Video Game Features That Should Be Standard

Video Game Features That Should Be Standard

It may seem to be common sense to have intuitive features that can accommodate the large audience of players the game industry caters to.  But there are times when design choice or game options seem to be counter intuitive or limiting.  Sometimes a developer may have an option in an earlier title that has been removed in a newer title.  Depending on the option it can ostracize a number of the player base.  Below I would like to discuss various game options and how they should be standardized across the gaming industry.  Even something that seems to be common sense is something that can be overlooked by the best developers.

Camera

The Camera controls at times can make or break a game experience.  Sometimes a wonky camera or a poorly coordinated player will die from bad camera options. An adjustable zoom should be a standard feature especially with a free rotation or even a fixed isometric camera, but this is not the case in some games.  Specifically, many hardcore PC gamers called for an isometric view on the first Dragon Age.   With the free rotation camera comes another option that is overlooked, that being an independent x-axis and y-axis inversion. Is it so hard to be able to change one without changing the other, I have seen so many cases where a developer will have an option to either have both inverted at the same time but never separate the planes.  Camera sensitivity seems like common sense, but there are games that forget about that omit an aim/zoom screen where players can adjust the sensitivity accordingly.

Dark Souls Camera

Sound

We all love a good sound track and dialogue in games.  There comes times when the beautiful background music drowns out the voice overs or a sound effect becomes so repetitive it breaks immersion.  A master sound option with separate music, sound effects and voice volume options does wonders.  That is when the master volume controls works and you can hear the voice actor’s voice over even the lowest setting of the sound effects.  I’ve played through games needing subtitles even with this option.  Another option that would help with games especially with the prevalance of bluetooth head sets is a stereo or mono option, maximizing the sound experience dependent on if it is coming out of 1 ear bud or 2.  I know some games can sound down right creepy in surround sound on a head  set.

Game Headset

Visual

We all love our pretty graphics and cutscenes.  Games should come with advanced graphics settings.  If there is an option that can be changed, such as resolution, refresh rate, antialiasing, smoothing, etc. there should be an option to adjust it.  An option that is an offshoot but still goes hand in hand with this would be a setting for Windowed or Fullscreen mode, multiscreen mode, customizable game menus such as mobile window, variable window opacity and colors.  Obviously these previous options are mostly aesthetic and are mostly for the eye candy of a game.   Another feature that should be standard on both PC and Consoles is an option to have a visible or invisible HUD as well as custom HUD positioning.  Finally from the whole list of visual options an important yet so often overlooked feature would be having a colorblind and visually impaired setting, which is a feature I feel speaks for itself.

Graphics

Control Layout

So many gamers complain about the controls of a game, and often there are times they feel the button mapping wasn’t done well.  A lot of games have alternate preset controls and even custom button mapping.  I think developers have advanced enough to make this feature standard, especially as the complexity of games has increased. Gamers today are given many more button action options than ever before and are often asked to combine these button presses to perform further options. With every player unique, the tools should be customizable to their needs.  Also an optional left handed button layout wouldn’t hurt. Give some acknowledgement to all the lefties who get no love with games being right hand dominant.

darksouls3-controls

Other Features or Settings

In this part I’ll cover miscellaneous settings or features that are pretty much standardized.  Subtitles as mentioned in the part on sound is very important for poor voice work the hearing impaired or those who need to play games on low volume; an option to have them in every game that has dialogue or cutscenes is all that’s asked.  Speaking of cutscenes, every scene should be skippable including the opening and ending credits.  Autosave does wonders for the gamer whether they are a power leveler or lazy, yet I’d still like an option to turn it on or off.  The same can be said for a tutorial, they should all be optional or skippable. If I am playing a game with no new game plus I get sick of seeing the same tutorial and just want to play. With the beginning of a game in mind let me take a moment and say that in character creation it would be nice to be able to save created custom characters as a preset.  Moving on, minimaps should be toggle on/off and be able to use custom markers or indicators.   Something that has seen an uptick and would be a great option for games that could be unlocked after beating the game is a Sandbox Mode. So many players have put cheats into GTA or the Sims, so why not have a whole unlockable mode dedicated to it.  Player created content support is also a great feature that only a few games support, and I would love to see it more standardized.

Brolaire

Online Play

This is the home stretch.  There are online features that make the game easier to communicate with other players such as support for voice or text chat between your party. Furthermore if you have a loud home or hate the sound of your voice, there should be quick dialogue with commands and smart or common terms to message other players.  If a message doesn’t work in the game there could be an indicator ping accompanying the command.  Games that have lock on or targeting should show an indicator informing a player they have been targeted.  Finally optional cross region play should be standard. The world has gotten smaller through gaming and with internet speeds improving everywhere latency is becoming less of an issue. Let us play with our friends from across the planet! A more farfetched wish than expectation would make multiplatform games playable cross platform.

earth

If these options were standardized in all games it would make picking up a new game that much easier for a gamer, even ones the most set in their ways and many if not all of these do not require a lot of time to implement. If I’m allowing myself to really dream I would love to see intuitive AI enemies and companions, I want to be able to see 2 NPCs duel and never know the outcome or to have offline gamers get to feel as much unpredictability as online gamers. But that’s a problem for the technology of the future. In the meantime I’ll be happy with just a few tweaks!


