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A Little Console Vs P.C Development Discussion Point.


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Here's the thing: In a recent 360 magazine interview with DICE's Battlefield: Bad Company senior producer, Karl-Magnus Troedsson (phew), they asked: "Have you had any difficulty in this transition from developing Battlefield as largely a PC game to a 360 game?"

Part of his reply was: "...when guys come off working on our PC battlefield titles...we have to wean them off the hardcore, pixel-perfect gameplay and remind them that isn't the game we're trying to make this time."

For me this re-raises some questions that have perplexed me for some years:

1. Do hardcore console gamers not want "hardcore, pixel-perfect gameplay"?

2. Should developers make such a distinction, or simply try to make the best (technical) game they can on the (surely now powerful enough) hardware available?

3. Surely there are a lot of ex PC gamers who have migrated to the 360/PS3 to save themselves from the constant PC-upgrading headache because they feel they are now powerful enough for developers to produce PC-quality graphics and gameplay on, no?

Do these gamers, and the established hardcore console gamer not want and deserve more than a diluted experience? Perhaps this is still not possible?

What are your feelings on the matter?

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For me, it's the opposite of what you suggest. I can't 'migrate' to consoles for FPS games simply because the control system seems so inappropriate. The precision that a mouse affords you really removes the frustration from the 'nearly-headshots' that I spend all my time doing with a joypad. I know if I miss it's because I didn't move my hand the right distance. With a joypad you have to learn the acceleration vs deflection on the stick vs how long you hold the direction for. With a mouse it's completely linear and you only have your most basic hand-eye coordination to blame.

I bought Gears of War, and I love it, but I can't do it. If it was about pixel-perfect headshots (ala CS), I would never get off the first level. I don't really like that it takes half a magazine to kill someone in it, but for me it's much preferable to trying to twitch-shoot on a pad. I don't think Epic diluted anything with Gears, and they certainly know what they're doing with PC shooters, but you'd never call it pixel-perfect as far as the aiming goes.

So for this console / PC gamer (who has had more competition success on console than on PC), I simply wouldn't buy an FPS console game if pixel-perfect aiming was required - it wouldn't be fun for me.

As for your point 2., I think you're missing his point. He doesn't mean clock back on the technical element, (again, just look at Gears), I think he just means making the gameplay more appropriate to the controller / market.

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I read "hardcore pixel-perfect gameplay" in that context as just relating to the mouse to joypad change. Playing FPS games with a mouse is a lot more accurate and you get down to pixel perfect super fast clicks. On a joypad there's a much wider range of player control skill and the game needs to be more forgiving in it's controls even for the high level players.

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As a console gamer I don't actually want games which stutter, require a long learning curve, or which I won't find fun immediately.

There can be depth (cf. how everyone improved at Halo 3 multiplayer) but I'd prefer to have ease of use over "does this helicopter control like a bastard like in real life".

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For me, it's the opposite of what you suggest. I can't 'migrate' to consoles for FPS games simply because the control system seems so inappropriate. The precision that a mouse affords you really removes the frustration from the 'nearly-headshots' that I spend all my time doing with a joypad. I know if I miss it's because I didn't move my hand the right distance. With a joypad you have to learn the acceleration vs deflection on the stick vs how long you hold the direction for. With a mouse it's completely linear and you only have your most basic hand-eye coordination to blame.

I bought Gears of War, and I love it, but I can't do it. If it was about pixel-perfect headshots (ala CS), I would never get off the first level. I don't really like that it takes half a magazine to kill someone in it, but for me it's much preferable to trying to twitch-shoot on a pad. I don't think Epic diluted anything with Gears, and they certainly know what they're doing with PC shooters, but you'd never call it pixel-perfect as far as the aiming goes.

So for this console / PC gamer (who has had more competition success on console than on PC), I simply wouldn't buy an FPS console game if pixel-perfect aiming was required - it wouldn't be fun for me.

As for your point 2., I think you're missing his point. He doesn't mean clock back on the technical element, (again, just look at Gears), I think he just means making the gameplay more appropriate to the controller / market.

See I'm completely the opposite. When I play PC shooters I feel completely detached from the experience, it's more of a test of your mouse skills than anything else. You can play that game on the desktop by randomly choosing files to click on and pretend they're heads. With console shooters it feels like I've gone through the effort to get good at that game and deserve the kill and I get analog movement of my character.

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See I'm completely the opposite. When I play PC shooters I feel completely detached from the experience, it's more of a test of your mouse skills than anything else. You can play that game on the desktop by randomly choosing files to click on and pretend they're heads. With console shooters it feels like I've gone through the effort to get good at that game and deserve the kill and I get analog movement of my character.

Different strokes for different folks and all that, but I'd have thought that the Wii controls of RE4 would have completely burnt, buried, and bummed in the gob the crazy argument that pointing devices don't need skill to use effectively.

