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Kometen vs Game Center

Kometen vs Game Center
« on: November 15, 2011, 10:41:47 pm »

I have been thinking about getting my iOS game (or not?!) "Kometen" out to more people. I kind of want to add this thing called "Game Center" to it since then friends of a person who bought the game will be able to see it and perhaps try it out. I think you have to have some achievements in the game for it to be Game Center worthy though... so that's my problem.
Since the idea with the game is that people should explore it's world and not think too much about if they have found "everything" this feels wrong. I'm pretty sure it would make the experience more goal oriented and less focused on the moment, even if it was just for travelling to different parts of the game world.

Does anyone else have any experiences to share of making this design choice? Or maybe of playing a game that was supposed to be "notgamey" but added some kind of achievements? Maybe I could add some weird, random things that are hard to achieve through "gaming" but easy to get if you don't play? Or maybe game center is worthless for making people know about your game and I should just forget it...
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 09:05:42 am »

Achievements are interesting because if you want to reach out on console you need to have it. We have not had it yet, but will most likely need to the next game and some thoughts are:

- Use achievements to your own advantage. On steam at least you can see what people have achieved giving a good way to collect data from people.

- Have achievement pop up when the player is not engaged, for example during loading screens. Heavy Rain does this pretty nicely.

- Have achievements that do not affect the player's own interpretation of what has happened. Heavy does NOT do this good.

Some very basic thoughts and I would be interested in hearing what others think. As for gamecenter: no idea, not the market we are in.
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 09:17:59 am »

Sneaky! You just dodged my old comment on you "not making not-games", Erik! ^^ (said lovingly)
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 11:24:47 am »

Is it possible for you to use achievements as a sort-of 'log'? By which I mean, mentally replace the word 'achievement' with 'experience'. So hand them out for things which are special moments for the player, and then give them, like Thomas said, at the end of scenes; as opposed to handing them out for things which challenge the player.

Of course, this will often incur the "you just did this!", to which the player invariably replies "yes, I know, I was there, thank you acting as-if I am an idiot and would not notice, and I am proud of it now, hm, because you validate me, system? Am I? You know what, I am sick and tired of you, QUIT, see if you can give me an achievement for that, good riddance", but I think that is just inherent to achievements.

Achievements are terrible for feeding into the player's sense of self-importance, I think. They keep reminding him he exists and then with sweaty hands pretend he is important.
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 12:42:53 pm »

Achievements are terrible for feeding into the player's sense of self-importance, I think. They keep reminding him he exists and then with sweaty hands pretend he is important.

I don't know if you're being facetious but that's damn amusing in any case. Cheesy
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Irony is for cowards.
Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 01:54:47 pm »

I am mostly serious - for some games achievements are very valid. They are like the prizes at the end of a football championship, or proof that you did that thing you brag about. But those are difficult things where it matters. If I would take to horse-jumping, I would greatly care about the achievement of a certain height, because that is what I am working for. They also make sense in what direction Team Fortress 2 turned.

But for narrative experiences, achievements are just the game slithering up to you. You are actively rewarded for breaking away from the game world, and the reward is a damp tissue saying 'well done, god you are certainly amazing at doing things while slouching on a couch, signed, An Unmissable Trigger At The End of Chapter 2, PS: Why not tell your friends about how awesome you are'.

I think my problem, and venom, for achievements is that it is flattery when I am just calmly entertaining myself with a product.
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2011, 11:06:38 am »

Since the idea with the game is that people should explore it's world and not think too much about if they have found "everything"

I think you can't stop people from doing this. People can't even stop themselves. I'm my own example: I loved the completionist appeal in Kometen: I wanted to find all planets. This didn't cause any stress for me. Nor did it prevent me from exploring other things and being amused by what I saw on the way.

I don't care much about achievements. Even if I'm a mild completionist in games, I would never look at the list of achievements and feel like I have to get more. I do like achievements as extra pieces of content, when they are smart and well written. I don't care how they relate to my play activity.

Achievements simply open up a game to one or more new play styles, with minor development effort. But you need to take care to implement them tastefully so as not hurt some of the play styles established by the actual game design.
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2011, 12:26:52 am »

You could try giving the achievements inscrutable names. Instead of getting "Planet X: Found Planet X" you get "Hole in the sky: Experienced the unknowable". That way the player can't just look at the list of achievements and use it as a to do list. Keeps some of the mystery.
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 04:04:48 pm »

I've also "finished" Kometen, and wouldn't simply finding the artworks (which is, if you're looking for such a thing, the point of the game) be achievements enough? I don't think having finding the artworks being achievements would detract from the overall experience at all.
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Re: Kometen vs Game Center
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 11:41:21 am »

Gamecenter already gives the option to put different description texts before and after you unlock un achievement. So it´s really easy to make it so it dosen´t look like a to-do list.

Personally I find that achievements can be interesting. I like the way they are used in Team Fortress 2, as you just get them for random things happening in the game that you don´t even know that can happen. There are achievements that you cannot even try to get, so in a way these achievements feel like a celebration of randomness.

I did put achievements for Loop Raccord and most of them require no skill, they just happen as interesting or funny combinations of videos appear in the game. They are there to remember the player to look at the relationships that are created between the videos and not just the game system.
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