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Handling "GAME OVER" better


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GAME OVER screen should display your last score and go back to the title page if no button is held down after 10-20 seconds or so.

 

From a comment to Goatnom: Please dont do such things! As a Highscore-Player I can tell you it sucks if the Highscore-Screen goes to the title screen automatically. Just let the screen show your score until you press a button, so you have the time to make a picture.

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From a comment to Goatnom: Please dont do such things! As a Highscore-Player I can tell you it sucks if the Highscore-Screen goes to the title screen automatically. Just let the screen show your score until you press a button, so you have the time to make a picture.

 

Agreed! If a game has a significant scoring system, one that is usable for a competition, then it should leave the score in the Game Over screen and never switch out automatically.

 

If a game doesn't display the score in the Game Over screen, then it's fine for it to cycle back to attract mode or the title screen automatically.

 

-dZ.

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From the link:

 

 

A GAME OVER message should be displayed at the end of each player's game telling which player is out of the game. When all games in progress are over, the game freezes on the screen and the fire button is disabled for 2 seconds while the GAME OVER message is displayed. After the 2 second freeze, if the player presses the fire button, the game restarts at the same difficulty level and with the same number of players as was previously selected.

 

 

Til there everything is totally fine

 

 

If this action is not taken, after 20-30 seconds the game automatically goes to the Title Screen/Copyright Screen and Idle Sequence.

 

This isnt fine. The question is: Why? Just because the site says its a good idea? As a Player I have to say: It isnt. There is not a single reason for the game to change automatically if its a score based game. Just let the player choose when he wants to go to the title screen again.

 

There a plenty of situations where the automatic change just punishes the player. If he forgot to put the camera near the console. Or if the battery is empty, the memory card has no space left, of if you are just too slow. Or if you are playing with friends and you make an awesome score, but your friend is in another room when you die and so on.

 

So please, if its a game for highscores never ever let the final screen go automatically to the title screen. I played games which are doing this and I cursed them all for doing this. Because as I said: Let ME choose when I want to skip the final screen.

Edited by Ignorama
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Perhaps it can be configurable with some title screen setting? I imagine an unattended game at an expo or similar might benefit from automatic attract mode, while your use case strongly points towards no automatic attract mode. Not everyone at an expo would realize they need to press a button to get to the title screen and then restart the game, so they might walk past it instead.

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Perhaps it can be configurable with some title screen setting? I imagine an unattended game at an expo or similar might benefit from automatic attract mode, while your use case strongly points towards no automatic attract mode. Not everyone at an expo would realize they need to press a button to get to the title screen and then restart the game, so they might walk past it instead.

Well, if what you describe is an actually necessary use case, then I'd say it is incompatible to "normal usage." As such, may I suggest that a special "expo version" build be created with custom functions, or add it as a custom configuration,

 

Scoring games should allow the player to marvel at his score for however long he wants, in my opinion. Having a high score table helps, but only inasmuch as it is accepted in high-score competitions (which I expect is not the case).

 

In my opinion, playing in a HSC is a more common use case for a scoring game than attract mode at an expo or arcade hall. ;)

 

dZ.

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Nice Idea: Showing the Highscore-Screen and under the score a line which says "to return to the title screen..." or "to restart the game press button X". If you are bosslike offer both options in your highscore-screen, so the player not just decides when he leaves the screen, he also can decide if he want to restart with the same settings, or if he want to change the settings! Another advantage: The solution would work for HSC-players and Expo visitors :)

Edited by Ignorama
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There are two much simpler options :-

 

- Display the high score on the title page or as part of the attract sequence.

- Have a high score league table and a player initials entry screen.

 

After "game over", wait 20-30 seconds then go to the name entry screen or back into attract mode.

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It really depends on the game. If you look at Tropical Trouble, the score itself means nothing, you have to see the progress as well and the progress is shown in the game over screen only. Of course a Leaderboard would be nice, but if Tropical Trouble would have one, it wouldnt change anything on the fact, that you still need a pic of the final screen to verify your score.

 

As I asked before, what is the reason or advantage to restart the game automatically? I really cant get your point.

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It really depends on the game. If you look at Tropical Trouble, the score itself means nothing, you have to see the progress as well and the progress is shown in the game over screen only. Of course a Leaderboard would be nice, but if Tropical Trouble would have one, it wouldnt change anything on the fact, that you still need a pic of the final screen to verify your score.

