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I am making a single player race game set in space (no actual roads, just checkpoints) where the player's score is defined by how fast they complete the track. There are pickups around the track that give the player extra speed or extra points.

To allow a wider range of scores on the leaderboard, I increase a score multiplier each time the multiplier bar is filled (increases on each point / checkpoint, decreases on each collision). This allows a wider range of end scores and the player will need to figure out if diverting from the track is worth the loss of time.

The problem is that players could now just collect all pickups before the first checkpoint to get to the maximum multiplier, then complete the race in one go.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The behaviour you describe is only profitable if the score gained by collecting all the pickups early is greater than the score lost to time by scouring the whole map twice: once to get all the pickups, then again to complete the race. So it looks like this is something you can mitigate by tuning the multiplier bar increment value of each pickup/checkpoint, the size of the bar for each multiplier, and the formula that converts your time into a score. Want to edit your question to show the numbers and formulas you're using currently? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented May 14, 2022 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could spawn a pickup only after the player passes specific checkpoint, i.e. gradually spawn pickups at their intended "time". \$\endgroup\$
    – Nikaas
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 5:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks, I will try balancing first! the spawning on specific checkpoint kind of ruins the fun in finding out the best detours to take. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mrmooijman
    Commented May 15, 2022 at 17:21

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