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United Kingdom

Sun 20th January, 2008

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Kirk commented on Poll: What Do You Think of the Super Smash Bro...:

I've not even tried it but given that it's Nintendo I just have a feeling it will be lacking or feel gimped in some silly way—such is the case with a lot of this stuff when Nintendo decides to do it slightly different to everyone else just for the sake of being different.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@TheRealThanos That kind of stuff would be cool too. I think they've probably done some of that in the game actually; if I'm remembering it properly. Don't think the framerate needs to be lowered though, as again I think that's another false correlation that a lot of developers make. You can still give the player a fully smooth gameplay experience, in terms of maintaining a high framerate, while also creating the illusion it's got that old jittery cheap b-movie feel or whatever. I mean they don't film those old b-movies at a lower framerate than any other movies to create that feel (not that I'm aware anyway); they just create that feel lol

My personal view is always to achieve all this stuff via actual artistry and talent, which is ultimately what great game design is all about, rather than cheat by compromising the actual underlying game on a technical level in ways that don't actually give the best user experience. It's kinda like getting an actual artist to paint something, when you're looking for an authentic painted look to say your background art in a 2D game, instead of turning on the "paint" filter on a photo in Photoshop and trying to clumsily recreate the look and feel of a painting, which just ends up in a much lower quality overall, if you get me.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@TheRealThanos I think they're probably just covering the bases now (keeping everyone happy), especially since they've already released a version with the lower field of view, which some people might interpret as being atmospheric and claustrophobic, such that you might get people complaining if it's not the same or if they don't at least have the option to make it the same. If you're going to have/add options like adjusting the field of view then you might as well give people the ability to choose stuff that goes to slight extremes in either direction, because there's a lot of people out there and some people will genuinely believe they are having a better experience with possibly a lower field of view than even the original game.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@kingofthesofa Well, I'll give them a little benefit of the doubt and accept it was partly an intentional gameplay feature that they believed would give a sense of claustrophobia.

What I would say to the developers however is that this is inherently bad game design imo, if it was actually a design choice and not a constraint or slightly rushed programming, and it is an incorrect choice of solution to achieve the desired result.

As far as I'm concerned, in an fps game running on a 2D screen, something like claustrophobia should not achieved by reducing the field of view to the point it's kinda disorienting and makes it hard to read the environment visually at a gameplay level. All that does is reduce the player's viewing comfort slightly, which some people might incorrectly equate to atmospheric—but that's just the same as when people interpret unnecessarily slow and clunky controls, ie. bad, as adding tension; as though having bad controls is what creates good tension. This is a false correlation. Claustrophobia should be achieved by things like the lighting, the size of the rooms and environments, the height of the ceiling, the ambient noise, making the player crawl through tight spaces, having certain environments close in on them, using certain effects sparingly to create the impression the player is becoming dizzy and getting tunnel vision (as they might suffer from if they were suddenly feeling claustrophobic), etc.—basically all the things that would create such a sensation of claustrophobia, tension and panic in real life. By overly restricting the field of view they have added a falsely correlated gameplay constraint that I believe is detrimental to the play experience. It's subtle, and most people won't even realise it's a slightly worse experience than it would be with a slightly increased field of view, but it's definitely below the kind of range the field of view should be going into imo.

If this were a game on VR, developers would actually be nearly doubling the field of view, and more if they could, to bring it as close to a natural human field of view as possible. And playing in VR is all about immersion, and in horror games a sense of tension and claustrophobia or whatever, which tells you that lowering the field of view is not really the key to creating such atmosphere or a sense of claustrophobia; the design of the environments and gameplay is.

Maybe they had good intentions but they did the wrong thing in this particular case imo.

Here's a post with some people talking about how a low field of view can have a negative effect, in some cases actually making them sick if it's particularly bad, which directly correlates to their enjoyment of the game:

And this is a great example video explaining why field of view is so important:

This video then shows the difference in action and goes into a bit more detail too:

Note: Most of the examples focus more on PC but the same problems do affect console games.

So, yeah, basically; I don't think the lower field of view is a good design decision.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@kingofthesofa #125 Again; it's not a technical limitation of the Wii U. It's a limitation imposed by this game, and possibly because it was rushed or something like that. With more efficient code or whatever I doubt it would be necessary at all; hence why it's not there in the version coming to the other consoles.

