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Looking for feedback to add more of a 'point' to our game


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#1 cupeTG   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 05:24 PM

We have started developing a text-based game designed around the organised crime world (performing crimes, pimping, drug dealing, gambling at the casinos, flying around the globe etc) and so far so good.

 

Players have the ability to purchase items (with cash earned from crimes etc) to upgrade atk/def which is used to fight other players in an attempt to steal their cash. A number of different stats combine to give an overall 'score' that we use on the Leaderboard page, automatically updated through SQL.

 

For reference sake website is: http://www.textgangsters.com/

 

The 'How to Play' page lists all the different things you can do so far.

 

What we're stuck on at the moment is creating more of a reason to play.

 

So we're seeking some feedback from others on what enhancements we might be able to code in that will give players of the game a stronger sense of purpose for leveling up and continuing to play.

 

Any feedback is welcome (provided it's not abusive/negative) as any suggestions may spark more ideas.

 

Thanks in advance all!

 



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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9891

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:32 AM

Moving this to Game Design.
-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1633

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 12:42 PM

Maybe I'm being too broad, but isn't being the biggest, meanest, most criminally-organized crime family enough of a reason?  I'm no Mafioso, but I imagine it is a kill-or-be-killed profession.  You're either expanding or being overwhelmed -- a zero-sum game of sorts.

 

I've played and enjoyed many games with less of a point.


Indie games are what indie movies were in the early 90s -- half-baked, poorly executed wastes of time that will quickly fall out of fashion.  Now go make Minecraft with wizards and watch the dozen or so remakes of Reservior Dogs.


#4 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2127

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 02:02 PM

If all you're looking for is a goal, then the head of the family/your brother/your best friend was killed by enemy gang X/an unknown party and you need to investigate/kill them. Or for a different twist, you're an undercover agent trying to find some particular evidence and you may or may not become corrupt.



#5 Andy Gainey   Members   -  Reputation: 2004

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 03:17 PM

One question you might explore is what kind of experience do you want your players to have?  What type of emotions do you want them to experience?  Why might the various decisions be difficult/interesting?

 

A game with a high quality pre-scripted narrative might benefit from standard plot devices that justify why the characters do the things they do.  But in an open-ended game world which your game seems to be, the player experience, not the in-game character experience, is the ultimate reason why the players will stick with the game.  It certainly helps if the player experience and the in-game character experience match up.  But just stating that the in-game character is attempting to rise to power, or seek revenge, or get rich, or whatever else, usually isn't enough if the game mechanics aren't sufficient to make the player have a similar experience.

 

So you might consider if you want players to often feel a strong degree of suspicion toward others.  Or do you want team dynamics to arise, with players banding together as groups competing with each other?  Is it okay if real-life friends can have zero suspicion of each other in the game and can band together safely against others, or do you want the game mechanics to even make real-life trusted friends a concern within the bounds of the game world?

 

When a player loses, do you want even that situation to be emotionally satisfying to the player, due to the loss often occurring after a period of rising tension and uncertainty and culminating in an epic loss for some and win for others?  That can make for some great story-telling opportunities for players, and helps make the experience much more memorable.

 

Do you want players to experience the thrill and uncertainty of gaining power within an ever-expanding web of complications and instability?  Or would you prefer that they have a relatively stable experience of always improving their situation within the game, with the rate of their improvement dependent upon how often they play, how well they play, and certain elements of chance or unpredictable opponent behavior?

 

These and other similar questions might help you figure out what type of game mechanics you need in order to make players want to keep playing.



"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves." - John Locke

#6 cupeTG   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 07:28 PM

Thanks very much for the replies, everyone.

 

We have been developing even more since posting here and will take on further suggestions during the future development.

 

Very much appreciate everyone's feedback with this. It helps a great deal!

 

smile.png



#7 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2108

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:33 AM

You need quests.  You need to direct people what to do when they first play the game.  I just tried your game, and found myself having to consult the manual a lot just to find out what I can do or cannot do.  And I have done a lot more reading than what most people would be willing to do.

 

As a level 1 thug, I can only pickpocket or punch, which only netted me ~$20/action.  When can I move on and do something else?  What commands should I enter to get to those?  I tried buying some drugs, and it tells me to get a container, and after consulting the manual (again), I can't find containers anywhere else in the shop.

 

Tell players exactly what to do:

"You are on your own and need some cash.  Type .crime pp or .crime punch"
> .crime pp
"You stole $100 from wandering tourists!  Awesome, let's buy some containers so we can get drugs later.  Type .shop buy container"
> .shop buy container
"You spent $10 on a container. Nice! Your buddy Joe asked you for some cash. Type .crime punch Joe to tell him to go away, or .debt add Joe to loan him some cash"
> .debt add Joe
"You loan $20 to Joe.  He said "I appreciate it" and left.  You now have $50. Go rob more tourists"
> .crime pp
"You stole $150 from wandering tourists!  Now let's try to trade some drugs"

You get the idea.  After players get a hang of the game with some commands, then you can let them go in the open world.



