Search Unity

  1. Unity 6 Preview is now available. To find out what's new, have a look at our Unity 6 Preview blog post.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Unity is excited to announce that we will be collaborating with TheXPlace for a summer game jam from June 13 - June 19. Learn more.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dismiss Notice

What are the right reasons to only have one "correct" way to win a game?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by AndrewGrayGames, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Posts:
    3,821
    In another thread, we were starting to get off topic on my gripes about StarCraft II, specifically how there's a "correct" answer to playing against another faction, and that victory depends on how quickly you can adhere to that formula, skill or the presence of other units be damned.

    The thing is, I feel there's a valid design discussion in this. There's quite a few games that have a correct answer - Long Live the Queen, Dragon Warrior I (by fiat of having no alternatives to choose from to start with), and various others. Being the kind of gamer I am, I love having compelling choices in how to achieve the victory condition of a game; it's great to be able to, in a Fantasy RPG context, play a wizard one time, then a warrior the next, and so on.

    I have a really hard time conceiving of why you would want a "correct answer" to a game. Under what circumstances is this desirable?
     
  2. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Posts:
    2,981
    Why isn't 'correct' a good design choice for games? Thousands of games have limited paths to win, including all 'find the hidden clue' games, and all adventure/puzzle games in the vein of Broken Age, Two Brothers, and Kings Quest. Sure, the academics might argue that games with one solution are actually puzzles, and I have to wonder how that's relevant to those not living in an Ivory Tower.

    Gigi
     
  3. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    9,859
    Well, it's relevant to people who want to play multiplayer games. If it's really a puzzle with only one solution, then trying to compete with your friends is fairly pointless.

    But, you've come up with a great answer to @Asvarduil's question: single-solution ("correct" answer) games are a perfectly valid design for a single-player game, if the whole point is discovery of that solution. The game in this case needs to be built around that concept, for example, giving you enough feedback that you can tell when you are making progress towards that solution.

    For competitive games, though, I agree with Sirlin, who writes:

    Designing competitive strategy games is a constant fight against solvability. It's a struggle to make a system simple enough to understand, yet complex enough that players can't figure out the best way to play and then always play that same way.​
     
  4. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Posts:
    2,981
    Reminds me of emergent gameplay, which can happen when simple systems are combined together such that outcomes can change drastically even with small changes in input. Players generally love this - ex Mojang was sold for $2B.

    Gigi
     
  5. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Posts:
    2,234
    There's a correct way to play LLTQ? I suppose I never got far enough. I kind of gave up on it once I really needed to start min-maxing.


    This is kind of the reason why I don't like Dark Souls. There is one primary strategy used against bosses, and it's to plant yourself firmly in a giant's ass cheeks. The only class/build that can actually say "you see the thing trying to kill us that's using a four story apartment for a weapon? I'm gonna stay away from it, okay? Okay." is a sorcerer build. There is still plenty of variety once you accept how Dark Souls demands you play Dark Souls. Play it any other way though and it's going to tell you to go F*** yourself in the only way Dark Souls knows how http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/miracle-of-sound/5396-You-Died-Dark-Souls
     
  6. emmychan

    emmychan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    Posts:
    1
    There's no correct way to play LLTQ, but there are an awful lot of wrong ones. Some of the different outcomes are tricky enough to need pretty specific playthroughs to achieve them, others are more open. But there's no canon best ending or best playthrough.

    Many games have the problem where there are a lot of strategies that will work but some strategies are clearly better than others, so once you discover them there's no real reason to use any of the others again. This is the sort of thing that a lot of developers use achievements for, to encourage creative rather than optimal play, I think? Although sometimes that turns into rewarding stupid play. Beating a thousand enemies with a weak skill is an achievement of sorts but it may also be very, very boring.
     
    AndrewGrayGames likes this.
  7. puppeteer

    puppeteer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Posts:
    1,282
    You're always bound to find that glitch that will let you win more easily than otherwise. It's the two-edged sword of complex games, same as bugs, you're bound to have them even after release.