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I don't think it's that console players don't want 'hardcore' games, it's more about if it fits.

As said it's probably mainly down to the controls, not the graphical power. A lot of the most popular multiplayer PC games a really old so they could easily be ported graphically but wouldn't necessarily work (as well) in gameplay terms.

IMO, if porting 1-for-1 is not going to work, it's better to make a distinctive game built around the system than a bad-fitting port. In the case of Battlefield I think the online infastructure wouldn't quite be there to get exactly the same experience as PC (I know BF:MC was built a bit differently). I think certain games just won't fit on the other platform, both ways.

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See I'm completely the opposite. When I play PC shooters I feel completely detached from the experience, it's more of a test of your mouse skills than anything else. You can play that game on the desktop by randomly choosing files to click on and pretend they're heads. With console shooters it feels like I've gone through the effort to get good at that game and deserve the kill and I get analog movement of my character.

I agree with the first half of that, I'm a relatively recent convert to console shooters (since the 360 basically) and until then it was mouse and keyboard all the way, although proportionally I'm still way better on a PC than with a pad, after mastering the basics of using a controller, the PC does does feel very 'clinical'. The satisfaction from getting a headshot or sniping someone out the air because it is much harder to do when using a pad is a good feeling. That said, I'm not sure something like Quake 3 would work so well, you'd lose all the intricacies of the movement and jumping around is a big part of them sort of games, unlike say CS:S where I'd be much happier if people weren't constantly jumping around corners etc.

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Different strokes for different folks and all that, but I'd have thought that the Wii controls of RE4 would have completely burnt, buried, and bummed in the gob the crazy argument that pointing devices don't need skill to use effectively.

Ahhh but RE4 falls into the trap of being a game not designed with the pointer in mind and because of that it's rendered far too easy with the precision now available.

Which brings us to...

That said, I'm not sure something like Quake 3 would work so well, you'd lose all the intricacies of the movement and jumping around is a big part of them sort of games, unlike say CS:S where I'd be much happier if people weren't constantly jumping around corners etc.

Yep stuff like Quake 3 works so well on PC because it is very fast, controlling that with a gamepad is just wrong as the Dreamcast proved. So basically games designed with the control scheme in mind are great.

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I bought Gears of War, and I love it, but I can't do it. If it was about pixel-perfect headshots (ala CS), I would never get off the first level. I don't really like that it takes half a magazine to kill someone in it, but for me it's much preferable to trying to twitch-shoot on a pad. I don't think Epic diluted anything with Gears, and they certainly know what they're doing with PC shooters, but you'd never call it pixel-perfect as far as the aiming goes.

Good points, well made. :lol:

As for your point 2., I think you're missing his point. He doesn't mean clock back on the technical element, (again, just look at Gears), I think he just means making the gameplay more appropriate to the controller / market.

Yes, I did wonder if I was picking him up wrongly. "More appropriate to the controller" I can appreciate...it's perhaps more the "more appropriate to the market" that I would question, and I think there has traditionally been a dilution of the depth of gameplay when moving Games/genres to consoles. There's a perception that PC gamers demand a more cerebral/mature/complex experience, and my question relates to how fair/appropriate that is...if indeed there's any substance to it.

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here's a perception that PC gamers demand a more cerebral/mature/complex experience, and my question relates to how fair/appropriate that is...if indeed there's any substance to it.

Surely anyone who thinks that just needs to be pointed to one of those stupid giant robot games. Far too complex. Although to counter that you've got flight sims and little dots that PC players can put on their heads to control the pilots head in the cockpit.

So yes PC games are way too nerdy.

As for mature. Well what's mature? Certainly not the majority of games that claim to be mature. Army of Two looks like an over the top shooter with ass slapping and tampon wound stuffing gameplay. However the message it's delivering and the point it's trying to get across is far more mature than almost any other game I've seen.

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The Console/PC FPS argument has two facets. The first is the actual hardware you're using, be it a mouse+keyboard or the joypad. The second is how well you as a player can actually use these devices.

Most PC enthusiasts have difficulty with a pad because of unfamiliarity. I've been accustomed to twin-stick control since the very first games that featured it. I used to be a "legacy" man - that is movement and turning on the left stick, strafing and up/down on the right. Along came Killzone and Half-Life 2 that didn't support the option, forcing me to switch to having movement/strafe on the left. Reaction times dropped and instead of playing, I struggled. Eventually I picked it up, it's now my system of choice if only because it's more widely supported.

I get the feeling that PC gamers picking up a pad go through the same experience, a feeling of confusion that the controls aren't quite right for them, and this brings about a more negative outlook and a feeling that the pad just isn't suited to first person gaming.

