The 10 Commandments Of PC Gaming

The 10 Commandments Of PC Gaming

PC gaming is pretty much the best. You get the prettiest, cheapest, most flexible versions of almost every game, along with hundreds of games that aren’t available anywhere else. But despite all that, some of the people who make video games don’t treat PC gamers all that well.

We’ve returned to the top of Video Game Mountain in search of answers, and have come down with 10 rules that all PC game developers should obey. You could even call them … commandments.

10. Thou Shalt Let Us Choose Our Own Controls

For lo, it is a well-understood fact that no two PC gamers shall agree on the single best control scheme for a game, be it with the mouse and the keyboard, with the controller, or with some sort of weird head-tracking motion thing. Therefore, thou shalt let us choose our own controls, and customise those controls to our liking. If thou hast made both a PlayStation and Xbox version of thine game, thou shalt give us the option to display either Xbox or PS4 on-screen prompts. Thou shalt allow us to freely switch between input options, to easily remap controls, and to use more than one input-type at once. If we desireth to play with a controller but access the map with the “M” key, thou shalt make this possible.

9. Thou Shalt Obey The Menu Commandments

There already existeth a separate list of Commandments for menus, and thou shalt obey those commandments or be judged. In particular, thou shalt allow us to quit to desktop without first quitting to the main menu, and to skip through introductory splash screens, for we art frequently restarting PC games to test new graphics options and do not care to be reminded that we art playing this game The Way It’s Meant To Be Played™.

8. Thou Shalt Include ‘Advanced Graphics Options’ That Are Actually Advanced

For it is known that PC gamers love to tweak options, and so thou shalt give us options to tweak. Thou shalt at the very least give us a variety of settings for anti-aliasing, tessellation, texture detail, texture filtering, meshes, draw distance, foliage and plants, shadows, motion blur, ambient occlusion, world geometry, and the like. Thou shalt allow us to adjust the HUD and the FOV. If thou includeth a weird-arse setting like “trees relief,” thou shalt explain what the heck “trees relief” is. Thou shalt include a benchmark tool that actually provideth a sense of how the game runneth. These options shall be available to us without the need to edit .ini files in order to get the game looking how we like.

7. Thou Shalt Let Us Tweak Basic Options Without Restarting

For while we understandeth that some things, like higher-res textures, cannot be loaded mid-game, thou shalt strive to keep from forcing us to restart as often as possible. (Though provided thou art following commandment nine, restarting shall be a relatively painless process.) Thou shalt not, under any circumstances, require a restart for simple tweaks like AO or shadow detail. Yes, we art looking at you, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

6. Thou Shalt Chill With The DRM

Looketh. We understand that thou art running a business here. And we get why thou mighteth want to implement some kind of copy protection to keep people from stealing thine product. And yet all the same: Smite the DRM. Learn from the example of companies like CD Projekt Red, who doth release successful PC games with no DRM. Follow their example. The People shall love you for it, and thine games shall live for ever and ever, never rendered unplayable by outdated, non-functional DRM. And let us be real: Thou wilt never come up with a form of DRM that dedicated gamers won’t crack almost immediately anyway.

5. Thou Shalt Not Screw Over Owners Of One Brand Of Graphics Card

For while we agreeth that unique graphical enhancements like TXAA and TressFX are neat, we art much more interested in playing video games at a stable frame-rate, regardless of who manufactured our PC’s graphics processing unit. If thou art making special deals with Nvidia or AMD to use their tech for nifty custom graphics, thou shalt treat those options as a bonus, and make thine first priority getting the game to run well on any card, regardless of brand.

4. Thou Shalt Allow Quicksave

For there are some things that PC gamers should be able to take for granted, and the ability to quicksave at any point is one of them. This, too, is known.

3. Thou Shalt Test Thine Damned Multiplayer Games

If thou art launching a multiplayer-only or multiplayer-centric game, thou shalt test the damned thing first. PC gamers covet betas and are more than happy to freely test out thine game ahead of launch. Thou shalt take advantage of this fact, and while it is understandable that any online launch may hit some snags for a day or two, thou shalt do everything possible to test thine servers ahead of launch and make sure the people who gave you their money ahead of time are able to play the game on the day it cometh out.

2. Thou Shalt Respect The Modders

For The Modders are good, and wise, and benevolent, and they shall make thine game much more interesting and cooler, if thou wouldst only get out of their way. Thou shalt respect The Modders. Better, thou shalt go out of the way to encourage The Modders, to develop games with them in mind, to work with them to let them tweak and change thine code in any way they please. If thou doeth this, thine game shall remain interesting and relevant for much longer, and thou shalt win the love and respect of the PC gaming community.

1. Thou Shalt Not Release Broken PC Games

For there is a special place in Hell for those who release unfinished, buggy, and broken games, and yet that doth not appear to frighten publishers as it should. Thou shalt not release PC games that crash immediately after launch. Thou shalt not release PC games that hitch and stutter even on powerful PCs. Thou shalt not release PC games that require gamers to trawl forum threads in search of arcane workarounds to improve performance. Thou shalt not release PC games with busted controls, or missing graphics options, or broken DRM, or non-functional online play.

The solution to these problems is simple: Thou shalt dedicate more people to testing and optimising thine games before launch. Thou shalt invest more heavily in QA, and in PC-specific testers. In other words, thou shalt take this shit seriously, for thine paying customers are not thine quality assurance department. And really, thou shalt apply this approach to games on every platform, PC and otherwise.

