moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 1 - Posted on 3/29/19 23:41:51

Would you be interested in Challenges?
Total Votes: 0

Hey everyone, I mentioned a potential new feature called Challenges in this thread and I wanted to gauge the community's interest in this idea and talk about how it impacts some existing features.

The bounty and mission features were created to help users work through their backlog. They're intended to be fun and unique, but totally optional ways to chip away at your backlog. While I feel they do an okay job of this, I have long been interested in improving them somehow to improve participation and ultimately help more users out there complete more games. Unfortunately, I feel they both suffer from the same primary issue: we all simply play games differently. Everyone plays games at their own pace, some of us like to play through an entire series (or a game and all of its DLC), some like to go for 100%, some like to replay them immediately for multiple playthroughs, etc.

With bounties, you have a limited amount of time to play a very specific game. With our themed bounties, you generally have one month or maybe two months. The other "normal" bounties can run for several months, depending on the size of the game, so they have a little bit more freedom. The very fact that there's a limited amount of time to complete the game is a problem for many. For example, let's say you're in the middle of Persona 5 and plan on playing it for several months. If a bounty is posted for a game you're interested in, are you really going to stop your Persona 5 journey to jump in on it? What's the incentive for you doing so?

Bounties provide you with Completionator points, but they don't really do anything, so there's very little motivation to see a point value go up. The only added motivation a bounty really provides is to see your name / avatar in green on the Home page.

Originally, I had hoped bounties would provide an opportunity to allow users to talk about the game while they're playing it, but again, everyone plays at a different pace and it just never really worked out. The site could certainly improve in this area by making it easier to communicate, but I don't know how much that would really increase communication (and ultimately bounty participation).

Missions have a similar, but slightly different story. With missions, someone can assign you anything in your backlog (or on your list, if you have one), which should at least be relevant to what you'd like to play (unlike bounties, which could be for things you have no interest in). You also have unlimited time, so no need to worry about it expiring. But again, where's the motivation? Don't get me wrong, this feature could desperately use some improvements to make it better, but I'm still not sure how much it would really motivate you to ultimately complete a game.

The other thing at play here is bounties and missions are very similar, but they're totally separate features on the site. I'm sure this is confusing to new users.

For a long time now, I've been trying to reconcile the shortcomings that I've touched on above and figure out a way to make them co-exist while also improving them so they reach a point where I feel like they're really making a difference in helping users with their backlog. And I guess that's sort of what started me down the path of "Challenges". I'm still working out the details, so I'll just copy what I posted in this thread:

The overall idea is to provide "challenges" for you to complete. To complete a challenge, you would need to enter a completion for a certain set of games. For example, there could be the "Classic Tomb Raider" challenge where you have to enter a completion for Tomb Raider I, II, and III. Upon doing so, the challenge would unlock, much like site achievements do. You could sort of think of them as multi-game bounties that never expire. I'm not sure if points would be involved and I'm not sure if this system would replace bounties / missions or if it would co-exist. You would be able to "favorite" or somehow target the challenges you want to try and complete. We would start with a large set of challenges and then look to add them at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, whatever makes the most sense).

My current thinking is that Challenges would actually replace bounties and missions to give us a single feature to all utilize. It would be a much more passive experience, much like unlocking achievements (as mentioned above) that would no longer be constrained by a time limit or relying on someone to assign you something you want to play. It would be critical that the site provides a large assortment of challenges encompassing various genres, eras, etc, but I'm confident we could figure that piece out.

So what do you think? Any feedback here would be much appreciated as I try to decide where to focus my development efforts

Sylaris Posts: 16 Registered: 2/17/2017
shadows_of_the_past
# 2 - Posted on 3/30/19 16:11:16

Didn't vote since I'm between opinions.

It sounds better to me, since I fall in the "not good with time limits" group. That said, missions still seem like a good way to suggest a game you enjoyed for a random user... but it wouldn't be that bad if they were gone. Could probably be replaced by a suggestion request/review sort of forum category.

The current setup isn't bad, though - that's not a strong preference.

Post Edited on 3/30/19 16:21:13
AllTheTrophies Backer Posts: 20 Registered: 7/27/2018
allthetrophies
# 3 - Posted on 3/30/19 17:31:43

I didn’t get the chance to vote as I didn’t see this post in time, I however am a big fan of that idea. I like the concept of the challenge system as it’s described, but that could be because I always like completing/unlocking things.

