5 Mechanics Video Game Developers STILL Can't Get Right
The types of kinks that could quite easily be ironed out with a simple tweak or two. But aren't.
I don't think it's possible to build a universe within a game and not have a minor glitch or two. I mean, that's pretty much expected with most games these days. Nobodies perfect, and we're all aware of that. Sometimes those little glitches can quite easily be shrugged off and forgotten about, too. Even the biggest developers in the community make human errors here or there, but that's just pretty natural. We can't really complain about a petty thing like that unless we're really seeking an argument with a programmer.
However, this isn't about glitches in a game. Oh no, this article is more of a focal point for all things in video games that probably could've been fixed with a little time and effort from a team of interns.
Considering we're pushing into 2020, you'd think there wouldn't be much left to complain about in the industry. But, believe it or not, there is plenty more to slate. So that's exactly what I'm planning on doing today. I am literally going to give you five mechanics that'll make you facepalm and nod your head in agreement.
I present to you, 5 Mechanics Video Game Developers STILL Can't Get Right
It's not very often we get to witness a character in a video game ascend or descent a flight of stairs without them magically gliding across them in one giant airwalk lunge. Actually, it's so rare that even after decades of implementing staircases into video games, developers still haven't really put in too much effort on tweaking this minor thing to make it a fraction more realistic for us.
I don't know about you, but when I'm playing a serious playthrough of a proper nail-biting thriller, I expect to be immersed as this character I'm playing. I don't want to be snatched away from the fantasy of the world by poor mechanics or minor glitches that could've easily been avoided in post-production.
Say you're in a gridlocked cemetery. The place is plastered with twisted psychopaths that are boxing you in. Your only escape is via a large set of stairs between the crypt and the horde of approaching souls. You take one step towards the foot of the staircase. You tilt the joystick just a couple of inches to start ascending the staircase. Then ZOOM, you're at the top without even breaking a sweat. That, to me, sort of kills the mood.
Little things, of course. But little things that can be avoided nonetheless.
Come on guys, it's 2019. You can fix these things!
It's a known fact that 99 percent of gamers literally despise anything water level related in video games. And yet, aspiring developers still can't help themselves when slyly filtering in just one or two segments in most of their releases.
What makes these things even more frustrating is the fact that a lot of the time we literally have no idea how to stop our heroes from drowning. I mean, don't get me wrong, a lot of top titles have cracked it down to a tee. But there are still handfuls of new releases out there which don't come anywhere near to being acceptable. In fact, they're just straight up horrible.
I've had my fair share of poor swimming mechanics in my time, and like most people, I hate having to do anything swimming related. So poor swimming mechanics can really numb the experience as a whole and cause a vein or two to bulge in your forehead.
Get it into your skulls, devs. You know this. We don't want any more friggin' swimming levels.
So I recently finished my first run-through of Borderlands 3. Now, that's a brand new game, so I mean you'd expect their mechanics to be pretty slick and up to scratch in comparison to some of the older shoot 'em ups on the market. So something as basic as spawning shouldn't really be seen as an issue in a game where you'll likely die a billion times over. But, alas, it is an issue. It's a huge issue.
Sadly, we've all been the victim of a good old fashion spawn trapping. That's something that can really make our blood boil and make us want to launch things into various voids before calling it quits on whatever game it is we're slugging through.
Whilst I understand that in online games a developer cannot map every players location and spawn drop you into the ideal sanctuary, I do have to kick up a fuss for the offline modes where enemies are usually scripted. Say, for example, Borderlands 3. That was a game I'll likely never play again due to being spawn trapped by countless bots several times over. And I'd often be spending more time ducking and diving fresh out of the box just to sink one bullet into a boss before dying all over again. Then I'd simply rinse and repeat until the mission was complete and I could do it all over again, only from a different position on the map. Multiply that by twenty hours and you've got yourself a finished campaign. Only, that campaign sucked due to this rather tedious mechanic.
It's not a major, but it is awfully frustrating. So, Mr. Developer, please, please give us better spawning points in the future.
Whilst I understand that not everybody is technically Usain Bolt in video games, I have had to question their poor abilities to sprint every now and then. For example, horror games. Now I don't know about you, but if I was planted in the centre of a monster-infested world, I'd probably have my running shoes on without even thinking twice about it. But for some of our heroes, it often feels as if we're burdening them by asking them to do anything more than a casual jog.
Now, I'm not an athletic man, but I am more than capable of sprinting longer than fifteen seconds without having to suddenly halt and squeeze my chest for air. But put me in a situation where I might have to run longer. Say, an axe murderer suddenly plummeted to the earth six foot behind. Now that'd be enough to make me take Usain Bolt's Olympic record and crush it between the soles of my burning feet. Yet something about video game characters don't quite seem to understand those certain pressures when walking on thin ice. In fact, they essentially treat running like nothing more than a smooth jog in the park on a warm Sunday morning.
We've seen beefy men who can punch a hole through cement but can't run for more than eight seconds. We've seen unfit women who can sprint for thirty minutes and only have a chip of stamina removed from their bars. But, we have no in-between. There's no balance where we stop and think, 'alright, that's about right, I'd say'
Come on, devs. I think it's about time we had realistic stamina bars, wouldn't you say?
Excluding the fantasy genre where essentially everybody can swallow seawater and dive for six days and not die, some characters from various other worlds haven't quite been able to nail the perfect lung capacity mechanic yet. Like, for example, Lara Croft.
Now, I don't know what your thoughts are on this, but I don't see Lara being a sixty cigarettes a day kind of girl. And yet I can't help but question her health when plundering through water worlds as the Queen of adventure. It just doesn't quite add up. I mean, she has every badass attribute you'd expect from an action hero. But when it comes to holding her breath, she can't quite top her record of about nine seconds. I'm not overly sure why, but Lara definitely seems to let the rockstar heroine side down in that department.
Whilst there have been several Tomb Raider titles that have tweaked the lung capacity mechanic and balanced it just right, there are still several others which don't quite add up. And you can bet there's thousands of others out there who can't seem to understand internal organs either.
Everybody is different, sure. But I think it only makes sense to have characters who're able to meet a certain criteria when it comes to entering the water. A criteria like, I don't know, being able to exceed more than four seconds without drowning. I think there's a balance that could quite easily be met with a bit of research. Not everybody's a fish. Not everybody has half a lung.
If that can be sorted out that'd be great. Cheers.
Maybe I'm just being petty here. Maybe you have different opinions when it comes to mechanics in most video games. Either way, I think we can all agree that there are some things out there that can really wind us up for the sake of it.
Programmers are getting more well-equipped and glitches are decreasing for every published title, and whilst I do enjoy spotting an error or two in the code, it would be a breath of fresh air to just witness one title where I don't have to question every little detail.
But, I mean, that's just me.
- J Tury