In my own games I put the progress e.g. level, difficulty etc. on its HSC initials entry screen (if it has one).

 

As I asked before, what is the reason or advantage to restart the game automatically? I really cant get your point.

 

Its origins started in arcade game machines back in the day. They wouldn't just sit there at "GAME OVER" because that wouldn't make people go over to them and play. After "GAME OVER", the player might also have walked away from the machine so it wouldn't make sense to wait for further button presses. An arcade machine is designed to take money so they had to "attract" people to them by showing the game in action, high score league and a title page.

 

People at Expos mostly have no idea what an Intellivision is ( in the UK). After I tried running Mars Minis at Play Expo, people just didn't get on with the numeric keypad at all. I had to fall back to other games.

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I agree with Ignorama, and I reiterate that the most common use case is for HSC and showing off the score and progress than expo attract mode.

 

I really can't imagine an HSC accepting a screenshot of a leaderboard for an entry. There's much more information that can be included in the Game Over screen, apart from the fact that it shows a game session has completed.

 

That said, I recommend it be an option, so that "attract mode" is available for expo display, but the player remains in control of the feature.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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Nice Idea: Showing the Highscore-Screen and under the score a line which says "to return to the title screen..." or "to restart the game press button X". If you are bosslike offer both options in your highscore-screen, so the player not just decides when he leaves the screen, he also can decide if he want to restart with the same settings, or if he want to change the settings! Another advantage: The solution would work for HSC-players and Expo visitors :)

 

It's 2016. The vast majority of the world's population, at least that which is exposed to electricity, has at least a vague idea of how video games work. Believe me, I started with this design philosophy: "Press any button to start", things like that, and I quickly realized how silly that looks. You needed instructions like that - in 1981. You don't need them in 2016, unless your game uses some pretty complex input mechanism.

 

Having "any" input move a player from a title screen to starting the game, or from a game over screen to a title screen (etc) is the perfect solution for everyone. The only people who will be confused by a static "game over" screen, in 2016, aren't going to be playing the game anyway because they literally have no idea how to use a controller in the first place. Or they're 2600-only gamers who are used to the one console that forces the player to hit the reset switch to play again on many of its games. I believe that the 1987 doc was written that way precisely because so many early 2600 games did this. And it was annoying as hell. But they were still stuck in "home arcade system" thinking.

 

There's nothing worse than games made in modern times that force you to wait through artificial delays (forced credits screens before you can start a game), or automatically cycle you past something of interest (like any modern high score equivalent). We all know that input on a controller makes the machine "do something" by now. You don't need to tell us, and you certainly don't need to FORCE us - unless your input scheme is ridiculously unintuitive (and then I'd question why you did that in the first place).

 

Attract modes are useful for arcades and demo carts, but on a game I purchase for my home? They can serve a purpose - I love eye candy as much as anyone - but after the first couple of times I'm just skipping through them anyway.

 

Disclaimer: I got the privilege of watching a Millennial interact with an Inty for the first time at CGE 2014. She'd literally never seen a keypad-based controller - and the game that was on was Utopia. I... didn't spend much time trying to explain. Found another game pretty darned quick :lol: So I know how intimidating the controller can be. But still - she understood that pressing a button would "do something". If moving between obvious static screens was the goal, she'd have mastered it. Unfortunately Utopia was not that, but then explaining overlays... sigh.

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Disclaimer: I got the privilege of watching a Millennial interact with an Inty for the first time at CGE 2014. She'd literally never seen a keypad-based controller - and the game that was on was Utopia. I... didn't spend much time trying to explain. Found another game pretty darned quick :lol: So I know how intimidating the controller can be. But still - she understood that pressing a button would "do something". If moving between obvious static screens was the goal, she'd have mastered it. Unfortunately Utopia was not that, but then explaining overlays... sigh.

 

When I've demoed Inty games at the main Play Expo (UK's largest game event with 10K to 15K people through the door) I've seen all kinds of weird behaviour with the controller. Typically :-

  • Holding the controller horizontally so the disk is on the right and not the bottom.
  • Not catching on that the big gold thing is "the controller".
  • Pressing the keypad buttons to control the avatar which results in weird movement on screen (because I don't decode them individually).
  • Not noticing the side buttons at all.
  • Trying to play a single player game with both controllers at the same time.

