Author Topic: Steam achievements and trading cards  (Read 2976 times)

Steam achievements and trading cards
« on: 01 Aug 2017, 20:57 »
What do you guys think of Steam achievements, in particular, with point-and-click adventure games?  Do you like them?  Are there certain sorts of achievements that work well in these types of games?  Are they pretty important or could you take them or leave them?

Likewise for Steam trading cards.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2017, 21:31 by SilverSpook »

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #1 on: 01 Aug 2017, 21:10 »
I'm a recovering achievement addict, was REALLY into them once (on the Xbox 360). So, here goes, personal opinion first:

Not a fan of progression achievements (in adventures), since they are so linear (and you can get a walkthrough). So, if you only do these might as well not do them at all. If you can find something out of the way of normal fare, go ahead. Strange combinations, finding easter eggs, the like.

Now, more general stuff:

On the other hand, progression achievements can be interesting for the developer, since it tells you how far the players come, on average.

Some people actually don't buy games without achievements. So, do them. People who don't care won't mind if they get pop ups.

As for cards: Games without them might sell worse. Cards let the player either make some money by playing (and by extension you, the developer), or they buy them to show how much they like the game. So, do them.
« Last Edit: 01 Aug 2017, 22:07 by ClickClickClick »

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Re: Steam Achievements
« Reply #2 on: 01 Aug 2017, 21:23 »
Linear achievements are not cool but there was point system in adventure games since forever. So they are ok imo.

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Re: Steam Achievements
« Reply #3 on: 01 Aug 2017, 21:30 »
I will say that achievements generally make me play a game more, especially if they're for difficult tricks or alternative story paths. Trading cards I don't personally care about, but many people at Steam do.

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #4 on: 01 Aug 2017, 22:02 »
Trading cards are neat to have, but I don't go out of my way to collect them.  That said, I always hope that a game will include them because they are just fun little things to look at from time to time.

Achievements are fun.  I don't really go after them that much, but I definitely like when I get them, and I like seeing that I have gotten more of them.  I admittedly don't have many, but that's OK.  I have more than I used to.

In some games that I play more often, achievements can be a nice way to direct my next play session.  For example, I like to play Civilization V.  I've played it many times.  So if I want a new challenge, I look for an achievement that I could get in the next play session.  But that's a turn-based strategy game.  Adventure games are more often linear and tell a story.  I don't tend to play such games more than once, but I will if I enjoyed it.  Achievements can encourage me to play again by offering replay value.  Maybe I missed something the first time around, or maybe there was a different way of doing things that I could try out.

So in all, they can be nice, and they can add to the overall gaming experience.  But are they necessary?  I guess not, but it's almost disappointing not to have them.

I should say that I did buy some games on Steam that I had already purchased from GOG and other DRM-free options.  The main reason to do this was to support the creators, but an added bonus was to get trading cards and achievements.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #5 on: 01 Aug 2017, 23:54 »
I really don't care for steam silly achievements or trading cards.  When I play a game, I do so to enjoy it, not to say 'Hey look, I got this weird achievement\trading card, aren't I clever'.

And the achievement pop-ups REALLY annoy me!  :sad:
It interrupts my immersion in the game.  The whole point of a game (and adventure games in particular) is to draw you in to that world and make you want to find out what happens next in the story - having pop-ups flash up on your screen all the time is just distracting!   

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #6 on: 02 Aug 2017, 00:43 »
Wile I agree with ClickClickClick on story achievements for linear games, I think achievements for special actions is a fun way
to encourage the player to explore and examine the game world further as well as experimenting with the gameplay mechanics.

As for the trading cards, I've never really bothered to learn what to use them for... (roll)

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #7 on: 02 Aug 2017, 01:07 »
As for the trading cards, I've never really bothered to learn what to use them for... (roll)
I had so many of them that selling got me enough money for a couple of games. Not of the sixty bucks AAA kind, but still.



SilverSpook, one more thing to consider is the additional workload that comes with creating cards. Five to eleven 1920x1080 artworks for the cards themselves, several emoticons and profile backgrounds, five stages of the normal badge plus one foil.
« Last Edit: 02 Aug 2017, 01:13 by ClickClickClick »

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #8 on: 02 Aug 2017, 03:36 »
I would suggest making "linear" achievements "hidden" or at least have vague descriptions. I remember playing one of the Blackwell game on Steam, and achievements practically contained hints in their descriptions, so I knew what to do even before I got to particular scenes.

