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I am going to work on a map for my game that is in first person mode. This is the story(planned).

He is on a sinking ship and he wants to escape before the ship sinks. He has a few ways of doing so, either with the on board seaplane or an emergency raft. Both methods will lead the player to different maps in the game. So here is the question:

How can I notify the player that there is another way of "winning" the map if he chooses one. I do not want to just pop out and say "hey you could have used the boat" or even include a progress map of some sorts, but I still want the player to visit the map again in the future to figure out the paths. Any suggestions would be awesome.

The lighting would be dimmer as the scene is set at night. There will be blood, grease and other dirty stuff on the player's screen. The ship itself is most probably going to wobble around.

edit Sorry that I didn't clarify, but I want to know methods to lure players to play the map again. Methods of letting the player know that there are different methods works, but I think that should not be the only method. I'll change the title.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The most obvious and widely (over)used option is the character speaking to themselves like "Where are the lifeboats when you need them?" or "If one of the planes is still intact, I could try flying it to <name of next map>" when approaching certain triggers inside the level. Needless to say this isnt exactly a masterpiece of level design. \$\endgroup\$ – wondra May 29 '17 at 16:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wondra honestly this might work, but on second thoughts maybe not. Mentioning the name of next map(that he will not go to now) really caught my attention as it is ridiculously good at hinting the player to come back to play again but he doesn't know where he'll be going : he is just escaping. So yeah... \$\endgroup\$ – See Jian Shin May 29 '17 at 16:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ That also depends on writing skills - it doesnt have to be copy-paste name of location, for example when you refer to boat going "to closest shore, wherever that is" while with plane "somewhere far away from here", it could still give a hint while not revealing precise location, or crash-land somewhere else than he was going saying "where the hell am I? This isnt xy.". \$\endgroup\$ – wondra May 29 '17 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think there is a way to really force a player to replay a map other than maybe have them play different characters that have to escape at the same time \$\endgroup\$ – dot_Sp0T May 30 '17 at 4:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @wondra might implement this, but it kinda faces the same problem. It is easy to just ignore these monologues and think that they are normal plot contents. \$\endgroup\$ – See Jian Shin May 30 '17 at 7:26
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There are probably an infinite number of ways of doing this. And any of these ways will be the best for its specific situation.
In spite of that I am going to address a few rather broad concepts based on different mechanisms and indicators:

A) Give them an overview of their situation

Depending on how open your level/world is, you have different ways to do this.

An obvious and easy way would be to provide a room they have to pass through on their journey which gives them an overview of the area.

This could be e.g.:

  • The Bridge of your ship; A room that is central to the vessel, situated on top of it and offering a panoramic view of the upper decks. Add visual indicators like runway lights for the seaplane catapult (or whatever you use to launch it) or e.g. lights recessed into the floors, leading to the emergency rafts. Or even go plain aggressive and light these things up with floodlights.

  • The Security Room; A room in the bowels of the vessel, full of TV screens that are displaying the views from different cameras all over the ship. You can make some of these screens stand out by making them brighter, turn other screens off, show people running along hallways towards something, etc.

  • Maps & Escape Route Signaling; Add maps and signs to thoroughfares and cross-ways that indicate important areas you want the player to be aware of. E.g. add signs pointing towards The Seaplane Hangar or Starboard/Port Lifeboats.

B) Force them to make a decision

If you're willing to restrict the player in their movements to some extent you can present them with a situation where they have to make a decision: Go either left or right, up or down, etc.

You can make them aware that they've made a decision by adding different less and more obvious cues to the mix. E.g. remove the signs pointing towards the other option, add a radio transmission or a scene of someone using the other option to escape themselves, etc.

C) Show them possible alternatives

In the spirit of forcing them to make a decision you can also show them that there's other ways to achieve the same goal.

  • For example, you could design your level that by choosing one path, you will eventually move along a path that leads you past the other option, showing it maybe behind a chain-linked-fence or a window - unattainable but still there. Maybe adding some animations, again of the other solution being used by an NPC.

  • While eventually escaping you could show someone using the other option, e.g. the seaplane flying over the character sitting in the life-raft.

  • You could add cues to the next map, e.g. a radio-log of someone asking if anyone made it off the ship using the plane/boat/etc.


Now, all of these have obvious advantages and flaws. It is up to you to find out which works best for your map/scene. You will also see that your planned audience will influence your decisions in a major way.
While some people are of the curious kind, wanting to find out if there's other ways. Others will already be satisfied by having made it off the ship, and will never even spend a thought on there having been possible other ways.

An example of this is the opening sequence of Skyrim. There's a very first decision in the game right after the dragon's attack, but I doubt that most people have ever become aware of it, even now.
The decision is to either go with the stormcloaks or the empire. And while it ultimately doesn't really matter, it still changes the early game by some extent - shoving you off onto different factions and slightly different initial questlines.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ These are all lovely suggestions. I most probably might choose a combination of these as it is super important for players to come back and play, as half of the intended game content is not yet experienced. Hope I can find some super subtle but super useful hints for the players. Anyways awesome ideas I never thought about. Thanks ! \$\endgroup\$ – See Jian Shin May 29 '17 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, these methods might not make the player want to come back to play again, it just let's them know there are other methods to complete the level. I think that by heavily hinting the presence of other methods might work, but it shouldn't be that trustworthy. Won't close the question just yet. \$\endgroup\$ – See Jian Shin May 29 '17 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeeJianShin even though it'll work against my precious reputation I would recommend you to wait with accepting an answer for at least 24 hours, in order to a) indicate that you're still open for answers, b) give others an incentive to write up an answer :) \$\endgroup\$ – dot_Sp0T May 29 '17 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ noted. I very appreciate your answer and that's why I accepted it. Your reply is actually an answer (a very good one!), And I can't upvote. I'll re-accept your answer some time in the future. Thanks ! \$\endgroup\$ – See Jian Shin May 29 '17 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeeJianShin no bother, you'll get the privilege to upvote at 15 rep. And you don't seem to be far away from that number anymore. An easy way to get more rep is by answering questions from your area of expertise or by, as you're already doing, asking questions :) You will also get 100 rep on each stack site you register, once you pass a certain treshhold (i believe 200 rep(?)) on any of the stack sites \$\endgroup\$ – dot_Sp0T May 29 '17 at 17:05

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