Clear feedback that conveys personality
Identifying interactive objects : highlights and error messages
Players somtimes confuse natural lighting with iteraction cues but interactive items are easy to identify
Light effects are very effective to draw the player’s attention on objects. In Bloodborne, the lighting tends to attrack the player to decoration that isn’t interactive. It soon becomes easy to make the difference between “natural light” and actual items to pick up thanks to a shiny dot and a highlight in the dark that is active even without a torch.
Not showing success vs. showing failure
When grabbing an item, the successful action would be confirmed with a line of text and icon showing what was picked up. Only not showing this feedback would probably not be enough for the player to realise it didn’t work out, and that it’s normal. They might think that the input wasn’t taken in account properly, or he’s not close enough to the hypothetical item they try to pick up.
The feedback to show the successful item pick up appears in the player’s peripheral vision as an animation. The motion and change draws the attention of the player, who can confirm the success of his actions even without looking directly at the feedback. Players are looking more at their characters and immediate surroundings, interest points in the environment, and at the interface only when they are gathering information.
In the case of Bloodborne, they often pick up items and wonder what it was after they “automatically” closed the dialog, then check what the item was in their inventory if they want to know it.
When no item is picked up, there is no animation to draw the player’s attention on the lack of item picked up in the interface. Using a similar display to inform the player that no item was picked up might even be counter productive, since the player doesn’t look at the content, but only reacts to the fact the message is displayed.
Conveying error messages through character animations
When players try to interact with something that is judt part of the background, or try to loot something where there isn’t anything, there isn’t a clear error message. Instead, the character will display a different animation. The character looks surprised not to find something to grab and put in their pocket.
The animation conveys the information that there wasn’t an item efficiently while granting personality to the player character. At the same time, the player knows his input was taken in acconut but will not have the effect he expected.
Not only it is immersive and clear, but it presents the information where the player’s attention is. Using a slightly different animation to show the player character is kind of disappointed or confused – players give it the meaning they want – the point is, they get that there was nothing to grab, and it’s not just a mistake or even a slip.
In battle, this could get annoying though. The animation is rather long and may cost the few seconds required for a well timed dodging. I haven’t seen players complain about it though.
Players comment on the camera but they can’t pin point what bothers them
It shocked a couple of players, but seemed natural to others. When moving towards the side of the screen, the camera shows you less in front of the player character. It drags behind you could say, where a couple of players expected the camera to show them what’s ahead. The camera does not allow the players to clearly know in advance what’s ahead of them and anticipate what is going to happen. Basically, when running towards one edge of the screen, the player character is actually closer to the edge he runs towards than the one he runs from.
While noticed at first, even the players who complained about it in the first place slowly accepted it as normal. The thing about the camera is that it create unease, because it strengthens the sense of danger and risk when moving quickly forward, encouraging the player to slow down and be more cautious at first. Player who briefly complained about the camera in Bloodborne made the same comment about Dark Souls 3, mentionning it was not like that before, while it had exactly the same behaviour.