Undifferentiated Terrain Antipattern

Problem: We want to simulate some event that takes place in a kind of terrain that lacks interest, such as water sports or space combat.

Solution: Put the game in a big empty field (water / space / grass).

This use of problem/solution is a logical fallacy. The technical problem (simulating an event in an uninteresting terrain) is not solved by defining the terrain as uninteresting. Perhaps the problem is "we need to define the setting of our game.

Consequences: This rule comes originally from Midway/Atari by way of Mark Nau. You lose a lot when you confine yourself to the surface of water, and without those boundaries you lose a lot of gameplay opportunities. For example, in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater you can find secret areas where you can do new tricks. In Kelly Slater's Pro Surfing...you can surf.

Examples: Kelly Slater's Pro Surfing, Wing Commander.

Examples of games that eschew this antipattern: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Descent.

Also see: TerrainMatters.