Game Mechanics You Love/Hate

Scratched wrote:

Unless I'm playing a 2 year old child, I know how to jump across gaps, and there's only one direction I want to go (across the gap) then just handle it. Look at Assassin's creed for how to do it, and an upcoming game that looks to do it even better is Brink that moves you all around the environment as a human would.

Please don't look at assassin's creed on how to do it. There's all too many times in that game where the engine decides that the way you're headed isn't where you want to go, turns you round and has you jump in completely the wrong direction, especially so if you are approaching and edge at and angle for a specific jump and the engine deflects you along the edge at the very last moment. And it's not always clear which if the upcoming edges or ledges the engine is going to decide is the one you are aiming for.

That's probably why I said when there's only one direction to go, probably. I agree on AC needing a better way of directing the character, although perhaps it extends to more games as the character movement and interaction with the environment gets more complex. The AC free running was a simplification, hold down some buttons and press the movement control in the direction you want to go.

What I was getting at was that perhaps we need to relinquish full control of every aspect of our character. We don't need to press the jump button for every gap if it's only logical that we want to move over that gap, the majority of games are linear. For a game like AC, how about 'painting' your intended course on the world or plotting one or two waypoints that your character works out how to get there.

AC may not be the best example, as it's a game about movement and climbing, part of the fun is having the player handle it. Depending on what game you look at, there's different approaches and player attitudes to how much control they give you. Some people want a button for everything, and others want one contextual button that works out what it's meant to do. I don't think either is universally useful in all games, so it's going to depend on what the gameplay is.

Generally I'd love to see better interaction between the characters displayed and the environments they're moving about in, rather than just displaying pre-recorded animations while moving your character a set distance away from obstacles. It seems like there might be things to handle first.

slazev wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:
IUMogg wrote:

I hate Day/night cycles. They are in games for one of two reasons and both are annoying. Either they don't really have a game play purpose other than to make the world seem "realistic", when they do the opposite. It was daytime and now i walked around the world for 30 mins and it's night time? All that does is remind me that I'm playing in this artificial world and now I have to turn up the brightness. Or they are there because certain content is only available during certain in game hours, which always ends up being annoying. Red Dead Redemption had that. I want to play the mission now, I don't want to come back between fake 10 am - 6 pm. I guess I'll go ride my horse in circles for 15 mins so it's 5 hours later in game.

The only time this is acceptable is when the player is given some sort of control over the cycle.

Like Burnout Paradise: you can choose to run on a day/night cycle, day all the time, night all the time, or (and this is the coolest) use whatever time it is in Real Life.

Or, in Ogre Battle day/night really mattered, but you could use items to switch from one to the other at will.

What about Far Cry 2's implementation? Basically it was on a slow cycle, but you could visit a safe house and set your watch to what time of day you wanted and the in game enemies would typically respond better during the day. I wouldn't say I loved it, but it was still interesting every once and a while, and I caught an amazing sunrise after a mission once. I was very thankful of day / night cycles and that random coincidence.

STALKER also comes to mind.

I like it in Far Cry 2 because the world was realized so well. In the STALKER games it was a mixed bag. But those are rare exceptions. For every game it's not an annoyance there are a handful where it is. It just seems like so many games include day/night cycles just to do it. Like Borderlands.

STALKER is probably the best example because day/night has the biggest effect, it gets drastically more dark, that affects your visibility and the AI's, flashlights and night vision are both needed to see and can make you or the enemy stand out for miles.

Borderlands' day/night by comparison can almost be ignored.

Ooh, not really a game mechanic as such, but something really dumb.

'Press any key(or A, Enter whatever) to continue' at the start of the game. Look, I double clicked the shortcut, sat through the splashes, skipped those I could. Now you want to know if I want to play the game?

And more games need an 'Exit to desktop/windows' menu option from the in game menu.

BadKen wrote:

If you hate "toon" then how do you feel about "mob"? Can't stand that programmerese term. They're monsters or hell, World of Warcraft already had a great pre-made term for them: creeps. Or call them what they are, you know, boars, wolves, or if you need multiple types, creatures or monsters. How hard is that, reallly? Mob. Pfft.