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Been a Gamer since I could hold an Atari joystick. A game worshipper who has enjoyed and analyzed a many Games. Always wanting more of the games I love.

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20 comments on “Video Game Features That Should Be Standard”

  1. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    multiple colorblind modes
    FOV adjustments to help people who have trouble with motion sickness
    *multi-language* subtitles (ideally speech too, but I know lisencing issues show up there)
    making things like head bob/camera shake/ motion blur optional (again, motionsickness)

    Along with remappable controls, this is some basic accessibility stuff. Having to get through a learning curve is fine, being physically unable to play a game because I can’t understand the game, tell things apart, or keep my lunch down: not so much. There is no excuse for failing to do any of those. No "don’t want to pay for it" isn’t an excuse.

    Asside from what I added or reiterated because I feel it’s especially important, I more or less agree.

  2. Avatar Shimeon says:

    Things like bob/camera shake/motion blur shouldn’t be optional for some multiplayer games though, as it can be considered a mechanic that is part of the game. Making it optional would give an advantage for players who turn it off.

  3. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Then don’t design around an artificial gimp factor online.

    If it’s the result of something like a flashbang it should be short enough to not make people hurl to begin with, but using an alternate effect is ideal.

    Anything you could do with camera shake or headbob in terms of ability to aim you could also do with gunsway, so no excuse not to have that option. (PS, if everone has the option to turn it off everyone has access to the same advantage, the very definition of fair.)

  4. Avatar NPC_invader says:

    Yes, this should be a standar.

  5. Avatar dn1nd says:

    I completely forgot about Motion Sickness. That would have been a great feature to add to the Article. Thanks for brining it up.

  6. Avatar XuitusTheGreat says:

    I would say clever loading points would be something I want standard

    nothing kills the immersion harder than a loading screen out of nowhere (looking at you Killer is Dead)

    clever way of loading in enemies, map, etc always is something that should be standard

    it can be something as dumb as…. I don’t know a random fog wall ;)

  7. Avatar dn1nd says:

    The best Load points I saw was Assassin’s Creed Multiplayer, you would randomly spawn in group of clones.

    When it comes to load screens I have always felt it a great opportunity for a Developer to add a minigame.

    Now if you want to talk about clever ways to load in enemies, any cityscape has enough doors, manholes, dumpsters, or windows for enemies to spawn from.

  8. Jbumi says:

    I cannot stand when games have no save options. Limiting you to the one save they deign to give you can make it all too easy to paint yourself into a corner. This is particularly irritating if you’ve invested 20 or more hours – at that point I won’t restart; I just move on to another game. It’s why I don’t even bother to buy games like that anymore.

  9. FinklehurstOfLordran says:

    YES. Also in the same vein, the ability to turn off exposition fairies and other hand-holding. Skyward Sword would have been such a better game if you had that option.

  10. Avatar dn1nd says:

    Same Here I cannot Stand a Game that only AutoSaves and doesn’t allow a Manual Save. I know PS$ allows to restore from previous saves but that wipes out branching saves, and I have a tendency to use one character and select different options in 1 play through. Sometime I see a quest choice affects such late game that I keep spare saves at specific spots I feel I must go to.

    When you say Exposition Fairies, I just instantly think of Navi from Legend of Zelda and her endless hey listen voice over and over again, trying to give me hints I already knew or advice and objects I didn’t need.

  11. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Save system is the first thing I look at (along with controls) when deciding on a game. I love Bethesda for this reason…just save anywhere, period. Even Dark Souls has a great system in that you can get up and turn the game off anywhere except boss fights, then come back later. I was playing "Everybody Has Gone To The Rapture" last week for the first time, and went almost an hour without seeing an autosave. Haven’t turned it back on since. It ruins the game simply because I can’t start playing unless I know I have a long stretch of time.

    I nearly talked myself out of buying Zombi on sale this morning for the same reason, but decided I’d risk it for the price and the fact that I’m more forgiving of just about anything with zombies.

  12. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Save points and the spacing of are a critical aspect in survival horror (Like RE1 not like Left 4 Dead) and dungeon crawls. Some games are simply not ment to be played for under 45 minutes at a time, trying to force it may make them more accessible but it would lessen them for everybody. (what survival horror game is scary if you aren’t losing serious progress or are allowed to suicide run to get things and be better off then you were in the first place after a death?)

  13. Avatar dn1nd says:

    Didn’t RE1 limit saves by giving you a consumable item to use to save? I remember cursing that save system because I save alot.

  14. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Yeah, it did. Basically everything in RE1 is a limited resource. Kinda survival horrors/dungeon crawlers thing (though for different reasons.)

  15. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Honestly, I get that, and I do agree with you. Risk/reward is a huge part of SH games. But my point is that you can’t effectively bookmark progress if you need to shut the game off and do something else.

