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## The functions on game scoring system

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### #1Chun-I  Members

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:13 PM

Hi there,

I am a PhD student from Taiwan, and am working on a study on game scoring system.

My study will begin from finding out the functions of the scoring system in order to make a taxonomy of scoring system.

Here are the functions I currently found in two different perspective - game designer's perspective and player's perspective.

I will be glad if anyone can figure out any other functions that I might missed.

Also, if the following explanations are not clear enough, please let me know as well. Thank you!

Goal: The score can be the object of the game.
Guide: The score can guide the player to do something or to make adjustment.
Feedback: The score can be a positive or negative feedback.
Extend the game life: The score can induce the player to stay in the game longer.
Measurement: The score is a scale of an abstract concept.
Personality: The score can make a distinction among the similar individual.
Limitation: The score can restrict the player's behavior in a range of value.
Access: The score can help the player to access a new level/world.
Achievement: The score can let the player to set up his/her goal.
Progression: The score is a process for reaching another status/level.
Status: The score can tell the player where he/she stand.
Identity/Role: The score can represent an identity/role.
Convertible: The score can be converted from a currency/points/entity to another currency/points/entity.
Shareable: The score can be shared through internet.

### #2Acharis  Members

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:28 PM

Protection: in most of my games (multiplayer) I use score as a protection of weaker players (not allowed to attack a target that is too low score compared to yours)

Complexity unlocker: I also use it as an artificial determiner if the player is familar with the game enough to introduce more advanced features/complex rules (below certain score some game rules might not apply to the player).

Leveling playing field between skilled and unskilled players: I frequently add more penalties to players who have high score and grant some bonuses to those with low score (the premise is that unskilled should have it easier and skilled have it more difficult, this way they always would have a challenge no matter their skill level)

Working on an Emperor focused, no micromanagement, asymmetric, 4X, space empire builder:

### #3Chun-I  Members

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 07:22 PM

Protection: in most of my games (multiplayer) I use score as a protection of weaker players (not allowed to attack a target that is too low score compared to yours)

Complexity unlocker: I also use it as an artificial determiner if the player is familar with the game enough to introduce more advanced features/complex rules (below certain score some game rules might not apply to the player).

Leveling playing field between skilled and unskilled players: I frequently add more penalties to players who have high score and grant some bonuses to those with low score (the premise is that unskilled should have it easier and skilled have it more difficult, this way they always would have a challenge no matter their skill level)

Thanks, Acharis!
However, they sounds like the extented mechanics of the "Status".
For instance the first one you've mentioned, protecting the weaker player indicates the player who is on the weaker status can get protection. The score seems doesn't have a direct function of the "Protection". And the second and the third either.

### #4Acharis  Members

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 08:15 PM

However, they sounds like the extented mechanics of the "Status".
For instance the first one you've mentioned, protecting the weaker player indicates the player who is on the weaker status can get protection. The score seems doesn't have a direct function of the "Protection". And the second and the third either.
These are not suggestions These are facts (from my games) Also "Protection" function is used in all games that have KoC as ancestor (used to be quite popular).

Score has a direct effect of granting protection. Maybe I will just write code, it will be easier to understand.

if( attacker->score > defender->score *3 ) error("Attack cancelled, too high difference in score.");

Working on an Emperor focused, no micromanagement, asymmetric, 4X, space empire builder:

### #5Chun-I  Members

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 08:51 PM

However, they sounds like the extented mechanics of the "Status".
For instance the first one you've mentioned, protecting the weaker player indicates the player who is on the weaker status can get protection. The score seems doesn't have a direct function of the "Protection". And the second and the third either.
These are not suggestions These are facts (from my games) Also "Protection" function is used in all games that have KoC as ancestor (used to be quite popular).

Score has a direct effect of granting protection. Maybe I will just write code, it will be easier to understand.

if( attacker->score > defender->score *3 ) error("Attack cancelled, too high difference in score.");

Great ! that makes sense now, you reminded me that there is a bunch of  strategy web games give new player several protection hours to avoid being attacked.

