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Promotion/Medal Systems

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Hi all. Remember the times of old, back when there seemed to be more emphasis on actual gameplay and keeping the player really hooked/involved, irrespective of graphical quality (personal opinion there)? One of the things I miss most was idealised in games such as Battlehawks:1942 and Wing Commander (the original). These two games kept me coming back for more--not because they had great graphics (which, for the time, they did, IMHO)--but because of the gameplay, specifically the system of rewarding the player with promotions and medals. It seems--to me, anyway--that games these days don't have a lot of the same reward systems. Perhaps they exist in another shape or form, but off the top of my head, I can't think of too many games that use the promotion/medal reward system. That being said, I am trying to go forward and design/implement a game that makes use of that kind of reward system. Now, I'm not new to gaming (who is these days?), nor am I new to programming (have a BMath in CS/SoftEng); but I'm definitely a novice when it comes to game programming (have made a couple, but nothing that large or complex). My question is this: Does anyone have any input on how to implement such a system? Is it simply a matter of allotting points to a user based on actions, and then seeing if those points meet the various point-requirements for a medal/promotion? Or are there more "accurate" and/or involved methods for implementing the system? Do resources exist that discuss such a system? Any and all help/input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again! Cheers, Duncan

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I think this is more of a design issue than a programming one. Once you've figured out how and for what you want to reward players the implementation shouldn't really be a problem (again, depending on the complexity of your reward rule system).

For example, you could reward points for actions, but what if you wanted to give a player a bonus if he finished something within a certain time limit? You could award points at the start and take them away over time untill the action is completed, but a better way would be to award the player their points after checking their time against the bonus time limit. You could also use this timer as a bonus factor for other scored points - collecting many coins would then reward a meager score if done slowly, while collecting fewer but doing it faster could reward more.
I believe this really depends on what actions you want to reward.

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The PS1 game Vagrant Story has quite a complicated system of awarding titles to the player, you may want to look into it. It has a menu called the Gazette where it keeps score of all sorts of things: number of times you have used each type of weapon, minimum amount of time each puzzle was completed with, have you ever completed the whole game in under 10 hours, have you killed X number of Y type of enemies, total EXP, did you explore 100% of the map, did you open 100% of the treasure chests, etc.

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Dungeon Siege 2 and Fable both have a library of titles that are associated with your character based on stats. If you have a huge bias toward strength, you'll get a title like "gladiator" or "berserker", but if you buld up some magic ability on the side you'll be referred to as "Battlemage" or "Runeknight" or something.

Battlefield 2 has actual badges, medals and ribbons that you can earn by achieving impressive in-game feats. Badges are awarded for proficiency with particular weapon sets or vehicles. That's a good reason to play even when the game loses its luster.

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All are good points and some actually quite novel to me; I'll have to look into integrating that into what I do!

I agree that this is a design issue and that's why I'm here! :) When I said "implementing", I think I meant more of the metaphysical details. Vagrant Story sounds an awful lot like Castlevania's Sympony of the Night in terms of the reward system.

That said, the comment about Battlefield 2 is what I'm kind of looking towards. I suppose I could also liken what I want to do to the MP part of Call of Duty:UO, with the promotions given out based on points/kills. Assume for the time being that I want to make some kind of game that is more or less "military" themed, using a "Wing Commander-ish" system where I want to reward the player for things like:

- destroying/capturing/disabling as much of the enemy as possible,
- performing a mission as quick as possible,
- perhaps if there's stealth involved, then being detected as few times as possible,
- actually completing a mission,
- keeping as much of your team alive as possible, if a team is involved,
- other tasks related to a military-themed game.

So is it just a matter of assigning points for these actions and determining whether or not they meet the prerequisite amounts for a promotion or a medal? Or are there other factors to consider that perhaps I'm missing, keeping in mind the theme/nature of the game?

I've always been interested in how this type of system works and am greatly enjoying all your input!

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The only game I regularly play that features that kind of system is Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. I think that bases the promotions how much experience you have in certain areas, and medals on who has the greatest amount for a map when it finishes.

I like the system in the Fallout series myself. I think it's because they aren't known at the start, it's more like the game/npcs are noticing you are playing a particular role.

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