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How should a game handle difficulty?


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I'd like to see a game charge you some more as you unlock more of it. This is going to sound like DLC/microtransactions and isn't really workable but I think it's interesting if you think about it a different way round.

 

Pay at the point of use maybe.

 

Consider a game that has 4 chapters and accessing each subsequent one requires that you complete the previous one.

 

Today this typically costs £40 up front. I have to pay the full price to get the "whole" game regardless of whether I have the skill to see or unlock all of it. If the game gets too hard for me half way through (due to skill or disability) then I paid for a bunch of content I don't get to see. I subsidised other people's experience. Knowing whether a skill cap will hit you in advance can be very tricky to figure out. One persons hard isn't another's and might switch around depending on the game type.

 

Now lets say the game costs only £10 up front but you only get a quarter of it. When I complete each chapter I can pay £10 to unlock the next. Overall I spend the same amount if I finish the game but for those who reach a dead end they don't pay as much.

 

 

Of course this idea is completely broken for so many reasons.

 

When is a player limited due to skill reasons vs just not liking it? Does it matter? I'm not generally bothered about defending the wallets of developers and publishers in issues like this... make a better game and you'll get people paying you. Make a broken buggy mess no-one wants to continue with and get what you deserve - less money.

 

Sales and third party retailers probably don't work at all in this world.

 

What about unlockables rather than levels or chapters? Do we really want to say "well done, you unlocked this costume... now pay me £1 to use it". That's basically microtransactions but if you never add another item to a game then is it really? It's a still a fixed thing. I'm just charging you at point of use rather than up front.

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@Nick R Perhaps, but then I like the idea that an action game is a thrilling ride.  There's definitely no "catch all" solution to difficulty because there are so many variables to account for, different genres, different levels of player expectation and ability but in terms of a game like Resi 4 I'm 100% behind the idea of hidden dynamic difficulty.  I love the idea of getting through somewhere by the skin of my teeth and don't particularly care if there was smoke and mirrors along the way.  The example of dying six times and succeeding on the seventh is probably where dynamic difficulty can be obvious, but if it's too obvious then perhaps the devs failed in their implementation. There's every chance most players might just feel that they'd improved enough to get through anyway.    There's definitely a benefit in not seeing how the sausage is made. 

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25 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:

 

Knowing whether a skill cap will hit you in advance can be very tricky to figure out. One persons hard isn't another's and might switch around depending on the game type.


It’s almost impossible to get a good handle on how difficult a game will be pre-purchase because it’s such a subjective thing. Even if you try and research the usual result of Googling to attempt to find out is a bunch of Reddit threads where someone has the same query, which is usually filled with replies from git gud tryhards going ‘Nah mate it’s a piece of piss, I beat the final boss with one arm tied behind my back while also getting a blowjob like Hugh Jackman in Swordfish’.

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26 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:

Consider a game that has 4 chapters and accessing each subsequent one requires that you complete the previous one.

 

Today this typically costs £40 up front. I have to pay the full price to get the "whole" game regardless of whether I have the skill to see or unlock all of it. If the game gets too hard for me half way through (due to skill or disability) then I paid for a bunch of content I don't get to see. I subsidised other people's experience. Knowing whether a skill cap will hit you in advance can be very tricky to figure out. One persons hard isn't another's and might switch around depending on the game type.

 

Now lets say the game costs only £10 up front but you only get a quarter of it. When I complete each chapter I can pay £10 to unlock the next. Overall I spend the same amount if I finish the game but for those who reach a dead end they don't pay as much.

 

 

That assumes that all sections of the game cost an equal amount in terms of development and marketing, etc.

 

It's probably more like pay 3/4 of the £40 RRP for the first quarter and then £2.50 for each other quarter. 

 

 

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Just now, Transient Curse said:

 

That assumes that all sections of the game cost an equal amount in terms of development and marketing, etc.

 

It's probably more like pay 3/4 of the £40 RRP for the first quarter and then £2.50 for each other quarter. 

 

 

 

Very true. You probably would want to front-load the cost to at least some extent. Although maybe you want a cheap first chapter almost like a demo.

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I choose easy mode by default now. I’m 43 years old with ageing reflexes, a full time job and family commitments. I don’t have time to git gud anymore*
 

*except for xenoblade games but you can change the difficulty at any time. 

