Collectibles in linear games.

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by Kyon, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    So I'm really into "secret rooms" or optional-hard-platforming in games.
    And I got this in my game, but I'm thinking of how to reward the player.

    I wonder how you guys feel about linear games with collectibles.
    Linear meaning you cannot go back to certain areas after you've left them. So if you missed a collectible it's gone.
    Ideas?


    I'm also thinking instead of collectibles to just do funny jokes or narrative design/story lore on those spots. But also not sure if people think that's rewarding enough.
    I even had some thoughts to implement a whole "progression" system, like, gathering materials to improve your stats or something, and have these materials on those optional spots. But not sure if I feel like doing that. Also, this would mean that if you missed some of those spots you'll be weaker than player who did find those spots in the end of the game.
     
  2. devKathy

    devKathy Member

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    The linear idea may be considered frustrating to some. You always have a choice between offering people a challenge, and making sure no one gives up. I seem to notice that most game companies these days choose the latter. Materials seem like an interesting idea.

    If you rely heavily on humor for your game, you should probably have a test audience to make sure others find it funny. Lord knows I've made memes that fell completely flat before on other sites. Not a fun time lol
     
  3. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    I like materials as well, although I'm not planning on letting it do super much.
    The bonuses you get will probably be minimal. I just have to come up with good ones that don't change gameplay that much and still feel rewarding.
    I was thinking about stuff like making your attack damage become higher, but this is not really that kind of a game. Also hard to balance, because materials are optional, and then it suddenly becomes something you have to get otherwise the game is harder.

    I planned this game to be quite serious. But I've gotten incredibly good reception on the humor in the game, and I'm slowly focusing on it now haha. Can't wait to showcase the demo I'm working on, so far, getting laughs from people on jokes in the game is a great feeling.
     
  4. Khao

    Khao Member

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    Portal does this for what it's worth. It doesn't have collectibles but the secret areas serve as optional exposition, and they tell the player that something is wrong.
     
  5. kburkhart84

    kburkhart84 Firehammer Games

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    If possible, I don't think the player who found the hidden stuff should automatically be higher upgraded due to finding more "material" or whatever. I think you should consider the investments the players are making. So, the player who found secrets invested time. The player who didn't, didn't. So, allow there to be some other type of investment, possibly time as well, for the other player. So, the player who didn't invest in finding secrets could invest time grinding in some fashion, say the last few levels could have enemy spawners that you could use to grind for a time in order to max your stats, while the player who got the secret stashes wouldn't have to grind since they got that material earlier in the game.
     
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  6. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    There's a bunch of ways you could spice it up...
    • Allow the player to replay any level they've previously beaten (e.g. from a level select menu they unlock when beating the game). This could let them try to get the collectibles in every level. This sort of only works if the collectibles are permanent in some way or another (either you start every new game with every collectible you've found, or they're side stuff like concept art). The drawback of this solution is that you need to tell the player which collectibles they've found, which could ruin the feeling of secrecy.
    • Instead of giving the player collectible items, give them collectible information. This could be lore (if your game has an interesting enough story that they'd care about lore), or secret commands they could input at any time for special abilities. (Or a mix of both, of course). The information has no immediate impact on game balance, but could let the player have more fun on repeat playthroughs (the secret techniques could let them take shortcuts or skip levels). If secret techniques rewarded in this way are situational enough (swimming faster, special plunging attack when jumping enemies from a high platform) or hard to pull off (grab a bullet with your bare hands, strangle a shark), they could be balanced - they aren't NECESSARY to beat the game but they could give you an edge if you know how to use them properly. I.e., the player needs to get good to beat the game either way.
    • The collectibles could be story-related, and let you unlock an (or multiple) alternate endings. Maybe you can find a number of hidden demon crystals and become evil for an extra bad ending, but if you also find all the prayer beads you can learn to control your anger and use it to save the world instead (even if you became an inhuman demon in the process and sacrificed yourself to do it)
    • A variant of the above, the collectibles could be a rare consumable item that can be used to slightly affect NPCs' lives, but you won't have enough to save EVERYONE unless you find every collectible. E.g. if the game takes place in a zombie apocalypse, you could find antidote that you can use to save people, sometimes unlocking alternate paths (e.g. if you befriend a suffering family, they can let you through their house, skipping a difficult section) and sometimes just giving you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but always changing the world to the better as thanks for your efforts.
    • If your game is on a platform that supports achievements, you could give them achievements for finding the secret areas, maybe with puns to the trick needed to find the areas (e.g. if you need to precision-jumpkick between some random innocent chickens flying around to get high enough to reach the hidden area, name it "Eggstremely Difficult Quack-forming". Can be combined with all of the above methods.
     
  7. HayManMarc

    HayManMarc Member

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    If there's a fork in the road and no way back to choose the other fork, the player should be made aware of what is rewarded by h8s/her choice.... "If you go left, you get a gun upgrade. If you go right, you get armor upgrade."

    Can still be frustrating to the player, but only if they're not into linear challenges.
     
  8. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    Thanks all, these are some good design notes.
    I think I'm going for the "extra lore"/"information" thing.

    My game also has a lot of dialogue, so what I'm thinking is, when you go to certain secret/hardtogetplaces, it can be mentioned in dialogue.
    Like, just a few extra lines somewhere, like "oh btw, I found this thing over there".
    Or maybe even find stuff like an antidote that you can then give to some sick person in town and he it thankful for it, but it isn't really part of the story. Stuff like that.
     
  9. drandula

    drandula Member

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    Instead of collectibles making game easier, give player possiblity to "help" others by giving or trading players own stuff. This could make game potentially harder, but gives also sidequests etc. Should you make it so that it does not affect plot, but have other visible effect (they are running around, hunting with your old bow and managing to get things done etc.) is up to you.
     
  10. Joe Ellis

    Joe Ellis Member

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    I really like when you miss a load of collectibles in a game, like sonic for example, you'll jump somewhere and notice a load of rings in a place you could've gone to, but it's too late and you're falling down to somewhere else. For me it makes me remember that spot and want to get it next time, which adds replayability. Plus if there are a load of hazards\enemies making it hard to get to it makes you want to get good enough to do that part.
    I don't know what type of game you're making though, I think the materials thing sounds good, but if it's a platformer, I don't think it'd be that good for players that focus more on skill and fastness, cus some people wanna jump about and kill enemies fast, rather than searching for every thing to collect.
    Just some thoughts though...
     

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