Achievements or not? Please share your thoughts


#1

Since Fallen Hero is nearing conclusion,I realized I had not put any thought into achievements. It is not something I normally care about, I find the pop-ups distracting when they happen, and they make it feel more like a game than a story.

BUT, I also realized I am not a typical player, most (?) games have them, right? So… what do people think? What purpose does achievements serve? Should there be a few? A lot? Would you react if a game did not have them?

This is new territory for me, so I welcome people’s thoughts on the subject.


#2

To me the question of whether or not to have achievements is a matter of asking…
Does the player want to get rewarded for playing?
Does the player’s reward come in the reading itself?
Does the achievement in question mark a path that was difficult to get to?

Whatever the question is, an achievement should be like any given word in a good poem.
(Placed for at least one good reason.)


#3

This is pretty much what I’ve done: Odd or fun scenes that not everyone will reach. I’m also planning on giving achievements for completing the game with each RO (or without trying to romance anyone), and for each ending (so everyone will get at least one achievement).


#4

Do you want your game on Steam? If you want, it needs achievements.


#5

Well, some people play for the story,
Others play for the achievements,
while the remaining simply want to find a media for their escapism.

As a gamer (the one who plays for the achievements), to be honest the lack of achievement can nudge me “Ey? wut?”

But I can see where you’re coming from. And I don’t mean that you should put tons of achievements to appeal this kind of audience :sweat_smile:

Probably, the most appropriate achievement is something like “You completed the game, congrats!” something like that. It’s pretty standard, but people might raise an eyebrow if such achievement doesn’t even exist.

Other achievements usually involve your story’s mystery path, or hidden branch, or something like that.
People would like to be complimented when they found a hidden path, and achievements do their job at such moments.

For the rest, I’ll give you 2 videos.
This one is about the type of gamer (and there’s “achievement-based gamer” on it)

And this one is about the achievement itself.

P.S. Sorry if this topic looks overwhelming to you :sweat_smile:
As a person who are not familiar with achievements, I can understand that. Besides, achievement only exist in gameplay-wise, not narrative-wise (although some authors can weave some unique narrative side to achievements (just like what I’m trying to do :smiling_imp:))


#6

Achievements can act as guide-posts or sign-posts informing your reader of multiple things. Think of them as part of your stat-mechanic structure and ways of warning, informing or congratulating your reader.

1: Warnings - These types of achievements will warn a reader that a consequence of their choices occurred. In your project as an example, achievements dealing with publicity, notoriety and well known vs achievements dealing with aliases, subversion and incognito will warn your readers that they are choosing paths that lead to certain conclusions.

Why is this important when they can look at the stat-page? Well, besides the fact that some readers will never look at the stats, it also serves as a blinking red light on your car’s dash - signalling to the reader that perhaps they should look at their stats now…

2: Informing - These type of achievements act like those highway signs showing what is available at the next off-ramp. The driver sees there is: food, gas, lodgings ahead. The reader is informed by the achievement that they broke through the friendship zone of Ortega, major kissing scene ahead if you chose correctly next choice-body … it prepares your reader for what lays ahead.

Copy-paste the stats thing here: this is important because some people never look at stats, so on and so forth.

3: Rewarding - These types of achievements can encourage completionists and readers to find obscure, difficult or unpopular branches of your story - a pat on the back will keep motivating many people into trying and trying again. In your story, if you have an achievement called: “Crashed Bridal Party” and it is awarded when they go through the plate glass window and literally crash into the display of a bridal party scene in a storefront - if someone did not do that, this would encourage your readers to try to do so. They would be rewarded with new prose, a path not taken by everyone else or some other accomplishment that makes them a special snowflake.

Why? Because everyone loves to be a special snowflake.


#7

Almost Everyone here us encouraging achievements but I have some different thoughts on the matter.

I personally find achievements a bit annoying because they break my immersion, sometimes they give spoilers ( most annoying ) about what will happen at the end of the text - like I choose shoot demon in the head and I am waiting for what will happen and then comes a pop up saying congrats you killed a demon, at that point I am like - come on at least let me read what the heck happened but I won’t pay much attention to details because I know what will happen.

