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Satisfying an objective before "moving on"


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Oddly enough, after 10 years of mapping, I haven't needed to solve this situation yet.

I'm looking for suggestions that would seem natural and meet "expected gameplay".

Example ...

1. Objective "A" is satisfied in the western part of the map, where you start.

2. Doing so reveals "B", a new objective. "B" is satisfied in the eastern part of the map.

3. You leave the western part w/o satisfying "A", leaving yourself unaware of "B". Your objective list still shows "A" as unsatisfied.

4. It's a long long way from west to east in your map, and in a "DOH!" moment in the east, you realize you have to go back west to satisfy "A", then return east to finish.

5. You get irritated.

 

The question is: what are acceptable ways to remind/force the player to satisfy "A" before they depart for the eastern part of the map?

As I mentioned, I haven't needed to worry about this situation before, and am looking for examples of where others have solved it or thought about it.

Thanks!

 

 

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On 8/21/2020 at 6:15 PM, grayman said:

4. It's a long long way from west to east in your map, and in a "DOH!" moment in the east, you realize you have to go back west to satisfy "A", then return east to finish.

Perhaps the solution is to make the map smaller? Thief: Deadly Shadows seldom had this problem.

So, if there are few objectives, it won't be a problem having a big map to navigate. But if it's a compact, tiny map, not much to lose by making more objectives.

Ofc, it's always easier to remove/combine objectives than to make a big map/cut content from an already big map just for the sake of objectives.

 

Another solution is to make a script that blocks an area of the map until you complete objective A. For example RPGista had a great mission with a sequence that worked well in this sense. It can be seen at the end of the FM ”In Remembrance of Him”.

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I guess there is a reason why the player has to fulfill objective A before even beeing aware of objective B, despite the possibility to fulfill it? Besides reducing the map as suggested by Anderson, which whould reduce the pain of backtracking (it would still be there, though), you could alternatively only allow the player to enter the eastern part of the map when A is accomplished. Obviously both solutions aren't optimal and very gamey.

 

The most elegant solution would imho be if resolving objective A and afterwards moving to the east is only one way the mission could go, and that if the player moves to the east before resolving A, objective A simple becomes obsolete and a modified version of B is displayed. I guess this would be most intuitive, as in real life if you notice that you have forgotten something and it would be too tiresome to "get back" (whatever that means in the respective situation), you normally improvise.

It is hard to tell, though, without knowing what A and B are suppossed to be.

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Good comments by @Andersonand @Obsttorte. But if you’re looking for another ‘gamey’ option, you could implement some sort of Fast Travel mechanism. Perhaps an artifact the thief carries that when used transports then back to the western zone. That way at step 4 they aren’t irritated, they’re like “cool, I can use the Orb of Movement”. 

Of course, you’d have to explain why they have it, etc. 

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5 hours ago, Anderson said:

Another solution is to make a script that blocks an area of the map until you complete objective A.

This could be something that combines the two objectives. Like in point and click adventures, where you have to get some items (seemingly by accident), in order to complete objective A, that you later on realise that you need for objective B. As Obsttorte mentioned, it is difficult to give advice without any concrete scenario, but a general scenario for this case would be: Objecitve A is to get an item, you need to accomplisch objective B. When you pick up the item, you automatically pick up the key, you need to access the eastern part of the map. This way, you make sure that the way is only opened, as soon as the document was picked up. The main problem in this case is to make thes look "natural".

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Funny I am actually dealing with this problem right now.  To complicate things even more, I have the player collecting an item from A  and bringing it to location B to complete their objectives. So if they miss item at A (which ticks off objective A), they could go to B, back to A and then back to B again Its mind boggling, but Im sort of committed at this point.

 

This is my current "solution" I guess:

- Locked area B with a key that can only be found close to objective A. 

- Used a series of in-game readables / hints saying  the objective (or part of it, in my case) is satisfied in A.

- As a last resort placed another readable in area B that pretty much tells the player exactly where objective A is located. This in theory will relieve some frustration

- I also ended up shortening/ simplifying the map to make this all work, which was painful... lol

 

I guess really im just relying on the old keycard trick + some readables to help guide the player. I suppose the only real way to know is testing though.

