To sparkle or not to sparkle?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Xenphir, Jan 16, 2018.

?

Do you like being shown where interactables are via a sign or sparkle?

  1. Yes, it makes it easier to find cool things.

  2. Nah, I like the added challenge of finding hidden loot and lore.

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  1. Prez

    Prez Headband Appreciator Veteran

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    Actually, I should probably clarify; when you say 'sparkles', do you mean things that sparkle all the time, or just sparkle once when you enter the area? Like for example, in Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, when first entering the Trick House, you see a little sparkle when you first enter, which reveals the Trick Master's hiding place; however, the sparkle stops appearing after the first three visits, forcing you to find him on your own on subsequent visits.

    Not sure if that system would be better or worse than just having permanent sparkles, actually. If the sparkle appears every time you enter a new area, there's nothing stopping the player from just leaving and then coming back in. If they only appear once then it becomes a potentially frustrating memory game if the player forgets. Perhaps it only worked with the Trick House because you were expected to visit it multiple times and it was just to get you used to looking for hidden things.
     
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  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    When you asked this question, it feels like sparkling for the first time and not for the second time and so on is a common practice? I'm not aware of any games that uses sparkles for the first time, I thought it will be always sparkles permanently? Granted, I only played few JRPGs. Any other games aside pokemon that uses this?

    Regardless though, I feel like I'm gonna like the permanent one, because I'm just a filthy casual player :p
     
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  3. Xenphir

    Xenphir Nature's Friend Veteran

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    I am not sure what other people like, which is why I asked this question xD I personally love finding treasures abound in various odd places like drawers, vases, barrels, etc. Though I suppose I am not sure if others prefer the easy grab-n-go route or if they like to explore and feel more rewarded for hidden treasures.
     
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  4. Soul Tech

    Soul Tech Time Traveler Veteran

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    I do not know if with sparkle you mean a flash of light ... if that is the case then I would like to give it a long pause between flash and flash, ie a pause long enough so that the character does not notice it in the first pass but maybe yes in the second or third. Obviously I speak of a permanent but slow sparkle.
     
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  5. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I often find myself missing things that the designer apparently thought would be obvious (like room exits), so I'm definitely a fan of UI conveniences like arrows and sparkles. It's true that it can damper the excitement of "finding" things a bit, but I feel the benefits do outweigh the drawbacks for most games. Sparkle away!!
     
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  6. Prez

    Prez Headband Appreciator Veteran

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    I presume you don't need sparkles if the entire point of the game is to look around and find hidden stuff; like an investigation-type game, for example.
     
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  7. Amy Pond

    Amy Pond Veteran Veteran

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    Now that we have mouse control a simple mouse over is enough to make it obvious when an otherwise mundane object has something inside.
     
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  8. Frogboy

    Frogboy I'm not weak to fire Veteran

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    I will never forgive the 7th Saga for this. One desk in the beginning of the game has a potion in it. There isn't another hidden item anywhere else but of course, I had to check.
     
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  9. drwho10

    drwho10 Veteran Veteran

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    I think it depends on the style of the game, but in general I'd rather have the challenge of finding hidden things, and other interesting stuff (e.g., aforementioned funny text, reading the books on shelves, flushing the toilets, etc.) Sparkles or something like that might work better in a game that isn't exploration-heavy (like how all the items in Pokémon are in pokeballs sitting noticeably out in the open) but in a game that is, sparkles might make it too easy to find items, or be too distracting especially if there are a lot of items you can interact with. Although personally I like it better if, when you go near the item or move the cursor over it (depending on the game) an icon or text appears indicating that you can interact with it; it's less obtrusive than sparkling.
    On vampires though, the answer is always no sparkles ever XD
     
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  10. Dankovsky

    Dankovsky Veteran Veteran

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    This is hard to decide for me as well.
    1) On one side, running around while mashing Z button on every object is silly, especially indoors. But when you do find something this way, you get a thrill of discovery and a the feeling like "hey! I was right to check there! this is cool! I'm so cool!". Well designed games actually teach you fast about objects you could check for loot, and often they're very obvious. If they're badly designed, you can spend lots of time raging about the dev forgetting to put an item in 20 freaking barrells in a row.
    2) On the other side, sparkles are easy and fun. You can save a lot of time if you only know to check for sparkles and you can stop worrying about missing lots of secrets. Also sparkles can be very different - like the ones that are constantly blinking and impossible to miss, or the ones that only blink once per 10 seconds and only if you're super close to them - those can drive you mad if you really don't want to miss your secrets!
    3) For my game I think I'll go midway? Like having a "USE" icon above the character when he's next to an interactive object, but without him having to spam Z everywhere randomly. Not sure if it's the best solution, but I'll try!

    P.S. Also the 'no sparkles' approach has another advantage - when the player is searching for objects to interact, he's paying more attention to your level and environment, he's actually scanning it for clues and useful objects, so he's more immersed in the game.
    His thoughts run like this: Enter>Analyze the environment for objects with possible loot>Run around trying to loot everything>Run to exit.
    But if you sparkle everything, the player may learn to "speedrun" your locations like this: Enter>Check for sparkle>Collect loot>Run to exit.
     
