What were they thinking?

rezerekted

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Been checking out a load of old Dos games and just have to shake my head at the fact so many of them had no obvious way to exit the game. alt+x, al+q, ctrl+x, ctrl+q and in many none of those work. Not even the escape key or alt+F4. Numerous games I have to use task manger to kill the game just to exit. Twats.

Many of the games back then just used blurry icons for a function with no pop up text to tell you what it did. So annoying compared to modern games..
 

auntjemima

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I won't comment on the exit portion, although I never remember having an issue with it.

As far as the icons go, if you didn't play them years ago, when they were the cat's pajamas, then you wouldn't understand the level of hand holding that goes on today.
 

NoOther

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I am not sure what games you are referring to, but I never really had any issues exiting games back in the DOS days. Some of those exit techniques you are talking about, weren't common back then either. And there weren't any standardized GUI methods for placement of buttons. So I am not really sure what you are thinking when playing them now with full hindsight and revisionist viewpoints. =]
 

Armenius

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Is entering a menu and selecting the quit or exit option really that hard? I mean granted, some games you have to work your way back sequentially through menus to be able to exit it, but it's not rocket surgery or brain science.
 

rezerekted

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I won't comment on the exit portion, although I never remember having an issue with it.

As far as the icons go, if you didn't play them years ago, when they were the cat's pajamas, then you wouldn't understand the level of hand holding that goes on today.

Well, I did play them back then but they could have used a bit of hand holding because when you can't even find a way to exit a game then it is flawed. Remember back then we had HC manuals to tell us how to play them and exit the game but you shouldn't have to read a manual to find out how to exit the game. It's like none of them ever heard of the escape key.

Popup text to explain game functions within the game is awsome and is not hand holding. First game I remeber with that function was Knights of Honor and the developer of Matrixgames version of TOAW3 was trying to think of ways to make TOAW3 better so I told him about how this game KoH using popup text to explain all functions and said he should do that in TOAW3, Yep, he did implement that nd now you see many strategy games use the same method.
 

rezerekted

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I'm not sure what OP is blathering about either.
I don't remember having any of those issues.

How many old Dos you got installed right now? I have about 150 of them so I know wtf I am talking about and you don't.
 

rezerekted

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Is entering a menu and selecting the quit or exit option really that hard? I mean granted, some games you have to work your way back sequentially through menus to be able to exit it, but it's not rocket surgery or brain science.

You even even play a Dos game? Many of them had no menu and if they did they would not even have an exit option. You had to know the cryptic macro to exit. It's just pure idiotic design decision and many of them did it. Having universal commands that work in every game is the smart way to design games. Such as the escape key to bring up a menu that allows you to exit the game.

Games should also use universal keys for quick save and quick load instead of using what they think makes sense to them. Think smarter is what this thread is about. It is called constructive criticism and is not meant to be some thread to insult the OP.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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OP please specify what games and what OS. You have yet to list any other than saying you own 150 of them. I don't remember any game that couldn't be exited by accessed through menus brought up by the ESC key on my keyboard. I'm not saying you are lying, I just don't recollect any games like the one's you mentioned. TBH, I'm wondering if some of these games aren't re-done and re-packaged versions sold on GOG.com and/or using an emulator software like DOS box on a modern OS and thus causing these issues.

If what you are saying is indeed true, I suspect part of the developer's line of thinking involved an actual printed game manual instructing you how to exit which you may not own anymore and is something that almost no modern game even ships with.
 

Nytegard

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I have about 3000 DOS games, and there are a couple that can't be exited, but we're talking about games from the early 1980s. For the most part though, I don't know any games which I was not allowed to quit.
 

rezerekted

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Currently? None.
But I've been gaming since the DOS 5.0 days.
And I don't remember ever having issues with exiting a game.

That's because you had a HC manual that told you how to exit the game. I don't have that luxury and have to guess what is the way to exit the game.
 

rezerekted

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I have about 3000 DOS games, and there are a couple that can't be exited, but we're talking about games from the early 1980s. For the most part though, I don't know any games which I was not allowed to quit.

I'm not saying they didn't allow you to quit, I'm saying a lot of them used cryptic keyboard commands to exit and if you don't have the manual it is a matter of trial and error. A couple of them just the other day I could not find out how to exit so had to use task manager to kill the process. I am saying if they should have all used the universal escape key to bring up an exit prompt then there would have been no guessing how to exit.
 