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If objective A is the only active non-passive objective and the player already has enough information about where to go for it - then no further handholding is needed to guide him.
So just make sure, that the player knows where he should go next and you really don't need to ensure, that he really does so.

It almost never hurts to provide an alternate way of solving an objective.
But if you have fallback readables telling the player exactly where to do what - please make them disappear if the player solves the objective without them and hasn't been near them before.

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I don't know if this is possible, but it would seem to me the most immersive. Have an AI walk up to
and remind the player. It could be in the form of a hint. Probably a friendly thief. All he really needs
is a conversation setup, nothing tricky. The hard part is working out whether to call the AI or not. 

I really don't like text on screen as a prompt. It's like getting hit over the head

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5 hours ago, Abusimplea said:

But if you have fallback readables telling the player exactly where to do what - please make them disappear if the player solves the objective without them and hasn't been near them before.

I dont think its necessary to make them disappear.  If the readable is interesting to read and helps give the player a hint while staying in-world and believable than its worth keeping that content around.

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Depending on the size of the map and if such a change is possible afterwards, you could also try to provide a shortcut back. I think most players would not mind some backtracking, if it can be done quickly. The important thing is that it is accessible only from area B and also unlocks it for area A while arriving there. Something like a way on the rooftops where you lower down a ladder into area A or a way through the sewers, where the manhole cover is only unlockable from below in area A. The Dark Souls games have many of these designs, where you have a long way around and once you have succeeded along the long way, you can open some sort of shortcut. I always thought this to be nice game design.

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The first thing you can do is change the design a little where approaching Objective B will trigger B as the hidden objective, and give you (repeat) your revelation there.  That way they can at least go ahead and fulfill B while they're there and go back to A to fulfill it later, and from their perspective it looks like they were meant to do that. Basically you design it as if you expected the player to take either way in the fork, as if you meant for them to do that, where each side of the fork still gives new information so feels like a revelation and "progress" (it's just the order of revelation A->B vs. B->A works a little differently, but both independently work and look intended, and you get the same end result either way).

I did something a little like this in my FM with the hidden objective being triggered also as you approach it (I think through a nearby readable), so you could do things in different orders and it always flowed as if it was meant like that.

It's part of thinking in terms of non-linear, hub & spokes model level design, where you design it so the player could visit the spokes in any order and it feels like the "intended" progression the way you word readables, etc.

Another way is a "key" mechanism. You either can't get out of the "area" in the west part or enter the east part unless you fulfill A, where the act of fulfilling A itself gives you the "key" to make progress, although it doesn't have to be a literal key.

It's also something you can build into the level design. When a player enters a new area, they know there's "something to accomplish" there, and they shouldn't leave until they've gotten whatever they're supposed to get from it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for everyone's replies.

I've implemented a mechanism that gives me what I need. Nothing more than a simple "special locked door" which fits what I need perfectly.

 

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On 8/22/2020 at 5:41 PM, NeonsStyle said:

I don't know if this is possible, but it would seem to me the most immersive. Have an AI walk up to
and remind the player. It could be in the form of a hint. Probably a friendly thief.

This must be one of the most hilarious suggestions for a Thief-like game I've ever heard. Random "friendly thieves" appearing out of nowhere and telling the player to complete their objectives. Perhaps the player could be followed around through the entire mission by a squad of four friendly thieves, giving helpful hints at regular intervals. "Don't forget to use your water arrows, Dr Freeman!".

18 hours ago, grayman said:

I've implemented a mechanism that gives me what I need. Nothing more than a simple "special locked door" which fits what I need perfectly.

That seems to be the standard mechanism and will be well understood by players. It's a very common mechanic from MMOs and other games — activate the three pillars to unlock the sealed door and proceed to the next area etc.

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9 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

This must be one of the most hilarious suggestions for a Thief-like game I've ever heard. Random "friendly thieves" appearing out of nowhere and telling the player to complete their objectives. Perhaps the player could be followed around through the entire mission by a squad of four friendly thieves, giving helpful hints at regular intervals. "Don't forget to use your water arrows, Dr Freeman!".

lmao

 

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Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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