If thou art to fail in any of the above regards, thou shalt be appropriately contrite, and shalt not rest until the game works properly. And if a user requesteth a refund for a game they preordered, lo, thou shalt grant the refund, apologise, and ask no further questions.

0. Above All Else, Thou Shalt Give Us Options

Yes, we art aware that this is an eleventh commandment. Surely that is some sort of PC gaming blasphemy. No matter: It is also the most important commandment, and the one that encompasses most of the preceding ten. Above all else, thou shalt give us options. PC gamers love to tinker and customise: We love to build, to modify, to go under the hood and make things just so.

Let us do that with our games, and we shall love you for it. Attempt to lock us out, and we shall work tirelessly until we find a way in. Work with us. Let us tweak. Let us customise. Let us decide how we want to play our games. It’s how we operate, and it’s all we know.

By obeying these commandments, game developers shall make PC gaming a happier, more user-friendly, and more enjoyable experience for all of humankind.

So it has been written, so it shall be. One day. Hopefully.


  • Most importantly (and could fit in a couple of these categories) Thou shalt allow us to invert the mouse axis. That’s an instant fail for me. If the axis doesn’t move the way I like, and there’s no option to invert, I simply can’t play it.

      • More than you would imagine. I just discovered another one today! Moonbase Alpha. Thankfully you can fix it by editing the .ini file, but if I don’t have the option to at least hack it in myself, DELETE!

    • I reckon if I go through my library, I doubt I’ll find more than a hand full of games that comply with more than half of these.

      • lol pretty much. They’re a pretty arbitrary set of rules anyhow. I hate to say it, but some of them border on pretty entitled. “Thou Shalt Respect The Modders”. I mean, I know people love modding, but saying they MUST allow a game to be modded? Piss awf. It’s a devs perogative. Granted, it determines the actual longevity of the game, but it’s still their perogative.

          • People will always find a way to mod games (look at New Vegas for instance 🙂 ) despite devs trying to say ‘it can’t be modded’. All games can be 🙂

            But, it’s just up to the dev as to how easy they make it. Of course, in a perfect world every game would be easy to mod. But some, like Ubisoft, are just idiots. lol

          • For me, I get the shits on with devs when they respond warmly to ‘modability’, then renege on on this with post release patches, (like Ubi have in the past), or cock tease modders by not saying no to projects, then issuing a cease and desist right before completion/release of the mod. ED did this with DCS, removing specific modding tools and putting certain types of modding out of reach of much of the community (for now). Microsoft did this with a a Starcraft/Halo mod back in the day. I mean, I can handle if a game’s no particularly modable, but when a game has some shitty elements (Far Cry 2’s weapons fucking sucked for me!) that you can’t alter, that destroys much of the appeal of the game. But yeah, Ubi… I dunno what I was expecting. :p

  • For the major sins committed by Far Cry 2 + 3 + 3:BD (and minor sins of a few others), the Order of Mousin Leftum Handium Righton Keypadius , do now submit this Addendum to holy commandment 10:

    Thou shall not hard code default keys in any way shape or form, lest custom bindings be ignored, broken or spontaneously revert to default.

    Thou shall respect the OS mouse settings, and not hard code the mouse buttons in the menus.

    Thou shall allow both Enter and Numpad Enter to be used as key binds and recognise that outside the menus they are different keys.

    Thou shall not in any way cause a player to call for aid from Autohotkey or its ilk for basic control mapping.

  • Missed a big one with not mentioning having an FOV slider so we can deal with the FOV being blinkered at 60 degrees for consoles. Definitely agree with most of these, especially no. 2. Fuck attitudes like the Infinity Ward/Activision style sentiment with their “We want you to play the game as we intended”. Screw you, I’ll play the game how I goddamn feel like. If I want to stop at red lights and (generally) obey traffic rules in San Andreas, I’ll fucking well do as I please. I don’t care how many people call me a heretic for it.

    (Please excuse the aggie. It’s near 5pm, I’m still dealing with a hangover and of course it’s a fucking bright, hot, sunny day here! 🙁 )

    • Yes! “You’ll play the game as we intended”… if FOV’s restricted to 60, that amounts to either “for 10 minutes until I start feeling ill,” or “not at all.” Never really understood why developers would want to encourage either.

  • If thou includeth a weird-arse setting like “trees relief,” thou shalt explain what the heck “trees relief” is.

    this part made me laugh…

  • Perhaps there should be a conditional rider: “If thou beist EA or Ubisoft, thou mayst disregard all commandments, completely, totally and in their entirety, seeing as how thou art d’bags and shall doest that anyhoo… alt/tab straight to hades, and do not press the esc key…

  • BROTHERS! this man is a heathen! i have seen the light and PC gamers must forsake the quick save… it mocks our very skills to the core

  • Thou shalt price the game at a point commensurate with the amount of content. 3 hours of content is not worth US$80, despite what you want to spend on marketing.

  • (Yeah, coming to this 7 years late, but that’s what you get when Kotaku runs re-posts)

    Missing commandment: Thou Shalt Allow Pausing At Any Time. People have kids. They have partners. They have parcels arriving at the door and phone calls and bladders. I don’t want to skip your 20-minute cutscene, but I don’t always have time to let it run all the way through before I need to step away for a moment either.

    • What happened to Kotaku, i used to be a massive fan 6 or 7 years ago, and then all the journos looked like they disappeared, and then the removed commenting from the majority of their articles, and then i come back this year to find soooooooo many re-posts. dafuq?

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