Zileas' List of Game Design Anti-Patterns

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plasmatorture

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Senior Member

07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zileas View Post
People commonly see game design as an artsy 'creative' field. Aspects of it are, but even creative fields have a lot of basic principles to them... if you talk to really senior creatives in Hollywood there's definitely a method to the madness. If you talk to a famous artist, there's lots of technique they've mastered which are repeatable. Game design is significantly more analytical than either of these fields, and like you say, there's an engineering process to it. I see game design as an engineering field, where you do need creativity and innovation, but you also build upon principles that work.
You really think it's significantly more?
All creative work gets analyzed and iterated like crazy before it reaches its final product. The difference is in quality, a good game designer/company, composer, author, director, etc. is going to spend significantly more time and effort with the analysis than a bad one, but I don't think the difference field to field is that great.


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AKA the team

Senior Member

07-14-2011

The difference between rupture and:
-endless rage
-diplomatic immunity
-soul shackles
-rammus
etc. etc. is?
There aren't anything wrong with those skills nor are there problems with rupture. Pretty sure you learn after two times not to move, a teammate would probably even tell you.


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JohnPetrucci

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Senior Member

07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA the team View Post
The difference between rupture and:
-endless rage
-diplomatic immunity
-soul shackles
-rammus
etc. etc. is?
There aren't anything wrong with those skills nor are there problems with rupture. Pretty sure you learn after two times not to move, a teammate would probably even tell you.
wait... what?
are you comparing rupture directly to those abilities, or are you saying that they require the same amount of knowledge to play around


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AKA the team

Senior Member

07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnPetrucci View Post
wait... what?
are you comparing rupture directly to those abilities, or are you saying that they require the same amount of knowledge to play around
That they require the same amount (a very small amount - like one game) of experience facing a champion to realise what they do.


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Zirest

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Member

07-14-2011

So, when's the random attributes getting removed (crit & dodge)?


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BuildPolice

Senior Member

07-14-2011

Your description of fun vs. anti fun I think comes down to a broader 'control' issue - which is anti-fun tends to be any powerful ability which you don't feel you have control over whether or not it is effective.

Consider Urgot, if you get hit by his E, there's a self-responsibility to it where it's less frustrating, you didn't dodge and so you get punished for it.

However his follow-up Q can be frustrating because it's so impossible to out-range or avoid those attacks that it feels like you're helpless to its power. While this isn't really the case since dodging the E was your chance, it still carries that feeling.


This effect carries over to other champions. Zilean's bombs, long range and they hover over you before exploding leaving you a feeling of adding insult to injury.

Karthus' ult. There's no effective way to avoid it other than being in your fountain, or hoping your BV didn't get popped in the fight. You can mitigate it, but you can't hope to out-position it, and it's global and can be cast while he's dead, so if he's smart it can't be interrupted. This leaves you feeling helpless to it.

It comes down to a design choice:
Give everyone an absurd amount of control over their opponents, such that whoever gets an early advantage in a fight basically wins. This would be like Rogues in WoW opening with a stunlock versus getting popped out of stealth and losing the advantage. This would be similar to a champion like Alistar, although I feel no LoL champions truly carry so much control, because it doesn't follow this design principal.

Or give everyone very little control of their opponents, but control of their own powerful counter-abilities. These would be likened to full glass-cannon type classes like Elemental shaman in WoW who bring little in the way of CC or utility, but can use smart play to position and do great damage. Something like Brand.

League tends to lean more toward the latter.


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Svirf Neblin

Member

07-14-2011

Yes, this was a super cool read. Thanks for the insides to design theory.


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AncientSpark

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07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogonk View Post
Film-making is a fantastic comparison. It's high budget, high risk, it has an enormous amount of people working on it but a limited number of people in positions with real creative control. And ultimately, its purpose is ambiguous. Is it just there to entertain us for 2 hours? Or can it change us? Can it reveal the world to us in new and exciting way? Can it create worlds of its own?

Let's say there's a filmmaker who makes a film that he believe in, that has a clear artistic vision, but that is not completely transparent thematically and involves motifs that bother some audience members. Let's say he releases that film. Voila, we have Taxi Driver.

Let's say that same filmmaker produces a film, but then consults a focus group. He finds that 20% of every focus group has no idea what he's trying to do, and 30% of every focus group loathes the film because of its content. So he excises the portions that offend people and changes the ending to wrap up all the loose ends in a nice little bow. Iterate that process a few hundred times as people learn from "repeatable techniques" and you wind up with premasticated garbage. Iterating the process to make a "good" game 1,000 times doesn't yield a "great" game. It yields mediocrity. If the best possible film can only be understood by half the people who watch it, so be it. If the best possible game involves a high burden of knowledge, too **** bad.

The fact that game design is more "analytical" than filmmaking doesn't mean that it has to be approached with the soulless practicality of designing an engine.

