Need advice on how to organize scores and leaderboards

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  • I'm creating a puzzle game with 200+ levels.

    It's based on Match 3 concept, but the gameplay is completely different.

    For the purposes of this post, imagine it's a variation of Candy Crash Saga. (although it's not )

    There is a lot of randomness in the game and levels are generated randomly, so the final score for each level depends not just on player's skill but also very much on luck.

    Besides, players can use magical gems during the game which can significantly increase the score in each level.

    Basically what I'm saying is that scores in each of individual levels are not that important, as they can vary a lot and don't represent payer's skill.

    This and the large number of levels makes me think that making 200 online leaderboards (one for each level) is probably not a good idea.

    But I still want the players to be able to compete with each other.

    I'm thinking of several ideas:

    1. Pick just one score - the highest of all levels. The problem is that some levels are much easier than others, so again, this will not be an accurate way to measure the skill.

    2. Cumulative score of all levels (sum of all scores). The problem here is that a less skilled player who finished 150 levels will have a larger cumulative score than an expert who finished only 50.

    3. Average score. It's the most accurate method to measure the skill, but the average score is very inert, it will be hard for players to improve it.

    4. Total number of stars. At the end of each level I'm awarding 1,2 or 3 stars. This method has the same disadvantage as #2

    5. Break 200 levels into chapters. Have a separate leaderboard with cumulative score for each chapter. My levels are grouped by 10, this makes 20 chapters and leaderboards - still quite a lot...

    What should I choose?

    I don't play many mobile games, so maybe a better solution is already invented, I just don't know about it?

  • What if you modify your generation algorithm to be this way : generateLevel(difficulty) . This way you can give points according to the level's difficulty.

  • The nature of the game makes it very hard to maintain consistent and predictable difficulty.

    Again, think of Candy Crush Saga - when new candies are generated, I can prevent them from forming groups with existing candies, thus increasing the difficulty. Or I can force them to form groups, making the game easier. But I can't do this all the time, or it will become too obvious.

    Also, I can't predict player's moves. Player can make a clever or very lucky move, match lots and lots of candies and score lots of points.

    I am gradually increasing difficulty as the player progresses through levels by introducing more obstacles/enemies and adding more tasks to complete. But the amount of points player can score in each level is still greatly depends on random generator...

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  • Highest score in each level between friends seems like a good solution, so yeah #5. Seems like a lot of leaderboards but really it would be the most fun and also pushes them to replay levels for just this reason.

  • #5 is one leaderboard for each chapter (a group of 10 levels). So 20 leaderboards in total.

    I was thinking that high score in this leaderboard will be a sum of scores in all 10 levels of the particular chapter.

    Are you saying that I should make 200 leaderboards instead?

  • Level or chapter makes sense, depends if a chapter is a sequence of relatively fast levels. You could even have both level and chapter.

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