Friday, 22 January 2010

The Quest for Quests: Part Five (Failure)

You may want to start this series with part one, two, three or four.

Normally I write these article series in situ in the browser, using the java based text editing tool. But the article I was planning to write on failure felt like a more substantial topic, so I ended up creating an .rtf document in Text Edit and starting jotting down notes and thoughts about failure. It has been this document that has sat on my desktop for over two months, terrifyingly incomplete and unformed, since I finished part four of this series. A single word staring at me every time I started my computer.


Think of the fifth part of this article series as an ellipsis, rather than an admission of defeat. Travel forward, a little wiser, a little tender, to part six, where I'll be talking about a topic closely related to failure, and a little dearer to my heart: difficulty.

(Fret not, I intend to return to this at a later date).

1 comment:

VRBones said...

Haha, nice pic.

When we used to do speed runs for minesweeper I'd always start by clicking in the corners, then randomly around the play area until a sizeable hole opened up (usually 10 or so random clicks). This way you can potentially mitigate these 50/50 choices for end-game failure that happen most in corners, while accepting a random bomb hit as an early exit (that can be repeated quickly) compared to the distinct advantage you get if the board is opened up.

From a design perspective at least the game allows you some way to choose whether you want early failure or late failure. Some maps in Trackmania nations go for over a minute being relatively easy before having a rediculously hard jump right at the end. This means that your chance of finishing with a good time is more or less defined by the last part of the course. As track designers have evolved (anyone can design tracks) you now get most tracks with technical sections first so that failing early means a quicker restart to try again.

In Bejewelled there is also an interesting take on failure as board manipulation only increases your chance of success on what is essentially a random finish.

Hope these examples give some more ideas ...