Game Mechanics You Love/Hate

It's not really a "game mechanic", but the fact that I can't set as my preferences in Xbox Live to "ignore all of the stupid @#$!! who can buy a $400 gaming console and $60 game but are too stinking cheap to buy a $10 headset" is very, very annoying.

I hate races in games (mainly Rockstar games) that only give you the next checkpoint instead of showing you the course either before or, preferably, during the race. Inevitably, there will be a checkpoint right before a turn and, of course, once you miss that turn it's almost impossible to not have to redo the race. This goes for things like the roof races in Crackdown as well.

I used to get really annoyed by iron sights but have gotten really used to them because of Battlefield. I still prefer it when games don't have them but I can at least play games with them now. I have noticed that they don't work that well in console games.

I love NPCs that vocalize their awareness states in stealth games. Taking Thief as the paragon example, listening to them converse with each or mumble to themselves is ideal for gauging group sizes, distances, and directions (if moving) without having to see them or risk being caught seen. If the writing is up there, then in addition to being a mechanic to inform, the vocalizations can also entertain ("Hadst I a hammer wouldst I hammer in the morning") or humanize ("God I'm bored, eight hours of this, I'd rather be home"). Using the barks to communicate changes in awareness, like searching, pursuing, or resetting (my favourite from Chaos Theory: "Maybe it's better if I didn't see anything"), is great way to deliver information to the player in way that simultaneously evokes the aesthetic.

That's one of the reasons I could never get into the Metal Gear Solid games, especially as stealth: a floating exclamation mark? Really?

The general HUD-less direction many games are going in is the overarching theme, which I generally approve of.

+1 to escort missions *grimace*

A lot of the complaints here relate to artificial intelligence. A.I. is the great untapped aspect of gaming. In fact, A.I. is so bad, and so ignored in this hobby, that we fully expect it and rarely even complain about it.

They spend millions on lens flare, particle effects, smoke, more polygons, etc, and almost completely ignore A.I.

There are so many ways great A.I. could improve games today. It's a shame almost no one demands it. Instead we want pretty fireworks and shiny floors!

IMAGE(http://i.ytimg.com/vi/npBRexcoMxs/0.jpg)

IMAGE(http://imgur.com/p96WJ.png)

Jeff-66 wrote:

A lot of the complaints here relate to artificial intelligence. A.I. is the great untapped aspect of gaming. In fact, A.I. is so bad, and so ignored in this hobby, that we fully expect it and rarely even complain about it.

They spend millions on lens flare, particle effects, smoke, more polygons, etc, and almost completely ignore A.I.

There are so many ways great A.I. could improve games today. It's a shame almost no one demands it. Instead we want pretty fireworks and shiny floors!

Complain all you want, but the fact of the matter is that in terms of pushing sales, you can slap a shiny stuff on the back of a box/in a magazine article/on a gaming website/in a video trailer. And having clever AI is going to take precious processing cycles away from your ability to push shiny stuff to the screen.

What people generally want isn't really clever AI anyways, just AI that feels realistic and/or makes the player feel clever for beating it. If you're just a chess dabbler, for instance, there's no point in rigging up your own deep blue, because you'll never beat it and that would just be depressing.

edit:
incidentally, the emphasis here in "just AI that feels realistic" is because it is often way, way more efficient to just fake this with scripting (in terms of dev time, processor cycles etc.) instead of having AI that can actually figure this stuff out. In a way, it's the same reason you don't render geometry in a 3D scene which the player avatar shouldn't ever be able to get into a position to see.

juv3nal wrote:

Complain all you want, but the fact of the matter is that in terms of pushing sales, you can slap a shiny stuff on the back of a box/in a magazine article/on a gaming website/in a video trailer. And having clever AI is going to take precious processing cycles away from your ability to push shiny stuff to the screen.

...

What people generally want isn't really clever AI anyways,

That's pretty much what I said.

I'd say one of my biggest gripes is games that don't allow the player to customize HUD elements (or controls). Not having something as simple as a basic opacity fade enrages me. FEAR 2, though I enjoyed the game a fair bit, took me months to beat because I became so angered by the persistent Fisher-Price day-glow HUD that I generally only played about a half hour at a time.

The simple addition of opacity options in Fallout 3 took me from swear words and glares to "that'll do" (until Darn came along to de-console the HUD and make it Just Right).

Love:

Mini-games that are well-integrated into the game itself (and not just a boring 'Extras' option on the menu). Probably my favorite example is the GamePig from System Shock 2; Overworld Zero, Swine Hunter, etc. Man! Great stuff.

Jeff-66 wrote:

A lot of the complaints here relate to artificial intelligence. A.I. is the great untapped aspect of gaming. In fact, A.I. is so bad, and so ignored in this hobby, that we fully expect it and rarely even complain about it.

They spend millions on lens flare, particle effects, smoke, more polygons, etc, and almost completely ignore A.I.