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #9 on: 02 Aug 2017, 04:09 »
I wonder if it is possible to have an option in settings to just disable achievements and cards? Then there's at least the choice for those who want them and those who don't.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #10 on: 02 Aug 2017, 04:25 »
I wonder if it is possible to have an option in settings to just disable achievements and cards? Then there's at least the choice for those who want them and those who don't.
You could disable the Steam overlay to not get popups. But that would prevent you from using ANY Steam service from within the game.

I would suggest making "linear" achievements "hidden" or at least have vague descriptions. I remember playing one of the Blackwell game on Steam, and achievements practically contained hints in their descriptions, so I knew what to do even before I got to particular scenes.
Same goes for cards, they can spoil a lot if they show plot-relevant stuff you haven't encountered yet

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #11 on: 02 Aug 2017, 09:00 »
Thanks guys for the input.  I'm currently in the process of getting Neofeud to Steam, and as it's my first time with this process, this is all hugely helpful info for me.  Greatly appreciated!

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #12 on: 02 Aug 2017, 12:18 »
I quite like achievements, although more with exploration games and the like.  For adventure games they're a nice addition but I wouldn't exactly miss them if they weren't there.

In terms of trading cards... well, I've never even remotely been able to see the point.  However I like them, because I get them for free whilst playing the game and then sell them on the marketplace where apparently a lot of people DO see the point, so... :-D

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #13 on: 02 Aug 2017, 12:48 »
I don't really care about 'cheives. Less so Steam 'cheives. I guess they're a nice addition but I've never seen how they could be worth the developer's time to create and implement them. How many adventure game players base their buying decisions on whether or not the game has acheivements? Can't be that many. I will admit to always checking how many I got once I finish a game but I rarely set out to earn one and I even rarelier replay a game in order to earn more.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #14 on: 02 Aug 2017, 15:52 »
From a dev's standpoint, linear achievements are a great way to see what percentage of players reached a certain point in your game. It can also be very depressing.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #15 on: 02 Aug 2017, 16:00 »
I can't talk about Steam's achievements and trading cards, but I did create a page on my BSG upcoming game. Not because I felt players wanted or needed them, but because the game had so many different paths that I thought that those that like to explore games would appreciate to be able to check if there's more to find in the game. I also used it as a hint system... though you will need to click twice to the get the hint (as I don't wish to accidentally give spoilers. ;) )
There is no indication in game when you get a "badge".
« Last Edit: 02 Aug 2017, 16:09 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #16 on: 03 Aug 2017, 01:19 »
I quite like achievements. I rarely go out of my way to get them, though, but it's nice to have a reminder that you did something in a game. In that respect, I guess I prefer linear achievements, but I can see the (relative) value in the hard to obtain ones too.

Trading cards on the other hand...

Unless you're invested in Steam as a gaming "space", I can understand how they would hold little attraction. For those of us who use Steam, cards are the only way to craft badges. Crafting badges gives you EXP. EXP gives you levels. Levels give you friend slots. If you want to have a lot of Steam friends, you're going to need a lot of slots.

And, right or wrong, the gamification of Steam itself is a very real thing.
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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #17 on: 03 Aug 2017, 01:55 »
Crafting badges gives you EXP. EXP gives you levels. Levels give you friend slots. If you want to have a lot of Steam friends, you're going to need a lot of slots.
The basic number of friend slots is more than enough for most people, I'd say. But that's starting to get slightly off-topic.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #18 on: 03 Aug 2017, 02:05 »
I like Cassie's mention of having an achievements page inside your game. I'm doing something very similar for the game I'm working on. In my game, it's pretty much replaced the traditional point scoring mechanism.

You could still offer Steam achievements to Steam users -- just trigger the Steam achievement when the in-game achievement is unlocked.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #19 on: 03 Aug 2017, 11:24 »
I've never really cared about achievements. And I would argue that they ruin the immersion in some types of games.

That being said some games can benefit from achievements, so long as those achievements can only be unlocked if you really REALLY go out of your way to unlock them. Because they can serve as a way to prove that you did something that no one would have ever attempted had that achievement never been there. A good example is see every single piece of dialog in an adventure game.

