Game devs often implement techniques that make playing a game feel better, even if it isn’t completely accurate to the original rules of play. For instance, many platformers will allow a player to press jump several frames after their player should have fallen into a pit. The player’s intent is rewared even if their reflexes (or input lag) is a bit behind.
Jennifer Scheurle started a twitter thread inviting game devs to share “brilliant mechanics in games that are hidden from the player to get across a certain feeling”.
Here are a few of the gems uncovered.
Assassin’s Creed and Doom value the last bit of health as more hit points than the rest of it to encourage a feeling of *JUST* surviving.”
This is probably somewhere way down the list, but third person game thumbstick correction is a favourite. Pretty standard in AAA.” – Mike Bithell
“In Firewatch, a player not responding to dialogue prompt is a noted choice…the game reacts to non-response, and it helps create a feeling that ignoring someone has social consequence and the other person is “real” ” – Jane Ng
This is not helpful at all, but racing games used to have this rubber-banding thing going on to make sure races were “competitive.” – Alan Au
In Bioshock if you would have taken your last pt of dmg you instead were invuln for abt 1-2 sec so you get more “barely survived” moments.
Yeah I can’t recall if it was also in 1 or just 2, but we slow down Big Daddies’ run speed if you’re facing away, so you don’t die confused. – Jordan Thomas
Not a mechanic persee, but in Hi Octane we simply displayed different stats for vehicles without ever actually changing them under the hood – Alex Trowers
I read once that if enemies miss in half life 2, the bullets are sent in a trajectory calculated to be the most *interesting*
First few LUFTRAUSERS enemies deliberately miss you to give you the feeling of being really good at dodging. Rami Ismail
Not sure if it was mentioned, but the tutorial in Halo 2 asked player to look up. Their input determined whether y-axis would be inverted
Add HP +1 to a destroyed enemy Spacecraft until you’re sure its in camera view to show players more explosions and spectacle on screen – Peter Hann
Dark Souls 3 bosses follow a specific time signature along with the music for their attacks, the hardest boss in the game breaks this flow.
In System Shock we made your last bullet do double damage, similar trick to the last bit of health thing. – Rob Xemu Fermier
First shots from an enemy against you in BioShock always missed…that was the design, think it got fully implemented. No “out of blue!” – Ken Levine
Those were the best ones I saw. If you’re interested in more, check out the Gameology series I do with developer Attila Branyiczky, specifically our episode on game feel.