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Posts posted by jonny_rat

  1. Thanks all; this is useful stuff. From looking around, the CV1s and older Vives aren't cheap enough to justify the drawbacks; I was wondering if I might even be able to go for one of those and a Quest. For, you know, research purposes (in fairness a lot of the folk I want to work with are going to be targeting the Quest anyway, so I'll have to pick one up at some point).


    And ta @footle, excellent point about having the updated controllers.


    My one outstanding issue with the Rift S - is it really impossible to replace the foam or remove it to clean? If running playtests that thing is going to be a smelly boy. Use some kind of cover perhaps?

  2. I need a bit of advice here, and this seems like the thread to ask it in. I'm doing increasing amounts of work for VR content creators and devs, and because I've gone from working somewhere that had plenty of bits of VR stuff onsite to freelancing, I need to get in some kit at home. The main use of it for now will be keeping up with what's going on in terms of interaction design and good practice, but in the future I might need it to play dev builds or run testing sessions with users/players.


    What do I go for? The quest looks great, but I have a feeling I should get something tethered in terms of being able to run a wider selection on games/experiences/apps on it. I have a workable PC (with a 1070 and meeting the min spec, but the processor could do with a bump). The Rift S doesn't seem like a huge upgrade (though mixed reports here)  - any bargains to be had on CV1s, or is there an active second hand market for them? I don't mind setting up the sensors too much.

  3. What interests me most about it is the opportunity to have some nice little twitchy, arcadey experiences on it. We've discussed whether this thing is going to be competing with mobile phones (I think it will in terms of competing for people's time, but not in the least in terms of market), and those types of games have always failed for me on mobile because they don't work well on a touchscreen. I think I'm surprisingly up for something absolutely tiny with physical buttons that lobs a new game at me every week.


    Probably it will appeal most to the beard-strokier end of games consumers. People who actually follow what each of these indie devs is up to. 


    Edit: also, there's.. almost nothing hipstery in the copy of their site? If anything it was more straight laced than I was expecting.

    • Upvote 3

  4. 4 minutes ago, kerraig UK said:


    Its what I'm taking a punt on with my new business venture. I'd like to make small, cheap experiences that help with meditation or focus. I think this could be the start of use outside of mainly gaming or healthcare. There could be like a wii fit or brain training style breakout app there. 


    There's got to be a market for slick experiences along those lines: lots of the ones available either have a slight whiff of being knocked up in five mins or come in at a slightly higher price. It'd be good to get in before someone like Headspace do it.

    • Upvote 1

  5. 6 minutes ago, kerraig UK said:

    Do you think there's a market on there for smaller, cheaper games and experience. I'm thinking like mindfulness & meditation apps or mini games that help with focus. Also multiplayer games that require teamwork and communication.

    Things that go on the market for like £2.99.


    Aye, I reckon those will come if devices like the Quest take off. I'm guessing - and happy to be corrected - that the market has been a bit too small to support the development costs and expertise needed to do good VR, but with more of them out there there should be more people willing to take a punt on smaller stuff.

  6. 35 minutes ago, dumpster said:

    I read a while about how some games cheat with their health bar. The bar on screen represents 0% to 100% and when you take damage the bar decreases. But when your energy bar is in the last 10% it becomes a bit more forgiving to add tension and the illusion of narrow escapes. 

    I'd extend this further. If you face a boss battle and fail, say 5 times, the game should secretly knock the boss' health down on each subsequent attempt. The player would feel their skills were improving and would eventually defeat the boss, but you wouldn't hit that brick wall that makes you rage quit and never play the game again.



    This thread had some fantastic ones:



    • Upvote 1

  7. 3 minutes ago, Qazimod said:


    I was in the middle of writing this! An alternative would be to link the drop rate to the player’s stock (both on his character and in storage) - when you’re running low, bullets/vials/spirit emblems would drop from all sources. :) 


    I like this one. I work (a bit) in games user research and the goal is to identify issues and fixes that improve the player's experience while making minor or no changes to what the developer is aiming for, and this is a nice minimal fix. 


    We primarily try to assume that devs had their own reasons for doing something a certain way.  (Actually, that's not always the goal: later in the development lifecycle we're more interested in whether players appreciate features/mechanics, while earlier on we look mostly at usability and understanding issues.) In BB we might say, hey, are you sure you want players to be running around picking up health vials and ammo?


    If they did have their reasons, the limited stocks in BB were an example of a not-very-well-appreciated mechanic that probably could have been left in and fixed with usability tests and relevant tweaks. Maybe when they leave the hunters dream, players could be clearly shown their remaining stocks of vials and ammo, and given the chance to convert their remaining echoes into stocks on the loading screen. Maybe the doll could do that converting instead of buying them at the fountain dudes: and say, are you sure you want to level up, given that you've got no health vials? Just clarify the mechanic a bit and maybe it wouldn't have been so grating.


    Great thread @Timmo

    • Upvote 4

  8. 16 hours ago, Stanshall said:



    Nier:Automata is the best ever boring game I've played. The combat gets harder but then you get various chips to constantly refill your health and the like, and then you'll still find some absurd difficulty spike that you brute force by hammering consumables every five seconds. Dull, repetitive gameplay, drab, illogical, unreadable open world and abysmal map.