As for the hardware itself, I've noticed a very clear distinction between what M+K and a pad provide. The increased accuracy of a mouse allows for games that emphasise this nature, encouraging sharp shooting. A pad can't allow for that so the best console games emphasise movement - where a stick excels over WASD. When I look back at my favourite console shooters - GoldenEye, Halo and Brothers in Arms, it's the use of the environment that I enjoy. Multiplayer Goldeneye or Timesplitters 2 is played as a one shot kill experience, where swift movement and skill at negotiating corners is of importance.

It's not that console gamers don't want a hardcore experience, it's that they want a game that plays well with the tools at their disposal, as does any PC gamer. We just have different tools.

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As for mature. Well what's mature? Certainly not the majority of games that claim to be mature.

Sorry, I'm not talking about what makes a game mature per se... although now I'm struggling to articulate what I do mean. :lol:

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The Console/PC FPS argument has two facets. The first is the actual hardware you're using, be it a mouse+keyboard or the joypad. The second is how well you as a player can actually use these devices.

Most PC enthusiasts have difficulty with a pad because of unfamiliarity. I've been accustomed to twin-stick control since the very first games that featured it. I used to be a "legacy" man - that is movement and turning on the left stick, strafing and up/down on the right. Along came Killzone and Half-Life 2 that didn't support the option, forcing me to switch to having movement/strafe on the left. Reaction times dropped and instead of playing, I struggled. Eventually I picked it up, it's now my system of choice if only because it's more widely supported.

I get the feeling that PC gamers picking up a pad go through the same experience, a feeling of confusion that the controls aren't quite right for them, and this brings about a more negative outlook and a feeling that the pad just isn't suited to first person gaming.

As for the hardware itself, I've noticed a very clear distinction between what M+K and a pad provide. The increased accuracy of a mouse allows for games that emphasise this nature, encouraging sharp shooting. A pad can't allow for that so the best console games emphasise movement - where a stick excels over WASD. When I look back at my favourite console shooters - GoldenEye, Halo and Brothers in Arms, it's the use of the environment that I enjoy. Multiplayer Goldeneye or Timesplitters 2 is played as a one shot kill experience, where swift movement and skill at negotiating corners is of importance.

It's not that console gamers don't want a hardcore experience, it's that they want a game that plays well with the tools at their disposal, as does any PC gamer. We just have different tools.

Perhaps the questions I raised are more to do with control methods than I imagined, but I don't think that tells the whole story, and the "issues" involved certainly don't relate only to the FPS genre.

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Perhaps the questions I raised are more to do with control methods than I imagined, but I don't think that tells the whole story, and the "issues" involved certainly don't relate only to the FPS genre.

The controls are key, I find. Every single game anyone ever makes should be tweaked to work best with the control system in use. And to some, the control is of far more importance than the technical power of the machine. I have Half-Life 2 for the Xbox rather than the PC simply because I prefer the comfort of a pad. It changes the experience.

Troedsson's statement about pixel-perfection seems to be a direct comment about control.

It's not that hardcore console gamers don't want hardcore gameplay, they just want something that doesn't emphasise a machine's weaknesses. It won't work.

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I'm not at all interested in the accurate shooting part of FPS games, it's what you or you and your team decide to do in between. So I hate most PC FPSs because they let you just run around and get pixel perfect headshots, I'd rather concentrate more on getting into a position where I can get a shot without getting myself shot.

I like having to use iron sights to get decent accuracy, but at a cost to your agility.

I like having to crawl behind sand bags to keep out of enemy fire, rather than skipping across a corridor with an AK 47 and getting 6 headshots before the other team has even got the packets.

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I think PC gamers are more willing to accept slightly more punishment in their games. Things like sitting out a whole round after taking a shot to the head in Counterstrike about 20 seconds in or something like a wipe in an MMO dungeon. I think that's also part of the more harcore thing he was talking about too. Not to say that there aren't hardcore console games in the same vein (Steel Battalion anyone?) but that they are less of a niche on the PC.

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I'm not at all interested in the accurate shooting part of FPS games, it's what you or you and your team decide to do in between. So I hate most PC FPSs because they let you just run around and get pixel perfect headshots, I'd rather concentrate more on getting into a position where I can get a shot without getting myself shot.

I like having to use iron sights to get decent accuracy, but at a cost to your agility.

I like having to crawl behind sand bags to keep out of enemy fire, rather than skipping across a corridor with an AK 47 and getting 6 headshots before the other team has even got the packets.

I hear the PC has FPS like that as well.

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So yes PC games are way too nerdy.

IMO, many of them aren't "nerdy" enough. I really can't be bothered playing simple arcade games these days. I prefer realistic stuff like GT Legends, and Half Life 2's phenomenal physics engine. With respect to the latter, it's a shame that the game itself includes rather too many of those "simple" elements than I would like.

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