    In the end I'm sure your players will appreciate having more choices than less, and being attentive to your users able to support your game after release will allow you to find these exploits and address them to make your game more balanced.
     
  8. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    6,066
    As @Gigiwoo said, it isn't per se a bad thing to have a correct way to finish a game. But it depends on the game as well. Many games are meant to give the player a clear objective and means of accomplishing it, in this way they are good for giving the mind a break from confusion or stress. Call of Duty is probably popular not in spite of but because you feel like someone is pushing you in the back and steering you around, effectively railroading you from one place to the next - it is so easy to tell where you're supposed to go and what you're supposed to shoot at that you can concentrate purely on trigger satisfaction. Other games that appear to be open-world actually have very clear objectives and goals, such as Skyrim. Just because a quest is a side-quest doesn't mean you came up with it yourself.

    Something I see all the time but tend to disagree with is the concept that players want more real choices. I think they rather want clear instructions and the illusion of choice. Just like democracy, they want to be told who to vote for and then given the freedom to vote for whoever they want ;) if you don't tell people what to do in your game, they'll find one that does, it will be much more compelling for them. Unfortunately creativity and self-direction is something that game developers and players do not generally have in common. In some simple, playful games like Minecraft it works, but not, as far as I can tell, in 'realistic' games, because it stimulates peoples anxiety and confusion about society and the world around them.

    The point is, humans are always and instinctively trying to make sense of the world around them and the same applies to games. If there are no patterns, behaviours, objectives and targets that stand out, it will create confusion and anxiety. I heard someone say the purpose of a game is to create an objective and a set of rules, and that the enjoyment comes from discovering how to complete the objective within those rules. No rules or objectives, no game.

    Just my 2c.
     
  9. goldbug

    goldbug

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Posts:
    774
    To me, it is a matter of resource allocation.

    Suppose you have warrior and wizard races and the player can chose between them at start. Later on the player can chose to replay the game with the other race.

    The problem I see with this is that it takes significantly more development resources to build 2 races and balance them properly. Yet on average most players will only see one race, so the extra efforts spent on the other race don't enjoy a full audience and are thus "wasted" to some extent. If instead you spend the time enhancing the experience for 1 single race then a larger percentage of people will get to enjoy your efforts.

    Every time I add a feature and only a fraction of people use it, it is a kick in the gut for me, and I immediately think of ways to teach people about the new feature.

    Of course this is highly dependent on the type of game you are making.
     
    Gigiwoo likes this.
  10. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Posts:
    4,835
    If your making a game its going to take alot more time to balance all the different ways of playing the game, if theres only 1 way then its going to be much easier. Its the reason that nuclear throne took over 1 year to make whereas binding of issac took 3 months
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  11. khanstruct

    khanstruct

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Posts:
    2,869
    I've always missed the point of including the word "Strategy" in RTS games. I've never seen any strategy. Its always, "find the quickest way to build the biggest army, then zerg the crap out of the enemy". That's not really fun for me. It doesn't require planning or strategy, and even your most clever defenses would be rolled over once that death cloud of 4 billion soldiers comes knocking.

    When designing games, my method is this:
    1: Make a handful of very simple rules.
    2: Add a single feature that breaks a single rule.
    3: Repeat #2 until I'm happy.

    This is something I learned while reading about the design and success of Magic: The Gathering. It's really all they did, and that method allows for an endlessly strategic game.
     
  12. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Posts:
    2,981
    @Billy4184's post reminds me of the Paradox of Choice. We need choice, and we aren't computers - so we prefer 3 or 4 options, where often, the best choice is obvious.

    Gigi
     
  13. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2014
    Posts:
    133
    A big part of it is making it always seem like the best known strategy is not the best possible strategy. Like Speed Running. People will defy what even the developers thought was possible, without outside tampering, and develop an even better strategy. As the game ages, even when it seems like nothing else could be found, people still improve their times.

    I'm not sure how this will tie into the conversation as a whole, but I think it's a nice bit of fodder to work with.