The tricks developers use to “fool” gamers

It all started with a Twitter line by Jennifer Scheurle, the lead designer of Opaque Space’s Earthlight project, asking other developers for tricks to make their games more appealing. It seems that the developers are also “bored” of keeping secrets that only they know, so they have been extremely active in responding to Jennifer. And since then, countless “tricks” that once made gamers think about themselves began to come to light.​

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The first is Jordan Thomas, project leader Bio Shock 2, share about how the first bullets fired at the player will always-always miss. This is to make players feel less frustrated when being shot dead without knowing where they were shot from. Besides, the big Big Daddy guys will always move more slowly if the player is not facing them. This detail is obviously also to help players avoid sudden or “falling from the sky” deaths.

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Bio Shock is of course not the only series to adopt this mechanism. Not only that, in order for gamers to have the feeling of describing the conflict between a forest of enemies without “laying down”, the developers of shooting games have had countless different tricks. For example, in Red Faction: Guerrilla, only the closest enemies will actually attack you, and the ones farther away will only “notice” you. In Half-Life, when facing more than 2 enemies, only 2 will attack, the rest will just… run around and scream.

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Also, in the series Gears of War, when noticing that a lot of players would give up on Multiplay mode if they didn’t get any lives in the first game, the designers adjusted the damage of these players several times to give them I feel like I can run wild in this mode. Of course, after getting the first lives, this advantage will be immediately erased. It also increases the damage of the gun, but System Shock only “increase damage” for the last shots or when the character has very little health, to help players get a sense of excitement when “turning the tide” at the decisive moment.

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Not only stopping at damage, game makers also have countless other tricks to make their in-game battles more intense. Prominent among them is Assassin’s Creed or Doom, when adjusted to make the player’s last health bar more “persistent”. You think you won the “hairline” when the health bar is already red? In fact, it looks so short, but your “health bar” is still very tough.

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Not every trick of the developers is to make their games easier to please gamers. Typically, it is the series Dark Soul which is famous for its difficulty. In order to “help” gamers die-more, the designers of Dark Soul have put into the game very mischievous details. For example, in Dark Soul 3, all the Bosses of the game are hit according to the rhythm of the music, except… the hardest one. In fact, many gamers who have played through Dark Soul 3 do not even realize that they can predict the attacks of the Bosses in the game based on the music…

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So, if you look at it pessimistically, your whole gamer life is full of scams. However, if we look at it more positively, then we must applaud the countless creative tricks of the developers to keep us with their games. Got cheated? Who cares? As long as we can still describe the conflict between dozens of enemies to save the world…

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