Need Design Suggestions for Player Engagement

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Basic Rounded Vector Geometry Player Design with Glow for 3 player games
  • Hi, I've been working on a game for over 2 years. It's an action/strategy game that I've been making steady progress on, however I have known about some repetitive issues that really stand out in the early game. So I am looking for ideas on things for the player to do. Ideas that won't break the game. And because you are playing against an AI opponent, everything you do, the AI has to be able to do as well.

    Here's a video of me explaining the issue while playing the game.

    (Sorry its 16 minutes long, watch it on 1.5x speed like I do :)

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  • Congrats on the game it looks very nice, probably more in depth than No Man's Sky lol. I don't think it looks too repetitive to keep scavenging until you reach 100, if I was a new player though I wouldn't think that icon in the right is more important than any other icon, maybe it could be highlighted as such. Maybe you could stop the player from re-entering a system they are already orbiting so they are forced to try somewhere else? It's also not clear what the enemy is doing, I guess that's where the real gameplay comes in other than collecting resources.

  • thanks, yeah I want the player to have freedom to do whatever, I just want to entice them to play the same level 2-3 times early on. But how do I make that level something the player would *want* to do three times I guess is what I am asking.

  • which icon on the right? do you mean the NPC ship? yeah I definitely need to dramatize that....

  • Just some tutorial text highlighting the system saying you still need X amount of resource would be enough to make me go back in. It's the repetitiveness of late game I would be more concerned about. The icon on the right I meant the one on the HUD you kept highlighting as needing to fill 100 to build an outpost, at the moment I wouldn't say it was clear this icon is the important one to fill to 100 and pass the tutorial.

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  • ah yes, that is a small little "cheat-sheet" of "what can I afford right now?". This isn't final, while I like this little cheat sheet, I'm not sure if it just overwhelms players or not.. I might make it collapsible.

    and when it reaches 100% it needs to glow or be highlighted in some way.

    but that icon isn't supposed to be big on the screen. The tutorial will have a progress bar on the top right.

    I'm thinking of more organic ways to get the player to want to revisit. To maybe make something different about the level that they might want to return

  • I think the only way to make initial replays enticing is to add more content to each map. Like having small unique objectives, challenges, rewards or narrative bits that only happen the first few times you play a map.

    Otherwise it's asking the player to grind from the start, which some people enjoy. Most players will tend to try all the different things first and only when all options have been explored, settle on grinding.

  • DiegoM that is interesting.. and I agree a random event or some sort of narrative is probably the way to go to make the level different however, I still think the real problem remains.

    If I make the level super fun and the most exciting thing ever... why should they go there again? I feel its a really small subtle thing, something I currently don't have at all other than that little ship on its way heading back there.

    There's no immediate sense of: "okay, I need to play that level again". If there were an expansion checklist (not that I want to enforce X number of visits) then at least the player would see the progress bar and know "okay, I have to go back there" - being in the level and realizing it is the same repetitive task is after the fact. I need them to want to go there without thinking about what they will be doing... if that makes sense?

    this first map really highlights the issue. the player (at first) can only reach the system closest to them (I revealed the whole map just to show it - but the player only sees that 1 system next to them).

  • There's no characterization. Take a look at most successful games and there will be dialog between characters, even if its just dopey banter.

    It can serve multiple purposes, tutorial, plot, admonishment, and reward.

  • newt very true, if I had a little pop up showing that little ship coming back saying "I'm gonna get you back, you better leave!" it would be obvious to the player what to do.

    yeah I mean, this might be the fix... I know its a subtle thing

  • Hi there, i wanted to say.

    You are off to a good start. i would suggest add more planets, more resources, and eventually what you can do with those resources outside building bases? im guessing enhancing your ship? like better speed mining, damage dealing weapons, chain damage reaction items etc?

    sorry didn't had patience on watching the full 17 minutes hehe ... il watch it again. but i think you where trying to explain the overall interface and gameplay.

    i wish i could play it, to give a real feedback on what is missing or feels off from the gameplay.

    if u can post a windows or html5 version of the alpha where we can play test it would get you better reviews, and better suggestions.

  • GeorgeZaharia I'm working on an open alpha! I should have it soon, my goal was to have by the end of the month, but it's not quite ready yet. I will have a few maps to play and custom mode. I will post it here when ready thanks!

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