So if you are going to incorporate achievements in game please place them carefully because if they break immersion - people will be less likely to give the game 5 stars.


#8

SO TRUE LOL :rofl:

Ah, I might start an old joke on that one :sweat_smile:


#9

I like them as a way of signalling that other story branches are available. Suppose I finish a game in which I defeated the dragon and rescued the princess. Then I look at the achievement list and see one which suggests I could have gone to Mars instead. What? I can do that? Replay time!


#10

Some sales platforms will let you see which achievements have been earned by players who bought the game, and how many of those players have earned any given achievement. (Steam does this, but it may not be unique in this regard.) As a result, you can also use achievements as something of a polling device. Curious to see how many players let male-Ortega keep his mustache, and how many beg him to shave it? Put achievements on the two routes and find out!

For example, here are Steam’s global achievement stats for The Hero of Kendrickstone. Some things I note when looking over those achievement stats: only 87.5% of players who own the game on Steam have finished the introduction. (“Leaving Home” is awarded to everyone who finishes the introduction, if I remember correctly.) Once the player’s character has settled in their new location, the title city, they choose which of three mentors they’ll train under. 46.1% have chosen the knight at least once, 43.1% have chosen the wizard at least once, and only 37.8% have chosen the crime lord at least once. As those three numbers sum to far greater than the 87.5% who completed the introduction, it becomes fairly clear that a reasonable number of players have re-played this section. It’s also clear that the crime lord is notably less appealing to players than either of the other two potential mentors.

The achievement stats for Mecha Ace tell us 59.0% of those who own the game through Steam have completed the main story at least once. Of those, only 21.8% have played with all variable-gender characters as female at least once. Even fewer, only 6.6%, have played with all variable-gender characters as male at least once.

So, maybe consider using some achievements to track things that will help you develop future stories? For example, what if Mecha Ace had achievements for “You have completed chapter X” at the beginning of every new chapter? Well, you’d see clearly whether player participation dropped off gradually and evenly throughout the story, or if participation stayed strong up to (but dropped off during) the chapter where the player’s character is captured by the enemy.


#11

I’m not a massive fan of achievements. Or more accurately, pointless achievements. “Congrats you’ve completed the intro” feels pointless and breaks immersion. Achievements should be something to be proud of. E.g completing the game with a certain set of criteria or finding some hidden little gem. Minor things you will always do just detract from them.

The other main appeal for achievements is giving people another reason to replay and try something a bit different. I would hope that the story itself would be enough to do this but everyone needs a helping hand now and again.

I think if I ever get to the point of putting in achievements then I would also include an option in the settings to turn them off for those who don’t like them (default to on though I guess).


#12

@Eiwynn all of your advice was very helpful to me, thank you—I tend to need to think more about how mechanics work in with parts of the game, so this was great.

Regarding stats—I think the warning/informing can also help cue readers in to what their stats mean. That can be a little obscure, especially for people who are not used to stats (or not used to stats in works of prose fiction), even if they are following the numbers.

When you reach ‘Informed: 80’ and get an achievement that says, ‘You’re only missing one more piece of the puzzle…’, that tells the player that they’ve solved most of a mystery, but not all. Similar idea with relationship achievements, I should think? Puts the stats into perspective with the game.

That’s an interesting idea. In which case, one could have an ‘achievements’ page as a final page and trigger them all then (so you’d see a list of achievements and have a little flurry of pop-ups once the game was over), possibly? Then the writer could make use of @Minnow’s point about tracking game activity via achievements, those who like achievements can have them in-game, and those who don’t only have to put up with it for one page at the very end.


#13

This is a good idea but two thoughts here:

1: Some prose writers are verbose and find it difficult to communicate within the limited space allocated to the pop-up. Although with Tweeting and such, this might be less an issue then it was a decade ago.

2: The popup is a fleeting and fading blub - again, people can go to the achievement page but will they and see point 1 for this too.


#14

Sorry to side track a little, but being able to track player choices would be such a great tool for authors to see how players are responding to their stories.

