Overused game design mechanics that should evolve

Much of game design seems to be follow the leader and often doing what has worked for one game will show up in many many games. But as we move further from the 2010s some of the long last game design techniques don't seem to be evolving with the current gen. Heres a few I would love to see done differently. Add some you may have felt out I missed.

1. Stealth Grass:

Playing a plauge tale is the primary reason I thought about this. Much of the game is disconnected patches of grass used to hide the player from the enemy. Games such as Elden ring, Pokemon, Pluages tale, Horizon from just this year uses it as their primary stealth feature but doesn't take other elements like lighting into count which is probably the most important element when it comes to stealth. I'd love to see them make this technique more fleshed out. Part of why humans stand straight up was to evolve to see other animals in tall grass. maybe movement, camouflage, health of the grass at different points and seasons all play a role into how successful you are able to hide and might force you to only use it to sit still to find a new path.





2. Skill Trees:

The list of games that utilize skill trees are too far to list. The issue with them is they lead to little build diversity but give the illusion of choice. We don't really get games ARPG games where you unlock abilities within the game without having to pour a currency into unlocking it. I'd just like to see focused games where the skills are unlocked as you go with the story and isn't given at the beginning and you decide what ability you go with. Even user based progression in a ARPG might be a good alternative. More you craft items in TLOU2 the better you get. Use shot guns more? Unlock more damage with shot guns over time. Something other than light rpg mechanics that lead to very little change in actual game play, it should be more organic going forward.





Enemy Sensing:

This one is arguably my least favorite. The ability to see enemies through walls, see other objects of interest highlighted etc. This takes away from what could be a semi challenging unique experience and makes it a menial follow, wait, attack task. I'm not sure how to fix this one. Maybe with duel sense you can ass vibrations to movement of enemies from particular locations, or even just let trial and error take a role in the players decision. It seems like an easy way to avoid taking a unique approach to these activities.



 

Fbh

Member
Agreed about grass and enemy sensing.
My problem with skilltrees isn't the mechanic itself but rather that I find it lame when games allow you to unlock all (or most) abilities in a single playthrough. I like skill trees when they force you to make choices and commit to certain paths while giving up on others. I think it makes for more varied gameplay, adds to replay value and makes your experience a bit more unique.

One I wish to see improved is "tracking by following footprints"

It's just not fun, to the point I'd rather have them just put a waypoint on the map.
 

Kupfer

Member
Hidden load times while you have to squeeze through gaps, climb meaningless walls, crouch through caves, wading through mud, riding an elevator, canoeing, balancing along precipices and so on.
These constant repetitive "events" bore me so much that I wish the simple "Loading" freeze frame from Half Life would return
 

WakeTheWolf

Member
I feel Skill Trees are important for progression though. Giving the player some form of control over that is important with game development. But I get what you are saying. Repetition based skills would make sense but then surely it would be nice to choose a path for those skills instead of being assigned them automatically?
 

Black_Stride

do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
For the love of all that is holy.
Turn off enemy sensing when you start any game that has stealth mechanics.

If you left it on and use it thats on you, thats on you!


On Topic

  • Escort missions with an AI thats stupid as shit.
  • Escort missions in general.
  • Stealth in games that have no reason to have stealth and havenet implemented it properly. *Stares at Lords of Shadow 2.
  • Games not being Splinter Cell. - Too many games do this.
  • Hard mode = Bullet/Damage sponges.......should be called Longer Mode.
 

Thaedolus

Gold Member
I know they’re not really a game mechanic and more hiding loading stuff, but sliding through narrow passages or boosting up your buddy then having them give you a hand or go find a rope. Going from TLOU Part I directly into Part II has given me plenty of these sequences to go through in the last month or so and I’m sick of it
 

Comandr

Member
I think I agree with OP’s points by and large. I personally really like games that let you level up skills from usage. Some old MMOs like EverQuest and WoW. Crackdown and Oblivion did this as well. Want to improve your gun control? Shoot guns. Improve athleticism? Do athletic things. Etc. this goes a long way to making me feel like I’m actually improving as a character than just arbitrarily choosing from a list things I want to dump points into.

Maybe stealth could be improved by not just throwing tall grass all over the place and making you actually hide behind trees and various environment details. And you know what? Maybe there just isn’t anywhere to hide nearby and you have to come up with another solution to get by a given enemy. Encourage creativity.

Christ I took down entire forts in Ghost of Tsushima by hiding in one patch of grass and just whistling all these dipshits over.
 

dorkimoe

Member
Add wasting your time looting every damn thing that's scattered all over the ground.
Oh god yes that too. I can’t remember what game it was but you had to press a button for every piece. Maybe Diablo 2 or borderlands. Like why am I pressing a button to pickup AMmo!
 
