Options - Having Your Cake & Eating It, Too!

Zloth

Community Contributor
Options are a wonderful way to widen a game's appeal. Graphic options let you tailor a game's graphics to fit your system's capabilities and your own tastes (depth of field OFF!). Difficulty settings let you tailor the game to your own skills and even mood. Gameplay settings let you customize the game itself to what you find enjoyable. Back in the old Atari 2600 days, they advertised the different settings as making different games! Tanks shooting normal shots is one game, tanks shooting shots that bounce is another game, and so on. So those little cartridges might claim to have dozens of video games on them!

They also make for a great way to resolve arguments between players. I want fast travel, he thinks fast travel destroys immersion - give us the option to turn it off and both sides are happy. Aggressive saving techniques are a good learning tool vs. save scumming is bad: give us an ironman option. Everybody's happy! Well, maybe not everybody. The developers have to actually put these options in (and a screen to manipulate them - something the Atari 2600 couldn't really do). QA has to support them, which can get really rough as adding more options can raise the amount of testing needed exponentially. So yeah, we get to have our cake and eat it, too - provided the developers bake two cakes.

It can even get bad for players. I love seeing lots of options, personally, but piling on the options can be really intimidating for newer players (and older players trying out a new genre). For them, it can be like going to a fast food joint, ordering a hamburger, and getting asked what kind of cheese to use. And how many pickles should be on it. And do you want thick cut pickles or thin ones? Brown or yellow mustard? Oh, a double cheeseburger - we have rectangular beef patties, do you want them to line up or be at a 45 degree angle? Actually, here's a slider bar, just pick the exact angle you want. AAARGGG! On top of that, there's probably going to be options in there that won't even make sense until you've played the game for a while.

There's some help for those problems. Games can have an "advanced settings" section, where "advanced" is code for "stuff most folks don't care about." Putting settings in .INI files was really nice, too. Developers could call those 'unsupported' options and not have to worry as much about QA for them. Plus, people that don't know what a file system is can't touch them. :)

TLDR: Settings can't always be an easy way to agree to disagree. Please continue your forum fighting. ;)
 
Options are a wonderful way to widen a game's appeal. Graphic options let you tailor a game's graphics to fit your system's capabilities and your own tastes (depth of field OFF!). Difficulty settings let you tailor the game to your own skills and even mood. Gameplay settings let you customize the game itself to what you find enjoyable. Back in the old Atari 2600 days, they advertised the different settings as making different games! Tanks shooting normal shots is one game, tanks shooting shots that bounce is another game, and so on. So those little cartridges might claim to have dozens of video games on them!

They also make for a great way to resolve arguments between players. I want fast travel, he thinks fast travel destroys immersion - give us the option to turn it off and both sides are happy. Aggressive saving techniques are a good learning tool vs. save scumming is bad: give us an ironman option. Everybody's happy! Well, maybe not everybody. The developers have to actually put these options in (and a screen to manipulate them - something the Atari 2600 couldn't really do). QA has to support them, which can get really rough as adding more options can raise the amount of testing needed exponentially. So yeah, we get to have our cake and eat it, too - provided the developers bake two cakes.

It can even get bad for players. I love seeing lots of options, personally, but piling on the options can be really intimidating for newer players (and older players trying out a new genre). For them, it can be like going to a fast food joint, ordering a hamburger, and getting asked what kind of cheese to use. And how many pickles should be on it. And do you want thick cut pickles or thin ones? Brown or yellow mustard? Oh, a double cheeseburger - we have rectangular beef patties, do you want them to line up or be at a 45 degree angle? Actually, here's a slider bar, just pick the exact angle you want. AAARGGG! On top of that, there's probably going to be options in there that won't even make sense until you've played the game for a while.

There's some help for those problems. Games can have an "advanced settings" section, where "advanced" is code for "stuff most folks don't care about." Putting settings in .INI files was really nice, too. Developers could call those 'unsupported' options and not have to worry as much about QA for them. Plus, people that don't know what a file system is can't touch them. :)

TLDR: Settings can't always be an easy way to agree to disagree. Please continue your forum fighting. ;)
Speaking of piling on the options, a lot of survival games have gone to extremes, going so far as to let you choose things like how much your stamina ability goes up when you level, how much damage an NPC does per its level, etc. I actually love it. The important thing on this kind of philosophy is that the developer should still do all the work to get the game balanced for a "normal" difficulty. That way if you don't want to mess with all this stuff you don't have to.
 
