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rewards for player defined goals

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rewards for player defined goals

 

game description:

http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1730/entry-2258672-caveman-v30-general-desciption/

 

while wandering around skyrim looking for things left to do once you have over 1000 hours in evaluating it, it occurred to me that what's important is for the player to have some goal. its when they have no goal, nothing they want to try to accomplish, that they tend to get bored. quests give you instant goals, but the player may not find them interesting. many times i find my goals in such game to be non-quest related. looking for parts to fab killer gear, stuff like that. or trying out a new class build in skyrim or a new strategy in total war.  

 

so what if the player could define their own quests?

 

have a "i want to give myself a quest!" button.

 

then they get to pick what kind of quest, and fill in the details. possess X number of item Y, get X exp in skill Y, kill critter type X, etc.

 

if they complete the goal/quest, they get a mood boost (as in the sims) based on the difficulty.   should they get anything else?  obviously, rewards would be game specific. Caveman 3.0 has mood, so that made the most sense as to what completing a goal would affect in Caveman 3.0.

 

thoughts on the idea / game mechanic in general?

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Hm. I'm no professional developer, but the whole concept of the player turning their goals into in-game quests seems sort of unnecessary, maybe? Like if I as a Player want to go kill 10 things I then I'll just go do it. I don't need a quest from the game to tell me that the thing I'm doing to derive enjoyment from it is a viable thing. I think the thing about self-set goals is that the Player likes accomplishing them, and that's usually reward enough. Sometimes the goal will by its nature have a reward at the end of it (like "I wanna collect this set of rad armour"), but sometimes not ("I just wanna beat the game without fast-travelling").

 

I feel like implementing a bunch of player-made quests would imply that there are "valid" ways to play the game, and if your goal isn't in the set of goals then you're playing the game wrong. I also feel like the potential for abusing this system to grind out rewards or min/maxing or wtv would be super high, and hard to balance.

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my thoughts are this:

 

1.  i'll actually find myself writing down the "user defined quests" i want to do so i don't forget them. especially useful when you have multiple characters in multiple games, and it may be days, weeks, or months, from the time you switch away from playing one to the time you switch back to playing them again.

 

2. as you say, many "user defined quests" have an intrinsic reward (rad armor for example). and when you complete them, you - the human playing the game - get a "mood boost" in real life. after all that's why we play! <g>.  turns out that in Caveman 3.0 it also models the mood of your character (like in the sims). so if competing some task gives the human player a mood boost it seemed to make sense that it should do so for their in-game character as well.

 

3. the problem of not being able to think of all possible quest types ahead of time, making those you omit seem like non-legit gameplay is an issue. due to the fact that user quests might be almost anything, i was thinking that in some cases the player would have to define the quest, and the reward, and even award it to themselves manually upon completion. obviously, an open system like that would have to rely on the player to not cheat themselves out of a good gameplay experience.

 

4. its a single player game with all testing cheats enabled. therefore the game relies on the user to not cheat themselves out of a good gaming experience. so abuse is not an issue.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Are you familiar with gazettes and the way they can be combined with achievement systems?  The term comes from the game Vagrant Story for PS1.  A gazette collects stats about what the player does: how many times the player has used each weapon, how many of each monster the player has killed, what the player's avatar has eaten, what they have crafted, what they have gathered, the best time for every timed challenge, etc.  This is what I would base a system of player-chosen quests on, instead of a random quest generation system.  Quest opportunies that are attached to nearby objects are nice too.

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1.  i'll actually find myself writing down the "user defined quests" i want to do so i don't forget them. especially useful when you have multiple characters in multiple games, and it may be days, weeks, or months, from the time you switch away from playing one to the time you switch back to playing them again.

 

This is not something I have ever experienced.

 

I've done a few user-defined objectives, though not on a regular basis; I've never wrote them down.

 

If this niche exists, maybe you should release an application that works regardless of the game, to keep track of user-goals. Maybe create a website around it.

