Tuesday 20 March 2012

The Design of Advolution - Part One

Since my idea for introducing a feature to The Adventure Gamer that would follow which games introduced certain features to the genre was met with interest, I've started to put together a list of the various categories that might be included along with the various features that would be listed in each. Below is a first draft, which makes no attempt to list each possible element for every category (that will happen over time). At this point I'm really just looking for feedback on the categories, but you're all welcome to discuss to features within each while we're at it. The key will be to make sure the system is kept fairly broad, otherwise it will very rapidly get out of control, while also not restricting it so much that very little ever changes. Adding categories and features down the track might require going back and re-evaluating all previous games played, so we should try to get it as right as possible before launching it.

Oh, and before I start, what do you think of the name Advolution? I notice it's been used for a couple of other things, including a search engine and marketing company, but it serves the purpose and rolls off the tongue. I'm open to other suggestions as always.

DIALOGUE: Branching Conversation Trees, One-Way Interaction, Two-Way Interaction

GAMEWORLD: Linear Progression, Open-Ended


INTERFACE: Text Parser, Point and Click, Hybrid

INVENTORY: Limited, Unlimited

MINIGAME: Fighting, Strategy, Racing

MISCELLANEOUS: Game Score, Dead Ends, Game Over Scenarios, Multiple Playable Characters, Time Limit


PERSPECTIVE: First Person, Third Person

PRESENTATION: Slideshow, 2D, 3D

PUZZLES: Multiple Solutions, Maze

SOUND: PC Speaker, Digitised Sound, Speech Synthesis

STORY: Branching Storylines, Multiple Endings

THEME: Adult, Detective/Mystery, Medieval/Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi/Futuristic


  1. You've managed to make a really comprehensive list. Kudos for that! I might still add to minigames platformers (or then combine them with racing as action games) and card games (or generally games of chance, so it would cover also dice and slots). And I'd also suggest putting historical (other than medieval) in the themes.

    1. I almost forgot! Logic puzzles (like jigsaws, Hanoi towers etc.) might be added to puzzles.

    2. I thought about logic puzzles, but then aren't the majority of puzzles based around logic? Or is there a general consensus that logic puzzles are a very specific type?

      Happy to replace medieval with historical. That covers more ground. There are still games that won't fit into of those themes though, such as Secret of Monkey Island. Fantasy?

    3. I think Ilmari may be referring to those adventures that are basically a collection of logic puzzles not related to the story in any way... it might be too narrow a category, but off the top of my head I'm thinking 7th Guest (was maybe the first?) and Shivers.

      As for SoMI, what about a Grand Adventure theme? Think a Jules Verne-like adventure. Of course in the case of SoMI it´d have to be mixed with Comedy.

    4. I think there's a clear difference between an inventory-based problem (there's a locked door with key in lock, but on the other side of the door; you have a mat fitting under the door and a stick fitting in the lock; you put the mat under the door and push the key with the stick on the mat) and a logic puzzle (there's a locked door and a sliding tile puzzle; you solve the puzzle and the door says CLICK). You usually see inventory-based problems in adventure games, but rarely in pure puzzle games. Then again, not all adventure games have logic puzzles, which usually appear as minigames (not just in 7th Guest -like games, but also in more traditional adventure games). I think that if mazes are categorized as a specific form of puzzles, logic puzzles deserve to be mentioned also.

      You might also say that Monkey Island is historical game, because it is loosely situated somewhere in the 18th century Caribbean. Then again, it is not very realistic historical (like Gold Rush). One possibility might be to separate setting (Ye olde times, Contemporary, Futuristic) and style (say, Fantastic, Realistic, Detective, Comedy, Horror, Adult).

    5. I think the thing to do might be to use two seperate categories as you say. I'll see what would happen if I applied that to the first 20 or 30 games on the list and make a call.

  2. Also, just to clarify, the entries under each category are by no means complete. We'll have to add plenty of new things as and when they arrive down the track. There's now way we could think of everything that the genre might offer over the next few hundred games!

  3. When I read the name, first thing I thought was that you were putting advertisements on your site.

    I'm not sure Historical works for games like Shadowgate, Uninvited, Discworld, or Simon the Sorcerer, which all fit well into a Fantasy theme.

  4. I'm not sure about the name. Sounds spammy to me.

    I don't see why you need to list out each change in advance: Wouldn't it be better to just add things as you encounter something new in a game? Anything that makes you go "Huh, haven't seen that before" sounds worth a mention on the list.

    1. You might be right. I'll see if I can come up with something less "spammy".

      As for choosing the categories now, I just don't want to be in a situation down the track where we add something that could apply to every other game on the list that I've already played through. I'm not attempting to create a list that covers every game I will play in the future, just the ones I've already played.

    2. Oh, that makes more sense. Carry on!