Microsoft has made some great improvements to the Interface on the Xbox 360. I had written an outline of what I thought made a great Xbox game back in 2004 when Xbox Live had been out about a year and a half. A few of the items on that list have been fixed with the blade interface on the 360, but some are still left up to the individual game developer.
Things Microsoft needs to fix globally
- Individual volume control for other players - Some players have their mic stuffed down their though and yell, others like to whisper. Save the setting globally so I don't have to adjust it ever time for the same player.
- More options for sending feedback about a player - We need options like "Immature," "Annoying," "Spawn Camper," and "Team Killer" and then thresholds that the host can set not to let people in with too many of those feedbacks. At least now we have the five star reputation system so we can check if a player is going to be a pain in the ass. Although it seems that everyone I play with has 4 1/2 or 5 stars, maybe I just play with good people or it's broken.
- Games have ratings, Enforce them - I should not be constantly running into pre-teens in rated "M" games. I know they have "parental controls" but seriously that will not work, my 8 year old nephew knows the new "parental control" password within a day of his parents changing it, just from watching them type it in. Use the expanded feedback system to tag Gamertag that have underage players and block them from getting on live on any "M" rated games.
- Less "Loading...." - I've got a few points about loading:
- There should be a minimum of at least 5 minutes of gameplay between loading screens.
- Yes your new 3D realtime rendered menuing system looks really nice, but it's getting in the way of playing your game. It takes longer to load and sometimes I even see a loading screen when I go to an other menu. KISS. Once I'm at the main menu I don't want to see a loading screen until I'm starting the game.
- My favorite thing to bitch about; "Press Start to Load" If you put up "Press Start" on the screen as the only option it better not say "Loading" right after I press that button. You could be nice and load then ask me to press start. It saves me time.
- Have a real main menu. I don't want to load up your single player game to pull up my in game cell phone to find where to join the multiplayer match. Thanks GTAIV. I had to ask someone how to play online. Not cool.
- Control - Please let us map our own controllers. We should be able to set any button to do any action. Some of us play a lot of different games in the same genre, we don't want to have the X button be reload in one game when it's jump in an other. Let us pick what each button does and you can provide your recommendations. Hell even let us trade our controller configurations with friends.
- Proximity Chat and Team Chat - Both should be supported. I want to be able to taunt my prey.
- Hosting - Again multiple points
- Lobby - This is not optional IMO for a great Xbox live game. We need a bit of downtime between games to chat and socialize with our fellow gamers. But with lobbies come some other features that need to be in the lobby. The host needs to be able to change settings for the game, not just some settings but every setting, including the size(number of players) of the lobby. Also the host must be able to force a launch if someone in the room is AFK. The on the other side of things a way for the players to launch if the host is AFK.
- Dedicated Hosting - If you think you need a dedicated server for the PC version of your game you need a dedicated host mode for your Xbox 360 version. Of course not all games need a dedicated host but not everyone can host 8 to 16 players but some people can and those people are not always on their 360 but their 360 can always be on. (as long as it's in a well ventilated space)
- Kicking and Banning: I don't want to kick the same guy multiple times. Also it should not be easy to accidental kick your buddy who just happens to be next to the annoying guy on the players list. (This might be a Microsoft thing)
- Saving - You need to be able to save your progress in a mission at any time or if using a checkpoint system the check points should represent no more then five minutes of gameplay.