TTLG|Thief|Bioshock|System Shock|Deus Ex|Mobile
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Gameplay Question About Fun, Risks, and Rewards

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements

    Gameplay Question About Fun, Risks, and Rewards

    I have a very specific question I would like all of your opinions on. This can easily be generalized to a discussion about how player enjoyment relates to a risk-reward equation, but in the initial replies I would like you to express your opinion about the very specific circumstance I describe.

    Scenario: A gaming hall with a slot machine in it. Guards patrolling, so access to the slot machine is risky. You have gaming tokens that you can use with the slot machine. The odds of getting any matching pair when you pull the slot machines lever is 51.3%, of getting three of a kind is 2.7%, and four of a kind is 0.1%.

    Question: What should it cost to use the slot machine (in gaming tokens) and what payouts do you think would make playing the slot machine the most fun for the players?

    Example 1:
    • cost per play: 1 token
    • Payout for two of a kind: 1
    • Payout for three of a kind: 10
    • Payout for four of a kind: 100
    • Result: slot machine pays out 1.424 tokens on average per token played (slot machine loses money)
    • Frequency of reward for play: 54.1%


    Example 2:
    • cost per play: 2 tokens
    • Payout for two of a kind: 1
    • Payout for three of a kind: 10
    • Payout for four of a kind: 100
    • Result: slot machine pays out 0.965 tokens on average per token played (slot machine makes very little money)
    • Frequency of reward for play: 54.1%


    Example 3:
    • cost per play: 1 token
    • Payout for two of a kind: NONE
    • Payout for three of a kind: 15
    • Payout for four of a kind: 50
    • Result: slot machine pays out 0.996 tokens on average per token played (slot machine makes no money)
    • Frequency of reward for play: 2.8%


    Example 4:
    • cost per play: 1 token
    • Payout for two of a kind: NONE
    • Payout for three of a kind: 40
    • Payout for four of a kind: 200
    • Result: slot machine pays out 1.821 tokens on average per token played (slot machine loses lots of money)
    • Frequency of reward for play: 2.8%


    As you can see there are three major variables:
    • Cost to play
    • Frequency of any reward
    • Amount of reward


    Is it more fun to win often but not much, win about half the time and make some, win infrequently but win big when you do win. This is about game play, not real life slots. With real life slots and real money, things could be different. I'm not interested in maximizing my slot machine profits or ever slot machine play, I'm interested in maximizing player fun while playing the slots.

    So what do you think? I'm currently inclined to high frequency of noticeable but low reward (Example 1). But I am open to reasoned opinions.

    Edit: if the player, on average, loses tokens per play, then finding tokens elsewhere in the game might have a greater fun-factor than if you win more than you lose ... ???
    Last edited by LarryG; 4th Sep 2014 at 15:08.

  2. #2
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    I rate all options zero fun, because slot machines are not fun. The only reason anyone plays slots is for the possibility of financial reward.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    I agree with ZB. And Garrett is not the sort of mug who would think he could win at gambling.

    If you want to make it fun, allow the player to pick the lock and take all the money.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    I agree with ZB. And Garrett is not the sort of mug who would think he could win at gambling.
    Garrett may not be, but the folk playing the mission might. There will be both games of skill and chance in the gaming hall. Archery against moving targets to win tokens, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by R Soul View Post
    If you want to make it fun, allow the player to pick the lock and take all the money.
    That's already been done in other missions, and I was planning having that too. Taking the money disables the slot for further play. I'm not aware of any other mission with a working slot machine. And for me, at least, playing the slots in the game IS fun. More so when you have to avoid the guards while playing them.
    Last edited by LarryG; 4th Sep 2014 at 16:23.

  5. #5
    NewDark 64 Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    In your examples, I don't think anybody would normally bother playing enough to get three of a kind or four of a kind. As completely unrealistic as it is in casino-profit terms, a slot machine where you pay 1 and 50% of the time you win 2 might be more fun than the examples you give. I think players love more the thrill of breaking the bank in this way, then to play a legitimately balanced slot machine purposely rigged in favor of the house anyways. I think worrying about the cost-reward analysis behind it is unfun in the game-world, especially since you can say that the player winning so often merely comes down to variance, all the while the guards/guests grumble that they never win.

    I could see the majority of players giving it a spin a few times, but it'd be hard to expect them to play 20 or 30 times, unless (the age old technique of Dragon Warrior and Zelda and countless other console RPG games) there is a specific reward for gettting the three or four of a kind which they can't get any other way.

    I have to say too though that I'm intrigued by the possible adventure game-like elements the slot machine can create: such as if the player wins three of a kind certain lights and sounds then go off, attracting all the guests over and thus opening a previously blocked way forward, or even allowing the player to adjust the guts of the machine to affect the payout structure and when some dupe comes along and loses all his money it allows the player to advance forward or whatever.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: netherlands
    My idea of fun would be:let the player play a few rounds and let him then hit the jackpot with all the lights start flashing, bell ringing like in the movies when someone hits the jackpot. You could script the number of times random between f.e. between 3 and 7 before the jackpot falls.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: College Place, WA
    Most players are going to save and reload so they don't lose money and waste time trying to regain lost tokens with the slot machine. This effectively makes it so they always win. It just costs time. This pretty much always happens with gambling in video games. I've never found it fun, only necessary. If tokens aren't useful for a reward at some point, then a player will frob the machine a few times at most, and then ignore it. If tokens ARE useful, congratulations you've just adding grinding to your mission. It just isn't fun.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Let the player find/use a device (a magnet or something) to cheat this thing. That's fun

