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Replay Thoughts?

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I have some observations on replay, and I would like your thoughts. We all know replay is how much we want to play through the game again after doing it once. I would like to know things you think give a game replay value. My first point it that simply increasing the number of ways you can win/accomplish a goal dose not add replay. Example: FPS I have played many first person shooters and the one I give the hieghts replay is halo. I think it is becuase the are multiple tactics, weapond choices, but also becuase there is a small number of them. Other first person shooters let you carry so many guns it is hard to know witch is best. Even in games where you are limited to 2-3 guns the is such a varriety that it decrese replay value, in my opinion, becuase the are to many options for me to evaluate. That is why I liked Halo so much I think. It had varriety but in small enought amount I could experiment and get the feel for each one, as opposed to other games where I just could not get away from one or two witch were the best becuase it was to much for me to consider. Point 2: Story In my opinion a good story adds VERY little replay unless it is branching or can chage. I loved morrowind, but after the first time to I never paid any attention to the main story as I had herd it before, only chaging my guilds ect. Point 3: Options I read a post here a long time ago about how you should never give a player only one chance at a legandary weapond to keep them from restarting to make sure they hve a maxed charicture. I think instead the player should have chooses an easy route wicth loses the item or a hard one witch gets you it. Or the player chooses between two items of comparable value(in the game). I know I would play thourght and try both These Idea's problay seem obviuos to you, but I just wanted to get things started, so any comments on -What I said -How to add Replay -Or replay in general would be appreciated. Thanks

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My personal opinion, and the way I'm planning to lay out my own game, is that the best kind of replay value comes from voluntary challenges. Eventually, no matter what the game, it'll become easy if you've played it enough. So challenge yourself! Things like restricting yourself to the pea-shooter equivalent (e.g. the crowbar in Half-Life, or the first weapon you get in any RPG), deliberately not picking up some useful but non-essential item (the Grappling Beam in Super Metroid, life extensions in Zelda), finding ways to do things "out of order" (uncommon), and the like. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an excellently-made game, but it's far too easy for my tastes; I played through it once normally, once without using any weapons besides fisticuffs, and once utterly naked. The second and third trips were just about as fun as the first, because things that normally I wouldn't have given a second thought became serious barriers without access to all of the power that I had in the first run.

So my plan with the game I'm going to make (a 2D game in the spirit of Metroid and Castlevania - gee, ya think?) is to have as many ways of completing it as possible. The first time through, the player should make good use of every item he finds, and almost all of them should seem essential. However, with repeated playing, alternate paths through the world can be found which allow skipping some of the "essential" items. For example, instead of taking the double-jump ability to access a high ledge, you can swim through the moat, which is impassable unless you know about the hidden air pockets. Moreover, enemies which posed a great challenge to the inexperienced but powerful first play still pose a challenge to the experienced but weak second play. The player may have learned his foe's patterns, but the slightest mistake costs dearly. Or perhaps he used to defeat his enemies using an ability that he didn't pick up this time.

Of course, this all makes the actual world design a lot more difficult. When planning a given area, you need keep in mind what limitations the player may have imposed upon them, and take that into account so that he doesn't get trapped (although allowing him to be seemingly trapped is fine ;)). The game needs to be a reasonable challenge for the first-time player, which means that the alternate paths either need to be well-hidden, or not game-breaking for a fully-powered character. And so on.

*ahem* I seem to have gotten a bit distracted here. As far as your original points, I would say that "increasing the number of ways you can win/accomplish a goal" does indeed add gameplay, so long as those ways are all fun and distinct. I'm not really certain I understand how Halo's limiting you to only two weapons makes the game more fun (perhaps more of a challenge, but more fun?). Story does not, as you noted, add appreciably to replay value. And while I do like the idea of a branching story, I've yet to see such implemented in a way that doesn't seem designed specifically to get the OCD gamers to achieve every possible ending (or even in a way that made a significant change to the path of the story). The "Options" point seems to be what I was discussing above with regards to challenges, at least in part.

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I was pointing out how other games give me to many choices at least for me. There are so many choices I can not consider them all at once and therefor can't distiguse as well between them. However after thinking the only carry two weaponds increases the number othe diffrent ways you can play thought the game(using diffrent weap. combos) whereas most games let you carry all the weaponds at once. Aditional in Halo the weapond choices are each distinct onlike other games with 20 SMG's to choose from.

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Each player has another motivation to replay a game. As has already been mentioned, a variety of options to finish a game is always a good way to get much replay value out of it. Options include short-time options (take the left or right path) and long-time options (light side or dark side). Others might want to perfect their score or find all the treasure.

For me, there's another aspect that makes me replay a game: the time to finish the game has to be short. A very long game is very hard to replay, because I know that it will take a very long time to do so. On the other hand, if I know I can finish the game (in another way) in a couple of hours, the barrier is much smaller.

Even more so, games the you can play for a couple of minutes (many multiplayer console games) are always easy to pick up and play. In sum I guess I spend more time playing those than games that take me 80 hours to finish.

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Let me tell you about 007 nightfire.

In the first mission, you are on the top of a brick building.

You can do one of a few things:

1. Drop down off the edge, into the truck which is driving past, and get in without firing a shot.

2. Drop down sooner, shoot the first guard on your way down, and take his sniper rifle

3. Walk down the stairs, go out to the door, make the guard surrender, taze him, and jump on the truck as it comes to a halt neer you.

