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View Full Version : Suggestion - few icons, lots of discovery?



D.I.D.
04-22-2015, 07:23 PM
Watching the video in Sushiglutton's thread: http://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1076698-Excellent-AC-discussion-at-Gamespot-s-the-Lobby

There's a bit that stands out to me when Kevin Van Ord is trying to identify why the romance has drained out of the series for him. He makes a really good point about icons, which began as points of interest, having devolved into being just dots crammed into a map, tickboxes on a list: that ugly 21st century word, "content". I think we've all felt that it's meant to impress us, but it's not impressive. We don't look at this and think, "Wow, look how much there is to do" so much as "Ugh, look at how much I've got to do". Van Ord's suggestion is to take that away. Show us that there is all of this stuff out there to be found, but don't necessarily put a marker on it.

I'd love to see this - to have the map as a kind of illustrated notebook, at heart. The game can show us early on, "Look! Some of these houses have valuables in them, if you need money", and then leave it up to us to find more. When we've found and visited a shop, the map could add an icon so that we can find that shop again (or that bar, or whatever it is). If someone tells us about a place we ought to check out, on the map it goes. When we Synchronise, instead of doing the automatic camera rotation (which appears to be a performance nightmare for low-end PCs and consoles anyway), why not let us look around from up there and actually see things to add to the map? When I'm on the street, let me discover side content by hearing unusual things, or seeing unusual commotion, or have someone run up to me and tell me their problems. I promise you, my ears would be on high alert after that. I'd always be looking out for opportunities.

And if we were going that far - do we even need mission icons? Could we not just have assassin contacts on the map, since we could reasonably know that Member X hangs around this corner and Member Y can be found in this pub, and go and see them to advance the story? They could tell us where the next bit of action is going down, show us that area as a zone on the map rather than a single fixed position, and when we get close the screen can ask if we want to begin: yes/no, just like it does already when we hit the marker.

SixKeys
04-22-2015, 07:26 PM
I like all those ideas. I definitely want the devs to encourage discovery over hoovering up icons going forward.

D.I.D.
04-22-2015, 07:35 PM
Hooray! Since I have your approval, I fully expect this system to be implemented in Victory's sequel ;)

It could go further, of course. You buy a newspaper, and while reading it you see a story about a suspicious fire at a brewery in Brick Lane, or the theft of rare artefacts from the British Museum. "Added to the map", the game announces, and it's up to you to go and investigate those things.

VestigialLlama4
04-22-2015, 07:55 PM
The funny thing is in AC1, there are no icons or points of interest but that's the game where I spend a lot of time just walking around and looking at stuff for no reason. Okay they put the flags in that game (I never collected them) but it doesn't clutter the map and you actually have to find that yourself. I think being told that there are points of interest or side missions takes away from the immersion in a big way. It strips you from any need to search and look yourself.


Hooray! Since I have your approval, I fully expect this system to be implemented in Victory's sequel ;)

It could go further, of course. You buy a newspaper, and while reading it you see a story about a suspicious fire at a brewery in Brick Lane, or the theft of rare artefacts from the British Museum. "Added to the map", the game announces, and it's up to you to go and investigate those things.

-- Go to the British Museum, Karl Marx needs help finding the grain report for 1867. Dig in the library.

But you know you have that in AC2, where the database had these monument with glyph markers, I loved that. I'd look at the database and then see the monument and explore it. The glyph puzzles didn't have map icons either. You had to actually look for it, and I managed to do all of that without looking at the internet.

D.I.D.
04-22-2015, 08:06 PM
But you know you have that in AC2, where the database had these monument with glyph markers, I loved that. I'd look at the database and then see the monument and explore it. The glyph puzzles didn't have map icons either. You had to actually look for it, and I managed to do all of that without looking at the internet.

Ah, yes, that's true. That was even a bit more involved than my suggestion here, since finding some of those glyphs took quite a lot of effort. But yes, it proves that the principle's been tried before for some things, and it works.

I think it'd be great if more of our conversations here after a game launches were sharing screenshots and information about secrets, rather than roasting each other for being wrong on the internet.* I know a lot of people are into their 100% thing, but I've always felt it hurts people's enjoyment of the games to either feel bad that they can't find the last scraps or to have the anti-climactic feeling that the last thing they found for their 100% was merely a scrap.

* and you all are wrong, unless you agree with me

cawatrooper9
04-22-2015, 09:19 PM
I think icons were necessary in games like Black Flag where there are tons of different areas that players have to comb through to find some very specific items. However, I found them little more than annoying in Unity. Unity, for the most part, had one large map, so after syncing the handful of viewpoints, players pretty easily access all the collectibles in the game.

Some items need icons- main misson ones are of course necessary, as are some collectibles like Rogue's Viking Swords (at least in my opinion).

But please, I hate that every treasure chest in the game gets its own icon, too. That just seems absurd, and kind of insulting, to me.

D.I.D.
04-22-2015, 10:07 PM
I think icons were necessary in games like Black Flag where there are tons of different areas that players have to comb through to find some very specific items. However, I found them little more than annoying in Unity. Unity, for the most part, had one large map, so after syncing the handful of viewpoints, players pretty easily access all the collectibles in the game.

Some items need icons- main misson ones are of course necessary, as are some collectibles like Rogue's Viking Swords (at least in my opinion).

But please, I hate that every treasure chest in the game gets its own icon, too. That just seems absurd, and kind of insulting, to me.

Agreed. On the point of Black Flag, we had to find lots of things with little more than a rough pair of coordinates and a sketch of the landscape detail we were looking for. So, even on a game of that scale where many of the icons certainly helped, we found dozens of important items and locations without them.

VestigialLlama4
04-23-2015, 05:51 AM
To be honest I think they should simply get rid of treasure chests (except for buried treasure that is). They added it pointlessly in AC2 and it has never made sense to me. Ezio is a banker's son at the start of the game, why would he go around stealing from random treasure chests. Later when he is Lord of Monteriggioni, he has his own business as landlord and investment banker to fall back on. The same applies in AC3, where Connor is a Privateer and Entrepreneur. It makes more sense with Grandpa Edward of course but even then you have buried treasure. It defeats the purpose of an economy, if you can simply steal cash.

There's no point putting in Assassination Contracts and other side missions and an Economy and then saying, "Yeah, go and break into people's houses and steal their precious valuables while you are at it".

Markaccus
04-23-2015, 12:01 PM
I think ALL the games need SOME markers, but the Unity map is RAMMED. The idea of the murder mysteries is good, you get clues where to look, and it pops up when you get close. Trouble is it stays there. It should only show while you are in range. The could be an option to place a marker there if you want it for later, then if the map gets cluttered its your own fault :-D Use this idea for all side quests.

Chests? Well how about this.... If you go to ANY point above a certain hight (not just view points) and use eagle vision, it marks chests within a certain range. These markers vanish after say 5 mins. This way, the map is less cluttered, and you have to explore.