Hi, just a suggestion but would it be possible to add a difficulty rating to each adventure? Either by the author or preferably as part of reviews so an average could be displayed the same as the rating. Just a thought..
Either way I am really enjoying the site and I have been enthused to write an adventure myself using Quest.
within the GUI/Editor:
'game' Game Settings Object -> 'Setup' Tab -> 'difficulty' and/or 'cruelty' Attributes
(I think these will be displayed on the website page for your game when you publish the game... but not sure)
you can see a pic here of it: http://docs.textadventures.co.uk/quest/tutorial/creating_a_simple_game.html (scroll down until you find the pic with the 'game' in bolded black font near the top of the GUI/Editor window in the pic)
I really wanted to see a difficulty for all the games on the site to help make a choice about which ones to play, but it sounds like the feature just isn't used by most authors. My point about having it included in a review was so you can get a general consensus about it. What an author thinks is the difficulty level of their game when they know the solutions might be very different to what the players think!
I second that. I think a difficulty rating similar to the current game rating would be a nice feature. Not sure how difficult it would be to implement though.
Andrew Plotkin's cruelty scale is at least somewhat objective, although cruelty is not the same as difficulty.
Do the ratings created by Quest go into an xml file or something? Would it be possible for us troublesome homebrew authors to create our own?
I write a game, I know how to solve it.
If you think the way I do, the puzzles would be easy to solve.
But, someone else would never think to.
get magnet that dropped.
Use magnet to search the soil
open door, and escape.
Some people can picture how hard their game would be, but most would not.
And, how would you rate the difficulty of a game?
Number of puzzles?
I think this would be better described in the player feedback on the games.
Otherwise... a very good idea..
I hate downloading a game, then be stuck in a room with a locked door, a picture, a potted plant, and a hammer.
But I can't use the hammer to break the lock to open the door!
Rating difficulty is a mixed bag. Some people will find some puzzles excruciating, while others too easy.
As someone else pointed out, not everyone thinks the same way. You are stuck in a war of words and ideas with the author to complete the game. So difficulty is in the eye of the beholder...
However... perhaps each review with a difficulty rating would be combined and averaged on the front page of the game. Perhaps it would help the average person locate a game. ^_^
It's been mentioned already, but if we are to use something like that, it should be Andrew Plotkin's forgiveness scale (merciful-polite-tough-nasty-cruel). Not only it can be measured rather than being completely subjective, it's a yardstick in widespread use throughout the community, and many players are likely to understand such a rating at a glance. No need to reinvent the wheel.
I thought the forgiveness scale was used to indicate how forgiving the game is to player mistakes? Are there auto-deaths? Mistakes a player make that make the game unwinnable? Getting stuck in a room and you cannot get out? Ruining an item or losing it forfeits it entirely? Etc. I think a merciful game can be quite tricky/difficult and a cruel game could be rather easy. My Xanadu games I think are quite merciful but pretty difficult.
I see them as two separate scales, both with their merit. That is, as long as I am understanding the scale correctly.
Would it be useful to think about 'difficulty' in terms of how long an average player might take to complete it (allowing for hints)? As a check for the player or reviewer, it would then be helpful if such games included some indication of relative progress towards completion during play.
Perhaps it is also good practice for difficulty to increase as a game proceeds?
The problem as others have pointed out is it's subjective. The voting system is problematic as mediocre games are often given glowing reviews whilst good games are voted down or not voted on at all.
A spoiler maybe, but...
Number of rooms, number of endings, number of ways to die...
number of puzzles to solve...
and last, and this would be from other players...
How playable is the game? Does it make sense?
Are their "kills" that come out of the blue?
Is the game replay able?
Would it be useful to think about 'difficulty' in terms of how long an average player might take to complete it (allowing for hints)?
I like that idea.
As a check for the player or reviewer, it would then be helpful if such games included some indication of relative progress towards completion during play.
I love games that have a percent completion bar! Especially the longer games. I have implemented it in X2 and X3. I know this is a long shot, but could an updated version of Quest have a checkbox added to the game tab called 'progression tracker' or something like that? I haven't checked but is there a library that exists that players can use to track player progression? Just curious.
I think systems have been written for players' health that could probably be easily tweaked to game progression.
This one that gives the player a score would probably work as a progress tracker.
The basic question which started this thread sounds plausible but is perhaps a bit misleading! The decision to play a game is never going to be based on a difficulty rating alone, even if one could be defined and applied objectively, which seems unlikely. There are many factors involved, with different people having different views on the ratings of each factor. The current system aggregates these different views across the review scores, which is probably the best that can be done...like Rotten Tomatoes does for films.
In principle, the process can be perverted by mischievous or artificial reviews but such reviews seem obvious in practice and so are more of an irritation than anything else. Currently, I think the main problem is a lack of serious reviewers on site. For films or games, it seems a a good strategy to find reviewers you like and follow their suggestions...which in turn leads to creators whose other work can also be explored.
I have no problem finding good games, and can also tell pretty quickly when I start a game whether it is worth continuing or not, so a difficulty score is of little use to me. When I'm in a game, however, I would like some indication of how far I am though it, as would be clear with a film or book, which helps explain my comment back in February. In playing a few games over the last year, those lasting an afternoon seem to be the most common and that could be a rough yardstick for scale or 'difficulty', which the creator could estimate and a reviewer confirm or refute.
Sorry Silver, didn't see your reply before sending my previous message! Yes, any form of scoring system gives enough information on progress. The number of rooms entered and/or puzzles completed also provides the same guidance. For example, see the achievement certificate in:
Simply the number of objects in the game would be an objective measure of size (Quest strips out the distinction between rooms and items when publishing, by the way). Or the size of the game code. Might also help with sandboxing.
If I were to implement such a system I would probably increase some integer incrementally by rooms discovered and/or puzzles solved.
The difficulty is that it would be divisible by a number (probs 100% completion) so you'd have to implement it AFTER you'd finished coding the game (to work out exactly how to make the numbers work) which could be a bit of a pain.
The progression bar is super easy to implement (compliments of Jay, I believe). I post a snippet of code under the game script tab, increase score using increase score (by x) script, and add a player.score + x code each time I increase score.
Here is the link to the library forum for a nice little progress bar.