1. #1

    Needing mobility from Zone 6 to progress/solve puzzles in Zone 1. Why?

    If there is one thing that seems prevalent in so many single player games and it's one of my most hated mechanics it's unlocking mobility in games to progress through earlier zones. If I am in a zone I want to be able to know I can complete everything in that zone not jot it all down for later.

    You get to a point in a game and there's a part you can't get past, is it because it's a puzzle and you can't work it out or is it because you simply don't have the double jump & dash ability yet? It's anyones guess, so every single area of the game that I come up to that I can't get past I just instantly assume it's because I lack a certain ability and move on. This also means they can't create complex puzzles because anything to complex and everyone would just assume they lack the ability to get past it as how are you meant to know any different?

    I waste my time travelling through an area just to find it's somewhere I can't access yet, to waste my time travelling back then 5 hours later I get said ability and have to travel back to this point and go through it again then you get over this bit just to find there's a bit slightly further on that needs another ability you lack. It's frustrating and for me adds nothing to the game, I don't mind if I need a find an ability in Zone 1 to access and move around Zone 2 but I hate that I need an ability from Zones 6, 9 and 12 in order to solve a puzzle in Zone 1.

    It's something that I feel adds nothing to the game and actually takes away so much. There are many games that I have just stopped playing because of it, when I have travelled through an area for a solid ~20min just to get hit by "You can't pass this bit until you go get the double jump ability" so I spend another 10min going back to where I came from just to go another way and be hit by the same thing. Now I've spent an hour and got nowhere and I just turn the game off.

    If I am in Zone 1 I want to be able to fully search the zone and move on. I want to know that if I am challenged by a puzzle it is something I am meant to be able to solve there and then.

    Is there anyone that actually enjoys this mechanic and why?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Fitsu View Post
    Is there anyone that actually enjoys this mechanic and why?
    The big reason games do things like this is that it builds anticipation for the powers and abilities you will get in future. It's the same reason games will often do the "play the first five minutes of the game with every power and then get stripped of them" thing.


    Personally, I play games the same way as you do, I like to clear areas before moving on to the next. I do have friends who go nuts over those little threads of "There's powers coming up that'll unlock extra stuff here later" though, so I understand both sides.
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    FruitySalad boy, this is a fantastic thread and is really going places. I just want to make sure I'm on page one of what is bound to be a long lasting and productive thread. It's amazing there are no other threads discussing the squish, as I'm confident you would have just posted in them if they did exist.

  3. #3
    Games have been doing this since...Mega Man X? At least. Hell, I remember there was a specific mechanic like this in Chrono Trigger, too. With mysterious chests and doors that would occasionally pop up that you literally couldn't open until you progressed the story to a certain point.

    We've all got pet peeves with video games, but in the grand scheme of things I don't really see the point in devs not doing something like this. It gives them an easy way to add to play time and make areas relevant even after you've completed the main objective.

  4. #4
    I adore this design,like in Prey 2017

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Fitsu View Post
    Is there anyone that actually enjoys this mechanic and why?
    Millions obviously enjoy it. Pretty much the backbone of the Metroidvania and adventure genres.

    From a design POV, these traversal unlocks reward players that pay attention to the environment and give a feeling of mastery/power to the player.

    It's a highly effective technique or it wouldn't be so popular and sell so well.

    Limited linear design, which is what you enjoy OP, became less popular over time as games became more expansive. Consider the initial God of War games and the most recent PS4 GOW, for example.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    I adore this design,like in Prey 2017
    Terrific game. I'll always take the time to put Prey over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s_bushido View Post
    Games have been doing this since...Mega Man X? At least
    Brain Breaker was released in 1984, iirc.

    So even earlier than MMX.
    "It's a big club. And you ain't in it. It is also the club they use to beat you with." - George Carlin

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by s_bushido View Post
    Games have been doing this since...Mega Man X? At least. Hell, I remember there was a specific mechanic like this in Chrono Trigger, too. With mysterious chests and doors that would occasionally pop up that you literally couldn't open until you progressed the story to a certain point.

    We've all got pet peeves with video games, but in the grand scheme of things I don't really see the point in devs not doing something like this. It gives them an easy way to add to play time and make areas relevant even after you've completed the main objective.
    I gave multiple reasons. It reduces the ability to add complex puzzles to the game because after a few min of trying to solve an issue you'll just go "well I guess I just don't have the power to do this yet" and it wastes players time by making them traverse down long sections of the game only to find they can't carry on as they don't have double jump yet and have to go back.

    I guess it's just different opinions, for me it only lessens my experience to a point where it's been a main reason I've stopped playing many games so it literally ruins a game I would have otherwise found fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencers View Post
    Millions obviously enjoy it. Pretty much the backbone of the Metroidvania and adventure genres.

    From a design POV, these traversal unlocks reward players that pay attention to the environment and give a feeling of mastery/power to the player.

    It's a highly effective technique or it wouldn't be so popular and sell so well.

    Limited linear design, which is what you enjoy OP, became less popular over time as games became more expansive. Consider the initial God of War games and the most recent PS4 GOW, for example.

    [
    I wouldn't say this and linear design are the same things. Linear design is when you only have 1 route you can go (which this kind of enforces by preventing you from going other routes until you find x ability). I much prefer non-linear games like dark souls and PS4 GOW. I don't recall the design I've explained being in the most recent GOW that much was it?

    I guess it's just how you view it, like I say to me it makes me pay less attention to the enviroment because every obstacle I can't overcome is just "well I guess I just don't have the ability to do that yet" rather than "How am I meant to do this?". There's a lot of games that have secret areas that I've spent a lot of time trying to find/solve but as soon as this mechanic is introduced you don't bother because every secret area boils down to "I just don't have that ability yet" and even if it doesn't how are you meant to know if you don't know what abilities your going to get?

    it's a highly effectively technique at doing what though? Like lets have two examples -

    Example 1 - Zone 1 has an interesting puzzle that you need to overcome with the abilities you've gained up until that point
    Example 2 - Zone 1 has a ledge you need double jump to get over that you don't get until zone 6.

    Which one is more interesting? Which one adds more to the game? I honestly cannot think of a single instance where this mechanic has existed where it has done anything to make the experience better, I personally think games are good in-spite of this mechanic not because of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by deenman View Post
    I adore this design,like in Prey 2017
    Ok but why do you enjoy it. What do you find fun about travelling to a point, finding out you can't pass it because you don't have double jump then just going back when you get double jump and getting past it?
    Last edited by Fitsu; Yesterday at 02:13 PM.

  7. #7
    I immediately thought of Legend of Zelda franchise when I saw this post. One thing I loved about BotW was getting all the powers up front and seeing what the game could throw at you.

    I just treat it as a style since some entire genres are based around this.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Fitsu View Post
    Ok but why do you enjoy it. What do you find fun about travelling to a point, finding out you can't pass it because you don't have double jump then just going back when you get double jump and getting past it?
    huh?thats not how it works,you are never forced to backtrack to progress,its optional stuff,like you find rooms blocked by box or you need to hack something etc,you have to level a bit and get those perks,you can come back and complete it all...or not,its very fun this way and replayable
    Last edited by deenman; Yesterday at 05:21 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Fitsu View Post
    I wouldn't say this and linear design are the same things. Linear design is when you only have 1 route you can go (which this kind of enforces by preventing you from going other routes until you find x ability). I much prefer non-linear games like dark souls and PS4 GOW. I don't recall the design I've explained being in the most recent GOW that much was it?
    I don't know what you are referring to by "this". What is "this" in the context as quoted?

    I was talking about limited linear design. Not linear design. They are two different things. Linear design is A-> B -> C. Limited linear is A or B -> C. The latter of which games such as Dark Souls and God of War (PS4) feature; that is limited linear in game design.

    I guess it's just how you view it, like I say to me it makes me pay less attention to the enviroment because every obstacle I can't overcome is just "well I guess I just don't have the ability to do that yet" rather than "How am I meant to do this?".
    Natrually. Different players have different problem-solving and assessment skills and patterns. You are not a robot, presumably, so your experience is dictated by factors unique to your person to an extent.

    There's a lot of games that have secret areas that I've spent a lot of time trying to find/solve but as soon as this mechanic is introduced you don't bother because every secret area boils down to "I just don't have that ability yet" and even if it doesn't how are you meant to know if you don't know what abilities your going to get?
    I would reckon many players find this the intriguing part. I recall when I played the original Metroid and Legend of Zelda in the 80s, thinking just that- "I wonder how I do this..."

    Where figuring it out was the hook and reward at the time. It would seem that holds for many games that are designed this way for other players as well- again, it's popular for a reason. Rather than the majority of players seeing it from the POV of, "What's the point of showing me something/somewhere I can't get to yet?"

    it's a highly effectively technique at doing what though?
    I answered this already; From a design POV, these traversal unlocks reward players that pay attention to the environment and give a feeling of mastery/power to the player.

    Players often feel rewarded for paying attention and connecting the dots, so to speak. I recall watching someone stream Ori and the Blind Forest back before I bought the game myself (I wanted to see what type of game it was) and the person playing had just those type of Ah-ha moments. He saw some area and tried to jump around to reach it for a bit, figured he could not. Later acquired a midair dash then figured out the pulley & dash system, which he realized straight away is how he could access those areas earlier in the game. He was delighted to have put it all together and viewers could see that in the video.

    I've experienced that myself in games such as Symphony of the Night, CORE, Mega Man, etc. It stands to reason millions of other players have as well- and this is popular as such because players feel a sense of mastery/power in doing so.

    Like lets have two examples -

    Example 1 - Zone 1 has an interesting puzzle that you need to overcome with the abilities you've gained up until that point
    Example 2 - Zone 1 has a ledge you need double jump to get over that you don't get until zone 6.

    Which one is more interesting? Which one adds more to the game? I honestly cannot think of a single instance where this mechanic has existed where it has done anything to make the experience better, I personally think games are good in-spite of this mechanic not because of it.
    Different, not better.

    Assuming this puzzle is not required for progression in your scenario; Ex 1 is limited linear design and Ex 2 is not. It's perfectly fine to enjoy or find one more engaging than the other. Just different design approaches by the artist. Not a matter of right or wrong. The world is wide, brother.

    Ok but why do you enjoy it. What do you find fun about travelling to a point, finding out you can't pass it because you don't have double jump then just going back when you get double jump and getting past it?
    I know you are asking this question of another forum user, but I really enjoyed Prey personally. I can say, if you don't mind me doing so, that Prey made me feel clever and powerful whenever I figured out a new way or methodology to use the powers/abilities and conquer things I could not earlier.

    For example, you get a goop gun in Prey that creates collision objects. It also can encase enemies. Successively through the game, you can use the gun in more creative ways from creating walkways or platforms, chutes, using it as part of a tactical tool, etc. By the end of the game, I felt great mastery over the game itself, able to do whatever because over the course of the game I had progressively come to points whereby I had to use the tools (goop gun, crossbow, etc) to overcome challenges I was unable to before acquisition &/or mastery.

    Connecting the dots, so to speak, in Prey felt great as a player. As though I had unlocked another facet of the game through my own ingenuity or attentiveness.
    Last edited by Fencers; Yesterday at 05:29 PM.
    "It's a big club. And you ain't in it. It is also the club they use to beat you with." - George Carlin

  10. #10
    The Unstoppable Force Orange Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitsu View Post
    If there is one thing that seems prevalent in so many single player games and it's one of my most hated mechanics it's unlocking mobility in games to progress through earlier zones. If I am in a zone I want to be able to know I can complete everything in that zone not jot it all down for later.

    You get to a point in a game and there's a part you can't get past, is it because it's a puzzle and you can't work it out or is it because you simply don't have the double jump & dash ability yet? It's anyones guess, so every single area of the game that I come up to that I can't get past I just instantly assume it's because I lack a certain ability and move on. This also means they can't create complex puzzles because anything to complex and everyone would just assume they lack the ability to get past it as how are you meant to know any different?