There are so many ways great A.I. could improve games today. It's a shame almost no one demands it. Instead we want pretty fireworks and shiny floors!

I hear this a lot, but I'm curious what people who say this are expecting the AI to do. What will spending twice as much on AI allow our games to do that they can't now? Or at least do significantly better?

First, much love for getting two of my favourite game characters into the thread, Glottis and Tex Murphy. (:

As for the game mechanic I could live without (though it may be a stretch to call it a mechanic), it's the "last 5% of a game is totally different from the first 95%" idea. I'd love to never see that again.

Fixing it is easy. Just give me more of the gameplay that kept me interested for the rest of the game. Make it more difficult if you have to. RTS games are the best for this, though it meant I had to cheat in Warcraft II and go to Easy in Supreme Commander.

Clemenstation wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Escort missions. Die, escort missions.

Yep. And yet, oddly, I really enjoyed Resident Evil 4 even though it's basically one long escort mission.

But at least you get to stuff Ashley in trash bins.

This. Every escort mission I can think of outside of Resident Evil 4, I loathe. This was probably the only game ever to get it right, Most of the time she's helpless and useless and consequently the game designers make the enemies go after you 95% more than her so as long as you don't run away / have too man enemies swarming, she's mostly safe, and sticks so close she's almost stuck to your side, but just out of camera sight.

Gravey wrote:

I love NPCs that vocalize their awareness states in stealth games.

Even though it wasn't fully a stealth game, Far Cry 2 did a pretty good job of it and made listening to the enemies fun and useful, too. You could even tell if they were afraid of you or not. They'd even ask others if they thought there were more than one of you sometimes.

This isn't a game mechanic, but I feel I need to gripe about it.

When you leave Vault 101 in Fallout 3, you are facing east. This threw off my orientation for the entire game. Make me leave the vault facing north! I know you want me to see the Washington Monument for dramatic effect, but c'mon! NORTH! NORTH!!!

0kelvin wrote:
Jeff-66 wrote:

A lot of the complaints here relate to artificial intelligence. A.I. is the great untapped aspect of gaming. In fact, A.I. is so bad, and so ignored in this hobby, that we fully expect it and rarely even complain about it.

They spend millions on lens flare, particle effects, smoke, more polygons, etc, and almost completely ignore A.I.

There are so many ways great A.I. could improve games today. It's a shame almost no one demands it. Instead we want pretty fireworks and shiny floors!

I hear this a lot, but I'm curious what people who say this are expecting the AI to do. What will spending twice as much on AI allow our games to do that they can't now? Or at least do significantly better?

Observe the player, remember where that happened and how long ago, and use that information to make predictions about further player movements without just psychically knowing the player's position. This observation model should largely be symmetric to the player. If I can't see through foliage then the enemies shouldn't either.

The default reaction to seeing the player doesn't need to be always be attack. Stalking should also be an option.

Interact with other enemies by giving and taking commands to coordinate.

Notice alterations to the environment and react to them appropriately.

Assess a situation and retreat.

All of the above behavior has been modeled in games here and there, but most of the time it's psychic Doom enemies.

*Hate

Mechanics in action games that restrict your movement like knockback, or freeze. It's just isn't very fun to be standing there jamming the move button until you can slide back in melee range.

*Love

Leveling and equipment mix-maxing.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Snipers in FPSs.

Doesn't matter the scope of the game. Doesn't matter the objective. There is always either a sniper class or a sniper weapon, and the game is made so you can do nothing but snipe if you want to. A sniper's experience is totally different from anyone else's. Their job is to sit still and piss off other players.

I'd rather they focus on a single kind of experience and let the snipers go play... just about any other FPS, rather than give them a metagame that only worsens everyone else's experience and breaks the cardinal rule of skill-based games: understanding what you did that caused you to die.

YES! I think multiplayer gaming is why I stay away from any FPS that doesn't boast the single-player experience. I hate when skill is taking out of the equation in favor for cheap kills like sniping. You can say that it's not an easy job to have all you want, but if your enemy doesn't even know where you are then the game stops being fun.

To the A.I. thing: It could also make characters feel more real so we can have more genuine reactions and feelings toward them. Just having a character getting upset at me for throwing a box at its face rather than simply proceeding as scripted makes a big difference to immersion. Imagine characters that can follow you, fight alongside you without being confused by crotch-high walls, form opinions of you as a leader, offering real-time tactical advice based on the current situation, get angry at you when you inevitably do something stupid because you're dumb, and perhaps even defect and become a double-agent and inform the enemies of your plans, all without following a rigid, linear script and without easily forgetting everything and falling in love with you after you launch a successful string of farts.

Better A.I. won't make the best games better, it could just open up new kinds of experiences.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Escort missions. Die, escort missions.

Yep. And yet, oddly, I really enjoyed Resident Evil 4 even though it's basically one long escort mission.

But at least you get to stuff Ashley in trash bins.

