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Author Topic: Gaming's Worst Mechanic  (Read 2095 times)

Deshara

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Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« on: October 31, 2018, 04:20:20 PM »

Weapon Degradation and Gun Jamming. Impossible to do well, never should be put into your game. Right? Wrong.
It turns out it's actually just been implemented badly this whole time.

Prey Mooncrash introduces said mechanics, but instead of having your gun randomly be removed from your inventory or randomly fail to fire when you needed it to, it would fire and THEN jam, making letting your gun get to 0 condition just turn it into a single-shot that you need to re-iinvest in or replace.

Which is pretty good, it turns out. It's fair, bc there's no randomness to it (every shot at 0 condition jams) you see it coming and know once it's there, but also the gun remains lifesaving and works when you use it, while also still /feeling/ like a broken gun that needs to be replaced.
So, the common line about how the Prey reboot didn't innovate on anything can go away bc its DLC innovated on gaming's worst mechanic and proved it can be done well.
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Shrugger

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2018, 01:35:59 AM »

Shuddup, guns jamming in Far Cry 2 and in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was among the best parts of either game.
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Cik

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 04:21:19 AM »

gun jamming is and has always been fine as long as it's done at realistic rates

if you don't want your gun to jam, don't melt your weapon by firing it at cyclic for extended periods of time.
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CopperCoyote

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2018, 06:07:22 PM »

Shuddup, guns jamming in Far Cry 2 and in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was among the best parts of either game.

Haven't played farcry 2 but I have played STALKER. Its at it's best in the first game shadow of Chernobyl because the augmentations didn't get implemented till later. It was always a magical moment when you found a decent weapon with a full or near full durability. The guns felt the best in that one too. except pistols i guess. felt like the sights were busted, but every thing else was good.

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Morbo513

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2019, 01:06:53 AM »

Weapon Degradation and Gun Jamming. Impossible to do well, never should be put into your game. Right? Wrong.
It turns out it's actually just been implemented badly this whole time.

Prey Mooncrash introduces said mechanics, but instead of having your gun randomly be removed from your inventory or randomly fail to fire when you needed it to, it would fire and THEN jam, making letting your gun get to 0 condition just turn it into a single-shot that you need to re-iinvest in or replace.

Which is pretty good, it turns out. It's fair, bc there's no randomness to it (every shot at 0 condition jams) you see it coming and know once it's there, but also the gun remains lifesaving and works when you use it, while also still /feeling/ like a broken gun that needs to be replaced.
So, the common line about how the Prey reboot didn't innovate on anything can go away bc its DLC innovated on gaming's worst mechanic and proved it can be done well.
I disagree that gun jamming in general is a bad mechanic. It's been implemented so few times in major games. There are some where it makes little sense, I felt FC2 was one of them, but it can be used to good effect where it's more appropriate, particularly survival-horror. I think its best appearance is in System Shock 2, from which Prey derives many features and design choices. Even if it's only ever failures-to-fire, it achieves the objective of sowing mistrust between the player and his equipment, unless the player takes steps to mitigate weapon degradation. It leads to moments of panic when you hear "a click instead of a bang" and you scramble for an alternative or try to run away. It fuels the tension, the player given the knowledge that the mileage they get out their weapons isn't just tied to ammo and accuracy, and that extending that mileage means diverting precious resource that might be better used elsewhere.

I think failures to feed/failures to cycle are certainly an interesting way to approach it - SS2's jams are of the failure-to-fire kind. I've yet to see a game that does both.
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Nick XR

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2019, 12:21:59 PM »

Ladders.  Ladders are the worst.

Serenitis

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2019, 02:21:48 AM »

Minigames are bad. But often optional and ignorable.
Minigames that are gates to actual content are awful.

'Warscore' is one of my (incredibly sujective) pet hates. And the reason I bounced off Stellaris (and every other paradox mapgame) hard.
If I'm playing an empire game and end up in a war, the rules are as follows:
  • Take what I can
  • Give nothing back
Being forced to specifiy what you want to take beforehand, and then give back the rest is utterly baffling to me in a game.
It's one of those fun > "realism" things.
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2019, 05:01:11 PM »

Minigames are bad. But often optional and ignorable.
Minigames that are gates to actual content are awful.

