Locked content considered harmful

Locked content considered harmful

Postby Wuzzy » 30 Jun 2018, 05:19

A lot of content in STK is locked in a fresh install. At the beginning, only 5 out of 21 tracks are unlocked. A lot of content is locked by default and the only way to unlock them is by playing Story Mode.

I think this is a design flaw and makes STK more annoying to use. It adds no gameplay value. Tracks are essential to the game, it's bad that most tracks are unplayable at the beginning.

IMO the only things which should be locked are the Gnu and Nolok karts and the challenges in Story Mode. Everything else, especially tracks, should not be locked at all.

The reason is that if you have a fresh install and just want to play with a friend, you already run into problems and you basically have to cheat. The following thread is perfect evidence: https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7924

Who agrees with me?
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Arthur » 30 Jun 2018, 09:52

Your stated reason hasn't been true for a while, since now when you play multiplayer all tracks are available.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 30 Jun 2018, 13:57

I would disagree with the term "harmful". "Annoying", "bad gameplay", but not "harmful".

I do tend to agree that locking tracks adds nothing meaningful. Actually, I think locking karts adds nothing meaningful, too. I think the reason people like it in games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart is because it makes them feel like they're getting new stuff, but in those cases they don't know what they'll be getting or when. Besides, STK already gets that through the add-ons system, except it's really new stuff rather than an illusion of new stuff.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Alayan » 01 Jul 2018, 06:21

onpon4 {l Wrote}:I do tend to agree that locking tracks adds nothing meaningful. Actually, I think locking karts adds nothing meaningful, too. I think the reason people like it in games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart is because it makes them feel like they're getting new stuff, but in those cases they don't know what they'll be getting or when.

I fail to see why what is applicable to those games wouldn't be to STK ? In pretty much any game, unlockables give a sense of progress.

I guess some things are less hidden in STK than they are in those games, but considering anybody can easily look up on the internet what karts are available for unlock, etc, in MK, and what are the conditions ; I don't know if it matters much ? STK showing that a locked thing exists avoids somebody thinking that the game has less content than it does.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby 0zone0ne » 01 Jul 2018, 06:45

Mario Kart doesn't lock the majority of its tracks by default... as far as I can remember it's never more than half of them, and in most cases is less than half. I can't remember what portion of STK's tracks are locked by default, but I think starting with half of the tracks locked is a good compromise between giving the player enough tracks to get started, and giving them something to progress toward.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 01 Jul 2018, 14:08

I fail to see why what is applicable to those games wouldn't be to STK ?

Because those games didn't have an online add-on system; what you got was what you had, and having unlockable stuff was the only way they could make players feel like the game was expanding. With STK, and I assume with current versions of those proprietary games I mentioned (I don't know for sure since I haven't played the most recent ones), this need is obsolete. I don't think it's worth the downside of inconveniencing players switching to other computers or installing new systems, and making much less of the game accessible in single-player at the beginning.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby leilei » 02 Jul 2018, 22:03

Wuzzy {l Wrote}:I think this is a design flaw and makes STK more annoying to use. It adds no gameplay value. Tracks are essential to the game, it's bad that most tracks are unplayable at the beginning.

Perhaps you just hate video games.

Progression mechanics are essential and are underrated in the world of repositories. Backup your save or just shut up and cheat and be left with a less satisfying player experience.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby QwertyChouskie » 02 Jul 2018, 22:11

Although unlocking tracks is important, OzoneOne is right in that more (half) should be unlocked at the beginning. IMO Cocoa Temple should definitely be unlocked at the beginning, its great gameplay would give a good first impression of STK.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Wuzzy » 03 Jul 2018, 04:07

ROFL.
I do not hate video games, where did that crazy idea come from? I have beaten the Story Mode with 100% gold long time ago, multiple times. It's not that STK is too hard for me (quite the opposite). So that's not the point.

OK, I like to be clear here first. The biggest point for me is clearly tracks. As for locking other content, it's not such a big issue. I am open to accept smaller changes / compromises to the way how unlocking works as well. It doesn't have to be a radical change. but I think the current system needs rethinking to some extent.

I agree with others that locking 16 out of 21 tracks at the beginning is just too much. If you start the game, you might not want to go into Story Mode, maybe you just want to race on few ordinary races, or “follow the leader” or other special races (which are not even offerered in Story Mode!). But the game currently forces you to play Story Mode first. Hmmm …

Some players just want to jump right into the action with their favourite tracks in their faviourite game mode, and not into the game mode the game tells them to play. Keep in mind that Story Mode is the only mode which unlocks stuff. Especially when you install STK freshly on a friend's computer, this could be a bit annoying. This is not hypothetical.
The following thread was THE reason why I have posted this thread:
https://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7924
It's just wrong you have to cheat to be able to play with your friend on more than just 5 tracks. Completing Story Mode just for that is impractical, as it's singleplayer. Copying a savegame is possible, but not convenient, people tend to forget things as well.

I do understand the idea giving the game a feel of progress. However, you have to admit this idea currently falls apart when you realize you can just install add-on tracks which are all unlocked by default. This is kind of ironic. :D
The same is true for locked grands prix. Why unlocking grands prix when you can just click your own?

Overall, IMO the unlocking mechanic isn't really well designed.

Yes, the game should definitely have a sense of progression. But I think that's what Story Mode is for (and good at!). In Story Mode, the unlocking (of challenges) absolutely makes sense.
Note: As for me, I have never felt a sense of progression merely for unlocking tracks (i.e. tracks in the other game modes). I have just simply completed Story Mode in one go, then I had unlocked everything anyway. I did not complete Story Mode only to unlock Gnu, or to unlock a particular track. I completed Story Mode because I wanted to complete Story Mode. That's the point! I doubt that there are many STK players who played Story Mode only to unlock something in particular.


Here is an interesting talk about intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h86g-XgUCA8
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 03 Jul 2018, 13:37

Progression mechanics are essential

In some form, sure, but in the case of a racing game, the important progression mechanic is within a single race, not being required to play a crappy story mode before you can play your favorite tracks. If unlockable content is so essential, why don't AssaultCube, Xonotic, Teeworlds, Freeciv, MegaGlest, Warzone 2100, Hedgewars, Battle Tanks, Red Eclipse, or OpenArena have it? Are these all bad games because they don't have long-term "progression" and instead focus on the experience of a single match?

Let's take Warzone 2100 as a good example of a game that has both a campaign and "skirmishes", just simple rounds. Would Warzone 2100 gain anything by locking a bunch of skirmish maps until the campaign is beaten? Of course not. Not everyone is going to like the campaign, and not everyone who likes the campaign is going to have the patience to beat it, especially not multiple times (which will inevitably become necessary when you lose your save data).

I can actually only think of one other libre game that has an unlockable thing, Alex the Allegator 4. In that case, the unlockable content is just a scrolling shooter. That works because the scrolling shooter isn't mentioned at all anywhere until it's unlocked, is nothing like the regular game (which is a platformer), and isn't exactly something you're going to go crazy over (it's just a standard scrolling shooter). So it's unknown and unimportant. It makes it so that when you 100% the game (that's what unlocks it), you think, "Oh, cool! I just unlocked a little mini-game!" and you feel rewarded for your efforts. But it doesn't make a new player think things like, "Come on, I've got to 100% this stupid game so I can play that mini-game!" because they don't know about it, and even if they've heard of it somewhere, they know it's nowhere near as great as the actual game.

Let's compare that to SuperTuxKart. Here, we have the story mode, which as I said is really crappy; you're pretty much just playing a bunch of pre-defined races, which you could easily have done on your own if the game wasn't locking up the tracks. The fun part is to just pick a track and mode and race. And it's less fun when you have fewer tracks to choose from. It would be bad enough if the locked tracks were hidden and made the game look smaller, but instead, the locked tracks are shown and make you frustrated that the game won't let you play that interesting-looking track until you play a crappy story mode. And some of these tracks really are very nice.

If all tracks are always unlocked in multiplayer, that's good, but I think the solo player trying the game out for the first time should be kept in mind, too. How many people come to STK as solo players, only play what's available to them in the beginning, conclude that STK is less good than it is because they don't get the full experience, and then never even try multiplayer because of it? It can't be good for the game's popularity.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby GeekPenguinBR » 03 Jul 2018, 19:51

Let me add my humble opinion about this subject. I will divide my post in tw parts:

1. The locked tracks; and,
2. The Story mode.

Part I - The Locked Tracks
Personally, I don't like much the idea of locked tracks. In my personal case, I constantly face an annoying issue: a lot of tracks, turn back to the locked state if I don't play STK for more than 3 weeks.
Pistas Bloqueadas - Copia.png


The issue remains no matter the computer. I have experienced this using two different PCs. Maybe it's my fault for not properly removing the previous version or something, but it's a real issue.

