Players Need To Appreciate The Art Of Video Game Doors

A recent Twitter conversation amongst developers has revealed that doors are hard to implement when making a game. If you’re going through any doors in a video game, please take a moment to consider just how much effort went into it.

Credit: Capcom

There are many things we take for granted in video games. From decorative assets to mundane in-game items, their existence rarely crosses our mind while playing. However, developers have been voicing their opinion about one of their bugbears when making in-game structures, which just so happens to be doors.

The conversation was sparked by Stephan Hövelbrinks, a German-based developer who’s currently working on the post-apocalyptic RPG Death Trash. Hövelbrinks posted a screenshot of a Discord rant, one that goes in-depth about the trials and tribulations of doors in video games:

Doors are complicated to have in games and have all sorts of possible bugs,” claims Hövelbrinks.

Mostly because they’re a dynamic funnel and clock in the pathfinding, potentially locked, potentially destructible, but in general because they sit potentially between any game interaction or character to character situation from here to there. AAA devs hate them, too. The Assassin’s Creed series, otherwise full of stuff, doesn’t have them, So when a small indie developer adds them to their first game, having combat and non-combat situations as well as multiple input/movement schemes, it was a lot of pain”. 

The developer’s rant prompted others to join in on sharing their frustrations. The Last of Us Part 2’s co-director, Kurt Margenau, replied with a tongue-in-cheek response. It led to a whole thread of animosity towards video game doors:

Don’t know what everyone’s up in arms about. We added doors in combat to TLOU2, took like a day. Just gotta have good talent I gues [sic]… LOL JK IT WAS THE THING THAT TOOK THE LONGEST TO GET RIGHT WHAT WERE WE THINKING 1/100

The Naughty Dog dev went on to share just how darn hard it is to get video game doors right, with many other developers jumping on the thread to agree. Enemies can be hindered by doors, doors should (or shouldn’t) provide cover for stealth, NPCs can be slowed-down by doors…there’s a lot that goes into doors in video games, especially for scripted game sections.

Former BioWare designer Damion Schubert also weighed into the conversation. Schubert described doors as being immersion-breaking, even when correctly implemented. To add insult to injury, the designer also stated that players barely notice their existence despite all the effort that goes into making doors.

So, I guess the takeaway here is that doors should be appreciated more? The next time you open a door in your favourite video game, take a moment to reflect upon the frustration, it caused its creators. Come to think of it, the demon doors in Fable do look rather smug for a video game. 

Credit: Xbox Game Studios

Featured Image Credit: Capcom

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