Making Almost Everything "Interactable"

JosephSeraph

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Depends on the sort of experience and game you're building. I love it a lot on Parasite Eve 2, but mostly because the game happens inside a pretty small area. If it were on a big, sprawling game i'd probably start to get stressed, and the quality of the writing in these interactions would probably drop also.
 

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Just don't do the common RPG maker newbie thing, which is to have every object in the intro area be interactable, then realize it's a ton of work partway through and suddenly have basically nothing interactable.
 
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bgillisp

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One thing I've noticed is when I play a game, I will try to interact with things once. If the first bookcase does nothing, why will I check another? Or the first desk does nothing? Or the first bed? Some devs decide some things should be able to be interacted with, and not others, and I'm eliminating what you have decided to let me interact with this way. So if you hide a sword under the 156th bed in the game and no other bed to that point had text at all, how was I to know that this bed was any different than the others?
 

CuddleFox

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I think it's a bad thing to make everything interactive, because it ends up making a npc effect on the player, in the way that he knows that these interactions are useless.
 

Prescott

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Whatever you do, please don't make the interactivity something way too obvious. If the player clicks on a vase and the character just says "It's a vase." it's not worth telling them. Silent Hill has a pretty good blend of "interactive" objects. It'll only tell you what something is if its relevant.
 

Ebanyle

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Usually, I like to put a spark, an exclamation, or something; in a object that is interactable, so the player has been warned that there's something there. But I also plan to perhaps put secret interactions, however, I'd try to put them in 'showy' places.

Now, something that always bothered me when I was making an exploration game is that, as with a lot of those games, they are mostly centered around these interactions, but it's just straight up irritating. Like, it was my own game, that at the time had no more than 20 minutes of gameplay, yet I was getting fed up with it. You had to go into every possible object in the map just to get an "It's a chair" message, it simply doesn't work. I ended up abandoning the project and never thought about what could make this option better.

I think this can also co-relate with teleports. In my game, teleports are always indicated by an arrow, but some secret places will only display it after you discover the teleport.
 

Countyoungblood

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If an object makes me wonder if i can interact with it I will try.
levers...
chests..
books..
a sword in a stone..
something wiggling in a bush...

If I see ten trees in a row I will interact with zero trees.
walking around each room pressing "A" on every square is not fun.
 

phamtruong1992

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Let me make it clear: we always like that kind of stuff. The more interesting the messages are, the better. It just adds more depth and immersion to the world. And if you can pace it out logically, and have even deeper interaction it'd be really nice. And as others have said, you can sometimes reward those who spend their time exploring the world. This kind of mechanic always feels right.
 

Switz

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I feel it desaturates the main story and text overloads the player. It's good in some areas like libraries and stuff as long as it pertains to building upon main story though.

Hidden items though in pots, wells, crates, chests and barrels is absolutely encouraged as well.
 

Darkanine

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I don't really see how it desaturates the main story, I think it adds to it and makes exploration much more fun and rewarding. If done right, I think it can give a lot more insight on your characters and places in matters that probably wouldn't pop-up in the story, and can give some neat history to the world without exposition dumps. I guess if you hide hidden items and stat-ups through it, it could be a bit of a problem to some people, but as long as the text is interesting, I don't think most people would complain.

But maybe it's just me. My favorite part of Undertale was how seemingly everything had some text attached to it and it was all incredibly charming to read through. I feel like I spent way more time in each major place in Undertale then I did with most games because I kept going around seeing all the text.
 

Switz

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I guess I compare it to Elder Scrolls Skyrim. All those books you get. While interesting, just imagine they pop up and you have to close the screen out for every single thing you touch. After a while of that, you start accidently skipping over actual important parts of the game.

Im not going to say the games name, but a RPG Commercial game had every pot and pan interatable and it just made the story which was already not that great just feel like filler text as well. The story parts where not any more interesting than the thousands of objects you had to X through while just seaching for some loot.
 

ZankokuNoYami

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I have experimented with this a bit in my game.

Every town has random book shelves in which if you interact with, you will get different books of lore for the world.

There is a scarecrow in the first area that if you walk up to it, the character will say, 'Hang in there Joan!" a little reference to Frozen, haha.

I also make each NPC have unique dialogue in which your characters interact with. Like a little girl skipping rope; each time you talk to her, she will say a piece of the lullaby from Nightmare on Elm street (One, two, Freddy's coming for you!). With each part causing the main character Esther to grow more and more worried.

So I do feel little things like this are something fun for the player to discover.