I don't really have a problem with the term Mob, because it doesn't sound like something stupid and goofy and like pignoli, I could see a way in which it could make some sort of sense beyond "da characturs look cartoony lol!!!"

I don't have enough of a connection to the word "creeps" to care about it much. It doesn't make sense to me but again, at least it's not childish and silly. I tend to just call them enemies, monsters or targets.

-Lobster Creepster

DanB wrote:

Please don't look at assassin's creed on how to do it. There's all too many times in that game where the engine decides that the way you're headed isn't where you want to go, turns you round and has you jump in completely the wrong direction, especially so if you are approaching and edge at and angle for a specific jump and the engine deflects you along the edge at the very last moment. And it's not always clear which if the upcoming edges or ledges the engine is going to decide is the one you are aiming for.

I too have died, lost timed events, lost a race etc. because the game decided that I wanted to die or plummet instead of jumping to that next platform so I can sympathize. That said, Assassin's Creed comes REALLY close to achieving its ideal. I love the free-running in that game and have no problem with the nature of the jumping other than that inaccuracy, which is more a function of Altair/Ezio's feet leaving the ground than Altair/Ezio having immense disgusting leg muscles that can propel them to rooftops in a single bound.

alt-f4 needs to be universal. It's a rare game that where it doesn't work, which is also usually the game that requires three menus and a loading screen to get out.

DanyBoy wrote:

alt-f4 needs to be universal. It's a rare game that where it doesn't work, which is also usually the game that requires three menus and a loading screen to get out.

Hear! Hear!

Scratched wrote:

What I was getting at was that perhaps we need to relinquish full control of every aspect of our character.

Yeah I don't know, I think the reality is that whether that might make sense can only be answered on a game by game basis. The challenge in AC isn't intimately tidied up with it 'being a platform game' so it makes sense to break out some of the jumping actions and let the computer handle it.

For a game like AC, how about 'painting' your intended course on the world or plotting one or two waypoints that your character works out how to get there.

Depends do you want to play the character or just manage the action. Because really those are two different games right there (and I would play that latter one)

Generally I'd love to see better interaction between the characters displayed and the environments they're moving about in, rather than just displaying pre-recorded animations while moving your character a set distance away from obstacles.

Yeah one day but for now it's a modelling problem that's out of reach for most game development, it remains cheaper/more expedient to rotoscope a handful of actors.

Day/Night just annoyed me in Far Cry 2, which I'm finishing up now. There's almost no reason not to attack at night. Less visibility, mixed with the camo suit. Act I, I went all stealth mode, but even when I switched to non stealth mode in Act 2 nighttime means you're still less visible, especially among those ridiculous sniper rocket launcher men on cliffs.

It was just an extra no-fun mechanic for me to remember to hit a safe house, and sleep til 10:15.

BadKen wrote:

If you hate "toon" then how do you feel about "mob"? Can't stand that programmerese term. They're monsters or hell, World of Warcraft already had a great pre-made term for them: creeps. Or call them what they are, you know, boars, wolves, or if you need multiple types, creatures or monsters. How hard is that, reallly? Mob. Pfft.

Mob. If I recall correctly, it stood for 'mobile' back in the days of MUD's. It also stood for ONE object, it is not 'mob' as in 'group'. But now I hear it all the time used that way. Standing in front of a group of enemies, someone says "take out that mob, now" - and I get all LobsterMobstery. I don't mind any of the other terms mentioned, because they don't misrepresent.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Ooh, not really a game mechanic as such, but something really dumb.

'Press any key(or A, Enter whatever) to continue' at the start of the game. Look, I double clicked the shortcut, sat through the splashes, skipped those I could. Now you want to know if I want to play the game?

And more games need an 'Exit to desktop/windows' menu option from the in game menu.

Console-itis.

DanyBoy wrote:

alt-f4 needs to be universal. It's a rare game that where it doesn't work, which is also usually the game that requires three menus and a loading screen to get out.