Do you know the origin of combos in fighting games? Where it began? In Street Fighter, players discovered a glitch which allowed guaranteed hits during the recovery frames of certain moves. They discovered that these guaranteed hits could lead to more guaranteed hits, and so on. The game that people played had only a tangential relationship to the game that was intended. It was ludicrously unbalanced, as the central mechanic of the game as it was played was never even addressed in balancing. But it was beautiful. It became the core mechanic not merely of one game, but an entire genre.

If something like that was found in League, you would "fix" it next patch. "Hmm, that's not what was intended. Get rid of it." Convoluted or contrary effects yield unintended uses. Unclear optimization forces decision making that may not be as "satisfying" in a superficial, "hey, I did it right!" sense, but that is considerably more complex and interesting. I'm not interested in "hey, I did it right!". I'm interested in "hey, I never thought of that!". You should be too, if your intention is to make something amazing.

If your intention is merely to make something "fun", you're on the right track. But you're not going to make anything that has more than superficial appeal with that mindset. It's probably an ideal approach for making an existing game more viable commercially (which is what LoL is, a slicker, more accessible version of DotA). It's a terrible approach for actually creating something new.

These aren't principles for game design. They're principles for product design.
*snicker*. Really? You're bringing up FIGHTING games as an example of "anti-patterns" sucking?

Mogank, you don't get it.

Do you know why fighting games didn't fix their glitches? It's because...
a) It was the era before patching became commonplace or
b) The gain of keeping such a glitch in was interesting gameplay.

In effect, this is what you said. However, what you don't realize is that fighting game designers DO look at similar anti-patterns, they look at what anti-patterns these glitches are violating, and then they decide what is the gain of keeping those glitches in. Yes, they don't blindly adhere to these rules, but unlike what you're suggesting, they do not ignore them. Otherwise, why would you get constant patching of glitches in today's fighting game scene? That is similar to how League of Legends does it. In fact, I suggest that if you want to know about fighting game design and how they are similar to these rules, go read David Sirlin's blog and his design choices in SF2 Remix. You will see parallels to that and these rules here, and what were the tradeoffs they had to make at certain points, if you have any design and logic senses. In fact, a majority of the choices were to make the game SIMPLER.

Look, if you really wanted me to, I could run through all these anti-patterns and give you some examples of a violation in League of Legends. The difference is that there's tangible gain there. THAT's why it's interesting. Not some illogical "there's no set rules and no simplicity in design and that's why so-and-so is interesting." I can also do a similar thing for every decent fighting game and show you the design choices of why something was either made or kept in and a good 50% of the major features follow anti-pattern rules.


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GiantCheeseball

Member

07-14-2011

On the topic of Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-Fun (Really, really late in finding this thread. Redtracker popped it up for me.)

Not going to mention that one summoner spell, since everyone has one that needs to go. (Hint, mines rhymes with hash.)

But since you want this game to be competitive, a degree of un-fun will prevail overall. Someone shall win. Someone shall lose, and combined with the arrogant/"umad"/"lolnoobs" attitude the majority of the community has, there's not really much fun, just stress.

Besides, name something that's a competition, and fun. A case of "Loser goes home ashamed, having wasted his time" and "Winner gets the girls, the glory, and the gifts."

No. An eating contest doesn't count. Neither do Olympian sporting events (where country reputation is on the line.) There's no second place in this instance, and if there is, second place = first to lose. You get nothing.


TL;DR - Drop the "un-fun" logic. There's plenty of that in your game that you refuse to change, and yet you keep riding the Un-Fun Removal Express. Ironic, and somewhat annoying!


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AncientSpark

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07-14-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantCheeseball View Post
On the topic of Fun Fails to Exceed Anti-Fun (Really, really late in finding this thread. Redtracker popped it up for me.)

Not going to mention that one summoner spell, since everyone has one that needs to go. (Hint, mines rhymes with hash.)

But since you want this game to be competitive, a degree of un-fun will prevail overall. Someone shall win. Someone shall lose, and combined with the arrogant/"umad"/"lolnoobs" attitude the majority of the community has, there's not really much fun, just stress.

Besides, name something that's a competition, and fun. A case of "Loser goes home ashamed, having wasted his time" and "Winner gets the girls, the glory, and the gifts."

No. An eating contest doesn't count. Neither do Olympian sporting events (where country reputation is on the line.) There's no second place in this instance, and if there is, second place = first to lose. You get nothing.


TL;DR - Drop the "un-fun" logic. There's plenty of that in your game that you refuse to change, and yet you keep riding the Un-Fun Removal Express. Ironic, and somewhat annoying!
I slap you on the head for no reason vs I slap you on the head for a very legitimate reason that you understand. What's better? Yes, neither is GOOD, but one is obviously more significant than the other, right?

Now take the same example of instant kill nukes out of nowhere vs something that is counterable and understandable. That's essentially the comparison.

As for Flash, everyone complains about it, but there are more implications to removing it than people make it out to be, as said about a million times before on the forum. In a way, removing it might create more "anti-fun" than fun, even as broken as it is now. There have to be modifications to be made before then.