What are some elements of your game (plot, gameplay, etc) that you've cut out, and why?

TakumaGao

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I've been working on a bit of a minimalist sort of game, and I had this deep (for the scale of the project at least) equipment and skill system with tons of customization... but then I sat back and was like... "the point of this project is minimalism... so what the heck am I doing with this bulky skill system?", and so I'm now gutting it out and replacing it with something more fitting for the scale of the project.

This got me thinking... What sort of things have YOU all removed, or at least dummied out from your game(s)? Changed plot elements? Removed gameplay systems? Scrapped maps? Let's share how our games have changed between our original ideas and their current state!
 

akoniti

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I've always loved the Antoine de Saint-Exupery quote:

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

I've applied it to other creative disciplines, but am yet to apply it much to a game, aside from streamlining a few maps that were too busy, or removing unused menu sections/options.

I look forward to the day I develop a game so complex I think, "I really need to pare this beast down" :LZSlol:
 

Arctica

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By default the game checks all attack elements attached to the an actor. The actor's base attack element(if any), and the element of the weapon(if any). I've changed that functionality to just care about the actor's base attack element. (The original remains in place where needed).

I can be a bit over ambitious, so I suspect I'll be doing a lot of chewing the fat down the road.
 

kirbwarrior

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Setting aside things that are automatically there in the makers (such as how luck affects state chance or Defend), the biggest thing I've removed from a project was the battle system. Spent three months perfecting a CTB back in rm2k, then realized the game I was making didn't want any battle system, so I backed up the whole project under a different name to use the battle system later.

Scrapped maps?
Every single project I've made has more scrapped "completed" maps than used ones XD "Completed" is probably the wrong term, but I'm specifically talking about maps were anywhere from 'enough to be completely playable' to 'actually finished' and I later removed them.

From my last project, I had gotten rid of elements. They were great, but slowly I realized the only thing I was really using them for were 'floating' enemies, so I dropped using the element system and just made "Float" a state that makes it so certain skills can't target you, then used a plugin to make it a passive on certain enemies.
 

HankB

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Every project I start and don't finish gets smaller and smaller in scope. At this trajectory, I figure I'll eventually start a game that actually sees daylight.

The main thing I ask myself these days is "does this feature/character/subplot/whatever actually make the game more fun?". The answer is usually "no", so I drop it.

Oh, sure, I still want to do the original, big game, with dozens of characters, lots of features, and a bunch of side missions and minigames, but I get it now that that's not realistic. But if I can create one good, solid game that plays well and is actually engaging, then I feel like that'll be proof that I can finish a successful project, and then maybe next I can attract some decent people to team up with on a larger game.

But one step at a time, haha. We'll see how it goes.
 

Milennin

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I was originally going to have the player get involved in a war between 2 warring factions and then they'd get to choose which one to join (and then have the chosen side betray the player so they actually end up joining the other side, lol), but decided not to go with it because it would have to come right after a pretty intense section, and I wanted something more quiet to follow it up instead.
I've changed it so the factions are no longer at war (but are weary of each other), and the player gets to recruit the leaders of both sides and they'll slowly learn to work together over the course of the story to fight against the big evil. That way, the focus also stays on the actual evil and the player doesn't get sidetracked into fighting something unrelated to it.
 

Cythera

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A very long list of things have been mercilessly cut from my game, and I consider that a good thing! Cuts down on feature-creep, reduces my workload, reduces the amount of bug testing I need to do, reduces the amount of maps I need to make... I swear I'm not lazy.
But seriously, the list of cut things could easily fill 2 pages. Some are nuanced and not worth mentioning, but here are the big ones:
-The pitfall of all devs: I'm gonna add X feature from Y game! I had a whole system planned where you could buy a house and have parties and NPCs would come visit. Cool, sure. Practical, no. Realistic to the plot and world? Absolutely not
-I had a lot of skills for party members. A LOT. And there was considerable overlap between skills. Trimming and reworking skill sets was probably the best thing I could ever do for my game's combat system
-In-combat dialogue. The above points were early on in my game's development; before I had posted here. This one was very recent. I made the whole system, where party members would say those lil one-liners in combat based on actions. If they landed a critical hit, took a critical hit, were being healed, etc. Tested it and everything.
Then, scrapped it. The lines felt forced, and the idea shoehorned into a combat system that never intended such a feature. I loved the idea, and I still do, but it had no place in my game, so I killed it - mostly. The final boss gets this feature for fun, so she can relentlessly mock the party at all times :ywink:

Honestly, anything I'm not over keen on or 100% certain about gets scrapped now. It's very easy to get caught up in the 'this feature from this game is cool! I should do that too!' So I just focus on the important parts of my game; the parts that I think make my game...mine.
 

RCXDan

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Due to my "focus on the important things" philosophy I actively do this kind of thing even throughout versions of an existing game. Literally anything that impedes my ideal atmosphere of the game goes out the window even if I think it's a cool idea because I know I have more opportunities to use [said cool thing] later.