Nytegard

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I blame that more on the times though than the applications.

The problem with programmers is that they tend to be obtuse when it comes to simplicity. Heck, I'm a professional programmer, and I'll fully admit you'd never want to see what I consider a useable interface. I've worked at a few companies, some with PhDs from places like MIT, and some who never went to college, but the one aspect they all share for the most part is that they're horrible at UX. Alt-F4? Alt-X? Alt-Q? Ctrl-Q? Ctrl-X? Option-Q? Etc. Which one to use? Especially during the Pre-MS-Rules-The-World era, where you had 100+ operating systems, people grew up with different opinions on simplicity.


How do you even move forward in a first person point of view? It wasn't until the late 1990s when any form of standardization came about, despite games dating back to the early 70s having gone WASD.

Some programmers like VI (or VIM), some like Emacs, and some view both of them as overly archaic.

Many DOS games were designed by programmers with a love for games, where usability just wasn't an issue, because the people who played them would also more likely be technically competent. And as much as people hate Apple and Microsoft for dumbing things down, dumbing things down leads to standards. And even then, half the time, people don't follow their own standards.

It all comes down to the general concept of RTFM. (I'm not trying to be insulting, but reading manuals is something that I personally believe was much more common during the DOS years than today).
 

CaptNumbNutz

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That's because you had a HC manual that told you how to exit the game. I don't have that luxury and have to guess what is the way to exit the game.
When are you going to start putting the titles of the games in question in the thread? Seriously, someone here might know the answer to help you.
 

pendragon1

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That's because you had a HC manual that told you how to exit the game. I don't have that luxury and have to guess what is the way to exit the game.
read the pdf that should have come with you legally purchased 150 DOSs
 

Ryan7968

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I was a young lad when I was gaming in DOS. I'd save up my allowance and since I couldn't drive I would ask my parents to take me to a software store. I still remember the big boxes all the games came in and how I would stack them up in my bedroom. I also remember opening those boxes and reading the manual on the car ride home. Never had a problem exiting a game, and I don't think I ever had to actually go and grab one of the boxes to find a manual just so I could exit. Origin was my favorite company and I want to say that was the one where just about all the games used Alt-X as a quick way to exit.

Definitely did not own 150 games but it was a different time back then for gaming for sure.

For the longest time I kept an old Pentium machine around just so I could bust it out when I wanted to get my nostalgia on, no emulator, just good old DOS.
 

John721

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I do recall some of the very old Ultima games not allowing you to exit the program without a reboot. Ultima 2 for sure... there was a quit and save command, but it just saved rather than quitting per se. Granted, the game came out in 1982 and I think it was mostly just Richard Garriot at that point....

The ability to exit the game back to dos was actually added in the somewhat more recent Ultima 2 upgrade fan patch.
 

rezerekted

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It all comes down to the general concept of RTFM. (I'm not trying to be insulting, but reading manuals is something that I personally believe was much more common during the DOS years than today).

Yea, and I used to love reading the manuals on the toilet but I don't have the manuals for most of these games so do not have that luxury. I bought a tablet just so I could put pdf game manuals on it and read them while actually playing the games, or on the toilet. :)

Standardization is what I am talking about and if games adhered to a certain standard then it would make it easier for everyone. Games from Russia seem to be the weirdest, they do everything the opposite of us it seems.
 

rezerekted

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read the pdf that should have come with you legally purchased 150 DOSs

A lot of these games are no longer available for purchase and are considered abandonware, but I do have some I purchased from gog.com. Go to abandonia and you will find them available to download, if they become purchasable then they remove them from their site.
 

NoOther

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That's because you had a HC manual that told you how to exit the game. I don't have that luxury and have to guess what is the way to exit the game.

You still have not listed a single game as an example. I never had to read the manuals for any DOS game, I have no idea what you are even talking about there.
 

rezerekted

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You still have not listed a single game as an example. I never had to read the manuals for any DOS game, I have no idea what you are even talking about there.

Check it, bro. Harley Davidson: The Road to Sturgis

 

Armenius

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You even even play a Dos game? Many of them had no menu and if they did they would not even have an exit option. You had to know the cryptic macro to exit. It's just pure idiotic design decision and many of them did it. Having universal commands that work in every game is the smart way to design games. Such as the escape key to bring up a menu that allows you to exit the game.

