How to Balance Choice in Your Gamestar Mechanic Game
Many games in Gamestar Mechanic allow the player to make choices that affect the game’s dynamics. Some games purely test accuracy or reflexes with no choice, and these games can be fun. However, choice gives players more control over the game, even if it’s a simple choice, such as a difficulty meter. Balance of choice gives the player a sufficient number of choices and balances the outcomes of each choice.
Choices don’t have to be strictly defined. For example, here you see two simple games with different levels of choice. The first game has very little choice and relies on the player’s reflexes — the only choice is how fast players choose to go, which means that the player controls the difficulty.
This game is by no means a bad one, but the second game might be more fun for players because they can use many different strategies of running and jumping to advance past the enemy.
If the player has too few choices in your game, it might become less fun as it progresses. However, having too many choices can become confusing and frustrating. Consider the strategies in this list when you’re balancing the choices in your game:
Establish well-defined goals. To create a fun game that the player chooses how to complete, make sure the player understands the goals of the game and the effect of each choice in achieving these goals.
Give meaning to every choice. If you’re explicitly defining choices for the player, each choice must be equally valid. If you’re quizzing the player, make the incorrect choices sound realistic. If you’re giving the player several ways to win, make each of them valid. Don’t give your players sham options, choices that don’t meaningfully affect the player’s experience.
Give the player control over the important parts of the game. Players expect to be a part of the game, so give them choices that affect how the game plays out. Give players enough space to decide how to reach the goals, frag the enemies, or find the points.
Maze games work because players are constantly given choices of different routes to take, and while there may be only one correct way, players must think hard in order to take the right action, making choices their own. Your game doesn’t have to be an expansive web of split paths and complex strategies, but there should always be some leeway for the player to win the game in various ways.
Provide freedom to the player. Players can find it liberating when you give their avatar freedom of motion. In open spaces, give players the incentive to jump about and try various techniques. To do this, test your game in a few different ways. In closed spaces, try using split paths and small rooms to let the player exercise freedom of choice.