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I dont want to have to watch an animation for every ingame chest i open or spam a button to open it. God of war i think had this issue
Not in the new one, before you had to mash but now it was just a single button for a quick animation.

I agree though, long animations for simply picking something up is dated af. Especially for skinning/herbalism in most games, I dont care that in real life it'd take more time Im playing a video game just put that shit in me inventory!
 

SegaShack

Member
Leveling up/unlocking/experience points in multiplayer games. I just want shooters where everyone starts with the same loadout and same chances to win.

I haven't played multiplayer shooters online once this became the norm.

Goldeneye and Halo 1/2 had this done the right way.
 
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The artful mincer

Gold Member
Much of game design seems to be follow the leader and often doing what has worked for one game will show up in many many games. But as we move further from the 2010s some of the long last game design techniques don't seem to be evolving with the current gen. Heres a few I would love to see done differently. Add some you may have felt out I missed.

1. Stealth Grass:

Playing a plauge tale is the primary reason I thought about this. Much of the game is disconnected patches of grass used to hide the player from the enemy. Games such as Elden ring, Pokemon, Pluages tale, Horizon from just this year uses it as their primary stealth feature but doesn't take other elements like lighting into count which is probably the most important element when it comes to stealth. I'd love to see them make this technique more fleshed out. Part of why humans stand straight up was to evolve to see other animals in tall grass. maybe movement, camouflage, health of the grass at different points and seasons all play a role into how successful you are able to hide and might force you to only use it to sit still to find a new path.





2. Skill Trees:

The list of games that utilize skill trees are too far to list. The issue with them is they lead to little build diversity but give the illusion of choice. We don't really get games ARPG games where you unlock abilities within the game without having to pour a currency into unlocking it. I'd just like to see focused games where the skills are unlocked as you go with the story and isn't given at the beginning and you decide what ability you go with. Even user based progression in a ARPG might be a good alternative. More you craft items in TLOU2 the better you get. Use shot guns more? Unlock more damage with shot guns over time. Something other than light rpg mechanics that lead to very little change in actual game play, it should be more organic going forward.





Enemy Sensing:

This one is arguably my least favorite. The ability to see enemies through walls, see other objects of interest highlighted etc. This takes away from what could be a semi challenging unique experience and makes it a menial follow, wait, attack task. I'm not sure how to fix this one. Maybe with duel sense you can ass vibrations to movement of enemies from particular locations, or even just let trial and error take a role in the players decision. It seems like an easy way to avoid taking a unique approach to these activities.



I definitely agree on skill tree's! I would also add skill tree's annoying little brother who's always tags along Skill points.

Together they just make exploration so boring. As everything you do gives you points nothing individually matters.

I think if you take a game like forbidden west. All those cool abilities in the the skill tree would be better served if you found them in the open world organically by doing quests or discovering them in chests or whatever
 

The artful mincer

Gold Member
Agreed. I think fast travel at places like trains, cabs etc work very well.
Yeah this would be a good way to implement it. Teleportation travel you can do anytime anywhere with zero consequences is boring and immersion breaking.

Something as simple as getting an airship like in final fantasy really goes along way to immersing you in the world.
 

Hoppa

Member
Animations of picking things up - especially in games where there are a trillion small items everywhere at all times like Horizon FW (I thought they fixed it in a patch but it’s still annoying)
 

remember_spinal

Gold Member
Animations of picking things up - especially in games where there are a trillion small items everywhere at all times like Horizon FW (I thought they fixed it in a patch but it’s still annoying)

It improved the game so much its not even funny.

It’s one of the aspects that make games like RDR2 not fun to play. The fact that they over-animate everything, it feels like you’re controlling a robot
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
Fast travel. Don't get me wrong some games need it but I feel its a get out of jail free card to make your open world traversal boring or lacking challenge
Nah, very few open world games have actually fun traversal mechanics and devs are not gonna get good at doing that just because you erase fast travel.

Even horizon has absolutely shitty and unfunny traversal with some of the worse "horses" in the past years, and you know how much i love horizon.


People literally modded fast travel from everywhere in these games where you have to reach a taxi or train to move around the map, last one being cyberpunk, it was just annoying to search for a fast travel point.

Immersion is one thing, getting bored to even reach the location of a mission is another.
 

KàIRóS

Member
I honestly find it funny that everyone is only mentioning mechanics you normally find in AAA games like seriously most of you need to stop only playing AAA games, you guys are not going to find innovation there.