Games should also use universal keys for quick save and quick load instead of using what they think makes sense to them. Think smarter is what this thread is about. It is called constructive criticism and is not meant to be some thread to insult the OP.
1988 is as far back as I go with DOS games and every game I've played has had a menu of some kind.

We're talking about games of our past that are 30 years old or older. There was no science to the gameplay experience back then, and the designers who were often a team of just a dozen or fewer computer scientists and engineers, did what they thought was best. Game design has changed a lot over the decades, for better or worse.
 

J3RK

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You even even play a Dos game? Many of them had no menu and if they did they would not even have an exit option. You had to know the cryptic macro to exit. It's just pure idiotic design decision and many of them did it. Having universal commands that work in every game is the smart way to design games. Such as the escape key to bring up a menu that allows you to exit the game.

Games should also use universal keys for quick save and quick load instead of using what they think makes sense to them. Think smarter is what this thread is about. It is called constructive criticism and is not meant to be some thread to insult the OP.

Things were different back then. Plain and simple. The manual would tell you how to play, what the hot-keys were, etc. Many games used the Escape key for game-related functions. You wouldn't want to press it and exit the game if you really were trying to exit say a dialog box in the game right? Alt-F4 didn't come until Windows was created, so that wasn't even a common thing back then.

Also, to a degree the manual was another form of copy protection back then. They didn't want you to know how to play the game if you didn't buy it, and then also have the manual. The manual, box, cloth maps, decoder wheels, magic markers, etc. were all an active part of the games back then. I wouldn't trade the feeling of opening a giant art-covered box full of books, and other items that actually meant something on my way home from the game shop for anything. That was part of the experience. You may have a lot of games installed, and you may have a point from today's perspective, but this perspective simply did not exist in computer gaming when these games came out. You want simple, you bought a console. You want the whole nerdy computer game experience, flaws (by todays standards maybe) and all, you bought computer games. Just as there weren't many standardized hot keys back then, hardware was also wild-west style. Everything about PC gaming was like this. It was part of the charm, and also part of what made you want to rip your hair out and stuff it in the floppy drive other times. Also, and maybe this is another one of my mental disorders, but when I play a DOS game now, and remember what the quirky set of keys for it is, including how to exit, it brings a certain smug sense of pride and nostalgia to me. I wouldn't trade that for a standardized exit sequence.

I wouldn't want things to go back to that now that I've been spoiled with the ease and functionality of Steam. However, I also wouldn't want to lose my memories of that either.
 

J3RK

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Check it, bro. Harley Davidson: The Road to Sturgis


Ha! That's hardly what I'd call a prime example of a DOS game. :D If you like it though, cool! ;)

I think you'll find that most of the major game companies were more or less standardized within their own product lines. So, for a Sierra adventure game, you'd hit escape to get the menu, then pull it down, and select Quit, or hit the hot keys for that, which I believe was Ctrl-Q.

For Origin games like Ultima, Wing Commander, System Shock, etc. you could probably hit Alt-X or Ctrl-X or something like that.

For SSI, they'd have their set of typical keys.

I know there's probably some variation as time went on even within the same companies, but largely I think this is true.
 

rezerekted

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That Harley game is ctrl+q to quit so not a good example but I came across a few that had no exit command that I could find, and I tried all of the commands I could remember from the Dos days. I used to have one windows game that had no obvious way to exit the game. It was a Ubisoft F1 racing game and the only way to exit the game was alt+F4.
 

J3RK

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That Harley game is ctrl+q to quit so not a good example but I came across a few that had no exit command that I could find, and I tried all of the commands I could remember from the Dos days. I used to have one windows game that had no obvious way to exit the game. It was a Ubisoft F1 racing game and the only way to exit the game was alt+F4.

Yeah, I definitely had a few that were oddballs in this way. I think the Bitmap Brothers games (Gods, Magic Pockets, SpeedBall 2, Chaos Engine) might have had some weird combination. The thing was, those guys were primarily an Amiga studio before that, and on the Amiga, you wouldn't exit to an OS, you'd reset it after playing a game, so I could see that being a bit odd. (unless it was another company that I'm thinking of) I know there were a few though that were just dumb that way. I'm sure it would have been in the manuals though.

Actually there are one or two games now that don't allow Alt-F4 in Windows. I think that's even more strange. I think Skyrim doesn't allow it. You actually have to exit through the menu.
 

