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Author Topic: Your favorite video game mechanics/concepts.  (Read 718 times)

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May 26, 2017, 07:15:12 PM

I was going to post my thoughts about this elsewhere, but realized how much more it could be if I started a topic on it. I noticed a lot of people like different games here, and I often don't get to know much about it. So I ask, which systems, concepts, or mechanics are there in games that you just love? It does not matter if the game itself is great or not, just something from it that stood out compared to everything else in it.

I will start as example: The social and multiplayer system in the Dark Souls series, and I imagine Demon's Souls and Bloodborne as well. You are simply playing your own game, but you can come in contact with random players in different ways, seeing messages left by someone, summoning someone to your world or being summoned to another, or engaging them in combat. I admit I get a lot of connection issues that do not allow me to to make use of this as much as I would like, but it has encouraged me to partake in multiplayer with complete strangers more than most games have. I don't know, something about it is heartwarming in general, and I never really feel alone.

I look forward to seeing other posts here, feel free to get into as much detail as you'd like, I hope this can encourage people to try different games as well, and maybe start some discussions.

May 26, 2017, 09:03:25 PM
Reply #1
Rocket jumping. Such a simplistic concept, but it's so dynamic and can be used in such a variety of ways. There's so many different styles of rocket jumping: classic jumps, wall jumps, pogo jumps, chain jumps, horizontal jumps, and a whole lot more all based on an incredibly simple and intuitive concept of propelling yourself forward with a rocket. It's also a great way of providing mobility while still keeping it balanced, as you have to sacrifice your health to do it. Entire servers devoted to learning and perfecting rocket jumping have popped up in games like Quake and TF2, and the concept of learning how to rocket jump has pretty much become its own sub-community at this point. And on top of all that, rocket jumping was never even intended to be an intentional feature in the game! It was just a simple unintended exploit in the first Quake. The fact that this super fun, incredibly deep and pretty well balanced feature came about completely on accident is as hilarious as it is amazing. I also really like movement options, skill based movement and speedy games where movement feels fun in general, so that's also a part of why I like it

Also, rocket jumping montages are crazy fun to watch

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All that stuff I said also applies to most other unintended exploits and accidental mechanics used by competitive scenes of games as well, like wavedashing, circle jumping and bunnyhopping (as well the very similar slidehopping in Titanfall)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 12:16:44 AM by WolfJob »
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"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky"
~Alan Moore

"Time you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted"
~John Lennon

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about Rock n' Roll!"
~Shigeru Miyamoto

May 27, 2017, 04:14:19 AM
Reply #2
Rare Loot systems, definitely.

Most modern MMOs and such generally have a loot system designed around "do X for Y amount of time, receive Z" and the value of Z is essentially the same for every Z. I've nothing against that, it's a good way of guaranteeing progress in grindfests. But Rare Loot systems have that moment of HOLY OH MY GOD I GOT IT that grind systems don't offer.

Game I recently got back into for the umpteenth time, Phantasy Star Online, has such a system. Each character you create is given a predetermined ID and that ID determines what drops you get from mobs. This does two things. One, you CAN NOT get every good item in the game with a single character, you either have to trade items of equal value with other players to get what you want (servers run on a Photon Drop economy, a universal rare item used for upgrades and such) or create several different characters with varying IDs (a MASSIVE time investment, not very time economical unless you really have nothing else to do in your life).

Here's the drop table for the sever I'm using, it's mostly vanilla with some changes in Episode 2 & 4 because the official drop table was never made public by Sega.

If you look long enough you'll see some sickening drops. Red Ring, the best armor, is dropped ONLY by the Dark Falz (Final Boss Ep1) on the highest difficulty with a droprate of 1/186 (30 minutes to an hour per Falz run). Heaven Punisher has a few different mobs it drops from but everything is around a .001% chance of getting it from whatever you're killing, save for Hildetorrs with a 1/204 chance but those are a rare mob with a 1/415 chance of replacing an already somewhat uncommon enemy.  Do the math there. Then there's the ultimate drop that when somebody gets one, the entire server just freaks. Sealed J-Sword, a 1/12,603 chance drop from Gi Gue, a miniboss, and ONLY for a single ID. People spend months of their lives farming for that and with no luck.

