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Sijmen

Hiding objectives

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Hi, Many games are, or seem, very linear. I wonder if it is possible to give the player an idea of freedom, while it actually isn't there: there really are objectives, but they are somewhat hidden so that the player doesn't 'feel' like he/she is fullfilling the objective, instead of experiencing the game world. Just an idea though, and I wondered if this is possible, and if any games have done this before.

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Well, it'd hafta be done with moderation, because the player has to feel like he's accomplishing *something*. Say the game starts out with you being one of a group of pirates, and you get shipwrecked and don't know where your fellow pirates are. There would almost have to be a stated goal of trying to find your shipmates, although there could be an unstated goal of learning about areas and people that inhabit them. But it wouldn't make much sense for you to go wandering around apparently aimlessly here, unless part of the story is that you became unsatisfied with being a pirate and don't care what happened to your comrades. In this case the unstated goal could be finding somewhere to fit in. You'd still need the occasional stated goal to give the feeling of progress though.

If you want the player to pay attention to the game world rather than "locate bad guy and kill him and ignore everything else", you could make things in the gameworld important to know. The fact that sandcrawlers hunt at night and therefore you should cross the desert in daytime, for instance. Or people could keep bringing up that weird glowing mountain in the distance, which turns out to have been enchanted by some wizard who was too big for his britches...who of course you later end up fighting.

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