Friday, September 04, 2009

Noob Tools

Buy-in levels: Tourist, Customer, Fan

Experience levels: Noob, Player, Elite

Levels match each other roughly (but not always)

Noob needs are more distinct than the other two. In fact, many games allow the experience between players and elite result from a gradual progression, rather than a distinct shift in the game's focus when the gamer's status shifts.

Noobs, on the other hand, often require special attention in order to progress their status to the more rewarding Player status. Typically, Players find the attention Noobs require distasteful, so those features must be hidden as soon as they are no longer needed.

This means a game requires a robust 'Noob experience' that is clever enough to conceal itself as soon as it is no longer needed. The more complex the game, the more robust the Noob tools must be.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

This Isn't How It Was Supposed To Be

Despite what I do for a living, I don't actually buy that many PC games. Tonight's lesson explains why.

One of the first non-board games I ever played was the paper-and-dice Champions RPG. It's a cornerstone of my youth, and I still keep the books, though it's unlikely I'll every use them again. When I heard about Champions Online, I was sold.

Last weekend, I went to a BBQ with a bunch of my old gaming buddies, and they were all planning on getting Champions Online. I got excited, and when that happens, I act stupidly.

I talked my wife into letting me drop the $50 on the game and headed out to pick it up tonight. I haven't been this excited about a game since Spore (the last PC game I purchased.)

After two hours of frustration, I've come believe my laptop's video card isn't up to running Champions Online. I'm really, really upset. I've spent $50 that I don't think I'm getting back on a game I may never get to play. Buying a new computer is not an option. As I use a laptop I don't think getting a new video card is an option. It didn't occur to me the game wouldn't run AT ALL. I'm used to running with the graphics turned down, and that doesn't bother me.

Does. Not. Run. At. All.


This happened when I purchased the Orange Box for my old desktop machine a few years ago, but a $30 video card solved that problem. For the Orange Box it was worth it, but I don't have that option this time. I mad at myself for being so stupid about buying a game I can't play and I'm mad at Cryptic for building a game that I can't play.

This isn't how I was supposed to be feeling right now. I was supposed to be fighting crime right now. I guess the forces of evil will win this round.