Anyway I'm going to say Quest Markers, IMO they should just be optional and they should be turned off by default, let players explore your game Devs, that simple design choice is half the reason why Elden Ring has such a great open world.
 

bbeach123

Member
I definitely agree on skill tree's! I would also add skill tree's annoying little brother who's always tags along Skill points.

Together they just make exploration so boring. As everything you do gives you points nothing individually matters.

I think if you take a game like forbidden west. All those cool abilities in the the skill tree would be better served if you found them in the open world organically by doing quests or discovering them in chests or whatever
So how about you can find a whole new different skills tree in the open world that you can use the exp points from fighting monster/exporing the world to level them up ?
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
It improved the game so much its not even funny.

It’s one of the aspects that make games like RDR2 not fun to play. The fact that they over-animate everything, it feels like you’re controlling a robot
I only accept picking up animations in super realistic games like rdr2 because the whole game is like that for every tiny tiny interaction and it would look a bit silly to magically pick stuff without any animation, but yeah a lot of people hated that, mostly because you had to perfectly align with everything to have the button prompt on screen, that aspect was pretty bad.

Tlou2 picking animation was ok because it was super fast and with a generous picking radius.
 
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remember_spinal

Gold Member
I only accept picking up animations in super realistic games like rdr2 because the whole game is like that for every tiny tiny interaction and it would look a bit silly to magically pick stuff without any animation, but yeah a lot of people hated that, mostly because you had to perfectly align with everything to have the button prompt on screen, that aspect was pretty bad.

Running in circles to pick up some money never gets old.
 
Enemy sensing killed so much stealth games for me. Dishonored would be so much better without that.

Instead of that they could implement spatial sound like Thief did.
Thief was truly ahead of it's time. It's funny that instead of going forward in sound design I feel like we've gone backwards.

Maybe 3d audio chip in PS5 could do some wonders.

But I dunno if someone has the balls to release stealth game without skill trees and whatnot, not an rpg with stealth elements just truly a stealth game like back in the day.

Thief could come back, now that Embracer bought the IP (lets forget about the awful 2014 reboot), I've heard they've been pushing for return of Deus Ex too - I'm surprised that this IP was dormant during and after Cyberpunk hype.

Lately Crystal Dynamics was checking in on the interest in Legacy of Kain IP. The strong point of LoK was always the amazing voice acting and sound design 👏 .

Its way up there for me with Thief tbh in terms of sound design.
 
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Nah, very few open world games have actually fun traversal mechanics and devs are not gonna get good at doing that just because you erase fast travel.

Even horizon has absolutely shitty and unfunny traversal with some of the worse "horses" in the past years, and you know how much i love horizon.


People literally modded fast travel from everywhere in these games where you have to reach a taxi or train to move around the map, last one being cyberpunk, it was just annoying to search for a fast travel point.

Immersion is one thing, getting bored to even reach the location of a mission is another.
I think that’s part of the issue is the developer is willing to break immersion or interesting fast travel mechanics to let players not get “annoyed”. Maybe you can only fast travel with water or food that is used or money to simulate using a cab. Doing it as teleportation is odd to me but it is “convient” which can’t explain away most over used elements such as eagle / detective vision. Doing a hunting simulator mini game isn’t as convient as pressing a button that points you exactly to what you are looking for.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
I think that’s part of the issue is the developer is willing to break immersion or interesting fast travel mechanics to let players not get “annoyed”. Maybe you can only fast travel with water or food that is used or money to simulate using a cab. Doing it as teleportation is odd to me but it is “convient” which can’t explain away most over used elements such as eagle / detective vision. Doing a hunting simulator mini game isn’t as convient as pressing a button that points you exactly to what you are looking for.
The real solution are 2:

having a traversal mechanic that are fun and skill based so you never get annoyed to traverse the world, so your arkham saga air gliding, your spiderman web swinging, your infamous powered runs, your attack of the titan 2 wire system etc., or in the case of games with cars and horses, just fun driving\riding mechanics, very few open world get horses and cars right.

having a world so fucking interesting that you always want to walk towards your destination because you can always find something interesting during the walk, but how many games manage to do that? i can think of rdr2 where really every inch could hide something unique.

But sometimes you just have 30 minutes of free time and you want to complete a mission or two, i really think that fast travel is useful and should be optional and not completely erased, nobody force you to use it.
 
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I really wish games would stop serving completionists. In RPGs I’d prefer choices of what to do and when to do them have downsides every time, gradually limiting your options as you go through the game. A bad or ill-fitting decision early on would have exponentially bigger impact much later on.

It would make role play more thoughtful and reward multiple play through.

Imo min/maxxers and completionists have taken computer RPGs down the wrong path.
 
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  • Quick time events
  • Button mashing to perform an action
  • Yellow painted / bird shit stained ledges to indicate climbable objects
  • Slowly squeezing through tight spaces
  • Slow walking sections
  • Main character talking to themselves
  • On rail climbing sections that are impossible or near impossible to fail
  • Giving boost to ally NPC so they can climb higher places
  • Picking up animation for every god damn thing
  • X-ray vision to spot enemies
  • Pointless skill trees
I think I just described a Naught Dog game
 

Aion002

Member
Having to click on every little useless (or not) item to collect them.

Anyone that enjoys this is probably a masochist.


Every game should have an autoloot option.
 

Guilty_AI

Member
1000x this, please put cutscenes back in cutscenes. Walkie talkies kill the pacing of games, and makes them incredibly painful to replay.
I think talkies are better than cutscenes as long as you remove the walkies, letting player retain full control.... and if the game still lets you skip them.
 
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BadBurger

Is 'That Pure Potato'
Hand holding tutorials. A game should be designed well enough so that it's practically self explanatory. Just tell me the core button prompts. But leading the player by the nose, constantly halting the action every minute for the first thirty minutes to explain things, forcing the player to finish very specific objectives in an open world before they're turned loose, etc, should have been a relic of the past many years ago.

Some recent games did it right IMO. Like Horizon: Forbidden West. Some came close but tripped a bit in its execution, like Breath of the Wild (they had it perfect until they forced the player to complete three specific shrines before they could get the glider and move on at their own pace). And far too many JRPG's have a good hour or two of banal tutorials before anything of substance even happens.
 
  • Quick time events
  • Button mashing to perform an action
  • Yellow painted / bird shit stained ledges to indicate climbable objects
  • Slowly squeezing through tight spaces
  • Slow walking sections
  • Main character talking to themselves
  • On rail climbing sections that are impossible or near impossible to fail
  • Giving boost to ally NPC so they can climb higher places
  • Picking up animation for every god damn thing
  • X-ray vision to spot enemies
  • Pointless skill trees
I think I just described a Naught Dog game
Yes to all of this. I think sadly with many story heavy games they deem it better to over use gamey mechanics to take you from cut scene to cut scene as opposed to trying to make the gameplay genuinely unique. TLOU2 is one of my favorite games ever but boy by the 3rd encounter does it get tiring to play at times because it uses all of the tired conventions.
 

01011001

Gold Member
Much of game design seems to be follow the leader and often doing what has worked for one game will show up in many many games. But as we move further from the 2010s some of the long last game design techniques don't seem to be evolving with the current gen. Heres a few I would love to see done differently. Add some you may have felt out I missed.

1. Stealth Grass:

Playing a plauge tale is the primary reason I thought about this. Much of the game is disconnected patches of grass used to hide the player from the enemy. Games such as Elden ring, Pokemon, Pluages tale, Horizon from just this year uses it as their primary stealth feature but doesn't take other elements like lighting into count which is probably the most important element when it comes to stealth. I'd love to see them make this technique more fleshed out. Part of why humans stand straight up was to evolve to see other animals in tall grass. maybe movement, camouflage, health of the grass at different points and seasons all play a role into how successful you are able to hide and might force you to only use it to sit still to find a new path.





2. Skill Trees:

The list of games that utilize skill trees are too far to list. The issue with them is they lead to little build diversity but give the illusion of choice. We don't really get games ARPG games where you unlock abilities within the game without having to pour a currency into unlocking it. I'd just like to see focused games where the skills are unlocked as you go with the story and isn't given at the beginning and you decide what ability you go with. Even user based progression in a ARPG might be a good alternative. More you craft items in TLOU2 the better you get. Use shot guns more? Unlock more damage with shot guns over time. Something other than light rpg mechanics that lead to very little change in actual game play, it should be more organic going forward.





Enemy Sensing:

This one is arguably my least favorite. The ability to see enemies through walls, see other objects of interest highlighted etc. This takes away from what could be a semi challenging unique experience and makes it a menial follow, wait, attack task. I'm not sure how to fix this one. Maybe with duel sense you can ass vibrations to movement of enemies from particular locations, or even just let trial and error take a role in the players decision. It seems like an easy way to avoid taking a unique approach to these activities.




Batman vision and forced walk + chats are the worst modern tropes to me

/thread
 
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