Thursday, March 29, 2007

Balancing motivation

Don't panic, I'm not writing a motivational article, I'm struggling with this part of the code for The Game That Must Not Be Named.*

MOTIVATION is a big deal in TGTMNBN. Your band members all have a level of motivation, and this level is vital. Motivation affects how well they perform on stage, how well they carry out publicity duties, etc etc. And low motivation can lead to not showing up to gig, or even worse, resigning from the band.
So I have all kinds of mechanisms for deciding what makes motivation high, and what makes it low. They all make sense and they all work.
BUT...

=== PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT===

IT'S NOT AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

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If it was, then design documents would actually be worth something, and people really would be able to be good game designers without having experienced several product life-cycles. The thing is, although I *thought* I knew what mechanisms worked, and how, in practice, it doesn't balance out right. It's either too easy, or too hard.
So there are too possibilities:

1) the numbers are wrong. My algorithms and design are fine, I just need to fine tune it so motivation gets affected by the right amounts in each direction, then, it will work.

2)the algorithm / design is wrong. The way variables X and Y affect motivation is flawed, and open to exploitation, or easy 'sure-win' combinations. This means I need to rethink some of the ways in which motivation gets affected, and re-code them.

Right now, I'm thinking 2).

The GOOD news is, that the game is still fun, regardless. It has that 'wanting to have one more go and do just a bit better' aspect that good games have. Because you almost always have a gig booked a few turns in advance, you always want to play "just till that next gig".


*My games name was too close to the name of a bit company who waved lawyers at me, so I'm changing it. I haven't 100% settled on a name yet. In fact, I have, I'm just checking its not the name of a brand of cola.

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