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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Game Dev: question format

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has submitted questions and answers concerning the games in which you are experts. It's been a lot of fun reading them, particularly the games I know well myself, and we're already have 570 of the 2,500 questions I'd like the game to have when it launches. We'll keep expanding the Q&A database, but I'd like to have at least 250 games at launch. It's amazing, we already have question sets for two games of which I'd never heard before, Persona 3 and Typhoon Thompson and the Quest for the Sea Child.

Second, everybody likes the idea of a game history-based quiz game. I've spoken with several developers and designers who are sending me question sets for their own games, which is cool, and the company for which I designed the game really likes the competitive structure of the game. (There is also a more generic gameplay mode called Mastery Mode, but that's ordinary enough so it's not of particular interest to me.) The game has enough potential that Alpenwolf has decided we will develop it ourselves rather than turn the design over to the other development teams as originally planned.

Third, it's apparent that the experts can probably come up with better fake answers for the multiple choice aspects than we can. So, if you're willing to put in the additional effort, it would be very helpful if you would provide three incorrect answers to go with the correct one. Several of you have already done this; the format should be as follows:

Who is the player’s companion throughout the game?
Ghost
1=Traveler;2=Speaker;3=Rasputin;4=Ghost
4

The first line is the question. The second line is the fill-in-the-blank answer. The third line is the multiple choice options. The fourth line indicates which multiple choice answer is correct.

Unlike most quiz games, this one features both fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice at the same time. In the competitive game, you'll get a bonus if you can correctly fill in the blank when your opponent correctly answers the multiple choice. You'll only see the blank when the question first appears, but if you hit the spacebar, the blank is replaced by multiple choice; whoever correctly answers first also gets a bonus, albeit one that is one-quarter the amount of the fill-in-the-blank bonus. This rewards true knowledge as opposed to mere recognition.

Don't feel any pressure to provide the multiple choice options, however. We can take care of them, it's just that it will be faster and we suspect the quality will be higher if the game experts include them. But what's really important is the 10 basic questions. Two other things to keep in mind: try to avoid verbose answers due to the fill-in-the-blank component and don't create questions about expansions or sequels, keep them focused on the core game. We'll come up with separate questions about the expansions.

Also, please include the actual year of release as well as the era. As I mentioned, every game expert contributing will receive game coins, not only usable in this game, but for all the games in the new system. Below is an example of one question set that was of particular interest to me; the expert will probably note that I changed a few questions. In case it's not clear, the number in the first column refers to difficulty. 1 is Easy, 2 is Medium, 3 is Hard, and 4 is Expert.

Wizardry
PC (apple 2)
RPG
1980s (1981)
Sir-Tech

wizardry1 1 What game developer produced Wizardry? Sir-Tech
wizardry1 1 What is the maximum number of characters in a party? 6
wizardry1 1 What is the name of the arch-wizard on the final level? Werdna
wizardry1 1 Where can your characters be resurrected or cured of paralysis? temple;Temple of Cant
wizardry1 2 What is the base word of all fire spells? halito
wizardry1 2 What spell is described as a 'small tactical nuclear weapon'? tiltowait
wizardry1 2 What transport device is first found on level 4? elevator
wizardry1 3 What are the four elite classes? Bishop, Lord, Samurai, Ninja
wizardry1 3 What is the best weapon? Muramasa Blade
wizardry1 4 Due to a bug, what items work when not equipped? regeneration

Here is the list of games for which we have questions so far:

Swashbuckler, Destiny, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Rebel Assault, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Postal 2, Mechcommander 2, Ultima VI: The False Prophet, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Command & Conquer, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, Doom II: Hell on Earth, Akalabeth: World of Doom, Annals of Rome, Covert Action, Executive Suite, King of Dragon Pass, Long Live the Queen, Wasteland 2,Thief, Quake, Wipeout 2097, M.U.L.E., Taipan, Typhoon Thompson and the Quest for the Sea Child, Agent U.S.A., Homeworld, Phantasie, Planescape: Torment, Metal Gear Solid, EVE Online, Heroes of Might and Magic III, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Darklands, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, The Bard's Tale, Swords and Serpents, Civilization V, Warlords, Academagia, Bomberman 64, Europa Universalis IV.

If you're an expert in a game that isn't on the list, please contribute! In addition to the game coins, we'll also put your name in the credits unless you don't want it in there.

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20 Comments:

Blogger D. Lane (#0067) August 09, 2015 10:02 AM  

don't create questions about expansions or sequels, keep them focused on the core game

#9 and #10 in my submission will need to be changed. #9 is accessible without DLC (the applicable shop keeper & item are accessible/viewable irrespective of DLC ownership), but knowledge of #10 requires experience with the DLC. Expect a revised email shortly.

Anonymous Red Comet August 09, 2015 10:10 AM  

The Persona games are a spin-off of the popular RPG series Shin Megami Tensei in Japan. They have a cult following in Western countries, although the Persona games specifically have been becoming more popular after 3 and 4.

Their gameplay is half JRPG, half life/dating sim.

Anonymous The other robot August 09, 2015 11:33 AM  

Is this the next level of Grand Theft Auto?

Blogger JACIII August 09, 2015 11:55 AM  

What?! No Wing Commander? Guess I will have to replay it with GOG....

Bonus! Gamer's scores and rankings will provide a ready tool to out Anti-GamerGaters posing as Gamers.

Anonymous Ostar August 09, 2015 12:28 PM  

Sent my games (Civ IV, Morrowind, Baldur's Gate 2) before reading this post, sorry. I will resend with the multiple choice question format.

Anonymous Ostar August 09, 2015 12:37 PM  

What about answers that if you nitpick, should include a "the"?
Example:
What unique weapon is found in the Daedric shrine of Magas Volar? (Daedric Crescent)

Blogger VD August 09, 2015 12:41 PM  

What about answers that if you nitpick, should include a "the"?

No, we'll key on the relevant terms. The exact text string won't matter.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2015 12:47 PM  

Write the "The" only if absolutely necessary. Like, if an answer is "Conan the Barbarian" so that it's a necessary part of the name. But otherwise I'll make the parser ignore any initial "The" from the user input.

Anonymous AlteredFate August 09, 2015 1:32 PM  

Question 1) What sort of time do we have to submit game Q&As? I have several rare older games I'd love to do but I would literally have to get them and the systems out of boxes in the basement and play through them...which I absolutely would not mind doing...but it may take a while.

Question 2) Would you like us to provide the fake answers and release date for games we've already sent you, and if so would you prefer us to re-submit the complete game info in the above format or just the missing info?

Blogger VD August 09, 2015 1:50 PM  

In answer to AlteredFate:

1) Before the end of September would be ideal. We're not working on this yet except for putting the Q&A data in the database.

2) Just send the additional information. The important thing is to mimic the format shown in the post, that will let us pop it right in without editing it.

Anonymous Susan August 09, 2015 1:57 PM  

A good history quiz game, like the old Carmen San Diego series would be awesome for kids. They could learn all kinds of study habits, computer skills, and historical knowledge while playing a game. With all the folks here who actually know correct history, it could be a very welcome addition to a parent's arsenal for their kid's education.

Blogger VD August 09, 2015 2:01 PM  

Yeah, once we get the game quiz out, we can look at using the same infrastructure for other topics.

Blogger Carl Philipp August 09, 2015 2:37 PM  

Most of my favorite games that aren't on this list are indie games, only some of which were particularly successful. Should I limit myself somehow?

Also, should I post which ones I'm doing here or on the previous thread?

Anonymous Ostar August 09, 2015 2:39 PM  

VD
The important thing is to mimic the format shown in the post, that will let us pop it right in without editing it.

Sorry, which post? The original one or the one above? They are formatted differently.

Blogger VD August 09, 2015 2:45 PM  

The original one or the one above? They are formatted differently.

The one above.

Most of my favorite games that aren't on this list are indie games, only some of which were particularly successful.

Don't get too obscure. There is no point asking about games that no one knows.

Blogger David-2 August 09, 2015 5:25 PM  

The concept that both "fill in the blank" and multiple choice are offered and fill in the blank rewards you more is excellent! Is that an innovation with this game? I haven't heard of it before (but I'm not a big gamer).

Blogger VD August 09, 2015 5:33 PM  

Is that an innovation with this game?

It is my innovation. Whether I did it first or not, I don't know. I'm not particularly well-versed in quiz games.

Blogger Markku August 09, 2015 8:48 PM  

Someone may wonder about the seeming redundancy of the write-in field - why it doesn't just come automatically from the selected correct answer. The answer is twofold: this way, an empty write-in can denote that a write-in answer is not possible for this question (perhaps because the sentence would just be too long for the user to guess how it should be written) so it goes straight to multiple choice.

Second, the multiple choice answer can be the exactly correct form (say, with a beginning "The") whereas the write-in just contains the words that must occur in the answer, with unknown amounts of a's, the's and so forth in between.

So, to use Ostar's example:

Write-in field: Daedric Crescent
Multiple-choice field: 1=The Daedric Crescent;2=...

Anonymous Godfrey August 09, 2015 10:08 PM  

I miss "City of Heroes". I loved game and enjoyed many hours playing.

To all the developers out there, thank you for what you do. You make life a little more fun.

Blogger Zaklog the Great August 13, 2015 8:57 PM  

Could we get an update on the questions received so far? I'd be happy to chip in one or two more sets, but I don't want to duplicate work.

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