 

If this niche is really large, Steam should add support for it into their Steamworks SDK, and use the Steam Workshop to allow users to create public user-defined goals and let other players attempt them in-game, with Steam Achievement-like popups that occur when you accomplish a goal you've accepted.

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Are you familiar with gazettes and the way they can be combined with achievement systems?

 

the gazettes you describe seem similar to the stats in skyrim (general, crime, combat, crafting, etc - IE how many things have i made/killed/etc).  i take i you suggest those as possible types of user defined quests?

 

no so sure about achievements, they don't actually get you anything except bragging rights in most games, right?  of course, sometimes its still cool to get one anyway sort of like earning a merit badge. so even though they don't do much, i suppose they're still cool. i suppose i ought to add them to the game.

 

 

 


This is what I would base a system of player-chosen quests on, instead of a random quest generation system.

 

some confusion - the game will have questgens and a quest editor to supply typical rpg/skyrim type quests - all of which are optional. in addition, the player will have a "i want to give myself a quest/goal" button. this lets them assign themselves any type of quest or goal they want. example: right now in my long term playtest game, the band is trying to build up a stockpile of arrows, about 20-30 arrows per member, so about 200-300 arrows total. so i might select a user defined quest of "make object - wood arrow - quantity 10". the game would figure out the mood boost reward based on the make action (makng is harder than trading, so its worth more mood boost), the value of a wood arrow, and the quantity. you could even add in quality: make 10 wood arrows of 100 or better quality - only arrows of quality 100+ count, and you get more mood boost, cause they're harder to make - need better tools and parts and skills.

 

so the user defined quests wouldn't be random, the user gets to choose them.

 

in the game, any quest can be abandoned at any time.

 

the idea is that roleplaying in game, Grog, the leader of the band, and all the members for that fact, want arrows right now. so getting arrows now would make them happy. while it might not at some time in the future when they have plenty of arrows.

 

kind of like you were playing skyrim, and looking for potion ingredients. you might give yourself a quest to find 50 ingredients. of course, skyrim doesn't have mood, so i'm not sure what the reward would be.

 

 

 


Quest opportunies that are attached to nearby objects are nice too.

 

tools wear out in the game, so i often have to send a band member to the nearby rocks to find new stone hammers, etc. "find 5 one hand stone hammers" would be a typical user defined quest for such a case. instead of a quest defining what the player should do next, what the player wants/needs to do next defines what a quest will be. pretty wild, huh?

Edited by Norman Barrows

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If this niche exists, maybe you should release an application that works regardless of the game, to keep track of user-goals. Maybe create a website around it.
 
If this niche is really large, Steam should add support for it into their Steamworks SDK, and use the Steam Workshop to allow users to create public user-defined goals and let other players attempt them in-game, with Steam Achievement-like popups that occur when you accomplish a goal you've accepted.

 

the notes mod for skyrim is an example. just lets you open up a journal editor and jot down notes. which dungeons you left a pile of treasure in, etc. also a "todo" list:

 

get 1 ebony

get 1 grand soul gem

spif lydia's armor

enchant that new bow i found

drop dragonbones off at throat of the world

replace the cow at hjierlarchen (sp?) hall that died in the last bandit raid.

 

see? user defined "quests" ! <g>.

 

and in a game with mood (like the sims) achieving all these things ought to make my little sim happy.  in skyrim, with no mood, the only reward for such user defined quests is the intrinsic reward from completion, such as now having parts needed to craft something, or a newly crafted item.

 

a notes feature is planned for caveman, as well as the ability to add multiple user defined map markers (with text) that appear on both the local and world maps.

 

but user defined quests would formalize it a bit so you actually got that mood boost.

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Are you familiar with gazettes and the way they can be combined with achievement systems?

 

the gazettes you describe seem similar to the stats in skyrim (general, crime, combat, crafting, etc - IE how many things have i made/killed/etc).  i take i you suggest those as possible types of user defined quests?

