I haven't posted an update on my new game Mr Nibbles Forever for a couple of weeks not because I haven't been doing anything (quite the opposite) rather the game has been in a little flux and thus was a little too broken to blog about.
Well if you haven't seen it in a couple of weeks there has been quite a lot of changes to the meta-game:
There are now several "meta-game" features which I hope will encourage the user to keep playing the game, find new and interesting things, continue to challenge themselves and (if I have done things right) generate some revenue.
I introduce the player to the meta-game by initially giving them a "free gift":
This is timed mechanic which I borrowed from social games and commonly used to encourage the player to return to the game at some point in the future. In Mr Nibbles Forever it also serves the duel purpose of providing the player with some early "nibbles" which they can then immediately use on the wheel of fortune:
The initial spin of the wheel is hard-coded so that the player will always win an new outfit, that way I can introduce them to the purpose of earning nibbles (to get new outfits):
So now the player has one purpose to play the game, earn nibbles so they can get new outfits. I however wasn't happy that this was enough, I felt that the game needed another hook to encourage play.
I struggled for hours last week to come up with a way to do this. I really liked the way "Jet Pack Joyride" has missions which encourage you to go back and keep playing so you can complete a mission:
I thought about this however and struggled to think of a way to make that work with Mr Nibble's simple mechanics, it was just too complex. After a while I had a brainwave, why don't I just set the player a "challenge" which is similar to a mission but I could change the rules somehow. This way I could keep the player coming back and challenge them to go further without over-complicating things.
Now every now and then the player is given an option to do a "challenge run":
(ignore the terrible visuals for now, they will change later)
So the player is given an explicit challenge, in this case reach at least 200cm, and they are given a reward. To unlock it they must watch a video but its totally optional, so if they dont want to watch a video and earn some nibbles then they dont have to.
As the player completes challenges new ones are offered but they get harder and harder but at the same time the rewards get greater and greater.
I feel its a neat solution to the problem and I think its compelling enough that players wont mind watching a 15-30 second ad each time.
If the player fails the challenge then they are given the option to retry (by watching another ad):
At the moment there is only one type of challenge; "distance run", but I hope to have more types before the game launches. Some ideas are "fruit collection" where the player must collect a certain number of special nibbles (that are placed in strategic positions).
In addition to the challenges I have added a highscores button, it doesn't do much at the moment but I hope to have that up and running this week.