Let’s Give Developers a Break

We all share a passion for one thing: Video Games. Let’s face it, we love them. If we didn’t then we wouldn’t bother with them of course and would choose to spend our free time doing something else like reading a book, watching a film or dare I say it: go outside!

There would be a huge hole in our lives without them, not only from the time spent actually playing them but also talking about them with friends, collecting the merchandise and for some of us even earning a living. So with that in mind, why do we always moan so much about them?

The amount of work that goes into making a video game is undeniable. Whether it’s a team of 100 or just a guy by himself, games take years to build, refine, test and mass produce. One game will dominate a person’s life, putting in more hours than they are even possibly paid just to make sure the product is as perfect as possible and that the fans will spend their money on something incredibly worthwhile.

Admittedly, some games (without naming names) do miss the mark completely and I understand that. Occasionally you can tell that there wasn’t enough effort pumped in to the production and the final result is pretty disappointing. However I’m focussing on the titles that do very much hit the target, that provide a thrilling experience and deliver an adventure that we’ll talk about for years; yet still people degrade them for rather meaningless and somewhat tedious reasons.

There are those games that have so much love poured into them, with obvious attention to detail that should only be admired, yet still they are put down for inconsequential reasons. A few examples of frankly pathetic reasons why players consider themselves unhappy include the following:

  • Framerate – The amount of frames per second utilised during game time. Usually either 30fps or 60fps (or a mixture of both), players seem to think that every game must run at the highest amount of frames to be considered even playable. The difference is noticeable, but not a deal-breaker by any stretch. The main problem is when there is a definite ‘drop’ in framerate, usually due to the amount of data on the screen at one time. The game may stutter slightly in order to catch up. Again, it’s noticeable but in most cases is very rare and doesn’t disrupt the experience too greatly, especially in single player games where the enemies will stop along with you.

  • Bugs/glitches – There are not many games out there with their own bugs that have passed through testing. The problem with video games is that everyone has their own experience and move at their own pace, in their own direction. Developers can only do so much to test their product. Game-breaking bugs and glitches are obviously a huge issue and should be eliminated immediately, but the occasional NPC walking through a wall is annoying but forgettable. Developers continue to patch their game months after release to eliminate bugs as much as possible, where the bigger and better games have more scope for mistakes.

  • Load times – Another contentious issue but again hardly enough to put me off buying a game. As before, the bigger the game the more that is required to be loaded on to each screen. If I have to wait ten seconds to go to another big area then I can live with that, I would rather have that then constant mini-load times when traversing a large open space.

There are more of course, but these three in particular are what seem to float around the forums and reviews more than others. As I keep saying I am not ignoring these faults, and they can slightly annoy me in excess but at the same time I massively respect and appreciate what the developers have gone through to give me such an outstanding product.

‘Laziness’ is a term that gets banded around by players far too loosely when talking about the development team. By bemoaning the creators of a 100-hour epic with thousands of side-quests full of fully-voiced characters in a fantasy land designed from scratch, but still calling them lazy is quite shallow if the reason is just because of selection of flowers don’t quite blow in the wind for example.

Another frustrating aspect is surrounding release dates, specifically delayed release dates! Unfortunately we can’t have it both ways, as a game does take time to create and then be polished to eliminate bugs and issues. This can be rectified by developers though with their decision to announce release dates far too far away, by making 100% sure of their product being finalised before any decision like that is made (Fallout 4 doing that perfectly this year – although there are a lot of unhappy players regarding the game’s problems).

The main fulcrum of my discussion is this: I would (personally) rather have a game full of things to do and see, with interesting and diverse storylines to pursue that does run at 30fps, has a few little bugs and crashes once every 30 hours as opposed to a perfectly running game stripped of all fascinating and exciting gameplay, hidden extras, massive worlds and colourful characters. Games are not like films and books, we all have our own experiences that the developers must cater for. We can’t always see only what the creators want us to – if we did, the experience would be much duller in comparison.

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