What makes a PC port "crappy"?

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This is what makes a bad port:

1. No rebindable keys.

2. No basic graphics settings (screen and texture resolution, anti-aliasing and FoV settings, etc.)

3. When a game requires advanced hardware to run smoothly and does not show anything for it, like GTA4 before it got patched.

RevRaptor:
A lot of people are claiming that poor keyboard and mouse support makes a game crappy and that has got me thinking.
I have always preferred gamepads and now controllers when playing on my pc and of course a lot of older pc games lack controller support.
So I use Xpadder it acts as a middle man translating button presses into keyboard commands allowing me to play any game with a controller.

I was wondering if there is a program like it that approaches this from the other end allowing you to choose your own custom keyboard set up independent of the game. could be worth looking into :)

Sort of. Before I caved and bought a controller I spent a lot of time creating scripts in AutoHotkey. AutoHotkey is a great tool (and it's free) but each game has its own input idiosyncrasies that can cause serious headaches.

Saints Row 2 is the perfect example of a bad port, my pc (a rig that could max Crysis) at the time was probably triple the minimum specs yet it still ran terribly, fps drops, freezing and crashing make it a bad port. Another one would be GTAIV, that thing ran well till it started raining.

Then theres the flat out lazy ports that dont change the 360 control onscreen icons for keyboard ones.

Bad mouse "movement" when looking around. Normally if I get that mouse issue in my PC port, I'd just plug in my controller.

Ironic that you'd bring up XCOM:Enemy Unknown, as that was my first thought as to a horrible PC port. I've been playing it in order to review on my blog and, well, I've had graphical glitches, UI glitches, targeting glitches, ability glitches, a glitch that left me no option other than to restart the game, and a glitch that now prevents me from saving my games, and I've been playing this on two different PCs to try to finish it. It's become my poster child for "I've had less glitches in Obsidian games than this" examples.

I don't care about graphics, all that matters to me is if the experience is enjoyable. Yes, it's nice that some games like Spec Ops: The Line let me tweak graphics to my preference, but so long as it plays well and I have fun, I don't really care (I even put up with the truly horrid The Force Unleashed PC port that would sometimes take 10 installs just to install correctly).

The major things that will kill a game for me when it is ported to PC are not really graphics related and all of that. I mostly care about the ability to have options I can change within the game. I want a lot of options to rebind keys, adjust settings, and I don't want mouse acceleration locked on or so help me god...
A user interface designed to take advantage of keyboard and mouse and the high resolution of most PCs. I know people will say that if the game runs best on controller, just use that. That is all well as good but if you ported a PC game to a console and insisted you have to use a keyboard and mouse, the shit would hit the fan. As well as optimized to run on the PC so that I am not feeling my beastly PC slow to a crawl even though the game looks like ass.
So yeah, I care a lot more about user interface and controls when it comes to a PC port. I understand that the game might not look as nice as it could. Although, I believe most games are designed with very high textures and then scaled down to suit consoles, so it is kind of annoying to not get high quality textures as well.
-EDIT-
Floaty mouse movement falls under 'controls' but has to be mentioned because its infuriating.

I didn't see this mentioned, but some ports even the gamepad options blow chunks if you don't have an xbox360 controller. I have a logitech, some games have no options to really change the gamepad, and I need to run x360ce, which half the time for me doesn't reassign the buttons for me, or inverts the analog stick.

Saints Row 2, GTA 4, games that run on a 360 easily but on a PC that's far more powerful it has large framerate drops and other issues. That's them doing a crappy porting job.

Other BS includes games not having the ability to customize the controls like Mass Effect 2 & 3, so you're stuck with spacebar being the button to interact, use cover and sprint vs Mass Effect 1 which allowed you to use shift to sprint, E to use etc.

Controls, keybindable keys, interface for mouse & keyboard not radial menu bullshit, FoV slider, locked FPS, mouse acceleration forced on (so you have to look in ini files to disable it if they don't put an option to turn it off). These are one of the few drawbacks that "shitty" console ports have which I don't agree with at all when they show up on PC ports.

Lazy developers are lazy if they don't bother trying to fix these things.