    It seems to me that more devs need to consider adopting a system like Dark Souls. You can stop playing wherever you are, but it’s always an autosave which can’t be reloaded. Best of both worlds.

    I recently started playing the Zombi port, which has an excellent, old school survival vibe. But this morning I went an hour and 15 minutes without access to any safe house for a save. No way to stop playing in the meantime (and imagine a power outage or game crash…that’s just needless frustration). So, here’s a perfect example of a game that could have incorporated the DkS model. If you die in Zombi, you respawn in the safe house as a different survivor. You have minimal supplies in your inventory. If you can make your way back to where you died, you’ll find the survivor you were just using, turned, but still wearing your backpack full of loot. One shot to get it back. I love that part of it.

    But again, you’re locked into keeping your console running without being able to bookmark progress. If they used the dark souls model, you could do this. Because it isn’t a "loadable" save, death would still bring the same consequences. If there’s a fear of purists crying foul, they could have a special hardcore mode where there is no saving, like Dead Rising had in its old overtime mode.

    Too many survival horror games cling to that worn model of using some kind of safe area to save. There’s no reason they can’t use both simultaneously, as I described.

  16. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    It’s not the best of both worlds. You potentially keep items and map data and such and the system requires a hyper specific mechanical/plot justification that just doesn’t transfer to many games, even many survival horror games.

    For starters both computers and the PS4 can enter a rest mode that keeps the game running without really being on, which irritates me for such games, but bookmarking progress is what save points are for. It’s a survival horror game, they’re very deliberately inconvenient so that every decision has to be considered carefully. As it happens this can and does include when and wether you should save/continue with save points as limited resources. It’s a good way of increasing tension, if you don’t have time for it that sucks but it’s not an inferior or outdated system and using both systems undercuts it.

  17. Avatar Drascoll says:

    Being able to set the game to 60fps should be minatory on PC especially for any game that is action oriented. I am more forgiving with Consuls on the issue of frame rate but if the game is to be 30 frames per second then there is no excuse for frames lost. As a rule of thumb always Aesthetics > Graphics. There are plenty of PS2 games that are perfectly serviceable in terms of Aesthetics if running at modern Resolutions and the cost of producing AAA assets is really crippling the creativity of the industry. AA Atmospheric Filtering, Anisotropic filtering and Normal maps are nice but if the art design of the game is not strong and the frame rate suffers then these frills add nothing of value. What is often more welcomed is a nice attention to detail and creative map design.

    I also personally would like to see a return to local Lan supported multiplayer for more games because while Online Play is fun it often just an excuse to backend pay to win transactions, shoe horn unwanted DRM and frivolous endless whining about balance from the community that will never satisfy anyone.

    A few features that in my opinion should only be ancillary would be Story, Voice acting and Cutscenes. If the core game-play does not hold up without these "features" then maybe the product should be left in the waste bin where it belongs. Even the best RPG’s hold strong because of there core mechanics first. Even for games that traditionally rely on storytelling the mechanics still come first. One of the many reasons Baldur’s Gate or Planescape are still popular was because they were built faithfully around the AD&D 2e and 3e rule set. Without that solid foundation no amount of good writing would have carried those games. The same is true for Traditional JRPG’s. Dragon warrior games generally had very rudimentary plots but their was something compelling about the mechanics that made the grind addictive and the same is true for Shin Megami Tensei. Compare these classic JRPG’s to FFXIII and is no supersize why the former are beloved classics and the later is generally loathed. Shoehorning your artistic statement into a game is not a formula for fun for anyone. Before you think about the artistic statement at least ask your self if it is enjoyable without these unnecessary affixes. I mean who ever worried about the plot, or cultural context before playing a game of dodge ball?

    Stories in video games was a mistake B-)

  18. Avatar Serious_Much says:

    One thing I would add is that a single player mode in a game must be minimum 20-30 hours long to allow the use of normal pricing. Anything less should reduce it’s possible marketable price.

  19. Avatar Emergence says:

    Does the presence of multiplayer (integrated or standalone) affect that for you? I tend to look for a dollar per hour valuation including time spent playing multiplayer. So for me Destiny having a short campaign is fine because I’m getting a lot of play time out of strikes, crucible and raids. If it’s a game like God of War I’m usually ok adjusting that and taking the whole package of 20-30 hours at full price for the cinematic experience I know I’m going to get.

  20. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    I know I’m not Serious but I’m responding anyways.

    I don’t look for $ per hour unless I’m broke so multiplayer in and of itself isn’t a factor. I’d happily pay $60 for The Last of Us without the multiplayer (a mode I’ve never even played) despite it being a 12 hour game but you couldn’t make me pay $60 for a CoD game even though I’d play it for 4 or 5 times as long.

    It does scale to an extent, if you expect me to pay $60 for a game i’ll only get 12 hours out of (excluding stupid filler content) it had better be glorious, but despite generally enjoying my time with DKS2 and playing far more than 12 hours I’m not happy I spent $60 on it an would go back and stop myself if I could, wait for a sale instead.


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