Saints Row the Third lies. Among the player tips, one suggests that the Boss gets more Respect (that is experience points) by changing clothes frequently. That’s totally not true. The Boss gets respect for purchasing clothes, but not for wearing them, or changing them. One can argue that she dons an article automatically upon making a purchase, but that’s stretching it.
Still, when I believed it with my first character, I went ahead and made a variety of outfits, which is hecka fun, and I still do dress according to mood and occasion.
So what would a good set of rules be for the Saints Row clothes game?
The Simple Game would only require that a fresh change of clothes (even just visiting a dressing site) would give a temporary increase to the Boss’ Respect gains. This bonus begins to deteriorate after (say) ten minutes of real play time, first slowly, then faster and faster until the bonus hits zero at (say) 20 minutes. Changing clothes at any time would reset the clock to the beginning of the curve. The Boss could sustain maximum respect gains by changing every ten minutes, and would be benefiting so long as She changed at least every twenty minutes.
Also, certain elements (e.g. rain, explosions, fire) can increase that deterioration rate while in the element. Some events (dying, falling into the water, etc.) will insta-soil the Boss’ clothes, reducing that bonus to zero instantly.
It doesn’t really matter what the Boss changes into, so long as the Boss changes. The player’s creativity will do the rest of the work.*
And since it’s all bonus, the Boss can completely ignore the clothes game if she wants. Or is busy.
The game could be made more complex in numerous ways. Ones that come to mind offhand include:
⚜ Articles with the characteristic Bling increase the size of the Respect bonus. Rugged would slow the decay.
⚜ Comfortable clothes could increase sprint speed or sprint duration slightly. Bulky clothes could impose a sprint penalty.
⚜ Armor (there are a few pieces) could actually reduce or deflect damage, even if slightly.
⚜ Weatherproof clothes would not get soiled additionally from exposure to elements. They’d still get insta-soiled from dying or dunking, though.
⚜ Used clothes can remain dirty for a period of time after use (say, fifteen minutes) while (allegedly) some Saints are doing the Boss’ laundry. Not the most glorious job, but still an honor. Safer than working as muscle.
…And so on.
Saints Row 2 had a lot more opportunities to have more of a life than driving around and shooting. Leave the Boss near the smokers behind the apartment and she’ll light up, herself. Leave her near a fishing station, and she’ll break out the tackle and cast a line. A hot dog stand invites buying a snack. These weren’t necessary or even had any additional game effects, but they did help in letting a player define the Boss. In that game, an actual laundry system might have served, especially if a nearby crib with a laundry sped up an article’s availability as fresh. In SR3 the game focused more on the story and less on toodling around town, so laundry bonuses would be added, if at all, with stronghold upgrades.
…Or the game could just lie to the player to encourage him to change clothes once in a while. It worked on me.
* The design of a Milton Bradley Phantom Menace game (The Battle for Naboo 3-D Action Game which now has no following whatsoever) taught me that sometimes simple rules will serve even when a game begs for more complicated ones. I didn’t have the heart to allow common droids to be as powerful as Darth Maul (or the Jedi Knights) so I added a ranking system that gave tougher fighters an advantage over weaker ones (and then balanced the two sides as best as I could). Then I realized that since the defeated pieces got captured (a la Chess) and then could get rescued later, it naturally followed a player would rescue his favorite characters first, who’d then see more action. So in this case less really was more. (And who am I to say that Darth Maul should beat R2 in the bigger scheme of things?)
On the other hand no-one is playing the game, so…bluh?