Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Valve: "Sweat Box"

Valve tests Left 4 Dead to see how much you're sweating during play, as if that could be useful information in any context. Is this related to that Director stuff, where the game makes itself more difficult depending on how "stressed" you are(despite the fact that it has no way of knowing that unless you literally hook yourself up to it)?

Let's say they used this sweat information in their games, and it would alter itself depending on how much sweat you've accumulated. What if they're just playing on a hot day in a room without air-conditioning? What if they're playing in the winter? Instead of designing encounters around nebulous, unrelated bodily functions, why don't they base the in-game difficulty on how much health and ammo your team has? What else have they got planned? Will they patch the game so that it spawns a Smoker every time I really have to pee? How is this making their games better?

This is why Left 4 Dead sucks out loud. You can't make the game harder or easier depending on how stressed out you think I am. But you can use the same information I'm using to determine how stressed I should be. Things like Health, how many team-mates are still alive, how much distance I have to cover to get to the safe room, whether or not I have first or second-tier weapons, whether I have a lot of pipe bombs or molotov cocktails or none, etc.

You wouldn't believe how many times I was playing this game limping, on my last hit point, with only one team-mate left alive, both of us down to our pistols, and the game decided I wasn't "stressed" enough. So they put a Tank in front of the safe room.

These idiots are not seeing the forest for the trees.



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