This. Every escort mission I can think of outside of Resident Evil 4, I loathe. This was probably the only game ever to get it right

Ico is one long escort mission, and it is marvellous. The problem is that games that don't make it a focus are invariably crap at it -- just like stealth missions are sh*t outside of games that make stealth a focus.

I love sniper classes in FPS. Suck it sniper haters.

Thin_J wrote:

I love sniper classes in FPS. Suck it sniper haters.

I only play single player, but I love sniping. Something about being death from 1000 metres is intoxicating.

Seriously, if someone made a full sniping simulator that factors in wind, the earths spin and any of the other variables that affect your bullet trajectory I would be all over it.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

I love sniper classes in FPS. Suck it sniper haters.

I only play single player, but I love sniping. Something about being death from 1000 metres is intoxicating.

Seriously, if someone made a full sniping simulator that factors in wind, the earths spin and any of the other variables that affect your bullet trajectory I would be all over it.

Pretty sure something like ARMA 2 would do this. I think it was in the first Operation Flashpoint anyway.

I hate collecting for the sake of collecting, things like the flags in Assassin's Creed. There's no point whatsoever, it's just a form of busy work tacked on to the game. Now, if the collecting actually impacts gameplay in some way like the orbs in Crackdown, I'm OK with that, but just grabbing things so that I can see "25/100" or whatever as I proceed along annoys the crap out of me.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

I love sniper classes in FPS. Suck it sniper haters.

I only play single player, but I love sniping. Something about being death from 1000 metres is intoxicating.

Seriously, if someone made a full sniping simulator that factors in wind, the earths spin and any of the other variables that affect your bullet trajectory I would be all over it.

It's not quite as in depth as you indicated, but have you tried Sniper Elite for the PC? It's a really satisfying sniping game with some awesome bullet trajectory stuff.

- Hate
Backstory. I have a hard time not skipping intro cinematics, because they're often unrelated to the actual story of the protagonist. I hate codex, *pedias, etc. If it's not relevant to the story it's not worth hearing. Fantasy/SF works are often guilty of that. For instance, to elaborate on this, there is one moment of planescape torment that almost got me bored, and that was when some scholar is giving you a very lengthy explanation about the mechanics of the planes, what happens when people die, etc. "I don't really care" I thought. It was all forgiven though when it became very relevant at the ending. Most of the side-stuff in the game turned out to be... not side-stuff. That's why I love it so much.

- Love
Completely one sided PVP... when on the losing side. Playing as the VIP in TFC, armed only with one's wits and umbrella, sneaking around and leaving the other team flabbergasted was memorable. Surviving chopper attacks in BF2. Same thing in MMORPG's such as EVE, etc. which give you the opportunity to outsmart if not defeat your opponent.

Playing through F.E.A.R. again and I've got to say...

I freaking LOATHE rechargeable flashlights.

Either give me a flashlight or don't, game. Don't give me a flashlight that only works for a little while and then needs to shut off in order to magically "recharge" in a matter of seconds. If that's how your flashlight works, you could just give me a slightly larger casing with double the "recharge" part or a slightly dimmer light with lower power consumption. It doesn't make sense, it's annoying as all hell, and when there's zero penalty for just standing still waiting the few seconds it takes to recharge I don't see any gameplay reason for it. The only thing I can think of is that it's an auto-shutoff so you don't walk around with a giant beacon on yourself in well-lit areas.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Playing through F.E.A.R. again and I've got to say...

I freaking LOATHE rechargeable flashlights.

I felt the same way about Shadow Complex. The flashlight basically needs to be on all the time, to highlight destructible areas, and it recharges in like 2 seconds when it runs out... so why does it need to recharge at all?

Scratched wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Jumping puzzles - especially timed jumping puzzles, where you'll get three quarters of the way through, and screw up, and have to start *all over from scratch*. Assassin's Creed, I'm looking at you!

I'd put that down to a bad camera, and imperfect communication (both ways) between player and game as to what you want altair to do and how the game is reading what you want and showing you what it's going to do. I think an interesting method for 'full world exploration' games like AC would be if there was a cursor on screen, and you aim a few steps/jumps ahead of where you want to go.

Mine: Minigames as gating mechanisms.

Oh, man, don't remember me the Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raiders. Damn camera!

Grubber788 wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

I love sniper classes in FPS. Suck it sniper haters.

I only play single player, but I love sniping. Something about being death from 1000 metres is intoxicating.

Seriously, if someone made a full sniping simulator that factors in wind, the earths spin and any of the other variables that affect your bullet trajectory I would be all over it.

It's not quite as in depth as you indicated, but have you tried Sniper Elite for the PC? It's a really satisfying sniping game with some awesome bullet trajectory stuff.

Looks interesting, will need to remember that one day when I can download something that size. I see it needs 4 gigs of hd space and I checked the torrent size as a guide, nearly 2 gigs. Steam will get my money for that one day.

Hate: the Towers of Hanoi puzzle and variants. I'm looking at you, Bioware.

Also hate: stealth missions you fail instantly when someone see you.