I’ve got 12 hours left in my development cycle and I’m seriously considering switching one of the score mechanics. I need some input on this one! Hopefully I’ll get a few responses from people in the time I have left.
When a score is submitted to my HighScore Database, it sends along with it a “legit” flag (also known as “Champ”). This flag is set “true” if you have not died/restarted/skipped levels since beating level 1, “false” if otherwise.
I put in this distinction as I wanted people to know if someone hammered away on a level, twenty times in a row, just getting lucky and nabbing the high score — or if they “legitimately” played through the game and got those high scores due to skill.
This distinction is currently marked by the bolding of someone’s name on the high score table. Here is an example of what I mean:
This high score table indicates that not only am I, weasel, in first place – but I attained first place on a single attempt through, utilizing my great skill and nothing more. You can further infer that both Pacifist (#2) and Hap! (#4) skipped directly to this level and attempted to beat my score that way, and failed (though it could also possibly mean they just died once somewhere along the way). Either way, this shows that my skill is to be celebrated even more!
With some discussion and thought it has occured to me that, eventually, the #1 spot on all high scores will no longer be bolded. The awe and aura of having a bolded name is good in and of itself, but it will not prevent human nature from just pummeling the digits column and attempting to elevate their score, regardless.
It is therefore my prediction that with this current layout, all worlds will end up having their high score tables dominated by scores flagged as ‘non-legit’.
Here is my proposed solution: Give each user +5000 points for completing a level in a ‘legit’ fashion. This works out to be somewhere around a 25% boost to the average score, and less than a 10% boost for those pro-players in my current high score tables. It is still conceivable that the high score can be held by a non-legit holder, but doing things ‘the right way’ will give you a significant leg-up.