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  1. Game Development
  2. Game Design
Gamedevelopment

A Mini-Post on Post-Match Mini-Achievements

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Post-match mini-achievements are little trophies that are awarded after each match in a multiplayer game. They are similar in spirit to the awards such as "Double Kill" and "First Blood" awards that games like Unreal Tournament announce during a match. 

Once a match is over, a screen displays what mini-achievements the player (or all players) have won. The Worm series has the most fun way of presenting them:

This is from Worms Reloaded. Worms Armageddon had even better awards, but that game is nearly impossible to get running on today's computers.

Here are some examples of the awards Worms gives out:

  • Most Useless: awarded to the character doing the least things during a match.
  • Most Boring: awarded to the character using only basic weapons.
  • Doctor Dolittle Award: awarded to the character using the most animal-based weaponry.
  • Most Entertaining Team: awarded to the team doing the most insane things during a match.

Sadly, only few games use mini-achievements. Besides the Worms games (which only included this feature for a few games themselves), the newer Call Of Duty and Battlefield shooters offer a few, but concentrate more on the awards the players earned individually (in contrast to Worms' team awards), and tally stats like "most knife kills".

What Can Mini-Achievements Do?

Mini-achievements can add humour, but they can be more than just fun little gags...

They Can Keep Players From Disconnecting

Suppose the awards are only given once a match is over. If you want to see them, and get potential rewards such as unlocks or XP, you have to finish the game and not irritate other players by quitting early. The overall quality of the match thus improves.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a similar system, where you only get potential item-drops once a match has been completed. If you quit, you won't get them.

They Can Surprise the Player and Inspire Stories

"Remember when Anne's Worm got the "Longest distance flung by explosion" award? I didn't even know that existed!"

From Worms Revolution

This works especially well with fun and unique challenges. If there are a lot of these, it might take some time to encounter all of them, and players can still be surprised.

(I still haven't figured out what the cockroach award is about. I'd speculate it's about surviving the most explosions or attacks.)

They Can Tie In to XP Progression

Getting a mini-achievement is an efficient way to give the player an XP bonus, if your game has such a system. Getting an XP reward for a certain unique action (like "threw most grenades in a match") is much more fun than having to rely on farming XP with ordinary actions, like winning rounds or defeating opponents.

They Can Be Tracked, and so Foster Competition

If tracked over all matches, mini-achievements can function similarly to high scores. You could potentially see who on your friends list has the most triple-kills.

Crypt Of The Necrodancer leaderboards for the Daily Challenge. The same system can be used to track other challenges and achievements.

They Can Keep the Player Motivated

Team Fortress 2 informs you, when you die, if you've beaten your own record in one of the many statistics it tracks, like staying alive for a long time, or dealing out damage. This can pick up your spirits after getting sniped or stabbed.

The improvement screen from Team Fortress 2. It tracks damage per class, lifetime per class, and several other stats, and always displays something appropriate.

Post-match mini-achievements could also work this way, by reminding the player that, although they may have lost the match, they excelled in one or two categories, and will get rewarded accordingly.

They Can Count Towards Regular Achievements

While mini-achievements are distinct from regular achievements, they can be turned into some. "Unlock every post-match trophy at least once" provides a fun challenge. Other things like "Get 20 First-Blood-Trophies" do too.

Excerpt of Unreal Tournament 3's achievement-list

Conclusion

Mini-achievements are gravely underused, despite being a lot of fun for players and relatively straightforward to implement. Including them could give your game a unique touch, and provide a lot of benefits in terms of gameplay and fun.

References

  • Preview Image: Worms Elite trophy (not itself a mini-achievement!) from Worms Wikia.
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