I am a high school student creating a small game in unity for fun and would greatly appreciate your opinions on this game mechanic. I have a treasure finding game that takes place in a randomly generated forest with randomly placed treasure. There are also randomly placed landmarks such as large rocks, lamp posts, picnic tables, etc. The treasure spawns within a certain radius of a landmark as to provide a reference point for clues to the position of said treasure. I am having some difficulty however, deciding what sort of clues i could generate. I thought of a few ideas such as generating clues referencing a landmark the treasure is near, clues referencing cardinal directions, and clues which are an image of the treasure's surrounding environment. I would love some feedback on the clues i have thought of so far, and new suggestions for clues. Thanks in advance!
I'd point out the game BounceFloor on Newgrounds (fairly new.)
- You must find someone who is in a crowd of people who does not belong at the club
- After some amount of time, a clue is generated (something visual that helps the player; such as an item that the person is wearing)
- If the player is close to the person to-be-bounced-out; that person will attempt to wander further from the player
I found this to be successful (if extremely short.) Relating this to your game, you want a component that helps the player as time passes (strangers mention a little thought bubble about where they think it is?) and then another component that clues the player in based on their own actions (maybe a thief who attempts to act on the information?)
I'd also mention that if you used Triangulation instead of putting it near a land mark, you can make it so landmarks are spread out and the clues can just be land marks. A single clue gives you a large area around a center location, a second gives you a strip of land you'd check, and a third would encircle the location (and after that, the thief runs towards it like crazy?)
If you want the game to be longer you may want clues of where it's not instead; pointing out that some Stranger has checked the area around Mt Peak and didn't find it.
You could use an audio feedback. Calculate distance to treasure, and use that as a frequency for a repeating beep.
After spawning, player hears:
Player starts to walk away from treasure (goes in wrong direction:)
Player is standing right next to the treasure:
It would basically be a simulated Geiger counter, but with a less noisy signal. For kicks, you could add noise to the signal and go full Geiger counter.
It is not really possible to estimate how well your clues would work or what else could work just from reading a theoretical concept. It just depends on too many implementation details, down to your particular graphic design and interface choices.
The only way to find out is to build a very basic prototype of your game and find some playertesters. Observe them while they play and see:
- How correctly do they interpret the clues and how much instruction and practice do they need?
- Which clues are helpful for them and which are not?
- Which clues are actually too helpful?
- Which environmental circumstances make clues more or less helpful?
When the test session is over, you might want to interview them and ask them where exactly they felt they needed more information or where they found clues to be unclear. Then and only then think about how you can give them that missing information.
Game design is an iterative process. You can not design a perfect game on paper. Fail faster! Design, prototype, fail, redesign, improve, fail less, repeat, repeat and repeat until you have a game that works.