For me, a good PC port should have the following:

- Advanced graphics options (FOV, post-processing, resolution settings, DX settings, etc.): All visual aspects of the game should be able to be tinkered with and adjusted by the user.

- Advanced audio options: Speaker type, and other various hardware options. I'm not as big on this one though.

- A robust user-defined save system: This is something that really annoys me. This feature has been standard on PC games since the late 80s. It wasn't until console games started to be ported that PC games were left with little more than checkpoints; remnants of their console heritage. I take issue when core features of the platform are sacrificed for a quick port.

- Optimized controls: The keyboard and mouse layout should be customizeable. To simply have the controls set in stone is unacceptable for a PC game.

- The option to host a dedicated server for multiplayer: This goes without saying. A server browser is a must as well.

- Optimization: No crashing, freezing, etc.

My problem with ports is that so many lack the basic features that PC gamers have come to expect such as those above. My list is very general, however, and it is by no means all inclusive.

Rylee Fox:

I suppose you didn't totally read my OP. I do own skyrim and I agree the interface was built for a controller, which is why I use one. =P Is using a controller with your PC really that bad?

It is that bad for those of us who played Morrowind, whose PC version had the interface made for mouse and keyboard.

Sometime between Morrowind and Oblivion, the User Interface became worse.

There is such a thing as a usability factor; that is how much information an interface can clearly communicate and manipulate at once.
Businesses outside of video gaming have wrestled with that for years; there are still command line prompts in some working applications despite the advent of GUIs and mouse controls because they still serve practical functions (like in computer networking and routers).

More directly, ff that break in functionality doesn't bother you because you use a controller, fine, it doesn't bother you.
But it definitely bothers me because I know that could be fixed in a day or two if Bethesda put forth the effort.

Snotnarok:
Saints Row 2, GTA 4, games that run on a 360 easily but on a PC that's far more powerful it has large framerate drops and other issues. That's them doing a crappy porting job.

Other BS includes games not having the ability to customize the controls like Mass Effect 2 & 3, so you're stuck with spacebar being the button to interact, use cover and sprint vs Mass Effect 1 which allowed you to use shift to sprint, E to use etc.

You can rebind them in ME 2-3, I use E instead of spacebar.

sneakypenguin:

Snotnarok:
Saints Row 2, GTA 4, games that run on a 360 easily but on a PC that's far more powerful it has large framerate drops and other issues. That's them doing a crappy porting job.

Other BS includes games not having the ability to customize the controls like Mass Effect 2 & 3, so you're stuck with spacebar being the button to interact, use cover and sprint vs Mass Effect 1 which allowed you to use shift to sprint, E to use etc.

You can rebind them in ME 2-3, I use E instead of spacebar.

Yes but you can't rebind E to be use only, it'll be use/sprint/cover. I wound up changing it to shift and space to powers. Which is just irritating. I'm not even sure you can use a controller on them (not easily anyway) so it makes it more confusing why they grouped the keys like that.

Poor optimization, bad or no graphic setting options, but mainly what pisses me off (and most fans from my observation) are controller optimized menus.

My best example is Skyrim, the interface of which was terrible with a mouse and keyboard. Thankfully there is a mod to fix this, but it's just pathetic that Bethesda and a number of other HUGE companies can't just make a few new assets to make menus more PC friendly on their MULTIMILLION dollar titles.

I think the real heart of the hate though is the fact that it makes it obvious you're playing a game optimized for a decade old console.

Mind you I'm with you on the controller bit, some games were meant for a controller and should be played as such, I wouldn't want a keyboard and mouse for Street Fighter after all, but for any first person shooter (which I'd be mental to play with a controller) they should really just optimize the menus.

SkarKrow:
Skyrims UI could work with a mouse if you ask me but it's just so badly set out and thought through it doesn't work. You really should be able to just click through the entire interface, it seems like it would be perfectly possible to do that, maybe pushing E or something now and then but no, you need to mash all kinds of keys and use the mouse too an dit's poorly thought out. I usually find the mouse and keyboard controls for recent bethesda games a bit lacking though.

Bethesda doesn't know what to do.