    I waste my time travelling through an area just to find it's somewhere I can't access yet, to waste my time travelling back then 5 hours later I get said ability and have to travel back to this point and go through it again then you get over this bit just to find there's a bit slightly further on that needs another ability you lack. It's frustrating and for me adds nothing to the game, I don't mind if I need a find an ability in Zone 1 to access and move around Zone 2 but I hate that I need an ability from Zones 6, 9 and 12 in order to solve a puzzle in Zone 1.

    It's something that I feel adds nothing to the game and actually takes away so much. There are many games that I have just stopped playing because of it, when I have travelled through an area for a solid ~20min just to get hit by "You can't pass this bit until you go get the double jump ability" so I spend another 10min going back to where I came from just to go another way and be hit by the same thing. Now I've spent an hour and got nowhere and I just turn the game off.

    If I am in Zone 1 I want to be able to fully search the zone and move on. I want to know that if I am challenged by a puzzle it is something I am meant to be able to solve there and then.

    Is there anyone that actually enjoys this mechanic and why?

    I feel like you just played metroid for the first time :P

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by s_bushido View Post
    Games have been doing this since...Mega Man X? At least. Hell, I remember there was a specific mechanic like this in Chrono Trigger, too. With mysterious chests and doors that would occasionally pop up that you literally couldn't open until you progressed the story to a certain point.

    We've all got pet peeves with video games, but in the grand scheme of things I don't really see the point in devs not doing something like this. It gives them an easy way to add to play time and make areas relevant even after you've completed the main objective.
    The guy literally describes metroidvanias to a tee and you go with megaman? :P
    I have a fan. Seems he was permabanned.
    Yo, don't mind my "street talk"

  11. #11
    Elemental Lord zealo's Avatar
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    About the only thing that really crosses the line is when the game puts higher level enemies in a part of a zone actually accessible early on, like having a lvl 80 enemy sneak up on you when you are at lvl 15 and killing you in one attack.

    If it’s setup so you can’t actually access an area like that early game, there’s nothing wrong with there being a locked door etc serving as a blocker in a technically earlier zone.

  12. #12
    I guess that's the big difference, like you say "some people get the ah-ha moment" when they realise the dash they just obtained is what was needed to solve an earlier puzzle where as I get a "Oh, I just don't have the ability yet" moment. So while some have a postive reaction to finding the thing they need to solving the puzzle, I have a negative one to the fact I've been given a puzzle I can't solve yet. To me it's just not an interesting mechanic, but I guess if that's the reaction most get to it I must just be in the minority with this.

    Apologies, I wasn't aware of the multiple types of linear so missunderstood your original statement on that. Yeah I guess limited-linear is just where I feel at home then.

    I can see your reasoning though, I thought perhaps it was just an archaic game design that had just kinda stuck around but if it really is enjoyable in that way who am I to tell others how to have fun.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Fitsu View Post
    I guess that's the big difference, like you say "some people get the ah-ha moment" when they realise the dash they just obtained is what was needed to solve an earlier puzzle where as I get a "Oh, I just don't have the ability yet" moment. So while some have a postive reaction to finding the thing they need to solving the puzzle, I have a negative one to the fact I've been given a puzzle I can't solve yet. To me it's just not an interesting mechanic, but I guess if that's the reaction most get to it I must just be in the minority with this.

    Apologies, I wasn't aware of the multiple types of linear so missunderstood your original statement on that. Yeah I guess limited-linear is just where I feel at home then.

    I can see your reasoning though, I thought perhaps it was just an archaic game design that had just kinda stuck around but if it really is enjoyable in that way who am I to tell others how to have fun.
    I'd recommend watching Game Maker's Toolkit's "Boss Key" videos. The way he diagrams it out really made it click for me and actually got me to play super metroid again for the first time in 20 years.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouO1...3NA5B2&index=2

  14. #14
    Increases world building and scope. Reduces the linear nature of gaming.

    Gives reasons to revisit areas.

    Most of these types of games that do this normally always have map marker functions so I dont see what the issue is.
    Suri Cruise and Katie Holmes are SP's.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Joe View Post
    The guy literally describes metroidvanias to a tee and you go with megaman? :P
    /shrug

    Having to get some weapon powerups to be able to reach heart containers in that game was the first thing that came to mind.

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