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:44 PM

These all seem to look at score on the 0 -> infinity or maximum scale.  What about score such as X alignment vs. Y alignment?  Good vs. evil is the most obvious example, with evil being negative, neutral being 0, and good being positive.  But there are many other options, like faction A vs. faction B vs. faction C, with all 3 being positive.  Or in a dating sim, some actions will please one date, some will please all dates, some will please one but displease others, and there can also be checkpoints; for example a checkpoint would be if a date falls in love with the player at a threshold number, the player's score with that date will never go below the threshold number even if he switches to pursuing a second date.

Also, what about gauges?  These are scores that fall over time, and the player periodically must do something to raise them so they don't hit 0.  The Sims series is all about this kind of gauge, as are most "babysitting" games.

Score can affect available dialogue or action options, then making a dialogue choice or taking an action can change the score, in an interactive story feedback loop.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

### #7Servant of the Lord  Members

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:03 PM

Scores can be competitively (Player A has more score than Player B, so Player A is winning) either as the metric of winning or to give one player some kind of powerup vs another player.

But scores can also be used cooperatively, shared between both players. Maybe they together need to collect X amount of points to progress, or maybe (if score is a currency) they have a shared/pooled currency. Or even experience-wise, some games have both players leveling up together by sharing experience equally (which I personally prefer, rather than one player advancing ahead of the other player).

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' or 'SotL' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames -

### #8mippy  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:27 AM

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

### #9Chun-I  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:28 AM

These all seem to look at score on the 0 -> infinity or maximum scale.  What about score such as X alignment vs. Y alignment?  Good vs. evil is the most obvious example, with evil being negative, neutral being 0, and good being positive.  But there are many other options, like faction A vs. faction B vs. faction C, with all 3 being positive.  Or in a dating sim, some actions will please one date, some will please all dates, some will please one but displease others, and there can also be checkpoints; for example a checkpoint would be if a date falls in love with the player at a threshold number, the player's score with that date will never go below the threshold number even if he switches to pursuing a second date.

Also, what about gauges?  These are scores that fall over time, and the player periodically must do something to raise them so they don't hit 0.  The Sims series is all about this kind of gauge, as are most "babysitting" games.

Score can affect available dialogue or action options, then making a dialogue choice or taking an action can change the score, in an interactive story feedback loop.

I indeed notice the alignment which you mentioned such as "Black & White". It is composed of "Measurement "(e.g. success, fail, evil, good, strength) ,  "Identity/Role" (e.g. good god, evil god), "Manipulatable" depend on player's behavior, and "Progression"(e.g. being good god or evil god, being dead or alive). Perhaps I should modify "Progression" to "Tendency" should make more sense.

For me, I would say gauge is like alignment as well(e.g. hungry and full, dirty and clean, sleepy and energetic). The difference between these two is it automatically fall or not.

The third one you mentioned is interesting! can you give me an example?

### #10Chun-I  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:33 AM

Scores can be competitively (Player A has more score than Player B, so Player A is winning) either as the metric of winning or to give one player some kind of powerup vs another player.

But scores can also be used cooperatively, shared between both players. Maybe they together need to collect X amount of points to progress, or maybe (if score is a currency) they have a shared/pooled currency. Or even experience-wise, some games have both players leveling up together by sharing experience equally (which I personally prefer, rather than one player advancing ahead of the other player).

You are right ! Thanks a lot!
I missed  "Competitive", It is common in most of multi-player game.

But I can't think about which game has the second function, can you give me an example?

### #11Chun-I  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 12:43 AM

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"? Is that the meaning of the score which is used to represent an item?

### #12mippy  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:55 AM

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"? Is that the meaning of the score which is used to represent an item?

My understanding of your definition of a game-score is: a abstract or concrete metric within a game.

I was missing items, such as gear and property (houses, decorations etc) in your list. Many players like to play game to get more items, or to get the best items.

Perhaps a player's item is not abstract enough and could be described with the terms in your taxonomy.

### #13Acharis  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:09 AM

Great ! that makes sense now, you reminded me that there is a bunch of strategy web games give new player several protection hours to avoid being attacked.tongue.png
Yes, but that's yet another thing There is one system where you get a protection for X hours UNLESS you reach certain score before that timeframe (it expires then). And another, where you get permanent protection based on your score (relative to the score of the attacker). The permanent score protection is a direct one (it does not allow/unlock hourly protection, it is a protection in itself).

