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A dog called Maggie with toys that you can use to play with the dog!

Also, be sure to have a replica doll of the main hero (just in case the need arises for you to stop time and switch out the hero for the doll just before the hero is killed).
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Fallout 3.

That's what I initially thought this topic was all about!

i.e. what commercial products would be in the house of your ideal player for your game?
This topic now contains high brows, specifically put in place for Mr. McGee.

can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar

Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Isn't it a waste of time to implement a player housing system when it's not really conducive the actual game experience?

Things like buying souvenir and storing items are cool features to add if the souvenirs mean something or you have a limited inventory, but a lot of the time useless sub-systems detract from the player's desire to experience the game.

Just as an example, say you have an RPG where your hero uses a boat (airship) to travel from place to place. In this case, it's very cool to have a bunch of little side things- like decorating and gathering and upgrading because the player will always have easy access to the boat (airship) and the player can benefit from doing things on it.

Take the same scenario, but give the player a house somewhere in one of the towns they visit as a reward for heroism or something. It's cool that the player now has a house he can return to, but it's unlikely the player is going to stop doing whatever quest-arch they're doing so they can return to their house and view a statue they just bought from a town somewhere.

Concluding, it's better to implement a hub where the player will constantly be returning to than to implement a player house as an afterthought or out of the desire to lump subsystems onto your game.
Normally, I avoid player housing, because most people expect it to have some form of functionality to it. I'm not a fan of wasting my time on hundred little small things, like adding a functional radio, or customization, or trophy case, and what not. It takes too much time and distracts from the big picture of the game. Plus, you really have to figure if people are even going to use player housing often?

You bring a very good point. I have something like this where in the game, the main character has an office or HQ of sorts where he can talk to other characters and examine properties he might acquire. Though it's not treated like a barbie house but rather a "hub" as you say since the story brings your character back to this HQ and you select missions at this HQ. I guess I never linked this idea to PLAYER HOUSING as it is far from being that, but your post made me make that connection!
Like in the new fables you should be able to collect notable quest items or Armour and be able to display it in your house.
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