Don't even get me started on the stat distribution of rare drops... Basically, weapons have % values that determine bonus damage to each 4 enemy types (Native, Altered Beast, Machine, Dark) and a fifth super rare value called hit% that gives a considerable boost to accuracy. % values are common but hit% only has ~5% chance to be on a weapon. Couple days ago? Some lucky jerk got a Sealed J Sword drop. With hit%. That's what, a 1/252,000 chance? Give or take a couple 1000's depending on the guys rare loot bonus at the time, still, that's just insane to me. Armor also has a similar system but its a bit more standard, just a minimum/maximum stat range it can spawn with.

... Also Diablo has a nice Loot system. Less to talk about there though.

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May 27, 2017, 07:59:54 AM
Reply #3
I like the Fallout/Elder Scrolls-style inventory system, where you can hoard items just about anywhere.

I'm also fond of the action elements in the Mario RPGs. Having control over critical hits and being able to negate some damage taken helps keep you engaged during battle. I particularly like how in Paper Mario, you can use some of your abilities outside of battle, both to solve puzzles and potentially get an extra hit on enemy encounters.

May 28, 2017, 04:17:35 AM
Reply #4
Ohh rocket jumping. I was completely unaware that is was possible when I started playing TF2, and it's probably one of the most important things about playing soldier. I could barely pull a successful and accurate rocket jump, yet I watched of people just dashing across the map and taking out targets with surgical precision, it was amazing. :-X

Rare loot, too. It's not so much my thing because I hate grinding over and over to get something I want, but the feeling of having something incredible drop for your character, sometimes it being something you never saw before. I liked the more hybrid loot in earlier versions of WoW, where you didn't get loot handed out all the time, instead it took difficult and time-consuming quest lines to get a really good piece of loot, and there was a rare drop system where you could get something of rare and epic quality (very small chance) when killing stuff out in the open world, which either meant your character either got a huge upgrade, or they're making a lot of money in the auction house. It's still there, but I don't think it brings the same feeling anymore, not without so many way of getting loot now.

Lastly, I really agree with the action elements in Mario RPGs. The series that started with Superstar Saga for the GBA is still among my favorites when it comes to combat, because it's just so damn fun, and both the action and RPG elements are equally important. Especially in Superstar Saga where everything you could do in the open world also had a combat version.

May 29, 2017, 08:01:47 PM
Reply #5
Stealth and nonlethal takedowns. Or lethal ones depending on the game I guess. So long as you can hide bodies. After all, I really enjoyed clearing entire camps in Far Cry 3 using nothing but a knife. Some of my favourite games are Dishonored, and the Thief series. I love creeping around in the dark trying to accomplish my objectives without anytime being aware of me at all.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 08:02:50 PM by infohippie »

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November 03, 2017, 02:26:32 PM
Reply #6
Now, are we talking about mainstream game mechanics/concepts, or can we go into niche territory... Cause, honestly, I've got answers for both.
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November 03, 2017, 03:14:14 PM
Reply #7
Now, are we talking about mainstream game mechanics/concepts, or can we go into niche territory... Cause, honestly, I've got answers for both.

I'd say both.

November 03, 2017, 04:18:56 PM
Reply #8
Well, let's start with niche.


Once upon a time, in the mystical and fabled era known as the early 2000s, when gaming was coming out of it's childhood, experimented with concepts and mechanics, and delivered us some quality titles at a rather blistering pace, created new sub genres and set bars and standards for future titles. Capcom, around the time, was one such publisher and developer that was honestly kicking ass and taking names, especially with a host of new IPs, few more recognized and praised as the original Devil May Cry. Fast forward to 2003, a year where Capcom's greed got the better of them, and they hastened the development of DMC2 through an inexperienced internal developer and released a... mediocre sequel (which would later be rectified with the next two installments, before being shit on by the reboot). However, despite it's disappointing reception, it sold well, and people still had strong fondness for Devil May Cry.