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    Quote Originally Posted by nightshifter View Post
    My idea of fun would be:let the player play a few rounds and let him then hit the jackpot with all the lights start flashing, bell ringing like in the movies when someone hits the jackpot. You could script the number of times random between f.e. between 3 and 7 before the jackpot falls.
    I wasn't thinking of having the jackpot be so noisy. It would be counter-productive, I think, to alert the guards and draw them to the player ... this is an earlier and more naive time ... maybe have a "Jackpot Gong" someplace near the entry to attract more customers ... but I do like your idea of rigging the game somehow.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiMatter_16 View Post
    Most players are going to save and reload so they don't lose money and waste time trying to regain lost tokens with the slot machine. This effectively makes it so they always win. It just costs time. This pretty much always happens with gambling in video games. I've never found it fun, only necessary. If tokens aren't useful for a reward at some point, then a player will frob the machine a few times at most, and then ignore it. If tokens ARE useful, congratulations you've just adding grinding to your mission. It just isn't fun.
    The tokens are useful for all the games, and a hidden, optional objective. I've been toying with the idea of having a bursar machine which would convert cash to tokens and tokens to cash (minus a percentage for the house). But then the amount of loot you could have would fluctuate based on your luck ... unless I fixed that at the maximum I would allow, now that I'm rigging the game ... maybe.

    Quote Originally Posted by fibanocci View Post
    Let the player find/use a device (a magnet or something) to cheat this thing. That's fun
    Actually, I do have a "slug on a string" which can be used to cheat the machine. But I was just thinking of it not getting consumed from inventory when used. Marrying it with nightshifter's idea of rigging the game for a jackpot ... maybe it should be a "cheater's token" that Garrett finds someplace. Maybe near a corpse with a dagger through a note pinned to his chest saying something like "Thus ends all cheaters. signed The Jackpot Management." The token could be "magically charged" to force a Jackpot.
    Last edited by LarryG; 5th Sep 2014 at 10:11.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2009
    Location: Germany
    Hmmm... I still don't get the point here...
    what is the purpose of these gambling machines?
    If they serve no purpose I would give them a short try and turn simply away again.

    Either you should have the task to rob the game machines blind (with fix total-loot amount)
    or make them trigger an easteregg (e.g. when all 3 machines show 4-of-a-kind) or something.

    At any rate examples 3 and 4 seem to be out of discussion.
    If one would have to play like 40 rounds before getting any reward, I would be loooong gone already.

    If you get money from them, but at the same time the total-loot is increased, then they serve no purpose (at least in my mind).
    So, I would recommend to play with worthless chips that can not be converted into cash anyway.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    The purpose is to provide mini-games within the mission. Think of them as optional activities you can engage in. As to whether or not it will be fun for you, you'll have to wait and see for yourself when the mission is released.

  12. #12
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    I agree with ZB and R Soul, slot machines are boring.

    But to answer your question, I'd say of the choices you've listed, number one makes the most sense to me. It might just be me, but I can't see anyone wanting to spend enough time on the machine to make option 3 or 4 likely to satisfy. 2 is OK but 1 would pay out enough to keep their attention a bit longer, I think.

    I suspect that the real draw to something like this is the novelty of having it in a Thief mission. You play it a few times, marvel at how clever the author is and appreciate the extra atmosphere it brings to the mission and then you move on. Balboa did a similar thing in The Harlequin with carnival games. They were clever and it was fun to play them a few times but that was it. I seem to recall at least some of them furthering the plot in some way, or making it possible to proceed in the mission, but I could be mistaken. It's been a long time since I played it.

    It was fun breaking open the slot machines in Mission X but that's been done and so has lost it's novelty. If that was a serious option, I'd rather see you find a way for the player to rig them than simply breaking them open. That might make them fun to play for longer, especially if what you had to do to rig it needed to be done each time.

    I really like Xorak's idea about having a big win cause AI to move around and open new paths for the player, but that may not be necessary or appropriate for your gaming hall. And I agree that alerting the guards in this way would negate the fun of using the machines without getting caught.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: LosAngeles: Between Amusements
    I appreciate all the advice. It wasn't what I expected, but I'm glad I asked! You all gave me things to think about. I am taking your advice to heart, and what I now have planned, with the way it will be integrated into the mission, will be more fun and interesting for the players than it would have been without your thoughts. The slot machine is just a piece of it. So thanks.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by LarryG View Post

    Actually, I do have a "slug on a string" which can be used to cheat the machine. But I was just thinking of it not getting consumed from inventory when used. Marrying it with nightshifter's idea of rigging the game for a jackpot ... maybe it should be a "cheater's token" that Garrett finds someplace. Maybe near a corpse with a dagger through a note pinned to his chest saying something like "Thus ends all cheaters. signed The Jackpot Management." The token could be "magically charged" to force a Jackpot.

    I love "ingame"games and funny sidestories

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: May 2006
    Location: Russia
    Is it more fun to win often but not much
    Exactly.
    Most of people prefer to solve many easy puzzles than one super-challenged. No matter what the kind of puzzles they are, slot machine is just a part of a common psychology. If player wins 10 tokens for, say, 5 attempts, he gets much more satisfaction than if he wins 10 at once.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •