Game designer Jennifer Scheurle threw back the game design curtain on Friday by asking her fellow devs one simple question: what brilliant game mechanics have you hidden from players?
The query soon caught the eye of Twitter's resident game makers, who severed up a buffet of fascinating answers that reveal how -- and more importantly why -- they've tricked players over the years.
Most admit to telling a few fibs here and there to create more engaging and less frustrating experiences, while others point to curious mechanics that've been included purely for the hell of it.
For instance, BioShock creator Ken Levine explained the game's enemies will deliberately miss their first shot to avoid punishing unaware players.
Sticking with the dystopian series, BioShock creative director Paul Hellquist revealed players were made invulnerable for around 1 to 2 seconds if they were on their last legs to create more intense near-death scrapes.
First shots from an enemy against you in BioShock always missed...that was the design, think it got fully implemented. No "out of blue!"— Ken Levine (@levine) September 2, 2017
In Bioshock if you would have taken your last pt of dmg you instead were invuln for abt 1-2 sec so you get more "barely survived" moments.— Paul Hellquist (@TheElfquist) September 1, 2017
Bossa co-founder Henrique Olifiers recalled how the studio's wacky effort Surgeon Simulator would actually ring a player's real-world phone if they dialled the number in-game, allowing them to unlock a hidden level.
In Surgeon Simulator we hid many features to incite curiosity: for instance, if you dial your real phone number in the game, it calls you.— Henrique Olifiers (@Olifiers) September 3, 2017
Campo Santo's lead artist Jane Ng explained how not responding to a dialogue prompt in Firewatch was a noted choice designed make players feel as if ignoring someone had tangible consequenses.
the game reacts to non-response, and it helps create a feeling that ignoring someone has social consequence and the other person is "real"— Jane Ng (@thatJaneNg) September 1, 2017
While Ikenfell developer Chevy Ray explained why gravity has a time-delay in some platformers, and claimed that the best in the genre often play so well because they're actually ignoring our frequent slip-ups.
Named after Wiley coyote. It's often the invisible difference between a terrible platform er and a really fun one.— Chevy Ray (@ChevyRay) September 1, 2017
There are loads more responses over on Twitter, so if these tidbits have tickled your fancy go and check out the complete thread right here.