I really dislike getting achievements for simply reaching a certain distance in the game. I feel as though they're a little patronising, and are a very lazy attempt at making achievements.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #20 on: 05 Aug 2017, 00:22 »
The basic number of friend slots is more than enough for most people, I'd say.

Oh, I agree. But it's still the only way, if people do want more, to raise the limit.

I really dislike getting achievements for simply reaching a certain distance in the game. I feel as though they're a little patronising, and are a very lazy attempt at making achievements.

Well, it depends on the game. Reaching a higher level in a tricky rogue-like, for instance, may prove to be as difficult to achieve as some of the more obscure tasks in otherwise linear games.
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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #21 on: 07 Aug 2017, 04:01 »
It appears like, generally speaking, achievements in adventure games work best when rewarding additional exploration or trying alternate routes through the game.  I mean, on average, there isn't a lot of actually difficult eye-hand coordination type challenges, with some exceptions.  This seems like a good way to up the replay value and get the most mileage out of a non-linear storyline (where the single-playthrough length is sacrificed -- less trunk and more 'branches). 

I just got my first 'test' achievement in a prototype Steam build of Neofeud and I'm already addicted!  (makes heroin addict sounds and mindlessly throws money at Steam)

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #22 on: 07 Aug 2017, 04:21 »
I just got my first 'test' achievement in a prototype Steam build of Neofeud and I'm already addicted!  (makes heroin addict sounds and mindlessly throws money at Steam)

You ain't seen nothing yet. The Pavlovian response is complete when you get a dopamine rush every time you hear this.

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #23 on: 11 Aug 2017, 08:12 »
What do you guys think about an adventure game achievement that is awarded for examining a large number of things in game (several hundred, a thousand) or talking to a large number of characters?

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #24 on: 11 Aug 2017, 09:47 »
What do you guys think about an adventure game achievement that is awarded for examining a large number of things in game (several hundred, a thousand) or talking to a large number of characters?

Grinding achievements are the worst kind of achievements.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #25 on: 11 Aug 2017, 15:17 »
The trick is to make the actual act of doing the achievement FUN. Or at least, fun for somebody. If you can manage that, then go right ahead.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #26 on: 11 Aug 2017, 15:38 »
What do you guys think about an adventure game achievement that is awarded for examining a large number of things in game (several hundred, a thousand) or talking to a large number of characters?

There is an achievement for gathering over X "specks of dust" in the Thimbleweed Park. Since I haven't finished game yet I do not know if these items are of any value but achievement :).
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2017, 15:42 by Crimson Wizard »

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #27 on: 11 Aug 2017, 16:11 »
Some people will work through your achievements, no matter how many you have, 10 or 100. And some people won't work through your achievements, also no matter how many you have. Therefore it isn't exactly measurable and so "right or wrongs" on achievements can surely only ever be personal conjecture, based on individual experiences. And even collating these still won't necessarily give you an accurate idea of what will happen when your experience is live. Do we not generally expect each new experience to be fresh, a little different and exciting from the last? So don't be afraid to do that!

It's your game, do what you want with it! Surrendering to popular opinion will only keep it firmly in the realm of standardized mediocrity. If you feel you've made a piece of expressive art then treat it as such and give it what you think feels right to promote that fact. If you're just a marketing department with a game dev studio on the other end of it, definitely pander to people's opinions and standard formats. There is no right or wrong way to go about achievements, so long as they work, everything else is just opinion and won't necessarily reflect those that are simply there to enjoy consuming your expression, your experience, whatever you make it.

Quote
I really dislike getting achievements for simply reaching a certain distance in the game.

An interesting statement, considering this is exactly what you're doing for the entirety of a point n click - reaching certain distances, in the story etc - being rewarded with cutscenes etc at each milestone. You're rewarded in the game, and with Steam, you're simply rewarded outside of the game for, in some cases, sitting through godawful stories and reaching said points ;) Of course, if you're enjoying the story, and enjoying reaching the milestones, a little extra pat on the back for it from the Steam client isn't exactly a burden. "Reaching milestone" achievements are the base achievement type. My own personal opinion is that those are the very least a game should have in terms of achievements.

Even though they and other types of achievement may not be to everyone's taste, as a developer, it's also quite entertaining to see people find and unlock your achievements in Let's Plays etc. You don't have to like achievements yourself to appreciate they still bring other people some kind of additional joy here and there!

