Time Sensitive Content

Deo

the north star
Administrator
#1
With how often we're posting them you'd think they only go up on holidays, but it's time for a new Weekly Discussion!

Something that's become a staple of recent multiplayer games is time sensitive content, such as holiday events and what have you. It encourages players to boot up a game they maybe haven't touched in a couple months, and earn some exclusive loot or play a special game mode.

This, of course, isn't exclusively done in multiplayer games. If we're to look to Pokémon games for examples of this you'll find Mystery Gifts. For a certain period of time you can collect a free, often rare Pokémon or even an item that unlocks an event in the game. With this in mind: let's discuss time sensitive content and how it can be applied to fan games!
  • Discuss what sort of content you think should or shouldn't be exclusive to certain periods of time in a fan game.
  • What do you think about Mystery Gifts? If you plan on having them in your project, will you be making any changes to how they work?
  • Do you have any other examples of time sensitive content that you plan on implementing? Perhaps something related to the time of day rather than the time of year?
 

theAcecelgor

Novice
Member
Posts
34
#2
I think time sensitive content should be used to celebrate a national event like x-mas! There was a x-mas mystery gift for insurgence, that was cool. No terrible pun intended. Also in my game a Pokemon (celibi) appears at a shrine on a random day every 30 day cycle.

Mystery gifts in my opinion have gotten worse throughout the different generations I think a mystery gift should allow you to access a different area and find a rare Pokemon their for example the Old Sea Map that allows you to take a boat to get mew. But recently they have just been giving you magererna or shiny tapucoco. I am changing the gift system so when you get a gift you find it in a hollowed out log in a mysterious glade in the forest.


Time sensitive content I want to include:
Day/Night changes in encounters,
Characters that only appears at night/day,
Mystery Gifts,
Weekly battles

I have an idea for a side quest in the day it's easy at night it gets a bit more interesting!
 
#3
Time sensitive mechanics can be really cool! They often help with immersion, making the game's world one that shifts with time rather than remaining frozen in place, and they usually lead to fun concepts! (Seasons, holidays, day/night-there's lots of fun things that could be explored!) I really love seeing people's ideas to use them, and I hope they become more popular in fan games!

There's only one thing that sours time-based events for me: time limits. Frankly, it's ridiculous that there are Pokemon only obtained by being around at the right time, in both canon and fan games. Some people just didn't have the resources to get the Mystery Gift, whether that be time, internet access, knowledge of the event, data (for fan games), money (for canon games), etc. Why does that mean they shouldn't get a chance to enjoy that Pokemon? Trading makes the problem lessen a bit, but most times, the gift is unbreedable, so supply becomes much scarcer.

Here's some alternatives to a time-locked Mystery Gift:
  • If your Mystery Gift is for a certain holiday: Make it a time-based event instead. There's the possibility of people messing with their clock to get the event, yes, but you can put the event later in the game, so they at least have to work a bit to get it.
  • If you want your Mystery Gift to be obtained a bit after your game's release, to keep interest going: Use a passcode instead. You can keep the Pokemon from being obtained for a while and still let latecomers obtain it later.
  • If you want to have a gift to celebrate the start of the game: Give people something that's rare and useful, but can still be obtained later, like a shiny, a 6IV, or a late-game Pokemon. It's a gift that says "Thanks for supporting our release!" while still letting latecomers get it if they work hard.
 

Maruno

Pokémon Essentials dev
Essentials Developer
Posts
96
#4
I don't like missing out on things. Mystery Gifts are always time-limited (if not location-limited as well). I don't like Mystery Gifts. There are much better ways of implementing the gifts in-game than simply throwing them at you out of nowhere, especially for fangames which can be updated.

Time-dependent stuff in games is fine. I like it. Officers who'll only fight you at night when they're on patrol, weekday people who'll give you an item if you find them on the right day in the right place, that kind of thing is cool. I wouldn't make the length of a cycle too long, though - I don't want to wait a fortnight just to battle X Gym Leader again. Too long a cycle also makes it harder to recognise, and I don't think you should be making repeating content hard to spot. Similarly, don't try to be clever by having just five minute windows in which to accomplish something.

I'm happy so long as I can change the time on my computer and access the content. I'm unhappy if I don't have access to something just because I happened to play the game three months down the road instead of immediately upon release.
 

Dragonite

The cake is a lie, so give it to me
Member
Posts
159
#5
So I thought about this one for a few days and . . . came to pretty much the same conclusions as Maruno. I used to religiously follow the official Pokémon Mystery Gifts but fell off a little (okay, a lot) when they started doing the GameStop codes and the like because it was just a lot of work for a stilly free Pokémon DLC (and I live right by a GameStop, I can't imagine being one of the people who have to drive for an hour to get to one). I get that they're a tradition that's been ingrained in Pokémon for twenty years and it's probably not going away but . . . ehh.

Oh, there's also the detail that I got interested in Pokémon in the middle of Gen 5 when there was a drought of interesting Mystery Gifts for no reason, which made a lot of the fun things like Mew and Jirachi feel like they weren't even part of the Pokédex because there was literally no way to get them without hacking.

As for stuff that happens on a regular timer in the game, go for it, I don't care. I have one quest in Bird Game which one of the stage requirements is "the moon has to be in the sky," which is obviously roughly every twelve hours. The thing in HeartGold/SoulSilver where you had to track down the Gym Leaders to rematch them was kind of convoluted but you could still cheese the DS clock to not have to carry your game around like Animal Crossing.
 

