Motivational Design

Lenses and Patterns for Motivational Game Design

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Goal Remembrance

Goals in games are very important in keeping the player focused on what they are trying to accomplish. However, there is a possibility that they might get so engrossed in the game that they may forget what they are trying to accomplish. That is why it is important to have a way for the player to check what their current goal is and how to accomplish it.

In Skyrim, you can easily bring up your quest journal to check all of your quests/goals that need to be accomplished. You also have to possibility of selecting which ones you want to select as being active so they will appear on the map. Once they appear on the map, you can easily see on both your HUD and map where they are located and where you are so you know where to go. This feature allows you to quickly see what your goal is so you don't forget, it also tells you why it is your goal, like why you need to talk to somebody or go someplace so you don't forget.

Use To...

  • Allow players to remember what their current goal is
  • Show how far along they have come since starting their goal
  • Show how much more they have to do to complete their goal

Can be instantiated by...

Goal Remembrance can be done through a quest log, challenge log or some other list of the sort through the menu. This should be easily accessible so that the player can quickly find out if their goal has changed or how close they are to the goal. It can be done through a map, like Skyrim, or through a challenge log, like Mass Effect 3. Another good way for it to be done is through a bar that fills up as they complete the goal. This visually helps the player know how they are progressing through the goal.


Fallout 3

Fallout 3's pip-boy 3000 allows players to access all of the information about their character at the click of a button. They can access the map and set up an active quest as well as find out information about the quest, all from the same place. This is pretty similar to Skyrim. The player can easily find out what they were last doing or want to do when they come back to the game after not playing it for awhile or after getting side tracked from exploring.

Mass Effect 3

In Mass Effect 3 there are several types of modes that can happen during the multiplayer levels. You could be asked to simply survive the wave, kill the enemy VIPs, upload data or transport a drone across the map. The default is simply to survive but when you have the other modes, enemies appear everywhere just like in the normal wave. This can cause players to forget that actually have a primary goal over killing enemies. Luckily, on the HUD there will be a variety of popups depending on the mission. If you have to kill the VIPs there will be a timer as well as an arrow pointing to the VIP; Uploading data will cause an arrow to point to the location of the upload as well as a progress bar of how much has been loaded vs how much still has to load. This is very helpful for players who get distracted by killing enemies or when they are low on health or trapped somewhere. They simply need to look up in the corner of the screen to see what type of mode they are playing and where they have to go.


You want to make sure that you are not too vague in the game, like Morrowind which was simply a journal entry with nothing on the map or HUD to tell you where to go.


This is industry standard to make sure players know what to do next in the game.


Motivations: competence, self-efficacy, achievement, self, mood management Mechanics: Goals, Feedback, Challenge, Player Journey



Zach Whitman

patterns/goal_remembrance.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/19 01:20 by zwhitman