With Fallout 3 und New Vegas, they utilized the Pip Boy as an inventory interface but navigating it was such a chore. Back and forth. It was annoying. And obviously, consistent. Because, technically, it was being done in game, real time be damned.

And then in Skyrim, they put in this interface which goes antithetical to what the game has going. They could've used.. I'unno, scrolls as an inventory system? Much like a book. It would've been annoying too but at least it was would've been annoyingly consistent with the world at large. :P

Bad controls that require a whole rework of the control scheme. GTA: San Andreas RC plane mission comes to mind with it's sloppy controls that causes your plane to fly all over the place.

Games that require you to mess around with the files before you can get them to start. It took me a week to get GTA 4 to work and along the why there was much frustration.

I just getting into PC gaming and this was my experiences with bad ports.

Dirty Hipsters:
If the game doesn't run well with a PC, regardless of hardware, it's a bad port. GTA4 can barely run at any decent framerate out of the box (you can mod it to make it playable), regardless of how powerful a computer you play it on, that makes it a bad port.

If a game doesn't allow you to use a mouse in menus, that's a bad port, or if the controls aren't set up to utilize the keyboard layout well, that's a bad port. If the game highly limits your options in terms of graphics and sound settings, that's a bad port.

Goddamn it you beat me to it, but yeah, more or less what this guy said.

mParadox:

SkarKrow:
Skyrims UI could work with a mouse if you ask me but it's just so badly set out and thought through it doesn't work. You really should be able to just click through the entire interface, it seems like it would be perfectly possible to do that, maybe pushing E or something now and then but no, you need to mash all kinds of keys and use the mouse too an dit's poorly thought out. I usually find the mouse and keyboard controls for recent bethesda games a bit lacking though.

Bethesda doesn't know what to do.

With Fallout 3 und New Vegas, they utilized the Pip Boy as an inventory interface but navigating it was such a chore. Back and forth. It was annoying. And obviously, consistent. Because, technically, it was being done in game, real time be damned.

And then in Skyrim, they put in this interface which goes antithetical to what the game has going. They could've used.. I'unno, scrolls as an inventory system? Much like a book. It would've been annoying too but at least it was would've been annoyingly consistent with the world at large. :P

I found both systems to be a huge ballache to navigate with a keyboard, mostly because the mapping is all over the place and some things that could be one key are four or five, or hell it could ALL be point and click and much simpler, in the case of Fallout and Skyrim at least. Oblivion isn't as bad with it's UI but I still have my niggles with the thing.

Rylee Fox:
I started doing PC gaming a couple of years ago and my steam collection is well over 100 games now so I like to think I'm familiar with PC gaming now. There is one thing that always bugs me though.

I frequently hear people say that a port of a game from console to PC is very bad and having played a few of those games myself (a newer one being Dark Souls) I don't really understand where the complaint is from.

Graphics: Sometimes I see people say that the PC port is bad because you can run it on the highest settings and it won't make your computer explode. I say is that such a big deal? Graphics aren't everything and I enjoy games just fine that don't push my (admittedly crappy) laptop to its limits. I run Skyrim on medium graphics, although I can run on ultra I just get a crapload of slowdown but its actually still reasonably playable. A game doesn't need amazing graphics to be good.

Controls: I see people say that if keyboard/mouse controls aren't perfect the port is bad, or if a controller is better suited to the game the port is bad. I don't see how. If a controller would work better, just use it. I've beaten Super Meat Boy and used a controller to do that, though when playing through XCOM: Enemy Unknown I haven't even ever thought of using my controller. In some games, like Borderlands, I've used both. I say, is the game still playable? If yes, move on.

I ask you, what do you say makes a PC port bad? Feel free to tell me I'm wrong as long as you tell me why and have a good reason. (I love a good debate)

Oh also I'm planning to start my 4th playthrough of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (I really love that game). I have finished it on normal twice (I'm not happy to admit I used a lot of save scumming for that, feel free to hate me.:P ) Though I just did a runthrough on classic without save scumming and finished while only losing a total of 8 soldiers. Think I could run a successful ironman impossible?