Aki

Game Jam Hype!
Administrator
#6
I already think mystery gifts in the main series are lame. Gotta go to Toys R Us and download the thing in store oh wait the one store near you isn't participating I mean gotta go to Gamestop and stand in line to get a scratch off card before they run out of cards...If the number of mystery gifts is already limited by the cards, why is the gift receiving window also limited? Anyway, the exclusive Pokemon doesn't even get a cool mini quest, or a backstory, or a boss fight; you just go pick it up from some guy at the Pokemart and that's incredibly boring to me. No one part of the process feels like fun or that the gift pokemon is something I'm winning or earning.

Some Mystery gift related stuff I did enjoy was in BW2. Trading a Mystery Gift Keldeo to the game unlocked that scene where it learned Secret Sword...that was so early on in the game and felt so cool to experience. Similarly, the Zoroark event that was triggered by the shiny legendary beast Mystery Gifts. Both of those things aren't so much time based as they are rewards for players who were dedicated enough to buy multiple generations of games...

I think the mystery gifts that hit the sweet spot for me are things like Hat or Surfing Pikachu. A cute outfit, seasonal form, or 1 weird move on an already existing Pokemon makes it unique, but people who miss out aren't really cheated out of filling a Pokedex slot. I'm also a big fan of regular time based events in Pokemon, like NPCs who are harmless in the day but want to battle at night. Nods to the current season or holiday while the player is playing are allways fun too!
 

CloonieKing

The beetle has nothing on me, I'll fight it back.
Member
#7
Some Mystery gift related stuff I did enjoy was in BW2. Trading a Mystery Gift Keldeo to the game unlocked that scene where it learned Secret Sword...that was so early on in the game and felt so cool to experience. Similarly, the Zoroark event that was triggered by the shiny legendary beast Mystery Gifts. Both of those things aren't so much time based as they are rewards for players who were dedicated enough to buy multiple generations of games...
Wow, I had forgotten about those. I really do wish that more mystery gifts had something like that happen, instead of just being a "pick up your pokemon at the pokecenter, end of story."

About time sensitivity, really it just sort of restricts the accessibility of an event which isn't really that good, but by doing so it does make something feel special. So I think that is a big part of mystery gifts, making a pokemon feel rare and special, so I'm not that against it. If the gift was something everyone could get with no time restrictions, it would be the opposite of rare, every trainer would have one. So I do think that time restrictions for mystery events are good, but I do not think that the codes are, it just leads to a bunch of annoying situations. If you have family members who are busy so they want you to get codes for them, but nope, only one per person because they are limited. Or if you go to get some codes, but nope, they are already out. In a sense I feel like going to the store and downloading the event was better because there wasn't any limited stock and you could do it for your friends/family if they were busy.
 

Clifford

Mr. Sandman
Member
Posts
11
#8
Typing this while very tired, so don't mind me

To me, having time sensitive events (like mystery gifts, not events that depend on certain times of day) seems a bit pointless in fan games. It's unlikely that enough people are going to find the game, play it, and find out about the mystery gift before the gift deadline pops up, especially with the part that you should refrain from promotional material in the first place. Even if you are going to have a mystery gift in your game, you should probably make some effort for it to be more interesting than just picking up a Pokemon from the center, like in the DS games. The only reason I can see that it's become more common to pick up event Pokemon from the center in the core series is because they're not meant to be fun or interesting, just something cool-looking and strong to promote their new movie or whatever else is coming out.

Personally, I think the best course for mystery gifts in fan games would be to release passwords or the like that can be used whenever in the game, and instead of just handing the player a Pokemon they should be given and item and a hint to go on a neat side-quest. As for in-game time sensitive events, such as different NPCs or Pokemon you can find at different times of day, it does sound like a nice idea and adds a reason to go back through the game and explore further. They also make the in-game world much more lively and realistic! Now, the only reason I can think of to be against these events the fact that you'll more than likely need to have a poor sleep schedule to find them.

However, when it comes to events that will only play in certain seasons or on holidays, that just seems like a bit of a hassle to me. Unless someone actually looks into these events and learns where to find them and when, most of the time it seems like people are just going to miss this in a fan game since it would be a once-in-a-while kind of thing. Not to mention the patience you'd need to have to wait for these!

... Unless you just change the computer clock, but then that's not really fair.

Anyways, on a side-note, I absolutely adore the mystery gift events from D/P/PT! It's a real shame the Arceus event was never released in America, it's very enchanting and mysterious.
 

leilou

Elite Trainer
Member
Posts
170
#9
Well I agree with most what was posted above me. But I'd like to add some aspect regarding fangames continuing @Clifford's stream of thoughts.

Clifford said:
To me, having time sensitive events (like mystery gifts, not events that depend on certain times of day) seems a bit pointless in fan games. It's unlikely that enough people are going to find the game, play it, and find out about the mystery gift before the gift deadline pops up, especially with the part that you should refrain from promotional material in the first place. [...]
I agree there since for the fangames we do most players will just continue with the next games once they played it through. Just because there are so many. People will maybe play through a game again if it was memorable enough.

Clifford said:
However, when it comes to events that will only play in certain seasons or on holidays, that just seems like a bit of a hassle to me. Unless someone actually looks into these events and learns where to find them and when, most of the time it seems like people are just going to miss this in a fan game since it would be a once-in-a-while kind of thing. Not to mention the patience you'd need to have to wait for these!
... Unless you just change the computer clock, but then that's not really fair.
That's a pretty reasonable point. Having these events in would mean that you need to have enough of those in the game to let the player notice those while regularly playing through the game. That way once the player notices them he'll probably explore the world a bit more seeing what NPCs have to say that day. If this is done properly it imagine the result will be great but it is a lot of work to pull through. Additionally I would never give an even exclusive species or anything of importance to the in game goals out on such an event because it is in direct conflict with being able to complete one of the games goals within any season(completing the Pokédex in this case). Another form like a Christmas hat Pikachu would be good I think.
 
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