C’mon, the player survived all this crazy and hard challenges so far, it’s time to reward them with some cool stuff! Although this sounds a bit ridiculous, it is likely that players had failed 20 seconds ago in your game, so it’s nice to reward them for trying it again before giving a real challenge.
Depending on the game, this is a good time to do things like:
- Introduce special items players can collect
- Change art (colors, background…)
- Some random Wow moment
This block should emphasize how cool the game is, so why not present collectables in a cool pattern? Something that fits with the game’s core mechanic. Make the player move. Make the player have fun collecting stuff without failing. Actually, this just reminded me, it is a good idea to make this a safe zone as well.
Now that the introduction is over, let’s get to the real business! There is nothing much to talk here, this is the time to challenge players in different ways according to your game mechanic.
For both Upside Down and Zoic Adventures we wanted to use blocks with incremental difficulty and spawn them according to the playtime. But later we decided that increasing the game speed was already enough. So we just randomly selected challenge blocks in a list avoiding repetition. If your game doesn’t increase speed over time, or if this increment is not considerable, I would recommend working with challenges organized by difficulty (always think about the flow).
Wow, that was hard! Now we really need to give players some time to rest and celebrate how far they have come. Rest blocks are safe zones (again, no failing allowed) between chunks of challenges blocks.
To avoid the unpredictable randomness of random numbers, we used a pseudo-random distribution (more info on the matter here). This way we guaranteed that the player would randomly get a rest block before a maximum number of challenges.
Rest blocks are very similar to reward blocks, where players should be rewarded by how far they have come.Use collectibles, items, wow moments, special vehicles, or anything that makes this relaxing moment more outstanding and creates a bit of anxiety. The major difference compared to a reward block, would be their length. Rest blocks could probably be 2-3 times longer than a reward block, as players are under heavier stress levels compared to when they entered a reward block.