With a quick controller tutorial, people get on with the games fine.

 

Mind you, its not all stacked against the Inty at these shows. You see quite a few people not holding a standard Atari style joystick the right way either (on other machines e.g. C64).

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When I've demoed Inty games at the main Play Expo (UK's largest game event with 10K to 15K people through the door) I've seen all kinds of weird behaviour with the controller. Typically :-

  • Holding the controller horizontally so the disk is on the right and not the bottom.
  • Not catching on that the big gold thing is "the controller".
  • Pressing the keypad buttons to control the avatar which results in weird movement on screen (because I don't decode them individually).
  • Not noticing the side buttons at all.
  • Trying to play a single player game with both controllers at the same time.

With a quick controller tutorial, people get on with the games fine.

 

Mind you, its not all stacked against the Inty at these shows. You see quite a few people not holding a standard Atari style joystick the right way either (on other machines e.g. C64).

 

I've noticed similar behaviour to that when I went to CGE-2012: Most kids hold the controller sideways, like if the disc was a D-Pad for the right-thumb. I understand why they do this, but like GroovyBee said, it only took a quick once-over for them to start playing. Yet, they all complained about it "being weird." :lol:

 

I understand the need for a "demo mode," where it goes automatically from Game Over screen back to title or attract mode: when encountering the Game Over message, most people just hang the controller back, and leave the console as is. The result is that passers by are not treated to a nice attractive sequence, or whoever plays next comes over and just stares at the Game Over screen while trying to figure what to do with the controller.

 

However, as I have said before, I question how prevalent this "demo mode" use case really is, especially when compared against the most common case where people just buy the game to play it at home. Because of this, I think the latter should get the priority, and for those, the "hit any key" paradigm keeps them in control and therefore is superior -- especially when progress and success information is displayed on the Game Over screen.

 

Personally, I think this is a non-issue for two reasons. First, when I demo'ed my game at CGE-2012, I was always around to reset the console back to the title screen when people left. Sure, I missed it a few times, but I always came back. People circulate around quite often so I don't think there was much chance to miss it.

 

Second, I've noticed that most people tend to press the shiny round button on the weird telephonie thingy. It is inviting and it looks like it should be pressed for something to happen. The most confusion I've seen is when games require a special key, such as a "fire button" or a keypad entry in order to change modes. In my opinion, if there is not a prompt with a cursor, most people won't know to press a key; and like GroovyBee said, a lot of people don't even notice the side buttons! :lol:

 

The disc, on the other hand, is shiny and inviting, and people seem to feel comfortable just touching it to see what happens. (Bonus curiosity: most people, when first encountering the disc, treat it as a Really Big Button and just push it down at the center. :lol: Can you imagine how this must feel? "Wow! This ancient console has a huge fire button! What were they thinking back then??" :rolling:)

 

-dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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How you approach the problem is mostly down to the developers personal style. For simple games, displaying the high score in the attract sequence or on the title page (preferred) is good enough. For games with a bit more depth I like to see a high score league table. Then you get a measure of your own progress, especially if there are higher default scores to beat. If there is screen real estate free on the initials entry screen you can display other information like the difficulty setting and/or level reached too.

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How you approach the problem is mostly down to the developers personal style. For simple games, displaying the high score in the attract sequence or on the title page (preferred) is good enough. For games with a bit more depth I like to see a high score league table. Then you get a measure of your own progress, especially if there are higher default scores to beat. If there is screen real estate free on the initials entry screen you can display other information like the difficulty setting and/or level reached too.

 

Agreed. However, if the scoring of a game is significant in such a way that it lends itself to tournaments (whether casual or official), like arcade action games, then I still suggest to put the progress information on the Game Over screen and freeze it there until the player actively switches modes.

 

I can't imagine a HSC ever allowing a screenshot of a leaderboard with initials as an entry.

 

-dZ.

