VGD: Developers Manipulating Players

Resident Evil 4 has adaptive difficulty, it just never mentions it. Dying multiple times at the same section will see the overall number of enemies there drop off significantly.Here the original post, but since the filter blocks it, I’ve copied it below.

Games lie to us all the time. Recently, some developers took to Twitter to share a few of their ones, revealing design tricks used in games ranging from Surgeon Simulator to Bioshock.

In the latter, for instance, the first bullets fired at you by enemies always missed. You might have thought you were just an ace at dodging machine gun fire, but really the designers were giving you a head start because, let’s be honest, getting nailed from behind by an enemy off screen is never fun. To this point, Bioshock 2 director Jordan Thomas said that the series’ Big Daddies move slower when you aren’t facing them to prevent players from dying in utter confusion as to where that giant drill arm came from.

  • In System Shock and other shooters, the last bullet you have has multiplied damage.
  • Enemies in Bioshock will deliberately miss their first shot to give the players a chance to dodge.
  • Many platformers (I think Braid was one quoted) have a window where even if you fall off of a ledge, you can still jump.
  • Assassin’s Creed and Doom have more health associated with the last tick of the health bar, to make you feel like you barely survived.
  • Shadow of Mordor grants additional health to dueling Uruks to increase the length of the fight for the sake of spectacle.
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories removed one physical sense of an AI every time you respawned in a nightmare run, slowed down enemies if you looked over the shoulder, and only tow enemies were allowed to chase you at once while the rest had to flank you.
  • Thumper’s time signature corresponds to the numerical value of a level
  • Suikoden spawns less enemies in the world map if they’re walking in a straight line while spawning more if you zigzag (the former is good for getting to a place quickly and the latter is for grinding)
  • Gears of War provided significant buffs to new players in multiplayer that tapered off with a few kills (to encourage them to replace multiplayer).
  • Half Life 2 has ledges and railings set as ragdoll magnets to enemies will fall over them more often.
  • Ratchet and Clank scaled enemy damage and hid enemies based on time played and total deaths of the player.
  • Jak and Daxter would trip players to mask the presence of loading
  • The Bureau/XCOM, enemy AI gets more aggressive if the players don’t move every 15-20 seconds
  • In Thief: The Dark Project, your sword increases your visibility, meaning you need to choose better stealth or better preparation for being caught.
  • F.E.A.R bent bullets towards things that exploded
  • Enemies in some LEGO games have a hit or miss chance. If a projectile misses, it’s offset and has no collision. This is done to make fights more hectic.
  • Alien:Isolation has the Xenomorph learn player habits (if the player hides in lockers a lot, it learns that)
  • The Xenomorph has 2 brains – one that will always know where you are, and one that controls the body and is given hints by the first brain.
  • Far Cry 4 reduces the damage and accuracy of NPCs based on how many are near a player.
  • Enemies in Left 4 Dead deliberatly target players the furthest away from the group or have had the least aggro.
  • Hi Octane displays different stats for different cars even though they all have the same internal stats.
  • Enemies in Arkham Asylum do not perform 180 degree turns so the player can be stealthy.
  • Elizabeth in Bioshock: Infinite throws resource to the player based on the player’s current state.
  • The last phase of a boss fight in Furi has a lower difficulty and is more visually impressive
  • Guitar Hero rates you out of 5 stars, but won’t give you lower than a 3.
  • Enter the Gungeon has the AI warm up. The longer a play session is, the harder the AI gets.
  • Good PC shooters mimic analogue controls as follows: holding movement key during a frame=1, pressing or releasing=0.5, pressing and releasing during same frame=0.25 1/2
  • Counters to your current class in Overwatch sound louder.
  • Spec Ops: The Line changed stuff in the environment suddenly to make the player question his perception.
  • Firewatch counts silence as a player choice in dialogue conversations
  • Resident Evil 4 has adaptive difficulty, it just never mentions it. Dying multiple times at the same section will see the overall number of enemies there drop off significantly.

From post in their comments:

Some from our Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy games:

In Raven’s Jedi Knight games we helped with player accuracy by making shots fatter vs enemies, but thinner vs world geometry.

Also in Jedi Outcast, some enemy Reborn with Force Speed were supposed to be able to use the Force to dodge your shots (encouraged having to fight them with the lightsaber instead). But prediction by every Reborn against every one of your shots every frame like that was expensive. So, instead of constant prediction, I waited for your shot to *hit* the Reborn enemy, then made them do a force speed dodge anim.

In Jedi Academy: I added multi-enemy attack moves for the player (where you hit more than one enemy with a single move)… but often the enemies wouldn’t line up just right for the movie to look right. So I let the move start if enemies were close *enough*, then made them get into position as the move finished, like stunt men doing choreography. This was a pretty new idea for us at the time (this was before Prince of Persia: Sands of Time did something very similar). Later, we turned this type of coordination into our Fightstyle system that we used in the X-Men/Marvel Legends games and our Wolverine game.

The lightsaber traces extrapolated your swing so that it would detect hits before they happened (felt laggy otherwise because of server/client/renderer latency, and helped with detecting parries, deflections, blocks, saberlocks, etc).

When you shot enemies, they’d look for a ledge near them and throw themselves off it, screaming to their deaths.

There were many more, from many different games, but those were the ones I could remember right away off the top of my head.



Intro to Comp Sci: Updated Activity

While I’m out, I wanted to give you a more focused activity that I feel confident you can all complete. So today you’re going to be working on another activity from Unit 1.

You get to build your own clock. You should easily be able to complete this by the end of the period. Make sure to save your work. I’ll be checking it at the beginning of class when I next see you all.


DMS1: New Light Source



DMS1: Shading Terms

In your sketchbook, replicate the below image and include the terms.

Shading Terms


Intro to CompSci: More Missile Tracking

I’m updated and upload the Missile Tracking PowerPoint. You can download it here:

By the end of class today ALL of you should have a functional Heading block. To ensure that it is functioning correctly, take a look at slides 14 & 15 from the updated PowerPoint. If you’re brave, take a look at the slides after #15. I might be able to drop in on the class to help clarify, so stay on task.


Smarter Balanced: Practice Test

My advisory students, please follow this link to take the Smarter Balanced Practice Test.


DMS1: Drawing multiple people

Drawing the following groups of people interacting.