Gone Home and Tacoma creator Steve Gaynor reckons more first-person games should implement Fullbright's 'Pack Back' mechanic, so as to create less clutter. Is this news? Probably not but it's Friday so I hope you'll humour me either way.
Seriously, though, what is the deal with first-person games that let you pick up and examine items, before having you discard them carelessly on the floor? Have you ever tried placing said items back where you found them, without them toppling or missing their target entirely? It's near impossible. I've lost count of the number of picture frames I've knocked off desks and books I've recklessly pulled from shelves.
Gone Home and Tacoma's 'Put Back' feature sidesteps this ordeal by returning items from whence they first came. Simple, really.
"I will say I definitely miss it in some games, where I'm like: Oh, just let me just be nice about where I'm putting this object!" says Gaynor. "The thing is, it's a really low-tech solution for us. In a game engine there are trigger volumes that are like a 3D cube in space which, when you interact with it, does different things. 'Put Back' for us is where there's a volume around the place that the object started out."
Gaynor continues: "If you're aiming at it and click, it just puts it back nicely instead of throwing it. Because it is where the thing originally was, it's where you tend to be already aiming. It's the easy default thing. It takes more effort to throw something on the floor than it does not.
"Anybody who wants to copy 'Put Back' into their game—I more than invite you to do so. I will be happy to have that feature when I play your game as a player."
I suggest to Gaynor that if you acted the way most first-person games have us behaving in real life you'd get into trouble. Imagine picking up a mouse or a cup of coffee at work and then throwing it on the floor thereafter? You'd get fired on spot.
"Right, exactly," adds Gaynor. "It's like: This guy's Put Back feature is broken. Okay, you're not going to get paid."
Okay so this definitely isn't news. But let's consider it a PSA.
Look out for our full interview with Gone Home and Tacoma creator Steve Gaynor next week, wherein I promise we explore more sensible subjects.