Feb 23, 2015

The Top Technical Features PC Gamers Want From Developers

One thing that stands out about PC games is the ability of developers to offer technical options that are not available to console gamers. The reports about the imminent death of PC gaming have been greatly exaggerated—in fact, Gearnuke reports that the PC game market dominates the worldwide gaming market with a 51 percent share, while console gaming makes up only about a third. PCs come in many shapes and sizes, and developers should embrace their mutability by offering some key technical options as standards within the PC game industry. Here's a look at just a few of the technical options we'd like to see become industry standards:

Graphics Customization

There are thousands of permutations of computer hardware used in gaming PCs, and no one set of graphical options is one-size-fits-all. PC gamers need scaled performance options in their titles, so that the wide range of PCs can run a game at a level of performance quality that is acceptable and takes full advantage of whatever hardware is being used.

Options such as texture quality, draw distance and shadow resolution are somewhat standard for PC games, but individual effect and rendering control are also important features for many gamers. Simply having a “low” to “high” sliding bar for effects isn't enough control. Rather than relying on editing configuration files or inputting console commands, gamers should have these features made available to them right from the video options menu.

Finally, borderless full screen mode isn't that hard to implement and should be a standard customization option.

Dump 'Common' Resolution Options

Arbitrary resolution control is a simple and effective means of performance scaling that is so easy to implement in development that it is a wonder it isn't already the standard for PC games. With arbitrary resolution settings, PC gamers are no longer a slave to the “normal” resolutions that are commonly used. Monitors and display devices come in countless variations, and simply having a title query the player's OS to populate the resolution options enables players who use unusual display options to fully enjoy their games without resorting to strange resolution settings. Games like “Battlefield: Hardline” are massive blockbusters played on every display imaginable, and should be able to natively render to these displays without trouble.

Not everyone is playing on standard monitors, and developers should make it easy for those of us with unorthodox settings to get the highest performance possible from their titles instead of defaulting to the closest setting.

Full Mod and Screenshot Support

While at first it may seem like full developer support for mods and better screenshot support are disconnected ideas, they both address a need from hardcore fans of titles. When gamers are passionate about a title, they want to share their experience and build social communities around it. Take, for instance, the "The Elder Scrolls" games, which have thriving mod communities. Gamespot reports that since 2011, more than 20 million copies of “Skyrim” alone have been purchased. This is in no small part thanks to Bethesda's long-time support of modder culture. Some screenshots taken in “Skyrim” are beautiful, and gamers love to capture these moments.

Offering PC gamers free camera control, HUD hiding and a timestop console command enables them to take screenshots of these moments unhindered by clumsy graphical capture programs. When you make it easy for PC gamers to share and connect in adoration of your title, it translates into direct appreciation and long-term fandom. Let us be your fans.

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