SvenBent

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That Harley game is ctrl+q to quit so not a good example but I came across a few that had no exit command that I could find, and I tried all of the commands I could remember from the Dos days. I used to have one windows game that had no obvious way to exit the game. It was a Ubisoft F1 racing game and the only way to exit the game was alt+F4.

i think we have to disagree on Alt+F4 not being an obvious exit hotkey in windows.

in regards to dos games i have not to my memory experience and issues exiting the game. but also back then you didnt have you PC running all the time asyou do today.
you would often just save and turn of the PC entirely. it was a total different usage environment the games ran on.
 

rezerekted

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i think we have to disagree on Alt+F4 not being an obvious exit hotkey in windows.

in regards to dos games i have not to my memory experience and issues exiting the game. but also back then you didnt have you PC running all the time asyou do today.
you would often just save and turn of the PC entirely. it was a total different usage environment the games ran on.

How many Windows games do you use alt+F4 to exit? Right.

How many Dos games have you run recently? Right.
 

Gorankar

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That was then. That was the infancy and tween years of gaming. Shit was not "settled" back then, and devs often just went their own way. We have progressed. If you want to play old dos games, you are going to have to live with their eccentricities.

I also did not have a problem quitting games. During the DOS era, I bought my games, and had the manual, and often enough, they came with a card that showed what keys did what. I also did not often have much HD space to allocate to games, so I did not usually have that many installed at once until the Win9x era anyway. Additionally, I often used boot disks, so I was rebooting when I was done playing a game anyhow.
 

SvenBent

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How many Windows games do you use alt+F4 to exit? Right.

How many Dos games have you run recently? Right.

Alt-F4 is probaly the most well know "Exit" command in Windows of all time. we just have to agree to disagree on this one if you really think ALT-F4 is not and obvious possibility.


I've run more dos game than windows games over the past couple of years. so trying to use the "I used more dos games than you" is also a falsehood. don't try to use statically evidence to compare you self against and unknown factor cause you really don't know what you are comparing against.

i have just completed yet another go at Maste Of Orion on impossibel/huge 2 days ago
But please let me provide something you still really haven't provide yet in this debate: A list of dos games i have played

Completeded:
Raptor Call of shadows
Stunts 4d drive
Champions of krynn
Death knights of kryn
Dark queen of krynn
gateway of the savage frotnier
treasure of the savage frontier
Master of Orione ( going from winning simple/hug to winning multiple impposlbie/huge)
UFO enemy unknown ( also know as Xcom enemy unknow)
Duke nukum
Duke nukem II
Wolfenstein 3d
Wolfenstains Spear of destiner
Wolfensteain Spear of destiny MP2
The incredible machine
Alone in the dark
Buck Rogers ( cant remember the subtitle of the first one)
Buck Rogers matrix cubed
Commander keen 1-6
Commander keen nightmares
Vinyl goddes ( only demo though)
THE lost vikings
the lost viking 2 ( was it a dos game?)
Quake
Quake mission pack thingy
Quake Malice
Civilization

uncompletede:
CD-man
Dune II
Wolfensteain Spear of Destiny MP3
crystals caves
comso cosmic adventures
alian carnage
Monster Bash
biomenace
Prehistorik II
blake stone: aliesn gold
the catacom
blood
duke nukem 3D
Quake 2
Doom
Doom II
Heretic
heretic 2
Hexen

this is on top of my memory
and there is plenty more.


so don't think you are in a special argument advantage just because you dabbled in dos games.

some of us in her had been sitting an poking around in the UMB to release unneeded bios shadow to free up memory to load device drives into so we could free up conventional memory. Or use hack to get above 640kb of conventional memory but disabling monochrome VGA bios.

and it seems to me that you have not really played any DOS game during the DOS era. from the way you seem to be incapable of realizing that the usage pattern of a computer was different back then.
Please correct me if om wrong.


anyway are we done going for the man so we can go back to going for the ball?

Still you are valuating the need for an exit command under an environment that was not present at the time of DOS games. Back then you didn't keep you computer on all the time. So people had a tendency to turn on the computer played a game and shut the computer down, and in the above list i don't think i have ever run into a game without and exit command.

There is also the the fact that you had very limited memory back then. and adding in extra features like pop over text on icons so you didn't need to read the manual would take away precious memory and CPU resources. heck many of the SSI Goldbox games most of the text in the game was allocated to a manual to read in ( also worked as a copy protection).
It was just common to read the manual, because it was a more technical clientel of gamers. vs today where almost any game tries to keep you babysat on a rail trough the experience, because if Joe average gets lost he might think the game is bad and it not just him sucking at he game.

and again ALT-F4 is indeed in my mind an obvious exit command in windows.
 