(I'm a big fan (as a designer) of the permanent score protection, I use it in almost all my games, it allows me to nicely reduce/eliminate "farming" and allows more wild design of the battle system (because I know that if I made it too unbalanced I always have a second safety net in a form of score protection system))

Working on an Emperor focused, no micromanagement, asymmetric, 4X, space empire builder:

### #14Servant of the Lord  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:20 PM

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"?

'loot' is game slang for taking items and money off of dead enemies, out of treasure chests, and from other defeated or discovered sources of wealth.
"Loot usually refers to treasure or wealth that is found or stolen; see looting." - Wikipedia

But scores can also be used cooperatively, shared between both players. Maybe they together need to collect X amount of points to progress, or maybe (if score is a currency) they have a shared/pooled currency. Or even experience-wise, some games have both players leveling up together by sharing experience equally (which I personally prefer, rather than one player advancing ahead of the other player).

But I can't think about which game has the second function, can you give me an example?

Sure. One of my favorite cooperative games is Shadowgrounds. In Shadowgrounds you gain "gears" that enemies sometimes drop. Gears can be used to upgrade your weapons giving you new skills. When playing cooperatively, both players share all their gears, and when a weapon is upgraded, both players get the upgraded weapon. The gears is shared between both players, and the progress (weapon upgrades) is shared between both players.

The sequel, Shadowgrounds: Survivor, changed that: both players had separate currencies and bought their upgrades separately. Which is one of the reasons I disliked the second game (despite it being better in many other ways).
I like buying upgrades separately! It lets the players purchase what interests them and specialize.
But I dislike trying to make sure I'm not accidentally hogging the resources.

My absolutely favorite cooperative game is Dungeon Defenders. Dungeon Defenders pools the cooperative players' gemstones (score/currency), but lets them spend it separately, taking from a shared pool of currency. This is great! But because they can spend unequal amounts from each other, hogging their chest, it's not perfect either.

The ideal (in my mind) currency pooling system in cooperative games looks like this:
1) Whenever either player picks up currency or upgrade-points, or gain experience, they both get an equal amount so players don't have to worry about accidentally hogging resources from the ground.
2) Though getting an equal amount, both players have separate pools, so they are always equal in what they have acquired so far, but can spend at different rates without worrying about hogging resources from any shared pool.
3) Players can spend their resources on what they want, and upgrade and unlock how they please, without upgrading or unlocking things for the other player, so they can progress in different directions.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' or 'SotL' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.
All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.
Of Stranger Flames -

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:25 PM

These all seem to look at score on the 0 -> infinity or maximum scale.  What about score such as X alignment vs. Y alignment?  Good vs. evil is the most obvious example, with evil being negative, neutral being 0, and good being positive.  But there are many other options, like faction A vs. faction B vs. faction C, with all 3 being positive.  Or in a dating sim, some actions will please one date, some will please all dates, some will please one but displease others, and there can also be checkpoints; for example a checkpoint would be if a date falls in love with the player at a threshold number, the player's score with that date will never go below the threshold number even if he switches to pursuing a second date.

Also, what about gauges?  These are scores that fall over time, and the player periodically must do something to raise them so they don't hit 0.  The Sims series is all about this kind of gauge, as are most "babysitting" games.

Score can affect available dialogue or action options, then making a dialogue choice or taking an action can change the score, in an interactive story feedback loop.

I indeed notice the alignment which you mentioned such as "Black & White". It is composed of "Measurement "(e.g. success, fail, evil, good, strength) ,  "Identity/Role" (e.g. good god, evil god), "Manipulatable" depend on player's behavior, and "Progression"(e.g. being good god or evil god, being dead or alive). Perhaps I should modify "Progression" to "Tendency" should make more sense.

For me, I would say gauge is like alignment as well(e.g. hungry and full, dirty and clean, sleepy and energetic). The difference between these two is it automatically fall or not.

The third one you mentioned is interesting! can you give me an example?

