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KevKelley

Difficulty Progression

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I was wondering if anyone has tips or preferences for difficulty progression in games.

 

I had noticed in some games the difficulty switches are utilized and perform actions like increasing player speed or affecting the way balls and missiles operate but what would someone think is the best way to make a game get harder?

 

Currently I was thinking of doing something tied to the score so that when a player hits a certain number things may either get faster or introduce a different Sprite or different movement. I was thinking I would probably have to do something like have a variable tied to difficulty so that it would have a global impact. I'll keep researching this subject but just curious.

 

Thanks!

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Kev,

 

That's a good question and one that probably has hundreds of answers :)

 

I guess it really depends on your game. In tyre trax, I used the timer to drive the difficulty, so it was indirect, the player had to play better to get a gold cup. secondly, on the "free play" modes, I set the difficulty switches to control the type of obstacles (doubles and triples, instead of singles) and the view distance (make the obstacles appear closer to the player to reduce reaction time).

 

In Dare Devil, the difficulty is the amount of movement in the obstacles from level to level and then in the level, each screen becomes progressively faster.

 

Other variations could be faster moving enemies, enemies that attack more frequently (shooter games)

 

You could tie it to the score, level, screen, timer, amount of enemies dead/alive or combinations of those.

 

Mostly it will depend on your game as to what works and what doesn't.

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I was curious since I have kind of got the movements down and what I need to program I was trying to figure out the best way to get things progressing at a fair pace while not making some overly complicated code. I liked the idea of tying to the score because it was easy for me to test. I haven't done anything with a timer yet but I was considering using one for things like power ups or little bonus things.

 

I will dig deeper on this subject in the coming weeks as I get closer to that part of my game. I'm still playing with the playfield and sprites on the dpc+ version.

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Yeah, it's hard to generalize about the best way to ramp difficulty. In Space Game, each wave introduces a new alien with its own special abilities, and in general later wave aliens have abilities that make them more challenging or difficult to defeat. In terms of using a variable to track difficulty, I use the wave number itself to determine a few things difficulty-related, such as rate of fire of the aliens (more frequent for the later levels).

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In my mind I understand what needs to be done. It is the implementation that has got me since I am still learning the in and outs. I was never an experienced basic programmer and only knew enough to copy programs from books, make simple games, and hack. I just want to do this right (I know there is no right answer) and make something fun that closely resembles my thoughts and get better.

 

I like the idea of waves and introducing more elements as it progresses. Since the cars have a couple paths to take I can reasonably use multiple sprites to accomplish this. With waves, is there a good method of implementing, like using a timer or is this pretty much like difficulty - it all depends?

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