Recognizing Flawed Design: Untitled In Game Leaderboard (Beta 3)

I was thinking over the weekend that its not terribly often that Blogging Game Developers admit they made a mistake, I wanted to do my part in changing that. After all we learn best from experimenting and making mistakes, having flaws in your beta release is the point of releasing a beta. But you also want to iron out the flaws, and give them the attention they need.

It came to my attention over the weekend that Untitled Beta 3 has two major (an glaring) flaws. The first one is that out of the players who have (currently) submitted to the Online Leaderboard, they have all played with the default setting, and none of the others. Last week I mentioned I would be adding a play button next to the in game leaderboard, that would allow you to play the level that set that score.

The other issue is the one I want to focus on for this post, and that is the in game leaderboard itself. Just adding a play button doesn’t really address an underlying issue. The current way the in game leaderboard displays is from highest difficult, and highest score. Meaning that if ten people played at difficulty 10 it would then only display scores from difficulty 10. The purpose of having multiple difficulties is to allow the player control over what level they play. If you want to play a monochrome level you can, or bichromatic, and so on. I have always been and will continue to be pro player choice.

After a weekend of brainstorming the problem, and possible solutions I came up with two options.

1. Change the leaderboard to display only the current difficulty level, so if you play level 8 you will only see other level 8 scores. This is flawed in that it doesn’t encourage you to play any other difficulty level.

2. Have the leaderboard display the top score of each difficulty level, so you would have ten at the top, all the way down to difficulty 0. I believe this will solve the problem, and encourage you to try other difficulties.

I didn’t quite stop there, even after I had a viable solution to the problem. I decided it would be best to allow the player to choose what displays on the leaderboard. Right now I have three options in mind; Highest Overall (like it is now), Current Difficulty Level (as mentioned above) and the default setting would be one of each. That is the plan anyways, now just to find the time to work on the game, and not be interrupted.

I just though I would mention a few other ideas (So the internet can hold me to them)

– Since I will already be expanding the in game leaderboard file to contain all ten difficulty levels I will be adding in a page to view the top ten of each difficulty.

– Redesigning the Main Menu page, to a more traditional Game Main Menu (WASD selection (or mouse still), and hidden option menu (leaderboard will be here, and a quit button)

– Anything else that I catch, or is brought to my attention, so if you have an idea, email, tweet, or comment and I’ll take a look at it, and more than likely address the issue.

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