Last updated: December 2015
In the field of computer games, there are many mess-ups. In this article, I will be disclosing some annoyances with them.
Do you have a messy "Documents" folder on your computers?
Having a messy "Documents" folder seems silly to me, unless you really do have a lot of actual document files on your computer. If the folder is for "Documents", it should have documents, not assorted junk.
However, doing this is more involved than it should be, as programs often create folders in your "Documents" folder, without giving you any means of relocating them. This is most prevalent in computer games, which is what I'll be talking about, but there may be some other software out there with the same problem.
If you play or have played lots of games on your computer, there's no doubt that you have at least somewhat of a messy Documents folder. Because of the behavior of these programs, they are taking the usefulness of the Documents folder away from you, instead, turning it into a game saves folder.
How did this happen, though? Here are my speculations on how it happened:
In Windows XP, the "My Documents" folder was easily accessible through the Start menu, but the user's profile directory (C:\Documents and Settings\racecar56) wasn't. Where do you put the game saves? It's not really a document, but that's where you have to put it. This is how the "My Games" folder was created.
When Windows Vista was released, we got a nicer directory structure. The user's profile directory was easily accessible through the Start menu, practically encouraging you to do as you like with it, and the "My " prefix was dropped. We also got new folders, such as "Downloads" and "Saved Games".
"Downloads" was, and still is, heavily used. This is because only a few major browsers needed to change to default downloads going into the Downloads folder, if the user was running Windows Vista or higher. However, its sibling Saved Games didn't get much use, since the majority stayed with Windows XP, which did not have this folder, as well as because there are far more computer games than web browsers that would require changes.
Changing every game would be unfeasible, thus, games kept on using the Documents folder. Somewhat of a standard does exist, called the "My Games" folder, but this goes back to the "My" days of Windows XP, and, as not all games use it, you're unlikely to see that folder alone, unless you have a small game library.
How about what I say should have happened, though?
I say that developers should've adopted Saved Games as fast as they could. All new games would implement support for saving there if the user was running Vista, and in a "My Games" folder on Windows XP. This would have slowed down the snowball of mess, and, while it probably wouldn't have completely stopped it, it would have reduced the ill effects that we see today. After enough time, especially after the release of the overrated Windows 7 which has the Saved Games folder, developers would have exclusively been supporting the Saved Games folder, and, eventually, they would stop caring about XP.
Another annoyance with games is forced controls. This may very well be even worse than the previous problem, as this completely affects the playability of the game to the user of it. Instead of allowing everyone to be happy by allowing you to change the controls, you are forced to deal with what they set them to. As usual, they say "screw the minority, everyone uses WSAD".
Options to set the controls should be boilerplate game code, with just about importance as rendering frames is. It can't be hard to implement, and it saves users the trouble of remapping the controls. Let the users decide what controls they want, instead of you deciding for them what is best for them. In the end, once it's implemented, it's bad to no-one, and good to any of those who care.
Just as developers are doing by forcing controls, deciding on the best framerate for the user shouldn't be their job. Don't cap your games at 30 FPS, because that means those who only want more FPS are left out in the cold. If you don't like people wasting power with no framerate cap, then simply enable VSync by default. If they have good enough of a reason that they want to turn VSync off that justifies going through the game options, then they'll do just that.
It's no use trying to keep track of how many games use forced saves, so we'll simply live with a shame-list of games with forced controls, and games with forced framerate.