Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Cheat Code Debate

As a team of only two, you might be surprised to hear we don’t always agree on every aspect of the project(s) we work on. Shocking, I know. Today, much to Justin’s surprise, we did not agree on the subject of cheat codes in our current project. Here is a summary of our differing stances:

Justin: For those who want to use them, cheat codes give the player added value for their game purchase. It’s their game, they paid for it, so they should get to play it however they want. This added value should be available to the player from the start, giving the user full control over their gaming experience.

Paul: Cheat codes should be a reward for players who’ve already beaten the game and want more out of the game than just the designed experience. Offering cheat codes to the consumer too early can cause the player to destroy their own experience with the game without giving them the chance to play the game as designed first.

We both had personal and third hand experiences to share that supplemented our arguments, and in the end, we compromised. Cheat codes would be hidden behind an “unlock spell” who’s somatic components would be a sequence of button presses. On top of this, the “spell” cannot be “cast” until the player has put at least X number of hours into the game. This way, even after the internet has leaked the fantastical process by which one would cheat in our game, you’ll still need to play it, UNcheated, for a time.

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