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3 hours ago, thesnwmn said:

 

Very true. You probably would want to front-load the cost to at least some extent. Although maybe you want a cheap first chapter almost like a demo.

 

Games that have done episodic releases in the past (Life Is Strange, etc) I think did what you described - free first chapter and then equally priced subsequent parts.  I imagine it works well for some games and less well for others. 

 

It'd probably also impact game design, if you need to hook your players in for the next chapter, you probably don't want to end a section on a lull, you probably want a bit of a cliff hanger. 

 

Arguably Gamepass gives you what you're describing - stop or start the sub when you like and play as much or as little as you want in that time.  I think that Gamepass will probably have an effect on games if it becomes truly mainstream  since games will have to be incredibly gripping immediately to try and snare people who are merely curious.  I can't back it up, but I think that Music has suffered from extreme commoditisation in recent years thanks to streaming services where things are more about individual tracks and people are less likely to invest their time in slow burn albums that reveal things with repeated listens.  I think games are already less subtle, and that it'd be nice to think that games could be more artistically led, but I think it's reasonable that people will ask questions about how long a game is, how much they're going to see when putting their money down, but I think that gamers as a whole are obsessed with value to the detriment of games.

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GamePass has certainly been a boon for me in this area. There’s been plenty of games there that I’ve found out are beyond my ageing skills but at least I only spent some of my time finding that out instead of being £40-£60 out with only an expensive coaster to show for it (well SSD space nowadays but it’s a better metaphor).

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2 hours ago, Fry Crayola said:

First off, every game and every player is different so there's no catch-all solution. There are many games I think would be improved by being harder/easier/different, and yet many others where to do so would be to change what I enjoy so much about the game. So here, I can only offer snippets of thoughts on particular games, genres, or even specific situations.

 

The whole Guitar Hero thing is an interesting situation in its own right. I think Dara Ó Briain is bang on about the earlier Guitar Hero games which positioned themselves as party games but locked content behind progression. I don't think the two go hand in hand, and thankfully Harmonix realised this by the time Rock Band came along and allowed the entire catalogue to be played from the start. Rock Band 2 then introduced No Fail mode, something which I consider both a good thing, and the reason I never improved my skills any further on guitar.

 

The first game was a gradual progression, introducing the concept at first, only three fingers needed, slow enough that it's never overwhelming, and pitched just right for when you're absolutely clueless. You can't go back to it with any level of skill, it's unbearable and barely has any connection to the music, but that's ok. As you progress through the difficulties and the songs, you suddenly find yourself good enough to beat Bark at the Moon on Expert - maybe even just the once - and you're a rock god.

 

No Fail mode lets me play any song on Expert with that same level of skill, but without dangling any carrot in front of me to make me any better. So I can play the vast majority of songs, and a good portion of some of the more extreme tracks, on the highest difficulty but struggle with complex solos or tricky rhythms, and will likely never reach the point where I can do it. On the other hand, it also allows me to play any song all the way through, to not be the player in a band who lets the rest of the side down, to give things a go on vocals when I absolutely can't reach the notes, and to have a rollicking good time. It's very much a mixed blessing.

 

A few complaints about difficulty in those games:

 

1) Guitar Hero 3 had among the worst difficulty balancing of any game I've ever played. I came to GH3 late, after I'd already had lots of experience with Rock Band 1/3/Beatles, mostly on Hard and Expert. But GH3's difficulty was set in such a way that I found Normal extremely boring (no orange button!), then a massive jump up to Hard. The main setlist was just about passable for me on Hard (albeit with judicious use of Star Power, and a lot of hand pain along the way) - but I never did beat the final boss battle on The Devil Went Down to Georgia. :(

 

It's a very luck-based boss battle, because regardless of how good you are at the song itself, it's very reliant on which power ups the AI will throw at you, and when he does so (hopefully he won't send you a Lefty Flip the moment before you're about to collect a power up of your own!)

 

Here's someone doing it on Hard - and remember there's still Expert difficulty above that!

