In my efforts to reveal player progress in ’Lil Red’ I coded a rewards ladder applying XPs when players did something positive and ‘charging’ players for hints and deducting points for questionably actions or decisions. For example collecting the useful objects, completing tasks or sections or puzzles are awards XPs whereas throwing the mouldy lasagne on the floor instead of depositing in the waste bin and calling up game hints cost XPs. Simple enough right.
Until our Network Manager asked if I had found any ‘game exploits?’ ‘Game exploits’ I mimicked? Our Network Manager, an experience online gamer, went onto explain that exploring, sharing and exploiting the game or game bugs is all part of the entertainment. He in fact encouraged I write in some permissible ‘sploits,’ because ‘the kids will find ‘em, its all part of playing the game.’
Our Network Manager may well be right, the young player may well expect an opportunity to bend the rules to their advantage. And it was with minimal effort I discovered wide ranging debates, with a significant number of contributors more knowledgeable than I am, contesting the ethics of gameplay, complete with its own diction.
I may well include a planted ’spoilt’ here and there before I finish the game, but for now I have more game to build and the task of testing my current game to ensure its integrity. Sadly, it did not take long to find my first bug or exploit. By picking up objects with XPs, dropping and picking them up again I was able to rack up XPs a plenty, levelling up at will. The answer, set a flag when the object was first taken, then adding a check to see if the objected is unflagged before attributing XPs to the player progress attribute.
Another lesson learnt, and a new lesson to be added to a SOW. What great fun the students will have trying to exploit one anothers games, either revealing the exploits of others or proudly defending their game integrity. This IF journey just keeping on teaching me new lessons.