthusiasts and converts.

  15. 15 minutes ago, Dr_Dave said:


    It's the other way around. The controllers do talk direct to wifi. But the onboard bluetooth has never been enabled to use the controller as a standard bluetooth controller.

    Aha, thanks, I see: I was thinking of the launch issues where this connection method only worked for Chromecasts and everything else needed wires. Which was fixed last year right?


  16. 3 minutes ago, Jonny5 said:

    Can you use any pad you own with a PlayStation? What about an Xbox?


    The Stadia controller is one of the reasons that stadia works so well, so ensuring the under tv experience is the best it can be by limiting it to their own controller doesn’t seem particularly bad. 

    The amount of conditions gamers put out that if only stadia did this I’d use it but until then I’m not interested is ridiculous. 

    Stadia could have the full gamepass & ps+/psnow library and work with every controller ever made and people would still moan about how they need to send out fake boxes to put on your shelf and if they did that and allowed you to download the games and play them offline in 30 years time then maybe they’d consider using it. 

    Gamers are weird. 

    I think this is all part of the reason Stadia hasn't quite taken off as it could have. They've tried to position it as direct competitor to those very established brands, but most people are just seeing the product for what it is - a stream sent to a screen, for all the benefits and drawbacks - and wondering why it still seems to have these limitations. The point should have been (if you ask me anyway) that it's NOT a PlayStation or Xbox and rather than buying into a gaming brand/platform/tech you're taking your games wherever you go, no new devices needed, etc.


    Especially given that the tech reason (controller talking direct to WiFi) never actually materialised? It doesn't seem unreasonable that any pad that works as a generic Bluetooth device could be supported (.. maybe it is? Or just not on Chromecasts?)


    Sounds like Google are going that way with phone-as-controller, and possibly even ditching the pad. This seems a bit hasty if true: couldn't they find a way to position it as the pro controller or something?


  17. 10 minutes ago, Broker said:

    I know what the response will be from people in here, because there’s clearly no room for discussion on this issue (which is totally fair, it’s clearly a topic close to people). But I do wonder, do the people who feel like this thinks it’s acceptable for there to be anything that disabled people can’t do? I’m not suggesting that it is, but I’d sort of assumed that if you have a disability there are just some things you can’t do. That if I didn’t have working hands I just wouldn’t be able to draw or play an instrument. That if I was deaf I just wouldn’t be able to listen to music. Or if I was blind I just wouldn’t be able to read comics anymore.


    Even things that are theoretically possible, like running a marathon or climbing a mountain with disabilities affecting the legs seem to be the preserve of a few very dedicated individuals, much like the people who have completed Dark Souls with one hand. I assume it’s because I’ve never been disabled or been close to anyone who was, but I always thought of this as an upsetting but unavoidable reality. 

    Do people feel that this scenario is totally unacceptable? That every thing that can happen in our society should be made available to any people with disabilities? Is that possible? I can see that it’s a fair and kind idea, but it seems impossible. Am I just confused as to how this stuff works in practice?

    Steve Saylor is a really good follow for this:




    Part of it is that being blind only very rarely means that you have no vision at all, but Steve does a lot showing how he copes with playing a range of games (and comparatively he seems to have quite severe blindness)


  18. 21 minutes ago, matt0 said:


    Is there a write up or articles on this anywhere? I'd love to know more behind the scenes stuff.

    There's one interview (which I'll dig out) that touches on it but most of it was talked about at a games UX conference just before it came out. I don't think they were allowed to put it online at the time but maybe it's somewhere now? It was by one of the playtest team at Activision: lots about overhauling the grapple UI based on player feedback, rebuilding the tutorial, and being limited to early game sections only (as they were brought in relatively late and slightly limited in terms of the builds that they received, so no full-game playtests).


    Edit: nope, I can't find it. But here's the session description



    Players Die Twice A Lot: Methods and Challenges of Researching Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

    Conducting research on a game like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice presents a variety of challenges – a high skill requirement, longer lead time for understanding the game’s mechanics, a developer behind language and timezone barriers, and more.

    How does a research team tackle a project of this weight? How does a team approach bringing in and finding participants to test a game that people aren’t expecting your company to make? How does a Western research team approach partnering with an Eastern developer with a rabid fanbase? How does a research team keep the DNA of a developer, while testing their intent to explore something different?

    This talk will look at the Activision user research team’s approach to these unique challenges, from the initial schedule planning, to how that plan evolved once testing was underway, and finally some examples of changes made to the game since testing began.


  19. As I've said before, I think one day we'll get a breakdown of the internal issues with Sekiro. It's funny that he made the quote about 'overcoming challenges' again for this game (he'd made it before for other souls games) because Sekiro was the game that contained the least amount of flexibility in terms of options to mitigate the game's difficulty, so it was less that loop of struggling -> overcoming for many players and more struggling -> stop playing. It also had some user research carried out on the early sections and UI which is presumably why it has better QoL, accessibility and tutorials/teaching sections than the other souls games. 


    I'm interested to see which way Elden Ring goes, but regardless of whether they shift their approach or not, their failures here are informing the successes of other developers, so they're always going to be discussed by people who are interested in playing them but can't, for whatever reason. (I actually think they might pivot on this in the future, I was encouraged by Miyazaki having his mind blown by basic playtesting)

  20. 1. Some souls games do have difficulty modifiers (covenants or items) that make the game harder, so that's nonsense in one sense. We've also been told multiple times in this thread that the games include plenty of features that allow the player to break the difficulty, which I don't agree constitutes a difficulty setting, but does also contribute to the idea that you're stuck playing at a set difficulty is nonsensical.

    2. Please tell me that wasn't an unironic git gud

  21. 52 minutes ago, Dudley said:


    I played a game recently, think it might even have been Dishonored that had a specific option to put black box backgrounds behind all subtitles, superb work.

    And that's not even a recent game. I think two big pioneers were Half Life 2 (included subtitled sounds and a way of identifying who was speaking) and Life Is Strange (all the stuff about opaque backgrounds, size, colour, etc). How this stuff isn't industry standard by now I don't know.

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