Don't allow yourself to be tricked, by whatever/wherever you're getting this notion from, into actually giving the developers praise for what is in fact a design limitation in the game, probably as a result of being slightly rushed and having unoptimised code, and imo it's an actual flaw that results in a slightly less pleasurable viewing experience, at an objective technical level based on good design principles around field of view etc.. It's not a USP; It's a limitation—and it has now correctly been addressed, at least partially.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@Ootfan98 #122 It's not a technical limitation of the system, just the code of that particular game; such that they've resorted to using a lower field of view than is ideal in fps games to make sure it runs smoothly. Otherwise, I'm telling you, they would not have made the field of view so small—and the testament to that is the fact they've now made it bigger with the port of this game to more powerful consoles, where they obviously took some time to polish the code a bit more and also the fact it's just running on more powerful hardware now. If it was intentional by design, for added "atmosphere" and "tension" of whatever else people imagine it was there to create, then they obviously would have kept it the same when porting it to the other consoles. They didn't. They changed it, i.e. fixed it. That should tell you all you need to know.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@firstnesfan #121 You're misinterpreting what I'm saying.

It's not really important if the Wii U is technically more capable than what we saw in ZombiU. I'm sure it is. What's important is that my assertion that the lower field of view is there as a technical consideration, chosen to ensure a smoother framerate or some other graphical aspect of the game, and not some kind of USP gameplay design feature as I presume you imagine it is. Hence why it's now been changed, i.e. fixed, for the version running on the more powerful consoles.



Kirk commented on Nintendo Stock Value Rises Following Better Th...:

You know; I'm kinda worried Nintendo might now go even more so down some entirely misguided/wrong path and turn into something that most of us passionate hardcore gamers, at least, can't genuinely love anymore.

Nintendo needs to be like the next Disney imo, not like say...King or Tiger Electronics...or whatever company that regularly makes a profit but just churns out casual throwaway cash-grab pop-culture-trend crap that anyone with any real taste, passion, heart and soul doesn't really give a genuine sh*t about.

God, I hope there's enough people at Nintendo in positions of power who know how to make decisions that aren't just good for its short term profits and bottom line but that actually allow Nintendo to continue to be at the top of the industry in gamers minds and hearts, and maybe even broader entertainment in general too (branching out into QUALITY movies, animation, comics, toys, board games, theme parks...), for many more years to come.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@faint It's a false "tension and diffculty". It really just made it hard to visually read the level and was slightly disorienting to a degree, like you were wearing blinkers. That's not a good device for building tension in an fps game, unless they explain you are wearing blinkers for some reason; or maybe you had been drugged or something, and then have a slightly weird/skewed view of the world would make some sense.

The slightly wider field of view can only improve the overall gameplay experience imo; and the fact they've increased it now, on these more powerful systems, tells you it wasn't so much a design decision for creating "atmosphere and tension" but more of a technical decision so they could push the graphics on Wii U and maintain a decent framerate. On these more powerful systems they can now have the same graphics alongside the increased field of view without worrying about any issues like potential slowdown or whatever, hence they've not increased the field of view to a slightly more comfortable level.

I mean ponder this for a second: Virtual Reality has for all intents and purpose a full field of view—it's like 100 degrees or so but due to how VR works it basically feels like it's the full 180 degree humans normally see, or whatever it is, and also like it wraps all around you too—and experiencing an fps horror game in VR is about as scary as the experience can get in gaming.

In fps games a low field of view is simply something that has almost entirely come about as a result of technical constraints, reduce the field of view to help maintain the framerate and higher poly-count etc., and not good game design. Let's not give it false credit that it simply isn't due.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

@TheRealThanos Well I certainly disagree regarding both the field of view and turn mechanics.

Using a limited field of view to create tension in this way is just bad design imo, if it were actually implemented intentionally as a gameplay design element and not more likely due to limitations of the hardware, in terms of them likely reducing the field of view simply to help keep the game running smoothly on Wii U, or whatever reason they had. It's just technically easier to run high quality visuals if you use a lower field of view, and I know that's why most developers have done this repeatedly in the last few generations, as they try to make everything look as shiny as possible on the surface, pushing the hardware to its limits and often sacrificing some of the stuff that lies just beneath the surface layer in the process.