'Warscore' is one of my (incredibly sujective) pet hates. And the reason I bounced off Stellaris (and every other paradox mapgame) hard.
If I'm playing an empire game and end up in a war, the rules are as follows:
  • Take what I can
  • Give nothing back
Being forced to specify what you want to take beforehand, and then give back the rest is utterly baffling to me in a game.
It's one of those fun > "realism" things.
THIS^ You keep what you kill! This, war weariness and forced peace treaties is why I just can't get into Stellaris. I came to fight space battles, blow s*** up and take over the universe! Not sit on my paws and kiss political a**
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TJJ

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2019, 04:40:46 AM »

Minigames are bad. But often optional and ignorable.
Minigames that are gates to actual content are awful.

'Warscore' is one of my (incredibly sujective) pet hates. And the reason I bounced off Stellaris (and every other paradox mapgame) hard.
If I'm playing an empire game and end up in a war, the rules are as follows:
  • Take what I can
  • Give nothing back
Being forced to specify what you want to take beforehand, and then give back the rest is utterly baffling to me in a game.
It's one of those fun > "realism" things.
THIS^ You keep what you kill! This, war weariness and forced peace treaties is why I just can't get into Stellaris. I came to fight space battles, blow s*** up and take over the universe! Not sit on my paws and kiss political a**

It makes sense in settings where there is an overarching legal framework within which all rulers operate; i.e. 'rules of war'.
The 'game' then becomes focused on the politics & intrigue behind acquiring the necessary claims & CBs to enact the wars you desire.

That's why ck2 is such a great game, and one of the reasons why Stellaris is such a dismal failure.
It's also why everyone will eventually outgrow Civ & Total War games.

If only Stellaris had been set in the Dune universe.....
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 12:13:26 PM by TJJ »
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Sabaton

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2019, 08:52:40 AM »

The best system I've ever seen is in Fallout New Vegas where gear only jams/fails to protect you below a clearly defined threshold, as in your gun will never jam if you keep it above 75% condition.

Not to mention that the repair skill affects how good the repairs are, not whether you can do them at all, meaning that at 100 skill you will repair an item with way fewer resources that at 25. Not to mention certain perks that can make repairs ludicrously easy.

This system makes item condition transparent and always manageable, by far the best I know of.
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Midnight Kitsune

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2019, 11:42:51 PM »

The best system I've ever seen is in Fallout New Vegas where gear only jams/fails to protect you below a clearly defined threshold, as in your gun will never jam if you keep it above 75% condition.

Not to mention that the repair skill affects how good the repairs are, not whether you can do them at all, meaning that at 100 skill you will repair an item with way fewer resources that at 25. Not to mention certain perks that can make repairs ludicrously easy.

This system makes item condition transparent and always manageable, by far the best I know of.
At the same time Fallout New Vegas made it where, unless you had a certain skill, you need that EXACT gun to repair stuff. OR find an expensive as hell repair person that most of the time couldn't even repair the stuff beyond that 75% threshold...
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xenoargh

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2019, 02:00:57 AM »

Worst mechanic?

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee, that's hard.  I've seen so many, many, many really bad ones.

OK, so...

1.  Anything in a game that's designed to prevent the player's power from growing via time costs, in general. 

This is almost always lazy design. 

At worst, it's obvious padding to games with thin, weak designs; at it's best, it's faired into the power-curve the game is throwing at the player (in terms of increasingly-difficult / buffed things) and it may as well not be there at all; instead the game could just give the players <meaningful choices> when the game gets harder. 

There are literally no good justifications, from a purely game-design POV, for "experience" systems; they're just trashy ways to make players stay at power plateaus, regardless of how well / badly they actually play the game.

Very few games get this right (in the sense of making it feel like it's not terrifically important, blocking, or just wasting your time).  Most end up on the grindy end of the scale, where if I can't mod it out, I quit playing (or if it's really awful, write a scathing review).  Game designers who don't respect our limited time on this planet because they don't know what else to do to create a difficulty curve are pretty common, unfortunately.

I think that's my no. 1 sin, ever. 

2.  Games that pretend that RNG suffices in place of actual complexity. 

When you throw down a bunch of RNG, the results are inevitable noisy trash, not beautiful complexity. 

This is in part due to how computerized RNG generally operates; sometimes, for a few kinds of game designs (card games, for example) the developers actually build complex RNG systems that have better noise systems than just Math.random() but this is not common (because it can be computationally expensive).

