Author Topic: Achievements in AVWW?  (Read 7090 times)

Offline HitmanN

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2011, 07:45:16 PM »
On my phone so I can't type out a reasonable counter argument at the moment. But could you provide an example of a game you have fun in while pursuing no goals at all? And don't say Minecraft unless you've never explored or built any structures, since those are goals after all.

If you get down to it, then just starting up a game is a goal in itself. Your goal is to spend time with something, you start up a game. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!

That's a bit off-topic from what I was thinking of originally though. Basically, back before internet, games were generally played to have a fun time. Certainly there were "goals", but even if there weren't any left, people still kept playing the games because they were considered fun way to pass time. Yet video games became more and more popular and evolved.

It's just the new-age attitude and stinginess that's made people require more in the way of achievements and such rather than fun time from their games.

I'd take a super fun game with with limited goals over a boring game with bazillion goals any day. If a game isn't fun, you wouldn't even go for the goals/achievements/whatever. Thus, having fun is more important than goals. But... if more goals makes the fun part more fun, then it's a plus. Just not really required.

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2011, 09:17:55 PM »
I get the feeling we're talking about different things here. In no way am I saying I need the game to congratulate me for turning it on or learning to walk forwards or what have you. My point was just that games require goals and without them you're not playing a game. So once I've beaten HL2 ep 1 a time or two there's not much more gameplay in it without further goals. Now the game doesn't have to give these to me, I can make my own if I want to. But it's nice to have something like ' the one free bullet' achievement to give me a suggestion for a new way to enjoy the game if I just can't get enough Gordon. And it also clearly notifies me when I've done it, which makes it feel more official. My points are getting intermixed here, but anyway, no goal, no game. Whether it's the stated goal of the game or a side quest or achievement you have to be doing something.

Offline ShinseiTom

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2011, 10:26:34 PM »
I get the feeling we're talking about different things here. In no way am I saying I need the game to congratulate me for turning it on or learning to walk forwards or what have you. My point was just that games require goals and without them you're not playing a game. So once I've beaten HL2 ep 1 a time or two there's not much more gameplay in it without further goals. Now the game doesn't have to give these to me, I can make my own if I want to. But it's nice to have something like ' the one free bullet' achievement to give me a suggestion for a new way to enjoy the game if I just can't get enough Gordon. And it also clearly notifies me when I've done it, which makes it feel more official. My points are getting intermixed here, but anyway, no goal, no game. Whether it's the stated goal of the game or a side quest or achievement you have to be doing something.
I think what HitmanN is saying is that the game doesn't have to explicitly say "this is the goal."  Minecraft doesn't have a "goal" in that sense.  There is nothing in it that says "do this" or "achievement: 2000 broken tools" or anything.  And yet tons of people have fun.  Not from the game prompting them to either, but just because they think of new stuff that's fun to them.  I'm also against achievements for the sake of achievements, for many of the reasons outlined in the thread before me.
Basically, I'm just getting tired of them.

I'm on the side of no achievements in general, if just for the sake of not thinking about them while making the game.  In-game arbitrary achievements should have NO bearing on how a person plays a game, so why should they have a bearing on how somebody makes a game?  I do appreciate the "beat so-and-so AI" in AI War since it is keeping track of something for me, like a check-mark on a list.  This is easily done in-game on an info sheet (like AI war) though so I don't really see the need to make an achievement out of it other than "hay guyz, achievement!!"  Which seems to be what happened with AI War.  Added them in later because people wanted them.  Which is fine.

I just don't want the devs to even think about achievements until they've released the game.

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2011, 10:57:03 PM »
I know this was mentioned but not linked, so let me throw this link in:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2758-Achievements

To try and keep my two points separated here:

1. On achievements, I can take them or leave them. I do think they add replay value to a game when you've already done everything that was planned out in the game's original design. If you are the type of person who can come up with your own fun ways to play a game differently, more power to you! I personally don't mind the extra suggestions. An achievement for 'play through the game only using a machete' offers me more enjoyment while doing so. Maybe others are of the type who can just say 'I'm going to play this game machete-only just for the heck of it,' and feel accomplished when they do so. That's cool too. Neither way is better. For me, having the little trophy at the end to say 'you did this thing' makes it more concrete and somehow gives me more of that elusive thing called 'fun'.

