Environment interaction and item usage akin to adventure games
Many RPGs are kind of "stiff" in that everything is either dialog, or combat, within very defined systems. The world just feels like a backdrop, and items are either useless, purely for mood or combat tools.
I would like to see examinable parts of the backdrop, and a general mechanism for applying items on each other and the environment, so that items you find may or may not serve a purpose. This makes you think more about your environments and the items you find, and it gives you a kick when you discover a cool use for something. It adds a sense of mystery, as well.
This is of course already in Interplay games like Fallout and Torment to a certain extent, but I could see it being used even more. If it's used throughout the game, both for specific quest solutions (using explosives to block the Radscorpion cave entrance in Fallout) and smaller, repeated things (using crowbars and lockpicks on doors), the player will get trained to think in those terms, and the mechanism can be relied upon more.
Using an item on something doesn't have to be binary, it can trigger a skill or stat roll, etc.
Interacting with the environment is always a good idea.
I'd love some puzzles with the use of items and environment. It can really make the game more varied.
My primary interest in this feature is that it introduces an, almost unlimited, system that could be used to find secrets, spawn special enemies, discover special treasure, or reveal lore.
One of the greatest things about fallout games is the subtle and not so subtle interactions between items, characters and environment. This guy too strong for you? Plant a bomb on him with the thief, come back in 5min to loot the pieces! Now scripted pixel hunt events are no fun when overdone but a system flexible enough to allow creative use of various items and skills in a general way is definitely a plus.
So say... going as far as Deus Ex 1? Or even farther like Nethack and other roguelikes?
This makes me leery.... Having puzzle items is fine.... But I don't want a never ending stream of useless crap.......
Generally speaking, I would definitely like a more interactive environment. Though as usual it depends upon how it is implemented. Pixel-hunting isn't all that appealing though some hidden stuff can be done really well, and puzzles can either feel like an interesting natural extension of the game or 'oh a puzzle'. I too would like some weird and wonderful items, and stuff to activate/interact with.
Please allow us to hoard dead cats in our inventory and use them in unorthodox ways. The original Torment had a lot of zany items whose use was not obvious (Lim-Lim anyone?). Let's continue that tradition.
This depends on individual players. Some gathers info through reading while some others may do so by carefully inspecting environments (cf. VAK model). Likewise, some reader type players may not be happy with so-called pixel-hunting style gameplay while the latter players may be unhappy with picking info through reading. Please let the players interact with your imaginary world through their preferred approaches.
This was already present in PS:T. In fact, it was one of my favourite features. I loved how even "useless" items could be useful. I loved all these miscellaneous descriptions. I loved how examining certain objects could give you small EXP rewards and bring back memories. I hope that similar things will be present in T:ToN.
Have you seen the Wasteland 2 gameplay video, and are you asking for something similar to that? If so, I'm with you.
I don't mean that I want contrived adventure game puzzles. I just mean that I want the mechanic of using items on things, and that it is fleshed out enough to often be available where it makes sense.
Instead of being limited to "specific item A should be used on specific location B to proceed", it could also be "oh, here it makes sense that I could use a pointy item, let's try the dagger I picked up earlier". Many different items could work for one situation, or many items could be used for many things (like the rope in Fallout).
I would have nothing against more specific things either, though, as long as they make sense (unlike the puzzles in many adventure games).
I couldn't disagree more with this suggestion! This is a narrative-driven RPG we are talking about, not an open world sandbox. I was elated when I read somewhere else on these forums that there would be no adventure game-like pixel hunting. I also very much dislike the strict linearity of it, where you have to think exactly like the game designer thought when he created the puzzle. I feel like there is no personal creativity to it. I've really, really tried to like those kinds of adventure games (e.g. Full Throttle), because if it weren't for the gameplay, they would be great games :).
I do think Anon Of Holland and Arcane make a very good point about carrying around just-in-case objects. There is also the "no, I'm not going to pick up/buy that. I'll never have a use for it." and then a few hours later, when you actually do need it, you can't remember where you saw it. The same goes for carrying around an object and then dumping it, because you don't have space for a more useful/valuable object.
As for clicking on the environment to find out about it, like you could do with certain things in PS:T, I think that is a good idea, even if it has no direct bearing on the story. I think that creates immersion, at least if it can't be conveyed with graphics and animation. It can also increase the sense that the environment is part of the story, that the story could not happen anywhere else but where you are.
Anon Of Holland commented
That's exactly the experience I had as well, Arcane. Running around with dozens of items taking up space that I would never end up using.
In P&P you can use your stuff in whatever way you want, but of course it would be near impossible to code all that into a video game. Then again, getting a 'hunch' when picking up a hammer or some other obvious object would be kind of lame too. I always enjoyed systems that would have a (junk) tab when selling stuff at stores, in those cases you would be 100% certain the object you were selling was useless. Maybe something like that would work?
A very good point. I remember having the same problem in PS:T. It was quite annoying, and made me carry around a lot of useless crap "just in case". I remember thinking I would prefer some indicator as to if it could possibly be needed later on, and once used whether or not it would be needed again. Maybe a way of doing this would be to let the character have a "hunch" about what it could be used for, that is mentioned in the item description?
Anon Of Holland commented
I like this idea because it harkens back to P&P a little, though I should mention that one of my biggest gripes with PS:T was that I never knew if I should hold on to a certain item or not because it was never clear if it would have any use later on, so it would be nice if there was some way to work around that.
This idea has similarities to “Environment Affects Gameplay in a Meaningful RPG-Style”, but also have contrasting elements to that idea. Hiptanakas idea focus on immersive puzzle-challenges and tasks. My idea focus on immersive options for rpg-style challenge resolution. You can find it at:
Feel free to vote for either or both :)
I have to admit that using the explosives on that cave or the rope to climb down to some areas in Fallout are the most memorable parts of entire game for me. Especially now when you look back at it.
Such a simple thing that should be natural. But it's such an usual kind of interaction that we don't see anymore in RPGs. Or any type video games for that matter. And now it's what? 15 years later? One would expect we would be getting more interactive environments and problems than can be solved using actual logic and intuition. But nah. That would require some thinking on the both developer's and player's side. It wouldn't even get past average play testers, they would get stuck and run around in circles like they all love to do so much.
Please clarify - Are you talking about actual adventure game environmental interaction like the title describes (puzzles ala kings quest etc, like what phaedruss is voting for), or are you in fact talking about rpg environmental interaction (fallout, knights of the old republic) like the rest of your post is asking for?
Would the bridge puzzle in dragon age origins be an example of your idea?
Planescape Torment had a lot of examinable items which helped you really become immersed. Basically lots of descriptions - more to read and more to immerse oneself in. Really would love this.