Stephen Haney

Raise the Skill Cap by Hinting at Upcoming Events

krate iphone game colors hud update

The HUD now displays the next 3 colors for the player.

One of my concerns with Krate is that I would end up with a game that came down to luck more than skill. One of my goals is to make the game re-playable because there’s potential for growth. I want a high “skill cap”, such that a talented player will end up with a dramatically better result than a casual player. One example of a low skill cap was the Paladin class in early WoW. They were very beginner friendly, with only a few buttons to press. The downside was that an experienced player couldn’t perform much better than a beginner. DOTA2 is another game with a mix of low skill cap (drow ranger) and high skill cap (meepo) heroes. With each decision I make, I try to think “will this raise or lower the skill cap?” because I believe a high skill cap gives an authentic reason for the player to replay the game.

Strategy through Information

I want the player to be actively planning and strategizing while playing Krate. Players have a chance to plan and react well or poorly to each game event. Players can better plan if I make sure to give plenty of information. One way I found to do this is to show the upcoming colors that the player will place. Originally, I was only showing the active color to be placed, and I found I wasn’t planning much, but simply reacting to each new color assignment. I built out a system to display the next 3 colors and I think it’s added a lot to the game’s strategy. Check out the video with the new color assignment HUD:

Parting Thoughts and Upcoming Changes to Boost the Skill Cap

I also plan to let the player know which tile will be randomly ‘blacked out’ next, giving them roughly seven seconds to work the black out into their plans. On top of that, I may remove or reduce the mechanic that assigns a tile placement every three turns (with the penalty of a black out if you ignore). I like how it increases difficulty, but luck may play too large a role. It’s fun to watch how the player’s experience changes when I tinker with game mechanics.