Still, for the record: I generally find myself playing a game once, and just get what achievements I get alongside enjoying a game for the first time, and if the game is good enough to be replayed, will work through the achievements I missed previously, because when you come to know the story and the outcome etc, there's still incentive (for me) to go back and complete/find things I missed. You find new bits of game, maybe additional mechanics you missed out on first time round. As a consumer I don't find this an issue myself...more bang for your buck! Arguably, with the linearity of some point n click games, this won't always be the case. Play it once and you've seen and done everything there is to do. But more and more even point n clicks are becoming less linear these days, and in some ways, that is down to rewarding different actions through the experience, whether that's in game or outside of game. And tackling linearity in any form is generally a plus. You probably don't need an achievement for every "Look at", but that doesn't mean a player using every "look at" can't be rewarded in some way.
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2017, 16:29 by MJL »

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #28 on: 11 Aug 2017, 18:09 »
Grinding achievements are the worst kind of achievements.
This. And yet, 6.8% of all players of the game Paradigm on Steam have the achievement for clicking TEN THOUSAND TIMES. Though I suppose a lot of them used an autoclicker. Which tells us, it's more a feat of trickery than stamina.

http://steamcommunity.com/stats/600370/achievements/

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #29 on: 11 Aug 2017, 20:54 »
Thanks for the input, especially Mark J, for putting in a good page. :) 

Mainly the goal with this idea of, "Do x amount of look/talk/use," is a way to incentivize potential re-players to read a lot of the descriptions and hear dialogs I spent a bunch of time on, but that you could gloss over in the first playthrough, especially if you get engrossed in the primary story.  Then for folks who were on the fence about a second playthrough, this time the guiding principle isn't, "Get through the game" but rather, "Experience everything", which could give more bang for the buck.  On the other hand, it may be unnecessary, if most point-n-click players are pretty completist normally, and click on everything the first time around.

I take Mark's point on marketing that we probably have enough design-by-focus-group-and-Big-Data games in the world at this point, though.

I do want to have at least a few, 'pretty challenging' achievements, for the hardcore achievement hunters. :)
« Last Edit: 11 Aug 2017, 20:59 by SilverSpook »

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #30 on: 12 Aug 2017, 15:44 »
As a person who almost never replays a game, especially not just after finishing it (literally the only example where I ever did that was Bastion to see if the stuff hinted at in the end would change a new ending, but I got bored and stopped somewhere in the first level), I'm not sure there's any point to incentivising a replay of what would be almost the same experience (even with a couple minor branches here and there). If the writing is cool or the world is interesting, I'd have been going the "Look at everything" route anyhow, and if not, reading 10 variations of "this is a door" wouldn't motivate me.

Personally, for a traditional adventure game, I can't think of any meaningful achievements EXCEPT linear progress achievements, coupled with achievements for which branch of a story you took. Achievements for "You clicked the PICK UP TREE 300 times, lol!" or "You clicked TALK on every interactable in the game, congrats!" seem incredibly pointless and stupid to me, and "You solved the puzzle in 1 go/You got what you wanted in the conversation tree in 1 go/You got through the maze without dying in 1 go" achievements don't really motivate me to replay a game if I didn't get it in 1 go (they'd probably motivate achievement hunters, but those players will be doing everything to get the achievements regardless- they'd probably even click the tree 300 times).
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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #31 on: 12 Aug 2017, 18:05 »
I loooove achievements and trading cards, also the badges (they come along with wallpapers aaaand … emoticons :wink: on Steam  - YAY! :cheesy: )
Badges, llamas, medals, trophies … depends on what site you are on … are nice to decorate the profile page or signature, to show that you are part of the community, earned them or got them as a present, participated on an activity - or to just brag with them …

It's something like collecting stamps has been 'some' years ago. Wanna  watch my collection?  (laugh)

That aside about linear achivements - for example after completing a part, task, day and such - they give me a hint about how long the game will go on and (on Steam) I can see how far my friends got in the game. :cool:

As for special achivements - I do like to be rewarded for discovering something 'hidden' that wasn't needed to follow the story or to 'win' the game but that was inplemented for extra detail like easter eggs or jokes or to have found/read every piece of written notes, saw a hidden pic or to have done a useless but funny action - even more if that action takes really place (like to put the cat on the record player - and it really will be placed on the turntable spinning around) :grin:

I simply love that and I confess to have replayed games to search for missed parts or different outcomings. (nod)

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #32 on: 15 Aug 2017, 11:51 »
I really dislike getting achievements for simply reaching a certain distance in the game. I feel as though they're a little patronising, and are a very lazy attempt at making achievements.