That being said, I also like the bounty system in place still. Whether I complete the bounties I’ve accepted or not, it’s always cool to have those float by and update periodically, because they can encourage me to play something in my backlog I otherwise may not have gotten around (most recently with Cubivore).

As for missions, I’ve always liked the concept but I don’t see it being utilized near as much. Maybe that’s just because I haven’t personally had any experience with it, but for me at least, I like the idea of a challenge system in addition to the bounties

AllTheTrophies Backer Posts: 20 Registered: 7/27/2018
allthetrophies
# 4 - Posted on 3/30/19 17:32:54

Additionally, I just voted on the post. For some reason when I first got to this page it should the poll as closed

jwcooley Curator Posts: 924 Registered: 2/28/2014
jwcooley
# 5 - Posted on 4/01/19 15:27:31

I like bounties. I don't participate as much as I'd like but when I do, I love completing one because it usually means I've tackled a game that was on my list but probably wouldn't have played otherwise.

I never use missions and have effectively disabled them from my side. Maybe if I had a better list for the missions, I'd use it.

That being said, I love the concept of challenges. Another way to incentivize people to play games is a win in my book.

Gogo Posts: 15 Registered: 1/9/2018
# 6 - Posted on 4/03/19 18:53:23

About the bounties, I think it would be nice if there was a page on your profile or somewhere else where it saved and listed each of the bounties you have completed, when you completed them, showed the other users that completed them and maybe what the bounty theme was at the time. I know there is already the playthrough section that kind of covers that, but maybe listing them separately could archive them better would make them more motivating to finish.

As for the poll, I am going to vote to keep both bounties and missions as well as the challenges because I think the missions could be tested out a bit more before they are removed.

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 7 - Posted on 4/05/19 20:15:55

Thanks for the feedback! It sounds like there's some interest in having challenges, so I'm going to start exploring it further. It also sounds like there's still interest in bounties and missions, so I will not look to retire either of those anytime soon, but rather look to make some improvements down the line (especially with bounties). It might be a while, but stay tuned

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 8 - Posted on 4/19/19 22:16:25

I've been working on the new challenge system and I'm finally ready to share something with everyone! As I mentioned in my original post, challenges are essentially things that unlock after you've entered a completion for a certain set of games. Unlike bounties, challenges do not have an expiration date. You will be able to search for challenges and "target" them, which is sort of a way to mark the ones you're going to try and work towards completing. There are no points or rewards for completing them, this system is purely meant to help motivate you to play more games!

With all that said, here's a screenshot of the Challenges landing page:

As you can see, each challenge is presented as a "card", very similar to how playthroughs appear. Each challenge has a title, description, and a set of games needed to unlock it. Each of the games are displayed and you can hover over them to get additional information at the bottom of the card (such as Wikipedia / YouTube links, ratings, times, etc). There is also a progress bar to indicate how many of the games you've completed and you'll see a green border / checkmark on the ones you've entered a completion for.

We're still working through the actual challenge list and what games they'll contain. Likewise, the UI is still in the fine-tuning phase, but I wanted to share the progress that had been made so far just in case there is any feedback. This particular page will be accessible from the main menu at the top and will be available even if you're not logged in (though it will not show progress or target options, of course). Additionally, there will be a "My Challenges" page which will show you which challenges you've unlocked. You'll also receive a notification in the bell icon in the header, much like when you unlock a site achievement or receive a friend request.

ReaperKK Posts: 11 Registered: 12/8/2018
ReaperKK
# 9 - Posted on 4/21/19 12:25:02

That's really cool! I just started exploring the site a bit more and landed on the bounty section, however I don't see many games I own there lol.

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 10 - Posted on 5/01/19 11:35:28

The challenge system is almost complete and will be launching very soon! For now, I wanted to share with everyone some of the different "types" of challenges we'll be starting with. The most common type is to group games from within a specific franchise. For example, one of the challenges will be for the original Half-Life and it's official expansions:

Another thing I've added is the idea of an "alternate" game. In the above screenshot, you can see that one of the games in the challenge is the original Half-Life. But since it had a remastered version, Half-Life Source, you can still get "credit" for completing that version of the game. Anytime you see the yellow icon in the bottom section, you can hover over it to see if there's an alternate game.

Speaking of remasters / remakes, sometimes the challenge might require you to use a specific version, so no alternates are allowed. An example would be this one for the Mario Advance games:

There are a lot of franchises that have so many games, it makes sense to break them down into multiple challenges. When that happens, we're going to be sticking a volume number at the end. For example, this is Volume 1 for the Bust-A-Move / Puzzle Bobble games:

The above screenshot also shows what the challenge card looks like once you've completed it.