No matter how much I love an RPG, nothing upsets me more than when there is SO little interactivity put into it. I just run into a town to basically look for some chests and buy some armor. Maybe pick up a new quest. I feel nothing is more wasted than a room with absolutely nothing in it. Like, why did you even build that room? Why can I even go in there? Extra effort for nothing.
 

ChipTato

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The question for me is always
what's the context?
Is it really necessary?
Does it add to the world?
Does the interaction define character?

I dont think interacting with everything is a good idea for most games and for such things like hidden items, lore, etc
There are much better ways than making the player mindlessly press every single object to find a secret.
If you want a character to interact with a bush then make it so the interaction shows a character's personality. I mean seriously tho what sort of person would interact with a bush?
Maybe say, your character's a nutjob who thinks they can speak for the trees like the dayum lorax and spends their time talking to a tree (that's a reason they'd interact with a bush)
What about a hero, why would they interact with a bush? Does their personality support that action? Maybe they do that because they like to comment about every single thing.

TL:DR interactions need to have purpose and not just a throwaway gag to get points from pop culture
 

empresskiova

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Hidden interactivity was taught to me by Legend of Dragoon and its Stardust, which led to unique accessories. Naturally being 7, I used the strategy guide back then to find them, but it is what it is.

Pokemon gave you a little of it with the metal detector thing. Dragon Quest gave you tangible rewards that I eventually figured out weren’t majorly valuable, except for alchemy recipes of course.

The Elder Scrolls (and by extension, Fallout NV and 4, which are the two Ive played with any sort of extensivity), made exploring nooks and crannies an art in looting. But, those are AAA games with big budgets, unlike RpgMaker games.

So now, the main thing I always encourage a dev and players to put time into are bookshelves/open books. Lore, game mechanics, or whatever. It makes no sense whatsoever that all bookshelves in the game have nothing useful to read.

Edit: In one project, I actually used books to help with the characters. If the lead actor was the warrior, she’d generally make a sarcastic remark about how books weren’t in her wheelhouse. Being illiterate and all.
 
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Leon27

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I would like to use "Life Is Strange" (LIS) as example.

In LIS 1, the interact objects were interesting and not overloaded. I enjoyed exploring all these objects for immersion and insights.

But in LIS 2, they went overboard and made almost every small object interactable.
As some mentioned, it put gamers like me off. Initially, i explored every one worried to miss on interesting opr important things. But after a while, i couldnt be bothered.

So, i prefer it keep to a minimum. As they say, "show, dont tell"
 

jonthefox

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As a general rule, I find it incredibly frustrating when I need to check every barrel, urn, crate, shelf, etc., in order to make sure I don't miss something.

So if they're going to be used, I would prefer a sparkly / visual indicator when there's something to be explored.

In a short game however, I do think they can be a nice touch, if done well.
 

Treynor

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In my game everything is intractable. However the entirety of my game takes place on one spaceship, though it has a holodeck so that offers additional variety and possibility. I would say go for it if possible. There are many players (such as myself) that greatly enjoy exploring so long as it's not generic and boring like "This is a tree". The screenshots you provided are not generic or boring so I'd say continue along that path.

It also encourages your players to click on everything, thus giving you the opportunity to reward explorers. I think it really adds to the immersion. Having trees, bookshelves, tables, etc. that are non interactable makes them feel like they're just graphics (which they are) rather than trees, bookshelves, tables, etc. I know it is time consuming, but the best games often are.

But some other posters have made a valid point. It CAN get tedious for a player, which is why I'm in favor of making it mostly flavor text but with some minor secrets and some bonus rewards, however finding some hidden obscure object for game progression through clicking on everything is something I would never recommend.

Love,
Trey
 

Diretooth

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For me, interactables allow me to add lore to the game. Whether it's adding personality to a house, filling a library with 'books' on various lore tidbits, or just adding some foreshadowing to future events in the form of a statue mentioning X hero, they can do a lot.
However, not everything needs to be interactable, I don't need to give a bush a 'it's a bush' or more long-winded description unless there is something important to note about it. I also make more rewarding interactables more obvious. Going with how FF6 does it, I will establish which specific things will give an elixir, for instance, and make sure the player can learn this detail at the beginning of the game. (FF6, all clocks will give an elixir.)
They shouldn't be tedious or existent just because, they should enrich the player's game without making looking for more all the more tedious. The key is consistency. X gives Y, Bookshelves give lore, examining things in houses gives tidbits about the occupants. Bottle/sundries shelves sometimes give potions, ethers, or other miscellaneous items of some use.
 

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