Should I have arrows to tell you can interact with it?

Kyoku

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In my game, I couldn't really add flavor text when you interacted with items on the map ( Mostly because I would end up making it really boring ) so I took the whole "Interact with Stuff for text" out. But I still wanted the player to know that there was SOME things that could be interacted with, so I put arrows above certain items on the map. I was just wondering if that was a good idea or not. I'm not really sure if it would be considered as "good, so people know what is what" or "really annoying to see everywhere". So what's your opinion?
 

BloodletterQ

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It might take away the fun of guessing what's in every odd nook and cranny, but that will get boring. As a compromise, there should be plenty of plugins to allow a balloon icon to pop up over the spot where there's something worth it.
 

GoodSelf

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I've always liked the small sparkle tiles - you can set it too stepping on an event, and it looks like something is glimmering.
I've used this many times and I like it a lot.

Another thing you can do is put the arrows all over interactive objects, but have the arrows off by default.
Then have an item or something that the player can activate, which turns on a switch revealing the arrows.
 

Kyoku

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That's a good answer! Thanks!
 

Niten Ichi Ryu

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to follow on goodself suggested you could also use a proximity events plugin, so the arrows would pop when close to the object.
 

fallenlorelei

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I agree with both @GoodSelf and @Niten Ichi Ryu. I once made a game that had explorable nooks and crannies, but without any notification that they were there, I suspect the player wouldn't have been able to find them. That is, if they checked a few drawers and there wasn't any flavor text, what would make them check the bookshelf? I didn't feel like adding all the text to all possible places, y'know? At least not at that stage.


So I added sparkles on those certain areas. And in the game I'm making now, I added a proximity function so the sparkles only show up when you're only a few squares away!
 

Lord Semaj

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What would make them check the bookshelf is training them to check bookshelves.


There are lots of RPGs that have interactable items without arrows.  Some even have secret walls!  But players don't just randomly mash the buttons everywhere.  They're trained by missions, cutscenes, and exploration events to identify certain objects as interactable.  Like how a certain game had an elixir inside every clock.  All you had to do was have the player grab the elixir once via a mini-mission or dialogue and then they'll forever know to check clocks.  The first time they found a secret door behind a candle they will check every single candle in the game.  If your wall has a crack in it and led to a secret area or item, they will obsessively scan the walls for cracks.  If your wall had NO differences from a normal wall and no way of telling something was different then players will touch every wall in the game (don't do this).


You can make an interactable item appear identically across the world such as how some games use a glowing starburst to indicate something a player can interact with.  Any time you see that shining light you touch it.  Or you can just have all interaction items be a book, a bookshelf, a clock, etc.
 

Kes

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I agree, you train your player to interact.  In addition, using whatever mechanism you have chosen to tell new players about controls etc. (I have strategically placed animated scrolls at the moment for all tutorial type things) you can specifically advise them to interact with crates, barrels, cupboards etc.  Stuff which I really want the player to find is in chests (though they might have to explore to find the chest).


As a player I personally do not like have everything pointed out to me.  Why bother putting something inside a crate if you are going to tell me that you have done it?  Just use a chest instead.  If, on the other hand, you want to reward exploration, then let me explore.
 

LightningLord2

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There's a compromise to that - you could have hidden goodies coupled with a skill/item that allows you to make them visible. An example would be the Lens of Truth in Ocarina of Time: There were various places in the game (most of them in the Shadow Temple) that had illusionary walls and invisible floors (and even an invisible boss) that the Lens of Truth allows you to see. The lens is also capable of peeking into chests, allowing you to cheat the chest game to consistently win the top prize.
 

Llareian

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I have to agree with @Niten Ichi Ryu and @fallenlorelei in this case.


I very much like the idea of having a proximity-based animation (or even just a proximity-based arrow, if you like how the arrows look). That way it encourages the player to explore without requiring the player to interact with every single tile. It's a good balance between requiring them to do some work and not wasting their time.


While there are some games where training the player to look in certain places or for certain cues will work, if these elements are not all over the place then the player will stop looking. If one vase has something in it and the next 99 don't, then I'm going to stop looking in vases. You've actually trained me NOT to look at that point, because I don't want to waste 99% of my time playing the game. It sounds like your game is more sparse in the interactive-object department, so I'd go with a visual cue instead.
 

Dr. Delibird

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In addition to proximity based pop ups, I believe it is also smart to have certain tiles that are common for having hidden items/flavour text type stuff but don't always have them every time you see that tile. Like for example you have 2 different rock tiles, one of them will almost never have an exclamation mark pop up indicated there is something secret there when you go near it and the other rock tile will commonly (but not always) have the pop up happen when you get near it.
 

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