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Something that seems to be common these days are software developers simplifying their interfaces. They want their programs, or games, or websites to be as easy to use and simple as possible to broaden their audience. Even your mother should be able to get into and understand it.

Now, in most cases, this is done in the good way it seems. The good way is making the interface simple per default, but enabling experienced users to switch to a more advanced interface. Or, there are still advanced in-depth settings to customize the experience as you want, if you want – but you don’t have to do it if you are a beginner. An example?

The Windows Control Panel, in Windows XP and Vista, and so on. When you have just installed Windows, the Control Panel window will only show about 6-7 general icons. That is enough for most basic users, but with a simple couple of clicks you can revert back to see all Control Panel options. Perfect.

But, then there are sadly those who do this the bad way. The bad way is simplifying a once more advanced interface, with no way for an experienced user to do anything other than the new basics. Examples? Oh, there are plenty!

NVidia Control Panel (or whatever they call it). Once, it was accessed through the advanced button in the display properties in Windows. This led you to a fairly flexible settings window where you could do a lot of tweaking.

Then, they decided to make a more streamlined interface for their settings. One that looks more like a folder in Windows, or similar to Windows Control Panel, with a lot of Settings Wizards (you know those semi-automatic popups that sometimes requires a double confirmation to close). Fine, it’s good to have a simple interface for those who don’t want to dig too deep. But… where did the advanced settings go? A lot of them said “poof”. But it’s true, lately it seems that the “Advanced” mode do allow you a lot of freedom, but a lot of the experienced users still miss the old interface and its functions.

Another example is what seems to be a new standard among console games. I am guessing that this is a standard set by the console manufacturers (Microsoft, Sony, etc) that developers need to abide to in order to get their games licensed.

Overs-simplification of game hosting and joining. With the newest games, it seems more and more impossible to make any settings when hosting a multiplayer game. Many games even lack a “password” setting. Instead, the games are more or less designed to let you start playing multiplayer fast… but without much control. It’s supposed to be easy for beginners but it won’t give experienced players any additional control. Like… max amount of players, password, weapon/powerup restrictions (though this has always been rare), additional game rules, etc.

This lack of options is also bleeding onto the computer platform as well (where you are used to having lots of options) when the same games are ported. Why not have a simple AND advanced mode, and the freedom to choose? I am hoping that the developers are just lazy, because I would really hate it if it were the console manufacturers that require them do omit the advanced options, because then all hope is lost. Trying to contact game devs to make them get a grip is far more easier than to reach the giants controlling them.

So sure, keep make software more available to the general user out there. That’s great. But you are pretty fucking disrespectful towards us more advanced users if you choose to ignore us.



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