1) Graphics. You see, PC is a platform that is used to get a possibility to vary graphics from low to extra-high. Console ports, alas, tend to give us a couple of options at best and graphics on console ports tend to be actually WORSE then on consoles they come from. See Dark Souls, for example.
2) Controls. PC equals mouse+keyboard. Not everyone has gamepads/steer wheels/joysticks. If the game for console would be nearly unplayable with its main controller (say, PS3 gamepad), it would be as frustrating for console players, as for us, PC players, is developers inability to just simply make the mouse work.

SkarKrow:
I found both systems to be a huge ballache to navigate with a keyboard, mostly because the mapping is all over the place and some things that could be one key are four or five, or hell it could ALL be point and click and much simpler, in the case of Fallout and Skyrim at least. Oblivion isn't as bad with it's UI but I still have my niggles with the thing.

And let's not forget the most important feature of all inventory systems, which was missing from Fallout 3, New Vegas AND Skyrim.

mParadox:

SkarKrow:
I found both systems to be a huge ballache to navigate with a keyboard, mostly because the mapping is all over the place and some things that could be one key are four or five, or hell it could ALL be point and click and much simpler, in the case of Fallout and Skyrim at least. Oblivion isn't as bad with it's UI but I still have my niggles with the thing.

And let's not forget the most important feature of all inventory systems, which was missing from Fallout 3, New Vegas AND Skyrim.

I'm not too fussed about seeing the actual character in the inventory? So long as the inventory screen tells me what I need to know and is seemless and intuitive to navigate.

IllumInaTIma:
The most horrible PC port I remember is Resident Evil 4. It was basically Resident Evil 4 on some kind of Xbox emulator, no mouse support, no system options and no explanation of which button's which, so in the middle of QTE you would get X button shown on the screen and you won't remember what key on the keyboard corresponds to that.

I actually bought that...I beat it twice and had a lot of fun with it. It's still a fucking shitty port as it didn't even support a Gamecube Controller...And it was actually the PS2 version that was ported to PC. All of the Gamecube cutscenes were done with the in game engine actually animating the characters in real time. THE PC PORT HAD ICKY COMPRESSED MOVIE FILES!

RANDOM FACT TIME! If you did Something Super Terrible That I Totally Don't Support and got a Gamecube copy of Resident Evil 4 on your PC and ran it on an emulator, you can actually change the resolution, AA and texture settings.

Poor controls (especially mouse acceleration), bad optimisation & stability, lack of a proper options menu, not being able to tweak .cfg.

A locked FPS, few adjustable graphics options. bad optimization and bad transition from controller to M+K gets bad marks in my books. For example, the Syndicate FPS had poor graphics options and whilst id did allow for remappable keys, they only displayed controller buttons in the tutorials and QTE's.

The GTA games i would say too, especially the Rage engine ones. The GTA III games had few graphical options, some didn't work and the controller was lacking. The GTA IV games were poorly ported due too REALLY bad optimization, but provided a plethora of resolutions, graphics options, remappable keys and functioning controls.

A good PC port would be the first Mass Effect, it provided good graphical and controlling options whilst being properly optimized and had its interface redone for Mouse and Keyboard.

Rylee Fox:

mParadox:
No bugs, that's important.

Proper support for keyboard and mouse. That means adding support to re assign keys. An option which is left out in some games, I find.

Proper acknowledgement that PC gamers more or less use keyboard and mouse. Seriously, have you seen the UI of Skyrim and Assassin's Creed 3? Absolutely atrocious. Sure it works well with a controller, probably even marvelously but it's a complete chore navigating it with keyboard and mouse.

FOV slider. It's important. People play games to escape reality, not get sick. Motion sickness is a very real problem when the FOV scale is reeeeeeeeeally down.

I suppose you didn't totally read my OP. I do own skyrim and I agree the interface was built for a controller, which is why I use one. =P Is using a controller with your PC really that bad?

I have to leave for work now and won't be able to be back online until tomorrow so no more responses from me. I'll catch up next time I get on. Please continue everyone. :)

Personally i don't like using a controller, i like the keyboard and them mouse this is why i have a device that lets me use on on the xbox. If you ported a game to the PC and expect me to use a controller i most likely don't have that seems like a waste of both our time. The control scheme for a PC is dominated by the mouse and keyboard there are people who play with the controller but that not me, i chose the pc for the customization and accuracy that a mouse and keyboard afford.

