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In a simple platformer game I want to rate the player's performance in a level based on score. Very common in a lot of mobile games is "three star rating", probably the most notorious example being Angry Birds. My question is:

Should I use the same type of rating or use something else? Is it better to be original or use something the players are used to?

If three stars, should I avoid 0 star rating? (i.e. give player at least a star for finishing the level).


From http://angrybirds.wikia.com/wiki/Star

Many other physics-based iOS games, such as Cut the Rope and Save Toshi use the same, or simliar 3-star system. However, the former allows the player to end the level with a zero-star ranking, and the latter allows players to get a three-star-plus ranking.

Reseachers found that before the release of the original Angry Birds, only 20% of all games were rated with the 3-star score system. After the release of it, nearly 80% of all games were rated with the same or similar scoring system. (Similars are the likes of Asphalt 6, which placing was rated with 3, and achivements were 2, meaning that this is a 5-star score system.)

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Use what fits you. "Should I" is a very opinionated question. –  joltmode May 28 '13 at 10:35
    
How to ask better? English is not my mother tongue. I want to know what players of such games prefer. –  sm4 May 28 '13 at 14:55
    
The English in the question is fine; the fundamental question itself is too subjective for this site though. The faq has a list of sites you can go to to ask these more discussion-oriented questions. –  Josh Petrie May 28 '13 at 20:14
    
The best rating i saw was using the three 'star' system. but completing the level gave you 0 / 3. The other three were for actually completing difficult milestones and challenges, noticing a secret passageway or a hidden power up. You are rewarded for 'finishing' a level with the next level, the stars were used to say 'you did very well on this level, you've discovered all there is to discover here' –  RhysW May 29 '13 at 9:37
    
I think it's better to use a simple achievement system rather then a star system. With the star system it's not always clear how the player can achieve 3 stars (example: what kind of score is needed for 3 stars). If you implement clear achievements where it's visible what you need to do to get them this seems better to me. The players then know what to do and have more incentive to try and achieve this. Take a look at Borderlands 2 for example, thei've chosen for achievements. –  Thomas May 30 '13 at 8:06
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closed as not constructive by Anko, Byte56, Josh Petrie, msell, Sean Middleditch May 29 '13 at 23:56

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2 Answers

The more levels of achievement, the more chance the player is to see a reward for playing again.

For example, in games where the feedback is expressed as a percentage, they might just improve from 90% to 91% where as they won't get that feedback from a star system where the improvement isn't enough to get an extra star. Worth noting that Angry Birds starwars uses percentages for the Millennium Falcon scores.

However, the fewer levels of achievement, the simpler the scoring system comes across. A younger audience can appreciate 3 stars than 100 percentage points, and they are nice and visual (even Angry Birds Star Wars represents percentages visually), while an older audience (in Angry Birds say) can still see the full score so no detail is lost through adopting a short system.

I would suggest working with percentages internally, then you can experiment with how they are represented externally, e.g.:

//3 star system, no 0 star
int stars = percentage / 50 + 1;

//3 star system, 0 star
int stars = percentage / (100/3f);
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You could use five start system, it easily transfers to the percentage. With the "zero" score, causing no stars.

 0 Stars 0 points
 1 Star  1-19
 2 Stars 20-39
 3 Stars 40-69
 4 Stars 70-89
 5 Stars 90-100

You could go with any other point system. And say that the player passes the level once he gets 50% or any number of stars you choose. I'd use it as a tool for the player, so that he can have reference how good he actually is in the game.

 0 Stars 0 points
 1 Star  1-2 points
 2 Stars 3-5 points
 3 Stars 6-7 points
 4 Stars 8-9 points
 5 Stars 10 points
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I think there's a reason that Angry Birds only used 3 stars, like how YouTube went from 5-stars to either "Like" or "Dislike". The more milestones for performance, the less significant each one feels. Imagine you got 3 stars last time, and retry several times for 5 stars. Getting 4 stars wouldn't be so much of a reward. And if you ever get 1 star, it might really feel like an insult (whereas 1 star in a 3-star system just says "Meh, I've got room for improvement on that level") –  Katana314 May 28 '13 at 13:33
    
Ever heard of the novice, adept, normal, hard, expert, master, insane scale? Some games are supposed to show you how good you actually are... It is called a "challenge" –  Mikolaj Marcisz May 28 '13 at 13:41
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