|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » bit-tech.net - The Problem with Porting Games

Default bit-tech.net - The Problem with Porting Games

August 19th, 2009, 11:34
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
So if a console game gets ported to PC with no mouse & keyboard support, that is a 'matter of opinion'? What about a PC game ported to console with no console controller support?
I wholeheartedly agree.

What about a console game with mouse support (forced) included ?

Is this "open-mindedness" ?

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#21

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,855

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 11:36
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
As much as I loved it, Dead Space was a pretty bad PC port. It was a perfect example of a game that wasn't optimized for keyboard+mouse. The mouse movement was very sluggish, even on max, and you couldn't even remap all the keys through the options menu.
Of course, Fallout 3 famously screwed up keyboard remapping as well!

— Mike
txa1265 is offline

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#22

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,326

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 11:37
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I don't recall anyone actually PRAISING Gothic's control system. What many of us might have said is that it's not THAT bad - and in fact can get quite comfortable once you get used to it.

But it was a VERY bad decision to insist on a non-traditional scheme - and I think they should have worked a lot harder on that, personally.
I never had problems with Gothic 1, and I never understood the fuzz about it.

I always assumed that this came from the fact that I often played Adventures & Jump & Run games prior to that.

From that point of view, Gothic 1 rather appeared as kind of an adventure game to me.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#23

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,855

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 11:39
There's a stereotype that says that PC games should have a first-person view
I wanted to say something about it… but then I decided to not write anything long and just say WTF? What kind of stereotype is that? Most games don't have FPP camera and this is first time I heard about such "stereotype". Did he ever play on computer anyway?

if the game is good enough to shine through and you should remember that not all multi-platform games are bad. Fallout 3
Yeah, FO3 is great. Stupidity and retarded difficulty level etc is a great game. Also it just crashes on many computers, but that's not because that's bad port! It's because it's console game!

Mass Effect
Consolish controls are cool because they are consolish and you have to live with it PC gamer!

Be open-minded – there's a whole new world of fun from all sorts of different games, even if they don't have exactly the same control system as the one you're accustomed to using.
Titles please, because I see just copies of Final Fantasy, Oblivion and some other titles. Where are these "different games"?
Konjad is offline

Konjad

Konjad's Avatar
Watch traitor from Codex

#24

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 711

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 11:39
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I never had problems with Gothic 1, and I never understood the fuzz about it.
Same here… in fact, I even elected to use the G1 control scheme in G2.
JDR13 is offline

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch

#25

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 17,454

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 14:00
then he was working on that he found that we couldn't really keep keyboard remapping, which is pretty traditional on games you can claim whichever keys you want. We had to have a separate keyboard layout in place and lock it in because the controls are very specific, and we had a lot of unique things happening on the controller, and once we mapped them to the PC keyboard they needed to stay in place. But it was very successful so I think it worked.

What!?

What kind of lazy excuse is that? Seriously, they've never heard of an abstraction layer? I doubt that, I think that would have just taken an extra day of work and they didn't give two craps about PC users.

Console ports suck for all sorts of reasons, interface & inventory is always the worst thing about a port, they never take the time to fix that.

The Last Remenant added in quick saves for the PC port and the controls were "ok" but they didn't bother updating any of the interface or menus for mouse controls. Worse they did they dreaded 10 minute unskippable cutscene before an impossible battle, tried that twice, uninstalled.

Dear developers: always allow cutscenes to be skipped!
LuckyCarbon is offline

LuckyCarbon

LuckyCarbon's Avatar
Unfettered Developer

#26

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 388

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 14:17
The chosen control scheme for a game is in many ways comparable to the inclusion of co-op. It is not something you just add on a whim or change as you see fit. If you take an FPS with a difficulty level designed for the limited accuracy of a gamepad and just add "proper" mouse/keyboard support for the PC version, it will most likely be too easy for anyone used to playing PC FPS games.

If you change something that fundamentally effects the gameplay experience or the difficulty level then a lot of time spent on gamebalancing must be added as well. You don't start out by making Lasagne and then at the last minute decide to add a bit of butter and then viola: Mashed Potatoes. (this applies to co-op, save points, camera control, etc, etc as well)

I am of course not trying to defend deliberately sloppy work like the constant reference to the PS2 control buttons (triangle, square, circle and X) in the Metal Gear Solid 2 PC version. However, I think it is unfair to fault developers for not choosing to spent a very long time recoding/rebalancing the entire game just to satisfy a few demanding PC gamers.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
fatBastard() is offline

fatBastard()

fatBastard()'s Avatar
Hello, I'm a Zombaholic

#27

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just outside of Copenhagen
Posts: 778

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 14:31
Originally Posted by LuckyCarbon View Post
What!?