What makes a port bad to me is a game that shows a lack of time spent in trying to make the game playable ie, if you are still using the xbox button icons in the tutorial video, i'll even let it slide that the key should change if you remap it providing you can do that. If you can adjust how you play the game to best suit you it starts to become frustrating before you start playing. In my opinion if the game is literally just a port meaning it just runs on the PC then its a bad port but if effort is put into to make the game run well and easy to use, like it is on the console, then its a good port.

SkarKrow:
I'm not too fussed about seeing the actual character in the inventory? So long as the inventory screen tells me what I need to know and is seemless and intuitive to navigate.

Which, coming back to the topic on hand, isn't something that the vanilla Skyrim UI and Fallout 3 and New Vegas do very well. :P

Display relevant information, sure, it works. But navigation? And intuitive at that? Yeeeeeah ha ha, no. Still, points to Fallout 3 and New Vegas for trying.

mParadox:

SkarKrow:
I'm not too fussed about seeing the actual character in the inventory? So long as the inventory screen tells me what I need to know and is seemless and intuitive to navigate.

Which, coming back to the topic on hand, isn't something that the vanilla Skyrim UI and Fallout 3 and New Vegas do very well. :P

Display relevant information, sure, it works. But navigation? And intuitive at that? Yeeeeeah ha ha, no. Still, points to Fallout 3 and New Vegas for trying.

Yeah it is a problem, Fallout 3 and NV are just weird, they always feel stiff to control for me compared to Skyrim or Oblivion I don't really know why.

Maybe it's that it's gun focused and the guns feel shit for the most part.

SkarKrow:
Yeah it is a problem, Fallout 3 and NV are just weird, they always feel stiff to control for me compared to Skyrim or Oblivion I don't really know why.

Maybe it's that it's gun focused and the guns feel shit for the most part.

That's also a problem, oddly enough. 3 and New Vegas feel incredibly stiff as opposed to Oblivion and Skyrim. Quite a conundrum. And yes, it's probably because it's gun focused. The variety of guns is, honestly, lacking. I mean, really, post apocalyptic setting and no one decides to mish mash weapons together? The horror...

mParadox:

SkarKrow:
Yeah it is a problem, Fallout 3 and NV are just weird, they always feel stiff to control for me compared to Skyrim or Oblivion I don't really know why.

Maybe it's that it's gun focused and the guns feel shit for the most part.

That's also a problem, oddly enough. 3 and New Vegas feel incredibly stiff as opposed to Oblivion and Skyrim. Quite a conundrum. And yes, it's probably because it's gun focused. The variety of guns is, honestly, lacking. I mean, really, post apocalyptic setting and no one decides to mish mash weapons together? The horror...

Yeah it's jsut stiff to move around and navigate the environment in Fallout, the gunplay is bad to say the least and it really needs some work, even compared to playing archer classes in TES it's horribly stiff and sloppy at the same time.

I also hate the weapon degradation. I always hate that though.

SkarKrow:
Yeah it's just stiff to move around and navigate the environment in Fallout, the gunplay is bad to say the least and it really needs some work, even compared to playing archer classes in TES it's horribly stiff and sloppy at the same time.

I also hate the weapon degradation. I always hate that though.

Weapon degradation is a mechanic. To show off realism. It makes sense that such a thing would happen in the post apocalyptic world but the rate at which weapons degrade is so arbitrary that it might as well not be there.

And I liked the Archer class in Skyrim. It was fun being a medieval sniper. >.>

mParadox:

SkarKrow:
Yeah it's just stiff to move around and navigate the environment in Fallout, the gunplay is bad to say the least and it really needs some work, even compared to playing archer classes in TES it's horribly stiff and sloppy at the same time.

I also hate the weapon degradation. I always hate that though.

Weapon degradation is a mechanic. To show off realism. It makes sense that such a thing would happen in the post apocalyptic world but the rate at which weapons degrade is so arbitrary that it might as well not be there.

