Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

High Score Shake-up

What do you think of me resetting the scoreboards for Explosionade with a new update that makes it harder?
A giant new version of Explosionade is in development for the PC, and eventually we'll get to reveal all the cool features for that new edition. While developing the PC version, I've been making improvements to the player controls, player motion, grenade physics, and enemy A.I. that I'd like to bring over to the XBLIG version that's already out.

While the XBLIG version received plenty of butt-kicking reviews and high marks, one of the complaints was the game was either too easy for people, too slow, and/or too sluggish. The PC version will definitely take care of that, but I've been thinking about bringing the new improvements to the XBLIG version. The most controversial change would be to make the game more difficult with tweaks to the player mech and enemies. From what I can tell from gamers' emails and forum comments, I'm sure my special changes will make Explosionade more difficult but also more intense, satisfying, and fun to play. And of course Chilled mode and slowing down gameplay will still be options for those wishing for more relaxing destruction.

The XBLIG version has online scoreboards (Explosionade uses a peer-to-peer implementation courtesy of Spyn Doctor Games). If the game is more difficult on XBLIG, this will obviously skew all future scores that people are getting on the online scoreboards.

Which brings us back to the question at hand, what do you think of resetting the scoreboards with the new update? 
Are there any precedents for Xbox LIVE games of any flavor, with regards to resetting scoreboards?

Explosionade fortunately has filled up all 1,000 high-score slots a while ago, but the top 20 or so places haven't changed in months. I feel like totally clearing the scoreboards will give new players a chance to enjoy jumping into the game and getting somewhere. And gamers who played it originally and ranked high should honestly not have too much more trouble getting back up to the top if they accept the new challenge.

I'd definitely like to make the default, Normal difficulty tougher and play faster, as I think player's are ready for it. If we leave the scoreboards as they are, pretty much no one will ever get to the top ranks. So I guess the question is, will anyone who is already ranked high notice or care that their score was wiped? Or will they be good sports about it and understand?

Note: The proposed adjustments for Explosionade on XBLIG won't be that much higher, and won't feature any of the changes mentioned for the upcoming PC version. But I feel it will be tough enough to make original high scores feel nearly unreachable.

7 comments:

FreakyZoid said...

I think there is precedent for it. I am pretty sure that Lumines' high scores timed out after a set period (a week, maybe) so to stay on the top of the leaderboard you would have to keep playing and getting good scores.

I quite like the idea of having multiple leaderboards - one "all time" that wouldn't change much, and one dynamic one as above.

I think if you change the way scores are generated it's not really fair to not reset / split the board, since it's no longer a record of the best scores people have got in that version of the game.

Matt said...

Regarding past precedence, the Halo Wars leaderboards were reset last November. The Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter leaderboards were also reset around the same time.

Nathan Fouts said...

Excellent, thanks guys for the examples! That definitely helps put the issue into perspective.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the PC version.

MJD said...

I vote "yes" on a score reset and a harder game for XBL users!

Nathan Fouts said...

@Anon
PC version is going to be huge! Can't wait to reveal more. We just keep adding and adding more stuff.

@MJD
Thanks! vote registered.

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