Saturday, October 21, 2006

To task or not to task

Having learned some tricks about tutorial modes (with a little help from my friends), I'm now undecided about including or not a "mission" feature. Would it be a invaluable feature or just harm the game's simplicity?

The Mission feature could, it's true, add a great deal of replayability. At the same time, it might turn the game into goal-oriented too much. Plus, a new verb (and new buttons for the interface) would be needed.

My game has, so far, two main verbs that can be combined with two nouns each. Would it be sensible to add a third verb? Let's keep in mind that the audience I have in mind is the one from casual game portals - which is another way to say it's a casual (non)game - if 'casual' means anything at all, that is.

At the same time, something tells me that a well-balanced Missions feature would please players, who are avid for tasks.

Maybe a "Quick Challenge" feature would be more suitable. A simple window saying something like "Can you make X?", that would set a mini-goal for the player to pursue, if he feels like it. Yes, this could be a simple and effective solution...

What about you? What do you think about it? Is it possible to make missions transparent yet appealing?

PS: I'm sorry I'm being so secretive about the game. One of these says I'll post its game blurb, Bateman style.


Corvus said...

No worries on being secretive. I keep running into that particular wall myself.

The more methods in which you grant access to your core gameplay, the wider an audience you'll find.

Kevin said...

It's hard to help you without the big picture. :)

what would be the part of a mission based schema in a "casual non-game"? Shouldnt you let total freedom to the player? Do you have characters or any narrative actors in the game that could be used to trace a path for the player?

I have the same feeling as you that it might make it too goal-oriented. Maybe you could try to add something that would support a narrative without forcing goals on the player.

Have a nice day. :)

Chris said...

Perhaps there is a distinction to be made here between suggesting goals and requiring goals.

If you require the player to complete objectives, it determines the structure of the game - and probably precludes it from being very "nongamey". However, you can suggest optional goals to provide a shape to play without having the same problem, I suspect.

Wording can also make a difference. Compare:

"Make an X"
"Why not try making an X..."
"Can you make an X?"
"I wonder how you would make an X..."

Just some idle thoughts. :)

Chico Queiroz said...

Again, I really appreciate the time you´re all taking to help me.

Corvus: I agree - that´s why I was/am afraid of removing the mission functionality: narrowing the audience. Hopefully I won´t have to.

Kevin: The Mission-based scheme would be optional - the player would be completely free to ignore it - so the freedom would be there. No narrative and no characters (well, maybe a little bit of narrative - but just to contextualize).
And I realize that "casual non-game" is not an appropriate term...

Chris: Your suggested approach is the one I am most inclined to follow. The "Can you make..." or "Could you make..." (more polite and speculative) lines are the ones I´m considering to use.

Thank you all again!


Copyright, Chico Queiroz