And I liked the Archer class in Skyrim. It was fun being a medieval sniper. >.>

Yeah it's just kind of really annoying that i can't repair past a certain level and that I can never find a gun that doesnt die in an hour or two and i can't repair it with just any scrap metal with a blow torch.

Archery is fun in Skyrim but not if it's all you do, since it gets boring 1 hitting everything in a dungeong from hundreds of metres away without being seen.

There's a great mod on the steam workshop for archery, adds a bunch of different kinds of arrows and such. -goes to check his subs-

The Archers Arsenal.

I can't define what makes a bad port, but one thing that always irks me is the unnessecary "context sensitivity" that is carried over from consoles due to the lack of buttons. In ME3, there is no reason for the sprint and the "take cover" button to be the same - for consoles, sure, but on my keyboard I should be allowed to have sprint on shift and 'take cover' on E, or whathaveyou. Menus a la Skyrim where it sometimes fucks up mouse selection, causing you to pick the wrong conversation option or messes with the inventory is also a ridiculous mistake that should be fixed. In general, a crappy port, to me, is one that fails to "fix" the limitations imposed on the gameplay and handling for the consoles. I have a keyboard with a lot of buttons - let me use them. As for the argument that I could just use a controller, I'd like to think that a good port is one that actually ports the game, rather than ask me to turn my computer into a console. I do not like controllers, I do not own a controller, and I do not want to be forced to buy and use a gadget that I dislike solely because a game does not want to conform to the standards of the machine it supposedly has been optimized to run on. A game with optional controller support but which does not shaft the PC experience, like Trine, is great; everybody wins. But if I am required to forego the equipment I already own simply because the devs wouldn't spend the extra week or two to make sure that their product runs properly on the PC, I will not buy nor recommend it to anyone.

SkarKrow:
Yeah it's just kind of really annoying that i can't repair past a certain level and that I can never find a gun that doesnt die in an hour or two and i can't repair it with just any scrap metal with a blow torch.

Archery is fun in Skyrim but not if it's all you do, since it gets boring 1 hitting everything in a dungeong from hundreds of metres away without being seen.

There's a great mod on the steam workshop for archery, adds a bunch of different kinds of arrows and such. -goes to check his subs-

The Archers Arsenal.

See, I loved Archery. As it was. Amazing since I changed pretty much everything else in Skyrim. But, I did dislike the stealth bonus the game gave to Archery. It was too low in my opinion. It should've been like... 6 times the normal damage if hit unseen and from a distance.

Also, archery was pretty touted as an assassin thing. Good luck using it out in the open.

AND ALSO, I tried Archers Arsenal. It was good. Not a mod I would use all the time but it's fun to go on a rampage with. :p

Using a controller to play PC games is not a bad thing, being forced to use a controller to play a PC game is a god damn travesty. Yes, a controller just works better for certain games, SaintsRow 3 being one because trying to use the driving controls with a keyboard was painful, but then I played Farcry 3 and driving with the keyboard is a great experience, so I'll chalk it up to different engines/game types but I have my eye on SR3.

My biggest complaint with bad PC ports is the lack of customization options, if I can't rebind keys(as far as I'm concerned console gamers should be able to rebind control buttons and I know a slew of console gamers that agree with me) I get really annoyed and my likelihood of maintaining interest in the game drops as frustration with key placement grows.

The graphics is a issue too, though a lesser one, as there is no universal setup that will work for everyone(you see the same issues on consoles so its again more of a industry problem than just a computer one) and if I have trouble seeing whats going one, reading text or interacting with the environment because the game lacks proper settings control then the game will be placed lower on my mental list of quality and game companies I'm likely to buy from again.

Then there are just plain stupid decisions that make me want to punch someone while screaming "What were you thinking?!", a example would be Mass effect 2, where the space map was a mess, you had to hold the mouse in the direction you wanted it to go and then as you passed over the tiny space that the game equated as being over the planet let go and click a tiny button that popped up elsewhere on the screen saying you wanted to check out that planet, which you often couldn't reach in time before the ship drifted past the planet. ME2 is a shooter, I want a mouse and keyboard to aim with, I do not want to have to plug in a controller every time I get to the map to pick planets to mine or do missions on just to have a cohesive experience.

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