Tuesday 27 November 2007

Replace death with achievements

As a (part time) game designer, you give yourself a problem, and immediately start thinking about solutions.

So, as soon as I finished the article about games I've not finished, I started thinking about how to fix the damn problem.

Here's a suggestion: Checkpoint your game regularly, and have a set number of lives for each check point. Give out an achievement for reaching each checkpoint without using up all the lives - you don't even have to tell the player how many is enough.

If the player uses up the lives before reaching the next checkpoint, not only do you offer to reduce the difficulty level, like God of War does (and other games), but you offer the option to skip through to the next checkpoint, minus the achievement. You can even make them suffer through a cut scene to get them up to speed on what's happened in between. Because it's a self-evaluation system, players will have an idea 'how close' they were to overcoming whatever obstacle is slowing them down.

That way, people can play the game, overcoming the difficulty humps they may experience (which may be wildly different from one person to the next), while still rewarding people who have the skill and perseverance to play the game well.

[Edit: I think I've read this suggestion somewhere before. My apologies for not being able to site the original source].

1 comment:

wererogue said...

It's a nice idea, but I think it's an awful lot of coding to fix a problem that essentially boils down to "bad level design".
Maybe it's just the developer in me, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable to let players skip out sections of a game - achievements don't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things unless you're a rabid XBox live user, and without the achievements, you're potentially rewarding players who fail with extra cutscenes - and thus making the gameplay itself feel worthless.

That said, I do think it'd work really well - for the right kind of games.