This.

That leads to fun times like this: http://www.wowbash.com/image-12490.html
and "Press F10 to update your stats" in source games (although they added a confirmation now).

Quintin_Stone wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

Ooh, not really a game mechanic as such, but something really dumb.

'Press any key(or A, Enter whatever) to continue' at the start of the game. Look, I double clicked the shortcut, sat through the splashes, skipped those I could. Now you want to know if I want to play the game?

And more games need an 'Exit to desktop/windows' menu option from the in game menu.

Console-itis.

Even then, why? You put the disc in, you want to play. It should take you to the menu.

They want an artistic, mood-setting splash screen. It's the video game equivalent of the opening title shot in a movie.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

Ooh, not really a game mechanic as such, but something really dumb.

'Press any key(or A, Enter whatever) to continue' at the start of the game. Look, I double clicked the shortcut, sat through the splashes, skipped those I could. Now you want to know if I want to play the game?

And more games need an 'Exit to desktop/windows' menu option from the in game menu.

Console-itis.

Even then, why? You put the disc in, you want to play. It should take you to the menu.

A sensible middleground is that if it can't find any existing save data (first run) it shows the movies, otherwise it lets you skip. However, this is just lower down on the scale of annoyance.

Regarding cutscenes, I think that's a how some people are only comfortable showing story through cinema, and aren't sure how to relay that story during a player controlled segment. There's still a lot of work to do there.

I have never heard anyone call their character a "toon". Most MMO players I know simply called it a "character", "dude", or "guy/girl."

One game mechanic I hate is darkness. To me, it doesn't enhance the gameplay to have the screen be so dark that you need to squint while you're walking down corridors. Take Fallout 3/Oblivion/Bioshock for example, I understand it's to make you consider how you'll use items or make it seem spooky and what not but to me it's just annoying.

One mechanic I have a love/hate relationship with is customization. I love being able to form my character into how I want them to be but at the same time I think way too much about how I want to make my character lol.

I love in games where there is a definite "ultimate weapon/armor set" or the ability to forge an armor to your liking.

I hate having too many different types of items/weapons/armor. Because then I actually have to start filtering what items I loot before I hit another shop to sell them all at.

Scratched wrote:

STALKER is probably the best example because day/night has the biggest effect, it gets drastically more dark, that affects your visibility and the AI's, flashlights and night vision are both needed to see and can make you or the enemy stand out for miles.

I'm not sure if it's in vanilla STALKER, or was added by the STALKER: Complete 2009 mod, but after getting out of the first facility you go into, I came out into a lightning storm, and I'll be damned if that wasn't one of the best storms I've seen in a game. There were some spots I wouldn't go to unless it was daytime, simply because of how dark (and creepy) it would get.

I'm ready for walking and running to stop being smooth horizontal motion with an animation and get to the point where it matters which leg you're on when you jump.

This will, of course, make some people vomit.

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm ready for walking and running to stop being smooth horizontal motion with an animation and get to the point where it matters which leg you're on when you jump.

This will, of course, make some people vomit.

IMAGE(http://planetsmilies.net/vomit-smiley-9529.gif)

It sounds great except in a video game you are too detached from the character for it to ever work or feel right.

I'm just starting to feel bugged by the level of abstraction in bipedal movement. It's time things improved, I think.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

Ooh, not really a game mechanic as such, but something really dumb.

'Press any key(or A, Enter whatever) to continue' at the start of the game. Look, I double clicked the shortcut, sat through the splashes, skipped those I could. Now you want to know if I want to play the game?

And more games need an 'Exit to desktop/windows' menu option from the in game menu.

Console-itis.

Even then, why? You put the disc in, you want to play. It should take you to the menu.

Microsoft demands it of all 360 titles except Braid. The idea is that you want the game to sell itself if it is in a demo station, even if there is no one playing it. Like an arcade cabinet. Braid had to fight for the exemption because he wanted to the game to jump right into the action.

