Finer Points: Scripted Losses are Bad Game Design

I’ve ranted on Twitter a couple times about scripted losses in games, and a fair number of people still seem to think they’re pretty decent ideas, so I thought I’d get into the meat of what makes them poor design. The bottom line is they violate too many of player’s expectations in a lot of ways developers probably don’t even realize—like many issues in gaming, it’s really easy to overlook when you know what’s going on, but when you don’t, hoo boy.

Losing Sucks

So this isn’t news. But I think game devs underestimate just how a sudden loss can affect players. Allow me to tell you a story from my youth. From the ancient times, when all games were pixels, and “multiplayer” often meant taking turns in a single-character platformer or just plain ol’ watching a friend play a single player game all day.

I was playing Chrono Trigger with a friend on my Playstation, a bit late to the game. He had beaten the game on SNES before I had even played, but he didn’t want to spoil the game so I was going in fairly blind. The only RPG I had played before this was Super Mario RPG, at that same friend’s house. I never owned a copy.

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AbyssRium: Tap Tap Fish Hidden Fish & Gameplay Guide

This guide has all hidden fish in AbyssRium: Tap Tap Fish for iOS and Android, and their unlocking requirements, and pretty much all you need to know about AbyssRium. The guide’s pretty big, so use the Table of Contents below to look around! Come chat about the game in our Discord

If the guide helped you, you can buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi!  Catch up on new features on my YouTube, I do a new video for every new update/feature.  See the Guides Index for guides on other aspects of AbyssRium, or other games. You can also chat in my Discord server!

Updates

Support Sir TapTap on Patreon!

You can support me and my guides monthly on Patreon (and score some rewards like cute cat pictures)! The more I earn the more time I can spend on improving guides like this. My PayPal is a thing too if you can’t do monthly subscriptions.

2020-01-21: Added a section on these “Hiding Fish” since the game is super confusing and they don’t seem to be going away. Some new Hiding Fish related Expand Item rewards were added to the game.

2020-01-17: App update incoming. Juvenile Spadefish unlock is being ‘fixed’, but you might still not like it…also don’t expect Facebook save in AbyssRium Pole any time soon.

2020-01-08: AbyssRium Pole Guide is out.

2019-12-02: Christmas Event is live, guide here! No slow rollout this time.

2019-11-05: Greek Mythology Event guide! I keep getting asked this lately but yes as far as we know the Legendary Sun Fish is still in the game and has been for 2+ years.

2019-10-15: AbyssRium Pole, a kind of sequel to the game, was announced. All hidden fish are now listed in the Halloween Tank guide. AbyssRium tweeted the upcoming event schedule:

Tap Tap Fish AbyssRium Event Schedule

2019-10-14: App update! Slow rollout, but I’m updating the Space Event and Halloween Event guides with all the new info.

2019-09-09: Space Event Guide! I’ll stream the event on Twitch at 6 PM CST!

Older updates were moved to the Updates Archive.

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How To Make Sure Your Indie Game Is Safe From Content ID

Why Check For Content ID?

Content ID is a headache for every YouTuber. If you want your game to go down smoothly on YouTube, you probably want to make sure you’re not accidentally setting up YouTubers to find out all their videos will get claimed.

Content ID can do the following:

  • Block a video in some countries
  • Block a video in all countries, effectively censoring it completely
  • Display ads on a video intended to be ad free
  • Block videos from being displayed on platforms that don’t/can’t show ads
  • Take some or all of the ad revenue a non-ad-free video would get
  • Mute some or all of the video

Content ID can also harmlessly track video views and stuff, and I believe uploaders aren’t even notified of this sort of matching. It’s not what I’ll be discussing today as it’s benign best I can tell.

Also note there’s no “only match people who upload the whole, naked soundtrack” option. If a song in the game is included and matched, Let’s Plays, streams etc. will be matched all the same as a pure rip of the full OST, Content ID is not a gentle beast.

If you want to ensure your game is safe from the Content ID monster, there’s a quick test you can do to save YouTubers some headaches (and yourself some headaches if they come asking what the deal is). Also, if you didn’t upload content to Content ID but someone else did, that means every video for your game could get Content ID’d, ticking off the YouTuber and sending money to someone who isn’t you, while the YouTuber will probably blame you assuming you did it. So yeah, you don’t want that. Some game devs have even had their own trailers Content ID’d by outside parties. Fun stuff.

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Fan Projects Do Not Threaten Copyright Protections

I’m angry. You see, recently a truly fantastic Metroid 2 fan recreation was released: AM2R. I played it for a live stream. It’s truly fantastic, and has an amazing amount of original work put into it, being far and away more than a “fan port” of the game.

