Interface: Ok, not great. The [Interface Hall of Shame] does not include games because it claims that "game interfaces are often part of the challenge of games." I disagree. I have played many games with good interfaces, and many more with bad ones. Chronotrigger's elegant, streamlined interface is part of its appeal; XenoGears rough interface is one of the reasons for my love/hate relationship with that game. ChronoCross choked on the lack of a useable interface for the element system. The Zelda games have thrived on quick, clean interfaces. I'm convinced that one of the reasons Blizzard games do so well is good interface design.|
Interface: Ok, not great. The [Interface Hall of Shame] does not include games because it claims that "game interfaces are often part of the challenge of games." I disagree. I have played many games with good interfaces, and many more with bad ones. Chronotrigger's elegant, streamlined interface is part of its appeal; XenoGears rough interface is one of the reasons for my love/hate relationship with that game. ChronoCross choked on the lack of a useable interface for the element system. The Zelda games have thrived on quick, clean interfaces.|
I guess I haven't given you my rant on Blizzard's build interfaces and why a typewriter is NOT an acceptable gaming controller. :)-AlexBobbs|
''I should clarify what I mean. I've never thought that Blizzard's RTS interfaces were outstanding, just good compared to the stuff available at the time (Warcraft III is step backwards, in some respects, because Blizzard has adopted the attitude that the interface is part of the challenge, which I disagree with; Diablo II's interface is solid because it's configurable). Blizzard's interfaces, like the rest of their product, are well-built but not innovative or spectacular in their own right.
Keyboards are good for controls in some games: have you ever tried to play CivilizationII? on game console controller? Not pleasant. If you complain that this is unfair comparison, since CivilizationII? was designed for the PC, try playing the RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms? games by Koei, or any of the other variants on the same theme: the controls are awkward and annoying because you don't have mouse select and keyboard shortcuts. I'm convinced that turn-based strategy games work best on keyboards and mice. The mouse-and-keyboard combination works much better for FPS's than console controllers, in my opinion.
That said, lay it on me. I'm always interested in other opinions. --CurtisVinson''
"I suppose I should also start off by clarifying. I do not mean to say that a keyboard-and-mouse combo is a bad gaming device, by any means. I used the word "typewriter" to refer to the sheer number of letters that are used in Blizzard build interfaces. I have no problem with the interfaces to most turn-based strategy games and first-person shooters.
But, I digress... One of the main reasons that I never cared to finish Warcraft I or II and don't regularily play Starcraft is the cumbersome interface. For some unknown reason, the boys at Blizzard think that everyone who plays their games should have to memorize about 50 keyboard shortcuts. That is what I mean, when I say "typewriter". Oh, sure, you don't technically HAVE to memorize them, but the game feels really slow and clunky if you don't and you progress much slower (there's a reason I don't play multiplayer), as I'm sure anyone who's played the game can identify with. Building requires first selecting a worker, then finding the "build" icon, then trying to figure out which thumbnail represents the building you're trying to build, and then finally choosing a place. Spell-casters I found are even worse, since you generally have to use them quickly. I finally just gave up entirely on building things like High Templar entirely because every potential usage was basically a frustrating process of: find an available High Templar, select it, find the icon to select the spell, be told that it doesn't have enough energy, find ANOTHER High Templar, select it, find the icon to select the spell AGAIN, choose an area, then realize that the opportunity to use the spell is gone. Of course, all the Starcraft players will just tell me to memorize the damn shortcuts. I won't. Having to deal with that many keyboard shortcuts is annoying enough to make me just stick to single player, and furthermore, I object on principle to having to deal with poor interface design. Furthermore, the shortcuts are not even assigned WELL. Half the time, the shortcut is some non-intuitive letter in the middle of the word for the thing you want. And why does every race (for building, although I suppose Starcraft has an excuse here) and unit (for spell-casting) need it's own unique shortcuts? Can anyone explain to me why the hell spell-casting isn't simply assigned like "z=primary spell, x=secondary spell, etc.". Other RTS's have keyboard commands, but they're cleverly condensed down to a small number of intuitive commands.
The response I'm most likely to get for all my wanking is that RTS games are just so gosh-darn complex that Blizzard has no choice but to make the interface the way it is. This might be true, except that other games have found better ways of handling things. Hell, Homeworld has a much easier interface, and it's actually played in a full three dimensions! Take a simple hypothetical scenario. Let's say I want to build 5 "warships" (let this correspond to something appropriate for each game). In the mean time, I've got some fighting and exploring going on outside my base. Right now I only have enough money for one warship, but by the time that one is built, I will have collected more than enough money for another one, and so on. Here is what I have to do for each game:
Command and Conquer (Red Alert and earlier):
-Scroll down on side bar to "Warship"
-Click it again after each Warship is finished.
Command and Conquer (post-Red Alert):
-Scroll down on side bar to "Warship"
-Click it 5 times.
-Bring up the Build Menu (press B, one of four or so keys you need to remember)
-Find "Warship" on the menu
-Click on "Warship" 5 times.
Note that in these examples, I do NOT have to redirect my attention or camera away from the action to accomplish this building.
-Scroll back to your base
-Select a building that produces Warships
-Find the icon or remember the shortcut for "Warship"
-Go back to what you were doing.
-Repeat the previous steps for each Warship
I have a couple other issues with Blizzard RTS interfaces, such as the somewhat odd and inconsistant assignment of the left and right mouse buttons, or the mysterious feature that only lets you select a certain number of units at a time, but I think I'm done wanking for now. Despite my complaints, I do actually like Starcraft and Warcraft III a fair bit." --AlexBobbs
The discussion about Blizzard's interfaces has been moved here: BlizzardInterfaces.|