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Wavinator

Ways to unify mini-games

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Another "Project Eden" inspired ramble... Every game I''ve ever played or heard about that has mini-games seems disunified. The games are often secondary or irrelevant. Sometimes this doesn''t hurt (as in a lot of space games that have slot machine gambling); but what if you were trying to make a game almost completely out of mini-games? The main objection would be... well... that it would feel like a bunch of mini-games rather than a full game! Eden has a couple of cool ideas to unify the two mini-games they have: First, they''re all graphically similar, and use the same HUD paradigm. Secondly, they directly impact the main exploration / combat gameplay. Thirdly, they''re semi-arcade games, which fits in nicely with the some of the twitch aspects in the game. I think the best way to unify mini-games, then, would be to follow these guidelines (similar expression, direct impact on gameplay, and gameplay that fits well with the main gameplay), as well as: * Make sure the player doesn''t undergo significant perspective switches, which causes them to lose focus * Keep the gameplay contextually appropriate, so that it feels like it belongs. No racing game in the middle of a medieval fight, then, unless maybe it involves horses... * Keep the sub-games frequent, so players can get practice at getting good at them Anything else...? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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Are you talking about the Dragon Lair type parts in Shenmue where there is an inherent change in the controls but still is a part of the game? Or are you refering to playing a seperate game inside the game like the slot machine example? or both? In anycase here are some ideas.

Make the mini-game relevent to the game universe. In the same way we have flight sims because we have airplanes, if you are making a futuristic game with mechs, have a in-game videogame with mechs. "A mech simulator" will let the player learn the controls for using a mech when they don''t actually have one in the game timeline.

Use mini-games to break long sections of similar type gameplay. In an adventure game where there is alot of thought involved make use a mini-game to make the game feel less like a chore and give the player a sense of accomplishment.

Use mini-games to further character development. If the aforementioned mech game was an RPG maybe playing the game can give the player experience points or skills. Maybe even money if you let them gamble against NPC''s...

Make the minigames the majority of the play time of the game for the duration or for portions of the game. While making the main plot seem like a subplot or minigame. A "transposition of playtime" would make a great way to start a game and make for a unique game within itself.

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You guys have played or at least heard of mario party right? They have most of their mini games (which is to say, 90+% of the game) all in hand, and similar. There are many many games, but you remember the controls after only playing them once-twice. Just keeping similar controls (A = action button/combat based, B = action button/mobility based, C = non-combat button). That kind of attitude keeps the control scheme in check. As far as mini-games goes, I think just keeping them interesting is good, perhaps reminding the player why they are playing it, while they are playing it is also good, that is what I do. (My mini games are used for training purposes in the game, and your -score- is constantly kept on the screen, the higher the number, the more you get, and its actually easy to figure out, not something like 10k game points equals 20 training points...

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