    Also some of the greatest story and character and dialogue elements ever in the medium. Some of the things it does later on really blew me away, made me laugh, made me think and genuinely made me cry. Fucking hell, that sounds like something from I, Partridge but I mean it. 


    Haha, this is great. I used to call it the best game I'd never recommend to anyone else. (Well, since the first Nier anyway)

  9. 24 minutes ago, Jarik said:


    While I agree with your point, I'm a little put out by this sentiment which I see being echoed across pretty much all the Quest reviews I've watched & read.


    The Oculus Go is self-contained VR platform that I don't think the Quest should get to erase just because it has better visuals & motion tracking.  I have some games I love to return to on there such as Smash Hit & Proton Pulse as well as quite an extensive Wishlist that I dip into whenever I want something new.  Add to that the quite extensive list of 360 & 180 VR videos provided both by Oculus on the Home menu & on the Youtube VR app, & IMO you have a solid little VR platform which can stand on its own as well as an appetizer for something meatier like the Quest.


    Yes, that's true! I should have said that it's the first all in solution that mimics the full VR tracking setup, with room positioning, etc. There's probably going to be room for the Go-style setup for some time, though I'd imagine that devs will start drifting away from it when more inside-out all in devices are available.

  10. Utterly absurd up call it a 'cash-in.' The first all in VR solution to market, launching at £50 more than the PSVR did (no console needed), controllers included, no base stations, proper inside out tracking with 6dof.. and yes, while it's all about the games, the games need time to port to an android-based system by devs. It's a new platform, so you have your usual day-one gamble on trusting whether the support will come, but a cash-in? Cripes.

    • Upvote 7

  11. Quest and Rift games are running on genuinely different hardware (the quest is android based) so it's definitely a positive that they've encouraged cross buy between them. Yes, it'd be nicer if the two main platforms - at least - would play nice with each other.


    The problem with something like the knuckles controller is that any games built with the five-finger gestures in mind will have compatibility issues with other hardware, unless they've built workarounds into the dev tools (again, the oculus dev kit is does well with compatibility between different pieces of oculus; I dunno about the valve stuff). 

  12. Hmm, I've got some concerns about the reliability of those straps. Giving the sensation of fully opening the hand is great and all, but I think it's going to lead to a few broken/flung controllers when the straps haven't been properly fixed. On paper, I think I prefer the touch controller approach: the grip/release control there is basically fine even with having to grip the bottom of the handle. Would have to see if it feels different in-game.


    Edit: fantastic for industrial applications though..

  13. Last boss down!


    Phew, glad to see the game back on form after DoH. And great to see another final boss in the vein of Gehrman, Gwyn, Soul of Cinder, etc. Actually, with the spear coming out, it was very soul-of-cindery, which I'm all good with.


    That spear form was tough; one tricky thing was having to unlearn the 'attack until they deflect' crutch I'd been using, because he'll just power through your attacks and lamp you. The sheer speed of his perilous attacks in the first phase was a bit much, but that eases off in phase 2 and 3. Felt like I was spamming deflect a bit, but I was elated to finish his third health bar off with a mikiro counter. YES.



    • Upvote 4

  14. 1 hour ago, deerokus said:

    It was really annoying that for ages a lot of the arguments about the issue involved journalists seemingly deliberately conflating accessibility and difficulty, muddying the waters of the debate and causing everyone to talk past each other. They're different things and the needs of people with disabilities shouldn't be hijacked for a totally different thing because some game journalists can't finish a game to review it


    And now GI.biz has posted an article saying this same thing, but seems to understand it as happening the other way round, literally the opposite of what happened! 




    Unfortunately I don't think it's quite that simple; the bolded bit is definitely not a good way of looking at it.


    Accessibility options are one thing, but accessibility also needs consideration of core gameplay difficulty. Disabilities aren't just about having neat, discrete functional limitations: sometimes they have a general effect on cognitive or motor functions, which can make games without any difficulty settings extremely challenging. This article says it better than anywhere else I've seen:



    It's also covered in the gaming accessibility guidelines:



    (Edit: I'm re-reading this and I hope it doesn't sound patronising. Sorry. Just trying to dig into this issue about the relationship between 'options', accessibility and difficulty - certainly don't want to be telling you about your own experiences of disability. Have you read the IGN piece by Cherry Rae about working through Bloodborne with a disability? She sounds way better at it than I was, but experienced severe pain during long sessions)

    • Upvote 2

  15. It's been awesome to see Ian Hamilton get some speaking time in various places about this




    He's ridiculously reasonable on the topic (and still gets a load of shit online from git gudders) and he absolutely nails the problem with/resistance to widening access to From games:



    “Where Sekiro varies a bit is in having a conflicting design goal of players having all tackled similar barriers so they can have easily relatable discussions with each other. It’s about community. That’s the specific reason why they don’t have as many options as those other examples.”