It would be awesome if there is a dashboard of sorts which tells you all the stats, % of people who played the entire game, dropout rates at each chapter, percentage who choose certain options etc etc during the beta phase so that authors will know where to tweak/focus on!


#16

Hmmm, sounds that perhaps an achievement page at the end might be a good compromise. If that is feasible to program. Like in Civ V…

Thank you so much for your thoughts, there are so many layers I didn’t even consider!


#17

There is already an achievement tab that gamers can use, like the stat tab … just a fyi, in case you are using an older version of CS to script in.


#18

I agree with @Miseri that they can really trigger the reader’s curiosity about replay value!

And that’s exactly what you want as an author, in my opinion. You want readers exploring every nook and cranny of your story. I think that’s how you convert someone from a casual (“oh, I read it once, it was pretty good”) reader to a committed (“It was awesome! I played it for 16 hours straight!”) type of reader.

The first type of reader is unlikely to follow you on social media or commit to buying your next release. You made a sale, but not necessarily a fan.

The second type of reader will do those things. Give them lots of reasons to keep digging around in your story. And yes, you can encourage that without achievements, through things like "selectable if*, but achievements are a big shiny sign that say “Hey there’s so much more than what you read! Pick me up again! Find this :1st_place_medal: and this :2nd_place_medal: and this :3rd_place_medal: and maybe even this :trophy:!”


#19
Achievements seem to work correctly when stuffed inside *if commands. Unless I'm overlooking something important, it shouldn't be very difficult to give players a choice to achieve everything "live" or all at once at the end.
*title Code Test
*author @Minnow

*scene_list
  startup

*create achievements true
*create achieved_1 false
*create achieved_2 false
*create achieved_3 false

*achievement achievement_1 visible 10 Number One
  Select the first achievement option.
  Selected the first achievement option.
*achievement achievement_2 visible 10 Number Two
  Select the second achievement option.
  Selected the second achievement option.
*achievement achievement_3 visible 10 Number Three
  Select the third achievement option.
  Selected the third achievement option.

*label decision
Do you want to unlock achievements "live," as their requirements are fulfilled, or would you rather unlock them all at once at the end?
*choice
  #"Game" mode: show achievements as they're fulfilled.
    *goto next
  #"Immersion" mode: show all achievements at once at the end.
    *set achievements false
    *goto next
*label next

Choose your achievement.
*choice
  #Skip to the end.
    *goto the_end
  #Take the first one.
    *if (achievements)
      *achieve achievement_1
      You've taken the first one.
      *goto next
    *else
      *set achieved_1 true
      You've taken the first one.
      *goto next
  #Take the second one.
    *if (achievements)
      *achieve achievement_2
      You've taken the second one.
      *goto next
    *else
      *set achieved_2 true
      You've taken the second one.
      *goto next
  #Take the third one.
    *if (achievements)
      *achieve achievement_3
      You've taken the third one.
      *goto next
    *else
      *set achieved_3 true
      You've taken the third one.
      *goto next
*label the_end
*if not (achievements)
  *if (achieved_1)
    *achieve achievement_1
  *if (achieved_2)
    *achieve achievement_2
  *if (achieved_3)
    *achieve achievement_3
The end!
*ending

#20

This is definitely appealing to me. At least for the first run through a game and then if I decide I’m hunting achievements (pretty rare for me) you could just switch it back the next time you play.


#21

I’ve played around a bit with programming achievements now, and it looks like I will go for the player having a choice to either show them the the normal kind (placed slightly after the event to avoid spoilers) or having a final achievement page. That way people have a choice.

What I am pondering now is the balance between visible and hidden achievements. In order to show there is more to find, visible (but cryptic) achievements might serve a function, but which ones should I have hidden?

For example, various romantic achievements might be good to have open because it shows people they are possible, without spoling overmuch. Same with general milestone plot points. Rare, hard things might also be good to have visible because they’re harder to put in context, and showing that they are there might be good at spurring on.

But what would be good to have hidden? Any thoughts!

Seriously, you’ve been so helpful, it feels like I’m starting to understand what can actually be done with achievements rather than just see it as an irritant. Broadening my horizons :slight_smile: