Game Development Reference
environments, designers can force players in certain directions by physically
restricting their access to out-of-bound areas of a level map. For example,
the map levels in Halo may seem infinitely large; however, although the
player can move freely around the map by foot or vehicle, the terrain and
physics system prevents him from going to parts of the map that don't exist.
Any attempt to walk or drive up steep mountain edges just results in the
player sliding down the side.
When using feedback to mould a player's behavior, the effectiveness of the
feedback will be increased and decreased according to a variety of factors.
The more a player is rewarded with or receives the same feedback, the
less he will be motivated by it. For example, if a player receives a gold star
for some activity, the highest award for a particular game, the less likely
he will be motivated to try it again. Of course in order for this strategy to
be effective, the game must be sufficiently difficult that the first time he
plays he is more likely to get a bronze star and get better with time.
The time between the player's action and the feedback is critical.
Rewarding a player minutes after he has performed a task successfully will
make it difficult for the player to attribute the reward with the action. It's
like punishing a puppy an hour after it has chewed up your shoe. There is
no association. Haptic feedback mechanisms in games such as vibrating
controllers would not make sense if the actions in the game didn't meet
exactly with the vibrations. The same applies to sound effects.
The feedback given to players needs to align with their beliefs about the
environment and how consistently it reacts to their interaction. In an FPS,
players would expect to get killed 100% of the time they step on a land
mine. However, if this does not turn out to be the case, and instead they
only die 20% of the time, the feedback will not become an effective way
to curb player behavior.
Cost Versus Benefit
Players will evaluate the effort they need to spend on an action based
on the reward. This fits with the greater the risk, the greater the reward
philosophy. The evaluation will differ from person to person based on
their attitudes toward risk aversion. For example, in EVE Online , mining
and trading in the more dangerous zones of the universe can make
greater amounts of money. Because there is a bigger chance a pirate
will blow up your ship in these areas, the designer has to provide extra
incentive for the player to go there in the first place.