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Vanity Items in Games: Cool or not?

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Programmer16

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Vanity Items in Games


Cool or not?



I'm not sure if 'vanity' is the best term, but I'm going to use it. I'm referring to items that do not actually affect gameplay any, but are

usable. Some example:


  • A coin that the player could flip in-game

    • Do I want Item A or Item B? COIN FLIP!
    • If your game has an in-game smartphone/pda (something that is always available to the player), it includes a random number app

      • I have 3 doors to choose from; Random Number App, give me a number from 1 to 3.
      • A talking equipment item

        I personally don't think I've played any games that had the first two, but I loved sitting down and having a conversation with Lilarcor, the talking sword from Baldur's Gate 2.



        I've been contemplating using this idea in games before, but I really think it could add something to a point and click. However, being an avid point and click player, I know how frustrating having useless items in your inventory is (especially when you get stuck and start trying to combine everything you have or use everything you have on something.)



        So, vanity items: yay or nay?


        Would it preferred if they were useful for something in the game? For example, near the beginning of the game you find a special coin that you can flip throughout the game, but at the end there is a vending machine that will only take that coin. It dispenses a key that leads to an alternate ending or perhaps a special developer room (think Zombies Ate My Neighbors).



        Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!



        [edit]


        Here are a couple screenshots, just for kicks:


        SAGEEditor_Shot2.png


        The SAGE editor, now with more Item Editor!



        03July2012_200556.png


        Added some clutter to Aaron's desk.



        03July2012_213820.png


        Reworked the trash can so that it didn't look so...horrible.


        [/edit]


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8 Comments


[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1341364561']
Vanity items can be fun. And they don't have to go into the player's inventory.
[/quote]
That is true, they don't have to; I could place an icon on screen, place them somewhere in a room that can be revisited, a new menu option, or something to that nature. Any ideas in particular that you were thinking?

Were it an RPG I'd just sort them into a special category or something lol.

Thanks for the input!
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[quote name='Programmer16' timestamp='1341364767']
sunandshadow, on , said:

Vanity items can be fun. And they don't have to go into the player's inventory.
That is true, they don't have to; I could place an icon on screen, place them somewhere in a room that can be revisited, a new menu option, or something to that nature. Any ideas in particular that you were thinking?

Were it an RPG I'd just sort them into a special category or something lol.

Thanks for the input!
[/quote]

I was thinking of an artsy gui which has blanks in it that get filled in with interactable items as the player unlocks them. I've seen games that handled compasses, flashlights, and other items which aren't intended to be used at one specific place or time that way. Or you could have an inventory page for toys/trophies/other useless but amusing items.
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WoW had the coin vanity item. I think for this kind of question you will get a bunch of people who hate vanity items, and a bunch that love them. I know personally my wife absolutely loves all these vanity items where as I on the other hand hated them and felt they just wasted space. To wrap some context around that though I hated vanity items that I felt had no purpose ie: the flippable coin, but in other games like EverQuest I collected every vanity item I could that would cast an illusion on the player. So with that being said I personally vote for vanity items that serve [i]some[/i] purpose.
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I tend to hate them, but as long as they're strictly vanity (have no gameplay effect) then I'm fine with the gamedev selling them or including them for people that are into that sort of thing.
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[quote name='XXChester' timestamp='1341401969']
WoW had the coin vanity item. I think for this kind of question you will get a bunch of people who hate vanity items, and a bunch that love them. I know personally my wife absolutely loves all these vanity items where as I on the other hand hated them and felt they just wasted space. To wrap some context around that though I hated vanity items that I felt had no purpose ie: the flippable coin, but in other games like EverQuest I collected every vanity item I could that would cast an illusion on the player. So with that being said I personally vote for vanity items that serve [i]some[/i] purpose.
[/quote]
I feel the same way regarding wasting space, especially in a game that has limited inventory space or if it becomes easily cluttered. I'm thinking something like sunandshadow's idea would be best; an extra UI element that is easily hidden (for those that don't care about them), but is still easy to get to (if it's hard to get to, even those that like them won't use them.)

[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1341410786']
I tend to hate them, but as long as they're strictly vanity (have no gameplay effect) then I'm fine with the gamedev selling them or including them for people that are into that sort of thing.
[/quote]
Yup, I'm speaking strictly vanity items.

Thanks for the input everyone, I really appreciate it!
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Agreed, strictly vanity and stored as a GUI element that can be easily hidden, I myself never use vanity items. I am, however aware that a lot of people do use these items so as long as it's easy to hide or show I think you should be fine.
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