4. Walk down the stairs, go out the door, and shoot the guard on site, take his siper rifle, and take the truck.

5. walk down the stairs, go out the door, shoot the guard, take hsi rifle, run own, take the guard, get his smg, and take the truck.

And thats just the first bit!

Talk about replay value. I've spent days just figuring out different ways (like theres a hidden way, which you wouldn't notice, across the side road.

From,
Nice coder

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There are a variety of reasons each person replay's a game. Some of the key factors as previously mentioned are:

Duration of game:
A guarenteed 80 hour run is not something people want to put themselves through on a regular basis unless the game is non-linear and free-roaming like Morrowind.

Weapon selection/Combinations:
A wide selection with a limited ability to select between them gives the player the opportunity to choose and try out multiple combinations of playstyles.

Unlocked Material:
Some people contend that unlocking special weapons or clothing/bonus's for replaying the game is a good incentive, personally i can't stand it. Having to play a 20 hour game to get some new clothes just doesn't work for me. If i'm going to replay a game, i want some major content to be unlocked, like new area's new monsters, and other assorted content.

Multiple Options:
As mentioned about the 007 game, giving the player many possible options to achieving his goal, as well as being able to change the possible outcome of the mission (like in Deus Ex), can increase replayability just to see what new places and new plot elements you can uncover, and as a matter of exploration.

Storyline:
I know most people feel storyline doesn't add to replayability at all, but this is not neccessarily true. Silent Hill, which is a rather dark and freeroaming game, doesn't tell the player the plot, but merely gives him rather vague and un usual ingame scenes and dumps him in the city with only the goal of finding his daughter. At first look, the story makes absolutly no sense and completely confused me, so what did i do? I played it again to see if i could find anymore pieces of the story in the free roaming city. By finding new pieces of the plot, i was lead to explore new area's and discover new items which helped lead me to getting the good ending of the game. Admittedly most games have a hard time presenting anything like this, usually offering up the storyline to the player on a silver platter, or shoving it down his throat. But the possibility of giving the player incentive to replay to understand components of the plot is there.

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There are two things that add replay value for me:
1) Simple, elegant quality (think NES/SNES games where the focus is gameplay more than anything else, like Mario *, Zelda *, Metroid *, Final Fantasy *, Earthbound, etc). This quality doesn't give the game immediate replay value, but I can replay it every once in a while all the way through

2) Multiplayer. So far, I've yet to play against a challenging AI. I don't mean I always win, but the AI never 'outsmarts' me so to speak, so I feel exactly like I'm fighting a computer and it gets boring fast (thus the reason I only replay games that meet #1 above once in a while). I'd love to see a simple FPS (using the Serious Engine maybe? it gave everything an epic feel with the huge levels) with truly 3d levels (it seems many games suffer from 'stuck in a skyscraper' syndrome where you never have to worry about above/below you) that focused 99% on the AI. Until somebody decides to do that and stop focusing on eye candy, multiplayer will be practically all I buy.

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I'm not entirely sure about this whole 'replay' thing. In games like Civilization, replay is essentially the same as play. It's a game in the truest sense of the word and you get a little better each time. The random maps and civilization choices extend this but essentially, it's designed as a large set of rules that interact in so many ways that it'll be many plays before you master it.

On the other hand, in games like any Final Fantasy, the game itself is almost just a set of sub-games that you play to unlock a story. Although I know not everybody agrees with me on this, I see no replay value whatsoever in most RPGs. But then, I never wanted it anyway, as I presumably wanted an epic tale of conflict, maybe more story than combat, maybe more combat than story.

Therefore I tend not to be concerned with replayability at all, because I find that it's a side-effect of the game type rather than something you need to strive for. A strategy game gains replayability as a result of being deep and interesting. An RPG would presumably gain replayability by making it hard to see the entire content in the normal course of playing through the story, which I think would be bad.

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I think that replay value in a game is more often in the eye of the beholder. Some like it hot, some like it cold.

Personally, I replay games that achieve something great in their design; something worth seeing again. Not to be a picky one, but Halo was mentioned, and it is a game that I could never play again (single player) due to it not doing anything new with its design. Multiplayer was fantastic, but that's because of the dynamic content (players not programs).

For me, games like A Link To The Past (genius puzzle design), Super Mario 64 (first great use of 3D), Final Fantasy VII (changed the way RPGs were viewed), Earthbound (sensibly ridiculous... a sense of humor not really seen before), are the ones that really excite me to play again.

But like I said, eye of the beholder. It's difficult to pin what players want, because everyone is different. I don't play a lot of hyper-mainstream games (Prince of Persia, [sport] Street, etc.) so my taste might be a bit different.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Another idea, instead of Replay, is the concept of after-endgame play. What I mean is, basically, you've beaten the game...what do you do now? Very Few games give you this option of continuing to play the game after you've beaten the last objective. Most games that I've seen this way are Sim-type games...Continuing to build your park in Roller Coaster Tycoon after you've beaten the scenario objectives.

Spiderman 2 had a post end-game world, but unfortunately it was too dull and repetetive to be any fun...As did Free Lancer...

The question is in this case, how do you make the post-end-game more enjoyable...or do you even put one in?

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