Well, it depends on the game. Reaching a higher level in a tricky rogue-like, for instance, may prove to be as difficult to achieve as some of the more obscure tasks in otherwise linear games.
That is definitely true, but in that case it's more like getting a highscore, and the achievement is merely showing that.
And honestly, despite my previous statement, I do like it when I get an achievement for completing a game. So maybe I should have included a little asterisk when I wrote that. (laugh)

But at the same time, I feel the need to express my opinion that achievements shouldn't be in EVERY SINGLE GAME.
Something I've noticed no one talking about on this thread, is how achievements can break immersion in some games. For example, let's imagine for a second if achievements were around when Silent Hill 2 was released. Could you imagine wandering around that game, the siren going off, the background changing, and monsters shambling into view, and then suddenly... DING! Achievement unlocked!

I don't know if you can turn achievements off on Steam, but I know you can't do it on a PlayStation (or at least it's not obvious as to how). And something like that can really ruin immersion. I don't think Silent Hill 2 would have been as good of a game as it is, had it had achievements. As a matter of fact, there's probably quite a few old games which I think are better simply because they don't have achievements.

Obviously I can think of a few old games which would have been improved with achievements, Tomb Raider for example. But most of the games that I look back at with fond memories, I'm glad were made before achievements were a thing.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #33 on: 15 Aug 2017, 13:32 »
achievements can break immersion
I'm pretty sure I've read about some games, on PS3 I think, where they managed to suppress the popups for that very reason. You only get to see what you "achieved" once you leave the game.

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #34 on: 15 Aug 2017, 15:42 »
But at the same time, I feel the need to express my opinion that achievements shouldn't be in EVERY SINGLE GAME.
Something I've noticed no one talking about on this thread, is how achievements can break immersion in some games. For example, let's imagine for a second if achievements were around when Silent Hill 2 was released. Could you imagine wandering around that game, the siren going off, the background changing, and monsters shambling into view, and then suddenly... DING! Achievement unlocked!

*Ahem*

Did you see my post?  I said then, that achievements break the immersion of a game.  :undecided:

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #35 on: 18 Aug 2017, 05:39 »
So generally speaking, would it be best to hide all Steam achievements due to spoilers?

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #36 on: 18 Aug 2017, 06:38 »
So generally speaking, would it be best to hide all Steam achievements due to spoilers?
generally I vote: No!

But to be sure - What do you mean by hiding? - The usual hidden ones on Steam (looking at all the possible achievements will only show you the possibility of x secret achivements)?
In case those are not too stupid ones (like 100.000 clicks on a special point in game) and if not all of the possible achievements are secret/hidden - I like it.
It will make an extra challenge to find them and I often read about gamers that are real achievement hunters who are going through a game for several times to get those, too. :grin:


Also about those who don't want to get spoiled by possible achievements:
The first achievements (those you can see on the description site of the game) usually are not the hardest to get like 'did the tutorial', 'entered first time somewhere' and such) so not very spoilerish in my eyes (also you need to hoover the cursor on them to read about what they are given for). To see nearly all of the achivements (not all of them - see above) before getting them you have to click on extra links. -   So just don't do it. 

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Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #37 on: 18 Aug 2017, 08:38 »
So generally speaking, would it be best to hide all Steam achievements due to spoilers?

No, but it's better to have an achievement labeled "Reached Chapter Three" instead of "Used the Enchanted Gizmo to defeat Fred the Vizier".

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    • Cassiebsg worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #38 on: 18 Aug 2017, 20:02 »
Is it possible for the dev to turn the achievement popup on/off?
If so, I would suggest you add a box on your game settings or achievements page, to let the player turn on or off the popup as they prefer. I'm pro-choice, as let the player decide. (nod)
There are those who believe that life here began out there...

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #39 on: 18 Aug 2017, 21:07 »
I haven't seen such an option to turn the pop-up notifications for achievements off, but apparently the Steam users can turn off achievement notifications themself.

Re: Steam achievements and trading cards
« Reply #40 on: 19 Aug 2017, 07:57 »
Some of the games have decent achievements that feel rewarding, but some of the smaller indie games on steam have really strange and linear achievements that feel not rewarding.