Today I started a bigger task and I realized my quest list for that task is way too short. This is one thing that is important with these kinds of games: it's necessary to have quests that cover everything there is to do, and can be done in a short time. If it takes too long to complete a quest, the progress following aspect of the game is lost. So I will need to rewrite the quest list for a bit. I still haven't come up with any really cool achievements.
So is it helping any? I think it is. The small tasks, which I usually hate doing, get done when they are framed as easy experience. The fact that I actually keep a list of them is probably more helpful though. Even though exp gaining doesn't really contribute towards anything, there is a certain amount of satisfaction gained simply from updating the character sheet. It's that small moment of closure, for a task done. I like that. Maybe a normal task list would have the same effect, but it does have slightly less to do when a task is complete - primarily, there is no reward.
I have thought of another thing that could help me guide my efforts: boss monsters. These would be simple challenges that can be defeated when I have the right combination of skill levels. Again, no real purpose, but like achievements, they would provide more goals. More goals often equals better as there are more reasons to do a task. One way to do boss monsters would be to use a random generator with total skill level requirement as an input and per skill level requirements as output. For example, a level ten boss could require programming at 6, game design at 3 and writing at 4. After defeating that boss, there would be another boss, one level higher and so on. At the end of my thesis work I could see how many bosses I have managed to beat.
That was actually such a cool idea that I'll go and implement the boss generator after finishing this post. Maybe I'll have a couple parallel dungeons so that if there is a boss I get stuck on for a really long time, I can explore the other dungeon in the meanwhile. Or maybe there could be three bosses for each level, and I need to beat one in order to proceed. That sounds even better. Let's do it, bye for now.