Next up there will be challenges geared towards games developed by certain companies. The following example shows a challenge for the various action RPGs by Snowblind Studios:

Challenges can also be linked by games that were released on a specific platform. I expect this will generally be for exclusives, such as this Virtual Boy challenge:

Another type of challenge is to have games that are linked thematically, such as this one where you explore the ocean:

And for those of you that are really adventurous, there will be challenges for the not-so-good games too

We have over 50 challenges set up so far and I'm hoping to push that number even higher before we launch the new feature. As I've mentioned before, we will add new challenges over time, though it's undecided yet if it will be a regular interval or not. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on not just the feature, but the challenges themselves. I hope they fulfill their goal of helping everyone play more games!

Post Edited on 5/01/19 11:37:34
warringshogun Curator Backer Posts: 39 Registered: 4/10/2019
warringshogun
# 11 - Posted on 5/01/19 14:00:20

This is an exciting feature! I can't wait to see what challenges will be available.

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 12 - Posted on 5/01/19 20:56:10

I forgot to mention that to coincide with the launch of this new feature, I'll be dumping in a whole bunch of bounties for a little extra motivation

AllTheTrophies Backer Posts: 20 Registered: 7/27/2018
allthetrophies
# 13 - Posted on 5/02/19 2:10:23

I'm really looking forward to starting to go after these, looks like there are some more titles I need to pick up

jwcooley Curator Posts: 924 Registered: 2/28/2014
jwcooley
# 14 - Posted on 5/02/19 3:00:05

If it's mentioned anywhere, I apologize, but are the challenges retroactive with regards to having already entered completions for entries in a challenge?

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 15 - Posted on 5/02/19 10:58:07

Yep, when the system launches you will potentially have already completed one or more challenges. All completions count, even if you don't have a time included. You'll also get a notification with the bell icon in the header. Challenges do rely on completions, so simply setting a progress status will not cut it.

I'm also reworking the Add / Edit Completion modals so they're a little friendlier in the instances where you don't have times, such as games you completed many years ago.

Post Edited on 5/02/19 10:59:19
moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 16 - Posted on 5/04/19 11:02:56

The challenges are now live! If you've already completed on, you should have received a notification in the top-right corner. You can check out the available challenges by clicking on Challenges in the Browse Database menu. You can also review what youv'e completed by clicking on My Challenges in the Playthroughs menu. As always, feel free to post any feedback you may have!

IVT Posts: 31 Registered: 11/18/2018
nicholasivt
# 17 - Posted on 5/05/19 5:02:51

I have 2 ideas/questions

  1. possible "completion numbers" on the side of each challenge to see how many people have completed it (either show before or after u complete the challenge)

  2. maybe we can have a challenge suggestion page with ideas of groupings we would like to see and give explanation to the theme

Love the idea moho!

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 18 - Posted on 5/11/19 11:22:29

@IVT - I had originally considered adding statistics around how many have completed the challenge, but those numbers can be quite low and it felt like it might clutter up the cards. For now, feel free to post any challenge suggestions in this thread, I might end up creating a separate one for them later, if there is enough interest.

Also, I pushed out an update to the Challenges page so there's now a button to add a new playthrough for the currently selected game. If you already have an active playthrough, you'll just see a note about it. And if you've already entered a completion, you'll see a note about that instead.

Oh and I added 20 new challenges

jwcooley Curator Posts: 924 Registered: 2/28/2014
jwcooley
# 19 - Posted on 5/14/19 2:22:19

These challenges just make me sad. I need more time to game! haha

Drymonema Curator Backer Posts: 349 Registered: 5/31/2016
drymonema
# 20 - Posted on 5/14/19 19:01:32

The update with the quick Playthrough button/status on the Challenges page is fantastic. I'm loving the challenges, thanks for this feature.

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 21 - Posted on 6/28/19 20:35:42

I loaded in 30 new challenges today! Don't forget you can filter down to just "recently added" challenges (or sort that way, if you prefer) to help find the new ones easily.

moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 22 - Posted on 8/31/19 3:29:57

Moar challenges have been added! I also added some new ones a few weeks ago, but I forgot to post

Post Edited on 8/31/19 3:30:36
moho_00 Curator Backer Posts: 4306 Registered: 6/10/2011
moho_00
# 23 - Posted on 10/04/19 21:05:23

40 new challenges have been added!