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detlion1643

mechanics - a lost art?

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I've always been a sucker for good mechanics, but I fear they may be losing their way.

With the ccg I'm designing, I don't need a lot of mechanics, but the brainstorming I am doing on different ideas brought this on and I would like to see what you guys think...

I remember one of the most fun things I've done is stick people to a wall with stakes (pain-something i think, can't remember exactly)... Are too many people gun-ho over just plowing through games anymore?

I want to see games now-a-days allow us to have some choice. Imagine in a fps, if you shoot the legs of a hulking boss enough he tumbles over (but at this point he gets around slower, but hurts your guy more and is overall a little more difficult). Or the same boss, shoot him in the wrong place (head or something), and something else happens..

What if in an rpg, there are multiple ways to complete something. Imagine a boss that you need a couple people to help, if you do something in the right order, it changes, a lot of things change. I'm a WoW player, so this is just an example... A boss where if they manuever him in a certain place, maybe other players could have an option of attacking something on the ceiling (causing something to drop and damage the boss). But, having the boss stand there makes him more difficult until that thing drops and does the damage.

In my ccg, I brainstormed one mechanic that I really like. It allows inter-changable 'battlefields', each with bad and good effects for both sides, but can't be done on a whim. One switch could provide you the win at the right time, but there will never be that always perfect time, it will always be different everytime...

I know, I know, programming, art, design, etc... time, let's imagine there's enough budget and time to do it...

Do you like intriguing mechanics? New and conceptual mechanics? Proven and often uninteresting mechanics?

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I'm not a 100% sure what you are getting at to be honest though but I'll try and reply as best as possible.

Is it a lost art? No it is not. Will you find game playing is safe by sticking to "uninteresting mechanics"? Well yes of course you will. Games (especial mainstream ones) cost millions of £/$ and there is a lot of risk in implementing new mechanics (there's no way to know if players will like them) so it's understandable that some developers stick to what they know works. In some cases you even find developers trying to improve on a system that to be honest doesn't need changing, they essentially try to reinvent the wheel and obviously suffer from it. The thing is this is nothing new. It has been happening since the early days of gaming and will continue to happen.

This doesn't mean there won't be new mechanics being developed, far form it. As the industry grows you will see even more innovation. This can be from new talent of even advancements in technology. In fact it is the limits imposed on mechanics are often because of technology (otherwise you would have probably seen painkillers pining mechanics in something like Doom). It's also the reason WoW has typical has been slow on advancing its boss fighting mechanics. Although there's plenty of innovation there as well and I'm sure there are already bosses in game with similar mechanics to what you came up with.
Probably should add that if you want to find "new" mechanics or games centered on them the indie scene is defiantly a place to look up.


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Play Dark Souls ( or perhaps Demon's Souls ) and it will illustrate that some people beat to a very different drum still. Problem is, deviating from the norm often isn't really good for sales. We gamers scream out for individuality and innovation, then proceed to buy Call of Duty 9 and Battlefield 42, while games like those made by Tim Schafer sell like crap.


So truth is, generally, most gamers actually wan't more of the same and it takes a brave ( or weird ) game company to try something new. Then again, there is all kinds of innovation in the indie market.


In a turn of fate, in the mainstream anyways, it's Japanese devs that are pushing the envelop in game mechanics. Frankly I hated the Wii, but you have to give Nintendo credit for turning the industry on its ear. Then there is the aforementioned Demon/Dark Souls; but this is just the beginning. It goes back to games like Project Seaman, Typing of the Dead, Dance Dance Revolution, even Dead Rising was a pretty sharp departure from the norm... and again, many western gamers yelled and screamed about the save system, which was extremely fundamental to the game.

Generally I have a fairly low regard for Japanese games, especially JRPG's which are horrifically stuck in a rut of samey-ness and they could teach the West a think or two about milking the shit out of a franchise ( MegaMan, Street Fighter, FInal Fantasy, Mario and Pokemon anybody??? ), but when it comes to innovative game mechanics, you have to give them props.

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I'm not a 100% sure what you are getting at to be honest though but I'll try and reply as best as possible. [/quote]
Apologies here! Normally my brain is constantly rolling from one thing to the next in a huge trainwreck of thoughts, but they are all flowed and I try to make sense of them. Some things I consider might be a cool discussion, but could be completely pointless in the eyes of others... If it went that way, again, apologies.

I have played demon souls before, did not beat it though. It was engaging though, that was for sure. I'm a sucker for a couple classic jrpg's, but you're right, that genre is (or has been) stale.

Like I mentioned, if there was enough time/money, what kind of things would do, or wish to do as far as mechanics go?

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