Anyway, I think that locked tracks are not needed for more emotion or any sensation of progress. The game can make the new players feel rewarded by their efforts if they 1. reach upper categories and/or 2. New tracks or packages are available to play.

1. The progress as driver can be achieved unlocking the modes based on experience. Ex. The new player drives on 3 tracks to complete the requirements. Then, he/she sees the message "You have unlocked an upper category ". "Now, the 'Experient Driver' level is unlocked".
2. After completing the dares, the new player may have access to a)new tracks, b)championships and c)packages of tracks on Add ons.

Here, I come back to my idea about the packages.

The game would be organized in two parts:
1. The official tracks, arenas and soccer games made by the developers or contributors and approved to be included in the main game.
2. The thematic packages made exclusively by contributors. What kind of packages? Groups of tracks with some similarity in environment, era, subject or level of difficulty. Then, we could have packages like:

Sea Side - Formed by a group of add on tracks placed in a sea or with some proximity (beach, for example).
Sand Stormy - Tracks on deserts.
Time Machine or Time Traveler - Tracks where the player go the past or the future to drive in the pre-historic time, old Egypt, Middle Ages, wild West, cyber futuristic metropolis, etc.

In any case, any track could be part of two or more different packages. Ex. "Shifting Sands" could be one of the tracks on "Time Traveler" package and "Sand Stormy" and "100 Nights" (a hypothetical package with a Middle Eastern theme). The packages don't need to be downloaded with the main game. The sequence remains normal:

I. The new player download and install the game;
II. The new player drives on the tracks with dares to win.
III. As soon as he/she complete the required track(s), a message appear informing the access to the tracks/packages on the add on list.

It's simple and doesn't add or increase the work for the developers.



Part II - The Story Mode

The Opening Cutscene
Well, that introductory animation on the history mode is already outdated, don't you agree? I don't know if the developers are doing another one new in secret. In this case, let's see what they have to put on the game replacing that old one "movie". If not, two possible ways:

1. The newest introduction to the history mode could be done by a contributor. So, the developers or the community could choose between:

a) another animation in 3D;
b) an Opening Cutscene like a history book as seen in "Cup Head" or a comic book; or
https://youtu.be/GuHm-BYUq9w?t=46s

The overworld envinronment may be replaced by a smart and very friendly user interface with a map, a panel or any other graphic that shows the possibilities for the new player to play the obligatory tracks to access the upper categories. In this case, the possibilities are diverse in every way in terms of visual, commands and buttons, etc.: High tech themed, old book, scroll down, ...

I can upload concrete examples of what I mean for Opening Cutscene and user interface. In my mind, the simplest opening chosen should be like it is in "Cup Head": simple screens, one after one showing the history behind the game. Ex.

Page 1 starts "One upon a time when a princess called Sara lived in her castle...".
Page 2 continues the narrative showing a new screen: "... however, one day, the peaceful reign was disturbed by an undesired visit: Nolok, the king of the Lava Empire took the decision to get the reign of Sara at any cost.."
Page 3 continues: "...Then, Nolok arrived decided to kidnap Sara and put her as a prisoner in the dungeon in his volcanic castle, bla, bla, bla"

Everything told as an old book or a comic book. No animation. No 3D objects. No "heavy" and big files to demand effort by the part of the players' GPU. Then, the player access the panel or map showing the icons/buttons to click. Every button or icon would be correspondent to some track to drive and has it name.

I'm not able to do this at the moment (I mean exactly now), but I can draw my idea of opening in a storyboard and/or a new user interface to replace the history mode Over World map if the developers have an interest to see my suggestions.

PS. The word Story was practically abolished in Portuguese, so, I may have used history instead story at some point.
Last edited by GeekPenguinBR on 04 Jul 2018, 13:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Auria » 04 Jul 2018, 00:34

Hi,

many walls of texts were written here and I don't have time to answer everything, so here's a few notes.

Story mode might not be perfect, granted, and we probably need a better way to unlock everything for players who don't care about it, not too sure how to present that. One important feature of story mode is also to serve as a bit of a tutorial, presenting the easier tracks first, and the hardest tracks in the end. The overworld also is a safe space for beginners to experiment with the controls. Story mode is inspired by the similar modes found in games such as Diddy kong racing and Crash them racing. No, it's not perfect, but just because you don't enjoy it doesn't mean no one does. These things are hard to balance, half our players really like it and the other half doesn't care much for it. It's hard to balance, so maybe we can figure a way to make it optional.

About the community creating more tracks, well we already have the addons, and unfortunately at the moment we have very few good quality addons. So I don't think it's realistic to just say "community members will help make more tracks", as the reality is that there just aren't

About the cutscene, agreed it needs improvements. We have no artist/developer available to make a new one at this time though, as always manpower is the big limiting factor.

We have lots of ideas for improvements, but writing about them is very different from actually implementing them unfortunately
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 04 Jul 2018, 05:14

I think you're too married to the idea of unlockable tracks.

This is the way I see it: suppose half of the player base likes story mode. Well, great. I don't propose eliminating the story mode. But what about the other half who don't want to play the story mode?

Yes, story mode should absolutely be optional, and there's a very simple way to do that: get rid of unlockable content. Make it all available right from the start. If you need to give awards for story mode, add an achievements system that gives you trophies or something else that doesn't really matter.

As far as how often new tracks are made, so what? The locked tracks are static, so even if the add-on tracks remain static forever, it's exactly the same situation. The only difference is that add-ons can be installed without playing a particular game mode that you may or may not like.

Here's something I'd like to see an answer to: why, concretely, do you think STK needs locked tracks and features?
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby 0zone0ne » 04 Jul 2018, 05:44

Unlockable content in games exists to reward players for completing challenges and making progress. A lot of the time, unlocks are used to deliberately restrict the player to more basic gameplay at the start of the game, and gradually open up into more experience-based and skill-based gameplay (e.g. more difficult and complex tracks). Unlockable content is an integral part of game design.

However, if Wuzzy is right about the number of tracks being available at the start being just five out of 21 (I can't check right now), that's definitely an excessive use of unlockable content. I stand by what I said earlier - half, or slightly less than half, of the tracks should be locked by default. This is a good compromise between giving the player variety when they begin to play, and saving enough of the tracks to reward them as they progress through the game.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Arthur » 04 Jul 2018, 11:10

onpon4 {l Wrote}:
Progression mechanics are essential

In some form, sure, but in the case of a racing game, the important progression mechanic is within a single race, not being required to play a crappy story mode before you can play your favorite tracks. If unlockable content is so essential, why don't AssaultCube, Xonotic, Teeworlds, Freeciv, MegaGlest, Warzone 2100, Hedgewars, Battle Tanks, Red Eclipse, or OpenArena have it? Are these all bad games because they don't have long-term "progression" and instead focus on the experience of a single match?

Let's take Warzone 2100 as a good example of a game that has both a campaign and "skirmishes", just simple rounds. Would Warzone 2100 gain anything by locking a bunch of skirmish maps until the campaign is beaten? Of course not. Not everyone is going to like the campaign, and not everyone who likes the campaign is going to have the patience to beat it, especially not multiple times (which will inevitably become necessary when you lose your save data).

I can actually only think of one other libre game that has an unlockable thing, Alex the Allegator 4. In that case, the unlockable content is just a scrolling shooter. That works because the scrolling shooter isn't mentioned at all anywhere until it's unlocked, is nothing like the regular game (which is a platformer), and isn't exactly something you're going to go crazy over (it's just a standard scrolling shooter). So it's unknown and unimportant. It makes it so that when you 100% the game (that's what unlocks it), you think, "Oh, cool! I just unlocked a little mini-game!" and you feel rewarded for your efforts. But it doesn't make a new player think things like, "Come on, I've got to 100% this stupid game so I can play that mini-game!" because they don't know about it, and even if they've heard of it somewhere, they know it's nowhere near as great as the actual game.

Let's compare that to SuperTuxKart. Here, we have the story mode, which as I said is really crappy; you're pretty much just playing a bunch of pre-defined races, which you could easily have done on your own if the game wasn't locking up the tracks. The fun part is to just pick a track and mode and race. And it's less fun when you have fewer tracks to choose from. It would be bad enough if the locked tracks were hidden and made the game look smaller, but instead, the locked tracks are shown and make you frustrated that the game won't let you play that interesting-looking track until you play a crappy story mode. And some of these tracks really are very nice.

If all tracks are always unlocked in multiplayer, that's good, but I think the solo player trying the game out for the first time should be kept in mind, too. How many people come to STK as solo players, only play what's available to them in the beginning, conclude that STK is less good than it is because they don't get the full experience, and then never even try multiplayer because of it? It can't be good for the game's popularity.


I find it interesting how you don't mention SuperTux given that you as far as I remember are intimately familiar with it due to making a similar game with many of the same art assets. SuperTux has locked levels with progression needed to unlock them (unless editing the config), and it has an add-on system with extra levels available right from the start.

For a racing game example, albeit proprietary, there's the very successful TrackMania franchise which has different difficulty levels with only a few (3 if I remember correctly) tracks within each difficulty unlocked from the beginning. Most tracks are in fact locked and you need to beat a ghost replay per track in order to unlock the next track.

And I don't understand the argument that because people know there's lots of extra content to be unlocked they give up on the game - if they don't know there's more to unlock they would probably conclude there just isn't much content. And given the prevalence of locking content for progress I don't see that it's harmful like the topic title (in a baiting fashion) suggests.

I do agree we could have fewer tracks locked, and maybe a few more karts instead.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 04 Jul 2018, 15:00

? I don't mention SuperTux because it's a completely different type of game. All the games on that list have a couple things in common: they're multiplayer, and they either have no sort of journey or have modes without some sort of journey.

I'm not suggesting that Warzone 2100 should have its campaign set so that you can go to any point whenever you like. That's absurd because the campaign is something you're supposed to progress through. Starting in the middle is not a proper experience. But the skirmishes of course don't require you to "progress" by "unlocking" maps, because that would be absurd.

Applying this to STK, of course challenges should be locked within story mode. That doesn't mean that tracks and game modes should be locked in the regular racing mode.

For a racing game example, albeit proprietary, there's the very successful TrackMania franchise which has different difficulty levels with only a few (3 if I remember correctly) tracks within each difficulty unlocked from the beginning. Most tracks are in fact locked and you need to beat a ghost replay per track in order to unlock the next track.

I've never heard of it, but more importantly, "another game does it" doesn't explain how STK benefits from locked tracks and locked game modes. Should STK also introduce a permadeath (loss of all progression) feature because games like Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario Bros, and Sonic the Hedgehog have such a thing? Should it introduce dead-end states that force you to go back to a previous save because the successful King's Quest series does so? Or should it include "freemium" stuff because that's common in other games?

Now, don't get me wrong, the whole locked tracks nonsense isn't a deal-breaker for me; it's easy enough to just modify the config file to say that I unlocked everything. But I do think it's a misguided design flaw; I see no reason for it and see some potential for it to drive new players away.

And I don't understand the argument that because people know there's lots of extra content to be unlocked they give up on the game - if they don't know there's more to unlock they would probably conclude there just isn't much content.

You have a point. The "frustrated" event is an optimistic result. The pessimistic result is that they simply ignore it entirely and judge the game as they saw it, so for example, if they missed the game mode and track that would have made them love the game, they'll leave thinking the game is just a mediocre Mario Kart ripoff and never come back.

Unlockable content in games exists to reward players for completing challenges and making progress.

There are much better ways to do this. An achievements or trophy system, for example. It works just as well to encourage people to progress without hampering the fun of just racing.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Arthur » 04 Jul 2018, 21:52

onpon4 {l Wrote}:I've never heard of it, but more importantly, "another game does it" doesn't explain how STK benefits from locked tracks and locked game modes. Should STK also introduce a permadeath (loss of all progression) feature because games like Ninja Gaiden, Super Mario Bros, and Sonic the Hedgehog have such a thing? Should it introduce dead-end states that force you to go back to a previous save because the successful King's Quest series does so? Or should it include "freemium" stuff because that's common in other games?

Now, don't get me wrong, the whole locked tracks nonsense isn't a deal-breaker for me; it's easy enough to just modify the config file to say that I unlocked everything. But I do think it's a misguided design flaw; I see no reason for it and see some potential for it to drive new players away.

And I don't understand the argument that because people know there's lots of extra content to be unlocked they give up on the game - if they don't know there's more to unlock they would probably conclude there just isn't much content.

You have a point. The "frustrated" event is an optimistic result. The pessimistic result is that they simply ignore it entirely and judge the game as they saw it, so for example, if they missed the game mode and track that would have made them love the game, they'll leave thinking the game is just a mediocre Mario Kart ripoff and never come back.

Unlockable content in games exists to reward players for completing challenges and making progress.

There are much better ways to do this. An achievements or trophy system, for example. It works just as well to encourage people to progress without hampering the fun of just racing.

You didn't mention SuperTux because it's a different type of game but think Ninja Gaiden etc have relevance? Curious. At least I gave a franchise of racing games best suited for multiplayer as an example of someone doing something very similar. Or was it an attempt at an argument of the type reductio ad absurdum?

If someone stops playing STK thinking it's a mediocre Mario Kart ripoff I really really doubt more tracks would convince him/her otherwise. You seem to be grasping at straws here, trying to convince us that something we've been doing for many years is something that's keeping people from playing the game. I'm sure you can find a couple people claiming so if you look hard enough, but I would still find the credibility of that to be low. Similarly, if all tracks were unlocked from the beginning, they could play through each one once and then stop playing, also coming to the conclusion that STK is a mediocre MK ripoff.

There isn't much of a likelihood that the outcome would change drastically based on the number of available tracks from the start, and they are informed there are more tracks to play if they spend more than five minutes on the game. Either people find the gameplay fun enough to repeat, at which point they can easily just do so in the story mode and get more tracks to play, or they'll find within a very short amount of time (and tracks) that it isn't something they enjoy, so more tracks would most likely be irrelevant.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 05 Jul 2018, 04:36

You didn't mention SuperTux because it's a different type of game but think Ninja Gaiden etc have relevance?

No, of course not. Random games were brought up to point out that just because a popular game did it doesn't mean this game should do it. Even within a category or genre, different games are different and popular games do things wrong. King's Quest has the whole thing where you can get stuck because of a wrong choice you made and force you to go back to a previous save or start all over. But that doesn't mean that Flight of the Amazon Queen is wrong not to do this. It's a design flaw, and the fact that it's in a popular or successful game doesn't make it a good thing.

Furthermore, just because a design choice is good for one game doesn't make it good for another. I can't comment on whether the whole unlockable content thing applies to that game you mentioned, because as I said, I never heard of it (and never played it). But even if it was a good thing there, it doesn't follow that it would be a good thing in STK.

The reason all the games I mentioned are not racing games is because I've literally only played three popular racing games: Super Mario Kart, F-Zero, and F-Zero X. Among those, I can't think of any particular decision that I'm sure is a design flaw other than unlockable content itself, which wouldn't have worked as an example because that's the very thing we're debating here.

Or was it an attempt at an argument of the type reductio ad absurdum?

Yes. That would be the short version.

You seem to be grasping at straws here, trying to convince us that something we've been doing for many years is something that's keeping people from playing the game.

And why is that an absurd suggestion? You don't know how many people download the game, play it, and then never do so again because they don't like it. That's what happens; people rarely complain, they just leave and never come back. Given that you don't even know who they are, you're never going to notice.

And it's not like STK is a super-popular game. Far from it, any time I've ever brought STK up, the people I've talked to either never heard of it or know it as "that open source Mario Kart clone".

By the way, it's not just tracks, it's game modes, too. If anything, I'd say that it's even more important for game modes to all be unlocked from the start.

they could play through each one once and then stop playing, also coming to the conclusion that STK is a mediocre MK ripoff.

Do you suppose, then, that locked tracks makes people play races (which does not unlock tracks) more often? I find that an absurd proposition. I think if all anyone wants to do is explore through the game and forget about it, first of all, they're not this game's target audience, but second of all, whether tracks are locked or not is going to have no effect on how far they get through the story mode and what they think of it.

There isn't much of a likelihood that the outcome would change drastically based on the number of available tracks from the start

This is a 180 from what you said before.

So then, why not just unlock them and avoid the hassle, if it's not having any significant effects?
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Arthur » 05 Jul 2018, 13:18

You seem to be grasping at straws here, trying to convince us that something we've been doing for many years is something that's keeping people from playing the game.

And why is that an absurd suggestion? You don't know how many people download the game, play it, and then never do so again because they don't like it. That's what happens; people rarely complain, they just leave and never come back. Given that you don't even know who they are, you're never going to notice.

And it's not like STK is a super-popular game. Far from it, any time I've ever brought STK up, the people I've talked to either never heard of it or know it as "that open source Mario Kart clone".

By the way, it's not just tracks, it's game modes, too. If anything, I'd say that it's even more important for game modes to all be unlocked from the start.

they could play through each one once and then stop playing, also coming to the conclusion that STK is a mediocre MK ripoff.

Do you suppose, then, that locked tracks makes people play races (which does not unlock tracks) more often? I find that an absurd proposition. I think if all anyone wants to do is explore through the game and forget about it, first of all, they're not this game's target audience, but second of all, whether tracks are locked or not is going to have no effect on how far they get through the story mode and what they think of it.

There isn't much of a likelihood that the outcome would change drastically based on the number of available tracks from the start

This is a 180 from what you said before.

So then, why not just unlock them and avoid the hassle, if it's not having any significant effects?

Ah, the "where's your data" question. Thing is, it's you and Wuzzy asserting that it's harmful with locked content, which is the status quo, so it's actually on you to come with data or arguments to convince us to change things.
And "it's not like STK is a super popular game" can't be a relevant argument if TrackMania having such a system and being super popular doesn't show such a system is possible with a popular game. Quoting from Wikipedia:
Due to the success of the TrackMania series, Guinness World Records awarded the games six world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These include "Biggest Online Race", "Most Popular Online Racing Sim" and "Largest Content Base of Any Racing Game", with hundreds of thousands of user created tracks and hundreds of unique cars available for download.


Where did I ever say that STK has a bigger chance of success due to locking tracks? I'm saying it probably doesn't matter much either way, but now we have a way of ensuring people play the easier tracks first and unlock more difficult tracks later, instead of people running into Old Mine and XR591 as their first tracks and finding it too difficult and giving up from that. I don't find that to be a very likely outcome either for people enjoying the game, but no less likely than your assertion that fewer tracks available from the start leads to people who'd otherwise enjoy the game to leave it.

Hassle? If having to redo a couple challenges a year and all of them every few years is such a hassle, we could just implement syncing challenge completion with the online accounts. Might not be more work than changing all the challenges and find something else for people to do in the story mode.

Again, you're the one wanting to change the status quo, and "I don't like it" isn't a very compelling argument for us to do more work.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 05 Jul 2018, 15:39

Thing is, it's you and Wuzzy asserting that it's harmful with locked content

No, please look back again. My very first post in this thread was disputing that claim.

I have a different claim: that it's pointless and not worth the (admittedly minor) setbacks.

which is the status quo, so it's actually on you to come with data or arguments to convince us to change things.

Which I did. Not data, but arguments.

And "it's not like STK is a super popular game" can't be a relevant argument if TrackMania having such a system and being super popular doesn't show such a system is possible with a popular game.

You're doing this a lot. You're misapplying things I'm saying to other things that are not related. The fact that STK is not popular is an argument against your implication that because you have been doing it "for many years", it must be having a positive effect or no negative effect. It's an invalid argument, and I pointed out that STK is not popular because that fact is inconsistent with your implication.

Where did I ever say that STK has a bigger chance of success due to locking tracks?

You didn't say that specifically, but your mention of Track Mania seemed to me to strongly imply that were in favor of the locked content and considered it to be a positive.

now we have a way of ensuring people play the easier tracks first and unlock more difficult tracks later, instead of people running into Old Mine and XR591 as their first tracks and finding it too difficult and giving up from that.

Aha! Now we're getting somewhere. Convincing players to start with the easier stuff. That is a goal I can get behind.

Now, to achieve this goal, you don't need to lock tracks. You only need to hide them, perhaps behind an "Advanced Tracks" menu or some such thing. Then beginners see a nice list of the easy, basic tracks to start with, but they also see that more are available (and calling them "basic" and "advanced" tracks gets the message across that the "advanced" / harder tracks are more fun to play). That sounds like a nice solution, no? I'd certainly be willing to implement it.

Of course, this motive does not apply to alternative racing modes. I still see no reason to lock those.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Arthur » 05 Jul 2018, 19:34

onpon4 {l Wrote}:
Thing is, it's you and Wuzzy asserting that it's harmful with locked content

No, please look back again. My very first post in this thread was disputing that claim.

I have a different claim: that it's pointless and not worth the (admittedly minor) setbacks.

which is the status quo, so it's actually on you to come with data or arguments to convince us to change things.

Which I did. Not data, but arguments.

And "it's not like STK is a super popular game" can't be a relevant argument if TrackMania having such a system and being super popular doesn't show such a system is possible with a popular game.

You're doing this a lot. You're misapplying things I'm saying to other things that are not related. The fact that STK is not popular is an argument against your implication that because you have been doing it "for many years", it must be having a positive effect or no negative effect. It's an invalid argument, and I pointed out that STK is not popular because that fact is inconsistent with your implication.

Where did I ever say that STK has a bigger chance of success due to locking tracks?

You didn't say that specifically, but your mention of Track Mania seemed to me to strongly imply that were in favor of the locked content and considered it to be a positive.

now we have a way of ensuring people play the easier tracks first and unlock more difficult tracks later, instead of people running into Old Mine and XR591 as their first tracks and finding it too difficult and giving up from that.

Aha! Now we're getting somewhere. Convincing players to start with the easier stuff. That is a goal I can get behind.

Now, to achieve this goal, you don't need to lock tracks. You only need to hide them, perhaps behind an "Advanced Tracks" menu or some such thing. Then beginners see a nice list of the easy, basic tracks to start with, but they also see that more are available (and calling them "basic" and "advanced" tracks gets the message across that the "advanced" / harder tracks are more fun to play). That sounds like a nice solution, no? I'd certainly be willing to implement it.

Of course, this motive does not apply to alternative racing modes. I still see no reason to lock those.

First off, I'm sorry for misattributing the harmful allegation to you. I'm reading and writing this on my phone since I'm away from home for a few days, and this forum isn't very good for a 5" phone screen, so I didn't check to make sure I understood you correctly, which I should have. Incidentally it's also why I don't do like you and divide quotes in a nice fashion.

The reason I brought up TrackMania was because you brought up a number of games earlier not locking content, so I wanted to give a popular counterexample. You claimed locking tracks can't be good for STKs popularity, and didn't have anything to back that up with. I don't think it matters much either way, and progressing in difficulty is an often used game design choice.

Hiding more difficult tracks in a different category is possible, but we've already had people asking where the add-ons they installed went to, when the select track screen has tabs for choosing between categories like All, Standard and Add-Ons. Not sure, but I think we made All the default selection for that reason, with people not finding the add-ons they just installed. So having an Advanced category would bring us back to the issue that people could think there are just the tracks in the default selection. And if All is the default, well then we no longer have any meaningful separation for the beginners who nearly always go with defaults.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby onpon4 » 05 Jul 2018, 20:57

First off, I'm sorry for misattributing the harmful allegation to you. I'm reading and writing this on my phone since I'm away from home for a few days, and this forum isn't very good for a 5" phone screen, so I didn't check to make sure I understood you correctly, which I should have. Incidentally it's also why I don't do like you and divide quotes in a nice fashion.

No worries, it happens. I can't count how many times I've made a similar mistake.

The reason I brought up TrackMania was because you brought up a number of games earlier not locking content, so I wanted to give a popular counterexample.

Perhaps I should clarify that the reason for my examples was to point out that not all games need locked content. Those games were chosen because I think the reason they don't need locked content applies to STK just as well.

Hiding more difficult tracks in a different category is possible, but we've already had people asking where the add-ons they installed went to, when the select track screen has tabs for choosing between categories like All, Standard and Add-Ons.

That's a tough one, mostly because the masses are highly resistant to things like reading and looking around the screen a bit.

Here's what I would do: put an obvious animation next to or inside the currently selected tab, so that the player is forced to notice that they're there. Then be redundant: add the word "tracks" to each tab's name, so instead of just "Basic", "Advanced", "Add-on" and "All", they see "Basic Tracks", "Advanced Tracks", "Add-on Tracks", and "All Tracks". Actually, I would get rid of the "All" tab entirely to discourage people clicking on that and getting a disorganized jumble (and also subverting the whole purpose of the "Advanced" separation).

Alternatively, the "Advanced" tab could be a special tab whose tracks are excluded from the "All" tab. I don't prefer this solution, though, since it could be confusing. The confusion could be averted by renaming the "All" tab to something else.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby Wuzzy » 06 Jul 2018, 11:46

OMG. Whatever you do, please do not] add an “Advanced” tab. We don't need an “Advanced” tab for only 21 tracks, this is pointless and just clutters the interface for no reason.

---

What do you have to say about my argument that locking tracks makes STK annoying to use when you install it on a friend's computer and just want to get started playing? Applying old savegames or cheating are possible (the latter is of course not so obvious), but annoying for a pretty standard task.

This is my core reason for this thread, by the way.

---

Finally, what was the reason for STK devs to lock so many tracks in the first place? What possible benefits did you hope for? I mean, what was the design goal here?
Maybe we can then work on that reasoning.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby QwertyChouskie » 06 Jul 2018, 23:20

As for new installs, the solution would be to sync unlock with your online account, just like achievements are.
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Re: Locked content considered harmful

Postby 0zone0ne » 07 Jul 2018, 09:29

Wuzzy {l Wrote}:Finally, what was the reason for STK devs to lock so many tracks in the first place? What possible benefits did you hope for? I mean, what was the design goal here?
Maybe we can then work on that reasoning.

I provided two justifications for unlockable content just earlier if that's what you're looking for
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