The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Erik_Twice
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Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by Erik_Twice Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:00 pm

What are those small things developers put in that you really like a lot? They are not a core mechanic, they are not a big part of the narrative, just something that shows the developer was paying attention and had a fair bit of love.

I have been playing AIV Network$ (C.E.O. in US) which is the fourth game in the A-Train series and I love how many small details the game has. The game runs on real time and the Bank is only open from 9 to 5, and the game keeps tracks of holidays, with your advisors wishing you a merry christmas and a happy new year when the time comes. That was really cool!

But what I really liked is that if you let two trains crash, not only do the newspaper talk about it but there will also be an investigation and you can be fined. Really cool if you ask me!

What are yours?
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Menegrothx
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by Menegrothx Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:42 pm

I remember going to a women's bathroom in Deus Ex before a mission briefing and the boss at UNACTO told J.C that he's not only embarassing himself, but the whole bureau by pulling off stunts like that.
Game developers have different ways of impressing the player, the more usual approach is the linear rollercoaster ride spectacle that's the same every time around while some more unlinear games have a lot of hidden stuff like that, which I personally find more impressive. Many game developers are reluctant to put content into games that only a small number of people will find out. Some Sierra adventure games are really rewarding to play if you like to try out literally everything you can do (Using Bag of Horse Flatulence on yourself in Freddy Pharkas :lol: ).
It's not just about finding an easter egg, but the way the game world and NPCs are reacting in a natural way to your actions. Most easter eggs/hidden interactions break the immersion while stuff like that strengthens immersion.

I remember watching an interview of people who used to work at Looking Glass Studios and they said that what killed immersion for them in games like Ultima Undeworld is that you could throw a fish at a friendly NPC and they wouldn't react to that in anyway. Most players will never do something like that anyways, so why go through the trouble of programming an unique response in the game for something as menial as that?
That kind of attitude in game design what made the Deus Ex and Thief+System Shock games so great, there was a lot thought put behind the context, story and character interaction so you didn't feel like you were just running around gunning down random monsters for no apparent reason.

AppleQueso wrote:The crazy amount of little jokes and easter eggs in the Metal Gear Solid games are actually what got me interested in the series.

That's the only reason why I'd ever want to sit through one of those cutscene fests. There's so much cool hidden stuff.
Last edited by Menegrothx on Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by AppleQueso Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:43 pm

The crazy amount of little jokes and easter eggs in the Metal Gear Solid games are actually what got me interested in the series.
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Key-Glyph
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by Key-Glyph Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:34 pm

I read (and re-read) the detailed descriptions of the planets in Mass Effect, right down to the day durations and orbital periods. I love that they outlined each and every world like that, even the ones that had no direct in-game purpose. I get an incredible feeling from imagining what it would really be like, to step outside and experience the sight of 100+ moons, or two suns, or gigantic neighboring planets, or any other scenario they throw at me. I love that kind of food for thought.
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KuiperBelt
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by KuiperBelt Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:39 pm

This one is going to make me feel stupid and I am honestly impressd with any game that actually renders stairs as stairs and not just a ramp. Windwaker was the first game I noticed it in and it freaked me out in the best way. I am easily impressed though.
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Godot102
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by Godot102 Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:03 am

The beginning of Chrono Trigger how the game keeps track of your actions at the festival. I always though that was a nice touch. Also in Golden Sun you are actually given a choice as to whether or not you want to start your journey. If you say "No" you will actually get an ending!
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by prfsnl_gmr Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:06 am

Key-Glyph wrote:I read (and re-read) the detailed descriptions of the planets in Mass Effect, right down to the day durations and orbital periods. I love that they outlined each and every world like that, even the ones that had no direct in-game purpose. I get an incredible feeling from imagining what it would really be like, to step outside and experience the sight of 100+ moons, or two suns, or gigantic neighboring planets, or any other scenario they throw at me. I love that kind of food for thought.


I did this with all of the Metroid Prime games. I would use the scan visor religiously - and sometimes at great peril - to get a reading on everything. The extensive, completely unnecessary information that the developers tucked into every corner of those games really impressed me.
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BoringSupreez
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by BoringSupreez Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:13 pm

KuiperBelt wrote:This one is going to make me feel stupid and I am honestly impressd with any game that actually renders stairs as stairs and not just a ramp. Windwaker was the first game I noticed it in and it freaked me out in the best way. I am easily impressed though.

MGS2 did it as well.
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by AppleQueso Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:14 pm

Now that I think about it, I haven't seen ramp-stairs since the N64 era
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KuiperBelt
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Re: Those small details that makes games a lot more fun

by KuiperBelt Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:10 pm

AppleQueso wrote:Now that I think about it, I haven't seen ramp-stairs since the N64 era


I mean the characters run up stairs and they actually step. Their legs can be on two different stairs. Still it does happen in a lot more games now, maybe I suck at paying attention
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