Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Microsoft patents online user generated help

So, according to my sources, Microsoft is placing an online help system, with content from both developers and gamers themselves. I (obviously) think this is a great idea. Hints in games are of interest to me, and I just wrote about how great it was to see Batman Arcane Asylum using hints when players fell at set pieces.

I don't want to be told what to do, let me work it out in my own slow slow way... (I hate Cluedo)

They've got a tough balance to find between hints giving away too much and too little. I'm sure they've thought it through more then me but I presume levels of obvious-ness will need to be introduced (level 1 could be a cryptic clue, and level 5 could be being told exactly what to do), supported by user ratings (something that was noticeable for its absence in Spore).

My only concern is that the patent is too strong and hamstrings Sony/Nintendo/anyone else really getting to grips with help/hints and tips in games as well. With the major developers pushing each other to develop the best/most useful and user friendly hints systems for people, great systems will develop. I'm sure they won't be put off though.

The article mentions in-game hints for Super Mario Wii... I've just got that and it's waiting for me to find enough energy to fight it's shrink wrap off. Expect some feedback on the hint system (and the rest of the game) soon.

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