 

 

 

 

2) In the Rock Band games, I often found myself wishing there was an additional difficulty in between Hard and Expert, just for tracks where the Expert solos were impassable difficulty spikes. Ideally, I wanted an option that set a song's main verse/chorus riffs to the versions from Expert (to keep the most complete versions of the riffs), but upon reaching a solo, switched to the version from Hard.

 

Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression is one that made me wish for that option: the Hard riffs omitted notes, but the Expert solo had a couple of fast difficulty spike sections.

 

 

3) With Rock Band 3 on drums, I wished that they'd included the Auto Kick Drum option from Lego Rock Band (which apparently RB4 has too). Because I didn't find pressing the pedal fun at all: tiring on my leg, and it kept sliding away from me on the carpet as I played. Yes, I could enable No Fail so that I could ignore the pedal entirely, but that wasn't quite the same thing as Auto Kick because it registered every missed bass drum kick, making it impossible to build up a combo from stick hits alone.

 

(Of course all the drum stuff has been irrelevant for me for the last decade, since I moved into a block of flats.)

 

 

4) Whoever set the difficulty of Fly Like An Eagle in RB3 should be dropped without a parachute from the altitude of a soaring eagle. They called that a zero flame track? Yeah, right!

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I never really liked Guitar Hero 3. That's when it went to Neversoft, and for me they really nail the track creation, threw in unnecessary gimmicks, and it didn't feel like the same game as 1, 2 or 80s. I understand the series got better on that front as it went on, but I'd already gone.

 

Now this: 

 

5 minutes ago, Nick R said:

2) In the Rock Band games, I often found myself wishing there was an additional difficulty in between Hard and Expert, just for tracks where the Expert solos were impassable difficulty spikes. Ideally, I wanted an option that set a song's main verse/chorus riffs to the versions from Expert (to keep the most complete versions of the riffs), but upon reaching a solo, switched to the version from Hard.

 

Bang on. So many tracks that I'd just like a slightly easier solo to play when I'm just jamming along, because the rest of the track is comfortable but gets dull if you have to drop the lot to Normal.

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1 hour ago, Nick R said:

 

I'm not a fan of that.

 

I posted why in another thread by @dumpster a couple of years ago:

 

https://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/316225-dynamic-difficulty-good-or-bad/&do=findComment&comment=12690354

 

 

"I like the idea that a given difficulty setting is a specific challenge, with specific rules and conditions, laid down by the developer, and it's the player's job to meet that challenge. I don't like the idea that it might be tweaked partway through without my knowledge."

 

Note that this shouldn't be interpreted as git gud gatekeeping! I'm not saying anything about how accessible the lowest difficulty setting should be: just that whichever one you pick, it should stay consistent from run to run, from life to life, and from player to player. (And, ideally, between releases of the game on different formats.) Even if you select the "Very Very Easy Easiest" difficulty setting, the third wave of enemies on Mission 6 should be the same number of enemies, dealing and taking the same damage, every single time you attempt it.

 

After that, in the post above, I wrote some very convoluted descriptions of examples of how adaptive difficulty could work, and which ones would bother me. I broadly concluded that I'm OK with the game dealing out more healing items in response to players doing poorly, but I hate the idea that enemies' damage/HP/accuracy/reaction time could change depending on how many times I've died.

 

In that Resi4 example in the Game Maker's Toolkit video above, if I'd died on a section five or six times, and I noticed that on my seventh attempt I suddenly got past it easily, I'd be questioning why. I'd think back on it, and I might realise: "Wait, on that last successful attempt, there seemed to be fewer enemies! Did the game remove some because I'd died too many times? Or was it just luck that I encountered a bug that meant they didn't spawn? Or was I lucky that they died to friendly fire so I never had to kill them?"

 

As soon as I start questioning that, I start worrying that I didn't get past it because I'd practiced it long enough and my skill was improving, but because of some other reason.

I agree. If you want an opposite example look at Swiv on the Amiga, an old-school vertically-scrolling shooter that had dynamic difficulty the other way. It got harder if you didn't die. Enemies started taking more shots to kill, up until the point it was tedious, and probably impossible. You were better off tactically dying at times to lower the difficulty level. It's a horrible design choice that way around, I don't think it's much better to make the game easier without the player choosing to.

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I always compare discussions of difficulty in gaming to similar issues in literature and sport. 
 

Should books be accessible in Braille, audio format and ebooks with adjustable font? Yes. Is it understandable when smaller publishers or niche titles don’t get these releases? Well, maybe understandable, but it’s certainly a failing. (Insert discussion of capitalism)
 

Should the difficulty of books be standardised? Absolutely not. Should a book about gravitation field theory be simplified so all can reach the end? Should complicated allegorical high literature works be simplified? No of course not. 

Likewise, should a tuff mudder or a marathon, that you pay to enter, have difficulty options, or an option to unlock all medals? Can we expect event organises to be able to meet the needs of the everyone within a single event?


it’s not that I disagree with @dumpster - those are admirable goals. But, to me, it’s vital that those routes to enjoyment in gaming comes from the existence of a broad church of wildly different games, rather than each game itself being a broad church, just as we see with books and sporting events. 
 

Because gaming started so small, I think it has an audience that grew up knowing that  ‘every game is a game made for me’.  But that’s not true any more. No other form of entertainment, art, or media, does its audience think that. 


 

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But sport does have accessibility options. Making it easier for those with needs to gain access they otherwise wouldn't be able to. 

 

 

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Just now, bradigor said:

But sport does have accessibility options. Making it easier for those with needs to gain access they otherwise wouldn't be able to. 

 

 


Exactly, but not every sporting event. Some events can manage it, but in other areas it’s via different events. My friends does triathalons. When I’ve been to support him, there is nothing accessible to me there on that specific day. I dont see that of a failing of sport because there is plenty of sport available at my level doing very similar things. 

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The other problem with difficulty, beyond the varying skills/needs of your player base is its just not very glamorous in terms of something to sell a game on.

 

L4D used to have the cool 'director' feature that varied up a game on the fly as you all played, but nobody seems to have run much with that concept after as everything now is focussed on crafting systems, building GAAS, 'MOAR GRAFIX' and things that look good in a press release or pre launch hype video. Some games pretend to have it, like Forza with their drivertars, but has anybody ever felt they are anything beyond normal dumb game AI with a friends name plastered on ?

 

Difficulty doesn't seem to matter that much as it won't sell so isn't worth the investment Nobody would vote for a game in the GotY thread because of the seamless AI which ensured the games progression and levels were perfectly matched to their ability.

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1 hour ago, LaveDisco said:


Likewise, should a tuff mudder or a marathon, that you pay to enter, have difficulty options, or an option to unlock all medals? Can we expect event organises to be able to meet the needs of the everyone within a single event?


 

Marathons have hugely granular difficulty levels built into their very nature. For those that are finishing in sub 3 hours there are those taking over 10*. The difficulty of completing a marathon is unique to the individual and is generally purely set by them.

 

* You could even take 54 years

https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/585341-longest-time-to-complete-a-marathon#:~:text=On 14 July 1912%2C Shiso,duration to complete a marathon.

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Slightly different take, but I'd like games to feature a recommended difficulty mode.  Not recommended based on player ability, but based on the designers and developers aims.  Many games that raise the difficulty simply make energy bars longer, or the number of enemies increase etc. I want to know what was intended in the first place.

 

I'm certainly not against adding invincible walkthrough modes at all, but as a player, I want to be told exactly what it means.

I'd like to see the language change in the difficulty selection screens, let's move away from this "easy - for the casual folk who suck at games" to "hardcore - for the elite, we worship at your feet because you have too much time on your hands" crap.

I'd rather it was pointed out that, for example, playing Binding of Isaac in invincible mode will detract from the whole point of the game, which is the challenge.

That Tetris with a level cap of 4 will be repetitive and boring.

That Souls with no death will loose atmosphere, that Spiderman with the enemies having weaker hits will do absolutely nothing to put you of the game.

 

 

Since we've got a bit of a 2 threads in 1 here...

I liked the EMMI's in Metroid and actually was put off more by the regular bosses than them.

Metroid bosses are always about skill with a hint of a puzzle element.  Figure out how to effect the boss whilst using movement skills to not die (with a bit of retrying 50 times in there somewhere).

The EMMI sections were about thinking on your feet, using the movement skills to escape, and find a place you can go around and survive whilst working on the puzzle element of figuring out where you can attack, and where you can hang around long enough to charge up.  I found them easier than the bosses, and was able to use some prior knowledge (on some anyway) of mapping out the area in advance when you were rushing through to another area prior to attacking, which felt really satisfying.  I don't see them as any different to the bosses, except that the bosses troll you by having 3 phases of attack, and some moves that are virtually unavoidable and take 1/3rd of your health.

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3 minutes ago, LaveDisco said:

 

Should the difficulty of books be standardised? Absolutely not. Should a book about gravitation field theory be simplified so all can reach the end? Should complicated allegorical high literature works be simplified? No of course not. 
 

A couple of points:

Anyone who buys a book about gravitation field theory knows what they're in for.

Anyone who picks up a book about gravitation field theory can probably read it cover to cover no problem. Whether they understand it or enjoy it is a separate issue entirely. They have access to all of the content.

 

I've said this before. I'm not a huge fan of stories in games - they're mostly rubbish and poorly told, and I'm usually in it for the gameplay. But of the very many games I've not finished, most of them are unfinished stories, and that's my problem. There are about 4 books I've never finished in my fifty years on this planet (because they were rubbish). There are hundreds of games I've not finished - and most of them were trying to tell me a story that I never got to see the end of. That's sad. People spent ages making that. They worked crunch hours for months to make the bits I didn't see. If I was still playing it I was probably enjoying it up to the point I stopped.

 

So the developers wanted me to see the end, I wanted to keep on playing because I was having fun, but I stopped because it was too hard. Who wins here?

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3 hours ago, Vorgot said:

Games should never lock you into a difficulty either once you have selected it. Persona 5 Strikers was a great game, but some of the bosses were mad difficulty spikes. The ability to turn the difficulty to easy just for those fights was a godsend, but I know I have played games where once you lower the difficulty, you can't then knock it back up to normal.

 

Something I really like about the The World Ends With You games is that you can change the difficulty at any point in the pause menu, but you get incentives/bonuses for increasing it. And a chapter completion on easy mode is never a permanent black mark against your save file. Neo TWEWY has one or two encounters that were overwhelming for me at first, but I had the option to try the battle at a lower difficulty to know what I was getting into - and then if I wanted I could just fail on purpose and have a plan for attempts on higher difficulties.

 

The most perfect examples are the games that give you chapter selects of all the chapters you've cleared up to a point, with records of the difficulty used, and the option to replay any chapter and choose another difficulty. :wub: I think DMC and Bayonetta do this a bit?

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9 minutes ago, Corranga said:

Slightly different take, but I'd like games to feature a recommended difficulty mode.  Not recommended based on player ability, but based on the designers and developers aims.  Many games that raise the difficulty simply make energy bars longer, or the number of enemies increase etc. I want to know what was intended in the first place.

 

I would like to think that this is exactly what "standard" or "normal" or whatever the default selection is.

 

9 minutes ago, Corranga said:

I'm certainly not against adding invincible walkthrough modes at all, but as a player, I want to be told exactly what it means.

I'd like to see the language change in the difficulty selection screens, let's move away from this "easy - for the casual folk who suck at games" to "hardcore - for the elite, we worship at your feet because you have too much time on your hands" crap.

I'd rather it was pointed out that, for example, playing Binding of Isaac in invincible mode will detract from the whole point of the game, which is the challenge.

That Tetris with a level cap of 4 will be repetitive and boring.

That Souls with no death will loose atmosphere, that Spiderman with the enemies having weaker hits will do absolutely nothing to put you of the game.

 

 

Conceptually I agree with your idea of describing what it does to the game. I think most give some general gist (more health for the player, less accurate enemies, etc).

 

But your phrasing is so subjective and frankly comes across at the "I'm good so fuck them who chose to ruin the game". 

 

For some Souls with no death will be incredible. Explore a world without so much repetition which might pull them out of it.

Spiderman might be all about the world and story, not getting punch hard.

 

Reality is that outside of games made by small studios and individuals most major dev games can fuck off with the "it's the experience we desperately want our players to have" and not having accessibility/difficulty options. Like you're in it for the money, don't use art to defend a cheaper product.

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Personally I think nothing sucks more than getting totally stuck by a massive difficultly spike - usually a certain boss or a sudden change from the normal gameplay mechanic (like a mainly “on foot” game suddenly has you shooting out of a car or flying a helicopter)  where I die dozens of times after having had relatively little difficulty with anything up to that point - so I’m all for something to help you get past sticking points. I acknowledge a lot of joy can also come from finally beating the awkward bit, but it being a game ending blocker is definitely worse.

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34 minutes ago, LaveDisco said:

I always compare discussions of difficulty in gaming to similar issues in literature and sport. 
 

Should books be accessible in Braille, audio format and ebooks with adjustable font? Yes. Is it understandable when smaller publishers or niche titles don’t get these releases? Well, maybe understandable, but it’s certainly a failing. (Insert discussion of capitalism)
 

Should the difficulty of books be standardised? Absolutely not. Should a book about gravitation field theory be simplified so all can reach the end? Should complicated allegorical high literature works be simplified? No of course not. 

Likewise, should a tuff mudder or a marathon, that you pay to enter, have difficulty options, or an option to unlock all medals? Can we expect event organises to be able to meet the needs of the everyone within a single event?


it’s not that I disagree with @dumpster - those are admirable goals. But, to me, it’s vital that those routes to enjoyment in gaming comes from the existence of a broad church of wildly different games, rather than each game itself being a broad church, just as we see with books and sporting events. 
 

Because gaming started so small, I think it has an audience that grew up knowing that  ‘every game is a game made for me’.  But that’s not true any more. No other form of entertainment, art, or media, does its audience think that. 


 

 

One of the biggest issues in academia and industry is how inaccessible books and references are, so yes science and engineering books should be simplified. The obsession with jargon and writing for other experts is shite. You shouldn't have to have a degree in the thing you're trying to read about to make sense of it.

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2 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:

 

I would like to think that this is exactly what "standard" or "normal" or whatever the default selection is.

 

 

Conceptually I agree with your idea of describing what it does to the game. I think most give some general gist (more health for the player, less accurate enemies, etc).

 

But your phrasing is so subjective and frankly comes across at the "I'm good so fuck them who chose to ruin the game". 

 

For some Souls with no death will be incredible. Explore a world without so much repetition which might pull them out of it.

Spiderman might be all about the world and story, not getting punch hard.

 

Reality is that outside of games made by small studios and individuals most major dev games can fuck off with the "it's the experience we desperately want our players to have" and not having accessibility/difficulty options. Like you're in it for the money, don't use art to defend a cheaper product.

 

Sure, 100% agree.  My phrasing was in too much in jest and unhelpful. 

At the same time, I think you need to come at it from some angle, and with games, the only real angle is the design/development one.  I'm not for a second suggesting that developers should fall back on "it's the experience we desperately want our players to have" and use it for limitations.

I'm saying that if they introduce more options, as a player, I want to know how it was actually intended.  I expect that most games are developed from a medium/regular difficulty perspective, and that hard, extreme etc are just fiddling numbers for the sake of a challenge.

 

 

I once bought a couple of Xbox 360 dev kits from a guy who had 1 more than i bought.  The ones I got were faulty (red ring) but he had 1 more that was more reliable.

His young son played on it a lot, it had 1 game on it.  A Beta of Crackdown.  His son loved walking around the unfinished city shooting and destroying cars and leaping over buildings etc.  He didn't like the released title as it was too hard / he died too often.

From the design aspect, traversing the game world is a key aspect of the game, but I don't see the language being "God Mode - you can turn this on if you just want to jump around a lot"

 

So perhaps I should have said something like...

"Souls games are intended to be difficult, and for you to experience death and frustration as part of your quest. We recommend that you can call for help and rely on our wonderful player base to help you through the tougher sections. Removing the risk aspect will remove from the atmosphere of the game, you won't be reluctant to approach a new enemy, you won't pause and watch it's movements. Your choice to run in headstrong won't be informed by the high risk of death.  This is our intent."

 

"Difficulty in Tetris is primarily controlled by speed, which increments as you play.  By limiting this, you remove the dynamic aspects of the game, and perhaps even the challenge, do so with caution."

 

I dunno I'm no script writer.

 

 

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This is arguably a different part of the discussion but I really wish that you could let certain games know what you aren't or are familiar with in terms of games or controls. 

