Achievements are awesome. Two games come to mind when thinking about early titles which started to make me realize how awesome they are, Team Fortress 2 and Geometry Wars. In both these skill based games trying to earn achievements made me a better player. The pacifism achievement in Geometry Wars really stands out as one of the finest achievements ever designed. It makes you play the game in a completely unnatural way, i.e. not shooting, which teaches you a valuable skill, avoiding stuff.
I’m at the stage where I need to design achievements for Intelligent Design: An Evolutionary Sandbox and I’d like your input. When investigating achievement design I came across an Extra Credits video (embedded below) where they discuss the process. They split achievements into three categories, Unavoidable, Optional and Inspiring. Unavoidable achievements are things like ‘Complete the Tutorial’ or ‘Use the Jump Button’. You cannot progress through the game without achieving them, so do the achievements actual add any value? Optional achievements are things you do not have to do, like earn 2000 gold in your first year or recruit a particular party member in an RPG. They offer interesting quests for the player and give replay value. Finally there are Inspiring achievements which suggest alternative ways to play the game and think about the mechanics, such as the pacifism achievement discussed above.
Rather than just have hundreds of unavoidable achievements I want to design a handful which fit into the optional and inspiring categories. For example, an achievement for sustaining an ecosystem with more herbivores than plants for a full day night cycle, or an achievement for unlocking all the herbivore genes without creating a single herbivore, or an achievement for unlocking all the plant genes in 5 days.
I would love to hear any ideas you have for achievements. Write them down in the comments section here on indieDB or wherever I’ve shared it. If you share an idea try to think about which of the three categories it fits in to and tell us why it fits.
In other news I have pretty much finished the game minus Steam features. When I have sorted out my business bank account I’ll be able to get a developers account with steam and start working on the final road to launch! The screenshots in this post are showing the new (optional) post processing effects I’ve added to the game in my current development build.
Intelligent Design: An Evolutionary Sandbox is coming to Steam Spring/Summer 2017 and you can pre-order a steam key and play the early access version in itchio now.