#8 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1633

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 12:17 PM


"You are on your own and need some cash. Type .crime pp or .crime punch"

 

Good life advice, really. laugh.png


Indie games are what indie movies were in the early 90s -- half-baked, poorly executed wastes of time that will quickly fall out of fashion.  Now go make Minecraft with wizards and watch the dozen or so remakes of Reservior Dogs.


#9 cupeTG   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 09:53 PM

You need quests.  You need to direct people what to do when they first play the game.  I just tried your game, and found myself having to consult the manual a lot just to find out what I can do or cannot do.  And I have done a lot more reading than what most people would be willing to do.

 

As a level 1 thug, I can only pickpocket or punch, which only netted me ~$20/action.  When can I move on and do something else?  What commands should I enter to get to those?  I tried buying some drugs, and it tells me to get a container, and after consulting the manual (again), I can't find containers anywhere else in the shop.

 

Tell players exactly what to do:

"You are on your own and need some cash.  Type .crime pp or .crime punch"
> .crime pp
"You stole $100 from wandering tourists!  Awesome, let's buy some containers so we can get drugs later.  Type .shop buy container"
> .shop buy container
"You spent $10 on a container. Nice! Your buddy Joe asked you for some cash. Type .crime punch Joe to tell him to go away, or .debt add Joe to loan him some cash"
> .debt add Joe
"You loan $20 to Joe.  He said "I appreciate it" and left.  You now have $50. Go rob more tourists"
> .crime pp
"You stole $150 from wandering tourists!  Now let's try to trade some drugs"

You get the idea.  After players get a hang of the game with some commands, then you can let them go in the open world.

 

This is excellent feedback! We'll look at adding more RPG element to it so new users understand more.

 

We are also going to be adding missions which will give users a number of tasks to complete.

 

Thanks for your input smile.png


Edited by cupeTG, 23 July 2014 - 09:55 PM.


#10 zebrakiller   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:12 AM

the goal should be to increase the size of your gang. Start with knives or something and players need to work up to own more businesses and buy bigger and better stuff. you need to buy more buildings to house your gang members ext.



#11 Andy Gainey   Members   -  Reputation: 2004

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 11:03 AM

I second the quest idea.  In a bit more of a generalized sense, I suggest that the key concept is getting the player to have a plan.  (Inspired by Jesse Schell's talk at D.I.C.E. Summit 2013; direct link to the part where he talks about plans.)

 

When players acquire or develop a plan in their mind, they'll typically be eager to execute that plan.  And importantly the plan also helps know how to begin executing that plan.  Anything in your game that can provide them with a plan (i.e., a quest), hint at a plan, or give them the ingredients to construct their own plan, will go a long way toward getting people into your game, and keep them playing it.

 

Sometimes you don't even need to be explicit.  Just let them passively observe another character (player or non-player) who is executing or has executed a plan.  Maybe a bit of dialogue explaining how a local crime boss rose to his position of power.  Or a character talking about how he's thinking of making money, or how he tried to make money and was oh so close, but some part of his plan failed.  This will put ideas into the player's mind about their own possible plans.  Of course, you'd need to make sure that the hinted plans are actually executable given your game mechanics, or else it'll just confuse the player.



"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves." - John Locke

#12 cupeTG   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 06:24 PM

We've had an idea similar to this.

 

The main actions in the game are crimes (an extensive list), pimping, flying to new cities, buying shop items, drug dealing, gambling at casinos and attacking other players.

 

The idea for missions I've had is a mixture of those things at random.

 

For instance: Fly to New York, buy 2 units of Cocaine, fly them to Cairo and sell them. At Cairo, buy 5 units of Heroin and fly them to London and sell them.

 

And a variation of everything: Train your whore twice in Seoul then gamble $10000 at the casino in Dubai etc etc etc etc

 

 

The idea is to say something like '.mission' and the mission is determined by what you can do at your XP level, and provided at random. Once you complete it you get a cash payoff and your Mission statistic increases by 1 completed mission each time.



#13 cupeTG   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 06:47 PM

I've now created an 'upcoming updates' page for an idea of what we want to do next: http://www.textgangsters.com/updates/



#14 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:35 PM

Lol, a chatbot that holds the game :D

 

Anyway, stealing from another game that i suspect holds some resemblance to your game(-mechanics, not the chatbot)

There were events that had to be "solved," the players gained some reward for helping out and when the event was "solved" there was some additional rewarding for being the #1 "solver" in your "league"(character-level)



#15 cupeTG   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:56 PM

Lol, a chatbot that holds the game biggrin.png

 

Anyway, stealing from another game that i suspect holds some resemblance to your game(-mechanics, not the chatbot)

There were events that had to be "solved," the players gained some reward for helping out and when the event was "solved" there was some additional rewarding for being the #1 "solver" in your "league"(character-level)

 

That's not a bad suggestion. Maybe some kind of treasure hunt or trail of clues that leads to something, which will force users to fly to different cities.






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