  16. DoH down, but christ, that's the first time I've ever felt really frustrated by the camera in a From game.


    Two problems: first, his tendency to get himself up against a wall with his perilous charges is no fun when the camera doesn't cope well that, and staying safe in this fight is so dependent on being able to get around him. You end up in some unavoidable disadvantaged situations: parrying and blocking isn't a good option, and neither is staying at range.


    Second: the part of the arena he starts in drives the camera bonkers with all those little hills. Hard to see how this was included as intentional challenge!


    He's doable, but it's a painful old slog getting through those first two health bars. I didn't feel in the least bit bad cheesing him in the last section with the whistle and sugars, though felt a bit sad that I had to look that up online.


  17. 8 minutes ago, kensei said:


    Same. Normally beating a tough boss with all the tension in whether you'll cross the line is euphoric, but with Lady B I was just like 'Thank fuck that's over, so I can go back to stealth killing Samurai' 


    I've heard a few people get excited about Sekiro as a spiritual follow up to Tenchu, who've then been a bit deflated when they found out that it's a game with a souls-ish difficulty curve and combat focus!

  18. 2 minutes ago, Stanshall said:


    I hadn't read about any of that and it's interesting, cheers, but again, their previous ten years of development would suggest that it's not something important enough for them to address. Not only that, despite all their apparent assistance and support from Activision in terms of QoL and the 'tutorials', they didn't take the opportunity to implement any further difficulty/accessibility settings as you believe they want to. 


    While you can interpret Miyazaki's comments about rewarding games to fit your own preferred outcome, they have shown time and again that they want to set a fixed level of challenge and allow players to dictate the difficulty level through the systems within the game. In effect, they've already 'solved' this on an extremely elegant continuum. If players aren't able to meet the fixed level of challenge of Soulsborne games through overlevelling and different builds and summoning, it seems that From are comfortable with that.


    If, as you suggest, they are very willing but are incapable/ignorant, surely Sekiro would have been the opportunity to address that. But no, they actually went further in the other direction. This is the first time (in the Miyazaki era) that they've simply said 'this is the fixed level of challenge, the key variable is your own ability to learn and execute'.


    I should also reiterate my previous point that the game is probably too hard for me. I've beaten DoH but OF and the last boss will take a long long time for me to crack, if I ever get there. I do think it's generally 'too hard', even completely ignoring accessibility issues, but I don't see any evidence that From have either compromised or shown willingness to significantly compromise their design philosophy for this game. If anything, they've gone a lot less accessible. 


    And therein lies the fuckup with Sekiro (and I say that as someone who absolutely loves the game). All the steps and lip-service to addressing accessibility and widening participation, and they appear to have gone the other way with it: not by design but by accident. That's at least partially why this debate has blown up in the last two weeks: lots of people have looked at the game, at the design philosophy that seems to have guided the expanded range of options (and don't get accessibility options mixed up with difficulty options here) and the better onboarding, and said "this is great, but it's not achieving your desired aims here." I think I've said elsewhere that I agree that Sekiro removes some of the difficulty compensation options (though nothing in Sekiro is as brutal as the opening hours of Bloodborne, where levelling and multiplayer are both blocked off).


    The 'time and time' again stuff From's games just seems to be the norm for many Japanese studios that work in quite an isolated way: you might think I'm reading into comments too much, but I think you're making a very big assumption in that they're comfortable with their current audience. Some of what they've said in interviews the last few years has sounded like frustration that their games never really break out of their sales brackets.



  19. 4 minutes ago, Stanshall said:


    Why do you think they've not done it, then?


    Somewhat loaded question but your tone makes it sound like it's a win-win. They obviously don't want to (or they would have) and I will be extremely surprised if they do. 


    They do want to: there are some really interesting bits that came out from interviews with From staff on working with Activision. They had no idea how to approach play testing (they handed all this over to the US Activision office), and didn't even feel confident about creating the tutorial section in Sekiro: all of that was guided by player data, and it was great. It also includes loads more accessibility/quality of life settings than did DS3.


    Again, this comes back to the idea that Miyazake and the Souls teams want to make hard games: in every quote about it, he's said that he wants to make games with challenges that players will initially fail, and then pass. Letting players tune the challenge is totally in line with that.

  20. 4 minutes ago, Hylian said:

    An easy mode doesn't achieve anything positive in my opinion. Ok, give people an easy mode and they choose that and blaze through the game. Then they turn around and say "why is this game so revered?". Because these games are not really about experiencing the story or set pieces or whatever. The whole point of the game is to overcome the challenge and master the systems.


    I found this exact problem with God of War. I chose the default difficulty mode and after a while it was pretty straightforward progress through the game. The combat felt rubbish and I could button mash most of it. I completed it, but overall I thought the game was really underwhelming. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the game is actually pretty good on a harder difficulty setting. But by the time I'd got to that stage it was too late. The whole difficulty setting thing is almost always just poor design. Make people play it the way it's intended. 


    All in the presentation. Be clear that there's an 'as intended' game mode.


    And to repeat what lots of others have said on the topic, 'difficulty modes' are a blunt, ineffective solution. A range of accessibility settings, plus celeste-style assist modes or gameplay modifiers are much better than getting the player to select easy, medium or hard.

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