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I am making a simple phone game and having a conceptual argument with my partner. The argument might end up being inconsequential, but I would like to hear some opinions from actual devs who are making games.

This will be a pretty standard beat-em-up style game where you beat up lots of easy enemies and build up a huge kill count. There will be many different types of enemies. The question emerged when we had to put up some display on the UI.

Should the kill count be represented as a 1:1 number? For example, on your HUD, it will constantly show:

Kills: 15

--or--

Defeated: 31

Or, should it be represented by a score? For example: 1 enemy = 100 points and it will display something like this:

Score: 1200

This may be a matter of taste in the end. But, for the casual games market, what do you think a mainstream audience will enjoy more? I think people love big numbers, in general, what do you guys think?

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3 Answers 3

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If you've only got one type of enemy, it doesn't really matter: 1 enemy or 100 points still adds up the same in the end, the only difference being the need to mentally divide by 100 points to get the kill count (if you go down the score road).

On the other hand, if you've got different types of enemy, then points are definitely the way to go. That way, you have the option of making it so killing a large/powerful/hard enemy can earn the player more points than killing a small/weak/easy enemy.

EDIT: Given that you seem to imply you're working with just one type of easy enemy, I'd personally just go with a kill count - multiplying it by 100 and calling it a "score" doesn't add anything useful.

Ok, so you've got lots of types of enemy - definitely go with a score, not just a kill count. That way players can get some extra "flavour" by having different point values for different enemies. Also note I said "not just a kill count" - there's no general reason you can't have both a kill count and a score.

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I'd go with calling it score, and awarding more than one point per kill.

That way if your game design changes later to include say bonus points for killing more than one enemy simultaneously or other factors then it makes it less disruptive to add them in.

I think big numbers also feel better to the user. For example play almost any arcade game and you won't score less than 10 points for anything.

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You should definitely go with a score count - even if you only give 1 point per kill. If you implement a score system, you will have an easier time later on if you decide to implement more enemy types, or a combo system in the future.

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