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Litfod

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The Model T didn't have the same pedal arrangement that all modern cars have. Twats.
You may as well complain that DOS games didn't use DirectX. Just STFU and be grateful you don't have to deal with sound card or (as SvenBent mentioned) memory configuration.
And the vast majority of DOS games were easier to get out of than Assassin's Creed (Alt-F4 notwithstanding).
 

rezerekted

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Alt-F4 is probaly the most well know "Exit" command in Windows of all time. we just have to agree to disagree on this one if you really think ALT-F4 is not and obvious possibility.


I've run more dos game than windows games over the past couple of years. so trying to use the "I used more dos games than you" is also a falsehood. don't try to use statically evidence to compare you self against and unknown factor cause you really don't know what you are comparing against.

i have just completed yet another go at Maste Of Orion on impossibel/huge 2 days ago
But please let me provide something you still really haven't provide yet in this debate: A list of dos games i have played

Completeded:
Raptor Call of shadows
Stunts 4d drive
Champions of krynn
Death knights of kryn
Dark queen of krynn
gateway of the savage frotnier
treasure of the savage frontier
Master of Orione ( going from winning simple/hug to winning multiple impposlbie/huge)
UFO enemy unknown ( also know as Xcom enemy unknow)
Duke nukum
Duke nukem II
Wolfenstein 3d
Wolfenstains Spear of destiner
Wolfensteain Spear of destiny MP2
The incredible machine
Alone in the dark
Buck Rogers ( cant remember the subtitle of the first one)
Buck Rogers matrix cubed
Commander keen 1-6
Commander keen nightmares
Vinyl goddes ( only demo though)
THE lost vikings
the lost viking 2 ( was it a dos game?)
Quake
Quake mission pack thingy
Quake Malice
Civilization

uncompletede:
CD-man
Dune II
Wolfensteain Spear of Destiny MP3
crystals caves
comso cosmic adventures
alian carnage
Monster Bash
biomenace
Prehistorik II
blake stone: aliesn gold
the catacom
blood
duke nukem 3D
Quake 2
Doom
Doom II
Heretic
heretic 2
Hexen

this is on top of my memory
and there is plenty more.


so don't think you are in a special argument advantage just because you dabbled in dos games.

some of us in her had been sitting an poking around in the UMB to release unneeded bios shadow to free up memory to load device drives into so we could free up conventional memory. Or use hack to get above 640kb of conventional memory but disabling monochrome VGA bios.

and it seems to me that you have not really played any DOS game during the DOS era. from the way you seem to be incapable of realizing that the usage pattern of a computer was different back then.
Please correct me if om wrong.


anyway are we done going for the man so we can go back to going for the ball?

Still you are valuating the need for an exit command under an environment that was not present at the time of DOS games. Back then you didn't keep you computer on all the time. So people had a tendency to turn on the computer played a game and shut the computer down, and in the above list i don't think i have ever run into a game without and exit command.

There is also the the fact that you had very limited memory back then. and adding in extra features like pop over text on icons so you didn't need to read the manual would take away precious memory and CPU resources. heck many of the SSI Goldbox games most of the text in the game was allocated to a manual to read in ( also worked as a copy protection).
It was just common to read the manual, because it was a more technical clientel of gamers. vs today where almost any game tries to keep you babysat on a rail trough the experience, because if Joe average gets lost he might think the game is bad and it not just him sucking at he game.

and again ALT-F4 is indeed in my mind an obvious exit command in windows.

alt+f4 doesn't work in many games so I think you are fos. The only place I use it commonly is to close Win8.1 metro crap apps.

Look, I made this thread because I was just going through a bunch of dos games here on my PC and noticed a number of them had no obvious way to exit them. You are just making excuses for bad GUI design. Yea, sometimes geeky programmers have really bad ideas about what makes a good GUI and logical ways to exit a game. You know? Like the escape key that every keyboard comes with.
 

rezerekted

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The Model T didn't have the same pedal arrangement that all modern cars have. Twats.
You may as well complain that DOS games didn't use DirectX. Just STFU and be grateful you don't have to deal with sound card or (as SvenBent mentioned) memory configuration.
And the vast majority of DOS games were easier to get out of than Assassin's Creed (Alt-F4 notwithstanding).


With your attitude cars would still use the Model T design.
 
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