This speaks to a big pet peeve of mine, the unnecessary loading of assets for menu backgrounds. I get that you want your game to be all flashy, but seriously, just put a jpeg back there and throw some words on top. Half Life 2 and Chaos Theory were big offenders here, although in the PC version of Half Life 2 you could turn it off. Big props to Gears for going the more sensible route.

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm ready for walking and running to stop being smooth horizontal motion with an animation and get to the point where it matters which leg you're on when you jump.

Arma 2's head bob has really made me take notice of and dislike this smoothness in other first person games. I also love that it is adjustable in Arma 2, so you can set it to your preferred intensity.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Scratched wrote:

Some unreal games use this to good effect in-game too where a door will be locked until it's loaded the next area, once it's loaded you progress without a loading screen or pausing the game. If you can distract the player so they never notice, all the better.

See also: the Metroid Prime series. You shoot a door (as is custom for opening them since the original) and the game will load what's on the other side and open when it's done. I'm pretty sure the game also pre-loads when you get near an exit.

Actually, most Nintendo developed games hide load times really well make them completely dissapear.

Wind Waker did a remarkably good job hiding the loading times as you sailed up to the islands.

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm just starting to feel bugged by the level of abstraction in bipedal movement. It's time things improved, I think.

It is and I've seen a few games (all of which I can't remeber right now) that make you at least finish a step before the jump begins. To me, that's about as much as I want in most situations.

I must also state I typically prefer more stylized and fine tuned gameplay over more realistic stuff.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
mrtomaytohead wrote:
Scratched wrote:

Some unreal games use this to good effect in-game too where a door will be locked until it's loaded the next area, once it's loaded you progress without a loading screen or pausing the game. If you can distract the player so they never notice, all the better.

See also: the Metroid Prime series. You shoot a door (as is custom for opening them since the original) and the game will load what's on the other side and open when it's done. I'm pretty sure the game also pre-loads when you get near an exit.

Actually, most Nintendo developed games hide load times really well make them completely dissapear.

Wind Waker did a remarkably good job hiding the loading times as you sailed up to the islands.

Mass Effect, meet elevator. Elevator, meet Mass Effect.

Wouldn't mind it if FPS and other action games would lose the part where they pump up some fast-paced rock music in the background as if that's supposed to be your cue that the next part of the level will require you to run and/or gun like crazy. I have nothing against dramatic music for effect, of course, but I take exception to this for two reasons: 1) the music tends to be cheesy and droning, especially after the first 30 seconds, and 2) having played many FPSs of different ilks, especially the Arma/OFP type, I am not accustomed to running and gunning simply because the music is pumping.

As for a suggestion, I think there are times where the level designers should cut the background music, stop the fighting, and allow the player to drink the environment in. Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight comes to mind in this respect.

P.S. Half-Life 2 did both the quiet part and the pumping music part pretty well.

Scratched wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

Ooh, not really a game mechanic as such, but something really dumb.

'Press any key(or A, Enter whatever) to continue' at the start of the game. Look, I double clicked the shortcut, sat through the splashes, skipped those I could. Now you want to know if I want to play the game?

And more games need an 'Exit to desktop/windows' menu option from the in game menu.

Console-itis.

Even then, why? You put the disc in, you want to play. It should take you to the menu.

A sensible middleground is that if it can't find any existing save data (first run) it shows the movies, otherwise it lets you skip. However, this is just lower down on the scale of annoyance.

That I can get behind and it answers the points that Danjo and ClockworkHouse raise. Publishers/developers get what they want and customers don't get annoyed at the repetition.

What has been annoying me with this is PoP 2008. Publisher splash (skippable) game title splash (not skippable) then 'Press any key to continue.

Something that's been grating on my nerves while trying to platinum trophy Dead Space - unskippable in-game cutscenes. I don't know the best way to handle this problem, but waiting for the scientist on the other side of the glass to give a speech, shove a spike in a guy's head, then walk out of the room before the door I need to walk through would unlock (this is on my 3rd playthrough) annoyed me.