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Friday, February 16, 2007

Player punishment can be very rewarding!

I was ranting some today about how it would be neat to have something special happened whenever your avatar dies in a game, instead of the usual generic death animation or switch to ragdoll that's soo common these days.

So instead of just your dead body, sloppily falling to the ground, a script would be activated to make something more interesting and worthwile happen. It could be something as small as enemy soldiers peeing/kicking/laughing at your corpse, or it could be something bigger, like the monster that just slained you, would grab your body in one hand and start chewing on it.

Another fun thing would be to do it as the mini-game Porrasturvat (Stair Dismount), that rewards points to the player, depending on how much damage and broken bones the ragdoll recieves when shoved down the stairs. You'll even hear the painful grunts and bones breaking, each time the body collides with the staircase. A schadenfreudian enjoyment to say the least.

Well, the point being, there's soo many ways to make the players death more interesting, and hence, it would be a reward in itself by simply dying... just to see what would happen.

Everyone focuses on how to make sure the player will be able to complete the game without any major difficulty, while I'll say, let's make sure he dies plenty on the way.

I also read a good article on Gamasutra today. Although different, it's relevant to what I'm trying to say, that player punishment is a vital part of the enjoyment. It takes up a few good examples of how to embed defeat and failure as part of the gameplay.

I'll try to end this post now before it gets too long, but it's important to keep in mind that there would be no sense of success if it's not possible to fail. Rewarding players excessively and going easy on them whenever they loose, will make them spoiled and there would be no gain to return to the game once all rewards have been reaped.

Oh, and one more thing; I don't completely agree with the article since it suggest a very linear gameplay with only one possible outcome, while I'm more in favour for several possible outcomes.

Losing For the Win: Defeat and Failure in Gaming

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