The game development is complicated. The simple fact that a title is finished and ends up on the market is a source of pride for its creators. There are many things to keep in mind, at the level of design, programming and animation, when creating a level of a game, and let’s not talk about an open world. But in the last days numerous video game creators have highlighted on Twitter another common complication that does not appear to be so difficult: the doors.
It all started when Stephan Hvelbrinks, developer of Death Trash, posted on the social network a screenshot of a message that he himself posted on Discord when asked: “What is the problem with the doors haha?”. The explanation It will make us think differently about that useful piece of wood and / or metal that we use to protect our shelter in a survival game; and it also makes us see with different eyes those titles where the doors are absent, as is usual in Assassin’s Creed.
“It is difficult to have doors in games because they have all kinds of possible bugs. They are primarily a dynamic funnel and a roadblock; potentially blocked, potentially destructible, but in general because they are potentially between any interaction with the game or situation between characters“explains the independent developer.
“The developers [de juegos] AAA hate them too. The saga Assassin’s Creed, which is full of objects, does not have them“Hvelbrinks assures.” So they become a pain when a small indie developer adds them in their first game, having combat and non-combat situations as well as multiple game designs. input and movement. “Remember, that’s right, that his game will have doors.
The creators of The Last of Us, Control and more they take it with the doors
The message, spread over nearly 1,000 retweets, received responses from multiple developers. For example, Sergey Mohov, lead designer of gameplay and Remedy: “I don’t know exactly how many months of work were dedicated to the door system in Control, but more than most skills and weapons for sure. “
I don’t exactly know how many man-months went into the door system in Control, but more than most abilities and weapons, for sure.— Sergey Mohov (@krides) March 9, 2021
Kurt Margenau, Game Director In The Last of Us Part II, he explains that the gates were “the thing that took the longest to get done right”. After several prototypes, what they did is that the doors were closed automatically in moments of combat, preventing more enemies from entering an area; while when exploring they remain open to remind the player where they are.
Dont know what everyones up in arms about. We added doors in combat to TLOU2, took like a day. Just gotta have good talent I gues… LOL JK IT WAS THE THING THAT TOOK THE LONGEST TO GET RIGHT WHAT WERE WE THINKING 1/100 https://t.co/oUmdRFmiGJ— Kurt Margenau (@kurtmargenau) March 9, 2021
The head of QA at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Marcin Pieprzowski (now in Ubisoft), tells that in the prologue there was a door in the confrontation against a final boss. The door is closed during combat and unlocked again after the battle. However, during the tests they noticed that sometimes it does not reopen, trapping the player. After trying multiple solutions, they decided not to quit at any time.
In Witcher 3 we had a door in prologue that would lock during boss fight and unlock after fight is done. We found 12 scenarios in which it would not unlock i.e. player saved after the fight and loaded the save trapping the player. The 13 fix was not to have the door ever lock xD https://t.co/bNkpIPaMdO— Marcin Pieprzowski 🏳️🌈 (@GingerNaTT) March 9, 2021
Damion Schubert, director en Boss Fight and previously a member of BioWare Austin, sentence: “if your game does not need doors absolutely, do not implement them”. The reason is that they create a lot of problems with artificial intelligence and with the path that the developers mark for non-player characters (NPCs).
Doors create all sorts of pathfinding and AI issues, as NPCs try to navigate the doors. And all sorts of weird timing issues if two NPCs try to use the door at the same time, or the NPC tries to use it at the same time as a player.
4/— Damion Schubert, Zen Designer (@ZenOfDesign) March 9, 2021
They also add design headaches, such as deciding what if two NPCs use the same door at the same time or a character uses it at the same time as the player .; as in animation: it is difficult to get the door textures not to overlap with the NPCs. Even more complicated is to make a animation to open doors that is realistic, which is why, according to Schubert, most of the first person shooter games use futuristic doors that open automatically.
So you know, the next time you see a functional door in a video game, think about all the work behind that piece of wood. And when you explore a village where there are no doors, ask yourself all the problems that could exist if there were any. If you want to read more about this topic, we recommend you take a look at this article from 2014, “The Door Problem” of Game Design (in English).