For progression or tendency, I think of it more as philosophy or personality.  It usually corresponds to the player's pattern of choices within the game, and the player makes that pattern of choices because of their personality or philosophy.  The game (ideally) recognizes the pattern of choices, allowing the game to respond in a way that recognizes the player's personality or philosophy.  Titles are one way that a game recognizes a player's choices and allows the player to label themself so that other players can also see that player's personality or choices.  For example, in the MMO Runes Of Magic there are a wide variety of titles players can earn, then they choose their favorite earned title to display to other players.  Sometimes a titles is earned by accomplishing a single thing within the game, but sometimes it is earned by accumulating a score. (100 levels in a crafting profession, 1,000 kills in PvP, 100 collectibles collected, 1,000,000 coins earned...)

Examples of score affecting dialogue options, and dialogue options affecting score.  The Harvest Moon series (and many dating sims) have dialogue or other NPC interaction options that only become available once the player has built a minimum relationship score with that NPC.  But, if a player can repeatedly take the same action toward an NPC, the value of that action can change depending on the player's relationship score with that NPC, or the score of number of times the player has already taken the same action.  Skyrim is another game where the player may have completely different options available when talking to an NPC depending on their previous actions in the game (which the game "remembers" by scoring them).  There are many games where you have to gather XP within a faction to get awarded a rank within that faction to gain access to speak to NPC members of that faction; then when you speak to them you might please them and gain more score with that faction or you might betray or offend them and lose score with that faction.

Score is very much like the memory of a game, actually.  That's why poker chips or other tokens were first invented for gambling, to remember who had won or lost how much money.  The score of a game like baseball is recorded on a timeline of innings, like a historical record.  And score in pinball and other early games was the method by which the top player could write their initials in the game, as a marker of conquered territory or social dominance.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:31 PM

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"?

'loot' is game slang for taking items and money off of dead enemies, out of treasure chests, and from other defeated or discovered sources of wealth.
"Loot usually refers to treasure or wealth that is found or stolen; see looting." - Wikipedia

I agree with this; normally I think of loot not including money, only items, and also including items rewarded for quests, but that's a minor detail.  Related to the idea of loot is the idea of "vendor trash".  This means an items which has no use within the game except to be turned in to a vendor NPC for a small amount of money.  The game simply rewards players with items instead of money for flavor (and realism, since killing an animal wouldn't logically yield coins).

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

### #17Chun-I  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:39 PM

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"?

'loot' is game slang for taking items and money off of dead enemies, out of treasure chests, and from other defeated or discovered sources of wealth.
"Loot usually refers to treasure or wealth that is found or stolen; see looting." - Wikipedia

I agree with this; normally I think of loot not including money, only items, and also including items rewarded for quests, but that's a minor detail.  Related to the idea of loot is the idea of "vendor trash".  This means an items which has no use within the game except to be turned in to a vendor NPC for a small amount of money.  The game simply rewards players with items instead of money for flavor (and realism, since killing an animal wouldn't logically yield coins).

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"?

'loot' is game slang for taking items and money off of dead enemies, out of treasure chests, and from other defeated or discovered sources of wealth.
"Loot usually refers to treasure or wealth that is found or stolen; see looting." - Wikipedia

I agree with this; normally I think of loot not including money, only items, and also including items rewarded for quests, but that's a minor detail.  Related to the idea of loot is the idea of "vendor trash".  This means an items which has no use within the game except to be turned in to a vendor NPC for a small amount of money.  The game simply rewards players with items instead of money for flavor (and realism, since killing an animal wouldn't logically yield coins).

How does the score abstraction of "loot" fit into your taxonomy? Many games are built around using items as score.

What do you meant by "loot"?

'loot' is game slang for taking items and money off of dead enemies, out of treasure chests, and from other defeated or discovered sources of wealth.
"Loot usually refers to treasure or wealth that is found or stolen; see looting." - Wikipedia

I agree with this; normally I think of loot not including money, only items, and also including items rewarded for quests, but that's a minor detail.  Related to the idea of loot is the idea of "vendor trash".  This means an items which has no use within the game except to be turned in to a vendor NPC for a small amount of money.  The game simply rewards players with items instead of money for flavor (and realism, since killing an animal wouldn't logically yield coins).

I am not sure whether I misunderstood the meaning of "loot", but I think the score is not properly functioned for "loot". In this case, score seems designed for accumulating an item/loot to avoid yielding too much entity in the game. If the score mechanic is removed from them, they don't seem to lose its original meaning.

### #18Chun-I  Members

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:25 PM

These all seem to look at score on the 0 -> infinity or maximum scale.  What about score such as X alignment vs. Y alignment?  Good vs. evil is the most obvious example, with evil being negative, neutral being 0, and good being positive.  But there are many other options, like faction A vs. faction B vs. faction C, with all 3 being positive.  Or in a dating sim, some actions will please one date, some will please all dates, some will please one but displease others, and there can also be checkpoints; for example a checkpoint would be if a date falls in love with the player at a threshold number, the player's score with that date will never go below the threshold number even if he switches to pursuing a second date.

Also, what about gauges?  These are scores that fall over time, and the player periodically must do something to raise them so they don't hit 0.  The Sims series is all about this kind of gauge, as are most "babysitting" games.

Score can affect available dialogue or action options, then making a dialogue choice or taking an action can change the score, in an interactive story feedback loop.

I indeed notice the alignment which you mentioned such as "Black & White". It is composed of "Measurement "(e.g. success, fail, evil, good, strength) ,  "Identity/Role" (e.g. good god, evil god), "Manipulatable" depend on player's behavior, and "Progression"(e.g. being good god or evil god, being dead or alive). Perhaps I should modify "Progression" to "Tendency" should make more sense.

For me, I would say gauge is like alignment as well(e.g. hungry and full, dirty and clean, sleepy and energetic). The difference between these two is it automatically fall or not.

The third one you mentioned is interesting! can you give me an example?

For progression or tendency, I think of it more as philosophy or personality.  It usually corresponds to the player's pattern of choices within the game, and the player makes that pattern of choices because of their personality or philosophy.  The game (ideally) recognizes the pattern of choices, allowing the game to respond in a way that recognizes the player's personality or philosophy.  Titles are one way that a game recognizes a player's choices and allows the player to label themself so that other players can also see that player's personality or choices.  For example, in the MMO Runes Of Magic there are a wide variety of titles players can earn, then they choose their favorite earned title to display to other players.  Sometimes a titles is earned by accomplishing a single thing within the game, but sometimes it is earned by accumulating a score. (100 levels in a crafting profession, 1,000 kills in PvP, 100 collectibles collected, 1,000,000 coins earned...)

Examples of score affecting dialogue options, and dialogue options affecting score.  The Harvest Moon series (and many dating sims) have dialogue or other NPC interaction options that only become available once the player has built a minimum relationship score with that NPC.  But, if a player can repeatedly take the same action toward an NPC, the value of that action can change depending on the player's relationship score with that NPC, or the score of number of times the player has already taken the same action.  Skyrim is another game where the player may have completely different options available when talking to an NPC depending on their previous actions in the game (which the game "remembers" by scoring them).  There are many games where you have to gather XP within a faction to get awarded a rank within that faction to gain access to speak to NPC members of that faction; then when you speak to them you might please them and gain more score with that faction or you might betray or offend them and lose score with that faction.

Score is very much like the memory of a game, actually.  That's why poker chips or other tokens were first invented for gambling, to remember who had won or lost how much money.  The score of a game like baseball is recorded on a timeline of innings, like a historical record.  And score in pinball and other early games was the method by which the top player could write their initials in the game, as a marker of conquered territory or social dominance.

I agree with the point of philosophy or personality, that's one of the reasons why I interested in scoring systems. The game designer design the score, but the player consider the score to be a different meaning. I will make a survey after collecting scoring functions, it will help me to further analyze the dimensions of the scoring system.

Yep, relationship score seems common on many games. However, it still seems to add meaning on progression, measurement, and status. It doesn't seem to be a function.
But score has a "Concealed" function that can't be seen or be conscious, I think it make sense.

Edited by Chun-I, 08 February 2014 - 02:27 PM.

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