In light of this, likely during the developement of DMC2, Capcom had another project underway for the PS2 and PC (hoping to use Devil May Cry as a way to entice players to this other IP), based on a line of light novels by Tow Ubukata that starred a red-haired badass named Sieg Warheit: Chaos Legion.

Now that the history lesson is over, I can get into why I really, REALLY like this game.

See, Capcom tried to pull an EA (specifically in regards to Brutal Legend) when they were marketing this game. As in, they advertised and implied that it as strictly a stylish, hack-n-slash shmup in the same vain that Devil May Cry is known to be, specificity claiming on the box "If you love Devil May Cry, you'll love Chaos Legion". To be fair, this was PSM stating that, but the principle of the advertisement and implication is what matters.

While the game DOES have those elements, the main character's combat and combo potential is actually rather weak and somewhat simplistic. Seig is NO Dante. Here's the kicker, enemies are surprisingly aggressive, somewhat fast, can have a lot of defense, and come in Dynasty Warriors numbers (which makes the utter lack of framerate drops, keeping it at a solid 60fps, all the more astonishing). Now, how do you deal with ass-loads of tough enemies, while you're own combat is very limited, and you can barely take a hit?

Introducing what I like to call the "Legion Mechanic". With the press of a button, you can summon and recall one of seven types of "legions" in the game that can and will fight by your side to varying combat styles, strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your "soul gauge", you can have them active for that undetermined amount of time. While active, the "soul gauge" acts as their health meter, and if it hits 0 by an enemy attack, they break, and you are left all alone until you can gain enough "soul" to bring that legion back. Good thing you carry around 2 legion types at a time, so you can always switch to the other legion in a pinch to harvest some extra "soul".

There is a drawback to having a small team of devil spirits fight at your side. Normally, Sieg on his own is actually rather swift in movement, and can deal a decent amount of damage in his attacks (again, despite the lack of combo potential). However, once the legions are summoned, Sieg's strength and movement speed goes down. This is normally because, with the legions out, you are more of an assist/commander than a warrior. The Legions (depending on their own mode you set) will attack and defend against enemies either closest to you, or are targeted, and normally are significant help in dealing with giant crowds of 20+ foes that decide to rain on your parade.

However, this isn't the only function legions have. When not summoned, Sieg is granted the ability to call them out for a special attack, which helps in dealing with strong, solo enemies and keeping your Legions safe from taking damage (and losing that "soul"). However, the special attacks that can be preformed cost a portion of the soul gauge (which, in this mode, is a small bar with a number next to it), and when it hits 0, you can't do any more special attacks until you fill it back up to at LEAST 1.

For the first half of the game, using legions is rather experimental. You use them as you see fit, depending on the situation, and normally stick with the set mode for said situation, but eventually, as the game ramps up in difficulty (with the game suddenly making every previous stage equally hard as the final two by upgrading old enemies through attack/defense properties and AI, changing enemy layout, and diminishing previous fodder enemies to be replaced almost entirely by the high end demon soldiers from chapter 10 onward), you begin to switch back and forth between solo (Sieg on his own) to group (Sieg with the summoned legions), and even switch between the two equipped legions to come up with a proper strategy to deal with the giant hoard of monsters in front of you, from fighting along side said legion, to de-summoning them when it seems like they are about to break, retreat to pull a special attack to gain more soul, jump back into the thick of the fray again to summon with a centeralized explosion before the legions attack your foes and spread the enemy army out to give more breathing room. Even more so when circumstances pin a specific target for you to take out which kills all other enemies in that area once it dies... but that can be a battle in of itself when the guarding enemies can be just as aggressive and easily put you in a bind if you aren't careful.