 

no so sure about achievements, they don't actually get you anything except bragging rights in most games, right?  of course, sometimes its still cool to get one anyway sort of like earning a merit badge. so even though they don't do much, i suppose they're still cool. i suppose i ought to add them to the game.

 

Ah, sorry, I wasn't clear at all. What I meant was: Achievements are examples of specific player actions that a game can recognize and count.  It's bad that in most games achievement systems are non-systematic 1-off goals chosen semi-randomly by developers, and randomized quest generation (e.g. the reel system in The Sims 2) is also bad in the same way.  Instead, it would be ideal to take inspiration from the gazette which is a systematic tracker of everything a player can do in a game (or at least 'everything' to the extant that the game can recognize what the player is doing).  This tracking system should be used to generate a complete, systematic list of all possible achievement-like goals in the game, which are treated like quests in the sense that the player can see all available goals, choose which to pursue at any given time, and be rewarded as appropriate for accomplishing a quest goal.

 

Example: Set-completion goals make good 'achievement quests', which can easily be broken into steps which each have their own reward.  For example, if the set-completion goal with the big reward is "have a member of your tribe eat one of every type of food in the game" you can have lower-level goals with smaller rewards like "eat 3 kinds of fruit" and "eat 5 kinds of meat".

 

 

Players assigning themselves to gather 50 potion ingredients would also be included in this type of system, with no action required on the player's part to define the quest; the system can simply be set to reward the player every time they gather #50 of any gatherable resource (and also #10 and #100, etc.)

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and randomized quest generation (e.g. the reel system in The Sims 2) is also bad in the same way.

 

ugh! the slot machine wishes to fulfill! i remember those!  usually nothing i was interested in. thank god they were optional - although it could leave you with a rather unfulfilled sim. but then some of the rewards were pretty hokey too - like being able to toggle summer and winter textures. i just chalked all that up to the fact that EA was calling the shots by then, and they were grasping at straws to add additional game play.

 

 

 


the player can see all available goals, choose which to pursue at any given time, and be rewarded as appropriate for accomplishing a quest goal.

 

that's the basic idea, in a nutshelll...

 

 

 

 


Players assigning themselves to gather 50 potion ingredients would also be included in this type of system, with no action required on the player's part to define the quest; the system can simply be set to reward the player every time they gather #50 of any gatherable resource (and also #10 and #100, etc.)

 

so you're talking about automatically tracking things....

 

hmm...

 

but that's sort of just like awarding exp automatically, except you reward with mood boost.

 

there's nothing relating to "this goal is special to me, the player" or "this goal would be important to my character".

 

also, you automatically get mood boosts on successful completion of most actions anyway. so the automatic rewards are already sort of in there, but on a per action basis. IE you get a mood boost for each arrow made, but not at every 10 made (or whatever).

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Perhaps a Player Challenge (created to be issued openly to other players)  ??

 

(Some people like doing these, and because its designed/created by a different person it is different than a self assigned task)

 

Define one or more sub-tasks (potentially with a time limit and maybe level limits depending on the game's mechanics) which the players have to do/achieve.

 

Scoreboard is usually to be included (competition drives many players)

Scoring criteria may or may not be used (or have to be avatar level pro-rated).

In game item/xp/etc rewards would likewise be prorated by player level ramping (and somehow vetted so it doesn't become a cheat)

 

(Creative) People can come up with all kinds of things for these (of many different difficulties and interesting objectives perhaps different from the usual game tasks - add a bit of story possibly)

 

The game system to support it obviously needs resetable/specialized  tracking of objects/locations/actions/timers etc.. and 'simple' state-machine scripted logic typical to what Quests/Missions use.

 

You should have Interdependencies for the involved sub-tasks to form an activity sequence  for the  'challenge'  (preferably logical/appropriate ones for the games setting/story).

Edited by wodinoneeye

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