Like I will revise the writing and omit plotlines and characters that don't add anything even if I love the characters themselves.

For example, my no travel entry from 2020:
  • I was originally going to include a synthesis shop (aka. bring in different materials to fuse them together to make new stuff), but since the game was only an hour and a half long I decided to cut the feature entirely since it would have gotten in the way of plot and gameplay. I found it made a much better straightforward experience without it.
  • The NPC who owned this synthesis shop would have adversely affected a mid-game cutscene that was meant to be a big emotional conflict between the main characters. She had to go.
  • There was a Materia-type system where you could put little gems on your equipment to get status buffs and the like, but I cut all usability for it since it was another "didn't help the flow of the game" kind of thing.
Even in my main project I've done:
  • I've removed a villain and at least three playable characters who were not doing me any favors with their plotlines, and I can safely say the overall experience is better
  • I've had to limit the overworld mechanics to make it function more like Paper Mario since what I had before was a bit confusing
  • I've completely reworked the "important choice" system to revolve around a smaller, more intimate group of people (aka. the player and their closest friend) because I didn't want to go insane both programming and writing multiple different splinters in the main plot

And you know what? That's all perfectly fine. The more you learn, the more prepared you are for future games. Heck, I look forward to see how I can repurpose [x] into a better context. :LZScheeze:
 
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Robert-Character Creator

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I was originally going to have a object temperature system in my game, along with a wetness/ dryness system. Like if an object was dropped in water, or left in the rain, it might be damaged, or turn into another object, or just get wet. You could dry it by leaving the object by a fire or other heat source. This would also raise its temperature. If high enough, this would cause it to catch fire, usually destroying it. You could also manually light things on fire with a torch, if you had one lit. I scrapped the system because, while cool, it was beyond the scope of the game. That, and it would make things extremely complicated.

I DID keep a small part of it, however. If the player themselves goes in water or stands in the rain, they'll become wet. They can dry their clothes by standing next to a fire for a little bit. The only thing this affects is the idle animation. When she's soaking wet, she'll wrap her arms around her chest and shiver.

I wasn't very far with this feature though. Had basically only assigned some variables to it, so the only real time I lost was the planning time.
 

freakytapir

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I scrapped everything past Act 1. And most of Act 1 for good measure.

That's it. I'm going to make a playable act 1 with all the systems in place, and only then, when I have all my tools will act 2 even start to exist.

That said, my Act1 suddenly became way more dense and non-linear, so swings and roundabouts, I guess.

Besides, a dungeon map made is never wasted. That's what the 'non used' folder is for.
 

Gallas

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From a writer's point of view:

Use less unnecessary words.

When an unprofessional writer 'writes', they think they are writing when they put words on a page. But the professional writer knows that writing is taking away words.

I think the same mentality is true for game development.

For my game project, the issue was never having too much 'stuff'. It was always during a playthrough, I began dreading a spot (say a dozen maps). I put so much work into it. It was like Final Fantasy 6 with a split party through a dungeon. Complicated to develop. But I eventually realized I hated playing through it. So I had to scrap it all.

Usually it is finding spots in the game where the pacing slows so that entire part is remade!

So for me it would be many, many maps, skills, and scrapped systems (e.g. FF6 dungeon splitting).

A week ago, I scrapped my completed entire talent systems for 20 unique characters. That sucked after I spent months of work to build that system!
 

HankB

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A week ago, I scrapped my completed entire talent systems for 20 unique characters. That sucked after I spent months of work to build that system!

Totally get it, it's a hard thing to do. Faulkner once said you sometimes have to "Kill your darlings". Of course he was talking about writing fiction, and how difficult it is to scrap ideas or characters that you've become emotionally attached to, but I think it applies even more to game devs, because it takes even more wasted time before you can realize that something just doesn't work.

Writers write, but game devs write, program, create art and animations, etc. You spend all this time on something, and sometimes you really don't know if it's going to be engaging for the player until all the elements come together, and then it just falls flat. Funness is so elusive and hard to predict. So you really take a big hit when you find out that a big part of your game is just not fun to play, and decide to throw it all away.

Meanwhile your rent is due, your panic attacks have doubled in frequency, and your friends and family keep asking "whatever happened to that video game you were working on?".

But maybe that's just me.
 

alice_gristle

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Ya, basically what @Gallas, @HankB and everybody said. :biggrin: Also as a writer, I find I hafta write more than I can use. Like, for example, if I need ten lines of dialogue, I need to write out about a hundred lines... Like, I dunno how what it is exactly, maybe I gotta write out the crap first so I can sift out the gold, or summat. But it's like, to make a worthwhile thing, I have to make ten crap things first. Usually.

Aaand now that I'm doin' illustrations for my games, I find it's the same. I draw like, ten pictures? Then I find out I can only use one. The rest are scrapped. And I'm fine with that, that's jus' how it goes. :biggrin:
 

FirestormNeos

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I don't know what the character limit for message board posts are, and to be honest, I do not want to find out by listing out every single scrapped feature and plot point.

It gets really discouraging when I think on how many ideas I've lost interest in trying to actualize.
 

Meowsticks

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Oh my gosh there are so many things I've axed (likely for the best).

In the first draft of Untold Story there were a lot more choices the player could make that would alter the story. It sounded cool, but my game is already extremely ambitious for a singular person, adding all of that was simply too much. There was a part where the player could go to Place A or Place B and whichever you picked would drastically alter the story. Like, certain characters would die depending on what you picked. Another choice let the player decided to kill someone??? Yeah, I axed all of that and just opted for a more traditional linear story and it was the right decision.

I also removed a lot of mechanics/items that were more arbitrary and just there to fill a place. Originally I had the idea that each character would have a Key Item Book that did different things. One was a diary, one was a bestiary, one just gave advice. Some of these still exist, but they aren't locked behind some random item. Another example is previously I said "each character will have X weapons and X skills. No more no less!!" Yeah I don't know what I was thinking with that. It just created fluff and pointless things because I had to meet some quota I made myself.

Honestly I think one of the few things that hasn't had anything removed is the battle system. The central mechanics of Attacks-Skills-Decisive Skills has been there since the start, as has the Free-Turn Battle from Yanfly. I've certainly balanced and adjusted it a bit more, but it's essentially been the same core battle since inception.
 

cthulhusquid

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Literally mountains of stuff spread across several games. Combat systems, dialogue, skills, maps, characters, plot elements, you name it. Some things, like a weight system and storage chest for my post apocalyptic project, simply refused to work with other scripts so I had to trash it even though I loved it. I also totally redesigned the starting town at least 5 times, and I still have nagging doubts that I can do better.
 

Bernkastelwitch

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I wanted more of a grid-based, strategic combat mechanic for my game and I knew about Hime's script for such a thing but due to the fact that it was incompatible with VisuStella's plugins no matter what I did and other peoples said the same thing and there was no alternative, I had to scrap it and change the system entirely.

Which unfortunately meant I had to scrap a lot of other stuff due to the battle system change. It's a change I had no control over, especially since it was either forcing me to pick Hime's Grid-based battle system or all of VisuStellas plugins so I had to pick the latter.
 

zzmmorgan

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Feature creep is part of the natural course of game design. Eventually decisions need to be made on what isn't truly necessary for the idea. I've got one game that I've spent far more time trimming out things like customizable gear and interesting loot drops than I spent throwing a bunch of cool sounding stuff in simply because it was getting so unwieldy.

If you want a tongue-in-cheek look at how that can affect your game budget check this out:
Your Game Idea Is Too Big

Ultimately you need to manage your expectations for what is realistic to ever complete your game. And get as many play testers as you can to get feedback for what is really going to work for the game. Some cool sounding feature you spent countless hours on could be a heartbreaking thing to drop because nobody else is ever going to appreciate it. Fine. Drop it and move on with what your players are actually going to appreciate :)
 

bgillisp

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My last game here are all of the things that got cut:
-Crafting. I was going to have a system where you could make potions and even use the old potions to make upgraded ones. It got axed in year 1 of dev.
-Collectables. I was going to do a quest to find collectables and if you turned in x of them you got big rewards. Was removed in year 1.
-Romance options. At one point I was going to let you have dialogue choices that influenced how others felt about you and you could even choose who to romance. That lasted 3 years into dev then I decided it was better for the plot to have fixed romances so the MC got a girlfriend for the entire game instead that you were locked into (no choice).
-The plot also was originally a 12 chapter game. In the end Chapters 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 and 9 made it into the game in that order. And yes there is no 3 there and 9 is listed 2x, I cut 9 into two in the end, and Chapter 3 I realized after making it, all it did was slow the game down so I cut it totally from the planned plot and my planned chapter 4 became chapter 3 and so on.

Even with those changes the game took 5 years to make.
 

ScorchedGround

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Use less unnecessary words.

When an unprofessional writer 'writes', they think they are writing when they put words on a page. But the professional writer knows that writing is taking away words.

As an unprofessional writer myself, I found this to be very true.

At first, I gravitated towards using complex sentences and grandiose words,
thinking it would lift up the quality of the dialogue and make it more "professional".

However, after playtesting my game for hours on end, I found that I enjoy short and sweet dialogues a lot more than long and elaborate conversations. It appears way more natural and realistic that way.

Even outside of dialogues, I believe that sort and concise text passages are way better at keeping the player engaged than throwing walls of text at them.

So unless you are creating a very specific scene that requires more text and more complex text, I also advise to keep it simple.

Note: Obviously you still have to make sure your grammar and spelling is correct.

With that in mind; to come back to the original topic of this thread in order to not derail it, I ended up completely rewriting about the first 4 hours of my game's script. Because the script of that time was made by a younger, more naive me that thought "hey let's go to google and look up fancy synonyms for common words".
 

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