 

I fucking hate being taught what the crouch and jump buttons are on a tutorial level. That one CoD did it well and titanfall used the silly training ground level to work out the difficulty to set the game at but the amount of games that still have a bit where you need to crawl under a thing and then jump over a thing...

 

I'd genuinely prefer it if a game just asked me if I'd played a previous one in the series, or it could check the games I've played and trophies for them and then skip telling me the really obvious basics. 

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1 minute ago, b00dles said:

This is arguably a different part of the discussion but I really wish that you could let certain games know what you aren't or are familiar with in terms of games or controls. 

 

I fucking hate being taught what the crouch and jump buttons are on a tutorial level. That one CoD did it well and titanfall used the silly training ground level to work out the difficulty to set the game at but amount of games that still have a bit where you need to crawl under a thing and then jump over a thing...

 

I'd genuinely prefer it if a game just asked me if I'd played a previous one in the series, or it could check the games I've played and trophies for them and then skip telling me the really obvious basics. 

 

This is so true.

 

And actually ties into the other topic we had about coming back to games after putting them down for a while. Forgetting the controls. I don't need a whole long winded tutorial (particularly when it's embedded in shit loads of story exposition that I cannot skip and already know).

 

A simple 'sandbox' area could be great in many types of games. Somewhere you could try out the controls to check you remember them from your previous play or earlier games in the series. Or practice specific moves outside of the game context. Maybe on screen or menu reminders of controls and techniques and optional tutorial scenrios.

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51 minutes ago, Qazimod said:

 

Something I really like about the The World Ends With You games is that you can change the difficulty at any point in the pause menu, but you get incentives/bonuses for increasing it. And a chapter completion on easy mode is never a permanent black mark against your save file. Neo TWEWY has one or two encounters that were overwhelming for me at first, but I had the option to try the battle at a lower difficulty to know what I was getting into - and then if I wanted I could just fail on purpose and have a plan for attempts on higher difficulties.

 

The most perfect examples are the games that give you chapter selects of all the chapters you've cleared up to a point, with records of the difficulty used, and the option to replay any chapter and choose another difficulty. :wub: I think DMC and Bayonetta do this a bit?

Good to know on NEO:TWEWY as I have that ready to play at some point. And thats definitely the way to do it.

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2 hours ago, Nick R said:

 

I'm not a fan of that.

 

I posted why in another thread by @dumpster a couple of years ago:

 

https://www.rllmukforum.com/index.php?/topic/316225-dynamic-difficulty-good-or-bad/&do=findComment&comment=12690354

 

 

"I like the idea that a given difficulty setting is a specific challenge, with specific rules and conditions, laid down by the developer, and it's the player's job to meet that challenge. I don't like the idea that it might be tweaked partway through without my knowledge."

 

Note that this shouldn't be interpreted as git gud gatekeeping! I'm not saying anything about how accessible the lowest difficulty setting should be: just that whichever one you pick, it should stay consistent from run to run, from life to life, and from player to player. (And, ideally, between releases of the game on different formats.) Even if you select the "Very Very Easy Easiest" difficulty setting, the third wave of enemies on Mission 6 should be the same number of enemies, dealing and taking the same damage, every single time you attempt it.

 

After that, in the post above, I wrote some very convoluted descriptions of examples of how adaptive difficulty could work, and which ones would bother me. I broadly concluded that I'm OK with the game dealing out more healing items in response to players doing poorly, but I hate the idea that enemies' damage/HP/accuracy/reaction time could change depending on how many times I've died.

 

In that Resi4 example in the Game Maker's Toolkit video above, if I'd died on a section five or six times, and I noticed that on my seventh attempt I suddenly got past it easily, I'd be questioning why. I'd think back on it, and I might realise: "Wait, on that last successful attempt, there seemed to be fewer enemies! Did the game remove some because I'd died too many times? Or was it just luck that I encountered a bug that meant they didn't spawn? Or was I lucky that they died to friendly fire so I never had to kill them?"

 

As soon as I start questioning that, I start worrying that I didn't get past it because I'd practiced it long enough and my skill was improving, but because of some other reason.

You say you don't like got gud gatekeeping but then go on to talk about how you essentially think it should still have git gud gatekeeping (the bolded bits).

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