Same applies to the tank controls in the old RE games. I think there's good ways to create tension; such as through lighting, sound, the danger/threat that an enemy posses, creative set-pieces, good level design; and bad ways, like making the controls unwieldily and sluggish, such that you often take damage as a result of the clunky controls rather than the enemies actually being any real threat. Eternal Darkness' more direct player movement vastly improved on the more traditional tank-like control scheme found in these mostly fixed camera horror games, imo, and it didn't nothing to negatively affect the potential for great tension, horror, scares, or whatever. Replace the visuals and monsters of ED with RE and it would be one of the greatest RE games ever conceived as far as I'm concerned.

These kinds of arguments are very similar to when a whole lot of people were once saying you just had have fixed camera angles like in RE otherwise these horror games just wouldn't be tense and scary; before anyone bothered to try doing proper free camera third person or first person horror games—and then we got the likes of Resident Evil 4, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Dead Space, Slender, Outlast, Alien Isolation, Silent Hill: PT...

In my opinion, tension should never be created by restrictions that negatively impact the quality of the basic/fundamental control and gameplay experience.



Kirk commented on Zombi Reveal Trailer Suggests That Wii U Gamer...:

It will be interesting to see how this fares. The biggest issue I had with the Wii U version was the really low field of view, or so it seemed, which kinda just made the game a bit unplayable for me. If they haven't changed that then it probably will just be same old, but if they have fixed that, which I actually doubt, then it could improve the experience quite considerably imo. As much as the GamePad implementation was cool, I don't think the lack of it here will really matter that much to be brutally honest. I would be ironic, or something, if the version on PS4 and Xbox One does actually turn out to be the best version, because that will just be another kick in the teeth Wii U owners.



Kirk commented on Rare's Gregg Mayles Shows Off The Scribbled Or...:

@Damo @doomgc I didn't work on the game long enough, or see enough of the rest of it beyond the levels I worked on, to have anything of note to say about it to be honest. All I did was mess around on a couple of backgrounds for some of the levels and then I left Rare shortly after. I spent most of my time at Rare on DKCC.

I could send you the physical documents for that original version of Grunty's Revenge though, and you could maybe put them in an article or something. As long as you pay the postage, because I'm genuinely that skint lol



Kirk commented on Rare's Gregg Mayles Shows Off The Scribbled Or...:

Seeing these pics reminds me of my own short time at Rare.

I have a bunch of original design documents for Banjo Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge in a box at home. If I'm recalling things correctly they're actually design docs for an early version of the game that was in development for GBC that never saw the light of day. The game did eventually get moved to GBA however, which is the portable version of the game that everyone knows about.



Kirk commented on Feature: Hands On With The Spooktacular Luigi'...:

It looks cool but I just wish there was a lot less GUI/HUD crap overlaid onto the screen all the time. It takes up nearly a quarter of the screen for each player; so potentially almost half the screen is constantly partially blocked by overlay crap, and that's not including the aim cursors, combo meters, ghost power bars, and whatever else, that pop up during play too.



Kirk commented on Super Smash Bros. Is Getting A Massive Update ...:

Honestly; having played Smash Bros Wii U a few times now, I still don't get how anyone could play that game seriously competitively. I just don't see the fine control there at all. Still, that's not to undermine how well put together it is as a whole. There's a lot to appreciate and respect, so much cool content, but it's still just a bit of a clumsy and imprecise button basher to me.



Kirk commented on Mattel Is Releasing Mario Themed Hot Wheels Ra...:

Now, imo, these cars are the kind of cash-in crap I don't think Nintendo should be making and/or putting its name to. They're just random regular Hot Wheels toys with Mario slapped on them, and not in a particular creative or well designed fashion either. That doesn't add anything to the Nintendo brand, or associated franchises, at all imo; it just dilutes it/them and lowers the perception of quality associated with the Nintendo name.