Developers could call those 'unsupported' options and not have to worry
developer should still do all the work to get the game balanced for a "normal" difficulty
The most 'option-full' game I've played is Civ, it's one of the main reasons the franchise is an icon of gaming for 30 years. They always said the game was balanced for Normal Speed on a Normal map at Normal difficulty, so expect imbalance with other choices. Those other choice are what made it so fun for so long—and that's before applying any of the many fine mods.
 
The most 'option-full' game I've played is Civ, it's one of the main reasons the franchise is an icon of gaming for 30 years. They always said the game was balanced for Normal Speed on a Normal map at Normal difficulty, so expect imbalance with other choices. Those other choice are what made it so fun for so long—and that's before applying any of the many fine mods.
My brother, the weirdo, always plays Civ on the slowest speed. Yay, 200 turns to build a temple!
 
Nov 27, 2020
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Options are a wonderful way to widen a game's appeal. Graphic options let you tailor a game's graphics to fit your system's capabilities and your own tastes (depth of field OFF!). Difficulty settings let you tailor the game to your own skills and even mood. Gameplay settings let you customize the game itself to what you find enjoyable.
I love games that give me options: graphical (DOF is usually on for me), difficulty, and as many gameplay options as possible. We're all different and have a variety of PCs, so it's great when a game developer goes to extremes to give us as many choices as possible to tailor the game for as many players as possible..

They also make for a great way to resolve arguments between players. I want fast travel, he thinks fast travel destroys immersion - give us the option to turn it off and both sides are happy. Aggressive saving techniques are a good learning tool vs. save scumming is bad: give us an ironman option. Everybody's happy! Well, maybe not everybody.
Fast travel, I usually try to avoid it when it's available, though it really depends upon what game it is. In Skyrim I refuse to fast travel. I tried the same approach in FO4, but when I was inundated with settlement attack popups stating: "Sanctuary Hills is under attack!", "Sunshine Tidings is under attack!", and on and on; I gave up and resorted to fast traveling. Sorry, that was a long explanation that I agree it should, or could be an option in games that allow it; just a simple check box for yes or no. It wouldn't work in all games of course. I couldn't imagine not using Town Portal Scrolls in D2 Resurrected.

As far as saving goes, I'm a confessed save scummer as I stated in another post; at least when that option exists to save anywhere (outside of combat). But an option to limit that in some fashion would be good for those who feel you're not playing the game as the developer intended (whatever it was). Give us that "ironman" option to turn it off. More people would be happy, but you're right, it's not possible to please absolutely everyone.

It can even get bad for players. I love seeing lots of options, personally, but piling on the options can be really intimidating for newer players (and older players trying out a new genre).

There's some help for those problems. Games can have an "advanced settings" section, where "advanced" is code for "stuff most folks don't care about." Putting settings in .INI files was really nice, too. Developers could call those 'unsupported' options and not have to worry as much about QA for them. Plus, people that don't know what a file system is can't touch them. :)
It seems like some players today don't have the patience, or want to take the time to configure game options outside of graphics; they just want to jump into the game. Give us an "Advanced Settings" section as you mentioned, for those of us who like to tweak gameplay elements. I love doing that stuff, which is one of the reasons I mod many games. But by making it an advanced option, those that want to just jump into the game can still do so quickly.

My love for that type of configuration I think stems from playing older games where I could literally spend hours in the character creation screen. I can't get enough of it, but you rarely see it anymore. Playing games like the Realms of Arkania series years ago, where creating your party and their profession and choice of skills could take all day; and every choice you made could make a huge difference in your success or failure.
 
Fast travel … should, or could be an option in games that allow it; just a simple check box for yes or no
I don't get why a player who doesn't like FT can't just avoid doing it 🥴
I mean, I detest driving in games, but I don't want an option to turn off all vehicles—I just hoof it, not a problem… especially if FT is available!

save scumming is bad: give us an ironman option
Same as above—why is an option needed? Just don't save!

players today don't have the patience, or want to take the time
I think it's that today games are consumed like music, TV etc. There's nothing special about them as a medium. In the GOD of INI files and such arcana, games were special—I remember saying "Wow, look at what they can make my spreadsheet machine do—can your typewriter or calculator do that?"
So players don't want to tweak any more than viewers or listeners or readers do.

I think the whole options debate is much more about NOT providing them—if they're provided, then players can simply avoid using them. I mostly avoid using BFGs because they unbalance the way I like to play—but it's great they're there for the many who like them.

Options are a Good Thing!
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
It seems like some players today don't have the patience, or want to take the time to configure game options outside of graphics; they just want to jump into the game. Give us an "Advanced Settings" section as you mentioned, for those of us who like to tweak gameplay elements.
Can we have a slider to pick how many options we'll see? {Grinning, ducking, running}
 

Sarafan

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I like when a game has a lot of potential when it comes to customizing things. The more options the better, but there's a general rule that the game's settings should be set optimally out of the box. Not everyone likes to dive deep into the options. That's why the default experience should be enjoyable enough. Basically I like what Owlcat did with Pathfinder games settings. You can customize a lot of things, but if you don't want to, here's an optimal setup for you. And it works!
 
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Late to this game, but as far as fast travel goes, I definitely use it. I like it because you can either use it or not. You don't have to. If you want to explore, you can explore. If you don't have all day to game, and you just want to get something done, you can fast travel to save time and do the important stuff. I definitely think you should take some time to explore, too, though.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Horizon Zero Dawn has a new way to deal with that: you have to pay a little bit to fast travel. It's not really much, but it's something, which is enough to keep me from doing it when the place I'm travelling to is only a couple hundred yards away.
 
Horizon Zero Dawn has a new way to deal with that: you have to pay a little bit to fast travel. It's not really much, but it's something, which is enough to keep me from doing it when the place I'm travelling to is only a couple hundred yards away.
Hey, man, can you help me with that. I have like 3 hours into the game, and I've tried to fast travel, and it says you have to have a travel pack. Well, I finally found my first travel pack. So are you saying you can buy them? Do the merchants have them, or what? Can you carry more than one at a time?
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
So are you saying you can buy them? Do the merchants have them, or what? Can you carry more than one at a time?
Bandits have them sometimes and quests reward have them rarely. Merchants have them but you have to pay in more than just metal shards. The easiest way is to just make them yourself. Go to the crafting menu and you'll find them. (You can also craft larger pouches to increase your inventory, which you'll want to do soon! Sooner than you'll need fast travel!)

To get the parts, just run after animals and whack'm with your stick. Even wild boars go down with a couple of light hits, and they seem to have covered the world in this game.

P.S. Never EVER try chasing a boar like this in a game made by Piranha Bytes! Boars in ELEX, Risen, and Gothic will rip you to shreds. This is just a Sony game, though, so the boars are just hairy little piggies that would never harm anyone.
 
Bandits have them sometimes and quests reward have them rarely. Merchants have them but you have to pay in more than just metal shards. The easiest way is to just make them yourself. Go to the crafting menu and you'll find them. (You can also craft larger pouches to increase your inventory, which you'll want to do soon! Sooner than you'll need fast travel!)

To get the parts, just run after animals and whack'm with your stick. Even wild boars go down with a couple of light hits, and they seem to have covered the world in this game.

P.S. Never EVER try chasing a boar like this in a game made by Piranha Bytes! Boars in ELEX, Risen, and Gothic will rip you to shreds. This is just a Sony game, though, so the boars are just hairy little piggies that would never harm anyone.
Thanks, man. I guess I need to pay more attention to the crafting menu. Wow. I've only used it so far to make arrows.
 
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I'm seeing lots of chatter about ordering cheeseburgers and baking cakes here, but what about the whipped cream? There's very little point in having one cake if you're not going to eat it, and it'd be a crime to eat it without a little sumpin' sumpin' on the side. I vote stickin a dash of something stronger in there too, if I may be so bold.
 

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