Favorite little/overlooked details in games?


#1

I was listening to the Symphony of the Night ep of Watch Out for Fireballs!, and they mentioned the fact there was a completely unnecessary mini-immersive sim-esque moment in which you can actually monitor and watch a bird tend to its eggs and the chicks hatching. The game itself is full of detail-oriented Kojima-like moments like this (check out the secrets roundup here). The guys go on to talk about how this attention to detail is what elevates and separates Metroidvania games from each other, (I’d add) perhaps in the same way one might separate objects by density by placing them in a liquid with intermediate density.

Thotzzzz? Fav. details in games?


#2

In general, super specific animations. Uncharted’s proximity-based wall-touching is good. The Clance’s Wildlands has one when the car you’re driving is upside down and your door is too close to the wall to open, so you climb out the window, up, over, and onto the car. Unless you fell into a car-shaped hole, there’s probably a specific animation to get you out of that vehicle without just teleporting you. Ubisoft in general seems to have a pretty obscene animation budget for its games lately. Wildland’s again has like 4 animation cycles just for running down a hill, based on how steep it is.

But God-Tier’s gotta be hands and feet lining up correctly on ladders and stairs. That is my jam.

Runner Up: Fluid physics. I played the first level of From Dust for about 2 hours just watching the river deposit sediment out into the ocean, creating a physics-generated river delta.


#3

There’s a podcast that Brendon Chung is on (I think it might have been when he was on Playscape L.A. with Teddy Dief but I am not 100% sure!) where he talks about how he put the screws in a vent grate on one of the levels of Quadrilateral Cowboy in a specific spot so that when you undid them they’d fall down into the bottomless pit that you could see through the grate you were unscrewing.

That’s an example of the tons & tons of great little details in QuadCow (others are like, the huge stack of rejection letters pinned to the wall in the hideout, or the little trinkets that make up all of the characters’ bedrooms, or all of the titles and authors on all of the books.)

I guess there’s an argument that the details in QuadCow don’t count as little or overlooked because they’re so much of the thing but I’m still gonna post about them whenever I get the chance imo.


#4

The Plain Doll’s little finger twitch when she’s inanimate in Bloodborne, and on
a grander scale, spoilerinos the layered nature of the Nightmares. Obviously there’s the mollusc creature that falls from the fishing hamlet above into the Hunter’s Nightmare, but much cooler to me is that you can see the masts of the ships in the Fishing Hamlet from the Nightmare Frontier.


#5

I like when gun models have accurate ammo counters in first person shooters. Overwatch does it in a bunch of places even though it’s entirely redundant with the UI. Lucio even has an accurate sound visualiser (it’s actually tied to the in game settings so if you play with it muted they’re zeroed out. the devs can’t decide if that’s a bug or not) and Sombra, the hacker has an ammo readout that’s in Hexadecimal which very good.


#6

I believe it’s intentional but The Beginners Guide’s first level (the Counter-Strike looking one) has common beginner mapping mistakes in it. For example nothing is optimized at all and there’s some brushes that have a black face render error which is almost certainly a call out to a somewhat common error every mapper experiences at some point due to too many lights touching a face.

I’m not sure if it’s ever been confirmed but after playing it I have a strong suspicion the game itself is about the creators experience with the Source mapping community. Map and asset theft is a huge issue that almost everyone ignores (mostly because the majority of mappers are in high school or younger). It’s extremely common to just login one day and find someone has decompiled your map, made minor changes to it, tacked someone terrible naming scheme at the end, and reuploaded it. There used to be all sorts of community drama around one server stealing another servers custom maps.


#7

yeah! I got such a kick out of the hexadecimal one when I first noticed it.


#8

Even though I never played it the fact that the Altair in the assassins creed series is always missing a finger feels really cool & unique which ads to the initial lore & mystique of the original game.


#9

Ha, he can’t get enough of little animation touches in games, check out his twitter feed.


#10

Brendon Chung’s twitter feed is very very good.

That reminds me of another very good detail! In one of the early levels of Snake Pass, there is a watery area where the ceiling has little holes in it that are small enough that I thought the wall would just be solid and I wouldn’t be able to get through, but the holes were actually just barely big enough to fit through. I squeezed up through the ceiling to get to dry ground and it absolutely blew my mind. Interacting with those very good tiny holes in the world geometry was definitely the moment I realised I liked Snake Pass a bunch.


#11

The environmental design in Overwatch, as well as terrain textures.


#12

the graffiti on Torque’s ship during the last cutscene of Freedom Planet is a fave of mine


#13

Let me tell you about the funniest replay moment I’ve ever seen involving Halo

This was in Reach when full-render replays were super novel and whatnot, and I’m rewatching a random arena deathmatch, when I see my buddy Mike get stuck by a grenade that looked like it whiffed

He climbs into a 'Hog, as a plasma grenade goes by, and then the vehicle explodes in a different way than usual. Something off

Scroll back a second, get a view from the other sides, and on the third or fourth try I notice what’s up

During the vehicle entry animation, his foot had swung into the path of the grenade with impeccable timing, and he had long enough to finish the animation before the vehicle exploded from inside

That’s good hitbox design


#14

+1 for good stair walking animations. I always loved that the Hitman games put a lot of effort into running or walking up and down stairs.


#15

I realize this thread is over a year old at this point but I just discovered a really good one of these.

I just got to the final boss of Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia and every single human enemy on that map has a name and a unique portrait.

For context in Fire Emblem enemies generally don’t get a name unless they are a boss or are recruitable. Instead they are just named after their class and all the enemies within that class share a portrait, which sorta implies they are interchangeable goons.

So even though you don’t learn anything about most of them the name and portrait sets them up as being significant people, which makes sense considering the circumstances of the fight and how strong they are. It just makes the whole thing feel momentous.

Another fun thing they do for the final battle is give every one of the characters you bring a couple of lines about the fight the first time you select them. That’s a pretty standard JRPG thing, but I liked it a lot because there are a ton of characters in these games and a lot of them don’t get a ton of screen time. There were a lot of really good ones, but my favorite was selecting Kliff (a good but not great mage) who had a cocky line that he wasn’t actually strong enough to back up and then selecting Delthea (another mage who was my MVP pretty much since I got her) who had an even cockier line which she promptly backed up by trashing one of these extremely strong named enemies I was talking about .