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11/23/2004

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Mikko Saari

Silent Hill series have done something like this, allowing the player to adjust the difficulty levels of action and puzzles separately. Players can choose their challenges - I've enjoyed the possibility of being able to tone down the fighting, as that's not the fun part of the games.

nothings

The original System Shock had four different settings: combat, puzzles, story, and cyberspace. Each setting had 4 values; combat 0 made enemies not fight or move, and die in one hit; combat 1-3 were normal difficulty levels. Reducing puzzles simplified the various "logic" puzzles used on some doors; puzzle 0 unlocked them. Story change the audio logs to shorten them (and maybe got rid of unimportant ones); story 0, if I recall correctly, unlocked all doors. Cyberspace was a combat difficulty setting for the cyberspace sequences; I believe cyberspace 0 also got rid of the "wind" that buffeted you and dragged you along through the corridors.

Justin Hall

Did you think that was successful?

madsax

That makes me want to try System Shock.

I find lately that what I enjoy most is story. I've been playing games on easy, because I just want to get through the game and see how well the vision of the designer has been expressed. I want to experience the full length of the experience, but perhaps not dive too deeply into any one particular part, lest I get hung up somewhere. If I'm entranced by this or that, I can always dally there, or perhaps up the difficulty some and come back. But primarily I want to experience the experience, not worry about whether I'm hitting the button fast enough.

Having easy/medium/hard is a convenient mechanism that lets me focus on story. System Shock's solution is intriguing, but I worry that it would make the game more challenging to balance properly into a coherent experience. One of the joys of playing through a game is being able to water-cooler with your friends about it afterward. If we all had different experiences, I worry that this would dry up - or would it just make me want to go through and play again to see what I'd missed? Hmmmmm... something to think about.

nothings

Successful? I don't know. It gave us a lot more to test, at least. (64 combinations!)

The cyberspace difficulty setting went in because some people really hated cyberspace. The problem is you couldn't change it once the game was underway, and you wouldn't know you hated it until it was underway.

I know we had a few people who played it who wouldn't have otherwise--mostly girlfriends of team members, who played it on combat 0 and just enjoyed the story. I'm not sure why anyone would really want to play on story 0.

ClockworkGrue

NetHack offers "Explore Mode" which is identical to normal mode, except that your saved game isn't wiped if your character dies. The penalty for this is that your character will never register on the high score list.

ClockworkGrue

NetHack offers "Explore Mode" which is identical to normal mode, except that your saved game isn't wiped if your character dies. The penalty for this is that your character will never register on the high score list.

jdiaz

I'm worried about the same thing madsax is, and a little more- i know part of the point of some games is their incredible difficulty, or something that happens in the midst of things we'd rather skip through.

While some kind of fast-forwarding function might be useful if you're playing a game just to get a feel for it, that is kinda like reading a book and skipping all the parts without dialogue, isn't it?

Patrick Dugan

Jenova Chen's Flow seems to implement this fairly well in the mechanics. Play With Fire, a game I worked on which will be released on Manifesto by the end of the month, did this in the content structure design. Theres a Fun, Puzzle and Challenge path, all with different sorts of content that would suit those play styles.

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