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  11. Fernyfer775

    Fernyfer775 Veteran Veteran

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    Sparkles all the way. I'm in the same boat as many here who can't stand having to mash the "interact" button on EVERY SINGLE TILE to make sure I didn't miss any potential treasure. Old school Final Fantasy games are notorious for this by placing random junk in random barrels, so you end up spending an ungodly amount of time checking each and every one if you want to cash in on the goodies. To me, that's not compelling gameplay.

    Sparkles, at the very least, get the player to check out every building, room, etc, in your game, because if they see a sparkle, they'll go interact with it.
     
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  12. Oliin

    Oliin Villager Member

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    You get the same effect if you've somehow shown the player that there are hidden items in the game even if there isn't a sparkle. If you've shown the players that pots/cupboards/barrels/whatever might contain items then they'll go explore areas looking for those things and search them for items.

    I'm admittedly in the no-sparkle camp myself as far as 'hidden' items go. They feel very much like excessive hand-holding on the part of developers to me. It strikes me as the equivalent of the game putting up bright flashing arrows at everything telling me where to go robing me of agency.
     
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  13. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    I don't really mind either way. I go the non-sparkle route with my games, just because I prefer the player to explore on their own, rather than showing them directly where to check. I just think it's important that if the game goes without sparkles for hidden items, they should be placed strategically. To have items in places that are just a bit off from the norm makes it easy for people who like to explore to find things without having to click on literally every tile.

    Going with sparkles is harder to mess up, since people won't have trouble finding the extra treasures, but I don't think it feels as satisfying when it's made so obviously where it sits.
     
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  14. Churro

    Churro Veteran Veteran

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    Depends what game. In an action one it really annoys to interrupt the game flow by searching for items.
    In a point and click or riddle game the main mechanic is very often to find usable items and combine them. This games would be to easy when the items jumps in your eyes with sparkle.
     
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  15. Amy Pond

    Amy Pond Veteran Veteran

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    Also, if the player searches something that could have contained something, tell them that. I.e. "you search the crate and find nothing".

    In RuneScape if you try to search a crate that doesn't contain anything, you get the message "nothing interesting happens". That's the same message you get doing anything that doesn't have an action.

    So you might not then know that the thing you tried to search could contain something at all, and never search them again.

    That game just becomes a flood of nothing interesting happens at points.
     
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  16. SOC

    SOC "God is my Judge" Veteran

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    I dunno', I actually like having no sparkles and tapping on every single object to see if it has anything or not. I enjoy that aspect of older JRPGs and it feels really rewarding when you do find stuff. You'll just need to design the game without the sparkles in mind, and reward accordingly. If you have sparkles, you basically turn off exploration in your brain and start to only recognize patterns of the sparkles: the player won't look at your map design at all and will just rush for wherever the sparkles are and just ignore everything else. They'll step into a whole map, see no sparkles, and step out immediately then complain about how short, boring, uninteractive and badly designed your game is. So I think honestly, having the sparkles will detract from your game's overall experience and design.

    There was an iOS RPG called Ash (it even used RM VX Ace's RTP for awhile until Konami forced them to update their graphics to an uglier style) and in Ash, they had a lot of really fun explanations to random stuff you clicked on when checking for items. Some of it was serious but most of the time it was humorous and brought a lot of life to the world and helped you feel rewarded for clicking on everything even if there were no items. This is a prime example why sparkles are harmful to your game and you should, instead, put forth more work for your players to enjoy when exploring your game.
     
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  17. HumanNinjaToo

    HumanNinjaToo The Cheerful Pessimist Veteran

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    I don't see how having sparkles really detracts from a well designed map. I think if your maps are bland, they are bland. I'm not going to spend less attention on a good map just because points of interest have sparkles. I think you are underestimating the player, or you just have bad maps, if you think sparkles will take away from your map. (This statement is in general BTW, not directed at anyone specific)
     
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  18. OnslaughtSupply

    OnslaughtSupply Ssshhh... Veteran

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    I think it depends on the game. Is the player looking for clues or a puzzle type game? I don't think sparkles would be necessary and would take the thrill out of finding the hidden items. A adventure game with a fast pace might really benefit from sparkles though. That way the player isn't searching every nook and cranny for items. As a player, I don't really mind mashing the action button on everything to find out what's interactive. The thrill of finding hidden items is real, but if the first few things are not interactive I won't keep doing it. As a dev, you have to teach your players early on what's interactive and what's not. Having everything sparkle is the same as a treasure chest so why not use that. Good map and game design should lead the player to these secrets.
     
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  19. A-Moonless-Night

    A-Moonless-Night WINTER IS COMING Veteran

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    I think it depends on the environment. Like, are you hiding items in blank spaces on the ground, or in actual objects? For example, they use sparkles in FFXV (I feel like I've been using FFXV as an example a lot lately), and it makes sense, because the items are literally anywhere and not confined to, say, drawers or barrels. It's also a big, detailed open world, so it would be frustrating for the player to run around interacting with every blank space. So if you're going the 'items on blank spaces' route, then I'd say do sparkles, but if you're confining them to objects, then perhaps no sparkles (just be consistent).
     
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  20. Requiem

    Requiem Veteran Veteran

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    Nah. Gamers are coddled.

    In mah days, I had to hunt objects 4 pixels wide

    and distinguish between grey,dark grey,light grey fuchsia ,violet,blood red and ruby red
     
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