But then it got taken down by everyone’s least favorite four letter word, a DMCA, straight from Nintendo. I’m very frustrated with Nintendo for the copyright claim, very frustrated the game was taken down (though torrent sites seem to be ensuring it will not be lost). But that’s not what I’m writing this article about.

I’m writing this because this conversation about copyright and fan projects is…the same as all conversations about fan projects. The conversation is full of ignorance, misunderstanding, and what I can only assume are deliberate bald-faced lies about what companies have to do to protect their copyright.

Companies Don’t Have To Shut Down Projects to Keep Copyright

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Steam Had The Tool to Fight G2A Scammers—And They Threw It Away

Scam Artists

At this point most of us are aware that G2A.com is a scam website that profits from stolen credit cards. They allow resellers to sell Steam keys (and others) at below retail prices, often because…they’re stolen! They also have an offensive Dark Pattern for unsubscribing from “G2A Shield“, €2 a month insurance that protects you from the very stolen keys G2A knows they’re selling you. Rimworld recently stopped selling steam keys on other markets because Fraud levels on G2A were too high. G2A’s persistent refrain is simply an elaborate “Not our problem”.

All these things are objective facts, so your lawyers can kiss my spiky metal ass, G2A. Please pay $5000 a month for TapTap Shield™ to protect your website from articles like this. (I shouldn’t joke, they’ll probably take me up on it: G2a already offered to make game devs accessories to stolen credit cards before!)

But the point of this article isn’t to explain why G2A is bad; if you’re not sold on that, click one of the many sources I’ve already provided. Lars Doucet recently did particularly good roundup article on why G2A is literally worse than piracy: “G2A, Piracy, and the Four Currencies”. I strongly recommend you read it before continuing if you are not yet aware of the depth of the problem G2A poses.

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Finer Points: Home DRMing is Killing Games

And it’s legal.

Let’s back up. A couple weeks ago an email hit my inbox about Crimson Room Decade, a follow-up to, apparently, the most popular Flash game of all time, Crimson Room, which allegedly had 800,000,000 plays! That’s great! A Room Escape classic, and I play lots of Flash games on my channel, so I decided I’d not only play Crimson Room Decade, but the whole series as a fun flashback!

A Classic, Long Dead

This is the part where things get bad. I noticed while the pitch for Decade refers to the success of the original Crimson Room, the site and PR email I got included no links to the original. So I googled a bit and found http://www.crimson-room.net/, which has links to…a dead website. Not even direct links to the games oddly enough, just the landing page of http://www.fasco-csc.com/, a long-since lapsed domain that now serves only as ad space for unlucky searchers for this, a Flash game that apparently had 800 million views.

I then found the creator, Toshimitsu Takagi’s website, which has seemingly not been updated since 2008, four years after the original Crimson Room.

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Kirby has a canon, and it’s horrifying

Update 2018-03-19: Yes, Kirby Star Allies is out, and I’ll be evaluating how it sits with the existing canon of Kirby once I’ve completed it thoroughly. As I have not finished it yet I would ask that spoilers for Star Allies be refrained from for the time being.

Please note this article contains extreme spoilers for a variety of Kirby games including in-depth spoilers for the recently released Kirby Planet Robobot (and yes, spoilers are important for a Kirby game), so read at your own risk. There’s also a bit of theorycrafting I try to keep to the end.

There’s a bit of a running not-quite-joke with Kirby that it’s a surprisingly dark series, and while true, most mentions of this situation don’t quite dive deep enough. Everyone points to the blood in Dream Land 3 and 64 final boss fights. And who could forget Marx Soul’s scream? And it’s true, these are pretty grim, and Kirby games have a trend of pulling a heel turn towards the end, which is interesting on it’s own. But things go deeper.

Zero Two from Kirby, crying blood.

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Commission: Sir TapTap avatar by Andrew Stewart

This one might be a little familiar since I was using it for an avatar for about two years! It’s by Andrew Stewart, and was my first commissioned artwork related to my avatar! I have a newer, more Yoshi’s Island-esque avatar I tend to use now, but that doesn’t mean I like this one any less.

stripicon

See more fan art & commissions in the Fan Art Gallery!

Fan Art: Sir TapTap in Terraria by Bamseper

This is an oldie but still a goodie, an artwork by Bamseper. This is from wayyyy back from Terraria’s 1.0 days or so. Bamseper’s been a fan for years and a pretty chatty one. It may not be new to me, but I’d like to share all the fan art I get and this one still warms my heart to this day.

You can see other art in the Fan Art Gallery!