In general, games that rely on RNG to create a lot of the "fun" are bland, forgettable and lazily designed in general.  Cool mechanics are, like, actual work.

3.  Games that are fairly balanced except for a few obvious Right Answers. 

This happens a lot, especially in aRPG systems; as they grow in complexity and the core systems are mature and content keeps getting out of the pipeline, designers tend to lose track of the fundamentals, because it's soooooo boring to have to do more testing of <insert boring scenario> to make sure that the Dagger of Luckiness +3 isn't, say, a replacement for every other Dagger in the design.  When I encounter these things in a game that's otherwise competent, I immediately want to mod it out of existence. 

Games where that can't be done (looking at you, Far Cry series) make me grumpy, because often the fixes to get it into the "close enough" range are fairly small, like narrowing the ranges of enemy health or making a weak thing a bit more competitive and so forth.  These kinds of things happen more often with AAA than they used to; it used to be that AAA meant a lot more playtesting before release and a lot of competent eyes on the product, but nowadays they rarely seem to take the time / spend the money; they'd rather blow another million dollars on kewl Content to distract us, rather than <yawn> reviewing the existing stuff critically in the context of actual playtesting.

4.  Games where a core mechanic was very poorly tested / polished before release.

An excellent example of this would be the "knife" mechanic in Teleglitch.  Teleglitch, by design, is about not having ammunition for your firearms, so you're supposed to stab things to death. 

The designers were told (by a third-party game designer from a college specializing in same) that they had a serious problem, in that it wasn't much Fun for players to not have a way to defend themselves when they were in scarcity situations.

Their solution?  An infinite-ammo weapon the player could wield; short-ranged and weak, but it was better than nothing at all (yup, the knife was added late, as a fix for something any player of Doom could've told them was a problem with their concept).  However... the knife, while technically functional, is very poorly thought-out; it's a raytest that occurs on one frame that only covers a small distance, in a straight line, for one gameframe

Long story short; it's incredibly hard to actually use, unless you have godly reaction times and know the hitboxes really well.
 This mechanic could've worked with minor tweaking (make it last more than one gameframe, make it affect an arc, make it a little longer) but it wasn't.  So, the game's difficulty, already rather overwhelming for most players, in a niche market to boot, was made frustrating; people expected a mechanic like that to work in a fairly forgiving way, if poorly, and instead, it just leads to one-mistake-and-dead gameplay. 

Sometimes, things hang on one really unpolished (but core) mechanic.  I've seen games where jumping was supposed to be important, where the jumps aren't quite right (or are suddenly darn-near impossible), games where they nerfed their BFG into nothing more than a pretty light show, rather than providing a tool with limited use cases (always interesting, if done well) games where you're supposed to jump in and out of vehicles, but that process is clumsy or ill-behaved (and games where they did it brilliantly, like Saints Row 3).

I have no idea why it went wrong, in this case (there isn't a lot of post-mortem on that game), but I'm guessing that it was added at the last second, under duress, by the brothers who co-wrote it, because they didn't see any problem and felt annoyed that they had to put it in.  But it's always one of those exemplars of "how to hose an otherwise-good idea" in my mind.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 02:42:47 AM by xenoargh »
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TimeDiver

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2019, 02:19:59 AM »

Not so much a mechanic (although technically, it IS), as a complete genre. Gacha games.

Where players have to spend in-game/RL currency to attain characters/units worth a damn for progression. Some are much worse than others at this.

Those games that have events that give away welfare(s) aren't quite as bad, but I despise being at the mercy of limited-time events (so I end up watching streams).
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xenoargh

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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2019, 02:35:56 AM »

Pay2Win isn't evil, if it's a reasonable cost and the game is "free-to-play".

When it's like World of Tanks, where buying all the things costs literally tens of thousands of dollars... I kind of scratch my head and wonder what kind of dope they are smoking.  Maybe their research indicates that there are only two types of players:  the "freebies" who duck out instead of putting up some cash, and the "addicts" who'll come up with the money over and over, if only they're allowed to win more often than not.  Probably that's what's driving those designs. 

I avoid all F2P products like the plague, personally, unless I'm going to play them for one day for testing / review purposes.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 02:38:48 AM by xenoargh »
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Re: Gaming's Worst Mechanic
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2019, 04:01:36 AM »

You can do F2P without P2W so excusing P2W with "but it's free" doesn't really work.
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