2. On game goals, I'm still standing firm on my original point that you can't have a game without a goal. If you read back to the first time I posted this, I explicitly said that open ended sandbox games, of which Minecraft is the go-to example, are not exempt. You make your own goals, but you still have goals. It might be digging to the bedrock and acquiring ten diamond blocks, it might be killing as many creepers as you can with your bare fists, it might be building a recreation of the Empire State building in iron blocks, it might be as simple as 'I'm going to head in this direction as far as I can until something kills me.' But regardless, these are all goals. You can't simply start up Minecraft and decide you're not going to do anything. Then by no means could you be said to be playing a game. Other games are more explicit. Kill the dragon, save the princess, defeat the AI, etc. But in every game, you're trying to do something.

You're quite right that a game doesn't have to give you a goal, but it does have to contain the potential for you to make your own goals. You also need things to oppose you or make those goals difficult in some way. Minecraft has monsters and scarce resources. You can't snap your fingers and immediately have a tower made out of gold bricks. It take a lot of digging and working to make that happen. That's what makes it fun to accomplish it. That means that you're playing a game. (Creative mode aside, but that's not exactly a game... if you have every resource available immediately you're not really playing a game, you're just utilizing a creative tool. It's the difference between making art in MS Paint and art in survival Minecraft.)

But I think this is becoming an argument over semantics at this point, so I'll try to stop. I feel like I'm just restating the same points I've already made anyway. Carry on!

Offline HitmanN

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2011, 11:29:30 PM »
My point was just that games require goals and without them you're not playing a game. So once I've beaten HL2 ep 1 a time or two there's not much more gameplay in it without further goals.

If a game can't be fun without constantly having something new to do, then that's usually a sign that the game itself just isn't fun. That, or like I implied earlier, today's folks are just too needy about their games. Something that wasn't an issue when video games were (relatively speaking) being invented. Admittedly though, I've grown stingier too, since the NES days when playing through that Nth Mega Man game the exact same way again and again was just fun as it was. Everyone else seemed to think so too, heh. Good times. It was admittedly nice to play through the game without dying or somesuch, but achieving that wasn't the reason to for playing the game. The real goal was just 'to play through that fun game again'.

Now the game doesn't have to give these to me, I can make my own if I want to.

That's actually a good sign. The game is actually so good that you don't need artificial motivators from the developers or other players to enjoy it. The only motivation you need is yourself and your own desires. It also tells a lot about the game's flexibility if you can go about doing the goals you yourself design for yourself.

But it's nice to have something like ' the one free bullet' achievement to give me a suggestion for a new way to enjoy the game if I just can't get enough Gordon. And it also clearly notifies me when I've done it, which makes it feel more official.

I actually rather hate it when everything needs to be so official. The sort of "If you don't do exactly what I tell you to do, then you haven't really played this game properly" feel kinda ticks me off at times. Achievements shouldn't be the reason to play a game. It's just a sign that the developer was so lazy that instead of actually trying to make the game fun and enjoyable for the playing's sake, they had to throw in instructions disguised as achievements, about what to do to "officially" finish the game completely.

With that said, as a whole, I like achievements, as long as they're not too specific, or something you can only achieve in a very specific manner. Basically, when I can achieve them without hugely deviating from whatever way I want to play the game. For instance, stuff like "find 75% of all secret stuff in the game" is great. You don't need to fetch specific items, but any of the game's secret items, until you have a total of 75%, a combination of whatever items. You can go about looking for whatever stuff you want to, instead of just something very specific, like "find all 100 Item A's in the game", which is just tedious and forced at best. It just pushes the player to focus on one specific task/item, which limits the overall gameplay. Of course, if the game itself was actually fun enough, you'd find all 100 Item A's without even caring about whether it's an achievement or not. It'd come naturally. That's what developers should aim for. Making the game enjoyable and fun as is.

Whether it's the stated goal of the game or a side quest or achievement you have to be doing something.

Quite obvious. Definitely not what I was debating about. ;) What I'm talking about is the game/developers forcing specific tasks on the player, instead of the goals being so well integrated into the whole process that you're not even focusing on the goals as much as you are on just having a blast being there and smashing buttons in a satisfying way. That's a sign of a genuinely fun game. Now, if you can make a game like that, then you can build anything else on top of it. You can add achievements, hi-scores, whatever. They're just bonus on top of an already fun game. But again, none of the extra stuff is really required for a game to be fun. You do need a goal for a game, but it does not need to be the reason to play the game.

Offline Ozymandiaz

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2011, 05:19:19 AM »
Indeed, a reason to play a game is very different form the games goal.