What kind of lazy excuse is that? Seriously, they've never heard of an abstraction layer? I doubt that, I think that would have just taken an extra day of work and they didn't give two craps about PC users.
Have you ever done any coding? If you start out designing your code using abstraction layers then adding a new layer or changing an existing layer later on is a piece of cake. If, however, you haven't done this from the beginning of the project then every reference to the entry you need to add/change throughout your entire code-base needs to be changed (this could be hundreds of thousands lines of code that needs to be looked through).

*Edit*
Another thing is that the physical limitations of some consoles (low amount of RAM, no installation on HD, limited CPU/GPU processing power, etc) is very likely forcing developers to cut as much excess "fat" as possible from the code base … multiple control schemes could easily be considered by some to be "excess fat" when making a console game.
*End Edit*

Nowadays where many developing houses use leased engines it might also be a case of "If the engine supports it, Great! if not, Tough luck" since only the engine creators can/are allowed to make changes in the core engine.

Originally Posted by LuckyCarbon View Post
… Worse they did they dreaded 10 minute unskippable cutscene before an impossible battle, tried that twice, uninstalled.

Dear developers: always allow cutscenes to be skipped!
I couldn't agree more. I absolutely *HATE* it when this happens and that is without a doubt a very crappy design decision.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
fatBastard() is offline

fatBastard()

fatBastard()'s Avatar
Hello, I'm a Zombaholic

#28

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just outside of Copenhagen
Posts: 778

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 14:45
The idea of a save spot instead of saving anywhere didn't originate on consoles. Some very old pc games had that also and was probably copied from those games just like jrpgs are copied from pc rpgs like Ultima. Also there have been many console specific games that had the ability to save anywhere so save spots are not universal on consoles.

PS. Other then FPS and some Adventure games there are only a couple of first person view games on the PC.
guenthar is offline

guenthar

SasqWatch

#29

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,542
Send a message via Skype™ to guenthar

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 15:11
Far Cry is a good example for a PC exclusive with save points. They were annoying as hell.
Grandor Dragon is offline

Grandor Dragon

SasqWatch

#30

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ravensburg, Germany
Posts: 554

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 15:19
Originally Posted by Grandor Dragon View Post
Far Cry is a good example for a PC exclusive with save points. They were annoying as hell.

I remember there was a way to save anywhere in Far Cry by enabling the console and using the correct command. It was still annoying though….
JDR13 is offline

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch

#31

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 17,454

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 15:19
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
Have you ever done any coding?
Meh, one or two lines.

Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
If you start out designing your code using abstraction layers then adding a new layer or changing an existing layer later on is a piece of cake. If, however, you haven't done this from the beginning of the project then every reference to the entry you need to add/change throughout your entire code-base needs to be changed (this could be hundreds of thousands lines of code that needs to be looked through).
Any cross platform title will be using some kind of abstraction for controller input, their supporting too many inputs already not to be: keyboard, mouse, xbox, ps3, possibly pc controllers?, wii?

Since the keyboard input capture had to be newly written anyway, instead of hard coding the key codes into the control translation code, they should have pushed the key codes through a lookup table and passed arbitrary values to their control translation. Aka: pass the string "left" instead of key code for "a".

Now you just need to allow remapping of your lookup table, which is the majority of the work for this tiny project. You need to have an extra UI screen, a menu item to get there and the writing out (and loading on launch) the key preferences. Instead of going through all this work, it was just easier and cheaper to say "a" is left, print it in a manual and call it a day.
LuckyCarbon is offline

LuckyCarbon

LuckyCarbon's Avatar
Unfettered Developer

#32

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 388

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 16:21
Originally Posted by LuckyCarbon View Post
*SNIP* … Instead of going through all this work, it was just easier and cheaper to say "a" is left, print it in a manual and call it a day.
Yes well, unfortunately, you're probably right when it comes down to the dirty details. I still claim that it *COULD* be as I described earlier … but I have to admit that in all too many cases it probably is just as matter of the big wigs looking at the cost/benefit calculations and deciding it isn't worth the effort.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
fatBastard() is offline

fatBastard()

fatBastard()'s Avatar
Hello, I'm a Zombaholic

#33

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just outside of Copenhagen
Posts: 778

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 17:25
I wouldn't go as far as to say the inability to save anywhere as a design flaw as it is simply an annoying choice of design.

Obviously those who are used to to it have no problem just as those who are used to the wasd control scheme (where a and d strafe instead of turning the character) think its the way to go.

If I can't remap the keyboard to turn then its impossible for me to play but that doesn't make it a flaw.

The problem is they are operating in a different paradigm and it costs a lot less to port a game then it does to remake it from scratch entirely. Keep in mind the number of Mac games out there in the 90's went through the same thing when the PC dominated and Apple drop their Apple ][ line which didn't have to pay an Apple Tax. The Mac got one decent shooter designed for the machine in mind: Halo.

If you don't port you have to have multiple design teams and costs go through the roof. Try justifying that to the accounting department.

But in the end it also skews the data. The "also running" product continues to suffer in sales because of it and the reasoning becomes circular.

People don't buy the games because they are poorly designed for the product; the product doesn't sell because of the poorly designed games.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#34

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,174

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 18:13
I just caught this article at Gamasutra on how Civilization Revolutions was designed and I thought not only was this completely relevant to this topic and also shows how ports should be ideally made:

Is this the same game core as the other versions of Civilization Revolution?

Jason Bergman: Like back with the DS version, Sid wrote this game core that didn't care what platform it existed on, and we just wrote an interface layer. For 360, we wrote an interface layer; for PS3, we wrote an interface layer; for DS, we wrote an interface layer.

I don't know how many people actually believed us that it was literally the exact same game. So we wanted to prove it. Civ Rev for iPhone, again, is the same game core. Nothing's changed. We just took that game core, and we got it up and running on the iPhone hardware in like two weeks, and then we wrote a new interface.

We didn't take the DS version and port it. We didn't create a new mobile version of Civ that's some kind of watered-down crappy version. It is a hundred percent the same game. We've got all sixteen civs, we've got all pathways to win, we've got every difficulty level, we've got all the scenarios. The only thing that's been removed is multiplayer, and we do have a pretty long plan for updates.
full article:
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/new…hp?story=24068

I've not played CivRev but from what I hear its very much a watered down version of Civ.

Mike, in your experience do you see many games that (at least appear) to be designed this way?

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#35

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,174

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 18:31
Originally Posted by fatBastard() View Post
Have you ever done any coding? If you start out designing your code using abstraction layers then adding a new layer or changing an existing layer later on is a piece of cake.
Huh, nice.

I tried this once with Java when I was a Freshling in terms of programming.

I never succeeded. I was trying to invovle something that is called a "glass pane" … I could never figure out by the given examples how I could pass the input on … And no-one could explain it to me … I was alone …

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#36

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,855

Default 

August 19th, 2009, 18:51
Originally Posted by Grandor Dragon View Post
Far Cry is a good example for a PC exclusive with save points. They were annoying as hell.
Dark Forces is a different example which let you only save between levels. I absolutely *loved* it. Never again have I felt such sweet, intense pressure, culminating in the first fight against one of those advanced Trooper things. Wonderful setup. And it worked. The levels were relatively small, balance was appropriate, nothing was ever really unfair.

Diablo and its sequel are other examples for popular PC games that worked precisely because saving your game was limited.

With the save-anytime/anywhere mentality comes less frustration but also less intense enjoyment. When the quicksave key becomes one of the most pressed keys during a game, something isn't exactly right either. I often found myself doing this in Mass Effect: fight some guy, win, quicksave. Go around a corner - clear? - quicksave. Get out of a vehicle - quicksave. Make a step forward - quicksave. Who wants to loose a couple seconds in case you have to reload, right?

And don't bring the argument that I can choose not to quicksave. That's not a real argument (I'm sure there's a technical term for it.)

Anyway, there's always advantages and disadvantages for every design choice that is being made. I don't really have a position on these issues, except maybe this: I do believe that generally speaking, gamers don't know what they want and I'm all for letting game designers do their thing and design according to a Grand Vision they have. However, at the same time a distinction has to be made when lines blur and there is, in fact, no Grand Vision but only Grand Laziness. Consolitis as a form of disease is real and should be combated. I hate it when some limitations from one system are carried over to another, especially if it seems clear that they were limitations and not necessarily design goals.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Arhu is offline

Arhu

Arhu's Avatar
Feline Wizard
RPGWatch Team

#37

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,310

Default 

August 20th, 2009, 00:44
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
As much as I loved it, Dead Space was a pretty bad PC port. It was a perfect example of a game that wasn't optimized for keyboard+mouse. The mouse movement was very sluggish, even on max, and you couldn't even remap all the keys through the options menu.
Excluding the vsync bug which did cause excessive lag (fixable by turning vsync off in game, then forcing on if desired via graphic driver controls) the otherwise sluggish controls actually mirror how it handles on a controller/ console. Having Isaac be less immediately responsive than in most fps games was a deliberate design decision and not a porting consequence. Most aspects of DS's PC optimisation are little short of fantastic- even my geriatric 7600 was pushing 40fps at 1440x900 (better than the 360, 30fps upscaled from 1280x720).
Zygo is offline

Zygo

Watchdog

#38

Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 188

Default 

August 21st, 2009, 10:30
Originally Posted by Zygo View Post
Having Isaac be less immediately responsive than in most fps games was a deliberate design decision and not a porting consequence.
Not that I'm doubting you, but I would love to see some factual evidence that supports that.
JDR13 is offline

JDR13

JDR13's Avatar
SasqWatch

#39

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida, US
Posts: 17,454

Default 

August 21st, 2009, 18:51
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Not that I'm doubting you, but I would love to see some factual evidence that supports that.
I am with you there. It sounds like an "It's not a bug it's a feature"-explanation to me.
bkrueger is offline

bkrueger

Nothing to see here.

#40

Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 790
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » bit-tech.net - The Problem with Porting Games
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 09:33.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch