Featured Game Design: Gameplay Loops

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Legend Gaming Studio, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. Legend Gaming Studio

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    Hi, Prince John here again. This time I want to talk about gameplay loops and about how advanced they should plausibly get before regressing into a state of non-understandable lines and nodes.

    I have searched online for various examples and templates for gameplay loops and they are all so simple you would think the games they are derived from are boring or get boring quickly.

    Below I have two pictures of Advanced Gameplay Loops for a game that I am currently working on and I would love feedback as to what can be added, removed or generally improved upon.


    The first image is Level 1
    Advanced Gameplay Loop Level 1.png

    The Second Image is Level 2
    Advanced Gameplay Loop Level 2.png

    I really hope to hear your feedback on this one and thank you for your time.
     
  2. Kyle Blackston

    Kyle Blackston New Member

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    I like interconnectedness in games, with various options to improve certain aspects of my character (or home/town/etc.) throughout the game. There are a couple of paths in these loops that don't make much sense to me, though.

    Narrative>Questlines never lead to Exploration, and Better Character Relationships are never affected by any questlines. Without knowing more about your project, I see gameplay loops that separate almost entirely the narrative side and the gameplay side. Focusing especially on your Level 2, as soon as your story permits, I should get straight into as many combat scenarios as I can, since that's the way to increase my skills, explore more of the world to gather more exotic materials and even progress my relationship with other NPCs via "Survival." My best interpretation is that I have to keep them alive, and that's why they like me better. After doing as much as I can in every other aspect of the game, I can continue the narrative with the most options available (since side quests, detours, etc. add more dialogue options, but so do better character relationships).

    Keeping the questline nodes together helped identify what they affected and what affected them, but perhaps restructuring the rest of your nodes to follow suit will help keep things in better order? Maybe even color-code them? Story, Exploration, Skills (which would include combat) and Social seem to be your main four regions. I'll stick with Exploration, as I feel that is the best "Connects to Everything" category to make example of.

    Exploration
    • World Exterior (Overworld)
    • Surface Locations
    • Underground Locations
    • Interior Locations
    There's little need to separate out caves, dungeons and towers in gameplay loop design, even if they have different mechanics/purpose. Even if a cave is typically just a connector for exploration, but a dungeon has quest elements in it, you could simply link Underground Locations to both Exploration and Quests. I think more detail as to specific locations and their effect on the game might be best done elsewhere, to avoid unnecessary paths here. Constructing closed loops may also go a long way in keeping information sorted... Looping all of the quest nodes under a singular "Quests" would make it much easier to connect things like character relationships to all of the nodes at once, instead of singularly. Since more dialogue options and narrative paths potentially affect all quests, separating all of them out doesn't seem to give us any better information.
     
  3. Legend Gaming Studio

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    Thank you for the feedback. For your fist point - my thought process was that exploring dungeons, caves or simply going from point A to B in a mission is considered exploration - until combat is initiated or a cutscene is triggered. For the quest system in my game I wanted to add something a little for character focused by allowing the player to go down personal questlines in the game and they can choose which characters get to accompany them, limited by the relationship dynamics of the characters in the party.

    Finally I have actually updated the gameplay loops, it is now a lot more complex but the pillars (or regions) have been separated for easier understanding.

    This is the level 3 loop
    Advanced Gameplay Loop Level 3.png


    And this is the level 4 loop

    Advanced Gameplay Loop Level 4.png
    I really apricated your feedback and hope you can give me more feedback on these as well. Thank you for your time.
     

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