It ends up making Chaos Legion more of a strategy hack-n-slash as the constant back and forth continues to happen between you and your foes area to area, stage to stage. Also, just watching 20+ foes go up against six sword legions AND you, and pretty much see, well, CHAOS unfold is just a joy.

Seriously, the "Legion mechanic" in this game is enough to warrant a look. Despite being old, it is actually rather inexpensive, and also seldom talked about. Hell, I managed to find my copy for about 5 bucks in very good condition. Though, it IS tough as nails, even on early stages when you first start playing, so don't think that because you have help at the push of a button that you'll steamroll through the game.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 04:26:32 PM by Nightmare Omega »
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November 03, 2017, 06:56:29 PM
Reply #9
Now, are we talking about mainstream game mechanics/concepts, or can we go into niche territory... Cause, honestly, I've got answers for both.

Any kind of video game mechanic concept the poster finds interesting, really. I'm glad someone bumped my thread since this one of those things that really interest me. I've never heard of Chaos Legion before, but the legion mechanic sounds pretty cool. It remind me a bit of Overlord but obviously with a lot more skill and action involved.

I had actually forgotten this thread and had something I thought of posting, I will do so now.

The combat in Dragon's Dogma (also a Capcom game, coincidentally), which I think I could sum up best as "pragmatic". The class system is really well-defined, and the game even lets you change freely between them in order to get a different play style at any point you feel like.

The game has a your custom playable character, your main pawn, which is a character that goes through the same process of creation and customization as the player character and will always be with you, but they are fully computer-controlled, and instead you change their behavior in combat, based on what you'd like. You complete the party with two hired pawns, which are temporary helpers either randomly created or premade if offline, or actual main pawns made by other players, should you be playing online. So with that team you go on to battles, in a similar fashion to Dragon Age, in the sense you need a good team composition if you don't want to lose a battle, such as having someone who can heal, or reach ranged targets, or tank enemies, and so on.

What really sticks out is how each class works in combat in their own way, a fighter can both take a lot of damage, and deal back damage in kind, with their abilities being geared to fit all sorts of situations, like close in distance to targets, attack enemies above them, attack enemies surrounding them, and that's just for sword techniques, you can also use the shield with similar combat purpose. And combined with their combat ability comes the fact they can just just hold down any enemy their size or smaller so another person can attack it while it's completely defenseless, or toss them over a cliff, or onto other enemies.

And that's just one of the 9 vocations in this game, there are also striders who can fight both at melee and at range with a bow, combined with a lot of abilities that can be applied quite creatively, mages who have a lot of spells that can have dramatic effect in the battle. Then the advanced classes, like a warrior who is a fighter than has less speed and mobility in exchange for hitting like a train, a ranger that can deal high damage with a longbow, and a sorcerer that has some pretty impressive spells meant for pure destruction, both in visuals and effectiveness. And THEN, there are the hybrid classes, reserved to the player character only, which combines traits of two of the previous 3 classes into 3 original classes, with their own unique play styles. I have yet to play hybrid classes in their entirety, but from footage I have watched it's definitely appealing.

The combat in itself hasn't bored me yet, and I always have some new interesting moments with it. From the more boring or even frustrating encounters like goblins or bandits or packs of wolves, to large enemies like a cyclops, or a griffin or a golem, which requires some strategy in order to be defeated, and the soundtrack really adds into these fights, adapting to fit a theme of a simple battle, a tough battle, or even when you're completely overpowered by enemies and should run for your life. Sadly once you're at a high level you can become absurdly overpowered yourself, even I who has never been the type to seek overpowered builds has managed to reach one without really trying. But I have yet to tackle Bitterblack Isle, the main setting in the expansion for the game, in its entirety, and from what I have seen it certainly is more of a challenge than the main game at later stages.

