One fundamental challenge faced by any game is: how do players learn how to play it? This is generally known as the onboarding problem. One way that Makahiki addresses the onboarding problem is through a “first login wizard” in which players (upon their first login) step through a series of dialog boxes including a short video to introduce them to the game.
However, the first login wizard gives only a very basic introduction to the system, and there are many aspects of the game that it does not cover. Players could “stumble” onto these features over time, but with Quests, Makahiki provides a more proactive approach to helping players learn about advanced features of the game.
Quests are made available to the player in a collapsible/expandable window right below the navigation bar. The set of Quests shown to a player can depend upon their game state, so that “simple” Quests can be presented initially and more “complicated” Quests presented as the player gains in expertise. Quests generally guide the player through the various workflows of the Challenge, such as completing a task, signing up for an event, or allocating a raffle ticket.
The system shows a maximum of three Quests at a time. What follows is a screen shot of a Quest window that can display three quests: Learn Secrets of the Kukui Cup Masters, Make a commitment, and Learn about Energy. The first Quest has been clicked on, expanding the window to reveal the description associated with that Quest.
Quests are created by the administrator prior to the Challenge. Administrators have the option of specifying a set of predicates to determine:
- When the player could be shown a Quest;
- When the player has performed actions indicating that they have completed the Quest, and it should no longer be shown.
Players can also indicate explicitly that they have completed a Quest.
Completion of a Quest does not currently earn a player any points. The big advantage to this is that Quests do not need to be verifiable, and thus a much broader variety of onboarding experiences can be constructed as Quests. The disadvantage is that some players might not understand why they should do Quests, given that they don’t earn any points for doing them. (Although completing Quests generally does lead to improved game play, which leads to additional points, so there is an indirect incentive for performing Quests.)
After clicking on the “Quests” link in the Game Admin widget, a page similar to the following should appear:
This page displays all the quests in the system. When you design a Quest, you provide a priority number, which imposes an ordering on the presentation of Quests.
The algorithm for Quest display is as follows. The three quests with the lowest priority number whose:
- unlock conditions evaluate to True
- whose completion conditions evaluate to False
- have not been explicitly indicated as “uninteresting” by the player are shown to the player.
To add a new quest, click the “Add quest” button in the upper right corner.
Clicking on a quest instance brings up a page with information about the quest:
Remember to click the Save button at the bottom of the page when finished to save your changes.