There's literally hundreds-thousands of ways to market all these franchises in such a fashion that the end product actually fits with them in some way and/or adds to them—Frog Suit and Tanooki onesies; Mario Kart themed real life go-karting karts and race tracks; child sized toy versions of Link's sword and shield, Samus' helmet, Super Mario's cape, Kuribo's Shoe, etc.; Super Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, etc. Anime cartoons and feature films; Nintendo theme parks; cool figurine sets of all of Nintendo's characters, like the amiibos; playing cards themed on each of Nintendo's big franchises; Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, Metroid, etc. fancy dress costumes; real life board games themed on the various franchises, done like classic D&D boards and figure sets but with the likes of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, Animal Crossing, etc., Comics bases on all the big francise; Zelda, Metroid, F-Zero, etc. live action movies...

I get why Nintendo is going this, especially now, but there's a way to do it with taste and class. There's no need to just slap these franchises on anything and everything, even when it just looks half-*assed and forced, for the sake of a quick buck.



Kirk commented on Nintendo NX Might Be The First Social VR Platf...:

Hey; I would love it to be some kind of awesome VR headset—a VR system is the other idea I have for what NX might be, next to my hybrid home console and handheld concept that I've banged on about multiple times now—but I'm not drinking that Kool-Aid until I see the thing myself.



Kirk commented on Dragon Quest XI Is Coming To The Nintendo 3DS ...:

Looks like they've already backed out of a full commitment to those games coming to the NX. Now they're saying "It is under consideration, but we don’t have further information to share at the moment,” regarding NX versions.

Christ; it's like the Wii and Wii U third party situation all over again. I really hope this isn't a sign of things to come :-(

I'm worried about third party support on NX already, and the thing hasn't even been shown yet.



Kirk commented on Talking Point: Wii U Gamers Have Been Treated ...:

@Dr_Lugae Which tells you it's not just high sales of a console the leads to good third party support either—as I alluded to earlier—even though that is obviously one of the major factors. There's clearly more to it than that, and with the Wii it clearly wasn't the sales that failed to grab the attention of the third parties because it sold a lot of units, yet third parties didn't gravitate to the system in any major or serious way. It was obviously something else in the case of the Wii that resulted in either a lack of third party support and/or a lower quality of third party support—like the combination of being grossly underpowered, which was off-putting to many developers who were trying to create cutting-edge game experiences; lacking certain standard features and services, like CD/DVD/Blu-Ray playback, as just one example; being too different from everything else on the market, both in terms of the unique control input and the architecture, which made it more difficult to develop for and port to than the other systems... With the Wii U it was almost certainly all those things too that caused problems, PLUS the lack of sales, which is why it's currently Nintendo's lowest selling home console ever.

You can't blame developers for all the issues with Wii and now Wii U too, as they have clearly shown that if you give them a system they can get genuinely excited about, invest in, and that also makes good financial sense to them, then they will support it, which they have demonstrated with the Xbox One and PS4, and even still continue to do so with the last-gen Xbox 360 and PS3.

Developers are fully capable of and are indeed still making truly great games, just not on Nintendo systems. So, again, the buck ultimately stops at Nintendo.



Kirk commented on Talking Point: Wii U Gamers Have Been Treated ...:

Also; here's a point, just in response to people maybe blaming part of the fault of gamers not buying third party games, or third parties not developing games for Wii U, or whatever, for its failure:

The circumstances and events that led to the Wii U's failure are not a paradox. It is in fact possible to trace the issues back to where they all started, and even if we just look at Wii U as the starting point and don't consider previous Nintendo consoles or Nintendo's previous dealings; I think it's relatively clear the Wii U's failure rests mainly at the feet of Nintendo.

You can't just blame consumers for not buying third party games because very few games ever sell more than a fraction of the systems total install base anyway and Wii U's install base is kinda pathetic. A third party game selling less than a million units on a system with less that ten million total install base probably isn't actually that unusual. That's why having as large as possible install base out the gate and in total, as just ONE factor, is important to any console.

You can't just blame third parties for not supporting the system because it's difficult to commit to a system that is tracking low unit sales and will inevitably yield low software sales for most third party games just by virtue of the percentages. It also not ideal to have to develop your games for less powerful hardware, with an awkward development architecture; and especially when you already know it's probably going to track to relatively low sales upfront anyway. Then there's having to think about supporting random features you otherwise wouldn't have to think about, as well as maybe not being able to support some features that you know most of your potential consumers would take for granted and would be frustrated if they didn't get. As well as some other factors.