I guess this is all I have been wanting to say about the game that has entertained me this past week or so, so that makes me feel better.

(Man, it's hard typing so much text. Apologies if it looks like a mess.)

November 03, 2017, 11:25:28 PM
Reply #10
Considering "Dragon's Dogma" is an "Itsuno" Capcom game, I'm not entirely surprised that the game has a healthy amount of options and depth to it's core game mechanics. This is the guy that kind of saved Devil May Cry (well, after he botched 2, but only because of some rather shitty circumstances).

Anyway, as for a mainstream game... This one is very relevant. Shadow of Mordor/War's "Nemesis System"

Holy crap, where do I begin.

Well, for those that have played either of the games, you're already probably going "Yup, holy hell, yup."

For those that don't, let me break it down.

Monolith (the guys that made F.E.A.R. and Condemned), after being contracted by WB Interactive to help make a Lord of the Rings game, they made... Guardians of Middle Earth, which was a mediocre to Ok online multiplayer game , at best. Not exactly a nice start to this history lesson, but, that didn't stop them, or WB, as they were later tasked with making a single player experience, which would be the non-canon Middle-Earth game we all know as "Shadow of Mordor".

The basic gameplay can be broken down into three parts. The first two aren't the main attraction and are rather straight foward, but serve as pillars for the third gameplay mechanic, which I will talk about in length. The first gameplay mechanic is the combat system, which is pretty much a more violent Batman Arkham (or, Prince of Persia, if you want to be really technical). If you don't know what Batman Arkham/Prince of Persia's combat is like... I'll just say it's probably on the slower and simpler end of the action genre, below old school hack'n'slash/beat'em'up games and the original God of War series. The second pillar to the gameplay is it's parkour/stealth movement mechanics a la Assassin's Creed style, complete with long range and stealth kills. These two mechanics on their own are fine and dandy, if a bit basic, but...

The third mechanic is the Nemesis System. What is that? On the surface, it's simply a system where the AI enemy NPC remembers if it killed you, or if you killed it, but it honestly goes WAY deeper than that. See, the game revolves around you fighting Uruks, and the game's coding more or less creates a random Uruk (body type, voice, armor, weapons, disposition, strengths, weaknesses, name, and title) which you'll either encounter via random chance, or through hunting it down specifically via mission or other reasons. It can be an elite soldier, leader, or warchief, depending on how powerful it's become through the Uruk hierarchy (and RNGesus) or killing you. To bridge off of that, when facing one of these Uruks, several things happen after the first encounter. Either it Kills you, and remembers when you fight it again. You kill it, but it doesn't stay dead and it's really REALLY pissed about it. You wound it badly or scare it off through a weakness, and remembers that you used that tactic and boast that it won't work this time (sometimes the weakness still works, which can add to the hilarity and schadenfreude). Or you run away, and it remembers you were a little bitch that didn't stick around to fight. Sometimes something entirely unexpected happens and it'll remember it via vague descriptions of the event (like how a beast turned up to maul it, or how another Uruk showed up to fight and defeat it). This also gets mixed in with the colorful personalities and dispositions the Uruks have (which kind of depend on names, titles, armor, or body type).

Through the Nemesis System, you can end up engaging against a truly terrifying and formidable foe at the end of the day, that may also be able to entertain you just as much as it kicks your ass.

Said system has been GREATLY expanded upon in "Shadow of War" where now personality, betrayals, and loyalty play a muuuuuch bigger role in the whole thing where foes can become friends (once branded), maybe save your ass from certain death or help win a fight that was originally unwinnable, or friends can become enemies by backstabbing you when you least expect it by killing you at your weakest or slaying one of your captains/bodyguards before taunting you about it.

It's basically "give your foes a rainbow range of personality so every fight and encounter feels so much more personal."

But sometimes... the foe in question hardly has to say a word at all to be entertaining, threatening, memorable, and utterly bombastic in both combat and presence. Take this poor bastard of an LPer for example...

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