Upgrade trees are a system of upgrading which involves following a certain path in order to obtain higher ranking upgrades. Unlike the typical upgrade screens seen in most games, they will only allow you to unlock certain upgrades once previous aspects along the same line have been unlocked.
As you can see in the picture to the right, Friendly Fire: Blood and Gore uses an upgrade system which makes you choose between three different weapon types; powerful, spread shot, and quick. The first weapon you choose will determine the weapons that can be unlocked later in the game. Now, 4 reasons why your game should have an upgrade tree.
- Cater to different play styles. Not everyone likes the same kind of character. By using an upgrade tree, you allow players to pick and choose the specific characteristics or weapons that will help there style of play.
- More customization. Players love it when they feel like they have input in a game. By letting them customize the weapons or traits their character has, that character becomes their creation. By making it so that players can only choose to upgrade so many aspects of their character, you make it truly unique.
- More possibilities for upgrades. With a normal upgrade screen, you must give the player sufficient funds or experience to have the chance to purchase all of the upgrades. Otherwise they will feel cheated. Not so with an upgrade tree. Players know that they will have to choose between the upgrades, letting you add more to the system.
- Great for replayability. Upgrade trees only let you try one style of play each time you play. Thus, an upgrade tree persuades players can go back and replay the game with a different upgrade path. This is a system that can work great for games with ranged, close combat, and magic upgrade paths.