In Gamasutra's latest feature
, designer and researcher Lucas Blair lays out four important considerations for designing achievements, backed up by research into human behavior.
One particular area of concern is what sort of behavior achievements engender in players.
"Games tend to push players toward a performance orientation as they are constantly emphasizing direct goals like time and points earned. Unfortunately, players who gravitate toward this type of orientation take fewer in-game risks and spend less time exploring, afraid that doing so might affect their score," Blair writes.
In other words, how you design your game can cause profound differences in player behavior -- an effect that's important to understand.
Fortunately, achievements can be used as tools to bring player behavior back toward a model which better suits enjoyment of the game.
"When given mastery goals players will have higher self-efficacy and utilize more effective strategies. Research has also shown that people given mastery-oriented goals perform better on complex tasks," writes Blair.
To find out more about the push and pull of different types of game design and how achievements fit into that, read Gamasutra's latest feature
, The Cake Is Not a Lie: How to Design Effective Achievements.