I might play a game becuase I want something fun to do, I might want to "escape" for a few hours or just "jog" my brain a bit. The goals in-game can be very different. Be it resucing a princess from some wierd turtle-demon guy or saving humanity from a rampant AI. Different goal, same reason, to have fun (and well, to think a bit more when playing AI war then Mario) :)

I agree with HitmaN's general idea about achivements (and the extracredits episode I mentioned earlier). They can be used badly by lazy devs as substitution for real gameplay, or they can be used to agument an already good game and to make players challenge themselfs in different ways or add other meta goals to the gameplay.

Generally I have not been a big fan of them, mostly because I have seen very poor implementations of them in the past. But I have seen a few good implementations as well. I don't care about showing them off tho, or having my own screen with them for others to see what I do ingame. Its not like a digital throphy ingame matters to me, and I only use them to keep track fo spesific stuff I have done.
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Offline Ixolite

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2011, 09:37:18 AM »
Achievements can be fun actually, you can set your own goals of course, but achievement is always something new and shiny you can pick up with glowing eyes and something you can brag about while having proof to back you up.

Having said that, achievements have been greatly dumbed down since the idea first started showing up. Dumb down to a point when you're rewarded for spending time in the game, which is pretty pointless.

Which, on a sidenote, reminds me about Achievment Unlocked and Achievment Unlocked 2 ;)

But back on topic.

Personally, I like to divide "achievements" into two categories: challenges and milestones.

Challenges would be special goals that require you to actively pursue them, often deviating from regular gameplay. They would also require some skill and knowledge of the game, they cannot be trivial and cannot be earned just by normally playing the game. They should also be "fun" by means of being unexpected, unorthodox, something you wouldn't immediately think of on your own.

Milestones on the other hand would be, well, milestones. A form of marking your progress in various aspects of the game - something you might want to take under consideration when planning your play-through (to reach the goal faster), but also something that is gradually earned with time spent on the game. Glorified spreadsheet of sorts I guess, with shiny badges.

Offline Nalgas

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2011, 06:11:16 AM »
I personally don't mind the extra suggestions. An achievement for 'play through the game only using a machete' offers me more enjoyment while doing so. Maybe others are of the type who can just say 'I'm going to play this game machete-only just for the heck of it,' and feel accomplished when they do so. That's cool too. Neither way is better. For me, having the little trophy at the end to say 'you did this thing' makes it more concrete and somehow gives me more of that elusive thing called 'fun'.

That's pretty much how I feel, too.  I've played through the original Zelda without a sword (well, until the last fight, which is unwinnable without it, but you can actually get to it without ever picking it up; the wand is your best friend, because while many things appear to be immune to it, you can kill most of them by running up to them and poking them to death) just for the hell of it, but there's something to be said for having a little shiny badge to show off afterward, even if it's just for my own sake, not bragging to anyone else.  The achievements in most games are rarely as clever or interesting as something like that, which is unfortunate, but they can be and occasionally are.  Can you set goals like that for yourself?  Sure, but sometimes it's nice getting extra ideas I wouldn't've thought of from the people who made the game or other people who've played it.

Tangentially, regarding the lame "storyline progression" achievements no one seems to like, something I was surprised wasn't mentioned in that video when I first watched it and that's rarely come up in discussions about it is that in a way they're more for the developer's sake than the player's.  If you plan them out well ahead of time, you can get a ton of useful data about how people play your game and how long they keep playing it.  It's pretty stupid from the player's point of view, but it's easier to sell them on that than "our single-player game is reporting back to us over the Internets for some mysterious reason", even if it really just amounts to the same thing in the end, only with a shiny award for letting them do it.

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2011, 10:17:43 AM »
Tangentially, regarding the lame "storyline progression" achievements no one seems to like, something I was surprised wasn't mentioned in that video when I first watched it and that's rarely come up in discussions about it is that in a way they're more for the developer's sake than the player's.  If you plan them out well ahead of time, you can get a ton of useful data about how people play your game and how long they keep playing it.  It's pretty stupid from the player's point of view, but it's easier to sell them on that than "our single-player game is reporting back to us over the Internets for some mysterious reason", even if it really just amounts to the same thing in the end, only with a shiny award for letting them do it.

Good point. I always like to check out those achievements for random games just to see how many people get the bonehead easy achievements like 'finish the first level'. It's amazing how many people apparently buy a game and never even touch it.

Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2011, 01:26:00 AM »
Tangentially, regarding the lame "storyline progression" achievements no one seems to like, something I was surprised wasn't mentioned in that video when I first watched it and that's rarely come up in discussions about it is that in a way they're more for the developer's sake than the player's.  If you plan them out well ahead of time, you can get a ton of useful data about how people play your game and how long they keep playing it.  It's pretty stupid from the player's point of view, but it's easier to sell them on that than "our single-player game is reporting back to us over the Internets for some mysterious reason", even if it really just amounts to the same thing in the end, only with a shiny award for letting them do it.

Good point. I always like to check out those achievements for random games just to see how many people get the bonehead easy achievements like 'finish the first level'. It's amazing how many people apparently buy a game and never even touch it.

Heh, not really that surprising.  They see it on sale and they immediately buy it, to "play later".  Which rarely ever happens.

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Offline Nalgas

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2011, 02:36:22 AM »
Good point. I always like to check out those achievements for random games just to see how many people get the bonehead easy achievements like 'finish the first level'. It's amazing how many people apparently buy a game and never even touch it.

Heh, not really that surprising.  They see it on sale and they immediately buy it, to "play later".  Which rarely ever happens.

Hey, just because it often takes me a year or two to get around to playing stuff like that doesn't mean it never happens.  I just have a huge backlog of games because of ridiculous Steam sales where I end up buying anything that looks remotely interesting as long as it's cheap enough and then not having time for all of them right away.  Heh.

Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2011, 11:21:01 AM »
Good point. I always like to check out those achievements for random games just to see how many people get the bonehead easy achievements like 'finish the first level'. It's amazing how many people apparently buy a game and never even touch it.

Heh, not really that surprising.  They see it on sale and they immediately buy it, to "play later".  Which rarely ever happens.

Hey, just because it often takes me a year or two to get around to playing stuff like that doesn't mean it never happens.  I just have a huge backlog of games because of ridiculous Steam sales where I end up buying anything that looks remotely interesting as long as it's cheap enough and then not having time for all of them right away.  Heh.

I was referring to the more standard gamer.  I'm assuming anyone on here will eventually get around to their games, but are too busy with AIW ;).  I know a few people who will buy 100s of Xbox/PS3 games and never get around to them before the next console upgrade.  Steam unfortunately makes this easier for them. 

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Offline Nalgas

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2011, 02:16:28 PM »
I was referring to the more standard gamer.  I'm assuming anyone on here will eventually get around to their games, but are too busy with AIW ;).  I know a few people who will buy 100s of Xbox/PS3 games and never get around to them before the next console upgrade.  Steam unfortunately makes this easier for them.

Hundreds?  They must have a lot of disposable income.  And a lot of shelf space.  I'm slowly approaching 200 on Steam, but that's over its entire existence, and the last time I did the math, the average price for each was under $6.  I also do eventually at least try all of them and finish the ones I like, with the exception of a few things that were included in bundles that I didn't really want in the first place.  I don't think every console game I've ever owned for all consoles combined would add up to "hundreds", though, and that's three decades' worth.  Well, whatever makes them happy.  Heh.

Offline KingIsaacLinksr

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2011, 05:09:07 PM »
I was referring to the more standard gamer.  I'm assuming anyone on here will eventually get around to their games, but are too busy with AIW ;).  I know a few people who will buy 100s of Xbox/PS3 games and never get around to them before the next console upgrade.  Steam unfortunately makes this easier for them.

Hundreds?  They must have a lot of disposable income.  And a lot of shelf space.  I'm slowly approaching 200 on Steam, but that's over its entire existence, and the last time I did the math, the average price for each was under $6.  I also do eventually at least try all of them and finish the ones I like, with the exception of a few things that were included in bundles that I didn't really want in the first place.  I don't think every console game I've ever owned for all consoles combined would add up to "hundreds", though, and that's three decades' worth.  Well, whatever makes them happy.  Heh.

Oh I used to babysit this family of kids....they had every system on Earth and games I'm sure they never had.  These days, I know a few others.  Ok, maybe its not hundreds, but geez, compared to my collection its huge.  But I'm a more quality over quantity. 

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Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: Achievements in AVWW?
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2011, 06:33:38 PM »
I have an oversized steam collection myself. I tried sorting my games into categories last night so I could see at a glance games that I was currently playing vs games that I had already played through vs games that I had yet to play. I found out that I have something like 20+ games that I'm currently 'playing' to some extent. I really need to organize this a bit better. Especially since I tend to start a game, and then at the first sign of boredom or frustration, I fall back to something else (usually AI War). And I've only got a few short months until the summer sale buries me in another 50 games...