How to annoy the Internet

A condensed version of my previous post seemed to be making the rounds. It’s resulted in several interesting comments and additions from developers and gamers alike. I’ve decided to do your homework, and compile this list. Text in bold are the originals, with my comments in normal type.

Here we go.

GameProducer.net additions:

10. Resize and move all the previously opened windows to the upper-left corner of the screen after returning from full-screen mode.
Oh man… I wish I knew who to blame for this. In a multi-monitor setup, switching screen modes to go full-screen causes your app window positions to get screwed up. Some apps seem to cleanly restore window positions after shutdown, but others leave my maximized windows maximized halfway below the monitor. I suspect though, this is some combination of NVidia/ATI, and Microsoft’s fault. It would be nice if Vista corrected this.

On the same note, full-screen games that don’t restrict the mouse cursor to the full-screen window size… Oh yeah, super annoying! It’s incredibly easy with these games to click outside the window and give another application focus, minimizing your app. Boo!

The solution, all developers should have multi-monitor setups. :D

11: Open Game in FULLSCREEN mode without giving me any choice to Open in window, or even CLOSE/EXIT instead.
I’m not 100% on this one, but I do think certain games don’t need to start full-screen.

Games that take advantage of edge scrolling (RTS’s), ones that disregard the mouse as a pointer and use it as a modifier (SHMUPS, 3D shooters), or any game that needs the atmosphere of a full screen should use it. Casual or toy games that work strictly in a region of your window, and don’t require any constraints should really think about starting in a window.

There’s so many exceptions to this. If your game’s resolution is more than the resolution of the desktop, then it’d be a really good idea to go full-screen. If you can predict the performance of your game will be incredibly slow, due to unaccelerated overlay related operations, yeah, full-screen it.

I wouldn’t “rule” this one, but as a developer, you should really think about it.

GameStudio Forums Additions:

12. Don’t ask whether a start menu should be created or not.
This one doesn’t bother me so much, as long as the uninstaller works. Still, it’s a pretty normal feature.

13. Always install videos on HDD without further asking. Making intro videos extra big and long because there is so plenty of disk space……………….ARGH
That “ARGH” really adds a whole new level of emphasis to this one. With hard drives as large and cheap as they are (200 GB for less than $100 US with a rebate), this one doesn’t bother me at all. I’d rather not have to pull out the CD to play on my PC. But any game with CD based validation should be able to do this for an intro movie.

However, including a freaking huge video with your downloadable… hoo boy! I could have had the dang thing downloaded 300 megs ago! Now that’s worth complaining about.

14. Install extra tools like media players.
In the era post the whole rootkit scare, I agree you’ll lose less friends this way. Bink ain’t cheap though, so working in a free codec like XVID or simply using an ancient version of Windows Media Player could be tricky. Tricky enough to simply, as the developer, decide not to use a video in the first place. Requiring Quick-time on Windows though, those days are long over.

15. Disable CD burning software to avoid warez.
Yeah, use on-line validation instead. :D

I don’t think there are many copy protection schemes that actually stop you from burning, just your copy is useless as a validation disk. These validation disks can be a pain in the arse though. I have a piece of audio software that expires after 30 days of not having the disk in the drive. While this is “better”, it still sucks.

16: Require you to turn off ALL security so all viruses, worms can walk on in from anywhere on the planet.
Yes, installer’s that do this, or tell you to kill other apps, while not commonly games, do suck.

17: The software manual, including install instructions, is compressed in the CAB file on the CD.
Ouch.

18. Ask if you want to create a folder that doesn’t exist (just create it automatically).
I don’t mind this, just in case you accidentally typed in the wrong folder name. One last chance to correct a mistake.

19: Violate other Programs to make them not working.
If someone actually does this explicitly, they’d be my hero.

20: Require a program not on the install disc (like a special direct x version).
More common with download-ables. Even with beta’s or public tests, I have to say, think “self contained” people. Dll’s can sit comfortably in the same directory as the executable, and don’t require to be relocated to Windows/System32.

21: Use three or more disc’s. one to install and two to change during any game (instead one DVD).
This one is fixing itself. Give it a few years, and any high profile game you’d care to play will have a DVD version.

22: Do not allow button configuration.
No, wait… Do allow. But if you can detect the funny key layout, and provide something acceptable, we’d all love you for it.

23: Do not remove all files with uninstall
Been there, done that. ;)

24: Do not run in fullscreen mode.
Contrary to #11, you should run your game in full-screen mode. Don’t listen to this guy, read #11.

25. Always mess around with registry.
Yes. I recommend changing application icons, file associations, and adding your game to the start-up.

26. Use Star-Force copy protection.
Everybody’s favorite protection scheme. I shouldn’t have to say anything about this. Visit digg for the latest dirt.

27. Just convert your console title without adjusting the menu size, the controls etc.
Sure, but with Microsoft’s PC friendly 360 game-pad however, there might be some interest in keeping parts of “360″ mode available. If you have a PC “that good” to run such an app at least.

28. Release bug-fixes only for registered members.
This just isn’t useful way to help sell your product. How the heck will a user evaluating your product know if it actually runs correctly now on their PC?

29. Include many unknown logos and animations while start running the game.
Licensed sport games are great for this. Doesn’t happen in this neck of the woods though.

30. Get half way through a game only to find out the save feature crashes the game.
Or “features” in the game that corrupt your save files… Mmmm… my favorite.

Some further comment’s were rather design oriented, so I decided to separate them.

31. Killer game clock – if it runs out, you die. It prevents users from exploring the levels.
This is a delicate design issue. A game for casual gamers probably isn’t the best one to put any time pressure on. Par times, making it a reward by finishing it within a certain time limit could be a better idea. On the other hand, Katamari without time limits would become “Roll a Ball Around Until You Get Bored” Damacy.

32. Deadly blue water – jump in and you die instantly.
Adding some rational to this, like the tentacle monster in Psyconauts, can add so much to your game.

33. Tricky platforms over a bottomless pit. Miss the platforms, it’s back to the last checkpoint!
Time and place. Super Mario Bros without pit challenges wouldn’t be terrible, but it does add something to the game. Also it’s a matter of balancing your checkpoints. 5 minutes might be too far away from the last one.

34. Use EA as your publisher.
OK, not design as per my previous note. Someone obviously likes the EA jokes. Seriously, if you get EA as your publisher, you’re laughing ’cause you obviously have a product that they think will sell well. Good for you. Go buy yourself an expensive car. Oh I’m sorry, you’re a programmer, artist, or musician. My mistake. Go pay your rent instead.

And there you have it. The Internet has spoken.