I won't go into all the details but I think the Wii U's problems mostly started at a point and time (although not all at the the same point and time) where the only real source you can blame is Nintendo itself.



Kirk commented on Talking Point: Wii U Gamers Have Been Treated ...:

Pretty much every home console ever released has a handful of gems, just like the Wii U, but every single time I hear someone talk about the Wii U like it was anything other than a pretty big disappointment and basically a total flop, I just have to call bull. It has a handful of truly great games, a bunch of design niggles (in the hardware, firmware and services), almost no third party support, is looking to be Nintendo's lowest selling home console ever, and is probably going to have one of the shortest lifespans of a Nintendo home console too. The thing is just a total failure, but the truly sad part is it had all the potential in the world to be something genuinely special. With a little more foresight in certain design elements and far better taking advantage of its strengths from day one; I really think the Wii U could have been a success. Sadly Nintendo just didn't figure out how to properly take avantage of all that potential, and it's too late now to figure out that games like Super Mario Maker and Art Academy: Atelier are basically ideal for showing off how unique and compelling good use of the GamePad can actually be. This kind of stuff should have been there from day one.



Kirk commented on Video: Here's What Luigi Mansion Arcade Looks ...:

What it looks like is crap imo. There's far too much GUI/HUD on the screen and constantly popping up. Totally spoils the game as far as I'm concerned.

The idea is great. The execution—not so much.



Kirk commented on Talking Point: Assessing the Odds of Super Mar...:

@Dr_Lugae That is all true—but it's not the point I was making.

The point I was making was that it's basically just living on false hope to think that Wii U is maybe going to be worthy of being crowned 'the console you can make your own games on', like it's some attribute that's special/unique to the Wii U above all the other consoles out there at the moment. In fact, imagining Nintendo is actually going to make enough games where you can create your own levels to the same kind of quality and depth as seen in Super Mario Maker, to even warrant applying such a title being afforded to the Wii U, is just living in fantasy land imo.

If any console was going to be crowned 'the console you can make your own games on' then I think Wii U would be bottom of the list of potential contenders for the crown. That was my point.



Kirk commented on Talking Point: Assessing the Odds of Super Mar...:

@Nintenjoe64 The great irony is you will almost certainly see more of this kind of stuff on both PS4 and Xbox One by the end of the generation, and in fact that is already the case with titles like Little Big Planet 3, Project Spark, Dreams and even the likes of Minecraft as another example of a creation tool with near endless possibilities. Not to mention all the games on those platforms that have level editors included.

Super Mario Maker is a very simple level editor for a very simple type of game design but those other games let the users create almost any type of games and experiences they can imagine.

The saddest thing about all this is that Nintendo could and should have been there first, years before any of those other guys:

When the Wii was first announced—that's the Wii, not the Wii U—I actually thought something like this was maybe in the cards. How wrong and optimistic Nintendo proved that assumption to be.



Kirk commented on Talking Point: Assessing the Odds of Super Mar...:

Well packing in the amiibos will probably help sell a few more consoles that it might not have sold otherwise. Some collectors are desperate for those things.

A price drop really is about due though.

Also, it's still a bit pathetic when you think about it; that a simple albeit fun level editor, consisting of mostly old 2D Mario games, is Nintendo's big Wii U title for the end of the year. Not that it doesn't look like a blast.



Kirk commented on If Nintendo Did Decide To Make A Smartphone, W...:

It's part super retro cool but part meh at the same time.

It's one of these ideas that you think would be awesome, until you get one and realise all the limitations and issues with such a design, especially for old school gaming.



Kirk commented on Review: Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (Wii...:

I found the first game genuinely brilliant, apart from the CE powers near the end that were a bit too unpredictable and unfair imo. If it weren't for the powers I'd probably call it another example of basically "perfect" game design. I can't remember if I played AW2 enough to have an opinion on it. It looks solid though.

I wish Nintendo would make a new Wars game that's just like this but rendered in lovely 3D, similar in art style to that seen in the recent Ace Attourney games, yet with the same traditional slightly tilted top-down view for the main strategy gameplay. Also like how the recent Pokemon games have went all 3D but still roughly kept the same view as the classic games:



Kirk commented on The Famicom is 32 Years Old Today:

I always liked that you could properly sit the controllers on the actual console unit with the original Famicom. It's just a nice little touch.