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Anyway, the linked web site seems to stem from Atari's official guidelines from 1987. Is there a similar guideline from Mattel or anyone else? For instance, in the other thread it was mentioned that it is customary to implement a pause function by pushing two buttons at the same time. How about intro screens, can they traditionally look any way you want? Do you always need to push the reset button before starting to play, should you have keypad input to select number of players, difficulty (if applicable) or is it according to good standards if you simply wait for a "fire" button? Do we even need guidelines? I can't recall seeing any in the past competition, and I understand the jury didn't hand out points for games following a certain tradition, but as the subject has been raised, I couldn't help but not posing the questions.

Edited by carlsson
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The Atari 2600 game "standard" can be found here :-

http://www.atarimuseum.com/ahs_archives/archives/pdf/videogames/2600/2600_Standards.pdf

 

The Atari 7800 game "standard" can be found here (its different to the 2600 one) :-

http://www.atarimuseum.com/ahs_archives/archives/pdf/videogames/7800/7800_standards.pdf

 

I don't remember seeing anything from Mattel.

 

Edit: Had a quick look at Papa Intellivision but nothing obvious there :-

http://papaintellivision.com/

Edited by GroovyBee
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I have strong feelings on several things, such as no difficulty levels unless you advance, a max on bonus lives, title screens, etc, etc, including this GAME OVER stuff.

 

I don’t disagree with such 20-30 second auto-transfers after GAME OVER for the arcades, where, understandably, they need this feature to keep things moving and for the audience to keep shoving coins – they simply are not obligated to wait till you get back from the bathroom.

 

But they have no place on a retro game console, particularly the Intellivision, which is an entirely different environment in a home setting.

 

I've personally always liked the old school Mattel “freeze”. The game would simply stop right there, and display the GAME OVER message, and your score, and that’s it until a hard reset. The level was usually obvious as well.

 

And you can sit there and admire your result for as long as you like.

 

Yes, with later games they went with a high score format, and a soft resetting of the game, as well as maybe continued graphics, etc, but, nevertheless, they still allowed you to have your last game’s result displayed for as long as you like.

 

But, also, let's not forget that we are looking to extend the Intellivision legacy here, first and foremost. Sure innovation is nice, but it should also balance with a traditionalist stance of maintaining the console's original charm too, even it may be perceived as a "quirk" today.

 

And this balance I believe is especially more important with retro consoles, such as the Intellivision, and in this case an auto-transfer after 20-30 seconds would not be innovation, but a violation IMO.

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From the link:

 

 

Til there everything is totally fine

 

 

This isnt fine. The question is: Why? Just because the site says its a good idea? As a Player I have to say: It isnt. There is not a single reason for the game to change automatically if its a score based game. Just let the player choose when he wants to go to the title screen again.

 

There a plenty of situations where the automatic change just punishes the player. If he forgot to put the camera near the console. Or if the battery is empty, the memory card has no space left, of if you are just too slow. Or if you are playing with friends and you make an awesome score, but your friend is in another room when you die and so on.

 

So please, if its a game for highscores never ever let the final screen go automatically to the title screen. I played games which are doing this and I cursed them all for doing this. Because as I said: Let ME choose when I want to skip the final screen.

 

I didn't read this whole thread, but it looks like you are assuming that the high score disappears forever when the title screen comes up. It would only go away if the programmer doesn't make the program save it. For example, Seaweed Assault for the Atari 2600 saves the high score until the Atari 2600 is turned off:

 

randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-batari-basic-commands.html#ex_seaweed_assault

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I think what’s also important is the last score too – the last result may need sufficient display regardless of whether or not it beat the “current” high score. It should only be removed, whether the game resumes or not, only with the control of the gamer IMO.

 

As per the display of the “current” high score, I think its prominent display, whether at the title screen, during gameplay, etc, isn’t as important as at GAME OVER.

 

Also nice is an indication that the high score was beaten by the last score, especially if you only see the high score at GAME OVER.

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I think what’s also important is the last score too – the last result may need sufficient display regardless of whether or not it beat the “current” high score. It should only be removed, whether the game resumes or not, only with the control of the gamer IMO.

 

As per the display of the “current” high score, I think its prominent display, whether at the title screen, during gameplay, etc, isn’t as important as at GAME OVER.

 

Also nice is an indication that the high score was beaten by the last score, especially if you only see the high score at GAME OVER.

 

Seaweed Assault flips between the current score and the high score during Game Over and auto-play.

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