This week in the Smuggle Truck Screencast, Yilmaz shows off our medal system. This system was designed both as a reward system for regular gameplay and also to provide solid paths for replayability. Check out the video below.
We found that often, racing games do a particularly bad job at offering a reason to replay levels. Additionally, if the player does choose to replay, they aren’t replaying with a different goal in mind. It’s usually just “do it faster”. Games like Burnout provide a secondary goal in addition to time, which in their case is the number of ‘Takedowns’ you can achieve during a race. Similarly, Smuggle Truck is tracking two major gameplay variables, both your time and successful passenger count. With these two metrics, we are able to provide players with multiple different goals.
We provide three medals that push for overall quality driving (bronze, silver, and gold medals require increasing speed and successful passenger delivery to varying degrees), but we also provide two other medals which urge the player to think explicitly about their driving style. The ‘Green Card’ award is awarded to players that drive slowly and carefully due to the fact that they are not being timed and their only concern is the safety of their passengers. The ‘Smugglers Run’ award, however, rewards pedal-to-the-medal reckless speed-run driving, with a minimum of one safe passenger. With this medal structure, we’ve observed 2-4 playthroughs on a single level, with minimum fatigue, which extends the play lifetime of each level we create.
What ties this all together is the fact that medals are used as currency to unlock later batches of levels, much like the non-linear progression through the Rock Band campaign mode. Players aren’t forced to beat all levels in a rigid order, but must go back and do better on prior levels in order to unlock new ones.