Making Almost Everything "Interactable"

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Baggie, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Baggie

    Baggie Someone Veteran

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    Things like this can be very time consuming, especially if you have a large map, but...
    How much of a benefit do you think making majority of your world interactable is?

    Like, being able to interact with a random bush, a window, or a bookshelf.
    Either getting potential items from them, or just making the player smile a little with small references.

    Part of me always feels inclined to check to see if I'd get an interesting message.
    I've also noticed a huge majority of RM games often gloss over this "mechanic." (Understandably so)

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  2. standardplayer

    standardplayer Keeper of Kitties Veteran

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    It's something I see as an enrichment. It's a nice way to add depth to an environment without forcing the player to experience it. For me, stuff like that lets me have different playthrough experiences. Some playthroughs of a game I just get through it and expound on the parts I want. However, other times, like if I haven't played it in a while or if it's my first time, I'll try to experience almost everything.

    But that's just me. That's why I think it's an enrichment. You don't have to experience it, as the Player. You can occasionally reward those that are taking the time to check everything by giving them hidden items or little bonuses.
     
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  3. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I did that in my game, and some liked it, and some though the messages got a little tiring late game. But it did seem like more liked it than didn't from the reviews I got so far.
     
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  4. alice_gristle

    alice_gristle Veteran Veteran

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    I like interacting with stuff, sure... but usually "making the player smile a little with small references" falls flat to me. That's why I prefer getting an item. Soo... if you wanna make trees and shrubs say cute things, ya better do it really well!
     
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  5. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    Downloading your game now

    @Rockenberg Some people like me and the posters above like to explore games and find secrets. Others don't. the ones that don't can just ignore the secrets. but they might get frustrated because they will feel like they'll miss everything. it really depnds on the demographic you want but know you cant please everybody. So make the game you feel passonite about, and don't worry about the rest
     
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  6. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    the biggest problem with this is repetition. if every bush is interactable and gives the same result, then everyone will get tired of it after a few hundred bushes. You need to throw in unique gimmicks from time to time to keep the player interested.

    and then it depends on how man such gimmicks you can make for the player.
     
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  7. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    It's something I've always done with my games, and get positive comments for, and it's always one of the first things I check for when playing other games and feel disappointed if things aren't interactable. It's honestly not nearly as much work as it may seem, if you plan on including it from the start. It's a good way to add some world building, comedy or insight into your character without forcing it upon the player.
     
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  8. BK-tdm

    BK-tdm Manga Maker Veteran

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    You can have it as a little detail here and there but mixing it with "possible hidden items" will trigger ptsd on some players as to "search everything", not everyone likes to be forced to skim trough egotistic trees to find the one that gives you a +1str apple.

    A good approach would be to keep it punny/lore stuff on towns and cities and then hide stuff on certain dungeon rooms, you can have interactable stuff on certain rooms on those dungeons to give a hint.
     
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  9. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

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    Nope. Don't do it. Lol. As someone said above: if everything can be interacted with and show the same/similar messages, then you set your player up for two scenarios.
    1) They interact with EVERYTHING for fear of missing out on valuable items/event triggers, thus wasting a lot of time
    2) They stop interacting with things altogether, and end up missing valuable items/event triggers, thus wasting a lot of time.

    Sure, many things could be interacted with to create more immersive play, but limit them. We don't want players walking around clicking every.single.tile.

    Also, that's such a waste of time as the developer too. :)
    -MIA
     
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  10. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    While I probably wouldn't bother giving descriptions to every tree or bush, adding fun flavor descriptions to things like tombstones, books/bookshelves, paintings, magazines, etc is one of the few joys I actually get out of mapping.
     
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  11. Starbird_Resources

    Starbird_Resources Veteran Veteran

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    agree with what others have said. the other thing that works is patterning. there's always 1 interaction near a body of water. there's always 1 interaction if three trees are clustered together. stuff like that.
     
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  12. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I rather liked how Tales of Berseria handled interactive elements in the environment. Basically, there was always a visual indicator like a shiny sparkle on something or a small icon over something. The player could get items from the shiny spots, usually crafting materials. Icons like a small exclamation point are used to indicate that something triggers a quest or scene. Objects with these icons also appear on the minimap so you can see if there is something important in the room you are in, and in town you can check all interior maps (like the shops, inn, etc.) to see if there are any new important things to check out. This makes it very easy to see if anything new has opened up when you go back to a previous town so you don't need to waste time running in and out of every building to see if there are any new quests or skits available.

    Some people think this is streamlining too much, and I can understand since it takes a lot of the mystery/secrecy out of it, but it's extremely convenient to not have to mess around clicking on every dresser and bookshelf in the game. From a dev perspective, I think this would also give me a lot more leeway to make maps that feel more lived in since players won't feel compelled to check every square inch for secrets.

    There's a give and take to it, so the important thing is to figure out why you would want these interactions. If you want your game to have mystery and in-depth exploration, then having an indicator may not be good for the intent of your project. But if you just want to provide some light-hearted scenes and a little lore, then it could be a good way to make this content more user-friendly.
     
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  13. CraneSoft

    CraneSoft Filthy Degenerate Veteran

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    Having 2 or 3 objects that gives interesting interactions are much better than having 20 dull ones that translates to "Nothing is unusual".

    Making everything interactable works for games that take place in limited, enclosed environments (ie. horror, survival) where the player is encouraged to examine everything hoping to find actually useful stuff that are crucial in progressing the game - not so much for RPGs where treasure chests are the norm and there are simply too many things to explore.
     
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  14. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    I feel like you can combine "actually useful and obvious" with "no game help but worldbuilding". For players who just want to find stuff, sparklies are basically a different type of treasure chest. For some types of players, they can interact with everything and enjoy all the little touches. And some players will look at some things, enjoy them, then go to only looking at sparklies.
     
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  15. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    I’m not into that at all.

    I know people say it helps with immersion into the game’s world but there’s lots of ways to do that—like a well told story with good pacing. If the stuff you’re interacting with doesn’t have anything to do with the game’s story or gameplay, you’re slowing the pace down and that can bore a player.

    I’m not a fan of it myself and I haven’t really seen it done well. Maybe for games that don’t have an epic save the world story it makes more sense. Like a To The Moon where maps were small or any other adventure game where part of the gameplay is finding and searching for clues. But I’m also not a huge fan of adventure games so maybe it’s just my own personal feelings towards this particular mechanic.
     
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  16. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    If you're doing it on a full-blown RPG, that could get really tedious and boring for the player after a while, especially if you mix flavor text with some hidden items... If you just do it for completely flavor text, then its a bit more easier as the players can just skip them..
     
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  17. velan235

    velan235 Veteran Veteran

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    It's those kind of things that nice to have as flavortext, but it's start to get annoying if it is combined with hidden book/hidden items/ hidden lore etc.

    I think you still need to give a good separation between enrichment and resources, ie. like having an obvious blinking spots for resources

    also avoid using repeatable flavortext in the same object. if the idea is enrichment, you need to give variety on them, so rather explaining the "tree", you rather focus on what is different with the tree (maybe there are unusual scratch/ fruit/ grave under the tree/ etc.)
     
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  18. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Depending on the reason why you're adding this extra interactivity, it can be fun... or tedious.

    See, when I was younger and first getting into RPG's, I ended up playing Final Fantasy 6. This was one of the first games I ever played that used the "interactivity" to hide items in the world. This is something you're never taught in the game. You're just meant to infer it from sometimes interacting with objects.

    Here's the behavior the game conditioned in me:

    Click on everything. Everything. No matter what. No matter how innocuous it is.

    Here's what happened in terms of gameplay: I spent more time clicking every single object than talking to NPC's, shopping, fighting, or progressing the story. My gameplay probably tacked on at least another 15 hours than I would've had normally just from me clicking on every box, barrel, stalagmite, rock, pond, clock, sign, and picture on a wall. Every new location, I clicked on anything that looked like an obstacle. Every piece of set dressing.

    I put on a lot of hours of gameplay just clicking things.

    Was it fun?

    Honestly, no. It was just something the game conditioned me to do. Lots of goodies everywhere! Click everything! Nevermind if I never used the goodies and didn't need them. I clicked every clock for an Elixir and never used a single one. The game communicated to me that I should be checking everything, so I did.

    It wasn't tedious, but it wasn't "fun" either. Well, okay, it was fun when I first discovered it and was getting loot. But, somewhere around the 8 hour mark of the game... I wasn't having fun with it anymore, and I was doing it as just a matter of course.

    Every game since this one, however... I've clicked on nothing out of the ordinary unless it looked like it had an opening on it. Trash cans or open pots or something. I think I've done this out of pure reflex. I don't want to spend forever finding hidden stuff to interact with. I don't want to tack on an extra 15 hours to a game just because I'm searching everything.

    Even in Pokémon, with all its hidden items and a key item that allows you to find them... I leave all these items "unfound". I don't care about them. I don't even really interact with the world at large. I talk to the NPC's, and little else. Read a sign? Why bother? Check the museum displays? I don't care.

    It tends to feel like "extra busywork" for me.

    I think "interactable objects" work well in small spurts. Places where it's communicated to the player that they should be interacting with something at the location they're in ("Find some clues! Check everything!"). But, to carry it through a whole game?

    I don't know. You'll likely run into the issues I have with them. Either you condition the player to do it constantly despite them not having fun with it anymore... or your player just ceases caring about checking everything and you've got a ton of wasted work as a dev on your hands.
     
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  19. Failivrin

    Failivrin Final Frontiersman Veteran

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    I don't think everything needs to be interactive, but some things should be. An apple tree is not necessary unless the game involves cooking or some mechanic involving fruit. My rule of thumb is, if it looks like something an ordinary person would interact with, let the character interact with it. I don't necessarily pick apples from random trees, but I do browse books from other people's shelves. I loved the bookshelves in Golden Sun because you could always find snippets of lore in them. It's important that the player can get a reward from the interaction, even if it's an aesthetic reward, like lore or quirky humor. I really hated that, in some of the Pokemon games, every trash can is interactive, but almost every single time you examine one, you're simply told that it's empty. Maybe that's realistic for Japan (there seriously aren't any trash cans in Tokyo), but for games with actual garbage monsters, this was pretty disappointing.
     
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  20. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I don't exactly like or dislike that "every object is interactable". As a player, I prefer a guide that something is interactable and it's "meaningful". This means it gives me something like an item indicated by whatever indicator you put there. It can be something shining or a text label that I can interact with this object.

    However, if you guide me that every object is interactable and there might be a hidden item on it, I may start to hate because it kinda forces me to check every corner so I won't be missing any important item. I play the game for the main selling of the game, not checking every corner of the game.

    If the interactive object is telling you about the world-building, that's fine. If I'm curious enough, I may start to check. It's not bad.
    However, my experience as a dev tells me that people do seem to interact with everything. I didn't put many interactable objects in my game and ppl seemed disappointed when they were playing my game, although they moved on later knowing my game wasn't built for interaction.
     
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