Doors have an interesting baggage to them that not many designers of the past fully grasped. Only in recent times have designers come to realize that they have to treat them with special care to make sure that the player is not confused, lost or even enraged. So, as a player, I’ve sat down and compiled 11 design rules that should never be broken unless you know what you are doing. Why eleven? Because it’s the 5th smallest prime, it could be confused with a binary number, it’s palindromic, it’s the atomic number of sodium aaaaand because that’s the number I ended up with.
So, without further ado, here are my 11 design commandments (for doors):
- You shall have only a small number of locked doors that look normal.
- All locked doors shall be unlocked at some point.
- All brittle looking doors shall not function as an indestructible gate that not even a nuke can budge.
- All wooden doors shall not be an obstacle to players that could shoot the locks off.
- A locked door is not a satisfying obstacle, though it depends on its size.
- A door shall never be just decoration.
- An iron gate is incredibly easy to climb, so don’t use it as an obstacle.
- If the player can do lock picking, an unpickable lock shall look different and way more complicated.
- Open doors shall only be closed by characters and never by magical convenience.
- A door shall always be interactive.
- However, if a high number of impossible to open doors is required and can’t be avoided, as is the case of GTA, then communicate to the player which ones can be opened. In this case, interactive doors should look different from the others at a glance.
Image taken from flickr.