Last time we said that Trust Me has two issues: Player 1’s game needs to be more interesting without being more challenging, and Player 2 needs more satisfying gameplay without making it easier to win. The solution, I think, lies in going all the way back to the beginning of the design. Decoupling Player 2’s activity from Player 1’s opposition makes it possible to fix both problems.
Player 1 currently can’t be challenged because Player 2 is providing the challenge, and for thematic reasons it needs to be difficult for Player 2 to win. If Player 2 isn’t the opposition, however–if that role is filled by a hypothetical Player 3, or by the game itself–then Player 1 can be confronted with as many difficulties as necessary to make her game interesting. This is fighting the hypothetical, in some measure; we’re not finding ways to increase interest without increasing challenge, we’re just making it possible to increase challenge. Still, I think it’s a good solution.
With Player 2’s experience no longer directly opposed to Player 1, it becomes easier to measure Player 2’s progress on axes other than “how is Player 1 doing.” It will be easier to give Player 2 sub-goals that can provide satisfaction even if Player 2 isn’t winning.
I’m on my way out the door for a trip as I type this, so I can’t go into as much detail as I would like. On Monday I’ll talk about Player 2’s sub-goals: how they work and why they’re important.